My exciteable and diminutive colleague over at Gnomeageddon posts a regular article where he explores the terms people use to find his site on Google and other search engines. There are some pretty bizarre results! Far and away the most popular search term that brings people is one word:
It shouldn’t come as any real surprise of course. The few posts I’ve made about Frostfire theorycrafting and gear choices (or lack of it) have attracted more views than any other, and while this really isn’t a gear list/theorycrafting blog, it doesn’t hurt to do new stuff every now and then, so here it is, the Frostfire Mage pre-Naxx gearing up guide!
Before we leap straight into instances with all guns blazing, there’s a surprising amount of very sweet gear available before you even approach an instance, some of which you can comfortably acquire well before you even hit level 80. Let’s take a look at your options, bearing in mind that as a Frostfire Mage you will be primarily concerned with the following stats only: Stamina, intellect, hit, crit and spellpower.
Jewelcrafters get access to epic quality gems that only they can use, for our purposes we’re talking about the Runed Dragon’s Eye, which grants a massive +32 spellpower. Jewelcrafters can equip up to 3 of these for +96 spellpower. It’s a prismatic gem so it fits in any slot. There are also some very nice Bind on Equip jewellery items that they can make for us. Such as:
Titianium Spellshock Necklace
Titanium Spellshock Ring
Wrath is quite a departure for Engineers in that there is now a lot of stuff they can make that is Bind on Equip and doesn’t require engineering to use. This means that they can now actually make a decent profit from engineering, instead of simply having lots of cool stuff that only they can use. What is still engineering-only, however, are the pieces of head armour that they can use. We’re looking here at the Visage Liquification Goggles which are very nice indeed! Stamina, Intellect, a metagem socket, a yellow gem socket, 73 crit and 87 spellpower? It’s all good! There’s also a nice rare trinket, the Noise Machine, which gives 63 spellpower and a chance to proc a damage shield when you take melee damage. Not bad.
Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to inscribe your own glyphs, what makes Inscription so special are the shoulder enchants available at skill level 400. For us, we have the Master’s Inscription of the Storm which gives 61 spellpower and 15 crit.
Seriously? Well why not? My priest was a Blacksmith Revered with the Thorium Brotherhood once, but that’s another story. What makes Blacksmithing useful to Frostfire mages? Well not a lot, really, as you’d expect. However they do get two things that make the skill very attractive to the min/maxers out there. Socketed Bracers and Gloves. These are prismatic sockets, can be added to an item even if it already has sockets, and assuming we’re going to add runed scarlet rubies, gives us another 38 spellpower.
Another strange choice. Leatherworker Leg armour enhancements aren’t really aimed at spellcasters, that’s where Tailoring comes in. However Leatherworkers do get some very nice bracer enchants only available to them. The only one we’re interested in is Fur Lining – Spell Power for +67 spellpower on bracers.
What made alchemy so attractive to casters in the Burning Crusade were the Alchemists’ Stones, and this continues into Wrath of the Lich King, with one slight drawback. The currently available Mercurial Alchemist Stone is a level 75 blue and while it’s nice, there are better trinkets available at level 80. It’s not worth abandoning Alchemy over, of course, as there are certain to be new level 80 and epic Stone recipes in future patches.
Edit: As Siobhann points out in the comments below, and as I really should have noticed myself, Alchemists get increased benefits from consuming Flasks and Elixirs they can create themselves. Duration is doubled, and usually, effect is increased too. As an example, Flask of the Frostwyrm gives 125 spellpower for an hour. An Alchemist who can create this Flask will get 50% more spellpower for TWO hours. Not bad at all. Note that you must, of course, have trained Mixology to get this effect.
With the exception of a +19 spellpower enchant on each of your rings, there’s nothing that an enchanter gets that’s exclusive to the enchanter themself. It is of course, massively convenient to able to enchant your own gear. Levelling enchanting is ridiculously expensive, however. Obscenely expensive, in fact. Unless you have five or six thousand gold and nothing to do with it, I wouldn’t recommend switching to enchanting purely for another +38 spellpower.
Traditionally tailoring has always been one of the professions of choice associated with mages. Combined with Enchanting it can significantly reduce the costs of learning both professions. You simply disenchant whatever you craft to level up both skills at the same time, improve your gear and sell the surplus on the Auction House for a profit. There were, however, very few pieces of tailored gear that were actually any good. Certainly while levelling you were almost always better off with quest rewards or Auction House blues. There were of course one or two notable exceptions, the Robe of Power, for example. But we’re not really interested in level 30 gear here, we want to know if tailoring is going to be of any benefit to you at level 80?
