I am having something of a conundrum regarding gear. My current gear, as a 10-man strict raider, is a mash-up of 219 through 232 U10 hardmode gear and Badge of Conquest vendor gear: 4 pc T8 with 226 hardmode gloves out of U10. I am, of course, rocking the rings and idol from Triumph badges, but beyond that, I have been contemplating on how to move forward with my T9/232/245 pickups and purchases.
The T8 4-pc bonus completely rules. It's being nerfed today with 3.2.2, but I think even a 800-1k insta heal tick is quite nice!
The T9 2-pc and T8 2-pc do not make up for T8 4-pc (prior to 3.2.2). I'm not entirely sure how the nerfs will alter this: will my use of swiftmend and nourish (which is higher on new content than on farmed) be worthwhile alongside the stat boost of 232 gear, over the 1k-ish insta rejuv ticks?
The T9 4-pc bonus is verrah niiice. It lets my rejuv ticks have a chance to crit. Downside to this over the T8 rejuv tick is that I won't have control over when the extra healing occurs, and we all know how druid hots have a habit of being heavy overheal!
The only T9 I can purchase directly is i232. The 245 version requires a possible drop from the cache in heroic mode, which is a ways out, and is a one-a-week-maybe kind of thing that will require sharing across the guild... and I can get legs and gloves out of VoA 10 or 25. So it's inconceivable(!) to assume I will get 4-pc 245 T9 before the next content patch (T10) comes out, let alone in any time frame to make a direct jump from the T8 and 226 hardmode gear to the 245 T9.
I have access to non-set pieces that are 245, and thus better than the 232 T9.
Among the non-set slots, I can pick up a heroic version of the belt, but I'm pretty much screwed on boots and wrists unless I have the wrists crafted (a jump from 219 to 245) and pick up the cloth boots. All ring, neck, and weapon drops in ToC are lacking any spirit, as well.
Thus the conundrum: the T9 4-pc is only achievable with a significant amount of 232 gear rather than 245, while the 245 gear is substantially better stat-wise yet carries pretty much the same price tag. I get the feeling I will be giving up T9 in favor of non-set pieces, which saddens me for the sake of the set bonuses.
Koralon drops gloves and legs with iLevel 232 on 10-man, and 245 on 25-man. The PvP stuff from 25-man is i251, which is useful for Flame Leviathon but not much else, if you're a purely PvE raider. Ony25 and ToC25, while possibly puggable, are out of my reach as a strict 10-man raider (indeed, many strict-10 guilds have been falling off the strict charts from joining pugs, even in getting 25-man sarth +1Drake, etc! I can't say as I agree with this fault in the guildox strict-listing system; I'm hoping such easily puggable old content achievements will be removed from the 25 progression rankings, or else the number of progression achievements required to count as a 25-man guild be increased, as I don't think it fair to those who are 10strict but happen to pug Naxx and Sarth 213 content. But I digress, and these parenthesis have rambled on for way longer than I had anticipated).
Since I can't sit around in T8 forever when there is iLevel 245 gear out, I have to consider moving forward. I think I would rather gear out in full 245 gear as opposed to 232 T9, and hope for lucky VoA drops along with the eventual cache tokens to push me up to a mostly 245 T9 kit.
What I'm looking at picking up (Heroic 245 versions):
Mesa/Grotto Hat (crit) - Eydis or Vendor Hat (haste) - 75 Badges
Currently equipped: 226 T8
Binding Elements Neck - Jaraxxus
Currently equipped: 226 badge.
Glacial Winds Shoulders (haste) - Icehowl or Vendor Shoulders (spirit) - 50 badges
Currently equipped: 219 T8
Shawl of the Devout - Insanity Chest, 50 attempts remaining on heroic. Mmm hm. Or, Fluttering Saphh Drape (no spirit, resistances) - Ony10. Below that, is killing Algalon and turning in his code for the 226 Summerglimmer Drape. Of these, the Ony10 cloak is the most easily obtainable, overall.
Currently equipped: 213.
Chest: either to use a rare token drop, or make the crafted 245 chest with 8 orbs (on limited orb supply). I will probably make this my priority on token drop. If any of my readers are horde on Turalyon: I do have this pattern!
Currently equipped: 226 T8; can purchase 232 with badges if necessary.
Crafted wrists (60 badges for orbs, + materials) - these are the only wrists available. Healing priests have the same problem. If any of my readers are horde on Turalyon: I do have this pattern!
Currently equipped: the crafted wrists. :) Yay!
Gloves: The i245 option is either to luck out in VoA25, or use a rare token drop. I will hope for VoA.
Currently equipped: 226 hardmode; can purchase 232 with badges if necessary.
Bloodhoof/Solstice Belt - Jaraxxus
Currently equipped: 232 version, this will be a simple upgrade.
Demonic Messenger Legs - Jaraxxus (cloth) or a lucky VoA25 Koralon Drop
Currently equipped: 219 T8.
Boots/Sandals of the Grieving Soul - Heroic Eydis (cloth); no leather caster options.
Currently equipped: 219. There are 226 leather crafted available, but the cloth 245 is better.
Band of the Invoker + Heartmender Circle - 70 badges total, or Polished Dragonslayer's Signet from the Onyxia head
Currently equipped: both badge rings
Cached Disciple's Blade or Cached Mace or Anubarak Mace or Sharpened Fang of the Mystics (Ony) + Antique Cornerstone Grimoire (Ony)
...else Eydis' Staff from heroic (no Spirit either, though :( ).
Currently equipped: 232 Icecore
Idol of Flaring Growth is a no-brainer.
I still need time to consider. The Binding Stone is decent mp5 and the Talisman of Resurgence has a ton of Int, but a click-use is undesirable in the face of so many straight equip trinkets; I have the 232 version of the Binding Stone for use on mana-intensive fights. Currently running SoH and IoDS. Would probably like to just pick up Sif's Rememberance and use that over the Binding Stone.
There are also the pair of trinkets from Onyxia that have a set bonus of 222 SP and chance to cause "cauterizing heal" on your heal targets; unsure if this will proc off of HoTs.
So, what are your thoughts? Any of you that raid 10-strict have any further ideas on gearing?