Gearing my fresh 80 Hunter

A quick note to those that Google has sent my way: This post was originally written in December of ’08 and a few things have changed since then. I have a post up now that is updated for 3.1 (soon to be redone for 3.2). The info here is still good for the most part, but you may want to check out the other as well. It can be found HERE.

 

Today’s post was going to be an elaborate “gear up your fresh level 80 hunter” post. That for the most part is no longer required.

Wowhead beat me to the punch.

They now have the ability built right in to search their ginormous database of gear based on a weighted scale. It has default templates for each class and even takes your general spec into account when filtering gear. Basically it takes what I used to do over the course of several hours of stat comparisons and spits out the results in moments.

Drupadi is sitting at 80 now and has been able to use the nice crafted blues for two solid levels now. A few nights ago I sat down to come up with a basic gear plan for her. I  planned to use it both as the basis for today’s post and as a farming list for the crafted gear (much thanks to Fimlys for doing all my crafting).  That’s when I discovered the changes that had been made to Wowhead.

Even if I know what I am looking for I have always found it kinda pays to make a list of what and how much I am farming before I start, that way I don’t forget something inportant. Kinda like going to the grocery store , coming home with 2 bags of stuff, and realizing you forgot the one important thing you went to the store for.

So am I going to write a thousand word monstrosity of a gear post based on data that will be evolving over time, or should I just list a few things to keep in mind and send you (and myself) to Wowhead? How about I do both.

Hit rating is a good thing, all the potential damage in the world is useless unless you can put the rounds on the target. Otherwise you are just poking holes in the wall behind the bad guy. Remember, bullets cost money. Every time you pull the trigger is like throwing cash at the other guy.

According to the best info I can dig up right now you have a 6% chance to miss in heroics and an 8% chance to miss in a raid situation. At level 80 you will need 32.8 hit rating to equal 1% less chance to miss.

This turns out to be a hit rating of 196.8 (call it 197) for heroics and 262.4 (call it 263) for raiding. Unless you happen to be Dreanei like my hunters, then you need 164 for heroics and 229.6 (call it 230) for raiding because of the 1% bonus to hit racial. It works out something like this.

Hit cap for raiding

  • Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 230
  • Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 197
  • Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 164
  • Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 131
  • Non Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 263
  • Non Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 230
  • Non Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 197
  • Non Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 164

Hit cap for heroics

  • Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 164
  • Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 131
  • Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 99
  • Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 66
  • Non Draenei with 0/3 careful aim 197
  • Non Draenei with 1/3 careful aim 164
  • Non Draenei with 2/3 careful aim 131
  • Non Draenei with 3/3 careful aim 99

Just something to keep in mind while planning your gear.

I poked around a bit and here is what I came up with for myself. Keep in mind this is my farming character so I am only worried about hit rating to the “I can run heroics without missing every time I pull the trigger” level. I am also not looking at the items that require a long rep grind to get, those will come in time. As I said.. this is just my farmer. I am concentrating on easily acquired quest rewards, easy to get rep rewards, and/or crafted items that I can farm up mats for.

All that in mind, this is what I ended up looking like when I dinged.

fresh-80-gear

Is there better gear to be had? You betcha.

Is there an easier way to go about it? Not that I can think of.

I have no illusions about this being “top end” gear. What I do see it as is a good place to start, better will come with time.

Here is the breakdown on what I had when I hit 80:

 

Head  Swiftarrow Helm  (crafted Leatherworking)

with an Arcanym of ferocity on it from Cenerion Expedition (34 attack power 16 hit rating)

 

Neck Choker of the Betrayer  (quest reward from Betrayal in Zul’Drak)

Socketed with a Balanced perfect shadow crystal I picked up dirt cheap in the AH.

 

Shoulder Virulent spaulders (crafted Leatherworking)

with the 26 attack power glyph from the Aldor

 

Chest Razorstrike Breastplate (crafted Leatherworking)

With +8 to all stats

 

Back Cloak of the Agile Mind  (BOE world drop, I got mine while farming for leather)

enchanted with +12 agility

 

Wrist Swiftarrow Bracers  (crafted Leatherworking)

enchanted with +38 attack power

 

Hands Gauntlets of the secret agent (quest reward for Infiltrating Voltarus in Zul’Drak)

 

Waist Xevozz’s Belt (my one and only instance drop)

Originaly planned on getting  a Swiftarrow Belt crafted, and likely will for my next Hunter.

