Tag Archives: Druid

MoP-up on Aisle 3

22 Oct

Yeah yeah, i know it’s really “Clean Up on Aisle 3”, but I decided to change it. Why? Because your face, that’s why.

Hmm.. I don’t know why, but i’m feeling feisty this morning.

So… Mists of Pandaria was announced at Blizzcon yesterday. I’m a little surprised that Blizz ACTUALLY went through with it, but there it is. While I could debate the price of tea in China (or Pandaria, as it were) all day long, i’m actually gonna skip right past the black and white fluffers for now and move on to a much more meaty topic. Yesterday, the powers that be released a (VERY) preliminary peak at an extremely large talent overhaul they have planned for the new expansion.

The long and short of it, as I understand it, is this… Talent trees are going to be gone. Permanently. Instead, you pick your spec upon reaching level 10, and they give you abilities that you need along the way. For you druids out there, they FINALLY went ahead and split feral into two specs, so while all the other classes have 3 different specs to choose from, druids have 4. I feel like Bear would play out something like this:

Level 10: Mangle

Level 20: Swipe

Level 30: Lacerate

Level 40: Maul

Again… that’s just speculation. Blizz listed the abilities in 10 level increments in their example, so I did as well. I still feel like we’ll be getting new abilities somewhere in the median for a few levels too, because trying to lowbie tank instances with only one or two buttons? Do *not* fucking want.

The other new (and very cool, imo) idea that Blizzard threw at us from deep left field is that every 15 levels, we get to make a choice. There are 3 different “talents”, for lack of a better term, that we get to choose from, that can augment our abilities or give us new ones altogether. We only get to pick 1 per 15 levels, and we can’t go back at our next choice and pick one we passed up. We can, however, change up these abilities, almost at will. (I believe they said it would be as easy as changing out a glyph). I can’t explain it nearly as eloquently as the panelists did, so instead i’ll dive right into the druid options that were unveiled, and how they relate to bears. Keep in mind that this is extremely preliminary, and is subject to being changed, or removed completely.

(Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)

Level 15: Feline Swiftness – Displacer Beast – Timeless Pursuit

I think this is a pretty simple choice to make if you’re a bear, seeing as the latter two abilities automatically shift you into cat form. That being said, Feline Swiftness giving bear form a base speed increase is damn nice. No more movement speed boot enchants necessary!

Level 30: Nature’s Swiftness – Renewal – Cenarion Ward

I think a fair argument could be made for taking Nature’s Swiftness, especially since it allows those spells to be case in any form, but 3 minutes is a long cooldown for one spell, even with increased healing and duration attached. As far as PvE bearing goes, the obvious choice would be Renewal, with Cenarion Ward coming in a modest second, depending on how well and with what stat the barrier scales. (Place it on your other tank in high damage situations? Random add from a pack got loose? High AoE damage moment before everyone is topped off? Bam)

Level 45: Faerie Swarm – Mass Entanglement – Typhoon

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I AM SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED ABOUT TYPHOON OH HOLY SHIT.

/throat clear. Anyway. All of these could be good situational options. Typhoon may be a bit better for some PvPing, but the idea of a bear casting a typhoon just… I almost squeed when I saw that… seriously. Faerie Swarm apperas to be the same as the current iteration of Faerie Fire, with all 3 stacks landing at once, with the addition of a movement slow. If Faerie Fire remains in the game, then this could easily be overlooked. Mass Entanglement (a la Staghelm before you first pull Alysrazor), while a cool idea, is definitely not for tanking as you have to shift out of form to cast it. BEAR-PHOON HO!

Level 60 – Wild Charge – Incarnation – Force of Nature

Wild charge seems like a pretty fun talent, and could be pretty interesting, especially if Feral Charge will still exist in game. Double bear bomb? Sure why not. Incarnation could also be pretty interesting if they have an option specifically for bears (as it’s not listed atm, I honestly don’t know). Force of Nature could be fun too, but again it’s dependent upon what it would DO for us bearbutts. This will be an interesting level to see how it plays out, and is very dependent on many things.

Level 75 – Demoralizing Roar – Ursol’s Vortex – Bear Hug

Disorienting enemies really doesn’t have a whole lot of pve usage, if you ask me, so this iteration of Demo Roar could easily be overlooked. Ursol’s Vortex, however… Oh dear god give it to me NOW. /want. Bear hug could be an interesting choice, but the fact that it leaves you unable to do anything else, or even move, makes it seem less than useful in PvE content.

