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Shifting Perspectives: Gearing a restoration druid in patch 4.2

Allison Robert

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we turn our attention to intellect leather.

As a quick note, I'm going to revisit our bear gearing guide over the next few weeks in order to add PVP gear and to split normal/heroic versions as per the request of our commenters; I agree that the present version probably isn't as convenient as intended. I'll drop another note in the column once I've finished with that.

There's lots of new gear for restoration druids to look for in patch 4.2, so -- as with the bears -- it's high time to update our gear lists. Once again, I've split the guide, and the ring, weapon, offhand, relic, and trinket column will run next week, as they require more discussion.

As this guide addresses gear that's been added to the game from the Zandalari heroic level through Firelands, it's probably most helpful to people who are already sitting on a few epics (or at least heroic blues). If you're a fresh level 85 restoration druid or still leveling, you'll probably find our previous series on gearing a resto druid more immediately helpful, but please keep in mind that stat priorities have shifted more toward mastery these days:

As with our guide on gearing a bear druid in patch 4.2, the rough ilevel guide is as follows:

  • ilevel 333 Pre-heroic blues and honored reputation blues
  • ilevel 346 Heroic blues and revered reputation blues
  • ilevel 353 Epics from the Zandalari 5-man heroics
  • ilevel 359 Normal tier 11 raid epics and exalted reputation epics
  • ilevel 365 Molten Front epic rewards
  • ilevel 372 Heroic tier 11 raid epics
  • ilevel 378 Normal tier 12 raid epics
  • ilevel 391 Heroic tier 12 raid epics
Gear comparison is a fairly simple matter these days unless you have to judge the worth of a random proc. As a general rule, higher-ilevel pieces are preferable to their lower-ilevel counterparts, simply because they'll always have more primary stats, and the one you're after as a restoration druid is intellect. All pieces at the same ilevel will have the same primary stats, so gear's usually ranked by the attractiveness of its secondary stats.

Resto druids generally prioritize intellect, haste (until the 2,005 breakpoint), mastery, crit, and spirit, in that order. However, each stat's desirability is subject to interpretation, e.g., if you're having mana problems, look for more spirit. Use your best judgment. If you're raiding Firelands, you've almost certainly passed the all-important 2,005 haste breakpoint unless you're raiding buck naked, and I have prioritized mastery on this list accordingly.

If you have a piece sitting around that's not listed here, just check the ilevel and compare it against the list to see where it'll fall.


The two- and four-piece set bonuses for tier 12 are both very good, so you will want to look for those where possible.

Enchant Arcanum of Hyjal (requires revered with the Guardians of Hyjal)Neck

The neck slot's priority is going to be a bit individual for each player. If you're not having mana issues, the Staghelm drop is the best; if you are having mana issues, you'll want one of the two spirit pieces. Aside from that, the Staghelm drop is likely to be wanted by most casters in the raid, so your odds of getting it are in some doubt anyway.

Your best bet outside of raids is the new neck available from questing through the Molten Front. Unfortunately, there aren't any caster necklaces available from the troll heroics.

This slot will be a gamble. Shannox drops intellect shoulders with random stats that might wind up being better than the tier shoulders. If you nab a pair with mastery, substitute them for the tier shoulders and use the helm, chest, gloves, and legs for the four-piece bonus.

Enchant Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone (requires exalted with Therazane)Cloak

Curiously, there are no cloaks with spirit available from the Firelands, so the Alysrazor drop is likely to be a very competitive piece. Why am I weaseling over this? It will be a competitive piece. People will eat each other over it. Your next best bet is the reputation cloak from the Avengers of Hyjal. If you're not raiding, a Molten Front quest reward is pretty good, although (yet again!) there's no spirit on it.

If you have the Sinestra cloak, just keep that if your raid's casters are killing each other over the Alysrazor drop; they're pretty close.

Enchant Enchant Cloak -- Greater IntellectChest

All of your options outside of raids (with the exception of the tier 12 chest, which you can purchase with valor points) lack spirit. Ouch.

Enchant Enchant Chest -- Peerless StatsBracers

Zul'Aman has added another option for non-raiders. If you're in Firelands, whether the Glowing Wing or Smolderskull wrists are better for you will depend on how much use you're getting from haste and crit respectively.

Enchant Enchant Bracer -- Mighty IntellectGloves

The new leatherworking piece Heavenly Gloves of the Moon is very good, albeit monstrously expensive to have made. However, the tier gloves have both mastery and crit (albeit no spirit), and can be purchased with valor points.

Enchant Enchant Gloves -- Greater MasteryBelt

There doesn't seem to be an intellect leather belt available from the Firelands, which is weird. I've listed the Conclave drop here as a result. The belt slot for resto is the equivalent of the bracer slot for feral, where there just aren't a ton of great options.

Enchant Ebonsteel Belt BuckleLegs

This slot's pretty straightforward. The tier leggings are a really nice piece.

Enchant Powerful Ghostly SpellthreadBoots

The new leatherworking BOE piece is really nice and very close to the Alysrazor drop, although it's at the cost of the mastery on the latter. However, if you have access to the Sinestra drop, they're still extremely good.

Enchant Depending on your needs as a player, you may want Enchant Boots -- Lavawalker, Enchant Boots -- Mastery, or Enchant Boots -- Haste
Shifting Perspectives helps you gear your bear druid, breaks down the facts about haste for trees, and then digs into the restoration mastery. You might also enjoy our look at the disappearance of the bear.

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