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    Philosophy of Cataclysm gear & General Raid Compendium

    Delete if you want; unforeseen circumstances render me unable to finish it at this time.

    Preface to Gear Philosophy
    With Cataclysm, the way we look at gear has changed, and for the better. But to optimise your gear, you have to look at your tools with the right frame of mind.
    Itemisation is more consistent than ever, and we have a new tool, reforging, at our disposal. "What really changes?", you might be asking, to witch my answer is: Everything you consider when gearing. This guide will aim to show everybody

    The average item has 2 primary stats on it.
    Stamina
    Intellect OR Agility OR Strength

    Caster weapons will also have spellpower, while all weapons will have DPS (Which is only a concern for certain appropriate classes).
    Weapons can have different speeds, which can be counted as another primary stat (More on this later)

    There are several secondary stats an item can have on it. These stats can be reforged. All items (except trinkets) will have two of these:
    Hit OR Spirit (Where itemisation is concerned)
    Expertise
    Critical Strike
    Haste
    Dodge
    Parry
    Mastery
    Resilience (Resilience is an exception - It cannot be reforged, but is itemised as a secondary stat).

    Thus, a caster item might have Stamina, Intellect, Critical Strike and Mastery - Two primary stats, and two appropriate secondary stats.

    The other value an item has is its item level; this determines the amount of stats the item has, and is very consistent in cataclysm.


    Reforging - How it works, how to use it, and how it affects your gear decisions
    The way reforging works is quite simple - It takes 40% of one secondary stat on the item, and converts it to a secondary stat of your choice that is not on the item.
    In my example above, the caster item has crit/mastery as its secondary stats. I could reforge 40% of one of those stats, and convert it into hit, spirit, expertise, haste, dodge or parry - The secondary stats that the item does not start with.

    This means that if an item does not have the ideal stats, the worst stat on the item can be reforged to a better stat. This might seem like it makes gearing more "flexible", but in reality, it only does so with regards to reaching caps. Why?
    Take the item above as an example again. Each class will have some priority on the stats on items.
    A demo lock's priority on secondary stats is: Hit (until cap) > Haste > Crit > Mastery.
    Seeing this, its obvious that the stat I (a demo lock) want to reforge will be mastery. One might think hit is the obvious thing to go for. Caps throw a spanner in the works though, in that hit reaches a cap. The overall effect though is, whatever the stats are, I can choose to make the item closer to an "ideal" stat selection. This devalues the secondary stats, causing the itemlevel/primary stats to matter more.

    Each class will have their own priority list for these secondary stats. But how should caps be viewed?
    Imagine an ideal gear set for, in this example, a demo lock.
    Because hit will reach a cap, a perfect gear set (that doesn't exist) would have haste on every item, and the other secondary stat would be hit on some items, crit on others (hit on enough items to cap hit, crit on the rest).
    If too many items had hit, some of the hit could be reforged away to crit.
    If not enough items had hit, some of the crit could be reforged away to hit.
    The important point here is that ideally, haste is prioritised above hit, as you can gain the hit by reforging the other stats, instead - Hit is interchangable with crit, in this case, in the long run.

    This is important because it should affect your choice of gear. Bearing this in mind, haste can take priority above hit in the example above, as long as you have enough hit from reforging on all of your items.
    This means you should prioritise the following things, generally, when looking at what gear to take:
    1. Are all the stats useful for me? (eg expertise for a hunter/caster = no, agility for a warrior = no)
    2. Item level
    3. Secondary stats, prioritised as: Top non-capping stat > any capping stats that provide a bigger dps increase than the next-best non-capping secondary stat >= the next-best non-capping stat > the weakest non-capping stat.
    The weakest stat that is on the item should be reforged away to the highest stat that isn't (unless you have the top two stats present on your item)

    For a demo lock, this means:
    1. No spirit, no agility, no strength, no expertise
    2. Item level
    3. Haste > Hit >= Crit > Mastery

    For a holy paladin, this might be:
    1. No hit, no agility, no strength, no expertise
    2. Item level
    3. Spirit > Haste > Mastery > Crit

    If you haven't reached the cap, and you've done this, reforge away from the weaker secondayry stats. This will help ensure

    Trinkets
    Trinkets are a lot less consistent when it comes to item budget - It is recommended you check out places like Elitist Jerks or other websites more focused on your class, and figure out which are best for you with the info there. Some trinkets can be situationally useful on certain bosses, too.

    Gems, Enchants & Reforging - Puzzling out caps
    If you're near a cap, within reforging range, you should aim to reach your hit cap while sacrificing as few important stats as possible. Reforging is the ideal way - It removes the least valuable stats, if possible, while gems may need you to sacrifice a primary stat. It may be worth taking half of your gems first though, since some meta gems require more blue than red, until the next major patch.

