Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, brings the second part of our Moonkin gear guide with Nasirah, the Moonkin master, the driving force behind A Tale of Two Druids until her terminal altitis took over. Now, she writes Alts Ahoy, but she danced like a Moonkin once more to share her wisdom for this guide.
This week we complete our two part Moonkin gear guide for preparing for Karazhan.
In part one, we covered most of the basics about gear choices, and the reader comments that followed offered excellent additional advice. This week, since we are covering Belt slots through Weapons and Idols, there are just a few more notes to cover before we begin.
A few notes about weapons:
If your guild already has Kara on farm and you're just getting your character ready to join in, you may expect to get upgrades fairly quickly. The Staff of Inifinite Mysteries drops from Curator and the Nathrezim Mindblade drops from Prince, so some of the epic weapons listed here may not be worth the effort to attain. However, to the character whose entire guild is now getting ready to start Kara, or simply someone who has the time/gold to spare and wants the best gear they can get, the options are certainly there.
Also worth mentioning, is that while the majority of Season 2 PvP gear is worth looking at for any equipment slot you feel weak in, the weapons available from Season 2 really shine. Even the Season 1 weapons blew most pre-Kara options away, and now that Season 2 is available for honor, it's really no contest. But, if you don't enjoy PvP, these other avenues for gear are perfectly acceptable; these are the weapons that people were "meant" to be using when going into Kara for the first time.
And of course, when upgrading from a 1H/off-hand to a staff, be sure to hold onto those two items. You never know when you might get a really awesome 1H weapon or off-hand that will make the combo better than your staff.
And now, let's get on to the gear!
Blackwhelp Belt - from Whelps of the Wyrmcult in Blade's Edge Mountains
Standard starter item.
Moonrage Girdle - from Steamvault, normal or heroic (1st boss)
Part of the T2 look-alike set. This is a solid piece for the slot, and coming from the first boss of a non-heroic, it's easy to farm if you have a group willing to help you.
Windhawk Belt - crafted with Leatherworking, BoP
The final piece of the set, this is the best pre-Kara option for Tribal Leatherworking moonkin. As with the others, it offers an additional healing bonus for swapping roles.
A'dal's Gift - from How to Break into the Arcatraz in Netherstorm
Requires completing both Mechanar and Botanica to complete this quest. But, unlike drops, this is a guaranteed item, plus you won't have to battle clothies for it. Provides a higher damage boost than the leather options (aside from Windhawk).
Sash of Serpentra - from Steamvault, normal or heroic (final boss)
Mostly worth mentioning for the spell hit, or if you need a stamina boost. Otherwise, Moonrage Girdle is your better bet.
Belt of Depravity - from Arcatraz, heroic mode (final boss)
Offers the same spell hit as Sash of Serpentra, but higher damage and stats for the greater effort it takes to get it. However, unless you run with all melee, you'll have some competition for this item.
Leggings of the Third Coin - from Levixus the Soul Caller in Terokkar Forest
Very easy to obtain, and a strong balance of damage and stats. The quest chain starts just outside Auchenai Crypts, so you may have missed it while leveling.
Moonchild Leggings - from Blood Furnace, heroic mode (2nd boss)
Part of the T2 look-alike set. Lower stats but more flexibility than the above option.
Kurenai Kilt/Tempest Leggings - available at Revered with Kurenai/Mag'har
Light on base stats, but very strong on damage, and not hard to obtain. Unless you're having trouble with health and mana, these are probably your best option.
Spellstrike Pants - crafted with Tailoring, BoE
Like the Kilt/Leggings, these are very strong on damage, but light on stats. However, if you're still striving to get hit-capped, these are worth the investment.
Druidic Force Boots - from Delivering the Message in Netherstorm
Another simple, soloable string for a starter set of boots. Just as a note, the following quest in the chain is group 5, but rewards a nice damage staff (or, if you don't need it, healing/feral staves for off-sets).
Uvuros Hide Boots - from Wanted: Uvuros, Scourge of Shadowmoon in Shadowmoon Valley (horde version)
This is a group quest, given at a wanted poster in either Wildhammer Stronghold or Shadowmoon Village. Comparable to the Druidic Force Boots, but with slightly different stat focus.
Moonstrider Boots - from Sethekk Halls, normal or heroic (1st boss)
Final piece of the T2 look-alike set. Very solid pre-Kara gear for this slot.
