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Blood Sport: Gear decisions for S4

We're now a few weeks into Season 4. And, we've known even before it started that Season 4 gear would carry some rating requirements. And while we're all hopefully enjoying the new challenges of the new season, there are some folks who are starting Season 4 relatively fresh.

They don't have much Vengeful gear, or even Merciless Gladiator's gear -- they might be starting out in some quest greens and blues, with only a smattering of PvP gear across the character. Heck, some players might be in all Vengeful and Vindicator's gear already, and still facing the same question. Where should you start with the Season 4 gear?

Rating requirements and high point costs can make the gear curve seem like an insurmountable obstacle. Don't worry -- WoW Insider is here to help.

Let's chart a basic path of gear accrual -- via PvP only -- that will help every fledgeling PvPer grow into an Arena powerhouse. We're going to follow two paths, actually. One will assume that you do have the ratings required for each piece of gear. The other will assume that you do not have the ratings. In either case, our goal here is going to be to be sure you have a plan to pick up the available gear as you gain the available points.

Since we're talking about a path of progression in your gear accrual, we're also talking about "movement" along a continuum. On one side of the scale, we have "no PvP gear." Your quest greens, dropped blues, and even (for our purposes) your outdated S1 gear. On the other side, we have "full PvP gear." This is full S4 gear -- admittedly, it should also include the cases where you have all the gear you're realistically going to get. Your goal here is to get from the left side to the right side. The movement on that scale represents your inexorable and inevitable improvement in gear quality.

We have to make some assumptions so the model we're building can work. First, we're assuming that you'll get your gear almost exclusively from PvP activities. While badge gear and Tier tokens can significantly enhance your PvP experience -- if we included all those options here, our chart would get outrageously complex incredibly quickly. Second, we're assuming you're looking at wearing only PvP gear. A few classes can excel with PvE gear mixed into their PvP kit, but those are often the classes who aren't getting hit. And again -- trying to boil all those permutations into a single guide would create something longer than you're likely to read in one sitting. Second, we're going to assume that as you acquire more gear (and hopefully, the practice gets you some skill, too), your rating will slowly raise, you'll have more points available -- but we'll do a "What to get if you don't have the rating for it" scenario, also.

PvP gear can fill every single slot on your character. (Except your "Shirt." You're on your own there.) Since Honor Points and Arena Points are renewable resources for your character -- you'll get more -- you're greatest long-term limiting factor is going to be your Arena Rating.

Rating: 1,500

So -- the basic rung. At a personal rating of 1,500, when you just started your team, you probably want to buy the following:
  • Arena Gauntlet (Brutal Gladiator)
  • Season 4 Honor Belt
  • Season 4 Necklace
  • Battlemaster's Trinket (if you don't already have it)
  • CC-Break Trinket (if you don't already have it - and, go straight for the epic, if you can stomach the honor grind)
  • Season 3 Honor Ring (if you don't already have it)
  • Off-hand non-weapon (if you use it)
Now, which of these you want to buy depends on your class, spec, and style -- but Zach Yonson's got you covered per-class on that. Check out his guide on the gear for more information about which precisely to buy. In my perfect world, we're grinding all the way to the 40K honor epic CC-break trinket -- a little extra resilience, and honor isn't that hard to come by.

Total cost for the full kit, from nothing to all Rating 1,500 gear:
  • 1,125 Arena Points (2,250 with Off-Hand)
  • 115,084 Honor Points
  • 50 Alterac Valley marks of honor
  • 10 Eye of the Storm marks of honor
  • 40 Arathi Basin marks of honor
Rating: 1,550

Now we're getting to rating requirements. 1,550 is a fairly modest rating requirement. A few lucky matches will net even the sturdiest Prot Warrior/Prot Paladin comp a 1550 rating.

There's also not much to buy at this tier: you buy your Arena legs. Total cost: 1,875 Arena points.

Can't get that rating? Well, if you can't get 1,550 rating, then you should go to the complete opposite side of the Arena scale and get a ratingless version of something with a very high rating requirement. The strictest requirement for Arena shoulder pieces is 2,200 rating required in Brutal Gladiator's shoulders, versus even 1,950 required for the Vengeful gladiator's shoulders. But if you don't have 1,550, you certainly don't have 2,200 or 1,950. As a result, you should default to picking up a Vengeful Gladiator's headpiece, since the only ratingless shoulders are now bought with honor instead of Arena points. It's 1,700 rating requirement for a Brutal headpiece in Season 4, but ratingless for Vengeful headpiece -- spend the 1,500 Arena Points here instead. This way, the Vengeful head might help you bump your rating up to the 1,550 required for legs, without you immediately replacing the gear you bought.

Do go ahead and spend the honor on Merciless Gladiator's shoulders and weapons, if you're having trouble with 1,550 Arena rating -- I hate to say it, but you're probably not going to get the rating requirements for current-season Shoulders/Weapons any time soon.

Rating: 1,600

You can now buy your Arena S4 Chest piece and your Honor S4 Bracers.

Total cost:
  • 1,875 Arena points
  • 11,794 Honor points
  • 20 Warsong Gulch marks of honor
Can't get that rating? Same deal as at a 1,550 rating: you're trying to avoid replacing gear for as long as possible. As a result, your next best bet is actually to look at a Vengeful Headpiece or a Vengeful Chestpiece with your Arena points (whichever you don't have is fine). Legs, of course, will still be an option for you -- but if you've reached 1,600 rating, you should already have Brutal Gladiator's leg armor.

Rating: 1,700

You can now buy your Arena S4 Head piece and your Honor S4 boots.

Total cost:

  • 1,875 Arena points
  • 17,850 Honor points
  • 40 Eye of the Storm marks of honor

Can't get that rating? The bads news is that by the time you have achieved and can maintain a 1,700 rating, there's no more alternative Arena-purchased Arena gear for you that has no rating. You can purchase your Vengeful Headpiece to complete your Arena set bonus, but without getting your Arena rating higher -- the rest must be bought with Honor.

Rating: 1,800 and beyond

2,000 Rating just doesn't mean the same as it once did. From here on out, all you have left to buy are weapons and shoulders. If you think you're going to cruise-control to 2,200 without a problem -- save your points to buy only Brutal Gladiator's gear. If you're struggling, buy the best you can afford, and see if that helps you edge upward.

Planning out which gear you're going to buy isn't complicated, in this fashion. But it's a lot of points, and will ultimately all revolve around trying to get the most return out of each piece of gear that you do buy.

Good hunting out there.

Interested in Arenas? Our bloggers dig into the mechanics of arenas. Everything from beginners to the pros. We've got composition ideas, and tricks to help you fare better in your battles.



Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Guides, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

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