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Posts with tag Gearing

Poll: RNG gearing or points-based gearing?

There seems to have been something of a shift of late in Blizzard's gearing philosophy. We've moved from a heavily points-based system, where players had to earn currency -- specifically valor -- to buy items. They also had to earn reputation, which was another thing we can compare to points, although they're not a currency you can spend. Now, we've got Valor only used as an upgrade system, players are reliant on drops for the initial item to upgrade. The Timeless Isle does award currency, but you're more likely to rely on RNG-based drops to get gear from there. Not to mention the RNG nature of Warforged gear.

And it looks like this is only going to move more towards RNG with Warlords' removal of currencies, removal of reforging, and the addition of sockets and tertiaries as RNG elements on top of the Warforged system. PvP gear remains mercifully points-based, and in a play system where gear equality is so important, we can only hope it remains the case. But in PvE, what's the good and bad of each?

Well, points-based gearing is predictable. It gives you certainty and goals to work towards. Just so long as you keep grinding points, you know categorically that you will get that piece of gear. You can see your points build up, and it's satisfying. On the downside that predictability makes it less exciting. In PvP, that's no bad thing -- you certainly don't want the opposition to get their weapon and 4-set first while you get 2 rings, a neck and some bracers!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

From item level 431 to 498 in eight hours

Early this week I hit level 90 on my paladin. I started leveling him up about a week ago, just casually killing things with my big stick. Lots of fun and excitement, the same kind that I've had way too much of already in this expansion.

Just as I was about finish off level 89, the boosted character service went live. I boosted my rogue and promptly decided that I didn't want to play it, but instead wanted to finish off my pally. When I did hit max level I felt really behind in the gear curve for fresh 90s. So much so that I actually had to stop and think about what to do next.

But the answer was pretty easy:
  • Farm with my other characters in Timeless Isle to get a full set of gear
  • Complete the Timeless Isle on my pally to finish off any remaining pieces
  • Spend 6,000g on a item level 557 belt and a 476 neck (anything better refused to drop)
  • Run 6 dungeons and get enough Justice Points to convert them to Honor and pick up a 522 ring
All told the process took me exactly eight hours and I ended up going from item level 431 to 498. I blended in with everyone else, and my DPS, even with knowing next to jack squat about retribution end game, ended up around 60k in LFR. I'm sure it'll be much better after I spend the weekend with some guides.

Why am I posting this? Because the answer for all your problems with people picking out your character as a new boosted level 90 can be solved by giving yourself eight hours before jumping into more serious group content. In fact, I'd dare say you're doing everyone else a disservice if you're not spending the time to do this -- it's simple, effective, and above all else, fun.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The future of itemization

I've written long, eloquent defenses of reforging. And this week, I finally snapped. The fact that I have to reforge between my arms spec and my fury spec (and not just reforge, but regem) has finally broken me. I now take it all back - reforging sucks. It compensates for things that are flaws in the modern game, but I no longer find that charming. I just find it irritating that those faults exist and that we have a means to wallpaper over them doesn't change the fact that they exist.

In a way, my relationship with reforging mirrors my relationship with the old tanking scheme that existed before Mists of Pandaria - I knew there were flaws with threat generation, but I'd grown familiar with them. I understood that they were there and how to circumvent them. In the modern game, there are significant flaws with itemization, and reforging is that means to circumvent them, so I've been a big booster of and supporter of it ever since it was introduced back in Cataclysm. But I was wrong. Using reforging to sandpaper down the jagged edges where gear doesn't meet our needs doesn't change the fact that gear doesn't meet our needs - it merely conceals those edges.

We know that we're going to have two new stats - multistrike and readiness - in addition to critical strike, haste and mastery. None of these are caps in the same way that hit or expertise are (soon to be were) - we'll see how they work, but we already know some talents will affect them or be affected by them, like the upcoming Anger Management talent for warriors. So what I'm wondering is, are we finally going to see a situation where there's enough gear with stats individual classes want that we don't need a system to make up for gear's shortcomings? Or are we just going to have to make the best of bad itemization again, like we did back in Wrath?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

How to gear your new windwalker monk for raiding

So you've finally hit level 90 on your windwalker monk and you're trying to decide where to go from here. There are lots of things you can do at level 90, but if you want to keep advancing through PvE content, the first thing you'll need to do is grab better gear that will let you hop into heroics and raids.

