You have a new character that’s about to hit 80, and you know that the gear grind is coming. Maybe you’re thinking about switching raiding mains. Maybe you just want an alt that can fill in when needed. Maybe you just want to have another decently geared character who can jump in a PuG now and then.

Sure, you can search for “BiS pre-raid gear for <insert class and spec>” and maybe find a few hits that are actually current. But I think it’s so much more interesting to do it yourself.  The tool I use for gear-planning is Wowhead’s Profiler.

I highly recommend making an account with Wowhead so that you can save your work. Creating an account is free & this should be your first step. Once the account is created and you’re logged in, you’re ready to start.

  • From the Wowhead front page, you want to select Tools > Profiler.
  • Use the dropdowns on that page to select “US & Oceanic” or “Europe” in the “Region” box.
  • Use the dropdowns for “Realm” to select your realm.
  • Click the “Apply Filter” button.
  • A white box will appear for you to input the name of the character you want to work with. Type the name in that box and click the gray arrow next to it. It will reload the page, and you will likely get a message that the character is being resynced from armory

The resulting page will look something like this:

Your ad may vary!

In the upper right hand corner of the screen, there are some buttons. On your screen the button will be red (like “New” and “Save as”) and clickable.

Now you’re ready to start making adjustments to your paper doll:

When you right click on any item on the paper doll, you get a menu similar to the above. If you know the name of the piece you want in that slot, you click on “Replace” and get a box that looks like this:

Note that this box will default to only showing items of your maximum armor class (hence it says “Plate” for my paladin), and I had to manually click on “Useable” in order to get the mail hat I wanted to show up. You type the name of the item in the box, and it will give you a list of items to choose from. If you’re not sure exactly which piece you want you can hover over the name, and get a pop of stats like in the picture above.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, you choose “Find Upgrades” under links. In Firefox, this opens a new browser tab – I believe it opens a new window if you run a browser that does not have tabs (are there any browsers without tabs anymore?).  I will likely do a separate post in the next few days about exactly HOW to search for upgrades for your class & spec on Wowhead (both in conjunction with the profiler and alone).  The short story of what to do know is that it does give you item values based on pre-set stat weights for your spec (which Wowhead pulls from your talent build), and it will automatically put in the best gems – excluding JC only gems – to get that number.

Your mileage may vary

If you do choose to use Wowhead to find upgrades, once you know which upgrade you want you need to manually enter it into your profile using the steps described above.

Once you have “upgraded” your items and think you have the profile you want to shoot for, there’s a few last things you can do:

  • Input gems and enchants. You do this almost the same way that you change items. Gems will default to matching socket bonuses (as armor defaults to max armor class), so make sure you click “all” for gems so you have access to non-matching gems.  Enchants will show everything available for the slot, whether it makes sense or not for the spec.
  • Check your stats in your shiny new gear.  If you scroll down past your paper doll, there’s a “Statistics” section that looks something like this:

  • The stats screen isn’t perfect by any means – there’s something funky with dodge, apparently, and it only gives you stats from gear, gems and enchants – not from any talents you may have to boost said stats. However, it seems to know if you’re a Draenei in regards to hit. Take this section with a grain of salt.
  • The very bottom section of the screen gives a complete gear list. You’ll get a warning at the top if your profile does not meet the requirements of the meta you put in, or if you’re missing gems or enchants. Make sure to socket and gem your belt on the paper doll – unsocketed belts are considered “missing enchants”.

The last thing you want to do is save your profile. Wowhead will keep a profile for your character, but that will update from Armory every time you load it. If you want to be able to go back and review  your changes (or make changes to your changes, as I do), you will want to save it as a profile.  Scroll all the way back up to the top of the page, and look for the buttons on the right hand side of your screen:

You may notice the “Save” button is greyed out. This button is only accessible from a saved profile and not from a character. If you go back and tinker more with this later, and want to overwrite the profile instead of creating another, you’ll use the Save button then.

Wowhead will give you a pop up that looks like this:

You can call your profile whatever you want, provided you do not want to use hyphens, underscores, slashes or backslashes. I fail at this pretty regularly because I always want to call my profiles “So&so’s Pre-Raid Gear” and Wowhead is not having that. In fact, I cannot remember, but I think apostrophes may be out as well. Try to avoid punctuation in your naming scheme.

Next time you log into Wowhead, you will be able to view your characters & profiles from a drop down that will look something like this (but way less cluttered):

Profiles also have unique links that you can use on your blog, or guild forums, or wherever you like. When you get upgrades that you hadn’t planned on, you can edit them to see how those upgrades work in your planned gearset and make adjustments as needed. I’ve found it to be a very valuable tool when I’m doing things like trying to juggle hit on my shaman.

But I think my favorite thing about the Wowhead profiler is that it’s completely free and from a site most WoW-players already use and trust.