Aug 15th 2009 5:42PM Don't Crusader's Orbs, Hearts of Darkness, Runed Orbs, and Nether Vortexes all drop only in raids? In fact, I seem to recall Mother Shaharaz being described as "farm trash for weeks to get the Hearts to craft Shadow Resist gear for everyone in the raid".
Each tier of raiding after the entry level in both BC and Wrath has had boss-dropped armor crafting recipes, requiring the above reagents to craft the gear.
Frankly, I prefer the new style where at least the recipes and results are BoE over the SSC/TK style where either the recipe or the result was BoP. Given that I've raided SSC/TK/MH/BT + Ulduar for a year or so as the "designated Blacksmith", the fact that I never got a single recipe drop except via the Auction House makes me wish that there would be a guaranteed way (maybe via reputation + 100% drop rate quest item) to get these recipes, rather than the current luck-of-the-draw format.
In short: we still have raid-drop system for high-end crafting, but Blizzard has toned down some of the outrageous luck required in some cases. It's still hard to get these recipes even for dedicated raiders, though, so I don't really think it's the right direction to make these things even more exclusive.
Jan 26th 2009 4:32PM I'd suggest ZOMGBuffs, which will track your self-buffs and also group buffs if you want. It also has the option to not use reagents when buffing in battlegrounds, for those of you who don't like spending the gold when they're just going to die anyway.
Jan 8th 2009 4:20PM The nerf to Improved Water Shield was because a number of shamans had discovered that you could get better healing throughput and better mana efficiency with with Lesser Healing Wave and some glyphs than you could with Healing Wave without Healing Way.
Nov 25th 2008 11:40AM Actually, Defense has at least the same benefits for Paladins as for warrior tanks headed into Tier 7 (Naxxramas). It's possible that it's even more interesting and important for Paladins because of the way the class seems to have been designed to mitigate damage by blocking.
Since patch 3.0.2 brought changes to Shield Block, very few Warriors have been blocking every blow through the entire encounter. Paladins are much closer to blocking every blow once they have 540 defense, because Holy Shield adds an additional 30% block chance, leaving only about 20% chance to be hit with the current talents (40% miss/parry/dodge, 40% block). Once a Paladin reaches the point that every attack is a blocked attack, they're effectively taking smaller hits than other classes by ~700. (or whatever your shield block value is)
The "blocking all blows" argument is one of the reasons given for why Paladins have a 2k lower base health than warriors.
Nov 20th 2008 6:15PM Note that the caps that Honors posted about are aimed specifically at Paladin tanks; I suspect that no one else is going to be worried about the "Block cap" for a long time.
As several other commenters have posted, the Defense cap is "soft", in that additional defense will increase your avoidance of attacks and also help you in hitting your Block cap. Expertise is somewhat similar in that the "cap" is around 5.6%, where you've eliminated all dodges and a similar number of parries. In TBC, most bosses actually had a boosted parry rate of around 15%, so assuming that this continues to be true, additional expertise will be roughly as useful as hit rating for tanks. For DPS, additional expertise is pointless, as attacking from the back of the boss removes all parry chance.
A short rundown for each class in terms of stats which are important to "cap", but which don't provide much benefit afterwards. In general, you 9% hit for melee attacks using one weapon and special attacks, 17% hit for spells, and 28% hit when dual-wielding to "cap". Many classes have talents which provide some of this hit rating.
Shaman(elemental): spell hit
Shaman(enhancement): special attack hit, expertise
Paladin(ret or prot): melee hit, expertise
Warior(arms, prot): melee hit, expertise
Warrior(Fury): specials hit with a 5% penalty for titan's grip; expertise
Rogue(assassination or sub): specials hit, expertise
Rogue(combat): dual-wield hit, expertise
Druid(moonkin): spell hit
Druid(feral): melee hit, expertise
Mage, Warlock, Shadow Priest: spell hit
Basically, you only need to worry about expertise if you fight in melee range. You need to worry about the 17% spell hit if you mostly cast spells from range; combat rogues are the major spec that benefits from actually hitting the 28% hit cap on melee attacks while dual-wielding.