Level 90 – Heart of the Wild – Master Shapeshifter – Disentanglement

I’m not entirely sure what it is Blizzard was going for with this tier of options. I could see Disentanglement being situationally useful (in taunt-swap fights or something of that nature), but by and large it seems like Heart of the Wild would be the clear way to go here… 95% additional armor? Yikes. We’re already the far and away reigning kings of armor value, and that just seems like… just… wow. But as it stands, it’s still a pretty meh option for bears.

Overall, I think this new talent system will open up some pretty damn cool options, and it’ll be interesting to see what everyone favors for their preferred class and spec. It’ll also be fun to see this style develop and evolve, as well as the balancing of things, as Mists of Pandaria inches towards us from miles away.

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Thoughts on tanking in Firelands

18 Jul

So, my guild has gone 2 for 7 in the Firelands now. First week, we killed Shannox, and this past raid week we killed Baleroc. I’ve gotta give Blizz some real credit, cause it seems to me they’re trying out a lot of new mechanics for the FL raid bosses. They make things interesting, that’s for sure. First there’s Shannox and his goddamn dogs. Ugh. Although he’s relatively easy to tank, you really have to keep your eyes open. Stepping on an Immo trap as a tank is gonna cause you to take a SHIT ton of damage, and possibly even die. Stepping on a crystal trap is pretty much instant-wipe. If you’ve taken a look at our kill video for Shannox (in my youtube channel) then may noticed that I strafe along the outside of the cleared area to avoid stepping in the traps. It also helps keep the traps in a predictable area so my melee DPS avoid stepping on them as well. The downside is that placement of crystal traps aren’t always in the best of spots for catching Riplimb when your tanks need to drop their stacks of Jagged Tear. In my video (it was our guild’s first kill, so it was VERY messy), you may notice that both the Riplimb tank and myself reached pretty high stack counts a couple times during the fight.

 

Baleroc is a fight that makes me happy in the pants. Since, as a tank, I can’t measure my epeen the same way DPS do, THAT fight continues to increase my health pool the longer it goes on. I saw myself pop over 2 million when I hit Frenzied Regeneration, and there’s absolutely no chance at all that I was cackling like a mad scientist. Nope… Not at all. >.>

Anyway… In spite of the mind-boggling health pool, this fight is absurdly stressful. The healers, the DPS, and the tank (we decided to one-tank it, because we’re cool like that) all have a LOT of communication to make with each other. Decimation Blades is one of those abilities, that just… every time I see it pop up it makes me cringe a bit. Luckily, as a bear, i’ve got an insanely high dodge chance, so only 3 out of the 9 Decimating Strikes actually hit me. Looking back through the combat log, I actually dodged over 50% of ALL of his attacks, so in the grand scheme of things, I could have taken *WAY* more damage, but i’m not sure I could’ve survived it. There were a couple times where I was so close to dying, i’m pretty sure I flailed at my keys looking for a cooldown to hit (and luckily, I always had at least one up, except near the very end).

Now, i’m not going to go into full on strategies or anything, but Baleroc is an intense encounter. If you’re not careful, there can be a LOT of confusion going on. We actually had to take the healer team and myself into another vent channel so the DPS could coordinate their crystal rotation without interfering with the healer’s stack/proc rotation (which was, admittedly, less rotation and more “Okay, my buff is ending.”, “Okay, i’ll take it”). The only reason I went into the healer channel as well was to call out the Decimation Blade, so they weren’t caught offguard with “OMFG HE’S GONNA DIE” health. I also definitely didn’t laugh quite a bit when I dodged an entire round of Decimating Strikes. >.>

Either way it goes, i’m pretty proud of my raiders overall. We had to come back and say “okay maybe later” to Alysrazor and Rhyolith, because there’s just something that’s not clicking for us just yet… who knows, we may find it by the time we kill Beth’tilac. By and large though, i’m pretty pleased with this raid tier. Yeah, some guilds are blowing through it at breakneck pace, but that’s not us, and it probably won’t ever be us.. Honestly, we don’t want that. Too much stress, for me personally.

Circle of Tanking!

