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Posts with tag itemization

Trinkets: Hard to get, and Blizzard likes it that way


Any caster worth their salt can remember the frustration involved in trying to nab the elusive Illustration of the Dragon Soul trinket from Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctum. We tried everything we could to get it, from creating our own melee-heavy raid groups, to participating only in "3D zerg" runs hoping that participants would be too over-geared to want it, to participating in Less Is More achievement runs just so there would be less competition for it.

Towards the end of the Patch 3.2 days, people would run OS25 once a week just to try and get that one trinket. Most weeks, it wouldn't even drop. When it did, you'd have to beat a good twelve or thirteen people in a roll for it.

The Illustration was so valuable (1) because it was a darn good trinket with gobs of spell power, and (2) it seemed impossible get it -- or any good trinket, for that matter. You can still head to Dalaran and buy trinkets with emblems, like the Talisman of Resurgence, but their use is painfully specialized and their value is often less than trinkets you can find in lower level heroics.

It turns out that good trinkets are hard to find for a reason: Blizzard like it that way. Bornakk at the official World of Warcraft forums wrote today:
"Trinkets are really the one item (weapons are to a lesser extent) that we use to try and capture that old slot machine feel from the classic Molten Core days. Yes, completely random loot with huge loot tables can be frustrating but we are pretty far from being completely random these days. Trinkets however are still somewhat random, they can be hard to acquire, and there is often a lot of competition for them."

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Filed under: News items

Upcoming tier 10 tank armor stat changes


With Icecrown Citadel's unpopular Chill of the Throne debuff, or as we like to call it, "Getting out of Dodge," tanks have had to re-prioritize in terms of avoidance and mitigation stats to the point where tier 10 gear might not be as desirable as Blizzard intended. Thankfully, they appear to have realized this, and change is coming! To tier 10 tank gear, anyway. Blizzard CM Zarhym posted a note on the official forums announcing their plans for said gear:
"We recognize that many plate tanks are making their gear choices based on the amount of armor they're provided, as this is currently the most preferred stat. In order to make the tier-10 plate tanking sets more desirable, we will be adjusting the stats on the gloves and chest pieces in order to inflate the amount of armor they provide in the next minor patch. This will apply to all item levels of the tier-10 death knight, warrior, and paladin tanking gloves and chest pieces."
He also noted that Emblem gear will continue to be comparable to the tier gear in terms of stats and, for those concerned about Feral tanks, they'll be keeping an eye on gear scaling on druid tank gear as well.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: On unique gearing and gear consolidation


Totem Talk is the column for shamans. Matthew Rossi is a vampire robot from beyond the stars who came to Earth to learn the true meaning of love and to write columns about shamans. Seriously, it was in my alien creator's first lines of code when they programmed me. "Drink human blood, write shaman column." The love thing was somewhere around the second packet of directives.

Last week on Totem Talk, we jumped our cherried out Dodge Charger out of a warehouse before it exploded and then complained that we were too old for this kind of thing to our reckless younger partner. We're supposed to retire in a few days, we informed him. There may also have been some discussion about shaman itemization in there. I'll have to check the credits later to make sure.

The main issues with shaman itemization are more complex than can be easily summarized: many commenters correctly pointed out, for instance, that I was giving short shrift to enhancement's constant struggle to stay both hit and expertise capped (in fact, even calling them caps instead of targets shows that I'm not going into full detail) since the changes to the spec implemented with Wrath of the Lich King. Basically, one of the issues here is the very hybridization of the class: since now enhancement has become a spec that uses both spell damage and melee strikes, it has to hew to both spell hit rating levels (which are generally higher than melee targets) and stats like expertise, which is only useful for melee.

