On Weapons and Gearing

Been seeing quite a few threads recently questioning what the best weapons to use are now, what kind of gearing we’re looking at for cata, what kind of trinkets we should be using, etc.  There hasn’t been much that changed with Wrath gearing, and the latter half is mostly focused on Cataclysm.

Weapons, first and foremost, still follow the general rule of “higher iLvl, better threat”.  No amount of hunter whining and moaning will change the fact that staves and polearms are not just stat sticks for ferals, and this holds true even more with 4.0.  We now look for high weapon DPS, just like any other melee class.  Weapons DPS directly affects the damage we can do (not that it didn’t before with FAP – just that we now have an even more concrete argument).

The speed of the weapon doesn’t matter.  When we shift forms we still hit with our paws, which have a set speed already.  2.5 second swing timer for bears, 1 second swing timer for cats.  This is also true of the low end and top end damage of a weapon.  Our forms also have a set low end/top end damage based on AP

With agility now giving AP, we most definitely want to lean towards the staves and polearms that have Agi, rather than the maces that have Str.  Of course, if threat is indeed a problem and there is a Str mace with better weapon damage(dps), it would be fine to use it.  Just make sure you’re not pissing off any plate DPS in the process.  You will(and damn well should) replace it with an equal iLvl agility weapon down the road.

This begs the question, which I have also seen in numbers, “What’s the best weapon pre-raid now?”  Wrathful Gladiator’s Staff.  It will serve you well.  Why not Lightborn Spire?  From both a threat and survival standpoint, Wrathful trumps Lightborn and is now easier and cheaper to get(you can purchase it even though it shows red).  The only possible way for Lightborn to be better is if you have no expertise, and even then… it’s not that much better (also, what are you doing with 0 expertise?  Have I taught you nothing? Silly bear).

To recap: Weapon DPS is how we judge a weapon upgrade.  Top and low end damage values, as well as speed, do not matter.

Cataclysm gear, while still largely unknown, obviously has two different sides to the spectrum.  One is still Stam stacking because of the vengeance relationship.  The other is focuing more on Agility for avoidance and mitigation because of healer mana.  I believe currently that there will have to be a balance between the two in at least the first tier of raiding, if not beyond that.

Some of the socket bonuses I’ve seen are insane, and to not get them would be silly.  Now whether this means socketting an Agi/Stam in a blue socket rather than a red, I don’t know.  I imagine it can go both ways depending on content tanked.  It seems Toskk’s bear calculator is favoring the agility side to things, at least initially.

There is also a rather delicious green gem for Cata.  The Puissant Dream Emerald.  20 Mastery Rating and 30 Stamina.  Hello yellow sockets… where have you been my whole (bear) life?

Trinkets are something I’m not entirely clear on.  For the duration of Wrath, it’s still more beneficial to use Stamina and Armor trinkets than it is to use avoidance.  I have yet to come across an armor trinket in Cata (I may have not looked hard enough; I don’t check MMO often), so it seems the best combo would be a Stamina + Avoidance or Agi trinket.  The better part of avoidance trinkets, is that they can now be reforged into something that may be more useful.  A dodge trinket reforged into Dodge/Mastery with an on-use health boost?  Sounds pretty good.  Macro that into Frenzied and you’re good to go. :)

Also, as a general announcement, I will be making a Videos and Streams page.  I have indeed finished my LK video, but something was lost in translation with the upload (you’ll see what I mean) and I didn’t have the time to figure out how to fix it.  The streams page I intend to have going during Cata heroics (initially, heh) and during raids – once we’ve cleared the place once or twice.  Sorry, no progression viewing.  There will also be a link to an SC2 stream done by my boyfriend which he does often enough.

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15 Responses to On Weapons and Gearing

  1. mark says:

    just an FYI, the 277 wrathful staff isn’t available currently, as all arenas are disabled.

    the 264 is though, and it has no PR or TR reqs (ignore the fact it’s red, you can still buy it).

    -elle

  2. Rahl says:

    I believe that there is a new Darkmmon set for Cata with a feral (+Agi) version.
    That will probably the got trink for most players as soon as they can get it!

  3. Aiida says:

    First off thank you for writing a Bear tanking centric blog. I had been reading Big Bear Butt (still do) but he’s kind of dropped off on the tanking stuff!

    That wrathful staff…what is it costing now that honor has been removed (wowhead has it at a lot of honor points)? I’ll check later, but was wondering if someone knew off of the top of their head!

    Thanks
    Aiida (now back to bear tanking)

  4. Garnaph says:

    Best bear blog I’ve found so far (also a reader of BigBearButt ofc)
    RSS link for your site bookmarked, and I’ve been checking for updates religiously.

    One note, I’ve found that lvl 80 gearing is very different to lvl 85 gearing in Cata (or at least, post 4.0). Your comments above are spot on for lvl 85, but lvl 80 gearing tends to be more about threat (since the 125% to 200% threat buff in cata isn’t on live servers yet). As such, I’ve found myself gemming to hit+exp cap, then gemming crit pretty much everywhere. 66% crit with 9% pulverize makes me pretty impossible to out-threat right now.

    My gearing strategy will change at 85 as I expect to be a soft bastard again, and the emphasis on stam and mastery will indeed be the primary focus for bear tanks.

  5. Ampzilla says:

    Nice overview of the changes to weapons.

    One thing I wanted to mention Reesi, you should totally put WowHead links on your blog. =P

    http://www.wowhead.com/tooltips

    Basically add to your post:

    Then just use: Text

    Makes it easier for lazy bears like myself that like to hover over weapons instead of clicking links! Great blog, keep up the good work. I’ve added you to my Blog Roll. =P

  6. Monkey says:

    Thanks for the great info!

    Do you have any thoughts on the best professions in Cata for bears?

    – a warrior tank considering change to bear for cata

    • Jey says:

      I think that the “Best” professions will obviously be the crafting ones with the passives from the gatherings being pretty weak. That being said you are probably going to be looking at BS, JC, LW and possibly engineering. I am not sure but i would think that BS/JC will probably be the best still but that is always very expensive. Mining is probably your best gathering prof for the passive and if you are wanting to go mining picking up BS or JC will probably be your best choice. On the other hand LW is a good choice with the passive increases being quite strong, and being able to craft your own gear; however, you probably will not notice the advantage of being able to craft your own gear unless you pick up skinning to go with it, which gives crit so it is still useful. Im currently going skinning/LW and i probably wont change that, but if you are looking for the absolute best you probably want to go BS/JC or possibly one of those and LW

  7. Jey says:

    I think that the only trinket that has armor on it and is from ICC is the Unidentifiable organ, but i have found that generally just going with stam trinks like the Corroded Skeleton Key to be better and im still using my Juggernauts Vitality from ToGC 25. Here is the links for those

    http://www.wowhead.com/item=50344 (heroic organ)
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=50356 (skeleton key
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=47451 (juggernauts heroic)

  8. Tundrawalker says:

    I dont know if anyone else is having this problem, but I have not been able to purchase any of the wrathfull weps/armor form the vendors, it still tells me that i need to have a personal rating/team rating… any ideas?

    • Tundrawalker says:

      *edit*
      Yes it still says that a rating is required on the weapon, but when I attempt to buy the weapon it pops up with red text telling me i stil lneed a rating. And yes i had enough honor points to buy it ;)

      • Hamaal says:

        Make sure you’re trying to buy the 264 Wrathful weapons and not the 277. The 264 you can buy, the 277 you can’t.

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