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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Cataclysm gear guide -- dungeons

Matthew Rossi

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

So race change is a marvelous thing when it allows you to go from a night elf to a werewolf, that's all I'm saying. It's even better when you turn into a werewolf carrying what appears to be a rock tied to a bone. While leveling my old main has been a lot of fun, it's hard to stay away from my worgen for very long. This week, we start our look into the gear available through normal dungeons and heroics for both DPS and tanks. Because this is a lot of ground to cover, we'll probably need to take a couple of weeks to really go over it all. We're going to look at non-heroic gear first before moving on to stuff from heroics, since you have to crawl before you can walk and all.

Remember our previous guide to faction gear? That's basically how we're going to approach this, listing pieces in each dungeon. While you may make use of an agility cape, jewelry or weapon, since they're not optimal for warriors, I'm not listing them unless there's a compelling reason to do so. (For instance, I'll list ranged weapons with agility, since it's hard to find a strength ranged weapon.) The gear in these dungeons tends to range from iLevel 308 and up, so keep it in mind when you're trying to build your set for heroics that you need iLevel 329 on average to get in the door.

Blackrock Caverns

Blackrock Caverns is where the Twilight's Hammer servants of Deathwing are up to no good and making trouble in our neighborhood. Well, it feels like Blackrock Mountain is my neighborhood; I've been in and out of that place for five-plus years now. Gear from this instance is iLevel 308, meaning that you may need or want to replace it first when you hit 85 and start trying to build a set for heroics.

There are of course heroic versions of all of these drops, but the purpose of this post is to get to level 85 and get gear for heroics, so I won't list those this time.

  • Amber Messenger is a ranged weapon with agility, making it less optimal for both DPS and tank warriors, but it has stamina and hit rating (tanks like both) and also crit rating (hit and crit are solid DPS stats) and like I said, ranged weapons can be difficult to get in strength varieties.
  • Beauty's Plate is a fairly solid leveling tank chestplate. Parry for pure avoidance, mastery for Critical Block.
  • Bracers of Cooled Anger are DPS bracers with crit and expertise. They could be used as tank bracers for a threat set but would benefit a DPS player more.
  • Burned Gatherings is a solidly itemized hit/mastery cloak with strength, not all that easy to get in a cape. A strength/hit/mastery cloak like this can pull double duty for a warrior.
  • Carrier Wave Pendant, like Beauty's Plate, is a tanking piece itemized with parry and mastery. I'm somewhat surprised at two parry items in one dungeon.
  • Raz's Pauldrons are shoulders named after one of the best NPCs of all time. Like Burned Gatherings, these have hit and mastery on them, which makes then excellent for both fury and prot.
  • Shield of the Iron Maiden does not drop in Uldum, as I expected (I done wore out my copy of Powerslave more than 20 years ago), but it's a solid dodge/mastery tanking shield. I'm still kind of having trouble with shields that don't have defense or block value on them; change scares and confuses me until my handler gets me calmed down. If I maul anyone, I apologize.
  • I'm gonna call the Signet of Transformation a DPS ring because haste is pretty weak for protection, fair to middling for arms, and actually pretty good for fury.
Throne of the Tides

In the Throne of the Tides, you help stop an invasion by the naga forces of Queen Azshara, led by Lady Naz'jar, into Neptulon's domain. As you might expect, references to water and sea life abound.

The standard iLevel here is also 308. Because of the iLevel of this dungeon and Blackrock Caverns, many of these drops will be the first ones you supersede as you level. It's best to view both of these instances as the places to get the gear you'll use to get the gear which will get you into heroics.
  • Anomuran's Helm is a crit/mastery helm. Unremarkable and easily replaced by green quest drops within a level.
  • Eagle Ray Cloak is a mastery/haste cloak, inferior to Burned Gatherings in my opinion.
  • Entwined Nereid is a hit/dodge ring, pretty decent, especially if you're leveling by tanking instances.
  • Might of the Ocean has what every DPS warrior wants, a solid dose of hit (arms will get a huge dose of their hit needs from it, while fury will still need lots more) and a large dose of strength on use.
  • Porcelain Crab is for tank. The dodge is nice, the chance for a big whack of mastery is also nice.
  • Triton Legplates are for tank as well. Parry and expertise, avoidance and threat in one item.
  • The Whitefin Axe can be replaced fairly quickly in Deepholm, but it's both attractive and reasonably slow at 3.6, making it attractive for the leveling arms warrior. Leveling fury will almost have to reforge some of that crit away to hit.
While the first two dungeons we've discussed were aimed at the level 80+ player, the next two are designed for the 82-84 range, with a higher iLevel of 316. These pieces are more likely to actually be viable for 85.

