The way I understand it, despite having a massive budget Blizzard maintains a relatively small art team to preserve the "integrity" of their art style...this supposedly is meant to explain why it takes them so long to come up with new art. Lately I have felt like that the majority of their sets are starting to show stagnation...they're getting a little stale and end up producing sets like Shadowflame that look like the face-melting went a little too far.
And then there are those occasions they knock things right out of the park. They don't come especially often, maybe 1-3 sets per series will fall into the "good" category...of those maybe 1 will be well received.
Then there come along those sets that fit the image of a class so well they might as well define it. The best example I can provide is the Paladin Judgement set; which not only came to represent the class itself (it is now the armor the class selection paladin wears) but I have found few people who have a bad thing to say about it and I fully understand why.
|I dare you to give him lip about his dress|
Now while I am not sure Blizzard has released many other sets that are widely welcomed, they've managed to get rather close. Enter Cataclysm.
|The wing might as well be a middle finger eternally extended towards Deathwing|
Finally, we come to the set that inspired the post and isn't even out! The first Death Knight PvP set for Mists of Pandaria...I must say it's one I like so much I would consider PvPing just to get it (and I HATE WoW pvp).
|Yes, come closer, tell me more...|
Clearly designed to look like a Crypt Lord, the set fits the class perfectly...the darker colors feel "Death Knight" and the maniacal grin speaks of a warrior with nothing left to lose...the spiked hair in the back and scale pauldrons even seem to have some influence from samurai armor. I unabashedly call this set a success by Blizzard, and I happily stick it up there in my "favorites". I also like that the set conveys the Death Knight theme without over-doing it...really if you take off the hat you could imagine any plate-wearer in it...but at the same time the feelings it invokes are just right.