Gear Eye for the WoW Guy Issue 7: Marksman Hunter
This week I help a hunter that wants better gear, but misses a few key points.
Welcome, to the seventh edition of our column here at WoW.TenTonHammer.com called Gear Eye for the WoW Guy. In it Byron "Messiah" Mudry takes a look at a character that needs some help in the game. He then gives that player a complete gear makeover in an attempt to get them moving on to new content in the game.
Sometimes that advise is slight upgrades, sometimes a full scale redo for those that are completely lost. Tune in each week to learn the tuning tips that will help you stand out from the average player.
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.
This week I take aim on another hunter, this time an alliance one called Killerbruce from the European server Ghostlands. This is the second marksmanship hunter I have looked at if you remember back to BiggJack way back in the second Gear Eye for the WoW Guy that I did.
Unlike Biggjack who had pretty solid gear and you could tell played a lot and knew what he was doing, Killerbruce is a self proclaimed casual. He states that he playes about 12 hours a week and doesnt want to spend all sorts of time raiding but does want gear upgrades and had no idea where to go.
My first comment on looking at the character was what the heck did he spend 12 hours a week on?. The character was a mess, having sub par gear, a mix of PVP and PVE gear, and worse equipping leather and mail. Ok, some serious work to do here.
As with all characters I look at, I checked Killerbruce out on a Friday a full week before the article goes up and took all the screenshots I needed to start working on the gear upgrades and recommendations.
At that time there was some REALLY bad gear equipped. While working on the article during the week I noticed several key upgrades had been done, so re-wrote part of this article to actually cover and recognize some of the work he had done on his own so far. You can find his initial gear listing here: Killerbruce First Look, EEK!
Funny enough a lot of the upgrades he got were actually items I was writing up to suggest! So, while he started out poorly, it looks like he has gotten a solid idea of what he needs to do gear wise on his own, good work.
There are still a lot of things to upgrade though and several key mistakes that I see, so lets get to work on this gear makeover.
You can find Killerbruces's PlayerScore information here: Killerbruce's 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 he plays and upgrades or changes gear.
Before looking at gear though, lets start by looking at stat priority so that we know what we are looking for and why when evaluating gear.
Stat priority is important for any class, and can make a big difference in one piece of gear to another. But how do you decide which is better. There has been a lot of math done, by a lot of smart people to decide the best stats in the best order, and to the best limit, but remember essentially Agility is your key stat, it rules over all the others by quite a bit, with only hit coming close to being as valuable.
So before we go any further lets look at what stat priority should be like for a Marksmanship Hunter:
Marksmanship Hunter Stat Priority
Agility > Hit cap (8% for Raid, 6% for Heroics) > Crit > Haste > Mastery
Notice that there are two different hit caps? For Heroic instance you don't need the 8% cap, that is for raid bosses. Therefore you can actually hurt yourself by moving more points into hit than you actually need if you never plan on raiding. However, since most casually will at some point jump into a raid that is advertising in general chat to fill a few spots, I would suggest going for the 8% anyway, unless you are sure you are never going to raid.
Good Item Choices
Once I went back a few days after the initial look and checked Killerbruce again, he actually had several great item choices.
He has a great cloak in the Mantle of Doubt, which is a awesome piece and better yet is really easy to get. Players only need to complete the Patch 4.2 Rescue Thrall quest chain to earn it.
Killerbruce has also purchased the Tier 11 lightning-charged gloves and lightning-charged legguards, the moccasins of verdurous glooms from the justice point vendors as well as crafting or purchasing the corded viper belt which are all great pieces.
He also replaced his initially horrible rings and trinkets with much better ones, although upgrades are still possible and will be discussed later.
Gear Upgrades - Armour Specialization
The first thing to discuss here is that I found the worst thing possible! What the heck was Killerbruce thinking? When I first looked he had 2 leather pieces equipped, meaning he was willingly giving up 5% agility! On the first look it was two pieces, his helm and waist, at least the day after my initial look he replaced one of them, but even a single non-mail piece means he looses the bonus from Mail Specialization.