Shattrath Jumpers - from Into the Heart of the Labyrinth in Shadow Labyrinth
Comparable to the Moonstrider boots, and available via quest. If you're unlucky with drops, this is a fine option as well.
Shimmering Azure Boots - from Securing the Celestial Ridge in Netherstorm
Inferior to the two blue options, but an easily accessible piece of hit gear. They're rewarded from a mostly soloable string, ending with a group 3 quest.
Manastorm Band - from Shutting Down Manaforge Ara in Netherstorm - Scryer version only
Only accessible to Scryers, but easily attainable from a string you should be doing anyway for rep. Final quest may require a friend or two.
Band of the Guardian - from Hero of the Brood in Black Morass
Not as good as the other options here, but has the benefit of being a quest reward, guaranteed with one successful run of the instance.
Scintillating Coral Band - from Steamvault, normal or heroic (1st boss)
Ryngo's Band of Ingenuity - from Arcatraz, normal or heroic (3rd boss)
These two are fairly equal, both good options if you can get them.
Sparking Arcanite Ring - from Old Hillsbrad, heroic mode (final boss)
Seal of the Exorcist - available for 50 Spirit Shards
Ashyen's Gift - available at Exalted with Cenarion Expedition
These are your spell hit options for this slot. Ashyen's Gift is the strongest, but depending on what's most attainable for you, any of these could be useful in helping reach the hit cap.
Seer's Signet - available at Exalted with Scryers
Another Scryer-only option, this is a very strong DPS ring.
Ring of Cryptic Dreams - available for 25 badges
If you can't get the Seer's Signet, this is another strong option. However, keep in mind that once you start running Karazhan you will be getting ring upgrades fairly quickly, so you may just want to save your badges till you can afford the Fused Nethergon Band (available for 60 badges).
Ring Enchant (if an enchanter)
Starkiller's Bauble - from The Horrors of Pollution in Netherstorm
Arcanist's Stone - from Old Hillsbrad, heroic mode (final boss)
Scryer's Bloodgem - available at Revered with Scryers
These are your spell hit options for trinkets. Scryer's Bloodgem is the best option, but the others are available for Aldors. All offer a temporary damage increase as well.
Quagmirran's Eye - from Slave Pens, heroic mode (final boss)
This is nice simply for the flat damage bonus. A short burst of spell haste every so often is simply an additional perk.
Xi'ri's Gift - available at Revered with Sha'tar
Standard trinket with an increase to crit, as well as a temporary damage boost.
Icon of the Silver Crescent - available for 41 badges
Flat damage bonus with an additional temporary boost. This is an excellent trinket, but could be on the expensive side pre-Kara. However, you'll likely use it well into Kara, so definitely worth the investment if you have the badges.
Figurine - Living Ruby Serpent/Figurine - Crimson Serpent - crafted with Jewelcrafting, BoP
Both provide a temporary damage boost similar to that of other trinkets, but these are a nice increase to your health and mana pools as well. Certainly not the best spell damage trinkets, but worth considering if you're a jewelcrafter.
Sorcerer's Alchemist Stone - crafted with Alchemy, BoP
All alchemists should be using this trinket, both for the high damage increase, plus better mana return from your potions. Getting this requires Revered with the Sha'tar (for the original Alchemist's Stone recipe) and Exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive.
Darkmoon Card: Crusade - from collecting the Darkmoon Blessings Deck
A pure spell damage trinket, one of the best in the game, and THE best available without raiding. Once the stack is full, you get 80 extra bonus damage for the duration of the fight. It can be quite expensive, but if you start looking for cards early, the trinket will likely last a long time.
Auchenai Staff - available at Revered with Aldor
An easy, attainable starter weapon for Aldors.
Ameer's Impulse Taser - from Nexus-King Salhadaar in Netherstorm
Another good starter weapon for those who can't get the Auchenai Staff.
Warpstaff of Arcanum - from Botanica, normal or heroic (final boss)
A nice upgrade to Ameer's, fairly easy to obtain.
Bloodfire Greatstaff - from Black Morass, normal or heroic (final boss)
Another solid pre-Kara staff, preferable over the others if spell hit isn't needed.
The Bringer of Death - random BoE drop
Lower stats but higher damage than the Greatstaff. Check the AH early and often to find it for a good price, and you could have this waiting for you when you hit 70.
Sun-Infused Focus Staff - from Magisters' Terrace, normal mode (final boss)
Another very good staff, includes highest spell hit rating of any staff, as well as three sockets for customization.
