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Category Archives: Melee

Paladin Leveling: Protection 1-29

I was playing a Prot Paladin when I first started blogging, in fact it was the Paladin that got me started on it in the first place. It took my AoE Grinding game to a whole new level, allowed me to solo content that I otherwise would never have been able to, and it’s really what kick started the whole process of writing the leveling guides for me. You can thank my first Paladin, Lexington, for everything this blog has become.

But all of that happened several patches ago. I got my Prot Paladin to Northrend and hadn’t tanked a single instance that I can remember. I was a group quest soloing fool, doing my best to mass pull entire zones full of mobs just to see how far I could push it. Then came the nerfs. Then came my dislike of Northrend. Then came my new found love for twinking. Then my wife decided Horde was getting old and she wanted to try Alliance – on a new server. Then I met Cynwise. Then I found a home server I could really love. Then I found a great guild. All that added up to Lexington being left sitting on an abandoned server at level 74, doomed to not see the light of login for over a year.

When I did finally log back into him I found a new purpose, which was grinding reputation for enchants I wanted on the server that had changed with the 4.0.1 patch. I dropped his Prot spec for Ret and started laying waste to instances, and it was fun. I decided to grind honor to buy him a good two-hander and when I finally got it I just couldn’t spend it. That much honor could also buy me a sword and shield. Cool two-hander, or tanking toys… and so it was that I switched back to Protection and with the changes of Cataclysm my love for Prot was reborn. I rolled a new Prot Pally to level with my wife on a RAF account and found that I like it even more, even from a low level perspective.

Playing a Protection Paladin
Paladins play differently than they used to now that we have Holy Power thrown into the mix. In many ways they’re the same, but there are enough differences that the class will not feel the same leveling it up this time that it did prior to 4.0. Paladins have been “overpowered” for a while now, having some of the best defensive skills backed powerful healing and some great damage potential as well.

Paladins used to be incredibly boring to get through the first 30-40 levels with because they had almost no attack spells at all. You used auto-attack and Judgement and that was about it. Luckily 4.x changed that for us by giving us both Crusader Strike at level 1, and also bringing in Avenger’s Shield at level 10 when you choose the Prot spec. Now not only do you have attacks that you can use all the time, but you’re also dealing some significant damage with them.

The days of boring leveling are over. A new age of overpowered has begun, and Paladins are leading the charge.

Protection-Specific Tips
To start this section off, we’re going to look first at the perks of choosing the Retribution tree. The keystone ability you get for choosing Prot is Avenger’s Shield, an instant ranged attack that throws your shield at the target dealing Holy damage, silencing, and interrupting spell casting for 3 seconds, and then bounces to up to two more additional mobs within range of the target. You also get Vengeance which converts the damage you take into Attack Power (5% damage converted to AP, up to 10% of your health). These two really help you in your tanking, both with damage and threat.

You also get Touched by the Light granting you a 15% Stamina boost, +8% spell Hit and bonus Spell Power equal to 60% of your Strength. Finally, there’s Judgements of the Wise which causes your Judgement to grant 30% of your mana over 10 seconds. “Touched” helps ensure that your taunts always hit as well as giving a sweet Stamina boost and a buff to your Spell Power based on your primary offensive stat (Strength) so that your Avenger’s Shield and Consecrate (in particular) deal enough damage to matter.

Holy Power
Our new mechanic, Holy Power, is similar(ish) to a Rogue’s combo points. You build Holy Power by using certain abilities, primarily Crusader Strike, but they build up on you rather than on your target and they expire with time or when consumed by another ability. You can store up to three Holy Power at a time, and the abilities that use it increase in power with each point. At level 29 you get your other HP building attack, Hammer of the Righteous which you’ll use in place of Crusader Strike when fighting multiple targets.

Rather than having finishing moves, Paladins can burn their Holy Power with either healing spells or additional attacks, and since the HP stacks on you rather than the target you can kill one enemy by building up your HP and then kill another by spending the HP built on the first target. When soloing elites or fighting bosses in a dungeon, you can also contribute a great deal of instant-cast healing by using your HP with Word of Glory. I’ll get into the details of that further down.

For this level range your HP is going to be spent on Word of Glory heals, and that’s it. Heal yourself or heal somebody in the group. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, just be sure to spend it if there’s a need for it. I ran a random dungeon with my new Paladin at 38 and the healer asked why I kept healing. WoG is the only HP dump we have at this level so you either use it or lose it.

Self Healing
There’s one thing you’re going to need to be aware of at end game just as much as you are now at low level, and that’s healing yourself. With the Prot talents you have a chance to make your Word of Glory consume no HP, meaning you can cast it and then recast it and potentially re-recast it at times. If you’re in a group you can do this to help your healer by throwing heals to people who are low now and then, but you can also cast it on yourself which is what I tend to do most often.

When you finish a pull though, whether you’re in a dungeon or just questing, take a look at your health. If you aren’t topped off then go ahead and spend any excess HP you’re holding onto for a WoG cast to refill. If you don’t have any HP to spend then take a look at the ground around you. Do you see any critters? If so, go use Crusader Strike on the critter get in a charge of HP and then use it on WoG. The good thing about Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous is that they give you HP when you cast them, regardless of who/what you cast them on. Save a tank, kill a squirrel.

Seals and Judgement
A Seal is a Paladin-specific buff which typically adds some sort of extra bonus to your attacks. In this level range our only Seal is Seal of Righteousness which adds some Holy damage to each of our attacks. The Seal in use also determines the power of your Judgement spell, which in this case is just extra Holy damage.

There used to be multiple forms of Judgement, and they used to do different things based on your seal, but now it’s all an amount of damage. Seal of Righteousness provides the single highest Judgement damage of all the Seals at this time. Note that Judgement can only be cast if you have a Seal active, so always make sure that buff is up or else you lose access to one of your most useful attack spells.

Auras
Auras are another Paladin-specific buff, but these apply to your whole raid as long as they are within 40 yards of you. Our aura for most of this level range is Devotion Aura which provides a nice bonus to our Armor, which you may or may not replace at level 26 with Retribution Aura which deals damage to enemies whenever they hit you.

There are several auras to choose from as you get higher in level, but Retribution and Devotion are the two auras you’ll use most often while leveling. I generally run around in Retribution aura because the extra DPS appeals to me more than the extra survivability of Devotion, especially with Word of Glory in our tool belt now.

Devotion Aura doesn’t grant all that much armor so it’s not crucial, but Retribution Aura similarly doesn’t deal all that much damage to mobs that attack you. So use whichever one you like. If you find you’re taking more damage than you want, then switch to Devo, while if you’re not having survivability issues then Ret Aura will at least help you kill a little bit faster.

Important Spells & Abilities
There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Retribution spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Ret paladin.

Level 1-10:

  • Crusader Strike (1): An instant strike that causes 120% weapon damage.
  • Judgement (3): Unleashes the energy of a Seal to judge an enemy for Holy damage.
  • Seal of Righteousness (3): Fills the Paladin with holy spirit for 30 min, granting each single-target melee attack additional Holy damage. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time.
  • Devotion Aura (5): Gives additional armor to party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Hammer of Justice (7): Stuns the target for 6 sec.
  • Word of Glory (9): Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for 115 to 127 per charge of Holy Power.

Crusader Strike is your key to Holy Power generation until level 29, at which point it will share the load with Hammer of the Righteous. It also does a decent amount of damage and is your bread and butter attack against bosses or other single targets as you’ll cast it basically every other global cooldown. Once you get Hammer of the Righteous you’ll switch back and forth between the two depending on the situation.

Seal of Righteousness and Devotion Aura are the two buffs that you want to have up at all times. Auras have no duration and persist through death, so the one you have active when you die will still be active when your rez. Seals are only 30 minute buffs though, and must be active in order for you to use Judgement, so be sure to have your Seal active at all times, and if it gets dispelled during combat be sure to reapply it right away.

Hammer of Justice seems mostly PvP related, but it’s also great for questing and dungeons to either stop running mobs or to interrupt an enemy spellcaster. It’s also great for stunning a mob long enough to get off a Crusader Strike followed by a Word of Glory when you’re in desperate need of a heal, or to stun a mob and then use your Mining/Herbalism before somebody comes and steals your node.

Word of Glory is an amazing spell, one of my favorite additions to the Paladin. It’s an instant cast heal that requires no mana, instead healing you for an amount based on how much Holy Power you have available. Unlike most of your other HP abilities, WoG heals you for a flat amount, multiplied by the HP used. So if it heals you for 120 with a single point of HP, then it will heal you for 360 if you have three points of HP. So if you’re in a fight for your life then you can alternate Crusader Strike-Word of Glory, or you can build up a bigger stack if healing isn’t quite so time sensitive.

Level 11-19:

  • Flash of Light (16): A quick, expensive heal that heals a friendly target for 392 to 438.
  • Lay on Hands (16): Heals a friendly target for an amount equal to the Paladin’s maximum health and restores 160 of their mana. If used on self, the Paladin cannot be targeted by Divine Shield, Divine Protection, Hand of Protection, or self-targeted Lay on Hands again for 2 min.
  • Exorcism (18): Causes Holy damage to an enemy target. If the target is Undead or Demon, it will always critically hit.
  • Hand of Protection (18): A targeted party or raid member is protected from all physical attacks for 10 sec, but during that time they cannot attack or use physical abilities. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time. Once protected, the target cannot be targeted by Divine Shield or Hand of Protection again for 2 min.

I mention Flash of Light rather than Holy Light because enough though FoL cost 3x as much mana as HL, the cast time is significantly reduced, and if you need a heal badly enough that you’re going to spend a cast time on it, you want to make sure it’s big enough to be worth it. If you need to heal, and you need it now, then FoL is the way to go if Word of Glory won’t cover it and/or Lay on Hands is on cooldown. Our other big heal, the top dog of all heals, Lay on Hands appears at the same level. If you, or someone else is about to die, this is a literal life saver. The strongest healing spell in the game, even on a crit, can’t top the healing potential of this bad boy.

