Posts Tagged ‘Gear’

Best In Slot – Paladin Tier 14

Continuing on from my Priest T14 BiS post I’m now going to have a look at what’s available for Paladins. As before, I’m going to limit myself to items obtainable via LFR and Valor Points. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it.

Head

  1. Garalon’s Hollow Skull LFR
  2. Yi’s Least Favorite Helmet Valor Points (Shado-Pan)
  3. White Tiger Faceguard LFR

Neck

  1. Kaolan’s Withering Necklace LFR
  2. Paragon’s Pale Pendant Valor Points (The Klaxxi)
  3. Beads of the Mogu’shi LFR

Shoulder

  1. Shoulders of Autumnlight Valor Points (Golden Lotus)
  2. Shoulderguards of the Unflanked LFR
  3. White Tiger Shoulderguards LFR

Back

  1. Daybreak Drape LFR
  2. Yi’s Cloak of Courage Valor Points (Shado-Pan)
  3. Cloak of Raining Blades LFR

Chest

  1. Cuirass of the Animated Protector LFR
  2. Breastplate of Ancient Steel Blacksmiths
  3. White Tiger Chestguard LFR

Wrist

  1. Bracers of Six Oxen LFR
  2. Battle Shadow Bracers Valor Points (The August Celestials)
  3. Serrated Wasp Bracers LFR

Hands

  1. Windblade Talons LFR
  2. Gauntlets of Ancient Steel Blacksmiths
  3. Gloves of the Overwhelming Swarm Valor Points (The August Celestials)
  4. White Tiger Handguards LFR

Waist

  1. Star-Stealer Waistguard LFR
  2. Klaxxi Lash of the Consumer Valor Points (The Klaxxi)
  3. Protector’s Girdle of Endless Spring LFR

Legs

  1. White Tiger Legguards LFR
  2. Articulated Legplates LFR
  3. Kovok’s Riven Legguards Valor Points (The Klaxxi)

Feet

  1. Sollerets of Spirit Splitting LFR
  2. Yu’lon Guardian Boots Valor Points (The August Celestials)
  3. Deepwater Greatboots LFR

Rings

  1. Alani’s Inflexible Ring Valor Points (Golden Lotus)
  2. Ring of the Shattered Shell LFR
  3. Vizier’s Ruby Signet LFR

Trinkets

  1. Stuff of Nightmares LFR
  2. Lao-Chin’s Liquid Courage Valor Points (Shado-Pan)
  3. Vial of Dragon’s Blood LFR
  4. Jade Warlord Figurine LFR

Main Hand

  1. Kilrak, Jaws of Terror LFR
  2. Scimitar of Seven Stars LFR

Shield

  1. Steelskin, Qiang’s Impervious Shield LFR

Gems

Food (Stamina – Way of the Oven)

Elixirs

Flasks

Best In Slot – Priest Tier 14

Given that things coming from the beta realms seem to be becoming more settled I decided to take a stab at working out a few Best In Slot lists heading in to Mists.

Given that I have no idea where my guild will be in terms of activity/progression, I’m going to base them on LFR being highest level of content available to me. The lists may not be fully accurate, but I think they should be fairly close based on what I’ve been able to read about the beta.

To start things off, I’m going to cover healing Priests. In future posts I’ll look at Paladins (Prot) and Hunters since these are probably going to be the classes I focus on most early in Mists.

Head

  1. Yalia’s Cowl (Valor Points)
  2. Guardian Serpent Cowl (LFR)

Neck

  1. Links of the Lucid (Valor Points, The Klaxxi)
  2. Zian’s Choker of Coalesced Shadow (LFR)

Shoulder

  1. Tenderheart Shoulders (Valor Points, Golden Lotus)
  2. Guardian Serpent Mantle (LFR)

Back

  1. Sagewhisper’s Wrap (Valor Points, Shado-Pan)
  2. Drape of Gathering Clouds (LFR)

Chest

  1. Robe of the Five Sisters (Valor Points, Golden Lotus)
  2. Guardian Serpent Robes (LFR)

Wrist

  1. Bracers of Inlaid Jade (Valor Points, The August Celestials)
  2. Darting Damselfly Cuffs (LFR)
  3. Cuffs of the Corrupted Waters (LFR)

Hands

  1. Gloves of Creation (Tailoring)
  2. Gloves of Red Feathers (Valor Points, The August Celestials)
  3. Gloves of Grasping Claws (LFR)
  4. Guardian Serpent Handwraps (LFR)

