Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tawyn's a Happy Hunter

To start out with an update on my custom avatars; basically I've looked into it and I've run into some problems involving the legality of selling them because they're renditions of Blizzard's property. Yes, you could argue that I'm just a small little bug compared to their big corporation, but I dunno, I've been big Blizz fans since my StarCraft obsession phase almost ten years ago so I'd like to play it safe when it comes to my relationship with them. =P

I did get a lot of interest in my avatars though and I'm still sort of trying to come up with a way to offer them without making them entirely free, simply because while I'd love to give them away for free, the fact of the matter is that it takes a few hours to make each one and it'd be difficult to squeeze them into my time. One of my ideas is maybe setting up a little charitable drive, sort of like The Bronze Kettle did, only not on as big a scale. But I'll keep brainstorming and keep you guys updated. If you were interested in an avatar I apologize for keeping you waiting on any final decisions.

Anyways, let's discuss WoW.

Yesterday, I ran both Steamvaults and Shadow Labs.

Steamvaults dropped a very nice [Beast Lord Mantle] for me, which I promptly gem'd up and threw a Scryer inscription on.

Shadow Labs... well, I was praying to the hunter gods for Sonic Spear, especially because our motley crew had to endure several hours of pain in this particular instance (we went through three different tanks, one of which decided to leave the party without saying a word... and Grandmaster Vorpil... oh Grandmaster Vorpil... *shudders* ... we wiped on this guy no less than five times)... so yeah, Sonic Spear would've been an awesome consolation prize but it appears that the hunter gods have more Shadow Labs runs for me in the future. I did, however, get the first fragment of the Kara key.

So! Not content with that outcome, I headed to the Auction House and bought myself both [Breastplate of Rapid Striking] and [Crystalforged War Axe]. Then I bought all the mats for Savagery and got the latter enchanted with that. My wallet is getting pretty thin and I've got some farming ahead of me but mmm. My un-buffed agility is now 434 and my crit is 18.85%. You should see me with Mark of the Wild and Blessing of Kings. Mmmmm. *eyes glaze over*

Ahem, sorry.

I think I'm doing okay for a pre-Kara hunter. I'm slowly replacing my greens with blues and getting enchants for them. Expensive? Yeah. Worth it when I open up my character sheet and see my stats? Oh yeah.

I've got more Steamvaults and Shadow Labs runs ahead of me, because I'd like the other piece of Beast Lord that you can get in SV (decreased trap cooldown... mmm hunter gear is yummy, no?), and because I'd still like Sonic Spear if I can nab it.

Oh, and /wave at Mirshalak and Pelides, both of whom have now made characters on Silver Hand to say hello! I owe you both a visit on your servers now. =P

Since I'm getting more visitors that way, I figured it'd be good to mention a few things. Firstly you are more than welcome to say hi to me and chat it up with me, so long as I'm not in battlegrounds or an instance. =D If I'm bored or not doing much I'll even come find you "in person" and we can have a little visit.

If you would like to make a more dedicated alt on Silver Hand, to try out RPing or whatever, I should mention that while our guild Entelechy is usually open to anyone interested in having a good time with some fun (and just a bit weird) people, doing some instances, and casual roleplaying, our recruitment is sort of semi-closed at the moment due largely to rapid growth and wanting to concentrate on our current members, so I can't guarantee you a spot in the guild if you're interested in one. Besides, very, very few people in my guild know I have this blog anyway. Partially 'cause I've never really had a reason to bring it up, and partially because there are a lot of very good players in my guild, both hunters and non-hunters, and I wouldn't want to steal anybody's limelight by being "the one with the blog". Heehee =P

Oh, and you are also more than welcome to try and catch me horde-side on The Venture Co. as well. My main character there is Lunapike, and I play her a few times a week, usually in the mornings. The Venture Co. seems to have more RP going on than Silver Hand (admittedly, Silver Hand isn't exactly known as a mecca for RP), so you might want to try that out if you're curious.

Today's question that I pose to you: where do you do your farming? ...and no, you don't have to give away your super-secret location to me, if you don't want to. =P

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hunter vs. Hunter 101

Thanks for all the input on my last entry, regarding my custom avatars. I'll think about it some more; I'm sort of short on time these days, but I'm also short on money... so yeah! I'll be thinking about it. Thanks for all the feedback, I will definitely take all of your opinions and requests into consideration. I do want to stress that I'm not turning this blog into any sort of corporate showing-off-my-PayPal-button scheme. If I were to offer my avatars for sale it would probably be a limited-time-only thing. Because writing guides and telling stories is what I do best so that will always be the primary purpose of this site.

Anyways: Here is a story/guide combo (two for one!):

Earlier this morning I was in Stranglethorn Vale with my level 34 hordie. For those of you who are new or haven't been following; I've got my 70 Alliance hunter on an RP-PvE server, and a 34 (well, now 35... but 34 this morning) Horde hunter on an RP-PvP server.

Because this character is on a PvP server I've been explicitly avoiding STV for the most part, but I do want to do the Nesingwary Expedition "Mastery" quests that culminate in good hunter stuff.

So there I was, level 34 and searching around for panthers, and I saw this level 38 Alliance hunter out of the corner of my eye. I figured I would ignore him, hoping he would leave me alone. But nope, a couple minutes later he springs on me and attacks me.

I beat him.

I threw on a bandage and ate some food, and then resumed questing. I'm too much of a carebear to do any corpse camping or /dancing or the like. Besides, it's just not good form! Anyways, a couple minutes later, he comes back. He attacks me again, opening with Aimed Shot. Again, he lost. make a long story short he attacked me no less than five times, and all five times he lost to me.

Now I won't deny it: it felt really, really good to know that I had consistently outperformed a hunter who was four levels higher than me and whose pet was at least five levels higher than mine (my poor kitty got kind of behind because I was working on another pet for a while.) Especially because he was always the one initiating combat, he always got the first shot off, and more than once it was Aimed Shot.

