Monday, November 10, 2014

Preraid Gearing Up In Warlords of Draenor

As always when a new expansion comes out we know the best gear is to be found from raiding.  It is just the way things are, but there are many other ways to gear up in warlords.  Perhaps not what most would call decent gear, but it surely is a way to get your foot in the door.

Whether your goal is to be ready for raiding as soon as normal and heroic are released a few weeks after launch or just to gear up your characters so you can kill creatures out in the world easier, having gear matters to each and every player.  It is how you gauge your personal progression.  So here is your warlords release gearing guide.  Use it to gear up for raids or to gear up so you can kill elites and rares faster, whatever floats your boat, here is how you can get it.

Crafted Gear:

There is gear for every slot that can be crafted in warlords.  From trinkets and rings, to chests and legs, to weapons and shields.  If you can wear it, you can craft it.  But there is one problem with that.  While allowing us to craft gear blizzard decided to limit the number of slots you will be allowed to wear crafted gear in.  Which completely ruined a perfect idea in my personal opinion, but that is another story.  Crafted items are limited to 3 equip.  It doesn't matter if the pieces come from different professions, they all share the 3 equip rule, which means if I have the engineer gun, the leather back and the darkmoon trinket I can not equip anything else that is crafted, even if it is a ring from jewel crafting, which I am wearing nothing from.  Only 3 crafted items total can be equipped.

Crafted Armor: 640, 655 and 665

Tailors can make cloth gear, leather workers can make leather and mail gear, blacksmiths can make plate gear and engineers can make special engineer only goggles.  Each of these professions can also make items that upgrade the gear they made from 640 to 655 and then from 655 to 665.

Crafted Weapons:  630, 645 and 655

Blacksmiths can make melee weapons and shields, scribes can make staves, an offhand, and a wand,  and engineers can make a gun.  Each of the associated professions can also make upgrade items that can upgrade a 630 weapon to 645 and a 645 weapon to 655.

Crafted Rings and Necks: 640, 655, and 665

Jewel crafters can make necks and rings for all classes and specs and can also make the items that can upgrade them from 640 to 655 and then from 655 to 665.

Trinkets: 640, 655 and 665 (620)

Scribes can make the darkmoon cards than when assembled can be turned in for a 640 trinket.  They will also make the item needed to upgrade the trinket from 640 to 655 and later from 655 to 665.  Alchemists also offer a trinket but it is only an item level of 620 and can not be upgraded, however it is also the only piece of over 600 crafted gear that does not count toward the limit of only 3 crafted pieces of gear.

Crafting These Items:

Anyone can craft these items, with the exception of the engineer goggle and alchemist stone as they require the profession to use, with the appropriate garrison building.  Which means even without the profession you can make 630 or 640 items.  Only the people that actually have the professions can make the items to upgrade them however.  But do not worry, the upgrade items can be traded, which means you can buy or sell them on the auction house the same way you would with gear itself.


Questing gear will start around item level 500 in the first zone and continue to get better as you move from zone to zone up until the final zone, nagrand, which is where even the most geared player currently, will start seeing upgrades.  This zone ends around a 600 item level.  But there are more quests you can do to get some better gear.

Proving Grounds:

When you complete the quest that sends you there and asks you to do the bronze challenge you will get a 610 item level weapon appropriate for your class / spec.  Unless you got lucky with a boosted quest reward this will be the best weapon you can get your hands on when you first hit 100 before you step in a dungeon.  This weapon could end up upgraded as well if you have the building for it.

I would suggest that everyone hit this quest up as soon as they hit 100.  The bronze medal is really easy and should be attainable by anyone, even those with slower reaction times and lesser ability with their characters.  It makes for a great pre dungeon start.

Legendary Quest Line:

The legendary quest line sends you to a dungeon that can be completed on normal mode and awards a 640 ring.  It should be easy enough to do and you can even pick up the quest at level 98 and do the dungeon while leveling.  You will then be tasked with completing 3 dungeons on heroic and collecting an item for each.  Remember if you wish to queue for them with a random group you will need a proving grounds silver medal to do so.

The next stage will require you to complete yet another dungeon on heroic and collect 4986 apexis crystals. You will then be sent on a series of quests which require you to find people, look for clues, face a bronze dragon in battle, you know, the standard things all us adventurers do on a near daily basis.

