04 December 2008

Evaluating Druid Gear (Resto and Balance)

TLDR version: Being really casual about it, here's a quick-and-dirty way to judge the Resto gear you'll see as you're leveling or running normal instances:

1 Spell Power/MP5 ~ 2 Intellect/Spirit ~ 4 Haste/Crit
1 reg socket ~ 10-13 SP/MP5
1 meta socket ~ 25 SP/MP5
And this probably works well enough if you want to switch to Balance sometimes too — or for a Restokin doing both like yours truly.

OK. Now for the full post.

I've struggled with how to evaluate Druid gear in WotLK. I had a pretty good process worked out for BC, based on a lot of data I'd stolen learned from Resto4Life, the Wowhead rating scales, WoWWiki, and other places. But there hasn't been a solid consensus on stat weighting that I'd found yet for WotLK, so I've been guessing more than I'd like.

So here's my numbers. First, let me say, this is for evaluating leveling gear: stuff you find as quest rewards, normal instance drops, and maybe earlier crafted gear. So there's no need to be super precise about things. You will replace this stuff pretty quickly with Heroic drops, raid drops, badge gear, and/or PvP rewards. So don't sweat it too much: get some good rough comparisons for now, and we'll do some real analysis for the purples later on.

The first question for me is whether I'm grabbing something for Resto or Balance. I switch back and forth a lot, so I want good gear for both specs (and Restokin too). The change to Spellpower from +heal and+spell damage makes "both" a more attractive option. I'm most worried about Resto, so my plan is to take good Resto armor and swap out trinkets and maybe a weapon for my Balance set.

For Resto I did find a good Resto itemization thread on Elitist Jerks. In particular I think I'm going to work from Whïspur's post for now. Rounding off, he comes out with the following relative weights:
  • MP5: 100
  • Spell Power: 94
  • Intellect: 58
  • Spirit: 51
  • Haste: 29
  • Crit: 20
Like I said, I'm really interested in quick-and-dirty comparisons. So we can simplify the above even further. So a casual comparison could use something like this:
1 Spell Power/MP5 ~ 2 Intellect/Spirit ~ 4 Haste/Crit
I think that is probably a close enough SWAG until you really start looking at purples down the road.

Now this ignores armor, stamina, resilience, and other stats. That makes great sense for high-end raiding but for a more casual player the other stats grow in importance. For example, if you're PUGging a heroic, extra armor and stamina will help you get through fights where aggro is a bit dicey. But if we're talking quick-and-dirty, for me (as a more casual player) this basically means I'll stick to leather armor, and mostly only worry about stamina if everything else is nearly equal.

The other thing to look at is gem sockets Sockets are even more important now because WotLK gems are more powerful — about double the strength of BC gems. The BC Rare-quality +SP gem, [Teardrop Living Ruby] gives +9 SP. The WotLK equivalent, [Runed Scarlet Ruby], gives +19 SP. So what does that mean for evaluating gear?

First, decide if you're looking at early gear (say, available at level 70-75) or later gear that you'll start Heroics with. For early leveling gear, assume that you'll use green-quality gems at best. For the later gear, assume blue-quality gems.

The formula above is way stronger at valuing Spellpower than the formulas Blizzard uses for gems. For example the [Runed Scarlet Ruby] gives +19 SP, but the same-level [Luminous Monarch Topaz] is +9 SP and +8 Int, which in our formula is equivalent to about +13 SP. Because of this, for quick-and-dirty comparisons, I won't use the pure spellpower gems for judging a socket. Choosing the Luminous Monarch Topaz as a baseline gives me a weight like:
1 socket ~ 10 SP/MP5 (green gem/early leveling gear)
1 socket ~ 13 SP/MP5 (blue gem/late leveling gear)
1 meta socket ~ 25 SP/MP5
Now again, if you're looking at purple raiding gear, you'll want to judge by specific sockets, epic gems, whether the socket bonus is worthwhile, etc. But for now I think these numbers to judge whether I'll keep the gear or not.

These are all based on Resto numbers. But how will this work for Balance? I haven't found anyone yet who's theorycrafted out the same kind of comparison for Balance that Whïspur did for Resto. I think — for me! — the above comparison is close enough. A serious Moonkin will value crit, Int, and maybe haste a lot higher, and Spirit and MP5 a good bit lower. But for leveling gear, I think the above numbers are close enough.

I'll spend more time on the detailed numbers after I hit 80 and start raiding and running heroics.

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