But I'm not one to sit around and simply be proud of myself (although as I said, it felt durn good), so I've thought of some mistakes that I either know he made, or think he probably made, which prevented him from winning. And I'm posting them here because hopefully they will be of some help to a newer hunter! =D

For the record, I can't find this guy's spec because Armory has been weird all morning. Or I would do a spec/gear comparison. So this is all based on my observation and hunches:

For Starters:

Buffs: I had both Aspect of the Hawk up, as well as Mark of the Wild which a passing druid had given me not too long before all the combat happened. I don't recall the other guy having Aspect of the Hawk up, though it's possible I just wasn't paying attention. Aspect of the Hawk will buff your ranged attack power. It's good to have. Mark of the Wild is a fantastic buff. Druids who put it on me and especially on my pet, make me happy. (Thorns on the pet makes me happy too.)

Hunter's Mark: I have a Hunter's Mark/Pet Attack combo button. This means that my pet and I are never attacking something without Hunter's Mark on it. The guy I was dueling never once put Hunter's Mark on me. Hunter's Mark is going to buff your ranged attack power and if you have Improved Hunter's Mark it's going to buff your pet's attack power... and on this particular character, I'd thrown a point into IHM before starting down the Beast Mastery tree, so I had that going for me.

As a bonus... and actually maybe this is just me, but I'm going to say it anyway... I honestly find nothing scarier in battlegrounds than a Hunter's Mark suddenly appearing above my head, followed by seeing a flash of a big red pet out of the corner of my eye. Because I know what's coming. *shudders*

Rapid Fire: This is the biggie. Rapid Fire increases your firing speed by 40% for 15 seconds. I love using this against other hunters, because it seems to me that other hunters often forget to use it in a duel or in PvP. It has a pretty big cooldown (which can be decreased a little through a talent in the Marksman tree, Rapid Killing), so I was only able to use it... twice, I think, throughout the course of our five spars. But it makes a huge difference. Faster damage = good, in the case of fights like this.

Trapping: He could have trapped my pet, but he didn't. To be fair, he did Feign Death each time to get out of it, but I quickly sic'd Alyosha right back on him. But remember that if you are facing a higher level hunter and the pet is big and red, well, there's not a whole lot you can do CC wise to him.

Knowing When to Use Your Shots: He kept using Concussive Shot on me even though I obviously wasn't going anywhere, and he wasn't going anywhere, so it really didn't make any difference if my movement speed was slowed. Now, maybe he had Improved Concussive Shot and he was hoping the stun would proc. Even so, I don't think it's worth it in a one on one duel of this nature. Also, using something like Aimed Shot or Steady Shot in the middle of your fight generally isn't a good idea. It's better to spam autos, Arcane, and Multi, and Serpent Sting really doesn't hurt, especially if you're a lower level and it's really all you've got... Viper Sting is fun against casters, pallies, and yeah, other hunters. Especially if it's in battlegrounds and so might be a longer fight than a one-on-one.

Have your Pet on the Other Hunter, Not on Their Pet: I see this a lot in duels actually. We sic our pets on each other. I feign death to get out of it. The other hunter's pet is set to defensive so he starts attacking my pet. This means that his pet is not focused on me and it's not really helping him out any. Be careful for this; in the heat of the battle (and the initial "surprise!" of me popping back to life... at least, I know it still always gives me a little jolt when another hunter does it), you might not notice that your pet is engaged on my pet and not on me. My own pet, personally, is almost always set on Passive. (Exceptions are when I am running lowbies through things... my strategy here is shoot everything once, and then have my pet wipe up the resulting mess... or when I'm grinding and I know it's okay for my pet to jump from mob to mob if he has aggro on a lot of them.)

Other Stuff
: If you have trinkets that buff your attack power, etc. then use them. If you have time before the fight starts to turn Growl off, do that; your pet won't need it.

There were also other special circumstances that are somewhat less controllable that gave me an edge. For example, my character is a tauren. I have a passive racial increasing my health by 5%. I also have 5/5 Endurance Training on that character, that's another 5% more health. Some of the better gear I've got on that character right now come from PvP rewards; more stamina. So I probably had a better chance than a lot of other people at my level just because of that.

And lastly, I can't deny that I've already got a level 70 hunter that I PvP with on a regular basis, so there's always the experience factor.

Anyways! In my experience, a lot of hunter vs. hunter fights turn into tests of gear, stamina, and, in the case of higher-level BM hunters... whoever doesn't have Beastial Wrath on cooldown. So you have to look elsewhere to get the edge. Remember your buffs, remember your trinkets, remember Rapid Fire... remember you have a few different ways to avoid the other hunter's pet, and remember that they do, also... and with luck you'll come out ahead! As a closing note, I'd like to stress that this is just a very basic guide. There are a lot of little rules and nuances when it comes to PvP, and to be honest my hunter-vs.-hunter strategy will change depending on their spec and my mood.

Next on PvPing With Pike: Etiquette, taboos, and silly things that probably only Pike does! Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wow. Part 2.

So this morning I woke up, feeling horribly sick with (yet another) flu-type-thing, and stumbled over to my computer and hit the "Next" button on my Firefox toolbar, which brings me to my unread blog entries.

BRK pops up with some of my pictures on it.

Now you've gotta understand, it was about 5 AM and I was sick and it took a while for me to register what I was seeing. "Oh look, BRK... oh look my pics... yawn... snore... WAITAMINUTE."

So aside from the fact that BRK is like the WoW version of Slashdot and caused a mass flood of newcomers to my humble abode, he requested some of my UberCute WoW Character Portraits (TM).

Telling BRK that you're not going to make him some pictures is like telling Linus Torvalds that you aren't going to build him a Linux distribution. Not to mention, I've been itching to draw the BRK duo for a while. So of course I accepted the challenge:
Big Red Kitty: Bringing You Massive Quantities of Sustained Ranged Pewpew Since 2006

Turned out pretty good I think. Entirely mouse-drawn in the GIMP because I currently don't have a working scanner or one of those fancy-tablet things, so it all had to be done by mouse.

