Tuesday, January 27, 2009

End of the line for Heroic Upgrades?

Yesterday was an excellent day for my mage in WoW - I snagged two items I've been working on for a while now, and one more that I wanted but never thought I'd actually get. Obviously, this was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, as I cross several big items off an increasingly short "to do" list, I'm realizing that I may not have another day like it on my mage this expansion cycle.

The haul:


Patch 3.0.8 finally fixed the number of quests required for Loremaster of Kalimdor. This left me with a bunch of group quests in Icecrown, some of which are actively hard to find groups for because the quest targets are only visible to people currently on the quest (the dark side of Wrath's new phasing technology, I suppose). Well, I was able to grind out a bunch with some guildies, and it turned out that I was actually able to SOLO the last two group-5 quests I needed. I guess Blizzard might want to take a look at that difficulty number at some point. :)

Anyway, this set off thee simultaneous achievements (Icecrown quests, Northrend Loremaster, and The Loremaster (for having Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Outland, and Northrend). It also let me learn to craft my own [Deathchill Cloak]. I'm not entirely thrilled with the total lack of stamina - suddenly, I'm back below 15K HP in my PVE gear - but I can't deny that it's a major upgrade for PVE purposes over the [Hateful Gladiator's Cloak of Dominance] I'd been wearing as an all-purpose cape.

The search for pants
Pants are a relatively difficult item slot to fill in this expansion for some reason. Perhaps they're going on a token vendor somewhere in 3.1. I had been wearing the [Trousers of the Arrakoa], while gunning for either the [Woven Bracae Leggings] (Heroic HOL) or [Sorrowgrave's Breeches] (H UP). Unfortunately, Loken is very tough to PUG, so I decided to focus on the Breeches, which I finally obtained yesterday.

On paper, the comparison between the Breeches and the Trousers looks like I got a pretty nice bundle of stats, as you'd expect when jumping up from ilvl 175 to ilvl 200. Then come the catches.

Because the Breeches have a red socket (which I would like to socket with a red gem, since that's best for my DPS numbers), I'm going to have to resocket something to keep a second blue gem for my [Chaotic Skyflare Diamond]. I suppose my [Sandals of Crimson Fury] are a good solution in the short term, since at least I get something back for doing so.

(I'm also going to need to deal with the loss of a second blue socket when I go from [Hateful Gladiator's Cord of Dominance] to [Belt of Dark Mending] in a day or two, so I may just need to suck it up and stick a purple gem in the [Eternal Belt Buckle] and call it a day. I'm using a [Girdle of Bane], so I'll actually be lugging around three belts.)

Second, and perhaps less problematic in the long term, this puts my crit rating substantially (over 100 points) above my haste rating. It's generally better to keep the two numbers at about the same level. Indeed, if I respec to a more traditional frostbolt build, the new pants would actually be a DOWNGRADE from the old due to trading in haste rating for crit rating.

In conclusion on the pants front, I guess I just have to keep hoping that Archavon drops a pair of [Heroes' Frostfire Leggings] for me one of these weeks.

I got the last of the 200 stone keeper's shards I would have needed to buy my rogue alt her heirloom dagger, but I'm hesitating to actually make the purchase. My rogue is the most interesting of my alts, but I'm not really excited to think about coming home and leveling yet another WoW alt, even with insanely fast experience and a nice dagger. I'm considering aiming for 300 shards, with which to purchase a [Reins of the Black War Mammoth]. This would snag me a step towards the Master of Wintergrasp meta-achievement if I decided to go that route. Realistically, I'd need 260ish shards (I actually shot well past 200) to pay for both the mount and the dagger, and that seems somewhat feasible.

The other currency question revolves around the possible Emblem of Heroism rewards. I have the offhand and the trinket, I don't want the amulet, and there's no way I'm spending 200 emblems on a single mount. This leaves the [Plush Sash of Guzbah], in case I wanted yet more belts, and saving up 80 tokens to buy a [Heroes' Frostfire Robe]. I have mixed feelings on this - the robe would be a decent upgrade for solo/5-man content, but I'm all but out of solo and 5-man content. In raids, the robe would be more of a side grade, because I'd have to swap out one or two other pieces to recover the hit rating I'd lose for taking off my [Water-Drenched Robe]. I hate to hear the word "side grade" in the context of "80 emblems" - especially since I could win the robe outright on Archavon some week.

My gut tells me to just hold on to the emblems for now, so that may be what I end up doing. I could use them to buy heirloom items, but I would end up regretting that if some better use for emblems came along in a future content patch. Worst case scenario, the heirlooms will still be there and available for purchase with my excess emblems at the end of the expansion cycle.

Remaining heroics?
Realistically, there are three items left in all of heroic 5-man content that I would roll on, if they dropped. There's Loken's previously-discussed pants (which, again, I'm hesitant to try and PUG farm due to the difficulty of the dungeon in question), the [Wand of the San'layn] (Heroic UK), and the [Rod of the Fallen King] (Heroic AN). I would like to get the Rod as a matter of principle, to replace my last full-time green item, the [Wand of Blinding Light], but I'd settle for the other wand.

I'm also in line for the belt from the Ebon Blade (I need about 3K rep, so that will be any day now), upgraded shoulder enchants if I ever finish Hodir rep, and perhaps 2-3 PVP sidegrades. And, unless I've missed something, that's every last non-raid upgrade that I don't have at the moment. (I suppose that Blizzard did a good job spacing those incentives out, since I need three more heroic dungeon runs to wrap up Northrend Dungeon Hero.)

A last ride in style?
I didn't want to end this post on a down note, so I saved one last bit of loot for the end. If Greenwiz is going to ride off into the sunset to wait for patch 3.1, at least he's going in style, cause I was also fortunate enough to win a rare mount that I would not have even considered farming for, due to the low drop rate - the [Reins of the Blue Proto-Drake].


Anonymous said...

Congrats on the drake! It looks great.

Daria said...

Grats on the mount. I was in the same position as you up until recently.

I decided not to spend my emblems and wound up getting the T7 chest and legs from VoA raids. I gave up on the HoL legs too.

If you are going to keep running them every week they will drop eventually.

I am surprised about the amount of epic gear one can obtain in a relatively short amount of time without raiding. It sure is a far cry from where we were 3 years ago.

Anonymous said...

There are loads of Naxx25 PUGs happening on my server every week, which provide loads of upgrades (including multiple leg items) as well as Valor emblems for the uber badge gear, which includes leg items.