As I ponder the various gear options for my toon, I'm simply staggered by the wide variety of options and number of comparisons and compromises that are to be made along the way.
My current helm is ugly and looks like I dipped my head in rubber cement and then rolled around in a raked pile of leaves in the autumn. Decent stats, but ugly as sin. A Beast Lord Helm would be nice. In fact, I think the only 3 drops I actually care about in normal mode are the 3 remaining Beast Lord set pieces. Two more of those puppies would be nice to add in some "ignore armor after a kill command" effect. Me and my regular crew pretty much have the normal mode dungeons not quite on farm status, but we complete them with little fuss. I consider these gear upgrades to be immediate options, that might drop any night I run.
Note, I don't even consider the Sonic Spear on this list because Murmur have agreed to disagree. He can keep his damn spear.
A scan at Kaliban's Loot List for hunters shows me that there's a couple of epic drops in Heroic mode that would be tasty. Heroics are still a giant struggle for me and the teammates I frequently run with, so these are on my little scrap of paper I've been writing these sort of things down on, but I don't really consider them to be immediate options.
What's next? A nice pair of boots (among other things) in Karazhan. While some organized kara runs might be just around the corner, I don't view this as loot that is in my character upgrade plan at all.
There's reputation rewards.
Honor Hold has a nice gun at Exalted. I'm very early in the Revered stage, so Exalted is quite a ways away. I'll probably try to run Shattered Halls whenever its the normal-mode daily quest, for rep, for the quest, and for the chance that my group's enchanter will get the Savagery formula to drop. Also, the assorted Heroic Ramparts and Blood Furnace wipe fests that do yield some rep. You know, I just found out yesterday that he's at 375 enchanting. That's a pretty staggering accomplishment. Now I wont laugh at him when he tells me he's only got 6 gold in the bank. But then again, he just dropped herbalism for jewel crafting, so I suppose he's a glutton for punishment, followed by opportunity for giant rewards once you level up. But I digress.
Aldor Exalted will give me a better shoulder inscription, which is more of an in-place upgrade, rather than a real gear upgrade, but in any event, I still look on AH for Fel Armaments daily, as there's often cheep ones listed. And in random down time, I go grind for Marks of Sargeras, but it'll take something like 1000 more marks to ding exalted, so that's more of a diversion than anything.
Next up is Badge of Justice gear. As my badges are only trickling in due to the difficulty we have in Heroics, these are too far out of reach for any immediate plan. Every now and again I talk to the quartermaster guy and drool but until Karazhan is providing a reliable source of badges, this stuff is just eye candy.
Other than higher level raid instances, or quartermasters that you get rep for in those higher level dungeons, I think that's it for PvE gear options. Oh yeah, there's crafted items. I don't know what high-level BoE crafted items are available. I'm thinking that at this stage, any upgrades would be BoP, thus making them non-options for me, unless the herb market stays in the dumper for another month, in which case I'm planning on making a professional change.
I think the only remaining source for gear is PvP. The new Arena axe is awesome. I've read on BRK's forums that its equivalent to an axe that drops in some 25-man dungeon. Sweet. This guy costs 1000 Arena points. After tuesday's reboot, I'll check my points, but I think I've got just one more week worth of Arena left to get that little guy. Then the question will be +35 agi or +70 ap? But whatever. There's a nice list of other gear to work towards in Arena, but since me and my team suck, we're pretty much limited to about 250 arena points per week (actually a drop more, but that's a decent baseline), so the next upgrades are roughly 1800 Arena points, meaning it'll take about 7 weeks to get the next upgrade. I'll have to see what my gear looks like when I get there (roughly 2 months from now), but as it stands right now, I'd probably take the Arena bracers first.
There are other quartermasters for the various BG's. Ugh, why are there so many options. On and on and on.
Does anybody know a website like Kaliban's that goes a bit further? Kaliban's seems to stop right at the point where I'm at and its a bit dizzying trying to find all the options so I can make a plan for going after pieces.