When you raid, your gear counts. The quality of your gear makes a huge difference in your performance. Once you get to 70, most of your preparation for Karazhan will be in gathering your gear.
As a general guideline, you should go to Karazhan wearing level 68 or better rare-quality (blue) gear in almost every slot. For the early bosses in Karazhan, a few uncommon-quality (green) items are fine. Every piece that can take an enchantment should have one. This includes your head, shoulder, leg, and ranged weapon slots. Every slot that can take a gem should have a superior or epic quality gem in it.
While each gem, gear upgrade, or enchant may seem like only a small improvement, each improvement counts. Your gear has a lot of slots for gems and enchants, and they all add up. Consider all ten players in your raid, and all those small differences turn into a huge improvement to the raid's power. It is important for every raider to do his part.
Many new raiders will read the previous paragraph, and ignore the advice in it. They see only a small difference between the cheap gems and the expensive ones. They cannot accept the expense of enchanting. They show up to raids with missing enchants, low-level auction house and quest reward green items, and gem sockets that are either empty or full of low-quality gems. Those are bad hunters. They can be expected to do a bad job in Karazhan. Their gear does not let them put out much damage, and they generally have bad specs and do not know what they are doing. It is best to keep these hunters out of your raid. Experienced raiders inspect the gear of anyone new, and keep out problem players. Do not be that hunter.
Hit rating Edit
Hit rating increases your chance to hit the target. It turns misses into regular hits. It does not turn misses into crits. (Note: The math of this particular mechanic is under debate as of March, 2008.)
It takes 15.77 points of hit rating to increase your chance to hit by 1%. A hunter's base chance to miss against a raid boss is 9%. With 142 hit rating, the hunter will never miss a normal shot. The Surefooted talent, the Draenei Heroic Presence racial ability, and the druid Improved Faerie Fire all increase your chance to hit, as well.
Generally speaking, with similar gear quality, hit rating will increase hunter damage output more than any other stat. You should prioritize it above all other stats, without going over +9% increased chance to hit. That said, it is only one stat that increases your damage output. Do not select an inferior item, just because it has hit rating.
Agility is the hunter's primary stat for increasing damage output. Once your hit rating is maxed out, it increases your damage output by more than anything else, and also increases your survivability.
Each point of agility increases a hunter's attack power by 1, chance to crit by 0.025%, armor by 2, and chance to dodge by 0.038%.
For the same item budget points, the crit chance and attack power granted by agility increase damage output more than getting raw crit rating and attack power separately. Also, agility is improved if you get Blessing of Kings from a paladin, but raw crit rating and attack power are not improved. Given the choice, always take agility.
Attack power Edit
Each point of attack power increases unmodified auto shot and auto attack damage by 0.07 points of damage per second. This raw damage is multiplied considerably by talents and skills.
Crit rating Edit
Each point of crit rating increases a hunter's chance to crit by 0.045%. The amount a hunter crits is in no way linked to the amount that the hunter misses.
MP5 and Intellect Edit
Each point of MP5 restores one point of mana every five seconds. It is superior to Spirit, because it works while using spells in combat.
Each point of Intellect grants 15 base mana. It also increases the rate of mana regeneration while Aspect of the Viper is active.
Hunters require mana to deal damage. Some hunters choose to have low MP5 and restore their mana during long fights via potions.
Some hunters carry two one-handed weapons with high intellect on them. When they are low on mana, they equip the weapons (this can be done in combat) and turn on Aspect of the Viper until they have enough mana.
Each point of stamina grants a hunter 10 health. With certain talents, this is increased up to 11.5 health per point of stamina.
Health lets you survive until you can get healed. Due to the nature of certain fights, hunters need at least 8,000 health in Karazhan. More is better.
Haste and haste rating increase the frequency at which a hunter fires Auto Shots, and decreases the cast time for Steady Shot and Aimed Shot. It is believed to also decrease the cast time for Auto Shot and Multishot.
Hunters entering Karazhan should have a quiver or ammo pouch that gives them 15% haste. Very little haste gear is otherwise available at that point in the game.
Armor penetration Edit
Armor penetration lets a hunter ignore some of the armor of his target, thereby doing more damage. This is more useful on targets that already have low armor. Some of the Badge of Justice gear has armor penetration.
Melee weapons Edit
Hunters can use every melee weapon in the game except maces. They can wield either a big two-handed weapon or two one-handed weapons. However, they do most of their damage via their ranged attacks. Melee weapons are useful mainly for their stats, and they should be selected with this in mind.
Generally speaking, the two-handed weapons available before Karazhan give better stats than pairs of the available one-handed weapons. However, it is viable to have a pair of one-handed weapons with the +30 Intellect enchant on them. When your mana gets low in a fight, change to those weapons and turn on Aspect of the Viper for a big boost to mana regeneration. After you have enough mana, switch back to a damage-dealing weapon and Aspect of the Hawk.
You will do more damage with a +35 agility enchant than with a +70 attack power enchant, so take the agility.
