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The Light and How to Swing It: Badge rewards in 2.4


Now that the patch is upon us, it's a good time for reflecting upon all the new badge rewards available to us in the near future. As a hybrid class with 3 main viable specs (healing, tanking, DPS), it's no wonder that there's a lot of new badge gear for paladins in this patch. Allison did a fantastic write-up of new badge gear for druids a few days back, so I figured I'd follow her format as it relates to paladins!

Holy

Itemization for Healing specs has been pretty solid when it comes to badge gear, and the new stuff is no exception. Just like the Pier 1 set that 2.3 introduced, you'll find lots of healing, spell crit and mana per 5 on the new gear... just more of it.

Gavel of Naaru Blessings: A good amount of stamina and intellect are included in this healing mace, along with a whopping 464 healing. This is the first healing weapon that can be purchased with badges, and it's on par with the Season 3 healing mace. In fact, there are only a few maces with more healing in the game at present. While it may be lacking other desirable stats (e.g. spell crit, or mana/5), you won't find anything better until you get to Black Temple, the Sunwell, or grind up an 1850 arena rating.

Badge cost: 150
Worth it?: While some people may experience sticker shock at the price, it's a pretty nice upgrade to healing maces found in anything under T6 content.

Ecclesiastical Cuirass: A blue socket augments bonuses to spell crit (+43) and healing (+97) in this chestpiece. Better than anything you'll find in Kara, arguably better than ZA loot, and just slightly below the T5 chestpiece. The problem for me is the cost -- it's not that much better than stuff that's readily available now, but as with all badge loot, you don't have to be lucky with drops to get it.

Badge cost: 100
Worth it?: If your guild is at least clearing Kara, you may want to save these badges for a more worthwhile upgrade and cross your fingers that you get a drop.

Greaves of Pacification: You get 2 sockets (blue and yellow), 97 healing and 14 mana/5 with these leggings. They're quite good, but I see them more as a [cheaper] sidegrade from High Justicar's Legplates. You get spell crit instead of mana/5 with the old badge legs, but you pick up an extra socket. In the end, I think it depends on what you need more of -- if you're hurting for mana regen, the new leggings may be right for you.

Badge cost: 100
Worth it?: Not to me. The old ones cost less, have more healing (especially with the socket bonus), and with more sockets are more flexible with how you itemize your stats.

Waistguard of Reparation: You get a belt with a blue socket, 28 spell crit and 73 healing for your badges. It's a little pricey, but it's a solid belt with some flexibility, and is actually better than Girdle of the Righteous Path (which drops in The Eye).

Badge cost: 75
Worth it?: Unless your guild is running The Eye or nearly clearing ZA, I'd pick this up.


Protection

Some of the new badge gear for Protection paladins is a little strange, in that all but one piece are low on avoidance but high on spell hit and spell damage. I would advise Prot paladins to consider their purchases carefully, as they are quite expensive!

Blue's Greaves of the Righteous Guardian: These new boots come with a red socket, 34 shield block rating, 23 spell hit rating and 26 spell damage. These seem particular odd to me -- the high amount of stam and block rating makes them tank gear, but there is nothing that increases avoidance. Like the new badge chestpiece, I suspect that these are meant for AoE tanking pulls, but I don't understand the inclusion of spell hit... just seems like a waste of the item's budget to me.

Badge cost: 75
Worth it?: Not really. I think that the existing badge boots are better for straight up tanking (or boss fights).

Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor: With two sockets (red and yellow), 25 defense, 43 dodge rating, 37 spell damage and a whopping 78 stamina, I'm a big fan of these legs. There's no better tanking legs for paladins than these before T6.

Badge cost: 100
Worth it?: Worth every single badge. Start grinding now.

Shattrath Protectorate's Breastplate: This brand spankin' new chestpiece comes with a blue socket, 26 defense, 34 spell hit and an incredible 60 spell damage. I have to say I'm quite disappointed with this piece of gear. I just don't understand wasting stat points on spell hit for protection paladins. While it's not entirely useless, this chestpiece suffers because it's lower on avoidance compared to the previous badge chest, Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian. If you're having trouble holding threat and need more spell damage, then you might consider this, but I really can't recommend it.

Badge cost: 100
Worth it?: Hell no. Save yourself 25 badges and go grab the Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian if you need something to tank with.


Retribution

With the introduction of patch 2.4, it seems like Blizzard has finally caught up with the demands for better itemization from Ret paladins, and the new badge gear reflects that. Retribution paladins and warriors will be after the same types of drops (more or less), which is really how it has been for the last few months anyway.

The Blade of Harbingers: You get 55 crit, 53 haste and 108 attack power with your shiny new two-handed axe. This axe outclasses drops like Jin'rohk, and crafted items like Bloodmoon. Just like with the healing mace detailed earlier (and most of the other badge weapons), you likely won't find anything better until you have an 1850 arena rating or are clearing BT/MH and beyond.

Badge cost: 150
Worth it?: This is one hell of an axe. If you're not doing serious raiding or arenas and need a weapon, the time to start saving for this bad boy was about a month ago.

Breastplate of Ire: Like all the other pieces of DPS plate gear detailed here, this chest comes with lots of strength and stamina. In addition, you get a red socket and 51 haste rating. Haste is an amazing stat for all melee damage dealers, and it's in no short supply on these new badge rewards.

Badge cost: 100
Worth it?: This is a solid chestpiece. It does lack crit, but the haste is amazing, especially if you're Horde and using Seal of Blood.

Legplates of Unending Fury: These legs come with two sockets (yellow and blue), as well as 25 hit rating and 43 haste rating. Even if you're at the hit cap already, I'd consider picking these up -- the previous DPS plate badge gear was more turned for Fury warriors.

Badge cost: 100
Worth it?: Yes. Two sockets provides flexibility, and the haste isn't found on many items outside of BT/MH/ZA, so you might want to consider picking them up.

Girdle of Seething Rage: The stats on this are similar to the breastplate, there's just less of them (and you get a blue socket instead of a red). I would pick this up just to complete the haste "set" offered by these badges.

Badge cost: 75
Worth it?: If you were to equip all 4 items (axe, chest, legs, waist) you'd be looking at 177 haste rating, which is roughly an 11.3% increase in attack speed, which would passively increase the swing speed of that nice new axe from 3.5 down to 3.1, which is quite significant. You are, however, looking at a large number of badges needed before you get to that point (425, to be exact). That's about 5 months of clearing Kara once a week, if you do nothing else. On the bright side though, you may find a drop you need before that, thus saving you the badges.

Considering the rising cost of badge rewards, it's probably best to look at badges as insurance -- sometimes you just get unlucky and never see the drop you want. But if you just keep saving badges, you can eventually get that upgrade.
Patch 2.4 sounds great, but what's in it for you? Find out on our Sunwell Isle page where we list the impact on classes, professions, PvP, Raiders and many other playstyles and interests. Looking for more great info? Check out the WoW Insider Directory for the best of our guides and analysis.

Filed under: Paladin, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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