Failsafe gearing guide, 4.3

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Moderators: Fridmarr, Worldie, Aergis, Sabindeus, majiben, lythac, Digren

Failsafe gearing guide, 4.3

Postby yappo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:26 am

Section 1: Random ramblings.

First of all I want to thank Digren. First for defining tank levels, and second for graciously allowing me to borrow the graphic items needed to clarify this guide.

The guide is, and will continue to be, aimed at what I'll call third tier tanks. Ie, those of us who play tanks because it's fun, or at least because it's what we do best, but who are nowhere close to being cutting edge tanks. This shouldn't be confused with Digren's tank levels. Those are based on the average quality of gear available to a given tank.

We are, because this is not a levelling gearing-guide, 85, and we're scrambling to get the best gear possible.


For those of you unfamiliar with a failsafe gearing guide, every item listed here has to be a 100% cash out item. Drops are disqualified. Whatever upgrade is listed here you can, and should, get, because if an item listed here is an upgrade compared to what you have, then said item is one that you're guaranteed to get. Hence the 'failsafe'. In reality you WILL get drops, so if the hypothetical tank geared only according to this list is ready to raid, then so should you be, given proper time.

That said, let's look at how to weigh the dice in our favour when Fortuna gives us that mischiveous grin and refuses to let us gain gear from drops.


Section 2: Cataclysm gearing mechanics.

1) Cataclysm is not WotLK:

While we get Justice Points (and later Valor) instead of badges, we no longer get to buy a few, lonely, slots. Instead we can more or less gear up every slot given an infinite amount of Justice Points. That also means we can almost always turn to the JP vendor in order to gain the greatest increase possible when we need to replace those levelling greens and dungeon 333 gear.

JP is better than badges because we can get them from running random daily normal mode dungeons. While this will, mildly put, take some time, all JP gear is available without stepping inside a heroic five man dungeon.

Most factions have a tabard. Most factions also have a quartermaster. From personal experience said quartermasters 'unlock' only after a substantial amount of questing has been done, which in turn forces us to more or less 'finish' every new zone even though we've levelled past it.


2) Factions still sell great failsafe gear:

Given how bloody awful the trinkets available are I'm giving the Tol Barad trinket a long stare. 321 extra mastery with a fantastic on-use might very well be the best there is for us tanks. Tol Barad, however, requires you to run the dailies there.

Despite being lackluster in the gear departement, both The Earthern Ring and Therazane factions needs getting rep with. The Earthen Ring holds our head-enchant at revered, and Therazane gives us our shoulder enchant (minor at honored and major at exalted). Therazane is optional if you're a Scribe as that profession gives you superior shoulder enchants.

Every faction with a tabard available give you reputation in every level 85 dungeon, even in normal mode. Always, always remember to gear in the tabard corresponding to your personal needs.

Avengers of Hyjal is a raid faction. You'll have to beat up things, pretty much like in ICC to get reputation with them. This in turn means you won't see any reputation until you've already started raiding.


3) Tanking gear isn't always the best for tanking:

In all likelyhood tanking-gear is better than dps-gear, but this isn't always true. If you're sitting at 85 staring at that blue dps-drop with huge numbers in stamina, mastery and strength, chances are that it is indeed a tanking upgrade compared to that level 83 green tanking gear that you have. This despite the big chunk of critical strike rating that yells: "I'm not a tanking drop!"

Also, seeing how fantastic mastery is for the well geared tank, quite a few dps-items simply supercede the corresponding tank-gear.

Occasionally PvP gear might also be an upgrade. This ought to be true for gear with mastery especially. Ilevel 403 PvP gear with lots of mastery is always better than ilevel 346 tanking gear with perfect itemization. This is because stamina, armour and, very often, strength, comes with the ilevel.


4) Matching content to gear:

As you gear up running those five-mans and padding out missing slots with the help of this guide you'll eventually run into a bewildering conclusion -- you're harder to kill but you're also a worse tank than you were in inferior gear.

This is, in my opinion, a mix between a glitch and a bug. All threat you do is directly correlated to how much damage you do. However, the single, major, contributor to your dps is something called Vengenace, and you gain Vengeance depending on how much damage you take. As you do your homework and gear to stay alive longer, the slower your Vengeance stacks up, and the higher amounts of strength on your upgrades are miserably insufficient to make up for the loss in dps.

This occurs whenever you start to overgear the content you're tanking. For a normal mode five-man dungeon this starts as early as an average of 333 ilevel gear. For the older (non-troll) heroic mode counterparts this problem kicks in at about 350 average ilevel gear.

In order to alleviate this you might want to give side-grades a closer look. You want a threat set for content you're farming and that is well below your gear level. This set should be configured counter to all normally good advice concerning tanking gear. You want to cap hit and soft-cap expertise while still maintaining as much avoidance and block as possible.

This will serve two purposes. Landing more attacks makes you put out higher dps and thus threat. More importantly it will allow you to pour out threat reliably. Secondly you'll take more damage, which translates into vengenace stacking up faster.

