Monday, December 28, 2009

[druid]Bear weapon weights updated

In preparation for the bear itemization sheet for Icecrown I've updated my bear weighings for 3.3 for weapons. The notable changes are:

  • An increase in value of hit and expertise; the trend for threat to be important continues as DPS scales faster than bear threat does. In addition, hit and expertise remain fairly rare in other pieces of gear.
  • A value on armor pen. Not a big one, mind you, but it's slightly less than haste.
  • A much lower value on armor on the weapon; this is almost entirely to discount doing things like using Origin of Nightmares any longer.
  • A higher value of feral AP and strength. Again, mostly for threat.
  • The same value of agility and stamina as posted before. Agility remains one of the strongest stats for a bear - even with icecrown nerfs - and you can't easily discount it.
Not surprisingly, the big winner for weapons for bears is Bloodfall, which has a ton of stamina and agility (at least compared to Distant Land) and is overall just awesome. The heroic version is even more amazing. I would also caution you to not entirely overlook Cryptmaker; this oddly-itemized mace isn't all that desirable for most DPS specs (they'd rather go with shadow's edge or bryntroll) and it's very likely that the only other spec that would want it is a DK tank. It's not as good as Bloodfall due to the loss of agility; missing 5% dodge before DR and almost 400 armor is nothing to shake a stick at by itself. But it does have a ton of stamina, will be a very good threat weapon and may be an easy thing to grab.

The rest of the bear gear will be up later this week. While you're waiting for that, play some PuG bingo! With more here and here. Credit goes to Cruce of Eternal on Scarlet Crusade.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

[Druid] The LFG system and being an elitist tank

I'm totally an elitist tank. (or jerk, if you'd like to put it in those terms). Thanks to Dechion for spelling that out. And this goes out to all the DPS who I've kicked from my LFG groups over the last few weeks.

Know this, DPSers: I care only for completing the first daily random quest. That's it. I have almost 300 emblems of triumph, and I have nothing I want to buy with them. I don't care about chain running this for emblems. I only care about those two emblems of frost. To get those, I want to spend about 30 minutes of time in almost perfect silence methodically killing everything that comes our way. If the healer's comfortable, I'll do it in my DPS gear so it goes faster yet.

And anything that impedes this will be kicked. Some notables:

  • I don't have patience for DPS that want to go at a different pace than I'm comfortable with. My goal in doing these LFG runs is to make sure that we finish the end boss reasonably quickly without wiping, because I get to do these once a day and that's it. I have about 30 minutes to do that. If you choose to be cute and pull another group and think you're being helpful and you're not a member of my guild, you can honestly go find another tank who will put up with your shenanigans. Enjoy your 15-25 minutes of finding another group.
  • I don't honestly care if you're not doing good DPS as long as you don't wipe the raid because you're doing something wrong. I don't really care what your gear is; the only 5-man that your gear might matter on is Halls of Reflection, and there I generally care more about the healer's gear than yours. I'm happy to drag you around with your sub 1k DPS and get you emblems as long as you don't impede me. Because I outgear the stuff we're doing by 4 tiers of content. This stuff is easy. Most of the time this stuff doesn't require a healer if I'm tanking. And that's not egotistical; I'm not some stellar tank. I'm just a stellar-geared tank and can get away with that.
  • I don't have patience with loot whores either, but I also don't care that much. There's literally nothing that could drop from these 5-mans that I'd be interested in save the hilt, and I'd only be interested in that so I could sell it. If you roll need on every single item, fine. As long as you keep up and suck only a little bit, that's good. I'd prefer you roll greed so I can DE anything and everything.
  • I don't really care if whatever idiotic thing you as a DPS did was successful; if it made me annoyed or mad or wiped us or even threatened to wipe us, I'll vote to kick you. I recognize that it's much harder to find a good tank than a good DPS, and I can find a group instantly; you can take 20 minutes of your time to do the same. Yes, this is unfair. Yes, this means I have more power than I reasonably should. I'll happily abuse that power for my own selfish desires (a fast, efficient run) and if you don't like it, find another 20 minutes.
  • I don't really care about doing optional bosses or not, as long as it doesn't take longer than 30 minutes for everything.
  • I'm not interested in exploiting a bug to make an encounter easier. It's already pretty easy. If you are, good luck finding that group.
  • If you're the DPS and you're worried that my health is too low because it's only 32k in my DPS gear, you can and will be kicked. The only person that should be concerned is the healer, and I've already checked with them to make sure it's cool. Complain about this at your own peril.
  • I think you're a piece of shit if you bail on Oculus, CoS, or HoR. Especially Oculus, which is one of the fastest dungeons out there if you know at all what you're doing. But hey, chances are you sucked if you leave anyway, and it's not my 15 minutes of time you're wasting.
  • If you die, it's your fault. It's not mine, and it's not the healer's. It's yours. Even when it isn't.
  • I don't have patience for people who won't ask questions on how to do things if they don't know. If they do, I'll happily explain or point them to someone who can, as many readers who have rolled an alt on my server to talk to me can attest to. If they don't and then complain if I give them hints or tell them what to do, that's on them, not on me. Especially if you're a feral and doing it wrong.
  • If you're not familiar with Oculus, here are two things you can do: pick a bronze drake and always follow me. On that bronze drake, simply shoot the boss until he goes unhittable, then follow me some more. That's it.
  • No, I'm not interested in doing some random achievement unless it is really, really easy (like herald Volajz) or something we'd want to do anyway. I don't really want to do 5 bronze drakes on Oculus on a pug. I really don't want to do 100 zombies. I really don't want to not DPS down portals on Nexus. Just collect your purples and move on.
  • I am willing to allow you to complete your quests for random heroics as long as you do it in a timely fashion and don't care that we're pulling mobs while you get your silver bars or troll sweat or free slaves or whatever.
  • Anything racist will get you kicked.
  • Anything sexist will get you kicked.
  • Most homophobic stuff will get you kicked. Note that I really don't like the 'that's so gay' phrase, but I recognize that I won't be able to convince everyone about the evils of it so I tend to grin and bear it as part of the stupid stuff people say nowadays. I just tell them to get off my lawn and deal with it.
  • And finally - it is not fun time happy stuff to pull a boss while I'm tanking a trash mob, then come running to me and expect me to tank it. Yes, I'm aware that I probably can survive 8 mobs and a boss at once without too much difficulty. You're still not the one who should be pulling.
Now - if you are a good, obedient, and nice DPS who isn't idiotic, you'll get a tank who has 245+ gear in most every slot, is gemmed/enchanted properly, can have 55k health whenever they need to and has done every single heroic multiple times as every single position. And that tank enjoys chain pulling and if a healer needs mana, would rather innervate them and move on. Your run should take no more than half an hour (even the loltastic ones like CoS or Oculus) and I'll happily trade gear you want and I've won back to you if you think you'd like it for some reason.

I do all of these things because I can. Because right now, I have the power. I'm sure in the future I'll be put in my place and be begging for good DPS/interrupters/AoEers to join me, and the joke will be on me, mwahaha.

But for now, it's abuse of power time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

[Druid] Icecrown gear list for cats

Finally, Wowhead has taken the cache from the armory and uploaded it. Which means I can do my gear list without having to do weird multiple parses or use Rawr for values or whatever, and you get nice, shiny mouseovers. Oh yeah, and the weight scale works too.

I've updated my weight scale as well. As always, the big word of advice: this is a static weighing that does not take into account your personal situation, your gear, or your general needs. Always use intelligence and reason before using this as gospel.

Also - know that we have no idea what Arthas drops. Chances are he's going to drop some jewelry, cloaks and weapons if he's like all the other end bosses. So this loot table is going to change.

Some changes between previous iterations and this one:
1) Haste and crit have swapped in value. This is primarily because we're getting closer to the crit cap, and as a result crit is becoming less and less valuable. This mostly factors in in gem choices; the agi/haste gem is in general more valuable than the agi/crit gem.
2) Hit and expertise both have been increased in value. This is again because of the crit cap. Why does this matter? Well, before you could have a table of attacks where every attack you replaced via hit rating/expertise rating went from a miss/dodge to a normal hit. But with being at the crit cap or close to it, you're to the point where every rating point replaces a crit instead. Because this is the case, every missed attack becomes a much bigger loss of damage than it was before. Again, this is more important as you get higher gear, but the really important thing to note is that getting hit/exp capped is very good. And as you get close to the arpen hard cap (if you choose to do that) hit/expertise becomes the most valuable stat of all.

