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Shifting Perspectives: Patch 4.3 gear list for balance druids

Tyler Caraway

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or requests for something you'd like to see to or on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Hail, druids, and welcome to the wondrous world of a new patch! This patch didn't hold much for us in the ways of personal meat. We got a wicked-awesome new Hurricane animation and a neat new Wrath one as well, but otherwise, things trudge along as normal with our lot. That's perfectly dandy in my book. We're still going along strong as a solid DPS choice, and things are good.

This week I'm dedicating to gearing ourselves up in all of that lovely new content that has just been released. Whether you're a dungeoneer or a hardcore raider, there's tons of new loot to look at, and that's exactly that we're going to do. As a side note, I do have to say that I am super-excited about having patch 4.3. The content so far has been gloriously fun, and though I'm sure I'll change my mind once I've done enough of these heroics to last a lifetime (as with the troll versions of last patch), I'm content to make do with what we have. Let's get to work, shall we?

The first order of business that I want to bring to everyone's attention is in regards to our latest tier set that has been released. Traditionally, Blizzard follows a very well-crafted pattern when designing the set bonuses for each of our new sets. If a set had a particularly strong four-piece bonus, then the next version would have a solid two-piece bonus and vice-versa. It's all a delicate balancing act that keeps upgrades as upgrades.

Unfortunately, we've run slightly amiss of this perfect level of balance this time around. While tier 13 isn't bad by any mark, the bonuses that you get out of tier 12 are extremely good -- so good, in fact, that there are times when it isn't worth upgrading. The standard rule of not breaking one set bonus until you have the next does apply, but in this case, there is one more nuance to add to the list. Tier 13 is only a solid upgrade if you match levels. This is to say, the Dungeon Finder level of tier is not a good replace for normal mode, and normal-mode gear doesn't quite replace heroic. If you manage to collect all four pieces, then it can be an upgrade, but don't break your old four-piece for the new two-piece unless the set types match.

New raiding loot list

Now that's done with, let's begin!



A mixed outlook for several drops

Weapons are going to be extremely interesting this time around. Deathwing, of course, drops the best weapons for this raid tier -- but which is the best is situational. In most cases, the staff is the best choice by far. Proccing that much haste -- let alone the fact that it also benefits a few of your other raid members -- is a massive benefit that simply can't be ignored. The dagger, however, really shines in AoE-based encounters, so much that it would blow the staff right out of the water. Which you go with depends on the situation. While this makes for an interesting choice in gearing, I'm on the fence about how effective it is.

Trinkets are much the same way. Seal of the Seven Signs isn't that great of a single-target trinket -- in fact, heroic trinkets from Firelands are better -- but it is an amazing AoE trinket. Again, it's the best that you can get for AoE, same as the dagger. It's odd that we'll have a single-target gear set and a AoE gear set this raid.

You'll notice the restoration chestpiece on the list. There's always going to be a off-set piece somewhere in our set, and this time around, it just happens to be there. You can go for the restoration shoulders instead, but it's a trade-up either way. The shoulders would trade crit for mastery; the chest trades mastery for haste.

Every week, Shifting Perspectives: Balance brings you druidic truth, beauty and insight ... from a moonkin's perspective. We'll help you level your brand new balance druid, tweak your UI and your endgame gear, analyze balance racials and abilities, and even walk you through PVP as a balance druid.

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