Brewmaster Monk utilizes the style of the Ox which goes back to the philosophy of Niuzao, The Black Ox, one of the four August Celestials of Pandaria. Niuzao is the epitome of persistence which is reflected in the Brewmaster’s abilities – they can survive in heavy duty combats and protect their allies.
Basic information on the spec:
A Brewmaster Monk uses Energy as a resource. It is spent on abilities that allow to deal damage and to activate various defensive mechanics.
Let’s take a closer look at the weakest and the strongest aspects of this specialization:
- Extremely efficient against one-time strong damage.
- Very high mobility.
- Strong defensive cooldowns.
- Stable dps.
- Unique raid bonus – Mystic touch
- Requiring constant external healing
- Defensive abilities have very long cooldowns
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Aggro (Aggravation) is used in the game to express the enemy’s wish to hit someone. The higher the aggro, the higher the chance to become the victim of your enemy’s attacks.
(Area of Effect) is basically the area where this of that effect is actuated regardless of whether its damage or healing. This command is usually used to act in a team/raid on several targets. It is also used to describe any ability of a Boss with the aforementioned effect.
Buff stands for any positive effect. Always reflected to the left of the mini-map, by its upper edge.
Burst is an ability to do – in multiple ways – massive damage within a short period of time.
Gear is what it is.
GCD (Global Cooldown) is the overall ability recovery time.
Debuff stands for negative effect. By default, it’ reflected to the left of the mini-map by its lower edge.
DoT stands for Damage over Time.
DPS (Damage per Second) is a measure that reflects the damage done within one second.
Cleave is an ability to damage secondary targets through damaging the main one with no (or minor) loss in the damage done to the main target.
Cooldown (often CD) primarily refers to the ability recovery time. Can be often applied to bursts and various protective abilities.
Melee and Range. Melee is the close-range combat zone, also used in the titles of all the classes and specs that do effective damage in this zone. Range usually refers to a zone that is not a close-range one and is used, respectfully, in the titles of all classes and specs that do effective damage remotely.
Mitigation (often used as Active Mitigation) stands for decreasing or softening the incoming damage. It demands certain abilities of short action but with short restoring time, as well. The developers started using this ability model in the Mists of Pandaria that’s why the term has become quite used by any class with a tank specialization.
Trait is a name for the ‘talents’ your artifact has.
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Blackout Strike deals physical damage to a target and generates a charge of Elusive Brawler. CD 3 sec.
Tiger Palm, for 25 Energy, deals minor physical damage to your enemy. If used, this ability reduces the restoring time for your Brews by 1 sec.
Breath of Fire deals Fire damage to all the enemies in front of you. For each enemy hit you receive a charge of Elusive Brawler. If the target has the Keg Smash or Special Delivery debuff on it, they get a Fire DoT for 12 secs and puts a debuff dealing reduced damage by 5% to you from all burnt enemies.
- Azerite trait Boiling brew makes your Breath of fire deal an additional damage over its duration and has a chance to summon a Healing sphere each time it deals damage.
Keg Smash, for 40 Energy, deals major physical damage to the selected target as well as all the targets within the 8-m radius. It also slows all the hit targets by 20% for 15 secs. Using Keg Smash reduces the restoring time for all your Brews by 4 secs.
Crackling Jade Lightning is an ability that allows you to deal minor damage from a long range. It’s a channel spell that demands 20 Energy for activation, and 20 more Energy for each second of it being kept on the target to maintain the ability. The base duration is 4 secs. If you use this ability on an enemy that attacks you in the Melee zone, a throwback effect could be activated.
Stagger is the Brewmaster’s main damage resistance mechanics. When you receive physical damage, some amount of it is dealt over 10 secs in the form of Stagger reflected as a debuff. The efficiency of Stagger is 35% lower for magic. Stagger can tick you even with extremely low Health, but it can’t kill you even if you have 1 HP.
- If you have azerite trait Training of Niuzao then your Stagger grants mastery bonus depending on its leve.
Ironskin Brew allows you to increase your Stagger ‘s efficiency by ~28% (stagger increase puts diminishing on bonus from brew) for 7 secs. 3 charges shared with Purifying Brew. CD 15 sec.
- Azerite trait Straight, No chaser makes your Ironskin brew to increase your armor and has 8% to not consume a charge.
