The subject of today's article is, shall we say, an immediate concern. Due to the demand for tanks and healers in the new 5-mans, my main will hit 90 before she even makes it to the halfway point of questing through the Valley of Four Winds. This is good, because I get to relax and enjoy questing as an extended treat without having to worry about leveling. This is bad, because she's about 20 ilevels off from where she needs to be in order to access Mists of Pandaria heroics.
This guide assumes that you will need an average ilevel of 440 to access heroics, because that was the number Blizzard was using on the beta. (Note: This is only true via the dungeon finder. Nothing prevents you from running out to the new heroics yourself with a group, but either way, 440's a decent number to aim for if you're worried about being sufficiently geared.) There are only four normal MoP dungeons, and only one of them (Mogu'shan Palace) drops gear that will help you clear this threshold.
If I had to condense this guide's advice, it would be:
- Quest through the Townlong Steppes and the Dread Wastes.
- Be prepared to spend some justice points.
- Farm normal Mogu'shan Palace.
- If you have a good option available from professions (whether primary or secondary), don't ignore it.
This isn't a very easy slot until you reach Townlong. Engineers who are willing to spend a butt-load of money are covered, but that's about it.
- Engineers: Agile Retinal Armor
- Quests: The best you'll get is the Steppebeast Helm from The Sha of Hatred in the Townlong Steppes. If other gear allows you to clear the ilevel 440 threshold, you can also use the Ghost Fox Helm from Reunited in the Dread Wastes.
- Various Zom's Misty Hood, a BOE.
Personally, I'm just planning to buy the JP neck.
- Jewelcrafting: Golembreaker Amulet
- Quests: You'll have to be exalted with the Golden Lotus even to get access to this, but Delicate Necklace of the Golden Lotus will be available from The Final Power in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. On a more realistic note, the Swarmborn Necklace from The Klaxxi Council in the Dread Wastes is okay, but falls short of the 440 cutoff.
- Various Don Guerrero's Glorious Choker, a BOE, may pop up on the auction house. Astrylian's Cheerful Charm is another BOE option.
- Vendor The Amulet of Swirling Mists will be the fastest way to get a decent item in this slot.
The phrase "problem slot" feels like it's becoming a Buddhist mantra.
- Leatherworking If you're desperate and nowhere close to getting through the Dread Wastes, you can bung in the Contender's Leather Shoulders.
- Quests Ghost Fox Spaulders from The Mariner's Revenge in the Dread Wastes.
This one's a little easier. Leatherworking has a good option that doesn't look overly expensive to make (she said, perhaps too optimistically).
- Leatherworking Quick Strike Cloak
- Quests Sapmaster's Cloak from Bound With Shade in the Dread Wastes.
- Vendor Bladesong Cloak
- Various Dory's Pageantry, a BOE.
I'm not sure why the Foul Cadaverous Tunic, a quest reward from An End to the Suffering in the new Scholomance, is an ilevel 440 and not an ilevel 463, which it seems like it should be as a quest reward in a heroic. The Crimson Monk Handwraps are in the same boat.
- Leatherworking Greyshadow Chestguard
- Quest Steppebeast Tunic from The Point of No Return in the Townlong Steppes or Ghost Fox Tunic from Fresh Pots in the Dread Wastes.
- Vendor Refurbished Zandalari Vestments
- Various Vulajin's Vicious Breastplate, a BOE.
Your best bet here is to just shell out some justice points for the Cruel Mercy bracers.
- Leatherworking Again, if you're desperate, Contender's Leather Bracers.
- Quests Ghost Fox Armwraps from The Dissector Wakens in the Dread Wastes or Silentleaf Armwraps from The Fall of Shai Hu in the Kun-Lai Summit. Sadly, both are just short of the 440 cutoff.
- Vendor Cruel Mercy Bracers
Om mani problem slot hum.
- Leatherworking Greyshadow Gloves
- Quests Ghost Fox Gloves from Nope in the Dread Wastes.
- Vendor Surehand Grips
- Various Syrio's Gloves of Tutelage, a BOE.
This is another slot afflicted with the weird "ilevel 440 reward in a heroic" thing. You can get Loksey's Lost Belt from the quest Just For Safekeeping, Of Course in the Scarlet Halls, but obviously that means you'd already have to be at an average 440 or above even to get in via the dungeon finder. Legs
Once again, your best bet is probably the justice points piece.
- Leatherworking Contender's Leather Leggings
- Quests If you can make up the ilevel difference elsewhere, Ghost Fox Legguards from Walking Dog in the Dread Wastes, or the Silentleaf Legguards from Prophet Khar'zul in Kun-Lai Summit.
- Various Silent Leggings of the Ghostpaw, a BOE.
- Vendor Tough Mushanhide Leggings
You'll have two good options available from both quests and normal Mogu'shan Palace.
- Leatherworking Contender's Leather Boots
- Quests Ghost Fox Boots from Fires and Fears of Old in the Dread Wastes.
- Dungeons Boots of Plummeting Death off Xin the Weaponmaster in normal Mogu'shan Palace.
Brewfest is on, and if you can make it to level 89 before it's over and spend some time farming Coren, the ilevel 470 trinkets will do a lot to grease your way to 440. And good luck with Gekkan!
- Coren Direbrew The Bubbliest Brightbrew Charm and Bitterest Balebrew Charm won't do much apart from adding a huge chunk of health. Brawler's Statue is good for both passive and activated dodge.
- Darkmoon Decks The odds of being able to put these together quickly without spending tons of gold aren't high, but you might get lucky with a Tiger Deck and get the Relic of Xuen, or an Ox Deck and get the Relic of Niuzao.
- Engineering The Ghost Iron Dragonling can be socketed with whatever you need. Please note that it is BOE, unlike many profession items.
- Alchemy Zen Alchemist Stone
- Archaeology Quilen Statuette, a mogu artifact.
- Dungeons Iron Protector Talisman off Gekkan in Mogu'shan Palace.
- Vendor Mogu Rune of Paralysis
- Various Bloodsoaked Chitin Fragment from one of the Pandaria treasures that occasionally spawns. Gerp's Perfect Arrow, a BOE.
Mogu'shan Palace and a Kun-Lai quest are your friends here, unless you get astonishingly lucky with archaeology.
- Dungeons Ghostheart off Xin the Weaponmaster in Mogu'shan Palace. Snowdrift's Bladed Staff off Master Snowdrift in Shado-Pan Monastery will also tide you over, though it's 15 ilevels below Ghostheart. (Note: Their heroic versions switch places, with the heroic Snowdrift's being better than the heroic Ghostheart.)
- Archaeology Spear of Xuen, a pandaren artifact.
- Inscription Inscribed Tiger Staff. However, I have no idea how tough or expensive this would be to make.
- Quest Scar-Shell's Scintillating Staff, from The Arena of Annihilation in Kun-Lai Summit. (Think Ring of Blood.)
- Vendor Amber Spear of Klaxxi'vess
- Various Kaleiki's Lost Training Staff, a BOE.
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.