April 25, 2009

Holy Paladins in Ulduar

It's been over a week now since Ulduar was unleashed, and I hope that you've all gone in and had a taste of what Blizzard has emphatically called a "hard" raid. Harder than Naxxramas, at least. Aside from towerless Flame Leviathan, who was cruelly invented to trick players into thinking that Ulduar was puggable, the bosses -- heck, even the trash -- in Ulduar is a return to some good old-fashioned wipefests and headbanging against the wall. Of course, the world's top guilds were well equipped and prepared to clear all the way up to Yogg-Saron, but most guilds will struggle a bit.

Did I say a bit? Some guilds will struggle a lot, actually. While Ulduar still seems easier by far than the so-called guild killers, Blizzard has ramped up the difficultly nicely and many guilds will find it a challenge but eventually conquer it in time. So where do Paladins fit in with all this conquering business? Well, it depends on your spec. Fortunately for us, Patch 3.1 also introduced dual-specs, and if there's anything a Paladin should plunk 1,000 Gold on, it's to learn a secondary spec. Today we'll take a look at how healers fare in Ulduar two weeks in after the jump.

I was wrong. I said that raiding Holy Paladins wouldn't be feeling the pinch of the nerf intended to curb Holy Paladin dominance in Arenas, but apparently the mobility required for the Ulduar fights does make us miss those fast Holy Lights terribly. A Holy Shock crit followed by an instant Flash of Light is nice, but it won't top off anyone in pain-filled Ulduar. The limit of Sacred Shield to a single target also hurts because it always gave us a buffer in mobility fights.

With the renewed focus on single target healing, Holy Paladins are in a slight disadvantage in Ulduar, where many fights have the entire raid taking damage and mobility hampers the casting of our primary nuke heal. Between Ignis casting Flame Jets, having to move out of Razorscale's Devouring Flames, dodging Mimiron's Rocket Strike, or shaking off Hodir's Biting Cold, it's quite a challenge to do old school standing at the back of the raid launching heal bombs like there's no tomorrow.

While other healing classes thrive in this environment, such as Discipline Priests and their phenomenal Soul Warding, Paladin healers will need to step up their game somewhat. A few key ideas behind core abilities should help us with Paladins cope with mobility fights:

Sacred Shield - Although now limited to single targets, it should become second nature to throw a Sacred Shield on our primary healing assignment right before moving. If you're in the middle of casting, cancel it and throw up a Sacred Shield. A /stopcasting macro bound to the spell will make it a little easier and prevent silly "another action is in progress" error messages. If you don't have a major healing assignment, pop it on the nearest raid member with low health. Barring these, the next best target would be yourself.
Holy Shock - This is our clutch spell. Paladins used to be one-dimensional two-button healers, but much has changed since Wrath, and Holy Shock has become a core spell in our toolbox. In Ulduar, it should be cast often and early. It is an even be a better option than either Flash of Light or Holy Light in many situations, and should be bound with /stopcasting, allowing its use as an emergency heal. If you haven't already, prepare a macro that binds Holy Shock and Divine Favor to set up for a big nuke after moving. The Glyph of Holy Shock is an attractive choice -- the sooner you have access to Holy Shock, the more flexibility you'll have to position yourself.
Aura Mastery - It almost seems like Blizzard designed this talent for Ulduar. Although you can theoretically LOS Molten Colossi to avoid Earthquake, this spell comes in handy, anyway. It doesn't activate the GCD so can be cast in conjunction with a Holy Light or Divine Favor+Holy Light. You'll still be tossed up during a Flame Jet, but you won't be locked out of your other spells.

Judgements - In this case, Judgement of Wisdom, probably. You'll want to cast a Judgement enough times to keep up Judgements of the Pure. We want that 15% haste. We need it. In fact, Blizzard is practically begging us to cast Judgement, because it's one of the few spells we can throw when we're on the move. In fact, you shouldn't cast it at any other time because it kills precious GCD when were stationary.
Divine Plea - Cast it on the move. Remember that you don't have to wait for the buff to run its whole course, so be ready with a '/cancelaura Divine Plea' macro that gives you the option to go for bigger heals in place of mana regeneration. Don't worry, it'll be up again in a minute and trust me, you'll have to move then, too. Removing the buff doesn't consume the GCD, so you can bind it with a healing spell if necessary.
The amount of raid damage in Ulduar is going to shock many players who've gotten comfortable in Naxxramas. Unfortunately, there's no easy fix for this. While we can adjust our playstyle to cope with mobility, the class kit is focused on single target heals, Beacon of Light notwithstanding. If you're not healing the tank, it's difficult to do preemptive heals.

