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Shifting Perspectives: Drops for Druids in Zul'Aman

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them, brought to you by David Bowers and Dan O'Halloran.

Patch 2.3 has hit the PTR and the new itemization has some very interesting items for druids of every spec. The new equipment is coming from three sources: the new 10-man raid zone, Zul'Aman, the Arena Season 3 vendor and the new Badges of Justice rewards.

Today I'm going to focus on the Zul'Aman drops. Here's a list by boss:

Nalorakk the Bear Avatar

(Cat) Bladeangel's Money Belt (Leather Waist) 227 AC, +25agi, +27sta, Blue Socket, +4atk socket bonus, +21 crit, +58 atk, 77 armor negation.
A solid upgrade to the Girdle of Treachery from Karazhan, but not quite as good if you can get a Belt of Deep Shadow crafted. Arguably, one of the top 3 or 4 belts in the game. Be ready to /roll against rogues for this belt for your Cat Druid.

(Resto) Life-step Belt (Leather, Waist) 227ac, +20sta, +23int, +22spi, Red & Blue socket w/+7heal socket bonus, +75heal/+25dmg, +6mp5.
Behold one of the best leather healing belt in the game. Possibly, only exceeded by the top PvP reward Veteran's Kodohide Belt . Plus the sockets give you many +healing/+mp5 gem options.

Akil'zon the Eagle Avatar

(Balance) Signet of Ancient Magics (Ring) +12sta, +17int, Blue socket w/+2spell dmg, +29dmg/heal, +10mp5.
Excellent spell damage for Moonkin. Throw in a +12 spell damage gem and you have one of the highest spell damage rings in the game with mp5 to boot!

(Balance) Amani Punisher (1h Mace) 41.3dps, +30sta, +21int, +20spell hit, +217dmg/heal.
Yes, you read that right, +217 to spell damage. The only other 1h Maces that come close is the PvP reward Merciless Gladiator's Gavel (+225) and the rare Hyjal random drop Hammer of Judgement (+236). Needless to say, this weapon will be a lot easier to get for our Moonkin brethren.

(Resto) Brooch of Nature's Mercy (Neck) +24int, +19spi, +33spell haste, +75heal/+25dmg.
The third best healing neck in the game. Only bested by Lord Sanguinar's Claim (+25sta, +19int, +79heal, +27dmg, +7mp5) which you can only attain by taking down Kael'Thas himself and Nadina's Pendant of Purity (+16sta, +14int, +79heal, +27dmg, +8mp5, +19spell crit) which drops from Mother Shahraz in the Black Temple. Let's see, grind away for 6 months to the Black Temple or down the second boss in Zul'Aman. The choice is yours...

Halazzi the Lynx Avatar

(Cat) The Savage's Choker (Neck) +37sta, +25haste, +50atk.
Leave this one for the Rogues.

(Resto) Shimmer-pelt Vest (Chest) 404ac, +34sta, +35int, +30spi, +101heal, +34dmg, +12mp5.
What's not to love about this bad boy? Only a properly gemmed Nordrassil Chestguard from a Kael'Thas dropped item or the Thunderheart Tunic from Illidan himself is going to top this piece. You can either ask the meanest raid bosses in the Burning Crusade for the upgrades or pick this up in an evening's 10-man run.

(Cat) Shoulderpads of Dancing Blades (Shoulder) 202ac, +33agi, +39sta, +16hit, +68atk.
Along with the aforementioned Bladeangel's Money Belt, you're going to be duking it out with Rogues over this piece. Without any gem sockets, strength or +crit, these shoulders fall in the top 6 or 7 of Cat shoulders for DPS boost. That's nothing to sneeze at, but if you are a 25-man raider, you probably already have better.

Jan'Alai the Dragonhawk Avatar

(Resto) Helm of Natural Regeneration (Head) 328ac, +33sta, +39int, +30spi, Red, Yellow & Blue sockets w/+9heal bonus, +86heal, +29dmg.
With no mp5, but plenty of gem slots, this is a great upgrade to the Crown of Malorne from Karazhan, but inferior to the popular 25-man raid healing helms.

