So you're on the shore in Northrend by now, one hopes, and maybe you're level 71, still tooling around the starting zones, looking for the right quests to do to get some decent gear for yourselves. Now if you've spent a decent amount of time in Tier 4 or better content, or if you decked yourself out in badge gear, I'll be honest, you may not find too many upgrades here. But for people who started their Hunter a little late or didn't quite clear Karazhan before the expansion, there's some very nice stuff here.
Let's take a look at the quest rewards of Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra and their attached dungeons, and see what they offer: Amulet
The Worg Fang Talisman is gotten from a set of quests at the Steel Gate in the Howling Fjord: I've Got A Flying Machine! For the Alliance, and The Artifacts of Steel Gate for the Horde. With both critical strike rating and stamina, it's just what a growing Hunter needs.
The Pungnacious Collar comes from the quest It's Time For Action for the Alliance, and Orabus the Helmsman quest for the Horde. This has a bit more attack power than the Worg Fang, but it has hit rating instead of critical strike rating. If you're missing a lot of shots, you might consider this necklace, otherwise stick with the Worg Fang.
Better than both of these is the Hundred Tooth Necklace, which comes from an Utgard Keep Quest, Disarmament. Unfortunately, only the Horde Version of that quest offers the Hundred Tooth Necklace. The Alliance version only offers the Razor-Blade Pendant, which has strength and is much more suited for other DPSers.
In the end, if you were lucky enough to grind up a Shattered Sun Pendant of Might or grab a Worgen-Claw Necklace off of the Huntsman, you're probably set on necklaces for a while. If not, any of the above might be a nice upgrade for you.
In the Howling Fjord, near the Steel Gate, you can pick up the Ice-Crusted Cape. Alliance get it from Scare the Guano Out of Them!, while Horde get it from Rivenwood Captives. It's a nice little cloak near tailor-made for Hunters, with plenty of attack power and critical strike rating. All it's really missing is some agility.
In the Borean Tundra, the cloaks follow the pattern of the rings. The Assailant Shroud has no critical strike rating, but it does have slightly more attack power and some hit rating. If you're hit rating's good, you'll probably want to grab the Ice-Crusted Cape. The Assailant Shroud is from the DHETA quest The Culler Cometh.
A Third option comes from The Nexus dungeon. The Shroud of Fluid Strikes is a quest reward from Prisoner of War. It uses haste in place of critical strike or hit rating. I'd still probably go for the Ice-Crusted Cape myself, as Haste is still problematic for Hunters: Namely, once our Steady Shot hits a 1.5 second cast time, it stops going down, making haste "cap" pretty early for us, or at least become much less useful than some more agility or attack power.
There's actually more Guns, Bows, and Crossbows than you can shake a stick at in the starting zones, but to be fair, none of them quite top the Crossbow of Relentless Strikes or even the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix for pure DPS. Still, if you didn't save up enough badges for the former or get the latter off Prince Malchezzar, you may want to keep an eye out for some of these weapons.
You'll be able to get a new bow in Borean Tundra rather soon after you step off the Zeppelin or Boat. Horde will get the Warsong Longbow, while Alliance get the Valiance Longbow. Both have a nice bit of hit rating attached to them. In a slight upgrade, the Coldspike Longbow, which has a bit of agility and armor penetration which might come in handy for a Survival Hunter especially, comes out of Howling Fjord. It is a reward from the Trail of Fire quest for the Horde, and The Shining Light for the Alliance.
The crown jewel of ranged weapons though, and I'm sure my fellow dwarves will be happy to hear this, is a gun. The Fury of the Raging Dragon is at the end of a decent sized quest line for both the Alliance and the Horde, but the DPS is nearly as good as the aforementioned Sunfury Bow, and it looks pretty awesome to boot.
As far as Trinkets go, I hope you like Haste! In Howling Fjord, You can choose to have equipped haste with a right click attack power buff from Braxley's Backyard Moonshine, which get at Camp Winterhoof for the Horde or Fort Wildervar for the Alliance. You can also choose the other way around with the First Mate's Pocketwatch, from The Jig is up.
Your choices are more straightforward in the Borean Tundra, mostly because your faction makes the biggest choice for you. Alliance can get the Death Knight's Anguish, which gives a stackable critical strike buff proc and some critical strike rating. Warsong's Fervor, A Horde trinket, gives some critical strike rating on equip for the buff, but it only has a normal old on use attack power buff.
I'll admit. A Good solid quest two-hander is hard to come by in the first few zones. Most of the options are either staves with Feral Attack Power or have strength on them, which is mostly useless for us. If you're Horde, you can grab the Stoneground Cleaver from A Lesson in Fear, as long you don't need the Hex-linked Stronghelm from the same quest. In a pinch, you might pick up the Featherweight Claymore from the Horde quest A Tailor-Made Formula or the Alliance quest The Delicate Sound of Thunder , but then you will miss out on the Hair-Trigger Blunderbuss from the same quest -- and besides, with no agility, attack power, or critical strike rating, the claymore doesn't look too amazing for a Hunter anyway.
If you really feel like you need a weapon upgrade, you might try dual wielding. The Coldstone Cutlass from Howling Fjord has a nice bit of attack power, and you get it early on, from either Rescuing the Rescuers for the Alliance or Landing the Killing Blow for the Horde.
Meanwhile, the Borean Tundra is a veritable treasure trove of nice, Hunter-friendly one-handed weapons.
From the quest The Tides Turn, you can get Edge of the Tuskarr, which comes with some nice attack power and critical strike rating. It should go well paired with the Nimble Blade from The Nefarious Clam Master to give you a good solid set of dual-wielded weapons.
Finally, if you don't need the Fury of the Raging Dragon we talked about earlier, you can grab a Fang of the Desolate from those quests instead. It has agility, attack power, and critical strike rating, making it a great Hunter weapon as long as you have a good companion for it. Still, overall, you may be glad if you managed to grab a Legacy in Karazhan or a Blade of the Harbingers from badges before Wrath. Pickings are a bit slim.
There's quite a few good rings for the newbie 70 waiting for you in Northrend for sure. In the Howling Fjord, keep an eye out for the Lost Vykrul Signet. Both the Horde and Alliance versions of the quest it comes from are called The Frost Wyrm and its Master. It's another good solid hit rating piece, and it is has some nice attack power too.
While you're in Howling Fjord, get the Ingvar Must Die quest if you're Horde, or the Into Utgarde quest if you're Alliance, and run Utgarde Keep. The Executioner's Band reward has a very nice chunk of attack power and critical strike rating that makes it perfect for a Hunter.
In the Borean Tundra, you'll have a few more options. The Scout's Signet Ring has a nice large chunk of attack power, and has some haste and critical strike rating to sweeten the deal. Horde can get it from Vermin Extermination, while Alliance get it from Take No Chances. Then, if you can stand putting up with a bunch of stuffy overzealous fanatic Druids, you're going to want to Assassinate Harold Lane and grab yourself a Ring of Indignant Rage.
For the record, I'd go with pairing the Executioner's Band with the Scout's Signet Ring if I had all the above rings in my posession. I like the AP bump, and it comes with a nice amount of critical strike rating to back it up. If you're a bit low on hit rating, though, replacing the Scout's Signet Ring with the Ring of Indignant Rage won't steer you wrong.
So now that you have all your extraneous slots filled out, you'll want to move on to the rest of your armor, right? Join me for part 2 soon! I'll have a few choice pieces of gear for you to look out for.