Please note that this has been rewritten for 3.3 here.
Editor’s note: This excellent gear guide is a contribution from Eidotrope, a long time reader. It’s up to date for 3.2, and we’ll try to ensure it’s kept up to date going forward :)
How do you get gear that is fit for raiding if you are not already raiding? These days the answer is not simply “run heroics for drops.” The answer is a bit more complicated, and so I decided to write this guide.
If not just heroics, where else can you get gear before raiding? Blizzard wants to make it easy for you, so they provide a number of sources. You can earn raid emblems (used to purchase gear) by running heroics, you can run Argent Tournament dailies for seals (again used to purchase gear), you can obtain crafted or other “Bind on Equip” items, and you can still run heroics for drops.
Your goal in gearing up for raids is to have all your items at ilvl 200 at a minimum and most items at ilvl 219 or higher. Beyond that, strive for the highest ranked items on the table so long as you can keep your 8% hit chance. If you obtain a set of items from this list, you will be geared enough for Naxx. If you obtain a set of rank 1 items from this list, you will be geared enough for Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader.
The rank of items is listed by slot, with 1 being the best rank. Some items for the same slot sometimes share the same rank. Also, note that I count Champion’s Seals as a type of emblem, and that the current base (and only) emblem dropped from heroic bosses is the Emblem of Conquest. This emblem can be exchanged on a 1 for 1 basis with any lower emblem (heroic and valor).
|Head||1||Conqueror’s Scourgestalker Headpiece||emblems: 58 of Conquest||0|
|2||Plunderer’s Helmet||drop: H UK||0|
|3||King Dred’s Helm||drop: H DTK||52|
|Neck||1||Nymph Heart Charm||BoE: AH or Uld 25||36|
|1||Broach of the Wailing Night||emblems: 19 of Conquest||0|
|2||Ancient Pendant of Arathor||drop: H ToC||0|
|Shoulders||1||Pauldrons of Concealed Loathing||drop: H ToC||37|
|2||Spaulders of the Abomination||drop: H CoS||0|
|2||Massive Spaulders of the Jormungar||drop: H UP||33|
|Back||1||Shawl of the Shattered Giant||BoE: AH or Uld 10||32|
|2||Hammerhead Sharksin Cloak||emblems: 40 25 of Valor||0|
|3||Ice Striker’s Cloak||crafted: AH or recipe||0|
|Chest||1||Conqueror’s Scourgestalker Chestpiece||emblems: 58 of Conquest||57|
|2||Chestguard of the Ravenous Fiend||drop: H ToC||56|
|3||Polished Regimental Hauberk||rep. reward – exalted Argent Crusade||49|
|Bracer||1||Bracers of the Smothering Inferno||BoE: AH or Uld 10||40|
|2||Slime Stream Bands||BoE: AH or Naxx 25||20|
|3||Armguard of the Tower Archer||emblems: 60 of Valor||28|
|Gloves||1||Gloves of Unerring Aim||emblems: 28 of Conquest||0|
|2||Gloves of the Dark Exile||drop: H ToC||0|
|3||Rusted-Link Spiked Gauntlets||BoE: AH or Naxx 10||34|
|Waist||1||Belt of the Ardent Marksman||emblems: 28 of Conquest||44|
|1||Belt of Dragons||crafted: AH or recipe||0|
|2||Torn Web Wrapping||BoE: AH or Naxx||29|
|Pants||1||Leggings of the Tireless Sentry||emblems: 39 of Conquest||59|
|2||Darkcore Leggings||BoE: AH or Uld 25||52|
|3||Giantmaim Legguards||crafted: AH or recipe||0|
|3||Leggings of the Stone Halls||drop: H HoS||0|
|Boots||1||Boots of Living Scale||crafted: AH or recipe||0|
|2||Pack Ice Striders||Emblems: 40 of Valor||39|
|3||Scale Boots of the Outlander||drop: N ToC||0|
|4||Dragon Slayer’s Sabatons||drop: H Nex||0|
|Rings||1||Etched Band of the Kirin Tor||this guy for much $$$$$||0|
|2||Ring of Invincibility||emblems: 25 of Valor||0|
|3||Signet of Edward the Odd||BoE: AH or Naxx||0|
|4||Mobius Band||drop: H CoS||25|
|5||Titanium Impact Band||crafted: AH or recipe||0|
|Trinkets||1||Darkmoon Card: Greatness||crafted: AH||0|
|2||Mirror of Truth||40 Emblems of Heroism||0|
|2||Banner of Victory||drop: N ToC||0|
|3||Sphere of Red Dragon’s Blood||drop: H Nex||55|
|4||Incisor Fragment||drop: H DTK||0|
|Melee2H||1||Marrowstrike||drop: H ToC||0|
|2||Silvery Sylvan Stave (Alliance)||emblems: 25 of Champion’s Seals||0|
|2||Staff of Feral Furies (Horde)||emblems: 25 of Champion’s Seals||0|
|3||Staff of Trickery||drop: H VH||0|
|Ranged||1||True-aim Long Rifle||drop: H ToC||0|
|2||Blunderbuss of Khaz Modan (Alliance)||emblems: 25 of Champion’s Seals||0|
|2||Sen’Jin Beakblade Longrifle (Horde)||emblems: 25 of Champion’s Seals||0|
|2||Drake-Mounted Crossbow||drop: H UK||0|
|2||Nesingwary 4000||crafted: AH or recipe||0|
- Why don’t I have any 1H Melee on the table? At the pre-raid level I have yet to find a pair of 1Hs that best the AT staves, let alone Marrowstrike. If you know of any that are actually worth getting instead of Marrowstrike, please post in the comments below.
- Why are AH items included when they always cost so much money? Because if you have the money, they’re a better expenditure than vanity pets or mounts. And some (namely the Darkmoon card) are just worth having period.
- Why aren’t there any items from triumph emblems? If you aren’t raiding, triumph emblems are obtained so slowly that they are not worth extensive attention. If you do get enough for a piece of Triumph gear, use your best judgment and remember that that there are Triumph vendors in Icecrown and Dalaran. The one in Icecrown that I just linked to sells the tier nine, ilvl 232 set and the one in Dal sells non-set, ilvl 245 gear.
- If you are going to run one heroic today, make it H ToC.
- H ToC is a bit more demanding than other heroics (according to some). Blizzard wants you to earn the better quality gear.
- If you haven’t already, start the Argent Tournament daily quests (good money plus decent placeholder gear).
- Obtaining the best pre-raid gear will require running a lot of heroics for Conquest emblems.