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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.

 
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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: Priests

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: Priests.

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.

Obtaining Your HMD Caster Weapons
Arcane Forged Mace: 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.90 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
Arcane Forged Dirk: 1-4 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.60 Speed

The first thing you need to decide when picking your caster weapon(s) is whether you want it to be one-handed or two-handed. The benefit of using a one-hand is that you can also equip off-hand items as you level, such as the books offered from the Inscription profession. The only real “benefit” of using a two-handed item as a HMD instead is that it can often look “cooler”. I like my casters to have a staff even though I know I can usually get better stats overall from a one-hand plus off-hand combo.

The benefit of a staff really is that the staff weapons almost always look cooler than the one-handed weapons. You lose out on being able to use an off-hand item, and you get nothing in return save for the weapon’s looks. You also need to consider the fact that these enchants usually have a glow effect on them which will make a Dagger look like a lightbulb in your hand (not really, but pretty close). A sword can have a really cool effect with the right enchant, and a staff will have the primary end glow when enchanted. All in all I just tend to lean towards a staff, though a sword tends to look the best when enchanted.

The first option up there, Arcane Forged Mace, is the one that I recommend using for your Priests because it looks fairly cool for a caster mace and because it’s one-handed. Since you’re a caster, it doesn’t make a bit of difference which one you choose as far as damage and speed are concerned, because it’s really just a source of stats for you via the enchant you place on it. I have four different staff weapons in my HMD collection, but I still prefer using a one-hander for the ability to make use of my off-hand. Despite my preference for a staff’s look, I’m a min/maxer at heart so I’m suggesting the sword.

Another benefit of the Mace is that every healer in the game can use a mace. You may decide to go with the Dagger instead because every caster besides the Paladin can use it. But because of that restriction on the Paladin, if you want to cover every caster in the game you have no choice but to make two caster HMD’s.

Weapon 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

Priests played as DPS operate similar to Mages in a lot of their casting, or somewhat like Warlocks if you go Shadow. But, Priests find mana issues in any spec they take while leveling (when compared to the Warlock). As such, I put the +22 Intellect enchant firmly at the top of the list.

So far I’ve leveled Priests as Shadow and Discipline after the 4.0.1 changes and I’ve seen mana issues with both of them. You want as much Intellect as you can get your hands on, and the weapon enchant is the single-best source for that.

If you can’t afford (or find) those top three, then +9 Intellect should be both easy to find and cheap. It’s not nearly as good as the others, but it’s definitely better than nothing and 9 Spell Power and 135 Mana is still of great use to a low level toon.

Obtaining Your HMD Armor
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor
Festival Dress: 13 Armor
Simple Black Dress: 0 Armor
Bracer: Light Cloth Bracers: 9 Armor
Gloves: Light Cloth Gloves: 13 Armor
Feet: Dress Shoes: 9 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor
*Waist: Light Cloth Belt: 12 Armor
*Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor
Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor

This is an example of a full gear set that I would suggest for your HMD’s. This particular set can be purchased form the Cloth Armor vendor in the Blood Elf starting zone, but there is a similar armor set that you can purchase in every starting zone that have the same stats.

There are a few armor pieces here that aren’t vendor purchases though, and those are the Chest and Legs. There I have the pieces that are actually above and beyond the norm, and they are all crafted by Tailors. The Haliscan Jacket and Simple Black Dress are both able to be equipped at level 1, but they both have item levels over 35 which means they can be enchanted with recipes from the Burning Crusade expansion where other items cannot. If you can afford one of them, then I suggest you do it. The Haliscan is a shirt rather than a robe, so if you like to look more like a caster then you may prefer to the Dress instead, despite the 90 Armor difference.

The Festival Dress is just a cool looking robe for you to wear at low levels, and since part of using HMD’s is looking cool I’m going to leave it up there. The Simple Black Dress might have a higher item level and be able to get better enchants on it, but it doesn’t look nearly as cool as the Festival Dress.

I marked the Legs and Waist items because neither of those slots can actually be enchanted with anything worthwhile for a low level toon (16 armor from an armor kit is blah). You can get some more armor out of them, but that’s it. I don’t consider it worth my time or my bank space to hold onto those items since they offer so little benefit. If you want a complete “set” of the armor, then go ahead and buy them, but otherwise ignore those two slots.

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

I still feel that the +6 Stats is overall the best option for any class because it just offers so much across the board that it’s hard to match, much less beat. The mana is another good option for you as it’s also fairly cheap, it’s just not quite as good as the others.

While you can play a low level Priest similar to how I play my Warlocks (casting DoT’s on the entire starting zone at once), your mana costs are insanely higher for spamming Shadow Word: Pain when compared to the Warlock’s Corruption. You want mana, and you want lots of it. While you take a slight loss of mana using the +6 or +4 Stats enchants over the +100 Mana, you’re also gaining both Spell Power and Health in return.

Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better than it used to be now that Int=SP. 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’ve considered swapping out the +15 SP for the +7 Intellect for my Priests, and I think I’m going to go ahead and do it simply because of the mana issues. If I’m just kicking back covering the heals in a dungeon then there’s not really a problem, but if I decide to go on the offensive then I can very easily bleed my mana dry on every single boss fight.

Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Shadow Power: +20 Shadow 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, but if you know you’re going to Shadow then you can go with the Shadow Power instead. Caster bracers aren’t especially easy to find in game, so you may very well find yourself wearing these HMD’s in your 30′s. If you plan on paying 10g for dual spec at that level range then you may really want to consider Healing Power over Shadow Power because of the cross-over usefulness of generic SP over type-specific.

The Minor Haste enchant is a very good choice and one I frequently use. For low level casting that 10 Haste equates to about 0.10 seconds off of your cast times. Priests make fairly good use of Haste at early levels where some of the other classes do not, because the Haste makes your DoT’s tick more frequently. I’m not sure how big of an impact that 10 Haste will give you, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

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. If you’re not playing DPS, then Hit obviously isn’t a priority.

Caster Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor

The cloak enchants still suck, and that’s about all there is to it. Threat really shouldn’t be an issue for you in dungeons because you don’t get early AoE spells and Priests kind of suck when it comes to burst damage so you shouldn’t steal threat from a tank unless you’re targeting the wrong mobs. On the flip side, you shouldn’t be getting hit in melee combat anyway so the Armor enchant is even more useless.

If you’re going to run dungeons at all then I say use the Threat enchant, otherwise go for the Armor simply because threat has no value at all when solo.

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

 

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