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The Classic Wrath of the Lich King just came out less than a month ago, and you probably finished leveling to 80 and are in process of gearing. It takes quite some time (and nerves) to first get into one of those full servers and then complete hundreds of quests in fully crowded zones, but you did. Now what? Well, buckle up, because the true experience has just started. Let's dive into the preparation for the end game and see what is what are your available options for gearing.
For people who aren't already level 80 or are planning on leveling an alt, I will include a short section of the most important zones to do while leveling.
- Dragonblight – Before you reach level 77, I suggest that you never skip this zone. The reason for this is, you will get a lot of Wyrmrest accord reputation here while leveling, which can be used to purchase very good Helm Enchant for healers. There are also a few good items at Exalted, plus the Red Drake mount!
- Hodir Questline in Storm Peaks - As soon as you reach level 77, you should head to K3 Village in Storm Peaks and grab the quest "They Took Our Men!". Following this questline will unlock the Sons of Hodir reputation for you, which is needed to buy the best shoulder enchants for every class, both for PvE and PvP. As soon as you unlock them, do their dailies and swap over to Icecrown.
- Icecrown - This is the most important zone to do while leveling, reason for this is, you will increase two reputations, Knight of the Ebon Blade (the best melee helm enchant) and Argent Crusade. Next, a lot of quests here are rewarding you with Emblems of Heroism, which are used to buy BiS gear. On top of that, there are some very good quest rewards.
Alright, at the end of your leveling journey, you will be sitting at around 3-4k gold only from questing, this will be more than enough to prepare you for heroics and even get you some nice optional BiS items. First, check your class BiS list and buy accordingly to that.
Budget: there are very good item-level 200 Jewelcrafted rings, Leatherworkers can sell leather shoulders and Agility cloaks that everyone except casters could use that are going for around 300g each. Every class has similar options. Check blues and don't forget item-level 187 Crafted PvP gear, this will usually be better than your leveling gear. If you are a tank and lack a defense cap, check green items "of the champion", those are VERY good for a fresh 80.
Over the budget: Jewel-crafting vendor in Dalaran will sell you 200 item-level epic rings at the starting price of 8,500 gold, but you might get a discount based on your Kirin Tor reputation and get the rings for ‘just’ 6,800 gold. Of course, the rings can be exchanged for the updated versions throughout the expansion but will always stay behind the gear curve. Next, the auction house in season 5 will offer a few item-level 213 items for players to purchase - Valor bracers and some drops from Naxxramas 25 are BoE, so keep that in mind.
Now, there is plenty of stuff that you can buy as you can see, but one item deserves to be mentioned separately from everything else, and that is Darkmoon Card: Greatness. This one is a game-changer for every Agility and Strength user and some players might not want to replace it until the Ice Crown Citadel opens up in season 8. This card can be bought either directly as a trinket or by trading it at the Nobel’s deck by combining 8 Nobel’s cards. It is advisable to save money by buying individual cards (since the full deck will likely be sold at the premium in the early days of a classic WotLK), or by trading under the market price. I used this trinket in the original Wrath till Cataclysm, and successfully managed to get a Rank 1 in PvP Wrathful Season with it. It is VERY WORTH the gold.
First things first, before doing your first Heroic dungeon, go and buy a tabard for the reputation you need the most. After that, go and grab two daily quests available for Heroics.
Heroic Dungeons are quite easy, so I would suggest skipping normal dungeons and jump right into Heroic, especially if you followed the Gold spending section above and got all your items.
The best way to farm Heroics, or any content, is to make your groups. Do not be discouraged to create your own groups. This is THE MOST valuable thing, in Classic, in Retail, in Dungeons or Raids, this is how you are going to get geared quick. But, how to do it? For example, let's say you are playing a mage:
First, let's find a Heroic dungeon that drops some very useful Epic items for a mage from the last boss, for example, Oculus: Staff of Draconic Combat. This is an item-level 200 Two -hand Caster Staff.
Open up the LFG tool, pick up Oculus and check the list of players that are queued for it. Our goal is to make sure that we are the only ones rolling on the staff, that's why we are going to make our own group. You will obviously want to invite melee DPS, and for a healer, you should wait for a Holy Paladin. This way, you have a 25% chance to loot a very good staff from every Oculus run you do in this way. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
While completing Heroic dungeons, you will be earning emblems of Heroism, you should use these to buy a chest and gloves tier piece if you don't loot it from a raid, after those two usually the next in line is the trinket, but ofcourse it all depends on your current gear.
There are four raids available to you, Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, Vault of the Archavon, and Eye of Eternity. Raids can be played on both the 10-man and 25-man difficulty.
As soon as Wintergrasp is in our control, I would suggest making a 25-man Vault of Archavon but with around 15-20 people. The boss is pretty easy and this way everyone in the raid has no competition for loot, in the community this is widely known as "One Spec VoA 25" raid.
After this, difficulty-wise, next on the list would be Naxxramas/Obsidian Sanctum 10 man.
The article was a general view of a gearing route a fresh 80 can take, and a route I am personally using for my characters. Apart from all the things mentioned above, there are still a few less important questlines that you can do, but overall, if you follow all the tips, you should have more than enough gear to tackle any challenge in the current season.