Anyways, BRK suggested to me that some other people might be interested in having their WoW characters UberCute-ified as well, and that I could possibly take commissions on them... afterall, as much as I would love to do these for free, the fact of the matter is that each one takes a good few hours to do. (BRK's admittedly took a bit longer because I made a few different versions.)

So what I'm asking here is... if I were to charge something small like $5 or $10 to make you an UberCute version of your favorite WoW toon, would you be interested? If I get enough interest, I'll definitely set up a PayPal button or something, and we can get the proverbial ball rolling! (And if I only get a few takers, we'll figure something out too!)

And of course, all opinions on whether this would be a good or bad idea are welcome too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Somebody made a character on Silver Hand to say hi to me (and give roleplaying a shot)! I'm quite honored. I've gotta thank you all again for your comments and support. It never ceases to amaze me that I've got an actual readership, especially because I started this blog mostly to have a place to ramble to myself and provide occasional advice to newbies.

Speaking of which, I'm going to try and provide more guides and "newbie advice". I'll definitely keep posting stories and anecdotes though, since a lot of people seem to enjoy them. But I'll try to sprinkle some guides in here and there too.

Anyways! Level 70. I have to admit, the first few days I actually seemed to come down with an odd case of a Post-70-Funk; that is to say, this whole time I've been looking forward to 70 and I had all this stuff I wanted to do at 70, and then I got there and after the initial excitement wore out, I thought about the stuff I'd wanted to do and none of it sounded appealing anymore. However, I think it might have just been some exhaustion over the whole thing; because now after some rest I'm quite happy about being 70 again and I've made some goals to work on:

- Grinding marks/honor in PvP: For the Gladiator's Pursuit set. Yes, it's just the infamous "welfare epics", but they are definitely not a bad start to a good set of PvP gear. I've already snagged myself Gladiator's Chain Helm and I'm working to complete the set and get them all gem'd and enchanted up.

- Karazhan Key Quest Line: I've started this one already, got some instances ahead of me though.

- Getting Enchants and Stuff: The ever-so-illustrious BRK posted a list of good post-70 pre-Kara gear and enchants. Now I'm probably not going to follow this list 100% to the book but it's definitely going to be my guide for the time being-- and yes I want to work to get the enchants even on my fresh-out-of-Outlands-greens, because I want to be prepared to do my best if asked. First on my list is Glyph of Ferocity, which requires Revered with Cenarion Expedition. I lucked out here in that a.) I loved Zangarmarsh and spent huge amounts of time here; b.) I ran Underbog more than any other Outlands instance; and c.) I still have a lot of Cenarion Expedition quests to do in Blade's Edge and elsewhere. And I'm already halfway through Honored. So hopefully this one won't take too long.

- Work on getting Sonic Spear: My Survivalist's Pike with +25 agi has served me long and well but it's about time for an upgrade.

- Last but not least, Leveling the Pets: Tux is level 66 and Locke is level 68. I'm rather proud of my ability to at least keep them decently close in level with me in the final stretch, though obviously I'd like to get them both to 70. I figure I can do a lot of pet leveling while working on some of my other goals, such as the rep grinding/quests.

I've probably got some other stuff to do, but this is the list for the time being! Posted here so I can keep track of them... =P

Do any of you have any other advice for a newly-minted level 70 hunter? Or a newly-minted level 70 in general?

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Gather round, and I will tell you all a story... (I apologize for the length!)

Way back in May, when I was finishing up university, my boyfriend installed WoW. there was absolutely no way I was going to let him do this without me, so the next day I installed it too.

A few hours later, there I was, looking at the character creation screen...

Me: "Ooooh, Tauren are so cute!! I must make one!!"

The Boyfriend: "Erm, I'm playing Alliance, so you'll have to also if you want to play with me."

Me: "Oh. Darn. Well let's see here. Oooh, Night Elves. They had a pretty cool backstory in Warcraft III. Look, I can even make one with teal hair. My favorite color! *squee* Now for class. Hmm. Oooh, hunter. That sounds sorta like my favorite D&D class, ranger."


And thus Tawyn was born.

I spawned as a little level one Night Elf Hunter in Teldrassil and I had no idea what was going on. I clicked on all the little tutorials that popped up, reading them carefully and trying not to forget what they said. "The little gold chalice button is the Quest Log." "People with a big yellow exclamation point above their head have stuff for you to do." "Right click to attack." It was all very confusing. I couldn't keep a lot of the aspects of this strange new game straight. I found a cute little bunny hopping around and I wanted to select it... so I right-clicked. It died. I felt horrible. The camera angle kept doing strange things, and I had no idea how to change it.

But oh, look, a guy with a big yellow exclamation point above his head! That means he has stuff for me to do, right? He's telling me to go kill boars. Whee, I'll go shoot them!

So I did. But then they ran towards me and I couldn't shoot them anymore. So I whacked away furiously with my dagger, spamming the attack button because I thought that was how you did it. Then I went back triumphantly to get my very first quest reward. I chose some mail gear because it had the most armor so it was obviously the best one. Then I spent about ten minutes trying to figure out why I couldn't equip it.

Those first few quests weren't so bad, even though I was still clueless about the game. But around level 4 or so, I found a cave full of spiders and that was a terrible, terrible place. Those spiders killed me more times than I can count. There was another place called "Starbreeze Village" which was filled with cute teddy bears! They killed me too. Hmm.

So by level 6 I was getting pretty discouraged and I was wondering how the heck I was supposed to get to wherever my boyfriend the human warlock was because it didn't seem to be anywhere in the vicinity. Plus, I'd found a Peacebloom which I wanted to give to him as a present because it was really pretty. So one of my sisters decided to make a level 1 character on my server and show me the way!

Off we went. We rode gryphons and boats and died at the hands of crocodiles and ogres. My sister kept stopping and telling me to talk to strange NPCs with green exclamation marks above their heads. I had no idea why I was doing this, but I did anyway.

Eventually we got to Ironforge and rode a curious little subway thing to Stormwind. I was completely lost but I followed my sister around because she seemed to know what she was doing. I eventually found my boyfriend and opened trade with him to give him my present. But...

Trial accounts cannot trade.

...there was only one thing to do. I bought the game. And gave him the Peacebloom.

