I'm lost and would like some advice

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I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby pbean » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:01 am

Hi all,

I'm gearing up my Paladin and I'm totally lost right now. I read a lot of things about rotations, gearing strategies, etc, and I understand all of that. But I'm having huge problems actually putting that to practice.

So I know that I have to get hit to the cap, then get expertise to the hard cap, then choose between haste and mastery, basically. Since we're still progressing, our DPS isn't all that great, and I'm confident I can get the rotation down, I chose to favour haste over mastery.

But then the problems begin. I now have 4500 valour points (using a trick to be over the cap - sshh) and I have no clue what to buy. I own 3 different chest pieces and again no clue which one to use. Also I recently leveled Jewelcrafting, but I can't decide which gems to use. And finally, I'm just having a huge problem with reforging. So all of that leads to the fact that I'm now not as well geared as I should be.

So first of all, there's the choice between breastplates. I own Breastplate of Ancient Steel, Chestguard of Eternal Vigilance and Breastplate of the Kings' Guard.
Now something tells me that the last one, the King's Guard, is by far the best, since it has haste and mastery, which are both pretty good stats. However, the Eternal Vigilance one has expertise, which is very nice since I am not capped yet. But on the other hand it also has parry, which is less good than haste and mastery.

I face the same problem with choosing what to buy for VP, I'm mainly looking at legs right now: Kovok's Riven Legguards vs Legguards of the Unscathed.

So should I just take the one with expertise, because I'm not capped yet, and take the avoidance for granted? My other idea is to aggressively gem and reforge for expertise, and also take expertise food and an elixir, which should also bring me to the cap. Then I have the benefit of having the haste and mastery, but also being at the cap.


But in general, I have trouble choosing which items to get. For instance, I now have a cloak with hit and haste (Drape of the Screeching Swarm), but will a valour cloak with parry and mastery actually be better (eg. Yi's Cloak of Courage). And the same with rings; I have rings with haste/mastery and with hit/dodge, but the valour ones are with parry/dodge or expertise/crit. The parry/dodge one could probably be an upgrade to the hit/dodge ring, but the expertise/crit ring could be an upgrade (because of the expertise) or could just be total crap (because of the crit).


All in all, I think I'm just looking for an easy way to pick upgrades where possible. I tried Ask Mr. Robot, but it's giving me very strange results. When I just plug my character in and say "optimize", it puts me well below the expertise hard cap and decides to gem for stamina instead. When I fiddle with the stat weights, and basically put hit on 20 and expertise on 19.99 (to force them to be "important"), it still thinks that Breastplate of Ancient Steel is better than Chestguard of Eternal Vigilance (if I put it to "relative" instead of "absolute" comparisons), which makes no sense at all.


Finally, I have a separate question about trinkets. I now have Ghost Iron Dragonling and Brawler's Statue, with the dodge reforged to expertise. This seemed like a smart solution to get closer to the expertise cap. I also own the Bitterest Balebrew Charm, which has a nice chunk of stamina, and Heart of Fire which has mastery but not as much total ratings as the Brawler's Statue. I also happen to have Lessons of the Darkmaster for my DPS set, but I can't decide if that's nice enough for tanking as well. How should I decide which trinkets to pick?


Please be gentle in criticism. :)
Last edited by pbean on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby theckhd » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:37 am

First, this should really be in the Gear Check/Advice thread.

On to the advice: First things first, let's get stat priorities out of the way. If you're going for control/haste, it's something like this:

Stam > hit / exp >> mastery/haste >> dodge/parry/strength

If you want to use a set of stat weights in tools like AskMrRobot or ReforgeLite, I'd use 4 for stamina, 3 for hit, 2.99 for expertise, 1 for haste, 0.9 for mastery, and ~0.25 for dodge/parry/strength.

