On the Planning of Gear, and What Grimmtooth Saw
As Eff the Ineffable completes its second Feng clear and contemplates the mystery that is Gara’jal and the Spirit World, I am also engaged in that lovely activity known, to be nice, as the Gear Plan.
Now, there is a bit of loosey-goosey-ness to what, exactly, is meant by those two words, but I choose to give it this general meaning (with lots of wiggle room): generally speaking, figuring what gear I need, and where to find it, for purposes of raiding. If you’re ambitious, part II of that is: what gear, and where to get it, to be fully decked in BiS, preparatory to being ready for Heroics or the next tier.
There are many tools for this. Ask Mr. Robot, for example, will produce lists of gear for you, suggest gems and enchants, and even take all that into account for the next piece. It’s also sometimes not entirely realistic, models and sims being what they are. WoWHead, for another, has a tool that will help you find upgrades.
What neither does very well is give you a big-picture way of understanding, which is where the Gear Plan comes in. As you research each piece, map out where you can find upgrades for it, and so forth, you can organize those findings in some coherent way.
My methods aren’t as accountable as those big sites are ((Though one might suggest that neither is all that open, either.)), but the numbers I have found were derived from them, as well as others. When all is said and done, some things pop right out at you.
The above image is a chart derived from the stat weights of the gear that provides an improvement to my current gear ((To be fair, I got a couple of pieces from LFR last night and haven’t factored them in yet. Still, this serves as a good example.)), as equipped. Basically it’s a map of how much improvement I can get from various sources. Everything from Golden Lotus and below can be considered solo content, things that can be done without much assist from anyone else.
Obviously, LFR has a LOT going for it. But you have to get to iLevel 460 first, so the two tiers below it are of interest.
The interesting thing is, Scenarios play a big part in the gearing progression, far bigger than you might think. There is generally one, maybe two, sets that come out of the little bag you get from running scenarios (and some faction quests). These sets generally have at least one variation that is best-in-slot for blue gear, and, in some cases, better than some epic gear (and 3-4 lesser variations).
Now, for myself, Scenarios play a bigger part than Heroics in the gearing equation. Jasra’s almost-finished gear plan ((A bit of controversy here: the weight of Crit over Mastery affects the final numbers. Depending on how you weight them, either Mastery rules over Crit (for shields), or Crit rules over Mastery (for strong heals). AMR leans towards the latter, but I think eventually they’re going to have to split the two into two sub-specializations, if that makes any sense.)) shows a different picture:
In her case, Heroics have more upgrades than they do for me, so they are a bigger immediate payoff than Scenarios.
What you’re seeing here is a profile of two characters at different points on the gearing curve. In Jas’ case, she’s geared poorly enough that there are many upgrades in Heroics. As she gets more upgrades, I expect Heroics and Scenarios to change in weight, as she outlevels Heroics. In the same vein, Klaxxi rep will become less influential as I acquire more pieces from them.
I have yet to look into the 5.1 rewards and see if they bring anything new to the party.
I have yet to do gear plans for anyone else, but I would be very surprised if they strayed far from the profile I’m seeing on Jasra’s gear plan, so pretty much the best advice anyone can get here is: do Scenarios as soon as you can, as many times as you’re allowed to get gear, until you can do LFR. This is your best bet for the best gear.