Welcome, to the fourth edition of our new column here at WoW.TenTonHammer.com called Gear Eye for the WoW Guy. In it each week Byron "Messiah" Mudry takes a look at a character either at random or through player submission and gives them a complete gear makeover in an attempt to get them moving on to new content in the game.
Of course there are two big tools that are needed to be able to check out a player and make useful recommendations. The first of those tools is an in depth knowledge of the game, specifically the classes, mechanics, best stats, best gear, enchants, gems, and more. This isn't something that everyone has for the first little while that they play the game or even for the first while after they hit the level cap.
The second major tool is PlayerScore, which luckily is available and usable by anyone and hosted right here on our network. You can find search for your own character and see how you stack up by visiting the PlayerScore site.
Now that you know what this is all about, on to our victim. This week I chose to look at a melee class since I have already looked at a tank, ranged DPS, and a caster DPS. Therefore I looked through the list of submissions and picked a Fury warrior named Cobrastriker.
While Cobrastriker says he wants to ramp up his DPS, he doesn't specifically state if he wants to raid, or just continue with five player content, so I am going to stick to items that you can get outside of raids for now.
Looking over Cobrastrikers gear, he has some pretty solid gear choices in place already, which is good. He seems to understand the class, its priorities, and what he is looking for from gear. This is all great! However, there is always room to improve, so let's get to work.
You can find Cobrastriker's PlayerScore information here: Cobrastriker's PlayerScore, remember however that it will change over time compared to what is listed here. This is due to PlayerScore constantly being updated to reflect any new gear, achievements and anything else that happens as Cobrastriker plays and upgrades or changes gear.
With this character I see that he actually has an understanding of which stats take priority. This is a good thing, since it leads to intelligent item choices and understanding upgrades better.
Just so everyone reading this is on the same page, the generally accepted stat priority for Fury Warriors is as follows:
Fury Warrior Stat Priority
Hit Cap main-hand (8%) > Expertise soft-cap (26) > Crit > Hit Cap off-hand (27%) > Mastery > Haste
What this means is that you need to get to the main hand hit cap and expertise cap as priorities. After that any gear that doesn't have crit should then have it added to it through reforging. Anything that has crit should have additional hit added to it. Leaving only the mastery and haste that is left behind after a reforge on the items.
Remember however that Strength for a warrior is king. Strength is better than every other stat listed above, so don't sacrifice it to gain other stats, unless you are given significantly more. Essentially only trade down from strength to hit or expertise if you are getting at least 50% more than you are giving up.
Good Item Choices
A great choice that Cobrastriker has to be given big credit for is his choice of helm. While it is a lowly item level 333 green helm, the Redsteel Helm is in fact better than almost any non-raid helm in the game for Fury Warriors. That is because it comes with the two of the best secondary stats for Fury Warriors: Expertise and Crit. Even more importantly the helm also has a meta socket and red gem socket in it!
Therefore until Cobrastriker has other pieces that offer up a ton or Expertise, this helm remains a great option, and one of the best in slot. It is better even than the tier 11 raid helm, until you can reach expertise cap from other areas! Keeping this green item equipped, earns Cobrastriker some huge kudos for recognizing a great piece of gear, despite item level and the fact that it is green.
Another great pair of choices are the two new items from patch 4.2. The first is the cloak Mantle of Fury gained by completing the quest chain to save Thrall. The cloak rewards from this quest chain are solid upgrades for almost anyone other than hard-core raiders who already have the best gear. For normal players through these item level 365 cloaks are some of the best out there.
The other item is the Firehear Necklace that can be purchased from the vendor in the Firelands at the daily quest area. While there are only a few pieces available from the vendor, this neck is a solid upgrade for DPS Warriors, Paladins, and Death Knights.
Other good choices that Cobrastrike has equipped are his belt, boots and ring. Overall Cobrastrike did a pretty solid job choosing gear. There are some really well thought out pieces here, and a lot of it works well together.
Cobrastriker really has done well so far for gear. While many pieces are already top notch, there is always room for improvement. Many pieces are really good, most of the remaining are ok, and just need minor upgrades, and there are a few questionable ones as well. So on to the gear upgrades.
Hmmm, PVP gear. I hate seeing this, especially after last weeks Gear Eye #3 that lamb basted someone for all her PVP gear. Oh well, here we go again At least Cobrastriker only has two pieces of PVP gear equipped, so it is not that bad. Lets look at them first.
One of Cobrastrikers rings is the PVP Vicious Gladiators Signet of Accuracy, which in actual fact is not a horrible choice. Its not wonderful, especially compared to his other right which is one of the better ones he could get, the Band of the Gurubashi Berserker, however it does have a lot of hit and strength so it isnt bad. A nice upgrade would be to the Serrated Brimstone Signet that can be purchased for 1250 valor points.
