Tobold's Blog
Saturday, August 25, 2012
WoW n00b looking for advice

So I finally decided to resubscribe to World of Warcraft, in time for patch 5.0.4 and the events that pre-expansion patch will bring. I haven't played WoW for a year-and-a-half and feel like a complete n00b. What I would like to do is explore the new dungeons that have been added since. But those have a minimum item level requirement that my characters don't meet. Thus I need advice: How do I get my item level from 343 up to 353 the fastest?

Well, actually not the fastest. I know the fastest way, which would be buying a set of item level 377 Vicious PvP gear. But I wouldn't want to turn up in a heroic instance in PvP gear and get immediately vote-kicked. So what is current best method to get item level 353+ PvE gear for a Holy Priest?

First, do your Thrall Elemental Bonds questline ( for a 365 cloak. You can purchase 397 boots and bracers pretty cheaply these days from the AH or asking in Trade. They're BOE from the Valor vendor. You can also purchase crafted 397 legs ( Beyond that, just run normal Heroics. The Justice Points vendor sells 378 PVE gear these days, and there's no weekly cap on how much of that you can get. Once you're 346, you'll be eligible to get the Zul'aman and Zul'gurub isntances which drop 353 gear. Also, you could purchase the PVP gear, but simply keep it in your bags instead of on your character. This can be problematic as a healer, but you could queue as DPS for a while until you get some of the upgrades you need to be able to heal the new places.
If you go to Mount Hyjal and start the Molten Front chain, you can very quickly (within a few minutes) access the first phased vendor. He has this i365 neck (no spirit so not ideal but it may be better than you already have).
In addition to the above. Once you can do ZA and ZG, they both have quest chains which can fill in a few more slots.

If you still have any BoA Heirlooms, beware - they have 0 iLevel contribution.

You'll just need patience, as LFD is full of badly geared alts atm.
You'll just need patience, as LFD is full of badly geared alts atm.

As opposed to my badly geared main. ;)
You most likely wouldn't be booted for wearing the PvP gear in most cases, especially if you are a DPS. I can't remember the last time anyone was kicked from a group I was in because their DPS was terrible. In general, most people simply feel it isn't worth the effort, heroics are so easy now that its better to just say nothing and plow through. To get it over and done with.

You also benefit from the fact that as long as you aren't terrible, your "trying to do good in bad gear" DPS isn't too far behind "being incredibly lazy in good gear" DPS. Do over 10k and you should be fine.

Healers have it worse, but you can still manage. It might be more worthwhile to store PvP gear in your bags and use your actual, lower level healing set though, since the blue pvp sets tend to have horrendous longevity problems. It's entirely possible, but you may need to actually warn your tank to slow down at times if you need to sit and drink. Most people have forgotten what sitting and drinking is actually like by now.

Tanks are in trouble, at least in my experience, though I tend to be overly paranoid about my ability to handle situations in lower gear levels. I try and take every avenue of advancement humanly possible outside of queueing up before I ever queue up to be adequate from the start, simply because you are so vital to everything. A slow run with low DPS takes a bit longer but isn't especially jarring. A tank being either unable to hold threat (much less of an issue now) or who is squishy to the point of actually dying disrupt the entire experience to the point that everyone begins devouring themselves in a feeble attempt to understand why the button they are pushing to get a reward is suddenly not giving them their reward. Some healers can enjoy a somewhat squishy tank even, since healing heroics at this point can get mind-numbingly boring.

If you aren't a DPS and have even a remotely decent DPS offspec gearset, it's usually worthwhile to just go it as DPS and hope no one else in the group needs the items you would be rolling offspec for.

Sneaking your way into good parties that can carry you is of course not for everyone, it depends on how high your capacity for self-service to the possible detriment to others (or gevlon quotient) is. Going slow, buying or crafting good gear from other sources than dungeons, and staying in gear appropriate dungeons is much slower, but obviously less harsh on your conscience.

Either way, it pays to read up and know the dungeons beforehand. MOST groups are smooth in my experience, even if the bad ones stick with you longer, but the quickest way to send things south is to mess up something that others feel "everyone should know". Simple dungeon or battle mechanics that are easy to account for and can mess up the group if ignored.

