Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Off-Set Choice

Last week my guild killed Heroic Magmaw for the first time and one of the items that dropped was the [Scorched Wormling Vest]. It's a nice chest and I'm trying to build a healing set, but I didn't have an immediate plan to use it for my moonkin set. Taking all that into consideration I indicated that I was interested in it for my off spec set.

After I indicated I was interested in it for my off spec, the other moonkin in my guild whispered me and asked "Isn't that chest Best-in-Slot for moonkin?" I replied that it depended on how you had chosen to gear yourself and that I had already gone offspec in my helm slot. While I was comfortable with that answer, it had been a while since I had seriously looked at the Off-Set options. I wondered if I had made the right choice to go off set in my head slot.

In this post I want to take a look at the logic behind going Off-Set and what Off-Set options moonkin have.

iLevel is King:

The ilevel of the gear available has always been the primary driver of the Off-Set choices that need to be made. In the past the main boss in an instance would drop loot that is superior to tier sets, and to the loot dropped by other bosses in the instance. Plus, the early hard mode rewards were unique instead of improved versions of normal mode gear like they are now. So, making Off-Set choices were fairly easy to make prior to Ulduar and Tier 8 raiding. You just had to look to see what dropped from those final bosses, pick the best item, and uses the other slots to meet your set requirements.

iLevel is still king when it comes to making Off-Set choices, but the thought process is a lot different now. All bosses in an instance drop the same level of gear with the exception of some heroic-only level bosses. Also, the heroic gear is the same as the normal gear, but with better stats. As a result hard modes don't provide any additional gearing options.

With this in mind the question then becomes which bosses are easier to kill. There is no point in waiting for an item from the hardest boss in a tier when you are likely to wait at least a couple months just getting getting to that boss.

Slot Budget: This is related to ilevel, but but I would like to make a special mention of it. It's important to remember that the item slots were not all created equal. Some slots have a much higher budget then others. That's why Chest, Head, and Leg slots have a lot more stats then Hand and Shoulder slots, which are better then Wrist, Waist, and Feet slots. So, you may get more bang for your buck by going off set in a Chest, Leg or head slot then you do in the Hand or Shoulder slot.

The Options:

Where you go off set really depends on what gear you have access to. I'm sure someone out there is the exception to the rule and is in a strange situation that makes going off set at a strange spot the right choice. However, I think this section will outline the situation for most players.

I want to make a couple more comments before I get into the detail. First, I'm not recreating the gear list here. These are just a couple of options to illustrate a point. I am just trying to show the differences between most of the options people will be considering. Second, I'm only looking at the 372 ilevel versions of the items. I realize that many of you don't have great access to all of these items, but I think it allows me to present my arguments in the best way.


ItemDrop LocationIntellectSpirit / HitCritHasteMasterySockets
Stormrider's Leggings - MOONKIN (H)Maloriak - Heroic36521702570RB
Gale Rouser Leggings of the Undertow (H)Al'Akir - Heroic36523802380RB
Leggings of the Consuming Flames (H)Maloriak - Heroic34526700227RB

I don't think the leg slot is a good place to go off set for a few reasons. First, the tier legs are well itemized. Spirit and Haste are the two secondary stats we need most. Second, the tier legs are the only tier price that provides any hit chance, and we desperately need it. Third, the tier legs are very easy to get. You can get the normal versions with Valor Points or in Baradin Hold. The heroic version is relatively easy to get as well. Maloriak is a much easier boss then Al'Akir. In short, going off set here would result in very small gains, and the off set items will be more difficult to gain for most people then the tier item is.


ItemDrop LocationIntellectSpirit / Hit RatingCrit RatingHaste RatingMastery RatingSockets
Scorched Wormling Vest (H)Magmaw - Heroic34521700277RB
Stormrider's Vestmants - MOONKIN (H)Halfus - Heroic36502270247YB

The moonkin tier chest leaves a lot to desired, and at first it seems like a great place to go off set. Unfortunately the other options leave a lot to be desired as well. The resto chest has virtually the same itemization as the balance chest. The Off-Set leather caster chest does have Spirit, but it's also loaded up on Mastery. It's not a horrible option since I think most of us would consider Crit for Spirit a very good trade, but there is another problem. The heroic chest tier token drops off of Heroic Halfus which is the easiest of heroic bosses but the Scorched Wormling Vest drops off of Magmaw.

From a pure stats point of view going off set in the chest slot isn't a bad idea, but it has issues when you look at it more practically.


ItemDrop LocationIntellectSpirit / Hit RatingCrit RatingHaste RatingMastery RatingSockets
Stormrider's Handwraps - RESTO (H)Atramedes - Heroic26620101710R
Stormrider's Gloves - MOONKIN (H)Atramedes - Heroic26602011710R
Hydrolance Gloves (H)TAC - Heroic26617100201Y

The positive for going off-set at the hand slot is that you can trade Crit for Spirit, but that is where the positives end. The hand slot has a smaller budget which doesn't make it an ideal choice. Plus, the tier hands are relatively easy to obtained when compared to the other options.


