Before I do anything else, I want to draw some attention to a guide on restoration healing recently published by Tree Bark Jacket that is an incredibly impressive work. It's comprehensive and fun to read, and for anyone who's getting started with the spec, I highly recommend heading both there and to Lissanna's guide to restoration healing in patch 3.3.
We're continuing our updated and expanded series on how to gear a new druid at 80, and this week we're going to tackle restoration druids. Frankly, a lot of the desirability for the listed pieces depends on your spec and current level of +haste (if you're wondering why that is, you'll find an explanation in our Restoration 101 post). If you are planning to raid on your resto druid, this is a bare-bones guide to what you need to look for:
- If you have 3/3 Celestial Focus and are below 735 haste, prioritize haste. Look for +haste pieces and gem Reckless Ametrines.
- If you have 3/3 Celestial Focus and are at or above 735 haste, you can either prioritize/gem spellpower or (much better) move points into more throughput talents in the restoration tree.
- If you don't have 3/3 Celestial Focus and are below 856 haste, prioritize haste.
- If you don't have 3/3 Celestial Focus and are at or above 856 haste, prioritize/gem spellpower. As you get new pieces, it may be necessary to gem or regem to stay around the haste cap.
As with our post on how to gear a new bear at 80, a few notes before we start:
- I'm assuming you don't have access to ICC-10 or -25, at least not on a regular basis. If you're playing on a realm where bored players are pugging heroic Icecrown content, feel free to disregard all of the following list. Otherwise, my assumption is that you're gearing a new restoration druid in order to raid (or at least make the content you're doing easier). In many places, I have listed gear you can get from the first four bosses in Icecrown Citadel, because I got some feedback after the bear post from people saying that this content is frequently pugged as well. If you're going further than that, Restokin had some excellent posts on balance and restoration gear available from the Crimson Halls and the Plagueworks.
- I'm assuming you probably have access to Onyxia, Vault of Archavon and (maybe) some ToC. Most servers have PUGs running this content fairly regularly (if not, feel free to start one). I've listed the ilevel 245, tier 9 pieces available if you get your hands on a Trophy of the Crusade. With many players upgrading to tier 10 right now, there aren't as many players rolling on these.
- I'm not assuming you're an arena star. PvP gear tends to be much less useful for trees than ferals, but you'll find a few pieces here that you don't need an arena rating to get. I've also listed a few Wrathful pieces that you might get off Toravon.
- You will find some caster DPS pieces here. I went back and forth for a long time over including more DPS-oriented pieces (namely, cloth and leather with hit) and finally decided to include a few of the better ones, mostly because a lot of them have gobs of haste. If there's a piece without hit more easily available elsewhere, I generally left it off. DPS pieces also tend to lack spirit or MP5, and you need to be careful with this. If you pack your resto set full of pieces without these stats, your regen will suffer badly, so be careful.
- This is not a comprehensive list. I've eliminated most of the pieces we've previously covered in our January 2009 guide to starting restoration gear. If you're still leveling your druid, or you're hitting 80 completely destitute, I would recommend reading that first.
- I am a huge cheapskate. It's a little easier and cheaper to gear a resto druid than a feral (there's much less gear competition if you stick to leather), but you can still go hog-wild on BoE and Frost gear if you've a mind to do so. I've tried to point out when an expensive piece might be worth it, and when it might not be.
- For anyone without a very good Emblem of Frost income who wants to prioritize the order in which they get their pieces, I would spend badges first on the Vestments of Spruce and Fir (close to best in slot even for people raiding heroic ICC), and then -- if you're purchasing Primordial Saronite with Frost emblems -- get the Blessed Cenarion Boots made. After that, it's really up to you. Neither the tier 10 helm or shoulders is particularly compelling as a stand-alone piece, but I'm reluctant to advise people to run out and buy the legs and gloves, which have a chance to drop off Toravon.
If you have four-piece tier 9, then crit is a pretty good stat for you. You will still need to worry about haste, but the abundance of crit on everything will do a lot more for you than it will do for druids in other gear.
Both the two-piece and four-piece tier 10 bonuses are extremely good for restoration, although they are more oriented toward a raid healer than a tank healer. If you're going to go for the tier bonuses, buy the helm, shoulders, gloves and legs. The chest piece should be the Vestments of Spruce and Fir.
As with our bear post, if you have any combination of the following pieces, you should consider yourself well-geared.
Since the change to Gift of the Earthmother in patch 3.3, a number of helms have become less attractive, and this is a weird slot as a result. If you're not at the soft haste cap, then the tier 8 helm is actually better than the ilevel 232, tier 9 helm.
Enchant Arcanum of Blissful Mending from Wyrmrest Accord revered is the classic choice, but if you have four-piece tier 9 or do a lot of tank healing, go with Arcanum of Burning Mysteries from Kirin Tor revered.
Meta Gem If you're having mana issues, use the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond. If you're not having mana issues, Ember Skyflare Diamond. You will probably want to read Tree Bark Jacket's blog post on how this works vis-a-vis what your trinkets are.