So there I was, level 6 and in Stormwind. And-- oooh, look that guy's weapon is all fiery! Mental note to get that someday, whatever it is-- I began questing in Goldshire. It wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. Murlocs killed me mercilessly and despite the fact that I thought I was pretty handy with my dagger, spamming that attack button and all, I didn't seem to be doing very well. I rolled my very first alt, a tauren (they're cute darnit!) druid, and it was a lot more fun. You mean I can cast spells at people and heal? So much cooler than that silly hunter I'd made, pffft. But I kept playing my hunter because I wanted to play with the boyfriend.

Level 10 rolled around and I got this mysterious quest to go back to my hometown and get a pet. I about had a heart attack when I found out I had to go back to Teldrassil, as visions of those evil crocodiles and ogres flashed in my memory. I procrastinated on that quest for a while, because of that. But, eventually, I used my hearthstone (which I had never got around to changing yet) and went back there.

The quest involved me taming a spider, a cat, and an owl. The spider I still had a grudge against from that cave. The cat was cute but I saw cats all over Stormwind (all the hunters wanted them, for some strange reason), and I wanted to be unique. The owl made cute flappy-wing noises. I liked him.

After the quest I was informed that I could go tame a pet of my choosing to keep for as long as I wanted. I freaked out because I instinctively knew that this was a big decision and I didn't want to screw it up. Frantically I went to my sisters for help, and they directed me to a website called Petopia. I spent about an hour there, cycling through all the pet choices, hardly understanding anything about "DPS" or "skills". I was going purely on looks, how hard they would be to get (I wanted a raptor but they were in the Barrens, which I assumed was full of Hordies who wanted to kill me, so that was a no-go), and whether the site said they were "offensive", "defensive", or "well-rounded."

I seriously considered a wolf but in the end I went with the owl. There was something endearing about having an owl flapping next to you. I went and tamed a Strigid Hunter and named him Tux.

Back to Stormwind I went, feeling a rush of relief when I managed to get back to Elwynn. I hadn't liked it at first but it had really grown on me. Now I just had to adjust to life with a pet. I wasn't exactly sure how it was supposed to work. Was I supposed to put him on aggressive and have him kill things for me? Hmm, nope, he died. OH MY GOSH IS HE GONE FOREVER?? *hyperventilates* Oh wait no, there's a spell called Revive Pet. *deep breaths*

I know, I'll shoot stuff and make it come to me and my pet and I can fight it together!

That's what I did for a while.

...yes. I know.

I moved from Elywnn into Westfall and began questing there. At some point during this period I realized I could teach my owl "Growl", and I also sort of gained an inkling of the idea of having him tank while I shot stuff. I could now use something called "Talent points". I asked a couple people (non-hunters) what I should do with them and I was told to put them into the Marksmanship tree, so I did. Improved Concussive Shot, obviously, because a chance at stunning someone sounded about ten times more exciting than increased crit. I thought I was a pretty darn good hunter, despite the fact that, ya know, I was dying all the time. Boldly I ventured into Deadmines with my pet on aggressive. This was a dungeon afterall. More damage was good, right? Having my pet on aggressive killing stuff was good, right?

The people at my party started yelling at me and telling me to control my pet. I didn't get it. How was I supposed to control my pet? What did they mean?

At some point they told me trap a mob. I laid down an Immolation Trap and smugly pulled the mob in. I had an ice trap too but I didn't like it. It didn't do any damage. Pfft. What kinda lame trap is that, not doing any damage?

We killed VanCleef somehow. The people in my party weren't very happy because apparently someone had ninja'd a lot of the loot throughout the dungeon. I got angry too. Darn those ninjas! Good thing I somehow got a lot of great stuff though. My bags were full of them. Silly people should know to click Need if they want stuff.

And so I continued my questing, fancying myself as a nice little hunter who'd had some bad luck. I still wasn't a big fan of the class and I was rolling non-hunter alts all the time, but Tawyn was the highest level so she was the most interesting, so she got the most playtime.

One day I was attacking something and somehow aggro'd something else as well. It ran towards me, with Tux still busy on the first mob. Now I don't know how or why this idea popped into my head, because it had never ever occurred to me before... but for some reason I hit my never-used Freezing Trap button.


I had one mob trapped and out of my way while I took care of the other one. Then I went back and finished the trapped mob.

Afterwards, I blinked. Whoa.

...what a neat trick I'd just discovered! I tried it again. It worked, again. Wow! How fun!

I wondered if hunters had any other little tricks like that.

After I logged off WoW I hit up WoW Wiki and Google, searching for information and help on the hunter class. The first two sites I stumbled across were called The Hunter's Mark and Big Red Kitty. The Hunter's Mark had a bunch of stuff on trapping which I read voraciously. Big Red Kitty was filled with math and numbers and strange new phrases I had never heard of before, like "Steady Shot" and "Kill Command". But it all seemed very important so I bookmarked it.

I hit my 30s and began questing in Desolace. I haven't forgotten this: me, my boyfriend, and the guy who'd introduced us to WoW playing on an alt, all of us questing in Desolace. At some point we pulled a lot more mobs than we wanted to. And I, ever in love with my little trick, trapped a mob while we took out the others.

The friend said in party chat, "Great use of your traps Tawyn... you'll make a great hunter."

Wait... I would?

But everybody was always yelling at me! I was always dying! And yet... I really had the potential to be a good hunter? Great, even?

And that settled it.

I went back to BRK and read the entire thing. Everything. First I read the posts he had linked on his sidebar. Then I went back to his very first post and read the whole blog "cover-to-cover". I read all the comments. Took a few days. I tried to internalize as much as I could. I didn't understand a lot of it but I read it anyway. I went to The Hunter's Mark, too, and read as much of it as I could and watched the movies that had been posted. Then I started clicking on links and on the names of the commenters. More blogs to read! I never said anything, I just lurked and read.

Somehow, between all that reading and learning and the playing and practicing, something clicked.

