Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

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Resilience and the Defense Cap

December 17, 2008

With the beginning of the Arena and PvP seasons today, I thought I would discuss a little about Resilience and the Defense Cap.

What We Know:

The defense cap for level 83 raid bosses is 540 Defense Skill or 5.6% critical hit reduction.  This is not so easily obtained these days.  With the removal of warrior and paladin talents for pure defense talents this becomes quite a bit more difficult than it was in The Burning Crusade.  There have been countless articles on TankSpot.com, TankingTips.com and various tank blogs that give you step by step instructions and gear guides on hitting the cap.  But what if you simply can not afford those epic Titansteel pieces?  What if drops just are not going your way?  Well the solution is here.

Resilience:

Arena gear is now upon us.  To be sure, it is no where ideal for PvP.  They have made great strides in making the gear to be less attractive than it was in TBC.  However, resilience can cover up some early wholes in your gear quite adequately.

Lesser Flask of Toughness:
The easiest of all the resilience methods to become crit immune.  At 80 this flask gives you .6% worth of crit immunity.  Roughly equal to 15 Defense Skill.

Enchants:
There are 3 Resilience enchants currently available.  Two of which are from TBC and are for such small amounts that using them over a defense enchant would actually be worse.  The Enchant Chest – Exceptional Resilience is the best you can do currently in Wrath and it is only for 20.  A significant amount over the 15 from the TBC enchant, but both have an extremely steep price.  Giving .24% crit reduction it is more than the .18% reduction the 22 defense rating to chest enchant gives however.  Yet at this point, its a wash and the Defense enchant is much cheaper.

Kharmaa’s Grace:
Another 20 Resilience rating option.  It is not cheap though, and it doesn not cost money.  For 20 Stone Keeper’s Shards, or about the price of a single heroic run’s worth of shards you willg et .24% crit reduction via  a gem.  The +16 defense gems on the other hand will give you much less.  You will lose the avoidance given by the defense however.

Conclusions & Theories:

The Lesser Flask of Toughness gives us a different way to look at early gemming and gearing.  We all need to be uncrittable.  However, it may flat out be better for our early progression to be gemming for stamina and using this flask instead of being forced into gemming for Defense.  If you are a good raid tank, you are more than likely going to be using a Flask of Stoneblood to gain your 650 health.   Early on you want as much Effective Health as you can get.  Now how you get this health is the key.  If you do this with a flask, you are gainign 650 health.  However, if you decide to use 3 +24 stamina gems instead of those 3 +defense gems you are using, you will gain much more while raid buffed.

Sure you are losing a small chunk of avoidance, but while you are getting your feet wet, this is a better option for your raid as a whole.  As you gain more and more defense from gear, you will be better off, and so will the raid.  Yet ensuring you are uncrittable with as much health you can get is the key to early survivability in say the Spider Wing of Naxxramas, than that extra 1% avoidance.

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Emblems of Heroism… Which to get first?

December 16, 2008

With the Paladin reaching level 80 on Sunday I had the opportunity to really sit down and think about what order I was going to be purchasing my badge gear.   Let me first say that I know there are a few lists going around the web.  I now have two tanks at 80.  One of which was geared to the nines with Sunwell level gear, the other starting out in more lackluster gear.  This list is geared towards the latter. 

I offer you my own personal beliefs on what order you should be picking up your “Badge Gear”.

First off, what can a plate tank get from badges?

Off Set Pieces:

Warrior Tier 7

Paladin Tier 7

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Naxxramas — Complete

December 4, 2008

After last week’s 10 man clear of Naxxramas, we decided to start up 25 man raiding.  We were a little rusty.  We had some … ummm… how do I put this?  Attention issues versus Thaddius at the end of our raid time.  So we came back tonight and finished off the instance with about 30 minutes to spare. 

saph In 7 total raid hours, alot of “I got a phone call”, “brb, bathroom” and “I gotta change a diaper” downtime and we got the instance fully cleared.  Not a land speed record by any means.  Yet, we are happy.  Next stop Sartharion for our second crack at him in his 25 man version.  This time with drakes up.  Then on to Malygos for the real test.

