(Edited on December 15th, 2011 — hotfixes aplenty affecting the 4pc bonus, Heart of the Unliving and Timepiece of the Bronze Flight!)
Well, ladies and gentlemen, patch 4.3 is expected to drop in about a week (estimated November 29th), so it’s time for another one of those silly gear posts. Bear in mind that this is my opinion only and I will be prioritizing secondary stats in the following manner (keeping in mind that Intellect is always our primary stat):
Spirit > Haste > Crit > Mastery
Why am I prioritizing as I am? Due to incoming changes to Judgements of the Pure, our regen will be much more reliant on spirit, so I’ll look to have spirit on each piece possible. Haste, while it will drop slightly in priority due to the changes to Holy Radiance, will still be useful in getting more casts out. Crit will still be somewhat lacklustre. Mastery will get a bump up because it will now apply to targets on whom you cast Holy Radiance (and presumably those healed by the AOE effect), but my personal playstyle is not that of a raid healer, so I’m going to continue to focus on Spirit/Haste-heavy gear.
Note that I will focus primarily on the 397 ilvl gear from normal Dragon Soul, but in many cases, the 384 (Looking For Raid) version will work just as well.
As to the 2pc and 4pc set bonuses for Tier 13… Well, I’ll have a bunch of different potential gearsets in this post, I guess. I like the 2pc (although I feel it’s a little underpowered) and while I like the 4pc, I’m not sure how much use I’m personally going to get from it.
2pc Tier 13 set bonus: After using Divine Favor, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 15 sec.
4pc Tier 13 set bonus: Increases the healing done by your Holy Radiance spell by
20%. 5%. (This was hotfixed!)
It’s also important to note that ALL TIER will be dropping from raids, including lower ilvl (384) versions of the tier from the Looking for Raid difficulty, so no tier will be available with Valor Points. As well, Alizabal, the new Baradin Hold boss, seems to be dropping tier gloves and tier legs as both previous Baradin Hold bosses have done.
Tier 13/ilvl 397
Two real options here, the tier helm and the vendor helm. That’s right, helms will be available for Valor Points at the vendor.
Glowing Wings of Hope: 2200 Valor Points from the VP vendor. This will take a bit longer than you would expect to earn. While the weekly cap is being raised to 1000 Valor Points, you’ll only earn 100 VP per raid boss kill (regardless of 10 or 25-man format). There are probably better pieces to pick up from the VP vendor first, so you might be waiting even longer than just collecting the 2200 VP (which is a minimum of two weeks and a bit). That said, the secondaries on this (spirit and crit) aren’t bad.
Headguard of Radiant Glory: This is the tier helm and the token for it drops off the sixth boss in the Dragon Soul raid, Warmaster Blackhorn. Why yes, that IS 280 mastery on it. My vote is for the non-tier helm! But let’s see what we can cobble together, shall we?
Again, two options here, one from the raid instance and one from the vendors.
Threadlinked Chain: 1250 Valor Points on this baby, which is still at least a week and a bit before you can afford this. Again, I’m not sure if this should be our priority for Valor Points, but we’ll see where we stand after going through all the loot. Plus, it’s got spirit, which is great, but it has crit, so it’s not what I would consider the best combination of stats.
Petrified Fungal Heart: Beautiful! Spirit and geez, would you look at that haste? Insane. The best news here is that this drops from the first boss in Dragon Soul, Morchok. This is definitely Kurn’s Choice ™, due to ease of acquisition and the pretty, pretty stats.
Uh. Absolutely no choices here. Go tier or go home.
Mantle of Radiant Glory: The good news? These are fantastic shoulders. 2 red sockets, 20 intellect socket bonus, lots of haste. Even better, the token for these aren’t off the second to last boss, like they were in Firelands or on an end-boss, like they were on Cho’gall in Bastion of Twilight. They’re off the fourth boss, Hagara the Stormbinder.
Again, no choices here as there is not one single cloak that drops in Dragon Soul.
Woundlicker Cover: Well, at least it’s a great cloak. Red socket, intellect bonus, spirit and haste, all for the bargain-basement price of 1250 Valor Points! This is looking as though it might be our number one VP purchase.
Back to options! It’s nice to have a choice in gear.
Shining Carapace of Glory: All red sockets, all of the time, it appears. I’m not complaining. This chestpiece is available from the Valor Point vendor for 2200 VP and is possibly more easily available than the tier chest. Still, the crit makes me more inclined to put something else (like the cloak!) ahead of this on my potential shopping list.
