I'm a 70 prot warrior and I've gotten some half-decent gear in the form of the crafted Cobalt set and I have done okay in Utgarde Keep the few times that I've run it, but I'm concerned for what I'll be facing as I continue to level and run dungeons. I've got a few questions that I haven't seen answered directly (searched a bit though not a ton since I'm at work, hah, and I did read the faq) and was hoping some of the good peoples here had some answers/advice.
1. Should I be seeking out better gear every time I level or should I only upgrade every so often?
2. Should I be spending the gold to get enchants/etc on my pieces while I'm still running normal 5-mans? I'm a blacksmith and have a ton of bars I've smelted and ready to get that up any time I choose, should I be shooting for 415 and socketing my three pieces and gemming those as well?
3. Are any honor point items worth it at all to get when I hit 80? I've looked around and it seems like it might be okay for a short period, but mostly just for pvp stuff.
4. First emblem of triumph items I should be saving up for? It's nice to be making the emblems now instead of waiting until I'm already 80.
So basically I'm wanting to know how intense I should be making my pursuit of gear until I'm 80, if I should be focusing a lot on the gear or on just exping as fast as possible. Answers and advice appreciated!
1. The crafted Cobalt set will last you until the mid to late 70's when you can get the crafted Tempered Saronite set, which will last you until 80. Obviously be on the lookout for nice quest rewards or some other stuff (maybe the Daunting legs and hands for 78, although those are easy to upgrade once you get to reg ToC 5-man), but that's about it.
I would definitely aim for the BS level when you can socket your bracers and gloves though, even if you just throw in a cheap green-quality gem.
2. Cheap enchants are very helpful, but not crucial. I would get some of the cheaper blue-quality enchants and gems (for example 45 stam to legs instead of 55), but don't spend a ton of gold on something that won't last longer than 3 or 4 levels.
3. Just the PvP shoulder enchant, to my knowledge.
4. I'd start with the Honorbound helm if you have enough badges - getting a meta socket is huge for your survival, plus it's a piece that you won't be upgrading until ICC. The expertise is nice too.
am in a similar boat to you. got a full set of cobalt when i hit 70. i didnt find much in UK. nexus either (which only seems to be a instance of weapon drops, none of which are useful to us). there was a nice ring drop and a bp drop in azjol nerub and ankhahet. also doing the instance quests i managed to upgrade a couple of the cobalt pieces along the way. my link is here.
For #1, no I don't think you should seek upgrades every step of the way. It's all optional as you can get away with almost nothing, as I did when I leveled my main. For my alt warrior, I got every upgrade I could, simply cause I could. I just opened Atlasloot, under craftables for blacksmith and when a tank item came available, I made it. It definitely helps because you have to remember that many at these levels are not pros and when you're working with a weak healer, any ounce of EH you have for yourself, makes their job easier.
Same goes for #2. Again, they are very helpful, but not game breaking when you have a good team. As with #1, I also got the best enchantments since I already had an alt that has maxed enchanting and a bank full of mats, so it didn't even cost me anything. In general, cost is not an issue because both cobalt and saronite are so cheap.