Ok, so you just hit 80 and you need to start gearing up. How should you do it? Simple:
- I have some good blues from leveling, which ones are worth saving?
- What can I get before stepping foot in an instance?
- What heroics should I run first?
- So I ran a few Heroics, what should I buy with my emblems?
- I finally moved into 25 man raids, are there any valor items I should get?
What items should I have from questing or leveling instances?
There are several quests that give blue quest rewards, and a lot of people do instances while leveling. Are any of those items worth keeping?
- Short answer, NONE! Nothing while leveling will be used in anything remotely resembling your final tanking set. Here is a brief list of some that will get you started in heroics thought (both of the instanced quests can be done in heroic as well):
- Normal UP quest reward
- Normal CoT: Strat quest reward
- Icecrown Elite Chain quest reward
There are some amazing items you can get before even setting foot into heroics. Most likely if you just hit 80 you will be short on gold, here is a quick spending list to get you started:
- Darkmoon Card: Greatness (AGI): This is the single best investment you can make. It is the best trinket for both DPS and tanking.
- Durable Nerubhide Cape: Since druids do not need defense, this is an amazing starter item.
- Trollwoven Spaulders: replaced only by 25t7 shoulders.
- Titanium Frostguard Ring or Titanium Earthguard Ring: Either one is worth it when starting off, but one of the two best rings in the game is from a heroic and easily farmed, so refrain from buying both.
The most painful thing for a tank, out DPSing your group in a pug heroic
It happens, so if you want the most bang for the buck, here are the "must run" heroics and their tanking drops:
- Heroic UK x3: The best pre-25 naxx bracers and the best pre-ulduar belt both drop here, farm this place every day. As a bonus, the best non-epic tanking weapon drops here as well.
- Heroic Azjol-Nerub: Essence of Gossamer: Second best non-profession tanking trinket in the game (to the above greatness deck).
- Heroic Drak'Tharon Keep: Keystone Great-Ring: Second best tanking ring in the game to only 25 Saph.
- Heroic Violet Hold x2 (low priority): Staff of Trickery is the best heroic weapon in the game for DPS, and second best (arguably) for tanking to the above UK staff. Cloak of Gushing Wounds is another excellent heroic item that serves a dual tanking/DPS purpose. The reason this is a lower priority is because the instance generates 2 random bosses, so it is entirely possible to not see this boss after several clears.
Based on my earlier recommendations, things that might possibly appear higher on this list will already have an item of equal level in that slot and have thus been down ranked (noted with a star).
- Chestguard of the Lost Vanq: This is the very first thing you should buy with emblems no matter what. The chests available from heroics are very sub-par.
- Gloves of the Lost Vanq: Best gloves until 25 man raiding (since the nerf to the gloves from the CoT quest) and also gives you the 2pc (more important for cat than tanking though).
- *Chained Military Gorget*: If you crafted the neck above, get the gloves first, otherwise this would normally be my second item to buy. Best neck until 25 naxx.
- Valor Medal of the First War: I like having this around to pair with greatness deck for avoidance, but not a very strong trinekt especially if you are a JCer or an Alchemist.
- *Mirror of Truth*: If you are a JCer or Alchemist, or already have a greatness deck and essence of gossamer, then this trinket is definatly a must buy before valor medal. Combine it with greatness deck for a threat/trash set (until the 25 maly trinket).
- *Jorach's Crocklisk Skin Belt*: Not better than the belt from heroic UK listed above. Only buy if you have spare emblems or bad luck.
Emblem of Valor Items to buy:
Finally, you have moved into 25 man raiding. In this list, stars will denote items that are ranked lower because of other drops you have access to in 25 man raiding not other items on this list.
- Signet of the Impregnable Fortress: Best threat ring in the game, the def is kind of a turn off but the high stam and multiple threat stats more than make up for it.
- Legplates of the Lost Vanq: I was going to list this third because you can get them as a drop from 2 different bosses (and my guild gets 4 pairs a run), but the fact is these legs are way to good to be left up to chance (best tanking legs in the game ATM).
- Mantle of the Lost Vanq: As I said above, this is the only thing that replaces those crafted shoulders, but if you have them buy the legs 1st.
- *Platinum Mesh Cloak*: For threat, the best choice is the 10-Sarth 1D cape with a 16 hit gem, and for mitigation the best one if the one from 25 naxx off random bosses. This leaves this cape in kind of a bad place.
- Ring of Invincibility: Replaced only by 10+2 Sarth and 10 man maly rings. Best DPS purchase.
- *Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak*: Better than the cape off of 10 man Raz, but worse than all 3 of the other dps capes from 10 and 25 naxx.
- *Boots of Captain Ellis*: Dawnwalkers are better for DPS and Vile Depict are better for tanking, do not buy unless you are very unlucky.