I really don’t want to write this post. Every time I write about feral gear or stats, the #1 question I get is “What secondary stat is best? What should I reforge to?” That question has an answer, but before I get there, I want to say this:
IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER ANYMORE.
Seriously. There is no magical reforging solution that will solve your problems. It’s too bad WoW isn’t like the diet industry. If it was, I could write a book called “Fix your DPS Woes in 8 Weeks with Alaron’s Reforging Guide!” Include a few cherry-picked log parses, some motivational stories, and boom; best-seller. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.
Before wasting tons of effort on reforging, I would consider checking all of the following:
- Rotation/skill. If you’re consistently going out of range of the boss, letting your bleeds fall off without refreshing them, or energy capping consistently, it’s going to hurt your numbers.
- Latency/FPS. Self-explanatory, hopefully. I’m suffering through this right now.
- Gear. You still need lots of Agility…no getting around that.
- Raid composition. A raid full of top DPS will boost your DPS naturally – the fight will be shorter, which means you’ll have more time (percentage-wise) under single-use buffs such as a potion and Hero/BL.
- Raid strategy. Interrupt duty sucks for DPS.
- Fight mechanics. Ranged mobs we can’t target sucks for DPS.
- Enchants/Consumables. Of course.
Once all that is sorted, THEN worry about reforging your secondary stats.
Also, consider that stat values have a complex interrelationship. The simple “RSV Charts” that I and other sites used to run are helpful, sure, but it’s important to understand that those values are usually derived from a single data point, typically a BiS gearset. Increasing a stat raises the value of all other stats, and decreases the value of that stat, which makes exact numbers very difficult to come by. That hasn’t mattered so much in the past when we had a clear stat priority, but with numbers this close for this expansion, it’s much much harder to definitively say what’s “best.”
Anyway, rant over, stats, right. In 4.1, Mastery was king due to its strong effect on our bleeds. However, the (relative) nerfing of Rip has devalued it somewhat, bringing mastery back to the pack (and bringing hit/exp up in value somewhat). Haste got a bump in value due to the enhancement of white attacks (from the buff to Savage Roar). The thing to remember, though, is that all the haste/hit/expertise in the world does you little good if you’re not actually in melee range.
Here’s my recommendations:
For new/inexperienced ferals, or those with poor computers/connections: Focus on capping Hit/Expertise. The potential DPS loss is slight, and the actual gain will be much greater from not having to compensate for missed specials.
For exceptionally complex fights: As above, focus on capping Hit/Expertise. One less thing to worry about.
For AoE fights: Again, Hit/Expertise. Unlike single-target abilities, Swipe does not refund energy if it misses. If you can cap Hit/Expertise, go for Haste for more OOC procs.
For heroic 5-mans: Don’t waste gold on reforging/gemming, unless you really want to.
Raiding, Ilvl 359: Mastery still slightly edges out Haste, at this gear level. If you’re still rolling with a full-Mastery setup, I wouldn’t worry about changing it up. Crit remains the best third option.
Raiding, Ilvl 372-378: Mastery and Haste are so close in value that many differing conclusions have been reported. Some live 4.2 experience is probably going to be necessary to determine how much out-of-range time exists in the fights. Crit/Hit/Expertise are almost exactly equal in theoretical value. I’d stay with Mastery until you break 2pT11. (BTW, keep 2pT11 until you can get 4pT12, it’s that good a bonus…more to come when I finish my gear column) After that, I’d probably recommend a Hit/Exp cap, then Haste or Mastery as you prefer.
Raiding, ilvl 391: Haste pulls a bit ahead of the rest at this gear level, from a simulation perspective. It’ll take quite a while for someone to get full 391, obviously, but once you’re raiding H Firelands, try a Haste setup and see how you fare.
Or, ignore all that, and do what you like. It doesn’t make that much difference anyway. (Which, coming from the guy who spent hours running numbers comparing ArPen vs. Agi back in Ulduar, is somewhat depressing.) If you’re really interested in the numbers, feel free to dive into the thread on our forums (here and here are good points to start from). Have fun in Firelands!