With the release of a new expansion there is always the question of the best places to get your character geared up and ready for more exciting content. So let’s do a run down of the best gear to try to acquire before hopping into those raids. While there are tons of great item level 333 pieces of gear available from quests, I will skip over most of those but try to touch on the most important ones.
The new factions in Cataclysm provide a great starting point to start getting gear as you raise your reputation with them, either through questing or wearing their tabard while running level 85 instances or heroics.
The wonderful camel people in Uldum have a couple necessary upgrades for us, some that will probably last for a long time.
Arcanum of the Ramkahen – This is the Hunter’s head enchant in Cataclysm, and if Wrath of the Lich King methodology stays in place, this will be the only head enchant for most if not all of Cataclysm. You only need Revered to get this bad boy.
Of course there are the sweet camels once you hit exalted, but let’s face it, they don’t increase our DPS. Only our ability to make Indiana Jones jokes.
Therazane down in Deepholm have another required item for proper gearing. Just like the beloved Sons of Hodir, Therazane has the enchants for all your shoulder item needs.
Lesser Inscription of the Shattered Crystal – The lesser version only requires honored which is super easy to get.
Greater Inscription of the Shattered Crystal – And the Exalted one.
Terrath’s Signet of Balance – If you finish your rep grind and find yourself in need of a ring, although Mastery is not fantastic, you can grab this.
The Earthen Ring
The water-loving folks currently occupying Vash’jir have a couple pieces for us to pick up.
Signet of the Elder Council – This fine ring is available at Exalted with the Earthen folks and will be solid even with the mastery.
Softwind Cape – At the low cost of Revered with the Earthen Ring you can grab this amazingly strong cloak. No mastery, hit rating and haste. You will probably be able to hold on to this guy until you replace it with something that doesn’t have hit once you are capped.
Mantle of Moss – To round out a strong trio of items, the Earthen Ring also offer us this great pair of shoulders highlighting critical strike rating and haste.
Guardians of Hyjal
If you chose to head to the lore-rich Hyjal as you started your new leveling process you no doubt acquired a vast amount of reputation with these guys. Luckily it pays off in the long run.
Treads of Malorne – A decent pair of boots highlighted by yellow socket with decent bonus. Feel free to reforge some of that Mastery away (until it gets buffed or something)
Acorn of the Daughter Tree – Acquired after reaching Revered. (Thanks to Steve in the comments, I missed this one)
The dueling factions in the Twilight Highlands have as much offer us as Hunters as the Guardians do.
Hellscream’s Reach/Baradin Wardens
Hellscream’s Reach and the Alliance version in the form of Baradin Warden’s are different than the previous factions as their tabard isn’t a rep tabard, but rather a portal. Reputation with these two groups is acquired through doing Tol Barad dailies and acquiring commendations that are used as currency. There are a few notable items to mention from them. Don’t feel bad if you ignore the weird items like the trinket that summons a grunt or the searchlight.
Sky Piercer – You can pick up this ranged weapon after reaching Revered with a smooth 85 tokens.
Ravening Slicer – If dual wielding is more your style, you can grab a pair of these axes for 85 tokens each, also after reaching revered.
Unsolvable Riddle – You can grab this bad boy for 125 tokens after hitting Exalted.
Spear of Trailing Shadows – 85 Tokens from your respective faction vendor.
Dungeon Loot and Justice Points
With all this reputation grinding and tabard wearing that is going on, surely there is other loot to acquire long the way! Well of course there is!
Wentletrap Vest (Heroic) – Interestingly enough, this is the only chest piece that actually drops inside a dungeon for us. You can acquire this after fighting off the final boss encounter in the Throne of the Tides
Vest of the True Companion (2,200 Justice Points) – You can buy this piece for Justice Points from your appropriate vendor.
Dragonkiller Tunic (Crafted) – This epic piece is also courtesy of your local leatherworker, so seek them out if you want it crafted. The materials are sure to run a pretty copper however.
Luckily covering our feet with a great pair of boots is easier than finding chest armor.
Haunting Footfalls (Heroic) – Take out Commander Springvale in Shadowfang Keep for a pair of these boots.
Boots of Crumbling Ruin (Heroic) – Located off of Anraphet, you will have to venture into the Halls of Origination to acquire these.
Getting a great pair of gloves shouldn’t be a problem for Hunters either.
Traitor’s Grips (Heroic) – You can snag these off of Baron Ashbury in heroic Shadowfang Keep.
