With 4.2 looming on the horizon be it June 21st or 28th I think it’s a good time to take stock of what is coming and make any preparations that are needed whether it means planning your gear or changing what you currently have.
First let’s talk gear as it is something that is always on everyone’s mind. With 4.2 there’s two things that we need to think about. The first is how our stats are going to scale moving into this next tier now that we’re going up to ilevel 378 gear for normal mode bosses. More than likely if you are raiding you are at least in full 359 ilevel gear. Some of you have a mixture of 359 and 372 and some are in full heroic gear. Here is the general breakdown of stats per tier (13 ilevel) per slots:
Helm/Legs/Chest: 44 intellect per tier, 29 secondary stats (spirit/haste etc.)
Gloves/Shoulders/Boots/Belt: 33 intellect per tier, 22 secondary stats
Amulet/Ring/Cloak/Wrist/Off-hand: 25 intellect, 16 secondary stats
Weapon: 19 intellect, 13 secondary stats
What this means is that moving your gear (except trinkets and relic) up one tier full gives you a total of, providing all your gear has spirit on it: 433 intellect, 271 spirit, 271 additional secondary stats (split between haste/mastery if possible).
Moving from all 359 to mostly 372 (less trinkets/relic) gives you: 433 intellecr, 271 spirit, 271 additional stats
Moving from all 372 to mostly 378 (less trinkets/relic) gives you: 216 intellect, 135 spirit, 135 additional stats
Moving from all 359 to mostly 378 (less trinkets/relic) gives you: 649 intellect, 406 spirit, 406 additional stats
As you can see the proportionate value of the firelands items to a full 359 ilevel raider is 3 times that of someone upgrading from ilevel 372. This is not to say the items will not be an upgrade for everyone but it does mean that you will realize a larger immediate benefit. The 1.5 tier jump from 359 to full 378, which I know will take time for many people, will ultimately yield an increase in maximum mana (raid buffed) of 11,390 or 12,528 with Furor. Shooting from the hip, I think this will put people at roughly 129,400 mana without furor, and 142,340 mana with furor give or take. Depending on the intensity of the encounters this may be the point where the mainstream raiders consider dropping Furor for Genesis.
If you are at the 2005 haste break point currently in 359 gear alone you are going to be looking at an accumulation of up to 406 points in secondary stats. This is important because with the change to our mastery the stat is becoming that much more important for our overall throughput. Which brings us to:
Our current mastery Symbiosis played to our intended strength and that was placing heal over times on our raid members and then healing them more. While careful and attentive game play could capitalize on this mastery it made for some rather contradictory play decisions. When raid healing you might be forced between healing those who you have already placed wild growth on with rejuvenation as opposed to placing heals on those who are not affected to increase the numbers of players you benefit. The other obvious drawbacks were difficulty in giving tranquility a full mastery benefit and a clumsy method of boosting direct heals via mastery (adding GCD’s to do so). I’m oversimplifying the situation of course as for all of my listed complaints mastery was/is a functioning stat for us that does provide a nice throughput boost. Blizzard as decided they want our mastery to be less skill based and significantly more reliable.
The new mastery, Harmony, gives us a flat percent bonus to our direct heals and our direct heals buff us increasing our heal over time spells by the same percent. The requirement is that we need to cast at least one direct heal spell every ten seconds and they include: Nourish, Regrowth, Healing Touch, and Swiftmend. This is not a tall order and if you are genuinely concerned about it Power auras should be able to provide you an alert if the buff is missing. That should keep you pretty much squared away. Given that Harmony provides a near full time percent buff to all of our healing it becomes a lot clearer when trying to place value on the stat. Every 179 points of mastery rating will straight up increase your throughput by 1.25%. Effectively every 143 mastery rating gives you 1% throughput gain. Your goal is to maintain your 2005 haste break point and pump everything you can into mastery. Depending on how mana intensive the firelands fights are compared to our mana regen at that gear level we may even find ourselves shucking some spirit for additional mastery when possible.
The next thing you will want to do is start researching the Firelands boss strategies. Now that they have been active and tested on the PTR there are certainly basic strategies you can pull up that will give you at least the fundamentals of the fights. Gimmicks can be a little tricky (sound, corruption, insanity etc.) so being aware of potential pitfalls beforehand will only serve to make you a better raider.
Planning your gear
While you are pulling up web pages go and take a look at boss loot drops and plan your strategy for picking up upgrades. I’m not suggesting that you lock yourself in and hoard whatever raiding points (DKP or the like) to get the most coveted items. Just be aware of what pieces you want to focus on first and what four items from your set you wish to use for your set bonus. Generally speaking the set bonuses should be worth getting and if they are bad enough that people across the board are debating abandoning it you can probably assume a buff or rework is in order. If you are currently using an Alchemist stone like myself you will want to think about where the haste you need for the 2005 break point is going to come from should that item be replaced with either Jaws of Defeat or Eye of Blazing Power.
Have a guildy cut some gems you plan on using more than likely (brilliant rubies, reckless ambers etc.) in your new gear. Picking up some velums of the more expensive enchants such as Power Torrent or Peerless Stats might be beneficial as well. A good time to pick up supplies is usually the weekend as prices quiet down some with raiding kept to a minimum.
VP’s and JP’s
Last but not least make the best use of your Valor Points before the conversion. Each Valor Point will be converted into a Justice Point when the patch hits and all points that would place you in excess of 4000 Justice Points will be converted into 47 silver (chump change imo). What this means is that you want to spend any and all Valor Points or Justice Points that will place you over the cap. Some suggestions for your surplus points could be heirlooms that you have not purchased yet or perhaps some off-spec or off-off-spec tier gear that could prove useful doing Hyjal Dailies. This isn’t something I’d worry to much about but it is worth looking into.