Exorcism isn’t used quite so often as Prot, but it is useful for ranged pulls or for killing fleeing targets. While leveling I’ll usually start off a boss fight with Exorcism for my pull followed by an immediate Avenger’s Shield so that I can front load my threat as much as possible. If you’re facing a group of trash with 4+ targets you can also pull with this targeting one on the far left or right side of the pack and then casting Avenger’s Shield on the target on the opposite end so that you can load damage only all of the targets.

Hand of Protection is one of the Paladin’s “bubbles”, preventing all physical damage to the friendly target that you cast it on. The good thing is, this will keep you alive against all forms of physical damage, including falling damage. The bad thing is, it does nothing at all against Magic damage and it prevents you for using any attack spells either. The best use for this, other than jumping off of cliffs, is to use it when you have no Holy Power, Lay on Hands is unavailable, and you’re being attacked by physical mobs. Pop HoP for immunity and then use your spells to heal yourself back to full. This is about the only time I bother casting Holy Light as I have the time to safely use it with its long cast time rather than spending additional mana on FoL.

One thing to note about HoP, if you’ve gotten the use out of it that you need (such as an emergency heal), you can right-click on the buff to cancel it, which will remove the restriction of attacking. I have a /cancelaura macro attached to my Crusader Strike for this purpose which I’ll have down in the macros section below. Another side note on this one, is that it will give you the Going Down achievement if you don’t already have it. Just get to a ridiculous height and jump, then wait until you’re a few seconds from hitting the ground to cast it.

Level 21-29:

  • Blessing of Kings (22): Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by 5%, and all magical resistances for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Consecration (24): Consecrates the land beneath the Paladin, doing Holy damage over 10 sec to enemies who enter the area.
  • Retribution Aura (26): Causes 9 Holy damage to any enemy that strikes a party or raid member within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
  • Holy Wrath (28): Sends bolts of holy power in all directions, causing Holy damage divided among all targets within 10 yds and stunning all Demons, Dragonkin, Elementals and Undead for 3 sec.
  • Hammer of the Righteous (29): Hammers the current target for 30% weapon damage, causing a wave of light that hits all targets within 8 yards for Holy damage. Grants a charge of Holy Power.

Blessing of Kings is another buff that you want to have up at all times, increasing your main stats by 5% and giving you some magic resistance as well. The blessing changed in 4.0.1 so that they now hit your whole party and they last for 1 hour as regular and greater blessings were combined into one.

Consecration is a decent ability to use if you’re in a big group of mobs, but the damage isn’t as good as it used to be and the mana cost is ridiculous, not to mention the cooldown was increased. Prior to 29 this is your only source of AoE threat, so you’re going to use it. As you get higher in level you’ll be able to reduce the mana cost significantly, but for now use it only when you have to.

Retribution Aura is our DPS aura, allowing us to deal extra damage by getting hit. You’re now a metal porcupine, congratulations. Holy Wrath is our new AoE spell of choice. It used to only work on undead and demons, but now it works on everything and applies a stun to specific types of mobs. The damage works for everything though and the animation actually looks cool now compared to what it was in the previous version. If you want to spend mana on AoE, do it with Holy Wrath, not Consecration (for now).

Leveling a Protection Paladin
Starter Rotation: Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
Questing Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
LFG Trash Rotation Pre-29: Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike
LFG Trash Rotation 29+: Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, Hammer of the Righteous, Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous
LFG Boss Rotation: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike

The Starter Rotation is what you’ll use prior to level 10. Basically just switch back and forth between Crusader Strike and Judgement until everything is dead.

While you’re questing you have two options. The first is to just keep on doing single target forever, the second is to do multiple mobs at once. I’m still a huge fan of AoE grinding, so I like to have at least 3 mobs on me at all times. When you first get Avenger’s Shield you can one-shot three mobs at a time with it, and if some do survive by some miracle then you can easily finish them off with CS and Judgements. If you’re going single target then go ahead and lead with Avenger’s Shield, but if you’re doing multiple mobs then save the shield until you have at least three mobs grouped together.

Before you get Hammer of the Righteous at level 29 your LFG Trash rotation is basically the same as what you’ve used for questing. Make sure your groups know what kind of pulling method you’re going to use though, so they’re not charging ahead when they need to hold back, and they’re not holding back when you’re ready for them to charge ahead. Let them know how you handle things so that they can adjust accordingly. Feel free to switch Judgement and Holy Wrath in the rotation if you find that you’re having mana issues. It’s better to have too much mana regen going on than not enough. Hammer of the Righteous takes the place of Crusader Strike so long as there are three or more mobs to attack. I tend to stick with HotR until I’m down to just one, but that’s a personal preference.

Boss fights are pretty simple for us as we don’t have a whole lot going on. Paladins have a very simple rotation that’s easy to stick to. Don’t bother with HotR unless the boss spawns adds or something as CS gives you better damage against a single target which in turn is better threat generation. The Exorcism cast is really only for the initial pull, so don’t bother trying to keep it in an actual rotation as casting spells strips your avoidance and makes you easier to hit.

Talent Spec: Protection 29

  • Seals of the Pure 2/2: Increases the damage done by your Seal of Righteousness, Seal of Truth, and Seal of Justice by 12%.
  • Eternal Glory: Your Word of Glory has a 30% chance not to consume Holy Power.
  • Divinity 2/2:Increases all healing done by you and all healing effects on you by 2%.
  • Judgements of the Just 2/2: Your Judgement reduces the melee and ranged attack speed of the target by 20% for 20 seconds. In addition, increases the duration of your Seal of Justice effect by 1 second.
  • Toughness 3/3: Increases the critical effect chance of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Word of Glory by 15%.
  • Hammer of the Righteous 1/1: Hammer the current target for 30% weapon damage, causing a wave of light that hits all targets within 8 yards for Holy damage. Grants a charge of Holy Power.

We start off with Seals of the Pure because it’s the only damage increase you can get at that level so it’s the only thing that’s going to help you in questing which is your only option at this point. It’s not a lot of damage, but it’s more than you had before so you’ll take it. Eternal Glory gives your Word of Glory a chance to consume no Holy Power meaning that you can cast it back to back (to back) for lots of healing. Healing is a good way to generate AoE threat early on which is another reason why you should us WoG whenever you have a full three charges of HP just sitting there. The one point in Divinity is mostly just to get us to the next tier, but it does help our healers.

If you find that you have survivability issues, you may consider switching the two points from either of the other talents in the first tier to Divinity to give your healers an extra 4% bonus healing on you. Paladins seem squishy to me when I heal them in the 19’s bracket on my twinks, but I never had problems myself.

Judgements of the Just slows down the attack speed of mobs that are hitting you, so it’s a good survivability tool that also helps in PvP. For this level range that’s all it does for us. Toughness increases your Armor for even more survivability. You are a tank after all, so getting hit in the face is kind of your thing; you might as well make it hurt less.

And we finish up this level range with Hammer of the Righteous for some yummy AoE goodness. This used to hit only three targets (four if glyphed), but now it hits everything within 8 yards of your target. It shares a cooldown with Crusader Strike so you either have to use one or the other. When you have multiple mobs you want this, and when you’re facing just one you want to use CS instead.

Glyphs
I’m going to list at least two options for each glyph type that you can choose from, and below each section I’ll mention why I choose them and under which circumstances I might change from one to another.

Prime

These are your two best choices for threat and damage. Do you want to have better threat against trash (HotR) or better threat against bosses (CS)? That’s the question, and your choice of glyph is your answer. I prefer to go with HotR because I like to AoE while I’m questing as well, so it’s just more valuable for me to take it over CS.

Major

Using Consecration makes the high mana cost and short durability of Consecration a bit less painful, allowing you to make more use of it when tanking. I don’t like having threat issues, so I like to use Consecrate when I can afford it. Dazing Shield is useful, though not necessary as it slows down the targets that it hits. It’s great for kiting or for setting up really large pulls and such, but you probably don’t want to get into the habit of doing that too much if you’re not familiar with tanking. I always end up using this glyph because I like to get a little creative with my shield casts, but that’s me.

Minor

As with most classes, our minor glyphs kind of suck. Most Paladin minor glyphs right now just reduce the mana cost of spells that you’ll likely only cast outside of combat anyway, where casting your buffs and then drinking to restore your mana would negate the glyph’s use, not to mention we don’t care about mana much to begin with. But, these are the only glyphs we can use at this level range, so there you have it. You’ll at least be casting Kings on everyone in LFG and on yourself while questing, so you might as well pick that one up first.

Protection Macros
I don’t use a whole lot of fancy macros on my Paladin just yet, but I do have a few that are particularly useful.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cancelaura Blessing of Protection
/cast Crusader Strike [same for Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous, etc]

This is the one that I mentioned up above that cancels my BoP right before I attack. BoP gives you immunity to physical damage, but at the expense of not allowing you to attack. Generally you want to cast this when you need to heal yourself (if you’re targeting yourself), so after you’re finished healing it’s time to get back to combat rather than just waiting for it to end itself. Basically this one saves me the trouble of canceling the buff myself.

I use a version of this macro for all of my primary attack spells as I mention in the macro text itself.

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast [modifier:alt] Consecration
/castsequence reset=combat/9 Holy Wrath, Consecration, Holy Wrath

This macro I use for my AoE, just to save space on my bar. I don’t cast Consecration as often as I do Holy Wrath, and if I have an option between the two I generally go with HW unless the fight is going to last long enough for Consecration to be worth it. So using this you’ll cast Holy Wrath and for the next 9 seconds or until you cast it the button will change to cast Consecrate instead. For long fights with lots of AoE I have it cycle to another cast of Holy Wrath. You also have the option of holding Alt to force a Consecrate cast if you can’t or don’t want to use Holy Wrath.

Gearing Up as Protection
As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit and Haste. As a tank though, you also want to look for survival stats such as Stamina, Dodge and Parry.

Stat Priority: Strength and Stamina, Dodge and Parry

In short, we’re going to stack Strength and Stamina first and foremost, followed by our avoidance stats of Dodge and Parry, and then on to any other DPS stats (attack power, hit, crit, haste, etc). Most of the stats that you want to cap at end game don’t even exist in the early stages, so this is really all you need to watch out for.