The Stonecore

Deathwing's hangout when he was recuperating in Deepholm, the Stonecore is packed with Twilight's Hammer, elementals, and dog-ugly ogre lords.
  • Elementium Fang has parry and mastery, aiming it at tanking. We're seeing a lot of parry/mastery items. This just seems weird to me, I don't know why.
  • Hematite Plate Gloves might be marginally better for arms than fury. It's tough to call, because fury likes haste more than arms does, but these gloves lack hit or expertise and hit especially is hard to cap out for a fury warrior at 85.
  • Leaden Despair is a stamina trinket with a chance to proc an additional 2580 armor for 10 seconds. There aren't all that many stamina trinkets out there for Cataclysm dungeons, but I still feel like this could afford more armor on that proc.
  • Magnetite Mirror is one of those trinkets that could be a threat piece or a DPS piece pretty easily. Getting expertise up to 26 is pretty vital for DPS or tanking, and the use will be nice for DPS or for threat. You may want to save your trinket slots for pure survivability as a tank, but this is almost a no-brainer for DPS.
  • Phosphorescent Ring is a parry/expertise ring. More parry. Is it me? Seems like it will be hard not to have a pretty sizable amount of parry leveling a tank.
  • Sword of the Bottomless Pit is a haste/mastery sword that I'd still take for arms purely due to that 3.8 speed. Sure, it's not as important as it used to be, but slower is still better for the top end damage it allows. It's also solid for fury, but will need reforging and I wouldn't use two of them.
The Vortex Pinnacle

Al'Akir's minions make war on the tol'vir from this aerial fortress floating between the Skywall domain of the air elementals and the skies of Uldum.
  • Axe of the Eclipse could be useful to either a Single-Minded Fury DPS warrior or a tanking warrior due to its being a strength weapon with both hit and mastery on it. The first really solid warrior 1H weapon in instances.
  • Billowing Cape. Parry. Mastery. Get used to seeing those stats together, I guess.
  • Headcover of Fog switches things up by putting some hit on there instead of mastery, but it's still yet another tanking piece with parry on it.
  • The Heart of Thunder is an interesting return to bonus armor trinkets like Glyph of Indomitability. Sadly, the bonus armor is so low, it's probably not even as good as said GoI. The bonus health on use is a nice little Last Stand, but the plus armor is so low it's just head scratchingly bad. Don't get this unless you absolutely have to in order to make instances and then switch it with something else. Anything else.
  • Legguards of Winnowing Wind are unambiguous DPS legs with crit/mastery. Better for arms, I would expect, again due to fury's punishing hit caps.
  • Red Sky Pendant keeps the crit/mastery train rolling.
  • Skyshard Ring mixes it up by putting crit and expertise together instead.
That takes us up to about level 84, and some of these pieces will be useful in for making your first 85 dungeons. The last three dungeons are where you'll get the iLevel 333 gear that will help you make the iLevel 329 target for heroics.

