Archive for the 'Gear' Category


Icecrown 5-man – The rest

Having covered armour and weapons, about time we get round to the various bits and pieces that we all wear and can’t see, i.e. rings, trinkets, necks, and that ever present ranged weapon (because we do a lot of pulling as DPS warriors, oh my yes).

We have:

The general theme here seems to be sharp pointy bits (I shudder to think about what exactly the lady promised).

That’s not a kni…

For once there is a ranged weapon which hunters wont necessarily want as well, unlike guns and bows where you have to fight them off with a stick usually. At ilevel 232 there is a whole boatload of different ranged weapons to compare with. I count some 10 weapons to compare directly with, coming from various sources. There are really a lot of things to compare this brand new knife to. However, I shall compare with just one, namely the Crimson Star. I know it is ilevel 245, but most people who have been doing any amount of heroics and raids will most likely have one, or swapped it for something else that’s better. So the Crimson Star is really the benchmark.

Papa’s will give you:

  • 1.17% Crit
  • 0.7% Haste
  • 54 AP

Crimson Star features:

  • 3.42 Expertise
  • 2.27% ArPen
  • 57 AP

Would you really want to downgrade to the Papa’s if you have the Crimson Star? Sure, if you don’t like ArPen and have way too much Expertise already. Otherwise, it’s a clear choice here. And before you think about it: no…nuhuh…nosiree!

Empty promises?

This ring is a bit peculiar in that the stats do not favour rogues or druids, and instead favours plate users. You can argue that it’s not necessarily a bad thing though. It reminds me of the Carnivorous Band from Icehowl (albeit without a socket) with Crit and Expertise swapped for the Haste and ArPen. The pair of them together would make a lovely ring combo in fact. The tooltip for the Lady’s Promise does interestingly NOT mention “unique-equipped” hinting that you may just be able to equip two of them, but don’t quote me on that.

The other alternative is the Planestalker Signet from 10-man Lord Jaraxxus, although that is very much itemised towards rogues and druidy types rather than warriors (it features Agility, Hit Rating, ArPen and AP). That said,the Signet is a lovely ring no doubt about it. If you are critically short on Hit Rating and ArPen it is a contender, otherwise I would rather aim for a Carnivorous Lady Promise.

Barbed Chokers

For some odd reason, Blizz apparently like the thought of necklaces full of protruding spikey bits. Either they are closet goths and emos, or they think warriors are…or maybe that warriors are all practitioners of various forms of BDSM. Be that as it may, let’s compare it to the ilevel 232 version of the Collar of Ceaseless Torment (there we go again with the SM). Essentially they are near identical, save for one thing: The Choker has Haste (!) and the Collar has ArPen. Essentially you are given a choice between Haste and ArPen, and that in itself isn’t a bad thing.

Put it in your pocket

So it’s an animal already known for pointy and nasty bits…and its needle encrusted too? Wear cloves, have padded pockets.

Joking aside, Grim Toll and Mjolnir Runestone have returned in a spiky version. In fact, it is a slightly upgraded Runestone. For a comparison between earlier trinkets, have a look here. I may have missed out some trinkets, and if so please do shout out.

Trinkets are always interesting to compare since they rarely stand up to a direct comparison, usually featuring a single stat and a proc. In this case we can compare to the Toll and the Runestone directly however, and if they were popular, chances are this one will be too. ArPen has proven itself time and time again and it should be no different this time. Crit and ArPen…not bad as a combo at all. If you happen upon this little trinket and you are not desperate for something like Hit Rating or Expertise (which you hopefully aren’t) it is definitely a keeper.

So this is where the look at gear from the 5-man instances of Icecrown ends. There are some good thing in there as well as some rather bland things, mostly as a product of Blizzard having to create a single plate “set” for 3 plate classes who all want slightly different things. All in all, not a bad selection with some upgrades, a few sidegrades and a few things for those who have yet to get better bits.


Icecrown 5 man – armour

So far, 5 bits of plate have been uncovered in the Icecrown 5-man instance. Doesn’t really seem like a lot does it? For example, there are seemingly no legs in there. If you’re planning on getting an entire lvl232 plate outfit from 5-man grinding, you will be DPS’ing in your underwear to a certain extent.