Breastplate of Radiant Glory: YES PLEASE. Seriously, we have been blessed with some amazing chestpieces this expansion, but this is SERIOUSLY an amazing one. 3 sockets (including a yellow, so we can slot in a Reckless gem in there for one of our two yellow meta gem requirements) and plenty of haste. Even if you don’t like haste much as a secondary, the third socket makes this the winner, hands down. This drops off Ultraxion, the fifth boss in Dragon Soul.
I feel as though I’ve stumbled into an alternate universe because we have not one, not two, but three choices this tier. Is this really the same game that gave us just one 359 option for bracers?
Flashing Bracers of Warmth: Selling for a mere 1250 Valor Points at the vendor, these bracers are the easiest of the three to acquire. They also lack a socket and have mastery on them as a secondary. Still, not a terrible choice if your only other options are 378 bracers or if you’re doing that whole “mastery-stacking” thing.
Heartblood Wristplates: Pardon me as I attempt not to drool. Red socket, spirit, haste? Awesome. They drop off the third boss in Dragon Soul, Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, so they may not be terribly difficult to acquire.
Soul Redeemer Bracers: … okay, I’m drooling. These are crafted. The recipe for them is likely to be a drop from Dragon Soul. The materials for these actually aren’t too bad: 4 Truegold, 30 Volatile Life, 2 newly-unbound Chaos Orbs and, okay, well, the 4 Essences of Destruction will be the sticking point. These will likely be dropping in Dragon Soul the same way Living Embers did. Bear in mind that there are no heroic versions of this, so for the next ilvl tier, the drops from Yor’sahj will be better. But these are still amazing until you clear Dragon Soul and move into heroic modes.
Two choices here with the gloves, one from the vendors, the other our tier.
Gleaming Grips of Mending: 1650 Valor Points for these. There’s a red socket, which is nice, but there’s that pesky mastery stat again. Still, if you don’t get lucky with your tier token, these are perfectly viable and adequate.
Gloves of Radiant Glory: The token for these drops off Warlord Zon’ozz, the second boss in Dragon Soul. A blue socket and crit as a secondary. Meh.
Honestly, this choice really depends on how much you hate mastery and how often Conqueror tokens drop off Yor’sahj. Either are fine, but the tier will obviously help with 2/4pc bonuses.
However, if you get through the Spine of Deathwing encounter, you get a shot at ilvl 403 loot and the only piece of ilvl 403 armor we might be interested in here are the gloves.
Gauntlets of the Golden Thorn: Very pretty. Two sockets, which is more than the other options, and plenty of spirit and haste. These get my vote.
Again, I feel as though I’m in an alternate dimension. Coming out of a tier with just one belt option, in Tier 13, we’ll have… three?
Blinding Girdle of Truth: 1650 Valor Points will get you this belt from the VP vendor. Two sockets are always tempting, but then there’s all that mastery. Not a bad choice, but with two other choices, this is not my top option.
Dragonfracture Belt: Wow, this is an amazing belt. This belt is like the devs are saying “Hey, holy paladins? Yeah, we’re sorry about that one crappy belt option in T12. Enjoy!!” It drops off Ultraxion, the fifth boss in Dragon Soul. This is definitely my first pick.
Girdle of Soulful Mending: Now this is a curious item. It doesn’t seem to drop off any boss, nor is there a recipe for it. It’s also Bind on Equip. Could this be a trash drop in Dragon Soul? Assuming it’s actually in the game, I think we have to assume it is. As such, this is your easiest way to upgrade to a 397 belt, although it likely won’t be cheap. And while it has 20 intellect more (at base) than the other two belts, it only has one socket. Even without epic gems (which are being introduced in 4.3, but are supposed to be quite rare), this is still going to be a loss of intellect compared to the other two options.
Honestly, if you can’t get Ultraxion down with regularity or if you can’t cough up the VP for the belt, the BOE will do in a pinch, but the only thing it has going for it is that it’s relatively easy to get (trash runs, at the Auction House, etc).
Just two options here. One is our tier legs and the other is another crafted item.
Greaves of Radiant Glory: Our tier legs, whose token drops from Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, the third boss in Dragon Soul. 3 sockets are great, but that mastery. Why mastery? Alas. T11 pants were crap, T13 pants aren’t great, IMHO.
Pyrium Legplates of Purified Evil: The only other choice apart from tier are these crafted legs. While they are awesome, there will almost certainly not be a heroic version of these, which makes me a sad moose. (#sadmoose!) These call for 8 Truegold, 40 Volatile Life, 4 newly-unbound Chaos Orbs and 8 Essences of Destruction.
Some interesting options here.