In any case, look to cap these things or what you can do to cap them, especially if it won't hurt you otherwise. What this might mean in practice is that agi/hit gems become better than haste or crit for hybrid gems.

3) Arpen is still great, as is agi. No big change here, though arpen has been improved slightly (similar to 3.1 values) because of the ability to hit the arpen hard cap. If you choose not to do this, keep this in mind when looking at the ratings (or adjust them yourself).

A word of advice too: you desperately want to get the 4-piece T10 bonus. It's stellar. As a result of this, you should take the leather piece recommendations with a grain of salt. Certainly don't buy things like the chest or the hands from the vendor without some thought; while they might be better than anything you can get from 25-man normal, you don't want to lose your 4-piece or waste badges unnecessarily on something you can't upgrade later.

Finally - why did I do cat first? Well, mostly because I'm raiding as a cat as my primary, which means this is more relevant . me personally. I should be getting to the bear list in a couple of days.


  1. Vereesa's Dexterity/Sylvanas' Cunning - from Tribute (25) chest. 38.40
  2. Shadowvault's Slayer Cloak - Heroic (25) Gunship. 37.45
  3. Shawl of Nerubian Silk - Heroic (10) Marrowgar . 35.60
  4. Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape - 50 emblems of Frost. 35.23
  5. Cloak of the Silver Covenant/Cloak of Serrated Blades - Tribute (10) chest. 33.82
  6. Shadowvault Slayer's Cloak - normal (25) Gunship. 33.59
  7. Shawl of Nerubian Silk - normal (10) Marrowgar. 32.19
  8. Drape of the untamed Predator/Cloak of the untamed predator - heroic(25) Icehowl. 31.31
  9. Varian's Fervor/Garrosh's Rage - Tribute (25) chest. 31.21
  10. Winding Sheet - Heroic (25) Rotface . 30.77
  11. Might of the Ocean Serpent - 50 Emblems of Frost. 30.24
  12. Cloak of the Triumphant Combatant/Cloak of the Victorious Combatant - from Tribute(10) chest. 27.48
  13. Drape of the Faceless General - 10-man General Vezax (hard). 27.46.
  14. Might of the Nerub/Strength of the Nerub - heroic (25) Anub'arak. 26.96
  15. Drape of the Untamed Predator/Cloak of the Untamed Predator - normal (25) Jaraxxus. 26.95
  16. Drape of Icy Intent - 25-man Hodir (hard) - 26.91
  17. Saronite Gargoyle Cloak - heroic (10) gunship. 26.61
  18. Saronite Gargoyle Cloak - normal (10) gunship. 24.06
  19. Accursed Crawling Cape - Devourer of Souls (normal), Forge of Souls. 23.18
  20. Might of the Nerub/Strength of the Nerub - normal (25) Anub'Arak. 22.77
  21. Drape of the Lithe - 25-man Ulduar (normal) - 22.63
  22. Shawl of the Shattered Giant - 10-man Kologarn. 22.03
  23. Drape of the Deadly Foe - 25-man Kel'Thuzad. 21.47
Because there's so little in the other drops (one 25-man, one 10-man agility cloak in 12 bosses?) I strongly suspect that Arthas has a cloak. This goes well with the general idea of bosses dropping loot that's most applicable to everyone and totally awesome. Still, Anub'arak holds awesome stuff - it's a great high-ilvl cloak with arpen, so it's rated highly. Because of the new rankings, the Shawl of Nerubian Silk rates quite highly as well - and it's easy to get. It plus the 264-level T10 legs caps a cat for expertise too.

It might also seem odd to see strength so high on these lists, but because of the high multipliers that cats can get to stats and how well cats can scale with AP, it's pretty decent.

  1. Sanctified Lasherweave Rainment - heroic (25)token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 72.13
  2. Ikfirus's Sack of Wonder - heroic (25) Gunship. 68.90
  3. Shadow Seeker's Tunic - 95 emblems of frost. 64.90.
  4. Sanctified Lasherweave Rainment - normal (25) token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lanathel, Arthas). 64.12
  5. Ikfirus's Sack of Wonder - normal (25) Gunship. 63.79
  6. Chestguard of the Frigid Noose - heroic (10) Deathwhisper. 63.31
  7. Chestguard of the Frigid Noose - normal (10) Deathwhisper. 59.19
  8. Cuirass of Calamitous Fate/Vest of Calamitous Fate - Heroic (25) Jaraxxus. 57.35
  9. Lasherweave Rainment - 95 emblems of Frost. 57.21.
  10. Malfurion's Rainments of Triumph/Runetotem's Rainments of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 56.95
  11. Armor of Shifting Shadows/Vest of Shifting Shadows - heroic (10) Valkyr. 55.80
  12. Knightbane Carapace - BoE Leatherworking via Crusader Orbs. 54.66
  13. Malfurion's Rainments of Triumph/Runetotem's Rainments of Triumph - 75 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade. 50.72
  14. Cuirass of Calamitous Fate/Vest of Calamitous Fate - normal (25) Jaraxxus. 50.11
  15. Embrace of the Gladiator - 25-man Thorim (hard). 48.54
  16. Choking Hauberk - Marwyn, heroic Halls of Reflection. 48.21
  17. Armor of Shifting Shadows/Vest of Shifting Shadows - normal (10) Valkyr. 47.88
  18. Malfurion's Rainments of Conquest/Runetotem's Rainments of Conquest - 50 emblems of triumph. 45.23
  19. Winter's Icy Embrace - 25-man Hodir (easy). 45.16
  20. Conqueror's Nightsong Rainments - 58 emblems of Conquest. 41.60
While the Sack of Wonder is fairly highly ranked, don't kill yourself trying to get it; it's a stopgap piece that will help you until you get a good T10 piece upgraded. My personal take is to gem it for tanking and DPS (so pure agi) and use it in my cat when I upgrade my head (so I maintain some expertise) and legs (so I replace the hit a bit). In other bizarre news, the heroic Chestguard of the Frigid noose apparently has one less socket than the normal version, as does the heroic version of the Sack of Wonder; I expect that to change.


  1. Frostbitten Fur Boots - Heroic (25) Marrowgar. 52.88
  2. Taldaram's Soft Slippers - Heroic (10) Blood Princes. 48.05
  3. Frostbitten Fur Boots - Normal (25) Marrowgar. 47.46
  4. Footpads of Impending Death - Leatherworking (5 primordial saronite). 46.52
  5. Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker - Heroic (25) Faction Champions. 46.43
  6. Taldaram's Soft Slippers - Normal (10) Blood Princes. 42.92
  7. Acidmaw Boots/Acidmaw Treads - Heroic (10) Beasts. 40.88
  8. Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker - Normal(25) Faction Champions. 40.20
  9. Acidmaw Boots/Acidmaw Treads - Normal (10) Beasts. 35.27
  10. Blighted Leather Footpads - Captain's Chest, heroic Halls of Reflection. 34.78.
  11. Footpads of Silence - BoE craftable from Runed Orbs. 33.88
  12. Runed Ironhide Boots - 25-man Iron Council (normal). 32.83
  13. Flamestalker Boots - 25-man Ignis. 30.79
Yawn. Another boring upgrade path for boots, with no real surprises. Well, there's one I suppose; if you don't want the expertise cloak or ring, you can get expertise from crafted boots. But that's not great; the difference between them and the heroic version of the 25-man boots (which should be one of the earlier heroic-25 man drops, coming from Marrowgar) is quite substantial.