    Hit in gems will replace your most valuable primary & secondary stats, as those are the ones you would gem otherwise. Enchants are a middleground here, so try and aim for gems (If it helps your meta gem), then reforging, then enchants, then other gems.

    TL;DR -Look at an item's item level to judge the amount of stats put into an item, then aim for your primary non-stapping cap, when getting gear and reforging, then any capping stats worth more than that, then other stats. Prioritise reforging > enchants > gems if you have to reach caps.



    Preface to Class Stat Priorities & Basic Mechanics
    The stats on many classes in this area will be generalized, and may vary depending on your current gear - These are only intended to be a basic guideline, and should be taken as such.
    Most information I will credit to the people of Elitist Jerks, who have been hard at work with the maths behind most of this.
    So, here are the many classes and speccs, with some basic information on stats, rotations and priority indexes, listed in alphabetical class order!
    (If you think the recommended stat prios listead look wierd, scroll back up and read the section on reforging)


    Blood Death Knight (Tank)

    Stat prio:
    Survival: Stamina > Armor > Mastery > Dodge/Parry (Whichever is lowest takes priority - They now have the same rating conversion and diminishing returns)
    Threat: Expertise til softcap > Hit
    Crit/Haste items are better left to DPS
    Recommended secondary stats gear prio: Armor > Mastery >= Hit (til special cap) = Expertise (til softcap) >= Dodge = Parry

    Notes:
    Uses 2h weapons.
    Hit is not needed for interrupts, but can help with things such as kiting.
    Hit/expertise will both provide a large amount of threat until the special cap.
    Tanking is a lot more flexible in that it will depend on your ability, where threat generation is concerned; you may very well want to prioritise survival higher, or threat higher.
    The spec above takes Lichborne, as you can pop this as a survival cooldown and death coil yourself; however, it is also very flexible, and major glyphs can be swapped out to get more aoe threat (Prioritize Runestrike>Heartstrike>Deathstrike for single target, Heartstrike>Death&Decay>IT for multitarget, Death Coil for survivability (If you take lichborne)). Go with what you feel will fit your own situation best.
    Lots of leeway on major glyphs depending on the situation (Vampiric Blood is very nice as a planned CD while glyphed, but slightly less useful as an oh-shit comfort button), but do NOT take glyph of horn of winter - You should be using this in free gcds to gain runic power anyway, and this glyph can prevent other DKs from using their horn!

    Rotation/Priority:
    Keep diseases up and bloodboil to reduce damage taken/enemy attack speed (reapply plague strike before it falls off to get a free bloodboil), death strike at least once every 5 seconds, make sure runes do not cap (diseases, blood boils, deathstrikes, heartstrikes), Rune Strike if runic power is going to cap, Heart Strike, Death Strike, Rune Strike, Horn of Winter
    This sounds complicated; in essence, you just keep the mob debuffed, keep your blood shield up from death strike, then prioritise capped runes, capped runic power, runes, runic power, horn of winter. Use more death strike if you feel you need to, for survivability, of course.



    Frost Death Knight (MDPS)

    Stat Prio:
    Strength > Hit (til special cap) >= 26 Expertise > Mastery > Crit > Haste > Spell Hit
    Recommended secondary stats gear prio: Mastery > Hit (til special cap) >= 26 Expertise >= Mastery > Crit > Haste

    Notes:
    Dual-wield, as frost 2H is about 10% dps behind.
    4 points in first 2 tiers of frost can be moved, depending on what you feel helps more.
    Lots of leeway on major/minor glyphs depending on the situation, but do NOT take glyph of horn of winter - You should be using this in free gcds to gain runic power anyway, and this glyph can prevent other DKs from using their horn!

    Rotation/Priority:
    Use frost presence
    Howling blast replaces icy touch, unless you have adds being cc'd very close by
    Diseases > Obliterate if unholy-frost runecapped/Killing machine procc > Bloodstrike if blood rune capped > Frost Strike if runic power capped > Rime Proccs > Obliterate > Bloodstrike > Frost Strike > Horn of Winter
    If this sounds complicated, just think of it like this; Keep dots up, use capped runes/killing machine proccs/capped runic power, use rime proccs, use runes/runic power, horn of winter when you can't do anything else.


