Hunter 101: Gear and stats

Long story short, if it’s an item in the game, it’s for a Hunter

I almost didn’t even write this post since all loot in the game is Hunter loot™. But since the other support classes might find that unfair [for whatever reason], I thought I would go ahead and write up a guide on what to look for, should you want to be a kind and benevolent Hunter and give lesser gear to the support classes.

“Hunter weapon… Hunter weapon…. oh! This was made for a Hunter.” — ancient Hunter proverb

In all seriousness, though, we Hunters are pretty lucky when it comes to gear. A lot of the gear in the game works for us and it’s relatively easy to find really good gear at low levels.


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Why you shouldn’t use Noxxic as a hunter

I recently commented to someone that I wished people would stop pointing new players to Noxxic because their guides are not very good. I was asked:

 Can you point me to a glaring error at Noxxic? Something that a new player would look at, and be completely incorrect to follow?

This was my reply:

The only class I feel like I have any authority to comment on is hunter, so I’ll only look at their hunter guide. I recall the last time I looked at this site (in 4.2) I was startled at how out of date and wrong some of the info is… hopefully it will be better now. (As you can see from this laundry list of errors, it isn’t.)

Beast Mastery:

  • Their stat priority choice is not explained and is not entirely correct. They don’t explain why or when Mastery becomes more valuable than Haste.
  • Gems listed leave something to be desired, as they appear to be encouraging matching EVERY socket, something no one should be doing for the most part. It is not explained when a socket bonus is worth taking. (And it’s not hard to explain. A single sentence would suffice: “Only match socket colors if the socket bonus is +20 Agility or MORE, otherwise just use a pure red gem in the socket.”)
  • Engineering profession perks leave out several tinkers, do not mention parachute cloak at all.
  • Core build 1 places 2 points in Improved Serpent Sting and only 1 in Pathing. WTF? BM spec is essentially impossible to fuck up and they somehow manage to give bad advice here. Core build 2 takes a point out of an important DPS talent in the MM tree (Sic Em!) and moves it to Pathing, leaving 2 points in Improved Serpent Sting. Again, WTF? This talent is ONLY good for SV. No BM or MM hunter should be taking it.
  • Glyph suggestions are questionable, no alternatives are listed.
  • Rotation is wrong. Shot priority is incorrect, major cooldown (Focus Fire) is not even mentioned in the single target rotation, AOE rotation or as an effective dps cooldown. No pet CDs are mentioned.


  • Stat priority lists Crit ≥ Haste ≥ Mastery. At no point in time in any spec for any reason will ANY stat ever be even remotely considered equal to crit. This is a MASSIVE error.
  • Same problems with gems/professions as BM. Missing info.
  • Core build 1 is ehhh, though the suggestion of Trueshot Aura for a raiding hunter is likely a redundant buff and this point could be better spent elsewhere. Traditional 7/31/3 build places 3 points in Pathing and 2 points in Frenzy. Ranged haste >>>>>>>>> faster pet attack speed. ESPECIALLY for MM where haste is so important. Core build 2 is also meh, has the proper 7/31/3 point distribution but still puts points in TSA and 2 points in Termination which would leave you eternally focus capped in T13 gear. Bad choice.
  • Aimed Shot is listed as a preferential Prime Glyph. This glyph is never, ever good. Bestial Wrath glyph is listed as a preferred Major Glyph. This is an ability that can only be used by a BM hunter. MAJOR ERROR.
  • MM rotation is incredibly intricate and changes three times based on boss health, they don’t explain this at all. The shot priority listed is a complete mess. They tell you to “Always keep close to 50 Focus so that you can cast Chimera Shot whenever it comes up.” This is terrible focus management advice. Call of the Wild is listed as an effective DPS cooldown but it’s not mentioned for BM. Why? You get to use it almost twice as often as BM. It’s also not explained that this is a pet ability that you have to spec in to and therefore will not automatically find it in your spellbook.


  • Stat priority is weird. This is the only spec where a specific haste value is mentioned, which is odd because haste plateaus are waaaaay more important for MM. Page says haste is ” generally the most effective secondary stat (after 8% hit cap) for maximizing DPS” which makes me do the “are you fucking kidding me” face because crit is always and forever our #1 secondary stat above anything and everything in every single spec.
  • Again, same problem with gem/profession info.
  • Core build is bizarre. Point of no Escape is listed as a core talent, this isn’t good for any encounter except maybe Cho’gall or Beth, and even then it’s a suboptimal choice. They also list a build which puts 5 unnecessary points in the BM tree to get Frenzy. They don’t explain when Hunter vs. Wild would be a valuable choice and gloss over Survival Tactics.
  • Their suggestion of when/why to use Serpent Sting glyph is odd. Unless you’re doing a fight with nonstop adds (say, H Bethtilac 25m AT CONTENT—note: SV was the suboptimal spec for this fight, MM is superior for lots of AOE), Arcane Shot glyph will increase your damage substantially more.
  • Shot priority is essentially correct. Slightly nitpicky problem, they say AOE is for 4+ mobs, you can effectively AOE 3+ mobs. This is a very, very, very, very minor thing, I’ll let it slide. They list Call of the Wild again, but fail to mention it is a pet ability, etc etc.

