The other day, I was in 10-man ICC with my guild and a Thaumaturge's Crackling Cowl dropped. At the time I was playing my new Alliance priest, and the helm was a significant upgrade from the Onyxia 10 helm that I was wearing. We'd been running with the default need over greed system all night, so I just hit need and went on my merry way, exploring Deathbringer Saurfang's platform for the first time. It seems you Alliance folk don't get a repair vendor (that I could find) after the Saurfang fight like the Horde do, but I guess this is the trade off for having a much shorter story sequence before the encounter. Anyway, a few moments later, while I was bouncing around inside the Skybreaker, the rolls went out and I won the helm with a 99. The only person who had rolled and lost against me was a mage.
That's when the conflict started.
Well, at least the internal conflict. No one actually said anything about it, and since the raid was called for the night I was free to go stand on some crates in Stormwind while I performed my interior monologue for some rats. You see, I have always held the idea that when faced with an equal upgrade, a DPS should get loot before a healer.
Of course, this is a frequently disputed idea. Some players believe that if you gear your healers first they will have the equipment necessary to heal the raid through difficult progression. Other players, like myself, argue that if you gear your DPS first, you can blast your way through the content and the healers won't need as much gear since they won't need to endure such long encounters.
The way I see it, DPS don't have ceilings the way healers do. What I mean by a ceiling is that there is a finite amount of healing you can do simply because your raid members only have so much health, and there is only so much damage. Even if the damage is constantly incoming, you will only be able to heal so much before you're overhealing. For DPS though, there is no ceiling, just a finish line with a dead boss and shiny treasure. The sky is the limit. And yes, I know about that one encounter -- I'm not changing my argument for one fight that gimmicks you into stacking paladins.
The other reason is a bit more subjective but deals with much the same ideology. Imagine that a progression encounter is a hill. The kill is at the peak and your raid is trying to climb up to it. When you get to that peak by killing the boss you find out there are two paths. The DPS go to the left, which leads up another hill, while the healers go to the right where there are changing rooms for them to suit up in their swim attire and play on a Slip 'n' Slide for the next 6 months. I hope that analogy wasn't too convoluted... Basically what I'm saying is that after you kill a boss there is really no more work for the healers to do. Each week after the first kill, the encounter will constantly get easier and easier to heal. Meanwhile the DPS can keep going up and push the bar a little higher, making the fights shorter and the clearing of the content for the 20th time more bearable.
Now let's go back to my priest though, since I mentioned a conflict. After my navel gazing above you'd think there wouldn't have been a conflict. I would have just passed the helm to my mage buddy and gone on my way. Except as I said, this priest is a new character. She has six, level 200 blue items on and while the upgrade from a 232 helm to a 251 helm isn't that big, I have so much heroic gear on my character that it would have helped get me closer to the gear level the rest of my guild's healers are currently at. So for once, an upgrade going to a healer over a DPS made sense. What would you have done?
While that mulls over, let's go ahead and look at the drops in ICC. For today, I'll just be examining the 10-man drops since that's what we've been talking about. Later this week, you can expect a write up on the 25-man drops, as well as their badge and crafted competition. I will also be discussing my thoughts on tier at that time. Now, without further ado:
- Bloodsoul Raiment -- 10-man Prince Valanar -- Depending on how you feel about tier, this may be an acceptable 251 upgrade for holy priests. Compared to the 251 tier 10 there is less spirit and spellpower on these robes, but the addition gem slot levels the difference.
- Robes of Azure Downfall -- 10-man Sindragosa -- [Disclaimer: This item can't be confirmed as a drop until the fight goes live!] Again, if you're not going for tier bonuses, this is is a fine choice. Disc priests who are avoiding spirit like the plague can look to this if they do not want to save their badges for the Meteor Chaser's Raiment.
- Pale Corpse Boots -- 10-man Prince Valanar -- These boots with spirit are more ideal for holy, but if you don't plan on raiding 25-man plague wing for Plague Scientist's Boots, there is no drop or crafted option for disc priests.
- Signet of Putrefaction -- 10-man Festergut -- The mp5 will create less competition for this ring. It is suitable for both holy and disc.
- Cerise Coiled Ring -- 10-man Prince Valanar -- A nice throughput ring for either spec priest. The tooltip doesn't show a socket bonus, but a commenter on WoW Head states it as being 5 spellpower.
- Thaumaturge's Crackling Cowl -- 10-man Deathbringer's Cache -- Just like other gear pieces with a tier alternative, this is a nice choice if you don't care about set bonuses. If you value haste over crit, this is better in raw stats than the tier. Also, again, is the helm that dropped for me in the story. As you can see it doesn't have the best itemization for disc due to the spirit.
