One of the first things to deal with and put some real thought into is "what gear am I going to get when I ding 80?". Reality is that there has never before been as easy to get good gear as it is today. And with good gear I mean "gear as good as those that raid often". Raiders used to have access to gear that the casual gamer could only dream about. Since Vanilla, pvp-gear has also become one of the best gears in the game and although it aint as good as it was during BC, it is still the best way to get really high gearscore (which is most important, right?).
Although it is true that pvp-gear still offers a good option to the pve-gear, even for those that intend to only pve, I won't write much about it. I don't pvp at all and honestly don't know much about it, all I do know is that even for a tank there are some nice items to be had there. This is because pvp-items usually have alot of two stats; stamina and resilience, both of which are really nice for a pve-tank.
So speaking of stats and speaking of the great supply of gear options given to you when dinging 80, the final choices are mostly based on whether you have alot of money or not. Because if you do, there are a big amount of nice craftables to be had. If you don't, you'll have to get most of your gear through grinding emblems instead. But either way you'll end up with a nice gear, and like I said yesterday - to do heroics you really don't need much. The amount of money you have will instead determine how fast you can start doing raids.
But no matter if you're rich or not, you should look for the same kind of upgrades you always have - stamina stamina stamina.
- You can never have too much stamina
- Any other stats are secondary to stamina, but it's nice with hit and expertise too of course.
- Even if you gain stamina on an item, it has to be proportionate to any amount of avoidance that you lose.
It's hard to say how much hp avoidance is worth, since it depends on how much hp and avoidance you already have, and what kind of mobs you're going to fight. But remember that hp is a definite way to survive incoming damage attacks while avoidance only gives a chance to survive incoming attacks. People call it "Effective" vs "ineffective health". Avoidance is ineffective because as long as you don't have 100% of it, there is always a chance it won't help you at all. Avoidance also only helps against physical attacks, whereas hp helps against any attacks (though death knights have talents that convert avoidance to magic avoidance I think).
There are, like mentioned, alot of different ways to get good gear when you ding 80. Most of it will probably come from Justice Points (JP). Getting JP at level 80 is really easy. Even with bad gear you instantly get groups as a tank, and remember that the gear you have is what everyone else had before Ulduar, ToC and ICC so most heroics are actually designed around your level gear.
You can also buy offset pieces with emblems however, and they are in fact of a higher ilevel. Which isn't the same as they being better, since tier has set bonuses which could be good.
Some craftables are worth getting, some aren't. If you have alot of money I recommend getting both 245 crafteds and both 264 crafteds of course, especially as a started to have an easier time farming heroics for JP. The 245 crafteds are Saronite Swordbreakers (bracers), which cost about 1500g to make, and Breastplate of the White Knight (chest) which costs about 2000g to make. The 264 craftables are Boots of Kingly Upheaval (boots) which cost about 3500g to make and Pillars of Might (legs) which cost about 5500g to make (with the current prices on mats on some different servers that I play on).
There are also less good craftables, that still might be worth the money if you find them cheap on AH. Those are the ilevel 200 craftables; Titansteel Shield Wall (shield, there are nice shields to be had from other places though, so unless you find it really cheap it aint worth it), Tempered Titansteel Treads (boots) and Tempered Titansteel Helm (head) which all cost about 200g to make. They can be a fairly cheap way to boost some bad piece in your gear, and especially give you more hp fast.
Indestructible Plate Girdle (belt) is an ilevel 226 item which costs about 800g to make, and is worth it if you have alot of money. Otherwise there is a nice belt to get from JP with the same ilevel, Shieldwarder Girdle, but rather costly for its ilvl.
All the old heroics drop epics from the final boss with ilevel 200 gear. However, if you want to find good gear fast, I recommend going for ToC and ICC normals. Even though they are normals they will drop good loot, and best of all, they're grindable. It is a great way to get good loot fast, and ToC normal has for example one of the best tanking trinkets in the game.
So let's make a little list of the items to be on the look for when dinging 80. I'll keep it to epic gear to not make the list overwhelming.
