It may come as a surprise to some of you but I have a rather geared alt. When I first started playing Wrath of the Lich King, I wanted to play a pure dps class, so that farming, questing, earning gold, and raiding were a bit more “fun.” So I took my little level 39 twink hunter and leveled her all they way to 80. As soon as I started gearing her, I was asked to tank as a protection paladin for my guild. So my stint as a dps’er lasted a total of one week at 80. However after naxx got boring, and ulduar got on farm, I was able to gear up my hunter. I leveled as beast mastery, was one of the server’s first hunters to have a spirit beast (for those of you who only care about tanking, its an extremely rare cat that requires the 51 point beast mastery to tame and use), and Loved BM. Well, BM got nerfed, Survival got a huge buff, and off i went into the world of explosive shot.
Well, when we were in full hard mode gear in Ulduar and ToTC and farming for Emblems of Triumph took away most of my attention, my poor little alt was gathering dust. Last night we ran an alt ToTC 10 man and I brought my hunter. Well I’m in a mix of Naxx Best in Slot, Ulduar Best in Slot, and ToTC welfare epics, and I had to switch again, this time to Marksmanship. Where is this story about a hunter on a prot pally site going?
Min/Maxing – To ArP or Agi for a hunter
I want to use my hunter as an analogy for our tanks and our constant struggle to try to maintain the balance of stam, avoidance, and mitigation. As a survival hunter, agility is king, you gem agility the way most tanks gem stam, e.g. all the sockets but the ones to activate your meta. ArP is the number one stat for MM hunters as most of their damage comes from physical attacks (most of SV is explosive shot, or fire damage). So I am sitting on my alt, newly learning the MM rotation, full of agility gems, with no armor penetration in sight.
I start up a conversation with our token “i pull 9k dps regularly” MM hunter and he starts talking about ArP and how I should totally regem my alt so that I can gain a couple hundred DPS. Don’t get me wrong, I always strive to do more damage, however, dropping 10 epic red gems on an alt to go from 6k dps to 6.5k dps really is NOT my idea of money well spent. For my hunter, I will slowly gem ArP as I pick up gear until i am in the 600s and then go back to Agility.
What does this have to do with tanks?
The great agility versus dodge debate is an ideal candidate for this type of philosophy. Now most of the more hard core WoW players regemed the first day 3.2 came out, myself included. That tuesday night, I was standing in front of the gem vendor ready to blow every badge I had on 20 new shiny epic gems so that each of my gear sets, Threat, Avoidance, Effective Health, and Overall were full of epic gems. But what of the rest of us? What of those of us who feel like I do on my hunter? That is where the upgrade gemming philosophy comes in.
In the end we are talking about Min/Maxing, and not requirements (save 540 minimum defense rating), and as such gemming is really a preference. You can be that tank that really, really, really loves Stamina, needs Stamina, and craves the largest health pool on the server. But thats not me. I love balance. So if you are not engaged in the great agility versus dodge debate, and you have not caught up on Theck’s latests law of tank-ativity, Expertise, what do you do?
Well in my opinion you gem your upgrades, and you gem them according to your role, to augment your ability to do your job, and you gem them to enhance the piece to its fullest, and that is what I am going to do with my hunter. When it comes to the selection of gems for your tank, you have to take into account the benefit you will get from regemming. The dodge to agility switch is an expensive one if you gem like I do. If you are a stamina freak, then your gemming choices are simple and straight forward. In the end it all comes down to your desire to better your character, and how much you are willing to pay to get to that next level of stats.