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Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your Balance Druid at 80

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we start to wonder where the hell all the +hit from "Burning Crusade" went.

Greetings, fellow Druids, and welcome to another installment on Wrath gear at 80, and this week it's the boomkins' turn. Next week I'm going to tackle Bear gear at 80; Dan O'Halloran will take care of our Cat colleagues.

As a number of people have observed, it's tougher to get +hit-capped pre-raid in leather as opposed to cloth, so you're going to find an awful lot of cloth on the list. I realize this represents a new and exciting development in the history of moonkin itemization. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. That's French for "We're screwed."

Supplementary reading:
As with our previous entry on pre-raid Restoration gear at 80, these guides assume that you do not presently have access to either 10-man or 25-man raids.



If you've read the Restoration piece, you'll be familiar with how I'm organizing gear for these guides, but for the sake of reference:

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 usable 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), 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. You won't, but it's nice to dream!

With respect to item weight, I'm prioritizing +hit, then +spellpower, +haste, then +crit, in accordance with balance theorycraft concerning maximum-DPS builds.



HEAD

Best drop: Battlemap Hide Helm, off Prince Keleseth in heroic Utgarde Keep.

Best quest piece: Cowl of the Vindictive Captive, from the quest Vengeance Be Mine! in Utgarde Pinnacle if you're hit-capped. If you're not, use The Argent Skullcap, from the quest The Crusaders' Pinnacle.

Best faction piece: Helm of the Majestic Stag, available at honored with the Kirin Tor. This is really not a Balance piece, but it's the only helm you'll be able to get from a faction if all else fails.

Runner-up: Hat of Wintry Doom, a BoE piece from Tailoring.

Enchant: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries, available at revered with the Kirin Tor.

Meta: Chaotic Skyflare Diamond. Some prefer the Ember Skyflare, however.


NECK


Best overall: Encircling Burnished Gold Chains, available for 25 emblems of heroism.

Best drop: Necklace of Taldaram, from Prince Taldaram in heroic Old Kingdom.

Best quest piece: Emeline's Locket, from the quest The Admiral Revealed in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: n/a. You're out of luck here.

Runner-up: Titanium Spellshock Necklace, a Jewelcrafting BoE.



SHOULDERS

Best drop: Spaulders of Krystallus, from Krystallus in heroic Halls of Stone.

Best quest piece: Mantle of the Flesh Giant, from the quest The Flesh Giant Champion in Icecrown. If you prefer +crit to +haste, use Shoulderpads of the Adventurer, from the quest Halls of Stone in (where else?) Halls of Stone.

Best faction piece: n/a. Another dead slot.

Runner-up: Dark Runic Mantle, a BoE drop from heroic Halls of Stone, or Purehorn Spaulders, a Leatherworking BoE.

Enchant: Greater Inscription of the Storm, available at exalted with the Sons of Hodir, unless you're a level 400+ Inscriptionist and have access to Master's Inscription of the Storm.

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

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