Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pre-Kara Moonkin Gear Guide Part 1

I have written this guide with the intent to help a new moonkin to gear up for raiding. Thus I have avoided all badge gear and Heroic drops since these items are really hard to obtain without raiding already.

I have also excluded all PvP gear. This is not to say that you shouldn't raid with PvP gear if you can, but it isn't ideal. PvP gear includes stats that are useless in PvE and exclude other stats that are musts when raiding. You should only use PvP gear when raiding when the PvP gear way outs levels the content you are doing. For example, using Season 3 PvP gear is probably better than most Kara and Pre-kara gear.

I have ranked a few choices and provided a leather option for those that don't want to wear cloth. So here is part 1 of my gear guide which looks at Backs, Helms, Necks, and Shoulders. I have also included a Stats overview to help explain why I make some of the choices I have made. Please feel free to ask questions or debate my choices if you disagree.

Stat Overview

Primary Stats: These are the four stats you should focus on in every piece of gear. Each of these stats play off of each other so it is hard to give values but I will provide you with what is generally accepted values of each. The basic rule of thumb is Spell Hit > Spell Damage > Spell Crit on a point for point basis. Spell Haste is a little different than the other Stats and its value varies significantly with regards to your gear level.

Spell Damage - This is your bread and butter stat. It increases the damage caused by your spells, and you can never have to much of it. It is what all other stats are compared to. A moonkin will want about 600 - 700 Spell damage before they start raiding.

Spell Hit - Unadjusted spell casters have a 17% chance to miss when targeting a raid boss. 16% of that chance to miss can be eliminated by stats and talents. The hit cap for Moonkins is 152 assuming you have two points in Balance of power. Spell hit is worth about 1.2 Spell Damage to the average raiding moonkin and can increase your DPS significantly. However, new raiders don't need to be at the cap to start raiding. Spell hit starts to get good at about 700 spell damage and it doesn't pay to hit cap until you have about 900 spell damage. So the basic lesson here is try to get hit capped but don't loose to much Spell damage doing so.

Spell Crit - This is the least valuable damage stat. For the average raiding moonkin one point of spell crit is worth about 0.70 Spell damage and gets worse the more dots you include in your rotation. It does benefit from high values of spell damage though. When you get int the 1100 SD range it starts to go above that 0.70 value.

Spell Haste - This stat is very different than the other primary damage stats. Unlike the other stats it does not increase how much damage you can do, it increases how quickly you do it. Spell haste doesn't really become valuable until you have at least 1080 Spell Damage. If you currently have mana issues while raiding you should not stack Haste at all.

Secondary Stats: These are stats that have an impact on your performance but are not key stats like the primary stats.

Stamina - Some people will disagree with me but I think this is a very important stat. Stamina helps to keep you alive and you can't DPS when you are dead. You generally won't equip for it unless you need a lot of health for a fight, and most of your gear will already have some.
Intellegence - This is the best secondary stat for moonkin because it affects almost everything. It increases your mana pool by 15 per point. It also improves your Crit rate at 80 Int equals a 1% crit chance. For moonkin, your spell damage is increased by 25% of your Int and your Mp5 is increased by 10% of your Int. It will also increase how much mana you get from Spirit after patch 2.4. While Intelligence does a lot for moonkin, it is not something you should gem or gear for specifically. You will get all of the Intelligence you need by gear for the Primary stats since virtually all caster gear has Intelligence on it.
Spirit - This stat is all about mana regen the more you have the higher your mana regen will be. This is another stat that you shouldn't really gear for. You will get plenty from Tier gear and some of the new badge rewards. However, It is a good idea to get a weapon with lot of spirit that you can equip when you innervate yourself.
Mp5 - Much like spirit this stat deals with your mana regen. It ticks while you are in combat but is unaffected by Innervate. It is a good stat but I wouldn't give up much if any Spell Damage for Mp5. You should get some naturally from Enchants and gear with out gearing for it specifically.

Useless Stats: These are stats that have little or no affect on your raid performance. You should never choose a piece of gear based on these stats.