  1. Frostbrood Sapphire Ring - Heroic (25) Valithria Dreamwalker. 39.97
  2. Seal of Many Mouths - Heroic (25) Rotface. 38.82
  3. Band of the Bone Colossus - Heroic (25) Marrowgar. 38.09
  4. Ashen Band of Endless Vengeance - exalted with Ashen Verdict. 36.88
  5. Frostbrood Sapphire Ring - normal (25) Valithria Dreamwalker. 35.45
  6. Saurfang's Cold-Forged Band - heroic (10) Saurfang. 35.12
  7. Seal of Many Mouths - normal (25) Rotface. 34.42
  8. Band of the Bone Colossus - normal (25) Marrowgar. 34.13
  9. Seal of the Twilight Queen - heroic (10) Blood Queen Lana'thel.
  10. Might of Blight - heroic (25) Festergut. 32.99
  11. Ashen Band of Unmatched Vengeance - revered with Ashen Verdict. 32.55
  12. Ashen Band of Greater Vengeance - honored with Ashen Verdict. 32.27.
  13. Skeleton Lord's Circle - heroic (25) Gunship. 32.06
  14. Saurfang's Cold-Forged Band - normal (10) Saurfang. 31.43
  15. Band of Callous Aggression/Ring of Callous Aggression - Heroic (25) Faction Champions. 31.04
  16. Planestalker Signet/Planestalker Band - Heroic (10) Jaraxxus. 30.89
  17. Ashen Band of Vengeance - friendly with Ashen Verdict. 29.99
  18. Rotface's Rupturing Ring - heroic (10) Rotface. 29.88
  19. Seal of the Twilight Queen - normal (10) Blood Queen Lana'thel. 29.68
  20. Skeleton Lord's Circle - normal (25) Gunship. 28.78
  21. Might of Blight - normal (25) Festergut. 28.59
  22. Runed Band of the Kirin Tor - a lot of money. 28.50
  23. Dexterous Brightstone Ring - 35 emblems of Triumph. 28.31
  24. Ring of Rotting Sinew - 25-man trash. 28.04
  25. Planestalker Signet/Planestalker Band - Normal(10) Jaraxxus. 27.48
  26. Thrice Fanged Signet - heroic (10) Blood Princes. 27.27
  27. Band of Lights - 10-man Algalon 26.78
  28. Band of Callous Aggression/Ring of Callous Aggression - normal (25) Faction Champs. 26.77
  29. Brann's Signet Ring - 25-man Algalon quest turn in. 26.49
  30. Rotface's Rupturing Ring - normal (10) Rotface. 26.47
  31. Band of the Violent Temperament/Ring of the Violent Temperament - Heroic (25) Icehowl. 26.24
  32. Cindershard Ring - 25-man Ignis. 25.09
  33. Band of Stained Souls - heroic Scourgelord Tyrannus, Pit of Saron. 24.92
  34. Carnivorous Band/Gormok's Band - Heroic(10) Northrend Beasts. 24.89
  35. Brann's Sealing Ring - 10-man Algalon quest turn in. 24.44
  36. Thrice Fanged Signet - normal (10) Blood Princes. 24.20
  37. Loop of the Agile - 10-man Iron Council (hard). 24.18
  38. Bloodshed Band - 35 emblems of Triumph. 22.77
  39. Godbane Signet - 25-man Yogg-Saron (easy). 22.51
  40. Metallic Loop of the Sufferer - 25-man General Vezax (easy). 22.25
  41. Band of the Violent Temperament/Ring of the Violent Temperament - normal (25) Beasts. 21.99
  42. Band of Draconic Guile - 10-man Razorscale. 21.72
  43. Ring of Carnelian and Bone - normal Forgemaster Garfrost, Pit of Souls. 21.52.
  44. Surge Needle Ring - 10-man Malygos. 20.68
  45. The Lady's Promise - heroic captains' chest, halls of reflection. 20.18
  46. Strength of the Automaton - 25-man Flame Leviathan (easy).19.61
Gah. So many ring choices. For that reason, I suspect that Arthas isn't going to drop another one. There are 3 different agility ring drops at the 25-man level already. I don't see there being a 4th. I hate this category just because there are so many combinations of loot and gear and strength DPS vs agility DPS that is almost, but not quite, useful. What is useful to note is that the three 25-man rings have either arpen, expertise or hit - so they can all be very good or meh depending on the rest of your gear. The ashen band is an interesting story too. Right now the proc rate appears to be absurdly low, making it suboptimal - but it still is a good ring with hit on it.

  1. Aldriana's Gloves of Secrecy - Heroic (25) Rotface. 52.85
  2. Sanctified Lasherweave Handgrips - heroic (25) token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 52.51
  3. Scourge Stranglers - Heroic (10) Saurfang. 49.77
  4. Cat Burglar's Grips - 60 emblems of Frost. 47.96
  5. Aldriana's Gloves of Secrecy - 47.09. Normal (25) Rotface. 47.09
  6. Sanctified Lasherweave Handgrips - normal(25)token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 46.74
  7. Scourge Stranglers - normal (10) Saurfang. 44.53
  8. Gloves of the Silver Assassin/Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves - Heroic (10) Faction Champions. 43.42
  9. Malfurion's Handgrips of Triumph/Runetotem's Handgrips of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 43.33
  10. Lasherweave Handgrips - 60 emblems of frost. 41.70
  11. Malfurion's Handgrips of Triumph/Runetotem's Handgrips of Triumph - 45 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade (normal 25, heroic 25, heroic 10). 38.49
  12. Gloves of the Silver Assassin/Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves - Normal(10) Faction Champions. 36.51
  13. Gloves of the Endless Dark - 10-man Algalon. 35.88
  14. Malfurion's Handgrips of conquest/Runetotem's Handgrips of Conquest - 30 emblems of triumph. 34.28
  15. Gloves of the Stonereaper - 25-man Auriaya. 33.94
  16. Conqueror's Nightsong Handgrips - 25-man Mimiron (easy). 31.17
  17. Carpal Tunnelers - normal Marwyn, Halls of Reflection. 30.50
  18. Gloves of the Blind Stalker - 28 emblems of conquest. 29.83
This is the one slot where the T10 doesn't actually win, so that's my recommendation - use this for your offset enjoyment if you can. Which kinda sucks since it's one of the cheaper ones, but so it goes. And there are a lot of options for upgrades too, which is nice; you can even splurge on the Cat Burglar grips and not feel bad about it at all. Note that while the Aldriana's are an upgrade, it's not like it's a huge one; you could easily get this and instead go for your offset piece in another slot, and that's especially true if you're doing 10-man only.


  1. Sanctified Lasherweave Headguard - Heroic (25) token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 70.89
  2. Geistlord's Punishment Sack - Heroic (25) Blood Princes. 67.29
  3. Discarded Bag of Entrails - Heroic (10) ??? (probably putricide). 63.31
  4. Sanctified Lasherweave Headguard - normal (25) token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 62.88
  5. Geistlord's Punishment Sack - normal (25) Blood Princes. 59.50
  6. Malfurion's Headguard of Triumph/Runetotem's Headguard of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 57.47
  7. Discarded Bag of Entrails - normal (10) ??? (probably putricide). 56.35
  8. Lasherweave Headguard - 95 emblems of Frost. 55.96
  9. Hood of Lethal Intent/Mask of Lethal Intent - 75 emblems of triumph. 53.04
  10. Malfurion's Headguard of Triumph/Runetotem's Headguard of Triumph - 75 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade (normal 25, heroic 10). 50.99
  11. Stormrage Coverlet - 25-man Onyxia. 50.46
  12. Malfurion's Headguard of Conquest/Runetotem's Headguard of Conquest -50 emblems of triumph. 45.28
  13. Stormrage Helm - 10-man Onyxia. 45.02
  14. Frayed Scoundrel's Cap - Heroic Devourer of Souls, The Forge of Souls. 44.62
  15. Mask of Distant Memory - The Black Knight heroic. 43.16
  16. Mimiron's Flight Goggles - 10-man Mimiron (hard). 42.83
  17. Conqueror's Nightsong Headguard - 58 emblems of Conquest. 42.10
Thank the FSM that we didn't have the punishment sack or the discarded bag of entrails as the best in slot, right? I mean...yeesh. Dodged a bullet there. I don't think anyone wants the tauren gimp suit as the BiS. Though despite being a level lower, the Discarded bag is quite strong, itemization wise. This is one of the higher priorities for me to get personally, as while it will break my 2pT9 bonus, it will have arpen on the head and will be a bigger upgrade than most other things I can get.