This ability is there for every class, and grants a 5% bonus to your key stat as long as you equip the type of armour that is meant for your class. This was put in long ago as a way to stop Paladin healers from needing the better itemized cloth healing gear, or Boomkins going after cloth DPS gear, and pretty much every other class downgrading armour type for any reason.
With his current gear he has 3700 agility, which means 185 agility lost just by not equipping mail. Thats as much as you have on some pieces, just gone. Killerbruce needs to fix this pronto, and so does
Gear Upgrades - PvP to PVE Gear
Ok, secondly replace all that crappy pvp gear. Just because its blue doesnt mean its good.
Lets start with the Bloodthirsty Wyrmhide Helm, two questions
First, why did he get the shaman one, and not the hunter one with agility? At least the agility one would provide some DPS this one gives almost nothing.
Secondly, why did he even look at it, its leather? As discussed above not using mail is a huge self inflicted penalty.
As for replacements for the helm, what he should look for is something with a meta socket so he can get a meta gem for increased critical strike damage, the agile shadowspirit diamond.
The simplest upgrade here is the Windhome Helm from the Wildhammer Clan, although it takes revered rep and he is only at friendly. HUH? He said he played 12 hours a week, and none of the reps are maxed yet? What has he been doing for 12 hours a week?
Another option that is pretty much equal would be the Wildhammer Riding Helm from Heroic Grim Batol. Lastly another option is to get a lot of hit along with the gem slots from the Headdress of Sharpened Vision from ZulAman.
For shoulders he has the Bloodthirsty Dragonscale Shoulders which are only PVP and horrible for PVE. They are super easy to replace though with the Mantle of Moss that only requires honored (which you have) with the Earthen Ring.
Longer term Wrap of the Valley Glades from justice points is a good upgrade for a good boost, or if you can get them to drop the Pauldrons of Nalorakk from ZulAman.
The chest piece that Killerbruce initially had equipped was also a very poor PVP item. Luckily he has already upgraded to the very good Wentletrap Vest, which is a great choice until he upgrades to the tier 11 Lightning-charged Tunic at a later point.
For the neck slot Killerbruce moved up to the heroic version of Pendant of the Lightless Grotto, which isnt all that bad but should be replaced with the valor neck Necklace of Smoke Signals which provides both hit and crit and is one of the best you can get from anywhere.
For trinkets initially I was shocked and dismayed to find a tanking trinket equipped, really, come on people. It has since gotten slightly better as the tanking trinket was replaced with a DPS trinket, too bad it is a melee DPS trinket with a strength proc, DOH! Well at least it has hit.
For the other slot Killerbruce replaced a really bad DPS trinket with the best in slot Darkmoon card: Hurricane. Good choice! So the only thing to do now is replace that crappy melee trinket with either the BOE Heart of the Vile that can be bought on the auction house for cheap, or hold out until you can get Rickets Magnetic Fireball by completing Fireland daily quests, or get the Fluid Death trinket from the Justice Point vendor.
On the ring front both rings are ok, but also easily replaced. Matoclaws Band is a best in slot ring until tier 11 content and is easily purchased once he completes a few Fireland daily quests. The other great ring upgrade is the Band of Glittering Lights that can be bought once he completes even more Fireland dailies.
The Splintered Brimstone Seal that can be bought for 1250 valor points is better than either of the rings above, but bigger upgrades can be purchased with the valor points than the ring, so I would skip it for now.
Weapons play a huge part of a DPS players over all damage output and Killerbruces are only marginal. His melee weapon, which is only for stats, is sub-par at best. It is the item level 316 Sand Trackers Spear which has haste and mastery.
There are many upgrade options available so finding something better shouldnt be that hard. There are tons of straight DPS upgrades, however it is best to look for something that is really good here by aiming for a weapon with hit/crit or at least crit/haste.
One option is the Staff of Draconic Pacification from a quest in the Twilight Highlands, but it still just has haste mastery.
