Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ulduar Spoils

Since we run a quasi loot council / random roll for loot, I decided to look over the loot tables and figure out what my upgrades in Ulduar would be. I’m disregarding 25 man loot as well as Emblems of Conquest because I don’t see my guild running that content. I’m perfectly okay with that as the 10 man environment is providing both the challenge and comradely I enjoy.

I’m currently sporting the Heroes Redemption Faceguard. There are two helms out of Ulduar I could use. Ironbark Faceguard drops off of Freya and my Tier 8 Valorous Aegis Faceguard drops off of Mimiron. The two Helms are nearly identical. The T8 has a bit more strength, and a little less defense. The major difference is the Ironbark Faceguard has Expertise whereas the T8 has Block Rating. As I’m fairly sure I’m Block Capped, the Block Rating wouldn’t do anything for me, but as a Paladin Expertise is pretty low on the helpful stats list as well.

I’m going to pass the first Ironbark we get to my Death Knight co-Tank. Expertise is much more useful to Death Knights than it is to Paladins.

My Necklace is currently Heritage from Naxx25.Two tank necks drop in Ulduar10. Fervor of the Protectorate drops from Trash mobs. My guess is we’ll get our first one off of Hodir’s Worm trash. I don’t feel this Neck is well itemized for Paladin tanks. There’s no Defense and it’s loaded with Parry and Expertise. I’d let my Death Knight and even our DPS Warrior get this before I’d take it.

Now Mark of the Unyielding on the other hand gets my attention. This drops from Kologarn. It’s pretty much a straight upgrade in every way over Heritage. I do loose some Hit Rating, however the threat loss from that will be made up for by the additional Strength I gain from it.

I’m wearing the former Best in Slot Shoulders, Valorous Redemption Shoulderguards. Here again, Ulduar provides two options for upgrades: the offset Shoulderguards of the Solemn Watch and the Tier 8 Valorous Aegis Shoulderguards. Because I’m a Jewelcrafter, I would actually lose stamina by going to the Solemn Watch as well as having to give up Dodge for Block Rating. I’m not real excited about that. I actually already have Solemn Watch in my bags but I don’t think they’ll be going out anytime soon. The Tier 8 is tailor made for a Block Value Set, but I’ll be keeping my Tier 7.5 for Bosses. Because of that, I’ll be passing to my Priests (we don’t have any Warlocks in our group) when the Shoulders drop.

My Cape is the Platinum Mesh Cloak from Emblems of Valor. Cloak of the Iron Council conveniently enough drops from the Iron Council. I’m really not sure what the Developers were thinking with this cloak: Defense, Block Rating and Expertise. Did we make too big a deal over Block Capping in Beta or something? This baby just doesn’t excite me. Saronite Animus Cloak from General Vezax is a little better but I’d love for that Parry to be Dodge. I’ve actually got too much Parry in my gear as it is. After 200 Parry rating, the Diminishing Returns really kick in hard. I’m not sure if I’d wear either cloak though I’ll take Iron Council since the Block Rating won’t help my Death Knight much.

The only Chest piece in Ulduar that I would want is the Valorous Aegis Breastplate off Yogg-Saron. This chest is loaded Defense, Dodge, and Parry. It will be a nice reward for finally getting Yogg-Saron down.

I think the Bindings of Hapless Prey might have been my first piece of loot out of Naxx. They will be replaced by off Flamewatch Armguards off Flame Leviathan. Given how much trouble I had getting the first boss of Karazhan to part with the old Vambracers of Courage. I’m not optimistic about seeing this drop anytime soon.

When we finally down Freya, I’ll have a shot at the Valorous Aegis Handguards. This is another Tier piece I’ll gladly pass to my Priests. Going from Tier 7.5 to Tier 8 I’m trading Dodge and Hit for Parry and Block Value. Again, these go into a specialized Block set for Trash and Adds. Just like the Shoulders, Tier 7.5 for Bosses. The trash can also drop Adamant Handguards. I’ll probably pick them up, but I’m not sure I’d use them much.

The Waist slot is probably my weakest right now as I’m still sporting the Waistguard of Living Iron from Emblems of Heroism. The only upgrade available from Ulduar is the Stormtempered Girdle from Razorscale. I will be a very excited Paladin when I see it drop. I can also save my pennies and see if I can get a friendly 25 man guild to craft me an Indestructible Plate Girdle.

Along with the T8 Chest, the T8 Legs are probably the best itemized parts of the set. In fact, if you are in my situation and not doing 25 mans, I’d say the Valorous Aegis Leggaurds are about as good as it gets, plenty of Stamina, Armor and Avoidance (Parry and Dodge). As much as my Priests might love me for passing on Hands and Shoulders, I’m going to go after the Legs full force.

As far as my boots, the good news is that I’ve already spent the Emblems of Valor to pick up Kyzoc’s Ground Stompers. The bad news is unless I run 25 mans, I’ll need to save some major cash to buy Runed Orbs and have Spiked Deathdealers crafted for me. I’m hoping the loot tables are incomplete, because right now I can’t find any Tanking boots in Ulduar10.