Note to all Hordies: Throughout I will compare to Alliance plate, so if you feel offended by this I do apologise and direct you to my complaints department. Please send all complaints to the attention of:

Mr. Varian Wrynn (king)
Stormwind Keep
Stormwind City
Nation of Stormwind

That over and done with, these are the five bits of plate found in the Icecrown instance (heroic):

The first thing that leaps to mind when looking at these things is: haste. 3 of 5 pieces have haste rating on them, and if there is a stat I couldn’t care less about it’s haste. Blame the DK’s and paladins that we get all that haste.

Let us compare the T9 chest with the chest from Icecrown: here. I realise that it possibly isn’t quite a fair comparison, since the T9 piece has the possibility of a set bonus, yet you can argue that due to their identical itemlevel, they will still be equally good from a mechanics viewpoint. The main difference, apart from the two sockets on the T9 chest, is the choice between Arpen and Haste Rating. The Frost Wyrm has 16 Str more than the T9, however that is easily rectified by putting in Str gems (and there is additionally 6 Str to be gained from the socket bonus). Unless you are softcapped on ArPen, and using one of the Arpen trinkets (like the Grim Toll), I see absolutely no reason to swap ArPen for Haste.

The Grinning Skull Boots are slightly more interesting, in that they have no real counterpart in the raids. The closest you get are the Battlelord’s Plate Boots, Boots of the Underdweller, and the Plated Greaves of Providence, neither of which are ilevel 232. For a comparison between these, hop over here. Statswise, they feature the very decent combination of ArPen and Crit Rating. Unless you are really stuck for Hit Rating, in which case the Underdwellers are probably your thing, these are worth picking up.

The Weeping Gauntlets feature Haste (66) and Crit Rating (49). The two alternatives are the Gauntlets of Rising Anger and Wrynn’s Gauntlets of Conquest, both of which features Crit and Hit Rating…oh and they each have a yellow socket too.

Haste versus Hit Rating and Socket. It’s a lot of Haste to be sure, and to boot the Weeping Gauntlets has a smidgeon more Strength on them. It’s a matter of taste on this one, since the sockets cannot make up for all that Haste, but on the other hand, Hit Rating is nice up to a certain point, and sources of it aren’t too commonplace on gear these days. The huge big nono is to let your Hit Rating drop below the soft cap really.

Time for the shoulders then. First comment: More Haste! The T9 shoulders feature a bit more Crit Rating and a red socket (which would even out the difference in Strength). As with the chestpiece, I see no reason to swap unless you are hitting the soft cap for ArPen with a trinket proc. Is there a pattern here?

The Malykriss Vambraces versus the Armguards of the Nether Lord. These are a toss between ArPen and Hit Rating. Do you need one or the other? The other differences are minute enough for that to be the main question…ArPen vs Hit Rating.

Observant people will now probably go “Ello…why didn’t you compare with non-raid kit? People who do 5-mans don’t always raid y’know.”

However, comparing ilevel 219 to 232 gear is a bit superfluous since the items will nearly always be an upgrade to your current kit. In addition, if I did that, the people with ilevel 200 gear would come along and say “Oi!” as well, demanding more comparisons. Flippancy aside, with the relatively quick amassing of Emblems of Triumph, I think it fairly safe to assume that most people will have at least 1 or 2 pieces of T9 by now.

Overall, the new gear is fairly decent when you consider it has been made to be used by 3 different classes with very different needs. The fact that the boots fill a gap in the raid loot is a nice bonus for the unlucky ones who have not been able to replace their old ones. If you have had any amount of luck in raids however, the rest of the loot will probably be more or less uninteresting however.

Next up, trinkets and the rest of it.


Icecrown 5-man – weapons

Being the last with the news has its advantages. You don’t have to turn to datamining yourself, you can just pull information off other places. Since 3.3 is purportedly coming on the 9th (or 8th) of this month, it might be time to look at what one can actually get in there.

Naturally enough, weapons are the first thing that come to mind. So let’s have a quick look at the weapons that we may find in the 5-man instance.