Grim Batol

Formerly where the Dragonmaw held Alexstrasza, the red dragon aspect and Dragonqueen (also known as the Lifebinder) and used a magical artifact to force her to produce eggs for them to use as beasts of war, now a site where the Twilight's Hammer experiments on the remaining eggs left behind.
  • Belt of the Forgemaster is a crit/haste DPS belt. As you're no doubt starting to notice, it's not going to be easy to get that hit rating for fury.
  • Luckily, the Circle of Bone will help. A strength DPS ring with hit and haste, it will help with reaching some sort of viable hit rating and rage generation.
  • Earthshape Pauldrons are tanking shoulders with dodge and mastery. I was starting to forget dodge existed as a stat.
  • The Mace of Transformed Bone reminds us again that they didn't remove dodge as well as ArP. It even comes with a dollop of hit for threat. Well done, Mace of Transformed Bone!
  • The Mark of Khardros is a very nice little DPS trinket. I admit I use it in my tanking threat set as well. 252 strength is pretty nice, especially when combined with the on-use, which is better for fury than arms in my opinion. (Fury can more easily use this trinket and then deliberately enter an enraged state via Death Wish.) Note to fury warriors: Enraged Regeneration is affected by mastery. So if you need to use ER, pop this trinket first.
  • Throngus's Finger shows that they didn't forget about parry. Still, if we must stack a ton of parry, at least we'll get a lot of dodge rating once every minute after a parry.
  • Remember the Circle of Bone? Here's another hit ring, the Umbriss Band. This one has mastery instead of haste. Might as well get both, in my opinion.
  • Wild Hammer is a haste/mastery 2H weapon. In the words of Tom Servo, it's good, but not great.
Our final two dungeons are both located in Uldum.

The Lost City of the Tol'vir

This is, well, it's a lost city of the tol'vir cat people. It's got some interesting drops in it.
  • Geordan's Cloak is a straightforward strength DPS cloak with hit and crit. Feels weird that it doesn't have mastery on it, to be honest.
  • Greaves of Wu the Elder are also itemized with hit and crit. Yay for some plate with hit on it. (Remember when we used to hate hit? Well, if you're arms and over the cap, you probably still do.)
  • Heart of Solace is a haste trinket, but the chance for 1,512 strength for 20 seconds makes it very nice indeed.
  • Resonant Kris just might be the best pre-raid DPS weapon for a Single-Minded Fury warrior and a fairly solid threat weapon as well.
  • Ring of the Darkest Day is that old crit/mastery combo again. Probably superior to either of the Grim Batol rings for an arms warrior, especially once at 8% hit.
  • Ring of Three Lights makes me forget, I mean, I thought there were four lights but all this parry and mastery has me confused.
  • However, the Sand Dune Belt has dodge and expertise on it, making it a tanking belt that addresses both avoidance and mitigation. (This seems to be a theme, either pieces are avoidance/mitigation or avoidance/threat.)
Halls of Origination

The Halls of Origination are a sprawling place with seven bosses and over 40 drops. So obviously there's got to be a few drops for warriors.
  • Alpha Bracers have hit and mastery on them, making them ideal for fury, solid for tanking and reasonable for arms.
  • Armguards of Unearthly Light are, however, dodge/hit bracers which are definitely excellent tanking wrists.
  • Breastplate of the Risen Land is a crit/mastery DPS chest.
  • Bulwark of the Primordial Mound is basically the iLevel 333 version of the Shield of the Iron Maiden. Tell me why I have to be a Powerslave! See, it all fits! This is the shield Eddie would tank with. (Well, okay, he'd probably tank with whatever shield he could get.)
  • Darkhowl Amulet is a dodge/expertise tanking neck.
  • Fingers of Light are (wait for it) parry/mastery tanking gloves. I bet you're shocked.
  • The Helm of Setesh is a dodge/expertise tanking hat. It's neat looking. It has both a meta socket and a red socket.
  • The Nova Band, a hit/crit ring, is pretty sweet for fury.
  • The Right Eye of Rajh is similar to the Heart of Solace, with hit instead of haste, but the strength proc only lasts half as long and can only be triggered by critical hits, making it a weaker proc than the Heart. A very strong trinket for hit-starved fury warriors.
  • Seedling Pod is a hit/haste DPS neck for warriors.
  • Sun Strike might actually be better than the Resonant Kris, with hit/mastery instead of hit/haste. While haste helps for rage generation, I'd still put mastery ahead of it for fury. It's a very close match-up, however, and a Single-Minded Fury warrior would do well to grab whichever one drops first.

That covers all non-heroic instance drops between level 80 and 85. Next week, we'll talk about vendor items and craftables.

At the center of the dury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, including Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors, a guide to new reputation gear for warriors, and a look back at six years of warrior trends.

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