    Unholy Death Knight (MDPS) - 2H/DW

    Stat Prio:
    Strength > Hit to special cap (virulence caps spells) > Haste > Crit > Expertise > Mastery
    Expertise doesn't help your pet's damage, or your spells, and any dodged special abilities you use can just be re-used, until you are GCD capped. However, this is a theoretical dps ranking; if you feel that you would struggle with the extra RNG of abilities sometimes dodging, then feel free to try and cap that as well, after hit.
    Recommended secondary stats gear prio: Haste > Hit (to special cap) >= Crit >= Expertise > Mastery
    OR: Haste > Hit (to special cap) >= Expertise >= Crit > Mastery

    Notes:
    Surprisingly, not only is DW unholy viable, it is the highest damage in top end gear. Starting out, however, 2H will perform better. The difference between them is never a huge one, though.
    Death & Decay is used as higher priority than Scourge Strike for both, but the glyph of Scourge Strike is replaced by Death & Decay for DW (For single target)
    The glyph priority as 2H is Ghoul>Scourge Strike>Death Coil for single target, Ghoul>Death & Decay>Icy Touch for AoE.
    For DW, it becomes Ghoul>Death Coil>Death & Decay for single target, Ghoul>Death & Decay>Icy Touch for AoE.
    The spec is somewhat flexible; you will find more DPS out of reaching improved blood tap rather than taking anti magic zone, but lose utility. One point in Magic Suppression should be taken to gain runic power from AMS absorbs. The point in Desecration can be moved to somewhere else in the first 2 unholy tiers, if you feel the slow will be unwelcome, as while useful as a passive/on demand slow, it can sometimes make positioning harder.
    Lots of leeway on major/minor glyphs depending on the situation, but do NOT take glyph of horn of winter - You should be using this in free gcds to gain runic power anyway, and this glyph can prevent other DKs from using their horn!

    Rotation/Priority:
    Unholy presence used
    Diseases > Dark Transformation > D&D (if runes capped) > Scourge Strike (if runes capped) > Festering Strike (If runes capped) > Death Coil (If runes capped or if runic corruption is not up) > D&D > Scourge Strike > Festering Strike > Death Coil > Horn of Winter
    In essence: Keep up diseases, transform ghoul if you can, use capped runes, death coil to keep runic corruption up (or if runic power capped), use runes, use death coils, horn of winter when you can't do anything else.
    Necrotic Strike becomes the highest priority unholy rune ability to use, if the target is constantly healing.




    Balance Druid (RDPS)

    Stat Prio:
    Intellect > Spirit/Hit > Haste > Crit > Mastery
    Recommended secondary stats gear prio: Haste > Spirit/Hit >= Crit > Mastery

    Notes:
    The spec is somewhat flexible, depending on your gear and progression level. Gale winds can be dropped depending on how much you need to AoE/cyclone, fungal growth can be dropped if you never need to help kite; your weakest dps talents are Owlkin Frenzy and Blessing of the Grove, though which one will depend on how often Owlkin Frenzy proccs; Blessing of the Grove is a very weak talent, in any case.
    If you have severe mana problems, take dreamstate. If your mana is decent enough to spare innervates for the healers, furor is the best talent for your mana, and after that, moonglow. Perseverence can be a good talent to bring to raids too, if healer mana and the raid's survivability is causing problems.
    Glyph of Starsurge can be swapped out for Glyph of Wrath, depending on whether an encounter is ideal for starfall or not. There are several useful major glyphs, which present obvious benefits, depending on your situation; innervate, rebirth, focus, thorns, hurricane and monsoon can all have uses.
    *rant*Glyph of Typhoon (minor) is one that a lot of druids take, but one that I would genuinely advise against; druids with a knockback are not a problem, druids who use the knockback unintelligently are. Often you can knockback the mobs against a wall, if you need it for aoe; you can use it to push a caster/bow-using mob closer to a tank, or a pack of mobs closer to the caster; you can use it to help a tank kite, to help a healer in an emergency (If shit never hit the fan, progression wouldn't really exist in any form other than gear checks). There are many situations where a knockback can be useful, and very few where there is no direction you can use typhoon from on mobs without a knockback causing problems. Use typhoon smartly, people will love you for it. Use it badly, people will hate you for it. (Some people will just hate any airborne mobs without thinking about if it was good to move them, but this guide is about how to optimise your performance, not how to pander to people who don't think things through)*rant*

    Rotation/Priority:
    Moonfire > Insect Swarm > Starsurge > Eclipse Rotation
    Eclipse rotation = Use appropriate filler spell (Wrath or Starfire) until you gain eclipse, then swap to the appropriate filler spell, using that until you gain the next eclipse. Idealy you start with full lunar power before the boss pull, so that you can use a lunar-eclipse starfall at the start.
    Starfalls are best used in lunar eclipse, but if the eclipse doesn't sync up closely, just use it on CD if in doubt, holding back on it if you're about to go into lunar eclipse.

    Delete if you want, unable to finish at this time.
    Last edited by wasniahC; 2010-12-29 at 06:45 AM.


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