Shamans are interesting in that they are a hybrid class more in their playstyles than in terms of roles: like priests and warriors, shamans are only two of the three possible roles, being either healers or DPS. We can of course quibble about the nature of DPS, and if 'ranged DPS' and 'melee DPS' are distinct enough roles to be divided in focus. I personally believe they are, based on watching my guild struggle to recruit ranged and being thick on the ground with melee. But as a result of having two damage specs and one healing spec, shamans have a lot of cross-hybridization conflict built into their itemization.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: Shaman Itemization resists a clever title

Totem Talk is the column for shamans. This installment sees Matthew Rossi contemplating the incoming influx of gear and how current itemization affects shamans. Also, sorry but you get Alliance shamans this week. I can't wait until I can race change to a dwarf.

The thing is this: I hate doing gear lists.

My editors (I like to imagine them as an old Marvel Comics cosmic entity like The Living Tribunal) quite rightly point out to me from time to time that with Patch 3.3 so close, we're effectively at the end of Wrath of the Lich King and therefore all sorts of new loot will be entering the game. Loot from the new five mans at Ulduar 10/25 quality! Loot from the new raid exceeding all previous iLevels! We'll be awash in the best gear we'll ever see until Cataclysm drops and we start it all over again. And of course they're right. It helps me to accept this if I imagine that cosmic entity spinning a giant head around with different faces on it like Reliquary of Souls. (No, sorry, we didn't call it Reliquary of Souls all those weeks just to be corrected by Blizzard. Heck, you guys even brought it back in Icecrown.)

The next couple of weeks, however, I'm going to look not at gear but at itemization itself and how it interacts with shamans. I was inspired by the change to Elemental Mastery, the talent in the elemental combat tree that currently grants 15% crit when activated as well as making your next spell instant cast. On the surface, this doesn't look like a bad talent all told, so why would we even want to change it? Because of the way shaman talents and spells interact, an extra 15% chance to crit is somewhat useless to an elemental shaman. Specifically, we're talking about Flame Shock and Lava Burst.

Because of these two spells and their interaction, elemental shamans can basically crit every eight seconds or so. They can guarantee an Elemental Focus clearcasting state to reduce mana cost by 40%. Stacking crit doesn't really do anything for them: they're going to crit anyway. Most of the elemental tree has synergy with spell haste in comparison, with abilities like Lightning Mastery and Storm, Earth and Fire already reducing cast time on various spells.

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Filed under: Shaman, The Burning Crusade, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Patch 3.3: The heart and souls of Icecrown Citadel

Continuing Blizzard's slow PR trickle of Patch 3.3 news, they just released an interview with Lead World Designer Cory Stockton and Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, a.k.a. Ghostcrawler, about the philosophy behind the design of the Icecrown Citadel raid dungeon.

There's a lot of great information in there. Where itemization is concerned, they explain that the multitude of bosses in the instance (especially compared to the ghost town that was Crusader's Coliseum) affords the developers the opportunity to really serve players with specific specs and make sure that each boss has a loot table with an item of interest for every raider in attendance. They also talk at length about some popular concepts they've brought back for the sake of keeping things fun and interesting -- like the return of weapon procs, something we've rarely seen since the vanilla endgame. Ghostcrawler says that the main theme of Icecrown's gear is "Epic. Cool things. Proc'y stuff." Sounds good to me.

They also talk about cohesion between the dungeon's art and the gear that drops in it. The compelling look of the instance made it easy to create eye-catching gear to match it, and that's apparently not always easy. The Frozen Halls, the set of three five-man dungeons also releasing with 3.3, will also have gear that shares the same artistic "kit" as the raid, like they wish they had done with Ulduar and its sister five-man dungeons.

Other topics touched on include discussion of non-boss items available -- trash epics, for example, or the Ashen Verdict rep gear that'll be available -- and why Crusader's Coliseum was so, what's the word ... boring. In short, blame Icecrown. Personally, I'm willing to make the sacrifice of one fairly uninspired patch period if it means that the end of the entire WarCraft III arc wraps up in a big, glorious, icy fireworks display. So to speak.