Waist

  1. Belt of Embodied Terror (LFR)
  2. Klaxxi Lash of the Seeker (Valor Points, The Klaxxi)
  3. Healer’s Belt of Final Winter (LFR)

Legs

  1. Jade Dust Leggings (LFR)
  2. Poisoncrafter’s Kilt (Valor Points, The Klaxxi)
  3. Guardian Serpent Legwraps (LFR)

Feet

  1. Storm-Sing Sandals (Valor Points, The August Celestials)
  2. Boots of the Blowing Wind (LFR)

Rings

  1. Seal of the Profane (LFR)
  2. Watersoul Signet (LFR)
  3. Leven’s Circle of Hope (Valor Points, Golden Lotus)

Trinkets

  1. Blossom of Pure Snow (Valor Points, Shado-Pan)
  2. Scroll of Revered Ancestors (Valor Points, Shado-Pan)
  3. Spirits of the Sun (LFR)
  4. Jade Courtesan Figurine (LFR)

Staves

  1. Jin’ya, Orb of the Waterspeaker (LFR)
  2. Inscribed Crane Staff (Inscription)

Maces/Daggers

  1. Kri’tak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm (LFR)
  2. Tihan, Scepter of the Sleeping Emperor (LFR)

Off Hands

  1. Inscribed Red Fan (Inscription)

Ranged

  1. Torch of the Celestial Spark (LFR)

Gems

Food (Spirit – Way of the Steamer)

Food (Int – Way of the Pot)

Elixirs

Flasks

Making Plans

Since I’m playing WoW again, I figured I should make myself a plan of things I want to accomplish this time around.

I’m going to assume that Mists of Pandaria is likely to ship mid to late October. (This date is based on nothing other than a complete guess on my part.) Based on this, I figure I have around 3 months to achieve the following:

  • Alts:
    All alts levelled to 85 with their professions maxed.  Here’s my current progress of alts in the order I’m likely to level them:

    • Jezebelle – Paladin – 85 – Jewelcrafting (525) / Enchanting (525)
    • Wizzadora – Priest – 85 – Alchemy (525) / Herbalism (525)
    • Wizzbit – Warrior – 85 – Blacksmith (525) / Mining (525)
    • Satu – Hunter –  85 – Leatherworking (525) / Skinning (525)
    • Vixetta – Deathknight – 85 – Mining (525) / Herbalism (525)
    • Gomjabbar – Rogue – 84 – Engineering (525) / Mining (511)
    • Torall – Mage – 80 – Tailoring (525) / Alchemy (525)
    • Kinetick – Warlock – 80 – Inscription (525) / Herbalism (497)
    • Mirax – Shaman – 80 – Alchemy (525) / Herbalism (416)

    I’m fairly happy with which professions I have on my alts, the only real exception is Vixetta who has two gathering professions. My current thinking there is that I’ll drop Herbalism in favour of Engineering or Blacksmithing. All three of my Alchemists are Transmute spec’d and I intend to keep this, especially given the way alchemy cooldowns look to be shaping up in MoP right now.

  • Questing:
    I want to fully quest through each of the Cataclysm zones at least once. Starting with Twilight Highlands (which I’m half way through) then Uldum, which I don’t think I’ve done any quests in yet. I’ve also never finished Icecrown on any of my alts, so should head back to Northrend and do that. At some point, I’d like to go back and do all the new old-world quests, but this is lower on the priority list as it could take a while.
  • Gearing:
    There’s really no great point to spending massive amounts of time or gold getting my characters geared as gear resets have become a standard part of expansions. The first zone in Pandaria is likely to offer green quest rewards on par with current tier epics so why bother? This said, I would like to finish gearing my priest via LFR and maybe do the same for Jez and a couple of DPS toons. A large part of this is to be able to say I’ve experienced the content from all 4 positions (Heals, Tank, Ranged & Melee DPS) however I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a certain amount of ego involved in doing this.
  • Transmogfigication:
    I buy it, Transmogrification is cool. I was a little unsure when it was announced, but now it’s in I like it. My priest wants the tier 6 set and there’s probably other items that would be cool to have as well (for example the sword from 4 horsemen for my DK) so I’ll need to sit down sometime and make a shopping list. Again, as with questing, this is probably going to end up being kind of a long-term goal.
  • Mists of Pandaria Preperation:
    I’m intending to hit professions hard in MoP. It would be cool to think I could get the Realm First for max Jewelcrafting. Given the prices of ore in early Cataclysm (and previous expansions) this could be a costly endeavour, but then again it would repay for its self several times over by having access to gems cuts no one else does. I need to get a better handle on how professions are going to play out and start stocking up supplies to help with this.
  • Other Random Goals:
    Thunderfury will be mine! I run Molten Core weekly on Jez and have one binding so far but, week after week, Baron Geddon refuses to give up the second. By the same token I want the eye from Rag to make my Sulfuras. Once I get these suckers I’ll probably never want to set foot in Molten Core again as long as I live!

