4.01 Kitty Primer – Reforging & Gemming

4.01 has arrived and boy was Tuesday a confusing night.

My original hope was that my 4.01 kitty primer would give fellow kitties enough advance warning to have a better idea of what to expect and also a heads up on what to stock up on for materials. While it served its purpose (it definitely helped me as my reference cheat sheet), it was also lacking and did not answer a lot of outstanding questions. So, I’ve decided to write a followup article that will address what I felt was the most difficult part of 4.01 Kitty Play which is understanding what to reforge and what to gem. One important thing to note is that my analysis is done based on trial and error and has no math involvement. If I wanted to do math I’d go back to school.

For some basic knowledge on reforging/gemming, you can refer back to my original 4.01 Kitty Primer – What You Need to Know post.

*Update 10/21/10: Changed some recommendations to reflect new testing

The Approach

The changes we have seen in 4.01 are actually a lot more significant that people realize. Yes the rotation is still somewhat the same, yes our abilities are still the same. But the way we approach configuring our gear has completely changed and is a lot more complicated than it was in 3.3.5. In the past all you really needed to know is gem to arp cap, hit cap then address expertise if possible. Pretty simple and self explanatory. Today in 4.01 that is completely different. Reforging adds a completely new level of complexity and choice which is fantastic in that you can custom cater your gear as required but it also makes it a lot harder to optimize your gear.

The benefit of reforging is that you no longer are restricted by gem slot colours. You can reforge to any secondary stat that is not on the item. This gives greater flexibility in terms of what items you choose as your “BIS” and also what gems you use and gemming for socket bonuses.

Reforging Approach

First, decide what secondary stat you wish to reforge. Remember the secondary stats you can reforge are Critical Strike Rating, Dodge Rating, Expertise Rating, Haste Rating, Hit Rating, Mastery Rating,  Parry Rating, Spirit. Of these stats, on kitty gear we have Crit/Expertise/Hasted & Hit available for reforging. Naturally we have no interest in reforging Hit or Expertise since we are trying to cap these stats so really our choices are limited to Crit, Haste or Mastery.

So which stat should we reforge and reforge to? At this time, Mastery is the primary reforge stat of choice. Recall that Mastery is currently only available through reforging (will be available from gemming/gear come Cata). In an ideal world I would like to think that reforging would allow for one to add Hit/Expertise to push to the cap but at lv 80 it seems that the value of Mastery is so high its better to just push maximum Mastery. In terms of what secondary stat to reforge, the answer is whichever provides the greater yield of Mastery that is not Hit or Expertise (aka Crit or Haste).

Gemming Approach

Red, Blue and Yellow slots, lets review each one.

Blue slots previously were previously gemmed with 1 Nightmare Tear followed by Arp gems. Recall that this was used to fulfill the requirement of 1 Blue gem in our Meta Gem (Relentless Earthseige Diamond). The Blue gem requirement can now be addressed by +20 Hit which has now been converted to Blue so we no longer have a need for a Nightmare’s Tear.

Red slots previously were gemmed with Armor Penetration gems, our bread and butter. With that now gone we have 2 viable options in Agility and Expertise. Personally I went with Expertise gems to (or close to cap) followed by Agility, more on this later.

Yellow slots previously were somewhat up in the air in terms of what ppl gemmed. +20 haste, +20 hit, +10hit/+10exp hell even +20 arp and ignore socket bonuses if you weren’t at cap. Today, these slots should be filled with +10agil and +10 haste  or +10agil and +10 crit to maximize your Agility as much as possible. The choice of crit or haste depends on how close you are to the Crit Cap.

In regards to slot bonuses, as a general rule of thumb I gemmed for socket bonuses as long as the bonus was greater than +4 agility.

Test Results

Below are a bunch of damage breakdowns that I pulled together over the past few days (pre buff and post buff). Along with different combination’s of reforging/gemming. All tests were performed on the Heroic Training Dummy and for a total of 4 minutes. You will probably notice oddities like extra mangles and rakes but I’m human and I’m still getting used to 4.01 Kitty Play so keep that in mind. Whats more important to look at is the damage breakdowns.

Scenario A (Pre Buff, Reforge Hit/Exp/Haste, Gem Agility(R), Hit (B), Agil/Haste(Y))

This was my original thought pre 4.01 as to how we should be reforging/gemming. Reforge the necessary hit/exp then all remaining available reforging into Haste. Clearly I was mistaken, my crit went into the shitter and it just wasn’t a pretty sight. I quickly learned from this experiment that Haste was not the stat to reforge to.

Pre Buff, Pushing Haste

Scenario B (Pre Buff, Reforge Hit/Exp/Mastery, Gem Agility(R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))

Next experience was to continue reforging hit/exp but take all remaining available reforging into Mastery. Very quickly and very clearly you can see the clear benefit of pushing Mastery which instantly upped my bleed damage significantly and increased my overall dps significantly. For a comparison point of view, I was rocking base mastery (0 Mastery Rating) in Scenario A and 13.21 Mastery (239 Mastery Rating) in Scenario B.

