Gearing up is hard to do

My fellow officers are starting to talk about when to start raiding, and while I agree that we should probably look into it soon, I have to admit that I don't think I'm quite prepared for it yet. I got to eighty-five somewhat more slowly than many, ran some normal instances... but I've only completed one heroic so far. I know that I could do better, but part of me is seriously put off by the gearing up process for some reason, which surprised me because I've always been one of the more dedicated raiders. What has changed?

I started thinking about how I handled the gear reset in previous expansions. In Burning Crusade it didn't really affect me because I didn't get into raiding until a few months after expansion release, and even then I was kind of drafted into it as my guild needed a shadow priest to shackle stuff in Karazhan. I was brought for my utility before anything else, and nobody cared that I had crappy gear. I only learned about things like the hit cap and enchants slowly and over time, but nobody seemed to mind much.

Looking back at BC heroics, they weren't that amazing a source of pre-raid gear either though. There were no "heroic" tags and I had almost forgotten that with the exception of the last boss who dropped an epic, all the previous bosses dropped the same items on heroic as they did on normal, plus some gems and stuff. Wearing full heroic gear before you started raiding wasn't really a requirement, because for many classes there was only a limited amount of heroic gear to begin with. There was a heavy dependence on crafting and quest rewards.

In WOTLK on the other hand the gear curve was so gentle that gearing up happened almost automatically because very little of it was necessary. I know I wasn't the only raider who still wore a lot of her level seventy epics when stepping foot into the new level eighty raids. In addition, heroics and ten-man raids were designed to be alternative gearing paths, so they dropped the same quality of loot. Or in other words, just having run normals meant that you were geared enough to raid.

The Cataclysm system on the other hand seems to be designed with the intent to be very grind-heavy. Run lots of normals to gear up for heroics, run lots of heroics to gear up for raids. I don't actually know how tight the gear requirements for raiding are, but from what I've heard they are tough enough that you'll want to wear the best gear you can possibly get beforehand. Now, thinking back to how people chained heroics in WOTLK that doesn't sound so bad, but Blizzard went back to a model of more challenging heroics in Cataclysm, so chaining them with pugs is actually not recommended. I've only run two so far myself, and while they were fun with my guild, I'm rather intimidated by the notion of attempting those same instances with pugs. So I don't do a lot of runs and gear up very slowly. My old epics mostly had to go before I could even enter the last of the new normal modes because they were dragging my average item level down too much. Sadface.

In addition I'm being told that warlocks and mages don't like spirit anymore now, and Blizzard seems to have itemised accordingly. Maybe I'm just imagining it, but spirit cloth suddenly seems annoyingly rare. For example I was looking for some nice pre-heroic boots for my priesting and the only PvE item I could find where these shoes from normal Halls of Origination. In comparison, my clothie brethren not interested in spirit have a choice between two different pairs of crafted boots (they have resilience but are accessible without actually doing any PvP) and two ilevel 333 quest rewards.

So you run the same couple of normal mode instances that have the only spirit cloth drops over and over, just to have a pug mage or lock who hasn't got the memo about spirit yet outroll you when your item finally drops. Argh.

Dejected, I turned towards reputation rewards where possible, just to find out that the faction with the best rewards for my class and spec is the only new Cataclysm faction for which you can't grind reputation by running dungeons with a tabard, and the only way to get your rep with them up is to grind dailies in Tol Barad. I gave this a try in my holy spec and had to run for my life after the second pull. I don't remember the last time soloing as a healer was this painful; my damage is piddly compared to the mobs' massive health pools, I run oom after every other kill and getting adds leaves you no choice but to run or die. I eventually caved in and sacrificed my PvP disc spec for a shadow soloing spec so as to not be completely useless on my own. But I'm a healer, damn it, why do I have to struggle through killing things to get better healing gear?

I guess I will have to push through this rough spot somehow, because it would set a rather bad example if not even the officers are ready to raid in terms of gear. But damn it, gearing up has never been this un-fun.