Wrasse Handwraps (Heroic) – Avoid typhoons and water spouts and take out the first boss in Throne of the Tides to have a shot at these.
Gloves of the Passing Night (1,650 Justice Points) – You can buy this piece for Justice Points from your appropriate vendor.
Renouncer’s Cowl (Heroic) – This helm drops off the 2nd boss in Blackrock Caverns.
Willow Mask (2,200 Justice Points) – You can buy this piece for Justice Points from your appropriate vendor.
Worgen Hunter’s Helm (Heroic) – Pick up this shiny bad boy off the final boss in Shadowfang Keep. Bonus points if you are a Worgen Hunter.
Balkar’s Waders (Heroic) – Pick these up off of the 2nd boss in the Lost City of the Tol’vir.
Hillside Striders (2,200 Justice Points) – You can buy this piece for Justice Points from your appropriate vendor.
Bloodpetal Mantle (Heroic) – Pick these off of Ammunae, one of the final bosses in the Halls of Origination.
Wrap of the Valley Glades (1,650 Justice Points) – You can buy this piece for Justice Points from your appropriate vendor.
Hail-String Belt (Heroic) – Pick up this pants-holder-upper from the 2nd boss in The Vortex Pinnacle.
Belt of the Dim Forest (1,650 Justice Points) – You can buy this piece for Justice Points from your appropriate vendor.
Corded Viper Belt (Crafted) – Find your local leatherworker to craft this bad boy.
Bracers of Some Consequence (Heroic) – Pick these things off of the younger VanCleef in heroic Deadmines.
Elementium Scale Bracers (Heroic) – Grab these off of Ozruk, the 2nd to last boss in the Stonecore.
Kickback 5000 (Crafted) – Call upon your local engineer to craft this fine gun for you.
Lightningflash (Heroic) – This fine weapon comes from the final boss in The Vortex Pinnacle.
Overpowered Chicken Splitter (Crafted) – If guns aren’t your thing, your friendly engineer should be able to craft this for you too.
Amber Messenger (Heroic) – Find this fine arrow flinger off the final boss in Blackrock Caverns.
Nautilus Ring (Heroic) – Acquired from the final boss in the Throne of the Tides.
Ring of Blinding Stars (Heroic) – You can get this from Isiset in the Halls of Origination.
Ring of Dun Algaz (Heroic) – Forgemaster Throngus drops this ring, inside Grim Batol.
Skullcracker Ring (Heroic) – Crack Rom’ogg’s skull in Blackrock Caverns for a shot at this ring.
Cape of the Brotherhood (Heroic) – “Captain” Cookie is holding this bad boy for ya.
Cloak of Thredd (Heroic) – If the Captain doesn’t have your cloak, perhaps this one from Helix Gearbreaker will drop.
Kaleki Cloak (Heroic) – General Husam, the first boss in the Lost City, is holding this cloak.
Twitching Shadows (Heroic) – The final boss in Blackrock Caverns has this cape waiting for you to take!
There are plenty of melee weapons, but for the sake brevity, I will list the 2-handed weapons. But be aware that dual wielding combos still exist if you so choose.
Darkling Staff (Heroic) – Find this fine staff off of the final boss inside the Stonecore.
Elementium Polearm (Crafted) – This fantastic looking polearm can be acquired from being friends with a blacksmith.
Rockslicer (Heroic) – Admiral Ripsnarl in the Deadmines is carrying this fine weapon.
Seliza’s Spear (Heroic) – General Husam, the first boss in Lost City also is carrying this fine weapon for you.
There are a vast number of trinkets available depending on the size of your pocketbook or your professions. Jewelcrafters, for example, get a fantastic trinket through a fairly common drop. But here are the highlights that you definitely want to keep an eye out for.
Grace of the Herald (Heroic) – The non-heroic of this trinket is fantastic too. Look for this to drop off of the second boss in Blackrock Caverns.
Skardyn’s Grace (Heroic) – Apparently we are graceful. And this gracefully drops off of the first boss in Grim Batol.
Tia’s Grace (Heroic) – Seriously, everything is graceful? Grab this trinket off Siamat inside the Lost City. There is a regular version too.
Key to the Endless Chamber (Heroic) – This trinket doesn’t have Grace in the name, so who wants it? Just kidding, with its gobs of hit, it can easily help fix the hit cap problem. Comes in Heroic and Extra Decaff.
If you felt like I missed any crucial pieces of loot for the aspiring raider looking to acquire gear, leave a comment and definitely let me know!