As the third week of the coliseum is upon us, it is time for me to make some decisions about my limited number of badges and how to spend them. Depending on how hard core you are, you may (as some of the tanks on my server have already done) have picked up an item already. If so, I am quite jealous. I personally, however, can not afford to do the heroic daily every single day, my work schedule and girlfriend just do not allow that. I do complete the daily every day of my three day weekend though, leaving me with 32 badges at the moment, and rapidly approaching 50 by the end of the night.
Now that I have a significant number of badges, what will be the best piece of gear for me to pick up, and why. Lets look at my choices to better understand what kind of decision and analysis will be necessary. You have a ring, a trinket, a libram, Shoulders, and a piece of tier gear (if you have the trophy).
The obvious choice for pure flexibility is the tier piece, as you can pick up the gloves or the shoulders with 45 badges of triumph and the trophy of the crusade. But now down to the specifics of my decision. The first thing I have to consider is what am I looking to gain by upgrading a piece of gear. Do I want to increase my survivability, threat, or avoidance. Each of the pieces has a strength.
Upgrading your Tier Gear
If you already received a Trophy of the Crusade, then your obvious choice would be to select a piece of T9 to augment your gear set. A direct comparison of the T8 to T9 for both the shoulders and the gloves shows us that they are both a gain of 24 stamina. You gain more armor with the shoulders, and trade up defense and dodge for shield block value and rating. You throw in a bit of expertise, and you have a descent piece. An overall significant upgrade in stamina, armor, and avoidance for little loss in SBV.
The Gloves are similar to the shoulders in pure stat benefits. You also gain armor, stamina, and dodge. But instead of expertise, you gain 53 parry as well. A very nice piece for an avoidance set. The loss of 135 block value from either piece is not that big of a hit for the increase in other pure tanking stats, however if you combine the two pieces together, a loss of 270 SBV is starting to take a chunk out of your overall shield block value, causing a drop in SoR threat and mitigation. Alas, its a decision, but not a tough one because we should all a block set, and a threat set, and an avoidance set to chose from, this is just more loot to optimize these sets.
Either way you look at it, these are great upgrades if you do not use your 4 piece T7 bonus and are able to drop down another piece of tier gear.
The off set Shoulders, Trinket, and Ring from the badge vendor
The shoulders from the vendor net similar statistics to the T9 Shoulders, however you will not be benefiting from the set bonuses that the Tier gear will provide. The shoulderguards of enduring order are attractive at first glance because they trade expertise for parry. From an avoidance stand point they are looking very nice, and if you are lacking robust avoidance, they may be something that you want to consider.
The trinket is a defender’s code on steroids, lots of armor and an on use dodge. For me, This is a great effective health piece, however not top of my list. I appreciate the power of close to 2000 armor in pure damage reduction, however pending the last three encounters of the coliseum, I do not see as much utility in this as the other pieces. Now if there happens to be a boss that stuns or silences you periodically, this trinket will be one of the first to get equipped. 50 badges may seem like a low now, but in a few weeks when you are taking home more than 30 a week, it can be acquired in no time.
Finally, I have saved the best for last (in my opinion). The Clutch of Fortification is the Leviathan’s coil with more of everything. From an effective health (both the stamina and the armor), avoidance and strength, its a great upgrade from whatever else you are wearing. With this upgrade, I gain 20 stamina (4 less than a tier piece), 560 armor (more than a tier piece), Defense and Dodge rating. I can use it for my effective health set, my avoidance set, and my overall BiS set.