In short, yes. Prior to Wrath of the Lich King, crafted gear was almost always inferior to raid drops at the same level requirement in some way. Some vital stat was missing, or some other stat didn’t compare favourably with an equivalent dungeon drop. This is quite definitely no longer the case. Tailored gear in Wrath of the Lich King has every stat we could possibly want, and lots of it. Let’s look at some of it.
These are things only available to tailors, which cause gear to become soulbound to us when it’s applied. There are two types of cloak embroidery and two of leg armour embroidery. Lightweave Embroidery “enchants” your cloak, giving it a random chance to gain a 250 spellpower buff any time you cast a spell.
Darkglow Embroidery “enchants” your cloak giving it a random chance to restore 300 mana whenever you cast a spell.
Clearly the Lightweave Embroidery is superior for our purposes, but is it better than any other cloak enchant? Hell YES! TYhe old version of Lightweave prior to patch 3.1 was a bit crappy, but this new version is the best dps caster cloak enchant you can get, bar none. It’s also stupidly cheap for a tailor. It will cost you no more than 1 piece of Moonshroud Cloth and a single Eternium Thread. Compare that with the Enchant Cloak Greater Speed which set you back 24 Infinite Dust and 12 Greater Cosmic Essences. I don’t know about your Auction House, but on mine that’s well over 350g.
The “cheaper not better” theme extends to leg armour enhancements. We have two choices, Azure Spellthread with 35 spellpower and 20 stamina or Shining Spellthread with 35 spellpower and 12 spirit. Since the spirit now gives us some crit if used with Molten Armour, Shining Spellthread is slightly better for dps, and Azure is better for survivability. Note that these “blue” enhancements are effectively the same as the level 70 epic spellthreads available prior to Wrath shipping. The epic level 80 versions are correspondingly better still, and the advantage for tailors is that while these spellthreads are expensive for other professions, the soulbound versions we can craft for ourselves cost next to nothing and have exactly the same effect. Let’s compare what we get.
Master’s Spellthread: 1x Azure Spellthread and 5x Crystallised Life. Gives 50 Spellpower and 30 stamina
Sanctified Spellthread: 1x Shining Spellthread and 5xCrystallised Fire. Gives 50 spellpower and 20 spirit.
Sapphire Spellthread. First, find a tailor who’s Exalted with the Kirin Tor so that they can learn the pattern. Then provide her with 8 Eternal Fire, 1 Frozen Orb, 3 Eternium Thread and 1 Iceweb Spider Silk, as well as a pot of cash for her trouble. You get exactly the same as Master’s Spellthread, above.
Brilliant Spellthread. Now find a tailor who’s Exalted with the Argent Crusade. Provide them with 8 Eternal Life, 1 Frozen Orb, 3 Eternium Thread, 1 Iceweb Spider Silk and a pot of cash. Get the same as Sanctified Spellthread, above.
Prior to patch 3.1 I was a little disappointed with the tailoring enhancements, truth be told. If you were shopping around for a profession purely for the enhancements it brings, tailoring didn’t offer anything special. You could get everything tailoring offered without having to be a tailor, it would just have cost you more. There was nothing available to a tailor like the blacksmiths’ extra item sockets, or the jaw-droppingly sweet extra spellpower gems that Jewelcrafters enjoy, or the shoulder enchants available to Scribes. After 3.1 however the change to Lightweave Embroidery changed all that. Of course if you want to gear up for Naxxramas before you hit level 80 and without ever stepping foot in an instance then tailored gear is the way ahead. However, and this is a fairly big however, all of this gear is Bind on Equip. You can buy it from friends or the Auction House, you do NOT need to be a tailor to get it.
There are three types of speciality tailoring choices and they’re all broadly equivalent to the Burning Crusade Mooncloth, Spellcloth and Frozen Shadoweave tailoring choices. The difference in Wrath is that choosing one speciality doesn’t lock you out of creating the gear available to the others. You simply get twice the amount of cloth applicable to your profession when you create it.
Moonshroud Cloth is stupidly easy to make, requiring only 1 eternal life and 1 bolt of imbued frostweave cloth. It’s made at the Emerald Dragonshrine which means it’s possible to start making Moonweave cloth before you even start levelling up in Northrend. I know that’s what I did on Aluriel, my priest, anyway. The gear made with Moonshroud is good, but not really aimed at Frostfire Mages. It comes stacked with Stamina, Intellect, Spirit and heaps of raw spellpower. In other words, it’s a priests’ wet dream, and it sells very, VERY well on the Auction House. We have two items, the Moonshroud Robe and the Moonshroud Gloves. For a Frostfire Mage, it’s actually not at all bad but with no haste, hit or direct crit rating there’s always going to be a better alternative.
