Monday, November 16, 2009

Frosty Gear in 3.3

In past patches, I’ve only given a cursory glance at new gear as it’s discovered on the PTR and reported on sites like MMO-Champion. I figured that A, the gear could change and 2, Petrus on Maintankadin would update his gear list and I’d check it out then.
With Ice Crown, I’ve decided to take a more proactive approach. I’ve looked at all the gear coming out and I’m looking to answer some basic questions.
Is there anything in the new Ice Crown 5 mans, Normal or Heroic, I need. Are there any slots where my current strong gear, like my 245 Bracers and Helm might be superior to what’s offered in the new Ice Crown 10 man.
One of the benefits to being a 10 man raider is that I’ve got significantly less gear to consider. If I was a 25 man raider, I’d have to consider all the 25 man gear, plus all the 10 man gear.
As I looked over the gear, it seems the theme was pretty clear. The Developers think we are going to start having some Threat issues in Ice Crown Citadel. In almost every case, the Ice Crown Gear is usually on par, or a little behind, current gear obtained at the equivalent level (Normal to Normal, Heroic to Heroic, and Raid to Raid) in Effective Health and Stamina, but ahead in Threat stats.
There is some attractive gear in the 5 man Normal Mode for my Block Value set. The Gloves that drop have more Block Value than Tier 8. The Belt and Boots are the first Block Value items in those slots for 10 man raiders since Naxxramus. The Cloak that drops from the Normal is essentially the same stats as the Saronite Animus Cloak from Ulduar 10. For newer tanks, the Normal provides great gear including a Shield.
The new 5 man Heroic drops gear of equivalent iLevel to ToC10 (Item Level 232). In general, the loot is very competitive. It appears the Ice Crown Heroic loot is a bit more itemized to threat, while the ToC loot was itemized a bit more to Effective Health.
The Boots that drop from the Heroic, Black Spire Sabatons, have a bit more threat than the Greaves of the Lingering Vortex from ToC10, and their avoidance stats are more balanced. But they lack a gem slot which gives the Greaves of the Lingering Vortex higher Effective Health.
There’s a pretty good Helm, Second Helm of the Executioner, which drops in the Heroics. It’s really handicapped by its lack of Meta slot. The bigger issue is that Headplate of the Honorbound is better and is iLevel 245 and available for Emblems of Triumph which will be dropping in all Heroics.
The neck, Fossilized Ammonite Choker, is something I’ll be gunning for. It’s got more strength than Fortitude of the Infernal from Jarraxxus, and its avoidance stats are better balanced with less defense and dodge and the addition of some parry.
The shoulders you can get from the Heroic, Shoulderplates of Frozen Blood, are very comparable to Tier 9 but the Tier 9’s gem slot, and superior avoidance puts it ahead of these shoulders. In addition, I’m a big fan of our Tier 9 set bonus.
There are two different Tank weapons available, Falric’s Wrist-Chopper and Rimefang’s Claw. Both are very comparable to Shiver, but seem to be a bit more threat heavy. Falric’s is a nod towards Orc Warriors as it’s an Axe, while Rimefang’s will make humans happy as it’s a sword. So far, Dwarves are left out of the mix without a Mace, at least from the Heroics.
The first thing that jumps out at me as I look at the Raid gear is Marrowgar, Gunship and Saurfang are important Bosses for tank with 2 tank drops a piece.
Gunship provides the all important shield, Neverending Winter. It’s hurt by a lack of Gem slot which means the Aegis of the Colseum will actually provide more stamina. However, it’s got close to 500 more armor and 16 more Block Value so I’m betting their Effective Health is pretty close. Neverending Winter also provides the first Shield Block Rating we’ve seen in a while. With Chill of the Throne in effect, Paladins may need to Shield Block Rating to get back to the Block Cap. Gunship’s other Tank drop is a ring, Abomination’s Bloody Ring. It’s a fairly minor upgrade over the Emblem of Triumph purchased Clutch of Fortification. Compared to the ToC drop, Band of the Twin Valkyr, Abomination’s Bloody Ring gives you Stamina where the Band of the Twin Valkyr gives you armor, and the Abomination’s Blood Ring is a solid upgrade in avoidance.
