Category Archives: Wrath of the Lich King

Argent Tournament grinding tips

Ok. So this isn’t exactly hot off the press, but it always takes Anelf a while to try new stuff after content patches hit. I like to let other people find the bugs for me :-) .

The Argent Tournament is a great place to grind for gold and rep. Here are a few simple hints for people even later to start the tournament than me:

Rep

Don’t hand in a faction’s Valiant quest until you hit Exalted. If you want the Ambassador title, but can’t be bothered going back and doing all those starting area Dwarf quests, then don’t hand in your 25 Valiant tokens for a race until you’ve completed enough quests to get to exalted with that race. You’re getting 250 rep per quest, so it shouldn’t take very long (unless you’re a Death Knight – but then you deserve the longer grind :-) ).

Gold

Don’t hand in your last faction’s Valiant quest if you’re grinding for gold. Once you’ve completed your Valiant’s quests for all factions, you don’t get anything to replace them. As long as you don’t hand over your 25 tokens, you can keep doing all the Valiant quests and all the Champion quests. And since some of the quests overlap, that’s a lot of easy cash. (Thanks to WoWInsider as was for that tip).

Sell your Argent Tournament pets. If you care more about money than pets. The 40 Champion token pets are BoE, and are selling on my server for 2-4000 gold each. I’m not yet sure if the price is just bouncing around a lot, or if some pets are more sought after. Some players are even transferring pets between factions – these fetch the highest prices. Watch out as well for people selling their pets below the going rate, snap them up and resell them.

Obviously, if you’re a pet collector, you’ll want to use the pets you grind for. But prices will go down as demand starts to wane, so you can always sell your first pets and buy new ones off the AH later when prices are lower.

Finish the Black Knight quest chain. This adds another Champion’s daily for you, so its worth completing the chain as soon as you become a Champion.

General

Grouping. Grouping for the dailies makes them a lot easier. Particularly the quests where you have to kill the scourge troops outside their citadel. Get one person to melee the Commanders or Lieutenants and the other to throw spears and charge.

Bring a tank. Even for the jousting at the tournament, you can ‘sort of’ group. You don’t get credit for your partner’s victories, but you can beat your opponent a lot quicker if your partner pulls aggro on him and leads him away from you so you can charge. Entrigan, our guild leader, tanks the opponent while his wife jousts. Then they switch, and she DPSs while he jousts.

Jousting for beginners. If you’re having trouble beating your jousting opponents on your own when you first start, try this technique: 

Keeping your shields at maximum, melee your opponent (spam the ‘1’ key); when he walks off to get to range for his charge, throw your spear at him (‘2′ key); then quickly close to melee range so he can’t charge or spear you; rinse and repeat.

As you get better, you’ll be able to charge him instead. On the Valiant quests, charge your opponent as soon as the fight starts (as he’s walking away). The valiant opponents don’t start the fight with full shields, so you can charge  him with 2 shields up, and throw a spear as you turn to melee him again. This brings him to zero shields, after which you have to work really hard to lose the fight.

Start early. Not everyone realizes you can start the Tournament quests at 77, so this is a good place to grind faction rep and gold. Some of the tournament rep rewards are nice gear to have when you hit 80.

Those are the simple tips. Feel free to add comments with some more advanced suggestions.

Hunter pre-raiding level 80 gear – part 2

In my previous article I talked about stats, armor and weapons, in this one I talk about enchants, gems and glyphs.

Don’t underestimate the importance of these.  They add considerably to you overall DPS and damage.  And frankly, people who know their stuff will not be impressed if you turn up to a raid unenchanted, with gaping holes where you gems should be, and no food or potions.  We have a guildmate (not a hunter) who is very keen to run heroics, and is always one of the first to shout out if someone is asking for extra DPS.  However, my cat (and the tanks) can significantly out DPS this pure DPS-class toon.  Checking out his/her gear, almost none of it enchanted, no gems, and completely the wrong head glyph (as well as warrior gear on a caster).  He/she is a really nice guildie, who doesn’t screw up in raids, but non-existent DPS, and the apparent lack of effort to do anything about it in terms of gear (someone has spoken to them and tried to help), makes many guildies, myself included, not want to run with this otherwise  great guildie.  Don’t be this person – be the best you can be – and have people want to run with you – not look at your armory page with derision or despair.

1.  Enchants

(Note:  I usually link to Wowhead – but for the regular enchants I am using the excellent Crafters Tome - I am not sure Wowhead filters always shows up all the available enchants.)

Head

The best is the Arcanum of Torment available at revered from the Knights of the Ebon Blade quartermaster.  Before that, stick to the Arcanum of Ferocity available at revered from the Cenarion Expedition out in Zangamarsh, Outland.

Shoulders

The best is the Greater Inscription of the Axe available at exhalted from the Sons of Hodir quartermaster.  Before that there is the Lesser Inscription of the Axe from the same group.  Prior to that stick with the BC shoulder enchants from your aldor/scryer faction, or for ‘filler’ shoulders while leveling apply a decent armor patch for the HP buff.

Back

The best seems to be Mighty Agility.

Chest

The best seems to be Powerful Stats, giving +10 to all stats.  However, this is an expensive one.  Super Stats is much cheaper and gives +8 to all stats.

Legs

I recommend the Icescale Leg Armor Patch which adds 75 attack power and 22critical strike rating to your legs.  Frosthide adds stamina and agility, also good for hunters, but your will get a bigger DPS boost from the Icescale one.

Hands

There are several choices here Crusher (+44 attack power); Major Agility (+20 agility); Precision (+20 hit, if you need the hit rating): Greater Assault (+35 attack power, for those on a budget).  I chose Crusher.  

Wrists

Greater Assault (+50 attack power); Striking (+38 attack power).  Leatherworkers can also make Fur Lining for their own bracers adding 114+ attack power.

Feet

Superior Agility or Greater Assault.

Waist/Belt

Blacksmiths can now make (and sell on the ah or trade) Eternal Belt Buckle.  This can be applied to a belt to add a gem slot to that belt.

Weapon enchants

1h

There are a couple of choices – Superior Potency (+64 attack power): Greater Potency (+50 attack power); Exceptional Agility (+25 agility); Accuracy (+25 hit and +25 crit)

2h – to glow or not to glow, that is the question.

There are 2 main choices – Massacre which adds +110 attack power and a cool red glow and dripping blood effect, but is very expensive in mats. Or Greater Savagery, which adds +85 attack power, no glow, but which is very cheap in mats.  

So which enchant to use?  I have massacre on my Rune Blade of Demonstrable Power.  I deliberated about this.  The Rune Blade is only a blue sword from a rep reward (although I think it is something like the 6th best hunter weapon in the game).  Some short-legged, big-mouthed hunters (in the nicest possible way) have said recently that you should save your money till you get an epic weapon.  But how soon am I likely to get an epic weapon?  I think my ugly rune blade is with me for some time to come.  I ran Kara dozens of times, and saw Legacy drop just once.  In my hunter-rich guild, I am rarely the only hunter in the raid.  There were three that night.  At the time, my damage counted for the other two combined, but with no DKP (which was introduced shortly after), it was a straight roll.  I had to accept the loss with as much good grace as I could muster, and console myself with the thought that it was an ugly thing (I don’t do pink.)  Anyway, back to the point.  It’s probably going to be a very long time before I get an upgrade to my melee weapon, it too is an ugly thing, it obscures my slender elf when strapped to her back, so for the glow as much as the DPS boost, I shelled out the cash for the expensive enchant.