Armor - Armor reduces the amount of physical damage a player takes. Most of the damage a caster will take in the raid is not physical and therefore unaffected by armor. If you are taking a lot of physical damage in a raid then there are other problems. This is why it doesn't matter if moonkin wear cloth or leather, you will be choosing the item based on the other stats provided.
Spell Penetration - This stat reduces partial resistances of spells. However, bosses have a base level of resistance that cannot be reduced. Thus it is useless in PvE. On top of that it has very little use in PvP since most players don't have much resistance there either.
Resilience - This stat can reduce the chance of a crushing blow but those really are not the concern of caster DPS. Therefore this stat has no value to a moonkin.
Strength - This stat does increase you Attack Power if you ever use the Melee for Mana mechanic but those should be very limited situations.
Agility - This is another stat that helps you if you Melee but you shouldn't melee for the most part.

Gear Guide Part 1.

1. [Cloak of the Betrayed] – Magister’s Terrace – Priestess Delrissa – This is new to patch 2.4 and is awesome. After you socket it will have a ton of Spell Hit and Spell Damage. [The Ruby Drape of the Mysticant] is only slightly better if you put a Veiled Noble Topaz in the cloak's socket.

2. [Baba's Cloak of Arcanistry] - The Mechanar - Pathaleon the Calculator - This is a very nice cloak and would have been my first choice prior to patch 2.4.

3. [Cloak of Woven Energy] - Quest - Hitting the MotherLode - A good cloak that is very easy to get since it ins a quest reward.

1. [Spellstrike Hood] - BoE Crafted - Tailoring - This is a very expensive item but you can farm all of the mats your self as of 2.4. If you are a tailor it is even better since you can take advantage of the set bonus. It has a bunch of all the stats you need; Hit, Damage, and Crit.

2. [Magnified Moon Specs] - BoP Crafted - Engineering - I didn't list this first because it is BoP, but if you are an Engineer then this is your best option. Its to bad you can't craft the cloth version because its a little better. However, the lether version has a ton of Damage and Crit also. Plus it has some other nice side bonuses.

3. [Druidic Helmet of Second Sight] - Quest - Teron Gorefiend, I am... - I wore this helm for a very long time. It is a very nice item that is really easy to get by doing some group quests in Shadowmoon Valley.

Honorable Mentions: [Hood of Oblivion] & [Windscale Hood]

1. [Shattered Sun Pendant of Acumen] - Exalted Rep Reward - Shattered Sun Offensive - A very nice new neck available after patch 2.4. The rep grind is very easy but will take you several days to complete unless you chain run Magister’s Terrace.

1. [Brooch of Heightened Potential] - Shadow Labyrinth - Blackheart the Inciter - It has all three major Spell stats and a little Int and Stam. A very nice neck until you can get an epic out of Karazhan.

2. [Warp Engineer's Prismatic Chain] - The Mechanar - Mechano-Lord Capacitus - This is a debatable choice. Some people will consider my number 3 option better. Basically I am choosing 17 stam over 5 crit. I make this choice because Stam is very important in boss fights and Crit doesn't do a lot for you in early raiding with low Spell Damage.

3. [Torc of the Sethekk Prophet] - Dungeon Quest - Brother Against Brother - This item has a little more DPS than the neck above, so it is a very good choice also. It is also fairly easy to get since you only have to kill the first boss in Sethekk Halls.

1. [Duskhallow Mantle] - Magister’s Terrace – Priestess Delrissa – Another item that is new in patch 2.4. These shoulders are seriously awesome with a ton of damage and crit. These are clearly the best option available pre-Kara.

2. [Mantle of Three Terrors] - Black Morass - Chrono Lord Deja - It has a nice amount of spell damage and spell hit. It also drops off the first boss in BM so you may get a couple of chances to get it trying to finish your Kara Key.

3. [Lunar-Claw Pauldrons] - The Mechanar - Mechano-Lord Capacitus - This is the main leather option. There are other cloth shoulders that are better but not by much. There is also a green pair of leather shoulders that have better DPS below, but these shoulders have a good amount of base stats that make some of the lost damage up.

Honorable Mentions:[Elekk Hide Spaulders] & [Spaulders of Oblivion]

Guild Update:
The Week after Progression Week has gone a little slower than progression week, and that is not all that unexpected by me anyway. Our attendance hasn't been great from a healer stand point and we aren't quite as focused. We pushed it really hard last week and I think some people including myself are stepping back a little this week to spend time with family or on other commitments. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA tournament affects us at all.