While the one of the best ways to gear up is by jumping into heroics and, especially, raids to grab item drops, each raid has an item level requirement -- and you definitely won't meet it after initially hitting 90. But that's not to say it's out of reach -- just that you'll need to put a bit of effort in before you're ready to head into heroics (which require an ilvl of 435) or raids (which start with the ilvl 460 Mogu'shan Vaults).

For new monks who aren't sure where to start -- or old hat players who just aren't confident of their windwalking skills -- we'll help you through the stats that are important for your gear and point you in the right direction to get ready for raiding.

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Filed under: Monk

PvP gearing in detail, and what next?

I wrote recently about how to get started with PvP gearing, focusing on the most efficient ways to gain honor points for your initial PvP gearing, when to replace PvE gear and so on. I was pleased to get many messages saying that it was helpful, and a fair few more asking what they should do next. People wondered what gear they should buy first for Conquest, how they should find arena teams and RBG teams and so on. So I thought I'd help you out with some of that information too.

Updated for Season 15

Gear Purchase Order

This was the topic of much discussion, as all I did was give a few suggestions for priority pieces, rather than a hard-and-fast gearing order. A big part of the reason I did that was that it's very personal, it's up to you, and some people will prefer one approach over another. There are various things to consider, so let me spell them out:
  • There are bonuses to be had from various items:
    • Bonus to a key ability on gloves
    • +2600 +5280 PvP Resilience from having 2 PvP trinkets
    • 2-set bonus: spec specific bonus and +500 PvP Power
    • 4-set bonus: spec specific bonus and +1000 PvP Power
  • There is a points earned requirement of 7250 on any weapon except Honor point off-hands.
  • Weapons cost 3500, so starting from 0 you have 3750 to spend before you start saving for weapons.
  • Unless you are a human, you really need a trinket that removes movement-impairing effects, or "freedom trinket" on your character.

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Filed under: Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The Plunder from the Siege Part 2

The Care and Feeding of Warriors The Plunder from the Siege Part 2
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Seven bosses down, six to go. Let's talk about the loot we're going to, well, loot from the Siege of Orgrimmar. As an aside, this is the most I've ever felt like I was actually looting a place.


Winner of the prestigious "Name that I keep sticking extra A's in for no reason" award, and this raid's Hulk impersonator. What does the big M drop? Besides pain. He drops some pain. But also loot. Let's look at it, shall we?

Malkorok's Skullcleaver - solid for either tanking or SMF fury, with hit and critical strike rating and a red socket. It also appears to have a set of tauren horns mounted on the side of it, which is somewhat disturbing.

Vial of Living Corruption - tanking trinket, the stam on it is useful (stam is still a solid tanking option, even if it lacks the appeal of hit or mastery or an avoidance stat) but the cooldown reduction is the real draw here. It actually works on both Last Stand and Shield Wall for protection as well as Recklessness, meaning you can get more crit and thus put out more damage/threat (as well as guaranteeing a Shield Slam critical hit to Enrage you).

Malkorok's Giant Stompers - tank/DPS boots with expertise, mastery, a blue socket and a crit bonus on that socket. I'd definitely use them for tanking over DPS unless expertise is a significant problem for you, there's better DPS options for boots in the raid as a whole.

Malkorok's Tainted Dog Tags - See, this is why it feels like we're really actually looting a place - we're practically rummaging through Malkorok's entire kit of worldly possessions. This necklace is a very solid melee DPS neck for warriors, with critical strike and mastery.

Legplates of Willful Doom - On the one hand, very nicely itemized DPS legs with crit, mastery and three sockets. On the other hand, with legs and gloves dropping not just in this raid but from the Celestials on the Timeless Isle (not the Timless Isle, although I have not seen Tim out there yet) it's likely you'll have your 2 piece by the time you fight Malkorok, and thus, these legs won't be of much use to you.

Blood Rage Bracers - Parry/Expertise tank bracers, solidly itemized. Good for a warrior tank.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

How easy should it be to gear an alt?