  1. Sanctified Lasherweave Legguards - Heroic (25) token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 73.81
  2. Gangrenous Leggings - Heroic (25) Festergut. 67.48
  3. Sanctified Lasherweave Legguards - Normal (25) token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 65.64
  4. Bladeborn Leggings - leatherworking (8 primordial saronite). 64.78
  5. Gangrenous Leggings - normal (25) Festergut. 62.19
  6. Ivory-Inlaid Leggings - heroic (10) ??? 60.67
  7. Lasherweave Legguards - 95 emblems of frost. 58.58
  8. Leggings of the Broken Beast/Legwraps of the Broken Beast - heroic (25) Beasts. 58.35
  9. Plague-Soaked Leather Leggings - heroic (10) Festergut. 58.15
  10. Malfurion's Legguards of Triumph/Runetotem's Legguards of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 56.50
  11. Ivory-Inlaid Leggings - normal (10) ???. 53.73
  12. Plague-Soaked Leather Leggings - normal (10) Festergut. 53.45.
  13. Leggings of the Broken Beast/Legwraps of the Broken Beast - normal(25) Beasts. 51.10
  14. Legguards of Cunning Deception - 25-man Yogg (hard). 50.55
  15. Malfurion's Legguards of Triumph/Runetotem's Legguards of Triumph - 75 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade (normal 25, heroic 10). 50.02
  16. Malfurion's Legguards of Conquest/Runetotem's Legguards of Conquest - 50 emblems of triumph. 44.31
  17. Fleshwerk Leggings - Heroic Tyrannus, Pit of Saron. 44.04
  18. Leggings of Wavering Shadow - 39 emblems of conquest. 43.06
  19. Conqueror's Nightsong Legguards - 25-man Freya (easy). 41.96
This is one of the odd ones; the T10 is so hugely above anything else as an option it's not funny, and it's also hugely above the old gear as well. As a result, it likely should be your first choice for spending badges unless you've got serious deficiencies in other slots. There's no real reason to consider other gear unless you happen to be high in expertise; then this is devalued, but only by a bit.


  1. Sindragosa's Cruel Claw - heroic (25) Sindragosa. 39.39
  2. Rimetooth Pendant - heroic (10) ???. 35.88
  3. Sindragosa's Cruel Claw - normal (25) Sindragosa. 34.94
  4. Precious' Putrid Choker - heroic (10) Festergut. 34.39
  5. Wodin's Lucky Necklace - 25-man trash. 34.04
  6. Lana'thel's Chain of Flaggelation - heroic (25) Blood Queen Lana'thel. 33.61
  7. Ahn'kahar onyx neckguard - heroic (25) Lady Deathwhisper. 32.06
  8. Rimetooth Pendant - normal (10) ??? 31.89
  9. Charge of the Demon Lord/Charge of the Eredar - heroic (25) Jaraxxus. 31.59
  10. Precious's Putrid Collar - normal (10) Festergut. 31.24
  11. Lana'thel's Chain of Flaggelation - normal (25) Blood Queen Lana'thel. 29.93
  12. Collar of Unending Torment/Collar of Ceaseless Torment - heroic (10) Beasts. 29.89
  13. Ahn'kahar Onyx Neckguard - normal (25) Deathwhisper.
  14. Infected Choker - heroic (10) ??? - 28.32
  15. Sparkling Onyxia Tooth Pendant - 25-man Onyxia quest reward. 27.73
  16. The Executioner's Malice/The Executioner's Vice - heroic(25) Valkyr. 27.29
  17. Collar of Haughty Disdain - Heroic (10) ??? - 27.26
  18. Charge of the Demon Lord/Charge of the Eredar - normal(25) Jaraxxus. 26.77
  19. Pendulum of Infinity - 25-man General Vezax (hard). 26.15
  20. Collar of Unending Torment/Collar of Ceaseless Torment - normal (10) Beasts. 25.74
  21. Seed of Budding Carnage - 10-man Freya (hard). 25.64
  22. Infected Choker - normal (10) ??? - 25.22
  23. Collar of Haughty Disdain - normal (10) ??? - 24.30
  24. Barbed Ymirheim Choker - heroic Forgemaster Garfrost, Pit of Saron. 24.12
  25. Broach of the Wailing Night - 19 emblems of Conquest. 24.49

Sigh. More noisy strength items that you're not likely to roll on unless you hate the strength-using people in your raid. This is a spot where I think it's likely Arthas drops something, given that there's all of one raid drop for the slot for agility in 25-man and at least two from 10. So something's missing. It's going to be hard to beat Sindragosa though - it has haste and arpen, a great combination for cats.


  1. Sanctified Lasherweave Shoulderpads - Heroic (25) token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 53.09
  2. Cultist's Bloodsoaked Spaulders - heroic (25) Lady Deathwhisper. 50.39
  3. Skinned Whelp Shoulders - heroic (10) Valithiria Dreamwalker. 48.64
  4. Sanctified Lasherweave Shoulderpads - Normal (25)token drop (Saurfang, Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, Arthas) . 47.23
  5. Cultist's Bloodsoaked Spaulders - normal (25) Lady Deathwhisper. 45.54
  6. Malfurion's Shoulderpads of Triumph/Runetotem's Shoulderpads of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 43.65
  7. Skinned Whelp Shoulders - normal (10) Valithiria Dreamwalker. 43.40
  8. Lasherweave Shoulderpads - 60 emblems of frost. 42.09
  9. Duskstalker Pauldrons/Duskstalker Shoulderpads - 45 emblems of Triumph. 39.04
  10. Spaulders of the Snow Bandit/Shoulderpads of the Snow Bandit - heroic(10) Anub'arak . 39.4
  11. Malfurion's Shoulderpads of Triumph/Runetotem's Shoulderpads of Triumph - 45 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade. 38.76
  12. Shoulderpads of the Intruder - 25-man Iron Council (hard). 37.20
  13. Malfurion's Shoulderpads of Conquest/Runetotem's Shoulderpads of Conquest - 30 emblems of triumph - 34.51
  14. Spaulders of the Snow Bandit/Shoulderpads of the Snow Bandit - normal(10) Anub'arak . 33.83
  15. Spaulders of Black Betrayal - heroic Falric, halls of reflection. 33.42
  16. Conqueror's Nightsong Shoulderpads - 25-man Yogg (easy). 33.18
Another place where the tier gear blows away the competition pretty handily, though the 10-man drop is quite good and an interesting sidegrade if you haven't got the tier piece and want arpen. Likely because it's cheap, this will be one of your earlier upgrades to T10, so chances are you won't be having anything else for long.


  1. Deathbringer's Will - heroic (25) Saurfang. 57.4
  2. Deathbringer's Will - normal (25) Saurfang. 52.6
  3. Whispering Fanged Skull - heroic (10) Lady Deathwhisper. 51.2
  4. Death's Choice/Death's Verdict - heroic (25) Valkyr. 49.7
  5. Mjolnir Runestone - 10-man Thorim (hard). 46.7
  6. Needle-Encrusted Scorpion - heroic Devourer of souls, Forge of Souls. 46.3
  7. Herkuml War Token - 50 emblems of frost. 46.4
  8. Whispering Fanged Skull - normal (10) Lady Deathwhisper . 45.1
  9. Death's Choice/Death's Verdict - normal (25) Valkyr. 44.6
  10. Comet's Trail - 25-man Algalon. 40.1
  11. Darkmoon Card:Greatness - BoE inscription. 26.6
  12. Dark Matter - 10-man Algalon. 26.1
  13. Banner of Victory - normal (Paletress) Trial of Champion. 25.3
  14. Grim Toll - 25-man Naxxramas (various). 20.1
  15. Mirror of Truth - 40 emblems of Valor. 183.7
  16. Shard of the Crystal Heart - 50 emblems of triumph. 140.0
As usual, I'm using Rawr's ratings of trinkets, and because of that it's weighing based on whether or not I'd hit the cap with arpen with said trinket. And even with that limitation, the deathbringer's will wins handily. What trinkets will be best for you is going to depend a lot on whether or not you're going for hard cap arpen or not. If not, you want one of the mjolnir/grim toll (which is surprisingly decent with that hit rating) or the scorpion + deathbringer's will/death's choice/fanged skull/herkuml war token. If yes, you want deathbringer's will and death's choice or whispering fanged skull. I also expect this to be another slot where there is loot to be discovered.


