Tuesday, September 29, 2009

[Druid]Parries and expertise (or back to the beginning)

bearmount asked:
Here's a question I've been wondering about recently: How adversely does haste affect your survival from additional parry hastes? Basically with all the haste on my new TOC gear I'm wondering if expertise just becomes even more important as a mitigation stat.

One of the very first posts I ever wrote on this blog was about expertise and survival. It's interesting to go back and read that too. The conclusions are sound (stack expertise over avoidance) but it somewhat misses the overall idea, which is whether or not it's actually that important, and whether or not you can circumvent it with simply having more stamina.

Note that it's much less relevant when you can't be crushed. Having two crushing blows in a 40% speed window + a special was much scarier than two normal hits + a special. But that's not what this question is about; this is about how much haste hurts you with parrying.

here's some rough analysis of how haste will affect your survival.
In 240 seconds you have 160 GCDs and 40 cycles of 6 second mangle/x/x/FF. Of those, 3 can be parried. You will also normally have 100 mauls.

So in 240 seconds you have 120 parryable normal attacks (1/4 are faerie fire) and 100 mauls. Let's assume you're soft-capped for expertise, meaning you have 26 expertise. This means that you will have 8.5% parries overall, or 18.7 total parries in the fight.

If you have 1% haste, your attack speed drops from 2.4 to 99% of 2.4, or 2.37. That gives 101 mauls instead of 100, and now you have 221 parryable attacks. You're likely to get 18.78 parries.

How about 10% haste? Your attack speed is 10% faster than normal, or 2.18, and you are expected to have 110 mauls in the same time. Your total parries?


So 10% haste means you will, on average, get parried .8 more times than you would have before if you have decent but not stellar expertise in a 4-minute fight.

Can that kill you? Yes, it can. It's not nearly as scary as it was before, but parries can certainly kill you on bosses that parry-haste. Thorim is about the only one I know of that actually has killed anyone recently, but it's theoretically possible.

Should it kill you? Well, even with most hard hitting bosses melee attacks aren't what is going to obliterate you. Thorim is one of the only cases I can think of where it can; most of his damage tends to be scary melee towards the end. Hodir has frozen blows, Vezax isn't really scary because of that at all, Gormok's scary because of impales + melee, Anub is scary because of freezing slash + swarm + melee. Now, if you get unlucky and get two very fast melee hits + a special, you can drop just like that. It's possible.

But I've not seen it happen to me yet.

Why is this the case?

Well, the main reason is the damage profile. Healers have to heal you like they did back in Brutallus days due to how much damage is coming in. They must keep you topped off if at all possible. Because of this, small bursts tend to be wiped out by healing. That's not always the case, but it often is.

Note that before Gormok's parryhaste flag was turned off, he absolutely could parry haste and he absolutely could wipe the floor with someone, especially if they got parried twice in a row. Three quick melee hits within a second is both huge amounts of damage and unexpected for healers to deal with.

Anyway, hope that helps. The long and short of it is that for a pure survival build you should max out expertise if possible and minimize haste if you haven't. If you have, of course, you can safely have as much haste as you want.

Monday, September 28, 2009

[Druid] Some sample values of threat per 100 itemization points

UPDATE: I did more math later on, and it looks like armor penetration is much better. I've changed the tables and the conclusions below. The link to that is here.

A lot of folks have been asking about how to have awesome threat, and that their threat is kinda going through the tubes, and what they can do to help it.

Well...here's the bad news. Threat for bears scales very poorly. That early threat bears get is primarily because of frontloaded awesome threat from maul, lacerate and FFF. As we scale with gear...we will not see as high of gains, especially compared to some other classes who don't have these things.

At the same time, there are things you can do. And if you don't read anything else into it, note this: the best threat stats to stack are expertise (until the dodge cap), then hit, then expertise (until the parry cap), then armor pen.

I did a very basic sim to show this. The basic stats starting out are as follows:
10k AP
40% crit
60% armor on the target
0 haste, hit, or expertise to start (other than the 10 expertise skill we get from Primal Precision)

With this value and a rotation of mangle/lacerate/swipe/FFF (a very boring one), we have a threat value of 4473.88 TPS. Yes, this isn't an optimal rotation, and it's assuming no MSS or improved mangle as well.

Here's how adding 100 of any given rating (except AP, since that's 2 AP points for every one rating point) increases that base TPS:
100 expertise (below cap): 296.26
100 hit: +164.32 TPS
100 expertise (after cap): 147.3
100 armor pen: 98.396
100 haste: 68.12
200 AP: 57.5
100 crit: 52.12

Hit and expertise are insanely good here. But what about more realistic numbers? Let's say you're 100 points from the cap on hit and parry-expertise - how do the values fall in then? This means you have 163 hit and 279 expertise rating; in this case, your base TPS is 5418.8.

100 hit: +162.5 TPS
100 expertise (after cap): 147.5
100 armor pen: 98.396
100 haste: 84.5
200 AP: 67.5
100 crit: 63.5

Even here, expertise and hit are far, far better as threat stats. Up until the cap, of course. Then you're hosed.

Now, this definitely doesn't do a good job of modeling armor pen, and I didn't want to go into the insanity of that; it's quite complex. (UPDATED: complexity over here.) And as it turns out, bears are going to likely have a decent amount of armor pen given the leather in T10 - close to 500 with good gear without trying. But really - the most important thing here is that hit and expertise are the only stats that scale with the threat multiplier on bear attacks. That's the key; AP, crit, armor pen, agility - all do not scale.

Haste is an exception, in that it scales with the amount of mauls and thus kind of scales with that threat multiplier. But only barely. Otherwise no dice. And because it doesn't scale with as many attacks as armor pen, you're out of luck.

So if you're having threat problems? Make sure your expertise is above 26 expertise skill. Make sure your hit is reasonable. Then go for more hit and expertise and have fun.

Friday, September 25, 2009

[Druid] So...how good is Glyph of Indomitability?

Reader and blogger Darksend (of I'm not feral I'm a bear and various Tankspot videos) had a question for me:

now one thing that we have discussed in the past is that the rings, trinkets, and necks on that list are using the armor value of armor that gets modified by bear form etc. How good really is that trinket. I want to try switching but I really just cannot bring myself to do it. hell I vendored defenders code the day the armor nerf went live. I still am one of the largest armor whores I know, hell up until a month ago i still used origin of nightmares but with dps in full 25 man hard mode dps gear I just could not put off anymore i needed the extra threat armor be damned. But even still 162 stam for 1800 unmodified armor... I really don't know.

The list he's referring to is the bear itemization weighings at wowhead, which does use the value of armor for both leather and nonleather. For the most part it ends up working well anyway, mostly because items with armor have a lot of it, and items without it don't (and the stats they do have in place of it aren't that valuable). Which, if you looked at the bear gear guide for ToC...doesn't actually use that weighing. It uses Rawr's. But it doesn't really matter, because all that matters is this:

How good is armor?

Armor's a lot tougher to evaluate than stamina is. Stamina never changes, so we know exactly how much we're getting. For each point of stamina on gear, bears get about 15 health after all raid buffs are factored in. But armor? Armor depends on the level of the attacker, how much you have beforehand, how much you're going to have, how hard the attack is...it's really nebulous.

And most people don't work well with nebulous.

Okay, I'm here today to tell you: armor is AWESOME. Armor is the only stat that improves both effective health (how much total damage you can take) and mitigation (how much damage you take per hit). Armor does have its flaws though, and I'll show you some of them. I can do some graphs and show you how its diminishing returns don't matter since the time to live for armor is a linear function, but that doesn't tell you anything.

So instead, I'll point out to you how much damage you can take and how much armor helps in each specific case. I'll be comparing two trinkets: Glyph of Indomitability and Juggernaut's Vitality. (The awesome version, in case you were wondering).

Glyph is essentially Defender's Code's bigger brother. On a side note, I want you to think about how insane Glyph would have been if the armor change hadn't happened early on. That's right - over 8000 armor from it alone. Yeesh. It gives 1792 armor that isn't multiplied by anything other than the metagem.

Juggernaut's Vitality is 216 stamina, which translates to the absurd 3200 health. Yep, all by itself.

3200 health is a lot. So is 1792 armor. Which is better?

Ultimately you have to think about it. Having tools handy is good, but there's no one set that will be optimal for all situations. When you've got a nail, use a hammer. When you've got a screw, use a screwdriver.

Okay, case study one: Algalon-25. Algalon isn't the best fight for a bear relative to almost any other class, since he attacks so often. With higher avoidance DKs can get more reasonable streaks. With block, paladins and warriors can mitigate more damage. But you still may be called to do this fight, so let's see how you can do. We're going to start with the base armor of 32000 - a nice, round number after buffs and whatnot. Algalon can do a 35,000 damage quantum strike, a 10,000 phase punch (not apparently physical), and more importantly can do a 60,000 main hand and a 35,000 offhand hit.

Those main hand and offhand? Can happen in a second. In the same second.

How does armor help with them?

In the 32,000 armor case, here's what it does. I'm assuming full raid buffs on the bear, meaning PotP is up, inspiration is up and grace is up. The total mitigation would be .741 in this case, meaning you only take 25.9% of all damage. (1*armor mod*potp mod*grace mod * inspiration mod)
MH: 15561 damage average
OH: 9077 damage average
Quantum: 9077 damage average

With Glyph:
MH: 15004 damage
OH: 8752
Quantum: 8752

MH: 556
OH: 324

Assuming you get hit by both a MH and OH, you will have stopped 880 extra damage using glyph over juggernaut. However - and here's the important thing - in order for this to make you actually live when you wouldn't have, you would need to take 4 MH+OH in a row to mitigate the same amount of damage that Juggernaut can stop.

