WTT: 530 Emblems of Conquest for an Ulduar-geared restoration shaman, PST.
Thanks to the immiment Emblem of Conquest change (details and reactions here, here, here and here. Oh, and some more here and here, too!), it’s only a matter of time before the How To Gear Your Raiding… Without Raiding! guides start appearing on the Internether like crop circles in an Iowa cornfield.
This isn’t one of them.
… Not because such guides don’t have value, but because I really don’t want the responsibility of maintaining one! (I’m pretty sure that’s what Matticus is paying Lodur for, anyway.)
Still. I was curious as to what an Emblem-geared resto shaman could look like post-3.2, so I did what any good (soon-to-be unemployed) financial analyst would do in the same situation:
That’s right! I made a spreadsheet.
And since spreadsheets can be a little, tiny bit intimidating for the uninitiated — not to mention boring to refer to in a blogpost, and difficult to anthropomorphize — I decided to give mine a face. And a name.
So, meet Ishkaar: the level one Spacegoat shaman I rolled one lazy Saturday afternoon on a far-flung server called Garona. (… What? I needed to know how to boil an egg and my mom wasn’t answering her phone! I thought Andrew might be able to help, but — alas — he wasn’t online.)
To the best of my knowledge, Ishkaar is still languishing in Azuremyst Isle, surrounded by the charred remains of her shuttle and some very angry flowers. But!, if I were ever to bite the bullet and actually level her, she could forward to a respectable
341 haste and
from Heroic drops and Emblem of Conquest alone.
If this doesn’t sound particularly impressive, keep in mind that these are unbuffed stats that do not take into account item enhancements or any on-use or on-proc effects. They also ignore the effect of the two-piece T8 bonus, which can be difficult to quantify.
Thanks to those crazy bronze dragons, little Ishkaar was able to meet her Future Self, who shared her shopping list:
Head: Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Headpiece (ilevel 226). 58 EoC.
Neck: Frozen Tear of Elune (ilevel 226). 19 EoC.
Shoulders: Valorous Earthshatter Spaulders (ilevel 213). 60 EoV.
Back: Cloak of Kaa Feathers (ilevel 213). 25 EoV.
Chest: Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Tunic (ilevel 226). 58 EoC.
Wrist: Pigmented Clan Bindings (ilevel 213). 60 EoV.
Hands: Gloves of Augury (ilevel 226). 28 EoC.
Waist: Windchill Binding (ilevel 226). 28 EoC.
Legs: Leggings of the Weary Mystic (ilevel 226). 28 EoC.
Feet: Treads of Coastal Wandering (ilevel 213). 40 EoV.
Ring: Renewal of Life (ilevel 213). 25 EoV.
Ring: Annhylde’s Ring (ilevel 200). Heroic Utkarde Keep.
Trinket: Egg of Mortal Essence (ilevel 200) 40 EoH.
Trinket: Soul Preserver. Heroic Culling of Stratholme.
Main Hand: War Mace of Unrequited Love. Heroic Nexus.
Off Hand: Protective Barricade of the Light (ilevel 200). 35 EoH.
Average ilevel = 212.3
Total cost? 530 Emblems of Conquest!
Note that Emblems of Conquest (which will trade down to Emblems of Valor and Heroism at a 1:1 ratio) cannot currently purchase a main-hand or more than one unique-equipped ring or trinket. To fill these last three spots, Ishkaar prayed to (David Brin’s) Ifni and was dutifully rewarded with Heroic drops. They aren’t her only options, of course — she could opt for a crafted Titansteel Guardian over That Damned Mace from Heroic Nexus®, for example — but they’re solid choices … and we’re really just looking to make a comparison anyway.