- Helm of Abundant Growth (Alliance)/Mask of Abundant Growth (Horde) The ilevel 245 non-set spellpower helm available for 75 Emblems of Triumph.
- Lasherweave Helmet Available for 95 Emblems of Frost.
- Stormrage Crown Dropped by Onyxia-25.
- Stormrage Cover Dropped by Onyxia-10.
- Headpiece of Reconciliation If you get Sartharion Must Die! as a weekly raid quest and do the 25-man version, be on the lookout for this; it's a really nice piece. It is, however, a hard-mode piece, so unless the raid's bum-rushing a Sarth-2D or 3D, it won't appear on the loot table.
- Conqueror's Nightsong Headpiece The tier 8 helm. Yes, it's better itemized than the tier 9 helm if you're short on haste.
- Malfurion's Headpiece of Triumph (Alliance)/Runetotem's Headpiece of Triumph (Horde) The ilevel 245, tier 9 helm available for 75 Emblems of Triumph and 1 Trophy of the Crusade.
- Tattered Glacial-Woven Hood Dropped by the Captain's Chest in normal Halls of Reflection.
- Sightless Crown of Ulmaas Dropped by Marwyn in heroic Halls of Reflection.
- Lifespark Visage If you get Flame Leviathan Must Die! as a weekly raid quest and do the 10-man version, look for this.
- Malfurion's Headpiece of Conquest (Alliance)/Runetotem's Headpiece of Conquest (Horde) The ilevel 232, tier 9 available for 50 Emblems of Triumph.
- Fallen Sentry's Hood Dropped by Falric in normal Halls of Reflection.
I'm really trying my best to stay away from PvP pieces where I can, but there's no way around it; unless you get lucky with a Marrowgar-25 drop, the top three slots outside of raiding are all Wrathful or Titan-Forged pieces.
- Bone Sentinel's Amulet Dropped by Marrowgar-25. Note-perfect itemization for a resto druid, but be prepared for a lot of competition.
- Wrathful Gladiator's Pendant of Subjugation Dropped by Toravon or available for 52,200 honor. If you're below the haste-cap, use this; if not, use the Deliverance piece below.
- Wrathful Gladiator's Pendant of Deliverance Dropped by Toravon or available for 52,500 honor.
- Titan-Forged Pendant of Ascendancy Available for 25 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor.
- Evoker's Charm Available for 19 Emblems of Conquest.
- Heartbreak Charm If you were lucky enough to get this off the recent Love Is In the Air bosses, it's identical to the Evoker's Charm.
- Arcane Loops of Anger Dropped by the Devourer of Souls in heroic Forge of Souls.
- Love's Prisoner Dropped by Bronjahm in heroic Forge of Souls.
- Freya's Choker of Warding Another Flame Leviathan-25 piece.
- Symbol of Redemption Dropped by the Black Knight in heroic Trial of the Champion.
As with the helm, this is a really weird slot; the balance tier 10 shoulders are actually better than their restoration counterparts. If you'd like to stick to a restoration-oriented piece, my advice would be to pick up tier 9.
Enchant Greater Inscription of the Crag from Sons of Hodir exalted. If you have four-piece tier 9, you'll want to use Greater Inscription of the Storm. Scribes will be using Master's Inscription of the Crag or Master's Inscription of the Storm.
- Stiffened Corpse Shoulderpads These are a BoE zone drop from ICC-25, but, as with all BoE pieces from ICC, they're pretty expensive. I would just save toward the tier 10 shoulders, or -- if you can get your hands on a Trophy of the Crusade -- buy the ilevel 245 shoulders. If you're wondering why a non-haste piece is so high on this list, it's easy; the meaty spellpower allocation in addition to the two sockets vaults it to the top.
- Malfurion's Spaulders of Triumph (Alliance)/Runetotem's Spaulders of Triumph (Horde) The ilevel 245, tier 9 shoulders, available for 45 Emblems of Triumph and 1 Trophy of the Crusade.
- Pauldrons of Revered Mortality (Alliance)/Mantle of Revered Mortality (Horde) The ilevel 245, non-set cloth shoulders.
- Lasherweave Mantle Available for 60 Emblems of Frost. These are not well-itemized in comparison to tier 9, which is why the 251 tier 10 barely clocks in above the 232 tier 9.
- Malfurion's Spaulders of Conquest (Alliance)/Runetotem's Spaulders of Conquest (Horde) The ilevel 232, tier 9 shoulders, available for 30 Emblems of Triumph.
- Shoulders of the Fateful Accord (Alliance)/Epaulets of the Fateful Accord (Horde) The non-set, ilevel 245 leather shoulders.
- Titan-Forged Spaulders of Salvation Available for 40 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor.
- Very Fashionable Shoulders Dropped by Bronjahm in heroic Forge of Souls.
- Grim Lasher Shoulderguards Dropped by the Captain's Chest in normal Halls of Reflection.
- Frayed Abomination Stitching Shoulders Dropped by Marwyn in normal Halls of Reflection.