I'm not a fan of gearing up. I hate watching my gear fade into obsolescence. I hate swapping out my legendary Fangs of the Father for a set of blue weapons that were given to me after I washed a few yaks and played the role of a pre-employment drug screener for some amped-up goats.
Bill Gates infamously picks lazy people to do difficult jobs, because they'll find the easiest way to do it. I am that lazy person. I am always looking for the quickest way to get my rogue into raid-ready shape. The quicker that my rogue is geared up, the quicker I can get back to Eviscerating leveling players of the opposing faction. With a couple of weeks of grinding daily quests and some heroic dungeons mixed in, your rogue can be ready for the first tier of MoP raiding.
EP values aren't set in stone
If you have ever read a set of EP values or stat weights on a website, they were wrong. Any theorycrafter can tell you that the relative value of each DPS stat varies based on your current gear, and every new gem or enchant can shift the tide one way or the other. You can calculate the EP values for one exact gear set, but once you change anything, all of the EP values shift again. Tools like the currently-broken Shadowcraft are the only way to constantly recalculate your EP values as you make each change to your gear.
Your goal is to acquire high-quality rogue leather as fast as possible. Don't worry about whether you're picking up a haste/mastery necklace or a crit/expertise belt. There is plenty of time to min/max your gear and to focus on particular stats once you start picking up epic items.
In these early days of Mists, your job is to get enough gear to allow you to contribute to your raid. Any gear you acquire is likely to be better than what you picked up while leveling, so don't get too picky. Your typical set of pre-raid gear is going to be about ilvl 463, since that's what you can pick up in heroic dungeons. Focus on reforging to the hit and expertise caps first (7.5% of each) and then work on whatever stat ends up being the best for your raiding spec.
Justice gear is a stepping stone
There are two tiers of vendor gear in Mists: blue ilvl 458 gear that you buy with Justice Points and no rep requirements, and epic ilvl 489 gear that you buy with Valor Points and a revered rating. Don't believe any of the sites that tell you otherwise: all of the epic items are bought with VP, not JP.
Obviously the epic items are raid-quality gear, and you'll be shooting for these epics to fill slots in your arsenal. You can blow any free Justice Points on blue gear to bolster the worst gear you acquired while leveling in order to get yourself to the right ilvl for heroic dungeons. Your first major goal is to get enough JP gear to start heroics. You can also buy some of the leather PvP gear, which is ilvl 450, to boost your average ilvl to a heroic-ready value.
Grinding rep for epics
In order to buy the epic VP gear, you need to be revered the four major MoP factions. The first two factions you'll be working with are the Klaxxi, who are the bug dudes in the Dread Wastes, and the Golden Lotus, who defend the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. For your first few weeks at 90, you will be visiting each of these factions and doing their daily quests. There are no rep tabards in Pandaria, so you'll have to earn that rep the old fashioned way. Hit their quest hubs up once a day until you're revered with both factions. The Klaxxi also have some ilvl 463 blue weapons at exalted, but hopefully you'll have picked up some heroic weapons well before then.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it: get ready for a lot of daily quests. Once you've worked you way up to Revered with the Golden Lotus, you'll unlock two more factions. The August Celestials are out in the Krasarang Wilds, and the Shado-Pan are located in the Townlong Steppes. After getting revered with both of them, you'll finally have access to all of the available rep gear.
Luckily, you're a rogue, so killing a few mobs a few times a day for a few weeks shouldn't be too tough for you. Your second major goal at level 90 is to level all four major reputations to revered.
Earning and spending valor points
There's an epic valor item for every slot on your character that you can buy from the valor point vendors of the various factions. There are 3 epic items from each of the four major factions, for a total of 12 epic items. At an average cost of 2,000 VP per item, it would take you 24,000 valor points, or 24 weeks of hitting the 1k weekly VP cap to earn all of the valor items. You're obviously not going to want to spend the next half of a year farming VP, so make sure you're careful with your purchases. You won't even be able to buy your first VP item until you've capped your valor point earnings two or three weeks in a row.
Your primary method of gearing up and earning valor points will be grinding heroic dungeons. While these instances don't (usually) drop epic items or reward you with any reputation increases, they do drop ilvl 463 blue gear that will form the core of your leather arsenal. If you're in full ilvl 463 heroic gear, then you'll be ready for the first tier of Pandaria raiding. There are lots of good weapons (including two epic ilvl 476 weapons), trinkets, and general leather available from these heroic dungeons.
Find a friendly healer or tank and roll with them to get faster queues. Your third major goal at level 90 is to run as many heroic dungeons as possible, picking up any ilvl 463 rogue gear that you can get your hands on. Sure, the valor point gear will be nice, but you'll only be buying something every two weeks. Most of your gear will be coming from these heroic dungeons, so focus on heroics first. You'll likely be spending your first stack of VP on Tukka-Tuk's Hairy Boots or Anji's Keepsake, as there aren't equivalent epic items in Mogu'shan Vaults, the first raid.
The new expansion grind
- Cobble together a set of leather with JP gear and PvP leather to get yourself into heroic dungeons.
- Do all of your major rep dailies every day, even when you don't want to.
- Run as many heroic dungeons as you can, soaking up all of that beautiful ilvl 463 gear long the way.
- Be careful with your valor point purchases, as the items are expensive and your earning rate is low.
- Run heroic dungeons until you don't want to run heroic dungeons any more, and then keep running them until your average ilvl is 463.
Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.