How to Read PvP Gear for PvE

Continued from yesterday's Intro to Using PvP Gear for PvE.

(I apologize in advance for the formatting, I don't have the patience for proper html coding.)

PvP gear is typically heavy on the following stats. I'll explain how each matters in PvE.

  • Resilience … helps you survive critical hits. The raid boss is going to one shot you anyway, whether it crits or not.
  • Spell Penetration … overcome resistances. PvE mobs don't have resistances. Spell penetration does nothing in PvE.
  • Armor … makes melee damage hit less hard. See Resilience for how this helps in raids.
  • Crit Rating/Spell Crit Rating … is nice, but usually there's something more important you could be working on, like hit rating/haste/healing/stats/spell damage/mana regen/whatever. But, we won't completely ignore it. (Again, this changes by class and build; some make use of these better than others)
  • Stamina … is special. You do need a certain level of stamina to instance and raid. However, PvE gear will get you to that level. All that extra stamina you get on PvP gear… I'm not going to say that it goes to waste, but when the raid is trying to knock over a boss as quickly as possible, your non-tanking health usually isn't the limiting reagent in that alchemy. Whether you're trying to heal the tank right after a crushing blow hits the tank, or trying to do as much damage in as little time as possible, stamina doesn't help. Most of the time in PvE, you stay alive by knowing the event and having each member of your team play correctly.

So, to sum up: When looking at PvP gear for PvE, mentally black out any line that has Stamina, Resilience, Armor, and Spell Penetration. When gearing for PvE, there should be no time where you ever say, "Well, this piece does have more Resilience than the other one."

I'm going to use the example of a new L70 mage. Yay, you're L70! Let's get you geared up and hitting hard. You point at your green gloves and say, "Well, I need to improve there."

Right off the bat, just by being Honored with Sha'tar (which you likely got from questing), you can buy these:

[Evoker's Silk Handguards] (Sha'tar, Honored)
97 Armor
+33 Stamina
+12 Intellect
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 17 (0.77% @ L70).
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 17 (0.43% @ L70).
Equip: Improves the range of your Fire Blast spell by 5 yards.
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 19.

Okay, so let's mentally block out according to the guide above, and just use the parts that matter when you're trying to do damage:

[Evoker's Silk Handguards]
+12 Intellect
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 17 (0.77% @ L70).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 19.

Compare with the Dungeon Set 3 piece, which drops in normal-mode Steamvaults, similarly cleaned:

[Incanter's Gloves] (normal Steamvaults, 1st boss)
+24 Intellect
+12 Spirit
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 14 (0.63% @ L70).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 29.

Difference going from Evoker to Incanter:
+12 intellect
+12 spirit
-3 crit strike rating
+10 damage

You might be thinking, "Big deal! So it's a little worse."

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

The problem is that if all your gear is a little worse, all those littles add up to a great big mediocre, and you end up underperforming in raids. You're basically trying to raid in gear that works about as well as Nagrand quest gear. Don't be fooled by the item color or the item level, that PvP gear just isn't designed for instancing/raiding.

You're also telling the raid lead that you can't be bothered to run instances to get better gear but you want to raid anyway, you just want to pick it up with other guildmates who did bother to do that. Finally, you're saying that you probably haven't run instances on this toon, so you're going to be confused as to how to play on a team.

Gear says a lot.

Let's move up a level in rewards. Here are the current epic PvP gloves you can buy for grinding honor in battlegrounds:

[Merciless Gladiator's Silk Handguards] (S2 gloves, honor)
+46 Stamina
+20 Intellect
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 19 (0.86% @ L70).
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 23 (0.58% @ L70).
Equip: Improves the range of your Fire Blast spell by 5 yards.
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 36.

…which we clean up for pure PvE damage role:

[Merciless Gladiator's Silk Handguards] (S2 gloves, honor)
+20 Intellect
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 19 (0.86% @ L70).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 36.

Here's what you win going from Incanter to Merciless Gladiator:
-4 intellect
-12 spirit
+5 spell crit rating
+7 damage

They're a good, if small, upgrade.

Now let's look at the T4 gloves you can get in Karazhan:

[Gloves of the Aldor] (T4 gloves, Curator)
+22 Intellect
+19 Spirit
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 17 (1.35% @ L70).
Equip: Improves spell critical strike rating by 19 (0.86% @ L70).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 35.

Difference from Merciless Gladiator to Aldor:
+2 intellect
+19 spirit
+17 spell hit rating
-1 spell damage

This is a no-brainer. The T4 gloves destroy the S2 gloves for PvE. Yes, mages largely don't care about spirit, but look at that spell hit rating.

So even though the Merciless Gladiator gloves are an upgrade over the Incanter gloves, the Aldor gloves destroy all of the above at PvE.

One last example:

[Handwraps of Flowing Thought] (Karazhan, Attumen the Huntsman)
+22 Intellect
Yellow Socket
Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +3 Spell Hit Rating
Equip: Improves spell hit rating by 14 (1.11% @ L70).
Equip: Increases damage and healing done by magical spells and effects by up to 35.