Now, considering those stat weights, it should be clear that you want to look for stamina, hit, and expertise above all else. It's not that critical what other secondary stats you get, because haste/mastery aren't that much more attractive than dodge. So you should be looking for gear with high stamina, and high hit/exp after reforging. Tank pieces often have reduced STR itemization to give you more secondary stats, which means those often end up being the best way to do this.

For example, take your chest options. They all have the same base stamina, but the last one has RY gems with a 120 strength bonus. Matching socket bonuses nets you 240 stam and 320 hit+exp, and a little strength you don't care much about. The haste/mastery itemization is nice, but not as nice as having hit or expertise directly as one of the stats.

The first one is the traditional tanking piece with dodge/mastery, neither of which are stats we're super jazzed about. The gem slots are YY, which is 240 stam and 320 hit, but with a nice 180 stam bonus for a total of 420 stamina from gems. The extra stam is enough to make me prefer this one to the third option, even though it'll end up as hit/dodge/mastery instead of hit/haste/mastery. But it's a close call either way.

The middle one though is very nice. First, it has RB sockets, netting you 160 exp and 360 stamina. Not quite as much as the first chest, but still quite good. More importantly, it's got reduced STR itemization, which means it has more rating to play with. That extra rating comes in the form of parry, unfortunately, but you can turn 374 of that 935 parry into hit. So you can get high stamina and both hit and expertise out of the item. So the Chestguard of Eternal Vigilance would be my choice out of those three.

Similarly for the legs: Kovok's has reduced STR itemization, high expertise, and a huge amount of dodge to convert into hit. Legguards of the Unscathed is haste/mastery, which is weaker. A hit/haste or exp/haste option would be better than either of these if all other things were equal (Kovok's extra rating is hard to beat). And of course, a hit/exp item is absolutely wonderful (example: Dawnblade's Chestguard). Kovok's was one of my first Valor purchases, in fact.

The itemization of Yi's Cloak isn't super-attractive, but the sheer stamina improvement that comes with 26 ilvls is going to make it a big upgrade. You might want to hold off on it until later, as there is a crit/exp cloak drop in Mogu'Shan (Feng) and a great hit/haste cloak from Vizier in Heart of Fear. I actually got the hit/haste one in LFR last night, which was rather convenient since I was trying to decide between the cloak, bracers, and helm as my next valor purchase. Note that you need to be Ret spec to get either of those cloaks in LFR, though.

Regarding trinkets: Brawler's Statue is terrible. Dragonling with hit/exp/haste would be far better, and the Direbrew stamina trinket is better than either. Since the Dragonling gives you 1200 hit+exp plus nice haste, I'd use that over Lessons of the Darkmaster (which isn't a bad trinket itself, certainly better than Heart of Fire or Brawler's Statue, but still weaker than the Dragonling).
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby pbean » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:21 pm

Thanks, Theck, for taking the time to answer me, and going into detail. Really appreciate it.

I (mis)understood that going for the expertise hard-cap was the absolute first thing to do, but apparently it's still not as important as pure stamina? Using those weights, I AskMrRobot (obviously) still favours gemming stamina over expertise, and puts me a few percent off the hard-cap with my current gear.
Edit: actually, I played around with AskMrRobot, and even choosing full 489 gear, it had trouble getting the expertise to the hard-cap, really favouring stamina and getting expertise only up to 14%. Should I adjust the weights in such cases to make it lean slightly more to expertise? When I was playing around earlier, I did something silly and put hit on 20 and expertise on 19.99 while leaving the rest to default, just to make sure it would reach the hard-cap.

This also brings me to a question which I forgot to ask in my original post: how do you (plural) handle picking upgrades, gemming and enchanting? Do you use AskMrRobot as well, or other methods? I never used AskMrRobot because in Cataclysm it was pretty easy to figure out manually, and AskMrRobot seemed a bit off most of the time. So starting to use it now, it seems off as well, especially since they supposedly use your theory, but apparently not your preferred stat weights?

