Leveling does not = End Game

Okay, let me give some background before I launch into a rant post. I've got a new hunter, over on Argent Dawn, Alliance side. I'm part of the blogger/reader/come annoy us guild that is Single Abstract Noun (SAN). I'm leveling BM again, I want to keep my cat with me and not be forced over to a Tenacity pet.

Anyways, I was running Black fathom Depths last night on my 21 SAN Hunter. I was carrying the Impaling Harpoon, and Reef Axe dropped. I spotted + 8 AP and +10 Stam over the older weapon. So, I rolled need.

As soon as the axe lands in my bags this rogue, who was heirloomed out to the gills and had a reportably gender offensive name (which was reported), suddenly piped up about the axe. My jaw dropped and my fingers flew.

Rogue: "You shouldn't use that your pole arm's better, besides 1 Agi = 2 AP. And Agi is better!"
Me: "1 Agi = 1 AP, not 2. That hasn't been the case since at least Wrath." (found out later that was actually around BC).
Rogue : "Nuh uh. I got an 80 Hunter in Full T10. 1 Agi = 2 AP and the Crit's better!"
Druid : "1 Agi = 2 AP. It does!"
Me : " Also have an 80 Hunter. Sorry, its 1 for 1 when it comes to Agi to AP. Been that way for a long time. Sides 10 Stam + 8 AP as a BM works better for me leveling."
Rogue : "AP iz bad. Agi ALWAYS better."
Me : "Let me guess, Suv Hunter?"
Rogue : "Yah"
Me : "Agi is not as important to the other two specs."
Rogue :"Nuh uh! I play a hunter I know!"

Needless to say, as soon as I read that, I knew it wasn't going to end well, so I dropped group, but it sparked a discussion in guild, where again the mis-info of 1 for 2 popped up. Apparently people missed that memo en mass? Or maybe I've been playing for so long I know to drop any info I learned last expac and relearn? Or maybe I was dealing with people that do not regularly play a hunter, and therefore their information is old.

But it opened up the realization that so many people, even some of my wonderful SAN guildmates get locked into the mindset of "If its best at 80 then THAT'S IT."

I know Agility gives Dodge, Crit and a bit of Armor. At 21, 12 Agi is about 1.6 % crit. But AP is straight damage increase. I get about .6% more damage and about 100 health from the axe. Leveling, the health will keep myself and the pet alive a bit longer if we get into deep trouble... and my being a hunter always garentees that fact. I will get into trouble.

I also know that the satchels will not help me when it comes to gearing. Especially not when, with some characters, outlands is looming and my Int pool will shrink like a puddle of water in the Gobi. If I want Int in that case, I'd have to take + spell power with it.

I mean, take how I've geared Koratria for leveling over Tzia at end game. Mind you they are also specc'd diffrently, but Kora is Agi/AP heavy. She will level quicker with strong shots, even if they don't crit as often because the damage is already artificially high.

I also know I'll be seeing a ton of "Of the Bandit" gear dropping come the time I step into Outlands. I'll have to pair with "Of the Elder" or get lucky and find an "Of the Falcon" piece just to keep in mana, and that's not going to change. Leveling, I'm not going to see the Agi/Stam/Int pieces unless I see the Instance Blues that were built to help a hunter gear towards Kara. Leveling means my gear requirements are diffrent from end game.

Wrath brought back Agi/Stam/Int pieces regularly in the reach of hunters and Enhance shaman. I think I can thank blizzard for making Enhancement Shaman want the exact same gear a hunter would want be the only reason for seeing actual good hunter gear drop again. Yeah, I'm not at all bitter about that. Usually I'm running with an Elemental Shaman so the gear, if better, will swing my way.

But until I hit Wrath content, leveling, I'm just not going to see the "best endgame gear stats". I know that and my needs shift as I go through content. Agility/Stam/Int will still be my primary focus, but if AP drops, and its damage gain outweighs the crit lost, I'll take it.

Leveling does not equal End Game. It never has, it never will. The more people that realize that, the better we'd all be. There's a whole game waiting before you get to 80. Let's actually play it.