Gnomeageddon posted a really great post about Rawr, much better than anything I would write. Unfortunately, I can't link it. My work has blocked his blog *tear* I read it on my blackberry, not my preferred method of reading blogs, but occasionally necessary. Anyways, I had previously downloaded rawr because after a point, I had no idea what would actually constitute an upgrade, and what was the most bang for my buck.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about gearing lately. What is the best/fastest/cheapest/most efficient way to gear alts vs mains. Do I use emblems on BoA gear? Do I use emblems for main spec or off spec? I just wanted to shed some light on my decision making process, as someone with a ton of alts, who didnt previously run much, and tries to solo as much as possible.
First of all, crafted gear is your friend. Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting, Leatherworking and Tailoring can give you great starter gear at 80, most of which you will be keeping for some time. My shammy is still using ebonweave gloves with precision on them, even after getting almost all the drops I can use from heroic ToC, as well as the Revenant's Breastplate. Jewelcrafting has been another SERIOUS help because the crafted purples (rings especially) are really good and have a lot of value. My shammy is still wearing the spellshock ring (socketed with runed cardinal ruby) and pally is still wearing the crafted tanking ring and necklace. Druids can gear up for raid tanking pretty much with crafted gear alone.
What do you do with emblems, seals, runes, marks, shards, etc? Well, this is a big decision. First of all, this is a bigger decision for those characters who can fill multiple roles. Paladins, Death Knights, Priests, Warriors, Druids, and Shammies are probably going to have multiple sets of gear to fill. This is my take on it: fill the gear for the rarer role first. Tanking or healing will always be in demand and groups want the best geared characters they can find in that role. Tank have 25k health? Unacceptable. Also, if you are tanking or healing, most higher geared DPS won't need/want a lot of the gear that drops and have no problem with a tank or healer occasionally needing on some items that just aren't upgrades for them, but are huge upgrades for the tank/healer. Stonekeeper's shards I use entirely for BoA gear. I don't PvP, have no use for it, so I have no need for PvP gear. In general, I would say use emblems to upgrade your character, however, if you level a lot of alts, the chest pieces become good values. Stick to caster cloth and DPS leather. Why? Well, all caster and DPS classes can wear those pieces, and the armor difference from 1-2 pieces will have a negligable effect on mitigation. As an example, I had my shammy wearing the cloth caster chest. The difference vs a mail chest? Around 1% more damage taken. 10% more exp is more than worth it and my warlock, mage, and priest can all use that chest when leveling. I have already used the leather shoulders for warrior, DK, shammy and druid (I leveled shammy enhancement). Forty emblems is a lot, but one piece of gear that four alts can use is probably a worthwhile investment, provided you like leveling alts. As always, your mileage will vary.
One very interesting piece of currency is the Champion's seal. I find these to be mostly worthless. Why is that? Well first of all, what can you buy with them? Blue armor and a few purple weapons. Well, while the weapons are a good investment if you can use them (my pally is using the greatsword of the sindorei in my ret set), once you've bought that, they just sort of accumulate. I was working on the "crusader" title, but that takes FOREVER. Considering it takes what? 5-10 hours total to get 40 emblems vs WEEKS of dailies and jousting to get crusader, it just isn't worth it. Get your chestpiece with emblems, ignore the Champion's seals. If you love the jousting and are good at it, go ahead and grind. There will always be groups doing threat from above and foot of the citadel. I personally hate the jousting, I had to cheat to beat the valiant, the thought of doing that 2-3 more times just for a BoA chest is more than I can handle.
A few last thoughts on Rawr. I loaded up my pally in rawr, and the results were similar to my shammy in the DPS spec. The numbers it gave me for expected DPS were roughly half what I actually did, even on encounters where you just stand there and DPS (my pally does less than 2k DPS, yes I suck at doing damage, I think it's mostly horrible gearing). The thing that I find most useful about Rawr is that it shows what items might be upgrades for you from what you're wearing. For my pally that means more Savage Saronite gear, mix in some mail here and there, and fix my gemming. I will probably learn the Dragon eye cut for pure strength. Its a good tool, just not a be all, end all.
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