Ranged weapons Edit
Unfortunately, due to the way Blizzard has designed the game, the speed of a ranged weapon is more important than the amount of damage it does each shot. Beast Mastery hunters should try to get a weapon with a shot speed as close to every 2.7 seconds as possible. By far, the best pre-Karazhan weapon for Beast Mastery hunters is .
By far, the best scope in the game is the . Until you reach your hit rating cap, it boosts your damage more than anything else. Even if it does push you over your cap, it is still great, because it allows you to swap out hit rating gear and gems for agility, attack power, and crit gear and gems. It works on all shots and stings. It scales up with your attack power. Unfortunately, the recipe is an extremely rare drop in Molten Core, where nobody goes any more. It also requires materials from Molten Core. So, it is unlikely that you can get this scope. If you can find an engineer that can make it, though, it is worth putting together a small raid to Molten Core to make one of these. It is just that good.
Finally, if you cannot afford the Stabilized Eternium Scope, at least get the . Be warned that it works only for Auto Shot, Aimed Shot, Scatter Shot, Silencing Shot, and Multi Shot. It does not work for Steady Shot, Arcane Shot, or any stings.
Head enchant Edit
The head enchant you want is a , and it requires revered reputation with Cenarion Expedition. Revered reputation also give you access to , so you really need to get it. The easiest way to get up to revered reputation is via running sThe Steamvault, where you also have a chance to get and . Expect to run The Steamvault a lot.
Shoulder enchant Edit
The regular shoulder enchants require honored reputation with The Scryers or The Aldor. The good ones require exalted, and they are very good. You need at least honored, and that can be done easily enough via a few quests. Get going.
Choosing items Edit
Sometimes, you will have a choice of more than one item to equip. How do you decide which one to use?
As a very rough guide, you can use Blizzard's own itemization budget for damage output. By that budget:
1 hit rating = 1 crit rating = 1 agility = 2 attack power
So, to determine the damage-dealing budget of an item, use
2(HR + CR + AGI) + AP
If you are trying to decide between two items, calculate that number for both items and compare them. The one with the bigger number has more damage-dealing potential. For example, given the choice between 20 crit rating and 50 attack power, take the attack power.
This is very inexact because, for hunters, it does not exactly work out this way. A given budget of hit rating helps more than the same budget dedicated to other stats, but only up to 9% hit on bosses. On level-70 targets, it only helps up to 5%. Agility helps more than the same budget dedicated to either crit rating or attack power.
It gets worse. The higher your attack power is, the more crit rating and hit rating helps. The higher your crit and/or hit rating is, the more attack power helps. In jargon, these stats "scale" with each other. So, how do you determine which is best? Well, it depends on your other stats. Unfortunately, the math is pretty complicated.
Fortunately, that math has already been done for you. Cheeky's spreadsheet (Excel version, OpenOffice version) will calculate all the numbers for you, so you can compare your theoretical DPS with different gearouts, specs, and shot rotations.
So, as a general guideline, take items with hit rating first, but do not go over 142. Really, stop worrying about hit rating once you get over 100. After that, take items with agility. Then, go for attack power and crit rating. For Karazhan, try to get your health over 8,000. If you find yourself running low on mana, take MP/5 and intellect.
Strength, spell damage, healing power, spell crit rating, spell hit rating, and spell penetration are all useless to a raiding hunter. Do not take items with these stats.
Gear recommendations Edit
When gearing up for Karazhan, here is a reasonable plan to follow:
First, buy cheap crafted and auction house gear. The Felstalker set, Valanos' Longbow, Pauldrons of Surging Mana, and Swiftsteel Gloves are an easy start.
Then, obtain quest items to fill gaps, especially for the head, trinket, finger, leg, melee weapon, and neck slots.
Then, build reputation for head and shoulder enchants and possibly back, ranged weapon, and melee weapon slots. You will probably get some dungeon drops on the way.
At this point, it may be worth getting expensive epic crafted or world-drop BoE items for the chest, back, hands, ranged weapon, leg, and head slots. They are not necessary for Karazhan, but they are certainly helpful. In particular, the hunter leg and chestpiece drops come from fights near the end of a Karazhan raid, and may not be available to you for a long time.
Finally, you may have some weak spots in your foot, back, and shoulder slots. Run battlegrounds for PvP gear or try for dungeon drops to upgrade those items.
Here is a list of recommended gear and enchants available before entering Karazhan. In the interest of length, it does not mention heroic dungeon drops or Badge of Justice rewards, although those are certainly good for Karazhan. The one exception is the Bloodlust Brooch badge reward, because it is just so good.
See the Reputation rewards section for more rings.
(a) Auction house (World BoE)
(p) PvP award
Gem Recommendations Edit
The following table lists a large number of gems that are useful to hunters. Remember, though, that agility is almost always better than straight attack power or crit rating. For instance, you should never put a in a red slot, because a grants identical attack power and more chance to crit, while also granting armor and dodge.
|Red Gems|| |
|Blue Gems|| |
|Yellow Gems|| |
|Orange Gems|| |
|Purple Gems|| |
|Green Gems|| |
|Meta Gems|| |
Reputation rewards Edit
As you complete quests and kill enemies in Karazhan, you will gain reputation with the Violet Eye. Better reputation gets hunters access to some nice rings and ammunition.