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Welcome, to the eighth edition of our column here at called Gear Eye for the WoW Guy. In it Byron "Messiah" Mudry takes a look at a character that needs some help in the game. He then gives that player a complete gear makeover in an attempt to get them moving on to new content in the game.

Sometimes that advise is slight upgrades, sometimes a full scale redo for those that are completely lost. Tune in each week to learn the tuning tips that will help you stand out from the average player.

Visit PlayerScore to find your score.

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.

Our Victim

This week I look at a Destruction Warlock named Emeraldfyre from the Aerie Peak Server. She plays roughly 10 hours a week and has recently found a good guild that she likes playing with. Now that she has a home she is looking to get to a point gear wise where she can run some tier 11 raid content.

Emeraldfyre's Playerscore

Emeraldfyre has a lot of work to do if she would like to raid in the near future.

This warlock’s name was submitted by her boyfriend because he felt she needed some help getting to the point of being able to raid. I’m thinking that like most women, she won’t listen to him, since when involved with someone “he’s” never right. Just guessing. And yes Emeraldfyre, my wife just slapped me for saying that, but it was still fun!

Anyway, being a completely outside source, her boyfriend is betting that she will probably listen to what I have to say for recommendations. So here we go…

A look at Emeraldfyre on the WoW Armory.

I know that this character has been pretty casual since she did not belong to a guild that she raided with before. However there are many problems here that need to be addressed, that even a casual player should know about. There are still a lot of things to upgrade though and several key mistakes that I see, so let’s get to work on this gear makeover. Some of the big issues that I see right off the bat that this player has missed are:

  • PVP gear is for PVP only.
  • Enchants are important.
  • Reforging is critical to maximizing your DPS.
  • Hit as a DPS class is generally your most important stat.

Ok, one last thing before we start looking at gear for this warlock let’s take a quick look at the stat priority for a Destruction Warlock.

Destruction Warlock Stat Priority

Intellect > Spell Power > Hit (to 17% hit cap) = Haste > Crit > Mastery

It is important to note that unlike many previous expansions and in contrast to some other classes, while hit cap is a big deal to Destruction Warlocks, it isn’t all consuming. Spell Hit is important due to making sure your spells actually hit and do damage, and normally it is the most important stat for DPS classes. However for Destruction Warlocks Haste provides such a big boost to DPS output that it is essentially even with Hit for it’s effectiveness.

Keep this in mind when looking at gear upgrades as a piece with more haste may be better than a piece with less hit if it moves you up to the next haste break point. The exact haste needed to get an extra tick of damage varies depending on which DOT. The important break points when raid buffed that you should aim for as a warlock are 1993 to gain 2 extra ticks from Corruption and 2589 for 2 extra ticks of Immolate, The first bonus ticks are gained at such low haste numbers when raid buffed that they are not worth worrying about, you will have them almost immediately.

You can find Emeraldfyre's PlayerScore information here: Killerbruce'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 he plays and upgrades or changes gear.

Good Item Choices

Emeraldfyre has chosen “some” good gear for a player new to the end game.

A great item that Emeraldfyre has already gotten.

For example the craft Dreamless Belt is a best in slot pre- raid and an excellent piece of gear for Destruction Warlocks. However while it is a great piece of gear and an excellent choice but it is then wasted by not being properly gemmed or reforged.

The belt would provide much more DPS if it was gemmed with two brilliant inferno rubies and if mastery was reforged to haste on it.

The Mantle of Desire is also a great item choice as it is best in slot pre-raid as well. Again though it is not reforged, and mastery should move to hit on it, at least it is enchanted though.

Other really good choices include the Dungeoneering Guide in her off-hand, however from there it gets a little less perfect. We will deal with that right away in the upgrade section.

Destruction Warlock Gear Upgrades

Having looked at a huge number of characters since starting this column, I am constantly amazed at the number of players that equip PVP gear just because it is of blue quality and a higher item level than what they have. While this is only my 7th issue of Gear Eye for the WoW Guy, I have looked at dozens of characters while choosing which to help out. Emeraldfyre is yet another of a vast majority that has a substantial amount of crafted PVP gear equipped.

There are only two reasons that I can see for all these players equipping this type of gear. The first is that they honestly believe that just because it is blue it is better. Not realizing that many green lower level items will provide more DPS than the blue PVP pieces.

The second reason that I can think of is a bit more nefarious, and that is to beat the queue system and allow players into heroics before they would normally be allowed to. I would like to think that players would not stoop to this, but I am sure that some unfortunately do. Let’s just hope that Emeraldfyre did not have ulterior motives here.

Gear Upgrades - PVP to PVE Gear Replacement

Ok, now on to replacing all that crappy PVP gear. Just because it’s blue doesn’t mean it's any good.

Let’s start with all that PVP gear that is equipped, and there is a lot of it. The complete list is the Emberfire cowl, shoulders, robe, races, gloves, pants, and boots. This is not simply a case of catching her in PVP gear either, or at least I don’t believe so, as if it was for PVP then she would have some purchased PVP gear mixed in to the mix, and there is none.

