Patch 4.2 arrived a few weeks ago and with it, a new tier of raiding and when we have a new tier of raiding… we also have a new tier of gear and this is what we are going to be looking at today.
When it comes to maximizing your potential through gearing, the most important aspect is to maximize your Agility. Different items of the same item level, filling the same slot, will almost always have the exact same amount of Agility, which means the most important differences between different items will be; sockets and secondary stats.
Basically you want items with red socket slots, preferably with an Agility socket bonus or socket bonuses that give +30 Agility or more so that using a mixed color gem isn’t decreasing your Agility potential. And secondly you want to favor Crit over other secondary stats since it provides the most dps per rating compared Haste or Mastery. However, you don’t want to have 0 of any stat, all stats work together to better each other so it does not hurt at all to have some of the other stats on your gear.
To sum up:
DPS > Agility > Hit (under cap) > Crit > Haste > Mastery
Note: There are also Haste plateaus which causes the value of Haste to change rapidly depending on how close to the plateau you are. This is why spreadsheets evaluation of Haste, generally is wonky.
Basically, when you add enough enough Haste to fit an extra attack in your rotation, then Haste has added significant dps benefit. More so than any other secondary stat. But for increases of Haste which does not cause you to be able to fit an extra ability in, you are only increasing your dps linearly through increased auto attack speed and pet attack speed.
Tier 12 set bonuses
(2) Set: Your Steady Shot and Cobra Shot have a 10% chance to trigger a Flaming Arrow, dealing 80% instant weapon damage as Fire.
(4) Set: You have a 10% chance from your autoshots to make your next shot or Kill Command cost no focus.
This tier we have two well-balanced set bonuses. Last tier the first set bonus was almost inconsequential and then the second set bonus was so strong it was ridiculous. For comparison, in this tier you will see about equal dps benefit from both set bonuses, adding up to being in total, a bit stronger than the tier 11’s 4-piece bonus.
When to switch
- If you have 4-piece tier 11 right now then it will be beneficial for your dps to switch to tier 12 as soon as you can get 2 pieces .
- If you have heroic 4-piece tier 11 right now then it won’t be beneficial for your dps to switch to tier 12 until you can get 4 pieces.
- If you have2 heroic pieces and 2 normal pieces of tier 11, then it will be beneficial to switch out the 2 normal pieces for tier 12. But, it’s only a small benefit.
The items slot by slot
- Flamewaker’s Headguard – ilvl 378 – Ragnaros (Firelands)
- Scalp of the Bandit Prince – ilvl 378 – Shannox (Firelands)
The tier helm from Ragnaros comes with a +30 Agility socket bonus from a yellow gem slot which will be worth gemming for and will be a dps advantage over helm from Shannox. Other than that there’s also more favorable secondary stats on the tier helm, Crit and Haste over Crit and Mastery. And of course, the tier helm also grants you the set bonus if you have all the pieces. All of this leads to the tier helm being the best option.
- Choker of the Vanquished Lord – ilvl 384 – Ragnaros (Firelands)
- Necklace of Smoke Signals – ilvl 378 – Valor Point vendor
The necklace from Ragnaros has a higher item level than the valor point necklace and therefor has more of all stats on it and is therefor indisputably better.
- Flickering Shoulders – ilvl 378 – Beth’tilac (Firelands)
- Flamewaker’s Spaulders – ilvl 378 – Valor point vendor
Flickering Shoulders has +9 Agility over the tier piece due to it’s gemming bonus. This item has a random enchant though and can give you any combination of two stats from this list; Hit, Crit, Haste, Mastery. If you are lucky and end up with a Crit and Haste on it, then it is much better than the tier piece. And even if you don’t get that magic combination, this item will be better than the tier piece since it has the +9 Agility and since the tier piece has Mastery as one of it’s secondary stats.
You should only really go for the tier piece to fill your set bonus requirements, but if you can fill it elsewhere, do so.
- Dreadfire Drape – ilvl 378 – Lord Rhyolith (Firelands)
- Sleek Flamewrath Cloak – ilvl 378 – Avengers of Hyjal reputation reward
- Mantle of Doubt – ilvl 365 – Quest reward from the Elemental Bonds quest line
You can easily pick up the Mantle of Doubt after a bit of questing to get to the Molten Front daily questing zone. A day or two later, after raiding Firelands and killing some trash and get Friendly with Avengers of Hyjal you will be given the Sleek Flamewrath Cloak. Then you will think, is it worth getting the Dreadfire Drape? Yes, it is! The Dreadfire Drape has a total of +312 Agility with gems, that’s a staggering 85 more Agility than Sleek Flamewrath Cloak!
- Flamewaker’s Tunic – ilvl 378 – Valor point vendor
- Flaming Core Chestguard – ilvl 378 – Lord Rhyolith (Firelands)
These two pieces are very even in terms of dps contribution, there are upsides and downsides to both. Basically you’ll want the tier piece if you’re missing a piece to complete the set bonuses and you’ll want the other item if you desperately need hit rating.
- Bracers of Forked Lightning – ilvl 378 – Valor point vendor
- Hide-Bound Chains – ilvl 378 – Trash drop (Firelands)
Again, these two items are very similar. Only the secondary stats differ. Bracers of Forked Lightning comes with Crit and Mastery while Hide-Bound Chains comes with Hit and Haste. Here it comes down to what stat you need, if you don’t specifically need any of those stats to hit a threshold then either will work fine.