That's been the question this expansion, ranging from "The daily quest rep faction grinds lock gear away, I can't get it fast enough" to "The Timeless Isle makes it too easy to gear up my alt" and I'm not sure where I fall, but the EU forums had an interesting discussion on the issue this week. CM Takralus weighed in with an opinion as well, and it's one I figured we could chat about.
Takralus - Way too easy to gear up alts now
I dinged a fresh 90 on Monday, and yes I went straight to the Timeless Isle. However, in questing greens & blues, I had a very hard time. Also, I still have to go through all the old raids in LFR to unlock the latest content, not to mention get my item level high enough to enter.

I've picked up a few purples on the Timeless Isle, but I'm still nowhere near high enough yet to enter SoO LFR. Sure, if you go for it really hard and prepare with crafted goods, Valor gear etc. I'm sure it can be done. But that's why the system's good IMO, if you put in the effort you can be caught up quickly, if you're more of a casual player like me it's going to take a while, and I'm fine with that personally.

I much prefer this to the alternative-getting my alt to level 90 then having to go through the exact same content I spent months on with my other characters.

This is hardly new to Mists of Pandaria - we've been walking a balance on gearing up alts forever, with some expansions (Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King) having a see saw between difficulties similar to the one Mists is now showing. It was much easier to level an alt in Wrath than it was at the beginning of the expansion, as the improved Dungeon Finder debuted and multiple tiers of heroic dungeons were released with better gear in each. Without new five mans in Mists, we've seen LFR and Heroic Scenarios trying to do the work that dungeons did in Wrath and Cata to an extent, and now the Timeless Isle has made that process much easier.

For myself, I'm actually running the Timeless Isle on my main, whose rotation I have down cold and who I know backwards and forwards, for gear to send to my shaman alt, who has been neglected this expansion. Since I can send any mail drops and any cloaks and rings his way, boosting his iLevel while not even playing him has become possible, and I'm not sure how I feel about that - I was very fond of it at first, until I realized I'm not getting any practice in on how to make his rotation work, and that's a big counter-intuitive to me considering it's always been Blizzard's stance that you should have to play a character to get it geared.

So how about you? Are you gearing up your alts via the Timeless Isle? Do you have to catch yourself from calling it the Timless Isle, as if its major characteristic was its lack of Tims? Where are all the Tims? Sorry, digression. What are your feelings about the ease of gearing this patch?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Six ways to gear up right now

Top X tips to gear your brand new 90 right now
So you know the score. You've taken advantage of the reduced leveling XP required, you've made the best use of your rested XP, and here you are at level 90 in record time. But now what? There's such a lot of gear available to you that actually getting yourself ready to raid is a bit of a daunting prospect. But fear not, friends, we're here with a list of top tips to get yourself up over 500, and into Siege of Orgrimmar LFR in no time at all. OK, a bit of time. We're writers, not wizards. And, as ever, we'll be scouring the comments for top reader tips to supplement our list. And with patch 5.4 on the way, you'll want to know how to get the best out of the new content, right?

1. Honor Point Gear

We spoke about this in an earlier gearing tips article, and the information hasn't changed. Honor point gear, at item level 476, is still vastly superior to its justice point equivalent. However, with the point conversion coming in just a couple of weeks, you'd be very wise indeed to save up your honor and your justice for patch 5.4. When the patch drops, the current conquest point gear will be bought with honor points, and that's ilvl 496, so a huge boost to a flagging character. However, honor point gear should be used wisely, to fill gaps. Particularly in 5.4, when the JP-HP conversion is being nerfed from 375JP:250HP to 500JP:250HP, meaning the most reliable way to get HP gets slower. So what should you look at doing first?

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Gearing up your alts

Gearing up new alts -- or even just alt specs -- can be a huge nuisance requiring countless dungeon runs that you've already done plenty of times to gear up your main. Blizzard is, perhaps, working to make this a bit easier with the Timeless Isle, which offers a number of bind on account epics that could be just the thing for making gearing a lot less of a headache. But can our alts wait for 5.4?