  1. Astrylian's Sutured Cinch - Heroic (25) Putricide? 52.88
  2. Vengeful Noose - 60 emblems of frost. 47.69
  3. Astrylian's Sutured Cinch - normal (25) Putricide? 47.02
  4. Soulthief's Braided Belt - heroic (10) Lady Deathwhisper. 46.63
  5. Belt of the Merciless Killer/Belt of the Pitiless Killer - heroic (25) Valkyr. 43.74
  6. Soulthief's Braided Belt - normal (10) Lady Deathwhisper. 41.54
  7. Belt of the Merciless Killer/Belt of the Pitiless Killer - normal (25) Valkyr. 37.84
  8. Soul-Devouring Cinch - 10-man Yogg (hard). 37.40
  9. Death-Warmed Belt - BoE leatherworking from Runed Orbs. 32.75
  10. Relic Hunter's Cord - 25-man Ulduar. 32.39
  11. Waistguard of the Creator - 25-man Mimiron (easy). 31.27
  12. Belt of the Twilight Assassin - 28 emblems of conquest. 31.70.
  13. Flayer's Black Belt - normal Forgemaster Garfrost, Pit of Saron. 30.99
Another fairly boring upgrade path, made only slightly interesting by having an emblem purchase be somewhat competitive at the normal 25 level. If you're low on hit, consider the Lady Deathwhisper drop - but really, there's not a lot of special analysis here. Get the tribute to the creator of Rawr.

  1. Toskk's Maximized Wristguards - heroic (25) Saurfang. 40.33
  2. Toskk's Maximized Wristguards - normal (25) Saurfang. 35.81
  3. Vambraces of the Frost Wyrm Queen - heroic (10) Sindragosa? 33.73
  4. Armbands of Dark Determination/Bracers of Dark Determination - heroic(25) Anub'arak. 33.26
  5. Vambraces of the Frost Wyrm Queen - normal (10) Sindragosa? 30.00
  6. Bracers of Swift Death - Leatherworking BoE via Crusader Orbs. 28.91
  7. Armbands of Dark Determination/Bracers of Dark Determination - normal(25) Anub'arak. 28.02
  8. Solar Bindings - 25-man Algalon. 27.68
  9. Chewed Leather Wristguards - heroic Ick, Pit of Saron. 26.40
  10. Fluxing Energy Coils - 10-man XT (hard). 25.88
  11. Armbands of the Wary Lookout - heroic Eadric in Trial of Champion. 23.61
  12. Mechanist's Bindings - 25-man Flame Leviathan (easy). 22.34
Another tribute item to the most influential theorycrafter for cats out there, and it's the best. Makes it very easy. I left off a bunch because honestly, if you don't have at least something on this list (and even if you do) you should get the Bracers of Swift Death made. The mats are fairly cheap and it's easy to get now.


  1. Distant Land - heroic (25) Festergut. 311.52
  2. Bloodfall - heroic (25) Blood Queen Lana'thel?. 309.62
  3. Cryptmaker - heroic (25) Blood Princes. 302.15
  4. Shaft of Glacial Ice - heroic (10) Sindragosa? 278.13
  5. Hersir's Greatspear - heroic (10) ??? 277.70
  6. Distant Land - normal (25) Festergut. 277.15
  7. Bloodfall - normal (25) Blood Queen Lanathel? 276.09
  8. Cryptmaker - normal (25) Blood Princes. 269.42
  9. Oxheart - heroic (10) Valithria Dreamwalker. 264.74
  10. Archon Glaive/Hellion Glaive - heroic (25) Anub'arak. 264.46
  11. Lupine Longstaff/Twin's Pact - heroic (25) Valkyr. 263.81
  12. Catastrophe/Grievance - heroic (25) tribute chest. 252.87
  13. Hersir's Greatspear - normal (10) ? 248.04
  14. Shaft of Glacial Ice - normal (10) ? 246.05
  15. Lightborn Spire - Quel'Delar (battered hilt) questline. 243.90
  16. Relentless Gladiator's Greatstaff - arena rating. 238.66
  17. Oxheart - normal (10) Valithiria Dreamwalker. 236.45
  18. Relentless Gladiator's Crusher/Halberd - arena rating. 234.58
  19. Archon Glaive/Hellion Glaive - normal (25) Anub'arak. 233.56
  20. Lupine Longstaff/Twin's Pact - normal(25) Valkyr. 232.04
  21. Attrition/Paragon's Breadth - heroic (10) tribute chest. 230.83
  22. Fordragon Blades/Anguish - heroic (10) Anub'arak. 230.77
  23. Reinforced Shadowstrike - 25-man Onyxia. 226.91
  24. Dreambinder - 25-man Freya (hard). 220.70
  25. Dark Edge of Depravity - 25-man Yogg(hard). 218.02
  26. Lotrafen, Spear of the Damned - 25-man Vezax (easy). 206.56
  27. Orca-Hunter's Harpoon - heroic Marwyn, Halls of Reflection. 206.37
  28. Tortured Earth - 10-man Vezax (hard). 204.84
  29. Twisted Visage - 25-man XT(normal). 203.93
  30. Fordragon Blades/Anguish - normal(10) Anub'arak. 203.21
  31. Reclaimed Shadowstrike - normal (10) Onyxia. 200.38
  32. Hammer of Crushing Whispers - 10-man Yogg (hard). 203.56
  33. Earthshaper - 25-man Yogg (easy). 196.48
  34. Journey's End - 25-man Kel'Thuzad. 190.08
  35. Hoperender - 10-man General Vezax (easy). 185.65
  36. Marrowstrike - Heroic Paletress in Trial of Champion. 183.0
  37. Spire of Withering Dreams - 10-man Kologarn. 180.65
  38. Relentless Edge - 10 man Ignis. 177.34
  39. Silvery Sylvan Stave/Staff of Feral Furies - 50 champion's seals. 146.10
This is one of those hard ones. The top-end mace is actually quite good, though not quite as good as the top-end feral staff...for cats. (for bears it's likely much higher). Do you roll on it? It gives hit, which is nice, but no arpen. I'd try and stay with the feral gear as much as you can, but it's awfully tempting to get a giant mace and have fun with it in cat and bear. Plus, all three are close enough together that it'll be a huge upgrade, DPS wise. Try in general to be nice, but don't be too nice I suppose :)

  1. Idol of the Crying Moon - 30 emblems of frost. 30?
  2. Idol of Mutilation - 25 emblems of Triumph. 27.2
  3. Idol of the Corrupter - 19 emblems of Conquest. 20.7*
  4. Idol of Worship - 25 emblems of valor. 17.2
  5. Idol of the Ravenous Beast - 15 emblems of heroism. 10.1
Rawr doesn't have the new idol, but it's more a bear than a cat one. At best (when you're not losing rake or moving too much) it's going to be a 10% upgrade from mutilation. Definitely not worth the emblems until you've got everything else you want.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

[Druid]Best non-set piece for cats in Icecrown

Similar to what Darksend did for bears, I've done some analysis on what the single best non-tier piece is to get for the 5 tier-piece slots.

The TL;DR answer is: the gloves. Specifically the heroic Aldriana's Gloves of Secrecy, which drop from Rotface. That's the optimal choice - but there are other decisions you face. More of those at the end.

This is all based on the heroic levels of gearing. That's the long haul. In the short haul things aren't so different, honestly, but you might as well invest in what you're going to hope is the best of the best, right? Thought so :)

First, the heads. We have the T10 head, the lovely discarded bag of entrails from heroic 10-man, and the geistlord punishment sack.

The difference between the T10 and the entrails is (in favor of the T10) 29 agi, 72 stam, 114 crit and 6 arpen at the cost of 34 ap and 92 haste. That's a clear win.

The difference between the T10 and the Geistlord is 24 agi, 106 arpen at the cost of 48 ap, 8 crit and 98 hit. Another big win for T10; arpen beats hit, and you're not hurting for that much hit most of the time.

Next, the T10 chest vs. the Ikfirus' sack of wonder (which is BoE on normal mode!) and the Chestguard of the Frigid Noose (another 10-man heroic drop)

T10 chest vs Sack of Wonder: 16 agi, 122 crit, 106 arpen vs 16 AP, 114 hit and 106 expertise, and an extra blue socket. This is close, but arpen and crit are more valuable than hit and expertise, even with that additional socket. Still, consider this if you're gearing up your cat and bear; you can use this as a double duty piece and be pretty happy.

T10 chest vs Chestguard of the Frigid Noose: 33 agi, 76 stam, 122 crit, 15 arpen vs 16 AP and 111 haste. The agi and crit overwhelms the haste here.

T10 vs Cultist: 8 agi, 82 arpen vs 74 haste and a yellow socket. The arpen works out best here.
T10 vs Skinned Whelp: 32 agi, 44 stam, 26 crit, 2 arpen vs 18 AP and a red socket. The 32 agi alone wins here.

