Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A little more about 3.2 gear

I realized that I missed a neckpiece yesterday, undoubtedly due to the fact that MMO-champ has it and wowhead does not: the Charge of the Eredar. This little guy is in the same unenviable position as the cloak from Northrend Beasts, it's entirely lacking in armor pen. Compared to Broach of the Wailing Night it would net me:
+13 agility
+7 stam
+17 AP
+18 crit rating
-46 armor pen
+44 haste
So overall, clearly a DPS gain, but one that's going to remain my lowest priority. Axiom uses a loot list system to distribute its loot, and there are only so many spaces available to list items. I'd rather spend those precious spots on things like the new crossbow and things itemized with crit/armor pen.
That said, for anyone saddened by the cloak situation yesterday, there is hope: Sylvanas' Cunning drops from the heroic tribute chest. That means it's amongst the handful of items most difficult to acquire from this content patch, but the hunters wearing one are going to be pulling somewhere in the 9-10k DPS range for Icecrown, I'm sure. And hey, having something to look forward to is never bad.
All of the armor penetration on this gear had me making a prediction yesterday that we're going to see the disappearance of survival as a high-end raiding spec by the time Icecrown is released. I made this prediction on a message board, and one person pointed out that the 3.2 change to survival's Lock and Load mechanic were actually a pretty substantial buff. If you're unaware of what those were, they added an internal cooldown to the talent and increased the proc chance. This meant no more strings of 2 and 3 back to back procs, which was a little sad - it was pretty fun firing 6 explosive shots in a row when that happened. On the other hand, you're nearly guaranteed a proc out of every Black Arrow duration, and that's an overall increase to damage.
Still, I don't see survival keeping up. I haven't simulated it or done any math or anything, so I could very easily be wrong. Nonetheless, survival just doesn't scale with the new gear as well as marks. For one, Explosive Shot doesn't care about weapon damage, so those new crossbows firing Mack trucks instead of arrows aren't doing much for SV. For two, marks makes use of all the stats on gear much more efficiently than survival. Both specs are in love with all that delicious agility and crit on the new stuff, but survival is semi-indifferent to the haste and armor pen. Most of its damage comes from ExS, an instant-cast, non-physical attack. Most of a marks hunter's damage comes from autoshot and steadyshot, both of which benefit from both haste and armor pen. Not only that, but marks hunters have been hitting 8k DPS with top-shelf Ulduar gear, and that's with an armor pen proc. When they've got that much armor pen just passively, I just don't see survival matching it without some other sort of buff.
Of course, there's always BM. It was still top dog when Wrath came out, and there's at least one blue post saying that they think they nerfed it too hard with 3.08. It's possible the iconic big red pets will make a return at some point.

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