If you have access to heirloom gear and want to know which ones to use:
Venerable Dal’Rend’s Sacred Charge or Venerable Mass of McGowan with the Crusader enchant
Polished Breastplate of Valor with the Greater Stats enchant (+4 all)
Polished Spaulders of Valor
Swift Hand of Justice two of these

If you don’t have access to BoA items then you want to look for gear via dungeons. Here is a short list of items that come to mind for me:

Ragefire Chasm
Subterranean Cape Cloak, +4 Str, +4 Agi
Cavedweller Bracers Wrist, +3 Str, +3 Stam
Stone Guard Greaves Legs, +4 Str, +5 Stam, +4 Crit [Horde-only Quest]

Deadmines
Cape of the Brotherhood Cloak, +5 Agi, +3 Stam
Cookie’s Tenderizer Mace, 13.5 DPS, +3 Str, +2 Stam, +2 Hit
Gold Plated Buckler Shield, 672 Armor, +3 Str, +5 Stam
Smite’s Reaver Axe, 13.5 DPS, +2 Str, +3 Stam, +2 Hit
Cookie’s Meat Mallet Mace, 11.7 DPS< +3 Str, +3 Stam [Quest]

Wailing Caverns
Cobrahn’s Grasp Mail Belt, +8 Str, +3 Agi
Kresh’s Back Shield, 700 Armor, +3 Stam, +5 Dodge
Mutant Scale Breastplate Chest, 164 Armor, +8 Str, +6 Stam
Savage Trodders Boots, 113 Armor, +5 Str, +5 Stam
Cleansed Pauldrons Shoulders, +5 Stam, +4 Int, +4 Spirit [Quest]
Pythas’ Vest Chest, +5 Str, +7 Stam, +5 Crit [Quest]

Shadowfang Keep
Phantom Armor Chest, +3 Str, +11 Stam, +5 Crit
Baron’s Scepter Mace, 14.1 DPS, +2 Str, +3 Stam, +2 Hit
Butcher’s Slicer Sword, 14.1 DPS, +2 Str, +3 Stam, +2 Hit
Comander’s Crest Shield, 700 Armor, +2 Str, +4 Stam, +3 Dodge
Rift Bracers Wrist, +3 Str, +4 Stam, +3 Crit
Silverlaine’s Family Seal Ring, +5 Str, +3 Stam
Breastplate of the Terrible Price Chest, +7 Stam, +5 Int, +5 Spir [Quest]
Deathstalker Pauldrons Shoulder, +4 Str, +5 Stam, +4 Hit [Quest]

Blackfathom Deeps
Algae Fists Mail Gloves, +8 Str, +5 Stam
Tortoise Armor Chest, +9 Stam, +9 Dodge
Band of the Skull Crusher Ring, +7 Str
Dusk-Stained Cloak Cloak, +5 Str, +5 Stam
Scales of Aku’mai Legs, +10 Stam, +7 Int, +7 Crit
Shield Against the Evil Presence Shield, 891 Armor, +6 Str, +6 Stam

The Stockades
Skeletal Gauntlets Gloves, +8 Str, +5 Stam
Hogger’s Shiny Ring, +6 Stam, +6 Dodge [Ally-only Quest]
Rifle Commander’s Eyepatch Helm, +8 Agi, +11 Stam, +8 Hit [Ally-only Quest]
Shield of the Stockades Shield, 945 Armor, +6 Stam, +4 Int, +4 Spir

Gnomeregan
Grubbis Paws Gloves, +8 Str, +5 Stam, +5 Crit
Thermaplugg’s Central Core Shield, 917 Armor, +6 Stam, 5% when hit to deal 35-65 Nature damage
Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator Cloth Helm, +12 Int, +8 Spir, Use: 146-167 Nature frontal cone and Lightning Shield effect
Charged Gear Ring, +4 Arcane Res, +4 Nature Rez, Random Enchant (Eluding: +12 Dodge +5 Agi, Stamina: +10 Stam, Strength: +10 Str, Bear: +7 Stam +7 Str, Gorilla: +7 Int +7 Str, Tiger: +7 Agi +7 Str)
Barechus’ Greaves +7 Str, +11 Stam, +7 Crit [Ally-only Quest]
G-Team Belt Belt, +8 Stam, +5 Int, +5 Spir [Ally-only Quest]

The cloth helm isn’t meant for you of course, but that Use ability is quite tasty. Chances are high that if it drops it’ll end up going to a clothie (and rightly so), but if nobody wants it you can put it to go use for that ability.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Melee, Paladin, Play Styles

 

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Hand Me Downs: Hunters

I realize that my Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, so I’ve decided to do a breakdown of it so that it’s more useful to those who want try it out.

To do this, I’m going to do a breakdown of each class and show you which Hand Me Downs (HMD’s) I suggest using for the given class and spec. Most of this information is copied and pasted from the original post, but I’ve put in specifics related to the Warrior class and specs and hopefully given a bit more detail and direction for why I chose what I did.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Ranged and Melee Weapons
We’re going to start off with weapons because they have more potential than armor for making your low level toons extra powerful. As far as Hunters are concerned though, melee weapons are most often nothing more than “stat sticks” meaning that you take them simply for the stats that they give you with no intention of ever actually using it in combat.

Ranged Weapons
Cadet’s Bow: [Lvl: -] 4-9 Damage (3.2 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Hornwood Recurve Bow: [Lvl: 3] 6-13 Damage (4.4 DPS), 2.10 Speed
Ornate Blunderbuss: [Lvl: 4] 7-15 Damage (5.1 DPS), 2.20 Speed

The highest damage you can find on a bow at level 1 is sadly the Cadet’s Bow which has a low drop rate and from only a few mobs. If you want to hunt the bow down, then feel free to do so, but it’s pretty easily replaced by better ranged weapons that are available at levels 3 or 4.

The only class that really needs to worry about having a high-DPS ranged weapon is the Hunter, and with their power at low level they can make it to level 4 in the blink of an eye and bypass the need for the Cadet or Hornwood bows. If you’re going to roll a Hunter I suggest you skip the Cadet’s Bow and aim for either the Hornwood Bow or Ornate Blunderbuss when they become available, and then upgrade to better weapons once you get close to level 10.

I didn’t bother listing other HMD ranged weapons beyond that level because the Hornwood Bow or Ornate Blunderbuss should be more than enough to get you to level 10 and at that point you’re better of ditching HMD’s and using other weapons instead. The easiest ones to obtain, or make yourself, come from the Engineering profession. They tend to have higher damage than green drops in dungeons and they’re almost always an affordable option as well. If you can’t find them, it’s not that hard to pick up the Engineering profession yourself and level it up high enough to make your own.

The “enchants” available for ranged weapons right now really suck too, so it doesn’t matter that you’re replacing your ranged weapon quickly because you’re better off just not bothering to enchant them in the first place.

Ranged Weapon Enchants
Crude Scope (Req. 5): +1 Damage to a bow or gun
Standard Scope (Req. 10): +2 Damage to a bow or gun

Your Ranged weapons are pretty lonely in the enchanting category as your only options really are a +1 Damage scope that requires level 5 to benefit from, and a +2 Damage scope that requires level 10. The best HMD enchants you can give a hunter are actually his melee weapons by using the +Agility enchants mentioned below with the +25 Agi on a two-hander prior to level 20 and then +15 Agi on dual one-handers from 20 on.

Melee Weapons
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Jambiya: [Lvl: 11] 7-14 Damage (7.4 DPS), 1.40 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed

I have a few options listed for two-handed weapons just to give you a little variety, and then some one-handed weapons as well. As I mentioned above, you’re not going to use your melee weapon unless you’re somehow forced to do so, so the only reason you’re going to consider a two-handed weapon is because you can enchant it with +25 Agility which gives you 50 Attack Power.

The one-handed weapons listed here are for when you reach level 20 and can dual wield. The best thing to do here is just borrow a pair of weapons that you would have used on your Rogue and use them instead. Having two one-handed weapons allows you to use dual +15 Agility enchants for a total of 60 Attack Power.

Melee Weapon Enchants
Enchant 2H Weapon – Agility: +25 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)

As a Hunter, the only enchants you’re concerned about for your melee HMD’s is Agility, and the more you have the better it is. If you can’t find or can’t afford the agility enchants, then the only other thing to really even consider is Fiery Weapon so that in those few, rare occasions that you are forced into melee you can at least get some more bang for your buck.

Use a two-hander with +25 Agility if at all possible, and then switch to dual one-handers with +15 Agility once you reach level 20.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Leather Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Sun Cured Vest: 33 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Sun Cured Pants: 29 Armor
Waist: Squeeler’s Belt: 22 Armor, Sun Cured Belt: 18 Armor
Bracer: Sun Cured Bracers: 14 Armor
Gloves: Sun Cured Gloves: 20 Armor
Feet: Sun Cured Boots: 23 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

Above is the vendor bought Leather set from the Blood Elf starting area. For level 1 characters these do end up being the strongest items available to you, so I haven’t bothered listing items for other levels as armor upgrades really aren’t important for your first 20 levels unless you’re a tank.

The Haliscan Jacket and Pantaloons and the Tuxedo Pants easily beat out the best leather options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth. They also happen to have higher item levels than all of the other options, giving you the ability to put more worthwhile enchants on them as well.

Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

It’s hard to be +6 Stats no matter which class you’re playing, and the Hunter is no exception. Go for +6 or +4 if you can find them, otherwise I’d suggest even +3 Stats above 150 or 100 Health. Hunters have a lot of survivability due to their pets and their abilities to avoid melee combat such as Disengage and traps, so straight health isn’t all that great.

Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina

The one exception I make for using +1 Agility over +9 Strength is for the Hunter. You get almost nothing at all from Strength, so 1 Agility is the better of the two. If you feel the need for health then 9 Stamina is a way to do it, but you’re a Hunter…just move away and shoot them in the face.

Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Gloves provide us one of the best enchants of all of our HMD’s with Superior Agility (+15 Agi). The +15 Agi enchant isn’t exactly easy to find though, because it’s not exactly easy to farm either. If you can’t find it, then look for the +7 Agi instead. Having that +15 Agi enchant is like giving us a third weapon though, it’s actually pretty sick as far as HMD enchants are concerned.

Haste is the only other option that’s really worth considering here as it will help you attack a bit faster and also help your DoT’s tick a bit quicker. It’s not the best thing in the world, but it’s better than nothing (or Strength).

