Friday, 7 August 2009

Disc Priest PvP Gear Guide – Part Three

Putting it all together!

No matter how bad things seem, there's always a battleground where you can take out your frustrations on other people.

Now, with the assortment of gear I’ve listed in the previous parts, you should have some idea of what is available for your priest.  In this part I’m going to give you some suggestions about the easiest order in which to buy PvP items, in general terms what stats you should be aiming for, and what gems and non-PvP enchants are available to help you get there.

Item enhancements – You’re not ready until you’re enchanted
There are a number of different ways to upgrade your items, from Arcanums for your helm, Inscriptions for your shoulders, and enchants for almost everything else.  The head and shoulder enhancements require either rep with certain factions or sufficient Stone Keeper’s Shards (additional rewards from bosses defeated in heroic dungeons while your faction controls Lake Wintergrasp) to purchase the item.

Head enchant:
The two faction enchants are useful for their bonuses until you can get one of the PvP arcanums.  The first Gladiator arcanum is also useful until you can get something better, if you have sufficient rep with the Shattered Sun Offensive from the Burning Crusade expansion.  The Dominance enchant is my recommendation for a new priest (and is easier to get than the Savage Gladiator one).

Shoulder enchant:
Not many options here – the Lesser inscription from Sons of Hodir is equivalent to the greater Aldor/Scryer shoulder enchants, which can be used instead if you have rep with one of those faction from TBC and don’t wish to spend time grinding Sons of Hodir rep.  The resilience on the Dominance inscription makes it the preferred enchant for this slot, although the Greater Inscription can also be useful if you want to exchange spellpower for stamina.

Cloak enchant:
For non-tailors, there are only really two alternatives, with Spell Piercing being possibly less useful for a dedicated healer.  For a non-tailor, the greater speed enchant is probably the most useful.  If you are a tailor, however, the Darkglow mana regeneration effect makes it easy to recommend instead.

Chest enchant:
Resilience = good.  An easy choice.

Wrist enchant:
For a new priest, the spellpower enchant is an easy recommendation.  Once your character is beginning to get geared up (and if you can afford it), the stamina enchant is probably equally useful.

Hands enchant:
For this slot, the recommendation depends on your playstyle.  The hit rating from the precision enchant is wasted on a character who purely heals, yet can be useful if you use offensive spells against your opponents.  I’d suggest using the spellpower enchant, but if you're a more offensive-style player you may find the precision enchant more useful.  I don’t PvP on an character with engineering so I can’t make experienced suggestions on either of the engineering glove enchants, but I suspect that the accelerators would be comparative to the spellpower enchant and the rocket to the precision enchant for playstyle purposes.

Legs enchant:
There’s only one spellthread with resilience, so the Earthen leg armor is recommended for this slot.

Feet enchant:
The ability to travel fast is highly recommended for PvP, and the stamina is the cherry on top of some very appealing icing.

Weapon enchant:
You won’t have a PvP weapon for quite a while, so I’d recommend getting one of the cheaper weapon enchants when you’re starting out (especially if you don’t have a very good weapon).

While it’s not an enchant, you still shouldn’t forget to get an eternal belt buckle.  Which leads me to the next section of this guide.

Gems, or Scarlet Rubies are a girls best friend
Now, although the range of gems with resilience is very broad, you only need to worry about a few of them (especially while you’re getting started).

Starter gems:
You only really need to use a small assortment of gems in order to fill your empty slots.  It’s not worth getting epic gems until you’ve picked up some high-level gear, especially with the high price of the raw gems at the time of writing.

Of the three I’m listing here, I’d recommend the Insightful diamond for starting out; the stun reduction and run-speed increase of the other two, while they can be useful in PvP, don’t have quite the same impact as the mana returned (especially when you’re still in crafted PvP gear)

Your Stats and You!
Resilience is your friend
If you want to avoid being one- or two-shotted by every passing dps class, you’ll want to have a decent amount of resilience.  In general terms, resilience works by reducing the effect of damaging abilities against you (and since 3.2 it reduces all damage you take from other players).

Ideally you should be aiming for as much resilience as you can get, although that will take quite a bit of upgrading to get very far (considering that Fingle had only 545 in her crafted PvP gear when she started out).  800 or more is a good place to aim for, and possibly more for arena.

