Sunday, December 28, 2008

Examining Mage Emblem of Heroism Rewards

I'm currently away from WoW for the week due to holiday travel, which gives me a bit of time to think about how I plan to spend my hard-earned Wrath currency equivalents. Since it seemed like some folks enjoyed my post on heirloom items, and I'm not going to come up with any other topics while out of game, I figured I might as well post my thoughts.

I'm looking at these from the point of view of a mage, but they might be useful thoughts for other clothies, YMMV.

The big picture
Via WoWhead, the [Emblem of Heroism] is used to purchase 138 items. Doing a quick filter for items usable by mages trims the list down to 27 items (there's a duplicate Mammoth mount in the list because the Alliance and Horde get different colors). Take out:
- The mount
- Six various items that provide tanking stats and/or attack power
- The non-soulbound [Frozen Orb],
- The five pieces of the Savage Gladiator's Regalia set (available through PVP, so not a high priority for me)

And the list is down to 14 items that aren't available elsewhere. Let's see how they break down.

The [Ward of the Violet Citadel] is a very nice off-hand, available for the low cost of 25 emblems, which I could actually afford right now. The spell hit is not a priority for me since I'm not actively raiding at the moment, but, even so, it's a nice upgrade from the [Prison Manifest] I'm currently carrying in my off-hand - even if I ignore the hit rating, it's a best-in-slot item prior to 25-man raiding.

I will probably end up buying one of these sooner rather than later just for the 8 spell power and 23 crit rating, with the hit rating being a bonus for those PUG Archavon raids. If you're raiding, this is a nigh must-have.

(Also on offer is the [Handbook of Obscure Remedies], but this trades in hit rating - which IS useful for raiding - for spirit, which isn't really usable by mages, making it seem like more of a healer item.)

I'm not sure what to make of these two offerings. I would peg the [Encircling Burnished Gold Chains] as a caster DPS item due to the hit rating (after all, heals can't miss), but, like many seemingly caster items, they spend a decent chunk of item budget on Spirit, which really doesn't help mages. I think I'd actually prefer the [Lattice Choker of Light], though I'm guessing it's intended to be a healer item (espec Pallies?) due to the mana/5s.

These guys are both reasonable cheap at 25 emblems. That said, I'd take a Hateful Gladiator's Pendant over either item (Blizzard has even taken the step of offering a seemingly PVE-oriented [Hateful Gladiator's Pendant of Ascendancy] with hit rating, or swap out the hit rating for your choice of haste or crit ratings). Stamina and Resilience aren't strictly speaking PVE stats, but they're still more useful than mana regen in my book, cause a dead mage does no damage. Meanwhile, I'm pulling in 5K honor/day anyway in Wintergrasp, so there's no reason to spend comparatively rarer emblems on this slot.

Tier 7 Armor Tokens
The tokens for the tier 7 Robe and Gloves sell for 80 and 60 emblems, respectively, and there's no question that I'd spend 140 emblems on them if I had that many emblems. The [Heroes' Frostfire Gloves] is a hands down, best in slot item for the tier. Unfortunately, the [Heroes' Frostfire Robe] continues the irritating trend of spirit on mage items - if you compare it to the [Water-Drenched Robe] I'm wearing now via heroic 5-man content, much of the difference in item budget is spent on that whopping 60 points of spirit. The two piece bonus probably makes it worthwhile anyway if you're already sporting one other piece of the set, but that aspect of things is a bit disappointing.

The other catch is that 140 emblems is going to take a while. If I earned 12 emblems per week (2 from pugging Archavon, two additional Heroic dungeons at 5 emblems each), I'd have the two items by late March. As I discussed for the robe, that's a lengthy time investment for items that I could win outright on a lucky roll at Archavon any given week (especially since the set bonus is a large part of the upgrade from the blue I'm currently wearing, so any of the other three pieces would also do). For that matter, there might be a new content patch with better items available by March.

I have a hard time justifying holding off on spending my emblems for that long while there are still other items that I might snag with them. The gloves are probably worth the emblems anyway, but the robe looks more like a luxury item to me at the moment.