Of course you shouldn't degrade your best gear this way, but reputation rewards come at a very low cost, and there is nothing preventing you from buying a second copy of an item and reconfiguring it for farm content.


5) 4.3 specific strangeness:

This late in the expansion we also encounter a slightly disturbing problem. If you've geared up enough to tackle your first random heroic five-mans (around ilevel 333) you'll be just fine until the day you've colleced enough gear to get one of the two troll instances thrown in your face. While they give you access to better drops, they'll also chew you up. The content in there hits hard. In fact they are, by a wide margin, the hardest encounters a pugging tank with appropriate gear will ever see during Cataclysm. After you've geared your way into entering the three new five man heroics, you'll notice that they will most likely be easier than the troll ones.

Eventually you'll have enough gear to be allowed inside LFR. Provided you have an idea about tanking tactics, they'll be even easier than the new five man heroics. Life's funny sometimes.

Also, mastery is our best stat until we reach a combined 102.4% avoidance and block (102.4 CTC). This is our first goal when tanking content that actually tries to kill us (however see my notes about MDR below for the very poorly geared tank). When we finally reach that goal, any excess mastery suddenly becomes worthless.

While I'm listing failsafe gear in this guide here, I don't know what specific gear you have access to. You can't simply lump together a set built from every single piece of 'perfect itemization' I list, because then you'll end up with more than 102.4 CTC, and you don't want to do so.

There are different theories about what you do once you hit that 102.4. Most advocate replacing mastery with stamina (most likely by regemming), some that you replace excess mastery with avoidance (the MDR solution), and yet some argue that excess mastery should be replaced with hit-rating/expertise.

They are all correct. If you're getting clobbered into the floor on a regular basis, then stamina is likely your way. If your healers slowly go OOM (unlikely, but I've seen it) then MDR is the way to go, because 0% damage taken is better than 70% damage taken. And finally, if you're slaughtering your way through content, slaughtering your way through content even faster makes perfect sense. It's not about threat -- it's about raw dps.



Section 3: Gear


This section is in effect split into four parts. I'm more or less following Digren's general gearing guide in order to cover all failsafe gear.

Rank Image gear is available more or less immediately after you become level 85. It's meant to make sure that you can tank every normal difficulty five man dungeon in the game.

Rank Image gear is available within a couple of weeks of daily gaming in normal difficulty dungeons. It's meant to make sure that you can tank the first tier of Cataclysm heroic five man dungeons.

Rank Image gear is available within a couple of weeks daily gaming in the first tier of the Cataclysm five man heroic content. It's meant to make sure you can tank the two troll instances as well as the first two tiers of Cataclysm raids on normal difficulty. I also place crafted items at an estimated AH cost of below 5000 gold in this category. PvP items costing Honor is listed in this category as a month ought to be enough to gear up a tankadin enough to chain run random battlegrounds. Honor can also be bought at a ratio of 375 Justice Points for 250 Honor.

Rank Image gear will eventually be available for every tank. With this gear you should be able to tank the first two tiers of Cataclysm raids on heroic difficulty and the Dragon Soul raid on normal difficulty. Some of it might even surpass any drop available from the Dragon Soul raid. While Valor Point gear is available without ever setting foot inside a raid instance, the weekly limit of 1000 VP make the cost in time very high. I also place crafted items at an estimated AH cost of above 5000 gold in this category. PvP items costing Conquest Points are listed here. They are failsafe as you can buy Conquest Points for Valor Points.


You'll notice that lower rank equipment is lacking in a number of slots. You'll hit these ranks with quest greens and quest blues. I expect you to have ilevel 312/318 greens or 325/333 blues in these slots when you hit 85 (depending on quest rewards). As I strongly advice you to run through the areas for the reputation gained from quests you'll hit upon the later quests awarding you the 325 and 333 blues if don't already have them.

The first two ranks are really only stepping stones. Even if you get kicked out of every heroic five man the moment you step inside, you still can't be kicked out of random battlegrounds. Even at a rate of 375 honor for 250 Justice Points, those JP rewards will eventually become available to you.

It is very important to observe that some gear available shortly after reaching level 85 will last you well into raiding. Items with a lifespan covering content beyond when it is available is therefore labelled with more than one rank. So the lowest rank denotes how early you can get the item, and the highest rank denotes the hardest content you can properly tank with the item.

Also keep in mind that ranks are in reality applied to averages. One rank Image item combined with levelling greens will not enable you to tank raids. For the same reason you may find yourself stuck with a lower ranked item in one slot due to lack of drops, but you're still perfectly able to tank content beyond that rank due to being overall well geared.

I have also given each item a note for where it stands out in comparision with its rank.

I strongly recommend the rank Image and Image tank to aim for MDR. The rank Image and Image tank should aim for CTC when tanking proper raids. Easier content should be tanked in MDR gear unless you're so certain of survival that a threat set makes more sense. Observe that the Image tank will eventually reach the 102.4% combined avoidance and block. The number should be calculated including the buffs you expect to have (spells, elixirs/flasks and food).