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

For Hunters I prefer to go all out when it comes to damage, so I go for +7 Agility even over Minor Speed. Also, Hunters eventually get Aspect of the Cheetah which increases their run speed and doesn’t stack with the enchant. By the time you get the spell (in your 20’s, I believe) you probably already have your HMD boots replaced anyway.

Minor Speed is still a really good option until that point, especially if you want to use a lot of kiting or practice your Jump Shots, but since it doesn’t stack it will eventually be nullified by your class abilities.

The other option is Lesser Accuracy which is still good for a low level boost to your Hit chance, but I don’t find myself missing very often as a Hunter anyway so I generally don’t bother.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility, +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor

The Stealth enchant has stepped up in 4.0.3a as the top enchant for Agility-based HMD’s. Rather than making it harder to be noticed while it stealth, it now gives you +8 Agility and +8 Dodge making it far superior to every other cloak enchant available on your HMD’s. The mats for it are also fairly inexpensive given how powerful this enchant is.

Hunters have a ton of burst damage in low levels compared to many of the other classes, so if you’re doing dungeon runs you may give some serious consideration to the Subtlety enchant to reduce your threat. It’s not great, but every little bit helps. It also helps with pulling threat off of your pet, so it’s a lot better for Hunters than it is for any other class.

Your other option is +70 Armor, but you’re a Hunter, remember? NO MELEE FOR YOU!

 
 

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Hand Me Downs: Paladins

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Paladins.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Melee Weapons
Unlike casters, a melee class actually needs to look for good weapons in order to perform well. For a Paladin, we’re looking for good damage slow speed. We don’t necessarily want to stick with the same weapon from level 1-15 (or higher), because the damage itself needs to go up, so with melee classes you may want to consider multiple HMD’s to upgrade to throughout the first 20 levels or so.

Once the LFG becomes available to you I strongly suggest you run through The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, as well as The Stockade and Blackfathom Deeps. Those dungeons have the best weapons you can find for your level. While some may not always perform as well as your HMD’s, averaged out they most likely will. Remember that you’re looking for big damage, slow speeds, and bonuses to Strength and Attack Power.

While HMD’s are excellent at making your characters more powerful, when it comes to melee classes your weapons should be upgraded whenever possible, making HMD’s have much shorter lifespans for melee classes. I don’t bother with melee HMD’s passed level 11-12, and I wouldn’t suggest that you do so either unless you can’t stand LFG and for some reason can’t find a quest with a decent reward.

Melee Weapons (1H)
Fine Scimitar: [Lvl: -] 3-7 Damage (2.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Axe: [Lvl: -] 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Studded Blackjack: [Lvl: 5] 5-11 Damage (4.4 DPS), 1.80 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed
Cleaver: [Lvl: 15] 14-27 Damage (9.2 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Double Axe: [Lvl: 19] 19-37 Damage (11.2 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Left-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Right-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed

I don’t generally suggest leveling with one-handed weapons starting out because of their low damage compared to two-handers, but if you want to use a shield to help you level then these are your options.

Starting out I’d shoot for the Arcane Forged Axe since it’s a vendor item compared to the Fine Scimitar being a drop. At level 5 you may want to upgrade to a Studded Blackjack or similar item for higher base damage, though it’s not necessary if you have a decent enchant on the axes. For melee classes, I suggest Fiery Weapon as your initial HMD enchant, because it deals 40 Fire damage when it procs, and that proc can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage instead. The damage from the proc is often enough to one-shot the mobs in your starting areas, and it quickly dispatches the mobs you’ll face up to level 10 as well.

At level 10 you need to make a decision on your spec, and that determines which weapons you pursue from there on. Holy will want a one-handed weapon and a shield, though you don’t really need to upgrade your weapons as often with Holy. Protection wants a solid one-hander and shield, and Retribution demands the nastiest two-hander you can find.

Melee Weapons (2H)
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Tabar: [Lvl: 9] 21-33 Damage (8.5 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Claymore: [Lvl: 10] 23-35 Damage (9.0 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Rock Hammer: [Lvl: 16] 37-59 Damage (12.5 DPS), 3.70 Speed
Battle Axe: [Lvl: 20] 46-70 Damage (15.3 DPS), 3.80 Speed

Here’s quite a list of two-handers for you to choose from. Remember to take your racial modifiers into account when choosing your weapons. If you have a bonus when using certain types of weapons then try to stick to those weapons to maximize your performance in combat. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just going with whatever weapons look cool either.

For my melee toons I generally get a weapon that I can use at level 1 and then replace at 5, or one that I can use a level 3 and then replace at level 10-12. If you’re going to stick to two-handers then I suggest upgrading to the Vile Fine Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff at level 5 and then the Claymore at level 10. You can probably last through most of your teens with the Claymore before replacing it with a dungeon drop or quest reward that offers more base damage and a decent stat boost to make giving up the enchant worth it.

If you aren’t using LFG to level and you aren’t having any luck with good weapons from your quest rewards, then you might consider upgrading to either the Rock Hammer or the Battle Axe as HMD’s. I would strongly urge you to run dungeons at this level though as there are some excellent weapons to be found.

Enchanting Melee Weapons
As a melee Paladin, you’re mostly interested in Strength enchants. Stamina is a good option as well, especially if you’re going Protection as they seem to be taking more damage than the other low level tanks at the moment.

Protection and Retribution Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Strength: +15 Strength
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)

The best source for Strength at low levels is Crusader with a +100 Strength proc. That’s 200 Attack Power plus a heal when it procs that’s going to have you one-shotting mobs left and right. If you go with a slow weapon, then Crusader is the one you want. If you’re going with fast weapons, then you want either +15 Strength or Fiery Weapon.

I don’t find Fiery to be quite as appealing for Paladins as I do the other melee classes, though I can’t say for sure why that it. Lifestealing is a good backup for Crusader, as is the +15 Strength.

Holy Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect

In 3.5 the +30 SP was the go-to enchant for casters, but with the change to spell power Mighty Intellect has taken the lead. It’s also the cheapest of the three options which makes it that much more appealing. You don’t get quite as much spell power out of the deal, but you’re trading 7-8 SP for 330 mana which is more than worth it for low level casters in my opinion.

Shields
Holy and Protection will both be using shields. Prior to level 10 I’d still us a two-hander for all three Paladin specs, but that’s just me. If you want to use a shield before then, here’s your list of HMD worthy shields.

Shields
Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Wall Shield: [Lvl: 12] 480 Armor
Reinforced Targe: [Lvl: 19] 634 Armor

If you want to start off with a shield, then the Large Round is the one you want. The Dull Heater can be purchased at level 5, or you can do what I did and spend 18 seconds farming a pair of Standard Issue Shields outside of Scarlet Monetary. (Note: The area around SM changed from 4.0.3 to 4.0.3a, so these might not be available now.)

I’ve listed a couple of options for HMD’s passed level 10 if you’re going to roll as Protection, but you’re probably better off sticking with your low level shield until you replace it with dungeon drops or quest rewards.

Protection Shield Enchants
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

The best option from a leveling perspective is to go with the biggest, nastiest shield spike you can find to slap on the most interesting-looking shield you have access to and then go stab some eyeballs out with the shield spikes while you’re smashing faces with your weapon.

If you’re worried about your health then get the Stamina enchant, but otherwise stick with the shield spikes.

Holy Shield Enchants
Enchant Shield – Vitality: Restore 4 health and mana every 5 seconds
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Holy doesn’t really have much trouble as far as mana is concerned at low level, so this one’s a little rough. Better safe than sorry – the Vitality enchant is probably the best one overall. If you’re going to do a lot of soloing then I would suggest a shield spike. The Stamina enchant isn’t a bad option, but Paladins have the best low level survivability of every class in the game, so 70 HP isn’t really all that important.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Mail Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Unadorned Chain Vest: 53 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Unadorned Chain Leggings: 47 Armor
Waist: Unadorned Chain Belt: 30 Armor
Bracer: Unadorned Chain Bracers: 23 Armor
Gloves: Unadorned Chain Gloves: 33 Armor
Feet: Unadorned Chain Boots: 37 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

No surprises here, again we have the Blood Elf starting zone’s vendor items. Warriors get better Rage if their armor is a somewhat slacking (at least they used to), and Paladins have plenty of self healing at their disposal, so I wouldn’t bother replacing HMD’s on either of them until you start to find superior dungeon drops or significant quest rewards.

I still get a little chuckle at the Haliscan Jacket/Pantaloons and Tuxedo Pants beat out even the best Mail options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth.

Holy Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: +100 Mana
Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime: Restore 7 Mana every 5 seconds [ilvl 35+]

The best choice here is +6 Stats which gives you 90 Mana and 6 Spell Power, though it can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket. The +4 and +3 Stats enchants are listed for the same reason, providing both spell power and mana. Mana isn’t nearly as big of an issue for a Paladin as it is for other classes, so the stats pull ahead here for me.

Protection and Retribution Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

The +150 Health enchant can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket because it requires a minimum item level of 35 and the Haliscan is one of only two items you can wear at level 1 that meat that item level requirement. The other is an expensive gown purchased in Moonglade which is limited quantity and has a horribly long respawn time. To give you an example of how hard it is to find, I’ve been looking now for almost 5 weeks and I’ve never even seen it.

The best option for offense rather than survival is the +6 Stats which still gives you 60 Health, but also a fair amount of Attack and/or Spellpower. Like the +150 Health though, it toon can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket.

The +4 Stats enchant is pretty hard to find and you’re going to pay a pretty copper for it if you buy it on the AH, so you may want to settle for the much easier to obtain +3 Stats. The +100 Health isn’t going to help you perform any better in combat, it’s just survivability, so it’s listed last.

Holy Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect
Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration: Restore 5 Mana every 5 seconds

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better now than it was before 4.0. You can either have 15 SP or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste. If you do find mana issues, then the Mana Regeneration enchant is there to help you along.

Protection and Retribution Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

Finally we come to a class that gets some real benefit out of that +9 Strength enchant. Unless you’re in dire need of more health, the Strength enchant is the way to go. If you need survivability then the Stamina is a very solid choice as well, and if by some freak occurrence you can’t find either of those, then the +1 Agility is better than nothing.