Check out the full interview for yourself here, along with some new screenshots.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

BlizzCon 2009: The Future of Tanking

We tanks are apparently living in interesting times. Whether you're a Druid, Paladin, DK or Warrior tank, how you do your job is in for some serious changes. Itemization is about to take some serious twists and turns in Cataclysm, and stats we've come to depend upon simply won't exist anymore. What does this all mean for those of us who generally go about our game 'lives' keeping the ire of our enemies focused on us and away from the more fragile sorts?

With Attack Power on gear gone, and classes more directly gaining AP from stats (which to be fair is pretty much how most tanks do things now) and even more importantly, with Defense gone and all tanks gaining their critical strike removal from talents as Druids do now, we could very well be looking at the end of tanking gear entirely. It's possible, perhaps even likely that in Cataclysm your DK, Warrior or Paladin tank will wear the same gear (perhaps switching in a shield in the case of warriors/paladins) to tank as he or she does to DPS. For an idea of what this might look at, we can consult the current itemization of Druids with the Survival of the Fittest talent.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Death Knight, Cataclysm

BlizzCon 2009: Stats vastly simplified

It looks like Azeroth is not going to be the only aspect of WoW that's destroyed in Cataclysm. The developers just announced in the Class, Items, and Profession panel that half of WoW's stats are getting tossed out the window. Here's the breakdown:

  • Attack Power on gear is gone. Instead, some classes will get 2 AP from each point of Agi (Rogues, Hunters, Shamans, Druids), and other classes (presumably Warriors, Paladins, and Death Knights) will get 2 AP per point of Strength. Side effect: no more plate wearers stealing your gear
  • Spell Power is gone. It comes from Int now.
  • MP5 is gone. Spirit is the mana regen stat, and all classes that need it will get some form of Meditation. (Hunters, never fear - you don't use mana any more. More on this in a separate post.)
  • Armor Penetration is gone. That one was just confusing.
  • Defense is gone. Tanks are now defense-capped from talents, like Druid tanks.
  • Haste now increases your rate of resource regeneration (mana, energy, rage, runes, focus).
  • Block Value is gone, but blocks now mitigate a percentage of damage.
  • Stamina is going to be more equal across different armor types - no more "plate HP envy."

Whew, those are some massive changes. I'm very much in favor of this sort of streamlining; the number of stats in game was getting a bit silly. This back-to-basics approach is refreshing. It's going to take some balancing, sure, but I think it's the right way to go.


BlizzCon 2009 is here! WoW.com has continuing coverage, bringing you the latest in Cataclysm news, live blogs, galleries, and reports right from the convention floor. Check out WoW.com's Guide to BlizzCon for the latest!


Filed under: Items, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Officers' Quarters: Best in slot

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

The phrase "best in slot" has taken on an almost untouchable mythos. It's not hard to see why. The experts spend a large amount of time crunching numbers and evaluating items for every spec of each class. They write software just for the purpose of telling you what items are better. When those people say that an item is the best in slot, that's the one. That is the item for the slot, and no better item exists. Anything else is just a placeholder until you get the best.

Of course, a lot depends on what other gear you are wearing. Even so, as raiders, those best-in-slot pieces are highly desirable. But what if our best in slot isn't our main armor type?

Hi Scott,

Recently my guild has gotten into what's turning out to be a hot debate.

It all started when a Paladin and Shaman both rolled on a mail belt; now this item was a best in slot piece for the Paladin but the officer automatically dismissed the Paladin's roll because "Paladin's normally wear plate and Shaman normally wear mail" and this was the only reason that the Shaman was awarded the piece over the Paladin. The pally did state before it was awarded that it was a BiS piece for him, but that fell on deaf ears.

