Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Cat hand-me-downs

Running a dual spec with Bear and Cat, I have been gearing up for Bear primarily. This means everything I get, the Mastery is left alone and whatever weakest secondary stat is left, gets reforged into Dodge rating. Enchants are all tanking ones - Stamina and some Agility.

When I go Cat, either for questing or to off-spec DPS in raids with far too many tanks, I tend to use the same gear with a Cat DPS spec. After all, the primary stats of Stamina and Agility are needed as a Bear or a Cat, it's just the gemming, enchants and reforging which is different.

What happens when I get an upgrade is not all clear cut. If a DPS trinket drops, I can use that in the Cat spec, if a tanking trinket drops, Bear. If an armor item drops which is item level 359, it replaces a 346 item. Now should I continue to use the 346 item in Cat spec (with appropriate enchants and reforges), or go with a tank-setup 359 item? My initial suspicion was that by reforging a stat which gives some DPS, to a tanking stat (Dodge) which gives none, you are effectively removing those stat points from the item, and thus reducing its effective item level. Still, let's try Rawr instead of cogitating about it.

Note here I am looking at DPS in Cat spec. If your main concern is average item level, or WoW Heroes score, obviously you use the higher-item level Bear gear. Laughing in a villainous manner all the way to the Heroic you just leeched into ;)

For my current Cat DPS spec in Cat gear, Rawr claims 15758 DPS points. In Bear gear in Cat DPS spec its 15680 DPS points, a drop. However, this doesn't account for the fact that most of my Bear pieces are item level upgrades over their Cat equivalent, for example I have Mask of Vines for Bear but am still using my old Shocktrooper Hood for Cat. Unfortunately the Rawr optimizer won't let me say "don't reforge or regem anything, you only get this one item with things reforged to dodge", so I cannot optimize over all Cat and Bear pieces I have, regemming only the Cat pieces.

So I tried swapping items around, putting in a tanking item in the place of a DPS item and seeing the difference. First you have to switch your spec to Druid -> Bear, otherwise Rawr will not let you reforge things to dodge (fairly sensible). Then swap the item and switch back to Druid -> Cat. Swapping the Shocktrooper Hood to a Mask of Vines gives a DPS points of 15752, which is a slight loss, despite the Mask of Vines being 346 vs 333. However, the Mask has Crit rating reforged to Dodge, and a tanking meta gem in it. How about a Sash of Musing to a Belt of Nefarious Whispers? 15720 DPS points, again a slight drop. It is looking like going up an item level band, but reforging and gemming for tanking stats, produces an overall drop in DPS.

Finally, a Relic of Arathor to Relic of Golganneth (reforge Haste to Dodge)? 15777 DPS points. Now this is a slight increase, which is intriguing, and may lead me to using the epic relic in my Cat set.

The results tend to show that my best bet is to take the upgrade for the Bear gear, then reforge, re-gem and re-enchant the replaced item to become a Cat DPS piece. If I don't already have a piece, I can use the Bear piece asis. In this way, I am using hand-me-downs from my Bear spec in my Cat spec. The Cat set is pretty solid already, and any upgrades for the Bear set will also mean an upgrade for the Cat set (unless its like a tanking trinket or something of course).

Would hand-me-downs work the other way round, taking old Cat DPS pieces and using them in a Bear spec? That's a topic for later - the increased Stamina amounts on higher item level gear make them quite desirable, without considering the extra Agility. Other bloggers have shown a Cat spec with Bear survival talents only takes a bit more damage, using mostly Cat-oriented gear, whereas dropping overall item level would likely hurt Bear survivability.

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