2.  Glyphs

These are mostly suggestions for a BM hunter.  The minors and some of the others are probably best for all specs.  But MM and Surv might want to check out the full list of hunter glyphs here to see if there is any others that they prefer.

Major:

Glyph of Bestial Wrath  (obviously BM only)
Glyph of Steady Shot (increases damages of SS by 10% when serpent sting is up)
Glyph of Serpent Sting (Allows 2 extra Steady Shots before refresh)
Glyph of Aspect of the Viper (Reduced Viper up-time)
Glyph of Aspect of the Hawk (Increased hasted Auto Shots)

Glyph of Arcane shot (refunds 20% of its mana to a target affected by one of your stings)

I currently have the first three.  Though I am considering trying out glyph of arcane shot, which would mean I would probably have to drop glyph of serpent sting.

Minor:

Glyph of Mend Pet (Allows the pet to gain happiness in combat)
Glyph of Revive Pet (Allows a faster pet rez during pushback spells)
Glyph of Feign Death (Allows more frequent aggro dumps)

Need to get me a Glyph of Feign Death (although I rarely need it twice, and do have shadowmeld), at the moment I have my third slot filled with Glyph of Scare Beast, just because my inscriber can make that one and I do occasionally use it on pesky feral druids in BGs (just for fun).

3.  Gems

The list below is from Elitist Jerks.  It gives a lot of gem options on the surface.  However, as the note says below, and as a lot of min/max hunters (esp. BMs) are finding, the Bright Scarlet Ruby, which adds +32 attack power, seems better for most slots than any other gem.  Hunters are ignoring slot bonuses and equipping Bright scarlet Rubies.  Is the ruby too good?  Or are the other choice poor for hunters?  I would probably say the latter.  I would like to see armor penetration gems, or pure crit rating gems for instance.  For now, I have mostly gone for Bright Scarlet Rubies too.  The penchant for these by hunters has affected the market, and they tend to be the most expensive rare Northrend gem on my server at around 80-110G each.

(Thanks to Elitist Jerks for this list.  I know blogging isn’t about copying and pasting, but the list was so good, and EJ is sometimes a bit inaccessible to people, so I though I would reproduce it instead of just providing the link.)

Beast Mastery
Red: 
[Bright Scarlet Ruby]

Yellow:
[Rigid Autumn's Glow] (*when 16 hit rating or more from Hit cap.)

Blue: 
Not recommended.

Orange:
[Pristine Monarch Topaz] (*if not hit capped)
[Wicked Monarch Topaz] (*if hit capped)

Purple:
[Infused Twilight Opal]
[Balanced Twilight Opal] (*if mana is a non-factor)

Green: 
[Lambent Forest Emerald] (*if not hit capped)
[Vivid Forest Emerald] (*if not hit capped, and mana is a non-factor)
[Sundered Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped)
[Jagged Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped, and mana is a non-factor)
*Green gems are only advisable if to satisfy Meta requirement for both 1 Yellow and 1 Blue gem value. However, when using rare quality gems, using a prismatic gem is generally superior to available greens.

Prismatic:
[Bright Dragon's Eye] (*Jewelcrafting only)
[Rigid Dragon's Eye] (*if severly under hit cap, Jewelcrafting only)
[Enchanted Tear]
*A prismatic gem will fill all the requirements for Meta gem

Meta: 
[Relentless Earthsiege Diamond]

Marksman
Red: 
[Bright Scarlet Ruby] or [Delicate Scarlet Ruby]

Yellow:
[Rigid Autumn's Glow] (*if 16 hit rating or more under Hit cap.)

Blue: 
Not recommended.

Orange:
[Pristine Monarch Topaz] or [Glinting Monarch Topaz] (*if under hit cap)
[Stark Monarch Topaz] or [Deft Monarch Topaz] (*if hit capped, and under haste “soft-cap”)
[Wicked Monarch Topaz] or [Deadly Monarch Topaz] (*if hit capped, and over haste “soft-cap”)

Purple
[Infused Twilight Opal] or [Tenuous Twilight Opal]
[Balanced Twilight Opal] or [Shifting Twilight Opal]-n.y.i. (*if mana is a non-factor)

Green:
[Lambent Forest Emerald] (*if not hit capped)
[Vivid Forest Emerald] (*if not hit capped, and mana is a non-factor)
[Energized Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped and under haste “soft-cap”)
[Forceful Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped, under haste “soft-cap”, and mana is a non-factor)
[Sundered Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped and over haste “soft-cap”)
[Jagged Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped, over haste “soft-cap”, and mana is a non-factor)
*Green gems are only advisable if to satisfy Meta requirement for both 1 Yellow and 1 Blue gem value. However, when using rare quality gems, using a prismatic gem is generally superior to available greens.

Prismatic:
[Bright Dragon's Eye] or [Delicate Dragon's Eye] (*Jewelcrafting only)
[Rigid Dragon's Eye] (*if severly under hit cap, Jewelcrafting only)
[Enchanted Tear]
*A prismatic gem will fill all the requirements for Meta gem

Meta:
[Relentless Earthsiege Diamond]

Survival
Red:
[Delicate Scarlet Ruby]

Yellow:
[Rigid Autumn's Glow] (*if 16 hit rating or more from Hit cap.)

Blue: 
Not recommended.

Orange:
[Glinting Monarch Topaz] (*if under hit cap)
[Deft Monarch Topaz] (*if hit capped, and under haste “soft-cap”)
[Deadly Monarch Topaz] (*if hit capped, and over haste “soft-cap”)

Purple
[Shifting Twilight Opal]-n.y.i.
[Perfect Shifting Shadow Crystal] (until above gem is implemented) 

Green:
[Vivid Forest Emerald] (*if not hit capped)
[Forceful Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped, and under haste “soft-cap”)
[Jagged Forest Emerald] (*if hit capped, and over haste “soft-cap”)
*Green gems are only advisable if to satisfy Meta requirement for both 1 Yellow and 1 Blue gem value. However, when using rare quality gems, using a prismatic gem is generally superior to available greens.

Prismatic:
[Delicate Dragon's Eye] (*Jewelcrafting only)
[Rigid Dragon's Eye] (*if severly under hit cap, Jewelcrafting only)
[Enchanted Tear]
*A prismatic gem will fill all the requirements for Meta gem

Meta:
[Relentless Earthsiege Diamond]

A few notes (from Elitist Jerks):
This is gauged primarily from spreadsheet calculations and existing in-game items. This does not suggest gemming values based on extended time durations (ie. the value of gemming Intellect). The following talents are assumed: Serpent Swiftness for BM, Combat Experience for MM, Hunter vs Wild + Lightning Reflexes for Surv, and Careful Aim for all specs.

In pre-WotLK, agility was consistently a superior stat to attack power, however current calculations indicate that Attack Power gems are currently of a higher DPS value than Agility for the BM spec, Agility are superior for the Survival hunter, and Marksman somwhere in the middle, with Agility having a slight scaling advantage, but dependant on current gearset, with either stat being very close in value. No yellow gems were added other than pure Hit as they did not appear to yield any DPS over Orange options. This is based on pre-3.0.8 calculations.