Purifying Brew instantly annuls 50% of the delayed damage by Stagger. 3 charges shared with Ironskin Brew. CD 15 sec.
Gift of the Ox is Brewmaster’s second key passive mechanics that allows to restore lost Health. Receiving damage provides certain probability that a healing sphere appears near you. The sphere restores a small amount of HP if you pass through it, or if you use Expel Harm.
Expel Harm, for 15 Energy helps you ‘gobble up’ all the accumulated Gift of the Ox healing spheres thus restoring your Health. 10% of that healing is dealt as damage to the closest located enemy.
Zen Meditation is a maintained spell. Allows you to reduce the incoming damage by 60% for 8 secs. However, any Melee attack or your relocation break the effect. CD 5 min.
Fortifying Brew increases for 15 secs your max and current HP stock by 20%, decreases the incoming damage by 20%, increases the efficiency of Stagger by 10% for 15 secs. CD 7 min.
Brewmaster’s Balance is your specialization’s passive aura that increases your armor by 25%.
Mastery: Elusive Brawler. Whenever you receive Melee damage or use Blackout Strike, you receive the summing up effect of Elusive Brawler that increases the probability of evasion by 8% base + Mastery value. It also increases the power of your attack by the same multiplier for each charge. The effect is alleviated once the evasion works out.
Celestial Fortune gives you the probability equal to your Crit value of restoring additional 65% of the received effective healing/absorption
Resuscitate is your regular resurrecting an ally out of combat.
Provoke instigates your enemy to attack you within the nex 3 secs. It also increases its running speed by 50%.
Detox cancels all the poison or disease effects off a friendly target.
Zen Pilgrimage grants you an opportunity to teleport to your class Hold. Application time – 10 secs. When cast the second time, it teleports you back to the location you’ve left before, to the closest graveyard or a dungeon entrance.
Leg sweep – knocks down all the enemies within 5 yards, stunning them for 3 sec
- Azerite trait Sweep the leg reduces hit enemies movement speed by 50% and increases your movement speed for 6 sec.
Roll allows you to quickly relocate 15 m in the direction you character is looking in, or to the side you indicate for your character by pressing the corresponding key while utilizing the ability (W, A, S, D – forward, back, left, right, respectively).
- Azerite trait Exit strategy grants you Avoidance for 2 sec when using Rolling. Taking non-periodical damage in this time reduces the cooldown of Roll by 5 sec.
Paralysis allows you to paralyze one enemy for 1 min. Costs 20 Energy. Any damage dealt to the target cancels this effect. CD 45 secs.
Spear Hand Strike interrupts the spell casting by your enemy keeping them from using the same school of magic for another 4 secs. CD 15 secs.
Transcendence allows you to leave your Spirit wherever you apply the ability for15 min. CD 10 secs. Keep in mind that your Spirit vanishes if you go over 100 m away from it.
Transcendence: Transfer is the second part of the aforementioned spell. On utilizing it, you switch placeswith your Spirit unless your Spirit is more than 40 m away. CD 45 secs.
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General information. On achieving several new levels you’ll get access to new talent ‘Tiers’. Talents may have different effect on abilities: add new features, replace old ones, modify passively different effects and spells. Talents can be changed in Sanctuaries or any recreational zones. However, if you don’t have any of those places nearby you can use the Codex of the Tranquil Mind which allows you to switch channels within a minute. You can’t change talents in combat. You can’t change a talent if the talent you’ve picked in the last Tier is on Cooldown. You’ll have to wait until it’s restored first.
Tier 1. Lvl 15
- Eye of the Tiger. Tiger Palm debuffs a target with Eye of the Tiger that deals periodic Nature damage within the next 8 secs as well as restores a small amount of HP for you.
- Chi Wave. You emit a small clot of Energy that bounces off your enemy towards a friendly target within a 25-m radius. The clot bounces between targets 7 times in total. Enemies receive damage, allies get healing. CD 15 sec
- Chi Burst. A quick spell with a 1-sec casting allows you to send an Energy clot 40 m ahead of you and deal all the enemies on the way Nature damage, or restore Health to the allies. During the casting of the spell you can still evade. CD 30 secs.