A better option is the elementium poleaxe from blacksmithing which is fairly inexpensive. Probable the best option however is the new Witch-hunters Harvester that blacksmiths can make once they earn the pattern by completeing enough Fireland daily quests. Just a little bit worse that the Witch-Hunters harvester is the Jindos Verdict from ZulGurub.
For Killerbruces ranged weapon he initially had a finely-tune throat needler equipped which was only so-so. Any one of the following weapons from 5 player heroics would result in a roughly 400-500 DPS upgrade: Lightningflash from Heroic VP, Amber Messager from Heroic BC, Gurubashi-Destroyer or Mandokirs Tribute from ZulGurub or the Voodoo Hunting Bow from ZulAman.
Killerbruce has since upgraded to lightningflash, which is a great upgrade. Long term if he can afford the mats, the new Extreme-Impact Hole Puncher provides even more DPS and is probably his best bet since it also has a gem socket.
If you want you could also PVP for a while and get the Vicious Gladiator weapon or ruthless gladiator version the second of which provides a huge DPS boost over anything else.
Next up is huge issue for Killerbruce, enchants, gems and reforging. I am not sure why, but like far too many players Killerbruce seems to ignore this key element.
There are several items that are not enchanted. I agree that some items will be replaced quickly, however even that isnt an excuse. Here Killerbruce is missing key enchants such as his weapon enchants, helm enchant, shoulder enchant, and his cloak enchant. The weapon enchants especially are important as they offer huge DPS increases.
Next up is the gems. Here he is actually doing pretty good, other than missing a key gem in the form of a meta gem in a helm. I know he can't currently gem this, but he needs to get a helm with a meta socket fast, the extra 3% crit damage really adds up fast.
Also on gems, I wonder, does everyone know that you do not have to follow the socket colour? Here I probably would for most of the items, but not the legs. Giving up 20 agility for 40 crit is not an fair exchange. He would be far better off putting in two red +40 gems for the extra 20 agility, the 40 crit does not provide enough.
Ok, on to reforging, and here he does ok. He has maximised stats so that he trades in and out to get to the hit cap while still moving into crit and haste. There are some more changes that I would make but first lets make sure everyone knows what to reforge for hunters.
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%) > Crit > Haste > Mastery
Now that youre done reading it, lets start adjusting. One area I see that is missed it there are several places where crit is reforged to get hit, yet on the his shiny new belt and on his boot he has mastery which is a far lower worth stat for marksmanship hunter yet it isn't reforged. In fact on the boots crit is reforged to hit, huh, why?
On Killerbruces new gun as well he took crit to mastery, clear that off.
Remeber all of the reforging needs to be looked at again as gear as 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 of Killerbruce
At first look I was horrified but what I found on Killerbruce, but then it got much better. He has taken some solid steps forward on his own in the few days from my first to second look, which is great. There is still work to do though, and I still question what he has been doing with 12 hours a week and almost no reputation with factions, but hopefully that will change as he goes forward.
So at this point after his enchants, gems, and reforging ate all cleaned up, he should move onto saving up justice and valor points for some big upgrades. Also a lot of farming for mats for a new two handed weapon is in his future.
Overall though, he has some decent gear now, and can move forward quickly once his huge error on a helm choice is corrected.
The Messiahs Final Word and How to Request your Makeover
Killerbruce was a lot of fun to look at since initially his gear looked so bad, he made an easy target to point out some flaws. He has upgrades since though and that's good. The longer he wears than leather helm though the longer he helps support the accusation that all hunters and huntards thoguh, so please change it up fast!
Response has been really good for this column and while I have a few characters in the queue to be looked at, I am always looking for more! Especially those that I can make fun of (while still offering some real help), so if you have a character that you want reviewed, 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 page. One lucky player, will be selected for a gear makeover in this column each week.
To submit a character for a review make sure you lookup the character's PlayerScore and send me a link to that character. Also if you want to provide any basic information on you're 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 a note to the Messiah.
Thanks for actually making it to the bottom of this edition of Gear Eye for the WoW Guy everyone, hope you enjoyed.
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