Video version of this guide:
Pre-patch is a weird time because it’s TBC system, but in the old classic world and we don’t have access to Outland or the level increases yet. It’s also only 2 weeks long because of Blizzard’s infinite wisdom to release a definitely ready and not rushed TBC Classic.
There’s two main things you can do in pre-patch:
- Raid/experience current old content with TBC talents and changes
- Prepare your character for TBC
Let’s break down what you’ll need to know for each.
1. Raiding in pre-patch
Keep in mind that raiding in pre-patch is more about getting used to and playing with new abilities – it’s not really about min/maxing since your talents/spells/rotations will change again in 2 weeks with TBC levels.
Your raid will not care if you do 5% more/less damage or healing in the final Naxxramas of classic, so don’t overly stress on min/maxing your gear and talents just for pre-patch.
First, let’s cover the big thing that’s changing for everyone – consumables.
How pre-patch consumables work
Before pre-patch you could typically use 1 consumable for each stat category (str, ap, sta etc. etc.), but with pre-patch everything has been moved to these new categories:
- 1 Battle Elixir (offensive stat buff)
- 1 Guardian Elixir (defensive stat buff)
- 1 Food type buff
- (bonus) Scroll type buff for each stat (eg. Scroll of Agility IV + Scroll of Strength IV stacks)
- (bonus) Valentine’s day gift buffs and chocolates
Flasks still exist but if you choose to use a flask it counts as both your Battle and Guardian elixir.
Scrolls are a weird consumable in TBC + pre-patch because they’re in their own category and are an open world drop, so there’s no reliable way to farm these. Hardcore players are either stocked up on these or will pick these up via auction house – but don’t expect them to be commonly used by everyone due to lack of availability.
Valentine’s day consumes such as chocolates and gift of friendship buffs seem to stack with everything BUT they also start expiring even while logged off once pre-patch hits. You can min/max the expiring time by opening the chocolate box just before it expires, and starting the next 10 day countdown on the actual chocolates (eg. 7 days for gift of adoration + 10 days for Box of Chocolates + 10 days for Dark Desire chocolate = 27 days before it disappears).
I know there are other grey area shenanigans you can do to extend chocolates/gift buff expiries but I won’t be covering those here. For the typical player you can expect all chocolates/gift buffs to be expiring in the 2nd week of TBC.
Important changes to utility/prot potions
Don’t forget that you also still use weapon enhancement/utility/protection type potions (such as Free Action Potion), but just be aware that some were nerfed/changed as well:
- Limited invulnerability potions no longer make you invulnerable to physical attacks (they reduce damage taken per hit instead)
- Protection potions (such as Greater Frost Protection Potion) can still be used BUT they only last 2 mins now (nerfed from 1 hour duration)
- Juju Chill is now a guardian elixir, so it will not stack with existing guardian elixirs such as stamina Zanza
Quick reference BIS consumables list (Battle / Guardian / Food)
Here are the new general raid consumable stacks you’ll use based on class (not including utility/prot potions which are situational).
I’m not listing scrolls and valentine’s day bonuses because those stack with everything and will be up to the player if they want to use those.
Talents (sorted by class)
Now you’ve got your consumes sorted, here are cookie cutter specs for your talents in pre-patch (credit goes to the various class discords for helping me put these together).
There are a lot of possible variations of most talent builds listed, but these are fine starters (and again – pre-patch is so short and the talents change again in 2 weeks).
As long as your performance is acceptable, most people won’t care since TBC launch changes everything up again anyway. I myself will be going mutilate on my rogue for pre-patch despite it being the ‘inferior’ spec because it’ll be fun and my dps will still be ‘good enough’ for pre-patch fun.
2. Preparing your character for TBC
Pre-patch is a short 2 weeks so you’ll want to focus on prepping your character for TBC. Beyond just leveling new toons to 60 and gearing them up in raids (if you’re quick!), there’s a couple of things you should look at doing:
- Farming honor/marks for gear
- Prepping tradeskills
Let’s cover them in more detail.
Pre-patch PvP honor farm 101
During the pre-patch you can grind battlegrounds to farm honor and marks which can be exchanged for blue and R14 PvP gear. The rank 14 pvp gear in particular is a great way to fill up missing pieces on new/old toons.