Thanks for the input about stats. I never really thought about it like that. I just assumed that a bunch of mastery and haste, together with a bit more strength, was actually the better combination in total, than something with less strength and increased combat ratings. I picked the chest piece with expertise, and also bought Kovok's. I decided to equip those, fill in your stat weights in AskMrRobot and just go with whatever it suggests. I'm now confident it will not be total crap, at least.

As for the cloak, I thought that there wasn't a satisfying drop in Mogu'Shan Vaults at all (at least that I have access to at this moment), since I generally avoided items with crit by default (such as the ring from valour as well). Especially since the valour cloak is item level 489 and the crit/exp cloak from Feng LFR is 476. But I'll hold off the purchase for now since I haven't run LFR yet this week, see what drops, and decide afterwards. Perhaps the next purchase to aim for should be the Shado-pan trinket.

Final question about the trinkets: I'm wondering how the Lessons of the Darkmaster compares to the Direbrew stamina trinkets, and how those two compare to the 463 stamina trinket. Although it has lower stamina than the Direbrew trinkets, it does have a proc the Direbrew trinkets lack.
For now, I'll go with the Dragonling and a Direbrew trinket though, since I already own those. :)
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby theckhd » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:12 pm

Instead of adjusting the stat weights, you could go into "Options" and check the box at the very bottom that says "force hit/exp caps." I tend to prefer stamina at lower gear levels, even if it means sacrificing a little exp. Eventually you'll get to the point where you have enough on gear to reach it through reforging alone.

I generally use AMR, and have been since Cataclysm. Partly because they're using stat weights that I worked out for them, and by using it I can give them better feedback; partly because I prefer an out-of-game solution, and partly because I like that it's essentially a charDev replacement with more convenience (automation). That said, I still tend to second-guess it, because their algorithm is optimized for speed instead of thoroughness. I often find that by manually tweaking some reforges, I can do better than their automatic algorithm. That's been less true now that they've improved the algorithm a little (based on feedback), and also because I have more rating to play around with than I used to.

There isn't a tanking cloak in MSV - the crit one is your only option until the great hit/haste one in HoF. It's just that the dodge/parry itemization on the valor cloak (or dodge/mastery or whatever it is - it's not hit or exp) is so lackluster that it's not likely to be your first upgrade. It's a big stamina gain, no doubt, but most of the other pieces are even larger stamina gains and give you better itemization choices.

Lesson of the Darkmaster isn't bad, but it's nowhere near as good as either of the stamina trinkets. The on-use is strength, which gives parry. Avoidance on-uses generally aren't that attractive to me, at least not as attractive as something more substantive like mastery, absorption, increased health, etc. In any event it certainly doesn't offset the sheer stamina you get from either of the other options.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby pbean » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:26 am

Thanks once again for sharing your thoughts. :)

The problem with the expertise was not that it was "just" below the cap (eg. 14.8%), but really a lot below the cap. It decided to put my expertise near 12% and just stack stamina with the gems. I now gemmed and reforged based on what AskMrRobot told me, and I do think I might have "too much" health (is there such a thing?). Raiding yesterday evening, I had about 630k raid-buffed hp, which seems a bit excessive for normal MSV, especially since my expertise is only near 12%. So now I'm considering gemming for some expertise instead.

What are your thoughts on when one has "enough" stamina? I think this is generally an interesting question, and to be honest missed a bit in your recent blog post as well. Because if we have some sort of definition of "enough" stamina we can go like:
Stamina (until enough) > hit (to cap) > expertise (to hard cap) > More stamina > Haste = Mastery > Parry = Dodge

Or something like that. Especially when I put stamina has a higher value in the AMR stat weights, it really tends to just fully gem for stamina all the time. It will only reforge to expertise, but rarely gem for it (bar a couple expertise/stamina gems when the socket bonus is really attractive).