Pre Buff, Pushing Mastery

Scenario C (Post Buff, Reforge Hit/Exp/Mastery, Gem Agility(R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))

This is the first test I did on Thursday after the buffs made to the base coefficients. I made no changes to my reforging/gemming and kept it the same for comparison pov. As you can see, the jump in dps is pretty significant. Instantly about 3k from doing essentially the same thing.

Post Buff, Pushing Mastery

Scenario D (Post Buff, Reforge Hit/Mastery, Gem Exp & Agility (R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))

Finally this is my last test, which was to push Mastery even higher by dropping some Agility and gemming for Expertise instead. Recall that the only way to obtain Mastery right now is through reforging so to take up reforging slots for Expertise is not wise or valuable. So through this I’ve pushed my Mastery up to 17.89 (454 Mastery Rating). While there isn’t a significant increase recall that it’s just a small increase in Mastery so we should only be expecting a small increase.

Post Buff, Pushing Mastery Ver 2

Scenario E (Post Buff, Reforge Mastery, Gem Agil(R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))

This test was done much later than the other tests and personally I dont like this one at all. Mainly because for this test I essentially ignored game mechanics to boost my Mastery/Agility as high as possible. This yielded a Mastery of 21.11 (601 Mastery Rating) What do I mean by ignoring game mechanics? I mean I didn’t gem for expertise and only gemmed hit in Blue slots meaning I was well below both caps allowing for misses and dodges. I don’t like missing so much as it throws off your rhythm but as you can see from the results below, clearly the output dps is significantly higher.

Post Buff, Max Mastery/Agil + Ignoring Hit/Exp

Tradeoff of lack of hit/expertise on white attacks


So to summarize, as of 10/21/10 this is my approach:

    1. Gem Hit in any blue slots/prismatic slots.
    2. Reforge your highest secondary stat (that is Crit or Haste) on all items into Mastery
    3. Gem Agility in any red slots, items with double yellow sockets, or if the socket bonus is below 4 Agility
    4. Gem Agility/Haste or Agility/Crit in all remaining yellow slots

      As always, these are just my experiments, if you’ve found other results that differ from mine, please feel free to share as we all try and figure out what is the best way to maximize Kitty Play.

      Up next on my 4.01 Kitty Primer? Changes to DPS Mechanics and how to adjust. Stay Tuned!


      21 Responses to “4.01 Kitty Primer – Reforging & Gemming”

      1. 1 feralinstincts October 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm

        The more I’ve delved into the theorycrafting of it all, the more I’ve found that hit and expertise still, just aren’t that important.

        You may want to check this out to see why:


        • 2 Vallen October 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

          Agree that Mastery is (from my experiments) becomming more and more the most important stat. I’m currently right now looking into reforging my last 2 items from Hit-> Mastery.

          That being said, I am still going to gem for hit/exp so in essence I’ll just be dropping my crit rate. Really dont like the idea of completely ignoring game mechanics for 1 stat. Thats why they removed Arp, and if it keeps up I suspect a Mastery nerf as well.

      2. 4 Ashalia October 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm

        Hi Vallen, thanks a lot for your summary / help.

        One thing i dont understand is: you say that we should reforge our haste into mastery, our crit rating stays untouched.

        Why should i gem Agility + Haste into yellow slots and not Agility + Crit Rating? Because of the haste i will loose and the crit cap or what?

        Best regards,

      3. 5 Golle October 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm

        Yea, as Ashelia mentioned your results seem inconsistent.

        I mean, you want to trade all your haste for mastery. And yet you go for agi/haste over agi/crit.


      4. 6 Vallen October 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

        Fair question.

        Mastery (to me) is definitely the most valued stat. Think of it this way, as of right now (still testing) I’m sitting at 20.37 mastery which works out to 63% bleed damage increase. Thats 63% more damage on 50%+ of your damage. No other stat can give you that kind of bonus.

        As for why I choose agil/haste over agil/crit. There is nothing wrong with Haste. Its still a good stat that increases white dmg + energy regen. For me personally I’m sitting at (as of right now 70.91% crit) with some raid buffs, I’ll already be at crit cap. So I dont really have a need to push my crit any higher. Mind you the crit cap is in reference to white dmg so it could be higher for more bleed. I just felt that at hit/exp/crit cap i should grab some haste as well.

      5. 7 Bear Pelt October 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm

        Thank you so much for this, Vallen. Shortly after the patch dropped, I literally spent an evening just staring at the screen, hesitantly regemming and reforging in an utter state of dazed confusion. I hadn’t the heart to do any heavy testing pre-normalization so stuck with my bear as the focus to help out with some guild test 10-man raids.

        This really, really helps calm me 😀 Thank you again!

      6. 8 Goodmongo October 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm

        I noticed you said to reforge haste to mastery but many items that I have have both haste and crit on them. With mastery being the best valued stat shouldn’t we take the higher of crit or haste and reforge that? This would result in just that much more mastery. Granted not alot but it would still be more.

        Finally, what trinkets are you seeing as BIS right now?

      7. 10 Vallen October 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

        That is actually a very good point, and you are right in that I could reforge more Mastery by reforging crit over haste.

