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Gear Eye for the WoW Guy - Issue 2

By Byron Mudry -
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Welcome everyone to a great new column here at WoW.TenTonHammer.com called Gear Eye for the WoW Guy. In it each week I will take a look at a player or victim either at random or through player submission and give them a complete gear makeover in an attempt to get them moving on to new content in the game.

This will generally focus on PVE content at or near end game as that is where most of the game occurs and where most players get lost. After all, when you are leveling it really is just “use item A until you find a higher level item B of the same type, since you’ll find it in 20 minutes”. Once you’re at the end game though, it takes a bit more work to find upgrades, and some of the options are not as clear.

Visit PlayerScore to find your score.

Of course there are two big tools that are needed to be able to check out a player and make useful recommendations. The first of those tools is an in depth knowledge of the game, specifically the classes, mechanics, best stats, best gear, enchants, gems, and more. This isn't something that everyone has for the first little while that they play the game or even for the first while after they hit the level cap.

The second major tool is PlayerScore, which luckily is available and usable by anyone and hosted right here on our network. You can find search for your own character and see how you stack up by visiting the PlayerScore site.


Our Victim

Now that you know what this is all about, on to our victim. This week I chose a hunter to look at, not just any hunter but a lousy horde goblin hunter! When looking for someone that needs a helping hand up, I always find it best to start by looking at Gnomes of Goblins. After all they are both vertically and intellectually challenged, so they need all the help they can get.

So on to the character I chose, Biggjack a Goblin Marksmanship Hunter on the Fizzcrank server. This hunter is fairly well geared, having a gear score of a bit over 9200. While this is a great starting score for any hunter getting ready to raid, there is more that can be done.

Biggjack Playerscore

As you can see Biggjack is from the server Fizzcrank and from looking in the armory we find that he is geared and currently running as his secondary build Marksmanship.

Running with the idea that this character does not raid, but still wants to improve, I am going to keep it to non-raid gear, even though raiding the early Cataclysm raids is starting to be more accessible due to raid nerfs.

A look at Biggjack on the WoW Armory

You can find Biggjack's PlayerScore information here: Biggjack PlayerScore. Remember, however, that it will change over time compared to what is listed here. This is due to PlayerScore constantly being updated to reflect any new gear, achievements and anything else that happens as Biggjack plays and upgrades or changes gear.

While you can see that Biggjack is not in dire need gear wise, there are still some issues, and therefore I chose this lowly Goblin to give a makeover to in this edition of Gear Eye for the WoW Guy. In part to give him a hand, in part to mock him, and the remaining part is to show that the items themselves are not all there is to gearing a character.

With that in mind, I also noticed that he is not running an optimal build as a marksmanship hunter, and would probably be better served running something like a 8/31/2 Marksmanship Build instead of the 5/32/4 Build he is sporting. The changes are not that big, but will offer a bit more DPS.


Stat Priorities

One of the issues I see right away with Biggjack is an issue of stat priority and stat caps. For example, Biggjack is way over on hit cap! To not miss in raids against bosses you only need 8% hit 961, yet for some reason he has 1085 which is a bit over 9%.

Even more important, since we are running on the assumption that he is pre-raid and either not interested in raiding, does not have a raid group, or is just having fun running heroics and not raiding, then he doesn’t even need to be at the 8% hit cap. Instead, he should aim for the heroic boss hit cap of 6% or 721 rating. Going to the raid hit cap when not raiding is actually hurting yourself rather significantly.

Next up, crit, there is a soft cap at 40.6% (raid) or 40% (heroics) to ensure crits from Steady Shot and Aimed Shot against targets with over 80% health due to the Careful Aim talent. This should be a priority to hit as it will increase damage significantly. While not reached right now, with a few gear changes, and some reforging it should be possible to get pretty close to that.

Just to make sure you understand the stat priority for Hunters, it should be the same as the reforging priority discussed below.


Good Item Choices

One of the really good crafted pieces Biggjack has equiped.

Overall Biggjack has made some very solid gear choices and gotten a lot of the best pre-raid gear that you can get. In fact any of the upgrades I suggest later have only really been available to him since the 4.1 patch, and previous to that he would have had the best in slot pre-raid gear.

