Posted Fri, Mar 01, 2013 by Messiah
With Patch 5.2 and the release of the Throne of Thunder raid into Mists of Pandaria there is a whole new gearing process that players need to worry about. To be able to get into the LFR version of the Throne of Thunder raid you will need to get to an average item level of 480. Hopefully you have already reached this item level and you can step right into the Throne of Thunder raid. However, if you haven’t then this guide if for you.
For players in a raiding guild this item level requirement is going to be pretty much a given to have already since the 10 and 25 player normal raids drop item level 496 gear, and the heroics drop item level 509 gear. However since players that only play in the LFR version of the Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring only see item drops of level 483 gear, it means you pretty much have to have a 483 piece in every slot to qualify for the new raid.
For those just getting into raiding and the LFR system you should check out our following guides:
So, given the fact that you almost need a LFR raid piece in every slot, how do you make sure you are ready to queue for the Throne of Thunder?
There are several different places that you can get gear from that will help you get to item level 480. They are as follows below.
Ok, this is a really obvious one, however it is still true. The items that drop here are item level 483 and therefore will help you get to the 480 requirement. You really want to focus on whichever sections have pieces that you have that are the lowest item level of that you still need for your tier set.
Even if you do not get the items that you need, you will at least get some valor points that you can use towards some gear upgrades, which leads to the next place to find gear.
Valor points can be used to purchase some really great items that have a higher item level that the gear you will have earned in LFR groups. The valor point gear available from before patch 5.2 is all item level 489 and 496, both of which will help significantly when trying to reach an average item level of 480.
Best of all once patch 5.2 is live many of the valor point rewards are going to drop significantly in price. The valor point gear from patch 5.0, which is primarily item level 489, is going to drop in cost by 50%. The valor point gear from patch 5.1, which is primarily item level 496, is going to drop in cost by 25%. This means that you will be able to get more items for a lower cost to help get you to that item level 480 requirement for the Throne of Thunder.
Because the item level 496 gear is tied to the Operation: Shieldwall for Alliance players and the Dominance Offensive for Horde players, you should make sure you have reached exalted with the appropriate faction so that you can make the most of this price drop. The items available from these item level 496 vendors are boots, belts, and trinkets so keep those in mind when looking at other options.
You can get almost every slot as a valor item, however due to the cost and the fact that you can only earn 1000 points per week, this is not a viable way to gear up. The best slots to focus on here are those that can provide item level 496 gear.
Another way to get some items that will help you reach the item level 480 requirement is by crafting them or buying crafted items from the Auction House. All crafting professions are capable of creating item level 476 and 496 gear. The pieces that can be created are for your hands and chest.
Since the 496 gear is created from patterns and items that only drop in normal or heroic raids, most LFR players will not be able to craft these themselves. However they can be purchased on the auction house for fairly reasonable prices. On my server depending on the item they go from around 5,000 gold to around 25,000 gold. If you only need one more upgrade to get to the 480 requirement this may be your fastest way to do so.
While the 476 gear does look like it can help at first glance, it is important to remember that it is your gear average that count. Therefore not every single piece needs to be over item level 480, just the average. So if you have a low level piece (say 450 – 463) that can be replaced with a 476 crafted piece, then it will up your average item level by a little and may help you out.
At one point in time BOE drops used to be a valid way to gear up for raiding, since most raids droped several epic BOEs. Those days are gone. Currently there are only item level 496 wrist items that are BOE drops from normal and heroic raids, and level 476 chest and neck pieces that are world drops from high level content and in raids.
It may be worth looking on the auction house for the wrist items if you need an upgrade there, but it is only one slot. However, they tend to be reasonably priced, and being item level 496 can really help you reach the 480 requirement.
Upgrading an item or two before the release of the patch could really help you get to the 480 requirement for the new raid. You can find out more about item upgrades here: Item Upgrade System.
However since the ability will disappear once the patch is in place, many players will miss the opportunity. If you remember before the patch, great, if not do not fret. The new gear is going to be significantly better anyway, so you may be better off purchasing an item level 496 piece at a discover and replacing it, than upgrading an item level 483 piece to 491 since both are just as easily replaced once in the new LFR raid which drops item level 509 gear.
The only exception to the above replacement comment is likely any sha-touched weapons you have, since you can put a legendary gem in them from Wrathion. Those weapons may stick around for a while and may be worth upgrading.
As a special bonus, here is a quick consolidated list of the best places to find gear to fill each slot that will be at least item level 483. Remember that every slot can be filled by spending valor or by LFR boss drops, this list shows which are the best places to get each slot so that you are not spending gold or valor on all items, instead you spend them on the best options overall. Also keep in mind that just because this list says to get the valor item in a slot, if you already have a close ilevel item there, its better to spend it elsewhere.
If you have any questions about gearing up, or comments on other items and locations that will help players gear up, make sure you post your comments below.
Lastly, make sure you check out the Throne of Thunder LFR Guide – Part 1, so that you are ready to just right into the raid as soon as you get to the item level 480 requirement to be able to queue for it.