Gearing for the Cata Endgame, Part One
With the release of Cataclysm a mere 5 days away, it’s time to start thinking of gearing up for heroics and raids on your way to 85. So what items should you be on the lookout for, what reps should you grind, and what normal dungeons should you run? Let’s take a look.
Note: Some of these quest / rep rewards are faction-specific, and by habit I am looking at the Horde equivalents. If you’re Alliance; first of all, you smell, but secondly, you can find the Alliance equivalent by clicking the item link and doing a couple seconds of snooping. Snoop away, my Alliance counterparts!
Also note: I ignored most PvP gear in this compilation, as Resilience is wasted in PvE content. Some items I recommend have Resilience on them; I recommended these because they are comparable, if not superior, to similar iLvl gear despite the Resilience.
Oversized Oblique Ogre Obliterator – You have to love the alliteration. This sword is obtained from the Twilight Highlands quest, The Crucible of Carnage: The Twilight Terror! (which is basically the Cata equivalent of the Ring of Blood and Ampitheater of Anguish quests). It’s a bit on the quick side, with a 3.3s weapon speed, but the Strength, Crit, and Haste are all respectable stats. If nothing else, this blade will do nicely.
Forged Elementium Mindcrusher – If you have a blacksmithing buddy (or are one yourself) and they have the pattern to make this baby, AND provided that you have the mats for it (5 Hardened Elementium Bars, 6 Truegold, and 3 Chaos Orbs), I’d go for it. With 36 more Strength, 63 more DPS, 32 more Crit, and a nice amount of Expertise, this seems to be a decent placeholder. Sure, the weapon speed is even faster than the Obliterator, at 2.6s, but with the weapon stats as high as they are, it’s hard to say no.
Note: the Chaos Orbs you need for this weapon are dropped in Cata heroics, so unless you have friends in high places and are a bit tardy to the party for leveling to 85, I’d skip over this one as it’s likely to be very expensive to craft.
Blade of the Fearless – Ah, the best of the best in pre-heroic two-handed weapons. As a matter of fact, you won’t see a better weapon until the purples start trickling into your pockets. This beauty (though not in any aesthetic sense) is obtained from reaching Revered with Hellscream’s Reach, the Horde faction in Tol Barad. I’m unsure as to how long that rep grind will take, but I intend to start it as soon as I can, and I recommend you do the same.
Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds – Ok, are you freaking out yet? An iLvl 359 (which I believe is the iLvl of the first tier of Cata raids) that you get from Archaeology that is BIND ON FREAKIN’ ACCOUNT! It is my strong, heart-felt recommendation that you level up your Archaeology while getting to 85 and grinding reps so that you have a chance of getting this guy.*
Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades – These engineer-only goggles will be a great placeholder for the first tier of Cata raids. Again, this crafted helm will be a bit expensive (just look at that list of reagents!), but if you can afford to drop the coin, I’d say go for it. Depending on how difficult the orb will be to get, I’ll probably be making this one myself. Just toss a couple Fractured, Precise, Quick, or Rigid Cogwheels in there, whichever stat you could use more of, and you’re set.
Helm of Verdant Explosion – This helm, a quest reward for Breach in the Defenses in Twilight Highlands, is a decent starter helm for how easy it is to obtain. If you can’t get any of my other recommendations, default to this one.
Bloodied Pyrium Helm – Another craftable… it looks like some of our favorite blacksmiths will be busy! Other than the glaring wasted itemization of Resilience on it, this piece looks pretty solid.
Helm of Easeful Death – The first item in our list to be purchasable with Justice Points. If you were a good little Ret, you would have saved up 4,000 of the points at level 80. Unfortunately, this helm costs a staggering 2,200 JPs, so choose wisely.
Seedling Pod – Unfortunately necklaces aren’t modeled on your character, otherwise this neck-piece would be quite interesting. A drop from normal Halls of Origination, it has a healthy dose of Hit to help meet that cap (more on the Hit and Expertise caps later).