In my case, yes, they can, because I'm too easily distracted to have gotten any of them to max level lately. But your alts could be a different story -- and certainly plenty of people (even me!) have had max level alts in the past. So tell us, readers: how have you gone about gearing up your alts? (Or do you even bother with the hassle?) Is the Timeless loot on Timeless Isle going to help get your alts or alt specs into gear?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Things that were harder before

Things that were harder before
I did a post this week about raiding in previous expansions and in vanilla WoW, and how people often say those raids were harder and my opinion that it is easily demonstrable that current raids are if anything more complicated than they have ever been. I frankly believe there is almost no room for comparison between the game at 60 and today in terms of raid complexity and difficulty. Part of this stems from the many different variations on what the word hard means in this context. Something can be harder because it is conceptually or executionally more complex (the difficulty can stem from how much is required to successfully complete its mechanics) or it can be hard because it is laborious and/or time consuming. Was raiding with 40 people in classic WoW more laborious? Absolutely it was. It wasn't mechanically harder, but it was more time consuming and took a great deal of effort to organize and plan. It's the difference between working out a complex multi-stage math problem and carrying five thousand pounds of rocks from point A to point B.

But there were some points worth addressing. It absolutely has never been easier to level, even without heirlooms, than it is right now. Vanilla leveling to 60 took more time and effort than leveling to 90 does today. Even without heirlooms, one can easily and without much stress reach level 20 in a few hours, level 40 in less than two days, and be level 60 within a day of that, and this isn't spending all day staring at the screen either. This is a fairly casual leveling pace. I leveled a blood elf warrior to 35 in two days of rather casual play, an hour on followed by a half hour reading websites or having a snack or even going for a long walk.

It's also far easier to do the following things:
  1. Get a dungeon group. You can queue for dungeons at level 15, and from that point on, all you ever have to do to run a dungeon is hit that queue. If you're playing in the tank or healing role you can effectively chain dungeons all day, and even leveling as DPS there are stretches where you don't even need to quest or do anything but dungeon.
  2. Run a battleground. While you could argue that doing well at BG running as you level up and at max level takes some time and effort, if you want to risk queueing in whatever gear you have, it's simplicity itself.
  3. Getting ready to raid at max level. The game now has catchup mechanisms in place for players who start later. If you just got your alt to 90 and are switching to it for raiding, deciding to give raiding a try for the first time, or what have you it's not the case that your raid group is compelled to run you through previous raids for attunements and keys, much less gearing you through older raids to get ready for the current content.
  4. Find something to do. You could even argue that there's too much to do, or that it feels too mandatory. But you can't argue you don't have options - if you don't want to run dungeons, raid, or PvP there are pet battles, daily quests and scenarios you can do.
So the question then becomes this: is it better or worse for the game that these things are easier? For that matter, are they easy enough?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard's official look at patch 5.3

Blizzard Blogs on patch 53
Blizzard has been blogging up a storm about patch 5.3, and there have recently been 2 more articles added to their arsenal. The first is a run-down of the new scenarios available, posted by Community Manager Nethaera, which runs players down the four new three-player scenarios coming in patch 5.3. Neth gives us a quick summary of the stories behind the scenarios, while doing a great job of not being too spoiler-heavy. She runs down the background of Blood in the Snow, Dark Heart of Pandaria, Secrets of Ragefire and Battle on the High Seas. You can also check out WoW Insider's own articles on Blood in the Snow and Dark Heart of Pandaria, but beware the light spoilers that lurk within!

Nethaera also briefly discusses the new difficulty level that will be added with patch 5.3, heroic scenarios. She clarifies that they are intended for pre-made groups of three players, and will award a hefty 120 valor, as well as bonus valor for completing the objectives.

What's more, Blizzard has recently published a guide to getting geared for 5.3, aimed at players with alts, and players who are returning to the game. They've got some great tips in there, even going so far as to acknowledge some neat tricks that'll have you running the Raid Finder in no time.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Patch 5.2 and warrior gear part 1

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Patch 52 and warrior gear part 1
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Gear constantly changes. Every major patch, there's new gear to drool over and want. For the next few weeks, I'm going to look at the gear we're getting in patch 5.2 from the Throne of Thunder, Oondasta (holder of the greatest loot table in the universe), and Nalak. We'll also take a look at Shado-Pan Assault, Kirin Tor Offensive, and Sunreaver Onslaught gear. This means we'll be looking at gear with a wide variety of item levels, from the 522 of the world bosses and normal mode Throne of Thunder to the 476 of some of the faction gear.

