The best dungeons and raids to farm for transmog
When discussing transmog farming in World of Warcraft, “best” is of course a relative term. That being said, literally every raid has at least a few interesting items that are worth exploring and collecting. Class Tier sets from World of Warcraft’s original content through The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and Cataclysm are some of the best, most dynamic gear pieces on record, and the weapons and other armaments such as shields and off-hand items are often superb.
Certain expansion content is so trivial for a level 50 character to solo that there’s no real reason for me to go into detail on farming it. Anything up to Mists of Pandaria should be easily cleared by any character at level cap, and of course I do not know every possible item in the game that might be of interest to you.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re hunting both Ashkandi, and other transmogs which sadly aren’t Ashkandi.
Dungeons are a goldmine for transmog
With certain sets removed from five player content when Cataclysm revamped the old world — specifically, the Dungeon Set 1 and Dungeon Set 2 looks, which you can now acquire from replicas available through the Darkmoon Faire and from heirlooms in some cases — it’s worth mentioning the five player dungeons from The Burning Crusade in particular. Not only do they contain a variety of pieces that are worth collecting on their own, they also contain recolored items matching the appearance of those original Dungeon Set items. The level 27 to 30 dungeons of the Shattered halls, The Steamvault, Sethekk Halls, Shadow Labyrinth, Botanica, Mechanar, Arcatraz, and Black Morass also have a chance to drop Dungeon Set 3, the last of the Dungeon Sets in WoW‘s design. There are four additional sets that use the models of these sets that drop in Heroic dungeons in The Burning Crusade as well. In general, if you’re looking for a wide variety of transmog looks, The Burning Crusade as a whole combines a wide variety of raids and dungeons with trivial (at max level) difficulty to make it a very productive expansion for transmog farming.
Also, unlike original WoW, none of the dungeons or raids of The Burning Crusade have been removed or revamped in such a way that their loot tables have changed or been removed. Naxxramas 40 can no longer be farmed, but all of TBC’s raids are available. None of its Dungeon Sets have been removed. Everything that once dropped still drops, and that makes it a prime source for some of the oldest gear still available in the game. If I had to choose an expansion with the most content worth transmog farming, it would be The Burning Crusade.
The lack of a Dungeon Set past The Burning Crusade really makes dungeon gear feel like a design afterthought when compared with raid gear. Wrath and Cataclysm both had lackluster options from their dungeons, with a few standout pieces — mostly weapons like the Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver. Upper Blackrock Spire got an update in Warlords and Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance saw updates in Mists, so there are specific item looks you can only get by running those dungeons, but those are still largely packed with more old-school appearances.
The appearances that come out of dungeons in Legion are much stronger, but keep in mind that this was the expansion with Artifacts. If you’re looking to replace that sword with a shinier sword, you’re better off choosing another expansion.
Changes in game systems mean changes to transmog farming
The raids from Wrath of the Lich King are not only still soloable with relative ease, they contain a wide variety of difficulty settings. Ten and 25 player difficulties became standard in this expansion, and both Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel have 10, 10 Heroic, 25 and 25 Heroic difficulties. This allows you to tailor your approach to maximize your chances at the appearance you’re looking for.
Legion raid gear is finally on the legacy loot system, so I recommend trying to do some farming there, but be warned — if you’re not geared well enough yet you might want to bring a friend or two for some of this content, especially on higher difficulties. Raids like the Trial of Valor have mechanics that can range from irritating to nearly impossible to solo if you don’t get lucky. And since Legion was the artifact expansion, there are only a few weapon appearances in this entire expansion, although two of them drop in Antorus, Taeshalach and the Scythe of the Unmaker.
Both Warlords of Draenor and Legion have multiple difficulties with different looks available, making them much more expansive hunting grounds for transmog.
The best early raids
For original WoW, the standout in my eyes is Blackwing Lair. Yes, it has Ashkandi. But it also has a whole assortment of weapons and armor for every class that existed in the game at that time, and quite a few pieces that aren’t class specific as well. From fist weapons to daggers to swords and maces and staves, Blackwing Lair pretty much has it all. The suppression room is still annoying, but it will not take you much effort to get past it — you may want to consult with the Dungeon Journal your first try, however.