Onto the T10 legs vs Gangrenous leggings (lovely names, those) and Ivory-Inlaid Leggings (10 man)

T10 legs vs Gangrenous Leggings: 16 agi, 122 arpen, 106 expertise vs 16 ap, 122 crit and 98 hit and a blue socket. This normally would go to the Gangrenous, save that hit is a lot easier to get than expertise and arpen beats the hell out of crit. The socket is awful tempting though.

T10 legs vs. Ivory-Inlaid leggings: 45 agi, 41 stam, 51 arpen and 106 expertise vs 20 AP, 116 crit and a red socket. Mostly easy choice.

T10 vs Aldriana's: 8 agi, 8 haste vs a yellow socket. Finally a clear winner.
T10 vs Scourge Stranglers: 16 agi, 50 stam, 10 AP, 18 arpen, 82 haste vs 72 crit and a yellow socket. Not even close, especially given how good haste is now.

So the answer is the gloves, right? Well...maybe. If you're gearing for bears and cats, it might be a better choice to go with the chest instead. The difference between the T10 gloves and the offtier piece is really fairly small (8 agi/haste vs a socket), but the cost in badges is much greater for the chest. Plus, having the chest means you have the best in slot for a bear AND close to the best for a cat, depending on your hit/expertise levels. The disadvantage there is that just with the T10 legs and the Sack of Wonder, you're going to be over the expertise cap by 80 points! Ugh. And since you desperately want 4pT10, going with an offtier piece in the legs isn't an option.

Plus, honestly - you're going to have hit around too, so it doesn't do as well for you.

Still - if you have to make a choice for gearing up both, that's not a bad one. Another option is to try and make the chest and gloves your 'shared' pieces, which means your offtier can be one of head, legs and shoulders. Given the expense and the relative difference in value, I'd probably go with the Gangrenous legs as my offset piece in that situation for one spec and possibly the Geistlord punishment sack for the other. That means you'd be buying two sets of shoulders, one leg and one head, which isn't so bad at the end of the day.

As always - make an informed choice based on your gearing values right now. If you know you're not going to ever do heroic 25-man or get a token, that may change things significantly. Don't not get upgrades in slots just because you'll get rid of them at some point too; even if you spend your emblems of frost on nothing but tier pieces, you're still looking at about 8 weeks before you can get 4 of your 5 pieces. This assumes that you're spending 65 on the shoulders and hands and 90 on the legs and head - it's actually more for a cat if you're going for the chest (345, to be precise). Assuming you've done every heroic daily, the raid weekly, and run 10-man and 25-man content and have done the new quests, you're looking at 41+35+35+35 = 146 badges when the next gate is unlocked. Assuming that's three weeks with three new bosses, you're looking at a weekly gain of (5+14+14+14) = 47 badges, or another 141 over those three weeks. Assuming another 3 bosses come out for three weeks after that, you're looking at (5+14+20+20) = 59 badges for those three weeks, or 177.

Or another way to put it: if you do everything - you'll get 4 pieces including the expensive ones at the end of the 8th week.

So...don't splurge on other bits. Don't get the offtier pieces that are available. Don't buy primordial saronite. Unless, of course, you can wait for all this - then you should gouge suckers trying to get their shadowmourne. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

[Druid]Bear gear quickie update, icecrown impression

For the first time I can remember in a while, Darksend scooped me on something (I love you, Darksend!) and did an analysis of the best non-tier item to use for your 4p T10 set. What's awesome about this is that it also lists some unknown pieces (or at least prior to this, unknown), including a great tribute piece to Astrylian of Rawr fame. Go check it out and say hi - it's a great piece of work.

And as expected, the Sack of Awesome wins out as being the best non-set piece to use. Though interestingly enough, the off-spec pieces are better for bears for the most part, in terms of itemization. Not surprising given all that arpen, but there.

I will be doing a cat gear guide first, in case you're curious. Now that the armory has all the gear, this shouldn't be too hard. In the meantime I've updated my weights for cats for wowhead, which you can look at here. The main change is an increased valuation on armor pen and swapping haste and crit's importance due to the cap analysis from earlier. An actual detailed guide should be coming soon. The bear weights will take a bit longer, but honestly I don't foresee them changing much aside from perhaps the weapon weights.

On a personal note - as of last night we were able to down Yogg0, giving everyone snazzy Death's Demise titles and our main warrior tank the shiny Mimiron's head. Congrats to everyone at Casually Serious - gear in this case only made things slightly easier, but it was still by far the biggest challenge we've faced since I've been here. If you've not tried it, I recommend doing so if you're bored, though don't do it if you despair easily. Yogg0 makes you feel very, very stupid. It's a good fight though not nearly as much fun as Firefighter or Anub hard, and boy is it picky about DCs wiping the raid. Ugh.

Icecrown itself? Ehh. We one shot everything save Lady Deathwhisper (we didn't realize some adds came from the back), and nothing was all that challenging. We got the silly achievements for Saurfang without trying, really. Probably because we prepped the most for it; we saw videos of how 'hard' it was, so everyone knew the fight. In reality it's pretty well a tank&spank with an odd enrage timer. I was hoping for something significantly harder than this. In reality it feels pretty much like the same difficulty as ToC normal, and that's a bummer. I guess I miss Ulduar-levels of difficulty, especially given that we're going to have this for 28 days.

The rest of the patch is really keen. Okay, I'm not thrilled with having to go back to Naxx to get current badges, but the LFG system is incredibly great. The DE option in looting is also incredibly great. It feels polished and useful, and works well. I'm very impressed. It makes heroic grinding downright addictive. I might feel differently if I couldn't tank, but I can - so I'm all good. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

[Druid] If you can get one thing tomorrow...

Since the 3.3 patch is likely going to come out tomorrow, and the loot lists aren't remotely ready - I wanted to leave you with one piece of advice.

Hope that this Sack of Awesome drops for you in 25-man gunship. Sure, there's lots of other pieces that are great, like Deathbringer's Will (from Saurfang-25) and Toskk's tribute wristguards (also from Saurfang-25). You can try and get the Unidentifiable Organ from 10-man Gunship too. There's plenty of decent rings and cloaks in both 10 and 25 man, though don't go all nuts on them; loot lists are still probably pretty raw. Heck, go forth and get the Quel'Delar questline so you can go grab Lightborn Spire, which is a fine tanking weapon if you don't have Twin's Pact.

But if you can get Ikfirus' sack of wonder, you should be very happy. It's good for bears, it's good for cats, it's good for anyone. Okay, maybe it's not the best for cats - but it's still going to be damn good, and should at least tide you over until you get your 4pT10.

Good luck with Icecrown!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

[Druid] Icecrown analysis for cats

Well, as promised...uh...about two weeks ago, I'm here to discuss the Icecrown gearing for cats. Sorry for the delay in posting and commenting; the holidays and work have taken up a lot of time.

If you want a quick glimpse into my rating system and what I've seen (as well as the new weights), the list is here. The primary changes on this list are that armor pen is increased slightly, haste is increased and crit is decreased. Again, do not use this list without some intelligent decisions; hit and expertise aren't that great when you have hit the caps, don't go overboard on arpen if you're at the cap...basically, be mindful of those caps I talked about earlier.

Speaking of, here's the first conclusion from what I linked: the armor pen cap of 1400 is going to be what most people should seek out, as a hard cap. With simply taking everything in slot that was agi gear and which had armor pen, and not optimizing in any other way (no hit/expertise), and not doing anything with gems - you can get using the above listing a total of 1270 armor pen rating.

That's before food buffs and before any gems. Adding gems to that would result in somewhere around 300 more armor pen, depending. And this isn't with a full set of known gear, nor is it with a full set of heroic gear. I will confess that it has some sweet gear in there - Deathbringer's Will, the full heroic Lasherweave set - but a bunch of that gear is also from ToC.

Point being is that it should be pretty obtainable, and certainly something to strive for.

The problem here is that with the new Needle-Encrusted scorpion that drops from the heroic 5-man, you're kind of encouraged to drop armor pen hard capping. From all the tests I've seen hard capping is the way to go...but that means you'll want to use the scorpion or runestone until you get enough arpen gear to switch.