Also reasonably, you need to survive MH+OH twice, which is just below 50k health. Any more than that and it's nice but not essential. Any less and you're playing with fire. With the glyph though, that maximum only is 47.5k.

That doesn't take into account another factor: endurance. The theory of effective health assumes infinite mana and assumes healers will always heal you to full, but the problem is that...it's not true. Tank death often happens because a tank hasn't been topped off and is sitting at a low state until the tank gets lucky with avoidance or a healer blows a big heal. In those situations, armor is far more useful than stamina; it means you don't get in those situations as often (because you've taken less damage) and you don't need as much health to survive (because you'll mitigate it).

Which do you think is better for Algalon? I used Defender's code for a while along with elixirs of armor and pots of indestructibility. And it was okay, and worked better for me than the pure stamina situation. In the stamina situation I survived at 2k once, but I also died more often due to the healers simply getting unlucky and not being able to catch up. Armor helped a lot more in that regard. It turned out, sadly, that avoidance trumped both of these considerations, and bears just don't have the avoidance that other tanks do.

How about something a bit more up a bear's alley: Heroic Beasts. Or more importantly, Gormok. Gormok, as the fight continues, hits for absurd amounts of damage. Really absurd. The normal attack can be as high as 100,000 damage, and impales can be as high as 120,000. Then there's the bleed stacks the impales put up and the stomp, which is another 40k hit. How does armor deal with this:

32k armor:
25935 normal, 31122 impale, 10374 stomp
Glyph armor:
25007 normal, 30009 impale, 10003 stomp
Differences: 927 normal, 1113 impale, 371 stomp

Those are kinda huge.

And yet they still might not make up for the worst case scenario - where a normal hit + an impale at the highest amount of damage is just too much to take - and that worst case is an impale + a normal attack within a second. In that case, you need to have 57k health to survive the worst situation and 55k health to survive with a glyph. Even if you're well-geared, those are hard to meet; the best bet there is another cooldown use and prayer.

Again - armor here helps tremendously with healers being able to catch up. Over time you'll take significantly less overall damage and if you're down, are more likely to survive. But that worst case scenario is likely better dealt with via stamina, especially given the amount of bleed damage you'll be taking. My personal strategy was to go with Defender's Code and Heart of Iron, so that I could use both trinkets for another mini-cooldown early on to help out. There was at least one wipe that was caused by me taking just over enough damage to die this way, though, so I'll be going to double stamina trinkets - especially since I just got the awesome version of Juggernaut's vitality.

So in two cases where there is heavy physical damage, stamina still is competitive and/or wins out and the Glyph doesn't. Why do I have it ranked so highly?

Well, part of it is Rawr's ranking system. Rawr ranks based on average damage taken and survivability/time to live, and honestly it's somewhat flawed for these kinds of fights. You don't often care about average time to live; you're not sitting there for multiple seconds while your healers get their thumbs out of their asses and remember that you're tanking. It's more often the case that you care about the worst case scenario in a short period of time and whether you can survive it at all. That's not average damage, that's burst damage. Fortunately, Rawr is coming up with a solution to that.

Rawr likes Glyph (and DM:G) because they average to less damage and gives avoidance which will over time reduce average damage. That might not be that useful to you, depending.

That isn't to say avoidance doesn't have its place; like I said above, avoidance was much better overall for our attempts at Algalon due to his speed of attacking; it meant our healers weren't put into horrible positions and if a healer had to move because of smash, it wouldn't be the end. But it does mean that it also isn't useful everywhere.

So...okay, you say. Armor isn't the best thing ever, and you get that - but is there ever a time where it is awesome and way more awesome than health?

Yep. Heroic Anub'arak. On this, health is a detriment as it heals the boss while doing more damage to you as a percentage. That Juggernaut's Vitality heals Anub'arak by itself for 600 health every second, while dealing you 600 damage a second (before resists, of course). Meanwhile he hits like a truck, and he can hit you with a stun and then normal attacks that hit even harder. The only thing you can do here is use armor. Armor does not improve leeching, it does work when stunned, and does not rely on any RNG components. In this situation, Glyph is absolutely the best trinket you can get; reducing (on average) 800-900 damage a hit is much better than having a 3k buffer that also heals the boss for 600 and does you 600 more damage.

So it's really, really awesome there. But I don't know if it's worth spending 50 emblems on it over a T9 piece.

The really long and short of it is this: get health when you need to make sure you can survive the absolute worst case situation, as health scales far more quickly for a druid than armor does any more. If you know you can survive the worst case situation reasonably, health is much less useful and you should either go for more avoidance (which will help overall damage intake on average) or more armor (which will also help damage intake, but more reliably) depending on what the encounter is like. Finally, stamina does something that armor and avoidance do not: it helps with magical soaking. If the fight has a lot of magic damage (twin valks, Jaraxxus, Mimiron) stamina is going to be better than armor.

Again, ultimately you have to think about it. Having tools handy is good, but there's no one set that will be optimal for all situations. When you've got a nail, use a hammer. When you've got a screw, use a screwdriver.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

[Druid]Pesky PvP gear again

An anonymous reader had a nice question about PvP gear:

It seems like the higher gear levels are focusing more on secondary stats (armor penetration, etc) and less on stamina and agility. This has led to me sticking more and more PvP gear in my tanking set.

I'm wondering what the effect of filling more and more slots with PvP gear will be? That resilience must mean wasted item-budget somewhere. Will I eventually end up with threat issues? Mitigation issues? Or is PvP gear fine for raid tanking?

This site has a long habit of alternately hating and envying PvP gear for bear tanking. This season is no different, though there are at least a lot of options out there that are competitive with PvP (until you get to weapons, that is).

And it's a very good observation that the gearing has more of an emphasis on secondary stats (particularly armor pen) and less on base stats, especially compared to PvP gear. This is a really easy (and sad) thing to explain. As the item level goes up, not only are more stats on the piece, the items tend to be better itemized. This is by design; they want people to want the hard mode gear over the normal, they want people to look and drool, and they want in general there to be significant upgrades. The easy way to do this most of the time is to give somewhat poor itemization early on, then improve it so that by the time the endgame hits, people are fairly happy with the gear.

So why is this a problem for bears? Well, early on you get things like Hood of the Exodus - which has poor secondary stats and an abundance of stamina, something no rogue or cat wants. As gear advances, stamina is reduced in priority on this gear and armor pen is increased - exactly what rogues and ferals want. The problem is that bears want badly-itemized leather. They want a ton of expertise (no rogue does), they want a ton of stamina (most rogues don't), they want some hit (rogues like more), and they don't really care that much about AP, arpen, crit or haste (rogues care much more about this stuff). Thus as gear gets better, it tends to get relatively worse for bears.

This is why Vendorstrike is good as well; who in their right mind would want a weapon that has 180 stamina and only 90ish agility? It's horribly itemized for feral cats and hunters and most DKs and ret paladins, but it's great for the bear.

By comparison, PvP gear emphasizes all of these points for bears. It wants high stamina, it wants high survivability, and it doesn't care at all about secondary stats. It does waste some item points on resilience, but is it a big deal? Let's see by comparing the Relentless set with the T9.245 set. Now, the Pvp gear is slightly higher in itemization level, so that will make a difference, but it won't be ridiculous. I'm also assuming going stamina normally and only going after slot bonuses when they're easy and good and would make me not go out of my way (6 agi with one red gem will cut it; 4 agi will not, and no yellows will period).

Relentless Gloves vs Runetotem Gloves:
+9 armor, + 6 agi, 21 stam, -27 AP, -59 hit, -4 crit
Relentless Head vs Runetotem Head:
11 armor, 8 agi, 28 stam, -4 AP, -74 expertise, -10 crit
Relentless Legs vs Runetotem Legs:
12 armor, 8 agi, 13 stam, -4 AP, -74 hit, -10 crit
Relentless Chest vs Runetotem Chest:
13 armor , 8 agi, 28 stam, -36 AP, -4 crit, -90 haste
Relentless Shoulders vs Runetotem Shoulders:
10 armor, 6 agi, 21 stam, -27 AP, 63 crit, -59 arpen, -67 haste

Total difference between relentless and Runetotem:
55 armor, 36 agi, 111 stam, -98 AP, -133 hit, -74 expertise, 35 crit, -59 arpen, -157 haste

So the answer is yes - you are spending a lot of budget on resilience, and you are losing a fair amount of threat stats. The AP loss is negligible but the loss of 133 hit, 74 expertise and 157 haste is fairly large, even with the extra agility and crit to make up for it some. Don't overlook the armor either; 55 armor pre-buff corresponds to almost 400 armor with bear buffs. Resilience is useless outside of Thorim and other gimmicky fights like that.

Is the loss of that much threat stat worth it? Could be depending. Note that this to me speaks to cherry-picking the best PvP gear and going with tier gear otherwise. The head, for instance, is a great spot to pick up expertise on the tier gear - and the legs lose the least amount of stam on the tier gear and give hit. The chest by comparison only grants haste, and the shoulders haste and armor pen.

To even further muddy the mix, note that getting things like the chest and gloves allows for a kitty-specific gemming strategy in those slots that may allow for interesting mixing and matching; for instance, I have the PvP gloves, and I gem/enchant them for stam. I have the heroic Sunreaver Assassin Gloves and they're gemmed for agi and enchanted for agi. Depending on the fight, I can use either; I use the Sunreaver for Anub'arak and the Relentless for Beasts.

Also note that you may be fine without all that threat anyway. It very much depends on what your gear is and more importantly, what your raid is like. Heck, it depends a lot on your talents too. Whether it's the right choice for you is really going to be your decision. Just bear in mind that the pvp gear is certainly competitive, and from a pure mitigation/health perspective is definitely superior.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

[Druid] Vendorstrike==bear strike

Onyxia's back, and this time she's pissed. Okay, she's probably fairly upset, what with her head being mounted in cities for years now, her kids being killed, and her plot to usurp the crown of Stormwind kinda blowing up in her face. But hyperbole aside, she's back.