Stay tuned for part 3 which will cover food and potions.  Mmmm, last months mammoth.

Anelf’s Resto Druid Easy Naxx-Ready Gear Guide (Part 3)

AnelfItem enhancements

In Part One of this guide I reviewed armor; in Part Two I covered bling and weapons. This final section covers item enhancements. That’s stuff like enchants, spellthreads, and armor kits.

My philosophy with item enhancements is choosing an enhancement level to match the item. I tend to use the cheaper enhancements with Blue items I’m expecting to replace quickly, and move to the more expensive ones when I get my purples (that I expect to last me a while).  For example, I’d use something like Golden Spellthread on my Overcast Legguards and move up to Brilliant Spellthread when I’d farmed enough mats for my Earthgiving Legguards.

The top enhancements usually cost a lot more, but normally don’t give a huge improvement over the lesser (cheaper enchants). For example, the  (Sons of Hodir Exalted) Greater Inscription of the Crag only gives 6 Spellpower and 2 MP5 more than the (Honored) Lesser Inscription of the Crag. That’s an awful lot of rep grinding for 6 Spellpower. Its worth it in a raiding guild where competition is insanely fierce. But does it make that much different if you’re in a more casual guild?

General

Stamina isn’t the best stat to stack, but if you’re saving up for a particular enhancement, you might as well equip a Borean Armor Kit or Heavy Borean Armor Kit in the meantime. They give you 18 and 12 Stamina respectively, and can be equipped on head, chest, shoulders, legs, hands or feet.

Head

Grind rep to revered with the Wyrmrest Accord by doing the dailies as you level and you can buy their Arcanum of Blissful Mending at the same time you buy your healer mace.

There’s no point going back to Hellfire Peninsula for their helmet glyph, as this one is better.

And if you PvP a little, or of you get some Stone Keeper’s Shards as boss drops, then the Arcanum of Dominance makes a good stopgap while you’re grinding for your PvE Arcanum.

Shoulder

Inscription of Faith or Inscription of Discipline (Aldor honored) is a good starting inscription for your shoulders, and gives +15 Spellpower. It costs 2 Holy Dust (you get one Holy Dust for handing in one Fel Armament), which is pretty cheap now the price of Fel Armaments has plummeted – they sell for around 10g each these days.  I use these for my blue shoulderpads because they’re nice and cheap.

Moving up a level takes you to the Greater Inscription of Faith (or Discipline) or the Lesser Inscription of the Crag (Sons of Hodir Honored) These both have the same stats (18 Spellpower and 4 MP5), and cost about the same (8 Holy Dust/75G).

(The Scryer equivalents of the Inscriptions of Faith are the Inscriptions of the Oracle. These give 5MP5 for the Lesser and 6MP5+12 Spellpower for the Greater).

Then we have Greater Inscription of the Crag (Sons of Hodir Exalted), giving 24 Spellpower and 6MP5, and costing 100G.

Sons of Hodir rep is very hard to grind. Even getting to neutral with them takes a very long quest chain, and then you get 3 daily quests that give you 250 rep each. The daily quests are always very busy, so you’re competing to grab the quest mobs as they spawn. If you want these Inscriptions, consider leveling your last couple of levels in the Storm Peaks so you hit 80 already with some Hodir rep in hand.

If you’re an Inscriber, you’ll be making yourself the Master’s Inscription of the Crag. 61 Spellpower and 6 MP5 and not having to grind Hodir dailies are a big reason to take up Inscription.

The Inscription of Dominance makes a good stopgap while you’re grinding for your PvE Inscriptions if you have Stone Keeper’s Shards available.

Chest

There are lots of chest enchants suitable for a Resto Druid. Choose one of these according to your pocket:

Greater Mana Restoration – 8MP5.

Powerful Stats – +10 on all stats.

Major Spirit – 15 Spirit.

Super Stats – +8 on all stats.

Restore Mana Prime – 6MP5

Cloak

Enchant Cloak – Wisdom gives you 10 Spirit and some threat reduction. Or the old BC Enchant Cloak – Subtlety gives 2% threat reduction.

Belt

The Wrath expansion introduced the Blacksmithing item Eternal Belt Buckle. It adds a gem slot to your belt that will take any color gem. These are selling on the AH for around 80g. This is the only enhancement you can get for a belt, so its this or nothing.

Pants

Pants are all about Spellthread. If you’re a Tailor, you get a cheap version of the best Spellthread – Santified Spellthread. This is the same as Brilliant Spellthread, but costs you less. (Its only usable by Tailors).

Now I have my purple pants, I’m watching the AH to get the Brilliant Spellthread at a decent price. For blue pants, you can make do with the cheaper Shining Spellthread (or even Golden Spellthread – I had a couple of those saved up from pre-Wrath, so I’ve been using up my old supplies).

Bracers

At last a reason to be a Leatherworker. Fur Lining – Spellpower can only be equipped on your own Bracers, and gives 67 Spellpower. Lovely :-) .

If you aren’t a Leatherworker, you’ll probably want an enchant for Superior Spellpower, Greater Spellpower, or Major Spirit.

Gloves

The best enchant for your gloves is probably going to be the cheapest, as it uses the standard Northrend enchanting mats. Find a friendly enchanter and give him some Northrend greens to DE and get yourself Enchant Gloves – Exceptional Spellpower (+28 Spellpower).

Boots

Choose between these enchants -

Greater Spirit – 18 Spirit.

Greater Vitality – 6HP5 + 6MP5.

Vitality – 4HP5 + 4MP5. This is an Outlands enchant, and is very cheap on mats if you can find someone who has it.

Rings (if you’re an enchanter)

Enchanters can enchant their own rings. Use one of these:

Stats – +4 on all stats.

Healing Power – 11 Spellpower

Spellpower – 12 Spellpower

Weapon

Assuming you have a one-hand weapon, go for one of these:

Mighty Spellpower – 63 Spellpower.

Exceptional Spellpower – 50 Spellpower, and so much cheaper mats than Mighty Spellpower. Go for this one over Mighty, unless you really need those extra 13 Spellpower.

Spellsurge – 3% chance to give 100 mana over 10 seconds to everyone in your party.

Major Healing (or Spellpower) – 40 Spellpower.

There are also Intellect and Spirit enchants if you’re short on those stats.

… and that’s the end of the guide. I hope this was useful to you, dear reader. Please do post a comment if I omitted something useful. This is not a definitive list.

Edit (1/23/9) – I’ve noticed since posting this that making a general search for enchants on wowhead (Browse->Items->Recipes->Enchanting) seems to miss some enchants off the list. (For example, he Weapon Exceptional Spellpower is one of those missing). So be careful about relying on that method to get a definitive list. Its possible that this problem has caused me to miss out some useful enchants from the above list.

Pre-raiding level 80 Hunter Gear – Part 1

EDIT:  This post was written before the Argent Tournament and some of the new BG gear.  As well as my list check out the gear that you can purchase with Champion’s Seals and Wintergrasp Marks of Honor here, some of this will be very useful additions to this list, and easy to get hold of.

We are both focussed on gearing up for raiding right now.  Soldiers of Fortune made its first test expedition into Naxx last weekend, with some mixed results (we’ll write about Naxx shortly).  Anelf and Tinuviel’s gear is about at the minimum entry level, and we are still working on improving gear in time for our next raids.  Hence, the homework and blogs on gear lists, which will hopefully be helpfully to those of you in the same position.