What you can do, however, is cast preemptive Sacred Shields. Because Sacred Shield requires that a target take damage before it procs, preemptive casting is the only way to go. It's not like Power Word: Shield, which is cast on low-health targets before a major heal. Sacred Shield cast on a low health target means the target may well die. Although the primary recipient of this spell is usually the main tank, Paladins with the flexibility to cast it on other raid members should do so. Raid members at 50% health are great candidates, any lower than that and you should be using Holy Shock.

Holy Shock is a lynchpin spell that should be cast almost every time it's up. It is a prep spell and an emergency heal at the same time. If you crit with Holy Shock, don't be trigger happy with Flash of Light. The Infusion of LIght buff lasts 15 seconds, so you have some flexibility. You can use the time to move, cast a Holy Light nuke, or wait for Sacred Shield to proc a +50% critical effect chance.

Many raids will find Ulduar hard, with even trash pulls requiring a bit of thinking. It's a challenging raid that makes healing Paladins dig deeper into our bag of tricks. I like it, even though the two notable features of an Ulduar encounter -- mobility and raidwide damage -- are the bane of Holy Paladins. I like it because it pushes us out of our comfort zone. The good news is that we have a few tools that allow us to cope with the situation, we just need to use them.

Revamped Noblegarden revealed

The seasonal revamped extravaganza that is Noblegarden is due to start tomorrow and the Blues have revealed a little more about the new week-long festival. Yesterday night Zarhym posted on the official forums, revealing some new details as well as linking to a revamped festival page on the official site.

The new Noblegarden (which starts tomorrow) has its origins in a druidic festival, but the modern peoples of Azeroth seem more interested in egg-hunting and scoffing chocolates. Focusing on the starter towns like Brill and Goldshire, it's one of those great festivals which is aimed at newer players as well as die-hard level 80s.

Zarhym promises egg hunts and new daily quests as well the chance to find cool items within brightly coloured chocolate eggs. There's also a stack of new achievements (you know you want that Violet Proto-Drake) and if you get sick of eating chocolate you can also use them as currency to buy awesome Noblegarden swag.

WoW Insider will have guides and galleries up tomorrow. Noblegarden runs through next Saturday.

Guide to Noblegarden achievements

In honor of Noblegarden, we're running a special-edition OverAchiever today, dedicated to what you'll need for the meta-achievement Noble Gardener. Should you finish, not only do you get a spiffy new title, but you also get to check off another set of achievements toward What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been, the yearlong achievement-palooza rewarding a 310% speed Violet Proto-Drake.

Because Noblegarden has been extensively reworked, most of what you'll be doing this year is completely new, and some of this guide is going to be comprised of educated (or not-so-educated) guesses as to the difficulty of the achievements on the live realms, and tips on how to get them done. I'll let you know if I just plain don't know something or have to hazard a guess based on PTR information, but fortunately most of the holiday is pretty straightforward. We're only going to cover the achievements you need to worry about for the meta, as everything else you can achieve is really based on luck and doesn't count toward Noble Gardener.

Let's get started!

First things first; these are the basics of the new and improved Noblegarden:

As with Hallow's End, much of the content is centered in and around level-5 towns (e.g. Azure Watch, Dolanaar, Goldshire, and Kharanos for Alliance, and Bloodhoof Village, Brill, Falconwing Square, and Razor Hill for the Horde). Brightly Colored Eggs will spawn in and around these towns for the duration of the celebration (April 26th through May 2nd).

The number of eggs spawned has been massively increased. Judging from what Kisirani wrote on the forums, any player's looting of one egg automatically spawns another elsewhere. You should have very little difficulty getting enough eggs.
Most egg spawns will drop Noblegarden chocolate, which can be used to purchase items like a new noncombat pet, Noblegarden clothing, and other items you'll need for some of the achievements. Letters from Birdfall has a great screenshot and post covering this.
Buying all of the items you'll need will run you a total of 365 chocolates. This may sound like a lot, but many of the achievement-linked items can also be discovered randomly in eggs. If you get lucky, you probably won't need 365.

