Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Become a Raider - Part 1: Gear

~Congratulations! You have reached level 80!~
Liltimmy: Hurray! I can raid now!!!
Serenitysaz: Hang on there Timmy, not quite so fast. You have quite a bit of work to do before you're ready to raid.
Liltimmy: But I'm 80 now! I can do anything I want!!
Serenitysaz: Not in that gear you can't.
Liltimmy: What's wrong with my gear?
Serenitysaz: While blues and greens are more than fine for leveling, they're less than ideal for raiding. Before you even set foot into a raid, you first must get yourself
into mostly iLevel 200 blues and epics of better.
Liltimmy: Where do I get those?

So you've just managed to level cap your first character within World of Warcraft, congrats! You're probably like our friend Lil Timmy here, excited and unsure of what to do next. That's okay! We all start somewhere. This guide is here to help you on your way to becoming a solid raider.

First things first, we must get rid of your greens and the majority of your blues. You can do this one of two ways: either have your gear crafted, or run instances. Let's break this down a bit.

Crafted Gear - This can be rather costly, and to someone who has just capped their very first toon, this may be out of your financial range. If you have deep pockets though, find yourself the appropriate crafter and get to it!

Blacksmiths - Plate Gear
    Defense Plate (Protection Paladins/Blood DKs/Protection Warriors)
    DPS Plate (Retribution Paladins/Frost DKs/Unholy DKs/Fury Warriors/Arms Warriors)
    Healer Plate (Holy Paladins)
Leather Workers - Mail and Leather Gear
    Agi DPS Mail (Enhancement Shaman/Hunters)
    Caster Mail (Elemental Shaman/Restoration Shaman)
    Agi Leather (Bear Tank Druid/Feral Cat Druid/Rogue)
    Caster Leather (Balance Druid/Restoration Druid)
Tailors - Cloth Gear
    Healer Cloth (Holy Priests/Discipline Priests)
    Caster Cloth (Warlocks/Mages/Shadow Priests)

Instances - This is the best way of obtaining gear. Crafted gear can help out a ton, but instances (both regular and heroic modes) will help you fill in your missing pieces. Not only will instances help you to gear up, but they will also award points which can be used to purchase higher iLevel gear, give you gold, help you earn reputation with certain factions (which in turn will allow you to buy enchants, gear, and various other goodies), and most importantly will help you learn your role better in a team player environment. Tip: make a list ahead of time of which bosses in which instances drop gear that are upgrades for you. That way, once you're finished farming for points, you know which instances to run daily to get your last missing pieces.

Liltimmy: Woahwoahwoah...what does this all mean? Reputation? Factions? Enchants? iLevel?
Serenitysaz: I know Lil Timmy, it's a lot to take in. Just hang in here with me for a bit longer, and I will explain it all!
Liltimmy: Okay...but, one question...what type of gear do I need?
Serenitysaz: This is a very good question Timmy! Let me answer that for you!

Here's a break down of all the classes and specs, and what type of basic stats (those are the numbers on items, such as Agility or Intellect) you need to be looking for.

Death Knight - DKs (as they're more commonly known) can fill two different roles: Melee DPS or Tank 
Melee DPS - Look for plate items with Strength on them. Two handed weapons are preferred by most DKs, unless they're specced into the Frost tree, which allows them to dual wield two one-handed weapons. If you're a melee DK with Defense or Intellect in your gear, you need to do further reading on how to gear your class. Defense and Intellect are no-nos for DPS DKs.
Tanks - Again, look for plate items with Strength on them, but more importantly, look for Defense! Before attempting to tank instances (let alone raids), please look up how much defense rating you need for your spec. If you are under Defense cap, your healer will hate you, and you will most likely die. DK tanks do NOT use shields, but use two handed weapons. Agility isn't a bad stat for DK tanks by any means, but more often than not Strength and Stamina are the two more important stats after Defense, Hit, and Expertise caps have been delt with.