* Your default choice here is Eye of the Tiger as it is the best option in dealing damage and getting a minor heal on a regular basis. Chi Burst, in its turn, is a good option for dealing max burst AoE damage as well as healing a group/raid. Chi Wave loses to the other two talents because it has nice healing power only in case you are alone. In a raid, it hops and restores other participants’ HP. It is also worse in terms of DPS on a single target as well as AoE, respectively.
Tier 2. Lvl 30
- Celerity. Reduces the restoring time of your Roll by 5 secs and increases its charge count from two to three.
- Chi Torpedo. Substitutes your Roll. Chi Torpedo drags you 20 m forward. It also increases your Haste by 30% for 10 secs after it’s used. The effects sum up, up to 2 times. This one also has 2 charges.
- Tiger Lust. This is a sprint that can be applied on both yourself or your ally. The talent increases your running speed by 70% for 6 secs. This effect cancels any movement impairing or stunning on the target.
* The choice is yours as it affects your mobility. Tiger Lust, though, would be preferable in neutral situations as it’s an auxiliary ability to the 2 (not 3) charges of Roll, and this talent helps you get rid of movement impairing effects cast on you. Chi Torpedo – it is profitable to take if your group has no movement reduce spells for mythic keys and you need to kite enemies otherwise take Celerity.
Tier 3. Lvl 45
- Black Ox Brew. Allows you to instantly fill up your Energy stock and restores max charges of your Brews. CD 1.5 min.
*Currently Light Brewing is better than Black ox brew in raids and mythic+. It is simply because:
the amount of situations in raids when you need to have 6 charges are reduced and it is more profitable to always have an additional charge than increased recharge of Black ox brew and at the same time reduce of remaining cooldown on Ironskin brew and Purifying brew. In M+ it is better to always have an additional charge than trying to guess when you can manage Black Ox Brew.
Tier 4. Lvl 60
- Tiger tail sweep. Increases the range of Leg sweep by 2 yards and reduces its cooldown by 10 sec.
- Ring of Peace. Creates an Energy Ring in the selected zone for 8 secs. Any enemy stepping into that ring will be thrown out of it. CD 45 secs.
- Summon Black Ox Statue. Creates a Black Ox Statue in the indicated location for 15 min. The statue puts all the enemies within the 30-m range in danger. When you apply Summon to the statue, all the enemies within the 8-m range of that statue are forced to attack you for 3 secs. CD 10 sec.
* The choice in this tier depends on the situation in a raid. If you need to gather enemies in one spot and to have mass aggro or an additional option for aggro then you should take Summon black ox statue. If you need to knock the enemies away ( it often happens in m+ with Sanguine on) or to not let the enemies reach you or you ally then you should take Ring of peace. If in the current situation you don’t need Summon black ox statue or Ring of peace then you should take Tiger tail sweep.
Tier 5. Lvl 75
- Bob and weave. Increases the duration of Stagger by 3.0 sec.
- Healing Elixir. 2 charges with 30-sec CD. Using this ability restores 15% of your max HP. If your Health indicator happens to fall below 35%, the effect is triggered automatically provided you have at least 1 charge of this ability.
- Dampen Harm. This ability allows you to reduce the incoming damage by 20-50% for the next 10 secs. The damage-reducing effect depends of the amount of damage coming your way – the more the damage, the higher the percentage. CD 2 min.
*The choice in this tier depends on the situation. If in the fight you need an additional save then take Dampen harm.In the situations when you need healing besides of consuming your healing orbs (situations when there is not enough healing like in solo content, mythic keys with Grievous on) then take Healing elixir. In all other cases take Bob and weave because it reduces damage from staggering by 23%.
Tier 60. Lvl 90
- Special Delivery. After drinking Ironskin brew or Purifying brew, you have a 100% chance of throwing a Keg in the air. The Keg lands near you in 3 secs dealing nice AoE damage and reducing the running speed of the enemies hit by 50% for 15 secs.
- Rushing Jade Wind. Generates around you a tornado that lasts for 9 secs and deals Nature damage to all the enemies within the 8-m range. CD 6 sec.
- Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox. You summon Niuzao, the Black Ox for 45 secs. The Ox attacks your target and later provokes it. It also deals minor damage with Stomp.
* Rushing Jade Wind is best implemented in the gameplay with low Haste value. It whelps fill in the gaps in your rotation dealing better damage as compared to the other two talents on this Tier.