Gift of Nadun – Another BiS pre-raid item, you can pick up this necklace after getting Exalted with Ramkahen in Uldum. Second reputation to grind to exalted: check.
Shredder-Salvage Spaulders / Gatecrasher Shoulderguards – Both are quest reward shoulderplates from the Twilight Highlands with identical primary stats, but the secondary stats are what set them apart. Shoot for whichever item has more of the stat you need on it. The quests to get these are Mo’Better Shredder and Call in the Artillery, respectively.
Redsteel Shoulders – You know, I was debating between these and Bloodied Pyrium Shoulders, and I just couldn’t justify throwing away all that Haste for Resilience. Both of these are craftable by blacksmiths, so if you disagree and want to do some PvP while leveling or at 85, find that smithy.
Pauldrons of the High Requiem – Another item purchasable with Justice Points, 1,650 of them to be precise. Combine a nice red socket with good amounts of Hit and Expertise and you get some pretty nice pieces of metal.
Elementium Deathplate – OMG WTF ORLY?! An absolutely sick BiS pre-raid chestpiece, it is yet another craftable from blacksmiths. It has the same mats as the Forged Elementium Mindcrusher, meaning it will be just as expensive.
Still want a craftable chestpiece but can’t afford the Cadillac of craftables that is the Deathplate? Go with the blue-light special that is the Redsteel Breastplate instead.
Edit: it was brought to my attention that Chaos Orbs will be BoP, meaning if you want this chestpiece you’ll have to find a smith with the orbs already in his or her possession, which dramatically increases the cost, both because the smith can charge what they want for the orbs and because you can’t farm for the orbs yourself. If you’re a blacksmith, however, and get the orbs, I’d still recommend making this piece, but if not I’d say stick with the Redsteel instead.
Skyshredder Battleplate / Breastplate of the Risen Land – Another near-identical combo, the difference between these two is the presence of Haste versus Crit, respectively. Also respectively, these chest protectors come from the quest Krazz Works! in the Twilight Highlands and normal Halls of Origination.
Breastplate of Raging Fury – Buy this one for 2,200 JPs. The two sockets are very nice, and the stats aren’t bad, either. No Deathplate, for sure, but it’s not too bad.
Awestruck Bracers / Bracers of Gleaming Shards – And again another pairing of similar quest rewards. The choice here is between Hit & Haste versus Crit & Expertise. Obtainable from the quests Unfamiliar Waters in Orgrimmar and A Little on the Side in the Twilight Highlands, respectively.
Alpha Bracers – A drop in normal Halls of Origination, these puppies have a socket, and some decent stats to boot! Hit ‘Need’ if you’re dungeon hopping and come across them.
Bloodied Pyrium Bracers – More blacksmithing goodies. More Resilience, but lots of Strength, so it’s a fair toss up. Even with that Resilience, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better bracers before Cata heroics.
Gauntlets of Rattling Bones – Pick these up when you hit Revered with the Dragonmaw Clan, the Horde faction in the Twilight Highlands. This might be my third rep to grind, but it really depends on how much rep you get just questing and leveling in the zone. If I’m nowhere near Revered, I may just save that rep for later. Although they are really nice… decisions, decisions!
Edit: It appears that the Dragonmaw Clan gives us our head enchant, Arcanum of the Dragonmaw, as well as some nice gloves, so this rep will be one of our top priorities to grind.*
Heartblood Gauntlets / Klem’s Rusted Gauntlets – Yet another pair of similar quest rewards, pick between Crit & Haste and Expertise & Mastery. Obtainable from the quests Dangerous Compassion and Distract Them for Me, both in the Twilight Highlands.
Hematite Plate Gloves – Though a bit lower in iLvl (and therefore, stat budget), these gloves are a nice start. Found in The Stonecore on normal.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for part 2!
* Thanks to Dulkan for a number of corrections and additions!