Holy Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells. Haste can help you in a few situations, though mostly in your reduced cast times.

Protection and Retribution Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Threat: +2% Threat on all attacks

I generally prefer the +15 Agility enchant for my gloves, but the Strength classes don’t get quite as much from Agility, so +7 Strength is a very solid option. Given that the two mail-wearing classes who’ll be using your HMD’s both benefit the most from strength, I’d say +7 Strength is the way to go here, or just reuse the +15 Agility Leather gloves you use on your other toons. I wouldn’t bother enchanting both a leather and mail piece with +15 Agility unless you’re just trying to burn through your enchanting mats.

Haste will give you a slight boost to your attacking speed, and will give a small benefit to your Rend damage (at least, I think bleeds benefit from Haste the same way DoT’s do – could be wrong), and the +7 Agility is a decent substitute if you can’t find the others.

I also listed the Threat enchant which I definitely recommend if you’re going to be a tank. From what I’ve seen so far in low level LFG, Paladins have the best threat generation of all the low level tanks. That 2% Threat can probably solidify that for you if you find that you’re having problems. Note that I give advice on this enchant and this situation based on my healing of tanks on my Resto Shaman twink, not from my experience tanking.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Holy Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours. Accuracy will help if you’re using Holy Shock offensively or when you’re using Crusader Strike for additional Holy Power.

Protection and Retribution Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Paladins still have nothing to help them close gaps when tanking and such, so I prefer Minor Speed for them to get whatever edge I can. The +7 Agility will give you better avoidance and also help with your melee crits, so it’s a good choice as well. Hit is there if you need it, though you probably will not, and +7 Stamina is something to consider if you’re going Prot.

Paladin tanks seem to take more damage than the others right now at low level, so I strongly recommend picking up extra Stamina where you can afford it if you’re going to be a tank.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility and +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

As I’ve mentioned in the other HMD posts so far, the Stealth enchant made a surprise leap of awesomeness in 4.0.3a by switching from a lackluster enchant to the best-in-slot cloak enchant for the majority of low level play. You want it more than the others and that’s really all there is to it.

If you can’t find Stealth then the +3 Agility enchant would be my preference for Retribution while I would probably consider +70 Armor for Protection. Retribution can lay down a lot of damage in a really short time right now, especially if they store Holy Power from one fight to use at the beginning of another. For that reason you may consider Subtlety for Retribution, but you likely have enough survivability to handle pulling threat from time to time anyway if you’d rather go with one of the others.

 
 

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Hand Me Downs: Warriors

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Warriors.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Melee Weapons
Unlike casters, a melee class actually needs to look for good weapons in order to perform well. For a Warrior, we’re looking for good damage slow speed. We don’t necessarily want to stick with the same weapon from level 1-15 (or higher), because the damage itself needs to go up, so with melee classes you may want to consider multiple HMD’s to upgrade to throughout the first 20 levels or so.

Once the LFG becomes available to you I strongly suggest you run through The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, as well as The Stockade and Blackfathom Deeps. Those dungeons have the best weapons you can find for your level. While some may not always perform as well as your HMD’s, averaged out they most likely will. Remember that you’re looking for big damage, slow speeds, and bonuses to Strength and Attack Power.

While HMD’s are excellent at making your characters more powerful, when it comes to melee classes your weapons should be upgraded whenever possible, making HMD’s have much shorter lifespans for melee classes. I don’t bother with melee HMD’s passed level 11-12, and I wouldn’t suggest that you do so either unless you can’t stand LFG and for some reason can’t find a quest with a decent reward.

Melee Weapons (1H)
Fine Scimitar: [Lvl: -] 3-7 Damage (2.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Axe: [Lvl: -] 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Studded Blackjack: [Lvl: 5] 5-11 Damage (4.4 DPS), 1.80 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed
Cleaver: [Lvl: 15] 14-27 Damage (9.2 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Double Axe: [Lvl: 19] 19-37 Damage (11.2 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Left-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Right-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed

I don’t generally suggest leveling with one-handed weapons starting out because of their low damage compared to two-handers, but if you want to use a shield to help you level then these are your options. If you decide to go Fury at level 10 then you’ll want a good pair of one-handers though, so I’ve included some good options for you here.

Starting out I’d shoot for the Arcane Forged Axe since it’s a vendor item compared to the Fine Scimitar being a drop. At level 5 you may want to upgrade to a Studded Blackjack or similar item for higher base damage, though it’s not necessary if you have a decent enchant on the axes. For melee classes, I suggest Fiery Weapon as your initial HMD enchant, because it deals 40 Fire damage when it procs, and that proc can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage instead. The damage from the proc is often enough to one-shot the mobs in your starting areas, and it quickly dispatches the mobs you’ll face up to level 10 as well.

At level 10 you need to make a decision on your spec, and that determines which weapons you pursue from there on. If you’re Arms, then you need to upgrade to a two-hander to maximize your damage potential. For Fury, it’s time to grab a pair of one-handers for furious facesmashing. And for Prot, you just need to upgrade to a better one-hander and grab yourself a shield.

Melee Weapons (2H)
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Tabar: [Lvl: 9] 21-33 Damage (8.5 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Claymore: [Lvl: 10] 23-35 Damage (9.0 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Rock Hammer: [Lvl: 16] 37-59 Damage (12.5 DPS), 3.70 Speed
Battle Axe: [Lvl: 20] 46-70 Damage (15.3 DPS), 3.80 Speed

Here’s quite a list of two-handers for you to choose from. Remember to take your racial modifiers into account when choosing your weapons. If you have a bonus when using certain types of weapons then try to stick to those weapons to maximize your performance in combat. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just going with whatever weapons look cool either.

For my melee toons I generally get a weapon that I can use at level 1 and then replace at 5, or one that I can use a level 3 and then replace at level 10-12. If you’re going to stick to two-handers then I suggest upgrading to the Vile Fine Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff at level 5 and then the Claymore at level 10. You can probably last through most of your teens with the Claymore before replacing it with a dungeon drop or quest reward that offers more base damage and a decent stat boost to make giving up the enchant worth it.

If you aren’t using LFG to level and you aren’t having any luck with good weapons from your quest rewards, then you might consider upgrading to either the Rock Hammer or the Battle Axe as HMD’s. I would strongly urge you to run dungeons at this level though as there are some excellent weapons to be found.

Enchanting Melee Weapons
As a Warrior, you’re interested in Strength enchants. Stamina is a decent option since your life revolves around taking damage as well as dealing it.

Melee Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Strength: +15 Strength
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)

The best source for Strength at low levels is Crusader with a +100 Strength proc. That’s 200 Attack Power plus a heal when it procs that’s going to have you one-shotting mobs left and right. If you go with a slow weapon, then Crusader is the one you want. If you’re going with fast weapons, then you want either +15 Strength or Fiery Weapon.

If you’re going to roll a Protection Warrior, then you might want to consider Lifestealing instead because it deals extra damage and also converts that damage into healing for you. While my personal preference is still Crusader, regardless of spec, you can use any of the ones above and be successful.

For Fury, I tend to feel more “furious” if I’m dual wielding Fiery weapons because it both looks cool and has some burst damage from the procs. Fiery Weapon is typically half the price or less of a Crusader enchant, so go with whichever one you have easiest access to. You might also want to consider putting different enchants on your weapons so they look distinct and provide the benefit of multiple enchants. Crusader/Fiery, Crusader/Strength, Fiery/Lifestealing, and Crusader/Lifestealing are the combinations I would suggest if you go that route.

Shields
The only Warrior that’s going to use a Shield passed level 10 is Protection. You can use a shield before then even if you don’t plan on going Prot, though you may be better off going with a big two-hander for damage.

Shields
Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Wall Shield: [Lvl: 12] 480 Armor
Reinforced Targe: [Lvl: 19] 634 Armor

If you want to start off with a shield, then the Large Round is the one you want. The Dull Heater can be purchased at level 5, or you can do what I did and spend 18 seconds farming a pair of Standard Issue Shields outside of Scarlet Monetary. (Note: The area around SM changed from 4.0.3 to 4.0.3a, so these might not be available now.)

I’ve listed a couple of options for HMD’s passed level 10 if you’re going to roll as Prot, but you’re probably better off sticking with your low level shield until you replace it with dungeon drops or quest rewards.

Shield Enchants
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

The best option from a leveling perspective is to go with the biggest, nastiest shield spike you can find to slap on the most interesting-looking shield you have access to and then go stab some eyeballs out with the shield spikes while you’re smashing faces with your weapon.

If you’re worried about your health then get the Stamina enchant, but otherwise stick with the shield spikes.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Mail Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Unadorned Chain Vest: 53 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Unadorned Chain Leggings: 47 Armor
Waist: Unadorned Chain Belt: 30 Armor
Bracer: Unadorned Chain Bracers: 23 Armor
Gloves: Unadorned Chain Gloves: 33 Armor
Feet: Unadorned Chain Boots: 37 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

No surprises here, again we have the Blood Elf starting zone’s vendor items. Warriors get better Rage if their armor is a somewhat slacking (at least they used to), and Paladins have plenty of self healing at their disposal, so I wouldn’t bother replacing HMD’s on either of them until you start to find superior dungeon drops or significant quest rewards.

I still get a little chuckle at the Haliscan Jacket/Pantaloons and Tuxedo Pants beat out even the best Mail options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth.

Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

The +150 Health enchant can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket because it requires a minimum item level of 35 and the Haliscan is one of only two items you can wear at level 1 that meat that item level requirement. The other is an expensive gown purchased in Moonglade which is limited quantity and has a horribly long respawn time. To give you an example of how hard it is to find, I’ve been looking now for almost 5 weeks and I’ve never even seen it.

The best option for offense rather than survival is the +6 Stats which still gives you 60 Health, but also a fair amount of Attack and/or Spellpower. Like the +150 Health though, it toon can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket.

The +4 Stats enchant is pretty hard to find and you’re going to pay a pretty copper for it if you buy it on the AH, so you may want to settle for the much easier to obtain +3 Stats. The +100 Health isn’t going to help you perform any better in combat, it’s just survivability, so it’s listed last.

Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

Finally we come to a class that gets some real benefit out of that +9 Strength enchant. Unless you’re in dire need of more health, the Strength enchant is the way to go. If you need survivability then the Stamina is a very solid choice as well, and if by some freak occurrence you can’t find either of those, then the +1 Agility is better than nothing.

Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Threat: +2% Threat on all attacks

I generally prefer the +15 Agility enchant for my gloves, but the Strength classes don’t get quite as much from Agility, so +7 Strength is a very solid option. Given that the two mail-wearing classes who’ll be using your HMD’s both benefit the most from strength, I’d say +7 Strength is the way to go here, or just reuse the +15 Agility Leather gloves you use on your other toons. I wouldn’t bother enchanting both a leather and mail piece with +15 Agility unless you’re just trying to burn through your enchanting mats.

Haste will give you a slight boost to your attacking speed, and will give a small benefit to your Rend damage (at least, I think bleeds benefit from Haste the same way DoT’s do – could be wrong), and the +7 Agility is a decent substitute if you can’t find the others.

I also listed the Threat enchant which I definitely recommend if you’re going to be a tank. From what I’ve seen so far in low level LFG, Warriors have the most drastic and most wide-spread threat issues of all the tanks. Is 2% going to fix the problem I’m seeing? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that when my Resto Shammy meets a Warrior tank I prepare to heal the entire group rather than just the tank.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

While I lean heavily on the Minor Speed enchant for my toons, I like that the Warrior’s Charge ability lets me sort of get by without it. You don’t get significantly more benefit from +7 Agility, but that one does at least have some direct impact on your combat performance.

If you’re going to try Fury then you’ll probably want to give that +5 Hit enchant a shot as dual wielding comes at the price of hit chance. The Stamina enchant is there if you need more health, of course. While health is a tank-related stat in general, I would actually suggest that for Warriors you shoot for better damage stats early on. But that’s my experience healing Warrior tanks talking, not my (lack of) experience playing one.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility and +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

As I’ve mentioned in the other HMD posts so far, the Stealth enchant made a surprise leap of awesomeness in 4.0.3a by switching from a lackluster enchant to the best-in-slot cloak enchant for the majority of low level play. You want it more than the others and that’s really all there is to it.

The +3 Agility enchant is fairly even with the +70 Armor on my personal preference list though I’d probably choose Agility between the two for a Warrior.

DPS Warriors hit pretty hard right now and killing blows can lead to some nasty chained-Victory Rushes, so if you’re frequently dealing enough damage that you’re causing threat issues in your random dungeons then you may consider the -2% Threat enchant.

 
 

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Hand Me Downs: Druids

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Druids.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Balance and Restoration Weapons
We’re going to start off with weapons because they have more potential than armor for making your low level toons extra powerful. When you’re choosing a hand-me-down weapon, you need to consider which type you’re really looking for. For Melee weapons you’re interested in three things: damage, usefulness, and coolness.

Balance and Restoration Weapons
Arcane Forged Mace: 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Dirk: 1-4 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.60 Speed
Mana Gathering Staff: 5-9 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Apprentice’s Staff: 3-5 Damage (1.3 DPS), 2.90 Speed

As I’ve said before, the Mace is the only weapon that every healing class in the game has in common, so the Mace is one of your best choices. However, the Dagger is the one weapon that can be shared across every type of spellcaster in the game, except for the Holy Paladin. If you only want to enchant a single caster HMD, then the dagger is the best option because both healers and DPS casters can use it save for the Paladin.

Balance and Restoration Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect

In 3.5 the +30 SP was the go-to enchant for casters, but with the change to spell power Mighty Intellect has taken the lead. It’s also the cheapest of the three options which makes it that much more appealing. You don’t get quite as much spell power out of the deal, but you’re trading 7-8 SP for 330 mana which is more than worth it for low level casters in my opinion.

I find that I have more mana issues as Balance so +22 Intellect is the clear winner there for me, while as Resto I’m begging people to go jump in a fire or something just so I can spend my mana on something. I’ve mostly given up on the 30 SP enchant for everything non-twink at this point, but you might find it to be more to your liking.

Feral Weapons
2H Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
2H Quarter Staff: [Lvl: 11] 20-32 Damage (9.6 DPS), 2.70 Speed
2H Gnarled Staff: [Lvl: 15] 27-42 Damage (11.9 DPS), 2.90 Speed
1H Copper Dagger: [Lvl: 6] 5-10 Damage (5.0 DPS), 1.50 Speed
1H Amani Sacrificial Dagger: [Lvl: 12] 10-21 Damage (7.8 DPS), 2.00 Speed

The best way for you to kill things when you roll a fresh Druid is to just spam Wrath until your target is dead. You don’t have any Feral abilities at all until level 8, so you start out as a Balance Druid no matter what you want to do later in the game.

Once you get Cat form you can switch over to melee combat instead of Wrath spam. You’ve got a couple of options to consider here. First, some Cat abilities now take weapon damage into consideration, so you want weapons that actually deal damage. Second, you have to take reusability into consideration and Druids have some of the worst weapon selections for that.

There are four classes that use Agility as their primary damage stat (Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman). The highest Agility bonus enchant you can get comes from two-handed weapons, but the only other Agility class that will use two-handed weapons is the Hunter, and the only two weapon types you share in common are the Staff and Polearm. Hunters don’t care about melee weapon damage, so they could use a level 1 weapon for 40 levels and not care. If you have multiple two-handed HMD’s you’re not going to the same reusability from them that you would other weapons because the Hunter doesn’t need to upgrade HMD’s until he can dual wield.

My personal suggestion for Feral Druid HMD’s is to use a staff with +25 Agility when you first get Cat Form at level 8, and then upgrade to two-hander (likely a Mace) with Crusader on it in your teens and stick with that until you replace your HMD’s with dungeon drops or quest rewards. The Crusader two-hander can be used by your Warriors and Paladins, so it has at least some chance of being reused where a higher level staff with +25 Agility would not.

Feral Enchants
Enchant 2H Weapon – Agility: +25 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)

Since the purpose of HMD’s is to be used at low level, you want to consider what kind of investment you’re really making. The best enchant for your class is Agility, but the best enchant for those low levels is technically Crusader. Druids don’t get the luxury of dual wielding, so your best option is a two-hander with +25 Agility on it, or any weapon you can use with Crusader on it. You can put a +25 Agi enchant on it for a consistent +50 AP, or you can put Crusader on it for a fairly reliable +100 AP most of the time.

I haven’t had enough time to really sit down and test this one out from a min/max point of view. As far as being able to reuse an item goes though, a staff with +25 Agility is great for Feral Druids but also excellent for Hunters until they can dual wield at level 20. At the same time, Crusader is the best Strength class weapon, so you can also reuse those weapons on your Warriors and Paladins.

Another thing to consider is that the best place to farm the mats for the Agility enchants has apparently been nerfed in my experience. The day before 4.0.3a went live I farmed the area for just over 40 minutes and had 4.5 stacks of Essence of Air. I farmed it again on patch day and in the time that I should have had over 2 stacks in my months of farming experience I only had 3, total. Not 3 stacks, just 3, when I should have had more than 20. So Agility might be harder to come by than it once was.

Fiery and Lifestealing are both great choices as well, with Fiery being the better of the two. I like that Fiery procs often lead to one-shots, but the higher you get in level the less impressive the enchant becomes. Lifestealing does at least have some scaling with your level, but it’s proc rate isn’t as high as Fiery so it doesn’t happen as often.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Leather Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Sun Cured Vest: 33 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Sun Cured Pants: 29 Armor
Waist: Squeeler’s Belt: 22 Armor, Sun Cured Belt: 18 Armor
Bracer: Sun Cured Bracers: 14 Armor
Gloves: Sun Cured Gloves: 20 Armor
Feet: Sun Cured Boots: 23 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

Above is the vendor bought Leather set from the Blood Elf starting area. For level 1 characters these do end up being the strongest items available to you, so I haven’t bothered listing items for other levels as armor upgrades really aren’t important for your first 20 levels unless you’re a tank.

The Haliscan Jacket and Pantaloons and the Tuxedo Pants easily beat out the best leather options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth. They also happen to have higher item levels than all of the other options, giving you the ability to put more worthwhile enchants on them as well.

Balance and Restoration Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: +100 Mana
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime: Restore 7 Mana every 5 seconds [ilvl 35+]

The best choice here is +6 Stats which gives you 90 Mana and 6 Spell Power, though it can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket. The +4 and +3 Stats enchants are listed for the same reason, providing both spell power and mana. I like the +100 Mana more than +3 stats for Druid HMD’s because while mana isn’t an issue in most cases I’m more likely to need the extra mana than I am a mere 3 points of spell power. Mana regen isn’t usually a huge issue, but if you run into mana problems then you might want to consider Restore Mana Prime.

Feral Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

We have basically the same situation for Feral, except the +X Stats enchants get much more beneficial. The +6 Stats for instance grants 18 Attack Power (6 Agi = 12 AP, 6 Str = 6 AP) as well as 6 Spell Power and 90 mana, all of which you’ll use (though SP to a lesser extent). This is a great example of when being a hybrid is a good thing. I’ve found Feral Druids to be more on the squishy side than they used to in the early levels, so +150 Health isn’t a bad idea either, if you have the Haliscan to put it on.

Balance and Restoration Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect
Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration: Restore 5 Mana every 5 seconds

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better now than it was before 4.0. You can either have 15 SP or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste.

I feel that the mp5 enchant is the weakest here, but it’s still a decent fit for a caster. I find I have more mana issues as Balance than I do Resto, but I’d go for one of the other enchants over this one regardless.

Feral Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

I don’t know why in the world they gave us +9 to both Strength and Stamina, but not Agility. We don’t even have a +7, +5, or even +3 Agility; they just left us with the dinky +1. However, we do still get 1:1 AP from Strength, so the +9 Str enchant is your best bet here. If you’re feeling especially fragile then go ahead and reach for the +9 Stam instead, but you shouldn’t have many too survivability problems in this level range, especially not as a class with some of the most useful heals in the game.