12 Jul

This idea sprung up from a sort of “survey” that’s being spread amongst numerous WoW bloggers called the “Circle of Healing”. so Orvilius, over at D/E the Tank! decided that tanks deserve to have our voices heard as well, and so: The Circle of Tanking was born!

 

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Vaerron – Druid, 0/32/9

2. What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
I’ve been the “main tank” and standing raid leader for Stands in Bad for almost a year.

3. What is your favorite cooldown for your class and why?
Survival Instincts – no doubt. It’s simple. Druids are far more about avoidance than mitigation. Fully raid buffed, my druid is sitting somewhere around 44% dodge, and reducing the damage i DO take by 50% for a long period, on top of my big avoidance, I really take almost no damage for the duration.

4. What tanking CD do you use least for your class and why?
Survival Instincts – Even though it’s my favorite, it’s harder to time this than Frenzied Regeneration (which increases my healing taken, and my max health for a period of time). If I use it when i’m way low on health, I might die anyway, and generally, the “predictable” damage streaks are much better uses for Barkskin. If I hit SI, it’s generally an OMFG SHIT moment, and I don’t like those.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?
Highest base avoidance, and highest base damage reduction. My DK tank, in full 359 gear had ~30k armor and 27-28% dodge/parry. My Druid in full 359 gear had ~46k armor, and just under 40% dodge/parry.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Spell defense. We have the greatest passive spell defense through the resto talent Perseverence (6%), but aside from that, we’re generally gonna get hit harder by spells since we can’t dodge them, and armor doesn’t mitigate them.

7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
Since the swipe change, and the formulaic changes to our damaging abilities, our AOE threat is almost unmatched these days. Swipe/maul, Thrash, Swipe/maul in 3 consecutive GCDs put out ABSURD large amounts of threat.

8. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
I don’t really prefer tanking with one class over another, but i’m most comfortable tanking with a pally, because our main OT is a pally, and we’ve become pretty in tune with each other.

9. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
Warriors. I don’t dislike the class, I just have the least experience with them over the other 3 classes, so i’m not as familiar with how they operate.

10. What is your worst habit as a tank?
I have the worst habit of not using my cooldowns as much as I should. There’s almost no reason I shouldn’t be using barkskin on cooldown, but my uptime on it is *horrible* and that irks me.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
I’m kind of a control freak (raid leader AND tank? yeah i’m sure you guessed) so picking my biggest pet peeve is pretty hard. I think my biggest one would be DPS who don’t know how to /assist or don’t know how to watch their threat, and just go apeshit right from the start. Generally, this doesn’t happen in my raids, cause my DPSers know better… it’s mostly 5-man pugs that I have this issue with.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for tanking?
Absolutely. The highest physical resistance with the lowest magical resistance seems like a fair trade off. The highest avoidance with (arguably) the weakest mastery also seem like a fair trade. I think druids are in a good place overall.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
I keep one eye on omen a good portion of the time, cause if i’m not putting enough threat out, then my DPS is being throttled. I look back through World of Logs often to see where i’ve made mistakes, and where I took bigger damage spikes, trying to figure out why.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?
“Bears are the high health pool tanks.” That may’ve been true in BC, and even in late Wrath, but it just isn’t anymore. Our health pool is pretty equivalent with pallies, DKs and warriors in equal gear. (Truth be told, I think my druid’s health is actually a bit lower than my DK’s health.)

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
It’s hard for me to say. I learned to bear in Wrath, when bears were basically a 3-button class (swipe, mangle, lacerate. Maul was bound to EVERYTHING FOREVER), so I didn’t LEARN the class from the ground up when 4.0 changed everything, I just had to make a few adaptations to add in pulverize, and throw maul on it’s (very short) cooldown.

16. So, how about that whole vengeance mechanic, eh?
I think it works perfectly. Maybe even a bit too well, because threat (generally) still isn’t all that important more than a minute into a boss fight.

17. Stamina, Combat Table Coverage, or total Damage Reduction?
Damage reduction, without a doubt. My job as a tank is to stay alive, and to do so without having my healers curse my very existance. If I wanted, I could easily have a 200k health pool, but that just seems like a waste. I would make me take WAY more damage by missing out on that dodge, and it would also hurt my threat generation, since agility gives us AP and dodge. What’s the point of a 200k health pool, if my healers are having to refill it from 60k every GCD?