Your choices here are the healer-oriented [Elegant Temple Gardens' Girdle] (funny how many of these items' names cannot be contained in a mere three words) or the [Plush Sash of Guzbah], for 40 emblems. The Sash is a nice DPS item, and I'd call it an upgrade over the other items in the slot (notably the [Belt of Dark Mending] for exalted with the Ebon Blade and the [Hateful Gladiator's Cord of Dominance] for just shy of 50K honor).

Then again, both of the others are, for someone with my playstyle at least, easier to obtain than 40 emblems. This one probably goes on hold for a bit.

There are two trinkets here - the [Sundial of the Exiled] and the [The Egg of Mortal Essence] (which intended for healers with the proc effect, but 98 spell power on a trinket is not horrible). Either trinket will run you 40 emblems. The PTR has a clone of the Sundial as a Wintergrasp mark reward though it's unclear whether they intended that trinket to have resilience instead - if it stays as is, that would slightly diminish the value of these guys by occupying one of your trinket slots. Either trinket would be a large upgrade for non-raiders with few comparable options, so it's just a question of figuring out when to spend the emblems.

Heirloom Items
There are four mage-relevant heirlooms, three of which are pretty irrelevant to the level 80 mage.

(Those three are the [Tattered Dreadmist Mantle] for 40 emblems, the [Dignified Headmaster's Charge] for 65 emblems, and the [Swift Hand of Justice] for 50 emblems. As I noted in my article on heirlooms, I'd rather take the Wintergrasp versions of either the staff or the shoulders.)

The exception is the [Discerning Eye of the Beast], for 50 emblems. The Eye is not as good as the soulbound trinkets, but you can pass it to your alts for leveling and/or when you no longer want it on your main. It's not a min-maxer choice, but it's definitely tempting for long-term value if you're ever planning on leveling caster alts.

Heirlooms are also going to be your main sink for excess emblems once you've got everything else you want from this shopping list, but that's another story.

So what will Green buy?
Having been through the options, I'm pretty much decided on spending the 25 emblems I have now on the off-hand. There's no replacing the combo of that offhand with a [Flameheart Spell Scalpel] unless you're farming Naxx, which I suspect won't be me for the near future. Beyond that, not to cop out, but the priority will probably be a trinket. My trinket slots are a big of a hodge-podge at the moment, and having one solid, always equipped trinket would be a good thing. The only possible hesitation would be if if the Wintergrasp trinket stays unchanged and I decide to become a Jewelcrafter, but I will probably make up my mind on that front before I earn another 40 emblems. If I'm in doubt, the gloves would be the next priority.

I would love to get the robe for the T7 bonus, but I just don't see when I'll be able to snag 80 emblems. If I start snagging 20+ per week that would be a much higher priority, but that's not in my schedule for now - it doesn't make sense in my view to be toting around enough emblems for a major upgrade to my existing gear in the hopes that I will eventually get to 80. As I said up top, the amulets don't strike me as worth the effort for a side-grade, and the belt is an upgrade but not an exciting one over the PVP version (which I will have within a few days of getting home).

Depending on how involved I get in leveling any alts, I might be switching over to farming heirloom items in as few as 60 emblems from now (if I snag the gloves, pass on the robes and belt, and then opt for the Eye over the other trinkets). Even if I went after everything for my main, I'd still be done with emblem upgrades 220 badges from now. Of course, there's also that looming content patch to consider. It would be sad to sink a huge number of emblems into a big ticket item, only to see a substantial upgrade that only costs 20 more emblems come out down the line.


LarĂ­sa said...

Oh I never realized there was a mount at 200 badges... You just opened my eyes. I'm stacking up on too many badges, having no gear I want to buy for them. Currently I'm waiting, hoping that they'll make some gems buyable as they did in TBC. But now with that mount... I can't help getting a bit interested, since I'll never get enough gold to buy one of the reputation based mammoths.

Buying gear for my alt is an idea, but since I never seem to get time to level her... what's the point?

Anonymous said...

Spirit is no longer "healer-only".