Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pre-raid gear in patch 3.2

Last article about rolling a new paladin character to 80. This article will target gearing your paladin from fresh 80 to Ulduar raid level (at least enough to start Ulduar without shame). As I'm a healer this will obviously be more healing biased but most can apply to any paladin spec.

Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.2 changed a lot of things for everyone, and even more for Holy Paladin. The two most impacting changes are:
  • changes (read mana regen nerfs, BoL buff) to the Holy Tree;
  • changes to the badge system in heroic and raid instances.
I'll try to look on these two changes and how it changed things for new 80 characters, and then I'll try to give tips about how to use them to your advantage. I recently leveled a Druid to 80 and got her from fresh 80 to a WoW Heroes rating of about 2246 (Ulduar 10/25 level according to WoW Heroes) in two weeks following these tips. Just so that you know my Holy Paladin has a score of 2290 and I've run nearly all of ToC 10-Man and all Ulduar but for Yog with her (but for Anub as I'm in vacation since he's up).

Holy Paladin Changes in 3.2

I've already discussed the changes to Holy in patch 3.2 in this post. If you've played a Holy Paladin in WotLK before patch 3.2, you should read it, and perhaps even this post on Elitist Jerks. If you're new to paladin healing or have not played a paladin healer since BC or before, then most of what you need to know is:
  • your mana is not "infinite" anymore by specing for crit rating and intellect;
  • you'll have to use Beacon of Light to be competitive, it is now the main tool of your healing skills and no sane Holy paladin will let it drop down.
I'll discuss more about the gameplay changes since 3.2 for me in a soon to be post, give it a look then. What matters for us here that mana will be an issue for you, intellect, mp5 should be big focuses for you in your gear, more than crit or haste, at least at the beginning (spellpower will still be your main gear focus).

Badges in 3.2

The huge change is that all raids and heroic 5-Man instances drop Emblem of Conquest (Ulduar 25-Man badges before 3.2). As you can guess, that allows you to gear in nearly full 213 and 226 gear just by doing heroics.
A lot of people, me into them, think that it is not a good thing, as a way too easy Naxramass wasn't good. This does not push people to do good to get their gear. And if you want to do high level raids (read end of extension arc raids like AQ40, Naxramass 1, Black Temple, Sunwell) gear won't be the only thing you need, and in fact it is the easiest to obtain thing. Skill on the other side needs hours of raiding and training. But I won't talk about that here, it is not the point.
I'm not going to give you the list of items you need. As I strongly incite you to raid at the same time you'll be gearing through heroics. Start with Nax10, proceed until you reach Ulduar, you'll be able to gear up from there. you can use the badges to complete what you'll get during your raids, and all your raids will give you badges too (Nax25 is the fastest source of badges if you can find a good group).

Here are a few pointers about loot lists for patch 3.2: on WoW.com, lots of different posts on The Holy Paladin.net.

Remember also that you can get 2 Emblems of Triumph (for your Tier 9 armor) per day with the daily heroic quest. And you can run the new Trial of the Champion instance in both normal and heroic mode, even normal mode will reward you with very nice items like this "you must have" trinket: Tears of the Vanquished.

Time to gear-up !

My earlier post about pre-raid gear is still useful, you can find it here.
Now how can you get as soon as possible to the gear level to pleasantly run heroic and "easy Nax"?
I'm not going to advise reputation gear, as it'll probably take you time to get these reputation high enough to get anything useful (read epic gear), reputation are useful but focus on the once you want at revered level for your head enchant (Kirin Tor for Holy, Knights of the Ebon Blade for Retribution, Argent Crusade for Protection).
I'll advise you to PvP during you last levels (78+), get the lvl 78 pvp gear and play as holy or ret as you like, your goal will be to get xp and honor points. At lvl 80 you should be able to do buy Epic arena armor and Wintergrasp gear. For that:
  • run Wintergrasp battle as often as you can (especially if your faction is on the attack);
  • run Alterac Valley as often as you can (best reward in term of xp/honor per hour).
Then once 80, get your pvp gear, complete it with Titansteel gear (head, feet, mace). You should be around half epic. Keep your lvl 78 pvp gear or crafted pve gear, gem for spellpower & intellect. Enchant your epic items (esp. your Titansteel Guardian). You should be ok for heroics and Nax 10 and Trial of the Champion (at least normal).

From there progress with badge gear, what you can get on raids, and what you'll get on the Trial of the Champion normal & heroic (you'll want that mace from the heroic version).

You can also run the dailies from the Argent Tournament, there is ilevel 200 (Nax10) epic gear to get and a lot of pets & mounts of you like them (I'm not the most patient type and never got anything from them).

Final Words

I hope you'll enjoy playing at a Paladin, especially if you joined the rank of the healers in this game :)
Your first days as a Holy Paladin won't be easy as we miss on the mobility part, you can't heal and move nicely. Try to play often with a tank you know, and that will know when to move and when to give you 10s to heal & mana regen, that will really make things easier for you, and that is really the best advice I can give you (especially for heroic timed CoT 4 or heroic Utgarde Pinnacle).

A first version of this guide can be found here, there are pointers to other good Holy paladin gearing guides.

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