Last night I was priveleged to be with my guild for yet another downing of Gruul the Dragonkiller. I get swapped into raids when people need to leave since I rarely make start times, but I'm okay with this. I do what I can.
Long story short, we got him after several attempts (we seem to only marshall ourselves after several wipes to a big bad and then go, 'Okay, this is our last shot for tonight' which true to tradition, worked again last night).
I was the lucky Druid to score the Leggings of the Fallen Defender. Afterward, a quick trip to the Scryer terrace and the Greaves of Malorne were mine! Finally, if and when I upgrade to T5, I won't lose my T4 2-piece bonus!
But wait...is all as rosy as it could be?
As anyone who knows me can attest, I'm a Stamina whore. For a very long time, I stacked Stamina and little else in an effort to exploit the strengths of my class as a tank. I couldn't do anything about Crushing Blows, so I decided to stack Armor and Health. Many Bears prefer AGI and the dodge and crit it brings, but I've always looked at that more as a luxury for the mostly or all-epic Bear. I still wear quite a bit of Blue.
As a result, I wore my Heavy Clefthoof Leggings for a long time, and every gem socket I have is packed with a Solid Star of Elune.
This gave me roughly insane health totals, especially when raid buffed. I was a happy and contented Bear.
But when I got a new cloak with Defense on it and realized I could get rid of a different piece of gear with Defense on it, I picked my legs and got myself a Forestwalker Kilt. The gods of the random number generator smiled on me and I got it on my first trip to Heroic Mana Tombs. I was ecstatic. Not only did I get a pair of legs that only minimally dropped my armor and Stamina (these things have 3 sockets on them, after all) but they added threat and mitigation through STR and AGI. Hell, I even got a small INT boost for my feral mana pool.
In all, very nice.
I was wearing these up until last night, when I got the Greaves. After kitting them with a Nethercleft Armor Kit (still need a Nether for that), I'll be losing even more Stamina (21 points to be exact, as I've Netherclefted the Kilt), but I'll be gaining significantly in Armor (around 900 in Dire Bear, putting me just shy of 30k), and a small amount of AP, dodge, and crit.
It is an upgrade given that the Stam I'm giving up isn't even a single trash mob hit, but sometimes that sliver of health is what gives your healers time to catch up, that proves the difference between surival and wipe.
But...and there's always a but...the added survivability from Armor and AGI are also impressive. I'm too lazy to do the math, so instead, I'll be keeping my Kilt (and indeed I have yet to dispose of my HCH pants) for Stamina fights, fights where perhaps I don't have the best resist gear, but where my armor and dodge are less valuable.
Once again, the upgrade involves more of a consideration of playstyle and situation than in the past game, perhaps adjusting that playstyle to fit the gear. But it is also in part, a significant source of the fun in that there are so many factors to consider.
Plus, I'm out of my skirt...for now.