Here we go again.
Trees can use both leather and cloth armor, although if we do roll on the lower armor cloth pieces, we often annoy our slightly squishier friends. I would recommend, if you want your priests, mages, and warlocks to LIKE you, that you pass on that and focus on the leather pieces.
Also, I know that some guilds, like mine, prioritize gear with hit rating on it for DPS casters, since healers do not need that statistic, and crit rating for healers, since it's more important for them than DPS. Keep that in mind as well when rolling for gear.
In the interests of ranking stats, I've put an importance on each of them below. But much like with tanking, in my humble opinion the selection of gear is all about finding the right balance. Thankfully most selections are quite clear; one piece is a strict upgrade over another. But what separates good players from great players in this department are those that can examine two pieces that are sideways upgrades of each other - lose in one area and gain in another - and make the choice that helps them the most. As healers, we need to balance our mana regeneration with the power of our heals and the size of our mana pool, keeping in mind that the power of our heals will affect how much mana we need to be regenerating.
All that being said, trees should look for, in order: spell power, spirit, crit rating, and intellect. If the gear doesn't have spirit, it might be ok if it has MP5 to make up the mana regen difference, but you need to take into account the spell power from spirit in addition to that. If the spell power listed on two items is the same, but one has mp5 and no spirit, and the other has spirit but no MP5, take the one with spirit.
Spell power is not as important for trees as it is for other casters - but it is still the granddaddy of stats. There's a wrinkle for us, though, since we get 15% of our spirit as spellpower in tree form. Thus, when evaluating gear, remember that it's ok to lose a (very) small amount of spell power for a reasonable gain in spirit (quickest, easiest math is 3 points of spell power = 20 points of spirit). Counting gems for spell power, spirit, or mp5 becomes tricky as there are a lot of options for gems. More on that later.
Spirit helps our mana regen in addition to our spell power, and it the long fights of both Ulduar and ToC, that's greatly needed. After spirit, it's important to look for crit rating and intellect. We already get quite a bit of crit rating for various spells from our talents, but the closer we can push ourselves to 100% crit, the more healing we're going to be putting out and the more procs we'll get out of Living Seed and other abilities.
Intellect increases both our crit chance and our mana pool, and to a much lesser extent, our mana regneration. Mana pool is important - the larger our mana pool, the longer we can cast continuously without needing mana help. We should focus more on mana regeneration that mana pool size, because we need to have continuous production over the course of very long fights. If you have enough mana regen that you can go the length of an innervate cooldown without completely running oom, then focus on increasing intellect.
Gems give you the flexibility you need to make up shortcomings from your gear selection, and while this is true for everybody, it is especially true for the tree.
I mentioned before that gear selection is all about balance for us - tanks generally stack as much stamina as they can, and most casters stack as much spell power as they can, but we need to be more careful if we want to be as good as we can be. In my bear gear, I often recommended using the 2-color gems, but here I highly recommend using single-color gems matching the socket, to best match your needs, with one possible exception.
Red gems should always be spell power gems. There really isn't anything else in red that helps us.
Blue gems should be spirit or mana per 5 seconds - the split needs to be determined by your individual casting habits and mana regeneration needs. I split mine about half and half.
Yellow gem slots are the ones you might consider using 2-color gems for, to get a little more spell power, spirit, or MP5 out of them. The yellow part, whether a single-color or 2-color gem, should either be critical strike rating or intellect, but I wouldn't place a particular importance on one over the other.
Also don't forget the Unique-Equipped Nightmare Tear for +10 all stats.
I'll talk about how the jewelcrafter only gems play into this a bit later.
There are quite a few meta gems that are available for consideration. I'm currently using the Bracing Earthsiege Diamond for spell power and reduced threat. The critical strike rating and mana gem Beaming Earthsiege Diamond probably isn't a bad choice, nor is spell power and intellect with Ember Skyflare Diamond. Intellect and chance to restore mana on spell cast from Insightful Earthsiege is probably worth taking a look at although I don't think it will rank too terribly high. MP5 and increased critical healing from Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond is probably first on the list of things I may test if I decide to change. I'm not a big fan of the minor run speed increase but pair it with spell power in Tireless Skyflare Diamond and it might also be worth looking at.
Not so many comments this time around...
Head - Arcanum of Blissful Mending (Wyrmrest Accord)
Shoulders - Greater Inscription of the Crag (Sons of Hodir)
Chest - Powerful Stats or Greater Mana Restoration
Hands - Exceptional Spellpower
Legs - Brilliant Spellthread
Feet - Greater Spirit
Wrist - Fur Lining - Spellpower (for leatherworkers), Superior Spellpower or Major Spirit (for everybody else)
Back -Wisdom (+10 spirit)
Weapon - whichever spellpower enchant is the best for the weapon you're using
I still like Leatherworking and Jewelcrafting. Although LW only grants you spellpower, it's a HUGE chunk, and JC allows you the flexibility to select the gem that balances out your abilities. If you're fine on your spirit and mana regen, you can use your red slots to pump your spellpower, but if you're having issues, say, regenerating mana, you can drop the JC-only spellpower gem down to a normal purple one, and replace a blue MP5 with the more powerful JC-only. In the bear posts, I was looking at what got me the maximum of something - here I'm looking at flexibility, and that's one of the biggest advantages of JC.
...and once again I'm done.
Still out of town, will be back on Monday, but I can't promise a reasonably decent post then. I should have something by Tuesday. As always, thanks for reading, and if you have a comments, flames, or suggestions feel free to let loose!
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