by Allison Robert

Cats, on the other hand, tend to face a lot more competition. They have neither the bear’s indifference to DPS stats, nor the tree’s benefit of playing a relatively uncommon armor/stat combination. As a cat approaching the end game, you’ll probably find yourself rolling against a beggar’s army of melee and hunters drooling over melee leather.

Why?

Two words: armor penetration. These days every Two-Hand-Harry and Shadow’s-Edge-Sally has a raging lust for armor penetration, and we band of buggered restricted to melee leather are paying the price.

a few notes before we start:

  • I’m assuming you don’t have access to ICC-10 or -25, at least not on a regular basis. If you’re playing on a realm where not having heroic Arthas on farm means you’re a bad person, feel free to disregard all of the following list. Otherwise, my assumption is that you’re gearing a new cat druid in order to raid (or at least make the content you’re doing easier). I have listed gear you can get from the first four bosses in Icecrown Citadel due to reader requests, and indeed, quite a lot of good cat gear does drop there.
  • I’m assuming you probably have access to Onyxia, Vault of Archavon and (maybe) some ToC. Most servers have PUGs running this content fairly regularly (if not, feel free to start one). I’ve listed the ilevel 245, tier 9 pieces available if you get your hands on a Trophy of the Crusade. Many players are in the process of upgrading to tier 10 and aren’t that interested in them. But touch their Death’s Choice and they’ll murder you.
  • I’m not assuming you’re an arena star. You’ll find a few PvP pieces listed here, but one of the differences you’ll note between this and the bear list is that cats get comparatively little use from PvP gear. The item budget for resilience comes directly out of offensively oriented stats, and while the bear may not care much, the cat sure does.
  • This is not a comprehensive list. If you’re still leveling your druid, or you’re hitting 80 penniless and alone on a faraway server with no one to call friend but a little match girl or something, I would recommend reading that first.
  • I am a huge cheapskate. If your rich uncle just died and willed you 75,000 gold and his priceless collection of frost emblems, feel free to go nuts on BoE and badge gear. Otherwise, I’ve tried to point out when an expensive piece might be worth it and when it might not be.

A note concerning tier set bonuses: two-piece tier 8 for cats is really, really, really good. It’s essentially a free Omen of Clarity on top of the real Omen of Clarity you should already have talented, and it has a chance to proc off all cat bleed effects as well. As a matter of fact, two-piece tier 8 is so good that it’s still giving the tier 9 bonuses a run for their money. This is a familiar situation to anyone who played a feral during BC and probably used two-piece tier 4 through Black Temple. In both cases, the underlying issue is the cat’s general inability to improve or affect resource generation, and both of these overpowered tier bonuses are essentially free energy. That’s also why King of the Jungle is a required talent for cat DPS.

One of the things that keeps jumping out at me while modding this stuff is that there are a lot of cats who, while gearing up, will actually get more DPS out of continuing to use two-piece tier 8 than heading straight for four-piece tier 9 (assuming that the tier 9 in question is ilevel 232). Recognizing this, you may want to save Emblems of Triumph from dungeon-running and convert 116 of them into Emblems of Conquest to purchase the tier 8 helm and chest. For the other two slots, use two pieces of tier 9 (two-piece tier 9 is also extremely good) unless you can get four-piece ilevel 245 (or above) tier 9. At that point, the stat improvements will almost always override the tier 8 bonus. And no matter who you are, your priority should be getting to four-piece tier 10 as quickly as possible; nothing else in the game will beat it.

As with any other advice I can give concerning gear, Rawr and Toskk‘s are invaluable. Don’t take this list as gospel; different pieces of gear will be better or worse for you within the context of your existing gear. In particular, this list suffers from the assumption that you’re aiming for either the armor penetration soft or hard cap. If you’re not in a position to go for either, take the following with a grain of salt, use your best judgment, and remember; if you get to 1399 passive armor penetration, you will get no more use from the stat. if you want a more in-depth explanation of the hair-tearing, soul-killing mess that is armor pen, I would highly recommend reading the following:

Helm

This slot is easy if you’re aiming for the two-piece tier 8 bonus; run dungeons until you get 58 Emblems of Triumph, convert them into Emblems of Conquest, go buy a Helm of the Wayward Vanquisher from the Conquest emblem vendor in Dalaran, and buy a tier 8 helm.