  1. This fellow priestie feels your pain... hang in there :)

  2. I think Guardian's of Hyjal has a decent cloth belt which is a nice rep item, on top of Tol Barad. And on Tol Barad dailies, you should just pair up with a Guild DPS or Tank. They are hard for any class to solo. If there's no DPS or Tank in the whole Guild that will help, then the Guild should hang it's head in shame.

    Almost all of the Cata content is an exercise in pain solo. It's only fun for Guildies. It's interesting, I think bigger guilds will benefit much more than we thought just from being "big".

    Incidentally, I agree that the gearing is somewhat worse than TBC or WotLK. It reminds me EXACTLY of vanilla, a desperate process of grinding DM 20x for fire resist gear to be MC ready..... a tiny number of epics available from non-raids, generally via painful grinds like AV (when it was hard) or AB exalted, or buying them off AH at vast prices.....

    The mechanics of this expac are totally different ofc and much improved, but the social infrastructure and gearing rate feels exactly like vanilla, at least to me.


  3. Tol Barad is pretty rough, you should do those dailies with me! :D

  4. It's definitely a grind, especially if you're unlucky on drops and it feels like 80% of them are mail wherever I go. -.-
    Bracers are an absolute pita, am still using the PVP ones there as the baron in SFK refuses to drop his and there are hardly any alternatives (some caster ones in GB).
    Otherwise I've been able to grab most of the JP gear now and a few heroic drops, my trinkets are all normal blues still though and I haven't even come close to TB rep yet. I've favoured Hyjal and got the epic belt there, now I'm working on Therazane.

    We're somewhat in a similar position in my guild atm, the first raid is scheduled next week but I don't think the majority of the guild is ready for that yet.

  5. Maybe this isn't the most enjoyable thing for you to do, but do some arena. 2v2 with a friend, lose and win some matches (10-20 max even with low rating) and you get enough points to buy a pvp epic per week; which are better then the heroic dungeon rewards, even with the for pve useless resilience on it.

    Use that to cover some spots in your gear which you weren't able to upgrade otherwise.

    Those few arena matches won't take much more time then a heroic or two and give you gear much faster.

  6. @Boxer: Yeah, I'm wearing their tabard right now. Didn't see much else in terms of reputation gear though.

    @Shay: Would love to! Even in dps spec I've died a few times, and I've seen it happen to others too. Especially in the areas with low respawn timers...

    @Syl: I was going to say "tell me about bad loot luck" but then I got five upgrades in three runs tonight. Or as one of my guildies put it: "Complaining on the internet does work!"

    @Anonymous: Blegh, I don't like arena though. Sounds like they've messed up the PvE/PvP balance again if even a little bit of bad PvP gives you better rewards than doing lots of PvE content.

  7. It does seem that Blizz have made it harder for priests to gear up than most classes because of teh spirit thing, I am stuck with 333 hit boots and the 339 PVP crafted wrists with only upgrades seemingly in heroics. Shadowfang Keep seems the best place to go as wrists, boots and a cloak drop there all with spirit and it is one of teh easier ones to do if your group is co-ordinated enough to kill the first boss in there.

    Regarding group content, Cataclysm is the expansion of the guild and therefore grab them guildies and tell them you want to heal their asses on the TB daily quests.

  8. I'm catching up on my feedreader so I'm days late here, but I still wanted to pitch in.

    I have very similar feelings on the gearing process. I don't mind Heroics not being faceroll like they were in Wrath, but I wish they were a tiny bit more PUG friendly. With their current difficulty I feel restrained to doing them with guildies, which means having to wait until enough people are online (or miss out, or spend 50 minutes in a queue for a PUG that will most likely disband at the first boss).

    I haven't had as much time to grind gear as I'd have liked either, but even with the time I've had I feel I should have done better. I suspect we will all need a full set of Heroic-level gear before being able to successfully raid (I'm sure some people can manage without, but my guild need the gear I imagine) and getting it with the amount of sheer time a Heroic currently takes is rather daunting.