Completing the meta-achievement Noble Gardener will reward the title "(Name) the Noble."

I Found One!

The easiest by far, all this achievement will require you to do is find one Brightly Colored Egg. Since you'll probably need hundreds for the meta-achievement, this'll be the first of many.

Desert Rose

For all those of us who love having Sting trapped in our heads, but this isn't too tough. You'll need Spring Robes (which allow you to plant a flower on a 1-minute cooldown) from a Noblegarden vendor, and that'll run you 50 Noblegarden chocolates or a lucky drop. 4 out of the 5 locations here are in Kalimdor, which will cut down on your travel time somewhat, but you'll still need to make the hike to the Badlands at some point.

Hard Boiled

The easiest way to do this (short of getting lucky with an egg granting the Noblegarden bunny buff) is to head down to Un'goro with a friends who've bought the Blossoming Branch (which is a very easy purchase for 10 Noblegarden chocolates). The Hot Springs are the lake area to the west of the central mountain in Un'goro. Head down, have your friend cast the buff, and wait until you lay an egg (it's a periodic trigger). Be sure to bring your own Branch so you can return the favor.

If you do get the bunny buff from a random egg, one of the Wowhead commenters notes that, like most costumes, you'll lose it by shapeshifting, mounting, or (I assume) taking a flight path. So while it's theoretically possible to do this achievement without outside help, it'll take you an awful lot longer given that the closest level-5 town to Un'goro is Bloodhoof Village and that's a mighty long walk.

Noble Garden (Alliance) or Noble Garden (Horde)

This achievement requires the purchase of a Noblegarden egg from a vendor (5 chocolates). If you're Horde, head to Silvermoon; if you're Alliance, head to Stormwind. Right-click your egg to spawn a Brightly Colored Egg, and you're all set. Interestingly, on the PTR you could loot the egg after you placed it, thus "refunding" yourself a chocolate.


In addition to saving enough chocolates for the purchase of items you need for the other achievements, you'll need to eat 100 over the course of the week. This sounds like a lot, but it amounts to a little less than 15 chocoates a day if you ration it out instead of saving them up and eating them in one big marathon.

Spring Fling (Alliance) or Spring Fling (Horde)

This one will run you 100 Noblegarden chocolates in order to buy the new noncombat pet, the Spring Rabbit. What do you get for your hard-won confectionaries? The pet has a fairly unique behavior; like Stinker, it falls in love, but -- unlike absolutely nothing else in this T-rated game, which is a pity -- it makes babies. Leave your Spring Rabbit in proximity to someone else's Spring Rabbit and...you'll get more rabbits. Parents may want to keep their own small offspring away from the monitor for the duration of this holiday unless they want the subject of "the talk" to be prompted by pixelated rabbit goings-on.

I think the highlight of my playing experience in the near future will be seeing a raid full of players with Spring Rabbits out. 10-mans should see 5 nice stable rabbit pairs, but question for 25-mans; is the odd rabbit out left alone, or does he become part of a, um, threesome? And why am I allowing my mind to roam places that frighten and disturb me?

Oh, the achievement. Right. Uh, bring your rabbit to each of the four level-5 towns for your faction and wait for something beautiful and natural to happen with someone else's rabbit. There you go. Does that make you kind of a rabbit pimp? I think it does. I also think I need to stop laughing before I am required to spend the next twenty years of my life in a confessional just because I find this funny.

The player Lostshard on the PTR got video of the bunny and its behaviors, which I've embedded at the bottom of the post if you're interested.

Shake Your Bunny Maker

Wow, I'm glad I'm no longer required to write about uncomfortable subjects. Next on the agenda will be placing bunny ears on nubile 18+ players. I mean, level 18+, of course. In the game! The game! Get your mind out of the gutter. You'll need to buy Spring Flowers for 50 chocolates, which let you place bunny ears on other players. You can place bunny ears on your own toon (helpful if you play a female, which lets you knock one of the requirements out right off the bat), but otherwise you're going to have to start hunting down female toons of each race.

