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Scattered Shots: Where to find Hunter information

Save decided it was time to bring back some Hunter luvin'. It was that or they just needed a new Dwarf to pick on. So now you got me Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from The Hunting Lodge. Make sure to drop by here every Thursday as we explore what it takes to play a Hunter.

Have you ever caught yourself wondering, "Hmm... where I should go for my next upgrade?" Or how about "I wonder what pet I should get for raiding?" Another favorite of mine is "What spec should I use for raiding?" (This is always a trap. Even if you give a solid spec, someone will always find a something wrong with it.) For these types of questions, I feel it's always better to follow the maxim "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

What's my point? Well, it seems that many Hunters don't know that there is a wealth of information out there. I would bet that there is probably a resource that can help answer all of your questions. You just need to know where to look.

For solid information, we all know about Elitist Jerks. But sometimes finding you can't help but say to yourself, "There has to be an easier way." Believe it or not, there is. There are many other resources and sites out there.

Pet Information

We Hunters are lucky! We get to run around and quest with our best friend in all of Azeroth. No, not your guild or even your old college roommate, but your pet.

Many times people ask, "What's the best raid pet?" or want to know about a good leveling pet. It's easy to just shout out the common refrains, "Get a wolf for raiding, a turtle, gorilla, or crocolisk for solo grinding and spider for PvP." That might answer their question, but then the immediate follow-up is always, "Where can I get one?"

So... what do we teach these Hunters so they don't ask these questions again? We tell them to head over to Petopia. The one stop pet information site that is "Approved By World of Warcraft Hunters Everywhere" site for pets. Once you're done admiring everything that Mania has done over at Petopia, be sure to check out our own "Pets for raiding guide".

Gear Selection

Gear, lootz, or shineys, no matter what you call it, people still ask, "What's the best PvE trinket?" or "Which is better 2-handed or duel welding weapons?" I'll be one of the first to admit that determining which item is "Best in Slot" can be confusing. But there are a few different ways to help reduce this confusion to be sure.

For example, there's the Armory. Right on your profile you can click the "Find and Upgrade" next to the item and it'll give a nice orderly list of every item upgrade that has dropped in game to date.

As sweet as that is it gets even better. One of my favorite sites is Unlike some other gear planning sites, this one has tons of features and is easy to use. Also, Chardev is not just for end game play. If you're looking to twink your hunter or would like to find your next upgrade, this site can be a lifesaver.

One of the coolest things is how Chardev lets you customize your gear, buffs, enchants and talent specs, then immediately show you the changes on a paper doll model. So as your looking for gear upgrades you can also play around with your enchants and buffs to see how they impact your stats.

Unlike some sites and tools, this one is really easy to use. Just click the item slot you want to upgrade and it will give you a list of all the gear upgrades for you. If you want to see how it affects your stats, just click and it to equip and see immediately see the changes to your stats.

One of the other awesome benefits is how it lets you create a profile from scratch and save it. You don't have to load up your armory profile. This is great for when you want to model specs and gear impacts on the fly.

About the only thing better might be having the ability to compare gear on the fly inside the game. Guess what! You can with the Rating Buster add-on. You have to trust me on this one, and make sure this is on your required list of add-ons.

If you have ever been in one of those runs where something drops and the stats look like they might be a slight upgrade, but it's hard to tell? Rating Buster tells you on the fly just how much of an upgrade this item will be.

If you need to make some touch and quick decisions on the fly, I promise you having this add-on during your raids can cut a ton of time off of loot decisions.

If you're in Ulduar, we've already put together a nice "Ranged weapons from Ulduar" guide for you.

CalculationsDPS Spreadsheets

Now, if having awesome add-ons and super itemization and pet information websites were not enough. The Hunter community has super theorycrafters. As a matter of fact, I would go out on a limb and say that we Hunters have some of the best theorycrafters in the game.

One reason I feel so confident in making such a claim is the fact that we have two awesome spreadsheets. Both help model Hunter dps by allowing you to modify gear itemization, buffs, and Hunter and pet talents specs. Another great feature is how they suggest possible shot ration models.

There are two spreadsheets, the Hunter DPS Spreadsheet by Wertez and Shandara's Spreadsheet. Both got their humble beginnings from the original Cheeky's Spreadsheet. When Cheeky decided to retire, Wertez and Shandara both decided to step up and carry the torch. We now have two spreadsheets that are similar because of their beginnings, but also have some major differences.

The Hunter DPS Spreadsheet is almost a complete rewrite of Cheeky's original spreadsheet. Some of the later features, like gear planning, have been removed. Don't let this scare you away from using this great tool though. What it lacks in gear planning it more than makes up in providing solid analysis, graphs and a pretty solid shot rotation model.

Since Shandara's Spreadsheet is hosted over at Elitist Jerks it is the better known of the two. The first thing you notice is that it offers a gear planner. This is great if you happen to be in the office and not connected to the net.

I know Hunters that use both of these spreadsheets to plan their gear or even fine tune and fix their dps problems, because each has features that the other doesn't. The only downside I see to both of them? They are only compatible with MS Excel. Neither one has an Open Source version nor are they planning an Open Source version in the near future.

Forums and Discussion Sources

All of those tools can help you answer your questions. But where do you go to discuss ideas, strategies, and yes even those "I have a question?" questions.

If you thought the only place to go for Hunter information was The Official Hunter Forums, forced to deal with trolls and tons of QQ or Elitist Jerks, where you are forced to wade through post after post of theorycrafting, then this is great news for you.

See, there are many other solid Hunter community forums out there. There are some forums that take the deep theorycraft of Elitist Jerks, helps you break it down, then show you how it can be applied to your character. Forums like The Hunter's Mark, Less QQ More PewPew, The Hunting Lodge Forums (Disclaimer: The Hunting Lodge Forums are ran by yours truly), and Mania's Arcania all provide solid helpful Hunter advice, as well as providing a spirit of real community to help you learn how to play your Hunter better.

So there you have it. We've started you off with a pretty solid Hunter Resource Guide right at your finger tips. But I'm sure it is in no way complete. What are some of your favorite resource sites, utilities and add-ons you use to help find the answers and keep your pew-pew in top shape?

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