I define a proper raid as a raid where you still want upgrades by drops for at least half of your item slots even while farming the content. Every single boss you still haven't killed also belongs in this category even if you outgear the content. There is a reason you haven't killed it yet.

I'm not listing outright poor items. If there is an alternative clearly available at the same rank as a strictly inferior item, then the inferior item won't be listed. Only if the inferior item solves a different problem will it be listed. Ie, MDR gear and threat gear solves different problems.

Lastly, if you're respeccing from retribution or holy to protection, then you're likely way ahead of the defined ranks above. You just lack tanking gear. Reputation, ability to gain honor/CP, a stash with JP and the opportunity to run trash raids for reputation with Avengers of Hyjal may all be in place. This will enable you to gain failsafe gear at a rate that this guide cannot take for granted.


Head:

The head slot is problematic from a failsafe point of view. You either grind reputation with your Twilight Highlands faction or run heroics in a green helmet to get started.

Image, ilevel 403, 2200 Conquest Points, Cataclysmic Gladiator's Scaled Helm, CTC, armor, stamina
Image, ilevel 397, 2200 Valor Points, Jaw of Repudiation, avoidance/threat
Image, ilevel 390, 2200 Honor, Ruthless Gladiator's Scaled Helm, CTC, armour, stamina
Image, ilevel 346, 2200 Justice Points, Helm of Easeful Death, CTC
Image, ilevel 346, Dragonmaw Clan, revered, Grinning Fang Helm/Crown of Wings, threat
Image, ilevel 346, 2200 Justice Points, Helm of the Proud, MDR

Comment: Both tanking helmets are good items for their rank. The PvP helmet comes with superior stamina and armour.

These helmets cover all tanking aspects for the rank Image tank, and the threat option has perfectly acceptable survival stats for a rank Image tank.

The PvP helmet should be gemmed with a yellow +40 mastery gem together with an appropriate meta gem. The reason is that the resilience socket bonus is worthless for a tank.

The VP helmet is another piece with abyssmal itemization until you're CTC-capped. After that moment the threat makes your life easier. Normally I'd advice you to reforge threat into mastery, but as this helmet comes with literally twice as much avoidance as threat, I advice you to reforge parry into mastery and smile at the sweet chunk of remaining expertise.

I advice the beginning tank to give running Random Battlegrounds a thought. The ilevel 390 Honor helmet is vastly superior to the 346 PvE options. The CP helmet is there for the stamina stacker or the mastery starved.


Neck:

Image, ilevel 397, 1250 Valor Points, Guardspike Choker, CTC
Image, ilevel 378, 1250 Justice Points, Stoneheart Necklace, CTC
ImageImageImage, ilevel 365, Molten Front vendor, Fireheart Necklace, CTC, threat

Comment: Just get the Molten Front neck. I takes one day to complete stage one of the dailies, and after that it's available.
The 397 is perfectly itemized for us. While this isn't a priority slot to shop valor items for, the necklace should still be prioritized above slots where you have well designed 378 gear to be exchanged for badly designed 397 gear.


Shoulders:

This slot is a disaster. We only have one piece of tanking gear available, and as it's rank Image you'll want to replace these with BoE drops from the AH if you can't convice the RNG gods to favour you. Fourtenately the cost of 359 BoE shoulders should drop, but you can't know for certain that any will be available.

Image, ilevel 403, 2200 Conquest Points, Sunburnt Pauldrons, threat, totally lacks tanking stats
Image, ilevel 346, 1650 Justice Points, Sunburnt Pauldrons, MDR, threat

Comment: These shoulders come with an unwanted hit-rating, but it's the only failsafe alternative.

If you should somehow find yourself with nothing but the 346 shoulders, because, well, RNG actively hates you, then the bloody awful PvP shoulders listed here might be a last resort. They have absolutely nothing tankworthy to them, but the staggering difference in ilevel brings an extra 500 armor, 240 stamina and 200 strength (54 parry rating at the 27% conversion), and you can always reforge into some 100 mastery. This still doesn't make these shoulders any good, but they are better than the 346 anyway.


Back:

This is a slot where we have several options. Best of all, unless you already did the Thrall quest chain as holy or retribution, then a fantastic cloak that will last you into Firelands is available within an hour after you reach level 85.

Image, ilevel 403, 1250 Conquest Points, Cataclysmic Gladiator's Cloak of Prowess, CTC, armour, stamina
Image, ilevel 397, 1250 Valor Points, Indefatigable Greatcloak, avoidance/threat
Image, ilevel 397, 1250 Valor Points, Nanoprecise Cape, CTC, (intelligence instead of strength), hit versus lacking strength nullifies this as a threat option
Image, ilevel 390, 1250 Honor, Ruthless Gladiator's Cloak of Prowess, CTC, armour, stamina
Image, ilevel 378, Avenger's of Hyjal, friendly, Durable Flamewrath Greatcloak, threat
ImageImageImage, ilevel 365, Mount Hyjal, Quest: The Vow, Mantle of Patience, CTC
Image, ilevel 359, Guardians of Hyjal, exalted, Wrap of the Great Turtle, CTC


Comment: The ilevel 359 reputation cloak is listed for those who have already done the Thrall quest line and opted for a non tanking cloak. Once again we have a PvP item listed due to the high mastery on it.