As the Wowhead thread notes, on some realms it's going to be pretty hard to find females of certain races (e.g. Trolls, Orcs, Tauren, and Dwarves). If you get desperate and don't yet have a Death Knight, the most expedient means of getting this achievement done might be rolling a female DK of the race your friends need, and having them summoned somewhere convenient (and then having a friend do the same for you).

Blushing Bride

Please note that the formalwear described in this achievement isn't the white-quality Tailoring stuff anybody can get; you'll need to get these pieces as drops from eggs, or buy them from a Noblegarden vendor. The pants and shirt cost 25 chocolates each, and the dress costs 50, so count on spending at least 50 chocolates for this.

Once you add up all of the items you'll need for the meta-achievement, with a worst-case scenario (i.e. very unlucky with drops from eggs, and you have to buy everything) you'll need to have 365 chocolates stashed away (add 50 more if you also buy an Elegant Dress to help friends who need Blushing Bride). Don't forget that you've got until May 2nd to get this done, however. Good luck, and happy hunting!

Tags: achievement, achievements, azure-watch, bloodhoof-village, blushing-bride, brightly-colored-egg, brill, chocoholic, desert-rose, dolanaar, falconwing-square, goldshire, hard-boiled, i-found-one, kharanos, noble-garden, noblegarden, noblegarden-2009, patch-3.1, patch-3.1-wow, razor-hill, shake-your-bunny-maker, spring-fling, wow-live, wow-patch-3.1

Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Events, Features, Guides, Achievements, The Overachiever

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Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)

14-25-2009 @ 7:09PM

Summer said...
I really hope they've bumped the spawn of the eggs, because last year was atrocious.

24-25-2009 @ 7:34PM

sara said...
On the ptr, the more people were searching for eggs, the higher the spawn rate was. It was actually harder finding eggs when you were running around alone than when you were competing with 25 people for eggs... I got most of the achievements for this holiday within the first 1 1/2 hour of play.

34-25-2009 @ 7:09PM

Jonisjalopy said...
I loled at "shake your bunnymaker"

44-25-2009 @ 7:12PM

NoTomorrow said...
Alright, I really want that title. Thank god it isn't "the noble gardener", the noble is very awesome though.

54-25-2009 @ 7:18PM

Zetrix said...
According to [url=http://www.wowhead.com/?item=45072#comments:id=661015]this] comment, you can sell the spring flowers and robe, for the exact same amount, within 2 hours.

64-25-2009 @ 7:26PM

Daisil said...
GC did comment on the mount and stated it is NOT infact 310% (cannot find the post as it was way old). But there is no way to get a 310% outside of raiding or PVP. This is just a proto drake at 280% speed increase.

74-25-2009 @ 7:40PM

Lycanthro said...
I remember him or someone specifically saying it WAS 310%. Please produce a link proving otherwise.

84-25-2009 @ 7:35PM

Kat said...
Does anyone know exactly when the event starts? I'm hoping I'll get to collect some eggs tonight at 12am server time, but I'm not sure if it works that way or not.

94-25-2009 @ 7:49PM

Gessilea said...
Nice write-up. I laughed. I also did a couple /facepalms. This is going to be an interesting week in general chat...

104-25-2009 @ 8:03PM

Daisil said...
Lycanthro, provide a writeup saying it is 310% then.

114-25-2009 @ 8:10PM

Elathil said...
I actually have an alt I'm trying to make magically gain 10 levels by tomorrow to help people out with Shake your Bunnymaker. Just 'cause I think I've only seen two or three female Orcs on my realm.

124-25-2009 @ 8:17PM

Zarfay said...
"In the game!"
Damn you!

134-25-2009 @ 8:35PM

nonentity said...
Just got a few achievements done, but I give up for tonight, it's next to impossible to get a decent number of eggs by now.
Many are camped, often by fat boomkins, guys on fat mounts etc. or whatever they got to cover up the egg spawn point.

Maybe one out of 5 or 10 eggs you click you actually receive and don't told that "that is already being used" or whatever.

Even though you really need a high number of eggs, until a few minutes ago, it didn't really bother me, seemed reasonbly easy, still.... that was before I ate 25 pieces of chocolate and discovered that the second stage of that achievement requires you to eat 100 pieces of chocolate total.


