Gear Eye for the WoW Guy - Issue 3
Welcome, to the third 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 help 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 caster class since the last few weeks have been physical classes. The one I chose is one that happens to be one that both extremely easy to play and insanely simple to level up. While being easy to play, they are hard to master and good ones are in high demand on most servers due to the classes extremely low population numbers.
By now you can probably guess that I am talking about Warlocks. The one I chose was submitted by the charater's player and is Anthela from the Fenris server. Anthela is looking to raid, but is not quite there yet and wondering what can be done.
This character is looking to raid, but needs some help with finding some gear to help do that. While some of the gear is pretty good, there are some serious issues as well.
While this player is looking to progress in PVE content, they have a lot of PVP gear. Which, having looked at the character a few times, is in fact real, its not just showing them in PvP gear on their profile page due to catching them between battlegrounds.
Therefore, I selected this hapless Orc for this edition of Gear Eye for the WoW Guy as a great learning point for everyone, as sometimes just because its a higher item level, doesnt make it a better item. PVP gear being used for PVE content is a perfect example of that principle.
You can find Anthela's PlayerScore information here: Anthela 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 Anthela plays and upgrades or changes gear.
For right now I will assume that Anthela wants to play demonology for some specific reason and stick with it. However, please realize that while Affliction and Destruction warlocks are very close to each other in DPS, Demonology lags behind by something like 5-10%! This means by sticking with Demonology you will be taking a big performance hit.
Many players switch to Demonology when leveling, and then see it put out big DPS numbers in heroic instances while gearing up. This is all true, however what few realize is that this is mainly about AOE and has little to do with Raid Boss DPS which is single target for the most part. Players seem to get in the habit of trying to do the most damage in heroics and forget about the fact that while AOE damage counts in the numbers, it really means nothing.
Im not saying this is the case here, but it is something to remember.
One of the issues I see right away with Anthela is what seems to be a complete lack of understanding of stat priority. This is a major issue as Anthela has even gemmed for stats that do nothing for her at all, having two strength gems on gear for a Warlock. Talk about hurting yourself.
Even worse, I saw what I thought I was going to comment on as being an awesome piece of gear, the new epic cloak that you can get from the patch 4.2 quest chain to save Thrall. However, instead of choosing the caster cloak, for some bizarre reason Anthela chose the agility cloak? WHAT??
OK, so lets start right from the beginning here. The stat priorities for a Demonology Warlock are Intellect, Hit, Mastery, Haste, and Crit. Beyond that there is nothing more that you should be looking for as a primary stat. All gear comes with Stamina so you will see that on everything, and being a caster you will also see Spirit but that works ok as well as it helps mana regen.
Remember that Intellect is king there. This is because Intellect grants you spellpower, mana, and crit, no other stat comes anywhere close to being as important as Intellect.
Equipping any piece of gear that does not have those stats is severely hurting yourself. Even worse, adding anything but those stats to your gear is a complete waste of stats, gems, and enchants.
Good Item Choices
Wow, I had to look long and hard here to find some good item choices. Dont get me wrong, there are some good pieces but there are so many poor or absolutely horrible choices that it was hard to overlook them and actually see the good items. They are there though.
Items like the Breeches of Mended Nightmares and Belt of the Depths are both awesome items for Warlocks as they are easy to get if you are a tailor, even though the secondary stats are not the top ranked ones, they are good for casters in general. I really question the addition of a strength gem into the legs though, but lets discuss that later on in the Item Modification section.
Also the Melodious Slippers, Charmbinder Grips, and the Darkmoon Card: Volcano are all awesome pieces of gear, providing top notch bonuses.
Even the rings equipped are not bad choices. While only blue and only item level 333 they are at least caster items! While there are some better rings out there lets focus on the gear that really must go.
On to the upgrades, and man are there a lot of them. Let's start with a group of items Anthela's helm, shoulders, chest, and bracers all of which are Bloodthirsty PVP pieces.
Even though these items are item level 346, they are horrid for PVE content. In fact most item level 318 and higher greens will be better for you DPS wise. This is because of the four, only the helm and bracers even have a viable secondary stat, the others only have primary stats and resilience.
For the helm a much better choice would be the Helm of Temperance that is simple to get from the Earthern Ring, especially since you only need honored and already have that. Long term there are better items like the Collar of Bones from ZA, but lets get moving in the right direction first in simple steps.
For the shoulders there are not that many options outside of heroics, so I would suggest either the Meadow Mantles earned through Justice Points or heading into the Lost City is you havent already to get the quest reward Blight-Lifters Mantle. If you have then instead run ZA a few times to try and get Janalais Spaulders which are awesome shoulders, but realistically until a lot of the gear issues are worked out, you will not be all that helpful in a ZA group and quickly get kicked.
For the chest piece again there are many good options to pick from. Probably the best would be to save up your justice points to get the tier 11 shadowflame Robes which would be a huge upgrade. However, that will take a while and you can probably make the item level 316 Deathsilk Robes as a tailor which would be far better DPS wise even though they are lower level. The other option and maybe the best for short term is get the Deathsilk Robes, while grinding reputation with Ramkahen to get to Revered and get the Robes of Orsis. You're half way through to revered anyway and the Robes of Orsis are better than many higher level items due to all the hit that they provide.
On the wrist front, there is a simple quest reward from the Halls of Origination called the True Archaeologists Bracers that would be a great upgrade. If you have already done the quest and gotten rid of the item, then you could save up for the Firesoul Wristguards for valor points, or run the lost city a few times to get the San Silk Wristbands. These are probably the most likely since you will want to be working on Ramkahen reputation anyway.
Next up, the neck piece is a level 333 but it has agility, huh? This is a rogue, hunter, shaman, druid piece not a caster piece at all.
