Various people have been referring to Throne of Thunder as Thund'uar, a name I fully intend to steal and use. It's just a perfect blend of the new raid and its supposed raid model, Ulduar, with the expected troll-like apostrophe thrown in for good measure.
But this week I won't be listing out the Thund'uar loot drops; I'll just drop in with a lighter piece covering gear miscellany and the new faction offerings. Next week, we can discuss how the PTR patch buffs and nerfs fit in with the expected performance of warlocks in Tier 15 while listing out the loot, instead of dropping a lump of lists in your lap.
Item level wars between old and new
The common comment I'm hearing from others regarding patch 5.2 warlock loot is "Kael's balls, that's a lot of hit rating everywhere."
The problem with really high item levels is you get a lot of whatever stats are on the piece, including hit rating. An example is Charfire Leggings from the new raid faction Shado-Pan Assault. Being a leg slot item, this will have a large chunk of stats, but here you can have almost a quarter of the hit rating you'll need to cap, on one item.
This may lead some people to gather their hit rating on a few pieces and go for non-hit pieces the rest of the way, so as to maximize the use of hit. However, I don't like to place all my bets on
I prefer to spread my hit around my gearset so replacing one piece doesn't mean I need to switch up a bunch of gems or to reforge another 3-5 pieces to replace back enough hit. So I will probably grab a bunch of hit pieces and then reforge out of hit this time instead of reforging or gemming into hit. Being a little below the hit cap won't kill me.
The other gear-comparing question that's burning in players' minds are whether the sha-touched weapons are worth keeping far into the next tier. Some others have already done some weapon comparisons, and I agree with the math. The short of it: a twice-upgraded normal sha-touched weapon will last you through Thund'u-LFR, but you'll start replacing it with normal mode Throne of Thunder weapons, which can occur as quickly as boss #2.
Your sha-touched weapon won't be useless, but it's not going to outrank typical loot-tier progression like previous legendaries may have done before. On a pleasant note, the weapons in Throne appear to differ only really by which stats your spec prefers; they are mathing out evenly (so far) in overall DPS no matter what you use.
Tier 15 for warlocks
The 2-piece bonus for the Thousandfold Hells tier 15 set for warlock has changed slightly since we last heard about it: the affliction portion will see an increase in Haunt's duration during Dark Soul, instead of an increased chance for shards. Combined with the 4-piece bonus, demonology and destruction ride tier 15 with the resource-based bonuses, while affliction just gets a flat damage bonus that might balance out the nerfs to affliction's tier-14-preferrred Grimoire of Sacrifice talent.
As far as (un)important details like how awesome the tier set looks, I think I will be sticking with my old tier 14 transmog. This new Regalia of the Thousandfold Hells reminds me too much of the red-light saturation that was Firelands, and it's not as pretty as that spider set from Firelands. But who knows, maybe someday the funky faces on the shoulders and helm will come in hilarious need.
Here's what stats are on the tier 15 pieces and which boss drops them:
- Hood: hit/haste off the penultimate boss, Twin Consorts
- Mantle: crit/haste off late boss Iron Qon
- Robes: hit/mastery off Dark Animus
- Gloves: crit/mastery off the early Council of Elders
- Leggings: crit/haste off mid-boss Ji-Kun
While readers found the posting of loot by boss to be helpful for deciding on bonus token rolls, the items you can purchase from factions can stay segregated by slot as players pick and choose pieces to fill out their gearset. During PTR testing, the items offered by the faction-specific offensive forces -- Kirin Tor for the Alliance or Sunreavers for the Horde -- got upgraded to include some 496 pieces at Revered and Exalted as well as the 476 belts already available at Honored. These pieces can help bump up your item level to the 480 the Raid Finder will require for Throne bosses.
Shado-Pan Assault will reward 522 items (equivalent to normal modes in Throne) for valor points at levels of reputation from Neutral to Revered. According to chatter I've heard regarding the PTR, gaining Friendly with the Shado-Pan Assault should be very doable with the first few boss kills. Since you may be able to purchase a useful item early on this way, I'd recommend storing about 2000 Valor Points going into the first few kills of patch 5.2.
The Shado-Pan Assault offerings mirror the slot progression by raid bosses, so by the time a specific tier piece drops, you should have enough reputation with the raid faction to purchase the the alternative non-tier item if you want to.
While tier 14 valor gear tended to favor crit, tier 15 is looking to favor mastery on valor gear, with crit showing up more on raid drops and the tier set itself. Those balancing haste levels may have to seek reforging or gemming help rather than depending on natural gear itemization. If your spec does not care so much for DoT haste breakpoints, haste is still important for more frequent trinket procs under the new RealPPM system.
- Destroyer's Battletags -- Neutral + 1250 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Frost-Kissed Shoulderwraps -- Exalted + 1750 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Shoulders of Demonic Dreams -- Exalted + 1750 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Shadowspike Cloak -- Honored + 1250 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Static-Collecting Cloak -- Revered, Kirin Tor (A) / Sunreavers (H)
- Fire-Support Robes -- Revered + 2250 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Troll-Burner Bracers -- Friendly + 1250 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Flameweaver Handwraps -- Honored + 1750 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Firestrike Cord -- Revered + 1250 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Belt of Loa Charms -- Honored, Kirin Tor (A) / Sunreavers (H)
- Pain-Binder Girdle -- Honored, Kirin Tor (A) / Sunreavers (H)
- Charfire Leggings -- Honored + 2250 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Signet of the Shado-Pan Assault -- Friendly + 1250 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
- Restored Hexxer's Signet -- Exalted, Kirin Tor (A) / Sunreavers (H)
- Volatile Talisman of the the Shado-Pan Assault -- Friendly + 1750 VP, Shado-Pan Assault
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses.