Hail fellow adventurer! WAR is upon you! May your leveling be fast, and your loot plenty!
A central theme of playing WoW is of course gear. The all-powerful loot. The armor, the weapon, the trinket that will finally make us OverPowered. Even more so in this day and age of gearscore.
There is an astronomical amount of gear in this game. Many times you may find yourself wondering: How can I improve my gear? where do i go next? What is within my reach? what should be my long term planning?
Below is my humble attempt at summarizing the information resources that may help you. Please note that everything here applies only to PvE gear. (I don't PVP). The intention here is to point you to resources that will help you regardless of your class or level.
This post is directed at people leveling, or fresh 80's. If you are a long time player in full T10 this information is probably boring for you.
Step 1. What is better gear? Not all gear is created equal.
The first thing to get out of the way is to define "better" in the context of gear.
Here is where you have to make sure you understand what makes your class tick. What STATS in gear make your class perform better.
If you understand this, then when you see an item drop in an instance you will be able to determine if that item is truly an upgrade for you or not.
Better yet, if you go to item databases like wowhead.com, thottbot.com, etc. you can filter out the items that are of interest for you.
If you want to research on what stats are better for your class (for instance, is critical strike rating better than haste? does spirit help me? should i go strength or agility? how much hit rating should i have) then please check out the class guides in the DPS, Healing and Tanking forums here at tankspot. Also recently wow.com hosted some 101 articles on each class that provide this information.
You can also search for the main theorycraft threads and guides in elitistjerks.com and checkout the stickies in the official WoW forums for your class.
There are also some specialized sites out there with really good information (shadowpriest.com, tankingtips.com, bighitbox.com come to mind)
On these pages some people (more intelligent and good at this than me) spend countless hours trying out different builds, accumulating data from combat logs, and finally reach the holy grail of gear ranking: the relative value of specs.
For example: If you are a shadow priest, you are obviously looking to maximize your dps. After all the number crunching, the relative value of each stat contribution to dps may look like this:
Stat Combat EP
This my friends is the key to the kingdom. With this, you can easily take stats in any item, multiply by its relative value, and come up with a "rating" for that piece of gear, and compare it with other pieces of gear.
Here is where you are probably wondering WTF??!?!? I came here to find about gear, not math!
Step 2. I want instant gratification! Just give me the list!!
Good point. Gladly for all of us, some sites have taken upon themselves to digest this information, use stat relative values and apply it to rank pretty much every item in the game.
The two sites i use the most to look at preranked item lists are:
maxdps.com. Here you just select your class and spec, and it will spit out the list of gear ranked per DPS, HPS, or TPS. You can select the sources of items that you want to consider, and resubmit to get filtered out results. More on sources below.
gear-wishlist.appspot.com (this one actually can rank items from 3 different sources) Here you enter your character name and realm, and it will give you your list of current gear, and then the rankings of gear above it.
Disclaimer: I understand that the choices of ranking made by these sites are arguable. But they are none the less a good tool for gear planning.
Other sites of interest:
Step 3. Sources of loot.
When i was young, and dinosaurs ruled the earth, i thought that good items would only drop in raids.
But as I grew up, i learned that gear design by Blizzard is a little more complex than that.
As you evaluate the list of items, keep in mind that at certain progression levels reputation items or crafted items may be better (or at least similar, but easier to get) than raid or instance drops!
Currently, for a freshly leveled 80 looking to gear up, the progression path may look like:
1. Argent tournament dailies
2. Early heroics for emblems of triumph and rep grind.
3. Reputation items
4. Emblem items (Triumph, Frost, etc.) as you accumulate them from your heroic runs.
5. Normal 5man Toc, and normal Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron
6. High level Heroics instance drops
7. Raid drops
Crafted items can be in between any of these levels, depending on the type of item (boot, helm, etc.)
Depending on your level of progression in gear, and the gold/resources available, you may choose a crafted item over a raid drop.
For example, for strength based DPS, there is an item of crafted boots that is much better than most drops in instances and some drops in raids!
Another example, when my shadow priest was just 80, the epic boots from Wyrmrest accord reputation were the best boots that were within my reach.
Hope this article gave you an idea of what resources are available to you as you plan your gear progression. Feel free to post any feedback or constructive criticism.
Last edited by warlord.hellscream; 02-11-2010 at 04:01 AM.