A shell of its former self:

Naxxramas is just plain not what it used to be.  Ok, let me preface this with admitting that I was not playing the game long enough before TBC came out to have experienced 40 man raiding of Naxx.  The farthest I really got to see preTBC was the entry to BWL.  I did however, have the pleasure of taking Mihli into Naxx post TBC for several weeks between the levels of 58-63.  She managed to walk out of there with the best named weapon in the game “Claymore of Unholy Might

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I can honestly say that Naxxramas 10 and 25 are both shells of their former selves.  These are true entry level raids.  So much so that several wings have been cleared by complete PUGs.  I would not be surprised if a PUG has not cleared the entirety of both the 10 and 25 man versions somewhere in the world.  The instances are that easy in the early going.

The most difficult fight in Naxx is now Four Horsemen.  Not because they hit hard, or because you need 8 tanks, or the strategy is difficult to grasp.  It is challenging because of the logistics and communication involved in defeating the encounter.  People talking can be a tricky thing to pull of sometimes.

Spider Wing-

Anub’Rekhan used to be difficult.  Now you can fairly easily keep the tank up through locust swarm without any kiting.  Grand Widow, is actually more of a logistic challenge in the 10 man version than the 25.  A theme that is repeated throughout the instance, including the pinata that Maexxna has become.

Plague Wing-

Noth used to be harder.  At least in the 25 man he blinks around and drops aggro like his old self.  Its too bad this mechanic is subpar in the days of all tanks having 20 yard taunts.  “Oh my god he blinked… taunt.  Problem solved!”   Heigan is only a challenge to the movement impaired.  Hell his pre-gauntlet is no longer a gauntlet and his aggro radius is so small you can almost walk right up to him and poke him with a stick before he aggros.  A far cry from what once was.  Loatheb … have I used the word Pinata already?  (To be fair, Loatheb can be tricky on the 10 man if you do not have a priest.  Between PoH and CoH they can almost solo heal the raid.  The other healers just have more difficulty with the fight mechanics.)

Construct Wing-

Patchwerk is the first boss that is actually difficult in the 25 man.  I would not call him a real challenge in the 10 man if you have 2 geared tanks and healers with an ounce of skill you will win.  The 25 man version hits so hard that after tanking him you walk funny for an hour.  Grobbulus is all about not being dumb with poison.  Gluth is a bit more of a challenge, but not to tank or heal him.  Just to make sure he doesn’t get a feeding.  Thaddius is a stupidity check.

Death Knight Wing-

Razuvious, not much of a challenge, Gothik… someone told me from the Beta that he was actually difficult.  They lied.  As I said before the Horsemen are a logistical challenge.  Yet they are still much easier than before.  No more lingering ghosts marking people…  Just plain makes it that much easier.

Frostwyrm Lair-

Not much has changed from Saph and Kel though.  The only difference I can remember is  that Kel doesn’t Mind Control in the 10 man version.  In the 25 man version he MC’s 2 people at a time with a VERY long cooldown on the ability.

Do not get me wrong here.  The instance itself is a heck of a lot of fun.  Just for us rolling through it in our first 2 raid nights, just makes me think a little.  I wish it was more of a challenge.  Thank god for Malygos.

llThe Loot:

Four items per boss… four!.  Makes the instance kind of feel like more of a Pinata than it should be.  I do have to question a little as Blizzard had said there were continue to be 3 tokens per tier drop and while Gluth can drop 2 random pieces, those 2 do not make up for the fact that the others only drop 2.

I managed to get lucky and pick up the Last Laugh tonight.  This axe is so far above any other tanking weapon its beyond words.

Only problem is that I was forced to drop Mongoose on it.  It is really sad that Blizzard did not think carefully enough to give us some real end game tanking enchants in the expansion.  Greater Potency’s 50 attack power would be interesting.  The 26 agility enchant may be intriguing as well.  But why not a neo-crusader style enchant.  Or god forbid, a 25+ strength enchant.  Blizzard, we do not want AP, give us our strength enchant!  (While you are at it, give us a new and easier to obtain stamina to bracers enchant.)

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Reputations – Which to raise first.

November 30, 2008

There are a vast number of reputations in Wrath of the Lich King.  As a tank, the choices of which reputations to focus on early are as important as which heroics you need to focus on, or which badge gear to work on first.  There are 5 dungeon reputation grinds, plus several ancillary grinds which offer something for a tank.  Hopefully this will assist you in your choices.

Choosing a Reputation:

The 5 dungeon grinding reputations are where we need to begin.  Each has something decent for you to purchase at varying levels of reputation.  There is a definitive order in which I myself proceeded and I would suggest anyone wishing to gain access to the best of the faction gear as quickly as possible follow suit.

A few things to remember.