How hard is she? Reports are that if you're familiar with the old encounter she's not too bad, and only spawns an extra add during Deep Breaths phases. Her loot level is on par with ToC 25, so I'd bet that she's not much harder than anything in normal ToC. Especially since Blizzard wants her to be experienced by a lot of people as part of their anniversary.

In terms of the patch, the biggest affecting thing is the nerf to armor pen, which has been discussed to death here and elsewhere. That's really it; ferals aren't changing significantly otherwise, and things like the infected wounds change and the predatory instincts change are both more geared towards PvP and quality of life. Otherwise, ferals are likely going to remain pretty similar to what they were before, though all ferals will take a slight hit to their dps.

Now, the loot list for her: I have no idea. Blizzard has remained somewhat tight-lipped about the gear. A lot of it was gear that had simply been given a higher ilvl but had exactly the same values as before, and that's clearly not going to work now.


But, if what we've seen holds, bears get a gift. And that gift is Reinforced Thunderstrike:

Binds when picked up
Speed 3.10
634 - 951 Damage
(255.6 damage per second)
+89 Agility
+180 Stamina
Durability 120 / 120
Requires Level 80
Item Level 245
Equip: Increases your expertise rating by 71.
Equip: Increases attack power by 190.
Equip: Improves haste rating by 63.

This ranks just barely below Twin's Pact (normal) in Rawr, and will be a superb threat weapon due to all that expertise - expertise that is lacking almost everywhere else in ToC land. It will also have some of the highest stamina possible outside of PvP gear and hard mode gear. And the best part? Almost no one will want it. The only other class that might - might - have any interest is a DK, and they'd almost certainly rather have a strength-based weapon.

Now, how do you get it? By getting Reinforced Shadowstrike, I believe. Which happens to also be a decent choice as a weapon, especially for cats:

Binds when picked up
Speed 3.10
634 - 951 Damage
(255.6 damage per second)
+120 Agility
+126 Stamina
Durability 120 / 120
Requires Level 80
Item Level 245
Equip: Increases attack power by 157.
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 73.
Equip: Increases your armor penetration rating by 89.

I don't know if they're still going to do that mechanic. My hope is not; while it would be awesome to have both a cat and bear weapon that you can swap back and forth with - or even have two weapons from one, essentially - I'm not sure double the enchanting mats are awesome. If you're curious, this ranks slightly below Twin's Pact and Hellion Glaive for cats (from normal mode) and will be a good choice if you can get it.

So keep a look out for those, and for any other wacky items from Ony. As people start trying it and we get an idea of what the 245 table is like, I'll update the cat and bear loot lists too, as well as the LIKE A BOSS list. In the meantime, if you don't already have an awesome weapon - consider rolling on this one.

Incoming comments about how the best itemization for ferals comes from vendor trash in 3, 2, 1...

Friday, September 18, 2009

[Offtopic] What a night

The new guild seems to be working out pretty well, in case you were at all curious. On Tuesday we continued our attempts on 25-Firefighter and managed to get it down after only an hour, which left us time to start work on hardmode Yogg.

It also meant that Algalon-25 was unlocked.

Last night we intended to work on Algalon, then go to ToC and work on hard modes there. We specifically moved our Algalon-10 attempts up to give people some experience at the encounter beforehand who hadn't seen it.

And in our first hour of attempts, Algalon died! Last pull, with only two people alive at the end (gogo Ardent Defender and Guardian Spirit), DoTs finished him off through the last big bang; we weren't sure that we got him until he just kinda stood there and looked emo. I'm amazed at this; having one hour to work on him and getting him down in that time is really outstanding, even if having all that gear from ToC helped and it wasn't what you'd call the most impressive kill shot. That was realm first, so now Fellhoof is sporting the groovy title "Celestial Defender". That's probably my favorite one since Hand of A'dal.

ETA: Here's a great log of how much damage was done after basically everyone in the universe died a horrible death. All I can say is that rip is AWESOME. And I should've just refreshed rakes.

I was expecting people to not be on their game after that awesomeness, but we then proceeded to go to ToC and one-shot beasts, kill Jaraxxus after a few attempts and one-shot Faction Champs on heroic - the last two were also progression for us. We got a few attempts in at heroic Twins before we were overcome with pain and huge amounts of ball jokes.

Pretty incredible work for a guild that does 8 hours of raiding a week.

Finally, to end the night, I was promoted from a trial membership to full-time.

I've talked about it before, when people felt like things were on, everyone was in a good mood, etc - and this was one of those nights. I felt like this when Fire and Blood downed Kael'Thas for the first time, too. It's a rare joy, and it doesn't happen often, but when it does it makes you understand how great raiding can be.

Next week we're going back to Ulduar to finish off some of the hardmodes that people have missed and then work on Yogg+1, the last major hardmode that has yet to be completed there. If this week is any indicator, that means we'll have time to work on Twins again. Twins is a really interesting fight; much like vehicles a lot of your success has nothing to do with how you play your toon and everything to do with managing the balls. Unlike vehicles, this somehow is way less frustrating to deal with and is downright fun. I also like it because it's not the kind of fight you'll ever really be able to brute force; it will require strategy, and the strategy is definitely going to make a huge difference in quality. I'm anxiously awaiting Bellwether's report on how she dealt with the fight.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

[Druid]My specific goal on armor pen

Really, I think everything should be about armor pen. It's just so fun to talk about. Poorly understood non-linear scaling stats with odd mechanics that are hard to model?


In the ongoing saga, you should definitely read Runy's take on armor pen, which has loads of good numbers, good suggestions for gearing, and awesome cartoons. As well as showing what you can do if you're going through ToC and have a dream list of awesomesauce.

But here's a more concrete setup: my current gear listing. In case armory isn't working well or isn't current, here's a chardev link too.

And the Rawr report:

Head Conqueror's Nightsong Headguard
Neck Collar of Unending Torment
Shoulders Duskstalker Pauldrons
Chest Vest of Shifting Shadows
Waist Relic Hunter's Cord
Legs Legwraps of the Broken Beast
Feet Runed Ironhide Boots
Wrist Armbands of the Wary Lookout
Hands Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves
Finger1 Dexterous Brightstone Ring
Finger2 Planestalker Band
Trinket1 Darkmoon Card: Greatness
Trinket2 Banner of Victory
Back Shawl of the Shattered Giant
MainHand Anguish
Ranged Idol of Mutilation

And buffed stats:
Attack Power: 11276
Agility: 2333
Strength: 380
Crit Rating: 459
Hit Rating: 241
Expertise Rating: 56
Haste Rating: 202
Armor Penetration Rating: 999
Crit Chance: 58.67081%

Note that unlike Runy's OMG loot list, this isn't close to being optimal. I have a few ToC 10 normal mode pieces (including the weapon), no T9 gear at all, a couple pieces from Ulduar (boots, head, belt), two fairly meh trinkets (and no Runestone), and a really crappy cloak and bracers (at least relatively).

ETA: In case you were specifically curious, the breakdown of that armor pen is as follows:
Gear (including socket bonuses) 677
Food 40
Gems 282

That's just what's dropped for me. I haven't gone out of my way to grab nothing but armor pen gear. I picked up the shoulders because I haven't had a trophy piece yet (and would replace the head first, anyway). I have gotten very lucky on drops in ToC hard 10 man, being the only leather wearer and having almost exactly what I wanted drop.

But still, the important thing: it's gear that you can reasonably expect to obtain in the next month or so. No 258 pieces, no hard mode loot from Ulduar. Only 10-man hard mode gear. No trophy gear either. Hardest pieces come from heroic 10-man, which should be challenging but not insane.

Ironically, the upgrades I do want are going to drop my armor pen a bit. My next piece is going to hopefully be the T9.245 helm simply because with this level of armor pen missing a lot starts to hurt a lot more, and it has loads of expertise. A cloak upgrade would be stellar, but that's more luck than anything else; we're going for the Insanity 10-man tribute this week, so perhaps Cloak of Serrated Blades will drop. And who knows, maybe some day I'll actually get a wrist improvement, though most of them will drop my arpen too. The important thing here is that I'm fine with it dropping; it's not essential that it stays high compared to other stats. And while armor pen is scary good at this level (even after nerf), it's not so good that it will make up for 20 levels of itemization.

One thing that would significantly change my gearing strategy is getting a runestone. Even post-nerf I'm well over the armor pen cap with a runestone, so I'd be going for more agility. But I'm not betting on getting that either, and I'm not going to kill myself if I don't get it.

Anyway, point of all this was to toot my own kitty horn and to also show you that yes, you can get significantly high amounts of armor pen without having stupid gear.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

[Druid]Continuing the conversation about arpen

Last week I talked a bit about armor pen mechanics and why it's good (or not), and was helped immensely by Jacemora, Vallen and Alaron. The conversation continued quite a bit, and specifically Alaron put up another great piece on it, using high-geared ferals and calculating their graphs with respect to armor pen and how it improves them - and changed his conclusions to boot.

And like him, I'd like to reiterate something - something that Runy stated recently too: please use brain.