Or should I say: weapon

So far, the PTR people have uncovered one single fury weapon in the 5-man instance: the Tyrannical Beheader. While it preserves the status quo from the Coliseum 5-man, where you also found precisely 1 weapon, it does leave me asking the question: “Well, what if you’d prefer slightly different stats? Where’s the choice?” Grumbling aside, let’s look at the stats

  • 129 Strength (258 AP)
  • 92 Haste Rating
  • 53 Armor Penetration (3.44% ArPen)
  • 1 Yellow socket

Compare this to the other two lvl232 weapons, the Reckoning and the Keen Obsidian Edged Blade.


  • 183 AP
  • 112 Agility (1.72% Crit)
  • 62 Haste Rating
  • 86 Armor Penetration (5.59% ArPen)
  • 1 Blue socket

Keen Obsidian Edged Blade

  • 129 Strength (258 AP)
  • 92 Expertise Rating (11.22 Exp)
  • 61 Crit Rating (1.33% Crit)

Looking at the stats distribution, the Beheader falls somewhere inbetween the Reckoning and the OEB. It has the “undesirable” Haste from the Reckoning but has a Socket, as opposed to the OEB from which it gets its Strength. All in all, its an okayish weapon, but I wouldnt swap my Reckoning for it, if I had one that is. If you currently equip an OEB, it might be worth it, but only if you can get those 11 Exp from elsewhere. And even then it is weigning Crit Rating vs ArPen, Haste, and a Socket. It’ll come down to individual gearing.

Overall, the Beheader is solid but not great. It is sure to be an upgrade for the people who’ve not yet had any luck with weapons upgrades in TotCR (like me), but it will not be much of an upgrade otherwise. Of course, if you are running 25-man raids, or heroic 10-man raids, this isn’t an upgrade at all.

Upcoming, a look at the armour drops from the 5-man Icecrown.


T9 set bonuses

The set bonuses for T9 have been unveiled:

  • Berserker Stance grants an additional 2% critical strike chance, and Battle Stance grants an additional 6% armor penetration.
  • Increases the critical strike chance of your Slam and Execute abilities by 5%.

Where T8 is all about ArPen and Str, we are returning to Crit Rating as being richly represented on our gear. This is much in keeeping with the comments made by our favourite crab monster that Tiers converge towards the “best” gear at the end of an expansion.

But I digress, let’s take a look at the tier bonuses in detail. Unlike some previous set bonuses, they aren’t convoluted at all. 2% crit chance is very much a boost to DPS, no two ways about it. Numbers will reveal when it is sensible to break your previous set bonus (if you have any), but if you only have the 2-piece bonus from T8, I would be tempted to switch as soon as possible. The 4-piece T8 bonus is better than the 2-piece T9 if your BT accounts for more than 20% of your total damage, all other things being equal. Note, this is pure napkin math and only takes the bonuses themselves into account.

The 4-piece T9 bonus is the dark horse of the two. Yes, it boosts Slam, but thanks to the BT changes, there is now less time for Slams without delaying either BT or WW. The boost to Execute might help to make Execute spam a viable alternative. The key word here is “might”. More on this when I find actual hard numbers to prove one way or the other.


Pre-raid fury gear, part 3

This time round we’ll be tackling the final bits of kit before we get to the weapons themselves. No point in dillydallying, so:

The legs

There are, perhaps surprisingly, several decent pairs of legplates out there, however I’ll be picky and say: there is really only one pair of legplates you really want, namely:

These will serve you well when you enter the raids. They will be bested by several pairs you can find in there, but as a piece of kit from the 5-mans, they are hands down the best legplates you can find. They drop from Ingvar in Utgarde Keep, which is one of the quickest heroics you’ll find. Am I advocating grinding an instance? You bet.

The feet

There are a few choices for boots, but again, one pair stands above them all.

The Death-Inured Sabatons and Spiked Titansteel Treads are epics, rep reward from the Ebon Blade and crafted respectively. The rest are drops from the Violet Hold, Nexus and Utgarde Pinnacle respectively. The clear favourites are the epics, due to their stats and gem sockets. It should be noted that come 3.1, the armor penetration of the Obliterator Greaves might make them more useful than today.

