Alright, I admit it. This post is just an excuse to look at all the pretty armor we priests get. And if you ask me, we get some of the best sets -- reminiscent of neither Power Rangers nor...um...whatever this is, priestly gear tends to look priestly. In this two-part series I'll be taking a look at our class sets, from Dungeon Set 1 (a.k.a. Tier 0) right up through Tier 6, with stops to comment on the graphics, stats, and set bonuses. This post will cover the PvE sets prior to the Burning Crusade, and part two will take on the rest of them (including Arena gear).
I'll start with the epic "tier" raid sets, since those are the most discussed. The picture at the top of this post shows Tiers 1 through 3, from left to right.
Tier 1 is the Vestments of Prophecy. It has eight pieces and drops in Molten Core, one piece off each boss except for Ragnaros and Majordomo Executus, and two pieces off random trash (those are bind-on-equip). It's epic, although for the stats it hardly beats many blues. The set bonuses are a bit odd:
- 3/8: -0.1 casting time to your Flash Heal
- 5/8: +28 spell crit
- 8/8: +25% chance to crit with Prayer of Healing
Overall, the stats heavily favor Intellect (170) over Spirit (117), which makes sense in the flash-heal based model of yore, but is annoying in light of today's Spirit-loving Priest builds (at least my own), which came into being long before BC was released and hence when many priests were still looking at level 60 epics. Still, at this point it hardly matters. Most of the set is pretty useless to shadow priests, but a few pieces have +damage/healing instead of just +healing: the wrists, belt, and shoulders. Looks-wise, the only thing of note is that the pieces that hang down from the shoulders turn to follow your camera as you move it. Try it, it's weird. Especially impressive from above.
Tier 2 is Vestments of Transcendance. This eight-piece set drops mostly in Blackwing Lair, with the pants coming from MC's Ragnaros and the headpiece coming from Onyxia. The set bonuses as they stand now:
- 3/8: +20 mp5
- 5/8: When struck in melee there is a 50% chance you will fade for 4 sec
- 8/8: Your Greater Heals now have a HoT component equivalent to a rank 5 Renew
The five-piece bonus on Trans is generally considered lacking, as far as I'm aware; if you get hit in a 40-man raid, you're probably dead already. The eight-piece, however, always looked pretty nice to me: free heals are never bad. Renew 4 is 245 healed over 15 seconds. Stats-wise, Trans still favors Int over Spi, but not by as much as Proph: 176 Int to 127 Spi. In fact, Trans is pretty close to Proph on most stats, with something like a 10–20% boost. +Healing, however, is the exception; Trans jumps Proph's +healing from 134 up to 300. On the other hand, there is absolutely no +damage on the T2 set, so Shadow Priests in BWL, you're out of luck. (Yes, I'm still talking to the past here.) For some reason the looks remind me of Starcraft, but it's not a big deal. Overall a big graphical improvement on T1.
Tier 3: Vestments of Faith. This is the first set released after the 1.10 Priest revamp, and it shows. Like all the other T3 sets, this is a nine-piece, adding a ring to the eight slots of the other sets, although the highest bonus is for having 8/9 pieces. The tokens and pieces for it drop in Naxxramas, with the ring dropping off Kel'Thuzad, the final pre-BC boss (perhaps an honor shared with AQ40's C'Thun). Some crafted items such as Mooncloth are also required to get the pieces. Faith breaks with the 3-5-8 set bonus pattern, offering four bonuses:
- 2/9: Reduces mana cost of Renew by 12%
- 4/9: Greater Heal crits give your target Armor of Faith, absorbing up to 500 damage
- 6/9: Reduces the threat from your heals [by 10%, as far as I can tell]
- 8/9: Each spell you cast can trigger an Epiphany, increasing your mana regeneration by 24 for 30 sec.
But what do you collect before you're ready to hit the mean passageways of the Molten Core? Dungeon Sets, of course! Pictured at right are Dungeon Set 1 and Dungeon Set 2, a.k.a. Tier 0 and Tier 0.5.
In theory, the dungeon sets were supposed to be a good preparation for raiding. However, in practice (not that it matters much any more), a priest could put a much better set together out of mismatched blues (from Dire Maul or, later on, Blackrock Depths, for instance), and do it easier than trying to collect every piece of the Vestments of the Devout, our T0. The set drops all over the place (Scholomance, both sides of Stratholme, and Blackrock Spire). Like the other T0 sets, it carries no class restriction, though this led more to shadow priests wanting the Warlock set than to anyone else wanting ours.
The set bonuses are as follows:
2/8: +200 Armor.
4/8: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 23.
6/8: When struck in combat has a chance of shielding the wearer in a protective shield which will absorb 350 damage.
8/8: +8 All Resistances.
And what's this T0.5 thing, you ask? Well, it was Blizz's way of giving the casual PvE players a way of upgrading their gear. You take your T0 pieces, your Devout, and embark on a series of quests, upgrading the pieces in turn until you wind up with the T0.5 set, Dungeon Set 2, Vestments of the Virtuous. Congratulations, you now look like french toast. The set bonuses are the same as T0, just in opposite order:
2/8: +8 All Resistances.
- 4/8: When struck in combat has a chance of shielding the wearer in a protective shield which will absorb 350 damage.
- 6/8: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 23.
- 8/8: +200 Armor.
And there you have it, folks. Our Tier and Dungeon sets prior to the Burning Crusade. Which one's your favorite? Which piece had you pounding the desk in frustration at its seeming inability to drop whenever you were in the raid?