Also, although I won't be covering the items here, transmog minded warriors should take a look at the return of these Burning Crusade blacksmithing models. These weapons won't be an upgrade for you in almost all cases, but they're a welcome addition to our cosmetic arsenal. Now, to discuss gear.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler explains spec-specific quest rewards in MoP

If you've been following the Mists of Pandaria beta at all, you may have heard that questing players discovered that they were only getting one choice for quest reward items. Many recent MMOs such as SW:TOR use this model; it's generally agreed that the system of multiple possible quest rewards is yet another "bad player trap," like Ghostcrawler described lots of talents pre-Cataclysm. Players can miss out on quest rewards accidentally, and since there's no in-game way of switching your quest rewards, well, that can be a headache (especially since reports say that GMs are no longer switching quest items for you).

When asked about the issue on the beta forums, Ghostcrawler offered a pretty reasoned explanation for the change. He says that most quests with green rewards will only give you one choice (that matches your current spec). However, there'll also be vendors in every zone from whom you can buy sets of gear that aren't quite up to the item level of quest rewards in that zone, so you can fill in itemization holes or help bolster an off spec a little more. Quests that offer blue rewards will usually offer rewards for any spec your class can be, giving you some flexibility when it comes to rare rewards. Also, Mists of Pandaria questing is more non-linear than Cataclysm's, so you'll be able to hit up a different zone in the event that you need gear for a specific level range.

Ghostcrawler's full response (and an image of one of the vendors) is after the break.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Warrior mistakes to avoid

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

One of the interesting things about my current astonishing obsession with transmogrification and all things related to it has been seeing older itemization. You know, strength and agility plate. Warrior tier 6 is lousy with agility. That's a legacy of the past, of course, and as the design of the game moves ever onward, artifacts like that are left in its wake. After all, most level 70 warriors nowadays move straight to Northrend dungeons and are not likely to look at Black Temple until much later, when farming for transmog gear. The stats aren't important enough to go back and redesign the set.

What I really find interesting about this is seeing where the class has been, not just visually but also in terms of design. It's kind of like archaeology (the actual field of inquiry, not the in-game profession) or paleontology, reconstructing the class and its roots from the remainders of what it wore. Granted, I was there, so to a degree it's like excavating Pompeii with an immortal who survived the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius and keeps grumping about how people in his day didn't complain when they were buried in pyroclastic material. Which is a complete lie, by the way, we did nothing but complain about it. But I digress.

The warrior class has come a long way in seven years, and the artifacts of past design lie strewn about. New players and even old veterans can be forgiven for making a few mistakes based on the rubble. Let's go over a few.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Has the early Cataclysm gearing model failed?

Near the end of Wrath of the Lich King, there was a real feeling that gearing had gotten out of control, between unintentionally heightened ilevels (due to the introduction of heroic modes early in the expansion), a raid-wide buff that made the penultimate raid of the expansion easily puggable (until Arthas), and ridiculously simple heroic 5-mans and Emblems of Triumph that allowed you to gear out your freshly leveled alt in high-ilevel epics.

When Cataclysm launched, part of the intent between the fairly difficult heroic 5-mans and the fact that they dropped ilevel 346 blue items was that Blizzard wanted to slow down gearing. This worked; the roadblock created by early Cataclysm heroics for casual players did serve to slow down gearing. For the first time in years, full epic-geared characters were seen as more of a rare occurrence than a staple of your average AFKer in Orgrimmar.

Fast forward to last Saturday, where I decided to transfer my blue-geared death knight (who hit 85 and was subsequently forgotten in March) to my main's server to make use of her professions. On a whim, I decided to see how long it could take to gear her. By Sunday night, she had tanked Madness of Deathwing in Raid Finder, was in three-piece tier 13, and was one item away from being in full 378 or higher epics.

It seems clear to me now that the original Cataclysm model for gearing has failed, and the roadblocks originally put in place to prevent quickly gearing alts are no longer in place. That said, I don't mind it, and I don't think Blizzard minds it. Getting gear is fun, even on an alt that's only supposed to be used for running around Tol Barad picking flowers and mining ore. I like having four characters at 380+ ilevel, and it served me well when my guild recently needed me to main-change from my mage back to my shaman to heal. So yes, the original gearing model for Cataclysm does seem to have failed -- but is that really such a bad thing?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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