Pillarfoot Greaves: Dropping from Morchok, the first boss of Dragon Soul, are these boots. Two sockets, plenty of spirit… and crit isn’t terrible. These are likely going to be fairly easy to pick up.
Silver Sabatons of Fury: These are AWESOME. And they’re available from the vendors for 1650 Valot Points. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Valor Point boots are Bind on Equip again, like they were for Tier 11!
Best thing to do here is farm up the VP on another character in the first week and a bit and buy them for your main raiding character. Or, save up ~15k or thereabouts and buy your boots off the Auction House in Week 2 of 4.3. The important thing here is that you not spend your main raiding character’s VP on these boots, as awesome as they are. You have other things to save for.
A couple of options here, though none as awesome as the Eye of Purification (as in, they’re all boring maces).
Vagaries of Time: Dropping off Morchok, the first boss of Dragon Soul, this is a snazzy mace. Good itemization, though no spirit means that those nasty shadow priests, moonkins and elemental shaman will also be after it. Definitely worth picking up.
That is, until…
Maw of the Dragonlord: Definitely a healing mace, based on the Equip. I wonder if it looks like Light of Dawn… Anyhow, Vixsin of Life in Group 5 recently tweeted: “Healers, start cozying up to your loot council, because Maw of the Dragonlord is doing 10-20% of my healing on PTR.” Of course, this drops at the end of the Madness of Deathwing encounter, so only if you’re clearing Dragon Soul can you expect to see this.
As to shields… well, there’s one healing shield, but there’s also an off-hand that might be worth checking out.
Timepiece of the Bronze Flight: The only healing shield you’ll find. It’s fine and all
, but there’s no socket. It drops off Warmaster Blackthorn, the sixth boss of Dragon Soul. This has been hotfixed to add a red socket with a 10 int socket bonus. This is almost certainly what we’d like to pick up.
Ledger of Revolting Rituals: Now this is where it
gets got a bit interesting. Dropping off Ultraxion, the 5th boss in Dragon Soul, this off-hand has a socket. Dropping an ordinary Brilliant Inferno Ruby (+40 intellect) into it will give it 20 more intellect than the shield (the version without the socket) and if it’s an epic brilliant cut, that’ll be 30 more intellect than the shield. Is 30 intellect better than 15 haste and 8 spirit? Hell yes. The thing is, holy paladins and resto shaman and elemental shaman are the only ones who would want that shield, versus any priest, moonkin, resto druid, ele/resto shaman or holy paladin who is using a 1H/OH-or-shield combination. If you’ve got very little competition, go for the Ledger. If you have competition, go with the shield, at least until the off-hand is being disenchanted and such.
Right, so in LFR (and bear in mind that this list is for NORMAL raiding, not LFR!), the shield has been “tagged” for paladins and shaman while the ledger has been “tagged” for priests, druids, etc. That means that a paladin cannot “need” on the Ledger. But it’s okay, because the shield was hotfixed to add a red socket along with a 10 int bonus, so the shield comes out ahead of the Ledger any way you look at it now.
Signet of Suturing: This is a ring that drops off of multiple bosses with a shared loot table, much like our awesome spellpower axe, the Eye of Purification, did in Firelands. It is awesome. End of story.
Band of Reconstruction: 1250 Valor Points for a decent ring. It’s got spirit, but also has mastery. The yellow socket and its weak bonus isn’t great either. Not a priority for our shopping list.
Ring of the Riven: No spirit on this, but some haste and mastery, which is a combination we don’t see a lot. It drops off Hagara the Stormbinder, the fourth boss in Dragon Soul.
I’ll probably aim for Signet of Suturing and then whichever I can reasonably get first, the Band or the Ring. Bear in mind that casters will want the Ring of the Riven as well, though.
Reflection of the Light: The healer Valor Point trinket, available for 1650 VP. Spirit is good. The on-use is good for bursty moments, but remember that it’s not like the Fiery Quintessence, which gave us Intellect. This is pure spellpower.
Bottled Wishes: The “caster” Valor Point trinket, this can be yours for 1650 VP. Again, this may not be as useful given the changes to Holy Radiance and such, but if your heals are feeling sluggish, this might be useful. Also, the on-use spellpower effect can be helpful for some burst throughput.