Special Delivery is your choice in case your Haste value is too high and you simply don’t have the time to maintain the effect of Rushing Jade Wind.
Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox could work out better for burst damage for 45 secs once every 3 min. In terms of total damage, it’s clearly worse than the other two.
Tier 7. Lvl 100
- High Tolerance. Stagger delays additional 8% of the incoming damage. Haste increases depending on your current level of Stagger ( by 15% maximum)
- Guard. Guard against future attacks, causing the next damage delayed by Stagger to instead be prevented. 30 sec cd.
* High Tolerance is your best survival option as it allows you to delay more Stagger damage, increases your Haste which reduces the CD for all your key abilities.
Blackout Combo favors maximizing damage dealing over boosting your survival.
At the end of the day we do not land on any concrete builds as most talents are usable in certain situations. Guard currently is not competitive talent.
To sum up all we can create 3 builds for 3 different situations:
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In BFA typical sets were removed and Azerite armor took their place. Now every chest/helmet/shoulders have 2-4 rings for traits. Every trait improves some ability and trait effects can stack up but not all! Let’s see Brewmaster spec’s traits that you need to collect.
The first and The second rings:
Boiling brew. Your Breath of fire deals additional damage over its duration, and has a chance to summon a Healing sphere each time it deals damage. It is a must have trait but it has one disadvantage – defensive trait ability ( sphere generation) doesn’t stack up when having more than 1 of such trait => you should have only 1 of such trait.
Elusive footwork. Grants an additional damage from Blackout strike also critical hits of Blackout strikes grant an additional 1 stack of Elusive brawler. Also a must have trait for increasing damage from your best battle ability and allows to stack mastery faster that grants a great bonus on single target fight ( the faster you gain stacks the more chance to avoid an attack) The only disadvantage is that critical hits from Blackout strike grant only 1 additional charge for Elusive brawler that is why it is effective to have only 1 such trait.
Training of Nizuao. Grants mastery depending on level of Stagger. One of must have traits that you should stack up. The more mastery you have the more percentage chance of dodge that you gain from one charge of Elusive brawler, also more healing that you get from Expel harm/healing spheres, Vivify and all the talents from tier 15 (healing of these abilities increases depending on the attack power amount that is also increased by mastery amount) and also you gain more damage from your abilities.
Straight, no chaser. Ironskin brew increases your armor, and has a 8% chance not to consume a charge. The last must have trait in 2 first rings of azerite armor that you should keep in mind. But there is one disadvantage – the chance percentage of free Ironskin brew usage does not increase but it increases the armor amount it grants so this trait should be stacked up.
The third ring:
Azerite veins Taking damage has a chance to grant Azerite vein, healing you for 3 sec. Lasts 18 sec or until you are fully healed. This trait is a good survivability bonus for a monk because any healing can be increased with Celestial fortitude (in this case hots are improved randomly) And don’t forget about Stagger that can trigger this effect and also getting damaged that requires all the time healing (the best variant is HoTs). Adding up a quite often uptime of this ability and its ability to stack up. In the end it means you should have at least one of such trait.
Crystalline carapace. When dealt damage greater than 10% of your maximum health, gain armor and cause melee attackers to suffer Physical damage. Lasts 12 sec. This trait is important for Brewmaster spec because armor for monk is a significant stat that allows to survive great physical damage. You should have at least 1 of such trait in your collection.
Ablative shielding. Falling below 40% grants you increased armor for 10 sec. Taking further physical damage reduces the Armor granted. May only occur every 30 sec. Pretty good talent to survive a critical situation but it is not effective to have more than 1 of such trait.
Winds of war Taking damage grants you Dodge for 3 sec, stacking up to 5 times. It is a good bonus to add up to mastery. and enough to have only 1.
Blood siphon Increases your mastery and your Leech. Not a bad stat, you could have 1 of this.
Gemhide. When dealt damage greater than 10% of your maximum health, gain Avoidance and Armor for 10 sec. Works like Crystalline carapace + grants armor. It is a must have trait.
