Updated Wed, Jan 04, 2012 by Messiah
Now that raid finder is up and running in World of Warcraft I have had many friends online ask how to actually gear up to be able to use it. These are of course the truly casual players that spend most of their time farming for herbs, questing so that they finish every single quest in the game, or doing things like every holiday event. These are not raiders or players that rush to beat every achievement in heroics when they are released.
However, now that everyone has heard that the looking for raid (LFR) tool actually works, and that it is possible to finish a raid in a pick up group (PUG), everyone wants in on the action.
Where do these players start though? Let’s take a look.
Ok, before looking at the best place to get gear to be able to get into the LFR queue it is important to know what you need.
To be able to get into the Dragon Soul LFR queue you of course need to be level 85, and you also need to have an average item level of 372.
The best place to start looking for gear so that you can qualify to queue for the Dragon Soul LFR tool is the three heroic instance that were released along side the new raid.
These three new instances provide most of the gear to get you into the Dragon Soul raid as well as providing the storyline of the raid so that you know why you are there. The three instances are End Time, Hour of Twilight, and Well of Eternity and you can find guides for each of them by clicking their names. All of the items that they reward you with either through quests of boss drops are item level 378.
To get into these three new heroic 5 player instances you need to have an average item level of 353 already. Hopefully you have this already as that would be a whole other article. If you don’t have that already then you need to go and run some older heroics, such as the basic Cataclysm ones or the patch 4.2 Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub heroics.
While most of the gear you need will come from the three new instances there are several other places to get gear from. They are as follows:
Justice point gear – When 4.3 was released all the 4.2 valor gear rolled down to be sold for justice points. It is all item level 378.
Valor point gear – As you defeat the new instances using the random heroic tool you will earn valor points, which can be used to purchase gear that is item level 397.
Crafted items – There are many crafted items out there that range all the way up to item level 397. While these newer high item level pieces are very expensive you can still check for them, or older ones.
Bind on Equip items – There are several BOE item level 378 items available on the auction house from players raiding the Firelands. There are also a few BOE pieces available from the Dragon Soul Raid, so while they are expensive you should watch for them if it is for a slot you really need.
PVP – While I don’t recommend this, it is possible to pickup a piece or two of high level PVP gear so that you meet the item level requirement. This will severely hurt your PVE ability though as PVP gear is very poor for PVE content, so I only suggest this if you are a point or two shy of making the 372 threshold and want to get in that week. Any more than a piece or two and expect to get booted from the raid as soon as someone notices.
This is a tricky question because most gear is from random drops. There are things that you can do to speed up the process, but not a whole lot. As long as you came in with an item level rating of 353 or higher you should expect to be ready in a week or two, depending on your luck. I geared 4 different characters up and 2 were done in a few days because they got some lucky drops, 1 took 2 weeks of runs (I stop when I get valor cap each week), and the last 1 took 3 weeks. So again, not long at all.
Start off by running the new heroics using the random tool, and keep using that tool until you cap at 1000 valor points for the week. Once you do then you can queue for specific instances that have gear you need. Until you do though it will just slow you down as you want those valor points.
With 1000 valor a week it means you will not get many valor pieces any time soon, so keep those points for items that you can not get other places or that are significantly better than anything you have or can get. For example the valor boots, neck, and cloaks are significantly better than what you can get elsewhere for most classes.
When you do spend valor, justice, or gold (for items on the auction house) keep in mind that you are looking for big upgrades. If you have the points to get a new ring but it moves you from an item level 365 ring to a 378 ring, that’s not a huge upgrade. You might be better of waiting for a few more points and upgrade those 353 hands to 378 or even better to 397. Remember you need to get to a 372 average and any single low level piece will really drag that down.
Now that we know where to go looking for gear upgrades to be able to get into the Dragon Soul LFR tool, let’s look at how it works in reality. Where and how should you go about gearing up to meet the item level requirement.
For this example I have chosen a hunter since there are so many of them, and since they essentially have one set of gear. If I looked at Paladins for example it would require three very different sets of gear depending on which spec you were playing. While spec priority does vary between marksman, survival, and beastmaster hunters, it can generally be accomplished with the same gear just reforged differently.
Helm: Dawnslayer Helm (Hour of Twilight: Asira Dawnslayer)
Neck: Cameo of Terrible Memories (1250 Valor Points) or Necklace of Smoke Signals (1250 Justice points)
Back: Cloak of the Banshee Queen (End Time: Echo of Sylvanas)
Shoulder: Betrayer’s Pauldrons (Hour of Twilight: Archbiship Benedictus)
Chest: Breastplate of the Queen’s Guard (Well of Eternity: Queen Azshara) or Flamewaker’s Tunic (2200 Justice points)
Wrist: Legion Bindings (Well of Eternity: BOE zone drop) or Bracers of Forked Lightning (1250 Justice points) or Dragonbelly Bracers (1250 Valor Points)
Hands: Time Twister’s Glauntlets (End Time: Quest) or Flamewakers Gloves (1650 Justice points)
Waist: Cinch of the World Shaman (Hour of Twilight: Quest) or Dragoncarver Belt (BOE drop in Dragon Soul raid)
Legs: Legguards of the Legion (Mannoroth: Well of Eternity) or Flamewaker’s Legguards (2200 Justice points) or Rended Earth Leggings (Leatherworking)
Feet: Dead End Boots (End Time: Any of the Echoes) or Boneshard Boots (1650 Valor points)
Rings: Alurmi’s Ring (Well of Eternity: Quest) and Mannoroth’s Signet (Well of Eternity: Mannoroth) or Splintered Brimstone Seal (1250 Justice Points) or Emergency Descent Loop (1250 Valor Points)
Trinkets: Arrow of Time (End Time: Murozond) and Kiroptyric Sigil (1650 Valor points)
Weapon: Thornwood Staff (Well of Eternity: Mannoroth)
Ranged: Windrunner’s Bow (End Time: Echo of Sylvanas) or Bronze Blaster (End Time: Quest) or Dragonsmaw Blaster (Hour of Twilight: Archbishop Benedictus) or Ironfeather Longbow (Well of Eternity: Quest)
NOTE: There are more items available for Valor points such as a helm, chest, hands ,and more, however since you can get these slots filled with tier 13 items once you start raiding I find them poor choices. It is better to spend the points on other items
As you can see, it is pretty easy to gear up a character with item level 378 gear before you even set foot in a raid. If you take the same approach as I did above with the hunter and apply it to whichever class your character is and make a list it is pretty easy.
Go through and run instances until you have enough of the gear to qualify for the Dragon Soul LFR tool and then move onto higher level gear.
Even more important than the gear though is the enjoyment of getting to play in and participate in a raid, and seeing the end of the Cataclysm storyline.
So, how about all of you that have already geared up, how long did it take you? Did you do anything different? Do you have any tips for the newer raiders? Give us your feedback in the comments below.