Druid - Druids can fill four different roles, and each gear slightly differently. These roles are: Ranged DPS, Melee DPS, Tank, or Healer
Ranged DPS - Look for leather items with Intellect and Spell Power on them. If you're a caster (which is what most ranged DPS are), and you have Agility gear on, you need to relook at how you're gearing. Agility does nothing for a caster, so please do not take these pieces from our Kitty/Bear/Rogue friends. Boomkins most often use staves (a staff), but can also use a main hand weapon coupled with an offhand weapon. Please do not use a mainhand weapon without an offhand, or an offhand without a mainhand weapon.
Melee DPS - Look for leather items with Agility on them. If you have gear that has Intellect on it, you are a very bad, bad kitty. Once upon a time, way back in the Burning Crusade expansion you may have seen some cats with caster gear on because back then they had to do something known as power shifting. They no longer do that, thus they no longer need to lay their paws on the gear of the casters. Feral druids most often use Polearms and Staves. Finding offhands to couple a mainhand dagger are an extreme rarity, and ferals do not dual wield. Thus, don't try to steal a rogue's daggers.
Tanks - Much like the cat ferals, look for items with Agility on them. Gear with expertise on it is also extremely helpful! Bears do not use mana except to shapeshift (which if you do this more than what is necessary in a fight, you may be doing something wrong...typically you turning into a "human" form will result in you being smashed into bits!), thus they should never put their big bear paws on a caster's gear. Just like with kitties, bears use Polearms and Staves. Sometimes a bear will have to use Strength neck pieces and rings, and these pieces will have Dodge (which is very good!), Defense (not totally necessary, but not a terrible stat to have!), Block (try to avoid this stat, bears cannot block), and Parry (again, bears can't Parry). These neck/ring pieces are okay to have! Just try to gather as many preferred stats as possible.
Healers - Healers are much like the Ranged DPS Druids, they look for leather that has Intellect and Spell Power. Agility is not a healer stat. Strength is not a healer stat. Healers do not need to be agile nor strong to heal well! They just require the proper gear and quick moving feet.

Hunter - Hunters fill one role: Ranged DPS
Ranged DPS - Look for mail items that have Agility on them. Expertise and Defense are BAD for hunters, and Strength is less than ideal. Intellect is another stat that a Hunter should not have. Hunters can equip nearly every weapon in game, so choose wisely on the weapon(s) that you use! You may use any weapon you wish, but it must have Agility on it, and no Expertise/Defense/Strength. If you aquire a one-handed sword or a dagger, remember to get another weapon for your other hand! Thrown weapons are not for Hunters, please only equip bows/guns/cross bows in your ranged slot.

Mage - Mages fill one role: Ranged DPS
Ranged DPS - Look for cloth items that have Intellect on them. Lucky for Mages (and all cloth classes, really), there aren't any pieces of cloth that won't suit your class. Mages often use Staves, but can also use one-handed weapons coupled with an offhand. They also use wands! Stay away from weapons that have Agility on them!

Paladin - Paladins can fill one of three roles: Tank, Melee DPS, or Healer
Tank - Look for plate items with Defense and Strength on them. Intellect gear is generally bad for a Paladin tank! Items with Defense, Parry, Dodge, and Block are wonderful for a Pally tank. Paladin tanks use shields with Block/Parry/Dodge/Defense for their offhands, and typically a one-handed mace or sword in their main hands.
Melee DPS - Look for plate items with Strength on them. Avoid Defense/Parry/Dodge/Block/Intellect do not need these as a DPS! Expertise is also helpful, but do not fret too hard about this stat, Ret Pallies are not dual wielders. They often use two handed maces or swords, but can also use polearms if need be.
Healer - Look for plate items with Intellect on them. Avoid the pieces with tank stats on them, and do not take Strength items! Holy Paladins do not need Strength to be a strong healer, they need the smarts of great Intellect! Holy Paladins also carry shields, but these shields will have the great Intellect on them instead of the Defense of a tank shield. They also use one-handed maces or swords for their main hands.

