Gearing Up For Progression Raiding

Bitches Leave.
Blizzard has done a lot lately to make getting gear much easier. So I thought I’d write a post that would help folks gear up quickly so that they can start working toward progression level raiding. This may be common knowledge for a lot of you, but things change a lot in the game and some of you may not be aware of all of it. So I’m writing this with the idea that if you have a toon at 80 (or nearing 80) and you’d like give raiding a try, this might be a helpful read that will get you ready for it… at least from a gear point of view.

Item Level
All gear has an item level (you can actually see it if you turn it on in your interface options). Level 80 Epics start at Item Level 200 (some blues are 200 as well), but not all epics are created equal. Currently Item Level goes all the way 277. Different levels of items drop from different instances.

Item Levels for Dungeons and Raids:

Dungeon / Raid Item Level
5 Man Heroics: 200
5 Man Heroic Trial of Champion: 219
5 Man Frozen Halls: 219
5 Man Heroic Frozen Halls: 232
10 Man Naxx: 200 (KT drops 213)
25 Man Naxx: 213 (KT drops 226)
10 Malygos: 213
25 Malygos: 226
10 Sartharion: 200 (2 Drakes Up drops additional 213)
25 Sartharion: 213 (2 Drakes Up drops additional 226)
10 Ulduar: 219 (hard mode goes up to 226)
25 Ulduar: 226 (some weapons are 232, hard mode goes up to 239)
10 Trial of Crusader: 232
10 Heroic Trial of Crusader: 245
25 Trial of Crusader: 245
25 Heroic Trial of Crusader: 258
10 Man Icecrown Citadel: 251
10 Man Heroic Icecrown Citadel: 264
25 Man Icecrown Citadel: 264
25 Man Heroic Icecrown Citadel: 277

If you’re a fresh 80 and you have limited play time and are looking for a “good loot to time spent” ratio here’s the path I’d recommend.

Step 1
Start running Heroics. This step hasn’t changed really. Except now heroics drop Emblems of Triumph. You can buy all five pieces of T9 Gear (Item Level 232) with those emblems. There are also a number of 245 non-tier piece you buy with Triumph emblems. This is great way to gear up quick. Run as many heroics as you can and you’ll quickly be caught up those starting to push into harder raids. While you’re getting badges, you can grab what ever 200 level gear you can get and replace those blues and greens you might still have. Which’ll make your heroic runs go smoother. Try to run Heroic 5 Man ToC and Heroic 5 Man Frozen Halls whenever you can. These drop 219 and 232 level gear. Depending on how lucky you are with drops, you may need some more gear lower heroics first.

Also, try and hit the daily random heroic 5 Man when you can. The Emblems of Frost will help your raiding career later as you can buy 264 level gear.

Step 2
Run Vault of Archavon whenever you can. Aside from dropping decent PvP gear, the bosses drop a random piece of Tier gear. You may get lucky and these raids are generally fast and fairly easy. So if you see one of these forming up, jump in.

Running Naxx, Malygos, and Sarth doesn’t hurt, but there are potentially better ways to spend your time. Even Ulduar isn’t as important as you can get a lot of high level stuff elsewhere. So if your time is limited, I’d at least avoid Naxx and maybe Ulduar. It can be a lot of work that you could be spending getting badges more readily from 5 mans. Which should be far less frustrating to run. Malygos is pretty quick and drops decent gear, so it wouldn’t hurt. Sarth can seem quick, but he has a fair bit of trash. These are still great instances to run for raid experience. You’ll cut your raiding chops in places like Naxx, OS, and Malygos. Same thing with Ulduar. The Item Level may be lower, but the experience there will help you in ToC and higher. Which is where you really want to be. Assuming you can get some emblem good gear and some good stuff from Heroic ToC and ICC 5 Mans, you should be ready to start working on ToC 10 and 25 man.

Step 3
Once you’ve replace a lot of you’re early gear with 219-232 or higher, hit up Trial of Crusader 10-25. This is where you’re likely to start finding serious progression raiding gear. If you’ve grabbed a lot of Heroic 5 man ToC and ICC gear, you should be in a good position to start working this place and maybe pick up some T9.5. If you’re group progresses well, give the Heroic versions of these a try. Even better upgrades and greater challenge. Better know your class well by this point.

Step 4
If you’re wearing a bunch of 232-245 level gear, it’s time to take a stab at Icecrown Citadel. This is the place where the WotLK Expansion has been leading us. And the place is no joke. This is where gear and skill really come into play. Be prepared to learn, adjust, and wipe a lot. If you’re not into spending a night wiping and no loot to show for it at the end of day, then progression raiding is not for you. However, if you love to keeping trying and get off on the rush you get when you finally down a new boss for the first time, then this is it!

While given enough ToC level gear and enough skill, it’s probably reasonable to assume you can do well in Normal ICC 10/25. But chances are, you’ll want to grab gear out of Normal ICC in order to do well in Heroic ICC. Skill is most important, but gear can make things easier. More health means you’re easier to heal. More healing power makes healing easier. More DPS makes encounters quicker and shortens the time the raid is in danger (plus there are those pesky enrage timers).

Given that you need to beat the normal modes of ICC before you can attempt the Heroic versions, that’s a good measure of where you should be. My guess is you’ll want some of the new 251 and 264 level gear to be able to hit Heroic ICC.

This is what your fighting for. This is chance to face Arthas and give him kick in the pants. The experience you gain here will help through out your journey through World of Warcraft and however many expansions are left. But for right now, it’s just fun.

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