Ok, almost anything will be an upgrade here. Even a level 200ish green would blow this away if it was for casters. There are many options here for better pieces, one of the simplest though would be the crafted Eye of Many Deaths. You should be able to find if for relatively cheap on the auction house. If not then you could always grind Dragonmaw Clan rep to get to exalted and get the Yellow Smoke Pendant, but that could take a while. Better to start with the crafted one for a quick piece.
For a cloak upgrade, since it was discussed up above that a great opportunity was wasted by selecting the wrong quest cloak, you will now have to settle for a far inferior one than what you could have had. The easiest to get will be Cloak of Ancient Wisdoms since it can be receive with Revered Earthern Ring reputation.
For the staff, Im not even sure where to start. Its a DPS staff for agility users. Again, I am really not sure what you were thinking. Almost anything, even a level 60 green would be an upgrade. Ok, maybe thats exaggerating since it does have haste and mastery, but really, its almost not worth equipping.
Lucky for you there are many good weapons that you can get. You can do the arena quest chain in the Twilight Highlands to get the Very Manly Staff which is great , or try to find the Staff of Solemn Secrecy which is a level 325 drop that is BOE and can be found on the auction house all the time, or run Grim Batol a few times to try and get the Staff of Siphoned Essences.
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).
Next up is gigantically huge issue for Anthela, enchants, gems and reforging. I am constantly surprised at the number of players that either dont know how important enchants, gems, and reforging is, or just dont really care about them. The problem with that is, if a player doesnt care about the serious upgrades that those three things can provide, then why even bother playing to find new gear? The improvements that these three things add to your gear easily add up to 3-5 serious gear piece upgrades.
The problems start with Anthelas gear not being enchanted at all, which means she is giving up a huge amount of stats and bonuses. There are tons of guides out there for which enchants are best in slot for each item, however at this point I would just make sure that you enchant them with valid enchants. Dont spend the 2000 gold on the best weapon enchant there is, on something you are going to replace. But make sure you do enchant.
By some quick cocktail napkin math I come up with the fact that Anthela is missing something in the way of 300 Intellect, 150 mastery, some crit and some haste. As you can see this adds up to more than you have on two items combined, that is not even being looked at even though its easy to get.
Now onto gems, while her meta gem choice is OK, it would be better to use the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond to get extra crit damage rather than the crit percentage. For regular gems slots almost all of them regardless of color should have a brilliant inferno ruby in it for the 40 Intellect bonus. The only time to ignore this when the socket bonus is at least 20 intellect, then it is ok to use either artful ember topazs for int/mastery in yellow sockets or veiled demonseyes in blue sockets for int/hit.
I am completely clueless as to why a Warlock would put strength gems into gear, yet there are two in pieces right now. Strength? You know that as a caster you are going to lose any close combat fight you enter regardless of how much strength you add, right?
Ok, on to reforging, and here again, nothing has been done. As per the above discussion not taking advantage of easy bonuses to gear is killing your damage potential.
As per the above discussion on hit, he is already way over, so I would expect to be reforging away from hit, not to it.
Its almost like he never read our handy dandy guide to Reforging. You have read Reforge This, right? If not go read it right now. When you're 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:
Demonology Warlock Reforging Priority
Spell Hit cap (17%) > Haste > Mastery > Crit
Now that youre done reading it, lets start adjusting.
Given that much of your gear is for PVP and dead wrong, only adjust the PVE gear to start with. Take the lowest ranked stat on each piece (meaning crit, then mastery, then haste) and start reforging it to Hit. Rinse and repeat until you get to the 17% cap, which happens to be 1742 hit rating, which is a hell of a lot. Especially given that currently you only have 321 which means you are over 1400 points shy of being hit capped.
After that then do everything you can to stay at the 17% cap but move stats into haste instead.
All of the reforging will need to be looked at again as gear is upgraded, as you really need to keep the 17% spell hit cap as a priority and then reforge to reach it, or drop hit off to other stats.
Overall Review on Anthela
I know from the submission that this character is interested in raiding in the near future, and in doing PVP as well. However a choice really needs to be made. While it is possible to do both, you can not do both with the same gear. Both PVP and Raiding will each suffer so badly that neither will be worth doing.
Start with looking at all of the easy to get upgrades and then start farming heroic instances. However, since many of the gear pieces you have will hurt your DPS so much in a heroic, please make sure you get all the items available outside of heroics first. Otherwise you will quickly get a bad name in groups as not contributing very much.
Once you have the items listed in this gear eye makeover you can then start looking at running the troll heroics to get even better gear from them and the justice and valor points you will earn.
In short I think raiding is out of the picture, at least for a little while. You really need to gear up a lot, enchant, gem, and reforge first. This is true for all characters, but especially true for caster DPS characters since they have such a huge hit requirement. It takes a lot of effort to reach that hit cap, and until you do, your DPS against a raid boss will suffer horribly.
The Messiahs Final Word and How to Request your Makeover
While a lot of what is listed above may come across as negative, I have to point out that unlike many players our there, at least Anthela has asked for help. Also, its a lot more fun to write and read something mocking a character or player with some sarcasm than being all care bear.
However, it is important to remember that World of Warcraft is a huge and complicated game, and Anthela is not alone in not understanding everything in it. Many players make the same mistakes and blunders and never, ever, look for help or correction.
No character is beyond repair. All it takes is a little bit of understanding and some time to learn how the characters gear should be changed and optimized. This takes time though in some cases and a lot of effort. While Anthela was initially looking to raid very shortly, that doesnt appear to be in the cards, its going to take a little while to get ready. Thats all part of the game though.
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.
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 your 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.