Priest - Priests can fill one of three roles: Tank Healer, AoE Healer, or Ranged DPS
Tank Healer - This spec is called Discipline. It gears up much like a Mage, but will not turn its Spirit into Hit. Just like the Mage, it looks for cloth pieces and weapons that contain Intellect.
AoE Healer - This is the Holy spec. It gears up just like its Discipline friend. Cloth with Intellect is king. These clothies, they're so smart with all their Intellect gear and weapons!
Ranged DPS - The Shadow Priests again gear just like their Mage and Healer Priest friends. They look for the cloth and weapons that carry Intellect. Just like their Mage friends, they may turn some of their Spirit into Hit through talents or reforging.

Liltimmy: Hit? Reforging???
Serenitysaz: I'll get into that once I finish this list!
Liltimmy: Okay, good.

Rogue - Rogues only fill one role: Melee DPS
Melee DPS - A rogue will gear up much like a Druid kitty would. Look for Agility leather. Expertise is also a very good stat to have as a Rogue! If you have Intellect gear, you are not a very smart Rogue at all, despite your stats. To be a good Rogue you must be agile! Rogues are dual wielders, and can use a variety of weapons. Quick daggers or maces are common, as are fist weapons. Swords and sometimes axes are used as well. Just be mindful of what spec you have, and which weapons and weapon speeds will benefit that spec the most. Thrown weapons are the most common ranged weapon for a Rogue, though guns/bows can also be used. Defense weapons/ranged items are not for Rogues! Do not take these from your tank friends. They will get angry and let you steal aggro, letting you die. Then they shall laugh at your foolishness.

Shaman - Shaman can fill one of three roles: Ranged DPS, Melee DPS, Healer
Ranged DPS - An Elemental Shaman will look for mail gear with Intellect on it. If they use Agility gear instead of Intellect, they will singe their fingers on the elements that they call upon, for it takes great Intellect to wield lightning and to command the flows of lava! Elementals often use shields that have Intellect on them coupled with a main hand, but can also wield staves. A totem in their ranged slot that helps boost the damage of their elements is best to have.
Melee DPS - An Enhancement Shaman will gear up much like a Hunter, and looks for Agility mail. Expertise is also a much sought after stat. They do not need to take the Elemental Shaman's Intellect gear, for they gain the respect of the elements and their Spirit Wolves through their sheer warrior like strength! An Enhancement Shaman will not take the Strength gear of the plate DPSers, nor will they steal the Defense gear of a tank. They also do not require the shield of the physical type. Enhancement Shaman are dual wielders, and will be found swinging a pair of very slow one-handed axes or maces or fist weapons (2.50-2.70 speed). Staves and two-handed weapons are not for Enhancement Shaman. The totem in their ranged spot will either be one that improves their Attack Power, or perhaps even increase their elemental damage, or may even increase their Haste!
Healer - A Restoration Shaman will gear much like its Elemental cousin. They look for mail pieces with Intellect on them! In order to call upon the healing powers of their great ancestors, the Resto Shaman must use their all of their Intellect. They also can use staves, but most often will use a shield paired with a main hand weapon. Their totem for the ranged slot will be one that helps increase the effectiveness of their heals.

Warlock - Warlocks can only fill one role: Ranged DPS
Ranged DPS - A Warlock will gear just as their Mage and Priest friends do...they look for cloth!! They like to deviously outsmart their foes, thus they prefer items that contain Intellect on them. They will not take the Agility and Strength pieces that are best suited for their melee team mates. They can use staves, swords, offhands, and various other weapons. They also like to use wands.