Everyone's gear, playstyle and needs are going to be different. Yes, armor pen is projected by a number of theorycrafters and simulations to be the best stat to stack when you get 'enough', where 'enough' is a wide-ranging number. And yes, I've given a rule of thumb for when you should make the switch. But whether that's best or not for you really depends on...you. There are so many variables that you can't reasonably answer it all, but here are some common ones:

  • 10 vs 25? If you're not getting a ton of raid buffs regularly or do smaller raids, chances are armor pen isn't going to be as solid due to not having as much base AP.
  • Bear or cat? Armor pen is a good threat stat for bears, but it doesn't hold a candle to agility for overall usefulness. If you're going bear a lot and have a lot of shared gear, don't use arpen in it!
  • Hit/expertise? Armor pen tends to do better as you're closer to the hit/exp cap, mostly because it benefits from less spiky behavior - and misses contribute to local spikes.
  • Crit rate? If you've got a low crit rate, the chances of getting bad cycles are going to be much higher (where you're missing uptime on rips, etc). If you're not at at least 50% crit rate I'd recommend not bothering with arpen no matter what you can get it to.
  • Types of fights? Fights where you can do more burst damage tend to favor agility; if you need to pile in a lot of damage quickly, agility often wins out by sheer luck. Fights with more sustained DPS are wins for arpen. ToC has both at various times; it very much depends on your role.
But the most important one is this: What are you comfortable with? If you like having more CPs and not worrying about things as much, agility is better. If you want smoother cycles, make sure hit/exp are capped. If you want more consistent damage but less spiky good damage, go with arpen. None of these are bad answers, and all will work well. No matter what theory says none of these are so different from each other that you should be mocked for your choice, and the sole arbiter of whether or not you're doing better with it is you.

Honestly, I think Jacemora's going to be disappointed because he simply likes how agility feels better compared to armor pen. It has nothing to do with whether or not arpen theorycrafts better than agility and everything to do with that personal feeling.

That personal feeling is not something you can theorycraft. It's up to you to figure it out.

In any case, both agility and armor pen are very, very good. What I would really recommend is that if you are on the fence, pick one or the other. Don't waffle and hybridize. High crit rates make some really interesting cycles possible; high arpen make some amazing damage possible. A mix of the two makes nothing special.

[Druid] How are bears doing?

Zax posted a comment on an old (yet strangely still reasonably accurate) post about Savage Defense back in the day that I felt dovetailed into something useful now.

I know this is an old entry but I also see this problem, that the breaking point, when an amount of AP is on par with mitigation from an amout of agi/armour, is pretty low. What would certainly help this issue is a possibility to stack SD.
So e.g. lower SD to 15% of AP. Then implement:

Nurturing instinct 2/2 AND Natural Shapeshifter 3/3 - in bear SD can stack up to 2 times, in cat you can proc SD with 30s CD with the basic 15% value, while those 10% are reflected back (subject to critical attack chance ArP and armour mitigation, can't be dodged etc.).
If you have both talents, then it's up to 3 times for bear and 15 CD for cat and with 25% AP value.

The choice of talents, values etc. was just an example, but the point is the should be a way how you can improve this ability from talents.
The hard luck is that Blizz doesn't care about ferals and doesn't give a damn about feral tank and feral cat itemization. I just hate seeing feral set with AP, where should appropriate amount of strength. But this list could be endless x).
Thanks for posting, Zax.

I do think that there is definitely some degree of truth to this. I've written before about how bears use rogue leather, hunter weapons and plate tanking jewelry, and that's still the case. Because of the changes to how armor is done, there's no 'wow' stat that says "I'm a feral" item on it.

Conversely, I don't feel it's true for cats. Cats have been designed well to do well with most of the stats rogues want (though not with the same scaling on each stat) combined with doing well with the stats on hunter weapons and the occasional DK weapon. Cat itemization is better than it's ever been both from the perspective of choice and the perspective of things being designed with ferals in mind. That we continue to have debates about whether agility or armor pen is the best stat is a good indication of this - if there are two stats that can compete for best, it's a sign that the spec is fairly healthy. Furthermore, no dps stat is truly worthless any more.

But still, we have bears and their annoying itemization. I ask you - is that all that problematic? I recognize that the feeling can be sometimes upsetting (side note: why are ferals so emo?) and it doesn't feel good to be getting weird scraps of gear to get things to work. It doesn't feel like your class is finely designed and tuned; it feels like afterthoughts.

But in terms of actually getting things done, bears are in a better position than almost any time in their history (save possibly the end of T6, when they were stupid good). And if you take one thing away, take this away:

As long as bears have the highest armor of all tanking classes and the highest potential health of all tanking classes, they will remain a solid choice for the majority of tanking encounters.

There are going to be gimmick fights where certain things benefit one tank over another. Cooldown usage in Ulduar and Sarth3D, BoPs on heroic Beasts, being unhittable on the adds on Anub'arak, lots of blocking and avoidance on Algalon, AoE threat, burst threat - all of these can favor one tank or another here and there. But in general, having super high health and the highest armor (and more accurately, the highest overall mitigation) will make druids always competitive in tanking.


And with the way blizzard is choosing to do their itemization for bears, this will stay this way. As I talked about in the right way to nerf bear stam went, as long as gems, enchants and buffs scale with the bear multiplier bears are going to have stupid health. Armor is going to also have an advantage due to agility and having higher armor per tier than the other tanks by a small margin (about 100-200 per tier). Keeping protector of the pack means bears will have close to the same consistent amount of base mitigation too. So for the foreseeable future, as long as encounters do not emphasize high avoidance, high threat, or large cooldown requirements bears will do well.

Now, it's reasonable to fear that encounters WILL have those things. But even so, falling back on effective health and mitigation is not the worst thing in the world here, and should result in bears being competitive if not optimal.

Savage defense is basically an afterthought here. I'd honestly like to see it entirely removed and replaced with something more functional and less kludgy. It does do its job, but it's unintuitive, hard to model, hard to predict and rely on, and tends to just be a pain. Like Zax mentioned, making it stronger would also be a good choice. It's curious to think about what it's going to be like when block gets so radically changed.

On a less theory/QQ note, Bears have quite a few advantages going into ToC that I've not seen talked about, especially on hard modes. For starters, their damage output is very strong. Their cooldowns work well with Heroic Beasts (barkskin is available on every tank swap and every worm swap), bears are awesome on faction champs, the high health and damage multipliers on Twins makes them keep threat well and combined with mobility, make them a good choice.

And then there's Anub'arak. I'm talking heroic, mind you. Normal mode is easy enough (not easy, just easy enough) that any tank works fine.

Anub'arak's adds are problematic for a feral. They don't have the interrupts of a warrior, so they can't stop Shadow Strike nearly as easily. They don't have the blocking capabilities of a warrior or paladin, so they'll end up taking a lot of damage. Add tanking is somewhat problematic.

But tanking Anub? Oh, it's great. For starters, barkskin is usable while stunned, meaning that on some of the freezing slashes you can have 20% less damage taken; no other tank can reasonably do this. Oddly enough health kind of sucks to have here; you need to be topped off but want to have as little health as you can possibly afford to due to how leeching swarm works. So you'd think that bears would suck, right? Take away that health advantage and what do they have?

Well, they have superior armor. Armor helps where blocking does not, on those freezing slashes (where avoidance is 0) and in general. If you stack things like Defender's Code and The Black Heart you can get quite a lot of mileage out of having lower health, and Glyph of Indomitability is better still.

They also have much more flexible gearing choices. If you want to drop most of that tanking gear for DPS gear with more avoidance (particularly if you're using agility instead of arpen) you can without unduly hurting your chances. But more importantly, they can easily go with resistance gear.

Why resistance gear? Well, frost damage is part of it, but the big win is Nature Resistance. Leeching Swarm is completely resistable, and as the main tank you will be kept at 100% health most of the fight. That's a lot of healing done to Anub'arak. For our 10-man heroic attempts, I was somewhere between 25 and 30% of the overall healing to Anub'arak.

So what if we go for nature resistance? If we go for a head enchant and cloak enchant, still have leatherworking as our profession and go for the bracer enchant, choose the lesser flask of resistance as our flask and go with a nature resist totem, we can get to 295 total resistance. That's not quite enough to make sure we resist 30% or more, but we don't care about that here; we care about average resistance, and the average would be around 38%.

38% resisting of 30% of the healing corresponds to about 10% less healing done. Basically, by wearing that gear you're contributing your very own mortal strike debuff, albeit a weaker one. And you're taking less damage while not having a ton of stam.

Other tanks can do this, but bears do it best. They can easily remain uncrittable regardless of gear. They can usually maintain a high amount of health while doing this due to how they scale with those health benefits. Most plate tanks aren't leatherworkers; being a leatherworker adds 6% resistance by itself. Losing the flask doesn't hurt that much either compared due to the high health as well.

This was one part of the strategy that we came up with on our Heroic Anub'arak kill, and the overall strategy worked really well; we killed him after 4 tries, getting A tribute to Mad Skill. We had thought about doing it before, but seeing that Premonition did this as well for their bear (Melaar) on 25-man heroic really brought it home. Reducing his healing by 20% meant that we spent the same amount of time in the leeching phase with our dps, but did 6% more overall damage in less time. Part of that was some gear upgrades, but a lot of it was that he healed for 300k less in that time. That's a big difference.

So yeah, you might feel like Blizzard doesn't care about you, Zax, and they don't care about the bear. But that same lack of caring works to your advantage if you think about what your options are.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

[Druid]ToC loot LIKE A BOSS

I'm not sure how popular the last like a boss list was, but for me it was hugely useful. Great to figure out what I needed and what bosses to get in for, where I should focus my DKP (which I'm happy to say is completely irrelevant now), and in general how to straterigize my looting. So...I totally am willing to say that this list is almost entirely good for me, and if it works for you - awesome. :)

But there's no new information in here, no new rankings, so if you're looking for some awesome info, probably best to look elsewhere. The only 'special' thing is that this combines both cat and bear rankings at once, so if you want to see what gear is best for both specs - this might help some. And there's my patented expert analysis...err...okay, random notes I put down for my own sake.

