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Saturday, December 27, 2008

WoW Warriors: Raiding Gear

This will most likey be a multi-part series. I know next week we'll be talking about the Warrior 2008 year in review, discussing talent changes and so much more, so it may be an interrupted series. With the new raiding system (normal and heroic raids), tier gear, emblem gear and non-affiliated drops, there's a lot of gear to talk about in the raid game.

Lately, in fact, I've noticed that 10 and 25 man raiding seems to flow back and forth into each other. I can be DPS in a 25 man Sarth run, then the run breaks up into two 10 mans and I'm asked to tank in one, then we recombine for a Vault of Archavon 25 man and split up again for two 10 mans. To be fair, we often do 25 man content with less than 25 people, possibly because it's Decemeber and a lot of folks are away for the holidays, which may be encouraging our raid swapping behavior. Or maybe we're just trying to get as much loot for people as we can.

My intention is to cover a raid in normal and heroic before moving on to the next raid, and then to cover Emblem of Herois and Valor rewards at a later date, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

The Obsidian Sanctum

Also called Sarth or Sartharion for the boss within, this raid is similar to Gruul or Magtheridon (or Onyxia, if you've been raiding that long) in that it is a short raid with a single boss encounter. (Technically, Gruul's had two, High King Maulgar and his council and then Gruul himself, but it was still a short raid along these lines.) Unlike those pervious raids, however, the Obsidian Sanctum has a built-in 'hard mode' of sorts, as the three sub-boss drakes Shadron, Tenebron and Vesperon can be killed before engaging Sartharion himself or left alive and dealt with while engaging him for better loot and a chance at a mount. This also leads to one of the hardest boss fights in the current game being 10 man Sartharion with three drakes up. (I've only killed him on normal difficulty with one drake up and that wasn't easy, so when we get around to leaving all three up I expect to get thrashed fairly often.)

10 manned, Sartharion has a chance to drop the Gloves of the Lost Protector which any warrior (and other classes, too) will be interested in. He also drops the Signet of the Accord, a nice tanking ring with expertise on it (always in demand for tanking) and Titan's Outlook. While I'd rather that armor pen was a meta socket or some expertise, it's still a very solid DPS hat.

On heroic, Sartharion drops the Gauntlets of the Lost Protector (for the 25 man version of T7) the Dragon Brood Legguards for a solid tanking piece with high hit, the Dragonstorm Breastplate for yet more tanking goodness (and two sockets, although neither is blue, sad clown face) and Fury of the Five Flights, a very interesting DPS trinket. So far in my searches for what drops on Sarth when drakes are left alive, I've found the Obsidian Greathelm and the Belabored Legplates. Both appear to be from two drakes up. Both are astonishing DPS plate. As I find more drops from 10 and 25 man Sarth with drakes up I'll mention them.

I don't know why, but I spell Naxxramas "Naxxaramas" in my head. It's very distracting. Naxx is one of the best sources of gear (including weapons, which can be in short supply for warriors in the other raids, now that our DPS goals have generally shifted to two hand weapons) - some of the best possible options for weapons for a warrior come from Naxx. As always, use common sense: trying to take a bow over a hunter for who it would be a much bigger upgrade, for instance, is not cool.

Weapon drops from 10 man Naxx to pay attention to include the Accursed Bow of the Elite and the Nerubian Conquerer for ranged slot stats. (Remember what I said about the hunters, but in my raids these often get sharded now so if that's the case and you don't have better pick one up.) If you're looking for a tanking sword, the Slayer of the Lifeless will serve you well. It's also one of the most popular tanking weapons with every other tanking class that can use a sword, so good luck fighting over it.

For 2h DPS weapons, Naxx 10 offers the Claymore of Ancient Power, Demise, amd Death's Bite for arms and fury warriors, and arms warriors can make use of the Wraith Spear although it's not the most optimal choice for them (I'd pass it to a hunter myself). Then again, the Wraith Spear has a larger damage range and thus more top end damage than either the Claymore or Demise. You guys have fun arguing over it, I guess, consider it my belated Christmas present to you.

Naxx doesn't disappoint in heroic, either. Tanks will debate over Broken Promise (is it too slow? Look at those stats! Speed really only matters if you're worried about miss/dodge/parry streaks, so this weapon depends on how good your hit and expertise are) and Last Laugh (here, most of the arguing will probably be over who gets it - good luck, Orc Warriors, it doesn't get better for you until Ulduar comes out). Our ranged weapon slots will cry out for Arrowsong, Envoy of Mortality, Final Voyage and Spinning Fate at least for DPS warriors. (Tanks are going to get Armor Plated Combat Shotguns, I expect, and nothing in Naxx makes me think they'd abandon them.) I personally prefer throwing weapons, but that Arrowsong is pretty hot... try and be nice to your hunters first, though, imagine how you'd feel if they took Betrayer of Humanity over you.

Speaking of 2h weapons for our arms and fury warriors, there's the Betrayer off of Kel'Thuzad, and then Armageddon, Inevitable Defeat, the Jawbone and Cryptfiend's Bite, which would really only interest arms warriors.

We'll, we're about half-way done. Next time, we'll finish Naxxramas looking towards armor (including trinkets, rings and amulets) and then we'll cover Malygos. If there's time/room, we'll also cover emblem of valor gear that can help fill some holes in itemization for warriors. Next week, however, will most likely be a 2008 year in review post, so please bear with us.


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