18. What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
Warriors. I’ve levelled a warrior from 85, but she’s pretty much parked and retired since then. I’ve never done any heroics with her, and i’ve only run a raid one time with a warrior tanking with me.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
I use ElvUI, which has a great number of things I use for tanking. It comes with it’s own threat plates (so I can easily see when someone’s pulling threat in a group of mobs). On top of that I also have the basics like recount (to show things like interrupts, damage taken, etc), and omen so I can see if someone’s creeping up on threat. Another one I really like is Tauntmaster, which makes taunting mobs out of a group much easier than manually targetting the mob and hitting my taunt button.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats (stam, mastery, avoidance), or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Avoidance. Agility is pretty much teh sex for bears right now, and we’re not anywhere near the dodge diminishing returns as far as I know, so the more avoidance, the better as far as I can tell.

So! It’s my turn to tag somebody, so i’m gonna tag @Riftmaker and @Reesify at The Inconspicuous Bear.

Decisions, Decisions

25 Jun

I’m in a bit of a dilemma, with 4.2 right around the damn corner. I enjoy DK tanking, and I enjoy Druid tanking. They both have benefits, and they both have drawbacks. I’ve pretty much done everything, even write a damn list of pros and cons, over the two tanks (they’re equally geared too, BTW) trying to come to a decision. Here’s what i’ve come up with.

DK Pros – Self healing is amazing. Best tanking cooldowns, period. Much better snap threat. Base-line expertise (probably contributes to the higher threat gen). Lower variety of stats that are *absolute garbage* on tanking gear. Great AOE threat, even without an AOE taunt. C’mon, face it… Death grip is *awesome*. “Defender of the Shattered World” title on this toon. Army of the Dead is *amazing* dps cooldown.

DK Cons – Much more unforgiving rotation. Making blood shield work to it’s highest potential is *very* difficult. 2pt12 bonus is crap. Runes are on cooldown at the worst times. Runic empowerment is far too RNG for my tastes.  DK’s take more damage than any other tank, and have to perform much better to be equal with other tanks (by Blizz’s own admission).

Druid Pros – Much higher armor. Much higher avoidance. More DPS output. An interrupt that’s also a gap-closer, if you need it. Another gap closer in feral charge. A ranged pull that generates respectable threat (FFF). 2pt12 bonus is relatively solid. T12 gear, in general, is much better itemized for us than T11 was (and by “us” I mean bears, not just ferals). AOE Taunt. Much easier/forgiving rotation. Berserk is *amazing* for aoe-threat, as well as a DPS cooldown. Flamking kitten staff 😀

Druid Cons – Sometimes I still find myself rage starved. Snap threat is lower (probably because of a lack of hit/expertise on my current gear). Lack of real magic damage reduction. Tanking trinkets are…. strange… for druids. Much more chance of “acceptable” gear, with strange itemization for bears (wtf haste). Much lower amount of threat stats (hit/exp… although Firelands looks to be fixing that some). AOE threat is still… questionable. Savage Defense could be better. Still have issues with rage at times, (mainly cause of low hit/exp). Everytime I have a Mangle miss/dodge/parry it makes me cry a little inside, ESPECIALLY when I’m using Berserk.

 

So there it is… There may or may not be an equal number of points between pros and cons, but they weigh in at about the same to me, so it’s really hard for me to decide. Also, I don’t wanna be one of those guys who keeps changing mains around, because it’s not fair to my raiders to do so. Whichever toon I stick with, i’ll probably end up sticking with till the end of the expansion. Honestly, I could see myself raiding with either one until the end of Cata, and doing so pretty successfully. My healing team has told me they’ve noticed little difference between actually healing either toon, but i’ll be perfectly honest… I’m not liking with what is going on with DKs at the moment. I really enjoyed the class (and actually, I still do), but the farther I get progressed, and the more I play the toon, the more I actually FEEL the issues with her.

