Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we continue our examination of the faction gear available for Druids in Wrath and have a serious conversation with our aesthetic conscience regarding the hideous Kirin Tor tabard: "Is the tanking staff we get at Revered worth the humiliation of wearing that purple monstrosity?" The answer, dear readers, is no.
In the first part, we covered Druid gear available with the Tuskarr, the Alliance Vanguard/Horde Expedition, Wyrmrest Accord, Kirin Tor, and Oracles/Frenzyheart. This week, we're going to finish with a look at the Knights of the Ebon Blade, the Argent Crusade, and the Sons of Hodir. You're unlikely to encounter any of these three factions while leveling between 70 and 74, but all three figure prominently in mid to late '70's leveling. Read on for the last three factions, but if you want a quick set of links to each individual faction, here you go:
- The Argent Crusade Guide
A quick word about the quartermasters; you won't have early access to the Ebon Blade or Sons of Hodir quartermasters for the purpose of browsing the merchandise. The Sons will be hostile to you until after you've done a long (but very entertaining) quest chain to get them to neutral, and the Ebon Blade quartermaster will only be "phased" into existence after you complete a quest chain that gives the Knights control of the Shadow Vault. The Argent Crusade quartermaster is available if you can get to their base camp in Icecrown, but don't bother rushing; the earliest you can use any of the gear they offer is level 78.
You should have a bit of Argent rep under your belt by the time you reach the Argent Vanguard in Icecrown, especially if you're good about doing the Argent dailies in Zul'drak. Yes, even the super-annoying alchemy one. Hey, Finklestein! Try finding your own damn ingredients in that pigsty of a stockroom! The lack of organizational know-how in this faction leaves me with very little optimism over their chances versus Arthas, but that's no reason not to make off with some decent gear before Arthas wins the inevitable triumph of the good guys.
- Cloak of Holy Extermination -- Honored, Level 78: This is an okay cat DPS cloak, although I would have preferred +crit or +hit in the place of the armor penetration (which doesn't do anything for our Rake or Rip damage). Even so, armor penetration as a stat isn't bad if you already have a lot of it, but you can get a better cloak a level earlier in Halls of Stone. Still a decent option if you need something to get you to 80, however.
- Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector -- Revered: The best helm enchant in the game for tanks. Revered with the Argent Crusade isn't hard to get if you're religious about wearing their (pretty awesome) tabard in level 80 dungeons and heroics, or if you've done all of the AC quests in Dragonblight, Zul'drak, and Icecrown. If you plan on tanking any heroics or raids, get this enchant as quickly as possible.
- Argent Skeleton Crusher -- Revered, Level 80: The reason I include this 2H mace for consideration is that it'll be an okay weapon for ferals once we scale with weapon DPS rather than (the soon to be nonexistent) feral attack power. Are there better feral weapons out there? Unquestionably. Will it be usable once the weapon changes go live? Sure. Should you be running your furry ass off in heroic Violet Hold to get Staff of Trickery instead of having to use this? Hell yes. And as long as you're in heroic VH, pick up Cloak of the Gushing Wound too, which will easily replace Cloak of Holy Extermination if you didn't get the Halls of Stone cloak.
- Boots of the Neverending Path -- Exalted, Level 80: Boots for teh kittehs! This is the best pre-raid piece for cats, especially if you're hurting for +hit, which you probably are with all that +haste and +penetration crap on leather. The notion of "sharing" gear with rogues might have left you with the impression that getting +hit on leather was going to be a doddle, but apparently that's not the case; there is a ghastly lack of +hit on the leather you're likely to be hitting 80 with. This one piece will be 2.01% of your +hit at 80. Get it. Slap Icewalker on it. Profit! Or kill stuff, as you prefer.
- Signet of Hopeful Light -- Exalted, Level 80: Wowhead commenters are bandying this about as an excellent choice for Paladin and Shaman healers. It's also OK for moonkin, although it's the latest in a (very long) line of reputation caster gear entirely devoid of +hit. With no spirit or mp5 on it in addition to +36 haste, it's a decidedly mediocre ring for Restoration. Moonkin may want this if they're otherwise +hit capped and can use the solid +spellpower and +haste.