Warning Long post ahead!!
So in Part I, I talked a bit about my spec, glyphing, gemming and macros. The biggest part supporting a holy paladin's ability to heal is the gear though. The gear that we choose ultimately allows us to fulfill our roles in raids as healers. I am of the school of thought that paladins should go for intellect with a balance of crit and haste!
Keep in mind that once you get to ~50% crit and 5-600 haste, each point of crit/haste you stack beyond that will not improve your healing ability as much. Thus, you can treat crit and haste as having a “cap” so to speak. There is no cap to intellect stacking though since it increases spell power, crit and your mana pool! I'm currently wanting to hit 30k raid buffed mana but as of now, I am stuck at 29.5k raid buffed if I wear certain trinkets.
On a side note, I dislike mp5 very much so though I will not discount it entirely but I will not focus my entire gear set around stacking it exclusively. Meaning that if a particular piece of gear that I am using has it, then whatever but I will not specifically seek out gear solely for it having mp5. So let's get to it!
I am listing items from highest to lowest preference. Net gains or losses are being compared to the item being replaced. The only stats considered are crit, haste, SP and int in that order.
If a net gain is due to socket bonuses, the net gain will be colored purple and any net losses to stats will be colored in pink. Additional critical chance gained from net gain of intellect is NOT accounted for as well as SP from talents due to intellect. I only accounted for regular gems and not for JC only gems since there are blue sockets galore in Ulduar gear. I will ignore MP5 when I do my analysis. Finally, I bolded pieces I highly recommend to consider for a holy paladin's gear wish list. Full loot list here.
Helm: Replacing Faceguard of the Succumbed +50 crit/+61 haste/+99 SP/+78 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald)
Ancient Iron Heaume +17 crit/-1 haste/+16 SP/+19 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) You lose only 1 haste for a gain in all other stats, this is a keeper.
T8.5 +9 crit/-1 haste/25 SP/+16 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) If you desire to gain the T8 set bonus, then perhaps this helm works better for you.
T8.25 +4 crit/-6 haste/+15 SP/+11 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald)
- Helm of Veiled Energies (mail) +23 crit/-2 haste/+6 SP/+1 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) Nice upgrade but if a shaman wants it, let him have it.
- Faceguard of the Eyeless Horror +16 crit/-61 haste/+6 SP/-5 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) Obviously meant for holy pallies but the huge loss of haste means it is not a big upgrade unless you are haste capped already but there are still better helms out there so this is not recommended.
Neck: Replacing Life-Binder's Locket +35 crit/+0 haste/+69 SP/+64 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow)
Charm of Meticulous Timing -35 crit/+40 haste/+11 SP/-5 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) Trade off for haste over crit and SP over int, I wouldn't bother.
Pendant of Fiery Havoc -35 crit/+41 haste/+11 SP/+3 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) If you prefer to get the haste over crit, then this neck is for you! Very minor upgrade IMO
Pendant of the Shallow Grave +10 crit/+31 haste/+5 SP/-5 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) This neck is the same item level as Life-Binder's Locket but it is better itemized.
- Pendant of the Somber Witness +1 crit/+0 haste/+2 SP/-12 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz) General downgrade despite it dropping off 10 man Algalon.
Shoulders: Replacing T7.5 +55 crit/+35 haste/+78 SP/+73 int
T8.5 -7 crit/+22 haste/+17 SP/-1 intel (Dazzling Forest Emerald) Relatively minor loss of stats for a bigger gain in haste and SP though these shoulders look nice!
T8.25 -10 crit/+17 haste/+10 SP/-5 intel (Dazzling Forest Emerald) I actually prefer the look of the T8.25 set since it is white and looks more "holy" =P Here, the trade off is not as worth it I feel so I wouldn't recommend it.
Pauldrons of Tempered Will -12 crit/-1 haste/+14 SP/-7 int Not worth the loss of stats for 14 SP in my opinion.
- Observer's Mantle (mail) -3 crit/+15 haste/+40 SP/+3 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald) For measly loss of 3 crit, you gain other stats, especially SP so this can be a very good upgrade for you if you don't care about the T8 or T7 set bonuses.
- Pauldrons of the Combatant (mail) -55 crit/+13 haste/+11 SP/+20 int (Brillliant Autumn's Glow, Dazzling Forest Emerald) If you can stand to lose the crit, the gain in the other stats may be worth your while though it's mostly the 20 int that makes this attractive.
Back: Replacing Shroud of Luminosity +38 crit/+28 haste/+65 SP/+43 int
Pennant Cloak -4 crit/+14 haste/+4 SP/+11 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) If you gem with JC only gem, this is the best option.