Impassive visage. When you take damage, you heal. Cannot occur more than once every 6 sec. One of must have traits for Brewmaster because this spec has 95-100% uptime of this trait. Why? Because Stagger deals all the time damage while tanking monk is in a fight. Keep in mind: when you collect 3 Impassive visage, Azerite veins value drops (heal from visage + heal from your healer ⇒ in most of the cases Azerite veins buff will just go away before being active even half of its duration)
Resounding protection. Every 30 sec, gain an absorb shield for 30 sec. Prydaz v2.0 with less absorb.It is a good trait.
Bulwark of the Masses. When you are surrounded by 4 or more enemies, gain a shield that absorbs damage. 20 sec cooldown. A good trait for mythic+ and for AOE in raids.
Vampiric speed. When an enemy you harm dies, you restore some hp and gain Speed for 6 sec.It is a specific trait because currently it is could be useful in mythic+ only, gettin additional healing in this ring would be good but there might be better options you could chose. Keep this trait in mind because in the end of the patch it can become better than other traits.
Summing up we can create a list of the best traits for raiding and mythic+
The first and the second rings: 1x Elusive footwork, 1x Boiling brew, 1x Training of Nizuao, 1-3x Straight, no chaser.
The third ring: 3x Crystalline carapace, 1-2x Azerite veins
The fourth ring: Gemhide+Impassive visage+Bulwark of the Masses or Resounding protection
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These ratings are based on simulations, statistics of WarcraftLogs and players experience.
- Nullification Dynamo (Source: Mechagon Reputation) – great option for increasing your survivability at the special moment, also removes harmful effects.
- Conflict and Strife (Source: Rated PvP) becomes a good choice againt lots of enemies
- The Crucible of Flame (Source: Heart of Azeroth level) becomes a great tool for aditional dps increse, especially at level 3
- Conflict and Strife (Source: Rated PvP) if it’s not in major slot already
- The Crucible of Flame (Source: Heart of Azeroth level) – nice extra damage during the fight. Use it if it’s not in major slot already
- Nullification Dynamo (Source: Mechagon Reputation) if it’s not in major slot, and you need to passivly increase your survivability
Fortifying Brew is your only cooldown that is extremely powerful basically, and has a long restoring period. It should be engaged directly prior to receiving major damage. Knowing the encounter can help you understand what moment exactly you’re going to need it. Otherwise, use it whenever you feel an extremely fat chance of dying. It can also be used right after receiving massive damage to evade death. In this case, though, it would be less effective that when used before the damage is received.
Zen Meditation is perfect for reducing damage received from Bosses’ special attacks, especially those that take time to cast. And even though the first auto-attack against you cancels this effect, that very auto-attack’s damage is reduced, too. Knowing the encounter can help you understand what this ability would be best for.
Brewmaster’s active mitigation mechanics is unique and very different from that of other tanks’. The whole trick is in Stagger. The damage reduction or complete evasion with all the tanks is a bit more classic – there’s Attack A that deals damage, and the tank can avoid it (evade, parry or consume). Or a tank can reduce the incoming damage by Attack A: block, consume partially, reduce the damage with active mitigation or utilize a defensive cooldown. Or the chances to avoid the damage completely don’t work out, and the tank does nothing receiving all the damage from Attack A.
For a Monk, in case evasion/parry doesn’t work, the initial damage by Attack A already divides into two parts: one part is dealt instantly – B, and the other part – C – stays on Monk as a DoT, i.e. Stagger that would be dealing the second share of the damage over the next 10 secs. This is Monk’s huge advantage as instant damage B affects them in significantly smaller extent due to this very peculiarity. This defines the healing model for the Healers in your group/raid: you need healing that is not that strong but rather constant. For that, HoTs are perfect – they compensate the HP loss inflicted by damage B and prevent the share C from pushing your Health even lower. You, in your turn, should optimize this model as much as possible meaning you should maximize the periodic share C of it thus reducing the B part. This can be reached due to your active damage reduction abilities:
Purifying Brew combined with traits helps instantly take off 50% of the damage by Stagger thus reducing the attack’s initial damage right after you’ve received it, unlike the other two tanks that only allow damage reduction during the attack. Let’s take an example with small round numbers (for convenience, we’re taking Purifying Brew with no traits, so it’s alleviating 40% of the damage):
- You receive an attack of 1000.
- Your stagger amount should be at 50% (it could be seen in your character’s sheet), you receive 500 of it instantly, and the other 500 is put aside as a DoT for the next 10 secs (the damage is dealt every 0.5 secs making it the total of 20 teaks, each DoT tact deals 20 Damage).