        However, the kick is you need to keep your crit up there to ensure that you are critting as much as possible. Think of it this way, squeezing out an extra bit of Mastery will boost your bleed dmg by 1-5% but ensuring you crit as often as possible boosts your dmg significantly higher than 5%.

        As for BIS trinkets, i haven’t even looked into that yet, I’m still rocking HDBW and STS for now. I do have a regular DV and a WFS in my bank though. Hell I dont even know what replaced Arp on HDBW transformations lol. One step at a time I guess.

      8. 11 Cavlon October 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm

        FYI – Nightmear tear is the best blue or yellow gem for now, Str is technically our 3rd best stat.

        • 12 Vallen October 15, 2010 at 6:32 pm

          Would probably be more beneficial to everyone if you provided some factual information behind your claim vs just saying it is.

          • 13 feralinstincts October 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm

            Well STR = 2AP and with our mastery bonus all AP gets a 25% bonus. AP affects pretty much all damaging attacks except, mangle and shred. It’s a boost to both white damage and your bleeds. STR is basically AGI without the crit component. So, using example D, STR will affect 75.2% of your overall damage. Eventually AGI will = STR, but that would only be once you hit the yellow crit cap of 104.8%. So 20 AGI will essentially always be better than 10 AGI + 10 STR, but if the socket bonus is worth more than 4 AGI, the nightmare tear will probably beat out anything else for on RY or RB for that secondary slot.

          • 14 Cavlon October 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

            @ feralinstincts – thanks, and to add a little more

            You also get the 5% bonus on Strength(MoW) when comparing to AP, so its worth a little more than double, not to be to anal. 🙂

          • 15 feralinstincts October 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm

            That’s what I’ve been missing. I kept trying to figure out why my STR was consistently a little more than 2x my AP in my RSVs.

      9. 16 Cavlon October 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm

        LOL, sorry about that random poster is random….

        Of course we would never gem it because we would pick Agi, but using the Mew sim version R239 and its calculating relative stat values(its character specific) this is what I get for my setup, every ones numbers should be different but similar based on being capped, etc….

        my RSV’s are:
        Weapon dps – 4.742
        Agi – 3.635
        Mastery – 2.836
        Str – 2.360
        Crit – 1.864
        Haste – 1.389
        Exp – 1.386
        Hit – 1.374
        AP – 1.123

        http://sites.google.com/site/yawninglol/webmewpivot <– if you use it, be in caster form with no buffs when entering your values.

      10. 17 Vallen October 15, 2010 at 7:48 pm

        Good points but we need to take into account that since Mastery is so strong right now, all gear slots should be reforged to Mastery (going against some of the stuff I’ve posted so far but it looks more and more like this is the way to go and I’ll have to adjust my post).

        That being said, then hit needs to be procured from another source which would be through gemming. I’m not a fan of ignoring the stat so we should gem at least a reasonable amount so we’re not missing too much. With that being said Hit = Blue so those slots are accounted for, Exp/Agil = Red so those slots are accounted for.

        I guess you could make a case for bringing in 1 nightmare tear and all remaining yellow slots going hit/agility.

        I would strongly recommend against str as FI mentioned, its pure AP bonus with no crit which is not optimal for us.

      11. 18 Shy October 16, 2010 at 7:48 am

        there’s no Exp/Agi gem^^ both are red!

      12. 20 Anonymous October 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

        Not too good with stats, so is there a cap for mastery, crit and haste?

      13. 21 Cavlon October 16, 2010 at 3:02 pm

        After lots of study and testing, I would recommend the following:

        1.Gem Agility in any Red/Prismatic slots.
        2.Gem Hit or Hit/Exp in any blue slots.
        3.Reforge to Hit Cap (246)
        4.Reforge to Expertise Cap (200)*
        5.Reforge all remaining gear slots to Mastery using Haste or Crit which ever is Bigger, in case of tie reforge Haste.
        6.Use your 1 Nightmear tear, most likely Blue slots will be full so use a Yellow
        7.Gem Agility/Crit or Agility/Haste in all yellow slots if the socket bonus is above 4, if not gem Agility

        Notes per item:
        1 – Agi is the best stat, you cant get it back. Use reforging to get Exp or Hit as the stat you will be treading off is worth less than Agility.
        3 and 4 – Get capped or get close, but dont go over, being a few points under is better than exceeding.
        4 – Exp cap is 200
        5 – Mastery is better than Crit or haste, so reforge what ever will give you the most, you can gem Agi/Crit to make up the loss on Crit.
        6 – Nightmear Tear is better than any Blue or Yellow gems.
        7 – Dont exceed crit cap, if your crit is low then gem crit otherwise Haste. Would recommend useing Mew http://sites.google.com/site/yawninglol/webmewpivot

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      I’m Retired!

      As of 04/04/2011, I have officially retired from WOW. This blog will remain as a archived resource for those who know that CAT DRUID IS 4 FITE!

      About Me

      A blog for the ramblings and thoughts of Vallen, a full time raiding cat druid from Auchindoun-US with a passion for raiding & achievements. An avid wow player since 2004.

      For any questions or concerns contact me via comments or e-mail

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