Alliteration is fun! Kurn and I had been talking about this a bit and I thought I’d post about it.
– Why the Drape of the Violet Tower is mediocre –
First off, this is obviously written for healadins, but shaman can get on this boat as well, as the gearing needs of shaman tend to closely resemble those of healadins these days, at as far as back slot goes. The Drape of the Violet Tower is the cloak purchased with 50 Emblems of Frost. The stats on it are crit/MP5 and the socket color is blue.
The main problem with this cloak is that both crit and MP5 are considered regen stats, both of which are undesirable. The truly desirable stat is that our throughput stat of haste, which is what we gear towards, is completely missing from this piece. I am going with the generally accepted stat weighting of: INT > haste > crit and MP5 There will be some light use of numbers to explain ways to work around or work with this item.
– Solution #1: Avoid it –
It is important to point out that ilevel is generally -not- an important element to gearing for healadins if the stats are not optimal. The loss of some INT is worth keeping the correct itemization on a lower ilevel cloak. There are some quite acceptable alternatives to this piece at varying levels of difficulty. I will write out the loss/gains of choosing each alternative. Also, I am trying to list them in order of “best alternative to weakest alternative,” but all of these can be considered instead of the Drape.
Cloak of the Burning Dusk (-30 MP5, +4 INT, +4 crit, +7 SP, + 64 haste, yellow socket for +5 SP): Obviously, this is the best bet of cloaks. You’ll have to fight every other caster out there for it, but Halion-25 is puggable in this day and age. It might take a few weeks, but getting this cloak is doable with some patience. (Heroic: -30 MP5, +14 INT, +13 crit, +21 SP, +73 haste, yellow socket for +5 SP)
Frostbinder’s Shredded Cape (-30 MP5, +8 crit, +52 haste): This cape comes from Valithria-25 and used to be the best caster cloak. Since the release of Halion and his cloaks, this one might be easier to get. Healadins also have a leg-up on getting this boss down in a PuG, since we are so useful for the fight. Any PuG that can clear the first four ICC bosses should be able to get this encounter finished no problem. (Heroic: -30 MP5, +9 INT, +16 crit, +13 SP, +60 haste)
Abduction’s Cover (-6 MP5, -4 INT, -52 crit, -6 SP, +57 haste): This cape off Halion-10 is a great example of why ilevel means so little compared to itemization. Despite the slightly lower ilevel is it quite obvious that this cloak is superior to the Drape. Again, PuGs for this are not terribly hard to find. With some time and some lucky rolls, this is quite the nice upgrade. (Heroic: -2 MP5, +4 INT, -52 crit, +7 SP, +64 haste)
Heartsick Mender’s Cape (-3 MP5, -8 INT, -52 crit, -12 SP, +45 haste): Compared to the first three options, this cloak off of Princes-10 is a little light on the haste, but is still an excellent choice. This encounter might be harder on PuGs than some others, but it is at the least available to strict 10-man groups. And yes, despite the lower ilevel this is a far and away better choice than the Drape. The hardmode version is even better, if you can get your hands on it. (Heroic: -52 crit, +52 haste)
Pennant Cloak (-30 MP5, -23 INT, -18 crit, -33 SP, +42 haste): People hate to hear it, but this Sarth+2 25-man cloak is actually generally better than the Drape. That -23 INT is a bit hard to bear, but the gain of haste makes up for it. Point for point, this cloak is going to yield better results than even the ilevel 245 listed below.
Flowing Sapphiron Drape (-30 MP5, -15 INT, -2 crit, -8 SP, +35 haste, -socket): The loss of the socket on this is a major “ouch.” The total INT loss with that socket would be -35 INT, so it is important to look at the rest of your gear before grabbing this off of Onyxia-25. Do you have at least 675 haste? Do you have enough regen on other items? Generally, if you answer “no” to the first question, this is a better choice than the Drape. If you answered “yes” to the first, then the second question is one you might have to play around with to figure out.
– Solution #2: Work with it –
It is possible to use the Drape if you are careful to cover the item’s weaknesses elsewhere. Generally, a healadin can get away with a single slot without haste if we take the time to compensate elsewhere. This really only works if the Drape is the only piece of crit/MP5 gear you are using. The use of any other crit/MP5 piece upsets the balance too much to make this a viable solution.
Gearing changes: A way to work with the extra load of regen from the Drape is to replace 2-3 haste/MP5 items with haste/crit items. It is important to do this -only- with slots where switching would yield either more haste or equal haste. For example, switching your Mail of Crimson Coins to Meteor Chaser’s Raiment.
Consumables: Switch your food to either Imperial Manta Steak or Very Burnt Worg. The 40 haste from either of these choices is really the way to go for healadins. (Dare I say that all healadins should be using these, regardless!) A more costly change, but one that should seriously be considered by anyone wanting to use the Drape, is to switch from using a flask to using two elixirs. The two best choices for elixirs would be Elixir of Lightning Speed (45 haste) and Elixir of Mighty Thoughts (45 INT). The haste gain is great and the INT elixir will help make up for losing the 65 INT from the Flask of Distilled Wisdom that all healadins should be using. (Pardon me while I yell at myself for not doing so 100% of the time, too.)
Gemming: I do -not- suggest switching any INT gems to haste gems. If you are running so low on haste that gemming for it becomes a consideration, then you shouldn’t be using the Drape at all. Likewise, there isn’t a metagem that will make up for the loss of haste, so just stick with your IED.
– Blizzard hates good itemization –
They pretty much always have. The question is how to deal with what they give you. While working around the Drape of the Violet Tower is possible, most people are going to find that simply avoiding the thing will take far less time and effort. Of course, part of the reason I bothered to write this all out is so that Kurn will no longer tease me for using it myself. But hey, using it thoughtfully and balancing out the weaknesses is okay. Using it just because it’s there, without thinking about it, is what causes issues. Remember, higher ilevel does not mean automatic upgrade.