More Stamina = More time not dead
One of the most obvious differences between PvE and PvP gear is the very large stamina bonuses you’ll find on PvP items.  If you can reach 20k health or better, you’re in a good position.  (For comparison, Fingle started with just over 16k)

Mana – Quality instead of quantity
PvE disc priests rarely go OOM (when played correctly), thanks to the inherent mana efficiency in their talents and the mana replenishment effects available when in a raid group.  PvP on a disc priest is quite a different situation, mostly due to greatly reduced mana pools and a lack of replenishment effects (especially in arena, but also very noticeable in busy battlegrounds where you often don’t have time to stop and drink).

You have limited choice in stats in a lot of PvP gear set items, mostly between Spirit or Crit, and for replenishment’s sake I’d suggest getting spirit gear (such as Mooncloth item sets) over crit gear (Satin item sets), at least when you’re initially gearing up.  (Non-set items often have much more variation in stats, which gives you some flexibility when combined with sockets on your gear)

You’ll notice, as you go from crafted to purchased PvP gear, that the size of your mana pool doesn’t grow excessively (indeed, it initially shrinks slightly with your first few pieces of non-crafted gear), so while the situation does improve as your gear improves you’ll still have to get used to having a lot less mana to play with.

Most of all, don’t panic!
You’ll find that your stats will increase in a fairly steady manner, because there isn’t much choice between varied stats in PvP gear the way that you often get with PvE items.  Eventually you will start personalising your stats, when you start choosing between spirit, haste, critical rating and other specific stat items, but while you’re still replacing crafted items with PvP set-items there isn’t really any way in which you can get it badly wrong.  So long as you have lots of resilience (which you will have), lots of stamina (which you will have) and enough mana (which you probably will have), you’re doing it right.

The Shopping List
I’m putting this list together based on the assumption that you’re starting gearing up a completely new level 80 who hasn’t done any instances and will need to be geared up from scratch. 

Crafted items:
Frostsavage Battlegear
Cloak of Crimson Snow
Sky Sapphire Amulet
Savage Titanium Band
Runed Mana Band

BoE items:
Titansteel Guardian (or Titansteel Spellblade)
Prison Manifest
Gwyneth’s Runed Dragonwand

That covers most of your gear slots, with the exception of trinkets.  Any spellpower or MP5 trinket will do for the time being, with probably the best easily accessible non-PvP ones being the darkmoon cards Greatness and Illusion (if you can either make or afford to buy them). 

Now for the upgrades, assuming you’re just doing battlegrounds and Wintergrasp.  Purchase the gloves and mantle first, as they’re the cheapest two set items, and the two give the two-set bonus of 50 resilience.  The gloves come first, as they give the Psychic Scream cooldown reduction.

The next items is the hood, which gives you a meta-socket for your Insightful Earthsiege Diamond.  Then comes either the robe to give you the four-piece bonus.  Also, don’t forget to pick up the PvP enchants for shoulders and head when you have enough stone-keeper shards, which you’ll be picking up a lot of from Wintergrasp.

(Just a tip:  If you are doing arena and buy two pieces of Hateful Gladiator and two pieces of Deadly Gladiator, when they’re all equipped you get both 2-piece bonuses for a total of +100 resilience.)

These next items can be purchased whenever you get enough Wintergrasp marks to do so.  If you don’t have any trinkets, get them first (you should get the Rune of Audacity first anyway, for its very useful on-use freedom effect).  Get the cuffs and band before the belt, boots or legs, as they provide the most benefit per mark as ilvl 226 items.

The following items are good purchases with the honor you’ll be picking up in Wintergrasp, especially if you do the assorted not-quite-daily dailies, but don’t have any special order in which to acquire them.

It make take a while to earn enough honor and marks (never let a Wintergrasp pass you by), but you’ll be well equipped for PvP from early in your progression. 

Now, I’m not a expert PvPer by any means, and I’ve yet to step into an arena, but what I’ve written should give you a head-start when it comes to assembling your gear and starting in battlegrounds and Wintergrasp.

Just remember:  Have fun!

With some practice you, too, can heal people to death!


Some links that I sourced for my guide: (not PvP orientated, but great priest info)