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Zodar's Tips to Maximizing Gear for Raid DPS

Every day, I see Rogues who are getting close to level 70, or have just reached level 70, and they constantly ask "What types of weapons/gear/etc should I be looking for?" My website is specifically designed to address that issue. But there's a big difference between looking at a bunch of information on charts and actually knowing how to apply that knowledge. With that in mind, I've put together this guide to help you maximize your gear for Raid DPS.

Weapons

Your main priority when gearing up should always be upgrading your weapons. You'll see the most improvement in your DPS when you upgrade your weapons, and most importantly, your Main Hand (MH) weapon. A Rogue's MH weapon should be hard hitting, with a high average damage range for maximum special attack damage. I make that distinction, because some Rogues get carried away with top end damage for those screenshot moments, when it's the weapon's average damage that matters most. When it comes to your offhand (OH), you'll want a fast weapon for increased poison application and weapon specialization procs. A fast OH is especially important for Combat Rogues due to Combat Potency.

So, upon reaching 70, the first thing you want to get in order are your weapons. That's where Arena and Battlegrounds (BGs) come into play. Even if you don't like PVP, it's well worth your effort do a minimal amount of BGs/Arena until your get yourself some endgame quality weapons. Initially, you'll want to spend a week or two farming BGs for a set of Season 1 (S1) weapons. Ever since the 2.3 patch, easily accessible 90+ DPS S1 weapons have set the bar for Rogue starter weapons. Meanwhile, get yourself onto one or more Arena teams to start saving up for a set of S2/S3 weapons.

When it comes to Arena, you need to play in at least 30% of your team’s matches each week to earn points. You can be on a 2v2, 3v3 and a 5v5 team, but you only get points from one team. In most cases, your 5v5 team will award you the most possible points each week unless your 2v2 or 3v3 team rating is considerably higher. The sooner you start saving Arena points, the sooner you can get a set of S2/S3 weapons. Once you get your S2/S3 MH, keep saving up your points for the S2/S3 OH. Whatever you do, don’t blow your points on an S2/S3 OH until you’ve gotten an S2/S3 MH or better.

Armor

Now that you've built yourself a solid foundation around your weapons, it's time to get your armor in order. First and foremost, you must understand the difference between PVE and PVP armor. PVE armor focuses on offensive stats like Hit Rating and AP. PVP armor focuses on defensive stats like Stamina and Resilience. If you want to maximize your effectiveness for Raid DPS, then you need to make gear decisions based on that very important distinction.

A Dead Rogue = 0 DPS, but the key is knowing when you expect to die. As you raid more and more, you should get a good feel for which encounters are going to give you trouble (AOE's, environmental damage, etc.) and which won't. Armed with this knowledge, you can make intelligent gear changes on the fly to maximize your Raid DPS when it counts. When engaged in battles where you don't realistically expect to take any damage, use your Maximum DPS gear. But in situations where you expect conditions to be less than favorable, swap in some Stamina-heavy gear to keep you alive.

Instead of trying to create a hybrid set that works for both types of situations, you should make two sets and use a wardrobe mod to switch between them with a click of a button. As you gain more and more epic armor, those pieces can often serve both purposes. Until then, you should try to acquire two sets of armor (through questing, crafting, instances, etc.) to meet those opposing needs for each slot.

Before getting into an endgame raiding guild, my Max DPS set (all pre-Heroic/pre-Karazhan) had nearly 1500 AP and over 300 Hit, with very little Stamina (5,400 health). But at a moment's notice, I could use Outfitter to switch to a partial Stamina set (7,000 health) or Heavy Stamina set (8,000 health), depending upon the circumstances.

Enchantments

Inexperienced Rogues often underestimate the value of quality enchantments. If you don't enchant your gear, it's the equivalent of walking around with 2 or 3 broken pieces of armor. Your stats really are hurt that much. If you don't believe me, just do the math. Here is what a decent collection of quality enchants adds up to:

Weapons: 20 Agility + 20 Agility (Mongoose is ideal)
Head: 16 Hit + 34 AP
Shoulder: 15 Crit + 20 AP (Scryer)
Chest: +6 All Stats
Legs: 12 Crit + 50 AP
Feet: 12 Agility
Wrist: 24 AP
Hands: 15 Agility
Back: 12 Agility

Total Stats
Agility: 85
AP: 219 (85 from Agility)
Hit Rating: 16
Crit Rating: 74 (47 from Agi)

That's a lot of stats. If your gear isn't enchanted, then your stats are suffering, plain and simple. Your PVE set should be enchanted with Hit, Agility & AP. Your Stamina/PVP set should be enchanted with Health and Stamina. Doing this will maximize your gear for those opposing purposes.

Gems

Much like with enchantments, you should maximize your gems for PVE to improve your Raid DPS. Use Hit & Agility gems for your PVE gear, and use Stamina gems for your Stamina/PVP gear. Whenever possible, you should always try to match socket colors for the socket bonus to get the most out of your gear. If the socket bonus is terrible (3 Dodge) then feel free to ignore the socket bonus and use whatever color gem works best for you.

Listed below are the gems I recommend for each color socket:

Meta: Relentless Earthstorm Diamond
Yellow: Rigid Dawnstone
Red: Glinting Noble Topaz
Blue: Shifting Nightseye (for good socket bonus or metagem requirement, otherwise Rigid Dawnstone)

Blue Sockets are the weakest for PVE purposes. If Stamina means little to you, then you may want to socket them with Red or Yellow gems instead. However, I do not recommend blindly socketing Red/Yellow gems in all of your Blue sockets if the socket bonus makes up for the relative weakness of using a Blue Gem. Examples of this would be any item that has 4 Agi, 4 Hit, 4 Crit or 8 AP as the socket bonus. In those cases, you could socket a single blue Shifting Nightseye and essentially get the 6 Stamina for "free".

Professions

I often see Rogues who don't put much effort into building up their professions. Some professions can give you some very useful benefits to help you increase your Raid DPS. Blacksmiths can craft epic weapons, Leatherworkers can craft epic armor and several drums, Engineers can craft some really nice helms and various explosives, and even Enchanters can enchant their rings. If you aren't taking full advantage of your professions, then you're doing your character a disservice.

Set Pieces

When collecting gear, always keep set bonuses in mind. Item A might technically be better than Item B, but if Item B & Item C give you a set bonus that more than makes up for this difference, then go with the set. Conversely, don't feel that you are married to wearing 3 pieces of a set while waiting for that elusive piece to complete your 4-piece set bonus. If you have access to an item with better stats than any one of those three set pieces, then swap one out until you get that 4th set piece.

Consumables

Consumables have been and always will be an important way to increase your effectiveness and boost your overall DPS. If you ignore consumables, then it's like raiding with broken gear. When raiding, you should always have Battle Elixirs on hand - - either a Flask of Relentless Assault or multiple Elixirs of Major Agility. Flasks are most effective when glass chewing new encounters, whereas Agility elixirs help you maximize your DPS in battles that you've already mastered and don't expect to be particularly troublesome.

In addition to Battle Elixirs, you should have several stacks of Warp Burgers/Ravager Dogs. Also, for maximum burst damage potential, you'll want to get yourself some Haste Potions. They're expensive to make, but can be very potent. In addition to these consumables, Leatherworkers have access to Drums of Battle and Engineers can make explosives which are effective in AOE situations.

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