Every Monday and Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Each week, Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.
Cataclysm is just around the corner, and it's time to put away the shiny new pets and start planning for level 85. We've already discussed optimizing our 80 to 85 leveling, so now we'll focus on our level 85 gear. To that end, we have a massive info dump for you today. We are going to start by looking at our pre-heroic gear options and save the pre-raid gear for a next Thursday. Unlike Wrath, Cataclysm heroics promise to be actually challenging.
When we first step into the new heroics after reaching level 85, they'll be much harder than Wrath heroics were when we first hit 80. Heroics will absolutely be wiping groups and giggling madly while doing so, so you don't want to go into them with just whatever gear you happened to end up with when you finished leveling. In fact, the dungeon finder will have a minimum gear requirement to queue for the heroics (in the beta, it was ilvl 329), so even if you want to be an underperforming anchor to your group, the game won't let you. (Well, it will -- there's still no cure for idiocy -- but it won't let you in without at least being geared for it.)
So join me after the cut for the massive list of all the gear you're going to be aiming to collect to start slaughtering heroics. This should help you plan which instances you want to run while leveling and which reputations to pursue.