The 397 tanking cloak is sweet for the already CTC-capped. For the rest it's about as bloody awful as it can be. If you're scrambling for capping CTC you're better off with the PvP or caster cloak.

My advice to the beginning tank is to grab the Thrall cloak and stick to it until you have bought all the really good VP gear. If you have already done the quest as healer or dps, well it's time to run Random Battlegrounds for honor unless you can shop the reputation cloak immediately. The CP cloak is there for the desperately mastery starved.

The 397 healing cloak is a better CTC (as well as MDR) option than the CP cloak due to the gem slot, but the PvP option provides more stamina.


Chest:

There are a number of hit-rating centric options for this slot if you think you have all the Expertise you need.

Image, ilevel 397, 2200 Valor Points, Chestplate of the Unshakable Titan, avoidance
Image, ilevel 378, 2200 Justice Points, Immolation Chestguard, avoidance
Image, ilevel 377, Blacksmithing BoE, Vicious Pyrium Breastplate, CTC
Image, ilevel 359, 2200 Justice Points, Reinforced Sapphirium Chestguard, CTC
Image, ilevel 359, Blacksmithing BoE, Hardened Elementium Hauberk, threat

Comment: For some reason the higher ilevel chests come with pure avoidance. The VP one sadly enough comes with more dodge than parry, forcing you to unbalance your dodge/parry rating even further if you're desperately trying to cap CTC.

The crafted PvP chest is very good for the beginning tank. The 359 crafted one is still better for pure threat due to the expertise rating, but overall an inferior tanking piece.


Wrist:

This slot is problematic because it will take rather a long time to get any failsafe items here.

Image, ilevel 397, Blacksmithing BoE, Titanguard Wristplates, CTC
Image, ilevel 397, 1250 Valor Points, Flashing Bracers of Warmth, CTC (healing plate)
Image, ilevel 397, 1250 Valor Points, Bracers of Unrelenting Excellence, avoidance
Image, ilevel 378, 1250 Justice Points, Bracers of Regal Force, avoidance
Image, ilevel 378, 1250 Justice Points, Gigantiform Bracers, CTC
Image, ilevel 365, Molten Front vendor, Ricket's Gun Show, CTC, MDR
Image, ilevel 359, Ramkahen, exalted, Sandguard Bracers, threat

Comment: The JP CTC wrists should probably be your first priority among these unless you have the VP to spare. As for the valor pieces, the tanking piece is another dual avoidance piece with higher parry than dodge. If you really, really, really need the CTC, then the healing plate is your option. Well, unless you are filthy rich in WoW gold and can afford the crafted wrists when they show up on the AH.


Weapon:

There are PvP options for extra threat both for rank Image and Image, but the cost in Honor and Conquest Points respectively are prohibitive. To add insult to injury they only come with a threat stat apart from the worthless Resilience. While they are upgrades to the rank Image and Image respectively I advice you to hold out here unless you have the Honor/CP to spare and just respecced tank. In that case, get one PvP weapon and start to slaughter your way through the five mans.

Image, ilevel 397, 2450 Conquest Points, Cataclysmic Gladiator's Bonecracker, threat
Image, ilevel 378, 2450 honor, Ruthless Gladiator's Bonecracker, threat
Image, ilevel 365, Blacksmithing, Unbreakable Guardian, CTC
Image, ilevel 365, Blacksmithing, Elementium-Edged Scalper, CTC, threat
Image, ilevel 346, Hellscream's Reach/Baradin's Wardens, revered, Darkheart Hacker, CTC, threat
Image, ilevel 333, Quest (alliance side) Narkrall, The Drake-Tamer in Twilight Highlands, Dragonscorn Mace, threat
Image, ilevel 333, Quest (horde side) Fury Unbound in Twilight Highlands, Mace of the Gullet, threat

Comment: Weapons drop by the dozen in heroic dungeons. This is likely one slot you'll be replacing without much hassle. Thus the 346 Tol Barad weapon isn't exactly a high priority item. It's listed in the extremely unlikley event you simply don't get a dropped weapon from running heroics. Of the ilevel 365 picks the Unbreakable Guardian is easily the best unless you have a racial ability strongly favouring an axe.

The PvP weapon is only here as an example. There are more onehanders with strength and stamina, and they all look very much like this one when it comes to stat distribution. You'll have to collect a lot of Honor / Conquest Points to get it, and it's basically only useful if you have a desperate need of threat. You will also gain a rather minor amount of stamina and strength.


Shield:

This slot is slightly problematic as we're dependent on drops if we want to feel geared in DS. While the items are fine for their ilevel, they're definitely falling behind this late in the expansion.

Image, ilevel 359, Blacksmithing, Elementium Earthguard, CTC, threat
Image, ilevel 346, 950 Justice Points, Shield of the Four Grey Towers, CTC

Comment: Another great JP item. The crafted shield is your stamina and armour pick, and it comes with better threat stats. It is, overall, the better of the two pieces.