Good luck Tobold, though with the major patch in 3 days (Or is it 4 for european servers? I forget when they patch) who knows how stable things will be. Drastic class restructuring means that things you are relearning about your classes may not be true in a few days, and worse yet, things that other people know about their own classes may not be true in a few days. I can only imagine how hectic grouping will be with everyone trying to relearn their class...
Personally, I'd just wait until the expansion hits and you can get iLevel 403 green quest rewards :) TBH, there's not much reason to bother gearing up right now...
my advice is to play the Guild Wars 2 :) Wow is over...not because of GW2 or anyother over because of Blizzard. Linear questing, 1-shot mobs to reach max level and then the only thing awaits you is Dailies and Raids. The difference is MoP is that they have much more dailies, since people "love" dailies..
Amusingly when one reads your post sees not a person that is looking for fun but one that is filled with worries and looks forward to experiencing problems.

You have to worry about arbitrary gear levels, grinding out equipment, being vote kicked etc...

some game experience - as others said why not play GW2 - while I have no idea what the game is like it can't really be worse than this above - plus at least it is something new, some new concepts to be learned, different game mechanics etc

I honestly can't understand intelligent people going back to WoW - it is mind numbing
Um, crafting PVP gear is not too good for LFD, but it is totally fine for LFR, where you probably will be able to find upgrades too. Worked for me every time.
This comment has been removed by the author.
This comment has been removed by the author.
If you have any justice or valor tokens built up from when you left your character, the vendors are now selling higher iLvL gear so check that out (don't get bracer or boots, you can buy them from AH relatively cheaply.)
Worth noting that in a couple of days, the currencey/gear conversion will be happening, making current valor/conquest items available for justice/honor. Along with the removal of caps until the expansion drops, it should allow you to obtain enough gear to be able to experience any of the content you've missed.
By far the fastest way to get your ilvl up is to buy the ilvl 377 blue crafted PvP gear. The honor gear is also pretty easy to get, even now.
Do the Elemental Bonds questline and some of the Firelands dailies. Use up any Justice/Valor points on the cheapest slots.

If you have lots of gold, you can purchase gear on the AH.

Then just run normal dungeons a few times to fill out the remaining slots and get the required ilevel. The normal dungeons are really easy, and everyone in them is gearing up, so they are very friendly.
As per above, EB & FLD,get 397 BoE boots & wrists from VP which are so cheap since they are all JP on Tuesday. No BoAs (ilevel=1) I did LFR on my druid the day after hitting 85, partly to annoy the "back in my day" crowd. A little more gold and you can find BoE legs and waist. Your trinkets tend to be bad and DarkMoon Faire ones are only 359 but decent in a harder to find slot. The vendor "under the tree" you now unlock on the first day of the FL dailies also may sell a piece or two for you.

Note also that unequipped items in bags count towards your iLevel so you can wear your inferior blue 346 but get the iLevel of the 377 in your bags. And 377 PvP gear is about the same as 353-359 PvE gear. But there is a stigma to it from folks who are either bad at math or poorly socialized. OTOH, if you don't want to be arbitrarily criticized, regardless of performance, you should not play video games or blog. You can socially probably get away with one or two pieces of PvP gear, especially if it is a neck or ring.

Also understand the old relic slot is going away: guns & wands become 2H weapons, relics & thrown weapons become trash.

P.S. disclaimer - this is all a cynical plot for us to encourage you to group, thus making you far more sympathetic to the "no forced grouping"/solo arguments.

P.P.S.: now that GW2 has peaked and is in decline, are you looking forward to Planetside?
If you like BGs, you can always run them for honor and convert the honor to JP for 378 vendor gear too. Typically this is less efficient than running dungeons but also less worrisome. But again, only if you like BGs over random dungeons.

You'll also find the new dungeons are ridiculously easy compared to the previous ones in this xpac. You would have very little trouble healing them in the purcased PvP gear. Just bring lots of drinks.
Get the pvp gear and friends to boost you though the 3 new instances. As long as you have a non-idiot tank and 3 DPS who are reasonable, your lack of mana regen will not be a problem. In a pure PuG, your chances of meeting a non-idiot tank and 3 DPS who are actually pulling their weight are, alas, slim.