After you finish that part of the quest line, which has a solo scenario like the solo ones in the mists legendary line, you will turn in the quest and be rewarded with a 680 item level ring, which is heroic raid level.  The next part requires you to enter the raid, and being this post is about pre raid gearing, I will leave that for another day.  Enjoy your very easy to get 680 ring with only the need to run a few dungeons and complete one solo scenario really.  Oh, and collecting a boat load of apexis crystals.

Apexis Crystals:

There is one daily quest that will award you with 800 apexis crystals (or 1000 for the group and PvP versions) should you do it.  Mobs in the level 100 area also drop small amounts on rare occasion.  Some rares, even more so the harder ones, award a fair bit when you kill them as well.  Either way grinding these should take some time and outside of being used for the legendary quest line as mentioned above they can be used to purchase some gear.

630 Bracers and Capes: 3000 apexis crystals
645 Bracers and Capes: 9000 apexis crystals + previous item
655 Bracers and Capes: 14500 apexis crystals + previous item

630 Belts and Gloves: 4000 apexis crystals
645 Belts and Gloves: 10500 apexis crystals + previous item
655 Belts and Gloves: 17000 apexis crystals + previous item 

630 Legs and Helms: 5000 apexis crystals
645 Legs and Helms: 11500 apexis crystals + previous item
655 Legs and Helms: 20000 apexis crystals + previous item

Yes, you read that right.  For the best item there it will cost 36500 apexis crystals, which if you only do the daily will take you roughly as long as 45 days to get it.  Being the gear is a crap item level, even when maxed out, this is not a very reasonable gearing option.  At least not for mains or semi mains.  Actually, it is not a decent gearing option for part time players either as it would take them much longer than 45 days as they might not log in and do the daily every day.

Don't get me wrong, I like options for gear, but blizzard really missed the mark on this one in my opinion.  If it is going to take 45 days to grind out one single piece of gear, that piece of gear better be mythic item level, not LFR level.

PvP Gear:

Honor gear will be at a 620 item level when doing PvE content and conquest gear will be of 660 item level while doing PvE content. As (I believe) conquest becomes attainable as soon as the raids open the 660 gear is not really an option for pre raid gearing, but for alts that come up later it could be a very viable gearing option, even the option of choice if you ask me, and I am not even a PvPer.  Once again it is easier to gear for PvE through PvP, at least later on when catching up.  The 620 item level honor gear could work nicely to fill in some spots while you are hoping for drops from dungeons, and it works at a 675 item level value in PvP content at the same time which is not too shabby to start I guess.


Outside of the profession building, already mentioned, garrisons offer you more opportunities to get gear.  And it could be semi decent gear as well.


You can start a garrison invasion alone or with friends.  Completing these invasions will net you some apexis crystals.  If you manage to snag a gold you win a bag that could contain a 645 item level helm, shoulder, boot or weapon.  It could also contain one of four different mounts as a little bonus. 

Sadly this is a weekly and is not a daily, as it should be really.  This means it will not really be an exceptional means to gear up pre raid, but will most definitely be a welcome way should you manage to win a 645 piece you actually need. 

Not sure if it was smart loot but the three times I got loot I did not get the same item twice.  I hope it cycles through all 4 because if it does that means you can get the four pieces on all your characters at a predictable rate which is kind of nice.  Sadly I do not see this marked as smart loot, so do not expect that to be the normal result.


Gearing up your followers is important as I have mentioned several times in the garrison posts and this right here is one of the reasons why that is important.  The higher your followers item level the better success they will have at mission and the higher their item level is the more missions that will get opened up for them to attempt.

Follower Level and the rewards they can get you:

Under 100:  You will get 530, 540, 550, etc. missions for gear.
At 100, item level 600: missions could appear for 615 gear.
At 100, item level 615: missions could appear for 630 gear.
At 100, item level 630: missions could appear for 645 gear.
At 100, item level 645: missions could appear for 655 or higher gear.

All gear is based on the timeless island model.  It will come in a piece that when clicked on will create an item for the loot specialization you have selected.  As for the top missions, the gear you get will align with highest difficulty level raid you have finished and move it up one higher. 