Balance and Restoration Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells. Unfortunately, most of our damage is Nature which doesn’t have it’s own “.. Power” enchant, so Healing Power is your best option. Haste can help you in a few situations, though mostly in your reduced cast times.

If you’re going for Resto then Haste actually helps a lot more because of your HoT’s, but at the same time you aren’t going to have much trouble healing low level instances anyway so it’s not all that big a deal in this time frame.

Feral Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength

Gloves provide us one of the best enchants of all of our HMD’s with Superior Agility (+15 Agi). The +15 Agi enchant isn’t exactly easy to find though, because it’s not exactly easy to farm either. If you can’t find it, then look for the +7 Agi instead, or +7 Str if you can’t find either of the Agility enchants.

I’ve been told that the rep grind for Superior Agility isn’t as bad as it was prior to 4.0 being released, so perhaps it will become easier in the future. I’ve done the farming on my own for one of my servers and am about to start on my other server just as soon as I finish up the Cenarion Expedition grind that I’m on right now for the cloak enchant that we’ll talk about down below.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Balance and Restoration Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours.

Feral Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed

For Feral Druids I almost always suggest you go with +7 Agility because the first two points you spend in your talent tree are likely going to include a speed boost while in Cat form anyway. If you don’t want to spend your points there, then the Minor Speed is still a good option, but I personally go for that kitty speed right off the bat. The speed from the enchant and the speed from those talent points do not stack, which is why I mention it.

Cloak Enchants (All Specs)
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility, +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

The top cloak enchant is thanks to a change from 4.0.3a in the Stealth enchant. It used to just make you count as a single level higher when calculating how hard/easy it was for someone to see through your stealth. But now this sucker has almost three times as much Agility as the previous option and it also has Dodge thrown in for good measure. I don’t know what prompted this change, but I’m loving it.

If you’re not Feral though, the Subtlety enchant is probably your best option for the reduced threat. Tanks don’t have great AoE threat compared to what they used to have, so it’s not too uncommon for healers to get early agro on trash packs. If you don’t like LFG or don’t think that threat is an issue, then go for either Stealth or Superior Defense.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Caster, Class, Druid, Guide, Hand Me Downs, Leveling, Melee, Play Styles

 

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Hand Me Downs: Rogues

I realize that my Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, so I’ve decided to do a breakdown of it so that it’s more useful to those who want try it out.

To do this, I’m going to do a breakdown of each class and show you which Hand Me Downs (HMD’s) I suggest using for the given class and spec. Most of this information is copied and pasted from the original post, but I’ve put in specifics related to the Warrior class and specs and hopefully given a bit more detail and direction for why I chose what I did.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Melee Weapons
We’re going to start off with weapons because they have more potential than armor for making your low level toons extra powerful. When you’re choosing a hand-me-down weapon, you need to consider which type you’re really looking for. For Melee weapons you’re interested in three things: damage, usefulness, and coolness.

WARNING! - Using Poisons will bind non-bound gear to you. Meaning, if you use any of your poisons on your HMD’s, they become bound to the character and can no longer be traded to your other toons. The only weapons that will not become soulbound when using Poisons on them are the actual BoA heirlooms.

Melee Weapons
Fine Scimitar: [Lvl: -] 3-7 Damage (2.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Axe: [Lvl: -] 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Studded Blackjack: [Lvl: 5] 5-11 Damage (4.4 DPS), 1.80 Speed
Copper Dagger: [Lvl: 6] 5-10 Damage (5.0 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Left-Handed Brass Knuckles: [Lvl: 10] 6-13 Damage (7.0 DPS), 1.40 Speed
Right-Handed Brass Knuckles: [Lvl: 10] 6-13 Damage (7.0 DPS), 1.40 Speed
Jambiya: [Lvl: 11] 7-14 Damage (7.4 DPS), 1.40 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed
Cleaver: [Lvl: 15] 14-27 Damage (9.2 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Double Axe: [Lvl: 19] 19-37 Damage (11.2 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Kris: [Lvl: 19] 12-24 Damage (11.2 DPS), 1.60 Speed
Left-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Right-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed

I have a lot of weapons listed here, stretching up all the way to level 20. The reason for that is because a Rogue lives and dies by the power of their weapons. How frequently you upgrade your weapons is up to you. Personally, I have Rogue HMD’s for level 1, 3 and 10-11. Why do I bother with the level 1’s when I’m just going to replace them at level 3? Because I enchanted the 1’s before I thought about the 3’s, so since I have them anyway I might as well use them.

The only other thing you really need to take into consideration for a Rogue HMD is that you have abilities that deal more damage if you’re using a Dagger instead of another weapon. The first example of that you’ll see (I think) is Ambush. If you want to get the most damage out of Ambush, then you want to use Daggers. But remember that Ambush is a stealthed-only attack so once you’ve opened with Ambush you get more damage from non-daggers, so weigh your options.

Weapon Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)

My personal preference for Rogue HMD’s is Fiery because using Sinister Strike allows you to “cheat” the Procs Per Minute rule and get more Fiery procs than you otherwise should be able to, and Fiery already has a very high proc rate. For the sake of being able to reuse them though, Agility is generally a better option so it gets listed first even if it’s not my personal choice in all cases.

I have Crusader listed last because even though it gives 100 AP when it procs, I don’t like it quite so much for Rogues. The benefit of having +15 Agility on your Rogue HMD’s is that you can also pass them to a level 20+ Hunter once they can dual wield where Fiery Weapon gives almost no benefit at all to a Hunter.

Note: Concerning Crusader, Fiery Weapon, and Lifestealing – these enchants all work off of a proc rate which ties directly to the weapon’s speed. The slower your weapon, the more often it will proc on a per-swing basis. The faster the weapon, the fewer times per-swing it will proc. The proc rate is based on a Procs Per Minute (PPM), so you won’t get any more procs each minute from a slow weapon than you would from a fast weapon, but the chance of a proc on each swing is higher if it’s slow.

It’s kind of confusing, so let me simplify it by saying this: Given the level range at which HMD’s are viable, the strength of classes, and the fragility of mobs, you’re better off using slow weapons rather than fast weapons when using proc-based enchants.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Leather Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Sun Cured Vest: 33 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Sun Cured Pants: 29 Armor
Waist: Squeeler’s Belt: 22 Armor, Sun Cured Belt: 18 Armor
Bracer: Sun Cured Bracers: 14 Armor
Gloves: Sun Cured Gloves: 20 Armor
Feet: Sun Cured Boots: 23 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

Above is the vendor bought Leather set from the Blood Elf starting area. For level 1 characters these do end up being the strongest items available to you, so I haven’t bothered listing items for other levels as armor upgrades really aren’t important for your first 20 levels unless you’re a tank.

The Haliscan Jacket and Pantaloons and the Tuxedo Pants easily beat out the best leather options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth. They also happen to have higher item levels than all of the other options, giving you the ability to put more worthwhile enchants on them as well.

Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

The +6 Stats is excellent for Rogues because it grants 18 Attack Power (6 Agi = 12 AP, 6 Str = 6 AP). While Rogues are known for being squishy, they are also known for being able to survive when they otherwise should not be able to. And with Recuperate now allowing you to use your combo points to heal yourself, survivability isn’t as hard as it used to be.

Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

Old gripe is old – I don’t know why in the world they gave us +9 to both Strength and Stamina, but not Agility. We don’t even have a +7, +5, or even +3 Agility; they just left us with the dinky +1. However, we do still get 1:1 AP from Strength, so the +9 Str enchant is your best bet here. If you’re feeling especially fragile then go ahead and reach for the +9 Stam instead, but you shouldn’t have many survivability problems in this level range.

Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength

Gloves provide us one of the best enchants of all of our HMD’s with Superior Agility (+15 Agi). The +15 Agi enchant isn’t exactly easy to find though, because it’s not exactly easy to farm either. If you can’t find it, then look for the +7 Agi instead, or +7 Str if you can’t find either of the Agility enchants. Having that +15 Agi enchant is like giving us a third weapon though, it’s actually pretty sick as far as HMD enchants are concerned.

Haste isn’t quite as cool starting out as it will be later on, but Rogues are all about stabbing people as many times as they can in as short a time frame as possible. Once you start using your Poisons and spending your talent points, you might want to consider using the +10 Haste enchant.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed

While my personal choice for HMD boots is almost always Minor Speed, the +7 Agility is the best one for actually improving your performance. You can also get a lot of use out of the +5 Hit, especially since Rogues can dual wield from level 1. In fact, I would almost consider putting it above the agility enchant because it’s just that good.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility, +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

As far as performance goes, the +3 Agility gives you the biggest bang for your golden buck. The Stealth enchant is a great option if you’re considering doing a lot of PvP (and you should, you overpowered backstabber, you), but it’s not that great against mobs.

The Stealth enchant has stepped up in 4.0.3a as the top enchant for Agility-based HMD’s. Rather than making it harder to be noticed while it stealth, it now gives you +8 Agility and +8 Dodge making it far superior to every other cloak enchant available on your HMD’s. The mats for it are also fairly inexpensive given how powerful this enchant it. The +70 Armor enchant can balance out some of your squishiness if you feel you need it as well.

Rogues have a lot of burst damage in low levels compared to many of the other classes, so if you’re doing dungeon runs you may give some serious consideration to the Subtlety enchant to reduce your threat. It’s not great, but every little bit helps.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Class, Guide, Hand Me Downs, Leveling, Melee, Play Styles, Rogue

 

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Hand Me Downs: Shamans

I realize that my Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, so I’ve decided to do a breakdown of it so that it’s more useful to those who want try it out.

To do this, I’m going to do a breakdown of each class and show you which Hand Me Downs (HMD’s) I suggest using for the given class and spec. Most of this information is copied and pasted from the original post, but I’ve put in specifics related to the Warrior class and specs and hopefully given a bit more detail and direction for why I chose what I did.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Elemental Weapons
We’re going to start off with weapons because they have more potential than armor for making your low level toons extra powerful. When you’re choosing a hand-me-down weapon, you need to consider which type you’re really looking for. For Melee weapons you’re interested in three things: damage, usefulness, and coolness.