Item Quality

The quality of the gear/equipment you use makes a notable difference to how well you’re able to perform in a great many tasks and MMOs are no exception to this rule.

In WoW you have “Item Level” (iLevel/ilvl) and “Item Quality”.

Item Level is pretty simple to understand; it’s a number which every bit of gear in the game has on it. While there are a number of complex calculations that explain exactly how iLevels work, it’s generally safe to assume that a higher iLevel equates to a better item.

Item Quality is a little less obvious to new players (though you can pick it up pretty fast) as it is indicated by the colour of the text used to display the item’s name:

  • Grey – Has no use and is purely there to give you something to sell to vendors for gold (I’ve always wondered what they do with all those greys players sell them!)
  • White – Items of some value, includes craft materials and quest items
  • Green -“Common: Dropped by anything and everything. Often used while levelling up or as a source of enchanting materials
  • Blue – Uncommon: Mainly dropped by dungeon bosses. Give a reasonable bonus over a green item of the same iLevel
  • Purple – Epic: Mainly dropped in heroic dungeons and raids. Gives a significant bonus over both green and blue items.
  • Orange – Legendary: Very rare items that usually require the user to have completed some quest chain to earn. Usually the most powerful item available in a given tier of content (possibly lasting several tiers due to the bonuses they give) they also carry a certain amount of prestige given the effort involved in obtaining them.

 

EVE has a similar model with Meta Levels and a “Quality” of sorts (Tech Level).

Meta Levels begin at zero and apply to basic items produced by players, for example Expanded Cargohold I. From there you have Meta 1 to Meta 4 which give progressive improvements to the bonuses afforded and/or reduced fitting requirements. All items up to Meta 4 can be considered “Tech I”. Critically, Tech I items have very forgiving skill requirements, meaning that a character with low skill points still has an upgrade path when funds allow but skills do not. Using a Tech I items with a higher meta level also has the benefit of increasing the chances of success when performing invention.

When the meta level reaches “Meta 5” the item is classed as “Tech II”. These items (usually) give a bigger bonus than Tech I items of the same family, but have higher fitting and skill requirements.

Meta 6 to 9 items are classed as either “Storyline” or “Faction”. They give similar (sometimes better) bonuses as Tech II items but with fitting & skill requirements closer to Tech I items. This, combined with the increased rarity of these items, means that they have a significantly higher price tag.

Meta 10 (and higher) items are either dropped by NPC officer spawns (found in low-sec space) or in Deadspace complexes (the closest WoW analogue for a complex would be an outdoor raid boss). Both offer even bigger bonuses than Tech II & Faction items with fitting requirements usually somewhere in the middle. They are very powerful and are amongst some of the most expensive items in the game costing hundreds of millions of ISK and beyond.

Appearances Are Everything

JezebelleBut, as you well know, appearances can be deceiving, which brings me back to the reason why we’re here.
 – Agent Smith (Matrix Reloaded) 

This started as a comment I was writing in response to a post on Blessing of Kings, but turned in to something longer, so I thought I’d post it here instead. For context, have a read of this blog post on the official website.

 

I’m really undecided about this change.

The Void Storage aspect is a welcome addition;
I keep 2 bags in my bank for gear and have ended up sharding my old tier sets to make room for newer stuff. I don’t actively wear any of the older gear; like Rohan, I tend to think its had its time in the sun. It is nice to have it to remind you of what used to be and the battles you’ve fought but, for the most part, it should be respectfully left to rest in peace.

The Transmogrification thing is what I’m less sure about;
Battlegrounds will be a sea of people “wearing” season 4 so as not to give away that that they’re actually wearing season 10 elite gear. LFD groups will be filled with people wearing Tier 2 or Tier 6 (arguably the artistic high points in the game, though I actually rather liked Tier 10). For “serious” role players I can kind of understand the desire to look the part for. Then again, if you’re acting out a scene, why not just equip the armor you want to portray then go back to your current armor when you’re finished?

