With a good majority of raiding guilds having cleared the first four bosses in ICC this past week, raiders are once again waiting at the gates for new content. Evidence in game points to the next wing of ICC being released just under a month from now, and speculation is that release will be sped up after that. However, what is most notable about gating in this final instance of WotLK is that progression isn’t the only thing that’s gated—t10 is being gated as well. Whereas in t9, the first level of gear could be skipped by raiders in 25-man content, in ICC raiders will be required to purchase this first tier, whether they will use it or not, so that they can upgrade it to subsequent levels. So what does this mean to you?
First and foremost, it means that you won’t be able to avoid spending a minimum of 310 Emblems of Frost for your next set of awesome (345 emblems for a set including the 3 most costly items, and 405 if you want to go for your 5-piece.) Yes, you heard correct. There are no coupons or discounts this time around; every raider with bad VoA luck will have to shell out at least 310 Emblems for a 4 piece of the lowest rung of t10. That seems slightly daunting even to someone like me who lives to raid.
So how long is it going to take me to amass the 405 emblems I’ll need to have 5 set pieces to play around with? Assuming that gating is proportional to the number of bosses in the wing (1 boss = 1 week), this means that we have 11 more weeks (12 weeks total since the ICC gates opened), before we clash with the Lich. Also assuming that our guild clears ICC25 and ICC10 every week possible, that we do the weekly raid, and that I complete 5 daily dungeons every week—I’ll have a complete set of t10 at the start of February, just two weeks before I go up against the guy who’s been taunting me all xpac. (Oof.)
Resto Shamans Beware!
Like anyone who has a fondness for schmancy set pieces, I personally can’t wait to be draped in Frost Witch garb, complete with talbuk animation. But as I set about planning what my gear list will look like in ICC I stumbled upon something that gave me pause—t10 (ilvl 251) will be a partial downgrade! It’s quite logical really, given that it’s a lower ilvl than current heroic ToGC gear, but it was a startling revelation nonetheless. Even if I diligently work my way towards my new set, it might have to sit unused until I can upgrade to the ilvl264 pieces.
Even more worthy of consideration and planning is that when I do make the switch to t10, some of my stats are going to shift significantly. The chart below shows the comparison of cumulative stat benefits from t9 and t10.
Of particular note, assuming a move from T9 at ilvl245 or below, upgrading to t10 results in:
- a nominal amount of stam and int (no surprise here),
- a hefty amount of spellpower (an indication of things to come?),
- a massive amount of crit (180 going from t9.25 to t10.0, holy heck),
- a slight bit of haste (looks like I should stock up on yellow gems cause it looks like haste socketing isn’t going to go away), and
- a huge decrease in mp5, to the tune of a 50% reduction!
That last point is something that worries me, because like most shamans in ToGC, I switched out a number of mp5 pieces with crit/haste ones to garner some extra stat boosts. And, with fights in ICC looking to be more about endurance (multi-phased encounters seem to be Blizz’s modis operandi this time in) I’m glad that I picked up double Solaces and hung onto my mp5 gear—I think I’m going to need it!
So, in sum, it looks like diligence and a little bit of re-itemization are the name of the game in this final Northrend hurrah. With the sheer amount of badge items that I’m looking to buy (craftables, tier, offset pieces) it appears I’ll be spending a lot of time raiding in the months to come, and truthfully, that sounds just like my slice of heaven.