 

I’ll give a for-instance… We put some attempts on Heroic Halfus for the first time this week. 2 DK tanks and a Pally tank. We only worked for maybe an hour, because we’re definitely NOT a hardcore guild, but I was the tank that lead off on Halfus, and I just felt like i was getting absolutely crushed. One of the healers was telling me that he was going OOM by the time the 3rd tank just picked up Halfus for the first time. Now admittedly, there were a lot of other issues going on, but it just seemed like, I literally COULD NOT Death Strike enough to offset the “Extra damage” that DKs take… Yeah, that’s another issue I have. There shouldn’t be a tanking class that takes noticably more damage than others, even if it’s more offset by rotational self-healing, because that rotational self-healing is SO EASY TO FUCK UP. Death strike’s healing is tied to the amount of damage you’ve taken a couple seconds prior. Well guess what, heroic bosses hit like a fucking mack truck, so if you’ve used 2 death strikes on big spikes, and all your runes are on CD, then there’s another big spike JUST AROUND THE CORNER that you can’t heal up through. And guess what else… Blood shield is wiped away with one hit. You almost have no chance of getting it to stack up a big number, because of all the damn hits your taking. Oh yeah! Fun times! /grump.

 

Not that Savage Defense is a perfect mastery, but it *is* better off than Blood Shield. Smaller absorbs, more often, proccing regularly enough to make a difference, but y’know what? Druids also have a MUCH lower damage intake. For comparison… My DK, in full 359 gear, and blood presence, unbuffed, is sitting just shy of 30k armor. My bear? Also in full 359 gear, in bear form, unbuffed, is sitting at 44k armor. On top of that, the druid is sitting at around 37% dodge, whereas the DK has about 30% dodge/parry and a metric TON of more mastery. Also? 4% of max health every 6 seconds via Leader of the Pack? It’s still a DAMN respectable amount of self healing, even if it doesn’t equal up to what a blood DK will do. My point is this… DKs are in a worse position right now than Druids, but damn if I don’t really enjoy playing both classes. I forsee yet another big overhaul of DKs coming before the end of this expansion. Their current model just won’t hold out as it is, for 3 more tiers of content, in my opinion. And if it DOES manage till the end of Cata, i would place money on the fact that they’ll be reworked before the next expac.

 

Firelands’ Bling – Bear Version

6 Jun

I’m rather surprised to see that there’s actually less agility items than there are strength items. But I guess it kinda makes sense, cause they have to differentiate strength items into tanking and non-tanking items, whereas agility is just… agility. It kinda makes things a bit more competetive if there’s any kitties, rogues, hunters, or enhancement shammies in your raid.

Necklaces:

(Heroic) Necklace of Strife – The *only* necklace in heroic t11. /shrug. Not spectacularly itemized (With the haste), but if you’re doing heroics, you probably already have it. I’m annoyed that in 13 bosses, there’s only one necklace in the whole tier worth using.

Flamesign Necklace – The *only* necklace in t12 content. Yet again, not amazingly itemized (hit and crit), but if it’s the only one… yeah, you’ll probably end up picking it up.

Ring: There’s actually a few more choices here than there are for the other tanks.

Band of Ghoulish Glee – Pretty sure this is going to drop from the Headless Horseman, so it’ll only be available for a limited time. That said, it’s not a half bad ring, for how easily you’d be able to pick it up.

Band of Glittering Lights – Not a very good ring, bearwise. Crit and haste are among our lowest priorities, so this one is probably better off left on the shelf.

Matoclaw’s Band – Another hit/crit ring, but without the downside of only being available for a couple weeks.  Nearly identical to the Horseman’s ring, if you’re coming from 359 rings, this one may not be a bad upgrade until you can pick up one of the raid-drops.

(Heroic) Lightning Conductor’s Band – If you picked this one up Heroic Omnotron, then you’ll probably hang on to it for a while. Hit and Crit rear their respective puzzled heads again, making this one of the only rings you might ever see from heroic t11 content. Conclave’s loot table is WAY too random for me to even think about listing them here, so I won’t (also, because I don’t know all of the enchantments available with them).

Splintered Brimstone Seal – The first of two t12 level rings, this one actually has mastery on it… something severely lacking from everything of a lower item level.  This one is probably BiS for 378’s, as it has slightly more crit, that can be reforged off into dodge, but still a good amount of mastery for those delicious savage defense shields.

Widow’s Kiss – Still a solid choice for bear rings, the haste on this one makes it a little less desirable than the Splintered Brimstone Seal. Also, it has less mastery than it’s counterpart. Not necessarily something you should pass up, per se, but the other one is just better for us.