ItemDrop LocationIntellectSpirit / Hit RatingCrit RatingHaste RatingMastery RatingSockets
Stormrider's Helm - RESTO (H)Nefarian - Herioc35523702170MB
Stormrider's Cover - MOONKIN (H)Nefarian - Herioc35502571970MB
Helm of the Blind Seer (H)Atramedes - Heroic32528719700MR

The Head slot is where I've chosen to go Off-Set, and I like it for several reasons. First, the head slot has a fairly large itemization budget. It's a little smaller then the chest or legs but not enough to really matter. Second, if you use the Resto tier instead of the Moonkin tier your trading Crit for Spirit which is a good trade. Third, the head slot tier tokens drop from Nefarion which is one of the more difficult. This means it may be easier to upgrade this slot by going off set then it may be in other slots. It is quite possible to get the heroic version of the Helm of the Blind Seer before you get the heroic tier helm. In short, it's quite easy to trade up in this slot.


ItemDrop LocationIntellectSpirit / Hit RatingCrit RatingHaste RatingMastery RatingSockets
Passive Resistor Spaulders (H)ODS - Heroic26618101910R
Stormrider's Shoulderwraps - MOONKIN (H)Cho'gall - Heroic27600171191Y

The shoulder slot is another very good place to go off set. The tier shoulders drop off of Cho'gall which is one of the more difficult bosses. Therefore, you might be able to get some higher level non-tier shoulders before you get to him. Also, by going off-set here you are trading Mastery for Spirit and a little Int which is a good trade. Depending on how stuff drops for my guild in the future I may go off-set here in the future.


A lot of players like to debate when and were it's best to go Off-Set, but it's really not as big of a deal as it used to be. The big things that drive that choice are what gear is available to you and the ilevel of that gear. Most of the time where you go off set is determined by where you can get an item of a higher ilevel of your current item. If you have a choice, I would lean towards going Off-Set in the head or shoulder slots, because they provide the most room for improvement.


Moondrops @ Archimonde said...

Hi Graylo, I've been following your blog for quite a while now but never posted a comment. Just wanted to thank you for taking time to make these insightful posts :) Although my raid hasn't started heroics yet (late start on Cata..), I was wondering the same thing. I'll probably choose the helm as my offset, too.. if I ever end up getting my 4p in the first place xD.

Also, just wanted to let you know that I think you posted "Hands" instead of "Shoulders" for your last subtitle.


Matt said...

The only reason I still think going head slot offpiece is best is because Artramedes is one of the easier heroic bosses, and he drops a pretty great helm. If your guild can get to ODS for the shoulders, chances are you have an extra helm piece that you can can into a Moonkin piece.

Dan said...

The whole point of "Best in Slot" lists is to use what is the best item for the slot. Having to make compremises means it's not "BEST" in slot. Chest is > than helm or shoulder because this is assuming you are using 4 piece. When you use the tron shoulder + tier chest you are trading mastery for crit when you add up all the stats. Since stat weights have changed after the patch this has become the best choice.

Graylo said...


Just want to point out that I never said going off set in the shoulder slot was the BiS option. I didn't say that for any of the options.

My intent for this post was just to present the options with some pros and cons.

That said, BiS lists are an over used concept that don't have a whole lot of practical uses. Saying that the shoulder slot isn't BiS doesn't have a lot of value, because it doesn't mean it's isn't the best option for most people.

Kavian said...

I feel special for being mentioned. Even if it wasn't by name.

Anonymous said...

This was once a good blog, but I am tired to come back here over and over again and there is only every 2-4 weeks an update.
I need comments on every patch note regarding Moonkins, for example the starfire an wrath 0.05 cast time change.
Does anyone know a Moonkin website that is more on time ?

Graylo said...


I agree that I should be posting more, and appologize for not doing so.

That said, which patch note do you want comments on? I've covered every moonkin related patch note of patch 4.1.

Your example of the "Starlight Wrath now Reduces the cast time of your Wrath and Starfire spells by 0.15/0.25 sec, up from 0.1/0.2 sec." is not a patch note. That's just data mining from MMO champion, and it has an obvious error that makes it totally unreliable. Did you notice that it said it's up from 0.1/0.2 when the current values are 0.25/0.50?

There's nothing to comment on there. If it really does go to 0.15/0.25 it's a huge nerf. But if it's actually an increase as comment suggests then it's a nice buff. Unfortunately there is no good info, and there is no way for anyone to comment on it with out good info.

If blizzard puts it in a patch note I will comment on it. Unfortunately, it's been almost a week since MMO Champion released that, blizzard has released new patch notes, but that one wasn't included. In short, don't get you hopes up.