As for the crit/expertise cloak, unfortunately that's not really an option for me yet, because if it drops it will go to the DPS warrior, obviously. :D I'll keep hoping for the hit/haste one from HoF LFR and otherwise might decide to get a valour one instead, if I have nothing else to purchase. Thanks again for your valuable insights. :)

I now went with Lao-Chin's Liquid Courage and Bubbliest Brightbrew Charm. A friend made a Relic of Niuzao for me, but I don't know how much of an upgrade that is to the Brightbrew Charm, ie. if it's worth it to equip it rather than sell it haha.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby theckhd » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:05 am

I can't really tell you whether to keep or sell the Relic trinket, as that depends on your financial situation. I got mine for ~5k, which was a steal, but I'm also sitting on over a million gold. As far as upgrades go, Relic is a clear improvement over the Brewfest trinket - more stamina and a useful clicky. It's not a huge improvement, but it was certainly worth 5k to me (in fact, I was going to pick one up for ~15k until I realized that it was so much cheaper to buy cards and wait 2 days for the fair).

I do think that there's a point at which you have "enough" stamina. Unfortunately, you're not going to hit it any time soon. I'm sitting at ~680k health raid-buffed, which ends up over 700k with the 10% health buff from healers during combat, and I'd still like more in HoF. The real problem is that stamina is your best survival stat up until the point at which you're not in danger of dying at all (i.e. can solo a boss for 10-15 seconds without heals), at which point you may as well start stacking DPS stats. Luckily, hit/exp/haste are all good DPS stats for us now, so we can do that while still building survivability.

But in short, I think stamina is generally more important than being expertise capped, at least at low gear levels. With my latest upgrades I'm probably going to have to use one expertise gem instead of an exp/stam gem to maintain hard cap, but that's an edge case that could really go either way (being ~150 exp below cap or having the extra 120 stam worth of health). If I was too much farther below cap, I wouldn't try and get there by sacrificing a bunch of stamina gems. Once you have mostly 489 gear, you'll be able to hit caps almost exclusively with reforging (and using appropriate hit/stam or exp/stam gems in yellow and red sockets to take advantage of socket bonuses), so the problem will solve itself.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby econ21 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:32 am

theckhd wrote:As far as upgrades go, Relic is a clear improvement over the Brewfest trinket - more stamina and a useful clicky. It's not a huge improvement, but it was certainly worth 5k to me


Pbean has the VP stamina trinket, which I understand shares the cooldown with the relic, so I don't think the clicky is very useful in that case (I guess you'd tend to prefer to click for the on use mastery than the dodge). I paid for 30k for my relic and then was a little aggrieved to realise it shared the CD with the VP trinket I'll get sooner or later.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby daishan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:31 am

econ21 wrote: I paid for 30k for my relic and then was a little aggrieved to realise it shared the CD with the VP trinket I'll get sooner or later.


I still haven't gotten round to getting the VP trinket, but doesn't it only lock out the relic while the buff is active?
In other words you can't have the VP mastery buff _and_ the relic dodge active at the same time but you can chain them one after the other. At least that's my understanding of the trinkets.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby econ21 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:51 am

daishan wrote:I still haven't gotten round to getting the VP trinket, but doesn't it only lock out the relic while the buff is active?


Oh my bad - checking on this, that is supposed to be how it works, as a blue poster says in this thread:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic ... ?page=2#35

It isn't what I would otherwise understand by the words "shared cooldown" but I am glad to hear it, as I really want that VP trinket.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby theckhd » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:07 pm

Yeah, they don't really share a cooldown, just a lockout. You can chain them one after another, you just can't stack the two effects simultaneously.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby pbean » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:43 pm

Thanks for the answers. :) My doubts have been taken away and I am now much more confident about gearing.

I have one additional question. Not sure if I should ask it here, or create a separate thread though.

About weapons, I was wondering if, for Humans, Elegion actually is better than the Hozen Slicer? The Hozen Slicer gives a 1% expertise increase through our racial, which is a lot. That would be about 340 expertise rating, I think? So do the other stats on Elegion actually outweigh 340 expertise rating?
And what about the LFR version of Elegion, how would that compare?