Marrowgar provides a neck. Marrowgar’s Scratching Choker is a nice upgrade from Fortitude of the Infernal. Fortitude’s Expertise is converted to Strength on Marrowgars, and you get a bump in Stamina and avoidance. Marrowgar’s other Tank drop is a weapon and Dwarves of the World (of Warcaft) rejoice because it’s a Mace. The Brokenhammer is a nice threat upgrade, though Shiver will provide more Stamina thanks to its gem slot.
The last double drop Boss is none other than Saurfang. He provides a set of offset (non Tier) legs, Deathforged Legplates. They are a solid upgrade over the Tier 9 pants, but keep Tier 9 around for your Block Value. What will be more interesting is how they compare to Tier 10 which we don’t as of yet have stats for. If Tier 10 is really another skirt (UGH!) then I’m going to be rooting for these Legs to be a viable side grade.
Saurfang’s other drop is a set of Wrists, Gargoyle Spit Bracers. Wrists happen to be one of my stronger spots with the iLevel 245 Dreadscale Bracers from ToGC10. The massive amount of Armor on the Gargoyle Spit Bracers helps to make up for a lack of a socket and weaker avoidance stats.
The other tank drops so far are from Festergut. He drops a Back which will be a nice upgrade to tanks like me who are still sporting an Ulduar Back, or a Platimium Mesh Cloak.
Now we get to the good stuff. The Emblems of Frost rewards. For a 10 man raider, these will provide very solid upgrades and at iLevel 264, are the highest iLevel a 10 man Raider will see this expansion. These are the equivalent of hard mode loot for Badges.
The reward highest on my list is this beauty, the Corroded Skeleton Key. Yes, Virginia, that’s 228 stamina with an on use to give you a Power Word Shield.
Emblems of Frost rewards include a Chest, Cloak, Gloves, and a Belt.
This is also how you will obtain your Tier 10, and your Libram. The way Tier 10 will work is you purchase the regular Tier 10 with Emblems of Frost. Then you trade in your Emblem bought Tier 10 along with a token drop from the appropriate Boss to get your next level of Tier 10. It’s just like Tier 9 worked, only that you need your 232 before you get your 245. Hopefully that will cut down on people holing onto their badges and passing on the 232 gear to buy the 245 gear when they, finally, win a trophy.
But let’s not get too excited. Libram of the Eternal Tower is a fantastically named, but poorly implemented item.
Let’s look at what it does. Shield of Righteousness grants 73 dodge for 15 secs stacks 3 times. By the time you’ve got the full stack up, you’ve got 219 dodge rating. Because it’s raiting, you’ll be getting hit full force by Diminishing Returns and because it’s dodge, you’ll also take a hit from Chill of the Throne.
In addition, Shield of Righteousness has a 6 second cooldown, so it will take a minimum of 12 seconds to get the buff up to full power. Then if for any reason you have to change targets, or if the mob becomes untargetable, like the Worms on Northrend Beasts, or Anub’arak, you’ll lose your buff and have to rebuild it again. Basically, any where that Divine Plea falls off of you in current content would be a situation where the Dodge buff from the Libram would fall off.
Compare that to our current Libram, the Libram of Definance. Hammer of the Righteous chance for 200 dodge for 18sec. The Dodge buff will be active 18 seconds. Hammer of the Righteous cooldown is 6 sec, so you have 3 opportunities to proc it (at 6, 12 and 18 sec).

Chance to NOT proc it in 3 attempts= 20%x20%x20%=0,8%

so

Chance to proc it at least 1 time is 100,00%-0,8%=99,20%.
Now it’s Dodge Rating so it gets hit just like Libram of the Eternal Tower, but there is no stacking mechanic, so it’s up at full force the moment you proc it.
Even with both Librams at full force, you are only gaining 19 dodge rating which is going to be hit hardest by Diminishing Returns. It’s not going to be a high priority for spending Emblems of Frost, especially when I’ll need Emblems for Tier gear.
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