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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gearing your Restoration Druid at 80

Greetings readers, and welcome to Wrath Gear-A-Palooza 2009. We'll be running one of these for each Druid spec.

I'm not going to "rank" gear numerically, because I think that's a fairly unhelpful means of organizing items when your access to all of them as a fresh 80 may be very limited. Generally you're going to have access to quest rewards and faction gear before you get access to badge pieces or oft-uncooperative heroic drops, so I've organized the list by where you can get particular drops. It's generally safe to assume that a heroic drop is better than a blue you're using from an Icecrown quest, but not always. If you're starting to move into higher levels of gear, I found the following links to be incredibly helpful, and I hope you do too:

  • HoTsTree's gear list

  • Resto4Life's post on Wowhead filters and pre-raid gear in the main slots

  • Elitist Jerks post on Restoration Itemization and PvE Healing as a Druid

Otherwise, assuming a proper spec, gems, and enchants, you can successfully heal any of the game's 5-man or raid content (10-man or 25-man) with a healing set derived from the following list. That's a promise. This list assumes that you do not have access to 10- or 25-man raids for the time being and are gearing up primarily through questing, 5-mans, and heroics.

To the extent that I've ranked anything, for inclusion in this list I'm prioritizing +spellpower and +spirit (and secondarily +intellect) over everything else. I am a very big fan of spirit, both on gear and in talents, and this gear list assumes that you are taking relevant Spirit-related talents in the Restoration tree (which are generally a part of standard Restoration builds at 80 anyway). If you're not, you'll want to prioritize mp5 gear more than I have here. Mana regeneration isn't as big a deal if you do mostly 5-mans and heroics, but if you're planning to raid at either the 10-man or 25-man level, you have some fairly lengthy fights ahead of you. This gets much worse if your guild is going for any of the raid achievements, as many of them (particularly Sartharion with drakes up) will tax your mana supply.

Gear is divided into the following categories --

Best overall: If there's one piece that's just better than anything else you can get, I'll have it listed here. Most of these will cost you Emblems of Heroism or a truckload of gold, however.

Best drop/s: Self-explanatory, the best (typically heroic) 5-man drops you can get.

Best quest piece: Also self-explanatory, but fair warning -- if you're looking to get most of your pieces outside of 5-mans, many of the quests rewarding the best pieces are linked to dungeons (usually normal) or group quests.

Best faction piece: If a quartermaster offers a useful piece, it'll be here. You'll get convenience at the cost of having to deal with pieces that are usually a dog's breakfast of caster stats, though.

Runner-up: This is kind of a catch-all term for good, usable, or even excellent pieces you can get by other means. If there's a blue or epic BoE piece floating around the AH, or a workhorse 5-man drop you can also use, it'll be here. Some of the pieces in the runner-up slot may seem odd for inclusion there (e.g. epics like raid BoE's or Moonshroud), but as far as I'm concerned, if it's going to cost you a metric ton of gold to get them, they are firmly optional. You do not need to be equipped in full epics to raid as long as you're not lazy about enchants and gems.

Enchant: Just in case you have any gold left after gearing up. Ha ha! I kid because I love.


Best overall: Helm of Anomalus from heroic Nexus.

Best drops: Crown of Unbridled Magic from the Cache of Eregos in heroic Oculus, or Forgotten Shadow Hood from Salramm the Fleshcrafter in heroic Culling of Stratholme. These are actually pretty similar overall to the Anomalus helm, so if you get one of the three, don't bother trying to get another one if you've spent the money on gems and the enchant.

Best quest piece: Shroud of Temptation, from the quest Cleansing Drak'tharon in Grizzly Hills/Drak'tharon Keep.

Best faction piece: Helm of the Majestic Stag, available at honored with the Kirin Tor.

Runner-up: Elder Headpiece, from Elder Nadox in heroic Old Kingdom. No meta socket, but it'll tide you over until you can get a helm that has one.

Enchant: Arcanum of Blissful Mending, available at revered with the Wyrmrest Accord.

Meta: While you're gearing up, an Insightful Earthsiege Diamond is going to be helpful. With better gear, an Ember Skyflare might ultimately be better than the static proc from the Insightful. This is the subject of some discussion over at EJ.


Best drop: Amulet of Dazzling Light, from Anomalus in heroic Nexus.

Best quest piece: Amulet of the Crusade, from the quest The Admiral Revealed in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: n/a.

Runner-up: Dragon-Prow Amulet, a BoE from heroic Utgarde Keep trash.


Best drops: Silent Spectator Shoulderpads, from Svala Sorrowgrave in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, or Mantle of Deceit, from the Dark Runed chest in heroic Culling of Stratholme.

Best quest piece: Lightning Infused Mantle, from the quest Diametrically Opposed in Storm Peaks.

Best faction piece: n/a.

Runner-up: Runecaster's Mantle, a BoE from heroic Utgarde Keep trash.

