23 January 2008

What not to wear (part 2)

So if you followed my advice in the last post you will be well on your way to an obscenely large pool of shadow damage. There are several ways to get it.

I touched on tailoring last week, and recommend this route for all aspiring raid shadow priests. The three-piece frozen shadoweave set is some of the best caster armour this side of 25-man raids and well within reach of even casual players. The downside: it is bind on pickup, the patterns are only available to tailors with the shadoweave specialisation, and spell bonuses apply only to shadow and frost damage, so your bonus healing will take a hit.

Not all the epic tailoring sets are BoP, so whether you are a tailor or not, you should definitely consider the two-piece spellstrike set and the girdle of ruination. The patterns are rare drops from high-end instance bosses, so not easy to get hold of. But if you have the time or money to invest in materials, you will usually be able to find someone to craft them for a modest fee (about 100 g on my server).

While we're looking at crafting professions, it's worth considering the eternium runed blade, which with 168 spell damage is one of the best main-hand weapons outside of raids. Be warned though, it'll cost you. Materials may stretch you to 900 g and you can expect to pay 1500 g at auction. If you don't have easy access to the materials, you're probably better off going down another route.

There are some very shiny quest rewards, reputation rewards and boss drops out there which we can loosely lump together as running instances. Tempest touch gloves, a quest reward from the caverns of time, and terrok's legacy, an offhand reward from sethekk hall, are a very good place to start, both because of their nice stats and the fact that you can easily get them before 70.

After that, there is a whole plethora of lovely blue and purple toys for you to covet but it can be hard to know where to start. Bosses never drop what you want, and reputation grinding can be too tedious to bother. If you try to do all things at once you'll probably never finish anything, so my advice is to pick one item at a time and focus on getting it. Heroic rewards can be a good route to go. You can earn badges of justice from any heroic boss, plus get extra from the daily quest, which takes some of the tedium out of running the same instances over and over. In return, you can snap up the orb of the soul eater and carved witch doctor's stick, arguably the best off-hand and wand respectively in the game.

Reputation-wise, the gavel of unearthed secrets is a good alternative to the eternium runed blade if you can stomach auchindoun long enough to reach exalted with lower city. And, although not strictly gear, the glyph of power from the sha'tar at revered is the best choice for a head enchant.

The final route for gearing up pre-raiding is PVP, either through battlegrounds or areans. A lot of my guild mates have followed this route with some success. I am reliably informed that, for battleground honour at least, it's an easy grind, and certainly the items can look very appealing. They are much higher in stamina and intellect than PVE equivalents without seemingly compromising on spell damage. As you might have guessed, I know very little about this subject, not being much of a PVPer myself. But even with one envious eye on my colleagues, I can take comfort in the knowledge that my inferior gear is more suitable to raid DPS in one small but vital way, because while PVP gear is loaded with resilience, mine has spell hit.

And now I've rambled on for long enough. That promised look at spell hit will just have to wait till next time.


grayhammer said...

The PVP option for initial gear is an important one for folks to pursue, IMO. While epic PVP gear may not be the OPTIMAL stuff for raids etc., options for good gear shortly after reaching 70 are limited. We need gear that transitions us from noob 70s to adequate performers in the most rigorous instances.

The casual, primarily PVE player who has done most OL dungeons will easily be full blues. As a next step, the purples are going to come from 1) heroics, 2) crafting, and 3) PVP. Shadowpriests should be tailors to get the frozen shadowweave set... that does it for 3 epic pieces. Then what? In most heroic groups on my server, with 3 purples, as good as those are, you would be an inferior contribution to heroic groups, where most folks seem to be head to toe purples largely from....wait for it....yes, PVP.

In short, I think a good model for gettin geared for advanced PVE settings involves building a few items from tailoring, then rounding out your gear with epics from PVP. This should make you a capable (read: not a charity tag-along case) member for heroic 5-mans, where you earn badges and possibly upgrades from boss drops.

Merlot said...

I'm not sure you're wrong. I spent a long time collecting mats not just for the frozen shadowweave set but the spellstrike set and belt of blasting. I've taken my progression quite slowly compared to some of my guild mates. But it's a sad world where you have to BG for PVE gear. There's more wrong with that scenario than just the lack of spell hit too, though it would take me an entire post to cover it off. In fact, that might just be my next post. Thank you for the inspiration!

grayhammer said...

I agree, we need more options for getting good PVE gear. I think that shattered sun dailies are an example of a PVE alternative to the PVP grind that many of us get into while building our gear. If only we had similar options for a faction such as lowered city.

I give that specific example because my latest effort has been to run BGs until I had the honor to buy the 1h mace. +199 spell damage? With a blue offhand from black morass? Very nice upgrade from my aldor rep staff. Now, of course I would have preferred the lower city 1H mace, but to get exalted with lower city requires how many successful auchndoun instance runs? I dont want to check that because I think I would be sick. I simply dont have enough regular play sessions that are long enough to guarentee all those runs. I could POSSIBLY run auch instances on the one day a week when I typically put in 4-5 hours in a row of play time, assuming PUGs or guildy groups could be found. Anyway back to my point which is: if I want to upgrade my weapon, in a better game BGs shouldnt be the only or the most efficient way to go. A better game would involve PVE daily and grind options that get you access to faction rep rewards, like the current SSO set-up. I suspect blizz knows this and we'll see content that reflects it in future upgrades.

Merlot said...

You are so right. Getting a decent weapon is a nightmare. Lower city rep sucks. Who wants to grind shadow labs all day? I'm saving up my badges for the SSO vendor, but I need 150 of them and there are other things I should be spending the badges on in the meantime. We need the one-hand sword skill or more caster daggers and maces. The melee guys in my Kara group seem to get new weapon drops every week. If you're right about Blizzard's direction with the SSO rep grind, that would be a great boost in the expansion. But I wonder if it's pure co-incidence that SSO gear rewards are so average?