Suddenly I couldn't play my non-hunter alts anymore. They were awkward. They didn't have that special, unique quality that my hunter did. They weren't me. I remember I rolled a troll warrior on some friends' server with the express purpose of making her my "main alt." I got to level 7 or 8 or so and had to stop, I just wasn't having fun or enjoying myself at all. The next day I went back to that server and rolled a hunter. Today she's my second-highest level character.

More leveling, more questing. More... erm... very interesting adventures as you can see from the above screenshot. And slowly I incorporated what I had been learning from various blogs into my gameplay. I was using my traps. I was teaching my pet the right skills. I had my pet under control. I was no longer a hindrance in groups, but a help. I stayed Marksman until level 50 because I was comfortable with it; but here is where the Grand Respec Phase came and I messed around with specs for a while before settling on, whaddaya know, 41/20/0. I hit 58 and Outlands. Things kept improving for me. I began topping charts in battlegrounds. I began topping charts in instances. People began specifically asking me to instance with them-- apparently I've improved a little since Deadmines.

Most importantly, I discovered something that I could practice and take pride in. It might sound a little silly to a lot of people if I were to compare playing my class in World of Warcraft, to honing one's skills in a sport or art form. But that's sort of what it became to me. And it taught me that no matter how horrible you are at something-- a little coaching and a little practice can work wonders.

And now...?

I am a hunter.

And as of today, I am level 70.

Thanks, WoW bloggers. I couldn't have done it without you guys. (Well, I could have, but... it wouldn't have been a pretty sight. /twitch) I can only hope that my own little site will be as helpful to some other inquisitive newbie someday.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's my birthday... family got me this shirt:

It even has Tux on the top!

I am in love.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dear Google

Every so often I check my Sitemeter referrals to see how people are finding my blog. I do this mostly to see if anyone is linking to me that I don't know about yet, so I can go check out their site and perhaps reciprocate the link =D But a lot of people find my site through Google, too. There are a few search terms that people consistently seem to be finding my site from; I wanted to address some of those here. So without further ado...

If you have found my site through Google and are searching for information on one of the following things, here is any help I can offer:

Pike World
: This is probably the one that I get the most hits from. I have no idea what Pike World is but it sure is popular. I've Google'd it myself and the closest thing I can find to a "Pike World" is "Pike's World: Exploration and Empire in the Greater Southwest", a museum exhibit in Colorado that I don't think is around anymore. If this sounds like what you were searching for, then here's a link to it.

Leveling a low-level pet in WoW: Unfortunately I know of no easy way to do this. Once, quite some time ago, I wrote a post on my own attempts at doing this and my own little strategy. You can find that post here. However, keep in mind that I wrote that post a few months ago when I was still in my 50s, level-wise. Also keep in mind that I think this mostly comes down to finding your own little strategy. The next patch should make pets level up faster, though, so that's always a plus. For more general pet-related information I direct you to Petopia and Mania's Arcania. A quick search of my own also turned up this guide.

Linux and WoW: I wrote up a basic Q&A about this which you can find here. You might want to try searching for information regarding your specific distro. If you use a 'buntu then I can't recommend Ubuntu Forums enough.

Linux and Ventrilo: Unfortunately I have yet to get Ventrilo working entirely on Linux, although I plan on making a more concerted effort sometime soon. The best advice I can give to you is to check out this thread on Ubuntu Forums, and also this great guide over at Synarch (the blog formerly known as /dev/random).

Funny WoW Huntard Stories: /chuckle Well, I'm sure you can find a few of 'em if you look around my site long enough... though I try to focus more on being a "good huntard"...

Hunters in Battlegrounds
: I wrote up a few basic information posts on being a hunter in battlegrounds, the series starts here. They are more aimed for PvP-newbies, though, so if you have some experience already they might be too "basic" for you.

Guides on How To Be a Good Hunter: While I am immensely flattered that my blog somehow shows up when you search for this... I cannot in good conscience keep anyone away from BigRedKitty. Read the articles he has posted on his sidebar under "Hunter Training List". Read the comments. Read more articles. Visit his forums and ask questions.

If for some reason you come back to my blog after feasting on the wisdom of BRK, then glance at the blogs I have in my blogrolls on my sidebar. Click on some links and explore them. There are a lot of blogs out there that provide very valuable information.

...if after that you still come back to my blog for some reason, well make yourself at home and feel free to leave me a comment or question or two. ^^

Alrighty, there you have it, Google-searchers! Have fun.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Instances and Groups

The other day I wound up in a partial-PuG and partial-guildies group for Steamvaults. This was probably not a wise idea for many reasons, including the fact that it's a level 70 instance and we were all hovering around level 68, and as it turned out... the PuG members were rather... less than ideal.

I went into it really wanting to do a good job, because the healer whispered me and begged me to be a good hunter, he told me that the last five or so hunters he'd grouped with had been horrible. So of course, this is where Pike's HUNTER-PRIDE ACTIVATED! And I told him not to worry. But it just wasn't meant to be. We were wiping on every other pull, we were having issues with the PuG'd people, gigantic annoying plants kept blocking everybody's vision, and overall it just wasn't working. So we scrapped the run.

We still wanted to do an instance, though, so we said goodbye to the PuG-players and picked up people from our guild to flesh out our little party. This particular party now was one that we had all been in many times before-- our usual tank, our usual healer, and I as the usual CC, etc. We decided to do Escape from Durnholde Keep.

How was the instance run? Well, by most standards, I think, it went pretty well. We had a couple problems and a couple wipes (one of which was entirely my fault, by the way; it involved me not paying attention and running blindly around a corner straight into a bunch of mobs) and a couple near-wipes, but overall the run went well; all the group members were fulfilling their role's function to above-satisfactory levels and for the most part, everything went smoothly.

However, we all left the instance feeling sort of less-than-satisfied and thinking we could have done a lot better.

It was kind of odd, but then I thought about it and I started thinking: maybe it's just the fact that our group has worked together so many times before. We've grown a sort of synergy with each other, and developed high expectations of each other, and acknowledge that there are high expectations on us as individual group members; so when a run isn't 100% flawless, we sort of beat ourselves up over it. That's my guess over why we felt so unsatisfied.

