Learn to Gear Up for PvP!
Why Gear is Important
I’ll just state this outright: Wizard101 PvP is not all about your skill with cards. It never has been, not even a little bit. You can build the best Deck possible, play your cards with such brilliance and flair that men weep to look upon it, but take off your gear and you’ll lose anyway. You can even have a strong gear setup AND a strong deck, but if they don’t work well together, you’ll get a similar result.
You’ll see us refer to a wizard “Build” in our pvp guides, and there’s a reason for that: The ability of your wizard in PvP is the sum total of all the parts you have put into it. Your wizard school, the training points, gear, pets, the cards chosen in deck, the treasure cards, etc. All of these things work together every time you step into the arena.
This article focuses on gear and how it works with the rest of your wizard.
Know What’s Available
The first step to picking the correct gear is knowing what you have to pick from. It seems simple, but many new players haven’t learned how yet. Many of us just toss on new gear if we get a nice drop while questing, or hit up the bazaar once in a while. Sadly, this is almost never the way to get the best gear available.
- For wizards over level 65, it’s very important to check out all of the crafted gear available. Often you will find the best boots there, and solid Robes. Starting at level 50 it’s a good idea to check all of the crafted rings/athames/amulets.
- There are almost always pieces of interest in the Crowns shop, although the “best” ones are easiest to find below level 45. Above that the sets get kind of weird, but they may have a piece or two with interesting stats.
- Hoard Packs often have the best wands available. Though they’re hard (read: expensive) to get, you can usually find some information on what each pack has available soon after they’re released on active fansites.
- Warning: Most Hoard Pack and Bundle gear is not very good. Many new players assume this gear is good because it’s expensive, but they end up paying for it. In most cases, you’ll do better with other gear. The stats they give are usually very lopsided.
- Finally, some of the best gear in the game is dropped. My best suggestion for knowing what is available from drops is to check out what’s available on fansites. Wizard101 Central usually ends up with lots of info while test realm is out, the Central Wiki is the largest source of gear information available, and we do our best to cover the best gear that drops in each world. It’s best to use the power of the community, since it would take too long to farm everything yourself.
Pets also fall under gear, since you can equip them. They can be one of the most important pieces of gear you have, and it takes a lot of work to get one that has the talents you want.
More than that is beyond the scope of this article, but we have lots of articles and guides to help you learn about pets.
What Stats are Important, and Why?
Simply put, all of them are important. Your goal should be to get every stat as high as possible, however no gear is perfect and tradeoffs often have to be made.
- Universal Resist should be high on your priority list. This stat reduces ALL incoming damage, so it makes you harder to kill and makes your healing more effective. In fact, it makes every defensive spell you can use more effective.
- Damage should also be a top priority. If Resist helps you survive longer, Damage helps you win faster. Many players focus too much on defense and not enough on creating damage to end matches, do not forget this stat.
- Accuracy and Power Pips should always be considered. They help your spells to be more reliable, and cast more often. You can’t win if you can’t use your spells.. so always take an active interest in keeping these up.
- At higher levels, Critical Block is a super important stat for PvP. No one likes getting hit with critical attacks, so keep your Block high enough to defend.
These are the core stats for PvP – almost any build you run will benefit from them. Acquiring gear that boosts these stats will make your PvP matches easier by default.
Making Decisions on Tradeoffs and Secondary Stats
Stats vs Strategy
In a perfect world, we’d always be able to get really great stats. In reality, we end up having to make tradeoffs. Even if you know everything available to you, sometimes you can’t get it all, or maybe at your level the selections just aren’t very good. We end up having to make decisions.
First, you should understand the relationship of gear and strategy. If your gear has low defense, it’s probably better to go with a more aggressive approach, attacking often. Most of the “how to be a warlord” guides here on Duelist have attack-heavy decks, because they use Bazaar-bought gear that doesn’t offer defense. If your gear lacks offense, you will usually do better to play a more defensive style and survive long enough to stack up buffs so you can generate damage to kill. These are just two examples, but they explain a very important concept: If you can’t compliment your strategy with gear, you need to compliment your gear with strategy.
Core Stat Decisions
Assuming you’re able to get some solid gear and are deciding what to go for, here are some rules of thumb about the core stats:
- Universal Resist makes healing and defense more effective. The HP of your heals get multiplied by the resist so that your opponent has to do far more damage to remove the health again. The resist compounds with sheilds and weakness to make attacks do very little damage. If you are looking to play a controlled style, or your school is naturally geared for defense, this stat should be important to you.
- Damage reduces the amount of buffs you need to reach a kill solution against an opponent. If you want to attack rapidly with minimal buffing, or you are playing a school with naturally high damage, this stat should be important to you.
- Power pips are easy to get for schools with naturally high accuracy: Balance, Life, and Death. These schools both attack and heal with power pips, so being able to get them frequently is important. Schools with less Power Pip chance will have to modify their deck to include several 1 pip spells to remove white pips in an attempt to accumulate Power Pips.
- Accuracy is easier to get for Fire, Storm, Myth, and Ice.. all schools which have a naturally low Accuracy amount on their spells. Anyone from these schools should make Accuracy a priority. If you are playing an aggressive style that requires your attacks to be reliable, accuracy should be important to you.
- At higher levels, Critical Block should be important to everyone. Defensive builds don’t work when incoming damage is going critical, and offensive builds die very quickly for the same reason. Unless you have a good reason to ignore it, Critical block should be important to you.
Secondary Stat Decisions
Secondary stats compliment core stats and/or strategy. You should be worried about these stats only if they make rest of your build more effective.
- Armor piercing works well with high damage, minimal buffing builds. It further reduces the need for buffing by removing an opponent’s resist so damage is more effective. If you’re using an aggressive playstyle and high damage, you have a lot to gain from armor piercing.
- Critical Rating is most effective when it benefits you for more than just attacks. If having a high Critical Rating will boost your heals, or your attacks have a healing side-effect, you may find that Critical is a stat worth boosting. It’s important not to rely too heavily on Critical attacks, because opponents can get enough block to shut it down.
- Healing boost works very well with defensive, high resist setups. Since resist makes heals more effective, boosting those heals is a great way to get the most advantage. If your build has very low resist or doesn’t rely on healing, it may be better to look for other stats like damage and armor piercing.
- Stun resistance is a hard stat to get from anything besides Arena Gear, but it’s worth talking about. Helpful in ensuring that you resist a stun so you can heal or attack, it makes Stun Block less necessary and can free you up to do other things.
Hopefully this article has helped you to understand that the “best gear” is rarely the same for any two wizards. Unless you have Arena Gear (and are low enough level for it to be useful..), your “best gear” will almost always depend on what you are using it for. The best gear for an aggressive player is not the best gear for a defensive player, and schools can be played many different ways.
The formula is simple. Figure out what is available to you, figure out how you want to play, and select the gear that works best for that particular situation. If you are limited in gear selection, be aware of that problem and adjust your playstyle to suit your gear.