30 October, 2006

Soulforge - Worth It With Expansion Looming?

I ran across this post on the official Paladin forums asking why more Paladins don't pursue the Soulforge armor set. The OP wonders if there's a viable alternative other than the new rank 10 PvP set or raiding all the way up through Judgement. I responded to the post, but thought I'd elaborate further here.

Many of you are undoubtedly at the point where you're wondering how much more to invest in your present in-game ventures, given the fact that greens and blues in the expansion will surely replace raid gear. Here are my thoughts:

Paladin itemization in the present live game blows, with a few rare exceptions. It doesn't help that Blizzard couldn't decide for a while what to do with a plate-wearing hybrid, and ended up taking the low road and shoving us in the back of groups with the clothies. Soulforge, as well as the updated rank 10 armor stand as the few diamonds in the coal available to those who don't desire to devote months of their life playing a Cleric in order to obtain Judgement or Avenger's armor.

There's a general rule to keep in mind when facing the upcoming expansion - get the best leveling gear you are able to in the time you have to play. Paladins face a particularly frustrating dilemma depending on where they're at in endgame. Having obtained all my Lightforge, upgraded it all to Soulforge, collected all of my Lawbringer, and half of my Judgement, allow me to present a heuristic analysis of your best probably path, based on your present situation in game:

Almost/new to 60, not in a raiding guild, have little or no Lightforge (mix of blues and greens). Not a PvP'er
- Work on collecting your whole Lightforge set. It's better than most blues/greens that you can get off the auction house, and has set bonuses that make it somewhat synergistic. Depending on how much time you have left, and the experience your guild has in UBRS, you may be able to grind most or all of your Soulforge in the months remaining before the expansion.

Been 60 a short while, have some or all of Lightforge or comparable. Not in raiding guild. Not a PvP'er
- Shoot for Soulforge. There are only a few links in the quest chain that will require much grouping (45 min Strath run, and Lord Valthalak fight being the peaks). Soulforge is Judgement Jr. with a healthy amount of strength. It will serve you very well as you venture into Outland, where you will soon obtain even better gear via drops and quests.

Been 60 for a while, gear is mixed and crappy, not a raider, enjoy PvP.
- Grind to rank 10. If you prefer PvP over running dungeons with PUGs or even guild groups, you will enjoy yourself more. Rank 10 in 2-3 months is doable, and the new Lt. Commander set is very comparable to Soulforge in quality and performance.

Been 60, guild is in early raiding stages (ZG, learning MC, AQ 20)
- Gather Lawbringer as needed to help the guild, but focus on ZG quest rewards. The Freethinker's armor has excellent stats and will serve as good gear early in your Outlands excursions. Augment with Peacekeepers drops and drops from AQ 20 if your guild can tackle it. Judgement is probably too distant a goal for your guild with only a couple months before the expansion, and Lawbringer blows for anything but helping your raiding.

Guild is struggling with but focusing heavily on MC, tier 1 set collecting going slowly.
The Hump - My advice is to sit down with your guild leadership and suggest spending more time in the 20 man zones, but it really depends on the commitment of the guild membership to plowing through and out of MC. You'll have to play it carefully here, as you won't have as much time to PvP when you're raiding, and you don't want to cause too much drama in an already stressed guild.

Veteran 60, advanced raider (MC mostly farm, progressing through BWL)
- Congratulations - you're over the hump. This is where I'm at, actually. My goal is to complete my Judgement set and hopefully snag a Herald of Woe before TBC hits the shelves and Outland opens up. With any luck you'll bag Nefarion's head and maybe even a piece or two of Avenger's.

Old Fart, hardcore raider (AQ 40 farm, Naxx progress)
- I don't really need to talk to you guys. Avenger's gear will probably serve you well into mid-late 60's. My advice is to try and collect it all, and then sit back and caustic-comment in your guild's Paladin channel as you spam heals in Naxxramas and complain about Redemption being so narrow and restrictive.

Kel'thuzad on farm, trying to win Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza every Sunday
- Check yourself into rehab.


Blogger Suicidal Zebra said...

The biggest problem to me with Soulforge: grinding out Lightforge. Ever since the change to the end-game dungeons getting a full set has been like pulling teeth rather than a quick 'pop-in with 10 people for a quick session' and likely getting some Tier-0 for one or two people. The rest can all be done relatively easily because the time commitment is by-in-large solo with a couple of one-offs from guildmates or some friendly dudes in Tier2.

That said, I can't disagree with your assessment. My only concern is any advocation of grinding out Lightforge unless you really like the 5-man and 10-man instances and have a like-minded group to back you up. If you already have a high amount of LF, go to town.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

I agree that paladin itemization sucks balls. I've got almost a complete lawbringer set (6/8), both rank 8 sets, exaulted in AB and AV, and I'm working my way through the soulforge set.

The basic probem is, it's hard to put a set together that has everything we need (int, stamina, +spell damage, +crit/agility, +strength) without ending up with ho-hum stats or gimping yourself in one area.

I can get almost 30% to crit though. :D I'm thinking about buying the blessing of might book and pushing for 1000 attack power. :P

The one thing I would warn potential questers of is the soulforge quest is long and expensive.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

Oh, and if you are a new paladin, and you like to melee, go pick up a blackhands breath. I see too many paladins without it, and it's an easy to get trinket that is great for melee.

12:29 PM  
Blogger L'Emmerdeur said...