In The Burning Crusade, there are a lot of contenders, but for me it’s a toss-up between the Sunwell Plateau and Black Temple. Sunwell has some of the most colorful and distinctive pieces in any raid, really looking like they could drop inside the place based on its lore, and Black Temple’s Tier 6 is some of the most iconic gear in the history of World of Warcraft. I can already hear people getting ready to disown me over not including Karazhan, but be honest — would you really rather not have the Absolution Regalia on this list? And with legendaries now transmoggable, even Gorehowl loses out to the chance to get the Warglaives, or Thori’dal for you Hunters.
The iconic bosses from Wrath and Cataclysm
Wrath of the Lich King is another expansion with a lot of solid contenders, and there’s not a raid here I wouldn’t farm in if I didn’t have almost all of it already, but Icecrown Citadel ultimately wins for me. The various tier sets are amazing, there’s multiple skins of them to collect, there’s a lot of pieces that aren’t part of a tier set, and there’s a legendary weapon for Warriors, Paladins and Death Knights to create. Ulduar has a healing legendary, making it my backup pick. While Ulduar has a lot of really nice tier sets and weapon drops (and some amazing shields) I think ICC is simply better, with more variety and a much more thematically appropriate feel to the gear. It feels like gear you’d get fighting the Scourge, while Ulduar gear is very Titan influenced and could have dropped in a different expansion.
Plus, if you want gear that resembles the original Naxxramas 40 looks, Naxx 10 is the only place to even come close outside of an occasional piece on the Black Market Auction House. The combination of diversity, ease of farming, and some of the most striking gear ever made like Armageddon, Journey’s End, and Black Bruise to name just a few makes Wrath a standout.
Cataclysm raid content is top shelf in most respects — although I’m not a fan of the Hunter tier set that looks like you skinned and wore a Murloc. Several of my favorite tier sets and unique pieces drop in Firelands alone, making it one of my personal favorite destinations back when I hadn’t collected every look I wanted from it. I’d go with Firelands over the next contender, which would be Dragon Soul. Both have great looks, but I prefer Firelands’ thematic unity and focus on fire motifs over the tentacles and eyeballs of Dragon Soul. Plus, there’s a caster legendary staff in Firelands, while the Dragon Soul legendary is only for Rogues, making Firelands attractive to more players. If you’re a Rogue, though, get yourself those legendary pig stickers. Also, Spine of Deathwing still takes forever.
Raid-themed, rather than class-themed, transmog
None of the raids in Mists of Pandaria are bad raids, but I think Siege of Orgrimmar has the most diversity, as it combines looks from almost all the previous raids with Mogu items, Mantid items, various tier sets, and more. It’s like a greatest hits for the whole expansion. Similarly, Hellfire Citadel in Warlords of Draenor does an excellent job of referencing the past of World of Warcraft and collecting the entire aesthetic of Warlords under one raid’s roof. Some of these raids are still a little difficult to solo due to mechanics, such as the final fight in the Blackrock Foundry which can glitch out if you’re not careful.
Finally, the last expansion most of us can reliably solo is Legion. Frankly, I think almost every single raid has a solid claim on being excellent in terms of transmog options. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Tomb of Sargeras, though — the tier sets hearkening back to The Burning Crusade give us those classic looks with updated graphics, and that outweighs Antorus‘ weapon drops and less inspired gear in my opinion. I’m not saying Antorus gear looks bad, just that it’s not as iconic as Tomb of Sargeras’ offerings. But pretty much any gear that drops in Legion I’ll collect if I get a chance.
That concludes my wholly subjective opinion on what’s the best use of your time farming older content for transmog. Feel free to hit up those comments to explain what a foolish foolish fool I’m being — I knew going in that this one was going to be a topic a lot of you would feel passionate about, because it’s transmog, and those of us that love it care very deeply about it. I look forward to your stinging but hopefully affectionately meant rebukes.
Originally posted 7/29/2020. Updated 8/17/2021.
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