 

Legs Swiftarrow Leggings (crafted Leatherworking)

with a clefthide armor kit I had laying around on it (30 stamina 10 agility)

 

Feet Dragonstompers (crafted Leatherworking)

enchanted with 24 attack power

 

Trinket 1 Death Knights anguish (quest reward from Buying some time in Borean Tundra)

 

Trinket 2 First mates pocketwatch  (quest reward from The jig is up in Howling Fjiord)

 

Ring 1 Mildly tarnished ring (quest reward from doing you duty in Grizzly Hills)

 

Ring 2 Ring of Indignant rage (quest reward from The assassination of Herold Lane in Borean Tundra)

 

Ranged Dragon slayer’s shortbow  (quest reward from Post partum aggression in Sholazar basin)

Personally I am still using the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix , but my next hunter won’t be running Kara to get one.

The Sunfury has a scope on it, making most early quest rewards a sidegrade at best. I can’t talk myself into replacing it quite yet, but likely will when I quest my way therough Sholazar basin.

 

Melee Whale stick harpoon (is the only rep item on my list. I was revered just by questing, almost by accident)

It is enchanted with +20 agility (because I am a nub. I misclicked when enchanting and did not use the +35 agi I planned on)

 

All this left me hit capped for heroics, with good stamina for solo work, and a reasonable ammount attack power. I have not gone and played at the target dummies yet, probably because I neither have or know how to use damage meters. (fellow bloggers: WTB post on how to use recount, or at least an email).

What I have done is go back and try soloing group quests. I figure thats a good gauge of survivability. I have been able to do every three person quest I have tried so far, but I could not heal through the damage in the Ampithetere of Anguish when me and Thwack the Gorilla tried a five player.

And today started out so well……

I started the day with full intentions of finishing off my post on Wrath’s raiding consumables.

I was about half done with a post with all the pots, elixers, buff food, and such that I drag along with me.  Then I opened my feed reader and found it sitting there all polished up and ready to go. 

I suppose I could reinvent the wheel, but I am way too lazy for that. It seems to me  that it would be far easier to just link over to this most excellent post at The Hunters Mark. Lassirra already wrote it, and in a far nicer format than mine was I might add. 

Perhaps when I get off work for the weekend I will start putting together my other project. I plan to go through and put together a Hunter gear list for those just getting to 80 (like me, I am at 78). The one I put together for gearing a level 70 for Kara using quested and crafted items went over quite well. Plus I need a plan anyway, and it’s easier to find it later if I post it here instead of scribbling in a notebook somewhere.

Or i’ll get half done and find out someone already did it, in which case i’ll just link it, what with me being lazy and all.

I’ve slept on it

I am a lot calmer this morning. That old saying about sleeping on it really worked.

I have taken a few deep breaths and actually looked at the changes that are proposed to the Hunter class. It just does not pay to get all Emo and panic before thinking it through. Honestly I don’t see it as much of a nerf. Let me break down my thoughts on it, makes it easier to flame me for individual items in the comments.

  •  Steady Shot will now gain a 10% bonus from attack power as opposed to 20% that it currently is.

Yes Steady shot is a bread and butter type shot. Yes it will lower our personal DPS somewhat. I don’t think it will be a huge issue however. It is not a straight 10% damage reduction, but a reduction that actually scales as you level. The good thing with this is it (I think) will lower the overall DPS of max level Hunters in good gear significantly more than it will hurt lower level Hunters that are still on their way up.

  •  Volley damage reduction by about 30% across all ranks.

Contrary to the idea that this means the end of Hunter AoE it is actually just a slowdown. I don’t lose the ability to grab up a whole herd of critters with Thumper the gorrilladin and AoE them all down. As it sits right now I have to Volley about 3 times per group, soon it will be 4 times – oh, the horror.