For my list, I have been a bit lazy (or smart, depending on how you look at it).  I have used the wowhead filter to create lists for you, for each item piece.  Click on the links to view them.  I have also pulled out a couple of key easy to obtain pieces, if you don’t want to trawl through the whole wowhead list (these are a range from some of the best to some of the easiest to obtain – I have sometimes missed out a very good piece, where I think there is an equally good, but easier to obtain item).  I have put a second link to the compare function on wowhead for the items, rather than link each of the items individually.  My list is subjective, look at the link to the whole list if you want to be thorough.  Oh, and the smiley face at the end of some rows, is Tinuviel’s current gear (my personal checklist).

A couple of key stats before we start.

Item Level

Item level – a number assigned by Blizzard to reflect the ‘usefulness’ of a piece and the level needed to wear it.  An appropriate item that is level 200 is usually, but not always, better for you than an item that is 174; it depends on a number of things, including your spec and your current gear and stats.  Remember balance is key, don’t neglect some key stats in your drive for one favorite one.

<174 – unless its exceptional, probably needs replacing for raiding at 80.

174 – mostly level 78 greens and quest rewards.

187 – rare items require less than level 80 to wear them (e.g. level 78 swiftarrow set)

200 – Exhalted rep gear; heroic end boss gear; emblem of heroism gear; Nax 10 man gear; Obsidium Sanctum 10 man gear; T7 10-man sets; S1 (Hateful) pvp gear; BOE craftables

Once you begin raiding….

213 – Nax 10 end boss (Kehl’thuzad); Obsidium Sanctum 10 man bonus loot 2; Eye of Eternity 10 gear; Emblem of valor gear; Nax 25 man gear; Obsidium Sanctum 25 man gear; T7.25 sets; S2 (Deadly) gear

226 – Nax 25 man end boss (Kel’thuzad); Obsidum Sanctum 25 man bonus loot 2; Eye of Eternity 25 man gear

As you can see, level 200 gear seems to be what we are aiming for for entry level Naxx.  It’s what drops in 10 man Nax, except for the end boss.  Level 187 gear should be reasonable too, but try to aim to minimize the number of pieces you have that are less than level 187, unless they are especially good.  This is me on the armory.  I currently have 1 item at 174 (trinket – although I do have another level 200 trinket, but it’s a less appropriate stamina one).

I replaced my shattered sun necklace with the necklace purchasable with Emblems of Heroism and obtained the Achievement Superior! This requires you to fit a level 187 item or above into every slot.  Not a bad point to aim for for starting raiding.

Hit rating at level 80

Hit is one of your most important stats (possibly the most important until you hit the hit cap), if you intend to raid.  The amount of hit you need to face a level 83 boss (in Nax) is huge.  Here are the numbers (thanks to Less QQ, more PewPew for these):

Hunter Hit Cap – [32.78 Hit Rating = 1% Hit]

262.24 Hit Rating – 0/3 Focused Aim
229.46 Hit Rating – 1/3 Focused Aim
196.68 Hit Rating – 2/3 Focused Aim
163.90 Hit Rating – 3/3 Focused Aim

I usually run with a Draenei, so that reduces my hit cap by a further 1%, my pally tank’s racial ability giving me an additional 1% to hit, which is a cap of 131.12. (Remember Snapper Extreme buff food that will increase your hit rating by 40 for 30mins, if you are still below the cap – which means 91.12 is the minimum from gear your could squeeze out if you were talented, well fed and shackled to a Draenei.)

Haste versus armor penetration

These are the relatively new boys on the block, we are seeing a lot of them, especially haste on hunter gear.  There is a lot of discussion and number crunching, some of which seems a bit confusing and contradictory to me.  What I’ve got out of it so far is that armor penetration is pretty nice for a BM hunter, haste not so much.  Haste is pretty sweet for a MM or Surv hunter (until they get their speed down to 1.5 – the cap), they also benefit from armor penetration too.  However, don’t neglect your primary stats hit, agility, attack power, int, and stam (the latter is especially important for surv hunters), in order to stack haste and or armor penetration – not unless you have done a lot of theorycrafting and know exactly what mix you have.

The Armor List

Head

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Truesight Iceblinders – engineer crafted BOP – item level 200

Plunder’s Helm – UK (H) – item level 200

King Drek’s Helm – Drak’Tharon Keep (H) – item level 200

Toothslice Helm – rep reward – The Oracles – revered – item level 187 :)

Swiftarrow Helm – crafted – item level 187

Neck

Good easy to get suggestions: err… I’m not sure there are many.  The Pendant of the Outcast Hero :) for 25 Emblems of Heroism – item level 200 – seems by far the best.  Just save up the badges and get that. :)  (the Jewelcrafted piece Titanium Impact Choker, is a reasonable alternative, but expensive on the mats, so expensive to make or buy, and not quite so good imo.)

Shoulders

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Spaulders of the Abomination – Meathook COS(H) – item level 200 :)

Spaulders of the Black Arrow – revered with the Ebon Blade vendor Icecrown – item level 200

Swiftarrow Shoulders – crafted BOE – item level 187

Back

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Ice striker’s Cloak – crafted BOE – item level 200 :)

Cloak of Holy Extermination – Argent Crusade Honored vendor Icecrown – item level 187

(Honored rep with Argent Crusade is easy to get, and then save up for Ice Striker. )

Chest

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Polished Regimental Hauberk – Argent Crusade Exhalted – item level 200

Heroes Cryptstalker Tunic – 80 Emblems of Heroism – Dalaran Vendor – item level 200

Aviary Guardman’s Hauberk – BOE Drak’Tharon Keep (H) – item level 200

Hauberk of Arcane Wrath – Anomalus The Nexus(H) – item level 200 :)

Razorstrike Breastplate – crafted BOE – item level 187

Assault Hauberk – quest reward Aces high! Coldarra – item level 174

Bracers

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Giantmain Bracers – crafted BOE – item level 200 :)

Hateful Gladiator’s Wristguards of Triumph – item level 200

Interwoven Scale Bracers – Keristraza The Nexus (H) – item level 200

Eaglebane Bracers – crafted – item level 187

Gloves

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Rusted-Linked Spiked Gauntlets – Nax BOE drop Ah – item level 200 – will be expensive :)

Heroic Cryptstalker Gloves – 60 EoH – Dalaran vendor

Handgrips of the Savage Emissary – Violet Hold (H) – item level 200

Grips of the Beast God – Gal’Darah Gundrak (H) – item level 200

Grips of Chronological Events – quest A Royal Escort – Culling of Strat – item level 187

Swiftarrow Gauntlets – crafted – item level 187

Belt

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Sovereign Belt – King Ymiron Utgarde Pinnacle(H) – item level 200

Veressa’s Silver Chain Belt – 40 Emblem of Herosim – Dalaran vendor – item level 200

Belt of Tassled Lanterns – Gundrak (H) – item level 200

Cord of Swirling Winds – Ionar Hall of Lightning (H) – item level 200

Waistband of Thuzadin – Salramm Culling of Strat (N) – item level 187 :)

Giant Ring Belt – Sons of Hodir Honored – item level 187

Swiftarrow Belt – crafted – item level 187

Leggings

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Giantmain leggings – crafted – item level 200 :)

Hollowed-Mandible Legplates – Azjol-Nerub(Heroic) item level 200

Leather-braced chain leggings – Loken HofL(Normal) – item level 187

Swiftarrow leggins – crafted – item level 187

Cannibal’s Leggings – Slad’ran Gundrak(Normal) – item level 179*

*These have great stats (especially for BMs) for the level.