- Cowl of Malefic Repose -- 10-man Blood-Queen Lana'thel -- If you don't want tier, this is the option for disc priests or holy priests who want throughput over regen.
- Kilt of Untreated Wounds -- 10-man Festergut -- These are a fantastic leg option for priests of either spec. Compared to the tier 10, you gain both crit and an extra gem slot in exchange for the loss of spirit and set bonuses.
- Leggings of the Refracted Mind -- 10-man Valithria Dreamwalker -- [Disclaimer: This item can't be confirmed as a drop until the fight goes live!] If you're a holy priest, these are a comparable stand in for 251 tier 10. There is less spirit on these legs, and no additional spellpower, but the extra gem socket makes up for it. The socket bonus can't be confirmed until the fight goes live, unfortunately.
- Midnight Sun -- 10-man Gunship Armory -- Good for either holy or disc. It is nearly identical to the Lockjaw, but take in mind that paladin healers can't use daggers, so you might want to shoot for this one to be nice to any paladin healers you might run with. Both options will look equally cool on your hip, though, in my opinion.
- Lockjaw -- 10-man Rotface -- Basically the Midnight Sun, in mace form. You get a bit more haste for a little less intellect and mp5. This is suitable for both holy and disc.
- Soulcleave Pendant -- 10-man Deathbringer's Cache -- Great throughput neck for any caster. There are many neck options in 25-man ICC as well, so everyone should find something that works for them.
- Choker of Filthy Diamonds -- 10-man Rotface -- This neck will work for either disc or holy.
- Bloodstained Surgeon's Shoulderguards -- 10-man Festergut -- Compared to the Crimson Acolyte Shoulderpads, the additional socket doesn't make up for the differences in stats and tier bonuses, unless you are trying to socket one type of stat. These will save you the badges that you'd need to spend on tier, however.
- Stiffened Corpse Shoulderpads -- Zone Drop -- There are confirmation comments that these BoE, 264 shoulders drop in 10-man ICC off trash, but not enough to be certain. If they do, these are going to be your best choice if you don't intend to raid 25-man content. There are currently no shoulder options without spirit, so disc will want these shoulders if they're not going for tier.
- Sliver of Pure Ice -- 10-man Lord Marrowgar -- I know that use effect trinkets are never as popular, but this one isn't too bad given the spellpower on it. The mana regen works out to 67mp5 over 2 minutes, more or less depending on how long your encounters last.
- Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff -- 10-man Deathbringer's Cache -- This is a great staff for a holy priest. The spirit doesn't make it ideal for disc, but if you desperately need a weapon upgrade then this should be easily farmable. Unfortunately, the 25-man staff off Blood-Queen Lana'thel is the same way: lots of spirit. I suspect that if there is going to be a throughput staff in ICC it will drop from Arthas. One more thing as a note: the spellpower on this staff is the same as the Midnight Sun and Lockjaw. With the current off-hands in ICC, staff-wielders will be straggling behind rather significantly if the staff spellpower enchant doesn't get a considerable buff.
- Cord of the Patronizing Practitioner -- 10-man Lord Marrowgar -- The spirit on this belt will make disc priests want to avoid it. Holy shouldn't have any problems with it though.
- Cauterized Cord -- 10-man Professor Putricide -- This throughput belt is ideal for either spec priest, as well as all other cloth wearing casters.
- Lana'thel's Bloody Nail -- 10-man Blood-Queen Lana'thel -- If you will not be raiding 25-man ICC, this is your only wand option in 10-man. That means priests of either spec can take this without hesitation.
With this list I hope you will find some convenience in deciding what gear you'll be looking for in ICC. Remember to check back later this week for a 25-man version.
Now, back to my story: I ended up whispering my guild mate and having him come pick up the helm
in exchange for a port to Dalaran. (What? My hearth was on cooldown.) I figured that, despite all my blue gear, in the long run that little bit of DPS would help out my raid more than me. Also, since I play disc in raids the itemization on the helm was better for him than me, because he can utilize the spirit for crit
in combat. To further help me swallow the loss of such a pretty piece of gear (okay, not really, the popped collars are ridiculous) the mage was very appreciative, which made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside. He even whispered me after an hour of heroics to let me know it was a big upgrade for him. Granted, I didn't ask how much a big upgrade was to him, but I don't think that matters.
So why did I tell you this story? Because I wanted
to force feed you more of my hippie healing philosophy, suckers!
to give you all some food for thought. Again, what would you have done? What is your philosophy on who should get gear first? If you have a differing and constructive opinion I'd like to see them in the comments. Consider this open forum week at Spiritual Guidance. Make it good!
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