In the shoulder slot however, things are not nearly as good. Here the Bloodied Pyrium Shoulders really are sub par, especially since you are over the expertise cap and moving it away to other stats. If expertise and hit are ever an issue you can always choose to purchase the Pauldrons of the High Requiem for 1650 justice points which is an amazing piece of gear with lots of hit and expertise. However, since that is not an issue I would start farming ZulAman for what is a huge upgrade to the Skullpiercer Pauldrons from Daakara.
Next up, looking at the chest piece it is really not good for a warrior at all. While it is cheap and easy to obtain being a crafted piece, it doesnt offer that much for you, having only haste and mastery. Luckily there are some great upgrades available really easily. You can get decent pieces from heroic Halls of Origination or heroic Shadowfang Keep called Breastplate of the Risen Land or Phantom Armor, respectively. Also you can buy the tier 11 chest piece called Earthen Battleplate for 2200 Justice points, which you can earn fairly quickly since you will be running quite a few instances anyway.
However, the biggest possible upgrade is to the Elementium Deathplate which is again a crafted piece, but a much more expensive one. If you can afford this item it is well worth it. Depending on your server it may not be that expensive, on mine they only go for about 4,000 gold, which isnt a whole lot.
In the leg slot, the Offline Greaves are not a bad selection, however they really are just a place holder. While they have good stats and great bonuses, they lack gem sockets, which is a key thing to have on legs as most have at least 2 sockets. So you are giving up 80 strength by not having those two gems. Good options here include the Jungle Strides from ZulAman, or the Legguards of Winnowing Wind from the last boss in heroic Vortex Pinnacle. The best upgrade here though is to get your tier 11 legs for 2200 Justice points as they offer big upgrades, and will be one of the pieces towards your set bonus.
For gloves your Gauntlets of Rattling Bones are a very solid choice. The only reason that they find their way into the replacement list is to get your tier 11 2 piece bonus. The easiest way to do that is by getting your legs and gloves. Here we are looking at the Earthen Gauntlets which do not have great bonus stats but do provide your 2 piece bonus, which ups damage from Bloodthirst by 5%.
For trinkets, neither are extraordinarily good, but also at least not really bad. There are many upgrades from instances such as the Heart of Solace from the Lost City, and in fact the normal or heroic versions are upgrades here. Another great option is the Right Eye of Rajh from either normal or heroic Halls of Origination, since it provides a lot of hit, it is an ideal Fury Warrior trinket.
If you want to get the best of the best then you are probably going to have to look at spending a lot of gold to get the Darkmoon Card: Hurricane and a bunch of justice points on the License to Slay. Both are top notch trinkets, and probably what you really want to get, but they will take a while.
There are not really any staffs that provide a decent amount of hit though, so it may be better to go to a dagger and off hand. A great pairing that you can buy for cheap off the auction house is the Elementium Spellblade (made by blacksmiths) and the Dungeoneering Guide (made by inscriptionest).
Since so much of your damage is going to come from your weapons, these are a key upgrade. While the equipped Wild Hammers are not bad weapons you can find much better fairly easily, especially through PVP rewards. You question my sanity, especially after complaining about players equipping PVP gear in past issues, and even in this one. While in almost every other case I would yell at someone for equipping PVP gear for PVE content, when looking at weapons it is sometimes a very viable option. This is due to the damage and stat boost from being a higher item level is generally worth it when looking at weapons.
Therefore I would suggest grinding Honor to get enough points for a pair of Vicious Gladiators weapons, such as the Bonegrinder, Decapitator, or Greatsword depending on your taste in weapons, all three are the same stat wise. Also available and pretty much the same damage wise is the Jekliks Smasher from ZulGurub. Upgrading both weapons to any of the above would result in an over 800 DPS gain from what you currently have on long single target fights.
With patch 4.2 a great option for your ranged weapon has appeared in the way of the Giantslicer. At only 700 Valor points it is a thrown weapon perfectly tailored for Fury Warriors.
Ok this is where it all starts to fall apart for Cobrastriker, the item modifications. While everything is at least gemmed, and for the most part even reforged, nothing is enchanted at all. Huh? How does someone miss that? This is a huge issue that seems to repeat with almost any character I look at. I am continually shocked at how players ignore getting enchants on gear. Even if you do not want to enchant with the highest level enchants, get some lower level ones. Sure, I may still insult you for not getting the best, and list off the enchants that you should upgrade to, but at least you'll have something.
Enchants are a huge deal for any character. You can use the Paladin Retribution enchant list here for a guide to some basic enchants to get since they are so close to warrior enchant requirements. By some quick calculations by not having enchants you miss out on 230 strength, 145 crit, some attack power and more. Even more important are the enchants you miss on your weapons.
Weapon enchants are an extremely big deal, especially for a melee class, yet for some reason Cobrastriker doesnt have any. Ideally the enchant Landslide adds the most DPS, however it is also supremely expensive. Therefore until he has top end raid weapons I would suggest at least getting Avalanche, which grants a solid bonus to overall DPS while still being relatively inexpensive to get.
