As always, things can change in the Beta with blinding speed. You never know when they will make a change, allowing Berserker Rage to be used in all stances as an example. However, for now we're going with the notion that you'll need 540 defense to be crit immune at level 80 vs a boss, and that the Titan's Grip hit penalty on specials will require significant hit rating to overcome (roughly 500). Another assumption is that special attacks are using a two roll system instead of the one roll system of white attacks, meaning that you can't just stack a ton of crit to get around the miss penalty on your specials. (Note: I am not a statistician or a mathemetician. I barely understand the math in that thread.) I will say that, having taken my tauren back to Arms and then Fury, that things are not as dire as some comments and even my own past statements may seem: warrior DPS is currently low, yes, but it's not horrible, and you can level with either spec. (My draenei warrior is now 74 using arms as his prefered playstyle and I can say with relative security that the various Arms talents do make for solid leveling.) And while the TG miss penalty makes me cry, it is possible to overcome it, at least at lower levels.
Or maybe I'm just in a positive mood this week. Either way, let's look at some gear. You'll see the new tanking philosophy front and center on the pieces intended for that role, with a lot more strength. DPS gear still lacks in hit with the exception of a couple of nice pieces. (Even an arms warrior might well bemoan the total lack of hit on some of this gear.) And the amount of crafted PvP gear reflects the recent big post by Kalgan about PvP balance.
Let's talk about hats first. I mean, they go on your head.
In the past when talking about crafted gear, I always forget about engineering helmets. Well, not this time. Behold the Charged Titanium Specs and the Armored Titanium Goggles, wearable at level 72. They will last you into Naxx 10. If you can make these, congratulations, you don't need a hat. In all sincerity, every time I look at the engineering hats I curse under my breath that I'm not an engineer. Then I remember what a horrible pain the profession is to level. (Well, for me, anyway, as I am lazy.) The Armored Titanium in particular are just rock solid, and while I'd like to see some hit on the Charged, they're a superlative Arms hat and can be gemmed for fury pretty easily. If you wore the Armored Titanium with the various rep rewards listed last week, you'd have 449 defense rating, getting you within striking distance of the 690 you need to remove crits. (It's fair to say, as several commenters pointed out last week, that you will be doing your first ten man instances still taking a few crits, as with crushing blows now gone it's not as horrible for the occasional crit to land, but any bit to reduce that is welcome in my eyes.) And man, can you say anything bad about that expertise? Well, you probably can, but be prepared to get a really funny look when you do.
Blacksmithing hasn't abandoned you for hats, however. While you can't wear the top ranked BS hats at 72 the way you can engineer hats there's still the Tempered and Spiked Titansteel Helms. The Tempered is serviceable, if not spectactualr, but the Spiked Titansteel Helm makes me feel all funny in my pants. 112 strength, 60 agi with a meta socket bonus for another six, and a whopping 60 hit rating. No itemization wasted on stamina. A meta gem socket. I'll repeat that, a meta gem socket. This is a hell of a hat, and if you're a blacksmith I don't care if you're prot or DPS, you must make yourself one of these. Go right ahead and curse the titansteel cooldown now, but make this hat.
There are other options for crafted hats as you level up: ignoring green options for now (which I'll probably cover in a seperate bit at the end) we have the Helm of Command, the Savage Saronite Skullshield (your starter PvP option), the Mechanized Snow Goggles for leveling engineers who haven't made their good hats yet (I'm sorry you made ten 'of the Whale' in a row) and the Tempered Saronite Helm. All are serviceable, with the Tempered Saronite having a really solid dose of defense on it.
Crafting doesn't really yield a lot of chestplate options. I have to assume more are incoming. For now, you can make yourself the Icebane Chestguard (lots of stamina and three sockets, but I have to echo the commenter that bemoans yet another set of resist fights) the Chestplate of Conquest (a solid enough DPS option, yet again lacking in hit rating but good otherwise - it requires armorsmithing, so not many will have it) the Savage Saronite Hauberk for starter PvP (and useable in a pinch for tanking or instance DPS, I actually tank with it on my tauren due to bad luck and not much time to run instances and level several alts on beta) - while I've heard rumors that resilience will only work in PvP in Wrath, I've yet to see a blue post on the issue: I'd appreciate if any commenter can link me to an authoritative source like Ghostcrawler or Kalgan on this issue. So far resil seems to be reducing my incoming crits from all sources, but I could be wrong. Finally, for real tanking, the Tempered Saronite Breastplate. As you can see, the pickings are slim: I actually think I'd prefer the Savage over the Tempered for more str, stam and overall threat.
There are three blue crafted gloves, with no epics to speak of as of this build. The Savage Saronite are a PvP/DPS option, while both the Tempered Saronite Gauntlets and the Daunting Handguards are tanking gloves. The Daunting are slightly harder to make and superior in every way.
For boots we actually get a couple of epic options from crafting. The Tempered Titansteel and Spiked Titansteel Treads, to be exact. They're both fairly entry level for 10 mans, but aside from the Titansteel itself aren't terribly demanding to craft, either. They do the jobs their tasked to do until you can get better, and since they're BoE they'll eventually end up on the AH, making them a nice option for tanks looking to get ready for tanking at 80 or DPS in need of shoes. Your feet can get cold fast if they're soaked with the blood of your dying enemies. Again, I'd like to see some hit on these but you can't have everything. Of course, our superior quality options are again represented by the Tempered and Savage Saronite sets.
Vengeance Bindings have your strength, hit rating and crit strike needs covered for a solid piece of blue gear to start DPSing with. I'd like to see more gear itemized this way for dedicated DPS. Savage Saronite Bracers cover your PvP needs and Tempered Saronite Bracers are your tanking option. Of the three, the Vengeance Bindings seem the best itemized for their intended role.
For legs, we have the weak Tempered Saronite Legplates (which are wearable at level 74, explaining their relative weakness), the much stronger Daunting Legplates (which require level 78 to equip, so they should be better) - and frankly, the way these two sets of legs interact makes much more sense than having both the Tempered Saronite Gauntlets and the Daunting Handguards requiring level 78 to equip - and the Legplates of Conquest for DPS armorsmiths. Pretty well suited for arms, again low in hit so less suited for a fury warrior who takes the 51 point fury talent. I'm disappointed in the lack of sockets on some of this gear, which would allow various warriors to gem to compensate. Finally, your starter PvP set will include the Savage Saronite Legplates.
Our epic belt option gives us more frost resistance, but a huge whack of stamina and sockets makes it not entirely horrible. Probably at least good for Sapphiron. The Savage and Tempered Saronite sets are represented here as well. Being fairly low level, you'll probably replace the Tempered as soon as possible.
Finally, we're totally underwhelmed on shoulder options. Once again we see the Savage and Tempered Saronite sets taking point.
As you can see, crafting will provide you with a good amount of options (those engineering hats are once again very, very good) but won't entirely kit you out, especially not once you get serious about level 80 heroics and raids. However, between the crafted gear and the reputation gear from last week you should certainly be in good shape to hit the heroics and start working on raids. So what gear drops in instances?
That's up next week. How far into raiding do you have to be to feel solid on your hit rating? Will you finally be at 540 defense before Naxx or will you require Naxx gear? (I'll tell you now, you'll probably still be crittable going into Naxx, but 500 defense should be attainable fairly easily, and you might actually be higher.) And what about weapons in all this, Batman? (Note, if Batman were actually writing this column, it would be the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.) Weapons are coming, too, I promise.