Well, whatever, I'm damn glad that this time there is no random drop achievemnt that is part of the meta achievement.

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Noblegarden FAQ

Noblegarden 2009 should be going live on the European realms in a few hours and then start popping up on realms elsewhere over the next day. Because so much of the holiday has changed and we've fielded a lot of questions from players about what's going on, we decided to write up a quick FAQ to the new (and vastly improved!) holiday.

Help! Where do I go to get started?

If you're Alliance, head to Azure Watch, Dolanaar, Goldshire, or Kharanos.

If you're Horde, head to Bloodhoof Village, Brill, Falconwing Square, or Razor Hill.

What am I supposed to do when I get there?

There will be questgivers in all of these towns who will give you a new daily, The Great Egg Hunt, and A Tisket, a Tasket, a Noblegarden Basket. The former will reward you with an item that will come in handy for an achievement (more on this in a little bit), but for both you're going to want to get started hunting down eggs in and around these level-5 towns. Once you've finished these quests, in order to get Noblegarden achievements done, you're going to need to be a dedicated egg hunter for a little while.

What do the Brightly Colored Eggs look like?

See the egg in the article's picture above? They're all variations on these colors and patterns and not generally tough to spot.

What do the eggs drop?

Most of the time they'll drop Noblegarden Chocolate, which can be eaten at any level and provide a stamina/spirit buff. Sound unexciting? They can also be saved and used as currency for ingame items at Noblegarden vendors located in all of the aforementioned towns. Each egg also has a small chance to drop the items you can buy at these vendors (like a noncombat pet or Noblegarden clothing) -- and you'll need almost all of them to get the meta-achievement Noble Gardener completed.

What are these vendors selling?

Thanks to Lesley, we have a screenshot of the Noblegarden vendor offerings (which are all the same regardless of location):

How many eggs do I need for Noblegarden achievements?

It's actually Noblegarden Chocolates and not eggs per se that you have to keep track of. How many pieces you'll need will depend on how lucky you get with drops from the eggs. If you wind up getting a lot of item drops, you won't need to spend as much chocolate at the vendors, but if you don't get any, plan on setting aside at least 365 chocolates. They add up quickly, so this isn't as time-consuming as it sounds.

Isn't this just going to be a nightmare of dozens of players trying to hunt down the few Noblegarden egg spawns?

Nope. Blizzard has vastly increased the number of egg spawns, and has also promised that the number of spawns won't be affected by the number of players hunting for them (which we think means that one egg being looted will cause another to immediately spawn elsewhere).

So older maps of Noblegarden egg spawns don't work?

Nope. Toss 'em out.

How important are the Noblegarden achievements?

The achievement Noble Gardener (which rewards the title "(Name) the Noble") has been added to the meta-achievement What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been. In other words, you'll be needing Noblegarden for the Violet Proto-Drake, but the good news is that completion of this holiday's master achievement is relatively unaffected by luck. If you never get a noncombat pet, clothing, flowers, etc. out of the eggs, you can save the Noblegarden Chocolate drops and buy 'em at a vendor.

Which items do I need to get in order to get the achievements done?

For more detail on this, hit our special Noblegarden edition of the OverAchiever -- we'll walk you through how to get everything sorted. Long story short, though, you'll probably need one Noblegarden Egg, one Blossoming Branch, one Spring Flowers, one Spring Robe, the shirt and pants, and the noncombat pet. Again, if you don't find any of these as drops in eggs, plan on budgeting around 365 Chocolates.

If you have any other questions, drop 'em in the comments and I'll see what I can do to get them answered tonight!

Gearing your Mage for PvP

Of all the new stuff patch 3.1 brought us, perhaps this single most significant change was the addition of dual specs. Suddenly everybody and their second cousins can tank (or think they can tank), and every Druid/Paladin/Shaman has a resto/holy spec waiting in the wings. Everybody rolls on everything in every dungeon because they're "gearing up for their second spec"...or third spec...or whatever.

Mages don't have multiple roles to fill. We can't use our second talent spec slot for a tank or healer build. Our choices are and always have been DPS or DPS, just as God intended. And so, the advent of dual specs have instead opened up a different kind of door for a lot of Mages: PvP.