Example, you only finished LFR, it can be LFR item level or normal item level to as high as if you have finished heroic it could be anywhere from LFR item level to mythic item level.  I will not go deeper into it, as this is pre raid gearing and those rewards require post raid.  So at best, expect no higher than 645 item level from follower missions before the raids are released.

BoE World Drops:

There are world drops for helm, shoulder, belt, neck, cloak, ring, trinket, offhand and shield.  All these items are 665 item level.  While they can be world drops the highest chance to get them will come from the big crate of salvage which you can only get if you have a salvage yard at level 3 on your garrison.

As a side note, even if this relates to raids.  When the raids do come out there will be BoE raid drops and unlike in previous expansions, if you get a heroic BoE and a mythic BoE it will be a heroic item level or mythic item level.  The BoEs that drop in raids are now of the item level of the raid you are in.  There have never been heroic (now mythic) BoEs before.  Pretty awesome right?  I can see some of my alts saving up for some mythic BoE items already which will include belt, wrists, gloves, boots, cloak and neck.

World Bosses:

There are three world bosses, two of which rotate in one place, yet count as one boss like the four celestial bosses did, so don't think you will be rolling on both like I was thinking, because we would both be wrong then.

The rotating bosses which will be open from the start of the expansion drop 650 item belts and gloves, both, but one, Drov, also drops a neck and the other, Tarlna, also drops a chest.  Make sure to use your coin accordingly if you are seeking the neck or chest.

The other world boss will not open until after the raid comes out but for sake of completion it will drop 665 gear for the feet, legs and finger slots.


Last but not least, the only truly grindable gearing up method.  (my favorite type of gearing method to be honest, this is why I loved valor gear, decent gear that you could grind for) If you want to spam dungeons, and we know you will do a few for the legendary quest line, this will be a solid way to build some starter gear.

Normal Mode:

Bloodmaul Slag Mines (530), Iron Docks (550), Auchindoun (570) and Skyreach (600) all drop what I would consider sub par gear on normal, even sub par during the gearing up process.  If you quested up until, and through, nagrand, most of your gear will be better than the first three there and the few pieces that aren't better than skyreach's gear should not really hold you back from moving into the better normal dungeons where you can actually start finding better gear.

Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, Grimrail Depot, The Everbloom and Upper Blackrock Spire all drop 615 item level gear that will be a nice starting place to begin your gearing quest.  If you plan to go into LFR when it first comes out and not really into normal or higher, you can probably gear up right here, and with a few added items from other things mentioned above like crafting or garrison invasions, be perfectly ready for LFR.

Heroic Mode:

All heroic mode dungeons drop 630 item level gear and unless they went back on what they said they will also have a chance to come with gem slots and warforged, but I never saw one like that. 

Remember that you need to have a silver medal in the role that you wish to queue as to get into a random heroic dungeon using the group finder.  However, if you have a self made group you can just walk right in.  Heroic dungeons however still follow the previous rules as you can only walk into them once per day.  If you want to do a dungeon on heroic a second time you will need to queue into it.

If you want to go straight to normal mode raiding this is the type of gear that should be sufficient to do so along with some invasion gear and maybe a few crafted or crafted and upgraded pieces.  Really skilled groups might be able to even pull off entering heroic raids with this type of gear, but I would say that would really be reaching for most of us.

Challenge Mode:

Unlike the previous expansion this time around challenge modes do offer gear.  It is not exceptional by any means of course at a 640 item level but it is better than heroic mode gear.  To get the gear you would need to pick up the challenge mode dungeon daily in your ashran city and then walk into that dungeon with your dungeon difficulty set to challenge mode.  No medal is required to get the reward, the only requirement is that you finish it meaning even if you do not get bronze and it turns into a wipe fest, if you finish it, you get a 640 piece when you turn in the quest.

For most people that wish to step right into heroic raids, this should be the absolute minimum gear you have.  Completing challenge modes daily and getting lucky as to not get duplicate drops with some additional invasion gear and crafted gear and with a little bit of skill and dedication you can be raiding heroic on release.  Even if you have to snag a few normal pieces on release to help you along the way, for the person that wants to be the best geared they can be before raids open, this is where you will be getting those last pieces, and lowest pieces.  Good luck on getting the one slot you need.  I hate RNG personally.

