Word of warning. I am no expert on these matters. Any observations I have here are based on what I read and my personal opinions on what I am currently wearing and which items I think I have the best chances of winning later while raiding.
Being we are entering the second week of the valor grind I am going to be buying (possibly) my first piece of valor gear today. So it is time to look over all the options I have and try to decide on which pieces I can upgrade.
For the sake of knowing what I am currently wearing, I have the T12 4 piece set and the helm from shan. The only pieces I have that are not firelands is a weapon, a trinket and boots.
I've had no luck getting the weapon, trinket or boots from the new heroics yet either but I have not exactly spammed them to get them either. I am in no rush. I'll do my heroics each week and if I get them I get them.
I also do not value hit on the gear as high as some people do. While I will never be caught without being hit capped hunters do have the easiest hit cap to reach in the game and with the addition of reforging we can easily make hit cap with that and using the rare but if needed agility/hit gem on pieces that will get us at least a +20 agility bonus. Meaning, yes, hit is amazingly important, but it is something we can adjust around later being we have such a low hit cap.
For the moment I am healing one dragon soul team and most likely tanking the other which means I do not see me getting any raid drops any time soon until I can get my hunter into the raid so I will have to work to gear up through valor for now. I have gotten the Arrowflick Gauntlets and the T13 Wyrmstalker's Gloves from the raid finder already. See, I have no luck and when I do have enough luck to win two items I win two for the same slot. My poor hunter, another expansion he has no luck.
From looking at the numbers it seems the valor items that are first on my hit list are as follows, with my reasoning behind them.
The First Purchase:
Back - Batwing Cloak -
1) It is much better then the raid finder one, so even if I got lucky and got one of those, this is still much better.
2) It is a very cheap 1250 valor.
3) It is BiS for non heroic content for all three hunter specs.
The Second Purchase:
Waist - Cord of Dragon Sinew -
1) For marksmen at least, it is BiS outside of heroic content.
2) It is a cheap 1650, allowing me to get two pieces in three weeks.
The Third Purchase:
Finger - Emergency Descent Loop -
1) There are only two other rings better for MM that come from non heroic content and with my luck with rolls I am not going to win both all that quickly, so number 3, this, becomes an attractive option.
2) Again, a cheap 1250 valor.
The Forth Purchase:
Feet - Boneshard Boots -
1) There is only one better non heroic boot for MM.
2) There are two somewhat close to it and a third if you want to include the one from end time, that I might get in the weeks to come while waiting for this while I am waiting to accumulate points.
3) It is BoE so if you have a non raiding character that does dungeons you can pass it over and it will never actually be your forth purchase.
Why no Head, Chest, Legs or Hands?
1) They are all offset pieces. I can get set pieces from the raid finder as well as the raid, should I get in there on my hunter. So using points on them as priority upgrades could end up being wasted points.
2) Once I get the two piece T13 I will start to consider them.
3) Once I get the four piece T13 I can just fill the one spot.
If given the choice, which of the big five (only four of which are an option anyway) would I want as an offset piece?
Chest - Wyrmstalker's Tunic or Hands - Wyrmstalker's Gloves
It is a bit of a toss up at the moment. Just my "bad luck" the only T13 piece I have so far is the gloves. I guess it is "good luck" however that I also have the Arrowflick Gauntlets as well.
There are other options for both should I decide to ignore the four piece set however.
The Wyrmstalker's Head, Wyrmstalker's Spaulders and Wyrmstalker's Legguards are all best in slot for non heroic content, so I will have three pieces to begin with when and if I get them.
Depending on the four piece feed back, which by the time I am up to this point there should be a lot of, I will make my decision on which piece to take as the forth.
Based on valor gear only, the hands would be the better of the two items to take as the one offset piece if I do go the four set way. Lucky for me I have at least the raid finder version already so once I break the set up, I will have those to hold me over until I can get the 397 version.
From a crafting standpoint:
Wrists - Bracers of the Hunter Killer -
1) Leatherworkers make them, so if you gather the mats it will not be all that expensive. You will need four Essence of Destruction for them and that will be the only costly piece. I already have one.
2) It is BiS, even better then heroic ones, for BM and SV and close for MM.
Legs - Rended Earth Leggings -
1) The set pants are the only ones that are better.
2) But even the raid finder 384 set pants are better then these, the 397 replacement.
From a BoE standpoints:
Waist - Dragoncarver Belt -
1) For BM (second best) and SV (BiS non heroic) this option would be better then the valor one.
2) For MM, stay away from it, the valor, the drop and the raid finder 384 are all better then this.
Traps not to fall into.
Wrists - Dragonbelly Bracers -
1) Unless you need the hit badly, really badly, the Bracers of Forked Lightning, 378 JP item, is better stat wise for all three hunter specs.
2) If you are all about item level and do not care about what is best for you, have at it. Raid leaders will look and see if someone has the 378s or these 397s and notice which hunters know their stats and which hunters only know item level.
3) At least it is cheap, 1650.
Neck - Cameo of Terrible memories -
1) If you are SV or BM then get this, might even get it as the second item. For them it is BiS outside of heroic content.
2) If you are MM the 378 neck is better unless you are in desperate need of hit.
3) Even for MM and even if you do not need hit, the two are really close in stats with the 378 only slightly ahead. You can upgrade to this as it is nearly a side grade, but it is not a priority to spend your valor on.
Well, now I have my gear up guideline, hope I remember when I posted it so I can go back for reference.
One thing is for sure.
Today I can get my back and my boots and work from there.
Remember, the boots are BoE so you can buy them on another character and send them over. For me, my mage I never raid with, so my mage is used to buy BoEs for my three current raid characters. Too bad I only ran three dungeons with him this week, so he can not get the boots for my hunter this week. But my druid can.
Happy valor spending everyone. Unless you are going for chest or legs first, you will be getting your first valor piece today as a hunter.