Name (source, ilvl)
- Tempered Saronite Helm (craftable, 200)
- Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger (ToC hc, 219)
- Second Helm of the Executioner (HoR hc, 232)
- Headplate of the Honorbound (935 JP, 245)
- Ymirjar Lord's Greathelm (t10, 1100 JP, 251)
- The Warlords Depravity (ToC hc, 219)
- Shard of the Crystal Forest (405 JP, 226)
- Fossilized Ammonite Choker (HoR hc, 232)
- Regal Auros Shoulderplates (ToC hc, 219)
- Shoulderplates of Frozen Blood (PoS hc, 232)
- Shoulderplates of Enduring Order (591 JP, 245)
- Ymirjar Lord's Pauldrons (t10, 695 JP, 251)
- Durable Nerubhide Cape (craftable, 200)
- Platinum Mesh Cloak (347 JP, 213)
- Eerie Runeblade Polisher (HoR N, 219)
- Sentinel Winter's Cloak (579 JP, 264)
- Scourgelord's Frigid Chestplate (PoS N, 219)
- Icebane Bronze Cuirass (PoS hc, 232)
- Breastplate of the White Knight (craftable, 245)
- Ymirjar Lord's Breastplate (t10, 1100 JP, 251)
- Cataclysmic Chestguard (1100 JP, 264)
- Bracers of the Herald (OK hc, 200)
- Saronite Swordbreakers (craftable, 245)
- Horn-Tipped Gauntlets (Gundrak hc, 200)
- Mercy's Hold (ToC N, 200)
- Crystalline Citadel Gauntlets (HoR N, 219)
- Gauntlets of the Royal Watch (487 JP, 226)
- Ymirjar Lord's Handguards (t10, 695 JP, 251)
- Gauntlet's of the Kraken (696 JP, 264)
- Ancient Aligned Girdle (AN hc, 200)
- Girdle of the Pallid Knight (ToC N, 200)
- Indestructible Plate Girdle (craftable, 226)
- Shieldwarder Girdle (487 JP, 226)
- Verdigris Chain Belt (695 JP, 264)
- Bolstered Legplates (VH hc, 200)
- Legplates of Abandoned Fealty (ToC N, 200)
- Legplates of Frozen Granite (FoS N, 219)
- Wyrmguard Legplates (770 JP, 226)
- Ymirjar Lord's Legguards (t10, 1100 JP, 251)
- Pillars of Might (craftable, 264)
- Boots of Heartfelt Repentance (ToC N, 200)
- Tempered Titansteel Treads (craftable, 200)
- Kyzoc's Ground Stompers (417 JP, 213)
- Sollerets of Suffering (FoS N, 219)
- Spiked Deathdealers (craftable, 226)
- Black Spire Sabatons (FoS hc, 232)
- Boots of Kingly Upheaval (craftable, 264)
- Royal Crest of Lordaeron (CoS hc, 200)
- Titansteel Shield Wall (craftable, 200)
- Splintered Door of the Citadel (HoR N, 219)
UPDATE 19/10 - Wrathful Gladiator's Shield Wall (70 Honor Points, 270) I haven't listed any other pvp-gear, but since this shields honor point cost must be bugged I recommend getting it asap as it is a great tank shield practically free.
- Keystone Great-Ring (DTK hc, 200)
- Mark of the Relentless (ToC hc, 219)
- Clutch of Fortification (492 JP, 245)
- The Black Heart (ToC N, 200)
- Ick's Rotting Thumb (PoS hc, 232)
- Glyph of Indomitability (591 JP, 245)
- Purified Lunar Dust (695 JP, 264)
- Blades of the Sable Cross (295 JP, 245)
- Red Sword of Courage (UP hc, 200)
- Lucky Old Sun (FoS N, 219)
- Peacekeeper's Blade (ToC hc, 219)
- Falric's Wrist-Chopper (HoR hc, 232)
- Rimefang's Claw (PoS hc, 232)
Phew, that took a while (thanks wowhead again)! As we can see, some item slots have lots of options, while others only have one. So start collecting, coz that's what I'm going to do. Next time I'll talk about different specs! See yas.