Merciless Gladiator to Handwraps of Flowing Thought:
+2 intellect
+14 spell hit rating
-17 spell crit rating
-1 spell damage
+1 yellow socket
+1 blue socket

Even the gloves that drop from Attumen, the very first boss from the very first raid, are an overall upgrade because of the sockets.

This is true of just about all pvp gear, so choose wisely. If you just never see any gloves drop (for example), then go ahead and grab the PvP ones. Strings of nonexistant drops happen. My tank warrior is exalted three times over with Violet Eye and has never seen [King's Defender] drop. Some well-chosen PvP pieces can help out a lot.

However, as I said above, if you gear up for PvE entirely in PvP gear, raid leaders are going to look at you funny and wonder why you aren't running instances before you sign up for raids, or why you aren't signing up for early raids (Kara, Gruul) before you try to get into an advanced one (ZA, SSC). Even if you go, everyone's going to notice when you're barely ahead of the main tank in damage, and you won't be invited back.

Use PvP to patch weaknesses, not gear up overall.

More Words!

6 thoughts on “How to Read PvP Gear for PvE”

  1. "Use PvP to patch weaknesses, not gear up overall" is definitely the way to go, I agree.

    Two followup comments.

    1: Warlocks value STA more than other DPS classes because they can turn it into mana. In those cases, item budget spent on STA is not wasted. That said, Warlock gear already is STA-heavy, and my Warlock has never worn a PvP piece. My Healadin has, however, due to my second point.

    2: Some raid (and even instance) fights require all raid members to be able to handle X damage, and having PvP (or other STA-heavy) gear available to swap into for those fights will be beneficial. Eve 500 extra health on a healer can be the difference between a wipe and a recovery in those fights.

  2. It seems like I run into too many people these days that are gearing in Battlegrounds for PvE. I just recently tanked for a PUG where the rogue (full S1) couldn't follow targets or sap effectively (ignoring the fact that he couldn't locate Mechanar on a map and had to be guided in).

    One big caveat is, though, for a Paladin tanking weapon. Aside from the Merciless Glad. Gavel (which all around has pretty darn nice stats for a Pally tank), the only options beyond the "Continuum" level come from T5+ content.

    Too bad PvP as a tank is just plain painful.

  3. @Dave:
    Agreed entirely. Stamina is a core warlock stat, spell crit is a core paladin healing stat, and so on. The amount which stamina/crit helps in PvE depends on the class and build.

    I agree also that some stamina gear can help in some PvE encounters, but this article was intended more for the person who's wearing pvp gear to every encounter of every raid. Once you start talking gear swapping for particular encounters, you already demonstrate understanding of what I'm trying to get across. :)

    @Feltia:
    Experiences like your Mechanar/S1 rogue are why I wrote the article. :)

    I noted the tank exclusion in the previous article, which I've linked to more clearly, thanks for the heads up. You're absolutely right that a number of classes benefit strongly from going for pvp weapons. I'll post a followup.

  4. I know you said for tanks to look away… but I felt the need to point out that for bear tanks … PvP is hugely beneficial for gearing up. (You can thank you OCD tendencies. I can't leave something unsaid!)

    Not only does the stamina help us, but we don't benefit from parry, block, etc, the way other tanks do. So going for uncrittable and high health is the only way for us to go (and dodge rating. Nummy nummy dodge rating).

    Unfortunately, Karazhan seems to believe that all leather armor drops are for kitties or healers or boomkin, but bear tanks are s.o.l. I've been tanking in my Heavy Clefthoof armor for a while now. There are upgrades you can buy through badges and a few you can find in heroics and I definately agree that as a bear tank, even if you're PvPing for some gear pieces, you NEED to run heroics as a tank to figure out how to tank.

    (Also because PvPing as a resto/balance druid with the rep purchasable gear is much more fun and honor efficient than trying to PvP as a bear tank. I tried it once with my bear tank as a bear… and while I couldn't kill anything, dear lord … they couldn't kill me, either. O.o Well, they could, but it took them a while.)

    Also, unless I'm missing something, the Merciless Gladiator Dragonhide Shoulders (the season 2? whatever season just became available for BG honor/tokens) is the only upgrade that you can really find, outside of trying to see if Heroic Kelidan the Breaker will drop a set of shoulders that just isn't nearly as good.

    … okay, I'll stop hijacking your comments page and let you continue to discuss the very valid point that except for this ONE instance (gotta love exceptions to rules!) … yeah, PvP does not make a PvE raider.

  5. @Kiki:
    My wife's alt druid tank project has been an eye opener, and a huge reminder of how Blizzard is still working some details out of their endgame… like, for example, all of druid tanking gear progression. On the one hand, it's nice to be able to get immediately viable fresh at L70 via crafted pieces, but it stinks that there's no reasonable way to upgrade them outside of battlegrounds/arena and badge purchases.

  6. great (series of) posts.

    Nice method for quickly cutting through the numbers when the raid is waiting for your roll. Of course it helps if you have put in some pre-thought as well.

    Love it… will keep reading it!

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