I'm still trying to decide if those high-expectations are a good thing for a guild or group to have, or if it might cause issues down the road if everyone is striving for "that perfect run" and it is always a little bit out of our reach. We are a very laid-back social and light-roleplaying guild, but we also have a core group of higher-level instance-running members and our expectations for instance-running people are pretty high. I hope that's the right attitude to have and that it doesn't cause problems later on. I can't say, because this is my first time around, so I can really just hope.

Anyways, I hit level 69 last night. It's very surreal how close I am to 70...

Oh, and before I forget: Escape from Durnholde Keep is the coolest instance idea ever. I ran around Old Hillsbrad for about a half hour after the instance was done, geeking out over the lore.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bwahar. Customization!

You will (hopefully) notice I have a shiny new layout on my blog! Yes, I've spent a little while messing around with HTML and various other customizations and now my previous two-column blog has turned into a spiffy three-column blog. I think that this will help ease the crowding on my sidebar, since I now have two sidebars to split my things between.

I did have to make some further changes though:

Firstly, I now have so many blogs that I read and link to, that having all of them in one long list was just turning into a gigantic wall of text that I'm not sure anyone would want to wade through. So I've split my blogroll into two parts; hunter-related blogs, and other class/general WoW/general gaming blogs. There were a few blogs that I was having trouble placing; for the most part, if you talk about hunters but you also talk about a lot of other stuff, I put you in the "general" section. If you see your blog in my links, and you would rather I shift it to the other blogroll, let me know and I can do that for ya. =D And of course, I will keep an eye on you (in a non-creepy way) and if your blog ever shifts focus I will try to move your place in my lists accordingly.

Also I have noticed that while on the one hand, my blog appears somewhat cleaner, it also, paradoxically, appears a bit more cluttered because I've got text on the left, text in the middle, and text on the right. This is something I'm going to work on; seeing if I can shorten my blurbs of sidebar text so it's not such a strain on the eyes. Let me know if you have any ideas or comments for me regarding making my layout more attractive in that way.

And yes, I know the title image looks off-center now; it's because the text on the image is off-center. I've been thinking of doing a little revamp of my title image anyway, so I will probably do that at some point.

In the meantime, pardon any dust as I continue to move things around a little. I will return you to your regularly scheduled blogging as soon as I can.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

All In The Family

I've been wanting to make a post like this for a while, but a post over at WarMama (a blog which I have just recently stumbled across) has inspired me to actually write it! This is really an article in two parts; hopefully it doesn't get too long.

For starters, let me tell you a little bit about my gaming background. I have been playing video games since I was in diapers. You know those "baby books" where parents can record memories of their children as babies? There's a section in mine called "Favorite games", where one is, presumably, supposed to write down things like "Peek-a-Boo" and "Patty-cake". Mine says "Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Dig-Dug, Pitstop".

What can I attribute this long gaming history to? Easy. A Commodore 64 computer, a techie uncle, and my parents. This was the early-80s, and the Commodore 64 was the hot new tech toy on the market. My techie-uncle secured one for our family, and thus our love affair with gaming was born. My parents played video games on this thing all the time, and often my uncle would come over and play with them. Our family all huddled around the TV (we hooked our C64 up to it) playing video games together-- these are among my earliest memories.

My dad and uncle were hugely competitive about their video gaming; they would often challenge each other over and over to very spirited matches in various multiplayer games. But my mom had in herself a determined streak as well. We had an "Aliens" video game, based on the film of the same name, which included a particularly difficult maze-like level. My mom sat down one day with a bunch of graph paper and mapped out that entire huge level. We never had any problems with it after that, with my mom's guide always kept in a handy location.

We had another game called "H.E.R.O." which involved maneuvering a little guy with a jetpack around, blowing up walls and avoiding spiders and bats (which, apparently, our heavily-armed protagonist was no match for). My father and uncle managed to get to level 9 or so. My mom, however, practiced this game in secret when they didn't know, and one day told them that she could get to level 18. They laughed and didn't believe her, and then she sat down and proved them wrong. To this day we still talk about my mom, the legendary H.E.R.O. Champion.

Those were my early years of childhood. Since then, a lot of things have changed. My uncle stopped making weekly visits, gaming got more and more sophisticated, and my parents stopped playing video games altogether (for the most part). But they instilled a love of gaming in all six of their children, I being the oldest, and perhaps more importantly, they taught us in our earliest memories that gaming was not only fun, but could give you a sense of accomplishment as well.

Now let me tell you about my brother and sisters and World of WarCraft.

My brother is 21, he is the next oldest after me. He was the first to get into WoW, he'd been excited about it since some of the earliest trailers and I think he played the beta (but I'm not sure). I don't know about his early characters, but since Burning Crusade he has played a troll warrior on a PvP realm. He has his own guild (which many of my friends are also a part of), and is the main tank for their end-game raiding. Fiercely pro-Horde and pro-PvP, you could almost say his taste in the game is the opposite of mine. But we both share a deep respect for players who become good at their chosen class. (And now that I think about it, I like PvP and the Horde too, so maybe we're not so different after all!)

Then we have my 16 year old sister. She does a very good job at balancing WoW and several other activities such as dance, band, and her many other talents. She actually took all of November off from WoW so she could concentrate on NaNoWriMo. She sort of drifts between her characters on WoW. She had a resto druid that she got up to about level 40 or so, at which point she got bored and began playing a hunter (woot!) who she got up to a decent level as well. Currently she enjoys playing a resto shaman. (She likes healing.) She is very versatile, comfortably switching between Alliance and Horde and various classes and party roles and realm types. She's even given roleplaying a shot. Certainly a joy to group with and play with should you happen to cross paths with her.

Moving on now to my 13 year old sister. She is a fairly high-level balance druid, and lemme tell you, she is dangerous. She loves PvP. She pretty much only ever plays on PvP realms, and from the moment she logs in to the moment she logs off she can usually be found in the war room in Stormwind, queued up for AB, AV, and WSG. I can't help but wonder how many people she plays against would guess that the moonkin who just kicked their butt is actually a cheerful and good-natured 13-year-old girl. Her overall enthusiasm for the game is refreshing; she really plays to have fun, and have fun is what she does.