Relic:

This is one of the easier slots to fill. You get the JP relic quickly, and whenever you feel you have excess VP you upgrade.


Image, ilevel 397, 700 Valor Points, Stoutheart Talisman, CTC
Image, ilevel 378, 700 Justice Points, Deathclutch Figurine, MDR
Image, ilevel 359, 700 Justice Points, Relic of Khaz'goroth, CTC
Image, ilevel 346, Insription, Notched Jawbone, CTC, threat
Image, ilevel 318, Quest (horde only) Insurrection in Twilight Highlands, Blackblood Freedom Standard, CTC, threat
Image, ilevel 318, Quest (alliance only) Landgrab in Twilight Highlands Shore-Cleansing Standard, CTC, threat

Comment: You might end up shopping the crafted one if you have the gold and are in a hurry gearing up. The VP one is obviously best.


Trinket:

This slot is special. A trinket is never just better or worse than a distinctly different trinket. A stamina trinket is always better when you take large amounts of magical damage, and a mastery trinket tends to shine when the incoming damage is physical in nature. This is also the slot where you can change your tank amazingly fast from a CTC tank to a stamina stacking tank.

Image, ilevel 397, 1650 Valor Points, Fire of the Deep, mastery, dodge on-use
Image, ilevel 378, Avengers of Hyjal, Revered, Essence of the Eternal Flame, mastery, strength on-use
Image, ilevel 378, Avengers of Hyjal, Revered, Stay of Execution, dodge, shield with backlash on-use
Image, ilevel 365, Molten Front vendor, Moonwell Phial, stamina, stationary dodge on-use
Image, ilevel 359, Baradin's Wardens / Hellscream's Reach, Exalted, Impatience of Youth, mastery, strength on-use
Image, ilevel 359, Baradin's Wardens / Hellscream's Reach, Exalted, Mirror of Broken Images, mastery, resistance on-use
Image, ilevel 318, Quest (horde side) Four Heads are Better than None in Twilight Highlands, Za'brok's Lucky Tooth, stamina
Image, ilevel 318, Quest (allince side) Four Heads are Better than None in Twilight Highlands, Za'brok's Lucky Tooth, stamina

Comment: Eventually you want to grind the TB dailies. Mirror of Broken Images is just that good.

The 397 VP trinket is simply golden. It's a massive boost towards CTC-capping, and a huge chunk of dodge on-use for bursts is nothing to sneeze at.

Oh, and don't throw away that green trinket until you have secured better stamina options.


Finger:

This is another slot we quickly fill and then maintain throughout the content.

Image, ilevel 397, 1250 Valor Points, Signet of the Resolute, Avoidance
Image, ilevel 397, 1250 Valor Points, Ring of Torn Flesh, CTC/threat
Image, ilevel 391, Avengers of Hyjal, exalted, Adamantine Signet of the Avengers, MDR, threat
Image, ilevel 378, 1250 Justice Points, Deflecting Brimstone Band, CTC
Image, ilevel 365, Molten Front vendor, Lylagar Horn Ring, CTC
Image, ilevel 346, Therazane, revered, Felsen's Ring of Resolve, CTC
Image, ilevel 346, Ramkahen, revered, Red Rock Band, CTC, threat
Image, ilevel 333, Guardians of Hyjal, honored, Galrond's Band, CTC, threat

Comment: Observe that calling the Signet failsafe is something of a misnomer. You'll have to down bosses in Firelands to see your reputation rise above honored.
The JP ring should be priority for a gearing tank. As for the VP options things are a bit trickier. Until you're CTC-capped, the dps-ring is likely the better equipment. Double avoidance on the tanking ring is really poor itemization. The only redeeming part is that you're going to reforge parry into mastery rather than reforging away from dodge.


Feet:

The Pyrelord Greaves are the easiest to get.

Image, ilevel 397, 1650 Valor Points, Bladeshatter Treads, avoidance
Image, ilevel 378, Blacksmithing, Mirrored Boots, CTC
Image, ilevel 378, Quest Documenting the Timeways, Treads of the Past, CTC/threat
ImageImageImage, ilevel 365, Molten Front vendor, Pyrelord Greaves, MDR
Image, ilevel 359, Dragonmaw Clan (horde only), exalted, Boots of Sullen Rock, CTC
Image, ilevel 359, Wildhammer Clan (alliance only), exalted, Gryphon Rider's Boots, CTC

Comment: The VP boots are best, only as a result of its higher ilevel, and hence stamina. Apart from that they're pretty lackluster only marginally redeemed by having more parry than dodge for ease of reforging.


Legs:

Easy slot to fill and maintain even if you never see a drop.

Image, ilevel 397, Blacksmithing BoE, Foundations of Courage, CTC
Image, ilevel 378, 2200 Justice Points, Immolation Legguards, CTC
Image, ilevel 333, The Earthen Ring, honoured, Stone-Wrapped Greaves, MDR

Comment: While the Stone-Wrapped Greaves are good for the rank, the JP legs are a no-brainer for the gearing tank. The crafted legs, while obviously best, will cost you a substantial fortune when they finally show up on the AH.