  •  Readiness no longer will effect the cooldown on Beastial Wrath.

While the whole idea of being able to keep up Beastial Wrath for a long time is a fun one I really see this as more of a PvP change.  I never really played around with this ability as I valued the four extra pet talent points more than I did having readiness, so I won’t comment further on this one.

  •  Deterrence has been completely overhauled. Its new incarnation will allow you to deflect 100% of incoming spell or melee damage for 5 seconds, but prevents you from attacking while active. You must be facing the attacker to deflect the damage. 60 second cooldown.

The “you must be facing your enemy”  part is something they are trying out, and may change. Hell this has not even hit the PTR yet, it may all change. It sounds like it could be really useful, but it all depends on how it is implemented. For instance, I understand I can’t attack while it is active. Can I move? Can I bandage? Can I lay traps? Mend pet? Can I Hearth? (The idea of a Hunter version of “bubble hearthing” amuses me for some reason).

For me the jury is still out. Buying an extra 5 seconds is nice, but I need to know what I can do with that time before I make a call on this one.

  • Kill Shot cooldown will be reduced from its current 35 seconds to 15 seconds.

This is a buff, hands down. Kill shot will likely even pick up a hotkey spot once this goes live. In it’s current incarnation a I rarely use it. I see this a good Dps boost, particularly on boss fights.

  • Kindred Spirits will now only increase pet damage by 3/6/9/12/15%

Yes my pets Dps will go down a bit. To be fair even I can see my pet was doing too much. My major worry here is maintaining threat while doing less damage.

  • Serpents Swiftness will now only grant 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to the pet. The way I read it hunter will remain the same.

This is the one that is going to hurt the most to be honest. The extra attack speed translated into more specials that could proc in a given time. Probably my least favorite of all the changes.

  • Growl will have its threat generation increased by 20%.

You cant see it right now, but I am dancing. Actually its probably a good thing you can’s see that. I don’t dance so well, at least according to my wife. She refuses to dance in public with me. Where were we? Growl, gotcha.

More threat before I pull aggro is a beautiful thing. I was worried about the lowered pet Dps causing me problems while soloing. Hopefull this will prevent that. If nothing else it shows they are aware that people do more than PvP and raid. 

  • Call of the wild will now only benefit the hunter and their pet.

I will refuse to comment on this because I am woefully ignorant on it. I have not made it to 80 to begin raiding yet, so I don’t know how much it really benefitted the group. It looks like we are trading this off for making Aspect of the Wild going raid wide. Time will tell on this one, I can’t.

  • Rake (cats) and Scorpid Poison(Scorpids) is being nerfed to bring it in line with other pet damage skills.

Um, OK. The whole point of the great pet restructuring that went on not long ago was to make most pets equally attractive. I am sure I was not the only one who got tired of seeing the same 4 or 5 pets on virtually every hunter that ran past in Shattrath. I use a cat on one of my hunters as her Dps pet, the other uses a wolf. One should not be significantly better than the other. I see this as more of a balancing act than a nerf.

  • Spirit Strike is having the timer of its Dot adjusted to work better with Longevity.

Once again, not a buff or a nerf. Simply a balancing act. It is a new skill and they are adjusting its ability to synergise with the Hunters talents. Actually I suppose it is a buff, since they will work together better now.

  • Improved Tracking will now improve damage to all included creature types assuming you are tracking at least one of them.

An interesting change. I certainly would call this a buff. First you don’t have to change constantly to keep up the damage bonus, which is a nice bonus in and of itself. Second you can now gain the benefit across all different types of trackable critters at the same time.

For instance, in a pull with two wolves (beast) and a trainer (huminoid) your multi shot would currently only get the bonus against the type you were currently tracking. Soon you would get it against all both. Just one example, I am sure you can think of more.

  • Aspect of the Wild will go raid wide.

As I have not done any raiding yet I can’t really say much from first hand experience. It seems to me that while they took away one raid wide usage in Masters Call thay added one back in this. Once again time will tell how good or bad it is.

  • All hunter pet abilities with cooldowns longer than 30 seconds are removed from the global cooldown.

