Before we get into this week's edition of our series on gearing a resto druid at 85, I wanted to drop a note here concerning an upcoming article on the plight of low-level bear tanks. Right now, the annoyance value of tanking on a new bear is pretty high; you don't get Swipe until level 36; the arrangement of talents in the feral tree means your mitigation is behind that of paladins and warriors for a while; and everything in your arsenal with the exception of Demoralizing Roar is a cooldown until you get Lacerate at level 66 (!). I'm curious if this is having an impact on druid tank representation among the new flood of people instancing in low-level content, and I have started keeping track of the tanks I'm getting through the dungeon finder.
So far, this is the class representation I've seen among tanks from levels 15 through 31. Because leveling in this range is fairly quick, the sample size isn't large. I don't know whether it's representative of what I'll see on the way to 85 (and obviously I won't encounter any death knights until level 58 at the earliest), but time will tell:
- Paladin: 55%
- Warrior: 30%
- Druid: 15%
Enchant Enchant Chest -- Peerless Stats
In a situation that experienced resto players from tier 10 will doubtless recognize, the tier 11 chest is a dismal piece. It's itemized with crit, mastery, and absolutely no spirit. This is the piece I would switch out in favor of a non-set piece if you want the tier four-piece bonus.
- Scorched Wormling Vest (heroic) Dropped by Magmaw in Blackwing Descent.
- Scorched Wormling Vest The normal version of the chest above, dropped by Magmaw in Blackwing Descent.
- Stormrider's Robes (heroic) The heroic tier 11 chest.
- Cursed Skardyn Vest (heroic) Dropped by General Umbriss in heroic Grim Batol.
- Vest of the Curious Visitor (heroic) Dropped by Glubtok in heroic Deadmines.
- Robes of Forgetfulness Available for 2,200 justice points. Oddly, this actually gets close to the heroic tier chest by my stat weights, and I think I know why -- it's perfectly itemized for a resto druid, and it's got a red and an orange socket to the tier chest's blue and yellow. Maybe I value haste too much ...
- Stormrider's Robes The normal tier 11 chest.
- Chestguard of Nature's Fury A BoE from leatherworking. It's oriented more toward balance, though.
- Wrap of the Fallen City Now this is a really nice piece, although you won't see it until you've leveled for a while in Uldum. A quest reward from The Fall of Neferset City in Uldum.
- Cursed Skardyn Vest The normal version of the chest above, dropped by General Umbriss in normal Grim Batol.
- Robes of the Loving Ursine A BoE world drop from the higher-level Cataclysm zones and dungeons.
- Keegan's Windswept Chestguard (Alliance) or Cartographer's Chestguard (Horde) Quest reward from Dropping the Hammer in the Twilight Highlands (Alliance) or Quality Construction in the Twilight Highlands (Horde).
- Acid-Eaten Vest A quest reward from Ascendant Lord Obsidius in Blackrock Caverns.
- Chestguard of the Bleak Scarab A quest reward from Ancient Weapons in Uldum.
- Rippling Ooze Chestguard A quest reward from Maziel's Ascendancy in Deepholm.
- Pteropod Robes (Alliance) or Pteropod Robes (Horde) A quest reward from Decompression in Vashj'ir (Alliance) or Decompression in Vashj'ir (Horde).
Enchant Enchant Bracer -- Greater Speed
This is not a slot with a lot of great options for us. If you're sitting on a good piece from late Wrath of the Lich King, you can probably hang onto it until you get to around number 10 on this list.
- Manacles of the Sleeping Beast (heroic) Dropped by heroic Chimaeron or Toxitron in Blackwing Descent.
- Manacles of the Sleeping Beast The normal version of the bracers above, dropped by Chimaeron or Toxitron in Blackwing Descent.
- Vicious Gladiator's Armwraps of Dominance I'm going to include these just because the bracer slot is so bad for us, and these at least have haste.
- Armbands of Change (heroic) Dropped by Corla in heroic Blackrock Caverns. No spirit, sadly.
- Vicious Gladiator's Bindings of Meditation The PvP bracers with spirit on them rather than haste. These would be the better of your two options if mana regen is a priority. I'm not sure why it's so difficult to find bracers with spirit at the moment.
- Oasis Bracers (heroic) A zone drop from Lost City of the Tol'vir, but I think something's bugged; even in the heroic version of Lost City, only the normal version of these bracers is dropping. The item is in the game, but only the normal version seems to be around for the moment.
- Bracers of Caustic Purification A BoE world drop from the higher-level Cataclysm zones and dungeons. Still no spirit, I'm afraid.
- Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Bindings of Meditation Still breaking my "no PvP" rule here just because availability for this slot frankly sucks. Available for 1,250 honor.
- Oasis Bracers The normal version of the Lost City of the Tol'vir zone drop above.
- Bracers of the Verdant Cradle Quest reward from The Curse of the Tombs in Uldum. Sadly, this is the first perfectly itemized wrist for us, and it's a friggin' ilevel 312 from Uldum.
- Armbands of Change The normal version of the piece above, from Corla in normal Blackrock Caverns.
- Keg-Stealer Bracers (Alliance) or Alefire Bracers (Horde) Quest reward from Fight Like a Wildhammer in the Twilight Highlands (Alliance) or Total War in the Twilight Highlands (Horde).
- Burning Bind Bracers Quest reward from Apply and Flash Dry in Deepholm.
- Bracers of the Vanquished God Quest reward from All that Rises in Vashj'ir.
- Harp Shell Wristguards (Alliance) or Harp Shell Wristguards (Horde) Quest reward from Welcome News in Vashj'ir (Alliance) or Welcome News in Vashj'ir (Horde).
- Apocryphic Bindings Quest reward from Elementary! in Mount Hyjal.
Enchant Enchant Gloves -- Haste
By contrast, there are a lot of nice choices in the glove slot.
- Stormrider's Handwraps (heroic) The heroic version of the tier 11 gloves.
- Hydrolance Gloves (heroic) Dropped by the heroic Twilight Ascendant Council in Bastion of Twilight.
- Stormrider's Handwraps The normal version of the tier 11 gloves.
- Hydrolance Gloves The normal version of the gloves above, dropped by the Twilight Ascendant Council in Bastion of Twilight.
- Deep Delving Gloves A very well-itemized piece; I'd keep this around until you get tier. Dropped by Slabhide in heroic Stonecore (truly a 5-man of the damned).
- Aessina-Blessed Gloves Available at revered with the Guardians of Hyjal, but don't bother; go after the Stonecore ones.
- Blessed Hands of Elune Available for 1,650 justice points.
- Gloves of the Uplifted Cup (heroic) Dropped by Baron Silverlaine in heroic Shadowfang Keep.
- Gloves of Baleflame Quest reward from Closing a Dark Chapter in the Twilight Highlands.
- Deep Delving Gloves The normal version of the gloves above, dropped by Slabhide in normal Stonecore.
- Marshseeker Gloves Quest reward from Tanotep's Son in Uldum.
- Fencer's Nimblefingers (Alliance) or Needle-Threader Gauntlets (Horde) Quest reward from Dark Assassins in the Twilight Highlands (Alliance) or Dark Assassins in the Twilight Highlands (Horde).
- Barrel-Belly Gauntlets Quest reward from A Steady Supply in the Twilight Highlands. Curiously, there doesn't appear to be a Horde version of these.
- Rope-Grip Gloves Quest reward from Be Prepared in Uldum.
- Gloves of Nurtured Truth Quest reward from Aessina's Miracle in Mount Hyjal.