Well, what do they say about plans and contact with the enemy? This week, I'd fully intended to write a Cataclysm 101 guide for prot warriors, but then Cataclysm actually happened and I immediately spent the time as fury. Since I'm going to start working on leveling my prot warrior soon as I get the fury to 85 (which I should have done by the time you read this) the protection 101 will be next week. This week, as I've been flitting around trying to decide which factions to grind rep with for which rewards, I've decided to share all that musing with you.
Also I've been kind of running around like a chicken going 'woah' a lot, but you probably didn't need to know that. Yes, I was in the beta. I was in the beta on a four year old computer. Playing the expansion on a new machine has even my jaded warrior heart all aflutter. So far, I've kept my T10 pieces for the 2 set bonuses, which are boring but compelling (the two piece is now just all physical damage increased by 5%, while the four piece is all damage, period) but with Deepholm gear dropping I expect I'll be dumping set fairly soon. I've more or less replaced almost all my non set gear with blues and greens.
So here's a sampling of the factions I'm looking at and the gear and arcanums they offer.
The Ramkahen are the friendly faction of Tol'Vir (big stone cat centaur people) that you meet in Uldum. They have a variety of rewards that might interest you as a warrior. They of course have a tabard you can wear to speed the reputation grind up. In every faction's case the tabards work in level 85 dungeons.
- At honored you can pick up the Shroud of the Dead, a solid DPS cloak which you can wear at level 83 and which can help you get in the door for heroics.
- At revered you can pick up the Red Rock Band, suitable either as a DPS ring or a tanking threat ring with expertise and mastery on it.
- Exalted gives you access to two rewards worth considering, the Sandguard Bracers (solid for tanks) and the Gift of Nadun, a DPS neck.
Guardians of Hyjal
You earn reputation with this group by completing the Hyjal starting zone and wearing their tabard in dungeons. Hurry and save Archimonde's girlfriend from Ragnaros! That's two raid bosses with an unholy fixation for giant trees now.
- At honored you can pick up Galrond's Band (DPS ring) and Mountain's Mouth, a tanking neck.
- Revered gives you access to the DPS oriented Waywatcher's Boots.
- Once you reach exalted you can pick up the Wrap of the Great Turtle (a tanking cape named after Tortolla, my favorite NPC in Hyjal) and the Belt of the Ferocious Wolf, named after Goldrinn/Lo'Gosh, my OTHER favorite NPC in Hyjal. Yes, I have more than one favorite NPC in Hyjal. I can like two things!
Therazane the Stonemother takes a while to warm up to fleshy things. It's understandable, since we killed her daughter and all. I said I was sorry, already! Luckily if I wear this piece of cloth while I kill other things she'll get over it. Note: things killed must be in dungeons for this offer to be valid.
- Therazane offers a variety of shoulder enchants. At honored you gain access to the Lesser Inscription of Jagged Stone for DPS and the Lesser Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz for tanks.
- At revered there are a variety of rings available from Therazane. The two you'll be interested in are Felsen's Ring of Resolve for tanking and Gorski's Band of Shattering for DPS. Note that the stamina on these rings is identical: as a tank, you get most of your added stamina from the protection specializatrion bonus Sentinel.
- At exalted the improved forms of the inscriptions unlock, giving you access to the Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone and Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz.
The Earthen Ring
The Earthen Ring, as you might expect for an expansion all about elements in upheaval, are all over the place in Cataclysm, appearing in Vashj'ir and Deepholm. You can of course wear their tabard as well for more rep while dungeoneering. (I got my degree in dungeoneering at the University of Gilneas.)
- Honored provides access to the Stone-Wrapped Greaves for your leveling tank. With two sockets and both dodge and parry, these are pretty solidly 'tanking only' legs.
- At revered you can snag the tanktastic Arcanum of the Earthen Ring.
- The only exalted reward you're going to look at is the Signet of the Elder Council and frankly, with both agi and haste, it's not very good for arms warriors. It's borderline to middling for both fury and prot, frankly, I wouldn't bother with it.
The Wildhammer Clan/Dragonmaw Clan
- Unlike other factions, there's nothing for warriors at honored with these factions.
- The Arcanum of the Dragonmaw/Arcanum of the WIldhammer is the strength DPS arcanum. It is available at revered.
- Also at revered you can pick up the Gauntlets of Rattling Bones from the Dragonmaw and the Gryphon Talon Gauntlets from the Wildhammer. These are DPS plate. For tanks, the Grinning Fang Helm from the Dragonmaw and the Wildhammer's Crown of Wings are solid tanking helms.
- Finally, at exalted you can pick up the Gryphon Rider's Boots for your Alliance tank, or the Boots of Sullen Stone for you Horde tankers.
Hellscream's Reach/Baradin Warders
Finally,our last two opposing factions. The Baradin Warders have been assigned to the island of Tol Baradfor years, watching over its infamous prisons ever since the Alliance reclaimed the island during the Second War, while Hellscream's Reach has been ordered by the new Warchief of the Horde to reclaim it for the Horde.
- As befits two factions heavily involved in the PvP zone of Tol Barad, you can get the Baradin Footman's Tags/Baradin Grunt's Talisman at honored. In addition to having a solid whack of mastery (good for any spec, really) these can summon an NPC to fight besides you.
- At revered we get into the weapons. The big draw for an arms or fury warrior here is the Blade of the Fearless. The tanks among us could make use of the Ravening Slicer (as could a fury warrior using Single-Minded Fury) but it`s not an ideal weapon for a warrior with all that agility on it. A DPS warrior might make use of Sky Piercer for their ranged weapon slot, not a lot of str weapons for the ranged slot.
- At exalted the Impatience of Youth is a solid DPS piece that could also serve a tank looking to stack mastery. The on-use strength would be best for a DPS warrior but could help tank threat.
Next week we`ll discuss Cataclysm tanking in detail and then start on instance drops.
Check out more strategies and tips for warriors of all specs in Matthew Rossi's weekly class column, The Care and Feeding of Warriors.