Thursday, September 1, 2011

Staves: Purity vs Parity in 4.3

Our next visual analysis in our progression to patch 4.3 and Transmogrification is on Staves.  We're going to be splitting each category's Differentiation analysis from its Visual Positioning analysis going forward as a means to lighten the load on our readers, so stay tuned for the secondary analysis on Staves due out this weekend. So this will be Part 1 of 2.

The chart you see below (click for larger image) maps every possible Staff model currently attainable in-game (Epic, Rare, Uncommon).  Read on after the jump for further analysis and a grayscale map key identifying links to every model shown here.

For the rest of our analysis and links to the actual models, read on after the jump.
For the purposes of this visual analysis, I've arranged the Staves horizontally by expansion and vertically by wireframe uniqueness. So Zhar'doom, Greatstaff of the Devourer, for example, stands alone in the Burning Crusade Column in the top-most horizontal band of "Truly Unique" because there's nothing else like it in-game.  Conversely, The Fire Extinguisher, a rare blue quest reward from Wrath of the Lich King, shares its model with another 20 other weapons, placing it at the bottom of the barrel in our analysis at "Common".  So if you sold your Fire Extinguisher, fear not, you can pick up another 19 items that look just like it.

Since this is a form study, excess model samples have been removed so we can focus on the differences from model to model, rather than color to color.  The grayscale map key at the bottom will enable you to link the images you see here with the actual root model on WoWhead. Once you identify a model you'd like to review further, just skip on over there and see what other color schemes might be available. Naturally, for those appearing on the top most horizontal band on this chart above, what you see is what you get.  For one brief example of what a color shift might look like, though, take a look at the Ethereum Life Staff and the Crystalheart Pulse Staff from the Burning Crusade, second band from the top in the "Very Unique" row.  One red, one blue, you get the idea.  And no, we have not included items such as Anathema in this evaluation, since it is currently no longer attainable.  Our focus is on generating content for readers that they can act on right after they read our blog.  That being said, for those of you who did acquire the item before it was removed, /grats!

A few points of interest on this chart.  First, we were all surprised at how many truly unique models still exist from the Burning Crusade content.  There are some items there we suspect will rank extremely well in this weekend's Visual Positioning exercise, Zhar'doom being one of them.  Secondly, the truly unique items from Wrath are a bit misleading as a number of them appear to be re-skins from the original Naxxramas content.  Thirdly, it may appear that the Blizzard Art Department is on pace to generate as many truly unique models in Cataclysm as they did during Burning Crusade, but we've also included each of the individual stage models of Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest, so visually that band is inflated.  Bummer too, because those are beautiful models that nobody on the quest chain is likely to maintain simply for Transmogrification.  Lastly, with how much parity we typically see with vanilla WoW items, we were all surprised at the 6 Staves that have stayed pure over the years, refusing to share their model with anything else in-game.

So is this enough to determine what you should be using for a Staff to stand out among your peers? The short answer is 'no'.

Data mining and determining how many items are truly unique is easy enough. But to really put these models to the test, you have to cross reference them with a qualitative, aesthetic analysis which will be coming in our next post so stay tuned.  In the meantime, enjoy the Differentiation analysis and the map key we've provided below (click for larger image).