The only Ring out of Ulduar I’ll be going after is the Signet of Winter from Hodir. It’ll replace my Titanium Earthguard Ring and be matched up with my Sand Worn Band from Naxx.

Trinkets are one of the more interesting places to try to determine upgrades because many of them have procs and “On Use” effects.

My current trinket load out is Essence of the Gossomer and Figurine: Monarch Crab. Trinkets generally break down into either Stamina or Avoidance. Essence is a Stamina Trinket. The Crab is a best of both worlds type of Trinket in that it provides good stamina and an excellent avoidance. “On Use”.

The Ulduar10 trinkets are the Furnace Stone from Ignis and the Royal Seal of King Llane which drops from Yogg Saron.

Furnace Stone is sort of like a Crab in reverse. Its base stats are Dodge, but the “On Use” is Armor. Armor is fantastic, especially when Bosses can melee you for upwards of 15k. However, I’m not sure I would wear Furnace stone over either of my current Trinkets. If I really want Avoidance, I’d switched out Essence of the Gossamer for Valor Medal of the First War. The On Use of the Valor Medal and the Crab stack so it makes it very nice in an Emergency situation, but like all avoidance, it’s still a roll of the dice. You stack the dice in your favor, but if you are counting on it to save you and the Boss gets lucky and hits you anyway, you die a horrible death. Raid Wipes. Game Over.

Let’s talk about the beauty that is the Royal Seal. It’s much more like the Crab. It has more stamina than the Essence and avoidance “On Use”. I’d much prefer it was Dodge than Parry, but we don’t get to make those choices.

I saved the best for last, your Sword and Board.

I’m fortunate enough to have a gotten a Last Laugh from Kel’Thuzad in Naxx25.

There are 3 weapons that drop in Ulduar10. Shiver, Stoneguard, and Legacy of Thunder. Stoneguard is a Sword and both Shiver and Legacy are Maces. The fact that they are maces makes them very appealing to me. As a Dwarf, I get to activate my Expertise Racial which is nice, and there’s something that feels very right about a Paladin tanking with a Mace.

Unfortunately for me, neither Stoneguard nor Legacy really measure up to Last Laugh. Last Laugh has them both beat on DPS, Strength and Stamina. However, I could see myself using Legacy over Last Laugh. As I mentioned before I’m a little heavy on Parry in my gear right now. Switching from Last Laugh to Legacy would allow me to trade some Parry for Dodge, and the Expertise might allow me to drop the Seal of Vengeance glyph and substitute either Glyph of Salvation or Glyph of Exorism.

But the real prize of Ulduar, and my new precious, is Shiver. She’s an upgrade over Last Laugh and Honors wants her very much. The only problem is that she drops from Hodir Hard Mode, so it’ll likely be a while before I can see her. I’m willing to wait. I’ve got to get my DPS all the gear upgrades I can get them so we can beat Hard Mode, and that includes my alter ego, Ret Honors, because I normally go Ret for Hodir.

Nothing defines a Tank like a Shield and given the make up of my Raid Team pretty much any Tanking Shield that drops belongs to me. (insert maniacal laughter here)

I’m currently using Hero’s Surrender. Before 3.1, I would have argued that it was every bit the Shield that Wall of Terror was, but the Developers went and buffed Wall of Terror so it’s clearly better now. But how does Hero’s compare to the Ulduar shields.

Its pretty closee with the first Shield I should see drop, Sheildwall of the Breaker. I lose a bit of Dodge and gain some Defense, Armor, and Stamina, as well as a negligible amount of Strength, Parry and Block Value.

But Hero’s is blown away by the real treasure, The Boreal Guard. I want this shield so bad I can taste it. Guess where it drops, Hodir Hard Mode. Yep, my best weapon and best shield drop from Hodir Hard Mode. Whatever we can do to learn how to defeat Hodir Hard Mode, I’m all for it.
Quick Reference
  • Hodir (Hard) – The Boreal Guard (NEED!!), Shiver (NEED!!)
  • Yogg-Saron – T8 Chest (Need), Royal Seal of King Llane (Need)
  • General Vezax – Saronite Animus Cloak (sidegrade if that)
  • Freya – Ironbark Faceguard (Pass first one to DK), T8 Hands (pass to Priest)
  • Mimiron – T8 Helm (Need)
  • Thorim – T8 Shoulders (pass to Priests first)
  • Hodir – Signet of Winter (Need), T8 Legs (Have)
  • Auryia – Shieldwall of the Breaker (Need)
  • Kologarn – Mark of Unyeilding (Need), Shoulderguards of the Solemn Watch (Have)
  • Iron Council – Cloak of the Iron Council (sidegrade if that)
  • Ignis – Furnace Stone (sidegrade if that)
  • Trash Mobs – Fervor of the Protectorate (Pass to DK and even DPS War), Adamant Handguards (situation piece not a high priority)

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