I tried my hand at the fishing tournament for the first time this weekend, only had 23 when somebody won, because I had like three Alliance guys trailing me fishing in all my spots. I suspect they were working together to make sure their guy won.

3:13 PM  
Blogger mastgrr baiter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Thoma said...

I find if I don't think in terms of "sets" but individual pieces I do much better. The set bonuses are nice but not the end all be all. And there are some great BWL pieces for us. The Gridle of the Fallen crusader and legplates both drop in BWL and have a ton of strength, agility, int and stamina.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Mastgrr said...

I'm two pieces away from full Judgement. After that I don't want anything more, really. Dunno what to do more than just raid to experience new content.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

. Dunno what to do more than just raid to experience new content.

Get DK's! Ok that is the death knight in me talking. ;)

9:03 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Itemization for Protection and Retribution Paladins sucks.

For Healadins, it's pretty good. Healadins get Zandalar and Lawbringer. There's also Peacekeeper stuff in ZG.

For Retri-noobs, you got Soulforge until you get into BWL or AQ40. Since most Paladins won't see BWL or AQ40 anytime soon, they'll be stuff with Soulforge. Even then, full SF is relatively hard to get. I'm just starting the last phase of the quest and I've been a 60 Paladin for over a year.

For Tankadins, it's laughable. Other than Deathbone Guardian, the only other Paladin taking item is the Bile Etched Pauldrons that drop in Dire Maul. And since they've reduced the drop rate of the Deathbone set, it's nearly as hard to get as the LF set. And, it's pretty damn hard to stay alive against end raid bosses with Deathbone.

The itemization for Paladins is a serious problem. One suggestion I have is to change the Lawbringer to a Paladin tanking set. Change the healing bonuses to mana regen and defense.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Lord Vir said...

Off topic, but interesting:

It looks like judgement of justice might be more useful than I thought. I thought it only worked on the rogue sprint and mounts.



This is what I have seen it (judgement of justice) affect so far:

Ghost Wolf, Travel Form, Cat Form Spring, Rogue Sprint, Fire Mage Sprint proc, Hunter Aspects and all mounts. Druids can't shift out of it.

5:05 PM  
Blogger bill said...

The Zandalar/Peacekeeper set has no shoulders or Helm. Get your Lightforge/Soulforge Helm and Earthslag Shoulders in BRD.

I will not get into BWL with any regularity, so a complete Tier2 set is out of any practical reach by expansion.
5/8 Tier1 and what ever I can lay my hands on of the Zandalar/Peacekeeper set will have to do.

5:14 PM  
Blogger BigFire said...

ZG does offer some of the best gear a Paladin can use in raid. I have full T1 & T2, and had a shot at T3 glove, and was glad when I didn't win the glove. Peacekeeper is still better than all of the above.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

You kind of skipped a part there. Don't know how you went from Progress through BWL to AQ40 farm. That's a HUGE jump. I'm pretty much right in the middle of that.

We clear MC on our off nights for alts, don't use DKP there anymore. Clear BWL in a night, Clear the first 3 bosses in AQ40 and then we've just gotten the NR needed to be able to down Huhu regularly, just started learning the Twin Emps fight. Instructor Razuvious has dropped a couple times and attempting to learn the spider wing after that.

Having joined the guild fairly late I'm nowhere near the DKP of the top people and only going further down as I attempt to collect my full judgement. We use 0 sum so even though no one else bids on a piece of judgement as we have 3 pallies at 7/8 (dear god those bracers just won't drop I'll need at least 4 to drop before I get a shot at mine, DE'd double Nemesis last run)

I'm pretty much just collecting the stuff no one else wants right now and sitting at the bottom of the DKP pool but it's not a bad place to be. I have 3 of 8 Judgement (Chest, Helm, Belt), Boots of the Redeemed Prophecy, Girdle of the Fallen Crusader and a Draconic Avenger. Pretty much I'm just looking to collect the rest of Judgement and hoping to pick up a Rag 2 hander before the expansion hits on our off nights. I'm still looking to get soulforge up to the shoulders till I can pick up the judgement shoulders but The drop rate on my Boots off Bal for the same part of the quest is almost as frustrating as the judgement bindings never dropping.

For the more decked out pallies in my guild it seems to be more about completeing certain sets. They all want the bracers of judgement, 2 of them are looking for an eye of Rag and one is looking for a couple pieces to complete his tanking set. You have to be downing at least Huhu and further in AQ40 to start getting 2.5 stuff so since we just started doing that regularly most of them don't expect to be sporting too much avenger gear unless we can get to the point where we clear through Twin Emps in a night.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous snow said...

There are some options for tanking paladins- take the warrior gear! Seriously, you can mix and match regular gear like judgement or avengers with stuff like Helm of Domination(AQ20), Styleen's Impending Scarab(simply amazing for Holy Shield pallies), Blessed Qiraj Bulwark(ditto) or the Pauldrons of the Unrelenting(which drops every. single. time.) I don't have quite the mitigation of a tier 2 warrior, nor do I have the tanking longevity of the deathbone set. But unlike I did in full deathbone, I don't die all the time :P. I still use the boots and belt for def/mana/5, or sometimes mix them out with judgement for more spell damage. Once the 1.13 patch goes live, I'll probably just pick up more warrior gear, like the Boots of the Unwavering Will(Skeram), since mana/5 will be less of an issue. Euro CM just posted that it will be on their PTR soon, hopefully the North American one won't be far behind!

5:38 PM  

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