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Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your Restoration Druid at 80

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we take a look at how to gear a PvE Restoration Druid at level 80, in the hopes of preventing other trees from suffering our fate during our first 10-man Naxx run, which -- no, no, it's too painful even to think about. Pass the schnapps.

EDIT: This guide has been updated for patch 3.3 and Icecrown content. Please click here for a guide on gearing a new restoration druid as of May 2010
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Greetings readers, and welcome to Wrath Gear-A-Palooza 2009. We'll be running one of these for each Druid spec.

I'm not going to "rank" gear numerically, because I think that's a fairly unhelpful means of organizing items when your access to all of them as a fresh 80 may be very limited. Generally you're going to have access to quest rewards and faction gear before you get access to badge pieces or oft-uncooperative heroic drops, so I've organized the list by where you can get particular drops. It's generally safe to assume that a heroic drop is better than a blue you're using from an Icecrown quest, but not always. If you're starting to move into higher levels of gear, I found the following links to be incredibly helpful, and I hope you do too:
Otherwise, assuming a proper spec, gems, and enchants, you can successfully heal any of the game's 5-man or raid content (10-man or 25-man) with a healing set derived from the following list. That's a promise. This list assumes that you do not have access to 10- or 25-man raids for the time being and are gearing up primarily through questing, 5-mans, and heroics.

To the extent that I've ranked anything, for inclusion in this list I'm prioritizing +spellpower and +spirit (and secondarily +intellect) over everything else. I am a very big fan of spirit, both on gear and in talents, and this gear list assumes that you are taking relevant Spirit-related talents in the Restoration tree (which are generally a part of standard Restoration builds at 80 anyway). If you're not, you'll want to prioritize mp5 gear more than I have here. Mana regeneration isn't as big a deal if you do mostly 5-mans and heroics, but if you're planning to raid at either the 10-man or 25-man level, you have some fairly lengthy fights ahead of you. This gets much worse if your guild is going for any of the raid achievements, as many of them (particularly Sartharion with drakes up) will tax your mana supply.

Gear is divided into the following categories --

Best overall: If there's one piece that's just better than anything else you can get, I'll have it listed here. Most of these will cost you Emblems of Heroism or a truckload of gold, however.

Best drop/s: Self-explanatory, the best (typically heroic) 5-man drops you can get.

Best quest piece: Also self-explanatory, but fair warning -- if you're looking to get most of your pieces outside of 5-mans, many of the quests rewarding the best pieces are linked to dungeons (usually normal) or group quests.

Best faction piece: If a quartermaster offers a useful piece, it'll be here. You'll get convenience at the cost of having to deal with pieces that are usually a dog's breakfast of caster stats, though.

Runner-up: This is kind of a catch-all term for good, usable, or even excellent pieces you can get by other means. If there's a blue or epic BoE piece floating around the AH, or a workhorse 5-man drop you can also use, it'll be here. Some of the pieces in the runner-up slot may seem odd for inclusion there (e.g. epics like raid BoE's or Moonshroud), but as far as I'm concerned, if it's going to cost you a metric ton of gold to get them, they are firmly optional. You do not need to be equipped in full epics to raid as long as you're not lazy about enchants and gems.

Enchant: Just in case you have any gold left after gearing up. Ha ha! I kid because I love.
HEAD

Best overall: Helm of Anomalus from heroic Nexus.

Best drops: Crown of Unbridled Magic from the Cache of Eregos in heroic Oculus, or Forgotten Shadow Hood from Salramm the Fleshcrafter in heroic Culling of Stratholme. These are actually pretty similar overall to the Anomalus helm, so if you get one of the three, don't bother trying to get another one if you've spent the money on gems and the enchant.

Best quest piece: Shroud of Temptation, from the quest Cleansing Drak'tharon in Grizzly Hills/Drak'tharon Keep.

Best faction piece: Helm of the Majestic Stag, available at honored with the Kirin Tor.

Runner-up: Elder Headpiece, from Elder Nadox in heroic Old Kingdom. No meta socket, but it'll tide you over until you can get a helm that has one.

Enchant: Arcanum of Blissful Mending, available at revered with the Wyrmrest Accord.

Meta: While you're gearing up, an Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is going to be helpful. With better gear, an Ember Skyflare might ultimately be better than the static proc from the Insightful. This is the subject of some discussion over at EJ.

NECK

Best drop: Amulet of Dazzling Light, from Anomalus in heroic Nexus.

Best quest piece: Amulet of the Crusade, from the quest The Admiral Revealed in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: n/a.

Runner-up: Dragon-Prow Amulet, a BoE from heroic Utgarde Keep trash.


SHOULDERS

Best drops: Silent Spectator Shoulderpads, from Svala Sorrowgrave in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, or Mantle of Deceit, from the Dark Runed chest in heroic Culling of Stratholme.

Best quest piece: Lightning Infused Mantle, from the quest Diametrically Opposed in Storm Peaks.

Best faction piece: n/a.

Runner-up: Runecaster's Mantle, a BoE from heroic Utgarde Keep trash.

Enchant: Greater Inscription of the Crag, available at exalted with the Sons of Hodir. However, if you have 400 Inscription, you'll have access to Master's Inscription of the Crag, which you'll want to use instead.

Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Enchants, Guides, Factions, Raiding, Features, Instances, Wrath of the Lich King, Tips

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