— Thanks to Oestrus for pointing out that I’d missed the VP trinkets entirely. Whoopsiedoodle. And speaking of the VP trinkets, since neither one of them has intellect, I would recommend picking only one of them and keeping another, intellect-heavy trinket on you. I would probably aim for the Seal of the Seven Signs (see below) and Reflection of the Light, to be honest, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
Seal of the Seven Signs: Preeeetty. Shiiiiny. While it sucks that the haste boost is a proc and not an on-use like the Shard of Woe, this is still pretty decent, if only because of the huge amount of intellect. Plus, that’s a LOT of haste when it does proc. It probably has a 45s internal cooldown or something, so that can still be 4-6 procs (and thus, 80-120s) of hasted goodness during a ~5 minute fight. It drops from Warlord Zon’ozz, the second boss in Dragon Soul.
Heart of Unliving: Another ilvl 403 item, this is from the Spine of Deathwing, the 7th fight in the Dragon Soul. On the one hand, this adds 880 spirit to you, which is monstrous, especially given the Judgements of the Pure changes.
On the other, there’s absolutely no stats on this. It really depends how you’re doing with mana, to be honest. This was hotfixed to add 323 intellect to it, so while that’s a lot less than any other similar ilvl trinket, you still gte that monstrously insane amount of spirit. It would allow you to drop spirit on some other gear, like the Ring of the Riven, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Well, technically, we have two choices, both available from the vendors for 700 Valor Points.
Lightning Spirit in a Bottle: The “healer” relic, this has spirit… and mastery.
Mindbender Lens: The “caster” relic, this has haste and crit, but no spirit.
Which you choose is really up to you and your playstyle and what other gear you have and how your mana regen is doing. Since neither are perfectly itemized, this may drop down the priority list when looking at Valor Point purchases.
VALOR POINT PRIORITY LIST
All right, here’s what I think your priority should be when spending your Valor Points. I am not including Silver Sabatons of Fury. These should be your FIRST Valor Point purchase, but use an alt or gold to get these!
1) Woundlicker Cover – 1250 VP for this awesome cloak.
2) Glowing Wings of Hope – 2200 VP for this helm. Given that the tier helm drops off the 6th boss and is “meh”, pick this helm up when you can.
3) Reflection of the Light OR Bottled Wishes – 1650 for either trinket. Again, just pick one of them and go intellect-heavy for the other, I’d say.
4) Your relic – 700 VP for either the “healer” or “caster” relic.
5) Gleaming Grips of Mending – 1650 VP for your gloves, IF you can’t get your tier gloves from Warlord Zon’ozz. Will be replaced by the gloves from the Spine of Deathwing, though.
6) Blinding Girdle of Truth – 1650 VP for your belt, IF you can’t get the one from Ultraxion, the fifth boss in Dragon Soul.
7) Shining Carapace of Glory – 2200 VP for a chest, IF and ONLY if you cannot, for the life of you, get your tier chest. Because as soon as you do get your tier chest, vendor this sucker.
8) Flashing Bracers of Warmth – 1250 VP for these bracers, IF you can’t get the crafted ones or the ones from Yor’sahj, the third boss in Dragon Soul.
Honestly, you shouldn’t really need to buy 5-8. You should be able to pick up the raid drops, even if it’s just the LFR versions (which are ilvl 384 instead of 397). If you manage to cap your Valor Points at 1000 per week and just buy the first four items (and use an alt or gold to get your boots), you’ll be mostly done with Valor Point collection after five weeks (and an additional 800 VP), barring terrible drops or terrible luck.
2PC, 4PC OR WHAT?
Well, here’s what I’m aiming for:
Tier shoulders (obviously)
Tier chest (fantastic)
Gauntlets of the Golden Thorn (Spine of Deathwing drop)
I will likely pick up, as I am able, the tier legs and tier gloves so that I can play with the 4pc bonus. But I don’t tend to raid heal, so the boost to Holy Radiance will likely be lost on me. (Plus, a 5% bonus to HR is a lot more underwhelming than the original 20% HR bonus. Really, the only time I’d be likely to use 4pc is on Ultraxion, but that’s because I mostly tank heal and occasionally raid heal on that one fight.)
If you go with the 4pc, I would recommend the helm and the legs and still go with the Gauntlets of the Golden Thorn because they are the prettiest pretty off-set things you’ll find this tier, so if you have to pick one item to be an off-set piece, it should be the gloves (particularly as there will be a heroic version of the gloves, but no heroic version of the crafted legs!).
OVERVIEW BY BOSS
And here’s what you might like to see drop from the various bosses.
Warmaster Blackthorn: Potentially Timepiece of the Bronze Flight (shield)
Madness of Deathwing: Definitely Maw of the Dragonlord (mace)
THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!
And that’s all I’ve got for you, folks. I do hope this is somewhat helpful for you as you enter Dragon Soul and start seeing all that lovely loot drop!