Friday, March 6, 2009

Updates on Wintergrasp Vs Heroism Heirlooms

Update, 3/11: Blue posts a week later are now saying that there WILL be new heirlooms in 3.1. Guess we'll know for sure if/when the new items hit the PTR's, just wanted any readers who find this via Google to know that there may be new options in 3.1 that I didn't cover below because they didn't exist at the time. Original post follows.

Dallana asked me a question about my writeup on heirloom items from a few months ago - is it's worth buying the Wintergrasp heirlooms now, or waiting for the emblems to buy the Heroism versions? (Those of you who are pulling in 50 emblems a week farming raid content probably don't care about this question, but, if you're spending most of your time in 5-mans, shards are still easier to obtain than emblems.)

The answer to that question depends on a few things, such as what classes you intend to level in the future and therefore need heirlooms for. Still, I happen to be trying to answer it for myself in the face of the latest blue statement that we shoud not expect more options for spending Emblems of Heroism (which means that I might as well start spending surplus emblems on heirlooms myself). So, here's a re-examination of heirloom items with an eye towards figuring out which ones to buy with shards and which ones to wait on.

Wintergrasp Bargains
Sharpened Scarlet Kris

At its face, the Kris looks questionable for the non-PVP player, since the Balanced Heartseeker has very attractive stats. What saves the Wintergrasp version is that half the classes that would want it will dual wield it. Dual wielding both heirloom daggers is a great option for Rogues and Hunters, and perhaps level 40+ Enhancement Shamen (who get to dual wield). Also, if you don't have a heirloom staff yet, your cloth-wearing casters might be willing to carry this thing for the durability stats - real live caster weapons are very uncommon prior to Outland. Overall, this one is a good investment, because you won't entirely discard it, even if you end up swimming in emblems with which to buy the PVE version.

Caster Shoulders

As you may have heard, the spirit stat is getting the nerf bat in patch 3.1. This strengthens the case for the cloth Exquisite Sunderseer Mantle over its Tattered Dreadmist Mantle counterpart. The added stamina and resilience on the PVP version will also help your durability a bit if you take the advice I gave in my last post and use the cloth version as your go-to shoulders for all caster alts (Balance Druids, Elemental Shamen lose only armor for doing so).

Also, if you do feel strongly that your post-dual spec Paladin alt needs to be able to heal instances, the Pristine Lightforge Spaulders actually don't have a PVE counterpart (Pally leveling builds generally don't itemize for spell power). This is not a piece that you're going to get a ton of milage out of, but it's a unique little niche in which it can't be beat.

Grand Staff of Jordan

The Dignified Headmaster's Charge offers a lot of crit and intellect (which gives both mana and more crit). However, having your spells resisted can be devastating to a fragile low level caster, and hit rating is very hard to come by via quest rewards, all the way through to Northrend. By contrast, all of your other gear is typically going to have intellect on it. This one item will be your weapon of choice for all three cloth classes and caster specs of druids and shamen (technically, the healers can use the 1-handed maces, but they'll lose out on stats because there is no heirloom offhand), and the easier to obtain PVP version is arguably superior. That's a win in my book.

Upgraded Dwarven Hand Cannon

A brief caveat here - if your forthcoming alt is a Troll Hunter, the Heroism version of this item, the Charmed Ancient Bone Bow, is a better choice due to your racial bonus to crit with bows. For everyone else (especially Dwarf hunters, with a racial crit bonus for guns), the gun is a good choice. Perhaps your rogue would rather have the bow for the hit rating rather than crit, but it's not that much hit rating, and both of these items cost more than you'd expect because of their major effect on hunter DPS. If you're buying a ranged weapon, the gun may be the better value on price (even if it might not be better overall outside the Dwarf hunter crowd).

Wait for Emblems of Heroism
Swift Hand of Justice

Thanks to the miracle of unified spell and melee haste rating, and the general lack of trinkets of any kind prior to Outland, every single alt you make can and probably will get 57 levels worth of use out of this trinket. The Discerning Eye of the Beast is also a strong option for every class that has a mana bar (even if you don't cast spells, that mana regen will probably be the best benefit you get out of your second trinket slot until Outland, and the actual casters will continue to use the trinket for the spell power all the way through heroic 5-mans). Unless you're serious about twink PVP, there's no reason to buy an insignia just to put something in your trinket slot.

Avoid the Reforged Truesilver Champion

The first issue with the sword is that Enhancement Shamen cannot equip it, while they can use the Bloodied Arcanite Reaper. For that reason alone, I suggest that you avoid the sword unless you've already got a level 40+ Enhancement Shaman. That aside, you really don't need both items (I guess a Fury Warrior can dual wield them, but that's not until level 60, and Outland quest rewards aren't going to leave you horribly high and dry), and my guess is that the axe is significantly better.

Melee Plate Shoulders

If you're going to get a second pair of melee heirloom shoulders beyond the leather pair, you should go plate. Shamen and Hunters will be happy with the leather shoulders - neither class even gets mail armor until level 40, and both classes benefit from the stats on either version. (Which pair of leather shoulders to get is a bit of a judgement call - the hit rating on the Stained Shadowcraft Spaulders is very nice, but the agility on the Wintergrasp Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders basically closes the gap on attack power for the leather and mail classes. Personally, I won't be switching because I have a now-illegal ZG shoulder enchant on my Wintergrasp shoulders. If I were picking from scratch starting now, I'd probably take the heroism version, but the difference isn't so huge that I'd put off the purchase for weeks if I wanted to level an alt now.)

By contrast, Plate classes don't get attack power from the agility found on the Wintergrasp version, and they do suffer a significant loss of armor going down to leather armor. So, I'd love to recommend the Wintergrasp Strengthened Stockade Pauldrons. Unfortunately, I just can't. The Polished Spaulders of Valor not only trade in the resilience for crit rating, they also have more total strength. That's a lot of damage potential to lose in the name of convenience.

Personal Inventory
My main priority among alts right now is my rogue, and I decided to buy her both daggers to go with her Wintergrasp shoulders.

On the emblem side, I will definitely be targetting the Hand of Justice next (and will have it in the very near future), followed by either the Eye of the Beast, the Arcanite Reaper, or the Valor shoulders depending on what my next priority is alt-wise.

Over in Wintergrasp, the staff and the cloth mantle are my two priorities. The order doesn't matter much since I ultimately want to claim both, and I don't plan to actually spend the shards until I actually have an alt who needs the items. Though I prefer both Wintergrasp items, obtaining both would require a whopping 525 shards. Depending on how I spend my time, it's entirely possible that I might run out of stuff to spend emblems on before I can collect that many shards, in which case I might decide to take the Heroism staff.

The gun is a low priority because my hunter's life is already easy enough with an overpowered cat. It would be an okay stat stick for the rogue, but, if that's all I want it for, perhaps I should hold out for the emblem version. The caster items would have a huge impact on the caster alts in question, so it's definitely worth saving up to take care of them.


  1. Thank you for updating this post, and after reading it, does it mean than your recommendation about getting the PvE leather shoulders for all the classes, barring the cloth classes obviously, still stand?

  2. @Dall: Yes, I stand by the recommendation with the minor caveat that it depends on what classes you have yet to level. Hunters and Enhancement Shamen lose only armor value compared to the mail heirlooms, since they get attack power from agility, and only after level 40. Plate wearers lose a lot of armor and don't get attack power from agility, but I'd still wear the rogue shoulders over whatever green items you get while leveling.

    Like I said, the only real big exception is if your main is a rogue and you've always wanted a Balance druid.


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