Happy gearing all, see you on the other side.


  1. The engineering gun doesn't count as part of the 3 according to the datamining. Neither do cloaks.

    -I think everyone agrees that Apexis gear is outrageously priced. The same cost for each item+upgrade would make a lot more sense. So 9k for a fully upgraded Bracer instead of 26.5k.

    -Maybe I'll end up doing some PvP in order to get better PvE gear... 660 is better than LFR.

    -Hadn't noticed the Raid BoEs. I'll have to check those out.

    1. I'll have to adjust that one then. Will be cool for hunters if that is right. Awesome.

      The apexis gear is just completely out of line. As I said, at those numbers they should be mythic pieces, not LFR item level pieces.

      Yeap, the conquest gear will be higher than LFR. No LFR tier sets of course, but the LFR tier sets are like old school dungeon sets, nothing special.

      Those raid BoEs will be awesome for filling the guild bank or gearing alts.

  2. Fantastic post! Thank you!

  3. Thank you so much for this post. It's exactly the sort of clear, simple presentation of the information that I've been looking for.

    I resubbed last night to lock in the lower sub fee, as it goes up with Warlords launch in the UK. I'm sure that I will refer to this guide more than once when I start gearing up. As I've said a few times I'm not planning on raiding at all in Warlords, unless a friend happens to ask me to join as pug and I won't run LFR. So pre-raid gearing, or gearing outside of raids is what I'm looking at.

    I'm a little disappointed to be honest that there aren't more options, or more accessible options. The apexis crystal gearing could have been like an expansion specific valor kinda, but those prices are eye watering. I don't want to gear up in a day but I do like slow and steady, and most importantly consistent gearing options. I was the biggest fan of valor and I wish everytime I log in that blizz hadn't done away with it.

    Oh well actually experiencing something is always a little different from pre-conceptions formed reading about it. Mists didn't turn out at all like I'd thought it would.

    I really wish they'd given a little more information out at blizzcon, talked patch 6.1 or just something new, rather than it seeming like we'd entered a time warp and 2014 hadn't happened. I was hoping they'd announce the next expansion, it's not like we don't know there's going to be one. If there's only going to be 2 raid tiers in warlords then they really need to get a move on.

    Oh bit random but I tried soloing Dragon Soul heroic last night. I got my switching wrong so did Morchok by accident on normal meaning Spine and Madness had to be done on normal but I did the rest on heroic. Considering it was the first time I'd played ret since march, it's my offspec, I was missing Inquisition as there was a hole in my action bar (weird I know but my muscle memory was telling me to hit it), I hadn't been in DS in over a year and couldn't remember any of the fights. No potions, no flasks, no food, no buffs, none of the prep I usually do for soloing. I practically one shot the place. I don't think I've ever finished soloing something for the first time and been that disappointed. If I'd had anymore time last night I would have gone and faceplanted in MSV just to get to the soloing feel back. As it is I look forward to level 100 and to soloing Mists raids, hopefully they won't be nerfed as heavily. I like easy mount runs but a challenge is nice too. It just doesn't feel like an achievement otherwise.

    1. I am glad it will help you. Personally I am not very happy with the gearing options outside of raiding. I do not believe there are any reasonable gearing options. It is as if we are forced to raid if we want decent gear and I believe that is a mistake in design. There should always be an option outside of raiding to get raid quality gear and there are absolutely none which is horrible design. I never supported the idea that only raiders need raid gear. Even non raiders like to feel their power increase and there is really none of that to be had with the gearing options outside of raiding this expansion, continuing the trend that started in mists. Warcraft is moving in the wrong direction if you ask me. I too think they need to add valor gear back in. Apexis crystals take too long to collect and give crap for gear, so they are most definitely not a suitable replacement.

      They totally forgot that warcraft existed at blizzcon. Expansion coming out, 10th anniversary, a patch coming out most likely 3 or 4 months after release, and what do they talk about? Changes to stats? The same thing they talked about a year ago and have been talking about every day since. It is like they forgot that warcraft is their flagship game.

      I never liked inquisition, I am personally glad it is gone. But I was never a fan of ret to begin with so my opinion really hold no weight at all. It is fun being able to solo DS now. I have been doing it for mounts on multiple characters but nothing so far.