Let’s start by replacing her helm with the Crown of Enfeebled Bodies from heroic Grim Batol, or if you want you could spend the 2200 justice points on the Cowl of Pleasant Gloom which has great stats and may be better long term due to all the hit, but there are a number of other pieces of gear that can be purchased with the justice points. Also long term the Collar of Bones from Zul’Aman is another further upgrade.

Warlock Helm Upgrade

This upgrade is relatively easy to get as Grim Batol is one of the easier heroics. It is a massive upgrade since it has a meta socket in it, and gives two useful stats (crit and haste) instead of just one on the old one (haste).

Here there are many different upgrades possible. The best would be the Mantle of Master Cho from the Lost City of Tol’vir since it provides both crit and haste. Other good choices would be the Mantle of the Eastern Lords from Heroic Shadowfang Keep or the Meadow Mantle available for 1650 justice points.

Shoulder Upgrade

A great upgrade since spirit is very poor for Warlocks, and the original item has no useful secondary stats. The new shoulders provide more intellect (once gemmed) as well as crit and haste in good numbers.

Here the chest piece can be replaced fairly easily by finishing the faction grind to revered with the Ramkahen. Once Emeraldfyre gets to revered she can then get the Robes of Orsis which is a very good upgrade since it provides a huge amount of hit and two gem sockets. Longer term the Robes of Dissention that can be earned by defeating the Zul’Aman instance is another big upgrade, but I am not sure that you can be really productive in ZA before you get more upgrades. Lastly at some point you will want to spend 2200 Justice points on the tier 11 Shadowflame Robes which is your best in slot for a very long time.

Chest Upgrade

Another huge upgrade! You gain two gem slots in addition to gaining both hit and crit and getting rid of resilience and spirit.

There are only a few upgrade options for wrists, The Sand Silk Wristbands from the Lost City, Armbands of Exiled Architects from the Deadmines are good instance options. If you have the gold for it, you could also pick up the Bracers of the Dark Pool which is a BOE drop from the Bastions of Twilight that can be found on the auction house. Lastly you can buy the Emberflame Braces for Valor points however again those points can be better spent elsewhere.

There are many very good upgrades available for gloves. You can get the Flamebloom Gloves by getting to exalted reputation with the Earthen Ring, or buy the Charmbinder Grips from the auction house they are a BOE drop from Zul’Aman that can be purchased cheaply. Long term the Tier 11 Shadowflame Handwraps is also a solid upgrade and one that could be looked at later.

However the upgrade that provides the biggest DPS upgrade and is super easy to get is the Widow’s Clutches that can be received by finishing enough Fireland daily quests to finish the Additional Armaments quest.

Glove Upgrade

By the time you gem these new gloves you gain 77 Intellect, 194 crit, and some haste. Overal a huge upgrade.

Your pants can be upgraded fairly easily by getting the Breeches of Mended Nightmares which are a crafted pieces. They will cost a fair amount as the mats are pretty steep on most servers, but they are well worth it. The only other piece that grants anywhere close to the same DPS is the serpentine Leggings from Zul’Gurub. Also long term again you will want to pick up the tier 11 piece, the Shadowflame Leggings, but with how simple it is to buy the crafted item I would go with them for now.

Pant Upgrade

A massive upgrade in DPS due to a gain of over 80 intellect and trading mastery for crit and haste.

Lots of upgrades are around for this. The best two are way above everything else though so go for either the Melodious Slippers by spending 1650 Justice points or the Desert Walker Sandals by getting to exalted with the Ramkahen. Since you are not even revered with them yet though, I would go for the Melodious Slippers. Depending on the cost on your server you could also go for the Boots of the Black Flame which would be a best in slot for a long time, but can be very expensive.

Boot Upgrade

These new boots are a big upgrade due to a large amount of hit on them and the general increase in the other stats.

Destruction Warlock Item Upgrades

While both of the equipped rings are ok, there are some huge upgrades that are easy to get and here is where you want to spend some of your valor points

Crystalline brimstone ring is best in slot out of raids, you could get the soothing brimstone circle as well, but it would be another 1250 valor points. You could also get the Band of Secret Names for justice points, which is a good upgrade. Longer term either of those upgrades are worth getting however short term you can get the spirit fragment band by finishing enough Fireland daily quests to complete the Calling the Ancients.

ring Upgrades

Swapping to these two rings provides some huge stat increases, gaining 111 intellect, 162 hit, 52 mastery, and 26 crit. Best of all they are both easy to get and remain best in slot for a long time.

There are several good upgrades that you can go after. The four that I see are the Soul Casket for justice points, the moonwell chalice by finishing enough Firelands daily quests for complete Filling the Moonwell, or the best in slot Darkmoon Card: Volcano.

The Darkmoon card is very expensive, but well worth it as it will be best in slot for a while. Therefore I would start saving up for it and get the Moonwell Chalice by completing quests. While the Soul Casket is a good upgrade I would just get it only if you were to choose not to get the darkmoon card.

trinket Upgrade

Another massive upgrade, these two trinkets are both close to best in slot and will remain so for a long time.