Drape of Mortal Downfall +5 crit/-28 haste/+15 SP/+24 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) That is a damn lot of intellect to be gained, very tasty =) The loss of 28 haste is relatively minor as you can make that up but due to the presence of hit rating on this cloak, your caster DPS will probably be unhappy if you take it over them so look for other options.
- Drape of the Sullen Goddess +2 crit/-28 haste/+15 SP/+24 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) This cloak is very similar to the hit cloak for caster DPS but with mp5 instead of hit rating, meaning this is meant for healers to take over the Drape of Mortal Downfall. With that said, I feel the Pennant Cloak is still the better option though if the loss of 28 haste is no big deal for you then this cloak is BIS for you.
Shroud of Alteration -38 crit/+8 haste/+9 SP/+6 int That is a lot of crit to lose but if you can make it up elsewhere, why not?
Drape of the Spellweaver +1 crit/+2 haste/+3 SP/-5 int This is a coin toss for me. I rather not take this cloak as it just shuffles around stats and I am fine with my current cloak. I save my DKP too!
Chest: Replacing T7.5 +0 crit/+73 haste/+108 SP/+93 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald)
Breastplate of the Devoted +76 crit/-15 haste/+41 SP/+31 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald, Brilliant Autumn's Glow) For the loss of only 15 haste, you gain so much in the other stats, definitely worth the trade off. Also, keep in mind that there is a whole bunch of haste to be found in other pieces of gear and stacking haste isn't great past a certain point (soft haste cap).
T8.5 +60 crit/-73 haste/+14 SP/+17 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow, Dazzling Forest Emerald) Trading off for crit over haste and the clincher would be if you want the T8 set bonus.
T8.25 +54 crit/-73 haste/+4 SP/+12 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow, Dazzling Forest Emerald)
- Firestrider Chestguard (mail) +57 crit/+8 haste/+1 SP/-6 int This is basically better itemization than the T7.5 at the cost of some int and since it is mail, you have to fight your ele shamans for this as well. I still feel meh about this as an upgrade though.
Breastplate of the Afterlife +4 crit/-11 haste/-4 SP/+21 int I like this BP just because of the gain in 21 intellect. The loss of haste and SP is minor. Not a major upgrade though.
Chestplate of the Great Aspects +27 crit/+13 haste/+15 SP/-5 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) It is a very minor upgrade and I wouldn't take it to break up my 4 piece T7 set bonus.
Lifeforge Breastplate +68 crit/-73 haste/+20 SP/-1 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) Trade off for crit for haste so it is up to you but I think the T8.5 is a better option in that case.
- Chestguard of the Fallen God (mail) +75 crit/-5 haste/+21 SP/+9 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) You lose 5 haste but gain in alot of other stats, definitely worth the upgrade! Keep in mind the set bonuses you will miss out on though.
- Breastplate of the Stoneshaper (mail) +70 crit/-16 haste/+21 SP/+12 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow, Luminous Monarch Topaz) Loss of 16 haste for a gain in other stats, so this is an attractive upgrade. Again, keep in mind the loss of set bonuses if you take this as an upgrade.
- Robes of the Umbral Brute (cloth) +58 crit/+9 haste/+20 SP/+1 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) This is a complete upgrade of T7.5 but keep in mind since this is cloth, to let your other cloth DPS get first dibs on this. I tend to prefer the other options listed above because once you near the 676 haste soft cap, the loss of haste will be negligible.
Wrist: Replacing Bracers of Liberation +41 crit/+28 haste/+66 SP/+43 int
Unfaltering Armguards -41 crit/0 haste/+3 SP/+14 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) Loss of crit for a gain in int but not enough to make it worthwhile.
Armbands of the Construct +3 crit/-28 haste/+3 SP/-1 int General downgrade
Horologist's Wristguards -5 crit/-28 haste/+9 SP/-1 int General downgrade
Abetment Bracers -41 crit/+13 haste/-10 SP/+6 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) This is a sidegrade as it is the same item level but the allocation of stats is slightly different.
- Bindings of Winter Gale (mail) +7 crit/+11 haste/+14 SP/+16 int Complete upgrade but since it is mail, you have to fight your shamans for this set but it is the new BIS wrist!
Gloves: Replacing T7.5 +59 crit/+35 haste/+78 SP/+65 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald)
T8.25 -59 crit/+22 haste/+14 SP/+3 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz)
T8.5 -59 crit/+26 haste/+21 SP/+7 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz)
Gloves of the Pythonic Guardian -10 crit/-35 haste/+21 SP/+0 int Not worth the loss of crit and haste for only 21 SP along with breaking up the T7 set bonus.