His helm is the crafted engineering helm which is one of the best you can get pre-raid. Also from engineering is his awesome Kickback 5000 gun, which again is not easily replaced before raiding. Similarly the chest and belt he is using are the crafted leatherworking epics and not easily replaced outside of a raid.

For other great pieces he already has the shoulders and wrists found in Zul’Amon and therefore off to a great start on gear from the two troll heroics.


Gear Upgrades

Since many of Biggjacks pieces are already very good, I am just going to focus on a few good upgrades that should be pretty easy to get.

Let's start by looking at Biggjack's neck piece, which is a good piece but is only a level 346 item gotten through reputation with the Guardians of Hyjal. The easiest upgrade to get is to run Zul'Gurub and try to get the item level 353 Amulet of the Watcher from the Bloodlord Mandokir. There is also another upgrade that you could get through valor points (1,250) that is an even better upgrade, but getting that many valor points can take a while, and you could be better off spending them elsewhere.

Helm Upgrade

This neck upgrade grants 12 agility, but more importantly it trades haste for crit which is a better stat. While mastery is still there and not as good as either haste or crit, it can be reforged to haste.

Next up the back is ok, but there is an easy upgrade available from Justice Points now that patch 4.2 is here. This upgrade is to the Viewless Wings cloak for 1,250 Justice Points. Since you will be running many heroics and tier 2 heroics (the troll instances) anyway, you will quickly get these anyway.

Back Upgrade

This simple swap out picks up 22 agility, in addition to trading mastery for crit and adding 42 additional hit rating.

Next up, the gloves. There are two options here. The first is to get the Handguards of the Tormented from Zul'Gurub, however the upgrade is minor, although it is an upgrade to all key stats. A much better upgrade would be to save up your justice points and get the tier 11 raid gloves that are now available for sale since patch 4.2.

Glove Upgrade

This upgrade is through justice points to the Tier 11 raid gloves, which grants some decent bonuses, and drops hit for haste which is good since he is over the hit cap. In addition it is one piece towards the set bonus for the Tier set bonus.

Another piece of tier 11 gear that is available for justice points and that would be an upgrade would be replacing the Hillside Strider level 346 legs with the Lightning-charged Legguards to complete a two piece tier bonus. However, since they are only minor upgrades other than the set bonus, the points can better be spent elsewhere initially.

The next upgrade is again a minor one, but since you will be running Zul'Gurub for other gear and justice / valor points it's worth grabbing if it drops. The ring in question is Arlokk's Signet and is a decent upgrade since it adds more key stats.

Ring Upgrade

While this upgrade does drop haste for mastery, the other stat increases make up for it, especially since some of that mastery can be reforged back to haste or hit as needed.

Last of the upgrades that I would really aim for is the staff choice. Currently with being so far over on the hit cap and the equipped staff having so much hit and only a passable second stat bonus, you can get a big DPS increase by switching to a weapon with crit. The best one to get would be from Jin'do in Zul'Gurub.

Staff Upgrade

This weapon upgrade is huge even though it may not appear so at first glance. It gains only 21 agility, however, it trades hit for crit in huge numbers and keeps mastery which can then be reforged to hit or haste as needed.


Item Modifications

Next up is huge issue for Biggjack, enchants, gems and reforging. I am not sure why, but while Biggjack has done a pretty good job collecting items he hasn’t done a very good job at getting enchants.

Some examples of this are:

  • His cloak he only has +16 agility instead of the far superior +65 crit or the +22 agility.
  • His chest only has +10 to all stats instead of the twice as good +20 to all stats.
  • His bracers have +24 attack power instead of the significantly better +50 agility.
  • His boots only have +32 attack power, yet the +35 agility or +25 agility/increase movement speed are obviously better choices.

Next up there is a gem missing, huh, how does that happen at level 85! Also some socket bonuses have been missed.

While it is true that agility is king when gemming, crit for a Hunter is also huge. Therefore in some cases it is ok to use non-red gems to get socket bonuses as long as you are using the yellow Deadly Ember Topaz gems (they grant +20 Agility and +20 Crit). However, in his boots Biggjack put a straight yellow crit gem in, instead of the agility and crit. The same is true in the shoulders, but that can almost be excused as the socket bonus is only mastery, which is a low priority stat. Either way, you missed a decent bonus, silly goblin

Ok, on to reforging, and here the goblin shows why they are not known for intelligence, so maybe the person playing Biggjack is just role playing? Who knows. Anyway, currently Biggjack has reforged some items and according to his sheet the totals are that he reforged 111 mastery away to become 65 crit and 45 hit.

