Let's get this out of the way up front: if every week you're rolling over Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader heading for A Tribute to Insanity, then this column will be completely wasted on you. It's like bringing coals to Newcastle (not the bitter, the actual town). While my human warrior is geared pretty well by this point, he's a fury/prot warrior most of the time, so the test bed for most of my Arms play is my tauren, who is mainly gearing up via Wintergrasp and various Battlegrounds as well as five man TotC and its heroic counterpart. (As an aside, if someone could explain to me why the Grand Champions and Paletress seem to have forgotten that they have 2H weapons on their loot tables, I'd really appreciate it.)
This column will be focused on a general overview of gear specifically for an arms warrior that you can acquire via PvP (not Arena, but Wintergrasp and BG's), reputation grinding, emblem vendors and running TotC 5/heroic 5. There's actually a great deal of easily acquired gear out there to catch up your new arms warrior.
Things to Remember
While the Expertise goal for a DPS arms warrior in PvE is the same as it has been (26 expertise to push dodges off of the table, and no, you don't want to be dodged to proc Overpower, trust me it's going to be lit up plenty from talents like Taste for Blood) unlike a fury warrior you have talents that can help compensate for it. (When I last visited this subject, Fury had Weapon Mastery, it's an Arms talent now.) If you are an arms warrior looking to raid, you only need 18 expertise if you have full Weapon Mastery, and Strength of Arms can provide 4 of that 18 expertise. This means that if you max both WM and SoA you only need roughly 115 expertise rating on gear to hit the dodge expertise goal.
As for hit, Arms doesn't have access to talents like Precision, but neither does it particularly need them. Since Arms isn't subject to the ridiculously large dual wield miss penalty, hit rating for an arms warrior can cap both special attacks and chance to miss with normal (or 'white' for the color of the damage numbers in Scrolling Combat Text/Damage logs) with the same rating of 263 hit rating/8% chance to hit. 263 hit rating will completely remove an arms warrior's chance to miss entirely on both specials and white or normal attacks. Once you have that much, stop. Don't get any more. Unlike a fury warrior, you're done at 263.
For PvP of course you don't really need to worry as much about hit and expertise. 5% chance to hit is pretty much all you need for Arms PvP unless you're fighting players higher level or in high defense gear.
As for things like Crit, ArP, Attack Power and so forth, well, we could write another 600 words on each subject. Armor Pen has recently been adjusted downward again, but it's still a solid stat for DPS warriors due to the fact that pretty much all of our damage is physical and thus mitigated by armor with the sole exception of bleeds. Rather than go into crazy detail (consider that pending for another column) I'll say aim for 50% armor reduction, and then stack as much AP and Crit as you can get. (If you have Armor Penetration procs like Grim Toll, that 50% will often be much higher, but I'm not assuming you do because that's a 25 man raid trinket.)
Now let's start looking at some gear.
Trial of the Champion/Heroic TotC
For more in depth discussion, check out our TotC roundups. For now, we'll just list the items.
- Edge of Ruin
- True-aim Long Rifle (yes, arms warriors, you do need a ranged weapon)
- Banner of Victory (very helpful for hitting that 50% ArP goal)
- Uruka's Band of Zeal (not the best arms stats but expertise is always nice)
- Ancient Pendant of Arathor
- Breastplate of the Imperial Joust
- Drape of the Undefeated
- Gauntlets of the Stouthearted Crusader (still somewhat vexed by these gloves)
- Girdle of Arrogant Downfall
- Helm of the Violent Fray
- Legplates of Relentless Onslaught
- Majestic Silversmith Shoulders
- Plated Greaves of Providence
- Vambraces of Unholy Command
Emblems of Conquest - Honor Purchases
The far more easily obtained solutions for a new Arms warrior. What's worth looking at?
- Belt of the Singing Blade
- Bladebreaker Gauntlets
- Legplates of the Violet Champion
- Conqueror's Siegebreaker's Battleplate
- Conqueror's Siegebreaker Helmet
- Spiked Battleguard Choker
- Broach of Wailing Night (Note: I recommend the Broach over the Spiked for Arms, but as always tastes vary.)
Honor will also purchase you a wide assortment of accessories. Pretty much the entire range of Furious necks, rings and capes. Speaking of Wintergrasp, let's go over what you can get just for participating in the WG matches (we'll not cover the loot pinata bosses because, well, you still have to raid them to get the gear they drop, and this column is covering what you can get via 5 mans and relatively solo PvP. I know Wintergrasp itself is a raid, but you can queue for it solo.)
For starters, there's plenty of PvP plate available from the WG vendors. You'd probably prefer the Deadly in cases where it overlaps, but these are purchasable for WG marks which means you can conserve your honor and fill gaps in your gear at the same time. (These are also itemized towards hit, which on the one hand you only need 263 hit rating but it's not a stat made less powerful by Resilience, either.) There's also some solid PvP trinkets in there as well. (Yeah, I know there's two caster trinkets left, I seem to be lacking in Wowhead fu today.)
All of this without raiding or even running the daily heroic for Emblems of Triumph. (That being said, run the daily heroic for Emblems of Triumph.) Even a baby arms warrior fresh to 80 can have full epics for PvE or PvP with a couple of weeks of solid effort at this point, so go forth and Bladestorm, Bladestorm, Bladestorm towards greatness!
Next week we talk a lot about Armor Penetration. I hate talking about Armor Pen because back when I said it was going to be good in patch 3.1, y'all went nuts telling me how wrong I was. Then y'all went out and stacked it like crazy. So basically, I hate talking about armor pen because you guys have traumatized me. Still, it's got to be talked about, so stay tuned next week.