  • You do not have to reach exalted with one before you switch to the next.
  • Upgrades via other means may change your reputation path.
  • Gaining reputation is easy with the new championing system.

The order in which I would suggest you move forward is simple…

#1 The Wyrmrest Accord –

Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions @ Honored

Not the very best blue cloak in the game for tanking, that honor goes to Cloak of the Enemy from Heroic Nexus.  However, this one is awfully close to it and its cheap and easy to get.  As a matter of fact, you should probably be honored or extremely close to it as you ding to 80 thanks to all of the wonderful Dragonblight/Shrine quests you did in your early 70’s.

Breastplate of the Solemn Council @ Revered
Sabatons of Draconic Vigor @ Revered

The two biggest blue upgrades you will get.  There simply is not much better out there via heroics or quests for these two slots.  The chestpiece will last you until you can manage to get into Naxx or collect the 80 Emblems for the much better tier 7 chest piece.  While the boots may last you much longer.  There simply are not any heroic or emblem upgrades for the boot slot, so your first opportunity to upgrade them will be from Naxxramas.

Once you hit Revered here, there is no reason to keep grinding at this time.  Swith to the next faction.ac

#2 The Argent Crusade –

Special Issue Legplates @ Honored

The best blue plate tanking legs in the game.  There is a pair or two elsewhere, but the Special Issue Legplatess are far and above any of the other blues available.

Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector @ Revered

The head enchant faction is the crusade.  It can not be overlooked.  It is quite a bit different from the old Outland head enchant.  It is pure stamina and defense.  There is no dodge here.  Making it a true upgrade for any tank on even their old Illidan Faceplate if you are still wearing it.

kt#3 The Kirin Tor –

Fireproven Gauntlets @ Exalted

Everyone sees purple and goes “ooooooh, I gotta have that”.  Well the Kirin Tor is “our” purple faction.  These gloves are awesome.  However, there are also epic gloves out of heroics that will do you as well or better in terms of tanking.  Not to mention tier 7 gloves being a measily 60 emblems.

If you happen to get the gloves from Gundrak or pick up your Tier 7 gloves via badges or Obsidian Sanctum, there is little reason to grind this rep as a tank.  The next two factions are unneeded as well.  So now is the time, to head back to Wyrmrest for access to the Red Drake mount or back to Argent Crusade to try and get the Argent Champion title. 

#4 Knights of the Ebon Blade –

Toxin-Temptered Sabatons @ Honored

To put it simply, there just is not enough here to warrant you to even consider raising your Ebon Blade rep  The level 78 boots are merely “ok”.  They have Shield Block Value on them which is a great stat to have while grinding and leveling, but they pale in comparison to the Sabatons available at 80 from Wyrmrest.

#5 Alliance Vanguard –

Shield of the Lion-hearted @ Revered

If you have revered at level 78 with the Vanguard you are more than likely a human.  Even if you are, if you pick this up you will be the laughing stock of your server.  This piece of equipment is probably the worst itemized most pathetic shield in the game for its level.  I seriously do not know what Blizzard was thinking when they made this thing.  If you are desperate for a shield, save up for the crafted Titansteel Shield Wall, save your badges, or head into heroic Culling of Stratholme.  Do not bother with this piece of junk.

Daily Quest Factions:

The non dungeon factions have varying uses for us as tanks.  All of which are designed with the daily quest grind methodology first implemented with the Netherwing in The Burning Crusade and later perfected with the Shattered Sun Offensive.  Not many of them are really important to us, but one is absolutely neccessary.

The Sons of Hodir –

Arcanum of the Frosty Soul @ Honored
Lesser Inscription of the Pinnacle @ Honored
Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle @ Exalted

The most important of the “daily” factions.  This is where we get the shoulder enchants we got so used to in TBC.  Although the Lesser Inscription is merely a copy of the old Exalted Aldor Greater Inscription of Warding, it is a heck of a lot easier to get than the old Aldor version thanks to the increasing cost and rarity of TBC faction items.

However, if you are a Scryer and have a stockpile of tokens, I would truly suggest your pick up the old Greater Inscription of the Knight.  As it is far and away a better enchant for early WotLK raiding as it will get you that much closer to 540 defense without having to sacrifice elsewhere.

The Kalu’ak –

Ivory-Reinforced Chestguard @ Honored
Design: Defender’s Shadow Crystal @ Honored

Definately a good starter chest if you have not managed to get the Wyrmrest rep.  This chest piece is significantly lower in level than most other “easy” to obtain chests however.  It is not a reason to pursue this reputation, but it is a valid reward for having spent the time doing their 4 quest hubs while leveling up.