Um, sweet! I am a big fan of macros. As such this will help me out a lot. Particularly with my “Get the hell off meh haeler!” macro, which is currently still borked. 

It will also come in handy for those who are willing to take the time to actually trigger things on thier pet during combat. This will allow those who put in the effort to learn how to maximise their use to get back some of the raw “white damage” Dps we lost.

 

Now for a short list of things that are not listed, But still need looked into.

  • Pet skills, most notably cower, are still randomly turning themselves on and off. As long as we are tinkering with pets, hows about we fix that.
  • Speaking of pet skills, I now have a lot of things to keep track of with my pet.  How about freeing up some real estate on my pet bar by allowing me to replace skills I rarely use (agressive for instance) with something I do. Like say, last stand or Taunt.
  • As long as I am asking about pets, how about fixing Heart of the Phoenix. Yes, like everyone else, I have it macro’d so I can use it manually. The point it, it should autocast.

All in all taking a look at Hunters we will be fine. We will still have the ability to top the meters, we will just have to work a bit harder for it. Taking it all in, even the things that are broken and have yet to be fixed, I really don’t see much of a nerf at all.

Cha Cha Cha Changes

Last night as I was logging in I noticed something that caught my eye. Character Re-customization. I decided to take a minute while scanning the auction house for fresh data to make a few bucks with and go investigate. Here is the official description.

  • This service lets you change your character’s gender, face, hair and skin color, hairstyle, name, and other cosmetic features determined by their race and gender combination. You cannot, however, change your character’s race or class.
  • Each Character Re-Customization costs $15.00 USD (not including applicable taxes). This covers a single customization for a single character.
  • A character may only be customized once every 30 days.
  • If you change the character’s name during this process, the name you choose must be available on the character’s realm, and must be within the World of Warcraft Naming Policy.
  • A Character Re-Customization cannot be reversed once completed, except by a second customization operation (subject to the above costs and limitations).
  • If you change the character’s name during this process, then once the name change is completed, your character’s old name will be locked from use on the realm for 90 days. After that time, the old name becomes available again and can be claimed by anyone on its realm on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Please review the Character Re-Customization FAQ for answers to common questions about this service.

My thoughts on this are decidedly “who cares?” I am sure there is much hue and cry in the forums about it, there always seems to be a screaming match whenever anything changes.  Hell if I look hard enough I bet good money that somewhere someone will be arguing that this is game breaking for them. They will threaten to delete their characters and go play something else.

Just like evey other time something changes.

To the Ground…..

I am sure we have all seen it coming.  Looks like Hunters, particularly Beastmastery hunters like myself are getting ready to take a bit of a beating.

The full blue post is up on  MMO Champion which is of course now blocked for me here at work.

I expect there to be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the next few days about the proposed changes. Before I let myself get overly excited about any of them I will wait to see how they play out on the PTR at very least.

The new Epic Hunter bow. It's purple, it must be Epic.

The new Epic Hunter bow. It's purple, it must be Epic.

Several others have posted about this as well, the ones I can think of off the top of my head are Pike at Aspect of the Hare, Big Red Kitty , and at least one article on Wow Insider. In addition I assume that we will be hearing a lot more about it over the next few days. Big Red Kitty at very least has said that he will be taking a more rational look at what the changes may mean. I look forward to reading his views on it.

As I said earlier, I will withhold judgement until we have more information.

Cracking the Wow code

Lately I have been seeing post after post covered in strange symbols. A code there was, time to investigate.

I saw examples at Altaholics Are UsBanana Shoulders, yet another at Musings of a Raider, and lastly one over at The Pink Pigtail Inn. All were found to be using a code first referenced by Typhoon Andrew. It seems to be a way to sum up your entire Wow career in a single line of coded text. I decided to take a look at myself through the lens this code provides.

Somehow it seems odd to sum up two and a half years into one long string of characters.

Well,  for the curious amongst you, here is my Wow code.

