Tier 8 armor gets complicated because level 77-80 covers 2 expansions, Rise of Kunark and The Shadow Odyssey.
At level 80, before you get into raiding, your checklist of things to do should include:
The Rise of Kunark has a raid progression.
Kunark T3 Raid (Veeshan's Peak -- the 12 Dragons) is a zone that tests everything you learned in T1 and T2 Kunark raid zones.
Every member of your raid force must have cleared the boss of T2 (the Leviathan) to zone into Veeshan's Peak. There are dozens of raid forces which have cleared Veeshan's Peak and moved onto (and cleared) the final boss of Kunark (excluding Gods and SoH) -- Trakanon.
The Shadow Odyssey does not have a clear raid progression. You can walk into any raid zone in TSO in any order with no prerequisites. Each of the 3 raid zones in TSO progress from medium difficulty up to the point where few raid forces have cleared them.
There are four TSO x4 raid zones now. They are adding a fifth x4 raid zone and a new x2 raid zone in the next game update.
Between the release of The Rise of Kunark and The Shadow Odyssey, a new raid zone was added which falls outside any previous progression. The Shard of Hate (SoH) is a large outdoor raid zone which is open to all and ramps up in difficulty from easymode trash mobs (which can be done with as few as 6 exceptionally well-geared players) to one of the hardest encounters in the game -- Byzola.
Mastercrafted is your basic level. There is level 72 and some level 77 mastercrafted. Kunark dungeons are doable with it. You will die almost instantly in TSO dungeons with it.
Legendary (Kunark quest rewards, trash mob drops, etc.) -- some of it is better than MC (mastercrafted), most is worse.
Legendary (Kunark level 77 armor sets) -- This used to be the Legendary armor set that most players had at level 80. An example item is Spaulders of Ravaged Onslaught. This is what people started the Kunark Raid Progression wearing. These Legendary sets were quite limited as they only had 1 set for all Mages, and only 1 set for all Scouts.
Fabled (Kunark raid zone drops) -- As you make your way through the Kunark raid zone progression (T1, T2, T3/Veeshan's Peak) you can start gearing up on raid gear necessary to complete harder content. The TSO T2 Void Shard armor makes this Kunark raid progression a lot easier, but not trivial by any stretch. People still have to know their classes.
Fabled (Kunark Veeshan's Peak fabled pattern armor) -- Bosses in Veeshan's Peak drop armor patterns and gems which are used to make VP fabled pattern armor. This was at one time the best armor in the game outside of Gods and SoH.
Legendary (TSO T1 void shard armor) -- The Shadow Odyssey introduced 20 dungeons, 17 of which reward players with Void Shards. Void Shards are redeemed at merchants for Legendary Void Shard Armor. For nearly all classes, this completely blows away Kunark legendary sets.
Legendary (TSO T2 void shard armor) -- At first glance, these appear to hardly be any upgrade over T1. However they contain a tiny bit of an important stat - Critical Mitigation - and provide boosts to almost all the other stats and bonuses on the T1 armor. This is considered the baseline armor necessary to do any TSO Raid Zones.
Fabled (TSO x2 Raid Zone shard armor) -- In the next major game update, a new x2 raid zone will drop Molds and void shards which, when combined with TSO T2 void shard armor, give you TSO T3 Void Shard Armor (Fabled).
Fabled (TSO x4 raid zones pattern armor) -- TSO launched with 4 raid zones (a 5th one will be added next update). There are bosses in these zones which drop patterns necessary to make TSO Fabled Pattern Armor (some people are now calling this T4 armor). It should be noted that this armor took a direct path from the Kunark Veeshan's Peak raid armor and has similar bonuses and statistics.
Fabled (TSO raid zone drops) -- Of course each of the TSO Raid Zones also have treasure chests with various upgrades. Some are better than the pattern armor.
Shard of Hate (added between Kunark and TSO) -- This zone is an anomaly. It was added between expansions and does not share the lore or storyline of either. Also, the itemization has been accused of being overpowered and it does not really form a smooth progression between anything that came before it or since. Some of the SoH items are still the best items in the game for certain classes. As this zone ramps up in difficulty from easymode to the hardest content in the game, it became a very popular place and it is still visited frequently by beginning and advanced raiding guilds alike.
Avatars -- These are physical manifestations of the Gods of Norrath. Killing them requires an elite raid force with utmost discipline. These were revamped with the launch of TSO, and then revamped further to require TSO Void Shard Raid Armor. The item drops from these are tremendous. One Avatar drop can have more Critical Mitigation than an entire set of T2 armor.
As you can see, there is no direct progression through all of that. I will say for most situations, The Shadow Odyssey T2 Void Shard Armor will give you a leg up in almost all Kunark dungeons and starting raid zones. Then you hit a fork between Kunark raid gear and TSO raid gear and will probably want items from each to handle different situations. The most glaring example is the Assassin/Ranger TSO void shard armor set which does not have a single point of Divine resistance, which is crucial for some Kunark raid zones. So you may need to gear up some in Kunark first.
If you have Mastercrafted now as a level 80 character, then you have a lot of work ahead of you. Run the TSO void shard zones until you have enough shards -38- for T1 and -112- for T2 assuming you have a void shard armor crafter in your guild (any tradeskiller who has done certain quests and gotten certain recipes can make them). Then if you were in a raid guild or were to join one, assuming everyone is just starting out, you would be tackling both Rise of Kunark raid zones to start working on your Mythical Weapon quest, and also starting to make your way into The Shadow Odyssey raid zones for loot and armor upgrades.
You asked about Critical Mitigation. Hopefully you've noticed that your gear has Melee Crit, and other gear has Spell Crit, Ranged Crit, and Heal Crit. Starting with The Shadow Odyssey, the harder bosses of dungeons and raid zones also have these stats. These can cause devastating attacks and self-heals which make the bosses nearly impossible to defeat. Armor upgrades which provide Critical Mitigation will reduce these Crit percentages off of bosses so you can defeat them. Some classes can temporarily reduce the Critical modifiers of bosses.
And finally, some of the Kunark raid progression requires certain Resists and certain types of gear. Going straight for TSO armor and completely ignoring the Kunark raid zones, group zones, etc. would be a mistake because then you may not have the necessary Resists, Bonuses, Effects, etc. Also, you must complete certain Kunark content to get your Epic Weapon which leads to your Mythical weapon.
|Allakhazam credits this post by feldon30 at the SOE Official Forums for some of the info in this article.