page contents
World of Warcraft

Beginners Guide to World of Warcraft: Gear, Lovely Gear

Beginners Guide to World of Warcraft: Gear, Lovely Gear

Ah, so you’ve been playing World of Warcraft for a few days, maybe a few weeks, and you’ve started to notice a few things.  You’re not exactly a new player anymore, but you have questions about what those numbers on the gear that drops means exactly.  Never fear, we’re here to help you with figuring out what gear is the best for you.

What is Gear?

Let’s start with some basics.  Gear is a nickname for the armor, weapons and trinkets that you equip to enable you to do battle with bigger and rougher foes.  It generally comes in six flavors.  In order of ascending power, you have greys, whites, greens, blues, purples and oranges. When we call an item, “a green”, it refers to the color that the item is displayed in, which corresponds to the quality and rarity of the item.  A blue item of the same level as a corresponding green item will generally have better statistics.  Looking in the picture below, you can see that this rogue has a mix of purple, blue and green gear.

World of Warcraft

Greys and whites are typically referred to as ‘trash’ items, because they are of such low quality that most people just sell them.   Greens are the standard item, usually earned after a quest, or found randomly on a mob that you were able to kill.  They have nice stats and usually will provide a nice bump in hit points or attack power.  After that, you have blue items, which are sometimes referred to as “rares”, because, well, they are rarely found.  Blues are usually quest rewards at the end of a chain of them that have led you around the zone you were travelling in.  They are also rewarded after fighting a boss in a dungeon.  Because they are of such high power and quality, they are highly prized.  After a blue item, you have purples.  A purple item is one of extreme power and rarity for its corresponding level that it is called an “epic”.  You might make it through the entire quest line for your character, making it to maximum level, before you see a purple item drop off of a monster.  Where do I find epics in World of Warcraft, you ask?  These items are usually rewards for fighting through multiple dungeons, but some are found on random mobs in Azeroth.  Finally comes the pinnacle of items that you can find.  Orange items, or “legen”… wait for it… “daries” are items that are usually only found on one enemy, and even then, the percentage that they will appear (or “drop rate”) is so low that you will be trying for weeks or even months to get one.  There are only nine legendary weapon sets in the game, one of which is no longer available.

World of Warcraft World of Warcraft
Two of the legendary items available in game are pictured here.

Bind on Account Gear

However, there is other gear that is colored orange, and those are heirloom items that are Bind on Account.  Heirloom items are armor and weapon sets patterned after older items and grant you a bonus to leveling.  A Bind on Account (or BoA) is an item that can be sent to any character on the same server, regardless of faction.  Normally, you cannot send mail from an Alliance character to a Horde character.  The BoA exception is the only one in game at the moment.

World of Warcraft

As you can see from the above picture, there are four daggers of varying quality, decreasing as you go from left to right.  Underneath the dagger’s name is a field named “Item Level”.  The Item Level is a general indication of how powerful an item is.  At the beginning, you will receive items with a level that is under 100, but as you adventure, you’ll find more and more powerful pieces.  Underneath the item level is a field that says, “Binds when picked up” or “Binds when equipped”.  What does this mean?  Binding means that you can’t trade the item or sell it.  Generally, most greens will be bind on equip, so if you can’t use it, you will be able to sell it on the Auction House or trade it away.  There are currently no legendaries that are bind on equip, and very few epics.  Blue bind on equips are more common, but still rare enough that they can fetch quite a tidy sum if you choose to sell them.

Item Description

Below the binding indicator, you’ll see a description of the item.  Main hand weapons can only be equipped in the main hand, which isn’t quite a surprise; however, one-handed weapons can be equipped in either hand, provided  your chosen class has the ability to dual wield.  There will be a few lines indicating the damage that the weapon does as well as the various bonuses to your stats.  Notice that the orange legendary has a field that says, “Red Socket” with a socket bonus listed underneath.  This means that you can put a gem into this weapon to enhance the ability bonuses further, and, if you put a red gem into the red socket, you will get a further bonus of +10 agility.

Item Location and Sell Price

Underneath that, you can find where the item was located at, and the selling price, should you ever decide to get rid of it.  The legendary doesn’t have either of these fields, because, 1. The quest to get a legendary item is usually very long and detailed and the font it would require to list all of that would be really really tiny, and 2. After undertaking that quest, why would you sell it?

Does Gear Matter?

How much does gear matter?  It depends on who you ask and your style of play.  As you level up, the rewards you get from questing will be more than enough to allow you to move from zone to zone.  But as you approach hitting the level cap (currently 90), you’ll want to examine what your goals are.  If you seek to just explore, do some daily quests and maybe do some random dungeons, then the gear that you pick up will be more than sufficient.  However, if your goal is to enter into arenas for pvp or to join a raiding guild, then gear will matter more, as you will be trying to get the very best you can for every slot on your character.

As this series of articles progresses along with your foray into the World of Warcraft, we will devote more time on specific strategies for gearing for pvp and raiding.  For now, have fun, and we’ll see you in Azeroth.

About Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds has spent his entire life immersed in some form of technology or another.  It started with a simple Non-Turing test compliant AI that he programmed using BASIC when he was fourteen, and has led to pursuing a BS in Computer Science with a focus on mobile security algorithms.  In his spare time, he is a stereotypical nerd, playing video games and trying to teach his two toddler daughters to type out his code so he doesn’t have to do what he considers, “the boring part.”