Warrior - Warriors can fill two roles, though two different specs fill the same role: Tank, Melee DPS
Tank - Protection Warriors gear just as a Protection Paladin would. They look for Defense/Parry/Block/Dodge gear. Agility is not a bad stat to have, but Strength is generally prefered. Expertise is also not a bad stat to have if you can get it. A Warrior does not use mana, thus if you're a Warrior who has Intellect on his/her gear, you are a very stupid Warrior despite your so-called Intellect. A Prot Warrior will use a shield that has Defense/Parry/Block/Dodge on it, with either a sword or mace with similar stats on it in his/her main hand. They either use a thown weapon or gun with Tank stats on it for their ranged weapon.
Melee DPS (Arms) - An Arms Warrior will gear much like the Ret Paladin or Unholy DK. They look for plate items with Strength on them. They do not generally take items with Agility on them, but this stat is not bad to have. They certainly do not run around wearing Intellect gear, nor do they wear the gear of a tank. An Arms Warrior will use a two-handed weapon, generally a sword, but can also use a polearm or two-handed mace. While they may look for a Strength based thrown weapon, gun or bow, something that's Agility based should fine for their ranged slot as well.
Melee DPS (Fury) - A Fury Warrior gears just as an Arms Warrior would, with two rather large differences. They look for much more Expertise, for this is a very important stat as a dual wielder, and they look for two different two-handed weapons. Yes, two TWO-handed weapons. Fury Warriors be furious, and their titanic grips make them wield big weapons that take a normal person two hands to hold!

Serenitysaz: So there you have the full run down on what types of gear you generally look for.
Liltimmy: Cool! So...what about this thing called Hit?
Serenitysaz: Hit is the stat that lets you...well...hit the boss!
Liltimmy: Oh!! I wanna be able to do that!! How much Hit do I need so I don't miss?
Serenitysaz: It depends on your class. Generally casters need 17% Hit and melee need about 8%. Expertise acts much like Hit as well, though instead of just letting you hit the boss, it ensures that the boss cannot dodge away from your attack. 26/26 is the Expertise cap.
Liltimmy: I have talents that convert stuff into Hit for me, how much do I need from my gear?
Serenitysaz: Take the cap numbers I just gave you and subtract the amount your talents give you. This is how much Hit you need to gain from your gear.

Liltimmy: Alright, that clears that up. What about reforging?
Serenitysaz: Reforging allows you to take one unneeded stat, and turn it into another, more useful stat!
Liltimmy: Ooooh, I wanna do that! Can I have all of one stat?!
Serenitysaz: No, you cannot simply take all of your Haste or Crit and turn it into, say, Agility or Intellect. It doesn't quite work that way. But you can turn some of your crit into a stat that you may need, like Hit.
Liltimmy: That's kind of cool I guess.
Serenitysaz: It's way cool. Instead of running around like an under capped nub, you can be sure to hit those bosses always no matter what your gear!

Liltimmy: You said something earlier about iLevel...what does that mean?
Serenitysaz: iLevel refers to the item level of a piece of gear. The bigger the iLevel number, generally the better the piece. An item with an iLevel of 232 is generally better than one with an iLevel of 200, provided it a) has the stats you're looking for and b) it's actually for your class. If you're...say, an Arms Warrior, an Intellect piece with an iLevel of 264 will be much worse for you than a Strength based blue with an iLevel of 187, despite the fact that the item level is far greater than your blue piece. If the piece doesn't have the stats that your class/spec require, then it doesn't matter how high the iLevel may be, it's not for you.

Liltimmy: I've been hearing people in Trade talk about Gear Score...what is this?
Serenitysaz: Gear Score is the number that you get when you add up the iLevel of all your items. It's at best a very general way to judge how well you're geared. It's better to have a low GS (short hand for Gear Score) and the proper items equipped then to have a high GS and have improper items equipped. If you're a Ret Pally with a very high GS, but are wearing Tank and Healer pieces as a DPS, chances are no one will want you in their raid anyways. Having a high GS is nice...but it's not the most important thing. Take your time and gear up properly.

Liltimmy: Wow, this is a lot to take in.
Serenitysaz: I know it is Timmy, that is why we'll take a break for now. We'll go over gems, enchants, reputation (and why you need it), rotations, and strategy at another time.
Liltimmy: Cool, thanks! See you tomorrow then?
Serenitysaz: You bet!
Liltimmy: K, my mom wants me to go to bed now. Bye!

Liltimmy has gone offline.

World of Saz 2011

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