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Scattered Shots: Patch 4.3 hunter gear

Brian Wood

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of Dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.

If there's one thing gaming geeks like, it's new toys. Whether it's a replica Frostmourne, a shiny new set of D&D dice or a sweet lightsaber app for our smartphones, there's nothing like new toys to get us excited. And the best toy of all for a WoW gamer? New gear!

Patch 4.3 is moving along, and while it's probably still a bit away, the background downloader is doing its thing and the final content patch of Cataclysm is undeniably coming soon. And that means that it's time to take a look at the new hunter gear that will soon be available to us!

Join me after the cut for the new Wyrmstalker hunter gear, an endgame gun for real this time, and all the other delightful little toys we'll get to play with until the pandas come.

Standard disclaimers

This is still the PTR, and everything's subject to change at a moment's notice. Most of the details on this gear is datamined and also subject to not-rightness. We don't yet know where most of this drops. Different stats benefit different hunters in different amounts, depending on your spec, and all the rest of your gear. What is the best option for one hunter may not be BiS for another. Blah blah blah.

Levels of gear

In 4.3 we're going to see the introduction of the Raid Finder, and along with it, a new, lower level of raid gear. So rather than just normal and heroic versions of gear, we'll have Raid Finder, normal, and heroic. We're also going to have ways of upgrading gear, including the ability to upgrade some valor gear to turn it into heroic gear, though I haven't heard anything about that in a long while.

I'm going to try my best to link to the same level of gear throughout this roundup so we can get a decent comparison, taking the normal mode version of all the gear.

Wyrmstalker tier 13 set

The stalker naming theme is back with the hunter tier 13 gear set, Wyrmstalker. This set is the final set of the expansion and should, in theory, have the greatest set bonuses -- and the goal with the tier 13 set bonuses seems to be to have us drowning in focus!

Here are the Wyrmstalker set bonuses:

Two-piece Steady Shot and Cobra Shot generate double the amount of focus.
Four-piece Your Arcane Shot ability has a chance to grant 30% haste to you and your pet for 10 seconds.

The new set bonuses are pretty awesome, and it's very likely that you'll want to break your tier 12 set as soon as you have two pieces of the tier 13, even if you're going from heroic T12 to raid finder T13. The four-piece bonus is good enough to make it worth replacing the pretty spectacular tier 12 two-piece as well.

Keep in mind that the two-piece bonus doubles the focus regen of the shots, not your total focus regen. Thus instead of regenerating 9 focus every time you fire a Cobra Shot or Steady Shot, you'll regenerate 18 focus. That's a whopping big difference that will absolutely change your base rotations, making them so focus-positive that you have a lot more focus to dump on Arcane Shot.

And that's great, since the four-piece bonus involves firing Arcane Shot to get the awesomesauce proc. The two-piece makes SV sufficiently focus-positive that SV will get to fire off plenty of Arcane Shots. MM is going to prefer Arcane Shot as a focus dump until the proc hits, and then go back to hardcasting Aimed Shot (and as always MM will want to hard cast Aimed Shot when hasted as long as you know you won't have to move and interrupt the cast).

The set bonuses are pretty good, but they will make playing your hunter feel a bit different as you adjust to the crazy incoming focus.

Now on to the loot list!

Our head slot has the awesome Zeherah's Dragonskull Crown, an in-game item named after our very own Zeherah of Both helms have the same agility and socket bonus, and both have mastery as one of the secondary stats. You could argue that you should make the choice based on whether you need the hit, or you could argue that you should make the decision based on your needs of completing your set -- but you would lose both arguments.

In honor of Zeherah, every hunter who can should wear this helm! Get your set bonuses from the other pieces.


We have to assume that there will be more neck pieces than just this one available in the final patch 4.3.

Two guesses on what shoulders you should wear. Actually, I suspect that the Wowhead database just isn't complete yet. I'm sure we'll have another set of shoulders available somewhere. I certainly hope so, anyway.