So when should you switch to hard capping? I would argue that it's probably reasonable to do so when you obtain that awesome trinket. If you don't get Deathbringer's Will, it's going to be hard to cap for a while. If you don't have Death's Choice either, then you're trading down quite a bit. I haven't run the numbers and don't have a perfect value for you here, but for me personally I'm planning on switching when I can reasonably get to 1100 armor pen. I will try and figure out exactly what the cutoff is, and post it to you.

In any case, it's going to be a while before that needs to be decided anyway. So plan on grabbing armor pen where you can, try and get older pieces with it just in case, and in the meantime go for the softcap.

The second point is the hit/expertise issue. As I mentioned previously, the expertise and hit on leather gear looks...pretty sad. Or at least looked; one piece of tier gear got changed to have expertise on it.


There's no hit on any piece of tier gear. In fact, the total number of items in 3.3 that are druid-friendly and have any hit of all is...only 18, at least so far as we know. And of those, three are one-hand weapons. Sigh. So there are 15 items total - and most are rings. Only 4 known ilvl 264 (that's normal mode 25 man), and only a couple decent rings. So hit is going to be in short supply. That being said, this sack of wonder is going to be a boon for a lot of cats and bears, I think. The issue is that this conflicts with the high arpen on the tier pieces. Sigh.

So just looking at the non-tier slots, you can get a decent 10-man cloak, a 25-man ring, a rep ring, an okay neck...and that's about all of any significant ilvl. Which would add up to 206 rating.

So chances are that optimally, you'll want to get at least one nontier piece to have reasonable amounts of hit/crit. Another solution is actually to go with the much-maligned Grim Toll; the hit will give a better return than higher crit will, and the slightly lower arpen will allow you to get more out of the arpen on the gear you want.

Expertise is, as mentioned, a bit easier to get. The tier legs have expertise now, there's a good set of crafted boots or a bought chest via emblems- basically, things you might already want to get. Since the cap is so low for expertise anyway assuming you're taking primal precision, it shouldn't be hard to hit that cap with one or two pieces at most. I personally would likely go for that 10-man cloak and that wonderful sack.

The tier bonuses are worth talking about too, and for the first time this expansion I'm going to utter the phrase "Get the tier pieces ASAP". The 2-piece bonus is decent but not phenomenal; a savings on your finisher is good, but on average this will save you about 30 energy every minute at best. That's an extra shred every 80 seconds or so, which is good but nothing that you'll freak out about.

The 4-piece bonus is worth freaking out about. Rake critting will add an additional 60% damage at icecrown levels of gear (because you'll be critting 60% of the time, most like). Since Rake accounts for roughly 10% of your overall damage if you're doing a good rotation, this is essentially a 6% upgrade in DPS by itself. That the tier pieces are magnificently itemized for cats is also a bonus - but really, you should be going after the tier pieces ASAP.

In case you missed it, you need to get the beginning level tier piece before you can get the 25-man piece. Which one you should get personally is going to be heavily dependent on the rest of your other gear, but the legs rank the highest, followed closely by the chest and head. The 251 chest is a slight downgrade from the offtier piece in ToC, the gloves are a slight downgrade from the Sunreaver assassin gloves from heroic ToGC 10, the head is better than anything in ToGC, the legs are a slight downgrade from the offtier piece, and the shoulders are a slight downgrade from the heroic 258-level tier piece. Based on that alone, I'd say get the head first, then the shoulders, then the gloves and then the legs - but you should do what makes most sense to you.

The other thing to spend your emblems on is this amazingly awesome belt. That's not hard to be that awesome given that it's the only belt so far found in 3.3, but it's very good for cats and one of the very few belts in the game that has armor pen on it. I wouldn't get this before getting your 4-piece, but it's certainly something to save up for.

The new idol is also out, and it's...I'm not thrilled. In theory this is going to be 10% better than the last idol at full strength. The problem is uptime. Any fights where your rake will regularly drop off (the proc only lasts 15 seconds) and this becomes a compounding problem on the cats' already problematic long buildup time. On stationary fights this is good, but any time you're dealing with multiple mobs (so not raking much), any time there are phase changes, any time there's a lot of movement...this is not as good as other options. For the first few weeks at least, the fights consist of a tank&spank with a phase change, a ton of adds, a ton MORE adds, and then finally Saurfang - who may be a tank& spank kinda. That doesn't scream "OMG spend badges to get 20 more agi sometimes" t0 me. So wait on it.

Finally, on weapons - only one really awesome one has been found, and that's Distant Land. It has 3356 Feral AP, in case you didn't find that out yet. Lightborne Spire is the quest reward for the long Quel-Delar questline for ferals, and it's certainly good - but it's better for bears than cats. I actually think I'll hold on to my Twin's Pact for a bit; the arpen is going to be valuable. I also believe that there are going to be a lot more options here soon. Heck, not a single polearm has been found. My gut feeling is that these haven't even been made yet, and they're waiting or working on them as we speak.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

[Druid] Cat in the Cap

UPDATED. Changed the white attack crits to be a bit clearer.

I couldn't resist.

With the new patch feral cats are going to start having to consider a couple of interesting soft and hard caps on their gear. At least I thought it was interesting; it wasn't something I was thinking about. And one...may surprise you.

First, the basic easy ones that everyone should know about already: the hit and expertise caps for ferals.

Hit Cap:
The normal hit cap for ferals is 8% hit - meaning that you need 8% hit to reduce the chance of misses to 0% against bosses that are 3 levels above you. This comes out to be 263 rating - or 230 rating if you have a draenei in your party. Any hit rating above this is wasted. For sake of completeness, here are the different caps with the most relevant ones to raiding highlighted:

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 80 mobs: 164
Hit rating needed vs. lvl 80 mobs with draenei: 132
Hit rating needed vs. lvl 81 mobs: 180
Hit rating needed vs. lvl 81 mobs with draenei: 147
Hit rating needed vs. lvl 82 mobs: 197
Hit rating needed vs. lvl 82 mobs with draenei: 164
Hit rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs: 263
Hit rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs with draenei: 230

Expertise Cap:
The expertise cap is dependent entirely on whether or not you took primal precision or not. Which you should almost certainly do if you do not cap for hit or expertise, as the secondary function (refund on misses) is the reason that hit/expertise are not ranked as highly for cats as they are for other classes.

For every 8.2 points of expertise rating, you gain 1 expertise skill. Each point of expertise skill reduces your chance to be dodged/parried by .25%. You can be dodged at a rate of 6.5% against level 83 mobs. So with Primal Precision, you need 16 total expertise skill. Without it, you need 26.

Expertise rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs (with primal precision): 132 (due to rounding)
Expertise rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs (without primal precision): 214

Armor Penetration Cap:

The armor penetration cap is simply how much armor pen it takes to reduce the contribution from armor to a maximal value. This is a fairly complex calculation used to figure out exactly how much will be reduced, but the end result is this - at level 80, you need 13.99 armor penetration rating to reduce 1% armor.

Thus, at 1399.something rating (or 1400), armor penetration is capped in contribution at 100%. That's the absolute hard cap.

There are several soft caps based on trinket procs. A soft cap means that with a proc on the trinket, you will reach the hard cap - but only with that proc on the trinket. Every simulation I've seen uses this logic: it is better from a gearing perspective to get one of these trinkets and gear to the soft cap (and go agi afterwards) than it is to go over the cap. This makes some sense, as every time the proc is up on the trinket, all that extra armor pen that you went over would be wasted.

As of writing now, there are three trinkets that provide (or will provide) armor pen procs:

Grim Toll (provides 612 armor pen for 10 seconds on a hit every 45 seconds) - found in Naxx
Mjolnir Runestone (provides 665 armor pen for 10 seconds on a hit every 45 seconds) - from hard mode 10-man Thorim
Needle-Encrusted Scorpion (provides 678 armor pen for 10 seconds on a crit every 45 seconds) - from Devourer of Souls in heroic Forge of Souls - the new 5-man.

For the sake of this discussion it's unimportant about which is going to be better than which here; I'll talk about that later this week. The numbers are what matter right now.

Armor pen cap without any armor pen proccing trinkets: 1400
Armor pen cap with Grim Toll: 788
Armor pen cap with Mjolnir Runestone: 735
Armor pen cap with Needle-Encrusted Scorpion: 722

Critical strike cap:

This was the new and exciting bit of information for me. With procs of various trinkets, cats are going to be easily blowing past their critical strike caps some of the time. For instance, Death's Choice gives a crazy 510 agility on a proc - that's 6.1% crit by itself and that's pre-Blessing of Kings multiplier.