  4. Thanks for laying this out and explaining in detail ways to gear up for raiding. This has been extremely helpful because everything is in one nice post.

    I totally forgot about the challenge mode dungeon gear. I'm in a new guild so hopefully they'll want to run these for that last bit of gear, outside of the crafted gear and any garrison drops.

    However, with all that being said, if I'm not as lucky, then unfortunately I may need to still do LFR. Good thing my main toon for this tier is heals.

    Thanks again for the help.

    1. I've just been full of unless (or useful depending on how you look at it) information lately haven't I?

      As it seems LFR is still required, even if blizzard said it won't be. Only the top skilled players will be able to go from from dungeons to heroic raiding and I don't see that really meaning most people, myself included. I will have to pit stop at normal, and most likely LFR as well. Once again, blizzard lied to us.

  5. I'm not terribly happy with the way gearing has been done in Draenor. First, when leveling up, the minimum gear level for dungeons prevented me from actually doing the dungeon until I was too high a level for the dungeon to be interesting. You level up very quickly when questing. Too quickly to even think about finishing a quest chain in a zone before moving on to the next. And then when you get to 100, it seems like gear is more about spending tons and tons of money on the AH to buy crafted gear or BOE drops.

    I was at ilevel 594 when I hit 100, just barely enough to earn silver in the proving grounds, but of course, not high enough to enter heroic dungeons yet.

    I am at 622 now. 635 is the minimum to begin raiding when Highmaul opens i roughly a week. I don't have the 10's of thousands of gold required to buy the crafted 640 pieces on the AH, so what are my options:

    - Heroics only give you 630, so good luck getting >630 from Heroics alone. I was lucky enough to score 2 636 warforged pieces but both were main hands (a wand and dagger) and I have yet to get a >600 offhand yet. I've never even seen a item with a gem slot.

    - I have the Molten core 640 helm, JC made 640 necklace (made it myself), legendary quest chain 640 ring, and JC made ring. Engineers were screwed over by the guaranteed MC 640 helm drop, as the helm they can make takes much more work to get than the MC helm which requires just 615 to enter and about 2 hours to complete.

    - I have not found a single person that even wants to attempt the daily challenge quest on my server. In fact, I am usually laughed at for even asking (I have no idea why).

    - As you've mentioned, collecting apexis crystals takes far too long to buy any decent gear. Fortunately, I should have enough from doing the daily to upgrade the legendary ring to 680 by the time raiding starts.

    - Upgrading the crafted items from 640 to 655 isn't viable at all because of the requirement for savage blood. One savage blood goes for about 1500 gold on my AH presently, so that is >20,000 gold for one upgrade! And it will be a long time before my barn is level 3 (minimum 22 days to complete enough work orders to level it) and i'll be able to collect my own.

    - The weekly garrison raids could be a possible upgrade path but I have yet to get a single garrison raid quest (other that the first intro one you get when you upgrade to level 2).

    So there is a lot of forced waiting: from daily apexis quests, garrison resources, building work orders, etc. that makes it very difficult even for a dedicated player to hit 635 by the time raiding begins. I liked it back when you could simple run a half dozen heroics (or more) a day and be able to gear up that way. The way it is now, it either requires alts with high level professions and a garrison themselves, or tons of money.

    1. I finished off my druid last night and hit 100 with a 611 item level, enough for heroics, and that is just from nagrand. I really comes down to the luck of getting quest rewards upgraded or not. But I get what you mean. My first character was 589, second 605, and now third 611, so it is kind of all over the place based on luck of the quest gearing.

      Gearing over all looks horrible this expansion in my opinion.

      I am having issues with finding challenge mode groups as well, but after last expansion when I never got groups for them either, I am not surprised.

      The garrison invasions really need to be fixed. Hate that they are completely random if you get them or not, I believe that is dreadful design.

      They need to add something like valor gear back. Normal mode item level, something you can grind to get a new piece of gear every two weeks. It will give gearing options, it will make heroics have a reason for people to run them when they no longer need gear from them, and it will create a compelling reason to play along with giving a viable, even if slow, way for an alt to remain raid ready without needing to raid.

      The removal of valor gear killed this expansion before it even launched in my mind.