How to gear those fresh 120 alts in World of Warcraft ASAP
When writing about gearing up a new alt in World of Warcraft right now, there are several things to keep in mind besides how you do it as quickly as possible in theory. Back in January, we talked about how to go about a quick and dirty approach to gearing, but for a brand new 120 character there are… let’s call them complications, because saying you end up hitting 120 in old trash bags and you need to take it a little slow or you’ll end up dead a lot takes up a lot of space. There are definitely ways to gear up for your brand new, just hit 120 character.
For an example, my latest 120 is a Lightforged Warrior that I’m playing with the Arms spec. I hit 120 two days before writing this post, and my current ilevel is nearly 120 levels higher than it was when I hit 120 (a nice coincidence, but not on purpose) — I’m at ilevel 376 now, and it would be higher without the 310 ring and 330 ring I’m wearing that hold me back.
I just replaced a ring with a 420 World Quest reward as I was writing this post, so don’t fret if you’ve got older gear holding you back.
So, let’s talk about the options for getting better gear once you hit 120. Not all of these methods will work for all players — if you’re in a tightly knit, very active guild willing to run you through Mythics, you’re in a different situation than a player who mostly runs solo.
Gearing up a brand new 120 solo
So, let’s start with the things you can do as a solo player.
First up, there are methods that are a lot more effective, but which will need you to spend a little time laying the groundwork first. This can vary depending on what class you’re playing and your skill level with said class — some classes are better at soloing than others and can push it faster. My advice for the soloing player is to do the following.
First up, if you have a main who has any of the BoA gear from Uldum or the Vale, send it to them. This is the absolute fastest way to gear up an alt. If you had enough pieces, you could be at 410 in most slots, 420 in your Helmet, Chest and Shoulders slots with Azerite gear fully upgraded, and could easily skip most of the other instructions or at least make them much easier. But if you don’t have BoA items, worry not — I didn’t have any on my Lightforged Draenei or Dark Iron Paladin and I got them geared up relatively quickly.
What to do when you don’t have BoA gear
Unlock World Quests as soon as possible. Even if you have BoA gear, this is a worthwhile step because Emissary gear will scale up with your ilevel and there aren’t any BoA weapons. Look for WQs that reward gear, especially for harder to upgrade slots like weapons and rings and trinkets, and pay very close attention to Emissaries since those gear rewards scale up higher than normal WQ.
As soon as you can survive it — I’d suggest ilevel 350 or above — go to Nazjatar. You’ll have access to 385 gear that you can upgrade to 400 with 20 Manapearls, and more importantly, it will unlock the quest to apply essences to your Heart of Azeroth. When you’re going along the intro questline you’ll get a 370 weapon, which is one of the slots you’ll likely have trouble upgrading and a nice little bonus. Once Magni Bronzebeard shows up in Nazjatar, go to Silithus and do the quest chain that takes you to Highmountain immediately, because it will not only allow you to use Essences, it will bump up your Heart of Azeroth to 50. This will jump up its ilevel and it will unlock the patch 8.3 introductory questline.
Unlocking that patch 8.3 intro quest is very important. This will allow you to get ilevel 415 and up gear from the Greater and Lesser Old God Assaults which is nice on its own. But it will also allow you to start running Horrific Visions (another source of gear at ilevel 420 and above) as well as get you that sweet Legendary Cloak, Ashjra’kamas. Between the upgrade to your Heart of Azeroth jumping it from potentially single digit ranks to Rank 50 which will also bump it up to ilevel 430 and getting Ashjra’Kamas, which is ilevel 470 to start and only gets better as you improve it, doing these two quest chains will provide you with a substantial boost to your item level. This will improve your World Quest rewards, the Emissary chest rewards and make overall gearing much easier.
So, at this point, you’ll have access to the following sources of gear:
- World Quests, offering gear up to ilevel 420, and Emissary Chests, scaling up to 445
- Nazjatar Benthic Gear, which starts at 380 and can be scaled up to 420 using Mana Pearls
- The patch 8.2 and 8.3 questlines, which will boost your Heart of Azeroth to 430 and give you Ashjra’Kamas, starting at ilevel 470.
- Old God Assaults, which can drop BoA gear (which you can use on the character it dropped for) at around ilevel 415/420, plus a chance for corrupted items from the reward chest for finishing the Assault.
- Horrific Visions, which can reward up to ilevel 470 gear if you can do a complete 5 mask clear.
Remember that Corrupted gear can drop from World Quests, from Assaults, and from Horrific Visions.
Gear you can get in a group
But these aren’t the only sources, just the ones that you can run completely solo. You can also run Warfronts — the normal Arathi Warfront has a one time quest rewarding 370 gear every reset, while the Darkshore Warfront offers a one time quest with a 400 ilevel reward per reset, useful stepping stones when you’re trying to boost your item level.
Another source of gear that you can queue up for solo is LFR. Technically you can’t complete LFR solo — there are other players there, after all — but you can queue up for it by yourself. Ny’alotha LFR requires an average item level of 410, and it also requires you to have completed the patch 8.3 introductory questline. For a brand new 120, you’ll need to have completed the 8.2 quests to upgrade your Heart of Azeroth, which means you’ll need to run Nazjatar at least up to the point where Magni gives you the quest, which is another reason I mentioned doing those as soon as possible.
If you have a guild that runs Ny’alotha normal or Mythic +, you can perhaps skip some of this. As long as you have the Legendary Cloak, and your guild is willing to carry you a bit, a Normal Ny’alotha run can be pretty forgiving and you can possibly head in the door at ilevel 420 and not embarrass yourself too much. This is especially true if you start working on buffing your cloak’s Corruption Resistance as soon as possible, which requires Horrific Vision clears, something you can do solo. As for Mythic +, that’s really depending on the level you intend to clear, but I’d suggest meeting at least the same ilevel requirement as LFR, ilevel 410. Higher will make it easier, of course.
Essences are always important, no matter the ilevel
One last subject to discuss are Essences for your Heart of Azeroth. They don’t increase your item level, but they can radically alter your character’s power level, so it’s important to research and seek out the ones that are best for your class and spec.
If you’re playing entirely solo, then pay attention to the various patch 8.2 quests Magni and MOTHER will offer allowing you to find specific other Essences such as the Crucible of Flame, which you can upgrade as you progress through the quest and gain scales from each Dragonflight. Other essences require you to raid Ny’alotha, do Mythic + dungeons, Island Expeditions, and so on, but the Crucible of Flame is one you’ll get and upgrade just by completing the questline that you should be working on anyway.
If you have a main who has already gotten a bunch of Essences already, be aware of the new system for buying those Essences on an alt. You’ll have to do things like Old God Assaults, Horrific Visions, and as much Ny’alotha as you can get into in order to make use of this system, but it’s worth being aware of just how it works assuming you have a main and/or other 120 characters who have already done the Essence grind to some degree.
Hopefully that’s enough to get you started on your path to gearing up your fresh 120. It’s not super easy at first — the best gearing options require you to be a bit better geared than you’re likely to be when you get that swoosh and ding. But with a bit of work, you can be ready to pursue the quests to get you ready for the more difficult content and you can quickly be in a decent place to move forward.
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