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.