In general Cobrastrikes gem choices are ok, but again they could be optimized a bit. For example I see many different gems in slots, however by way of thinking you should only have 3 different gems. You should have your meta gem, a single purple etched demonseye in your belt to get the bonus, and then every other gem slot being filled with a strength gem. This is because strength offers much more for you than any other single stat.
On to reforging you are already following the stat priority for Fury warriors pretty closely. For those that need to understand what this is they can find it all in our guide called: Reforge This. Make sure you bookmark page 3 that clearly shows the reforge priority for each class - Class / Spec Priorities for Reforging.
In this case it means go in and reforge like this:
Fury Warrior Stat Priority
Hit Cap main-hand (8%) > Expertise soft-cap (26) > Crit > Hit Cap off-hand (27%) > Mastery > Haste
Now that youre done reading it, lets start adjusting. What this means is your first priority it to get to your 8% hit cap your your main weapon.
Since you are there by default (or pretty close, that part is easy), next up reforge to get to your expertise cap. Then take any piece of gear that does not have crit and reforge either haste or mastery to crit. If it already has crit on it, then take that mastery or haste and move it to hit.
Anything beyond that is fine tuning. For example if the numbers work out right, you can reforge away from expertise in big numbers on one item, to refore back to it on another to ensure you exactly hit the 26 rating you need. This can gain you a few extra DPS if done right. In general though getting to the numbers is more important that worrying about being a few points over, although every little bit helps.
All of the reforging will need to be looked at again each and every time a piece of gear is upgraded, as you really need to keep the base hit cap and expertise cap at all times.
Overall Review of Cobrastriker
I have now looked at several players and offered advise to several different players, sometimes nicely, sometimes snarkily, but always with the aim to provide useful information. This edition was different from past editions in many ways since Cobrastriker had a solid base already, he just needed some help fine tuning and a point in the right direction for upgrades.
In some ways that made it simpler to do, and in other ways it made it harder since looking for upgrades is more difficult when the gear is already pretty good. I mean it would have been easy to just point any player the the newest biggest baddest raid gear at the top level of content. Finding upgrades that are incremental and appropriate however is much more difficult.
The biggest issue, on yet another gear eye makeover seems to be players not understanding how critical enchants, gems, and reforging really is. While Cobrastrike had very good gear, he had no enchants at all. His gemming and reforging wasn't bad but had some room for improvement.
If nothing else was done to improve Cobrastrike's gear other than enchant it, he would pick up several hundred DPS quite easily. Since his gear is ok to begin with this again equates to roughly 2-3 pieces of gear being upgraded. Therefore I strongly suggest getting enchants on everything as a starting point, even if they are the cheaper versions for the pieces that you will be replaceing and only put the expensive enchants on the new pieces you get. This will make a huge differenace.
Then start going after the upgrades in the troll instances of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub to get the gear that drops there as well as the justice and valor point rewards for running them. Once you have run them for a few weeks maxing out your points, you will have all the gear listed.
Once you have the items listed here then you need to make sure everything is enchanted, gemmed, and reforged appropriately. Then it's time to find a good solid raid group and move on the the real fun. However since your gear is ok to begin with, and the first tier of Cataclysm raiding has been made easier, if you get a chance jump into a raid before then. Just for the love of all that is right in the world, enchant your gear first.... please....
The Messiahs Final Word and How to Request your Makeover
Remember that no matter how good or bad your current gear is, World of Warcraft is a huge and complicated game, and there is always room to learn more and improve more. Even though some "upgrades" may mean going to a lower item level, such as some of the upgrades listed above, or even as shown by some of the choices that Cobrastriker made on his own. However sometimes that is what learning means, learning that the all mighty item level is not what matters most.
Response has been great so far for this column and while I have a few characters in the queue to be looked at, I am always looking for more! Especially those that I can make fun of (while still offering some real help), so if you have a character that you want reviewed, or know of one that badly needs help but is just too lost to even know they need it, feel free to sent me a link to their PlayerScore page. One lucky victim, er I mean player, will be selected for a gear makeover in this column each week.
Important Request, since I have looked at several different character types so far, including a tank, a ranged physical DPS, a ranged caster DPS, and a melee DPS. As you can see I'm missing one key character type, so that is what I am really looking for next, a healer! So if you know one that needs some help, or if you play one that needs some help, please submit it!
To submit a character for a review make sure you lookup the character's PlayerScore and send me a link to that character. Also if you want to provide any basic information on you're goals, how far advanced you want to plan for, how much time you invest in the game, or just a bit about your self, please include it all in a comment below or a note to the Messiah.
Thanks for actually making it to the bottom of this edition of Gear Eye for the WoW Guy everyone, hope you enjoyed.
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