Our only option makes it our best option! Sadly, this will not give us truly awesome bat wings like the rogues are getting with their legendaries.

We want to go with the Wyrmstalker's Tunic here. The larger socket bonus plus the extra socket make it a win in the agility department -- besides which, if we're wearing Zeherah's helm, then we need all the rest of our tier slots to collect our awesome bonuses.

OK, I am not cool with "hunter-killer" bracers. That is not funny. Clearly it is of the utmost importance that we keep these out of the hands of enhnacement shaman at all costs. Alas, they're craftable with leatherworking, meaning they're going to get out. If you happen to know any leatherworkers, make them swear not to ever sell or give these to enhancement shaman.

There does not appear to be a heroic version of the hunter-killer bracers, however. The Bracers of the Hunter-Killer are the best choice for us at normal level, but once you have access to heroic gear, you'll want to go after the Bracers of Looming Darkness.

Your choice here is between the set gloves and Sporebeard Gauntlets. (Any relation to sporebat? If so, those are gonna be some badass gauntlets.) If you're using Zeherah's helm, then you'll want the set gloves. But to be fair, Sporebeard Gauntlets have a nice agility lead and are technically the better item by a small margin.


Belt of the Beloved Companion is our belt of choice, which is appropriate for hunters. I hope the beloved companion is referring to our pet. Or ... maybe not. Would that imply that our beloved companion died and we skinned him and made a belt out of his hide? Might explain why it's such an awesome belt, but still. Ew.

We want the Wyrmstalker's Legguards for this slot.

We like the Treads of Dominant Dreams for the foot slot.

Our best bet for our two ring slots are the two rings available, it would seem.

Interestingly, I didn't actually find any trinkets at the normal gear level -- the only ones I could find only showed an ilevel 410 heroic version. Of these, it's difficult to pick two best because we don't yet know enough about the damage-dealing proc of Vial of Shadows. We can assume it's mitigated by armor and doesn't scale, but without knowing the proc rate, we can't really compare it against the competition.

The other two look fairly well balanced. On average, the Starcatcher Compass is better, but you can use the Kiroptyric Sigil for multiplicative stacking, especially since it's likely to proc right at the outset when you have everything else going on (Rapid Fire, potion, other procs).

So we'll have to wait and see a bit before making a final call on the best trinket pair -- but if these are indeed only available as ilevel 410 versions, then it will likely be a while before anyone has them to test out.

Update: all trinkets are now datamined, including the Wrath of Unchaining, which is the unquestioned best trinket. In fact, even the Raid Finder version is phenomenal.

Melee weapon
Kiril, Fury of Beasts looks like the funnest proc we've seen since Deathbringer's Will, and it looks to be an awesome hunter weapon. As always, despite the totally sweet proc, we don't actually make use of the DPS on the weapon at all, so people who will use that DPS (and for whom this is BiS) should get first pick at it.

Ranged weapon
After totally screwing Dwarves out of their raiding guns for the entire bloody expansion, we finally have a gun available for us (assuming it doesn't turn into something else when we aren't looking again).

Depending on your point of view, the fact that the gun is only ilevel 397 is either good or bad. The crossbow has a heroic ilevel 410 version and the bow, the damned bloody bow again, looks like it drops from Deathwing with an ilevel 416 version and takes the top ranged spot a-frickin-gain.

On the one hand, that means that guns are the worst ranged weapon of the tier. On the other hand, it means that you'll be able to easily get your hands on a gun, whereas if you want the bow you have to kill Deathwing first -- at which point you just beat Cataclysm and are ready to hang up your gear until it's time to replace it with greens.

Well, not really ... but you see the point. We get to use our gun to kill Deathwing. The bow is just the "I Killed D-Wing" T-shirt memento.

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From leveling your hunter and choosing the best patch 4.2 gear to learning the DPS value of skill, we've got you covered. If you're stuck in one of the nine support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?

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