Personally, I feel a sense of achievement when I obtain a new item. Showing it off says to everyone else “Look, I’ve killed the boss that drops this gear!” It’s a status symbol and a badge that you’ve progressed to a point that others may not have.

Will this hurt WoW?
Certainly not from a game-play perspective, but it will dilute the artistic style of the game. There’s also the very real possibility that this will lead to less original and creative designs on future gear. From an artist’s point of view, why bother designing a unique set of armor if players are just going to hide your hard work and make it look like something that was done years ago?

I really do hope that they decide to make owning the item you want to outwardly display a requirement, this will encourage a lot of people to go back and experience some of the old content that they maybe haven’t before. Even running Blackwing Lair at 85 can be enjoyable and a large proportion of the current player-base have probably never even set foot inside.

Forward Planning Discount

Wizzadora

Run for it? Running’s not a plan! Running’s what you do, once a plan fails!
 – Earl Bassett (Tremors)

This is Wizzadora, my Gnome Priest. Right now she’s level 80 but I’m working on getting her to 85 as quickly as I can.

I’m levelling her for a couple of reasons;

  1. I’ve tried playing a Priest a few times in the past, but for one reason or another, I’ve always got bored and deleted them. When it was announced that Gnomes would be able to be Priests in Cataclysm I decided that I’d give it another go and I’ve actually really enjoyed levelling her.
  2. Since I started levelling her it has become apparent that my guild has an over-abundance of tanks and mêlée damage dealers, but a general shortage of ranged damage dealers and, more importantly, healers. Well, we have healers, it’s just that they’re almost all Druids which really hurts us in raids.

I started out levelling her as Shadow (as most people tend to) but I soon found that Shadow was a real mana drain and I was having to drink after every couple of groups. Maybe I was doing it wrong, I didn’t really understand the class that well at that point, but I was also starting to run instances and (naturally) found that queues are shorter as a healer. So I did a little reading on healing as a Priest and decided to respec to Discipline with an Atonement based spec. This is what sealed it for me, the combination of being able to contribute to damage while having some really strong heals helped me to get in to the class and bumped up my enjoyment considerably.

Since I’m a sucker for pain, I’ve decided that this alt will be a pure healer and set up her secondary spec as Holy. I don’t enjoy Holy quite as much as Discipline but I do see that for really intensive fights the healing throughput is greater than Discipline and it therefore makes perfect sense to be able to play as either.

 

So, how does this post relate to the Auction House? Well, as I’ve been levelling Wizzadora, I’ve constantly kept one eye on the AH. It’s amazing the bargains you can get when you’re not in any particular rush for them!

My best purchase so far came on Sunday evening; Someone listed a Je’Tze’s Sparkling Tiara on the Auction House for 675g. To put things in perspective, this item averages 17,591g on my server so, naturally, I grabbed it. Sure I could flip it and make myself around 16,000g profit (which would be the Goblinish thing to do) but I actually wanted the item for my Priest and the chances of seeing it for this price again before the next expansion are minimal.

As things stand at this moment, with the gear I have in my bank already along with the quest rewards I can get for the Thrall line & first day of Hyjal dailies,  I should be able to start running Troll heroics pretty much as soon as I hit 85. With a little forward planning, you can do the same for any alt you’re levelling. The best thing is, as these items are Bind on Equip, you can always resell them later if you get better or decide to abandon the alt.

The New Protection Paladin III

Previously, I’ve discussed Specing & Glyphing and Buffs, Abilities & Rotations. Now we come to Gearing.

Part 3: Gearing, Gemming, Reforging & Enchanting

 “Philosophers are only men in armor after all.”
– Charles Dickens

First off, let’s run through all the stats you’re likely to see on gear so that you know what we’re talking about.