Waist:

As stated further down, the crafted belt should be considered manadatory for the new tank.

Image, ilevel 403, 1650 Conquest Points, Cataclysmic Gladiator's Girdle of Prowess, CTC
Image, ilevel 397, 1650 Valor Points, Forgesmelter Waistplate, CTC
Image, ilevel 390, 1650 Honor, Ruthless Gladiator's Girdle of Prowess, CTC
Image, ilevel 378, Avengers of Hyjal, honored, Girdle of the Indomitable Flame, MDR
Image, ilevel 359, Blacksmithing, Hardened Elementium Girdle, CTC
Image, ilevel 346, 1650 Justice Points, Girdle of the Mountains, MDR
Image, ilevel 346, 1650 Justice Points, Beech Green Belt, CTC

Comment: Just get the crafted belt as soon as possible. The 378 belt, while an upgrade, is a comparatively poor piece. The VP belt is just about perfect. Dodge instead of parry would have been better, but we can't get it all.

My advice is to skip the PvP belt unless you just happen to have the Honor lying around and are stuck with the crafted one. Reason being that the VP belt simply is superior. As for the CP belt, no, I really wouldn't go there,


Hands:

Another slot we have problems filling at lower ranks, but which compensates later on by offering very good failsafe options.

Image, ilevel 397, 1650 Valor Points, Grimfist Crushers, CTC/threat
Image, ilevel 397, 1650 Valor Points, Gauntlets of Feathery Blows, avoidance/threat
Image, ilevel 378, 1650 Justice Points, Immolation Handguards, CTC
Image, ilevel 378, Blacksmithing, Eternal Elementium Handguards, CTC, MDR
Image, ilevel 359, 1650 Justice Points, Reinforced Sapphirium Handguards, CTC

Comment: The VP gloves are interesting. The tanking ones are your obvious threat option, and the dps ones are your survivability choice due to superior mastery.



There are also profession based self-only (or at least requiring you to have a certain skill level in a profession to use a BoE) items which are available for those with the approproate profession. I'm not listing that type of gear here, but you ought to check out your own professions to see if there are any gear perks for you.

Last: As soon as you gear into rank Image, buy mastery. Shop mastery until you spew on it and the four other members of your party yells at you. Then buy some more. You do not need stamina until you start raiding. Go absurd and gem flat our for mastery while making sure to pick up socket bonuses.
Watch out for the magic 102.4 CTC. It should be possible to cap it even in failsafe gear, and when you do, you no longer want more mastery. Still, your healers will love you for capping CTC.


Section 4: Guesstimates

How long will it take to gear up the unlucky tank?

One month should see the tank exalted with Therazane from questing Deepholm and running dailies alone.
Questing a zone to its end should see the tank honored with the associated faction in that zone. Earthen Ring faction are present in more than one zone. We need to know how long it takes to grind the 30k odd rep needed for each faction we want at exalted.

Note that by questing a zone to its end I mean that you do every quest that gives reputation with the local faction. Even though my baseline is set at honored with everyone, in reality you'll be 85 and running dailies before you're finished with all zones. Going back to the zones at 85 and questing them out is still highly recommended. The reputation gain is fantastic, and as an added bonus it virtually rains wow-gold over you. You may also want to do this for guild-reputation if nothing else.

Econ21 have the following numbers to give:

For a human, the dailies give me:

Wildhammer - 1375
Therazane - 2035
Tol Barad - 1650 (plus another 1700:ish rep if your faction happens to hold Tol Barad, Yappo's edit)
Ramkahen - 150 (whoot!) (plus another 250 since they added rep for bombing 100 Schnott soldiers, Yappo's edit)

Observe that humans get 10% extra rep as a racial perk and that Therazane only offers 1500 reputation daily while you're still honored with them. Add also that you're likely to be in a guild that adds, at least, another 5% reputation.

No matter what, this means that wearing the Therazane tabard is essentially a bad idea. It would seem that Earthen Ring should be prioritized to revered. Ramkahen and Guardians of Hyjal should be done with a tabard after that.

One month after dinging 85 you ought to be exalted with Therazane and Tol Barad. Wildhammer/Dragonclaw reputation also ought to be almost exalted.

That leaves how fast it takes to grind Ramkahen and Guardians of Hyjal reputation from running dungeons. My guess is that a month to exalted is perfectly doable, but it might be stretching it a little, especially as we're talking very long days if you're supposed to do 20 odd daily quests as well as running four instances every day. However, IF you're doing 20 daily quests a day, then WoW-gold is no longer a major concern. You're getting 200 - 300 gold daily from quests only.

The first daily random dungeon yields 70 JP. This translates to one or two items during the course of one month's worth of grinding. An added downside is that it can't be trusted for giving rep for wearing the level 85 tabards.
However, if you run the daily dungeon with five 85, then you will get a dungeon that yields reputation. After two weeks of running normal difficulty dungeons you ought to be ready to step up to tanking the first tier of Cataclysm five man heroics.

