Leveling and Gear Replacement

With Cataclysm leveling, when is the appropriate time to replace my gear?  I worked really damn hard to get my gear where it is, and I would hate to have it replaced by green quality gear!

Guess what?  For those of us that have been around since vanilla WoW, this is the third go-round in terms of gear replacement.  Most of us simply shrug off the fact that gear will be replaced during leveling, and know that our Wrath gear served us well.

But that wasn’t always the case.  I guarantee you, when Burning Crusade came out, I had those same exact fears.  It took hours upon hours to get my gear where it was, and I hated the thought of some ugly green piece of gear only one level higher being a better option.

The simple truth is…it is what it is.  That’s how these expansions work.  New content brings new gear, which is often stronger than our current gear at much earlier levels.

So, when do I plan on replacing my current gear, which is a mix of 251 and 264?  Well, my friends, I will replace each piece as soon as I see an upgrade.

Why I Recommend Replacing Gear

Unless you have Shadowmourne or some heroic 25-man ICC gear, plan on replacing your gear pretty quickly.  Maybe not at 81, but at 82 and 83 you will start to see those pretty ICC drops dwindle into nothingness.

Tier gear is something most players hate to lose, but for us Ret Paladins, it shouldn’t be too hard.  Tier bonuses are meant mainly for raiding.  Sure, they have some benefit in leveling…but guys, leveling is all about burst damage, which we have tons of.  Bonuses from Tier 10 aren’t going to make that much of a difference when killing Cataclysm trash.

Bottom line: If you see a piece of gear in Cataclysm with better stats than what you are wearing, probably going to be a good idea to switch while leveling.  Where stats aren’t identical or can’t compare easily, try the gear out and see if it fits your leveling playstyle.

To leave you guys with an example, here are some BoE green quality two-handed axes from 78 to 85:

Since we rely most heavily upon weapon DPS, let’s see where my current normal-Bryntroll fits in…294.8 DPS.  According to the BoE GREENS, I will be replacing my weapon almost instantly.  Doesn’t matter that I have Beserking on it, the higher damage is what I am going for.

The Cataclysm BoE lvl 79 axe has more dps than my Bryntroll…and for those that are wondering, Shadowmourne has 347.8 DPS.  Now, I’d keep that until 85, but theoretically, you could replace it for higher raw DPS at level 82!


  1. Alexcalibur says:

    Hey Kohr, .. what about enchanting and gemming? Should I bother or should I just wait until 85. I spent way too much gold trying to stay on the bleeding edge in WoTLK, I want to try and avoid that in this expansion.

  2. lordmogg says:

    Alexcalibur that’s blatantly what I will be doing. Im not going to buy, amend or reforge anything now until im at level 85. Then ill start tweaking my toon to stay where I need to be.

  3. scattershot says:

    I have the same weapon that you mention (Bryntroll). In your article you don’t compare the weapon as a whole. Bryntroll comes with a ton of strength, two gem slots (40 additional str), along with an unique life stealing proc. You can’t just take the weapon dps as being the only reason to swap out.

    I’m curious knowing what i’ve just said about that particular weapon when it will be replaced by greens. (i guess that is what RAWR is for, right?)

    Thanks for your site. it is a great resource for us rets!

  4. Agonus says:

    Just as a heads up guys, I was using Shadow’s Edge in WotLK, had it gemmed out and everything. Today I completed a quest and was rewarded with a blue that beat it into the dirt, hands down. I was shocked. But the blues and greens out there are immensely more powerful than even the sanctified T10 pieces. Just dinged 83 and my entire old set is gone.

  5. difens says:

    I was aiming for replacing my weapon (Citadel Enforcer Claymore from ICC10) with some cool quest reward but then I learned to craft Obsidium Executioner. This baby rocks. Damage 1100-1900, a ton of Strength and Stamina. It dwarfs even Shadowmourne and you can get it at lvl81 and 480 in blacksmithing.
    Also redsteel crafted pieces (except gloves) are FAR superior to ilvl 251-264 gear bought with justice points. I myseld crafted bracers, boots, belt and shoulders and pumped my strength, stamina and dps up very very fast. Still have to craft help and chest when I reach lvl83.
    Bye bye T10 …

  6. jamman says:

    I’ve already started re-gearing, but I was wondering what youR thoughts were on the crafted blue polearm – obsidium greatspear or somesuch…
    It’s an agility- stamina weapon, but it has a top end damage of 1900. That is so much higher than my oxheart that I wondered (I’m a paladin who hasn’t dps-ed since saurfang pre patch)
    Thanks for all the work!

  7. leo says:

    According t osomething i read on another post here (i think in the BiS weapon post) you shouldnt get weapons with agi, even if it has more dmg, because of the str loss.

  8. Khor says:

    I am currently investigating using an agilty weapon with higher overall DPS as a potential improvement over a lesser DPS strength weapon. I have seen some threads, including some on EJ, that are saying some agility weapons with higher DPS MAY be better than a lower stregnth DPS weapon.

    That said, for equal DPS weapons, 100% of the time choose strength. Agility gear and weapons no longer yield attack power, so it is a huge DPS loss for us to use this type of gear.

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