Also noteworthy here is that the Valor point bracers are actually BoE. So the most efficient way of getting the bracers is buying them from someone else or do troll heroics on an alt for two weeks yourself and pick them up for your hunter.
- Grips of Unerring Precision – ilvl 378 – Shannox (Firelands)
- Dragonfire Gloves – ilvl 378 – Crafted by Leatherworkers
- Flamewaker’s Gloves – ilvl 378 – Valor point vendor, Occu’thar (Baradin Hold)
The tier piece has the most favorable secondary stats but looses in the end since it has less Agility due to requiring a yellow gem for its socket bonus. Either of the other two items will come with more Agility but also suffer from having Mastery as a secondary stat coupled with Haste or Crit. You will most likely want Grips of Unerring Precision, which comes with Haste and Mastery, because it uses less of the stat budget on Mastery and puts more of it into Haste.
- Firearrow Belt – ilvl 378 – Avengers of Hyjal reputation reward
That’s it! Get to Honored with Avengers of Hyjal by killing lots of trash in Firelands and rejoice in your new permanent tier 12 belt.
- Flamewaker’s Legguards – ilvl 378 – Valor point vendor, Occu’thar (Baradin Hold)
- Moltenfeather Leggings – ilvl 378 – Alysrazor (Firelands)
Again it’s just the secondary stats that really differ, that and the fact that one of these two items is a tier piece and is therefor beneficial if you are lacking the set bonuses still. Regardless of set bonuses, the tier piece has better secondary stats and should always be favored over the other item.
- Decimation Treads – ilvl 378 – Baleroc (Firelands)
- Earthen Scale Sabatons – ilvl 378 – Crafted by Leatherworkers
The craftable comes with 1 Agility more than the Baleroc drop, unfortunately this isn’t enough up to weigh up against the fact that it also comes with Mastery. The Baleroc drop has Hit and Crit and should be favored over the other item, but in all fairness they are very equal.
- Viridian Signet of the Avengers – ilvl 384 – Avengers of Hyjal reputation reward
- Widow’s Kiss – ilvl 378 – Beth’thilac (Firelands)
- Splintered Brimstone Seal – ilvl 378 – Valor point reward
- Band of Glittering Lights – ilvl 365 – Molten front questing zone vendor
- Matoclaw’s Band – ilvl 365 – Molten front questing zone vendor
The best ring available to us in this tier is the one you get from reaching Exalted with Avengers of Hyjal. The second best ring would be Widow’s Kiss or Splintered Brimstone Seal, both of these are very close but I’d go for Widow’s Kiss since it uses less of it’s stat budget on Mastery.
One of the two 365 rings is available after maybe 3 weeks of grinding the Molten Front daily quests (a few days more for the other ring). At this point, if you are raiding, you will most likely have a 378 ring but probably not two and therefor you could very likely be in a position to choose between the two 365 rings. If you are, then go for Band of Glittering Lights, this is sold by the vendor who requires the Filling the Moonwell quest done.
- Matrix Restabilizer – ilvl 384 – Ragnaros (Firelands)
- The Hungerer – ilvl 378 – Majordomo Staghelm (Firelands)
The Matrix Restabilizer clearly is the best trinket available this tier due to it’s superior item level but also because of it’s wonderful stats and procc. The Hungerer is a nice trinket for your second slot but do keep in mind it is only slightly better than Fluid Death which you can get from the Justice point vendor. Basically, if you can get the hit elsewhere than from the Justice point trinket, then go for The Hungerer.
There is an excellent article on WHU that talks about trinket choices in this tier, including the options from the previous tier and how good the new ones are in relation to them.
- Ranseur of Hatred – ilvl 378 – Trash drop (Firelands)
- Fandral’s Flamescythe – ilvl 378 – Majordomo Staghelm (Firelands)
Luckily for all feral druids out there who desperately want the fire-kitty staff (Fandral’s Flamescythe), the trash drop polearm Ranseur of Hatred is our best possible 2h weapon of choice. Why? It has Crit and Haste whilst the other one comes with Crit and Mastery.
- Arathar, The Eye of Flame – ilvl 384 – Ragnaros (Firelands)
- Lava Bolt Crossbow – ilvl 378 – Trash drop (Firelands)
- Arbalest of Erupting Fury – ilvl 378 – Lord Rhyolith (Firelands)
- Extreme-Impact Hole Puncher – ilvl 365 – Crafted by Engineers
Clearly the higher item level bow from Ragnaros wins the best in slot title here too. But before you’re able to get your hands on that you will need to use another ranged weapon and that weapon should be the Lava Bolt Crossbow. It has equal primary stats to Arbalest of Erupting Fury but comes with more favorable secondary stats, having said that, either will do of course. When it comes to secondary stats the difference is always minor.
What about the Extreme-Impact Hole Puncher? Is it worth the gold? The answer here unfortunately will be; It depends on the cost on your server. The materials required to make it are pretty costly (at least on my server) causing it have to be sold at ~10k to break even from the seller, and of course will want to make a profit. So I would expect to see it up for 15k gold on the AH.
And then we have the Lava Bolt Crossbow, which has higher item level and therefor much higher dps contribution (especially since it’s our main weapon)… and this item is a trash drop and will therefor also be available on the auction house. I don’t think it’s farfetched to see this item up for 15k in your local auction house sometime soon.
Therefor, I recommend not to invest in the Extreme-Impact Hole Puncher, since you will most likely be able to get the much better Lava Bolt Crossbow for a similar cost.
If you play a Dwarf, you should read this guide by OutDPS on how to obtain the only available gun in this tier.