I do not advise losing power during a record heat wave. Not only will you not have air conditioning, but you will also not have WoW to distract you from the fact that every cell in your body is shouting, "F%$& this!" and trying to effect a traitorous escape through your sweat glands.
Anyway, before all that unpleasantness went down, I started assembling a list of enchants and various profession goodies on the beta in order to get my guardian/restoration druid prepared for heroics and raids. This isn't as narrow a list as I would like for the simple reason that not everything appears to be in the game yet or theorycrafted, but -- well, let's think of it as a good start. I'll be winnowing this further as Blizzard wraps up class balancing on the beta and we get a more concrete sense of what to expect for stat priorities.
This week we'll do guardians, and next up will be restoration.
Revisiting the 101 guide
I'll be rewriting our 101 guide to the spec after the Mists of Pandaria content patch hits or when the expansion itself does. I guess it'll depend on which build seems to be the more stable. Blizzard often experiments with specs during raid testing and in the brief period before an expansion. Of course, during the Cataclysm beta, we also had the Giant Bear Nerf of 2010, so I'm a little antsy about making too many predictions in case Blizzard decides to stomp us flatter than a Kansas pizza.
Sadly, I think such a nerf is pretty likely. Mangle does crazy-high damage, and if other tanks' accounts on the forums are anything to go on, their "active mitigation" abilities don't seem quite as useful as Savage Defense and Frenzied Regeneration. I could be an optimist and speculate that this will result in Blizzard's leaving SD and FR alone while buffing the other tanks. However, people who lose power during heat waves are not optimists. They are murderous, ragey bitch monsters consumed with the idea of sweaty retribution and ice cream.
Tentative enchant and item modification list
Early enchants will be expensive enchants because people won't be sitting on a lot of Sha Crystals for at least a month or two. The situation will be somewhat alleviated by enchanters' ability to combine three Ethereal Shards into a crystal, but I would still plan on spending a lot of gold if you have to equip a bear tank for early raiding.
A quick note: I've had choppy access to the internet of late, and if I've missed any conclusive recent news on stat weights, I apologize. I've assembled this list assuming that Blizzard has yet to do a final pass-through on the guardian and that stat priorities may change (and change significantly, at that).
- Head Gone! Head enchants are no longer anything to worry about.
- Neck N/A.
- Shoulders Scribes have now taken over the shoulder enchant market, which I'm sure is wonderful news given the reasonable prices they charge for glyphs. (Christ, it's like watching the mob diversify into Amco sales.) At any rate, you'll be purchasing either the Greater Ox Horn Inscription or Greater Tiger Claw Inscription from them. I'm assuming the Secret Ox Horn Inscription and Secret Tiger Claw Inscription are scribe-only enchants.
- Cloak This one is interesting in that there are three enchants here that could all do some serious good. Superior Critical Strike may be a worthy choice since raw crit is now a much better stat, but Enchant Cloak -- Greater Protection is always going to be tempting to a tank. There may also be a niche for Enchant Cloak -- Accuracy, given the increased importance of hit and expertise for "rage capping."
- Chest As with present enchants, you'll have your pick between Glorious Stats and Superior Stamina.
- Bracers Greater Agility is likely to be the winner, but Superior Dodge looks a hell of a lot cheaper.
- Gloves This will probably be Superior Expertise (at least before you hit the soft expertise cap), if mastery continues to be a relatively poor stat. If mastery gets better, Superior Mastery.
- Belt I'm assuming the Living Steel Buckle will be the MoP equivalent of present belt buckles.
- Legs Leatherworkers will be making and selling Ironscale Leg Armor and Shadowleather Leg Armor.
- Boots Blurred Speed will likely be best in slot. As with the glove and cloak slots, Greater Precision may find a niche, but you'd really have to be hurting for hit to bypass a run speed enchant.
- Rings If you're an enchanter, your two options will be Greater Agility or Greater Stamina.
- Weapon This is another interesting slot. Dancing Steel, Colossus, and Flowing River are all contenders, as long as you're willing to take the in-game equivalent of a second mortgage to afford them.
- Flask of Spring Blossoms
- Flask of the Earth
- For a huge agility boost at the cost of being able to use a Master Healing Potion, chug a Virmen's Bite. The armor equivalent is the Potion of the Mountains.
- Alchemists will want to make an Alchemist's Flask for themselves.
This will probably land us squarely back in second mortgage territory again.
- The Austere Primal Diamond will likely be the meta of choice.
- The Delicate Primordial Ruby will probably play a starring role in the arsenal. Other options will likely include the Adept Vermilion Onyx (if mastery gets better), the Deadly Vermilion Onyx (if crit stays good), the Glinting Imperial Amethyst, and the Polished Vermilion Onyx from among the orange gems. For purple and blue, the reliable standbys Shifting Imperial Amethyst and Solid River's Heart pop up.
- Jewelcrafters will want to create their Serpent's Eye gems (agility and stamina) for themselves.
The Pandaren Banquet and Great Pandaren Banquet are the MoP equivalents to the Seafood Magnifique. For stamina and agility, I don't think all of the pandaren recipes are on Wowhead yet, but the Chun Tian Spring Rolls will boost stamina and Sea Mist Rice Noodles will boost agility. These seem to be the terminal recipes in their respective specializations.
Shifting Perspectives: Bear and Resto Edition takes a peek at healer balance in Dragon Soul, discovers why bears and PvP gear are a pretty good mix, lends advice on gearing up to hit the Raid Finder, and helps you level a druid in the Cataclysm era.