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118. Runestaff of Nordrassil
117. Branch of Nordrassil
116. Fandral's Flamescythe
115. Ruthless Gladiator's Battle Staff
114. Spire of Scarlet Pain
113. Staff of Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan
112. Malevolence
111. Sho'ravon, Greatstaff of Annihilation
110. Chelley's Staff of Dark Mending
109. Legacy of Arlokk
108. Chillwind Staff
107. Funeral Pyre
106. Cerith Spire Staff
105. Jin'do's Verdict
104. Staff of Justified Sins
103. Staff of Golden Worship
102. Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Staff
101. Sealing Heartstaff
100. Staff of Ammunae
99. Folly's Spar
98. Berto's Staff
97. Angerfang Staff
96. Bladefist Staff
95. Umbranse's Staff
94. Origin of Nightmares
93. Silvery Sylvan Stave
92. Damnation
91. Sulfur Stave
90. Staff of Feral Furies
89. Staff of the Plague Beast
88. The Undeath Carrier
87. Staff of the Plaguehound
86. Journey's End
85. Devotion
84. Charmed Cierge
83. Staff of Trickery
82. Tower of the Mouldering Corpse
81. Lupine Longstaff
80. Intensity
79. Cold Convergence
78. Engraved Gargoyle Femur
77. Illumination
76. Twin's Pact
75. Spire of Sunset
74. Halion, Staff of Forgotten Love
73. Archus, Greatstaff of Antonidas
72. Dying Light
71. Blood Boil Lancet
70. Dreambinder
69. Icecore Staff
68. Abracadaver
67. Life-Staff of the Web Lair
66. Hateful Gladiator's Battle Staff
65. The Fire Extinguisher
64. Darkmoon Magestaff
63. Apocalyptic Staff
62. Staff of the Purposeful Mendicant
61. Bloodwood Greatstaff
60. Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Battle Staff
59. Exodar Life-Staff
58. Terokk's Shadowstaff
57. Zhar'doom, Greatstaff of the Devourer
56. Epoch-Mender
55. Frostscythe of Lord Ahune
54. Staff of Natural Fury
53. The Nexus Key
52. Grand Scepter of the Nexus-Kings
51. Serpentcrest Life-Staff
50. Staff of Immaculate Recovery
49. Golden Staff of the Sin'dorei
48. Pillar of Ferocity
47. Staff of the Forest Lord
46. Staff of Infinite Mysteries
45. Merciless Gladiator's War Staff
44. Bloodfire Greatstaff
43. Nightstaff of the Everliving
42. Feral Staff of Lashing
41. Terestian's Stranglestaff
40. Stanchion of Primal Instinct
39. Crystalheart Pulse Staff
38. Ethereum Life Staff
37. Staff of Beasts
36. Dreamer's Dragonstaff
35. Brutal Gladiator's Battle Staff
34. Rod of the Blazing Light
33. Draenic Wildstaff
32. Apostle of Argus
31. Vengeful Gladiator's Battle Staff
30. Braxxis' Staff of Slumber
29. Staff of the Sun
28. Seer's Cane
27. Ameer's Impulse Taser
26. Ironstaff of Regeneration
25. Ameer's Judgement
24. Bata Staff
23. Staff of the Qiraji Prophets
22. Staff of the Shadow Flame
21. Staff of Dominance
20. Blessed Qiraji Augur Staff
19. Staff of the Ruins
18. Blessed Qiraji Acolyte Staff
17. Redemption
16. High Warlord's War Staff
15. Shadow Wing Focus Staff
14. Grand Marshal's Stave
13. Elemental Mage Staff
12. Headmaster's Charge
11. Glowing Brightwood Staff
10. Stoneflower Staff
9. Advisor's Gnarled Staff
8. Ironbark Staff
7. Defias Mage Staff
6. Kam's Walking Stick
5. Amethyst War Staff
4. Loksey's Training Stick
3. Staff of Jordan
2. Bludgeon of the Grinning Dog
1. Crackling Staff


  1. Very nice analysis! Added a link here from our Transmogrification Idea Guide.

  2. You seem to be missing one of the most unique-looking staves in the fame: the Medusoid Staff a model with Terestrian's Stranglestaff). Most people don't forget a caste with an octopus on the end of their wand.

  3. Thanks Tybalt! Actually we've looked into this and we do have the Terestrian's staff on the chart. It looks like the angle we've selected, however, doesn't showcase the Octopus head very well. We'll make a tweak to the screenshot and repost.

    Thanks! -Keel

  4. Where would fall, it seems pretty unique.

  5. Just curious, there is a skull headed staff on the color chart not shown on the black-n-white numbered chart, approximately where staff 103 is located. Any idea what this staff is?