Enchant: Greater Inscription of the Crag, available at exalted with the Sons of Hodir. However, if you have 400 Inscription, you'll have access to Master's Inscription of the Crag, which you'll want to use instead.


Best overall: Wispcloak, a Tailoring BoE. This is probably going to be fairly expensive for a while; Tailors can't get this pattern until completing the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement.

Best drop: Subterranean Waterfall Shroud, from Jedoga Shadowseeker in heroic Old Kingdom, or Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape from the Cache of Eregos in heroic Oculus.

Best quest piece: Bloodbane Shroud, from the quest The Fate of Bloodbane in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: It's not that great for Restoration, but if all else fails you can get Shroud of Dedicated Research at honored with the Kirin Tor.

Runner-up: Reanimator's Cloak, a BoE from heroic Drak'tharon Keep trash.

Enchant: This is kind of a toss-up. If you're min-maxing mana regeneration, you'll want Enchant Cloak -- Wisdom, which has the added benefit of decreasing your threat. If your mp5 is OK or you use a lot of direct heals, you'll want Enchant Cloak -- Greater Speed. Actually, I'm sorely tempted to say just get Greater Speed if for no other reason than Wisdom is an abysmally bad enchant for the materials required. Six abyss crystals for 10 spirit?


Best overall: Heroes' Dreamwalker Robe, available for 80 Emblems of Heroism.

Best drop: Raiments of the Titans, from Loken on normal Halls of Lightning.

Best quest piece: Tunic of the Unduly Victorious, from the quest Battle at Valhallas: Final Challenge in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: Robes of Crackling Flame, available at exalted with the Kirin Tor.

Runners-up: Ymirjar Physicians' Robe, a BoE from heroic Utgarde Pinnacle trash. If you manage to pick this up during a run, great. If you don't, check for it on the AH. Otherwise, check for the Moonshroud Robe, or bug a Tailor buddy.

Enchant: The old +15 spirit chest enchant hasn't yet been given a Wrath update, so you can continue to use that, or the new Enchant Chest -- Powerful Stats.


Best drop: Cuffs of Winged Levitation from the Cache of Eregos in heroic Oculus, or Cuffs of the Trussed Hall from Svala Sorrowgrave in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle.

Best quest piece: Soaring Wristwraps, from the quest A Wing and a Prayer in Oculus.

Best faction piece: Toss-up between Wound-Binder's Wristguards (revered Ebon Blade) or Ancestral Sinew Wristguards (revered Wyrmrest Accord), depending on how you choose to socket Ancestral Sinew. Wound-Binder's is otherwise superior.

Enchant: No contest. Enchant Bracers -- Superior Spellpower or, if you're a Leatherworker, Fur Lining -- Spell Power.


Best overall: Heroes' Dreamwalker Handguards, available for 60 Emblems of Heroism.

Best drop: Overlook Handguards, from the Prophet Tharon'ja in heroic Drak'tharon.

Best quest piece: Gloves of the Time Guardian, from the quest A Royal Escort in normal or heroic Culling of Stratholme.

Best faction piece: Sterile Flesh-Handling Gloves, available at revered with the Ebon Blade.

Runner-up: Moonshroud Gloves, a Tailoring BoE, or Grotto Mist Gloves, from Hadronox in heroic Azjol-Nerub.

Enchant: Enchant Gloves -- Exceptional Spellpower.


Best overall: Elegant Temple Gardens' Girdle, available for 40 Emblems of Heroism.

Best drop: Belt of Vivacity, from Volkhan in heroic Halls of Lightning.

Best quest piece: Belt of the Never-Forgotten, from the quest Light Within the Darkness in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: Toss-up between Belt of Dark Mending (exalted Ebon Blade) and Ghostflicker Waistband (exalted Kirin Tor) depending on how you choose to socket Ghostflicker.

Enchant: This isn't really an enchant as such, but you'll want to add an Eternal Belt Buckle to give yourself an additional socket.


Best overall: Earthgiving Legguards, a Leatherworking BoE.

Best drop: Skirt of the Old Kingdom or Kilt of the Forgotten One, both (weirdly enough) from Herald Volazj in heroic Old Kingdom.

Best quest piece: Leggings of Heightened Renewal from the quest The Iron Colossus in Storm Peaks.

Best faction piece: Giant-Friend Kilt, available at revered with the Sons of Hodir. These are really oriented more toward Balance, but surprisingly they're the only caster legs available with Wrath factions.

Runner-up: Cyanigosa's Leggings from Cyanigosa in heroic Violet Hold, Opposed Stasis Leggings off Commander Stoutbeard/Commander Kolurg in heroic Nexus, or Breeches of the Caller from Ingvar the Plunderer in heroic Utgarde Keep.

Enchant: Sapphire Spellthread or Brilliant Spellthread, depending on how optimistic you are concerning your health versus mana regen. Have fun farming those eternals!


Best overall: Arcanic Tramplers, a BoE from Malygos-25. If you are very, very lucky, these will start showing up in /trade or the AH as raids gear up and guilds start selling BoE pieces, but they won't come cheap.

