Best in Slot Lists 101

I think it is important to cover a few basic principles and understandings of best in slot lists.  More over, I think it is also important to cover best DPS item lists as well.

As players journey and fight their way through Cataclysm content, they will find gear starting to pile up.  The question is, “What gear is best for my set-up?”  That’s the key to all of this, what gear is best for your set-up

Your Ret Paladin (or any character, for that matter) is more than likely going to be different from mine in terms of gear.  So, we will both need different things to make us better.  Searching out what gear is best in slot or best DPS drives us to the Internet to find our answers.

Here is where you have to be careful!  I will explain best in slot lists and best DPS lists to the best of my ability.

Best in Slot Lists

Best in Slot lists are a complete gear list for each slot you can have armor in.  It will be one item for each slot, and each single piece of gear is dependant on the other in terms of stats.

You see, a best in slot list is meant to reach hit cap, expertise cap, and then push out the most DPS possible.  This combination of gear is unique, and throwing in just one different piece of gear throws the whole set off. 

For example, let’s say your neck item gives +90 strength/+120 stamina with +100 hit/+100 crit.  This is the BiS item.  Now, you see that a neck piece you want for 10,000g, with +110 strength/+140 stamina and +110 crit/+110 haste.  You make the switch and notice your DPS actually went down, despite increased stats.  Well, that 100 hit rating from the gear in the best in slot list was just enough to push you past the hit cap.  Losing it means you are now below the hit cap, and hit is our #1 stat priority for DPS.  The other piece looked prettier, but it threw off your overall set, and now you can’t reach the hit cap, even with reforging.  So, you have to revert to the original neck and are out 10,000g.

This is pretty standard reasoning, but it can get more complicated than that.  The point is, a Best in Slot list should be taken in as a whole.  If you cannot complete the entire list, then you need to find ways to make your gear the best it can possibly be.

Reach the hit cap, then the expertise cap, then follow normal DPS stat priorities.  This will keep building you up as you progress in gear.  Very few people hit the exact match for a best in slot list, so they must make adjustments to crank out as much DPS as their gear will let them.

Best DPS Gear Lists

A best DPS gear list is very different than a best in slot list.  A best DPS gear list gives you which pieces of gear can individually put out the most DPS.  There are a few websites dedicated to this, but the problem I have with them isn’t that their information is inaccurate (because most of it has raw accuracy), it’s that it is very misleading, and is almost never prioritized for the individual player’s current needs.

Now, let’s say we are looking at the best neck slot items for Retribution Paladins.  I have my own list on Best Retribution Paladin Necks Pre-Raiding.  I am your average Ret Paladin looking for the best possible neck slot item to equip.  Here is what I see first, the top 3 choices:

Now, this list seems pretty straight forward, right?  Seedling Pod has hit rating, and I know that is #1 stat priority, so Seedling Pod is #1.  Quiet Breath has Expertise and Crit, both high in value.  Gift of Nadun, while epic quality, does not have hit or expertise, and the higher strength amount still doesn’t surpass the value of #1 and #2’s secondary stat combinations.  This is what the average Ret Paladin sees on the surface.  But let’s take a different approach.

I am Khor, a Ret Paladin, and I am already at the hit and expertise caps without the neck piece I intend to replace.  Well, the hit and expertise ratings on items #1 and #2 are rendered useless to me, and equipping those would be a DPS loss.  So, the best actual piece for me then becomes Gift of Nadun, because it has both Crit and Haste, which are very close in priority value.  My current gear situation led me to require the #3 item on the list as my best DPS option, not numbers one or two.

This type of prioritizing is pretty much the norm, so you cannot assume the top pieces on these types of lists will be best for you.  It really comes down to mixing and matching your gear, then reforging as needed.

Most of this shouldn’t come as new information to all you veterans out there.  We have come to learn these things very well and are pretty much second nature when picking out gear.  But there are many new players and new Ret Paladins out there that also need to be pointed in the right direction as well.  Hope this was somewhat informative and helpful!

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