Boots

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Boots of Twinkling Stars – Kirin Tor exalted – vendor Dalaran – item level 200

Hateful Gladiators Sabatons of Triumph – 49,000 honor points – vendor sw/org

Dragon Slayer’s Sabatons – Keristraza – The Nexus (H) item level 200 :)

Twin-Headed Boots – Violet Hold(H) – item level 200

Boots of the Terestrial Guardian – BOE drop – item level 187

Dragonstompers – crafted – item level 175

Rings

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Signet of Edward the Odd – BOE ah – item level 200 – if you want haste

Titanium Impact Band – crafted – item level 200 – expensive :)

Morbius Band – Chrono-Lord Epoch – Culling of Strat (H) – item level 200 :)

Stained Glass Shard – BOE ah – item level 200

Band of the Kirin Tor – Vendor Dalaran – item level 200 – if you have money to sink

Bjarngrim Family Signet – Quest Hall of Lightning (N) – item level 187

Signet of Bridenbrad – quest Icecrown – item level 174

Frog-Toe Band – quest Icecrown – item level 174

Trinkets

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 – includes non-hunter trinkets too)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

There are millions of Trinkets even some of the lower level ones are pretty good, choosing the best one for you is a headache, here are a pick of the best:

EDIT:  Titan forged Rune of Accuracy – item level 213 – lots of hit

Incisor Fang – King Dred Drak’Tharon Keep (H) – item level 200

Mighty Alchemists Stone – crafted BOP alchemists only – item level 200 :)

Mirror of Truth – 40 Emblems of Heroism Dalaran vendor – item level 200

Figurine – emerald boar – crafted BOP jc only – item level 200

Sphere of Red Dragons Blood – Keristraza The Nexus (H) – item level 200 :)

Darkmoon Card: Greatness – crafted – item level 200 (expect it to be expensive it takes an enormous amount of mats to create – I am trying to create one – but it is going to take months and thousands of gold in herbs, some of which I am picking, some I am buying)

Fezzik’s Pocketwatch – quests Icecrown – item level 174 (I couldn’t decide which of my lesser dps trinkets was best, I decided it was probably this one).

When I am soloing or tanking with my gorilla I use these two for the extra HP for the gorilla and the extra heals for him from the Brewmaid:

Indestructible Alchemists Stone – crafted BOP alchemists only – item level 200

Brightbrew Charm – Coren Direbrew during Brewfest – item level 128

2 handed weapons

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power usuable by a hunter)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

Hateful Gladiators Decapitator – arena – item level 200 (at the moment you have to do arena to get this; I BG’d back in the day to get my full Merciless armor set and Merciless Gladiators Decapitator, but have never set foot in an arena.)

Runeblade of Demonstrable Power – Revered with the Ebon Blade – item level 200 (I’ve just started rep grinding for this one – but notice the bags of hit on the Whale-Stick and the 1-h Fangs of Truth below – don’t replace those with this if your hit plummets.)

Whale-Stick Harpoon – Revered with Kal’uak – item level 187 :)

Wrymclaw Battleaxe – The Occulus (N) – item level 187

A note on Staves post 3.0.8

Many feral staves have had their stats changed.  In a lot of cases armor has been removed and the staves now provide attack power to non-druids as well as feral attack power to druids.  Some of these have become excellent hunter weapons.  Just use your common sense and judgement if you role against a feral druid for a stave.  On a side note, druids can now use polearms, so don’t be surprised if a druid asks to role against you on a suitable pole arm.  Here a is a list of all the staves with AP on in the 174-200 item range.  Note the first one is from Naxx, and the one from UP dropped by the plundered still has armor on it, and is the best pre-raiding feral druid stave in the game (according to rawr), so you should not roll again a druid on it.  The second on the list, from Violet Hold is the best choice for a hunter if you can get it.

Staves here.

1-handed weapons

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Good easy to get suggestions:

There are lots to choose from – so see the search

I will point one just one – The Fang of Truth :) – honored with the Wrymrest Accord – these are very easy to get and very good indeed for the item level – you can dual-wield them and they have bags of hit if you are short.  I have compared this to 3 others here.  Only one in my opinion is an upgrade and that it is the hugely expensive Avool’s Sword of Jin.

Ranged weapons

Wowhead filted search here (item level 174-200 with attack power)

Wowhead compare for the items I selected here

Good easy to get suggestions:

EDIT:  Blunderbuss of Khaz Modan – from the Argent Tournament dailies – item level 200

Drake-Mounted Crossbow – Ingvar the Plunderer Utgarde Keep (H) – item level 200

Nesingwary 400 – crafted boe – item level 200 :)

If you haven’t get the Drake-Mounted Crossbow or the Blunderbuss for free, buy the Nesingwary 4000.  Accept no substitute.  There is nothing better for a hunter to spend their money on than their ranged weapon (and don’t forget the scope while you are out shopping).

Now the Blundderbuss is available for a weeks worth of dailies (which also earn you a lot of cash), there is no excuse for not having one of the three above weapons.  Lesser temporary alternatives are (but I would expect these to be temporary):

Pierce’s Pistol – Culling of Strat (H) – item level 200

Titanium Compact Crossbow – Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom (H) – item level 200

Zombie Sweeper Shotgun – revered Argent Crusade vendor Icecrown – item level 200 (you should be grinding this rep anyway for the breastplate at exalted)

Don’t skip out on enchants/armor patches, gems, scopes, etc.  But that is another article.  Hope this was helpful.


External links to other gear lists:

QQpewpew – Gear from the Frozen North

The Hunter’s Mark – Faction Items for Hunters: Wrath Edition

BRK – GM Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Great Mind’

WOW Insider – Scatter Shot – 5-man heroic loot for hunters


Anelf’s Resto Druid Easy Naxx-Ready Gear Guide (Part 2)

AnelfBling and Weapons

In Part One, I looked at Armor items. This time its bling and weapons. Part Three covers item enhancements. Remember, this list is gear you can get from professions, questing and the AH to gear you up for your first Naxxramas run. I’m excluding stuff you have to PvP or farm badges for.

Necklace

Dragon Prow Amulet -BoE drop from Utgarde Keep. Fairly common on the AH, and therefore reasonably cheap. This baby is my necklace of choice, giving good stats at a reasonable price.

Amulet of the Crusade – Quest/Icecrown. If money is tight, this is a good alternative to the DPA. Less stats, including 10 less Spellpower, but you do get a gem slot. (Although once you factor in the cost of a decent gem, you might prefer to just buy the DPA.

Titanium Spellshock Necklace – Jewelcrafted epic. If money is no object, you might want to burn 2K gold on this. Its really a Balance piece, and not good enough to warrant choosing it over the DPA.

Rings

There are a lot of rings you can choose from – especially if gold is no object. I confess there are so many rings and trinkets that I’ve probably missed a couple of good ones.

Loop of the Kirin Tor – Do you have 8500 gold to spare? I had to include this one because its so awesome, but I think I’ll buy a couple of epic flying mounts for my alts before buying this :-) .