M:Hu77, Mb:51/17/0, Mr:Dr, Alt:Hu70-51/10/0, Alt:Pr70-14/0/47, Alt:Hu63-51/3/0, S:Draenor-US-PVE, G:Mythos, PVP=, PVE++, Y2006.4, D+C, Ori:MC, TBC:Mags, WLK:Nexxus, L-, C:Hu++, !Ro, RP=, :), V:0.1

Where do I go from here?

Since I can’t come up with the data that I need to do what I was planning today (a guide to leveling Engineering 1 to 450 as cheaply as possible) you get stuck with me reflecting on where I am and where I want to go from here. Hell, while I am writing maybe I’ll actually come up with a good idea of what to do.

As Wrath approached I sat down and took a good hard look at the characters on my login screen. I was trying to decide their fates. Who would I level? Who would I retire? What professions would they have? Most importantly, I needed to know what role they would fill.

morham

Morham is a holy priest and the oldest of my currently active characters. Originally leveled as a Shadowpriest I went Holy to help with healing once I hit 70. Thats how I found that I really enjoyed healing, actually getting a lot of fun out of pugging Kara with him every week. I do plan to level him, and likely will see the occasional raid spot as a fill in, but he will not be my main.

It seems that the pesky thing called “real life” is rearing its ugly head in terms of my ability to set aside blocks of time to raid consistently. Since healers tend to be in short supply for raids I think it would be best for both me and the raid as a whole to have this character kind of on the back burner. As selfish as it may sound, my main will be a DPS class. All the easier to find a replacement for me if the “Real Life” trinket procs and I can’t make it.

My plan at the start was to level Holy through instancing and continue to heal at 80, now I am not so sure. In the 3 and a half weeks since the expansion hit I have managed exactly two instances with him. I healed Ramparts for a group of upcoming Death Knights (that was seriously fun), and Heroic Shattered Halls for a group working on achievements. I may just go Shadow to level and raid with him as DPS, but likely will keep him a healer for the time being.

 

 

drupadi

Drupadi is a Hunter. She is the character I have spent the most of my time on so far. She has made it to 77 so far as of  Saturday and is looking at 78 in a day or two. She is a Skinner and an Herbalist and as such generally finances my whole stable of characters. She is also the only one with an epic flyer at this point since she actually uses the extra speed for more efficient farming.

I actually thought long and hard about simply leveling her up and using her as both a farmer and a raider. I decided against it. She will get leveled up and go back to being my farmer, after all someone around here has to pay the bills right?

 

 

dechion

Dechion is both my other Hunter and the namesake for this blog. Originally he started on Draenor as an experimental alt while my mains were raiding away on Stormrage. Since then he has clicked with me more than any of my other characters, even to the point that I have continued leveling him as the second Hunter on a realm I have already transferred one to.

With Dechion I chose to level Skinning and Mining as my professions, planning to drop Skinning for Engineering once he gets to 80. The thought behind this is that with these three characters I can cover all seven of the games gathering professions (Morham has Fishing at 450 already). As an added bonus Engineering will provide me with a useful additional raid utility in my Gnomish Army Knife, allowing me to Feign Death and (on a good day) jump-start someone who can rez the rest of the group.

After sitting here writing about it for the better part of the morning I think I figured out where to go from here. The path I am choosing will mean longer for me before I get to start raiding, but I think I will be far happier in the long run. Dechion, although currently the lowest level of the three, will be my raiding main in Wrath.

Yes Virginia, there are six gathering skills

I was doing a bit of thinking this morning. That’s  something I really should avoid this early since I kinda fail at it, especially before I have my coffee. For instance I was pondering things of such cosmic significance as why Blizzard has not made the best mana regenerating buff food in the game a drink. Then it occurred to me that the way they seem to think it would likely be some form of tea that used Amberseeds to get the proper color, I’ll pass thanks.

Since that train of thought was not making me particularly look forward to my morning coffee I had to jump off and find something else to ponder. So I started thinking about money. Particularly how to afford things like epic flyers for the two characters who do not yet have them, and how to use my trade skills to supplement my little auction house escapades. In short, How not to be broke while leveling.

Thats when it hit me, there are more than the three gathering skills in the game. There are six, and like those pokey men things in the card game my kids play, I plan to have them all.

