Upgrading Gear before Cata?

100 Night Elf Druid
9430
I was wondering if there was a point in upgrading your gear before Cata.

Will people who have good raid gear be able to use it 80-85 or is 80+ gear really improved?

Thanks so much!
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85 Night Elf Druid
8240
It's not a clear cut answer. Top raid gear tends to last longer than the previous expansion's leveling gear, so for a little while the raiders will have the upper hand and tear through mobs faster. It won't last until the next level cap though.
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90 Tauren Warrior
9275
From my past experience with expansions, (Vanilla through Wrath), I have noticed a significant difference in obtainable gear through quests, dungeons, and world drops in every new zone I've been to (during my first levels into an expansion).

As long as you have at least quested and participated in a dungeon or two during your time in any given expansion, you should have the experience and gear to get started in a new frontier. Blizzard designs these new zones to give new and old players a fair challenge.

Example: My current gear is very high level due to the hours I've spent in difficult, yet rewarding, raids. For a challenge, I will seek out quests that require 2 to 3 other players. These quests usually involve adventuring to more dangerous areas of any given zone where the enemies will be much stronger than usual. They can be more numerous, higher level, elites, or a likely combination of the 3 traits I just listed.

For a fresh 80 (or 78), quests will be offered to the player that will ease you into these new zones and enable you to familiarize yourself with the hostile creatures that inhabit it.

So, to answer your questions:

1. Upgrading your gear before Cata hits will serve as a primer only if you intend to tackle elite quests and take lead in the new dungeons that await.

2. People who have good raid gear (such as myself) will most likely upgrade pieces of their gear at level 84 to 85. (I don't know this far a fact, but that's the way it's been for the last two expansions). Whereas if your gear is a mix of greens and blues, you will most likely receive upgrades from your first couple of quests.

I hope this helped in some way. Good luck out there! :)
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85 Blood Elf Mage
6690
I remember back when BC first came out, the ones who reached level 70 first generally had top tier gear. Obviously the better your gear is the faster you're going to be killing mobs. Ive also heard that level 83 blues will replace the best epics from ICC, so your gear at the moment probably wont last you all the way 'till 85.
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Edited by Icci on 11/22/2010 4:26 AM PST
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Dont upgrade gear; have you not heard of the insane 90+k health? This gear we have now, will mean close to nothing in the expansion.. But the leveling gear, is my suggestion (and thats a total hunch).. The leveling gear might not even scale compared to the other gear well get while leveling; but JP will be nearly useless at 85 unless you wanna get quick blues at 85; though those dont last long either.

Dont save JP; use it now on BOA gear -is my suggestion
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90 Night Elf Druid
5980
The real answer is that it's not worth worrying about - collect better gear now if you like (I recently picked up the 264 arena weapon, for example), and it will work for you while leveling. Or don't collect gear, and enjoy replacing things as you level up. Some gear that you have now might be useful starter gear in Cataclysm raids (trinkets especially), most of it will get replaced and there will be easy-to-get sidegrades for anything that you would want to use.

Whether you start with all T10 or Northrend greens will make a negligible difference in how quickly you're ready for cataclysm raiding. How much time you spend messing around playing the game instead of speed leveling will affect it much more. I'm willing to bet you could start cataclysm naked and not need more than an hour or two to catch up.
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Having not experienced the other expansion launches, what I found while leveling this toon was that when I hit Outlands and Northrend, my gear was upgraded quickly by quest rewards and the occasional drop. In the case of going old world to Outlands, and Outlands to Northrend, the new gear was vastly superior to what I had, and new items I could make for myself served as a suitable starter set.

Currently my gear is still just quest rewards and a couple nice drops, and I expect it'll all get replaced in the same way with the new 80+ content, which is when I plan to focus more on getting suitable epics, since I'll be able to keep them for quite a while.
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If its anything like the transition from BC to wrath was then I'll most likely be replacing my 264's with greens around level 82 or 83. Sure it'll give me a leg up on the starting quests for 80+, but really gear doesn't matter right now. As long as you're in some blues and greens you'll do ok if you are good at your class.
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85 Draenei Paladin
2335
I was wondering if there was a point in upgrading your gear before Cata.

Will people who have good raid gear be able to use it 80-85 or is 80+ gear really improved?

My guess is that by the time we ding 84, there will be very little difference in the gear of an old raider and that of a toon who dinged 80 the day before Cata released.

The well-geared 80 will likely have a faster go of it for the first 3 levels. But my guess is that the benefit will not be commensurate with the amount of effort it took to get the pre-Cata gear. Said another way: If you try to grind better gear now, the payback you will get will be something on the order of: three minutes saved in Cata leveling, for every hour you spend gearing in WotLK.

However, if you haven't already, I would suggest you work up to doing heroic 5-mans, just to experience the content and hone your skills. 2 weeks is enough time to gear up enough to be allowed into the easier heroics; and you'll want to be able to say you did it. And, yes, the better gear won't HURT.

So, do anything you want: You can gear now, if you want, and lose nothing. Or you can farm rep, farm gold, farm mats for sale in Cata, level an alt, level a profession, or just goof around. I don't think you can do anything pre-Cata which will affect your 80-85 leveling time by more than 5 hours.

If you are wondering about Gold, though, there are many things you could be doing which will definitely affect how much gold you can make in the first few weeks of Cata.

Personally, I am using this time to level alts, level professions and gather stuff that will sell well in Cata. I haven't been into a raid/dungeon on my main since 4.0.1 dropped, and have only been into enough heroics on this toon (Oxx) to barely re-learn the rudiments of tanking with the 4.0.x skill set.

I hope this helps.
Edited by Oxx on 11/22/2010 2:54 PM PST
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80 Night Elf Druid
2415
Well I just dinged 80 yesterday..and I figured it took me atleast 5 weeks to get an average gear level of 264 on my warlock..I also figured that 264's would only last till late level 83..So to be honest..Probably not if you're starting fresh.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
3510
Any Trinkets you get now would probably last a good long while in Cataclysm. For some reason, finding decent trinkets while leveling has been consistently difficult, for me at least.

In general though, it can't hurt as long as you enjoy Heroics and Raiding. Unless you're planning to be world's first for something, I don't think having 4000JP saved up for Cataclysm is going to be that important. But, I'm also a noob, so I'm very probably wrong.
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