Titanium Spellshock Ring – Jewelcrafted epic. I had to include this one because I saw one on the AH on New year’s Day and treated myself. Its really a Balance ring, but it has a gem slot.

Signet of Hopeful Light – Argent Crusade exalted. Ok, so you’re not likely to get to exhalted with these guys until you hit the heroics, but its nice to have a goal.

Ring of Temerity – Quest/The Occulus. A quest in an instance, so the loot is guaranteed. (Remember its farming random drops we want to avoid). There’s a ring with MP5 from the same quest, but this has so much more Intellect and Spellpower I selected this one instead.

Newt-Eye Ring – Quest/Icecrown. Good Intellect and Spellpower. Bat-Wool Signet is available from the same quest if you’re short on Spirit.

Ring of the Fallen Shadow Adept – Quest/Icecrown. Our first green, and pretty good. Intellect, Spirit, and above average Spellpower.

Twisted-Puzzle Ring – BoE Northrend drop. Can’t be bothered questing? This one should be a reasonable price on the AH.

Trinkets

Darkmoon Card: Greatness – OMG. Buy the Nobles cards or Deck off the AH if you can find them. Or grind your Inscription for the cards.Comes in several different flavors.

Darkmoon Card: Illusion – Probably not quite as good as the Greatness. Still a nice mana battery though.

Futuresight Rune – Quest/Dragonblight. I like trinkets that have an ‘on equip’ +Spellpower, because I don’t currently have them macro-ed to my casts. The +Spirit ‘on use’ is great if you need a boost when you Innervate.

Softly Glowing Orb – Nice ‘on use’ Spellpower boost. Good +Spirit ‘on equip’.

Idols

You’re  a little out of luck for easily obtainable idols. The only pre-level 80 Northrend idol you can get is Idol of Pure Thoughts. But that’s from Grizzly Hills PvP dailies, so I have to exclude it from my list :-) . That leaves you with whatever idol you had at level 70 until you can farm the 15 Badges of Heroism for your Idol of Lush Moss. This was going to be my first Badge buy, but I’ve read a few posts saying its broken at the moment so I’m holding off. I’m still using my Idol of the Emerald Queen right now.

Edit (1/8/9) – I’ve just read that Idol of the Emerald Queen is being nerfed in patch 3.0.8. According to the PTR patch notes on MMO Champion – “This idol was providing greater healing than implied by its tooltip. It has been reduced to correct value.” This appears to be Blizzard’s answer to complaints that the Idol of Lush Moss was broken because it hardly gives any improvement over the Emerald Queen – “the new idol isn’t rubbish, it was the old one that was too good. Where’s me nerf-bat”. Looks like I’ll be buying the new Idol just to keep my Lifebloom power as it is :-( . Doesn’t feel good to be grinding badges just to keep from moving backwards.

One-Handed Mace

Totemic Purification Rod – Revered with Kalu’ak. The Kalu’ak are probably the easiest Northrend faction to hit Revered with. Just do all the Northrend quests from their villages, and you’ll be revered before you hit 80. This mace is good enough to start your heroics, but you can get better …

Gavel of the Brewing Storm – Revered with the Wyrmrest Accord. This is a good upgrade from your walrus mace, giving an additional 41 Spellpower. (Shame you lose a little Haste for the Crit, but neither are that important). It takes a while to hit Revered with the dragon dudes, so make sure you start doing their dailies as soon as they become available so you can grab this baby as you hit 80. Drake Hunt is available at level 69, Defending Wyrmrest Temple at 71, and Aces High at 80, but they only give 250 rep each.

Titansteel Guardian – BoE crafted epic. I’m putting this one in the list because a Priest in our guild was really keen on it. I’m not so impressed – its got oodles of Spellpower, but no Int, Spirit or MP5. So its great if you like to have +Spellpower competitions with your friends and don’t care about your other stats (or if you’re happy with the Int and Spirit you get from the rest of your gear). I’d rather save my cash and wait for something a little more balanced to drop. This baby costs a packet – 2000g+ on my server.

Daggers

Added 7/5/2009

The Argent Tournament in patch 3.1 introduced some nice gear for new raiders, You can start grinding the Tournament dailies from Level 77, so you can be well o your way to having the Champions Seals you need to buy the gear you need by the time you hit 80. The dailies also give very good XP.

Probably the most notable item for a Resto Druid is the Dagger of Lunar Purity. This gives 408 Spellpower and a big chunk of Spirit. Its now probably the best starter weapon for Resto Druids, and makes grinding Wyrmrest rep slightly less important.

I favor this dagger over the Titansteel Spellblade for the much better stats balance. The spellblade can be bought on the AH, so if you feel you have enough Int and Spirit, you may prefer to buy that and grind some other rep instead. (But if you’re buying a Titansteel weapon, you’ll want the Titansteel Guardian for the extra Spellpower).

Offhand

Prison Manifest – BoE drop from Violet Hold. This is an awesome Blue off-hand.

Frostbridge Orb – BoE Drop from the Occulus. Another very good off-hand.

The Witching Grimoire – Quest/Icecrown. Has Spirit and MP5.

Faces of Doom – Inscription crafted Purple. This is on a par with the Prison Manifest, and is probably slightly better. Its likely to cost you more though

Iron-Bound Tome – Inscription crafted purple. Significantly more Spellpower, but only Stamina and Crit. A reasonable buy if you feel you already have enough Int and Spirit and need the extra Spellpower..

In Part Three – Enhancements (enchants, threads, etc).

Anelf’s Resto Druid Easy Naxx-Ready Gear Guide (Part 1)

AnelfEdit 7/5/2009 – This guide was written before patch 3.1, and so doesn’t include gear introduced since then. In particular, there are some very good items to be had from grinding the Argent Tournament dailies. I’ve added a couple of items, but I’ve not covered them all.

As Tinuviel mentioned in her new year’s resolutions, she’ll be extending this blog a little to cover some of the other classes she plays (while maintaining a strong focus on her Hunter). I’ll be joining in the fun with a few posts on the noble art of Druiding.

My first post covers a favorite topic of mine – gearing up for raiding with the minimum of grinding. Back when I was level 70, most of my guildmates hit the BGs to gear up for Kara, or went on endless Slave Pens runs to farm their Badges of Justice. I PvPed enough to get my welfare healer mace, but got the rest of my gear by :

  • Selecting the right quest rewards,
  • Making my own,
  • Buying a few choice items from the AH,
  • Not relying on random BoP drops in instances (quests rewards from instances are ok), and
  • No items that require badge farming.

The same approach is even easier in Wrath now that all the Leatherworking recipes are available from the vendor and the trainer (and because the money flows like wine in Northrend). I hit my first level 80 Heroic (Culling of Stratholme), having not run any of Northrend instances while leveling (except for one run through normal Culling of Stratholme, which was embarrassingly easy). I’ve not had any major Heroic drops yet, and don’t have enough badges to buy anything, but my gear is proving well up to Heroic healing. My one excursion into Naxxramas so far indicates the gear is good enough for that if your group is taking three healers (as beginner groups tend to do).

I’ve gleaned the information contained here from a number of resources, but I’ve not seen everything in one place elsewhere. So here is my guide to gearing up for Heroic and raiding in Northrend for people who don’t like PvP or farming for random boss drops …

[Edit - While I was writing this, Phaelia posted an article on Druid gear. WoWInsider have also got in on the action. This guide is slightly different because I'm focusing on gear you can get without grinding badges or running instances, so I'll post this anyway.]