Destruction Warlock Weapon Upgrades

For your wand, here again you want to spend your valor points. The best in slot item here is Trail of Embers and available for only 700 valor points. At this price point there is no use considering any other item.

wand Upgrade

This wand is best in slot for a long time and only costs 700 Valor, which is only 5 randoms through Zul'Aman or Zul'Gurub.

For a weapon upgrade the Elementium Spellblade crafted by blacksmiths are fairly inexpensive and would represent a huge upgrade right off the bat. You could also get the Voodoo Hexblade from Zul’Aman as a great upgrade. Long term one of the best items you can get is the brand new Masterwork Elementium Spellblade that is crafted by blacksmiths as well, but it costs between 10,000 and 25,000 depending on your server.

weapon Upgrade

For relatively little expense you can gain almost 500 spellpower, 86 hit, and 86 crit. Well worth the cost of this item.

Item Modifications

Next up is huge issue for Emeraldfyre, enchants, gems and reforging. This is far too common a mistake, and I am constantly confused as to why players are so ignrant as to the importance of these items. It's not like they add 1 or 2 intellect, or change your DPS by 10 points. Quite the opposite, propper gemming, enchanting, and reforging can alter your DPS by 15-30% depending on your class and gear.

Starting with gems, Emeraldfyre doesn't have many gem slots so there are not many to work with. However once she starts getting some, all sockets should be filled with Brilliant Inferno Ruby unless the bonus is at least 20 intellect on the item. Then for yellows you can use the Reckless Ember Topaz (int/haste) and for blue use Veiled Demonseye (int/hit).

As soon as she gets a meta socket it needs to be filled with a Burning Shadowspirit Diamond (int +3% crit damage), as the 3% crit damage adds up extremely fast and provides a huge DPS boost.

Looking at enchants, it's a shame that there are several items that are not enchanted. I agree that some items will be replaced quickly, however even that isnt an excuse. Here Emeraldfyre is missing key enchants such as her weapon enchants, helm enchant, shoulder enchant, and more. While I wouldn't put a huge weapon enchant on the weapon she has, I would put one on the blue blacksmith created one as soon as she gets it. Also the head and shoulder enchants that come from vendors are extremely cheap and there is no excuse to not having them.

If you are not sure of all the enchants out there you can find some enchant suggestions in our Enchanting for DPS Classes.

Ok, on to reforging, and here she has nothing done at all. I wonder if she knows what reforging is, or how important it is. You have read Reforge This, right? If not go read it right now. When your done, check your gear over and adjust as required. 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:

Destruction Warlock Reforging Priority
Hit (to 17% hit cap) = Haste > Crit > Mastery

Now that you’re done reading it, let’s start adjusting.

Basically, any piece that has Mastery and no Hit on it gets reforged to Hit, and if Hit is already there reforge mastery to Haste. Any piece that does not have Hit gets anything else moved to it, preferable crit and if not haste. Once you get to 17% hit, then you move any extra mastery or crot to haste.

Remeber that all of the reforging needs to be looked at again as gear as upgraded, as you really need to keep the 17% hit cap as a top priority as much as you can. You can choose to not reforge haste to hit since they are so close, chosing to stay below hit cap by doing so, that is your call.

Overall Review of Emeraldfyre

None of the gear listed here should be that hard to get, a lot of it is from the auction house or daily quest completion. The rest is from fairly simple heroics to start with and from Justice and Valor points since you will be running a lot of heroics to gear up they will come quickly.

While I tried to also point out some longer term upgrades that will come from the troll heroics they should probably be aimed for after you get some of the first tier upgrades. The gear that you currently have may qualify you for the troll heroics but you really will not be able to put out enough DPS to be a solid contributing member in those instances, so just wait a few runs, get a few upgrades, then go for them.

Also get some of those simple upgrades and then really focus on cleaning up your enchants, gems, and reforging. These really will make a huge difference in your charater. Also start saving some gold for some of the more expensive upgrades that you can get from the auction house later, such as the Masterwork Elementium Spellblade. That high level blacksmith created weapon is best in slot other than weapons from the tier 12 raids.

Overall though, work towards getting some decent gear in small steps and once you do you can start moving forward very quickly.

The Messiah’s Final Word and How to Request your Makeover

One last thing, keep in mind that destruction is the worst build for raiding. Many players grow attached to one specific build and spec and stick with it because it is what they know. If that is the case, that’s cool, especially if you can find a casual raid group that will let you raid in whatever spec you want, not all will though.

Visit PlayerScore to find your score.

If you are open to a change, consider this, it is generally considered to be about 4% behind demonology and 6% behind Affliction. If you are serious about raiding, you may want to consider switching to Affliction.

You could use a build something like this: Affliction Warlock Raid Build.

If you did switch to Affliction your stat priority and reforging would switch a little to something like this:

Affliction Warlock Reforging Priority
Hit (to 17% hit cap) > Haste > Crit > Mastery

In other words, almost identical stat priority, the only real difference is that Hit is much better than Haste and Hit cap isn't an option anymore.

Response has been really good 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 player, will be selected for a gear makeover in this column each week.

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.

World of Warcraft - Related Content
Reforge This | Warlock Guide | Patch 4.2 Portal

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.