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Tier 9 to come in three quality levels

10-man ilvl 25-man
Naxx 200
KT, EoE 213 Naxx
Ulduar 219
Ulduar hard 226 Ulduar, KT/EoE
CC
232 Ulduar weapons
239 Ulduar hard
CC hard 245 CC
258 CC hard
Well, that answers that question. According to what MMO-Champion has found in the PTR item database, Tier 9 gear from patch 3.2's Crusader's Coliseum raid comes in three different versions for each set (T7 and T8 come in two, from 10- and 25-man). There's one version at ilvl 232, one at 245, and one at 258. This leads to the following loot distribution, I'd guess:

  • 10-man normal (232) < 10-man hard (245) = 25-man normal (245) < 25-man hard (258)

Others (such as 10n < 25n < 10h = 25h) are logically possible, but to me, that's the most likely distribution that leads to three different ilvls. It's also the way Ulduar is done with normal and hard modes, apart from some differences in weapon ilvl.

Crusader's Coliseum on heroic is a bit different than Ulduar hard modes, though. It seems that when you do a heroic CC raid, you start out with a certain number of attempts (wipes), and the more attempts you have remaining upon defeating the final boss, the better loot you get. So will ilvl 258 gear be contingent upon beating CC-heroic in (say) fewer than half your attempts? I guess we'll have to wait and find out.

Of course, the really important question is: what the heck will we call the 3 different sets? T9.0, T9.33, T9.66?


Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Filed under: Patches, Items, Raiding

Scattered Shots: What you see is not always what you get

I can't believe it either, WoW.com actually decided to bring me back for another week! I am Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from The Hunting Lodge and I'll be your tour guide each Thursday as we explore what makes our Hunters tick and how we can make them better.

what do you mean it's not an upgrade?Last week we talked about the many different resources are available for Hunters. This week I thought to build on that and talk about item level (iLevel) and what makes a good upgrade.

Yes, I'm sure you are already thinking, "Boring! How difficult can that be?" Maybe for some that would be true. But the changes that happened with Wrath of the Lich King have forced us to rethink some of the old standards. For example, Agility isn't always the king stat like it was in the past. Sometimes you might need to decide between adding Critical Strike Rating, Armor Penetration, or Attack Power all the while considering how much Hit you might be losing.

I do agree that determining your next piece of gear should be relatively simple process. And for the most part, it is. But as with everything, there seem to be exceptions to the rule. Sometimes choosing between two items on the fly or in the heat of the moment just isn't that simple.

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Tips, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Where to find Hunter information

Dwarf HunterWoW.com decided it was time to bring back some Hunter luvin'. It was that or they just needed a new Dwarf to pick on. So now you got me Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from The Hunting Lodge. Make sure to drop by here every Thursday as we explore what it takes to play a Hunter.

Have you ever caught yourself wondering, "Hmm... where I should go for my next upgrade?" Or how about "I wonder what pet I should get for raiding?" Another favorite of mine is "What spec should I use for raiding?" (This is always a trap. Even if you give a solid spec, someone will always find a something wrong with it.) For these types of questions, I feel it's always better to follow the maxim "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

What's my point? Well, it seems that many Hunters don't know that there is a wealth of information out there. I would bet that there is probably a resource that can help answer all of your questions. You just need to know where to look.

For solid information, we all know about Elitist Jerks. But sometimes finding you can't help but say to yourself, "There has to be an easier way." Believe it or not, there is. There are many other resources and sites out there.

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Buffs, Enchants, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Insider Trader: Jewelcrafting nerf incoming

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Bornakk just announced on the forums that Jewelcrafters are about to see a new nerf, and as a result, people are already beginning to weigh the benefits of switching to a different profession for min-maxing, or working out how they are going to re-itemize their gear.

Bornakk:
In the next major content patch we will be removing the prismatic quality of the jewelcrafter-only Dragon's Eye gems. Like other gems, they will have to match the socket color to receive a socket bonus. When this change occurs, players with qualifying jewelcrafting skill will be provided a yet to be determined amount of Dalaran Jewelecrafter Tokens as compensation.

This probably won't be enough to entice players to drop the profession, but it is a bit of a blow. Stratfu points out that because Mage T8 is equipped primarily with yellow and blue sockets, the only way to actually meet socket bonus requirements will be to use sub-par gems.