If you’re a Leatherworker, you’ll find gearing up really easy. Your first Leatherworking mission should be the Overcast set (Belt, Boots, Bracers, Chestguard, Handwraps, Headguard, Leggings, Spaulders). These will help you skill up to level 440, when you can make your purples –  Earthgiving Legguards and Boots. (If you’re not a Leatherworker, you can pick these up easily in the AH or on trade, or ask a guildmate to knit them for you. The purples are quite expensive).

So, here are my suggestions per item slot. This isn’t definitive, and it does reflect the following preferences:

  • Lots of spirit – which I tend to favor over MP5,
  • No cloth – I just looked for leather items. Maybe I’ll follow up with the equivalent cloth sometime in the future. (I’m slowly being dragged to the grudging conclusion that its ok for Druids to wear cloth).
  • One-handed maces – I favor a one-hander and an off-hander, as they tend to give better combined stats than a staff.
  • Mostly Blues or Purples – with the occasional green if its close to the Blue items.
  • I’m a Leatherworker –  crafted items are pretty cheap for me, and I like gear I can make for myself.
  • No BoP random drops – BoE drops are ok because they find their way onto the AH.
  • No badge items – this is the gear you’ll use to farm your badges with.

For this first post I’ll cover just the armor. I’ll follow up with bling and item enhancements soon …

Hat

Overcast Headguard – BoE Leatherworking. You lose some itemization to Resilience, but its solid gear. Cheap to make or buy (the Overcast set is one of the skill-up options for people aiming for their level 440 LW purple pieces). I’ll list the other Overcast items no further further comment. (BTW These pieces are pretty ugly – the helm makes you look like a robot sheep, and the spaulders look like you have dog poop on your shoulders).

Helm of the Majestic Stag – Kirin Tor Honored. More Intellect, less Stamina than the Overcast. MP5 instead of Spirit.

Shoulders

Good shoulderpads are a little thin on the ground (they have been since the 80s really :-P ). By far the best non-boss-drop piece is the Overcast Spaulders. After that we’re looking at a Blue BoE drop, and then greens.

Overcast Spaulders.

Gnarled Shovelhorn Spaulders – BoE Northrend Drop. Not bad Spellpower. Ok Intellect and Stamina. No Spirit or MP5.

Static Dispersing Shoulderpads – Quest/Sholazar. Good Spirit, but low Spellpower and no Stamina.

Gale-wind Guard – Quest/Storm Peaks. Very good Spellpower for a green, but no Spirit or MP5, or Stamina.

Chest

Overcast Chestguard.

Ymirjar Physician’s Robe – BoE drop from Utgarde Pinnacle. A very significant upgrade on the Overcast piece. I got one on the AH for only 80g, but they normally sell on my server for 300-500g at the moment. The price will probably drop as more people put UP on farm mode.

Tunic of the Unduly Victorious – Quest/Icecrown. Close to the Overcast piece – maybe slightly better.

Belt

Overcast Belt.

Belt of the Never-Forgotten – Quest/Icecrown. A Blue reward from a quest chain. Very close to the Overcast Belt for stats.

Binding of the Ancient Keeper – Quest/Sholazar. Decent Spellpower, MP5 and Intellect. No Stamina

Pants

Overcast Leggings.

Earthgiving Legguards – BoE Leatherworking epic. If you plan to knit your own, you’ll need a total of 11 Eternal Lifes and 11 Eternal Waters to make these and the boots together. The best farming place for these is Sholazar Basin, where you can also pick up lots of Borean Leather for free by hanging round Nessingwary’s Camp. (Eternal’s are made from 10 Crystallized – you farm for the Crystallized). You also need a Frozen Orb for these items. They drop from Heroic end-bosses, or you can buy them from the AH.

Giant Friend Kilt – Sons of Hodir Revered. Really a Balance item (Crit, but no Spirit/MP5), but pretty good stats all the same. You’ll want to grind rep with the SoH for the shoulder enchants, so these might be worth getting along the way. (Note – as of patch 3.0.8, you will be able to hand in Relics of Ulduar for faster rep grinding).

Leggings of Heightened Renewal – Quest/Storm Peaks. Not quite as good as the other three, but you might be doing the quest anyway.

Bracers

Overcast Bracers.

Storming Vortex Bracers – BoE drop from halls of Lightning. No Spirit or MP5, but not a bad choice. Very common on the AH (and therefore cheap to buy).

Wristguards of Verdant Recovery – World BoE drop. from More Int than the Storming Vortex ones, slightly less Spellpower.

Wound-Binder’s Wristguards – Ebon Blade Revered. Has the top Spirit, Intellect and Spellpower of all these options.

Soaring Wristwraps – Quest/Occulus. These are a quest reward from the instance, so the loot is guaranteed. (I’m only avoiding random drops).

Gloves

Overcast Handwraps.

Awakened Handguards – BoE drop (Halls of Lightning). Let someone else farm it for you and buy it off the AH. No Spirit or MP5 on these, but Haste is preferable to Crit for Restos. You’ll have Spirit to spare from the other items in the list, so not to worry.

Gloves of the Flayed – Quest/Icecrown. Green item. No Stamina or Spirit, but you get a gem slot.

Boots

Overcast Boots.

Bugsquashers – Another Leatherworking staple. Not much to choose between these and the OverCast. You gain some Spirit, but lose some Spellpower.

Earthgiving Boots – BoE Leatherworking epic. A significant upgrade on the other two. (See comments by Earthgiving Legguards).

Tundra Wolf Boots – BoE drop from Utgarde Pinnacle. No Spirit or MP5.

Mammoth Hide Galoshes – Quest/Storm Peaks. No Stamina.

Cloak

Wispcloak – BoE Tailoring epic. Has MP5 instead of Spirit. Lots of Spellpower. Needs some expensive mats to make (including a Frozen Orb you’ll have to buy off the AH), Worth grinding mats for if you are a Tailor or have a Tailor friend to make it for you. If you’re buying off the AH, I’d suggest you save a bit of cash and get the Reanimator’s Cloak instead.

Reanimator’s Cloak – BoE drop from Drak’Tharon Keep. Same item level as the Wispcloak (200). Has less Spellpower, bit gives you a gem socket. I bought this as I was leveling to 80 to have it sitting ready to equip when I dinged. This gives a lot more bang per buck than the Wispcloak IMHO.

Bloodbane Shroud – Quest/Icecrown. This Blue (and the next item are a significant step down from the previous two items – level 174). Has the same Spellpower as the Reanimator’s cloak, but 10MP5 instead of 38 Spirit.

Bone Witch’s Drape – Quest/Icecrown. A whole 10 Spellpower less than Reanimator or Bllodbane, much lower Intellect as well. Spirit is good.

Click on to Part Two, where I’ll cover all things bling; and Part Three for item enhancements (threads, enchants etc).

Ghostcrawler speaks – huge hunter nerf incoming

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Hunters of all specs, and particularly Beastmaster, are doing too much damage in PvE. 
      We tested this a lot internally in beta and knew hunters were high but we hoped other classes would be able to catch up in a way they have as yet been unable to do. We want to be careful not to hurt hunter dps too much in PvP, so we’re taking most of the damage out of Steady Shot and Volley. Beastmaster hunters are in addition losing some of their pet dps. We still want BMs to have the best pets, but pet dps numbers are a little high at the moment. We are also still concerned about hunter survivability in PvP and taking the opportunity to jazz up Deterrence into something that looks and plays a little more interesting. 