Between the 2 BoE 397 pieces you can buy from the AH or trade chat (these days going for only 1k gold or less) and the quest rewards + drops from the 3 new instances, you should be good for continuing to run the instances by yourself after only a single pass with friends.

Stay away from craftable gear, it's a complete waste of your gold this close to the expansion.

Since 5.0.4 is coming in 4 days and bringing with it massive changes to the game and your class, you might want to hold off re-learning WoW till after 5.0.4, since you'll surely need to re-learn your class and the game after the patch. Also, AoE looting ftw :)
I'm so glad to hear you resubscribed to WoW, Tobold. I started religiously reading your blog feed years ago because you were the only MMORPG blogger I could find that could write so well and with such great wisdom and intellect about WoW, while at the same time almost always communicating in a even-handed, professional tone.

Although I subscribed years after you started your blog, I went back and read every WoW post you ever made. We're also both "mature" players, so there was that kindred spirit. (I'm nearing 50 years old.)

I was slowly coming to the difficult decision to stop reading your blog, however, because of the lack of posts about WoW. I've stayed subscribed to your feed because I hate to lose touch with such a great blogger. But I found I was skipping the vast majority of posts. So, as you can imagine, I'm very glad that you're playing WoW again, and I look forward to reading what you have to say as you adventure in Pandaria.
Honestly, you can't go wrong with craftables. Get the PVP ones if you have to, but there are a bunch of 365 craftables and 378 craftables and 397 craftables. The 397s are especially fun because no one knows what to do with all the essence of distructions laying around. We literally have 40 in our guild bank that my guild leader told me to do something with, and I gave up because I couldn't think of anything.
Get 4 people in your guild to lend you crafted pvp gear for each slot and then purchase the pvp neck/ring/relic as well as the VP bracer and boots. Run HOT's with your guild mates completing the quests and within about 4 runs you should be able to get into hots based on you I-level. run Hots until you hit 372 I-level and then make the jump to LFR's. I've taken toons from 300 I-level to 376 equipped in 24-48 hours depending on many hots you run and your luck on the drops.
By the way, MOP does not drop in 4 days. The release date is 9/25 so you still have 30 days to gear up.
By the way, MOP does not drop in 4 days. The release date is 9/25 so you still have 30 days to gear up.

I'm not "gearing up for MoP". That would be stupid. I'm sure I can do MoP in green level 85 gear, and soon I'll find green level 86 gear which is better than the best epics I can get now.

What happens tomorrow (US) / Wednesday (EU) is the pre-MoP patch 5.0.4, which changes all the talents and lowers the point cost of gear.
Get 4 people in your guild

This weekend my guild consisted of either just me, or me and one other person. I guess the rest haven't returned yet, or are playing GW2 already.
I happen to also play a priest, shadow/disc. Going probably holy tomorow for OS.

My advice (a bit late I admit): wait until tomorow.

Why? You, like everyone else, will have to relearn your class.

Also, don't gear up too much. You won't _have_ to gear up for MoP. You can start the new zone in quest gear from level 84-85 (twilight highlands, ~325). The new questing areas are tuned for people like you, not people who have full T13 HC (410 ilvl). Or even T11 N (359 ilvl). If you got some heirlooms or really low items you can buy a few greens or blues from the AH.

So if you decide to gear up a little for MoP start it tomorow. If you decide to do LFD keep in mind you'll play with other people who have to relearn their class.
"This weekend my guild consisted of either just me, or me and one other person"

You could benefit from joining a bigger guild so there would be people available to enjoy the game with you.
On the note of the 377-pvp gear: The way ilevel is computed is that it looks at the gear for each slot that you currently possess (this includes gear in your bank) whether you've bound it to yourself or not.

What my guildies have taken to doing is buying the pvp-cloth gear (as all classes can equip it) and putting it all in their bank, un-soulbound. Once they've gotten replacement gear, they turn around and sell it on the AH.
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