(Balance) Wub's Cursed Hexblade (Dagger) 41.3dps, +21int, +13spell hit, +20spell crit, +217dmg/heal, +6mp5.
Compared to the Amani Punisher above, the Hexblade has no +sta, but makes up for it with +spell crit and mp5. It's really a toss up between the two depending on your play style and other gear choices. However, if you want resilience, you can always pick up a Merciless Gladiator's Spellblade or if you want spell crit & stamina together, make nice nice with High Warlord Naj'entus for his The Maelstrom's Fury.

Hex Lord Malacrass

(Resto) Cloak of Ancient Rituals (Back) 108ac, +22sta, +20int, +25spell haste, +51heal, +17dmg.
There are about half a dozen cloaks with better stats, but again, they are all from 25-man raids. Despite its lack of mp5, this is an excellent cloak for a Resto Druid working their way up through TBC content.

(Balance/Resto) Hex Shrunken Head (Trinket) +53dmg/heal, Use: +211dmg/heal for 20 secs.
Trinkets are hard to compare for their clicky effects. It's an apple and oranges kind of decision. So check out WoW Head's list of Trinkets with +heal & +damage for alternatives to this item. But I guarantee you're not going to find one with this damage or heal output in anything outside a 25-man instance, Heroic Badge turn-ins or top tier PvP rewards.

(Cat) Primal Man-catcher (2h Staff) 70.0dps, +49str, +70sta, +973 feral atk, +315armor negation.
At first I assumed this was a good tanking staff, but lack of AC hurts it badly. Great for Cat Druids.

(Resto) Tome of Diabolic Remedy (Trinket) +18mp5, Use: +396heal & +132dmg for 20secs.
Again, it's hard to compare Trinkets given the different way their clickable effects add to healing and damage, but I 'd hazard a guess this is one of the better ones and I do know that 18mp5 is the highest mp5 on a Trinket in the game.

Zul'jin

(Cat) Berserker's Call (Trinket) +90atk, Use: +360atk for 20 secs.
More Trinket madness, this time for Cat Druids. It's a fine upgrade from the Bloodlust Brooch, but the Use effect won't stack (shared cool down.) According to the mathemagicians on WoW Head, though, it will add 32 more AP than the Bloodlust if you click it after every cool down. Paired this with the Tsunami Talisman from Leotheras in Serpentshrine for a killer combo.

(Resto) Dark Blessing (1h Mace) 41.4dps, +19int, +30spell haste, +431heal, +144dmg.
This is not a great upgrade from the Light's Justice you probably got in Karazhan. Equipping this would cost you 16 stamina, 20 spirit and 2 intellect in exchange for 49 more heal and 30 spell haste. Not sure the spell haste makes up for the lack of mp5 either. Your call.

(Balance) Loop of Cursed Bones (Neck) +19sta, +20int, +27spell haste, +32dmg/heal.
With the addition of +spell damage to items that already have +healing, this Neck piece isn't as sexy as it looks. If you're not raiding 25-man's then it's probably just what you're looking for (the spell haste alone should be +1-2% dps), but there are quite a few high level alternatives that double as great healing necklaces as well. See the listing for the Brooch of Nature's Mercy above as well.

(Cat) Grimgrin Faceguard (Head) 341ac, +40agi, +48sta, Red, Yellow and Blue sockets w/+8atk bonus, +24hit, +82atk.
The fourth best feral helm for Cat Druids after top raiding tier items like Stag-helm of Malorne, Nordrassil Headdress and Thunderheart Cover. And plenty of socketing options.

Summary

As promised, Balance Druids got a lot of itemization love in this zone with a spell damage ring, neck, trinket and a couple of one-handed options. Resto Druids will do very well, too, with a belt, neck, trinket, vest and cloak that are some of the best in the game. Cat Druids get some love, mostly from generic Rogue leather, but also from the Primal-man Catcher as well as shoulders, trinket and head items.

Bear Druids, however, have little to nothing to look forward to in this zone. Clearly the devs were out to fix Balance itemization issues. But, fear not, Bear Druids, Heroic Badges drop liberally and often in Zul'Aman and there are many fine choices of upgrade gear available to you through the Lower City vendor.

EDIT: Fixed a few misconception on my part.

Filed under: Druid, Patches, Items, Raiding, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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