- You use your Purifying Brew on sec 3 of Stagger which means you’ve been through 6 DoT teaks: 6×25 = 150; which, in its turn, means that Stagger has 500-150 = 350 Damage left to deal. 50% of that damage is removed by Purifying Brew: 350 – 50% = 112.
- As a result, you get the total damage of 500+150+175 = 825.
Ironskin Brew, though, can help you increase the share that is delayed for Stagger by ~28% (in some cases the number can reduce because of diminishing) thus reducing the instant part. So it’s pretty obvious that this ability helps you survive your enemy’s powerful attacks.
Ironskin brew – try to keep it up all the time when you receive damage. The maximum Ironskin brew duration is 21 sec = 3 brew usages, do not refresh it when you have more than 14 sec duration left.
Purifying brew – try to use it if you have a charge and you do not need to spend in on Ironskin brew. It is hard to say when is the best time to use it, experienced Brewmaster players start to feel timing. Try to use it when you understand that there is a great damage incoming to prepare your Stagger.
Gift of the Ox helps you create healing spheres near you when you’re receiving damage. It also has a 100% chance of creating a sphere once your HP goes below 35%. Utilizing spheres is your insurance policy in case you are subject to heavy HP loss thus helping your Healers. Or you could use them before receiving massive damage in case your HP is not fully stacked.
Because of your relocations, your spheres may end up spread randomly around. In this case, to actualize them, you’d need Expel Harm that consumes all the stacked spheres. Keep in mind that one sphere provides an extremely weak heal, but many spheres can restore more Health. That’s why you don’t want to use spheres unless you have at least 3 of them.
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The basic priority rating for the characteristics is as follows:
ilvl (Stamina, Agility) > Mastery = Crit = Versatility > Haste
An item’s ilvl helps increase Agility and Stamina, first of all; and second of all – empower the secondary stats. Stamina increases Survival pure; Agility increases the power of attack which re-scales both the DPS, healing abilities and Stagger amount. That’s why ilvl becomes your top priority when picking gear; for garments (rings, necks) up to 10 ilvl is acceptable, for other items – 5 ilvl. If your items have the same ilvl, consider the stats’ priority. Do not forget to collect crit first (to have Celestial fortune procs as often as possible) and then collect mastery and versatility.
*if you have more than 1 Training of Nizuao trait then crit’s value becomes higher than mastery.
Flasks and pots
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Kick with a modifier, with the Shift key held, the ability is applied on a remembered target, without – on the current one.
/cast [mod:shift,@focus]Spear Hand Strike
Tiger Lust at cursor’s position, as, sometimes, it is useful to hand it over to your ally:
/cast [target=mouseover] Tiger Lust
A macro cancelling a Palladins’ BoP can prove exremely helpful:
/cancelaura Blessing of Protection
Detox by the cursor placer because it is useful to remove debuff from your ally.
/cast [target=mouseover] Detox
Same with Vivify :
/cast [target=mouseover] Vivify
Provoke at cursor’s position:
Provoke on The Black Ox statue:
/tar The Black Ox Statue
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- Leveling. If your character has been inactive since the previous expansions, the best option to level up it is by Timewalking dungeons. You will gain a lot of experience, but there is one big disadvantage of leveling this way. Timewalks are available only for one week during a month, but Overgear is always here.
- Equipment. At high level, the most important thing for you will become your gear. WoW is a multiplayer game, that’s why we recommend for you to play it with your friends, or to find a new friends for mythic+ runs. If you have any trouble with it – Overgear may help you to find not just friends for a run, but a complete well geared and experienced group that also will be glad to trade all the loot you need.
- Raids. Raids are the top-tier PvE content in the game. That’s why the equipment’s base ilvl is higher than anywhere else. These dungeons require knowing all the tactics and have a good gear to kill the bosses. The possibilities of Overgear might let you skip those criteria.
Azerite. It is also not the best idea to forget about the Heart of Azeroth and not to feed it with more Azerite. Ignoring this won’t make your character stronger. The easiest way to do it – just complete all the world quests with Azerite rewards everyday. You can get extra azerite from Island Expeditions. Companions can be found at Overgear.