I was looking through the gem list over on WoWHead today and I have to say that I’m very, very impressed with what Blizzard is bringing to the table. While the standard gemming practice in the Burning Crusade, is (at least until late-T6) to stack stamina, stamina, and some more stamina while forsaking all socket bonuses, I do not foresee this being the case in Wrath of the Lich King.
Why do I think this, you ask?
Tons of Stamina is on Everything
Every single piece of tank-like gear I have found is loaded with stamina, for instance:
- Tempered Titansteel Helm (crafted): 168 stamina
- Tempered Titansteel Treads (crafted): 120 stamina
- Titansteel Shield Wall (crafted): 69 stamina
- Armored Titanium Goggles (crafted): 111 stamina
- Slayer of the Lifeless (Naxx 10-man): 57 stamina
That’s a ton of stamina, and all of those items are able to be obtained very early in the Wrath of the Lich King raiding game.
But most importantly, we will not longer need to have massive stamina pools because…
Crushing Blows are No More!
No longer will you have to keep Shield Block up to avoid those crushings! No longer will Blizzard be able to modify a fight to make it more brutal by adding more crushings! No longer will healers have to spam the bejesus out of you during flights like Azgalor or Teron Gorefiend; bosses that hit slow and hard and seemingly crush constantly. No longer will your attempt be going perfectly and then be completely destroyed because the random number generator decides it hates you! Hallelujah!
Because we will not have to account for chance crushings, our health pools won’t need to be anywhere near as large as they are now.
Does that Mean Stamina is Bad?
Oh no, no, no. Don’t get me wrong, with the diminishing returns on dodge and parry, I still believe effective health will be the king of raid tanking, I just don’t think we’ll have to constantly gem every single socket with stamina. This leads to a lot more versatility in our gear which is a great thing!
Then How are you Going to Gem?
- Blue slots: Stamina. Ha! Threw you for a loop there, didn’t I? My blue slots are going to get gems such as Solid Majestic Zircon or Solid Sky Sapphire because stamina is still important, I just believe that stacking stamina will not be the end-all-be-all in Wrath of the Lich King as it was in Burning Crusade.
- Yellow slots: Expertise, Hit Rating, Defense Raiting. Melee DPS characters are going crazy over the Accurate Flawless Ametrine and tanks should be no different, this is one of the greatest gems I have ever seen. Similarly, if you’re not quite over the defense softcap then gems like the Champion’s Flawless Ametrine could give you a nice boost while adding Shield Block Value.
- Red slots: Strength, Dodge, Stamina. There’s the word “stamina” again. Gems like the Regal Dreadstone make making a little dodge and a little stamina in a red slot appealing while throwing something like a Bold Cardinal Ruby in your gear would give you the solid mitigation that Shield Block Value is going to bring in the expansion.
- Meta slot: The only real choices are the Eternal Earthstorm Diamond for a little defense and a lot of threat or the Austere Earthsiege Diamond for additional armor and a lot of stamina. If Blacksmithing really does allow Armorsmiths to put a Meta in their breastplate, I will be most likely be using one of each.
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