10 man:

Northrend Beasts (normal):
Acidmaw Boots/Acidmaw Treads (feet)- Normal (10) Beasts. Bear:36.2 (#5, -6.5) Cat: 34.69 (#4, -11.84)
Collar of Unending Torment/Collar of Ceaseless Torment (DPS neck)- normal (10) Beasts. Bear:unranked Cat: 26.38 (#6, -5.62)

Northrend Beasts (heroic):
Acidmaw Boots/Acidmaw Treads (feet) - Heroic (10) Beasts. Bear: 40.2 (#2, -2.5) Cat: 40.22 (#2, -6.23)
Collar of Unending Torment/Collar of Ceaseless Torment (DPS neck)- heroic (10) Beasts. Bear: 12.7 (#5) Cat: 30.61 (#2, -1.39)

Note that this neck for cats is the best one with armor pen, so it could be #1 if you're stacking a lot. The acidmaw boots are also very good for cats with low expertise and can be a suitable replacement in that situation for the icescale boots. Also note that there really aren't any other boot replacements other than 25 man faction champs, so even if you have to bite the bullet and get these, it will still be an upgrade from Ulduar (at least the normal mode)

Jaraxxus (normal):
Planestalker Signet/Planestalker Band (DPS finger)- Normal(10) Jaraxxus. Bear: 12.3 (#9, -4.9) Cat:27.56 (#4, -4.31)
Fortitude of the Infernal/Endurance of the Infernal (tank neck)- normal (10) Jaraxxus. Bear: 11.1 (#11, -7.1) Cat: unranked
Jaraxxus (heroic):
Planestalker Signet/Planestalker Band (DPS finger)- Heroic (10) Jaraxxus. Bear: 13.8 (#5, -3.4) Cat:30.98 (#2, -.81)
Fortitude of the Infernal/Endurance of the Infernal (tank neck)- heroic (10) Jaraxxus. Bear: 14.5(#3, -3.9) Cat: unranked

The Planestalker Signet on heroic is one of the best in the game, and again has that juicy arpen. The neck is probably best skipped for bears unless you've gotten unlucky (the normal one). The heroic one is a fairly decent upgrade, though it doesn't beat the Valkyr muse necks in either situation.

Faction Champions (normal):
Gloves of the Silver Assassin/Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves (hands)- Normal(10) Faction Champions. Bear: 32.3 (#7, -7.1) Cat: 37.39 (#4, -7.04)
Eitrigg's Oath/Fervor of the Frostborn (tank trinket)- normal(10) Faction Champions. Bear: 5.5 (#12, -9.9) Cat: unranked
Faction Champions (heroic):
Gloves of the Silver Assassin/Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves (hands)- Heroic (10) Faction Champions. Bear: 35.5 (#3, -3.9) Cat: 44.4 (#1)
Eitrigg's Oath/Fervor of the Frostborn (tank trinket)- heroic (10) Faction Champions. Bear: 6.0 (#11, -9.4) Cat: unranked

These gloves are great, and are a very worthy piece to dual-use for cat and bear due to the sockets. The trinket is sort of okay; as always take every trinket you can, but if it doesn't drop don't cry too much.

Twin Valkyr (normal):
Armor of Shifting Shadows/Vest of Shifting Shadows - normal (10) Valkyr. Bear: 49.1 (#10, -10) Cat: 48.94 (#8, -9.46)
Band of the Twin Val'kyr/Loop of the Twin Val'kyr (tank ring)- Normal(10) Valkyr. Bear: 13.6 (#6, -3.6) Cat: unranked
Twin Valkyr (heroic):
Armor of Shifting Shadows/Vest of Shifting Shadows (chest)- heroic (10) Valkyr.Bear: 53.2(#6, -5.9) Cat: 57.03 (#3, -1.47)
Band of the Twin Val'kyr/Loop of the Twin Val'kyr (tank ring)- Heroic(10) Valkyr. Bear:17.2 (#1) Cat: unranked

The chest on hard mode is the best chest with armor pen in the game, so again - if you're stacking that, this is where you want to go. It's not the best piece to use for cat and bear though. The ring is best in slot for bears and quite solid even on normal mode, better than any ring from Ulduar (though not beating Clutch).

Anub'Arak (normal):

Spaulders of the Snow Bandit/Shoulderpads of the Snow Bandit (Shoulders)- normal(10) Anub'arak . Bear: 36.7 (#9, -7.2) Cat: 34.74 (#7, -9.9)
Fordragon Blades/Anguish (Weapon)- normal(10) Anub'arak. Bear: 48.4 (#10, -13.1) Cat: 208.69 (#14, -76.7)
Anub'Arak (heroic):
Cloak of the Silver Covenant/Cloak of Serrated Blades (DPS cloak)- Tribute (10) chest. Bear: 23.9 (#4, -2.1) Cat: 31.8 (#3, -3.7)
Cloak of the Triumphant Combatant/Cloak of the Victorious Combatant (DPS strength cloak)- from Tribute(10) chest.Bear: unranked Cat: 26.5 (#8, -9.0)
Cloak of the Unmoving Guardian/Cloak of the Unflinching Guardian (tank cloak)- Tribute (10) chest. Bear: 23.5 (#6, - 2.5) Cat: unranked
Spaulders of the Snow Bandit/Shoulderpads of the Snow Bandit (Shoulders)- heroic(10) Anub'arak . Bear: 40.8(#3, -3.1) Cat: 39.4 (#4, -5.2)
Fordragon Blades/Anguish - (Weapon) heroic (10) Anub'arak. Bear: 55.7 (#4, -5.8) Cat: 236.96 (#8, -49.4)

I've seen these shoulders in heroic as best in slot due to the sockets, but I don't like them compared to the tier piece due to the lack of armor pen. For bears, they're pretty good. Anguish has the potential to be a very good bear weapon due to the stamina that you can pack on it, and this is as good a time as any to mention that if you do get lucky with weapons, especially in heroic mode - chances are you'll want a tanking weapon and a DPS weapon.
25 man:

Northrend Beasts (normal):
Drape of the Untamed Predator/Cloak of the Untamed Predator (DPS cloak)- normal (25) Beasts. Bear: 20.8 (#11, -5.2) Cat: 27.7 (#6, -7.8)
Band of the Violent Temperament/Ring of the Violent Temperament (Strength DPS ring)- normal (25) Beasts. Bear: unranked. Cat: 22.61 (#14, -9.26)
Leggings of the Broken Beast/Legwraps of the Broken Beast (Legs)- normal(25) Beasts. Bear: 53.7 (#3, -5.7) Cat: 49.47 (#5, -9.28)
Northrend Beasts (heroic):
Drape of the untamed Predator/Cloak of the untamed predator (DPS cloak)- heroic(25) Beasts. Bear: 23.8 (#5, -2.2) Cat: 32.15 (#2, -3.85)
Band of the Violent Temperament/Ring of the Violent Temperament (Strength DPS ring)- Heroic (25) Icehowl. Bear: unranked. Cat:26.85 (#6, -5.02)
Leggings of the Broken Beast/Legwraps of the Broken Beast (Legs)- heroic (25) Beasts. Bear: 59.4 (#1) Cat: 58.75 (#1)

The best cloak short of the insane tribute drops here on heroic, and it's one of the best in normal; don't let the low ranking fool you, it's that low because only tribute cloaks and hard mode cloaks are above it. The leggings are very strong for cat and bear, but especially bear. Too bad it's not a good place to share gear.

Jaraxxus (normal):
Pride of the Eredar/Pride of the Demon Lord (Tanking cloak)- normal (25) Jaraxxus.Bear: 21.9 (#8, -4.1) Cat: unranked
Cuirass of Calamitous Fate/Vest of Calamitous Fate (chest) - normal (25) Jaraxxus. Bear: 53.3 (#5, -5.8) Cat: 51.44 (#6, -7.06)
Charge of the Demon Lord/Charge of the Eredar (DPS neck)- normal(25) Jaraxxus. Bear: 11.7 (#9, -6.5) Cat: 27.53 (#3, -4.5)
Jaraxxus (heroic):
Pride of the Eredar/Pride of the Demon Lord (tanking cloak) - heroic(25) Jaraxxus. Bear: 24.6 (#3, -1.4) Cat: unranked
Cuirass of Calamitous Fate/Vest of Calamitous Fate (Chest)- Heroic (25) Jaraxxus. Bear: 59.1 (#1) Cat: 58.5 (#1)
Charge of the Demon Lord/Charge of the Eredar (DPS neck) - heroic (25) Jaraxxus. Bear: 14.3 (#4, -3.9) Cat: 32.0 (#1)

The heroic chest from Jaraxxus is a really great place to share gear between the two specs. Note that it's not that different from the ranking on the 258 tier piece for cats. The heroic neck is best in slot if you're going for agility primarily, but not best if you're going for armor pen. Much like the DPS cloak above, the Pride is the best cloak outside of Insanity tribute rewards, so definitely grab it if you can.

Faction Champions (normal):
Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker (Feet)- Normal(25) Faction Champions. Bear: 38.4 (#3, -4.3) Cat: 40.21 (#3, -6.24)
Band of Callous Aggression/Ring of Callous Aggression (DPS ring)- Normal(25) Faction Champions. Bear: 12.5 (#9, -4.7) Cat: 27.53 (#5, -4.34)
Satrina's Impending Scarab/Juggernaut's Vitality (Tanking trinket)- normal(25) Faction Champions. Bear: 12.9 (#4, -2.5) Cat: unranked
Faction Champions (heroic):
Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker (Feet)- Heroic (25) Faction Champions. Bear: 42.7 (#1) Cat: 46.45 (#1)
Band of Callous Aggression/Ring of Callous Aggression (DPS ring)- Heroic (25) Faction Champions. Bear: 14.6 (#3, -2.6) Cat: 31.87 (#1)
Satrina's Impending Scarab/Juggernaut's Vitality (Tanking trinket)- heroic (25) Faction Champions. Bear: 14.5 (#3, -.9) Cat: unranked

The best boots come from Faction champs, and this is another spot to double up for cat and bear. The Band of Callous Aggression is surprisingly good for bears too, and may beat older rings you have.