My 10 year old sister just started playing recently. She is highly intelligent with a fiery personality, so perhaps it only made sense that she would pick a blood elf warlock as her main character. She has since developed a tendency to blurt out "For the Horde!" at random intervals, and when she says it, she means it-- she seriously considered carving the Horde crest into her pumpkin this past Halloween. All I can say regarding her is: look out, Alliance.

My youngest sister has yet to really play the game much, but with her siblings around, she really has no escape, I'd think...

As you can probably imagine, our family get-togethers are... interesting, to say the least. Family dinners devolve into frenzied WoW discussion more often than not, much to the, erm, amusement of our parents. I think they probably think we're a bit crazy, shaking their heads and smiling and quoting Marge Simpson at us: "Let me enchant your pants!" But what they may or may not realize is that, really, they were our inspiration. I credit my parents, my mom especially, with teaching us that video games can be a fun, family affair and something that you can take pride in. Just as my mom once sat down and mapped out an entire game level in "Aliens", or devotedly honed her skills in "H.E.R.O."-- that is how I try to play my hunters in WoW.

So, thanks, mom and dad. Maybe it sounds silly, but we video-gaming kids owe ya one.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's that time of the level-bracket again.

I've sort of been taken a break from leveling this whole past week. There were two main reasons for this. The first one is that The Boyfriend (hmm, should I call him Mr. Pike? Heehee) has been pretty busy, so he got about a level behind me. We try to stay equal in level, especially as we're approaching 70, so I told him I would wait to level until he'd caught up.

The second reason is that I decided it would be fun to focus on PvP for a while. The reasons for this include wanting to stockpile honor and marks now so I have a jump on the level 70 PvP gear (I learned the hard way yesterday that going into the level 70 bracket AV with level 68 gear is... not a pleasant experience)... and the fact that I just plain like battlegrounds. I think my PvP skill is improving, too... I will still refrain from calling myself very good at PvP, but it felt good to see this:

I am usually near the top of the "Damage Done" charts, but I am very rarely actually first, so it was a nice surprise to see this. I've also noticed that my kiting skills have improved lately, and I've discovered a lot of little things about playing hunters in PvP that I should have known before, but didn't. For example: Rogues love Serpent Sting. ...actually, they really hate it. *cough* Because they can't stealth if they've got it. I never knew this before! Fantastic. Oh, and The Beast Within handily works as, effectively, a second trinket. I didn't know this either. Oh the fun I've had since I found this out. Can't regain distance because of a warrior's Hamstring or a rogue's Crippling Poison? Pop The Beast Within and get back to business.

Speaking of which, I've noticed lately that there's sort of been a complete turnaround for me in terms of classes that I do well against and classes that I don't do well against. In my earlier levels, warriors and rogues were the bane of my existence. These days, I do quite well against them. Meanwhile, warlocks, who I was always pretty good at taking out before, have suddenly become near-invincible. I'm not sure if it has to do with the talents of our respective classes, or if it's just a change in my playstyle, or maybe both. But it's quite interesting.

Anyways, while I've had a lot of fun in the battlegrounds this week, I have been bitten by the dreaded Level 70 Bug, so I've started up my questing again. The newly-christened Mr. Pike is now at level 68 with me and we want to spend the weekend leveling. We'll see how far we get!

Monday, December 10, 2007

My First Screenshot

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their input on my question about Wordpress. When it comes down to it, I don't really have any big plans for this blog (yet), and a custom domain name would be nice but it's definitely not a top priority right now. This would suggest that sticking to Blogger would be just fine, but I am curious about the types of customization that Wordpress seems to offer. So I think I will probably end up making a Wordpress blog and messing around with it for a while, and then deciding whether to make the switch or not. Either way, I will keep you all posted.

However, this post is about something entirely different, namely, the first screenshot that I ever took in WoW:

That, my friends, is Tawyn Q. Huntard, Esq.

I don't have Hunter's Mark on my action bars anywhere because I figured I'd run out of room to put new spells, and Hunter's Mark didn't sound very exciting to me anyway.

Tux is there, yes, which is a wonder because I had no food for him when I first tamed him and now that I look back on it I'm lucky I managed to get some food in time. You will notice he does not know Growl. I had no idea that move existed; my general strategy at this point was shoot stuff and make it come to me so my pet and I could melee it together. Yes... it's sad, but true.

The raid icon is above my head because I'd been grouping with a friend who wanted to show me around and they started messing around and putting those icons above my head, which was freaking me out because I had no idea what they were or what they did.

I am in Menethil because I was whisked away to Stormwind at the wee level of 6, but at level 10 I got the quest to tame my first pet and I had to return to Teldrassil. I used my hearth to get back (since I'd forgotten to set it to something in the human lands), but it was on the trek back with my new pet that I forgot all about the flight paths I had collected last time and I needessly walked basically the entire way, dying multiple times.

The reason I took this screenshot was because I found it amusing that the Menethil Sentry was partially submerged in the ground. Ironic that now I see things like that all over the place in Outlands... heehee =P

So yeah. At least I had Aspect of the Hawk on...

I'd like to think Tux and I are doing a lot better these days.

You readers, if you are up to it, are hearby dared to post or link to the newbie-est screenshot of yourself that you can find!

(Oh, and ding 68)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Quick Blog-Related Question

The new current fad seems to be switching from Blogger to Wordpress; BRK just did it yesterday but a lot of other bloggers have done it recently as well.

What I'm wondering is... would it be worth it for me to make the switch as well? I know a lot of people have been praising Wordpress for being more customizable and whatnot... I guess I'm just curious to know a comparison of some of the features they offer verses some of the ones Blogger does. Because up 'til now I've sort of been taking the view of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", which is why I've been sticking with Blogger.

