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Shifting Perspectives: Gearing a restoration druid at 85

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This week, we find ourselves rolling against a legion of hybrid casters ("It's for my off spec!") in PUGs.

The above is yet another snippet of beta video that never made it into a Shifting article, mostly because I thought it was just a funny little clip. I don't know about other games, young lady, but in this expansion, we obey the laws of gravity.

Of interest is the almost complete lack of Omen of Clarity procs despite Malfurion's Gift (I'm not sure how much I like RNG's impact on our efficiency these days) and the healing done by the death knight's bloodworms. The amount of "free" healing that adds up from tank and DPS specs was (and perhaps remains) a real concern, as Paragon observed after testing tier 11 raid content back in November. We'll see how that plays out as more players approach raid content.

This column originally started out as a guide on the road to 85, similar to Shifting Perspectives: Patch 4.0.3a and the road to 85 for bears and cats. However, the more I worked on it, the more I felt I was just rewriting information already published by several excellent restoration bloggers. I've included links to that information here, but this article is going to be concerned with restoration gear in Cataclysm, where you can get it, and how you can gem/enchant it. Over the next several weeks we'll be bringing you as comprehensive a gear list as possible given certain limitations (i.e., we're only three weeks into Cataclysm), and I hope you'll have a good idea of where you are with respect to gear advancement with it.

On an unrelated note for bears Yes, Swipe's damage is unusually low even for the recent damage nerfs, and leveling a bear is a ridiculous hell right now due to the number of levels needed to get the talents and skills necessary to make the spec comparable to its brother tanks. I don't know when, how, or even if Blizzard plans to address either issue, but I'll take a look at it soon.

I've been leveling a new protection warrior alt alongside a new feral to get a better sense of what's going on. The former is like a Swiss watch with thousands of tiny gears all working together in well-oiled precision. The latter is like smashing your head into a nearby wall trying to knock yourself unconscious and losing the ability to make nonsensical comparison to Swiss watches.

First things first


Read 'em. Know 'em. Love 'em: Restoration gear from levels 80 to 85

Resto is in a position not entirely unlike the Wrath of the Lich King-era bear; higher ilevel pieces will almost always trump lower ilevel pieces simply because they've got more native intellect, and intellect is far and away our best stat. That said, Blizzard has actually made picking gear a lot easier. The same ilevel pieces are generally identical to each other with respect to primary stats (e.g., intellect, stamina) and differ only in their secondary stats. If you're upgrading from normal 5-man loot (ilevel 333) to heroic 5-man loot (ilevel 346), you will never have to worry about losing a primary stat; you'll get the intellect you need no matter what. The concern after that is which secondary stat you want to emphasize with your gear, and even if you don't get an ideal drop, you can always compensate somewhat by reforging for the stat you'd rather have.

What stats do I need to look for?

Look for intellect, haste, spirit, mastery, and crit in pretty much that order if you're the average resto druid, though spirit, mastery, and crit don't really have a fixed value.
  • Intellect's importance should be fairly obvious.
  • Haste is good regardless of the role you're doing. It makes your HoTs tick faster, gives additional ticks at certain thresholds (e.g., an additional tick of Rejuvenation at 915 haste), and speeds up direct healing spells like Nourish.
  • Spirit's importance varies on a case-by-case basis. If you're comfortable with your longevity and you're not running out of mana early on the content you're doing, you've got enough. If you find yourself running OOM faster than you'd like, prioritize spirit more (or yell at the group to stop standing in fire, whichever is at the root of your problems).
  • If you're primarily a tank healer, mastery's a pretty good stat. If you're primarily a raid healer, mastery will rarely have much impact on your throughput. If you're a 5-man healer, you're somewhere in between.
  • Crit is ... not that great. It's not that it's a bad stat, but it doesn't play a significant role in how our spells interact with each other, and the only talent in any way affected by it is Living Seed. In general, crit should be your lowest priority.
What should I reforge?

You should reforge either crit or mastery off your gear and into haste or spirit (assuming neither is native; you can't reforge to anything that's already on your gear). If you're comfortable with your mana regen, reforge haste. If you're not, reforge spirit. As your gear improves, you can probably afford to reforge more haste and less spirit, although different fights will tax your mana pool more than others.

How do I gem?
Should I go for socket bonuses? If you get a meaty intellect bonus from it (I think the threshold is 17 or more intellect), sure. If it's anything else, you're better off ignoring the bonus and gemming straight intellect.
Is there anything that won't be on this gear list?

I'm sure I've made some accidental omissions, but this is as comprehensive a list as I can manage given that the expansion's only three weeks old. However, I've omitted some otherwise usable pieces:
  • Cloth You shouldn't be using it. Wearing all leather will give you 5% additional intellect, assuming you had the sense to train Leather Specialization.
  • Most PvP pieces Spirit is not itemized on a number of resto druid PvP pieces, for what reason I can't fathom. On top of that, resilience is completely wasted in PvE content. If you find a PvP piece that has spirit and it's an upgrade to what you're wearing, go for it, but try to replace it with a PvE piece as soon as you can.
  • Anything with hit Ignore it unless it's a major upgrade and no caster DPS in the group/raid wants it. Hit, like resilience, is wasted on us, barring the infrequent times when you and only you are in position to crowd control or Soothe a mob.
  • I have included a number of DPS-oriented pieces (i.e., anything with intellect/spellpower but lacking spirit). The sad truth is that you're more likely to find haste on them than you are on their healing counterparts. However, you don't want a set loaded with haste at the expense of spirit; healing efficiency's bad enough without making it deliberately worse.
Should I go for tier bonuses?

Sure. The two-piece bonus isn't that great (extra crit for Lifebloom), but the four-piece is pretty good (540 free spirit with a full Lifebloom stack).

Righty-o. We'll get to the beginning of the list via the link below.



Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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