My personal favourites are the Death-Inured Sabatons. It’s yet another grind of course, but while you’re grinding out Heroic Utgarde Keep, you might as well wear the Ebon Blade tabard. If you’re not into that, the Spiked Titansteel Treads are most likely your best bet, even if they come at quite a material price.

The fingers

Rings, rings of roses, rings of glittering gold and shiny baubles. Now, I’m purposefully going to leave out some very good rings…namely the various bands of the Kirin Tor. Why? Because they’re expensive, and if you’re like me, you’ll spend money on the chopper instead.

Non Kirin Tor rings are:

Two crafted rings, two quest reward and three drops. The T.I.B is likely to increase in value if Armor Penetration is increased in value. The Hemorrhaging Circle has yummy expertise which makes it a given “Need” if you see it drop (I made that mistake, and it never dropped again). The Ring of Scarlet Shadows and the Mobius Band have hit rating, so they are worth getting if you find yourself short. The remaining three are all full of crit rating and AP and perhaps slightly less interesting. However, two of them (Bridenbrad and Jagged Ice Band) are quest rewards, so you get them for free basically.

The trinkets

Ra-kaw, preeetty triinkets yes. The list goes as follows:

I debated whether to put the Darkmoon Card in the list, since if you’re not a scribe you will bleed through the nose to get it. But, if you have a scribe, then you’ll be able to theoretically get it for free. It’s the best trinket, period, there currently is. If you see one for a couple of gold, don’t wait around. For those of us who’d rather have the chopper, the Mirror of Truth is hands down the best trinket there is. It’s the third of the must-buys for emblems (the other two being T7 chest and gloves).

The last three come down to whatever drops for you really. The Incisor Fragment probably edges ahead, with the Whetstone bringing up the rear. The Sphere has hit rating, so if you’re short (the ever present mantra), it will help you out. The Incisor Fragment has the weaker Equip bonus (in my mind), and the Whetstone the weaker proc.

That’s it for this time. Next time we’ll look at the weapons that you’ll be lugging around. We’ll also cover non-plate bits of kit that you could consider picking up.


Pre-raid fury gear, part 2

This time round, we’ll take a look at cloaks, chests, bracers, gloves and belts available for the pre-raid fury warrior. Some of the gear will require farming in heroics while some will require rep grinding. But, without further ado, let’s get on with it.

Some will undoubtedly take a look at the suggestions (and those from last time) and say: “Leather and mail gear offers far better stats, so it’s better”, and they’d technically be correct. However, I still believe in the viability of plate gear, and I try to gear up in plate whenever possible. And to sound like a Blizzard-o-phone, that’s also the intended way, and one which Blizzard is trying to support. But, to those that want suggestions for non-plate gear, I beg you to have patience. I’ll cover some choice non-plate items in the final episode.

The cloak

Everybody loves to be warm and comfy, and for those of us without company, the cloak is the best thing to do that. Don’t care about furlining? Care only about hurting things? Then we have just the things for you:

The Bloodied Waters Cloak is a zone drop from Zul’Drak, and the Ice Striker’s Cloak is a crafted Leatherworker item (and it’s epic to boot). The Bloodied Waters has a good amount of crit rating, whereas the Ice Striker’s has haste rating and attack power, in addition to the crit rating from agility.

In my mind, the Bloodied Waters is the clear winner between the two. It has more crit rating and more AP than the Ice Striker’s, and it is most likely going to be cheaper to acquire than the Ice Striker’s. That’s not to say that the epic is a bad cloak, not at all, but you are likely to replace it in the raids anyway, so the higher cost is simply not justified.

Of course, if you find a bargain Ice Striker’s, don’t wrinkle your nose at it. Buy it.

The chest

The chestpiece is probably, along with the helm, the most “central” of gear bits. Dont ask me why, but getting a new chestpiece is just a good feeling. There are a few to choose from before the raids, although only one is really important:

Yes, the Dreadnaught is T7, but its buyable for sufficient Emblems of Heroism. This is one of three essential purchases you’ll be making with your Emblems.