But what are the cap levels? Well, this is where it gets complicated, as there are two different systems depending on whether it's a normal melee attack (white attack) or if it's a special attack (yellow).

For white attacks, there is a one roll system. This means that every attack rolls randomly against your hit table, and depending on where it lands will determine whether or not the attack misses, dodges, hits or crits. Paladin tanks should be very familiar with this hit table. The important thing to understand is that things on this table have a precedence, and you can push values off depending. For example, getting 8% hit pushes misses off the table completely.

But you can never remove Glancing Blows. The way it works is that there is a 24% chance of an attack being a glancing blow. This is independent of any other ability and can't be reduced, and can't be pushed off the table. In other words, no matter how high your crit chance is, you will always have this chance. In addition, there's a 4.8% chance of an attack always being a 'hit' due to some kind of crit deflation. This means that 4.8% of your crits will be converted to hits and not a crit no matter what - again, this cannot be changed to a crit no matter what. However, you need 4.8% crit to push this off the table - otherwise you'll have even more hits. Then there's misses, dodges, and parries. Those can be replaced by crits assuming you have the proper hit and expertise cap.

So the highest white attack crit % is (100-24%) = 76% crit. Any higher than that, and you're wasting crit chance on your white attacks. This means that in practice, 76% is the highest crit value (assuming maximum hit/expertise caps). And this means assuming you hit an infinite amount of times, you will get 71.2% crits from your white attacks.

For special/yellow attacks, WoW uses a two-roll system. What this means is that first the game checks to see whether or not the attack lands (using your hit/expertise skill), and then uses your crit chance to determine whether or not it was a crit. This means that the crit cap is higher, as special attacks cannot be glancing blows.

What's more interesting here is that there appears to be a special crit reduction in place on all yellow attacks. This has been shown to be 4.8% over at EJ. Which means that the base cap for yellow attack crits is 104.8%.

Yikes. Add into this that you will have Rend & Tear, and it gets fairly annoying to figure out.

But thanks to Murna, here are some fairly nice descriptions of various scenarios for crit caps (edited with more information - the 4.8% chance needs to be pushed off the table)

68.72% - White Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 7,28% from Procc + 24% Glancing Blows = 100%)
69,58% = White Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 6.42% from Procc + 24% Glancing Blows = 100%)
76% - White crit cap (+ 24% Glancing Blows = 100%)
79.8% - Ferocious Bite Crit Cap (+ 25% Crit from Talent - 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)
97.52% - Yellow Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 7,28% from Procc - 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)
98.38% - Yellow Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 6.42% from Procc - 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)
104.8% - Yellow Crit Cap (- 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)
Again, these are samples. If you have DM:G or some other crit trinket proc or a proc like mongoose, this will change. But what this does indicate to me is that you should value these possibly a bit less, especially as you get into higher-end gear. For example - right now, without procs, I'm sitting at a bit over 61% crit when I'm raid-buffed. With a proc from DM:G and mongoose, I'll be at the white cap and the extra crit is going to be wasted. Right now that can't be helped (mongoose is on the staff because I'm using it for cat and bear) but it definitely factors in my view of what to gear.

And finally, if you're not at hit/expertise cap, these numbers will be different for you.

In terms of what this likely means for's fuzzy. Chances are that we wouldn't be able to hit 71.2% crit naturally, but that would definitely be a point where you should consider gearing something else (like, oddly, strength). My gut feeling is that we'll be going for the hard cap of armor pen, and if you happen to reach 1400, then you can try for the caps for crit. I also think that this clearly indicates hit/expertise capping is going to be valuable given some of the procs on trinkets, just because more crit isn't going to necessarily help you. I wouldn't worry about reaching the FB cap; FB still will not be a large component of your damage most of the time.

But again, more on that in a bit.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

[Druid] Icecrown loots for bears

Finally, we're getting to see a bit of the gear in Icecrown. I'm really shocked how long it's taken; usually we have most of the loot tables by this point in the PTR. This might mean that the PTR is going to take extra long...or that the gear is just going to have some issues.

There isn't enough to give a BiS list like normal, so I'll just be doing some analysis of it for bears (and later, for cats).

The TLDR part: T10 is great, save for that glaring lack of expertise.

First off, the links to the list of gear are at MMO champion here (for random drops, T1o pieces), here (for 5man and QD rewards) and here (for Emblem of Frost purchases).

On getting the tier gear: (thanks, Copey) - they're going to do something similar to how they did ToC tier gear. What happens is that you spend emblems of frost to buy the lowest level T10 gear. Then, you use that gear AND a token gained from 25-man to purchase the next level of T10 gear. It's not clear whether the tokens are slot-specific, class specific or what - but that's the basic system.

The first thing to note is the huge jump in T10 vs T9 and agility. For instance, the T9 hard mode chest piece has 136 agi and 153 stam; the T10 chest piece has 162 agi and 162 stam. The stam is going up as we'd expect, but a jump of 26 agi from an ilvl increase of only 6? That's pretty amazing. It may be that the tier pieces are overbudget or they're not done tweaking. It's odd that there exist so much agi on all the pieces, honestly.

The second thing to notice is that none of the T10 pieces have any expertise on them. None have any blue sockets either. None have hit.

Again, this may change. But I am very skeptical. For starters, we didn't see drastic changes on gear when it hit the PTRs prior to this. We saw changes in things like the set bonuses, but the actual gear stats tend to be fairly easily finalized. Same with sockets. We might see a random change here and there (like correcting that +5 spellpower socket bonus on the T10 gloves) but my gut feeling is that this is what it's going to be like, going forward.

The other observation is that the tier pieces have steadily been more and more itemized for cats. This is never been more the case than T10. Every single T10 piece has huge amounts of agility and armor pen - every single piece! The 5 pieces of T10 by themselves give 444 armor pen and 726 agility. They have zero hit and zero expertise on them - which is awesome for cats, who tend to not care that much about those things anyway and are swimming in hit. Every socket is red or yellow, and all the socket bonuses (save the aforementioned hands) are agi.

They're almost perfect for cats.

But as mentioned before, this makes them less than ideal for bears.

There are options for bears - but because the T10 set bonus is so strong for bears, those options come down to essentially one thing: what one non-tier piece will you take? And so far, the answer looks to be the Emblem of Frost offtier chest piece, which provides 92 expertise and is otherwise itemized the same as the tier piece. I don't honestly expect this to change either; I suspect that there won't be any legs or head pieces with that high of expertise, and hands/shoulders won't have that much expertise due to their lower itemization point total.

There are other good choices for bears, such as the crafted leather boots.

But honestly? It may come down to whether or not you can deal with socketing expertise in your gem slots. And my suspicion is that it will be down to that - if you can afford the EH hit, socketing expertise may be a very good choice to make up for this lack in other gear.

The purchaseable gear via emblems appears to be consistently full of win. The tanking cloak provides a ridiculous 849 armor. The chest is great and looks to compete with the best of things out there. The waist is also very decent. I fully expect that I'll be racing to buy the chest and the cloak first and second - likely the cloak, given that they tend to be cheaper. There's also a set of gloves, but again - you don't want these since you do want the T10 set.

On the weapon side, there are three new ones so far. There's a fairly decent weapon that's comparable to hard mode Twin's Pact. The reward from the Quel'Delar chain is lower level and isn't socketable, but does have expertise; it's definitely worth doing the chain if you don't have a hard mode weapon yet. And then there's a drop from heroic Icecrown 5-man that's...kinda meh, actually. But is at least an upgrade from Marrowstrike and better than Twisted Visage due to the blue socket.

Jewelry wise, there's nothing that grabs me. Most jewelry has either hit or parry on it. No sockets, no armor. Nothing that makes me ooh and ah like Clutch of Fortification did.

And no jewelry that provides any expertise. Only one non-leather piece that does other than that weapon - and that's a cloak from the 10-man which you'd be insane to grab compared to the buyable one.

Finally, there is a purchaseable trinket that provides 228 stamina base and has a decent on-use ability. Wow. I did mention earlier that I wouldn't put it past Bliz to do this sort of thing for tanks. There ya go.

Anyway, if you're a bear you should be hoping for rings and necks to have tons of expertise. And hope for at least one belt/bracer to have it too. Or...hope for them to reitemize the gear, which i suspect they won't be doing. Or hope for some random tanking trinket with a ton of expertise and stamina...somehow.