Before we get started, I thought I would take the opportunity to define what this column is and is not today. This is not a best in slot pre-raid gear list. The developers at Blizzard have given us many choices in the gear we can gather, as well as the ability to alter them with reforging. This post shows some of the options available to you as you are preparing to set foot in raids. The numbers represented are guidelines, and while in some cases they may represent what are considered minimum values, it's up to you to decide what you need to fill in.
There is actually a surprising amount of gear to choose from that will help get you raid-ready -- everything from heroic boss drops, quest items, reputation rewards, justice point purchases or gear crafted through various trade skills. This is a large departure from how gear was in Wrath of the Lich King. If you wanted to start raiding back then, you needed a certain progression of content for specific drops, as there were only a certain number of drops that you could use.
So let's take a look at some of the items you can pick up to get raid-ready. For the purposes of this list of gear, we're going to stick to ilevel 346 gear or higher. We'll also be saving the valor point purchases for a separate post.
Whew! As you can see, there are quite a bit of options for just about every single slot. While every slot doesn't have to be ilevel 346 or higher to get into a raid, I would suggest striving for it as a goal, if for no other reason that you'll be better off to start.
The big thing, though, is that we have a lot more choices than we have had in any other expansion, and in almost any situation you find yourself in, there is an opportunity for an upgrade. I particularly like the fact that there are a plethora of crafted items that are raid-level gear for the current tier of content. If I missed anything on the list, feel free to let me know and I'll add it in!
You have the threads -- now, to customize!
More important than the individual gear are the stats themselves. With reforging and just about any gear that's even remotely close to your primary stats, you can move some secondary stats around to help tide you over. The ability to take that extra crit and move it into spirit helps you out in the long run. That said, there is a certain priority in stats that you should look for; even then, there are a few numbers you should strive for.
First, let's look at priority. For starting raids and for normal-mode raiding, your priority should look something like this:
Intellect > Spirit > Haste > Mastery/Crit
Int is your most important stat, because not only does it govern your mana pools, it gives you spellpower and gives you more out of Replenishment
with higher totals. To a lesser degree, it even gives you crit and mana regeneration. Spirit gives us our mana regeneration in and out of combat and allows us to take advantage of Meditation
Before you step into a raid, you should be looking for a few minimums.
Spirit of 2,100 or more will allow you to keep up your mana regeneration through most normal-mode raid encounters. More is good, but not at the expense of other stats. With heroic dungeon gear, reforging, enchants, and gems, this number is pretty easy to hit.
Haste to at least 916 allows for all of your heals over time to gain an extra tick. This includes Riptide, Healing Rain, and Earthliving. Think of this as the first haste threshold. While haste will continue to help as you gain more of it, the next threshold is a bit further away, so just worry about that first tier. After that, mastery and crit will be on par for you (but at the bottom of the stat totem pole, at least for now).
The caveat here is that if you are ending raid fights with 50% of your mana, you can probably safely move some spirit around. If you notice your heals aren't hitting for enough to keep up with the damage, you may need a little more int. Pay attention to how you're faring in a fight and move your stats accordingly.
We'll talk more in depth about stats, gemming, and enchanting for raiding next week.
Totem Talk: Restoration will show you the basics of endgame resto shaman play as well as how to find the expansion's best reputation gear for resto shaman and tips for easier leveling. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!