Our goals for Tuesday and Wednesday was to get Hydross, Lurker, and Leo on Tuesday, then do Tidewalker on Wednesday and work on FLK some. We did get Lurker and Leo down on Tuesday, but we went a little later than normal. I actually missed the Leo downing because I wanted to spend some time with my wife after she got home from work late. Also two Warrior, Priest, Druid, gloves tokens dropped, so there is less competing for me to get them going forward. On Wednesday, I didn't raid until pretty late. When I logged on they had already downed Hydross and were working on TW short handed. So I joined the raid to help out. Apparently we had a severe lack of healers last night because we had two officers raiding on alts. We did down TW after a couple of attempts but it was a little late and not many people wanted to work on FLK.

So, our progress so far this week hasn't been to bad. We are taking a little more time than is needed but that should improve as we get more experience with the fights. We will be working on TK tonight and might do Mag.

Toon Update:
Only posted a couple of days ago so there is really nothing to say. I did do a little bit with Grayfel but he didn't ding. Graylo has just been up to his usual stuff of raiding and farming. Graypal is still sitting around.


Amanna said...

Hi Gray,

Amanna here. Great writeup.

I have been thinking for a while that I should do the research and come up with Balance and Resto gear guides just like I did for Bear and Cat. They were enormously popular and obviously filled a need.

However, with your gear guide, and one I found for Balance the other day, great guides are already in existence.

I will definitely give your post a plug regardless, but I was writing to see if you would be okay with me using your content in an overall "cheat-sheet" for pre-raiding TBC gear for all Druid forms. I'd probably make it a Google doc so anyone could download and use it, and post a link to it on my site.

Let me know what you think. You have a great writeup here and I'd like to help get it out to the masses.


Cdin said...

Thanks for the complements.

I have no problem with you using it. Of course I would like credit but since you are asking permission I assume that you would have done that any way.

I haven't written every stage of it yet and I may go back and tweek parts of it. I hope to have part two out today and I expect it to be about 4 parts long. Also, feel free to rearrange it since I have put very little planning into it and will probably move it around later myself.

Thanks for reading.

Amanna said...

No worries - would ALWAYS give credit. I blog too and know how much work goes into these things.

I'm probably just going to create a very simple "cheat sheet" of sorts that folks can use as a guide.

I had planned on a series of three: gear w/o raiding, upgrades from heroics and kara, upgrades from BoJ and high-end raiding.

I'll get to work on it. Thanks for your permission and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Those holo-gogs are cloth - the engi goggles are only available to learn at the highest type of armor you can wear.... So we can't learn them.

The Magnified Moon Specs are what you're looking for.

Asherd said...

Hi Grey,

Great blog! I turned moonkin very recently and fell in love with it on my first spec ever (at 70).

I am trying to get the Wyrmhide battlegear set (4 pieces to get set bonus (minus head piece)).

Do you think this set is good enough for heroics/Kara?

Cdin said...

Thanks for the heads up. I have never leveled Engineering and just assumed you could make any of the patterns.

If you are going for the Wyrmhide Battlegear primarily for the set bonus then I recommend against it. Here is why. The set bonus is pretty useless in raids and long fights. If your chain casting Wrath to get it to proc then you will run out of mana. If your Casting Starfire for its high damage and mana efficency the as you should then it won't proc.

It also wastes Itemization points on stats you don't need like resiliance. Ultimately you will do better going for the more PvE oriented gear I have listed above.

As two when to go into Kara and Heroics I suggest trying to have 650 to 700 Spell Damage. Below that level you are going to have a hard time. However, I do suggest you get into kara and heroics as quick as you can, even if you are below that level. Hopefully the raid will have other members to make up for your lack of gear and can pick up the slack a little bit. People raid kara a lot more then they run instances so it will be a little easier to gear up that way if you can get away with it.

Hope this helps.

Myth said...

Nice write up!

i've made the switch from feral to resto and then to balance within a few weeks.

i've gone for full S2 PvP gear which is nice and simple honor grinding.

the big bonus is u can get quite a few sockets to put some hit gems in and the S2 staff has some hit on it, so it won't take much more to be hit capped.

a few items from kara will make that happen as there is stacks of the stuff in there!

cheers for this ^^

Mythirdnut - [A] Kazzak EU

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