- Gauntlets of the Thunder God -12 crit/+19 haste/+30 SP/+7 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald) This is an overall upgrade with a minimal loss of 12 crit, I would take this over the T8 once you have 2 pieces of T8 as only the 2 piece bonus is attractive in my eyes since I tend to be on raid healing as well as MT healing and the 4 piece set bonus is only good for MT healing.
- Rune Shaper's Gloves (mail) -17 crit/+29 haste/+17 SP/+5 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) More ele shaman loot and it is an overall upgrade compared to T7.5 but I would prefer the previous gloves since you don't need to fight another class for them.
- Glove of the Whispering Wind (mail) -9 crit/+8 haste/+36 SP/+5 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz) Given how much is gained with only the loss of 9 crit, this is a definite upgrade but again, you have to fight your ele shamans for this piece of loot.
Waist: Replacing Waistguard of Divine Grace +37 crit/+55 haste/+88 SP/+57 int
Plate Girdle of Righteousness -37 crit/-15 haste/+9 SP/+21 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald)
Girdle of Unyielding Trust +8 crit/-55 haste/+12 SP/0 int
Belt of Clinging Hope -37 crit/+1 haste/+11 SP/+8 int
Magroth's Meditative Cincture +3 crit/-15 haste/-15 SP/+10 int
- Belt of the Fallen Wyrm (mail) +12 crit/+7 haste/+11 SP/+3 int This is new BIS belt for holy paladins but you're going to have to fight the ele shamans for this. It is definitely the best belt by far for us paladins, however, so good luck!
Legs: Replacing T7.5 +51 crit/+72 haste/+108 SP/+101 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Brilliant Autumn's Glow)
T8.25 -51 crit/-18 haste/+13 SP/-4 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald) This is just horrible. You must gem the blue socket with JC only gem to make this worthwhile getting. The itemization is just plain terrible.
T8.5 -51 crit/+3 haste/+23 SP/+1 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald) I don't know why there is such a difference between the 2 T8 legs but there is and the huge loss of crit for a minor gain in the other stats is not worth it.
Frostplate Greaves +24 crit/-72 haste/+21 SP/-4 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) You trade off haste for crit and gain 21 SP but losing 4 int along the way so it is a minor upgrade.
Bone Inlaid Legguards -1 crit/-72 haste/-2 SP/+0 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow, Dazzling Forest Emerald) Definitely not an upgrade. The T7.5 better itemized and you can save your JC only gem for another piece.
Legplates of Flourishing Resolve -8 crit/-72 haste/+16 SP/-8 int (Dazzling Forest Emerald) Definitely not an upgrade, you lose so much haste along with some crit and intellect just to gain 16 SP. Even with a JC gem, it doesn't really make up for the loss.
Feet: Replacing Poignant Sabatons +35 crit/+55 haste/+87 SP/+69 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz)
Treads of Destiny -35 crit/-6 haste/+10 SP/+7 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald) Generally not worth it despite being higher item level. Plus, it is very expensive to craft along with the fact that it is random pattern drop from Ulduar. So there will be monopoly pricing on them since only certain BS can make this item.
Greaves of the Rockmender +13 crit/-55 haste/+3 SP/+9 int (Brilliant Autumn's Glow) It is a trade off for more crit over haste and in general, I think this makes these boots a minor upgrade but I wouldn't blow my DKP on this item.
Sabatons of the Iron Watcher +6 crit/-55 haste/+4 SP/-15 int I would find these a definite downgrade
- Lightning Grounded Boots (mail) +22 crit/-55 haste/+10 SP/+11 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald) These are better than the Greaves of the Rockmender and since they are crafted, all the better! If you don't mind the loss of 55 haste, then go for these! Not a pure upgrade but the other stats definitely help make the trade off hurt less
- Treads of the False Oracle (cloth) +26 crit/-8 haste/+30 SP/+24 int (Luminous Monarch Topaz, Dazzling Forest Emerald) For some cloth feet, these are damn sexy! Loss of 8 haste for a large increase in other stats! BIS! Too bad you will have to wait on line =T
Well I hope this list was helpful in some way and that us holy paladins can succeed in Ulduar despite our nerfs in this recent patch. Things will be harder because of content difficulty level along with nerfed mana regen and changed class mechanics but I believe us holy paladins can do it! *Pumps fist*
I better be seeing you guys rocking in Ulduar!
PS I will try to keep this list up to date as the complete Ulduar loot table becomes known.
PSS Yes, there is more to the gear list. Look for Part III!