 

Trinkets, for druids, are still an object of contention. All signs still point to bears wanting to prioritize agility over stamina, so it may work to your benefit to have an agility trinket, as well as a standard “tanking” trinket. The full listing of tank oriented trinkets, you can find here, so I won’t list all of them again… I’ll just put the agility trinkets here specifically for bears.

Aella’s Bottle (has the EXACT same stats/proc/use ability as Ricket’s Magnetic Fireball)- Obviously, the proc makes it look more DPS oriented (and it probably is), but this isn’t a bad trinket for bears by any means. If your bear is an alchemist, however, you can probably hang on to the Quicksilver Alchemist’s Stone over this one, as the agility comes REALLY close to equaling out, if you throw a socket-matching gem in there. Also, the bonus healing from potions can be quite nice, and really a lifesaver in some situations i’m sure. The on-use ability for this trinket could be modestly decent to help force a savage defense proc, but that’s about it. Kind of a tossup, depending on your current trinket situation.

(Heroic) Essence of the Cyclone – Circumstantially, one of the best trinkets from t11 content. High baseline agility, and a (somewhat useful) high proc for crit make this a good trinket to keep around for rotating in and out. I have a feeling tanks are going to be keeping several trinkets stashed in their bags.

(Heroic) Prestor’s Talisman of Machination – Not quite as good as the Essence of the Cyclone, based solely on the proc (haste instead of crit), but the baseline agility still make it a decent grab, if you haven’t picked up the other one, for some reason.

The Hungerer – The only i378 agility trinket available, this one is better off going to your rogues and hunters first. The agility base is high, of course, but the special effect, unique as it is, is completely worthless to us.  You can probably, safely, go without this for a while.

What trinket setup I would go with would be pretty dependant on the fight, obviously… but I would most likely keep (Heroic) Essence of the Cyclone, Moonwell Phial, Brawler’s Trophy, and Mirror of Broken Images in my bags at all times. Of course, your mileage may vary, and what you have access to actually picking up is going to differ with your guild’s progression as well. Hope these gear lists are helpful to you. Again, i’m hardly the be-all, end-all on this stuff. These are just my opinions, and are things to look forward to picking up once 4.2 drops.

 

Bear-Flavored Firelands Gear

31 May

Well, I did say I would put a bear’s list up comparable to my DK list for t12 content, and here it is. As far as I can tell so far, the stats are pretty much the same priority-wise as they were in t11. Agility and Dodge are still gonna be king. After that it looks to be Mastery > Expertise >= Hit > Crit > Haste. Obviously, Dodge doesn’t come standard on any leather gear, so that will be just about the only thing you reforge into. Gem-wise, you’ll be using Agility, Agility/Stam or Dodge/Stam.

Chest:

Demon’s Lord Wings – Haste is always crappy for us. I think Blizz is trying to find some use for it for bears, but yeah. I can’t see them doing much of anything that’ll make it any decent for us, other than getting an extra swing over the course of 10 seconds.

Obsidian Arborweave Raiment – Aside from the fact that both our 2p and 4p bonuses are hot this time around (get it? hot? har har?) this is just better itemized than the offset piece. Crit, being the higher value, is what you’d want to reforge towards dodge.

Feet:

Sandals of the Flaming Scorpion – Crit and mastery, plus the gem socket make this pair of boots the preferable pair. Also, the higher individual stat means you have more to reforge away from this than the others.

Treads of the Craft – Haste again. Blugh. Also, no gem socket…  Even though there’s more base agility (and thus, dodge) on these, the Flaming Scorpions end up with a higher amount of dodge if you throw an agi/stam gem in them, and reforge the higher stat into dodge. The bonus these boots have is that they’re crafted, so they’ll be easier to obtain for a while… but probably quite expensive for a while.

Hands:

Aviana’s Grips – These are lower ilvl than the raid drops, but will probably be easy to obtain, but they’re not very well itemized for us.

Clutches of Evil – Crafted and the same ilvl as the raid drops, but again not quite well itemized. Also, no gem socket. I would generally try to skip anything with haste on it, if I had my choice of things… admittedly, it doesn’t always work that way.

Gloves of Dissolving Smoke – These would probably be the item of choice. They aren’t your tier gloves, but these are a bit better itemized, set-bonuses not withstanding.