For the first time, we can keep our mana-efficient, DPS-maximized raiding build, and still have a second PvP-centric build on stand-by. A lot of Mages are taking advantage of this, and many are taking their first real steps into the strange and somewhat intimidating world of player-versus-player combat. For the Mage making that first foray into PvP, the culture shock can be very real, and the gear gap can seem insurmountable.

Fear not. Arcane Brilliance is here to tell you how to quickly and easily close that gap. Click the link below, and we'll have you mounting Warlock heads on your wall in no time.

Wrath of the Lich King has made PvP accessible like never before. Gear is easier to obtain, resilience isn't the absolute necessity it once was, and the options for fighting other players have never been so numerous and varied. In Burning Crusade, if you wanted to start getting PvP gear, you had two choices. You could start grinding honor in battlegrounds--a process that quickly became so repetitive and boring that a common practice was to simply plant your character in Alterac Valley and then go eat a sandwich or something while he soaked up honor--or you could try out Arena combat, which meant getting your face pounded mercilessly ten times a week until you'd gotten enough points to buy your first piece of gear, then repeating the process. In the old system, the die-hards got ever better gear, while the more casual PvPer fell further and further behind.

Thankfully, none of that is true anymore. Getting into PvP can still be daunting, but it isn't the exercise in humility it once was. Today, we'll cover the numerous ways to quickly and easily start building your Mage's PvP arsenal.

The Currency

There are several ways to purchase PvP gear, and in some cases, you can choose which way you want to buy certain items. There are even ways to exchange one form of PvP currency for another, so in a very real sense, you can gear up in whatever way you prefer. Hate Arena, but love Wintergrasp? There are ways to get a lot of what you want without having to do the things you don't like.

Everytime you kill another player, you get honor (except in Arenas). Battlegrounds net you a certain amount of bonus honor for winning (and losing), and there are numerous PvP quests that will grant large amounts of honor for completing certain PvP objectives. Honor is probably the fastest currency to amass, which is why you generally need copious amounts of it to purchase things.

Arena Points
To get this currency, you must fight in Arenas. You must compete in at least ten matches every week, and at the end of each week, you are awarded Arena points based on your team's rating. Season 6 changed the way this system works, and in my own humble opinion, did so in a very positive way.

Every new team now starts at a rating of zero, and each win gains you rating, usually in large amounts. As you approach the old midpoint of a 1500 rating, you'll start to see smaller gains for wins and larger point-loss for defeats. The upshot of this is that it is now far less of a blow to your self-esteem to start out in Arenas. Some of those you fight will be good, but others will suck just as hard as you do, and at first, at least, you'll see your rating steadily rise.

You use this currency in conjunction with honor to buy gear, and the better gear has a minimum Arena rating requirement to purchase. In other words, you can only suck for so long before you run out of things to spend your Arena points on.

Marks of Honor
These are awarded for participating in battlegrounds, and Wintergrasp. You get three for winning, and one for losing. The Wintergrasp marks, in particular, are used to purchase exclusive gear and items, many of which are very nice indeed. You can trade the marks from the other battlegrounds in for honor, or use them to buy mounts or lower level PvP gear.

The Gear

You can get PvP gear very quickly in Wrath, and with a minimum of grinding. There is quite a lot of it that requires no Arena rating whatsoever. Seriously, hop in and out of Wintergrasp a few times, do a few battlegrounds in-between, and you'll be able to buy a piece or two. The idea here is to start building up a little resilience, so that you can survive long enough to kill something.

Frostsavage set
This Tailoring set is easily craftable, made cheaply, and is pretty rock solid. Patch 3.1 even upped the ante by giving it a couple of nice set-bonuses. You can pick it up rather cheaply on the auction house, or simply gather the mats yourself and have your own set made. This was designed as an entry-level PvP option for players to don before ever having to set foot in an Arena or battleground, and it fills that role quite nicely.

Hateful Gladiator set

With the start of Arena season 6, this set no longer has a rating requirement. The easiest way to start obtaining the major pieces (chest, legs, gloves, head, shoulder) is to jump into Arena right away. Form yourself a team, get at least one other person to play with, and do your ten matches a week, or more if you develop a taste for it. Each week or two, you should be able to buy a new piece for a small amount of Arena points and a little bit of honor.

