KNIGHTS OF THE EBON BLADE
Ah, the (sort of) redeemed Death Knights. Wonder what the jolly ol' reanimated corpses have for us today?
- Dark Soldier Cape -- Honored, Level 78: Mein Gott! It's +hit! On a caster cape! Available with reputation! How'd that happen? Oh well, we're not going to question it, we're just going to enjoy our good fortune. If, against all odds, you can manage to reach the +hit cap at 80 without relying on this cloak, you can swap it out in favor of the BoE Deathchill Cloak. But don't count on Deathchill being widely available amongst the Tailors on your realm for the forseeable future; in order to get the recipe for it, they need to have completed the quest requirements for each zone in Northrend, which adds up to at least 865 quests for a Horde tailor and 875 quests for an Alliance tailor. Until more people have had the chance to hit 80 and nose their way through the quest Achievements in each zone, people with the recipe will be few and far between, and Dark Soldier is a very acceptable alternative.
- Arcanum of Torment -- Revered: The Wrath version of the Cenarion Expedition's Arcanum of Ferocity, this Arcanum disposes of +hit in favor of +crit. This has comparatively less effect on cats than it does for most other melee DPS (the vast majority of our damage, as I've noted here previously, is still yellow and less dependent on +hit), but it's still a bit troubling given the relative lack of decent +hit gear outside of raids. Oh well, it's the best melee DPS helm enchant in the game. Grind grind grind.
- Sterile Flesh-Handling Gloves -- Revered, Level 80: These are a substantial improvement upgrade over the Frenzyheart's Muddied Crimson Gloves (available at level 78) in all respects barring a loss a 10 spirit. Very solid stats, with no +crit or +haste to muddy the item budget, just great stuff with everything Restoration needs. They're also roughly comparable to Grotto Mist Gloves from heroic Azjol Nerub (although Grotto becomes much better with the addition of a pure +spellpower gem in its red socket).
- Wound-Binder's Wristguards -- Revered, Level 80: So what's up with all the healing gear available from a bunch of necromantic snuffly emo knights who until recently were the scourge (no pun intended) of the living? It's like the abundance of good feral gear available from the prissy mages running the Kirin Tor.I don't get it, but eh. These are actually better than the wrists you'd get in heroic Utgarde Pinnacle and more or less the same (barring the +haste and slight spellpower advantage) as the Cuffs of Winged Levitation from heroic Oculus. Bottom line? If you don't find +haste to be that useful to your style of healing, Wound-Binder's are the pre-raid piece.
- Belt of Dark Mending -- Exalted, Level 80: This is a pretty good Balance belt, but once again provides +haste in lieu of +hit. If you're dependent on reputation gear to get yourself tricked out for heroics and raids, +hit is going to be pretty thin on the ground, but you can use this until heroic Utgarde Pinnacle can be coaxed into dropping a Girdle of Bane for you.
- Darkheart Chestguard -- Exalted, Level 80: OK leather piece, but with any luck (or a single quest in Utgarde Pinnacle) you'll have much better options at 80 for both bear tanking and cat DPS. It doesn't have enough stamina to be attractive as a bear piece compared to, say, the Exotic Leather Tunic, and the lack of +hit, +expertise, or +crit doesn't make it good enough to be worth using over the Custodian's Chestpiece from heroic Azjol or the Crystal-Infused Tunic from heroic Nexus. It's a decent piece if you don't have any of the aforementioned three, but the +armor penetration on it would really find its best use in a set dedicated to that stat, and Druids just don't get enough use out of it to make it truly worthwhile. I'm tempted to say that + Armor penetration is a better stat for bear threat than it is for cat DPS (especially with Blizzard having added 10% more armor to raid bosses in order to cool melee and hunter DPS), but there's no way you'd want it over agility, stamina, or +expertise at this point.
SONS OF HODIR
These folks are a little tough to get to initially. Opening up the Sons of Hodir-related quests and dailies
requires a quest chain (although it's really
fun, I can't stress that enough) that starts with Gretchen Fizzlespark
of the Storm Peaks
. Most people are unlikely to hit Storm Peaks until their late '70's or at 80, but you will
want access to the shoulder enchants available at both Honored and Exalted. They're the Wrath
version of the Scryer/Aldor shoulder inscriptions, but this time you won't have to pick between two factions. Unfortunately, apart from the shoulder enchants, there's really not that much here for us.
- Spaulders of Frozen Knives -- Honored, Level 78: There's that +haste again. Truth be told, by the time you get to Honored with the Sons of Hodir, you're pretty likely to have a better or equivalent piece from dungeons or questing. Honestly, as long as you're questing in Storm Peaks, you might as well grind the fire-elementalesque wotsits to get eternal fire for Trollwoven Spaulders at 80.
- Giant-Friendly Kilt -- Revered, Level 80: Good Balance legs with solid stats aside from (/broken record) a lack of +hit. Not much more to add, really.
- SHOULDER ENCHANTS: At Honored you can get Lesser Inscription of the Axe, Lesser Inscription of the Crag, Lesser Inscription of the Pinnacle, and Lesser Inscription of the Storm for cat DPS, Restoration, bear-tanking, and Balance respectively. They're not a giant, world-shattering upgrade over shoulder enchants available at exalted with the Scryers/Aldor, but you will eventually need to be exalted for Greater Inscription of the Axe, Greater Inscription of the Crag, Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle, and Greater Inscription of the Storm. Getting exalted with the Sons of Hodir takes a while -- the current estimate being bandied around my guild at the moment is 3 weeks to a month or more -- so keep plugging away at the dailies for the best shoulder enchants outside of taking up Inscription.