Twin Valkyr (normal):
Legionnaire's Gorget/Arbiter's Muse (Tanking neck)- normal (25) Valkyr. Bear: 15.3 (#2, -2.9) Cat: unranked
Belt of the Merciless Killer/Belt of the Pitiless Killer (Waist)- normal (25) Valkyr. Bear: 35.7 (#2, -4.2) Cat: 38.01 (#2, -4.99)
Lupine Longstaff/Twin's Pact (Weapon)- normal(25) Valkyr. Bear: 54.4 (#5, -7.1) Cat: 238.34 (#7, -47.0)
Death's Choice/Death's Verdict - normal (25) Valkyr. Bear: Unranked (but about #10) Cat: 35.8 (#2)
Twin Valkyr (heroic):
Legionnaire's Gorget/Arbiter's Muse (Tanking neck)- heroic (25) Valkyr.Bear: 18.2 (#1) Cat: unranked
Belt of the Merciless Killer/Belt of the Pitiless Killer (Waist)- heroic (25) Valkyr. Bear: 39.9 (#1) Cat: 43.0 (#1)
Lupine Longstaff/Twin's Pact -(Weapon) heroic (25) Valkyr. Bear: 61.5 (#1) Cat: 285.3 (#1)
Death's Choice/Death's Verdict - heroic (25) Valkyr. 40.5. Bear: Unranked (but about #5) Cat: 40.5 (#1)

Valkyrs on 25 are an embarrassment of riches, particularly at the hard mode. 4 different pieces, and they're all #1 for either cat or bear (or both). The belt is another good slot to double up on, and there's no replacement for it anywhere, basically. The neck is simply absurdly good for bears. The weapon is better than anything else. And the trinket is best for cats and very high for bears, narrowly beating Darkmoon:Greatness.

Anub'Arak (normal):
Band of the Traitor King/Signet of the Traitor King (Tanking ring)- Normal(25) Anub'arak. Bear: 11.7 (#11, -5.5) Cat: unranked
Armbands of Dark Determination/Bracers of Dark Determination (Wrist)- normal(25) Anub'arak. Bear: 31.0 (#4, -4.7) Cat: 28.15 (#3, -3.85)
Archon Glaive/Hellion Glaive (Weapon)- normal (25) Anub'arak. Bear: 53.4 (#6, -8.1) Cat: 239.81 (#6, -40.5)
Anub'Arak (heroic):
Vereesa's Dexterity/Sylvanas' Cunning (DPS Cloak)- from Tribute (25) chest. Bear: 26.0 (#1) Cat: 35.5 (#1)
Magni's Resolution/Cairne's Endurance (Tanking Cloak)- from Tribute (25) chest. Bear: 25.5 (#2, -.5) Cat: unranked
Band of the Traitor King/Signet of the Traitor King (Tanking ring)- Heroic (25) Anub'arak. Bear: 14.0 (#4, -3.2) Cat: unranked
Archon Glaive/Hellion Glaive (Weapon)- heroic (25) Anub'arak. Bear: 61.2 (#2, -.3) Cat: 282.7 (#2, -2.6)
Armbands of Dark Determination/Bracers of Dark Determination (Wrist)- heroic(25) Anub'arak. Bear: 35.7 (#1) Cat: 32.0 (#1)
Malfurion's Rainments of Triumph/Runetotem's Rainments of Triumph (Chest)- Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). Bear: 57.4 (#2, -1.5) Cat: 58.39 (#2, -.11)
Malfurion's Handgrips of Triumph/Runetotem's Handgrips of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). Bear:39.4 (#1) Cat: 43.54 (#2, -.9)
Malfurion's Headguard of Triumph/Runetotem's Headguard of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). Bear: 57.2 (#1) Cat: 57.85 (#1)
Malfurion's Legguards of Triumph/Runetotem's Legguards of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). Bear: 56.9 (#2, -2.5) Cat: 56.89 (#2, -1.9)
Malfurion's Shoulderpads of Triumph/Runetotem's Shoulderpads of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). Bear: 43.9 (#1) Cat: 44.61 (#1)

Sorry this is such a mess, but this should give you an indication of how hard it is to get some of this gear. All of the 258 tier gear, the 272 cloaks, and some of the weapons only come from Anub'arak - and most only come if you beat him with 25 tries or more available. Again, keep this in mind when doing your gearing strategy.

That said, on normal the wrists are very strong, and beaten only by crusader-orb craftables and the hard mode item. The ring is fairly weak; I wouldn't bother with it unless you have poor rings and/or it will be DE'd. The weapon is very, very close in power to the best weapon at the same tier, so don't hesitate to grab it and feel fine if you don't already have a similarly awesome one.

Hard mode...gets odd. All the tier pieces are very strong, but in particular the chest is good if you want to double up on gear for cat & bear, and the gloves aren't far behind (though they don't have armor pen). I like the head personally, as there are no upgrades to it at this level of gear and it has expertise, something that most pieces are lacking. The shoulders are also very good to grab. I'm not a fan of the legs, but really none of the legs are itemized particularly well. Honestly, it will likely come down to what has dropped for you in terms of turning this in. Good luck if you get it :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


In case you haven't gotten tired of the various links from Vallen and Jacemora recently, I bring you Alaron of Fluid Druid - and his absolutely excellent, easy to read and understand FAQ on armor pen. It's the best post I've seen on the whole thing so far, and has some really great graphs illustrating how armor pen increases in value as you get more.

Seriously, it puts a lot of the debate to rest and makes it very simple. For now, the rules are easy: if you can get above 600 armor pen, it's the best stat. Otherwise agility is. In 3.2.2, this changes to about 850 armor pen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pimping a blog: Feral Aggression

Haven't done this in a while, and I'm hoping that with the loss of Toskk, Flyv and Karthis there might be others I'm missing out there.

I'd like to say hi to Vallen, author of Feral Aggression. Vallen's a very good writer who writes a bunch about doing cat DPS in various situations, as well as an awesome set of guides on how to solo old-world content for awesome ground mounts (which all druids love, of course). He wrote a great piece on what 3.2.2's armor pen means to you, and while I'm not on board with his or Jacemora's conclusions it's nicely written and brings up good points. So check him out and say hi!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

[Druid] Cat's 3.2/Coliseum loot ranking (UPDATED 10/15)

Okay, before we get into this and I'm flooded with questions: yes, I'm aware of the armor pen nerf upcoming in 3.2.2. Yes, this will incorporate those numbers. No, the sky isn't falling and armor pen isn't ridiculously bad. Yes, you should still stack and gem for armor pen, according to every simulation I've seen; it just means you should likely either keep Mjolnir Runestone/Grim Toll for a while and go for agi, or stack armor pen and skip it entirely (using things like Banner of Victory instead). I've reduced the value of armor pen on gear by about 5%, which is what I've seen this as a hit. It's still just a bit above agi, but not much. This is on par with what Rawr rates it in 3.2.2, and what FBN's simulations have it as. Remember, the only thing that's changing is how much you get; the actual value of it when you have it is still very high.

Also note that while the 4 piece T9 bonus for cats isn't so thrilling (it's about a 1% DPS upgrade at most), the 2 piece T9 bonus is quite decent. It's about a 2% DPS upgrade depending on how well you rake currently. It clearly has some good synergy with 2p T8 too, but you should know that you shouldn't worry about keeping 2pT8. The bonus is good, but it definitely doesn't beat keeping it around if you're replacing it with 258 gear, and doesn't really merit keeping around if you're replacing it with 245 gear for the most part. If you're curious, the best pieces of T9 to go for at 258 levels of gear are the head and shoulders. That's unfortunate as they're also the slots you can fill via triumph badges without trophies (specifically the Duskstalker Pauldrons/Duskstalker Shoulderpads and Hood of Lethal Intent/Mask of Lethal Intent), but there are better gloves, chest, and leg off-set pieces.

Now, here's the thing - at this point given how hard Anub'arak is (only two guilds in the world beat him on his first reset), I'm not sure it's all that reasonable to believe that there's going to be a lot of 258 tier pieces out there for most people. They'll be under massively high demand for all but the best guilds, at least for a fairly decent time. I could be wrong and there could be billions of the pieces, but if I'm right you'll want to plan on getting a lot of off-tier pieces wherever you can (as they will likely drop in greater frequency) and making sure that when you get a 258 token, you're not going to upgrade.

And that really speaks to going for head and shoulders as T9. Those are the only pieces with zero upgrades over T9.

Still, your drop rate is your drop rate; you should also try and upgrade whatever your weakest spots are when you can.

Finally, not everything is on Wowhead; particularly loot from heroic Anub'Arak and the tribute gear. When I knew of something that wasn't there, I put it on the list and put the text in red. These numbers may not be perfect, but the relative values should be correct.


  1. Vereesa's Dexterity/Sylvanas' Cunning - from Tribute (25) chest. 35.5
  2. Cloak of the Silver Covenant/Cloak of Serrated Blades - Tribute (10) chest. 34.63
  3. Drape of the untamed Predator/Cloak of the untamed predator - heroic(25) Icehowl. 32.15
  4. Drape of the Faceless General - 25-man General Vezax (hard). 28.01.
  5. Varian's Fervor/Garrosh's Rage - Tribute (25) chest. 28.0
  6. Drape of the Untamed Predator/Cloak of the Untamed Predator - normal (25) Jaraxxus. 27.7
  7. Cloak of the Triumphant Combatant/Cloak of the Victorious Combatant - from Tribute(10) chest. 27.58
  8. Drape of Icy Intent - 25-man Hodir (hard) - 27.03
  9. Might of the Nerub/Strength of the Nerub - heroic (25) Anub'arak. 26.94
  10. Might of the Nerub/Strength of the Nerub - normal (25) Anub'Arak. 22.83
  11. Drape of the Lithe - 25-man Ulduar (normal) - 22.79
  12. Shawl of the Shattered Giant - 10-man Kologarn. 22.23
  13. Drape of the Deadly Foe - 25-man Kel'Thuzad. 22.07
UPDATED: while the top piece is still not on there, some of the others have shown up - and they're great. Scores have been slightly updated. Not a lot of surprise though.