Terokk's Shadowstaff - from Sethekk Halls, heroic mode (final boss)
This is the best pre-Kara staff, if you are lucky enough to get it.
Hammer of Righteous Might - crafted with Blacksmithing, BoE
This is a curious weapon, the only 2H-mace that seems truly tailored for casters, lacking the melee stats that a ret pally or enhancement shaman might want. It is fairly expensive to craft, but a decent substitute for the Terokk's Shadowstaff and probably the second best 2H caster weapon available without raiding.
Runesong Dagger - from Shattered Halls, normal or heroic (2nd boss, 3rd on Heroic)
Starlight Dagger - from Slave Pens, heroic mode (1st boss)
Bleeding Hollow Warhammer - from Slave Pens, heroic mode (final boss)
These are all fairly equal, with only slightly different stats. Starlight Dagger would be preferred if you're looking for spell hit. Otherwise, take what you can get based on the instance you prefer to run.
Seeker's Gavel - available at Revered with Shattered Sun Offensive
Offers some spell hit and very high stamina for a one-handed weapon. Easily attainable through dailies.
Gavel of Unearthed Secrets - available at Exalted with Lower City
Very long rep grind, but a good weapon if you can get it.
Eternium Runed Blade - crafted with Blacksmithing, BoE
Expensive, but another good pre-Kara weapon.
Weapon Enchant for both One and Two Handed:
The Saga of Terokk - from Terokk's Legacy in Sethekk Halls
Since this is a guaranteed item, available through a quest, it's the standard starter off-hand for most casters.
Netherwing Sorceror's Charm - from Ally of the Netherwing in Shadowmoon Valley
Not quite as much damage as the Saga of Terokk, but includes mp5 if you're lacking in that stat (in a 1min 40sec fight or longer, the mp5 on this outweighs the Saga's extra intellect). Also of note is that, although this opens up the Netherwing dailies, you DO NOT need your epic flight skill to complete this quest string, it is accessible to anyone.
Star-Heart Lamp - from Black Morass, normal or heroic (2nd boss)
Lamp of Peaceful Radiance - from Arcatraz, normal or heroic (final boss)
Two very similar options, equal spell hit, one has slightly higher damage, the other has slightly higher stats. Again, take what you can get based on the instance you prefer to run.
Crystal Orb of Enlightenment - available at Exalted with Ogri'la
Easily accessible through dailies, though you will need a group to help you get the Apexis Crystals needed to purchase it.
Fetish of the Primal Gods - available for 35 badges
Best pre-Kara off hand if you have the badges to spend. Khadgar's Knapsack is another option (for 25 badges) but at only 10 more badges, this is a better investment.
Idol of the Avenger - from News of Victory in Shadowmoon Valley (horde version)
This is your Wrath-spamming idol. It involves a rather lengthy quest string that starts at Besieged! (horde version), but the entire thing is soloable.
Ivory Idol of the Moongoddess - from Shattered Halls, normal or heroic (1st boss)
This is your Starfire-spamming idol, better for boss fights than Idol of the Avenger due to the spell being more mana efficient than Wrath.
Idol of the Unseen Moon - available for 20 badges
This gives your Moonfire a chance to give a 10-second buff to all damage and healing. Patch 2.3 added an internal cooldown to this trinket, but it was removed in 2.4, making this again a very good trinket assuming you use Moonfire as part of your cast rotation.
The Idol of the Raven Goddess, the Idol you receive as a reward from the swift flight quest, has party-wide effects. Honestly I'm not sure how this compares to the other ones. Obviously it helps out the whole group, but everything I've ever seen about it just talks about the healing benefit. I honestly don't know how much the extra crit rating from the Moonkin Aura would compare to the extra damage you'd do personally using one of the other idols.
22.1 crit rating = 1%, so this is not quite 1% added to everyone's crit. If your group all benefit from high crit, then it might be very good, but if you are in a mixed group including affliction warlocks and shadow priests, I'd say it's probably better to use one of the other Idols to just boost your own damage. It might also depend on how geared the rest of the group is. If I was the lowest geared member of the group, it would probably be better to give the others my increased aura, to make their awesome damage go even farther. However, those decisions aren't based on any kind of math, just my own instinct.
That's going to do it for this guide. Thanks for reading!
My thanks once again, of course, to Nasirah, who has done just an incredible amount of work, and brought us all a great deal of insight into this spec and the gear that you will find useful. Make sure to go visit her blog and say "Hello!".