Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gearing Up - a Pseudo Guide for new PvP Priests

For the release of LK, the only real sources for post leveling PvE gear were Heroics and Raids. For raiders and non PvPers, this was an ideal situation, as badge gear was readily attainable and the gear requirements for the entry raids were not prohibitive. As mentioned in a prior post, if you make it easy enough, people will consume the content, en masse.

Unfortunately, for PvPers, the PvE-speed-badge/easy-raid-grind PvP equivalent, aka “Welfare (PvP) Epic Honor Grind” didn’t happen. What was the Welfare Epic grind that was so prevalent in Season 3 and 4 of Burning Crusade? That grind was when new 70’s would dive into a weekly Kara for badges for their cloak and trinket and PvP like mad for S2 gear and still be fairly well off in terms of PvP viability.

So why didn’t it happen? Well, due to various factors, it wasn’t quite repeatable here at the start of LK. Sure, one could sit in BG’s for days grinding honor for the buyable honor gear set (Savage Gladiator), but people for the most part didn’t. Why? It sucks. Which part? All of it. Becaaaauuusseee:

1) The honor based PvP gear is both exceedingly expensive as an honor purchase and still semi equivalent to the (cheap) crafted PvP set.
2) The honor gear, for some classes, is terrible for starter PvP. Equivalent Heroic instance and raid drops are often better until acquisition of top end PvP gear is possible. Sometimes even Deadly gear is eschewed for high end raid gear.
3) The current honor cap is 75k. This means you can usually only buy 1 piece of gear at a time, because each piece now costs over 35k honor/piece.
3a) The off set pieces (neck, back, bracer, belt, boot, ring) for both the Hateful and Deadly PvP sets all require a great deal of Honor, and one doesn’t want to be caught in the situation where they have just purchased a piece of Savage gear only to be forced to grind honor for a few days when the reach a milestone rating and get the privilege to buy a piece of Deadly gear.

Those reasons were enough for many people to not grind for PvP gear. To reiterate point 2, for some of the classes out there, the attainable PvP gear out there is a strict downgrade as their survivability and arena function doesn’t change whether or not they have 200 or 400 resilience, due to the resilience cap being upwards of 1200.

However, the flip side of this is that for other classes, Resilience and Stamina is everything to their survival and function in the arena. Sadly, the Priest is one of those classes and just looking at the possible avenues to getting gearing up for PvP, one can definitely start feeling overwhelmed very quickly.

To that end, this is somewhat of a guide for those who want to gear up quickly for PvP and are playing a class that has limited survivability such as a Priest. Each point, while listed by number is equally important. Just following a couple points of the list, while ignoring other points will not get you very far. Let’s reiterate the key point: This is for classes that have limited survivability. Classes with outs such as Iceblock, Vanish, Divine Shield, should move along.

1. Honor grind. Recognize that some pieces of PvP gear will require you to spend massive amounts of honor to obtain them. These are the Hateful and Deadly offset pieces (neck, back, bracer, belt, boot, ring). If you know you can hit the rating requirements for Deadly, don’t buy the Hateful gear. Hateful would only be a waste of your time. The only caveat is the scenario where you need some Hateful gear to be able to reach the Deadly ratings. This is more likely to occur towards the end of the season. If you plan on wearing 2 resilience rings, grab the Hateful ring first.

2. Craft. Craft as much PvP gear as possible. While Brutal Gladiator gear is reasonable for pieces that aren’t craftable, it will often have less Stamina and less Resilience than the new craftables, not to mention the new stuff will likely have more spellpower/strength/agility, etc. More resilience will allow you to use a playstyle more coherent with your final gear later down the road.

3. Wintergrasp. Wintergrasp is not only a huge source of easy honor, (I think I’ve only ever seen 1 successful defense, so it’s guaranteed honor if you’re on Offense) but it’s also a good source of PvP gear. Besides the fact that Wintergrasp Marks will soon be able to be used for some reasonable helms and boots, control of the zone allows you access to another raid instance: the Vault of Archavon. Vault (as it’s known) is basically 4 trash pulls and then an absurdly easy boss. The boss has a chance to drop both PvE and PvP gear, of Glove, Leg and Chest variety; Vault 10 drops Hateful/Heroic gear, Vault 25 drops Deadly/Valorous gear. You definitely want to run both every week. No question about it. However, many people run it incorrectly and in turn, screw themselves out of gear.

To run it optimally, make a 10 man raid (grab friends if you can) that contain 1 of each class, regardless of spec. To fill the spots, just spam /2 chat in a major city with something that reads like this “LFM 10 man Vault 1 of each class” and I guarantee that you will have people whispering you for spots. Why? Because people are greedy… And because the boss doesn’t drop tokens for gear like every other raid. It drops the actual piece of gear that’s restricted to a specific class. For example, on one raid, the Heroic Mooncloth Gloves of Faith (Priest T7.10) may drop and if you don’t have a Priest on hand, you’ve just wasted a piece of gear. Conversely, since you’re also as greedy as the next guy and you’ve constructed the raid with just one of each class, if any of your class’ gear drops, its all you, baybee. Just remember: 1 MT, 1 OT (often a melee plate DPS, not necessarily tank specced), 2 healers and 6 DPS.

This raid composition strategy is possible for 25 mans, but a little less so due to the number of available people at any given point.

4. PvE. Bwuh? Yep. To PvP, you’ve GOT to PvE. This is probably one of the biggest gripes I have with the current environment, but easily accessible raid instances have some of the best weapons out there. Titansteel Guardian/Prison Manifest have nothing on the Staff of Restraint from OS 25. Yet, many of these raids take minutes to run. Minutes. Not hours. In addition, just by PvEing, you can load up on badges, Badges of Heroism (Heroic/10 man badges) and Badges of Valor (25 man). For the Beginner, Naxx 10 gives 6 badges for the two easy wings, OS 10 gives 4 badges per clear, Vault 10 gives 1 and the daily Heroic dungeon is at minimum 5 badges. The same is true for the 25 man badges, sans the daily Heroic dungeon. At the least you should be getting 11 badges a week of both types. The kicker is that these badges aren’t just to buy PvE gear. For 30 Badges of Heroism you can buy the Savage Gladiator shoulders or gloves. For 45 badges, you’re looking at the Helm, Chest or Legs. The same applies to Badges of Valor and Hateful Gladiator gear. However, consider weekly Vault drops prior to gear purchases.

There you go, that's how I've gotten to around 800 Resilience in a few weeks. It could have been faster, but, I imagine S5 will be long enough, so it shouldn't matter at all... Unless, of course, you're damn impatient, like me.

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