As per the above discussion on hit, he is already way over, so I would expect to be reforging away from hit, not to it.

It’s almost like he never read our handy dandy guide to Reforging. You have read Reforge This, right? If not go read it right now. When your done, check your gear over and adjust as required. Make sure you bookmark page 3 that clearly shows the reforge priority for each class - Class / Spec Priorities for Reforging.

In this case it means go in and reforge like this:

Marksmanship Hunter Reforging Priority
Hit cap (8%) > Attack Power > Crit > Haste > Mastery

Now that you’re done reading it, let’s start adjusting.

So given the current gearing there are some changes that could be made to already forged gear to remove the reforge to hit. Also given the abundance of hit, some could be moved away to crit if the piece didn’t have it already, or to haste instead.

In addition some items were not even reforged at all. For example the cloak, wrists, and boots, weapon and one ring all have mastery that could be reforged to crit. The total number we are talking here is 730 mastery which means 40% or 292 points could be converted over to crit. This converts to a bit over 1.6% additional crit which would boost DPS by quite a bit.

All of the reforging would also need to be looked at again as gear is upgraded, as you really need to keep the 8% hit cap as a priority and then reforge to reach it, or drop hit off to other stats.


Overall Review on Biggjack

I know from the submission that this character is on a server where it is apparently very hard to get good enchants. Therefore I might be able to excuse some of the poor enchant choices, but maybe not. If a player is willing to go through the effort to run an instance over and over to farm it for a piece of gear, rep, or justice points, then they should be equally willing to sit in their capital city and spam trade looking for an enchant.

The lack of top rank enchants alone cost Biggjack a wopping 95 Agility and 65 Crit. That equates to one or two gear upgrades and is well worth the time required to find them.

Next up, I’m not sure why Biggjack focused so much on hit, since he was way over the 8% hit cap. Maybe he is confused about the hit cap and how it used to be 9%? However that was years ago, so not sure. Those points put into hit, instead of crit end up costing him a lot of DPS as it was quite a few points.

Some nice bonuses are available for equipping more than one piece of Tier gear

Biggjack seems to have a good understanding of what’s good and bad gear wise, with a few exceptions that focus on stats in slightly the wrong priority. That’s ok though as most of the pieces he chose are rock solid. This makeover is a lot more about stat prioritization and ensuring that you know all your priorities before gearing up.

Lastly, with patch 4.2 moving the tier 11 raid gear down a notch with the vendors it means that you can get some of the pieces for justice points instead of valor points. This means that players now have access to some of the set bonuses before they even get into raids. For a hunter this is nice since the two piece bonus is a boost to serpent sting crit chance which is used fairly often and the DOT should be up all the time. This is therefore something to aim for to get a DPS boost.


The Messiah’s Final Word and How to Request your Makeover

The suggestions offered here in Biggjack’s case were a little more minor gear wise than they were for Turumbar from last weeks Gear Eye, as Biggjack seems to have a better handle on what is needed. However, while his gear was solid, his reforging and enchant choices led to mis-allocated points and wasted points in hit. This will hopefully serve as a reminder to everyone that while gear is important, the items them self are not the be all and end all, you really need to enhance it in the right way to get maximum benefit.

Visit PlayerScore to find your score.

Also, while I have a few characters in the queue to be looked at, I am always looking for more, so if you have a character that you want reviewed (or mocked for bad choices), or know of one that badly needs help but is just too lost to even know they need it, feel free to sent me a link to their PlayerScore profile. One lucky victim, er I mean player, will be selected for a free geek-based gear makeover in this column each week.

To submit a character for a review make sure you look up the character's PlayerScore and send me a link to that character. Also if you want to provide any basic information on your goals, how far advanced you want to plan for, how much time you invest in the game, or just a bit about your self, please include it all in a comment below or send a note to the Messiah.

Thanks for tuning in to Gear Eye for the WoW Guy everyone, hope you enjoyed.


World of Warcraft - Related Content
Reforge This | Hunter Class Guide | Patch 4.2 Portal
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