Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hunter gear for 3.2

It's been almost exactly a week since WoW patch 3.2, Call of the Crusade, was released, and I've finally gotten around to putting together my semi-definitive loot list for the new raid instance. I've been sticking to normal mode loot so far, although much to my chagrin I've had to include a ring from the 10-man. Luckily it's from the second boss in there, but I was still hoping to avoid having to raid different lockouts on off-nights. Three days a week is the max I want to raid, really, but I get so bothered when I know there's a really good piece in that other lockout and I could have it if I just went to the off-night raids.
Anyway, on to the items with thoughts to follow. Anywhere that says "Triumph T9" refers to the item level 245 tier pieces, purchased with a Trophy of the Crusade and a number of emblems of triumph.
Head: Triumph T9
Neck: I'll come back to this slot shortly
Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Devourer from Emblems of Triumph
Back: Cloak of the Untamed Predator from Northrend Beasts 25
Chest: Triumph T9
Wrist: Bracers of the Silent Massacre from Faction Champions 25
Hands: Triumph T9
Belt: Waistguard of Deathly Dominion from Anub'arak 25
Legs: Triumph T9
Feet: Greaves of Ruthless Judgment from the Twin Val'kyr 25
Ring1: Dexterous Brightstone Ring from the triumph emblem vendor
Ring2: Planestalker Band from Jaraxxus 10
Trinket1: Death's Choice from the Twin Val'kyr 25
Trinket2: Darkmoon Card: Greatness from the Darkmoon Faire
Melee weapon: Hellion Glaive from Anub'arak 25
Ranged: Death's Head Crossbow from Jaraxxus 25
Total hit: 260
Total armor penetration rating: 553
Total sockets, counting belt buckle: 12
First, that neck slot I said I'd come back to: sadly, no loot list I've seen has mentioned any neck pieces other than the Collar of Unending Torment from Northrend Beasts 10. Now, the new neck has a few more item levels than the Broach of the Wailing Night, but it's one of those pieces that's a little better in one stat, a little lower in another, and is just altogether unimpressive. For that reason, unless and until someone finds an item level 245 neck piece with agility in the game, the neck slot is absolutely the last one that I'm going to worry about upgrading. What I've got is roughly as good as anything else from the new instance, so I'll worry about other slots first.
The cloak is another troublesome spot. Haste has simply fallen behind as a stat for hunters since the 3.1 armor penetration buff, and honestly I would prefer to wear Drape of the Faceless General over the new crit/haste cloak. Unfortunately, I haven't been in a guild that's really been able to consistently raid off-night 10s, so the farthest hardmode I've advanced to was the Freya+3 fight. A Drape of the Faceless just isn't in the cards for me. Luckily, with so much of a marks hunter's damage coming from autoshot and steady shot, haste is a substantially better stat for us than it is for survival or BM hunters, so Untamed Predator is a perfectly decent cloak.
This will be the first tier ever where I plan on wearing all five pieces of it, and the reason is pretty simple: there's just not a whole lot of choice. If it were possible, I'd love to replace the tier haste/armor pen gloves with some offset crit/armor pen gloves, but there's nothing available. In fact, there's not a whole lot of choice for any slot. The only reasonable physcal DPS trinket is Death's Choice. If Mjolnir Runestone had ever dropped for me, I would pair it with that. As is, I'll be pairing it with the nearly identical Darkmoon Card: Greatness. If the two trinkets turn out to share an internal cooldown, I'll run the new normal 5-man for the armor pen trinket with an AP proc there. That's pretty much it for gearing decisions.
Total absence of an actual bow is a little sad too, but at least the crossbow drops from an early boss, so I'll (probably) have it sooner rather than later. The polearm is regrettably ugly, but there's simply no dual-wield alternative. The Blood Fury axe is itemized well, but two of those somehow have fewer stats on them than the spear.
The hit total is also quite awkward. It's 3 points off the cap, which means I could definitely see an occasional miss, but hit is such an expensive stat in terms of itemization points that I don't want to slot a yellow hit/agility gem and and waste 7 points of it. Either way, a single hit piece from either heroic raid will clear up the hit disparity.
On the upside, all that armor pen on un-gemmed gear is pretty fantastic. I'm a blacksmith, so I'll actually have a total of 14 sockets. A nightmare tear will go in one of those to activate my meta gem, which leaves the rest of those sockets for fractured cardinal rubies. That's an additional 260 armor pen. Elixirs of armor piercing plus the 50% bonus for being an alchemist will add another 67 rating and hearty rhino will add another 40. That's a grand total of 920 armor penetration rating, only 312 rating off of the cap of 1232. That means that even without runestone, it will be absolutely worth it to spec out of improved arcane and drop it from my rotation and go with pure physical damage.
Hm. Now that I think about it, dropping those points from improved arcane would free me up to possibly put some points into focused aim, and that would let me pick up Pauldrons of the Devourer, so at least there's a little gear wiggle room at the end of the tunnel.
That's all for now! Plans for future posts include guides on hunter mechanics for both marks and survival specs, new hunter gear guides, hunter guides for various boss fights, and all kinds of other ruminations on being a PvE hunter in a progression guild.

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