In order to get your level 70 hunter ready to begin raiding, you need to get your hit rating to the magic number of 142. This number is based on the fact that hunters are for the vast majority of the time going to be filling their enemies full of either bullets or arrows. With a very few exceptions, melee strikes shouldn't even be happening. Some hunters do equip two weapons and dual wield. However, for the purposes of the following discussion, I'm going to assume your hunter is using a two-handed weapon (axe, mace, sword or polearm)
So, why is hit rating such a big deal? Well, for PVP it's not. Since the hit calculation roll is based mostly on the difference in levels between attacker and target, two level 70's are going to basically be a wash. Where that difference starts to make itself felt is in heroics and raids. Raid denizens (bosses and trash) can be up to three levels higher than a player. To overcome the difference in levels, a hunter needs a hit rating of 142.
Knowing the number is only half the fight though. The real challenge lies in getting exactly to 142 because hit rating in excess of the cap is wasted. It doesn't add any further benefit.
There are several pieces of gear that will boost your hit rating. Again, we're only discussing normal dungeon drops and quest rewards.
Armor is where you'll find most of the hit rating. Blizzard tends to put hit rating on helmets & belts. But the full list is below
- Dream- Wing Helm - Drops in Shadow Labyrinth from Ambassador Hellmaw and has 13 hit rating.
- Cenarion Thicket Helm - Quest reward from quests in Terrokar Forest (actual quest lines are slightly different for Horde & Alliance from what I can tell) and has 16 hit rating.
- Greaves of Desolation - Drops in Sethekk Halls from Talon King Ikiss and has 12 hit rating.
- Nether Leggings - Quest reward from Dr. Boom in Netherstorm and has 17 hit rating.
- Tracker's Belt - Drops in Slave Pens from Mennu the Betrayer and has 14 hit rating.
- Rune-Engraved Belt - Quest reward from Fel Embers in Shattered Halls. This has a whopping 24 hit rating on it. I can't seem to get a replacement for my hunter who routinely goes to Serpentshrine Cavern.
- Shattrath's Champion Belt - Quest reward from How to Break into the Arcatraz and has 15 hit rating.
- Gloves of Marksmanship - Quest reward from Leader of the Bloodcrest in Zangarmarsh with 16 hit rating
- Fleet Refugee's Boots - Quest reward from Helping the Lost Find their Way in Terrokar with 17 hit rating.
Some pieces here will have some decent hit rating on them. I've eliminated the non-hunter items from this list based on the stats (i.e. no Strength items here).
- Skyfire Hawk-Bow - Drops from Warbringer O'mrogg in Shattered Halls and has 14 hit rating.
- Alley's Recurve - A quest reward bow from Mark V is Alive in Netherstorm that has 7 hit rating.
- Deadeye's Piece - A quest reward gun from quests in Terrokar (the lines differ for Horde & Alliance) with 6 hit rating
- Sonic Spear - Drops from Murmur in Shadow Labyrinth (if you can get it to drop) and has a whopping 24 hit rating. I ground for this so long, I got Legacy from Karazhan first.
There are a large number of rings and amulets that are both drops and quest rewards. In fact, there are enough I won't list them all here. Be aware that as you get into this area you're going to be competing (for drops at least) with DPS warriors, enhancement shamans and rogues.
There is a trinket from Terrokar quests (Again, the line differs for Horde & Alliance) called the Terrokar Tablet of Precision. This baby has 22 hit rating on it and can easily fill holes until you get better gear.
Getting revered with Cenarion Expedition will allow you to purchase the Glyph of Ferocity with another 16 hit rating on your helm.
Filling in the Holes
So, now you've collected all the gear you can get and are still a few points short. How is it possible to make up the last few points of hit rating you need? Well, if you have gem slots you can use Glinting Orange Gems that grant +4 hit rating (and +4 agility) at the rare level; they grant +3 at the uncommon level. Rigid Yellow Gems grant +8 hit rating at the rare level; they grant +6 at the uncommon level.
Finally, you can also eat. Spicy Hot Talbuk grants 20 hit rating for the length of the food buff. The recipe comes from the daily cooking quest, so if you can't make it yourself, perhaps a guild mate can. (If you're looking for this recipe to drop, it only comes from the Crate of Meat reward from the daily. The crate can also contain the Kibler's Bits pet food recipe.)
Finally Hit Capped
So, that's all there is to hit rating. Get it to a minimum of 142 and then start playing with gear. As you start raiding you may absolutely need the Talbuk to hit your 142, but as you begin getting more gear you can switch to an Attack Power or Agility food. Welcome to the hit rating dance.