The daily random heroic seems to give around 300 justice points and some 1200 reputation from wearing a level 85 tabard.

All in all a stiff month's worth of grinding should make you exalted with all needed factions and revered with Earthen Ring. See the caveats below though.

I'm not entirely certain about how long it takes to unlock all the Molten Front vendors. I've seen 30 days quoted on MMO Champion, but I can't verify it. Similarily I'm in the dark as for how long it takes to grind Avengers of Hyjal reputation.

You'll run the risk of locking yourself out of dailies. The 25 daily limit means you just can't do them all. With the introduction of the Firelands dailies this becomes a real issue. Worst case scenario you have to focus on the Molten Front dailies and the TB counterpart and chainrun five-man tier one Cataclysm heroics with a tabard corresponding to your priority. All in all this makes the numbers quoted slightly iffy, but at the other hand you're unlikely to need Hyjal and Earthen Ring rep at exalted.


Section 5: Reality checking the ranks


I've made a quick and dirty setup of failsafe tanks at the very end of my respctive ranks. Where I lack gear in this guide I've simply slapped in the best available quest reward that doesn't require you to step inside any instance.

There are 17 gearslots.

The rank Image tank has two 312, four 318, three 325, five 333 and three 365 items. That's easily enough to tackle normal mode level 85 dungeons.

The rank Image tank has one 312, two 318, three 325, four 333, three 346 and three 365 items. It's enough to hit the first tier Cataclysm five man heroics, but people won't give you happy smiles.

The rank Image tank has one 346, three 359, one 365, nine 378, and three 390 items. That's indisputably enough to start raiding Firelands on normal difficulty. It's also a ridiculous overkill for doing the second tier of Cataclysm five man heroics and first tier Cataclysm raiding, which is what this rank is supposed to set you up for.

The rank Image tank has ilevel 397 in all slots but three. Given this gear you're not only ready to raid the Dragon Soul normal raid -- you ought to be farming it. It is, perfectly acceptable to take a first shot at heroic modes.


Section 6: Version documentation

First finalized version, 2010-12-13, aimed at tanks still grinding rep and finishing off quests while at level 85.
Edited 2010-12-13, fixing an error concerning weapon.
Edited 2010-12-18, adding data on repgrinding and justice points grinding.
Edited 2010-12-22, fixing some errors on what tabards to prioritize and why. Clarified why the levelling zones ought to be quested through.
Edited 2010-12-25, added Notched Jawbone, relic, to the crafted section.
Edited 2010-12-29, added some notes on reputation (new daily Ramkahen and the guild perk).
Edited 2011-01-04, clarified trinkets section and corrected some errors on reputation gain from running dungeons (my previous numbers were too low).
Edited 2011-01-12, cleaned up the gear section a bit. Added one ring and a lot of comments on the gear linked.
Edited 2011-02-09, partially changed recommendations for the crafted tanking chest.
Edited 2011-02-15, added TB axe.
Edited 2011-04-30, changed recommendations concerning what shield to pick. The crafted shield is the best failsafe option since it got a gem-slot added.
Edited 2011-06-29, obsoleted the guide with a warning that it's dated. If this edit note is the last you read here, then this guide has not, I repeat not, been updated for patch 4.2.
Edited 2011-06-30, guide once again current.
Edited 2011-07-02, fixed a few errors and explained a couple of ranked items.
Edited 2011-07-04, Changed availability ranking on the Molten Front vendor neck and feet. As it only takes one day to complete stage 1 of the dailies both items are indeed available more or less immediately.
Edited 2011-07-08, Added trinkets and a PvP weapon. Marginally changed some advice. Fixed some typos.
Edited 2011-08-01, Added another PvP item.
Edited 2011-12-07, Started working on the theory sections. I think I have all PvE non-crafted gear covered.
Edited 2011-12-08, Some theory sections valid for 4.3. Season 11 PvP gear linked to all over. CP gear added.
Edited 2011-12-08, Releasing this guide as finalized.
Last edited by yappo on Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:07 pm, edited 127 times in total.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide (WIP)

Postby econ21 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:05 am

This is useful, thanks, Yappo.

What are the criteria for inclusion in your list? I get the failsafe part, but what item level are you shooting for? 346 seems to be what Blizzard intends we have to start raiding but you have many 333 items on your list. It's useful to list the 333 items, if only because it means their availability means JP purchases on that slot are not a priority. But in the list it would be good to distinguish the two (I know the links do that, but I suspect many of us will want to print out this list).

At the 333 level, there are quest rewards for chest, boots, weapon and shield you could add. I've linked them in a failsafe list for heroics, not raids, that I came up:

http://maintankadin.failsafedesign.com/ ... _v=posting

BTW, I thought the red rock ring was a tank ring, but then - following theckhd's theorycrafting - I am a fan of expertise (and mastery ofc)!
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide (WIP)

Postby yappo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:49 am

econ21 wrote:This is useful, thanks, Yappo.

