Icecrown gear swapping and you…
There has been a lot of discussion as of late on the concepts of gearing in Icecrown. Every tank in the game is hoping to get that edge on the encounter which will make it that much easier to defeat and help progress their guild through the instance. That is why I wanted to take some time to write a little bit about my opinions on gearing, icecrown, and what has changed in the past three weeks. The short and dirty version is that Icecrown is currently easy content, where bosses do not truly hit hard enough to provide examples of burst damage which we can subsequently gear towards. So, in the mean time, we can discuss what we should do with the gear that is now available to us, and why you, as a main tank, should be picking up as much of it as possible.
My equipment Manager
My bags are overflowing
Gear sets are a very important concept for newer tanks to understand. Even if you have been tanking for all of WoLTK, or even longer, if you are still using one gear set for a whole raid night, you are doing your guild a disservice. Knowing what a particular trash pack or boss does, and tailoring your gear that you wear into that encounter makes you a very powerful, and high end tank. This is important to remember as we plow through the first four bosses of this instance. I know that each guild had different experiences in ICC during the past few weeks, but speaking form personal experience, I have already swapped over to threat gear because my health never dropped below 40% in any given encounter (with the caveat that we were not wiping). This shows me that I out gear these progression bosses. This will be a different story when the hard modes open up, but until then this is what we have to work with.
Because of this gear disparity, it is important to understand that a tank has many “roles” during a raid. And, each of these roles usually required different gear sets to perform at your very best. Now while I have extensively gone over the different gear sets and the philosophies behind them, I have not truly justified why they are necessary. We will more than likely encounter bosses in the rest of the instance, as well as the hard modes to come, which will employ a multitude of methods to try to kill you. Having the proper gear available to counter this is crucial to successful progression. What this means is that if there are pieces that drop from ICC with hit and expertise on them, they may not be valueable to you now in your current gear set, but that will not always be the case. The same is true for bonus armor, or avoidance pieces.
Tanks are Loot whores by nature
This is something that most of my fellow tanks in Crypt Friends have yet to embrace. They take a look at a piece of gear, and say well that has dodge and parry on it, and I don’t really need more avoidance, I need the expertise that is on my current gear. The problem is that, there will come a time where you WILL NEED that avoidance, and that time is the week after you kill Arathas and decide that you want to try hard modes. If you are not properly prepared with your gear before the day when your guild wants to try, you will be holding your guild back as you wait for those pieces to drop.
It is interesting to note that there are three distinctive sets of gear that drop out of Icecrown Citadel, can be crafted by reputation patterns, or can be bought with Emblems of Frost. Each of these sets tailors your statistics to bolster different strengths. There is a near complete set of gear which has hit and expertise, one that has bonus armor, and one that has a ton of avoidance on them. Now while balancing each of these will give you a nice balanced set, stacking each of these will give you a huge advantage when it comes to an encounter that employs a counter to one of these gearing philosophies.
Icecrown Citadel is the perfect example of a loot table that has gone above and beyond when it comes to providing different gear for different gearsets. Blizzard has done an excellent job with itemization of said gear and making most of it available to the masses. It is important that you consider what your role is with in your raid, when that next piece of gear drops, so that you know if it is something you should pick up immediately, or if it is something you can pass to your fellow tanks. Never let something get disenchanted or go to an offspec role if you don’t have it first, as each piece that drops in ICC has a purpose.