The other two chestplates are good and solid pieces that will serve you well until you can get your epic. Despite the two sockets on the Bonegrinder’s, the Breastplate of Undeath (found in heroic Drak’Tharon Keep) is perhaps slightly ahead due to its huge amount of hit rating and agility.

The bracers

Bracers are the invisible items. You never see them much on fully kitted out characters.

Both work out decently, although the Vengeance Bindings are the favourite, so get thee to thy favourite blacksmith. They’re crafted, so there really isn’t much fuss about getting them.

The gloves

There are a number of gloves to be had, but on the whole, one pair outshines the rest:

The T7 gloves are going to be one of your very first purchases, along with the chestpiece. The reason is simple, namely the 2-piece set bonus. Until then, any of the others will do the trick. The Gauntlets of the Culling are the only ones not needing farming, since they’re a quest reward from the Culling of Stratholme. The last two drop in the heroic Oculus and heroic Violet Hold.

Unless you prefer not to do the Culling of Stratholme at all, I would recommend those until you have the emblems. They may not be the best pair, but I wouldn’t bother farming actively for the rest. As usual though, if any of the others drop in your lap, and you don’t have a decent pair of gloves, grab them.

The belt

Searching our wardrobe, we find the following:

The Verdungo’s Barbarian Cord is a vendor-bought item costing 40 Emblems of Heroism. Not worth the Emblems at first. It’s better to go to the heroic Nexus for the Flame-Bathed Steel Girdle, or to hit heroic Halls of Lightning for the General’s Steel Girdle.

The Flame-Bathed Steel Girdle is the clear favourite in this race, with the General’s Steel Girdle coming in second. The General’s has hit rating, versus the crit rating of the Flame-Bathed. Again it comes down to two items, one with either stat. And again I’ll say, go for the crit rating unless you need the hit rating.

Thats it for this time. Next time we’ll be tackling the legwear, boots, rings and trinkets.


Pre-raid fury gear, part 1

Everybody has to start gearing up at some point. In my mind, gearing up is a nice on-the-side thing while levelling up, but it’s not at all central. So, the gearing race starts the moment you hit level 80. That’s the time where you begin to figure out “what do I need to raid?”, which is what most people do these days. Even if you don’t, nice gear is a good thing.

So, what are the pieces that you, as a freshly minted level 80 fury warrior should be gunning for? Let’s have a look.

The head

There really only is one item of note here:

I wish it were otherwise, since I do dislike every character looking identical, but it isn’t. The Spiked Titansteel Helm is the fury helm to get before you enter the raids. It’s expensive, but you’ll be wearing it a long time. If you arent’ turned on by its looks, turn off the showing of it. But do get it. It’s just that good.

The neck

There are two main choices here:

The Titanium Impact Choker is crafted by a jewelcrafter, and the Necklace drops in the heroic version of the Violet Hold. Both of these will do what you want them to do. There is a third choice, namely the Pendant of the Outcast Hero, available for 25 Emblems of Heroism. The Pendant is statswise a direct upgrade from the Necklace, so if you have the Emblems to spare, go for it. However, for the first Emblems, I would spend them elsewhere (namely on T7 gloves and chest) at first.

It’s worth noting that the Titanium Impact Choker has Armor Penetration (ArP) on it. So far, ArP has been a slightly undervalued stat, but this might change come 3.1. It’s certainly worth keeping in mind, and not drop the Choker out of had because of it.

The shoulders

There are four pairs of shoulders to be had:

The two former have crit rating, the two latter have hit rating. Which of the two you’ll want depends on your current need. If you aren’t in dire need of hit rating, the Spaulders of the Giant Lords is likely to be the best pair. If you still need to boost your hit, either of the two latter will work. Both come from the normal Halls of Lightning, although the Mantle of Volkhan is a quest reward and can be completed on heroic mode. So it can nicely coincide with farming for the epic axe that also drops there (see the weapon section).

Coming up in the next part of our pre-raid gear check: cloaks, chests, bracers, gloves and belts.

Also posted on BigHitBox

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