Each week, Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the hunter class sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
Your gear, bluntly, stinks. You thought all that mail gear from those quests was fabulous until someone pointed out it was all for Shaman. You've got Strength, Spell Hit and Crit, chance-on-melee hit procs, and Spirit out the yin-yang. Nice.
What are you gonna do now? Instances? Who's going to run an instance with hunter decked out in blue cloth leggings? PvP? You won't survive ten seconds unless it's due to your opponents laughing so hard they can't get their fingers to smash the Destroy the Incompetent Huntard button.
You're an outcast.
But we can help! One thing you can do is spend some of that gold you've been hoarding. The Auction House is loaded with super-duper bind-on-equip gear that is plenty good enough to get you through the first four bosses of Karazhan. Those guys drop gear that will keep you in line with the rest of your guildmates. But your current clownness isn't going to get an invite, so we've got to clean you up and make you look all sparkly.
Grab your two-handed mace -- why did you even choose that, you know hunters can't even equip them -- and hustle to the nearest Auction House. Let's go shopping.
First things first, your greenie bow is going to go. Valanos' Longbow is the minimum weapon any level 70 hunter should be sporting. The Auction House is usually choked with them. This is a spiffy 66DPS ranged weapon every hunter, pre-Burning Crusade, would've sharded everything they owned to get. All you have to do is dump 100 gold or so and you'll be ready to rock. If you're a level 70 hunter and your ranged weapon isn't the quality of a Valanos, you have no excuse not to grab one immediately.
Are you a gun-hunter? Those engineers have just the thing for you, an Ornate Khorium Rifle. Much more expensive than the Valanos but it's probably one of the Five Best-Looking Guns In The Game. It too is a 66DPS weapon but a lot slower than the Valanos -- 3.10 attack speed versus 2.80. You probably won't find an OKR on the Auction House as the cost to build one will make most engineers blink. Not every engineer will be able to make one, so be prepared to pay extra for the privilege of owning one.
And don't forget your scope.
Let's mosey over to the two-handed axe aisle and pick out a Crystalforged War Axe to replace your unequipable mace. These axes are always on the Auction House and you should be able to grab one cheaply. If you're a Marksman spec, you'll ask your guild enchanter to put a Savagery enchant on it. Beastmaster or Survivalists should ask nicely for the +35 agility enchant. That's it, you're done. The two most important and hardest to upgrade pieces of equipment you need to do Karazhan are now perfectly adequate for the task.
The Felstaker three-piece set of armor is ubiquitous on the Auction House. Since leatherworkers make the Felstalker Bracers as part of their leveling path, there is almost always a Felstalker Bracer available. Your goal is to not just buy one, but to contact the manufacturer and let him know that you want to purchase the Felstalker Belt and Felstalker Breastplate. These aren't normally manufactured for the Auction House as they require more mats than the bracers yet only yield the same single-point of leatherworking-leveling. The same materials are need for the belt and the chest piece, just in greater quantities. You can farm these materials or just buy them off the Auction House. The three-piece set bonus is +20 to your Hit rating and that's the kind of attribute you'll want for Karazhan.
There are other belts and chest pieces you can get instead of the crafted ones, like the Girdle of Gale Force and the Breastplate of Rapid Striking. If these are available and decently priced, go for them without hesitation.
OK, you've acquired your three-piece Felstalker set and are looking darn-tootin' pretty. What's next? Leggings. Scales of the Beast is a world drop and one makes its way onto the Auction House all the time. Be on the lookout for a decently-priced one. Yes, some sad people try to charge 10x more the going rate should be, so don't be a sap and pay way too much.
If you're a Beastmaster hunter and happen to see a Leggings of Beast Mastery listed, you won't be wrong if you choose to grab them. They're not the strongest epic you'll ever see, but they are an epic, they're good, and raid leaders love to count them as proof you know what you're doing. Also, they are supposedly getting another buff in the next patch. They may be even better in a week or so.
For our hands we have to talk about the Swiftsteel Gloves. These are blacksmith-made and since our experience with this profession is nil, we can't tell you how blacksmiths feel about making them. We've never seen a pair on the Auction House, so we'd have to guess they are not part of the traditional blacksmithing-leveling guides. If you can get a pair from a blacksmith in your guild, they're OK to have made.
We're going to go one better, though, and tell you about the Crystalhide Handwraps. These little bundles of joy pop up while while doing demon-banishing quests in the Blade's Edge Mountains and find their way to the Auction House frequently. If you've got a greenie pair of gauntlets and these epic gloves appear during your buying frenzy, feel free to splurge.Shoulders are a pain. There's only one rare bind-on-equip, mail-armor shoulder and that's the Pauldrons of Surging Mana. We would like to nominate this as the 2007 Most Cursed Piece of Mail Gear Ever. They are always on the Auction House. They taunt and tease and eventually some hunter breaks down and slaps them on. They are not ours; please let them be. Nobody crafts shoulders. There are no shoulder world-drops. There are no vendors outside of PvP who sell hunter-shoulders. You're going to either have to do a quest or PvP or -- gulp -- go Leather.
Since the Auction House is out for this category and we're avoiding instances as a source for gear, let's try the a faction reward and see what we find. If you reach revered with the Kuranai you are eligible to purchase the Blackened Leather Spaulders. Of course, Horde can reach revered with the Mag'har for their Talbuk Hide Spaulders. Yes, this is leather gear but it's pretty nice leather gear. We don't advocate you pretending to be a rogue and outfitting yourself in leather, but for this category and our requirements for obtaining gear, it's acceptable. These will get your through the Opera event in Karazhan where you will eventually get your Beastmaw Pauldrons and no longer have to worry about being shunned by the ignorant.
For your back, the ubiquitous Cloak of the Craft makes its appearance. It is frequently extremely overpriced on the Auction House because it's the major BoE DPS-cloak and many people greatly desire it. Accept that you'll have to pay too much, grumble and complain if it helps, but you'll get over it.
In the rings section, we find the Truestrike Ring. This epic we're bringing up to tell you to Just Say No. Even more overpriced than that cloak, when you see it on the Auction House you'll wonder just exactly what was it the seller was smoking when he was typing out the buyout price. Even if you've got crud for rings and money burning a hole in your bags, don't pay the typical 1100 gold asking-price for it. Try to land yourself a Pathfinder's Band and save a ton.
Did you know there is a hunter-trinket that is sometimes lurking on the Auction House? The Badge of Tenacity is the single most disgustingly overpriced piece of gear you'll ever see. It's also the only rare bind-on-equip trinket, outside of the Riding Crop, that any non-engineer can use. If all you have is a Carrot on a Stick and need something to get your guild master to let you run Karazhan, the Badge of Tenacity will fit the bill, but oh what a bill it'll be.
Our shopping trip is over. Grab your bags, head home, try everything on. How do you look? Pretty nice, if we do say so ourselves. You're certainly not going to solo Gruul today but you can make your first appearance outside of Karazhan without being embarrassed.
Now go have fun and start upgrading some of that gear with phat purple loot.
Daniel Howell continues his quest to eliminate Shammy Gear from the Auction House as the hunter-pet duo extraordinaire known to lore as BigRedKitty. More of his theorycrafting and slanderous belittling of the lesser classes can be found at bigredkitty.blogspot.com.