The gem recipe is also a perk of this faction.  While Parry is not the preferred secondary stat to pursue, it is a valid one none the less.

The Oracles –

Glimmershell Shoulder Protectors @ Revered

Not really a horrible piece, but its not what we are looking for.  Simply put the shoulders you get from your very first normal instance in Northrend will be a better piece than these.  If only for the defense rating they have.

Mysterious Egg @ Exalted
Oracle Talisman of Abultion @ Exalted

Not exactly tanking items, but I list them as decent rewards anyway.  The egg itself has an extremely rare chance of turning into a Green Proto-Drake mount.  Which is in and of itself a very good reason to work on this rep.  The Talisman itself is a decent grind/farm trinket as it will provide you with a couple of points of crit as well as a rage proc as you kill.  While this is not completely neccessary in the days of Warbringer and Improved Charge, it is definitely welcome.

Frenzyheart Tribe –

Giant-Sized Gauntlets @ Revered

These are decent pieces of equipment, but like the shoulders from The Oracles, the sheer lack of defense rating on them make them unusable at 80.

There are really no other reasons to choose Frenzyheart over the Oracles.  Currently, there is no known mount that comes from their “jar”.  While you can obtain a cosmetic pet, and even a BoP item that turns you into a Wolvar for 5 minutes.  While fun, its just not the same as a chance at a mount.

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Big Eight-O!

November 24, 2008

Well I hit 80 a couple of days ago.  The first thing we managed to do is a couple of quick heroics.  I had every intention of hitting up Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, but alas it was not to be.

I did manage to get into a pretty good pick up group for Culling of Stratholme.  Was a pretty good run until my only guildmate in the run had a cable outage.  We managed to blackmail a guild mage to join us for the end of the instance and voila!.

shield

Its a wonderful shield and one of the very best looking in the game at the moment.

I will be doing a few Heroic Guides over the next week or so, as I learn all of the instances.

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Leveling as Protection?!? (Warrior) – Part 2

November 18, 2008

glyphThis is the second part of a multi-part post on Leveling as Protection.  The first post can be found here.

Glyphs and Gear:

We are not tanking for 10 levels.  We are leveling.  All our gear and glyph choices must take this into account.  We want to get to 80 with the least trouble and time as possible and to that effect we will be making some choices we never would make if our goal was to tank.

Glyphing for Efficiency:

We all had a good month of 3.0.2 to play around with Glyphs.  The vast majority of us picked up glyphs such as Glyph of Sunder Armor, Glyph of Heroic Strike or Glyph of Revenge in order to tank whatever Heroics, Karazahn or any of the 25 man raid instances.  Things are different now.  We are leveling, we do not care about things that will help us tank and keep threat more easily.  We all have, as a paladin friend of mine says, “the threat of Jesus”, we do not need to worry about it right now.  We want things that make us more efficient.  We are looking for damage, mobility and an overall increase in our killing speed.

Major Glyphs:

Glyph of Rapid Charge: You are going to be using charge.  It will be the most used button you have next to your Shield Slam and Devastate buttons.  Being mobile allows us to pull large groups and get to our next kill(s) quickly.  Mobility is king in leveling, and this is our mobility as warriors.

Glyph of Revenge: Many people may say that Glyph of Heroic Strike is a keeper here.  It is a good glyph do not get me wrong.  But once again your crit rate is going down.  Even with Incite, you are going to have diminishing returns with this glyph as you level up.  While Glyph of Revenge will be just as good as it was at 70 as it is at 80.  A free Heroic Strike every 6 seconds while leveling is a lot better than 10 rage if you happen to critically hit.

Minor Glyphs:

Glyph of Charge: Adding 5 yards to Charge gives us a range of 30 yards.  This is the way you will pull while leveling.  None of the other Minor Glyphs can even compare to the usefulness of increasing our Mobility even more.

Glyph of Thunder Clap: The 2 yard increase may seem minor but that is exactly what it is meant to be.  A small increase in our range.  However, this is a 2 yard increase in the overall radius of Thunder Clap, which is actually quite a huge difference in practice.