What are the criteria for inclusion in your list? I get the failsafe part, but what item level are you shooting for? 346 seems to be what Blizzard intends we have to start raiding but you have many 333 items on your list. It's useful to list the 333 items, if only because it means their availability means JP purchases on that slot are not a priority. But in the list it would be good to distinguish the two (I know the links do that, but I suspect many of us will want to print out this list).

At the 333 level, there are quest rewards for chest, boots, weapon and shield you could add. I've linked them in a failsafe list for heroics, not raids, that I came up:

http://maintankadin.failsafedesign.com/ ... _v=posting

BTW, I thought the red rock ring was a tank ring, but then - following theckhd's theorycrafting - I am a fan of expertise (and mastery ofc)!


I'm filling out the list even while you're responding :D

The few ilevel 333 items in the list are there for tanks to pick up while grinding the reputation needed for sweeter rewards. The reason they're on the list is that you can get them in case that specific slot happens to be an upgrade, and the cost in gold is neglible. If you're in a mix of epic (exalted rep) and green gear, then a couple of these upgrades might be just enough for you to hit a raid with forgiving people.

Thanks for the quest list. I'll make use of it, even though not today :D
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby Gavinas » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:16 am

Nice list, one correction: the justice point weapon is off hand only so no good for us.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby yappo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:29 am

Gavinas wrote:Nice list, one correction: the justice point weapon is off hand only so no good for us.


Thanks, fixed that error.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby Aeldeth » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:44 am

Hey yappo, first off, huge thanks for this. I always love these failsafe guides, as I, at least on my paladin, have been completely forsaken by the loot gods, and almost never get a single drop. Every single piece of gear I have (or ever had) was crafted, emblems, or rep.

Just to give you a hand, the Horde version of the Dragonscorn Mace is the Mace of the Gullet from the quest Fury Unbound.

Thanks again for your hard work on this!
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby yappo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:56 am

Aeldeth wrote:
Just to give you a hand, the Horde version of the Dragonscorn Mace is the Mace of the Gullet from the quest Fury Unbound.


Superb, mace added.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby econ21 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:16 pm

On reputation, if you are chain-running instances for JPs, then the tabards will start to ramp up reputation fast. I'll try to make a note of reputation gain, but I suspect about 2k per normal L85 dungeon run.

For a human, the dailies give me:

Wildhammer - 1375
Therazane - 2035
Tol Barad - 1650
Ramkahen - 150 (whoot!)

Hyjal and Earthen ring don't have dailies.

Tol Barad PvE gear also needs some kind of currency (like Champion Seals) and you only earn 6 per day, at least on friendly.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby Aeldeth » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:06 pm

For Za'brok's Lucky Tooth, Here's the Alliance version of the trinket, and quest. Love the Hitchhiker's Guide reference on this one.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby yappo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:42 pm

econ21 wrote:On reputation, if you are chain-running instances for JPs, then the tabards will start to ramp up reputation fast. I'll try to make a note of reputation gain, but I suspect about 2k per normal L85 dungeon run.

For a human, the dailies give me:

Wildhammer - 1375
Therazane - 2035
Tol Barad - 1650
Ramkahen - 150 (whoot!)

Hyjal and Earthen ring don't have dailies.

Tol Barad PvE gear also needs some kind of currency (like Champion Seals) and you only earn 6 per day, at least on friendly.


Can you doublecheck those reputation numbers? I'm pretty certain that Therazane gives 1500 a day, and even with a human racial plus an eventual guild perk, 2035 is a very high number.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby yappo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:48 pm

Aeldeth wrote:For Za'brok's Lucky Tooth, Here's the Alliance version of the trinket, and quest. Love the Hitchhiker's Guide reference on this one.


Once again, superb.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby Aeldeth » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:29 am

yappo wrote:Can you doublecheck those reputation numbers? I'm pretty certain that Therazane gives 1500 a day, and even with a human racial plus an eventual guild perk, 2035 is a very high number.


Admittedly, I haven't gotten the opportunity to quest in Deepholm yet, but when I go to Wowhead and add up all the rep from dailies, I get 2700 reputation for all dailies.

Maybe it's like Sons of Hodir where more dailies open as you progress in reputation?
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby Goodheart » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:32 am

They only offer a subset of those dailies each day, some are different each day. Also one more unlocks at revered.
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby econ21 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:41 am

yappo wrote:Can you doublecheck those reputation numbers? I'm pretty certain that Therazane gives 1500 a day, and even with a human racial plus an eventual guild perk, 2035 is a very high number.


Double-checked. I do 7 quests on revered. They were slightly different today but still 2035 (with 10% human but no guild bonus).
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Re: Failsafe gearing guide

Postby yappo » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:13 am

econ21 wrote:
yappo wrote:Can you doublecheck those reputation numbers? I'm pretty certain that Therazane gives 1500 a day, and even with a human racial plus an eventual guild perk, 2035 is a very high number.


Double-checked. I do 7 quests on revered. They were slightly different today but still 2035 (with 10% human but no guild bonus).


Super, then I'll add the data.
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