These are not all of the changes we are working on for hunters, but those changes we feel are ready for testing. We hope to get these changes up on the PTR so players will have a chance to test them out and respond before they go live. 

1) Steady Shot – now only gains 10% of attack power as damage (down from 20%). 
2) Volley – reduced the damage by about 30% for all ranks. Note that AE damage from many classes is very high right now and we are looking at all of them. Volley in particular had reached the point where some hunters were using it to the exclusion of most other attacks. 
3) Readiness – no longer affects the cooldown of Bestial Wrath. 
4) Deterrence – has been completely overhauled. It now allows you to deflect 100% of incoming melee or spell damage for 5 seconds, but prevents you from attacking while active. You still must be facing the attacker to deflect the damage (this is a limitation we are trying and might end up removing). 60 sec cooldown. 
5) Kill Shot – cooldown reduced to 15 sec (from 35 sec). 
6) Kindred Spirits – now only grants 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage. 
7) Serpent’s Swiftness – now only grants 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to pet. (
EDIT: Still grants the current bonus to the hunter.) 
8) All hunter pet abilities with a cooldown longer than 30 sec have been moved off the global cooldown. 
9) Growl— threat generation increased by 20% (same for Voidwalker Torment). 
10) Call of the Wild – now benefits only the hunter and his or her pet. 
11) Rake and Scorpid Poison – slightly nerfed to bring them into line with other pet abilities. 
12) Spirit Strike – reduced the period on the dot so it will work better with Longevity. 
Improved Tracking – now benefits damage to all included creature types as long as you are tracking one of them. You don’t have to swap around what you are tracking as much. 
13) Aspect of the Wild – now raid-wide. 

EDIT: The “only” on Serpent’s Swiftness meant 10% pet attack speed instead of 20%. The hunter bonus is unchanged. 
Post edited by Ghostcrawler ]

—————————————————————————————————————————

WOW!

This is the biggest news hunters have had in a long time.  Some of these changes are huge, especially for beastmasters.  Not all of them are nerfs, and not all of them may end up on the live realms (they will be tested and adjusted on the PTRs), but it is clear that as WOW insider puts it, ‘The Great Hunter Nerf of 2008′ will soon be upon us (although it is possible this will creep into 2009 by the time the have tested it all).

I think most of us will admit our class is very powerful in PVE.  I soloed through much of the content to 80 and duoed the rest, including all the group quests and elites we came across along the way.  I only died once or twice, and then when soloing non-pet friendly quests where I had to melee an elite, or some such.  My gear at 80 is OK but nothing special.  I have a Nessingway 4000 gun, but I am mostly dressed in level 78 LW crafted blues (the swiftarrow pieces) – nice starter pvp gear but not top end dps kit.  Yet in the couple of instances I have participated in so far (Lightning Halls and Heroic Nexus), with a group of similarly or slightly better geared people (mage, enhance shammie, pally dps), I have being putting out around 40% of the damage and clocking around 1800dps to their 1100.  Better geared (and probably played hunters) are talking of dps numbers of 3.5k and 4.5k on a regular basis in raids and instances.  In solo pve, my gorilla and I can regularly top 3k dps on a group of mobs with volley and have recorded 5,0000+ dps on a group of lower level mobs at the top end.  So I am OK with the fact that hunters, and especially maybe beastmaster hunters need toning down a bit in pve.  I don’t like it of course, but I think it’s fair.  What I hope they will do though, is bring it to a sensible level and not nerf us to the ground.  Hunters are a pure dps class.  We should be at the top of the dps charts.  We should be vying for that position with other pure dpsers like mages and rogues.  We should be out-dpsing hybrid classes who bring a wider range of buffs and utility to the party than a hunter, and who now mostly have cc too.  If our dps drops below that of shaman, ret pallies, and others, Blizz have done something wrong.

Overall, I hope the nerf to steady shot will be adjusted somewhat.  This affects all hunters, not just BM.  It’s their bread and butter shot.  According to Drotara, over on Less QQ, More Pew Pew, this looks like a 25% nerf to something that accounts for 51% of his damage (i.e. a 13-15% nerf to his overall damage), taking him below the top 10 dpsers in his raid.  And this is just one of the nerfs.  I hope this is not where Blizzard want us to be.

Once the changes have been finalized, and the theorycrafting over on elitist jerks and elsewhere has settled, this will change how we play.  Most of the nerfs are aimed at BM hunters.  It maybe that marksman will become the premier raiding spec to maximise dps.  Cats are getting nerfed, but not so devilsaurs (and the elusive spirit beast is getting a buff), so devilsaurs and perhaps spirit beasts should overtake cats as king of the dps jungle.  Readiness not effecting beastial wrath (along with the cat nerf) removes the temptation for a BM hunter spec like 50/21 – it looks like a 51 spec will be more effective if you stay BM.  

There are also a few buffs in here.  Improved growl will help tanking hunters, and those with high crits hold aggro with their pets.  Improved tracking over in the survival tree, sounds as if it will give a straight 5% damage buff as long as you are tracking something on the list, and not herbs or the stablemaster.  Looks like abilities such as Intimidation are not going to disrupt your shot rotations anymore, which is nice.  And the new deterrence, sounds like a hunter bubble for pve and BGs :)  It says you can’t fight for those 5 secs, but presumably you can drink a potion or bandage?  It would be nice it if were a complete bubble to give you time to do this, without interruption and also give you immunity to stuns (otherwise this is useless again rogues, warriors, pallies, etc, who would just stun you for the period.  May also need to consider giving you temporary immunity to any DOTs you have on you, which is not how it reads at the moment (otherwise bandaging will get interrupted).  However, it is unclear how useful this will be in arenas.  Do you really want to standby invulnerable for 5 secs, while the other team kills your healer?

All in all this has come at a bad time for me in WOW.  Don’t get me wrong, I think some of the stuff in the expansion is great, but somehow I am not am as obsessed with WOW as I was even a few weeks ago.  I can now go a whole two days without wanting to play!  

So over to you guys?  What do you think of the prospective changes?  Constructive clean comments only please (this is a family show).  – Ha ha – I have just re-read this article – it’s very balanced given my first reaction to the news :) 

External Links:

Elitist jerks post on the changes – here

Adam Holsky at WOWInsider – here

Big Red Kitty at WOW insider – here here and here  – I like BRKs ending to part 3 – couldn’t agree more: 

” Now let’s move on to getting some freaking help in arenas, shall we? And the Survivalist tree is still honked up. Heart of the Phoenix, one of the best reasons for getting the Beast Mastery talent, isn’t working properly. There aren’t enough level 80 pets to tame. Why can’t we tame Mammoth?

And fix Cower, for Elune’s sake! COWER, people!”

Less QQ, More Pew Pew is QQing  – here

And for a little optimism I will leave you with Pike on Aspect of the Hare: “So Blizz has the nerf bat and we’re the battered Big Red Piñata this time.

Stay positive.

I think it will be okay.

If we have to work harder for BM DPS now, then that makes it all the more fun and exciting. Not as easy to top DPS now? So be it– maybe we can finally shake the huntard stigma.

Hang in there everyone! /group hug”