WARNING! - Using your Shaman weapon buffs will bind non-bound gear to you. Meaning, if you cast Flametongue Weapon (or any of the others) on your HMD’s, they become bound to the character and can no longer be traded to your other toons. The only weapons that will not become soulbound when using your class’s weapon buffs are the actual BoA heirlooms.

Elemental and Restoration Weapons
Arcane Forged Mace: 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Dirk: 1-4 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.60 Speed
Mana Gathering Staff: 5-9 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Apprentice’s Staff: 3-5 Damage (1.3 DPS), 2.90 Speed

As I’ve said before, the Mace is the only weapon that every healing class in the game has in common, so the Mace is one of your best choices. However, the Dagger is the one weapon that can be shared across every type of spellcaster in the game, except for the Holy Paladin. If you only want to enchant a single caster HMD, then the dagger is the best option because both healers and DPS casters can use it save for the Paladin.

Any of these, or similar, weapons will work for you though you’ll want to keep in mind that as a Shaman caster you can take advantage of shields where most other casters cannot, so a one-hand is more useful to you overall than a staff.

Elemental Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect

In 3.5 the +30 SP was the go-to enchant for casters, but with the change to spell power Mighty Intellect has taken the lead. It’s also the cheapest of the three options which makes it that much more appealing. You don’t get quite as much spell power out of the deal, but you’re trading 7-8 SP for 330 mana which is more than worth it for low level casters in my opinion.

Enhancement Weapons
2H Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
2H Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
2H Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
1H Mace: [Lvl: 9] 8-17 Damage (6.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
1H Left-Handed Brass Knuckles: [Lvl: 10] 6-13 Damage (7.0 DPS), 1.40 Speed
1H Right-Handed Brass Knuckles: [Lvl: 10] 6-13 Damage (7.0 DPS), 1.40 Speed

The best way for you to kill things when you roll a fresh Shaman is to just spam Lightning Bolt until your target is dead. You really don’t have anything else to help you along until Primal Strike at level 3, so you don’t necessarily need a melee HMD until then. If you want one anyway, then the Broad Axe is your choice for level 1+, while the Vile Fin Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff will work well for level 4-5 on.

Since a two-hander will work better than a one-hander in those early levels I’m not listing any one-hand options until the Mace at level 9. You can’t dual wield until level 10, but you can use a pair of Maces once you hit level 10. If you want to add a little flair to your low level toon you can go for the Brass Knuckles instead as very, very few players use fist weapons early in the game.

As I mentioned above, using your class’s weapon buffs (Flametongue Weapon) will bind your HMD’s to this character, so you don’t want to use them unless you don’t mind having to vendor the HMD’s when the Shaman gets high enough to stop using them.

If you’re going to go Enhancement, I suggest you pick up the Maces at level 9 and use them until you replace them with dungeon drops.

Enhancement Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant 2H Weapon – Agility: +25 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)

Since the purpose of HMD’s is to be used at low level, you want to consider what kind of investment you’re really making. The best enchant for your class is Agility, but the best enchant for those low levels is technically Crusader. Since you don’t get Dual Wield until level 10 your best damage increase is going to come in the form of a two-handed weapon. You can put a +25 Agi enchant on it for a consistent +50 AP, or you can put Crusader on it for a fairly reliable +100 AP most of the time.

Note: Concerning Crusader, Fiery Weapon, and Lifestealing – these enchants all work off of a proc rate which ties directly to the weapon’s speed. The slower your weapon, the more often it will proc on a per-swing basis. The faster the weapon, the fewer times per-swing it will proc. The proc rate is based on a Procs Per Minute (PPM), so you won’t get any more procs each minute from a slow weapon than you would from a fast weapon, but the chance of a proc on each swing is higher if it’s slow.

It’s kind of confusing, so let me simplify it by saying this: Given the level range at which HMD’s are viable, the strength of classes, and the fragility of mobs, you’re better off using slow weapons rather than fast weapons when using proc-based enchants.

I haven’t decided yet which of those I honestly prefer more, so for now I’m using Crusader since I already have it. When it procs I know I have 12 seconds of one-shotting most mobs, so I go on a mini killing spree while it’s active and loot after the buff wears off. Between the two Agility enchants, you want a two-hander prior to level 10, and then two one-handers from 10 on, so if you can dual wield the +15 Agi (x2) is better than +25 Agi, but until then +25 > +15 (x1).

Fiery and Lifestealing are both great choices as well, with Fiery being the better of the two. I like that Fiery procs often lead to one-shots, but the higher you get in level the less impressive the enchant becomes. Lifestealing does at least have some scaling with your level, but it’s proc rate isn’t as high as Fiery so it doesn’t happen as often.

Shields
I really only suggest you even bother looking at shields if you’re going to go Elemental or Restoration. Enhancement is better served with a two-handed weapon prior to level 10 and then dual wielding from there on, so there’s never any room for a shield as Enhancement.

Shields
Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Light Guard Shield: [Lvl: -] 116 Armor
Warrior’s Shield: [Lvl: 4] 278 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor

Shields aren’t all that important prior to level 10 or 15, so you might want to consider doing another search that looks at higher level shields if you’re not going to use one right away. If you want one starting out though, the Large Round Shield is as good as it gets. While I do have a level 1 shield that I can pass around on my alts that use them, I wouldn’t really recommend that you bother with one below level 5 when the Standard Issue and Heater Shields become available. They give almost twice the armor value and it takes all of 15 minutes to reach level 5 without heirlooms so it’s not a big deal to wait. And the Standard Issue Shield is probably the coolest looking low level shield in the game, give or take a couple of the other options I have listed there.

Elemental and Restoration Shield Enchants
Enchant Shield – Vitality: Restore 4 health and mana every 5 seconds
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

This is actually a hard call to make. Elemental now gets Thunderstorm at level 10 which can negate the usefulness of a shield spike because most mobs won’t get to touch you before they’re dead. But, the shield spike provides a lot of extra damage for low level characters too. I haven’t been able to test these two out yet, so I’m going with my gut on the priority order here. I’m going to say that for Elemental you want Vitality over a shield spike, while Resto probably wants the additional damage from a shield spike rather than Vitality.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Leather Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Sun Cured Vest: 33 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Sun Cured Pants: 29 Armor
Waist: Squeeler’s Belt: 22 Armor, Sun Cured Belt: 18 Armor
Bracer: Sun Cured Bracers: 14 Armor
Gloves: Sun Cured Gloves: 20 Armor
Feet: Sun Cured Boots: 23 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

Above is the vendor bought Leather set from the Blood Elf starting area. For level 1 characters these do end up being the strongest items available to you, so I haven’t bothered listing items for other levels as armor upgrades really aren’t important for your first 20 levels unless you’re a tank.

The Haliscan Jacket and Pantaloons and the Tuxedo Pants easily beat out the best leather options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth. They also happen to have higher item levels than all of the other options, giving you the ability to put more worthwhile enchants on them as well.

Elemental and Restoration Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: +100 Mana
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime: Restore 7 Mana every 5 seconds [ilvl 35+]

The best choice here is +6 Stats which gives you 90 Mana and 6 Spell Power, though it can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket. The +4 and +3 Stats enchants are listed for the same reason, providing both spell power and mana. I like the +100 Mana more than +3 stats for Shaman HMD’s because while mana isn’t an issue in most cases I’m more likely to need the extra mana than I am a mere 3 points of spell power. Mana regen isn’t usually a huge issue, but if you run into mana problems then you might want to consider Restore Mana Prime.

Enhancement Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

We have basically the same situation for Enhancement, except the +X Stats enchants get much more beneficial. The +6 Stats for instance grants 18 Attack Power (6 Agi = 12 AP, 6 Str = 6 AP) as well as 6 Spell Power and 90 mana, all of which you’ll use. This is a great example of when being a hybrid is a good thing. Shamans do have a knack for being squishy in the early levels though, so +150 Health isn’t a bad idea either, if you have the Haliscan to put it on.

Elemental and restoration Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect
Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration: Restore 5 Mana every 5 seconds

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better now than it was before 4.0. You can either have 15 SP or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste.

I feel that the mp5 enchant is the weakest here, but it’s still a decent fit for a caster. You may consider it if you’re a healer, but I wouldn’t even look at it if you’re going for DPS unless you can’t find or can’t afford one of the others.

Enhancement Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

I don’t know why in the world they gave us +9 to both Strength and Stamina, but not Agility. We don’t even have a +7, +5, or even +3 Agility; they just left us with the dinky +1. However, we do still get 1:1 AP from Strength, so the +9 Str enchant is your best bet here. If you’re feeling especially fragile then go ahead and reach for the +9 Stam instead, but you shouldn’t have many survivability problems in this level range.

Elemental and Restoration Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells. Unfortunately, most of our damage is Nature which doesn’t have it’s own “.. Power” enchant, so Healing Power is your best option. Haste can help you in a few situations, though mostly in your reduced cast times.

Enhancement Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength

Gloves provide us one of the best enchants of all of our HMD’s with Superior Agility (+15 Agi). The +15 Agi enchant isn’t exactly easy to find though, because it’s not exactly easy to farm either. If you can’t find it, then look for the +7 Agi instead, or +7 Str if you can’t find either of the Agility enchants.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Elemental and Restoration Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours.

Enhancement Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

While my personal choice for HMD boots is almost always Minor Speed, the +7 Agility is the best one for actually improving your performance. You can also get a lot of use out of the +5 Hit, especially once you can dual wield at level 10, so keep that one in mind. I only use the +7 Stamina enchant on my twinks, and even then I usually go for the run speed instead, but it’s there if you want it.

Cloak Enchants (All Specs)
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility, +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

The Stealth enchant has stepped up in 4.0.3a as the top enchant for Agility-based HMD’s. Rather than making it harder to be noticed while it stealth, it now gives you +8 Agility and +8 Dodge making it far superior to every other cloak enchant available on your HMD’s. The mats for it are also fairly inexpensive given how powerful this enchant it.

Elem/Resto may want to consider Subtlety if you’re going to be using the dungeon finder a lot. The Defense enchant is good for any spec as well, but it’s not all that great. Consider the +70 Armor if you’re going to do a lot of solo questing, and Subtlety if you’re doing a lot of LFG.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Caster, Class, Guide, Hand Me Downs, Leveling, Melee, Play Styles, Shaman

 

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