The JC-only Runed Dragon's Eye offers +32 spell power, and currently fits into any socket, conforming to meet the necessary color requirements. This is compared to the +19 spell power that the rest of us folks get from Runed Scarlet Rubies. While Jewelcrafters will still be able to use these gems, they won't be able to stick them just anywhere.

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Filed under: Mage, Paladin, Enchanting, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Economy, Jewelcrafting, Features, Raiding, Enchants, Insider Trader (Professions)

From our readers: Is my Ulduar-clearing guild holding me back?

I'd like to take a minute to address the concerns of one of our readers. Since my return to WoW Insider, I've been focusing on sanity, progression, and congruence.

Dear WoW Insider:

I need help, and I figure between me and that guy in the last Breakfast Topic, I'd have more than a good chance of you guys having suggestions to my current dilemma.

I'm fairly new to WoW, having started in December 2008, after a long stint on FFXI. I was glad I made the move, and I haven't looked back. I toyed with a few classes before settling on a blood elf rogue. I zoomed through classic, Burning Crusade and have now made Northrend my home.

I hit 80 a couple of months ago, and although many guilds have offered for me to join along the way, I always replied that my brother's guild was going to take me in as soon as I turned 80. I've been with them on a few heroics and even saw the inside of Sunwell as my first raid ever, although I must confess all that left me feeling a little bit bewildered as I didn't really know what was happening most of the time. I was constantly asking for help, asking where I should stand and what not. While most of the guild was really nice and understanding (and still are), I'm feeling a little bit out of my depth. Most of the guild members are very experienced, as you can imagine. Some of them are on their second or third alts clearing Naxxramas, and most of the guild are working on Ulduar progression.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Fan stuff, Guilds, Raiding

WoW Insider's gearing up in Northrend guides

We probably have at least an hour (or seven) of maintenance and downtime before realms start coming back up, so this is as good a time as any to make a nice list of the Wrath of the Lich King gear guides we've done so far. Not every class and spec is complete, but progress is progress, right?

If you don't see the spec/role you're looking for in our list below, never fear! Our columnists are always working on these things, and the best inspiration for all of our writers is knowing what everyone is looking for. Don't see what you're looking for? Just let us know. Don't be afraid to look at guides for similar classes, either. They might just have the information you need. For example, the Shadow Priest spell hit guide will work for most casters.

But enough talk, on with the show!

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Guides, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Ghostcrawler talks a bit about Resilience


Let's face it, Resilience blows right now. In their effort to give escalating rewards through the Seasons, Blizzard allocated minimal Resilience for Season 5 gear. It's not bad, but in order to make Resilience count, you would need to stack over 1,200 Resilience Rating to hit the optimal cap. That's not even possible with the current gear. In order to even reach about 900 Resilience Rating -- the point where its effects start to be palpable -- players would have to gimp themselves with all their gems and enchantments. This means severely lowered damage output.

In the current Arena setting, it's all about burst damage, with matches lasting nowhere near as long as they used to back before Wrath of the Lich King. Ghostcrawler pops over the forums to talk a little about Resilience and how Blizzard feels that it still makes, or will make, a difference. He explains that the reason so many players are wearing PvE gear to PvP is because its readily available, going so far as to call Naxxramas gear the new welfare epics. He says that as more players get Resilience, other players will have to keep pace.

That might take some time. Like I mentioned, even with a complete set of Deadly Gladiator gear and non-set items, it's going to be impossible to hit the Resilience cap. Resilience makes very little impact in PvP encounters right now that the risk to using PvE gear over PvP gear is minimal. Hitting 600-700 Resilience is very possible with a decent complement of PvP gear, but this only reduces damage from crits by about 17% at best. Resilience in its current design does nothing to reduce normal, or non-crit damage. Until more Resilience shows up in PvP gear or its coefficients or ratios changed, the trend of using a lot of PvE gear will probably continue throughout Season 5.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Battlegrounds, Arena

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