Some classes which may be swapping weapon specs in TBC may also take advantage of the r14 weapons to pick up more optimal starter weapons.
On top of this, you can also store up to 75k honor and 100 of each BG mark going into TBC. This is especially attractive for players who want to buy a few pieces of level 70 honor pvp gear as soon as they reach 70 (eg. rogues will want pvp gloves for the deadly throw interrupt).
Here are the costs of the pvp gear:
Prepping tradeskills (Jewelcrafting)
With pre-patch not only can you level existing tradeskills up to 300, but Jewelcrafting is being added into the game. You can take the newly added portals to Exodar/Silvermoon and learn JC from the new trainers.
There are plenty of guides for leveling JC up to 300 (such as this wowhead one here), so I won’t re-cover that, but here’s a little extra info you may find handy:
- You can buy pre-made JC leveling kits from other players on popular servers
- Raw cost to level 1-300 from AH mats is about 300-500g depending on your server at the time of writing this guide
- Expect higher end gems such as Huge Emeralds, Blue Sapphires or Azerothian Diamonds to get more expensive if there is a sudden lack of supply with the TBC JC leveling rush
Jewelcrafting also has a skill called ‘Prospecting’ which allows you to turn 5 ore into a chance at gems. If you see cheap thorium ore for sale this is a potential way to make money or potentially get gems for cheaper than AH cost.
Sno’s corner – 5 tips for rogues in pre-patch
I’m a rogue main, so I can’t help but give extra content/tips for my fellow rogues out there. Here are other things you’ll find handy to know in prepatch.
1. Combat swords > combat daggers > mutilate (but this doesn’t really matter)
There is about a 5% drop in dps from combat swords to combat daggers, and another 5% drop down to mutilate. Combat maces works out somewhere in between combat swords and combat daggers.
If you want to min/max combat swords is the spec to play BUT keep in mind it’s pre-patch and most people don’t care about min/maxing. You can still do acceptable Naxx dps in pre-patch as mutilate and no one is going to complain or care since pre-patch is only 2 weeks long.
Don’t feel pressured to swap to swords just for pre-patch – no one cares about parses when we’re all focused on prepping for TBC.
2. Rogue weapon dps chart
I’ll do my usual weapon comparison list in TBC, but with pre-patch being so short it doesn’t make sense to do a crazy giant list, so here’s a rough comparison of weapons combinations in pre-patch courtesy of Simon from the rogue discord.
The tl;dr of this is weapon speed for your offhand is really important due to combat potency procs.
Sno sidenote – thank god I no longer have to feel bad about not having a death’s sting.
3. Weapon skill is gone
Expertise rating has replaced the old ‘weapon skill’ stat and it’s new ability is to reduce the chance you get dodged or parried. You can think of 1 expertise rating as roughly equal to about 2.5 to 3 atk power.
The new expertise stat is valuable, but it no longer fixes glancing blows and so doesn’t have the same high value as weapon skill. Basically this means it’s not worth sacrificing so many stats just to raise expertise vs. the old way weapon skill was focused.
What this means for you is old weapon skill items such as ACLG, are no longer worth wearing over much better P6 Naxx gear (but The Hungering Cold is still great due to being current era and fast).
4. Deadly poison is good now
Debuff cap is raised on pre-patch, which means we can finally use deadly poison. Instant poison will still have a use for short fights such as trash in dungeon grinds, but deadly poison will be the way to go for offhand during longer fights.
Also, don’t forget windfury will be a thing with everyone having shamans now – so you’ll only be using poison/stones in your offhand.
5. Rupture is better – but not something you’ll use much until TBC
Increased buff slots means we can rupture now, however we don’t actually want to be rupturing just yet because:
- Vanilla mobs have less armor vs. TBC mobs, so rupture doesn’t gain as much value in bypassing armor
- Rupture relies on the druid ability ‘Mangle’ to get a big boost in it’s damage
- Debuff cap might still be reached in a 40 man raid vs. the 25/10 man raids of TBC
tl;dr – I’d still recommend using eviscerate over rupture during pre-patch.