Properly gemmed and enchanted, Ishkaar’s unbuffed stats would increase to:
364 haste and
For the sake of comparison, a resto shaman with BiS gear from Heroic Ulduar would look something like this:
Head: Steamworker’s Goggles (Flame Leviathan 25, hard)
Neck: Charm of Meticulous Timing (XT 25, hard)
Shoulders: Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Spualders (Yogg-Saron 25)
Back: Shroud of Alteration (Ulduar 25, trash)
Chest: Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Tunic (Hodir 25 or 25 EoC)
Wrist: Bindings of Winter Gale (Hodir, hard)
Hands: Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Handguards (Mimiron 25)
Waist: Blue Belt of Chaos (crafted)
Legs: Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Legguards (Freya 25)
Feet: Boots of Forgotten Depths (General Vezax 25)
Ring: Sanity’s Bond (Yogg Saron 25)
Ring: Pyrite Circle (Ignis 25)
Trinket: Pandora’s Plea (Mimiron 25)
Trinket: Scale of Fates (Thorim 25)
Main Hand: Guiding Star (Razorscale 25)
Off Hand: Ice Layered Barrier (Hodir 25, hard)
This BiS set has an average ilevel of 228.2 and (fully gemmed and enchanted, but before socket bonuses — which I forgot to account for >.>) grants:
535 haste and
Thus, the difference between Ishkaar and an Ulduar 25-geared shaman with BiS everything (except Val’anyr, since it will be significantly harder to come by than Guiding Star) appears to be:
171 haste and
That’s … not a lot of difference, actually.
Obviously, the Ulduar-geared shaman will get a bigger benefit from scaling talents, totems and buffs, but I see no reason Ishkaar couldn’t step out of Heroic Utkarde Keep and straight into Ulduar, if not the Crusader’s Coliseum.
For this reason, more than any other, my kneejerk reaction to the imminent Emblem of Conquest change resembled Saresa’s. I liked the tiered Emblem system. Not only did it reward raiders in proportion to the challenges they overcame, but it also reinforced a linear path of progression that appealed to me as both a guild leader and an obsessive completionist.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an element of ego in it as well: my guild farmed Naxxramas, the Eye of Eternity and Obsidian Sanctum for months to earn a lower ilevel gear than a newly ding’d level 80 will have access to via heroics alone. At first blush, that’s just a little hard to swallow.
Still, the more I think about it rationally, the more convinced I become that this is actually a good change.
What it really comes down to is a single question with a singularly enlightening answer.
The answer: Everyone.
Besides Ishkaar, who benefits from the Emblem change?
- New level 80’s, because it further reduces barriers to entry. (Matticus describes this as raising the floor.) WotLK raiding is intended to be accessible — but the more progressed a server is, the less accessible the current content becomes to new entrants to the raiding scene. Rather than progress from heroics to Naxxramas to Ulduar to the Crusader’s Coliseum, new level 80’s will be able to assemble a respectable starter kit from heroics alone. This, in turn, will make them more attractive to …
- Raiding guilds. The influx of new, Emblem-geared raiders will help prop up those raiding guilds — like mine — that find themselves struggling to fill summer raids.
- Casual Raiders. Players who raid on a more casual timetable (such as the Marksman hunter in my guild, who lives in Australia and can only make one of our three weekly raids) will be able to fill in the inevitable “holes” in their gear, allowing them to remain competitive. If our Marksman can farm Emblems in Heroics during her own “peak” playtimes — which run opposite the rest of the guild’s — then she can simply buy her T8.5 helm and chest and save PR (DKP, etc.) for the other set pieces.
- Hardcore Raiders. Even those of us who are already Ulduar-geared will benefit, via improved performance from our more casual fill-ins and fewer raids cancelled (or scaled back) due to poor summer attendance.
- Alts, off-specs and rerolls. You can better believe that my Death Knight tank will be hitting heroics hard in 3.2! I don’t have time to raid on multiple characters, but I’d love to gear my growing stable of alts. That way, if my guild loses a tank or healer, we won’t fall behind on progression because we’ll have officers and veterans with raid viable alts, willing and able to sub-in — at least until we recruit a permanent replacement. (Perhaps one of those new level 80’s, decked out in Emblem gear?)
- Casual players, including those who have no intention of raiding. Do they need Ulduar level gear? No, of course not. But attaining that gear can be an end in and of itself. My mom has no desire whatsoever to raid, but she still gushes over each new epic because obtaining it was an achievement in and of itself — no different from becoming a Loremaster or exploring every zone in the game.
- Anyone who wants to run Heroics or lower-tiers of raid content, like Naxxramas, which will become popular again as players who previously had no reason to return to them start farming Emblems.
As far as I can tell, everyone benefits from the change — although some more directly than others.
The only players who might not be affected are those in highly stable, bleeding-edge progression guilds. These raiders are already geared to the teeth and unlikely to experience high turnover. They are also likely to spend little time in the game world outside of raids.
In other words: the Ensidias of the world might not care about Emblems of Conquest. For the rest of us, they can only be a good thing.