Using Cheeky’s: Talents and the Gear Planner

Last night we had a great raid night in Black Temple instead of our usual Mount Hyjal. Eager to get back to Illidan, we put the first 7 bosses in Black Temple as our priority. And we came out with flying colors. We cleared all the way to Mother Shahraz, leaving Illidari Council and Mount Hyjal for tonight. Now Illidari Council has two pieces of loot of interest to Hunters. Well, three if you count Tier 6 leggings in case you haven’t gotten Bow-Stitched Leggings at this point. These are the Forest-Prowler’s Helm and the Madness of the Betrayer.

While Forest-Prowler’s is better than Tier 6 when comparing stat for stat, the Bow-Stitched Leggings with its 3 sockets are heads and tails above Tier 6 for most Hunter, so using the Tier 6 helm is a must if you want to achieve the 4-piece bonus of 10% more damage on Steady Shot.

After a quick discussion with some of our Rogues and DPS warriors, picking up a Madness of the Betrayer, even with my incredibly low DKP, could be a very real thing. And since the Dragonspine Trophy doesn’t exist for me, this will be a great trinket. Plus it will allow me to drop 30 hit rating from other items, which will include swapping out my cloak and neck.

So what we are looking at today is if I get this trinket, should I keep my current spec of 5/20/36 or swap to a Barrage build that resembles (0/28/33) or (0/25/36). We can use Cheeky’s Spreadsheet to import our character and rework our build and gear choices to see what kind of theoretical difference we will get. We are also going to look at the new feature incorporated within Cheeky’s Spreadsheet, the Gear Planner.

If you read over my other post about how to use Cheeky’s Spreadsheet, this should be very easy to follow along. Cheeky’s has been updated since we last used it, so we downloaded the most current version, which seems to be revision 49, made on 5/12/2008. Most notably, Cheeky’s has now added a new page to the spreadsheet called “Gear Planner.” If you are familiar with, this page will look familiar. It will show you what kind of DPS increase or decrease items will yield for you. This is an awesome feature, and really goes to show that Cheeky is quite dedicated to the Hunter community with these updates and additions and continues to be one our best resources.

It’s important to note that the gear being listed on the Gear Planner is looking for an overall DPS increase and not taking into consideration whether or not you are Survival. For example, looking at the available cloaks that are considered DPS upgrades, the Shadowmoon Destroyer’s Cape is considered the top DPS cloak, however we know that it has no agility on it, which isn’t ideal for Survival. While it’s important to not gimp your personal DPS in favor of a few points of Agility, completely ignoring it is also detrimental. Also make note that any gear you have that is listed as some of the top DPS gear on the Gear Planner page will be highlighted in red, showing you where you stand.

In this revision it seems more important than ever to use the “CalcAttributes” button, as when I loaded my profile and hit that button, the top DPS items changed quite a bit for me. In fact, it listed Madness of the Betrayer as the best DPS trinket for me, but this might also take into consideration the benefit I would be receiving from the 30 hit rating, which can change based off how we have the spreadsheet calculate hit rating, which we will talk about in a minute. Also, the drop-down lists on the “Gear” sheet are now listed in order of the DPS increase they provide by default now. I consider that a pretty handy change.

After replacing my Bloodlust Brooch with Madness of the Betrayer on the Gear sheet and opting to keep my Alchemy trinket for now, we can now replace some of our hit rating gear as well. We have swapped in our Shattered Sun Pendant of Might and Blood Knight War Cloak in favor of the +hit items currently in those slots, and we have seen a DPS increase already. Now what we want to do is switch some talents around to see what that would do to our DPS. We dropped Thrill of the Hunter for this test situation as well as Improved Aspect of the Hawk and took 3 points in Barrage, 2 in Efficiency, and 3 in Ranged Weapon Specialization. It now lists our buffed raid DPS at 1852. Sure, this is in a perfect world where we get all the buffs we want, and we know this world isn’t perfect. So we cleared all the buffs to see what we would do alone. With no buffs for us or our pet, it lists our DPS at 1175. The DPS it lists as our current spec with no buffs is 1110. So we are yielding a 65 DPS increase by switching from 5/20/36 to 0/25/33.

Further experimentation shows that skipping Ranged Weapon Specialization and keeping Thrill of the Hunt will put our DPS at 1145 without buffs. So it still yields an increase for us although not as much, obviously, as we didn’t pick up that 3% more damage. So we now know that Madness will increase our DPS, which was easy to determine. But what we also found out was that it will yield even more DPS by switching to a Barrage build. And keeping our Alchemist trinket should help sustain our mana in case we decide to take RWS instead of TotH.

As we continue to explore the Gear Planner, there is an option near the top that is important to consider. You’ll see the box with the text “Treat + hit as” with a yellow drop-down box next to it. What this box is asking is whether you want the DPS increase from the items to take hit rating into account as if you had 0 Hit Rating, or if you want it to consider your current Hit Rating. Changing this option, you will see some items move up and down the list, depending on how much Hit Rating you currently have.

These calculations are going to give a great idea of what gear to be looking for. Check or uncheck the the content levels you have access to to see what is the next logical item progression for you. But be wary, the lists will change as you change gear, so it is important to take it in a grand overview of things. For example, if I am wearing my Tier 6 helm, it shows the Season 3 PvP helm as an upgrade, but if I have my S3 equipped it, it shows Tier 6 as an upgrade.

It looks like the “Gear Planner” still needs some polishing to get it in a refined state like the rest of the spreadsheet, but it is an awesome addition and I look forward to see it progress along. And since I have been on a huge video kick, I Frapsed our awesomely clean Reliquary of Souls kill last night. It was without a doubt our best kill ever for that boss. Hope you enjoy the video!

As always, questions, comments, concerns, etc. Leave ‘em here! I am liking the new comment system so I think it’s going to stay in place. IntenseDebate has a number of nifty plug-ins we might use in the future, such as most recent comments, highest rated posters, etc.

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.