Sunday, May 4, 2008

Grappling with Gear

Blizzard's itemization team makes me scratch my head sometimes. As my guild was mopping up the end of tier 5 content earlier this year, I started putting together my "end-game" wishlist for gear sets, using a combination of Warcrafter's sandbox function and my gut. The only parameters I set for myself on gear selection was plate items only, since I have a mental block about wearing rogue or hunter gear. Most of it is ugly anyway. The set that I thought was ideal for me was comprised of mostly generic non-set plate, and had a whopping 144 hit rating on it. For those of you who are not familiar with melee gearing when wielding a 2-handed weapon, you need the equivalent of 9% +hit from gear and talents to eliminate your chance to miss when attacking a raid boss. "The" raid ret spec is 5/8/48, grabbing 5/5 Divine Strength from Holy, 3/3 Precision from Protection, and dumping the rest in the Retribution tree for damage boosters, mana efficiency, and procs. The 3 points in Precision grant 3% +hit, dropping a Ret Paladin's need from gear to 6%, or the equivalent of ~95 hit rating. Any hit that I equip beyond that 95 is completely wasted item points - going over the "hit cap" as its called provides no additional benefit at all. What's more is the alternative to equipping all this hit-laden gear was the Lightbringer Battlegear set, which on most pieces did not provide any substantial upgrade. For example, one of my main armor pieces of contention:

The Lightbringer helm has a great deal of strength, but a great deal less crit. The Illidari Shatterer helm has a vast amount of crit, but is overloaded with hit. Overall, I'd get more DPS if I equipped the Illidari Shatterer helm - but a lot of the item points are wasted. It's distressing that my "ideal" set would need to either have emphasis on the wrong stats (huge stamina & intellect on Lightbringer) or have an abundance of stats that I'm all ready heavy with (34 hit rating is one-third of what's necessary for me disregarding other gear). This is all not mentioning the TERRIBLE excuse for a set bonus the Lightbringer Battlegear 4-piece bonus is. Increased Hammer of Wrath damage? I could link treatises from both the WoW official forums and the EJ forums about how using HoW lowers a Ret Paladin's DPS, even if it is used like a MS Warrior uses Slam.

I've since started using the Rawr application to optimize my gear set, but until I get my grubby hands on some Sunwell epics, and unless I want to start using Hunter mail, I'm stuck using mis-itemized gear laden with way too much hit. I went out and *downgraded* a few pieces item-level wise in order to *increase* my DPS. Doesn't that strike you as odd? I know it bothers me. Ah well, I guess I'll just have to bite my tongue when we get to Sunwell and none of the gear has +hit on it, forcing me to use Black Temple epics to fill in the gaps.

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