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WoW Rookie: Weapon mastery

Amanda Dean

WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

Having the right weapon can make a world of difference in a players leveling experience. Last time on WoW Rookie, we looked at the types of weapons that each class can use and where to train the skill for them. Now just because you can use a weapon, doesn't mean you should. This week we'll examine what to look for in a weapon.

It's pretty important to keep your hands full. You have a four weapon slots at the bottom of your character sheet: Main Hand, Off Hand, Ranged, and Ammunition. Two handed weapons take up both the main hand and off hand slots. The off hand may hold a weapon if your class can dual weild, a shield, or an off hand item that either adds to your attributes or looks cool (such as Bouquet of Red Roses or a Dark Iron Tankard.) I recommend something useful when adventuring, though it's fun to see what folks come up with when roaming the city.

Ranged weapons are necessary for pulling single targets from a group of mobs, and are the primary damage sources for Hunters. Shamans, Druids and Paladins are woefully lacking ranged weapons. For quite some time their ranged slots will be empty. Toward the endgame they may pick up Totems, Idols and Librams, respectively that benefit their classes.

Primary attributes:

Your class helps to determine which weapons you should select. For example both a Mage and a Rogue can tote one handed swords, but one never ever should you see a mage and a rogue carrying the same sword. Even though a mage could carry a Wicked Mithril Blade, you should unrelentingly ridicule any Mage that does. That weapon is armed with +6 Strength and +4 Agility, which does a mage virtually no good at all.

Each class should select weapons and armor based on their Specialization's primary attributes:

  • Balance Druid – Intelligence, Spell Damage, Spell Critical
  • Feral Druid – Strength, Agility, Attack Power, Critical Strike**
  • Restoration Druid – Intelligence, Healing*
  • Hunter – Agility, Attack Power, Critical Strike
  • Mage – Intelligence, Spell Damage, Spell Critical
  • Holy Paladin – Intelligence, Healing*
  • Protection Paladin – Stamina, Defense, Spell Damage
  • Retribution Paladin – Strength, Attack Power, Critical Strike
  • Holy Priest – Intelligence, Healing*
  • Shadow Priest – Intelligence, Spell Damage
  • Rogue - Agility, Attack Power, Critical Strike
  • Elemental Shaman - Intelligence, Spell Damage, Spell Critical
  • Enhancement Shaman - Strength, Attack Power, Critical Strike
  • Restoration Shaman - Intelligence, Healing*
  • Warlock - Intelligence, Stamina, Spell Damage, Spell Critical
  • Arms/Fury Warrior - Strength, Attack Power, Critical Strike
  • Protection Warrior - Stamina, Defense*

* If you really want to, you can level as Holy, Protection or Restoration. Unless you have a solid group that you spend a lot of time running instances with, however you might want to think twice about it. Leveling with one of these specializations tends to be a slow, painful, and unduly arduous process.

** Weapon speed and weapon damage will not affect a Feral Druid's damage whatsoever. Your weapon speed and damage are based on your level. Look specifically for the stats and other attributes when selecting a weapon.

Consider the members of your other members of your party when selecting an action on a dropped item. Over the weekend Venomstrike dropped from Wailing Caverns while doing a run through with my Rogue. Since it's an awesome and very rare Hunter weapon, I'm almost ashamed to have it. Had I selected need (rolled) on it when there was a Hunter in the group, I would spend be bullet-proofing my car right about now.

Weapon speed:

Weapons are all assigned a weapon speed that determines how fast you swing it. The faster the weapon speed the better right? No, not really. A Rogue's off hand weapon should be very fast, but a main hand weapon should be slower. Any time a special ability such as Sinister Strike, a Warrior's Mortal Strike, and a Shaman's Storm Strike require a slow weapon speed.

Enchants, Buffs, and Effects:

Once you have a good weapon, you may be able to make it better. Each weapon can be blessed with one permanent and one temporary buff. Permanent weapon enchantments are an absolute must in the endgame, but should also be considered when leveling. The high-end ones can be quite expensive, but you should consider modestly priced enchants when leveling. As an extra added bonus, they often make your weapons glow!

Thottbot has separate lists of enchantments for (one-handed) weapons, two-handed weapons and Sheilds. Check them out before seeking an enchanter, so that you can pick up the necessary reagents for the spell. And don't forget to tip!

Sharpening Stones, Weight Stones, Shaman Weapon-Buffs, and Rogue Poisons all qualify as temporary buffs. Keeping these on your weapons whenever you're questing can be highly beneficial.

A word on wands:

Caster types, Mages, Priests, and Warlocks use wands as their ranged weapons. These are handy because they require no mana and no ammunition. Wands can be used at range or in toe-to-toe combat. Wands require a bit of concentration to use. By casting shoot, auto attack is turned on and it takes a few moments for the wand to go off. These items cannot be used on the move like other weapons. You must also stop shooting in order to cast spells.

Casters should pick up a wand as soon as possible. There are several low level wands that drop, but the crafted Lesser Magic Wand and Greater Magic Wand are excellent at their respective levels. Check for these on the auction house, or have a friendly enchanter hook you up with one.

Final Thoughts:

Keeping your weapons caught up to your level is incredibly important, especially for DPS classes. The items that "green" items that randomly drop from random mobs in the world environment are often much lower than your level. This makes them useful, but not ideal for upgrades. A better solution might be to put these items on the auction house and then purchase weapons using that medium that are more appropriate to your level. Blacksmiths may craft weapons.

The best way I've found to upgrade gear us usually by running instances and picking up quest rewards and superior quality boss drops. You can use resources like Thottbott and Wowhead to help you find weapon upgrades and determine what you need to do to get them.

Choosing a weapon can be somewhat overwhelming. Don't be afraid to ask a veteran of your class for advice on which weapon you should select. Having the right gear can make the difference between successful leveling and laying your head on your keyboard in despair.

Welcome to World of Warcraft. WoW Insider offers information and tips for players of all skill levels. Covering everything from character creation to account security, WoW Rookie is specifically formulated to help new players be the very best that they can be.

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