The back slot will have the most red text due to the cloak tribute rewards. If anything, this should point out to you that doing General Vezax and getting his cloak is a good idea; it's so awesome simply because of those gem slots. Otherwise, not a lot of surprises or really a lot of upgrades. Cloaks are usually hard to get and heavily fought over, so if you get an opportunity to upgrade it I'd recommend that you do so.

  1. Cuirass of Calamitous Fate/Vest of Calamitous Fate - Heroic (25) Jaraxxus. 58.84
  2. Malfurion's Rainments of Triumph/Runetotem's Rainments of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 58.39
  3. Armor of Shifting Shadows/Vest of Shifting Shadows - heroic (10) Valkyr. 57.03
  4. Knightbane Carapace - BoE Leatherworking via Crusader Orbs. 54.86
  5. Malfurion's Rainments of Triumph/Runetotem's Rainments of Triumph - 75 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade. 51.98
  6. Cuirass of Calamitous Fate/Vest of Calamitous Fate - normal (25) Jaraxxus. 51.44
  7. Embrace of the Gladiator - 25-man Thorim (hard). 49.78
  8. Armor of Shifting Shadows/Vest of Shifting Shadows - normal (10) Valkyr. 48.94
  9. Malfurion's Rainments of Conquest/Runetotem's Rainments of Conquest - 50 emblems of triumph. 46.34
  10. Winter's Icy Embrace - 25-man Hodir (easy). 45.44
  11. Conqueror's Nightsong Rainments - 58 emblems of Conquest. 42.05
UPDATED: the Cuirass was added to WoWhead, so this list is complete through 3.2. The values and relative values have remained largely the same, and this is the weakest of the 'better than T9.258 non-tier pieces' to upgrade. But it's still better.

Note that while the Cuirass/Vest is best in slot, the value between it and the T9 chest is very, very small. If you're especially hurting for a chest upgrade for whatever reason and you get a Regalia token, that's not the worst thing that you could upgrade. The heroic Valkyr drop is also very good and close to being up there, and may be significantly easier for you to obtain.


  1. Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker - Heroic (25) Faction Champions. 46.45
  2. Acidmaw Boots/Acidmaw Treads - Heroic (10) Beasts. 40.22
  3. Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker - Normal(25) Faction Champions. 40.21
  4. Acidmaw Boots/Acidmaw Treads - Normal (10) Beasts. 34.69
  5. Footpads of Silence - BoE craftable from Runed Orbs. 34.12
  6. Runed Ironhide Boots - 25-man Iron Council (normal). 32.88
  7. Flamestalker Boots - 25-man Ignis. 31.6
A very boring upgrade path here. The difference between Acidmaw boots on heroic 10 and Icewalker treads on normal 25 is so minuscule due to the weakness of the rating system; Acidmaw Treads are great when you're below the hit and exp cap, but Icewalkers are great even when you're at the exp cap. Choose which makes more sense to you given your gear. If you do a lot of tanking, the Acidmaw will likely pull better double duty.


  1. Band of Callous Aggression/Ring of Callous Aggression - Heroic (25) Faction Champions. 31.87
  2. Planestalker Signet/Planestalker Band - Heroic (10) Jaraxxus. 30.98
  3. Dexterous Brightstone Ring - 35 emblems of Triumph. 29.0
  4. Planestalker Signet/Planestalker Band - Normal(10) Jaraxxus. 27.56
  5. Brann's Signet Ring - 25-man Algalon quest turn in. 27.13
  6. Band of the Violent Temperament/Ring of the Violent Temperament - Heroic (25) Icehowl. 26.85
  7. Band of Lights - 10-man Algalon 26.83
  8. Carnivorous Band/Gormok's Band - Heroic(10) Northrend Beasts. 25.42
  9. Cindershard Ring - 25-man Ignis. 25.15
  10. Brann's Sealing Ring - 10-man Algalon quest turn in. 25.02
  11. Loop of the Agile - 10-man Iron Council (hard). 24.82
  12. Metallic Loop of the Sufferer - 25-man General Vezax (easy). 22.87
  13. Bloodshed Band - 35 emblems of Triumph. 22.83
  14. Godbane Signet - 25-man Yogg-Saron (easy). 22.68
  15. Band of the Violent Temperament/Ring of the Violent Temperament - normal (25) Beasts. 22.61
  16. Etched Band of the Kirin Tor - lots of cash. 22.3
  17. Band of Draconic Guile - 10-man Razorscale. 22.24
  18. Surge Needle Ring - 10-man Malygos. 20.84
  19. Strength of the Automaton - 25-man Flame Leviathan (easy). 20.08
UPDATED: This is an interesting choice that largely comes down to whether you have an arpen trinket or not. If you do, chances are the callous aggression are going to be best. If you don't and you're stacking arpen you probably want Planestaker + Dexterous.

Rings are very, very hard to come by. The Dexterous Brightstone is potentially upgradeable if you get very lucky, but other than that you're likely going to have it + one of the other two if you're at all lucky. If you're like me, you'll be hoping for some other drops along the way. Because an upgrade drops in both normal and heroic 10-man Coliseum, you should likely try and run that if you have the chance.

  1. Gloves of the Silver Assassin/Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves - Heroic (10) Faction Champions. 44.43
  2. Malfurion's Handgrips of Triumph/Runetotem's Handgrips of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 43.54
  3. 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). 38.69
  4. Gloves of the Silver Assassin/Sunreaver Assassin's Gloves - Normal(10) Faction Champions. 37.39
  5. Gloves of the Endless Dark - 10-man Algalon. 35.88
  6. Gloves of the Stonereaper - 25-man Auriaya. 33.84
  7. Malfurion's Handgrips of conquest/Runetotem's Handgrips of Conquest - 30 emblems of triumph. 34.45
  8. Conqueror's Nightsong Handgrips - 25-man Mimiron (easy). 31.92
  9. Gloves of the Blind Stalker - 28 emblems of conquest. 30.67
  10. Valorous Nightsong Handgrips - 10-man Freya (easy). 29.76
The heroic 10-man gloves beat the top tier gloves fairly well, making them a good priority to grab. Again, it's all about the sockets - and in this case the sockets are nicely colored, too. Even the normal 10-man Assassin gloves are pretty good, so if you're considering buying the tier piece anyway, I'd recommend holding off for as long as you can unless you'll be doing a significant upgrade to both your cat and bear set. That's a nice side point, by the way; the Assassin gloves are great for cat but not very good for bears, so you might consider taking the hit for your cat's set and going for the tier piece. Me personally? The heroic assassin gloves dropped, so I won't have to make that decision for a bit. :)


  1. Malfurion's Headguard of Triumph/Runetotem's Headguard of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 57.85
  2. Hood of Lethal Intent/Mask of Lethal Intent - 75 emblems of triumph. 53.19
  3. Malfurion's Headguard of Triumph/Runetotem's Headguard of Triumph - 75 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade (normal 25, heroic 10). 51.33
  4. Stormrage Coverlet - 25-man Onyxia. 49.90
  5. Malfurion's Headguard of Conquest/Runetotem's Headguard of Conquest -50 emblems of triumph. 45.6
  6. Stormrage Helm - 10-man Onyxia. 44.61
  7. Mimiron's Flight Goggles - 10-man Mimiron (hard). 43.89
  8. Mask of Distant Memory - The Black Knight heroic. 43.5
  9. Conqueror's Nightsong Headguard - 58 emblems of Conquest. 43.14
UPDATED: the Onyxia helm is mostly good for the hit and expertise, but for cats hit is somewhat overrated. No armor pen and not a great differentiation makes it the worst of the 245 level helms, but not by so much that if you get it, you should get another helm in its place. Still, it's 4 baer.

I was shocked at how good the Mask of Distant Memory is, but looking at it it's quite strong if for whatever reason you're below the hit cap. Still, probably better to use the T8 piece if you're that low, as it'll stay decent for a longer period of time. As to the top of the list, I'd recommend going with the T9 helm if at all possible; it's one of the few pieces with expertise out there, and even though the Hood/Mask has armor pen, it's not enough to trump the higher ilvl.


  1. Leggings of the Broken Beast/Legwraps of the Broken Beast - heroic (25) Beasts. 58.75
  2. Malfurion's Legguards of Triumph/Runetotem's Legguards of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 56.89
  3. Legguards of Cunning Deception - 25-man Yogg (hard). 51.72
  4. Malfurion's Legguards of Triumph/Runetotem's Legguards of Triumph - 75 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade (normal 25, heroic 10). 50.37
  5. Leggings of the Broken Beast/Legwraps of the Broken Beast - normal(25) Beasts. 49.47
  6. Malfurion's Legguards of Conquest/Runetotem's Legguards of Conquest - 50 emblems of triumph. 44.64
  7. Leggings of Wavering Shadow - 39 emblems of conquest. 49.0
  8. Conqueror's Nightsong Legguards - 25-man Freya (easy). 41.96
There's a HUGE gulf between the 258 and the next tier of gear, and the hardmode Yogg legs sneak in there due to the extra socket and overall more useful stats. This is the best overall upgrade from set to non-set piece, so if you're going to skip using one piece of tier gear, make it for the 258 level legs from the Beasts.


  1. Charge of the Demon Lord/Charge of the Eredar - heroic (25) Jaraxxus. 32.44
  2. Collar of Unending Torment/Collar of Ceaseless Torment - heroic (10) Beasts. 30.61
  3. Sparkling Onyxia Tooth Pendant - 25-man Onyxia quest reward. 27.88
  4. Charge of the Demon Lord/Charge of the Eredar - normal(25) Jaraxxus. 27.53
  5. The Executioner's Malice/The Executioner's Vice - heroic(25) Valkyr. 27.3
  6. Pendulum of Infinity - 25-man General Vezax (hard). 26.84
  7. Collar of Unending Torment/Collar of Ceaseless Torment - normal (10) Beasts. 26.38
  8. Seed of Budding Carnage - 10-man Freya (hard). 25.77
  9. Broach of the Wailing Night - 19 emblems of Conquest. 24.49
  10. Favor of the Dragon Queen - 25-man Malygos quest reward. 24.25
  11. The Executioner's Malice/The Executioner's Vice - normal (25) Valkyr. 23.06
UPDATED: The onyxia neck isn't the best thing ever, but it does ever so slightly beat the normal 25-man gear neck. If you're hurting for an upgrade it's not too bad - though again, no armor pen hurts it some.

Man, Jaraxxus has been really stingy! If you're going for an armor-cap set, the Collar is what you want, but otherwise either it or the Charge neck are going to be good upgrades. Don't forget about the emblem vendor neck either as a cheap upgrade.


  1. Malfurion's Shoulderpads of Triumph/Runetotem's Shoulderpads of Triumph - Regalia of the Grand Vanquisher (heroic 25). 44.61
  2. Duskstalker Pauldrons/Duskstalker Shoulderpads - 45 emblems of Triumph. 40.15
  3. Malfurion's Shoulderpads of Triumph/Runetotem's Shoulderpads of Triumph - 45 emblems of triumph + 1 trophy of the crusade. 39.61
  4. Spaulders of the Snow Bandit/Shoulderpads of the Snow Bandit - heroic(10) Anub'arak . 39.4
  5. Shoulderpads of the Intruder - 25-man Iron Council (hard). 36.83
  6. Malfurion's Shoulderpads of Conquest/Runetotem's Shoulderpads of Conquest - 30 emblems of triumph - 35.25
  7. Spaulders of the Snow Bandit/Shoulderpads of the Snow Bandit - normal(10) Anub'arak . 34.74
  8. Conqueror's Nightsong Shoulderpads - 25-man Yogg (easy). 33.44
  9. Shoulderpads of the Monolith - 25-man Kologarn. 32.56
  10. Treacherous Shoulderpads - 10-man XT (easy). 32.26
  11. Valorous Nightsong Shoulderpads - 10-man Thorim (easy). 30.97
  12. Valorous Dreamwalker Shoulderpads - 60 emblems of Valor. 28.05
  13. Shoulderpads of the Infamous Knave - normal Trial of Crusader. 27.79
While the 258 tier piece is really awesome, this might be a good spot to get something cheap that will work for a while, like the Duskstalker shoulderpads. The Snow Bandit hardmode drop from Anub'arak is pretty good too, though not for the armor pen afficionado.


  1. Death's Choice/Death's Verdict - heroic (25) Valkyr. 40.5
  2. Death's Choice/Death's Verdict - normal (25) Valkyr. 35.8
  3. Comet's Trail - 25-man Algalon. 31.3
  4. Mjolnir Runestone - 10-man Thorim (hard). 28.1
  5. Darkmoon Card:Greatness - BoE inscription. 26.6
  6. Dark Matter - 10-man Algalon. 26.1
  7. Banner of Victory - normal (Paletress) Trial of Champion. 25.3
  8. Grim Toll - 25-man Naxxramas (various). 20.1
  9. Mirror of Truth - 40 emblems of Valor. 183.7
  10. Shard of the Crystal Heart - 50 emblems of triumph. 140.0
UPDATED: just in case it wasn't clear, the best strategy currently is to go with Mjolnir and one of the Death's trinkets. If you can't do that, going with double Death trinkets and DM:G or Banner of Victory (depending on your arpen level) is going to be good. This is what Tun of Ensidia does to some success, for instance.

A lot of this depends on your gearing strategy. While the death trinkets are always going to remain on top, what you use as your second trinket depends on whether you're going for max armor pen or a balance or if you want to cap via procs. Mjolnir is the best for cap via procs, of course. Banner of Victory is the only option for max armor pen. Because there is just so much hit rating out there, I can't recommend going for the Shard of the Crystal heart. And yes, ignore Wowhead's rankings until they get good modeling for on use/proc values; these are from Rawr and from reading EJ.


  1. Belt of the Merciless Killer/Belt of the Pitiless Killer - heroic (25) Valkyr. 43.92
  2. Belt of the Merciless Killer/Belt of the Pitiless Killer - normal (25) Valkyr. 38.01
  3. Soul-Devouring Cinch - 10-man Yogg (hard). 37.64
  4. Death-Warmed Belt - BoE leatherworking from Runed Orbs. 33.07
  5. Relic Hunter's Cord - 25-man Ulduar. 32.46
  6. Waistguard of the Creator - 25-man Mimiron (easy). 31.27
  7. Belt of the Twilight Assassin - 28 emblems of conquest. 31.21.
UPDATED: only changed the new score for the top belt. Rankings didn't change at all.

Even fewer choices for the cat than the bear. The hardmode 10-man yogg drop is an interesting choice; it has the rare expertise and two sockets, which may be a lot better than the 245-level Belt of the killer depending on what you have on personally. This is also one of the slots that changed most dramatically with the armor pen change; slots 3 through 5 moved all around.

  1. Armbands of Dark Determination/Bracers of Dark Determination - heroic(25) Anub'arak. 33.47
  2. Bracers of Swift Death - Leatherworking BoE via Crusader Orbs. 29.6
  3. Armbands of Dark Determination/Bracers of Dark Determination - normal(25) Anub'arak. 28.15
  4. Solar Bindings - 25-man Algalon. 27.72
  5. Fluxing Energy Coils - 10-man XT (hard). 25.83
  6. Armbands of the Wary Lookout - heroic Eadric in Trial of Champion. 23.67
  7. Mechanist's Bindings - 25-man Flame Leviathan (easy). 22.97
  8. Sinner's Bindings - 25-man Maexxna. 21.03
  9. Thrusting Bands - 25-man Noth. 20.83
  10. Wristwraps of the Cutthroat - 60 emblems of valor. 20.63
UPDATED: The armbands are even better than I originally thought. Otherwise no changes.

One of the better places to spend crusader orbs if you can. Rawr actually ranks them above the 258-level gear because of the hit cap, and it's likely that they'll be better for you as well as you get up in gear.


  1. Archon Glaive/Hellion Glaive - heroic (25) Anub'arak. 271.53
  2. Lupine Longstaff/Twin's Pact - heroic (25) Valkyr. 270.95
  3. Catastrophe/Grievance - heroic (25) tribute chest. 258.68
  4. Relentless Gladiator's Greatstaff - arena rating. 245.2
  5. Relentless Gladiator's Crusher/Halberd - arena rating. 241.08
  6. Archon Glaive/Hellion Glaive - normal (25) Anub'arak. 239.81
  7. Lupine Longstaff/Twin's Pact - normal(25) Valkyr. 238.34
  8. Attrition/Paragon's Breadth - heroic (10) tribute chest. 237.10
  9. Fordragon Blades/Anguish - heroic (10) Anub'arak. 236.96
  10. Reinforced Shadowstrike - 25-man Onyxia. 233.10
  11. Dreambinder - 25-man Freya (hard). 226.64
  12. Dark Edge of Depravity - 25-man Yogg(hard). 223.23
  13. Lotrafen, Spear of the Damned - 25-man Vezax (easy). 212.19
  14. Tortured Earth - 10-man Vezax (hard). 209.54
  15. Twisted Visage - 25-man XT(normal). 208.74
  16. Fordragon Blades/Anguish - normal(10) Anub'arak. 208.69
  17. Hammer of Crushing Whispers - 10-man Yogg (hard). 203.56
  18. Earthshaper - 25-man Yogg (easy). 201.08
  19. Journey's End - 25-man Kel'Thuzad. 195.41
  20. Hoperender - 10-man General Vezax (easy). 189.85
  21. Marrowstrike - Heroic Paletress in Trial of Champion. 187.9
  22. Spire of Withering Dreams - 10-man Kologarn. 185.59
  23. Relentless Edge - 10 man Ignis. 182.32
  24. Silvery Sylvan Stave/Staff of Feral Furies - 50 champion's seals. 150.2
UPDATED: the top end weapons shifted around a bit, but only a bit, mostly due to how much I value haste (not as much) vs how much FbN/Rawr do. Reinforced Shadowstrike is sadly not that great in the rankings due to the lack of a socket. It's better than many pieces from Ulduar, but it's the weakest 245-level weapon out there.

There are plenty of other weapons on the list between 19 and 22 - check the list if you like. The armor pen nerf definitely changed the values here quite a bit. Otherwise it's mostly governed by item level; the higher it is, the more FAP, and thus the more overall damage.

  1. Idol of Mutilation - 25 emblems of Triumph. 27.2
  2. Idol of the Corrupter - 19 emblems of Conquest. 20.7*
  3. Idol of Worship - 25 emblems of valor. 17.2
  4. Idol of the Ravenous Beast - 15 emblems of heroism. 10.1
These are Rawr rankings. The rule of using Ravenous beast when you have high armor pen still applies. Also, the Idol of the Corrupter is only good if you're putting up mangle - but if you are, it's very good.