  • Primary Stats:
    • Agility (Agi) – Primary DPS stat for; Rogues, Hunters, Feral (Cat) Druids and Enhancement Shaman
    • Intellect (Int) – Primary stat for caster DPS and healers
    • Stamina (Sta) – Primary stat for tanks
    • Strength (Str) – Primary DPS stat for; Death Knights, Paladins & Warriors
  • Secondary Stats:
    • Attack Power (AP) – Increases your base weapon damage. Mainly derived from strength or agility (depending on your class). You will only rarely see this on gear these days
    • Block – Increases your chance to block melee attacks. Blocked attacks deal 30% less damage
    • Crit – Increases your chance to land a critical strike with your spells and abilities
    • Dodge – Increases your chance to dodge melee attacks. Dodged attacks count as fully avoided and do no damage
    • Expertise – Reduces the chance that your own attacks are dodged or parried by your target
    • Haste – Increases your casting speed, reduces your melee swing speed, reduces the GCD (to a minimum of 2 second) and allows certain DoT spells to gain extra ticks. Many DPS specs also have talents that allows Haste to increase the rate at which they gain resources (Energy, Focus, Mana, Rage & Runes)
    • Hit – Increases your chance to successfully hit with your spells and abilities
    • Mastery – Universal stat that “makes you better at what you do”. Every class/spec combination benefits from mastery differently. For Protection Paladins mastery increases your chance to block attacks.
    • Parry – Increases your chance to parry melee attacks. Parried attacks, like dodged attack, count as fully avoided and do no damage. You also gain parry from strength
    • Resilience – Purely a PVP stat, resilience reduces the amount of damage you receive from other players
    • Spell Power – Increases your spell damage/healing. Mainly derived from intellect. You will mostly see this on caster weapons.
    • Spirit (Spi) – Contrary to what some people will tell you, spirit is now considered to be a secondary stat and is aimed directly at healers to increase their combat mana regeneration. DPS mana users have other ways of regaining mana during combat

It’s a numbers game!

To a lot of people, combat ratings are confusing… How do ratings become actual stats? How much of a given stat do I need? How much rating do I need to achieve that? There’s a lot of maths that goes on behind the scenes in WoW but for the average day-to-day player I would recommend downloading an addon like RatingBuster. It takes a lot of the guess work out of ratings by presenting you with a simple translation of what the rating will actually give you. In addition, it will enable you to compare an item side-by-side with one you already have equipped and see what you will gain/loose by equipping it.

Gearing

Now that you have an overview of all the stats, let’s look at which are relevant to you when selecting a piece of gear.

  • Mastery – Through Divine Bulwark any mastery you gain translates directly in to block chance. Given the relative strength of block (30% reduced damage for blocked attacks)  this makes mastery top of the pile when looking for gear in most cases. Mastery is not subject to diminishing returns.
  • Dodge/Parry – Both these stats count as avoidance in that they give you a chance to avoid taking any damage. Common logic would therefore suggest that you should look for block or dodge over mastery since surely avoiding 100% damage is preferable to taking 30% less. In reality diminishing returns prevents you from stacking one avoidance stat too high. For this reason you will want to keep your dodge and block chance fairly even, this is achieved in a number of ways, but mainly through reforging.
  • Stamina – In the past items with high stamina values were generally intended for tanks, however Cataclysm has changed this slightly and now most same-slot items within a given tier of content have very similar levels of stamina.
  • Threat Stats (Hit, Expertise, Crit & Haste) – These come lowest on your radar. With the introduction of Vengeance, a tank who performs their role correctly should only rarely need to be concerned about gearing for threat. Threat stats are generally the first target when it comes to reforging your gear.

Gems

While there are a multitude of gems for you to select from, there are really only a few that you should consider using:

Generally speaking, you’ll want to match gems to their socket as the bonuses in Cataclysm mostly make this worth while, however if you’re re-purposing a piece of dps gear (with a dps-centric socket bonus) you’re probably better off socketing it with a mastery gem, unless you’re already block-capped (unlikely). It’s important to also keep in mind the requirements of your chosen meta gem to ensure that it’s bonus remains active.

Personally, as a Jewelcrafter, I like to ensure that I always use my Chimera’s Eyes in the same slots so that swapping out gear for certain encounters doesn’t leave me without all three. Two have natural homes, the prismatic sockets on your belt buckle & your relic, while you’re free to place the third anywhere (prismatic sockets on bracers/gloves are a good choice if you’re a Blacksmith)

Reforging

Reforging presents a new way to customise your gear. For Protection Paladins, it mainly provides a conduit to obtaining more Mastery. Your priority for reforging should run something along the lines of:

Mastery >> Dodge/Parry >> Hit/Expertise >> Is it really an upgrade?

Keep in mind that you want your dodge & parry chance fairly even when buffed so that when you’re standing at the npc (and likely not raid buffed) your parry should be a little lower then your dodge (due to BoK & Horn of Winter increasing your strength).

Enchants

The final icing on your gear cake comes in the form of enchants. As with gems, there’s an extensive selection of options available, however as a tank there’s a somewhat more restricted range that you should consider:

We’re on the home stretch for this series now. Next time, I’ll be finish up by looking at consumables and profession choices for tanking.

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