Obsidian Arborweave Grips – These aren’t the best itemized for tier pieces, but… it’s still a tier piece. (Here’s a little hint… I haven’t looked at all the tier pieces yet, so I don’t know which one is the piece to skip yet. I am looking these up as I go along. *gasp*)

Head:

Obsidian Arborweave Headpiece – A tier piece with hit rating on it? What is this I don’t even. Do *not* bypass this one if you get a chance to grab it up.

Vision of the Flaming Skull – This one has haste rating, so it’s instantly worse than the tier piece. Plus… y’know… tier lol.

 

Legs:

Cinderweb Leggings – I think you’re getting the idea by now. Haste? Pass it up, especially for a tier slot.

Obsidian Arborweave Legguards – ANOTHER leather piece with hit? YOU’LL TAKE THAT HIT RATING AND YOU’LL LIKE IT. (Seriously, i’m confused). Besides, we’ve already talked about the tier bonuses, right?

 

Shoulders:

Obsidian Arborweave Spaulders – I’m pretty sure the choice is clear by now. Although the choice between the tier shoulders and the off-tier shoulders isn’t nearly as difficult (as neither of them have haste :P), but these still come out on top by way of mastery and crit rating.

Shoulderpads of the Forgotten Gale – If you’re shooting to get more hit rating, then these are a solid choice, but, of course, the tier is better overall because man those set bonuses are nice. And mastery is still pretty good for us as far as survival goes, but dodge is still better in the long run.

 

Belt:

Flamebinding Girdle – With this belt coming from rep with the new Avengers of Hyjal faction, these will probably be easy to come across relatively quickly, but these are “technically” worse than the raid dropped belt… (y’know, that pesky haste rating and everything).

Riplamb’s Lost Collar – Stastitcally better, but probably harder to come across than the other belt. Also, it has expertise, which seems a bit more difficult to come across as well.

 

Bracers:

Flamebinder Bracers – Wow.. the curse of the leather bracers continues. I remember going absolutely berserk while gearing up on my druid, looking for bracers. And then there was only 1 set of 359 bracers, which means there’s only one set of heroic t11 bracers. This is a fucking terrible trend, and really needs to stop.

Now, lets look briefly at the tier pieces, so you can see which 4 pieces to take for your 4p bonus, and which one to leave out.

Hands – Crit/Haste (10 agi socket bonus)

Head – Hit/Crit (30 agi socket bonus)

Legs – Hit/Mastery (20 agi socket bonus)

Chest – Crit/Exp (20 agi socket bonus)

Shoulders – Crit/Mastery (10 agi socket bonus)

Just at a quick glance, I would easily drop the hands for one of the other choices. Fortunatly, the gloves are one slot that have multiple options, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something different to use, and get your 4pt12 in other slots. That being said, I don’t know what bosses are dropping tier tokens (or tier pieces, however they’re doing it this go-round), so if… say Ragnaros holds on to the head slot (which I could very well see happening), and you have 3 other slots, feel free to pick up the gloves and get your 4p bonus. I would rather have that set bonus than sit without it for the sake of a little bit of better itemization.

Weapons: I’m doing these the same way I did the DK weapons, and including heroic t11 versions, just because of the small number of choices.

Witch Hunter’s Harvester – This is the new crafted weapon available for bears to paw at for a little while. Sadly, it’s a lower ilvl than Firelands weapons… and even lower than heroic t11 weapons, but if you’re still using a 359, it may not be a terrible choice. Crit and mastery make it pretty well itemized for us at any rate.

(Heroic) Malevolence – As the heroic version of the *only* 2handed agility weapon from t11 content, you’re probably very familiar with this weapon. You’ve probably also fought with every hunter and kitty in your guild over it as well. Such is life. At least it’s well itemized for us, also with Crit and Mastery, but only having 1 usable item in an entire tier of content, out of 13 bosses? That’s fuckin lame.

Ranseur of Hatred – First of the 378 drops, this is definitely the “worse” between them. If you have to pick between this and Heroic Malevolence, it’s pretty much a tossup between them. As we know, haste is worthless for us, but there’s a good amount of it to reforge off into dodge, and it also has more baseline agility and stam.

Fandral’s Flaming Spire – No doubt the best item available before heroic raiding for the bear types. Crit and mastery are the tasty combo of weapon stats for bears, it seems (on 3 of the 4 items i’m listing here), which works out just fine for us. Sad to see that there’s no sockets on any of these weapons though, like there is for Sulfuras.