One of my New Year's resolutions was to get my mage geared up to the ilvl 200 level. With a chunk of time out of game, it seemed like a good time to plan out how to get there. This post is kind of a continuation of my previous pieces on Mage Emblem rewards and Mage rep rewards.
I was originally going to post this as one massive wall of text and clicky links, but the research on the latter half is taking me seemingly forever. Today you're going to get all of the slots with items that have durability; cloaks and jewelry will have to wait until I can weed through all the options.
Current: [Flameheart Spell Scalpel] + [Ward of the Violet Citadel]
The sad truth is that I don't see real upgrades to either of these without substantial progress into Naxx. Ah well, time to pat myself on the back for a job well done.
Current: [Wand of Blinding Light] (I'm eligible for two blue rep rewards, but I don't consider either an upgrade on pure DPS stats, especially since this particular wand deals Holy damage)
Desired: [Wand of the San'layn] (Heroic UK) or [Rod of the Fallen King] (Heroic AN).
Beyond raw stats, it's nice for a mage if the wand deals Shadow, Nature, or Holy damage, since we cannot do these damage types naturally. I wouldn't pick entirely on that point, but it's a nice bonus.
Armor slots covered by 5 piece sets
Current: [Flamebringer's Crown] (I ignored the socket bonus to go for 14 spell power)
Desired: [Titan-forged Hood of Salvation] (Wintergrasp mark reward - currently PTR only)
Hopefully this beauty goes live sooner rather than later. As far as I'm concerned, it blows the raid-only [Heroes' Frostfire Circlet] out of the water. Raiders should also note that there's a second version, the [Titan-forged Hood of Dominance] with hit rating.
I'd be working harder to replace my current green quest reward for the short term, but it doesn't make sense with the opportunity to leapfrog the entire 5-man/10-man tiers in exchange for Wintergrasp marks I'm earning tons of anyway.
(I will note that the suffixes on these two test hats are incorrect. Salvation usually means spirit, while dominance usually means crit rating, Subjugation is Haste and Ascendancy is Hit. Hopefully the items on the PTR are correctly itemized and incorrectly named.)
Current: Alternating between [Duskweave Shoulders] and [Frostsavage Shoulders]
Desired: Your pick of several blue ilvl 200 options
This slot is a bit of a wasteland for the non-raid epic. Unless you get lucky via Archavon, your picks are blues from heroic Hall of Stone. The [Savage Gladiator's Silk Amice] isn't bad, but I don't have an arena team, and it's hard to get excited about burning 50K honor on a rare quality item.
Current: Alternating between [Water Drenched Robe] and [Frostsavage Robe]
- The [Heroes' Frostfire Robe] is an upgrade, especially since I'm not focusing on gearing up for raiding raid, and therefore don't need as much hit rating as I have. That said, as I've discussed, it costs a lot of badges by my standards.
- Due to the lack of sockets, the [Ebonweave Robe] isn't much of an upgrade from my current PVE robe. See previous comentary on whether the current item budget system undervalues sockets.
- The [Spellweave Robe] has spirit on it, even though the [Moonshroud Robe] ALSO has spirit. Excuse me while I go cry. (Not that the spellweave version is bad, especially if you're low on haste rating.)
- The [Robe of Crackling Flame] at least has the advantage of being a rep reward with the Kirin Tor, and, if you're going to spend item budget on mana regen, actual mp/5s is better than spirit for most mages. Points for convenience.
- Finally, we have the [Hateful Gladiator's Silk Rainment], which is one of the many Archavon drops.
My guess is that I'll stick with the Kirin Tor robe in the short term, while I wait and see whether I get enough emblems or a lucky Archavon drop. Crafting one of the tailored robes is an option, but a relatively costly one, especially since item budgets really disfavor spending so much on high numbers for two stats (haste and spell power for the Spellweave robes). I'd rather pay 40G for a rep reward I'm going to grind out anyway than 2000+ for an unexciting crafted robe, even if the crafted one is better.
Current: [Frostsavage Gloves]
Desired: [Heroes' Frostfire Gloves] (60 emblems)
There are also crafted [Ebonweave Gloves] and [Spellweave Gloves], and even a decent pair of gloves from Heroic Nexus ([Gloves of Glistening Runes]). In this particular case, though, the set gloves are actually best in tier (even including raid drops).
Current: [Trousers of the Arrakoa]
Desired: [Woven Bracae Leggings] (Heroic HOL) or [Sorrowgrave's Breeches]
This is another area where the pickings are scarce, with a few more options out there if you want more healer-oriented pants with spirit or mana regen. The main downfall to the leggings is that Heroic Loken is the hardest 5-man boss in the game, which may make farming him difficult if you don't have a tank and healer in your back pocket. As always, the [Savage Gladiator's Silk Trousers] are an option if you have more honor than you know what to do with.
Armor slots NOT covered by 5-piece sets
Current: [The Conjurer's Slippers]
Desired: [Sandals of Crimson Fury] (Exalted w/ Wyrmrest)
The slippers actually offer better DPS stats than their PVP counterparts. The [Hateful Gladiator's Slippers of Dominance] are available now for 50K honor, and the [Titan-forged Slippers of Salvation] are PTR Wintergrasp rewards (see caveats in the head section, also available with hit rating). I'll have to do the numbers later, but I'm pretty sure that even the version with the hit rating comes in behind the sandals (which also have an eminently ignorable intellect socket bonus). I'm not sure whether I will eventually buy one of the PVP versions for my PVP set, or if I'll just settle for a pair of [Frostsavage Boots] for those times when I want to trade off damage for survivability.
Current: [Ancestral Sinew Wristguards]
Desired: [Hateful Gladiator's Cuffs of Dominance] (31.6K honor) or [Azure Cloth Bindings] (Heroic VH)
Here the PVP option is passable even compared to the Naxx offerings, and dirt cheap as far as honor rewards go. The only reason I even mention the VH drop is because that is one of the fastest heroic runs out there, and therefore one that even I might encounter unintentionally.
Current: [Frostsavage Belt]
Desired: Many options.
For some reason, this particular slot has a bunch of options, including some rares with enough hit rating to compete with the purples. The three easiest to obtain, IMO, are:
[Plush Sash of Guzbah]: 40 Emblems, probably the best of the crop until you're way past the hit cap (if you're only slightly over, you can ignore the socket bonus)
[Hateful Gladiator's Cord of Dominance]: 50 K honor, does not suffer unduly for its PVP stats - with the nice spell power socket bonus, you can even stick a purple gem in there for almost no loss of damage.
[Belt of Dark Mending]: Exalted with the Ebon Blade, perhaps a very slight upgrade over the sash if hit rating is completely irrelevant to you.
That said, check the full list if you're on the market for a belt. There are some very nice Heroic options, including some choice rare quality items with large chunks of hit rating, that might be competitive for you, especially if you don't like either PVP or daily quest grinds. As I noted in my article on emblem rewards, I will probably snag the Cord and the Belt for the short term, and will consider the sash only if I really feel I need the hit rating once I've got the other Emblem upgrades I'm after.
Well, that's all for now. I'll be back in a bit with the rest of the gear (it's mainly the trinket's I'm dreading, really).