Best drop: Cleric's Linen Shoes from Commander Stoutbear/Commander Kolrug in heroic Nexus, Boots of Transformation from Gal'darah in heroic Gun'drak, or Footwraps of Teleportation from Xevozz in heroic Violet Hold.

Best quest piece: Fur-Lined Moccasins from the quest One of A Kind in Zul'drak/Gun'drak, or The Darkspeaker's Footpads from the quest Mind Tricks in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: Sandals of Crimson Fury, available at exalted with the Wyrmrest Accord.

Runner-up: Earthgiving Boots, a Leatherworking BoE.

Enchant: Either Enchant Boots -- Greater Spirit or Enchant Boots -- Tuskarr's Vitality depending on your gear set and playstyle. You can also slap Enchant Boots -- Greater Vitality on, and that's fine too, but assuming you have the Spirit-related talents in the Restoration tree, Greater Spirit will do more for you (and scale better) than 6 mp5.


Best drop: Spectral Seal of the Prophet, from the Prophet Tharon'ja in heroic Drak'tharon, or Band of Guile from the Dark Runed Chest in heroic Culling of Stratholme

Best quest piece: Lion's Head Ring, from the quest For Posterity in Zul'drak/Gun'drak, or Flourishing Band, from the quest The Struggle Persists in the Oculus.

Best faction piece: Signet of Hopeful Light, available at exalted with the Argent Crusade.

Runner-up: Titanium Spellshock Ring, a BoE from Jewelcrafting.

Enchant (if applicable): Enchant Ring -- Greater Spellpower.


Best overall: Darkmoon Card: Greatness. Yes, the intellect version is actually better than the spirit version, consequence of how our mana regeneration from spirit scales with intellect. Unfortunately, you're going to be scrambling for Nobles cards alongside every other poor bastard on your server, so don't count on being able to get this quickly unless you're willing to burn through upwards of 20,000 gold.

Runner-up, courtesy of the fact that only horse thieves and murderers will have Nobles Decks: The Egg of Mortal Essence, available for 40 Emblems of Heroism.

Best drop: Soul Preserver from the Dark Runed Chest in normal Culling of Stratholme, Talisman of Troll Divinity from the Prophet Tharon'ja in heroic Drak'tharon, Spark of Life from Sjonnir in heroic Halls of Stone (ugh, +haste, ugh), or Tome of Arcane Phenomena from the Cache of Eregos in heroic Oculus.

Best quest piece: Cannoneer's Morale, from the quest The Last Line of Defense in Icecrown. You can also use any of the usual green +spellpower trinkets granted by quests while leveling. I confess to being rather interested by the Futuresight Rune, a reward from Mystery of the Infinite, Redux in Dragonblight.

Best faction piece: There's nothing truly relevant in this slot, although you can use the Frenzyheart Insignia of Fury or Oracle Talisman of Ablution if you're really desperate.

Additional runners-up: Figurine -- Sapphire Owl for Jewelcrafters or Mercurial Alchemist Stone for Alchemists.

Important note: Aertimus at Hotstree makes the point that one of the best trinkets (if not the best) for Restoration druids remains Darkmoon Card -- Blue Dragon. I don't yet have this and haven't been able to test the proc rate at 80, but if Blizzard hasn't nerfed it (and according to Wowhead commenters, they haven't), then Aertimus is 100% accurate. Keep an eye out for Beasts cards.


Best overall: Staff of Draconic Combat, from the Cache of Eregos in heroic Oculus.

Best drop: War Mace of Unrequited Love from Keristrasza in heroic Nexus, or Netherbreath Spellblade/Staff of Wayward Principles from Skadi the Ruthless in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle. Bonus: the Spellblade's graphic is very sword-like, which is kind of a novelty for Druids.

Best quest piece: Screw-Sprung Fixer-Upper, from the quest The Champion of Anguish in Zul'drak.

Best faction piece: Gavel of the Brewing Storm, available at revered with the Wyrmrest Accord.

Runner-up: Titansteel Guardian, a Blacksmithing BoE.

Enchant: Hands-down it's Mighty Spellpower, but this is hellishly expensive in the early days of an expansion with very few people willing to disenchant epics. You can use Enchant Weapon -- Exceptional Spellpower in its place, or try Enchant Weapon -- Exceptional Spirit.


Best overall: Handbook of Obscure Remedies, available for 40 Emblems of Heroism.

Best drop: Temple Crystal Fragment, from Novos the Summoner in heroic Drak'tharon Keep.

Best quest piece: The Witching Grimoire, from the quest Banshee's Revenge in Icecrown.

Best faction piece: The only item in this slot from faction vendors is going to be the Darkspear Orb for Horde/Orb of the Eastern Kingdoms for Alliance, available at revered with your respective faction in Northrend (Horde Expedition/Alliance Vanguard). Not that great either way.

Runner-up: Frostbridge Orb, a BoE off heroic Oculus trash.