There is no one right way to gear up.

Say it with me now: There is no one right way to gear up.

There are definitely wrong ways, but there is no one end-all-be-all way to get raid-ready.


Popular methods include:

  • Finishing all available quests in Uldum and Twilight Highlands
  • Reputation rewards
    • via doing dailies
    • via tabards
  • Purchasing items with Justice and Valor Points
  • Crafting items
    • Purchasing crafted items on the Auction House
  • Dungeon drops

Which methods are right for you?

How to get the gear in the most time-efficient manner?  It depends on your guild situation, personal preferences, and schedule.

What’s Practical

If you spend all day at work playing the mobile auction house, then money is probably no object for you.  It will be time-efficient to go ahead and purchase some pieces on the auction house.  You may be able to do that before you even log into the game for your game time.

If you are frequently interrupted during your playtime, dungeons may not be doable for you.  You may want to focus on finishing up your quest gear and then doing dailies for rep gear.  Those things you can step away from easily at a moment’s notice.  It goes without saying that you should prioritize based on which pieces of gear you want.

If you have a continuous chunk of time that’s uninterrupted and during prime time, AND you usually have guildies online, it may give you the best chance for quick loot to do a regular or a heroic.  Don’t get greedy!  Don’t queue for a random or a run with pug members unless you’re absolutely sure you can handle whatever is thrown your way.  It’s not particularly gear-efficient to spend all night wiping.

You won’t be able to get everything you need using one gearing method, but at the same time, you should be focusing on the methods that work best with your personal situation.

What You Like

I have a confession: I hate dailies. I don’t do them.  Well that’s not that accurate.  I only do them if I’ve exhausted the other gearing options and I’m still missing something. So basically never.

I did Hodir dailies because the shoulder enchants were must-have and there was no other way to get them.  Well, that lasted a week, on and off. Then I just traded in the doodads for rep. Hodir can maintain his own phallic equipment.

ATT, on the other hand, became really stressed out when Halls of Reflection popped up on the random.  After a LOT of failed attempts, he flat-out refused to tank it. He may have missed out on some awesome loot – but it was just too odious to tank.

There’s no need to do stuff you hate unless there are no other options that are practical for you. At least there’s no need to do a LOT of the stuff you hate. For most things, there’s probably a way more tolerable to you.

Opportunity Knocks

If your guildies all happen to be online and want to run a heroic, and you HAPPEN to be hard-core into your dailies at that same time, for the love of Pete, drop what you’re doing and go with them. Your dailies can wait.  The heroic won’t. Be flexible and seize opportunities that present themselves.

Low Hanging Fruit First. White Whale Last.

Go easiest to hardest. Don’t start out bemoaning that wands are found almost nowhere and start making valiant efforts to get one.  Instead, start with the gear pieces that come easiest to you.

An upgrade makes you stronger, regardless of whether it took you 10 minutes or 10 hours to get.  Every piece you get makes the next piece easier, because you’re that much quicker.  And the piece that you think is “oh so difficult” may find you by luck in the meantime.


The Casual Raider’s Handbook: Gearing Strategies for All Play Schedules — 10 Comments

  1. Nice article and all very good points.

    Probably way too late for this comment to do any good for anyone, but my one pro tip is, unless you need the gear for heroics, save up your JPs until you are almost to the 4000 cap. The most discouraging thing you could do is buy your JP shoulders, then have heroic shoulders drop the next dungeon run. Sometimes it happens, but waiting until the last possible moment to buy the gear helps minimize the chances.

    As for VP, I’m going to be doing the exact opposite and spending them as soon as I get them. Heroics are still a little forgiving, raids we need every bit of help.

    • I see what you are saying about the JP items Yngwe, but I disagree. If you are smart about prioritizing your purchases to buying the items with the fewest drop options first you should be able to mostly avoid buying items then getting a replacement in the next few runs.

      It just seems counterproductive to me to sit on a pile of JPs for a week+ when you could spend them on an improvement immediately.

      • There are certainly exceptions (I guess I should have qualified a little more), like having a raid tomorrow and wanting to get another upgrade before going in, or being a tank that feels squishy, or a healer running out of mana. If you had a big hole in your gear that you could fill with a vendor item or needed the item to queue for a heroic, those would be a good reasons to spend as well.

        From my perspective, I was dps and putting out good numbers the minute I stepped into heroics. Through quests, rep, and regular dungeons, I didn’t have any big holes in my gear, or I knew that I would be able to fill them soon. I definitely did what you are suggesting, and looked for the piece that was least likely to drop to decide what to spend the JPs on (in my case, it was a chest piece). Of course the next two dungeons I was randomly placed in were the dungeon where that chest dropped (but it didn’t drop).

        Maybe a better way to phrase my advice is “if you can wait to spend the JPs without feeling gimped or disqualifying yourself from content, then you should wait.”

  2. Love the epic dog!

    My main way of gearing myself has always been dungeon/heroics runs. It’s also the best way to farm my reputation, at least for me. Just like you I despise most dailies and I avoid them if I can. I’ve been doing some lately in the name of being as ready as I can for raiding but I won’t drive myself crazy over it.

    • Likewise, I’d rather pug every heroic run I do from now until the end of time than commit to doing all my repping via dailies. Ew. Dailies. Ew.

  3. Everything you stated here is awesome.

    And it is all backed up by the Wishbone wanna in “epik geerz”.

    I think I shall direct guildies here, so the whiners stop whining.

    • I feel like a lot of this is “common sense”, but maybe not. Whiners gonna whine.

      If you’re hardcore, you can’t afford to be picky. You have to do what is the best-of-the-best, regardless of what you like or don’t like.

      As a casual raider, there’s more wiggle-room, but there are also time constraints and you have to cut some corners. Which corners to cut are totally up to you. And because you do HAVE choices, there are definitely ways to make dumb and inefficient ones. Research!

  4. Excellent post! I especially agree with what you said under “Opportunity Knocks”. It doesn’t do you any good to decide you don’t want to interrupt what you’re doing so you will just wait until tomorrow before agreeing to do a heroic, because tomorrow may roll around and no one is available to do a heroic with you. Take it when you can.

    I also completely agree that gear should be pursued easiest to hardest. I’m speaking as a healer and it may be different for dps or tanks, but for me every little point on my gear counts. There’s no point deciding that the Swatch Watch of Spirit Bracers (I made that up, can you tell?) which cost 6300 justice points is what you’re going to try and get first because you want the +9000 spirit they give you. You’ll likely get sick to death of the non-stop heroics that would require and in the meantime you haven’t improved yourself at all. Instead, if you worked on your Guardians of Hyjal rep by wearing their tabard in a few heroics, in a matter of days you could get enough rep to purchase an enchant from them which will give you +60 intellect or some new gloves that have a +10 spirit socket bonus.

    Now I’m rambling. I should have stuck with just saying Excellent Post!