Oct 7th 2008 3:41PM In terms of mana, you should be fine in terms of shifting, casting a spell, and shifting back thanks to Improved Leader of the Pack (8% of mana back when you are healed by ILotP):
If you're in feral gear, you probably won't be able to do much more than tranquility => back to cat, but I haven't really seen feral druids slinging around moonfires or the like anyway.
Aug 20th 2008 3:32PM There are at least a few Outlands rares which it can be worth killing, and have "best of kind" items sometimes. Unfortunately, their loot is usually a blue "of ...". One example that I was really lucky to find after the AH after 3-4 days of scanning Netherstorm for Chief Engineer Lorthander were Illidari Cloaks of Fire Protection and Frost Protection. Each has a good whack of stamina and about 21 of the appropriate resistance -- even at a min. level of 67, these are still an edge about level-70 green cloaks. There are no crafted resistance cloaks, so these are as good as it gets.
Aug 5th 2008 5:12PM Note that the armor cap is rising at level 80 (the same way it rose at level 70). Also, with crushing blows out the picture on raid-bosses, and presuming that crits aren't an issue for tanks, the entire tanking scene will be changed.
Yes, bears take full damage from spells (bypasses armor). Spells still bypass plate armor, too, leaving only a few talents in the Paladin/Warrior protection trees to reduce this by 10% or less.
It seems like Bears will need to be able to get armor and stamina roughly equal to Warriors and Paladins in WotLK, depending on how their agility-to-avoidance works out. In TBC, Bears had massively larger armor to compensate for the fact that they would take crushing blows -- a regular hit on a Warrior for 6k would hit a druid for 5k or so. (Assuming 62% armor mitigation on the warrior and 75% mitigation on the druid). But occasionally (15% of attacks), the druid would take a crush for 7.5k. Overall, this ends up being the same level of damage, though the Druid has to absorb a few more spikes.
One positive side-effect of this change is that it may end up being more difficult for Druids to reach the armor cap -- a significant scaling problem in TBC.
I could see a Feral talent that increased your armor by your current AP if the developers discover that the current armor level of bears isn't sufficient for the new content.
One final point of comparison. Assume that a level-80 warrior or paladin (with shield) has about 24 thousand armor. A Feral would need about 5580 armor from gear to get the same effect. Assuming about 800 armor from rings, and 800 from a staff, that leaves about 4000 armor to be gained from helm, shoulders, etc. Looking at the current amount of armor on level 71-78 blues, it looks like Feral druids would be about 500 armor short at level-80, assuming level 77-80 blues.
Jun 29th 2008 2:31PM You mean +hit, right? They are unifying melee and spell hit as well, I think.
This is a major boon to e.g. elemental shamans, who currently are the only casters wearing mail -- they often need to go down to boomkin leather or cloth to get spell hit on their gear.
The other difficulty is that some stats are more powerful for some casters than for others, at least traditionally. +crit for druids? Yes for Moonkin, no for Resto (HoTs can't crit). +crit for for priests? Not terrible for Holy, but lousy for Shadow. Spirit for Paladins? Not too useful, because they can't regen mana from spirit while casting, and their mana-regen model is based on chain-casting and critting a lot.
May 30th 2008 8:21PM Although they can't use the proc on this, the slow weapon speed and high max damage make this a nice weapon for Enhancement Shamans as well.
Sword-spec rogues (and dual-wield warriors?) get extra hits with their main-hand weapon if their off-hand weapon is a sword, so using this with sword spec could still be useful depending on what your other weapon is.
This is a terrible weapon for druids regardless as it's a one-handed with no stats or feral attack power. Might as well grab a green "of the bandit". At least you'll get some agility as well...