And finally, my friend and I were playing around a bit with our old, trusty Souldrinkers, and we found that they actually have the same effect at level 90. Assuming 650k health, the procs would hit for nearly 10k and heal for almost 20k. This alone is not really that much, but if we consider all of Elegon's mechanics, with the increased damage and all, I think the effect would be 4 times bigger?
Is this something worth considering, comparing the stats (or rather the lack thereof) to my current Hozen Slicer? Or are the stats just so bad that no amount of self-healing would compensate for that?
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby theckhd » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:04 pm

It's a free 340 exp, yes. But you lose out on a bunch of stamina by using the lower-ilvl weapon. Souldrinker is an interesting idea, but ultimately I'm not sure it's going to be worth the raw stamina and DPS loss.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby pbean » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:40 am

But is the amount of stamina enough to outweigh the 340 expertise? It would only be about 1500 health (or about 750 for the LFR version). If just looking at the stamina, I cannot imagine that 1500 health > 340 expertise rating? Factoring in the other increased stats, it would probably be better, but for the LFR version, I'm not so sure.

For Souldrinker, I wonder how much the DPS loss would actually amount to? Especially since the weapon damage stat isn't a big part of our damage any more (everything scales with attack power), and if we get loads and loads of self healing back for it?

Is there any way to calculate this? Or am I going to have to go and try it out? :P
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby theckhd » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:21 pm

pbean wrote:But is the amount of stamina enough to outweigh the 340 expertise? It would only be about 1500 health (or about 750 for the LFR version). If just looking at the stamina, I cannot imagine that 1500 health > 340 expertise rating? Factoring in the other increased stats, it would probably be better, but for the LFR version, I'm not so sure.

It's closer to 3.2k health. 737-578= 159 stamina, *1.25 for Guarded by the Light, *1.05 for plate specialization, *1.1 for Power Word: Fortitude, gives us 229 stamina, which is ~3200 health. Note that Elegion also gives you 645 stats worth of hit/exp, while Ook's only gives you 366 after reforging. Counting the 1% racial bonus, that's an effective 706 rating. So upgrading to Elegion gives you 3.2k health for a loss of ~61 hit/exp rating. And it gives you some more DPS as well.

As far as itemization goes, 159 stamina for 61 rating is much more efficient than converting hit/exp to stamina via gems or trinkets.

The LFR version is less efficient than the normal-mode version, of course (74 stamina for 135 rating), and also less efficient than gems or trinkets. So the LFR version is probably a side-grade to Ook's at best for a human.

pbean wrote:For Souldrinker, I wonder how much the DPS loss would actually amount to? Especially since the weapon damage stat isn't a big part of our damage any more (everything scales with attack power), and if we get loads and loads of self healing back for it?

Is there any way to calculate this? Or am I going to have to go and try it out? :P

Yes, there is, but I wouldn't recommend doing it by hand. It's something I can do more accurately with the MATLAB code though. However, we'd have to show that the proc mechanics remain the same at L90. If it procs significantly less often at 90 than at 85, it's likely to be sub-par regardless of our higher health values.
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Re: I'm lost and would like some advice

Postby pbean » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:28 pm

Thanks for going into details, Theck, really appreciate it. As for now it doesn't even really matter, since we haven't killed Elegon for the 3rd week in a row, and by looking at it I don't think we really will any time soon. :)

I had a few tries with Souldrinker, just to see how it went. My DPS didn't really seem to be going down all that much (although it's hard to compare on tries, of course) and healing seemed "ok-ish", although we didn't even get to phase 3 (where it would really shine, if at all). I'll check logs Wednesday to see if I can find out anything about modified proc rates. The amount of damage and healing (1.5% of health as damage and twice that as healing) has stayed the same, at least.
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