A new patch has come and brought with it many new wonders. The final content patch of the Cataclysm expansion has finally gone live, bringing three new dungeons tied intricately with the story of the new raid zone. It's an exciting time for everyone involved as stories come to a close, and there are many new toys to play with like transmogrification and the Raid Finder.
One of the greatest things about a new raid tier is the amount of new gear you get to play with. Each tier in Cataclysm has done things a little different with how you obtain your gear, combining valor points and tokens from raid in order to obtain your tier pieces and raid drops with off-set valor gear to fill in your gaps. This tier is no exception to the changing gearing climate, and the number of options is almost staggering.
Valor points are something that can more or less be easily obtained. You get it for running your weekly heroic dungeons, for killing bosses in raids and now for the new Raid Finder feature, whereupon completing the segment of the raid zone for the first time in a lockout, you get your valor points.
Something that's changed this tier (compared to the other two prior to it) is that your valor points are used to buy your off-set items instead of any of your tier pieces. Your only option for relics still come from valor points, but you can get one your first week of raiding or dungeoning. There are quite a few options, and many that can either fill your gear gap or tide you over until you can get a lucky drop from a raid. Best of all, they are some pretty decent pieces of gear.
- Threadlinked Chain 1,250
- Band of Reconstruction 1,250
- Reflection of the Light 1,650
- Bottled Wishes 1,650
- Woundlicker Cover 1,250
- Wolfdream Circlet 2,200
- Ghostworld Chestguard 2,200
- Girdle of Shamanic Fury 1,650
- Sabatons of the Graceful Spirit 1,650
- Bracers of the Spectral Wolf 1,250
- Gloves of Ghostly Dreams 1,650
- Lightning Spirit in a Bottle 700
- Mindbender Lens 700
Heroic dungeon items
The three new heroic dungeons in this tier offer a large amount of gear from the various bosses. It's actually quite surprising how good some of these can be. For anyone who didn't get a chance to go through Firelands and collect gear, some of these items can be just as good in the time between starting your raiding foray into Dragon Soul and gearing up. I mean, just take a look at some of these goodies!
Well of Eternity
Hour of twilight
- Stalk of Corruption
- Fanged Tentacle
- Pauldrons of Midnight Whispers
- Cloak of Subtle Light
- Surestride Boots
I don't know about you, but I'm sure impressed with a lot of the items. Compare the Echoing Headguard to Crown of Flame from Ragnaros. While the crown is better in terms of raw stats, it's also a few item levels ahead of the headguard. Still though, it's not that bad as an in-between piece. Also compare items like Ward of Incantations with Ward of the Red Widow from Beth'tilac. The ward has more haste and more intellect but sacrifices a red socket. Also, instead of spirit, it packs quite a bit of mastery. It's a nice piece to pick up, as it has quite a bit of the stats we're looking for; if you never got your hands on the ward of the red widow, it will keep you warm and fuzzy at night and in dungeons.
Raids have traditionally offered the greatest amount of gear per tier and the better quality of gear as a whole. The current tier is no exception to this rule of thumb. Some of the best gear can be obtained in the Dragon Soul raid instance. The best part about it is that not only can you do it in a 10-man or 25-man with your friends, but there are versions of this gear available through the Raid Finder. It's slightly lower ilevel than the normal versions, but they are still pretty darn good.
One thing the developers at Blizzard have changed this tier is that you cannot simply buy your tier pieces through gathering valor points. At first, the announcement sparked some concern that players not available to raid the many hours a week it normally takes would be left out, unlike recent raid tier history. The Raid Finder just makes the pieces easier to obtain, in my opinion. In as little as 60 minutes, you can complete an entire wing of the raid and not only get the chance at some amazing loot but actually participate in the encounters. To me, that's worth much more than simply running dungeons and stocking valor points. There is a plethora of items available in the raid for you to choose from; here's a complete list.
- Spiritwalker's Tunic
- Spiritwalker's Handwraps
- Spiritwalker's Faceguard
- Spiritwalker's Mantle
- Spiritwalker's Legwraps
- Ti'tahk, the Steps of Time
- Visage of the Destroyer
- Maw of the Dragonlord
- Scalpel of Unrelenting Agony
- Vagaries of Time
- Timepiece of the Bronze Flight
- Ledger of Revolting Rituals
- Petrified Fungal Heart
- Imperfect Specimens 27 and 28
- Grotesquely Writhing Bracers
- Belt of Shattered Elementium
- Girdle of Shattered Stone
- Mindstrainer Treads
- Ring of the Riven
- Signet of Suturing
- Heart of Unliving
- Seal of the Seven Signs
- Windward Heart
That's quite a bit of gear for the restorationminded shaman, especially when you consider it's spread out over a mere eight boss encounters. Besides the tier pieces, there are some very good trinkets, some great main-hand weapons and some decent choices for your off hand. Personally, I like the choice in gear this tier. It gives you a lot of room if you want to go the mastery route of healing, or it makes it quite nice to hit the next soft cap for haste. With items like Seal of the Seven Signs, you can even momentarily push the global cooldown with haste. While I'm normally not a fan of proc trinkets and weapons, I'm fairly impressed with them this tier. I recently obtained the Seal of the Seven Signs, and I've noticed that it's pretty much always procced as long as it's not on the internal cooldown. I honestly can't wait to try out the proc weapons, as they just seem like they will be one wild and awesome time.
So what do you think of all the gear available at this tier? Will you go the haste or the mastery route? What trinkets will you be shooting for?
Totem Talk: Restoration lets you Ask a Shaman about the tricks of the trade. We'll introduce you to the very latest pre-raid gear and show you how to manage your cooldowns. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!