Enchant: Arcanum of Torment from the Ebon Blade quartermaster.

Meta: Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. Use a Nightmare Tear in one of your more troublesome sockets to fulfill the meta requirement.

Neck

This slot doesn’t have a huge array of options outside of raiding, unfortunately. However, the Conquest badge neck is still pretty good if Wodin’s is ridiculously expensive or you’re unlucky with Onyxia.

Shoulders

The new Icecrown 5-mans introduced a few good options, and the best among them is the HoR piece — but keep saving toward tier.

Enchant: Greater Inscription of the Axe from the Sons of Hodir quartermaster, or Master’s Inscription of the Axe if you’re a scribe.

Cloak

One of the cat’s best options is available to anyone who can get their hands on 50 Frost emblems, but two very good cloaks also drop off Faction Gunships-25 and Marrowgar-10. I would leave the Onslaught cloak alone until after you’re sitting on four-piece tier 10, and even then the Frost badge belt is probably the better immediate buy if you’re not likely to spend much time in ICC.

Enchant: Enchant Cloak — Major Agility. If you’re an engineer, Flexweave Underlay. If you’re a tailor, Swordguard Embroidery.

  • Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape This is close to best-in-slot for most players; you’d only get better off an Insanity run in ToGC-25 or heroic Faction Gunships-25. Available for 50 Emblems of Frost.
  • Shadowvault Slayer’s Cloak Expect a lot of competition for this, but if you get an ICC-25 PuG, you may see this off Faction Gunships.
  • Shawl of Nerubian Silk Dropped by Marrowgar-10. Possibly a better option than either of the two cloaks above if you’re looking for hit and expertise (two stats that get increasingly difficult to find on ICC gear).
  • Accursed Crawling Cape Dropped by the Devourer of Souls in normal Forge of Souls. A surprisingly good piece, full of meaty cat stats.
  • Saronite Gargoyle Cloak Don’t bid on this over a plate DPS, but it’s dropped by Faction Gunships in ICC-10.
  • Drape of the Drakerider Dropped by Razorscale-25, so be on the lookout if you get her as the weekly raid quest.
  • Titan-Forged Cloak of Victory Available for 25 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor.

Chest

Honestly? This is another slot that’s easy to call. If you’re going for the tier 8 bonus, get the tier 8 chest, and use that with the tier 8 helm until you can make the switch to four-piece tier 10. If you’ve outgrown tier 8, there are several great non-set pieces you can use until you can afford tier 10.

Enchant: Enchant Chest — Powerful Stats.

Bracers

It may not seem like there are a lot of options here, but even the cat’s second best-in-slot (heroic Toskk’s is best in slot) is relatively easy to get. If you’re not up to pugging ICC-25, the leatherworking BoE from Trial of the Crusader is a good alternative.

Enchant: Enchant Bracers — Greater Assault. If you’re a leatherworker, you’ll want to slap on Fur Lining — Attack Power instead.

Gloves

Ferals in four-piece tier 10 usually switch out either the chest or gloves for a non-set piece (principally Aldriana’s Gloves of Secrecy off Rotface if you can get them), but (as always) it’s pretty individual to each player. Toravon has a chance to drop the tier gloves if you run VoA regularly.

Enchant: Enchant Gloves — Major Agility. If you’re an engineer, Hyperspeed Accelerators.

Belt

Unless you can get a raid that clears Putricide for Astrylian’s Sutured Cinch (or, alternatively, Lady Deathwhisper for Soulthief’s, below), your best bet is the Frost emblem belt.

Enchant: Eternal Belt Buckle.

Legs

You have a lot of options here, but you’re best off saving toward tier (not least because they contain the increasingly hard-to-find expertise).

Enchant: Icescale Leg Armor.








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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 15th, 2010 at 3:19 am and is filed under WoW Druid Guides, WoW Instance, WoW Raiding Guides. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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