Mining is pretty self explanatory, as are Skinning and Herbalism. The three “traditional” gathering skills. All three can net a decent income if you spend the time gathering and sell to those who spent there time doing other things. Things like dailies, Pvping, raiding, or standing in a major city annoying people in the trade channel. Now they want to craft  something and don’t have the mats.

The fact that Enchanting is a gathering skill surprises no one really. Many folks consider it a more production oriented skill, especially at higher levels. I beg to differ. Enchanting comes with its own built in gathering skill in Disenchanting. I have made more money with this than pretty much anything else in the game. Hell, if disenchanting was a seperate skill on its own I would not even have enchanting.

Tailoring got a nice boost recently with the addition of Northrend Cloth Scavenging. It allows a tailor an increased chance to loot cloth from his kills. Since frostweave is not dropping even close to as much as netherweave did I expect this to pay off in the long run. Not only will it make leveling Tailoring easier it will provide income down the road as I can farm cloth more efficiently than non-Tailors. Time will tell if I am guessing right on this one.

Last on my list for today is the much maligned Engineering. Yes the bombs are nice, yes my Hunter loves his jumper cables, Yes the charges are nice to open stubborn doors, but none of that is why it’s a gathering skill. It’s a gathering skill because of the Zapthwattle Mote Extractor, allowing me to farm gas clouds for motes and crystallized stuff. If you don’t call that a gathering skill I don’t know what you would.

Well I guess that narrows it down. I will simply have to have 3 characters just to have all my gathering bases covered. I guess I better get to work.

/Headdesk

A funny thing happened to me as a sat at my computer this morning. I realised I had quite a few things I would like to talk about, and not enough on any one of them to make a decent post. I could just come on and tell a little story about myWTF did I just do moment yesterday. It would be funny. On the other hand how much can I really write about…

Shut up and tell the story already?

/Sigh Ok, here goes.

There is a group quest in Grizzly Hills to kill a rather large, quite grumpy bear. I am not sure why he is grumpy, something about picnic baskets and a park ranger…..

Oops, wrong bear. Well anyway there is this grumpy bear that has like a bajillion hit points and for some reason I have to put him out of my misery. The object here is to take him down and sprinkle him with ashes from this particular quests “use this on that” Item. You will have an npc volunteer to help you out, this guy can either tank, dps, or heal. I asked him to heal.

Actually you want to grab a group for this one if you can, otherwise it will take forever. Or it will last like 10 minutes, whichever comes first. Well not being the sharpest tool in the shed (possibly more like the old rusty shovel out behind the garage) I decided that with the npc on heals, me dpsing, and Thwack the gorilladin tanking we would be fine. I pulled out a few flasks and scrolls I had laying around in my bags to buff up and got to work.

By the time I was ready a party of three Horde were standing around waiting. Very nice of them to allow me the first shot. Come to think of it though they might have saved themselves a few minutes by helping me take the bear down faster, but as usual I digress.

Thwack held aggro like a pro, the npc kept heals up on him to the point I was able to keep up with heals using mend pet. It was a long, slow, tense fight. I sat there pounding away at him for a solid ten minutes before he finally went down.

How is this funny you might ask? How am I not just bragging? Because what I did next is the same thing I do to any mob I take down, I loot it.

Then the little “don’t forget to take my skin” icon pops up.

Yep, you guessed it. I skinned without using the ashes first. No corpse, no finish the quest, no get my nice new legs.

I think the most precious part was my son, sitting in the room with me watching TV. He glanced up, saw the look on my face right when it happened, and asked….

Did you just jump backwards off a mountain again Dad?

Kids say the darnedest things.

 

Well, on the plus side I stuck around and helped out the Horde group who did not help me. Once they were done, I used the ashes on his deceased bear butt and went to go get my new legs.

See what I mean? not really enough there to devote a whole article to. Kind of like talking about how I found out that if you accidentally leap backwards off a very tall cliff you don’t always die. Sometimes you actually manage to launch yourself so far off the cliff that you don’t hit the rocks and shallow water at the bottom, instead landing in clear water.

But that’s a story for another day.