Glyph of Bloodrage: The third minor glyph is a bit of a choice.  The first two are just plain the best and nothing can touch them.  Choose Bloodrage for one simple reason.  Bloodrage costing ~350 health is immense.  We can easily make that health up via trinkets, or a quick bandage at times.  Using Bloodrage at its normal ~780 health is prohibitive while leveling.  Halving that cost makes it extremely usable on a regular basis.

Gearing for Damage and Mitigation:

I write this from a point of view of someone who walked into Wrath with a minor about of raid DPS gear.  I managed to collect “off-spec” drops off most bosses.  It does not matter the level of your gear.  It matters what you are focusing on.

We want to concentrate on a few things to make ourselves kill and move on as quickly as possible.  The biggest thing we are doing while leveling now is collecting a good number of mobs (3-10+ depending on gear level) and using our new and improved AoE damage capabilities to kill many at once.  To do this we put our sights on certain statistics on our gear.

  1. Shield Block Value:
    • We want to keep our SBV as high as possible.  Remember this is a double stat for us.  Our ability to take damage and give damage is directly connected.  The more SBV you have, the bigger damage you are giving out with Shield Slam and Damage Shield.  Plus, with pushing your value as high as you can, you can push most mob melee damage into hit for block.
  2. Strength:
    • While we may want raw AP, strength gives us more SBV as well.
  3. Attack Power:
    • Our direct damage abilities such as Heroic Strike, Revenge, Concussion Blow, and Devastate all scale with our Attack Power.
  4. Critical Strike Rating/Agility:
    • Some people may consider Agility greater than Critical Strike Rating, but it has a much higher cost in terms of item budget.  We want to crit, we want to crit all the time.  Unfortunately, our crit will plummet to nearly half of what we start out at 70 with.  There are a limited number of quest rewards with crit rating on them.  Make sure you are keeping them as you go along to keep your crit rate up.
  5. Armor Penetration Rating:
    • Not as useful for us as protection as it is for our fury and arms brethren, but it does help us.  It scales quite well and the more we sunder the better off we are.  The one problem is that we are not sundering everything and while AoE grinding so the scaling is lower and not all of our damage is helped by APR.
  6. Stamina:
    • Stamina only helps us in terms of our survivability.  Do not go out of your way to get more stamina gear.  While upgrading your gear through quest rewards you will often find that there are many rewards with zero stamina and some with HUGE amounts of it.  Try and keep yourself at around 12-13k health unbuffed and you should be golden.

Dealing with quest rewards:

Do we take the tanking gear or the damage gear?  Well luckily most of the options are either or.  Which means we will have amble time and options to facilitate our gear choices.  It is only the random quest that will give us the options between a damage neck and a tanking pants.  Remember that we will be tanking again at 80 and that choices need to benefit us then.

Choosing between tank and damage options can be difficult though.  There are early tank-centric quest rewards that will last you deep into leveling.  For the most part, anything under level 76 is going to be easily replaced at 80.  The biggest thing you need to come to grasp with is that you can and will be able to tank virtually all of the leveling instances with your Burning Crusade tanking gear.  Your Tier 4+ and badge gear will be more than adequate for you and your party to survive.

Take damage gear when its an upgrade.

Conclusion:

Common sense in setting ourselves up for efficiency will be the best thing you can do for yourself.  Area of Effect grinding and questing will serve you well in making best use of your time.  Gearing and Glyphing for this specifically will allow you to move as quickly as possible when leveling solo or in a small group of friends.  Concentrating on mobility, shield block value and strength will be the easiest means of doing this.

I hope the small pseudo-guide will help you level.  I will be posting on the trials and pitfalls of each zone specifically over the next week. So stay tuned.

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Such a pretty shield….

November 7, 2008

swordbreakersThe big red shield of …

How do you describe this shield?  If you have it, do you actually run around town with it? 

I know the Sword Breaker’s Bulwark is a wonderful buff for anyone who uses it, but its just so damn ugly.  With all the beauty that is (or was) the encounters found in Sunwell Plateau, they gave us this debaucle of a monstrosity that endeavours to be “fancy”.

In making the model, the failed.  Not only did they make it clip through the “tanking weapon” dropped inside the same instance it drops in.  They also failed to make it not clip through the Tier 6 Onslaught shoulders and chest piece.  In the words of my Guild Master, this is “Epic Fail”.

A Question for you…

barndoorI have heard every opinion from my own guild members.  Everything from the Nightbane shield, to the lol Turtle shield from badges.  People even seem to absolutely love the SSO shield models.  I for one love my Barndoor.

Which shield do you find to be the best model?