How to Make a Gear Plan

I’ve just hit 70 with another alt, my night elf priest Siha. She’s currently a Holy DPS spec, running a Surge of Light/Imp Divine Spirit build (32/29/0) which allows her to do reasonable DPS and still contribute good healing if we’re short on healers.

Of course, gearing up an alt at maximum speed is always an interesting challenge; as I worked on my gear wishlists for Siha, I streamlined a mental process I’ve been using for all my high level alts.

Here’s how the process works. At each “phase” of gearing, go through an item database (like WoWhead or WoWDB) and some gear lists for your class, and pick the most desirable items in each slot. Work out what you have to do to get that item, and break it down into component parts if it involves farming a lot of mats, transmute or tailoring cooldowns, and so on. Managing your cooldowns is especially important – there’s nothing worse than farming up all your mats, and then realising you have to wait over a month to get all your cloth transmutes done. So if your gear needs primal mights, or spellcloth, or something similar, then start your transmutes while you’re still levelling.

Phase 0: Set your goals
Do you want this character to be:

  • a raiding alt or new main?
  • a PvE alt for more relaxed play (ie 5-mans, daily quests, solo play, etc)?
  • a PvP bunny?
  • a farming powerhouse?

You want to complete this phase well in advance – not only does it tell you what kind of gear you should go for (resilience? Stamina? DPS stats?) it will also help you pick tradeskills, and it will largely dictate how serious you are about gearing up hard. If you’re only levelling a mage for relaxed PvE play, you’re not likely to blow a thousand gold on the mats for a [Belt of Blasting], are you?

Phase 1: Up-front acquisitions
This phase covers gear you can get within a day or two of hitting 70. It includes:

  • BoE blues and epics from the Auction House
  • Crafted epics you’ve made or had crafted for you
  • Honor-bought PvP gear, if you’ve been PvPing while levelling (which most people don’t, at least not in amounts large enough to buy the gear you want)
  • Reputation rewards from factions where you’ve already got the rep while levelling (eg the PvP blues you can buy at Honoured from various TBC factions)

Phase 2: Guaranteed acquisitions
This phase covers gear that you know you’ll be able to get; it’ll just take time:

  • Badge purchases
  • Arena-bought gear
  • Honor-bought gear
  • Reputation rewards

Phase 3: Long-term plan
This is probably only necessary for characters that will be raiding or instancing heavily; it basically covers best-in-slot gear from raid and instance drops. Of course, many badge purchases and crafted items are awesome and will not be replaced by anything you’re likely to pick up from raiding or instancing, unless you’re in an endgame guild.

Phase 4: Maintenance
The final stage is just to keep an eye on your gear plan for each phase, and don’t be afraid to adjust the plans when something off your Phase 2 wishlist gets superseded by a lucky raid drop from your Phase 3 wishlist.

5 thoughts on “How to Make a Gear Plan”

  1. Err i’m not sure if you know about this but

    is an excellent resource which basically makes a gear plan for you if you can prioritize what stats you want and where you get gear from it’s a tad behind the curve but i assume most people aren’t in the sunwell yet it even includes the drop rates on things

  2. Sure, but it’s basically just a gear list/item database with some filters already built in. It’s just a list of items that you can prioritise based on stats and filter by availability – WoWhead does that too, as does WoW-loot is certainly useful (although I prefer a full item DB myself, for the completeness) but the point of my post was not to say which item database/list people should use, but to suggest a mental process for organising all the options into manageable chunks that provide a solid upgrade path.

  3. Oooh thanks for this Siha. I’ve just hit 70 on my mage and have been a little unsure of what to do with him, so this guide is awesome! :)


  4. Great summary. I’ve brought a couple alts up to 70 and boy was it easier knowing what to expect and coming in with a plan like this. One thing that can really boost anybody up gear wise for a serious alt (besides blacksmiths) is the crafted sets. Start gathering mats for those early and have them sitting in your bank when you hit 70… :)

    Great site, thanks.

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