In no place do they mention or explain anything about your pet, which is a massive part of your role. Pet DPS cooldowns aren’t explained, nor are pet buffs mentioned. I cannot tell you how many times I talk to a hunter who has NO CLUE their pet provides them with a buff. For the BM guide, not mentioning pets is like not bothering to mention seals and judgement to a paladin. BM is “the pet spec”.

Comprehensive all-in-one guides are never as accurate as dedicated specific gudes run by people who play that class. I’d rather noxxic be a portal to better information than something that is “for the most part” correct.

Now, I’m sure the Noxxic guides are good enough to get you started, but I would rather teach people how to do things correctly from the beginning rather than teach them the wrong thing, then RE-teach them later. It’s easier to learn something new and maintain correct information than to unlearn wrong info and try to get it right.

This is ESPECIALLY true for hunters. We have an amazing community of very knowledgable bloggers with an INSANE amount of information out there for new players. Your best bet is always a guide written for your class by someone who is experienced at playing your class, rather than an overview written by someone who may or may not understand the current theorycrafting information.

If you’re looking for hunter info, pick one of the blogs in my sidebar.

If you need help for learning how to play a hunter, read my Hunter 101 posts or visit Zanbon’s Beginner’s Corner over at the WHH.

Don’t use a reader’s digest website that isn’t written by someone who plays the class. ESPECIALLY as a hunter. Our community is so big and full of information, Noxxic should NEVER come up as a suggestion.



<3 Z

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It’s time for Hunter Weapon Transmograpalooza!

4.3 is here today, and with the new patch comes the ability to TRANSMOGRIFY. Being someone who has hoarded weapons and gear since I was level 40-something, I’ve been forming a list of the best stuff out there for years and I thought I would post my top 10 picks.

I tried to keep my lists limited to items that can be farmed since quest reward items tend to be a little harder to obtain [due to the possibility that someone might have already completed the quest and therefore no longer have access to it]. Plus, raid drops tend to be much nicer looking than quest items anyway.

Top 10 ranged weapons

  1. Melmorta’s Twilight Longbow (pictured above)
  2. Avalanche / Golemheart Longbow / Siren’s Cry
  3. Ironfeather Longbow
  4. Golden Bow of Quel’Thalas
  5. Rifle of the Platinum Guard / Veranus’ Bane
  6. Heartstriker
  7. Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix
  8. Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle
  9. The Boomstick
  10. Arrowsong

Legacy items

These are some of the best weapons EVER made in the game. Unfortunately, they are no longer obtainable, so they’re very much a “you had to be there” type item.
Frankly, if you were around when these quests/items were available and you don’t use them for transmog, you’re doing it wrong.

Honorable mentions

Top 10 melee weapons

  1. Dreambinder / Rapture
  2. Crystalheart Pulse-Staff
  3. Staff of Immaculate Recovery
  4. Black Ice (pictured above)
  5. Glaive of the Pit
  6. Apostle of Argus
  7. Terestian’s Stranglestaff
  8. Hellreaver
  9. Zhardoom, Greatstaff of the Devourer
  10. Bloodfall

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Hunter 101: Gems and Enchants

Enchants and gems are listed in order from best to least optimal. You should always aim for the best enchant on all of your gear, but I have provided cheaper options for fresh 85s who want to optimize their gear but not splurge on the best of the best for blues they know they’re about to replace. You should ALWAYS enchant your gear, no excuses!

Obviously, the profession-specific option will almost always be the best option for that slot. Read more about your profession options in my Hunter 101 post on professions.

There are a couple of Wrath of the Lich King enchants on this list, indicated by a (wotlk) note… strangely enough, these enchants are still VERY viable in Cataclysm end-game raiding.


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Hunter 101: Reforging and You

The subtitle of this post could very easily be “The Importance of Having Haste”, as I go in to great depth about the value of Haste to us.

First, what the heck IS reforging?

Reforging, as explained by the  Arcane Reforger NPC:

For example, if an item afforded you a bonus to strike your enemies but you’d rather it made you attack more quickly, an Arcane Reforger could, for a price, reforge the item to have less Hit Rating but increase your Haste Rating.

So basically, you have the option to forge a less desirable stat into something that you actually want!


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Hunter 101: Gear and stats

I almost didn’t even write this post since all loot in the game is hunter loot. But since the other support classes might find that unfair [for whatever reason], I thought I would go ahead and write up a guide on what to look for, should you want to be a kind and benevolent hunter and give lesser gear to the support classes.

hunter weapon… hunter weapon…. oh! this was made for a hunter.

In all seriousness, though, we hunters are pretty lucky when it comes to gear. A lot of the gear in the game works for us and it’s relatively easy to find really good gear at low levels.


Read More