Spellweave is also easy to make, if a little more costly than Moonweave, requiring 1 eternal fire and 1 bolt of imbued frostweave cloth. It’s made at the Nexus in Coldarra, so it’s also quite possible to start making it almost as soon as you get off the boat at Valiance Keep. Spellweave is the Wrath sucessor to Spellfire tailoring in Burning Crusade. It does, however have a big fat problem. It has precisely zero stamina on it which means that you are going to go down faster than a two dollar whore on just about every fight that has the slightest bit of environmental AoE damage. Mages are used to being squishy but we have to at least give our healers something to work with! It is, however, very very good for dps. There are two pieces, the Robe and the Gloves.
Oh my. Oh yes. Oh yes indeed! Now THIS is what we’re talking about. Like the Moonshroud and Spellweave items, Ebonweave comes in Robe and Glove flavour. Unlike the Moonshroud and Spellweave it’s all good stuff and loaded with everything a FrostFire mage needs: Intellect, Stamina, Hit and Spellpower. Absolutely nothing is wasted. If it came with Crit Rating as well it’d be perfect, but with stuff this good it’s churlish to complain. These two pieces alone give you 119 Hit Rating or 4.53% at level 80. They’re easily as good as anything that drops in 10 man Naxxrammas or Heroic Dungeons. There is, however, one small problem. In order to make Ebonweave Cloth, you need to be able to get into the pit under Icecrown Citadel. Yes, the place where The Lich King lives. That pretty much means you need to be level 77 or higher and have a flying mount.
However!! As of patch 3.0.8 things are changing, my fellow tailors. Spellweave will be made at the Azure Dragonshrine in Dragonblight, and Ebonweave will be made at the Black Dragonshrine, also in Dragonblight. This makes it much easier for you to start collecting cloth in order to have your gear ready for level 80.
Finally, to round off the list of epic crafted gear that tailors can provide, we have two rather tasty cloaks. These are the Deathchill Cloak and the Wispcloak and I’m sure you’ll agree that they’re very nice indeed. The Wispcloak is rather obviously aimed at healers with the 20 mana per 5 on it, but the Deathchill Cloak is made of pure win and covered in Awesome Sauce. Let’s look at the stats:
43 Crit (0.94% at lvl 80)
53 Haste (1.62% at lvl 80)
All of which is just perfect.
But not just any old tailor can make these beauties. Once you reach the appropriate level in tailoring (435 to be precise) you are presented with two “quests” by your tailoring trainer. In order to be taught the Wispcloak pattern you have to earn the Northrend Dungeonmaster Achievement, and in order to be taught the Deathchill pattern you have to earn the Northrend Loremaster achievement. So in other words, you’re likely to have been level 80 for some time before you can make these two patterns. However, the cloaks themselves are bind on Equip, so there’s no reason why you can’t either buy them, or gather the resources needed and get another tailor (like me) to make them for you. The mats required are:
Wispcloak: 5xBolt of Imbued Frostweave, 6xEternal Life, 4xEternal Water, 1 Siren’s Tear and 1 Frozen Orb
Deathchill Cloak: 5xBolt of Imbued Frostweave, 6xEternal Fire, 4xEternal Shadow, 1 Siren’s Tear and 1 Frozen Orb
Non-Epic Tailored Gear.
There is some very good tailored gear that can made relatively cheaply that isn’t epic and will be very suitable for a Frostfire Mage. Probably the best item around is the Hat of Wintry Doom. Even if it wasn’t any good it would get a mention purely for the name. Luckily, it IS very good. It comes with a metagem and a red gem socket, so it’s already doing well. Add to that some lovely stamina and intellect as well as 44 Hit Rating and 53 spellpower and it’s hard to see how it could be any better. Well.. ok, it could use some crit but I’m quibbling over details again. You can have this for the princely sum of 1 Ebonweave, 6 Imbued Frostweave, 4 Iceweb Spider Silk and 1 Eternium Thread. Go on, treat yourself.
Next, the Deep Frozen Cord. With the usual stamina and intellect and no item budget wasted on junk stats, this comes with a very welcome 36 Crit and 61 Spellpower. Yours for 1 Spellweave Cloth, 4 Imbued Frostweave, 4 Iceweb Spider Silk and 1 Eternium Thread.
The Silky Iceshard Boots have no intellect on them, but they do have a buttload of stamina, crit, haste and spellpower. Worth a look if a decent dungeon drop eludes you.
And that pretty much covers all the available professions. I think Blizzard did a pretty decent job of balancing them and not making any one profession a must-have for any one class. There are obviously some professions that certain classes are going to get more out of than others, there aren’t going to be many Warrior Tailors, for example, but if a warrior does take up tailoring at least they can take advantage of Swordguard Embroidery!
Coming up in part two – what dungeon drops to be on the lookout for!