If you absolutely hate Arena, you can also purchase these items (as well as their non-set counterparts) with straight honor, but the required amount is much larger.

Deadly Gladiator Non-set pieces
These can now be purchased at the PvP vendor in Orgrimmar straight up for honor with no rating requirements. You can fill a lot of your slots with these (neck, waist, ring, wrist, feet, cloak, trinket) with just a little work in battlegrounds or Wintergrasp.

Wintergrasp items
These are purchased with Wintergrasp marks, so to buy them, you'll need to start participating in Wintergrasp as often as possible. Patch 3.1 added a bunch more of these, and they provide nice alternatives to fill in gaps in your gear when you run out of honor/Arena points. They now include options for the following slots: head, belt, chest, boots, and a number of very nice new trinkets. So before you spend your hard-earned honor or Arena points on an item for any of those slots, check your Wintergrasp marks and see if you can't fill that slot another way.

Hateful and Savage Gladiator sets for Emblems

If you've been doing a lot of raiding, and have a lot of extra Emblems of Valor/Heroism, you can use them to purchase the lower-level PvP sets if you so choose. This can be a decent enough way to fill in gaps, especially if you want to gear up for PvP quickly and have the spare emblems lying around. The nice thing about all of these Gladiator's sets is that you can mix and match from them and still retain your set bonuses. One less thing to worry about, right?

Deadly/Furious Gladiator sets
The Deadly set was top-tier in season 5, and still isn't shabby. You can obtain the various pieces at a lower Arena rating than the new Ulduar-comparable Furious set, so as your ratings rise, you may wish to invest in a piece or two of Deadly stuff to get by on in the meantime.

The Furious set, on the other hand, is the new hotness added with Season 6, and it is sexy. If Arena is your cup of tea, then this set is your goal. Build up your rating, save up your honor and Arena points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

You can also use the new Emblems of Conquest from Ulduar to buy the items from this set, but I'm not sure why anybody'd want to do that. If you've been tooling around Ulduar so long already that you've got Emblems to spare, you should be able to kick the crap out of enough people in PvP to obtain this gear far easier by hitting the Arena.
Gladiator's Weapons
Again, these all require high Arena ratings to obtain. They should be a goal for now, but expect getting them to take a while. Initially, you'll be perfectly fine bringing in a nice PvE weapon with some good PvP stats on it (stamina, spellpower, haste, crit, intellect, etc.). Just grab your favorite staff or spellblade and take the plunge.

Meta Gems/Enchants
These can actually be purchased in Wintergrasp with Stone Keeper's Shards, which if you've been playing at all since the expansion hit, should be sitting around in large piles around your house, collecting dust and making your wife angry. The metas are quite nice, and generally geared toward PvP benefits, like run speed or stun resist, and the head/shoulder enchants are good for adding a bit of resilience and spellpower.

In the history of WoW, I can safely say there has absolutely never been a better time to jump into PvP. My personal advice is this: Wintergrasp, Wintergrasp, Wintergrasp. Go as often as you can. Do all of the daily quests there as often as you can. Do the Battleground victory daily if you have time, unless it's Alterac Valley and you're in one of the many battlegroups where that battleground is impossible to win for your faction. I swear, I had that frigging daily in my log for a month straight before I got into a match where there was something resembling an equal number of Horde to Alliance and we actually won one. I hate that place now. I hate it so much.

In addition, form a team and get your ten Arena matches in a week. Even if you're losing all ten, and you feel terrible about yourself afterwards, the points are worth it. For pure time-spent to gear obtained, Arena and Wintergrasp are the ways to go.

You can also get a lot of the various Gladiator's gear as drops from the Wintergrasp raid bosses, so keep an eye out for people asking for more DPS for those raids. They're short, easy (well, the first one is), and if your faction has Wintergrasp, people are always looking for more. Nothing beats winning the roll on a piece of Furious gear you don't even have the rating requirement to otherwise purchase.

If nothing else, you should consider hopping on the PvP bandwagon for the opportunity to kill more Warlocks. As the old saying goes: "every time a Warlock dies, and angel gets its wings." I'm not sure that's exactly how it goes, but that's how I'm teaching it to my children.