Another reason I'm wary of switching is because I don't want to annoy people with having to update bookmarks or RSS feeds or blogrolls. And I worry my readership might take a bit of a hit-- not that I'm super popular or anything, but 60-70 hits a day really isn't too shabby, and I kinda like those hits... makes me think I might actually be a decent writer or something! =P

So I will leave the opinions open to you guys; because you guys are the ones who read my blog so I'd like to know what you think. Do the benefits of moving to Wordpress outweigh the possible cons? Are there any other good blogging software or sites out there that I should consider also? My personal journal is over at LiveJournal (and has been for over three years) but even though I love LJ it's more for exactly that, personal journals, instead of blogging.

What do you guys think?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lessons Learned in Warsong Gulch

People respond to kindness:

I'm sure most of you have been there. The battlegrounds game where within five minutes, somebody has, say... taken the flag but then something goes wrong and they lose it. And then somebody pipes up with "Wow you guys suck."

I'm here to say... don't let your team have that attitude.

"Nah, we don't suck, we just got off to a bad start", I said. "Come on, we can do it."

"Yeah," a couple other people sort of tentatively agreed.

And so we were off again. After some hard battling we managed to capture a flag.

"See? We can do it. Now we just have to keep it up."

That was basically really all I had to say. It took off from there, people encouraging each other, thanking each other, and helping each other out. Mr. "Wow-you-guys-suck" decided to be obnoxious again at some point, proudly proclaiming his top position on the damage meters to everyone and making a big deal out of "why can't you guys keep up", but a quick "Yes, you're doing a good job, keep it up everyone" reminded him that it was a group effort and hushed him up pretty quick.

Somehow, someway, after nearly an hour-long game, our scrappy little team won that Warsong Gulch game 3-0. Even with one of our members AFK nearly the entire time. Furthermore, while Mr. Originally-Obnoxious-But-Really-Not-So-Bad kept his top spot in the damage charts at the end, there were four more of us up there with him.

Was it my encouragement and our team's overall helpful attitude that gave us this victory? Maybe we'll never know. But I'd like to think that it at least helped a little. I've had similar things happen to me before; our team coming from behind and winning not because of our skill so much as because of our attitude. Don't underestimate the power of a little encouragement; it can go a long way.

I love worthy opponents:

I ran across a female orc hunter in a completely different WSG match. She was Beast Mastery spec'd, like myself, and she and her bright green Windserpent were good. At some point early on in the game, I think we both subconsciously decided that it was a matter of hunter pride to make each other our sparring partner, so throughout the entire game we were hunting each other down and taking each other on 1 on 1. Sometimes I won, but most of the time she did. I've long thought that most hunter-on-hunter matches come down to gear and stamina, but this orc had skill. You could tell. I wish I'd had time to /salute her before the game ended, she was a fun opponent.

Level 19 Mage PvP

My mage got to level 19 and I took her to WSG a few times. It was my first time PvP'ing as something other than a hunter, and I'd like to think I did decently, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Not to mention that it's tough being a squishy in there.

Somehow I managed to do less overall relative damage than I do as a hunter, but got a lot more killing blows. It was kind of strange.

Not being able to track people was driving me insane, though, and I missed all the other hunter abilities too. After a few games I missed my hunter so much that I had to log out of the mage and onto the hunter, and that's where the previous WSG stories came from.

Just a few more levels until the level 70 battlegrounds! If any of you guys happen to play on the US battlegroup "Bloodlust" then I look forward to working with you... or sparring with you!... soon. Give me a /wave!

Just a Bit More on WoW Gender-Bending

I got a lot of great comments in my previous post about this subject, and I've seen some more articles too. What's great is that it's shown me there are a lot of valid reasons to play the opposite gender in WoW-- more reasons than I'd even thought of before.

Maebius says that he plays the opposite gender in order to specifically avoid making just an "avatar of himself".

Matticus says female characters let you see more of the screen.

Mirsh just recently wrote up a great article about how he's been able to discover and express new aspects of himself through playing the opposite gender in WoW.

Anyways, I just wanted to thank everybody for their comments and responses; I've really discovered a new appreciation for playing the opposite gender... like I said before, it was never that I had a problem with it, so much as I was a bit mystified by how widespread it was. But it turns out there are a lot of very good reasons for it that hadn't occurred to me.

And now I'm inspired; I want to go make a male gnome rogue, I've got some great character ideas floating around in my head for him... and yes, I know I've said before that I can't stand playing melee classes, especially rogues, but I dunno, it seems like I've had an unusually high number of people recently telling me how fun rogues are, I think maybe something's trying to tell me to give it another shot. It's so hard for me to play other classes, because to me... WoW = hunter, for the most part. But sometimes, it's nice to wander off and do something completely different. Hence why my mage will randomly get sudden spurts of playtime.

I have way too many blog post ideas, I should really start writing them down...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wipes. Not the Baby Kind.

I have been tagged by Bremm to share my five "worst wipes". Unfortunately I fear that, largely because I have only been playing for seven months... well, I don't have two years' worth of wipes to draw on. So some of these are rather less than exciting, but are more... "You had to be there" types of moments.

Five Worst Wipes Meme
-invented by Pelides

1. Dire Maul: We were near the end of this instance, in some gigantic room and we had to get to a little circular area in the middle to fight a boss. The other four members of the party got there just fine, but I was loitering around for some reason. Finally they informed me that I should join them, so I headed towards them... and ran into a patrolling mob. Okay, one patrolling mob, I can handle it, especially since my fellow group members can help me... oh wait, there's another mob... and another... and another...

...and we wiped, thanks to me not listening and following my groupmates fast enough.

(Actually now that I think about it this may have only been a semi-wipe; I think me and a couple other people died but not everyone.)

2. Sunken Temple: So... that room where you have to summon the dragon god and there's all those mobs trying to stop you, as you gather items from them to put out the four fires? The first time I did this room, nobody in our group knew you were supposed to do that. The putting-out-the-fires thing, that is. We fought wave after wave of nonstop mobs for ten or fifteen minutes and died a very slow and painful death thanks mostly to eventually running out of mana and having all our good stuff on cooldown. I still shudder just thinking about that room, despite the fact that I've done it successfully since then.

3. Underbog: There's a sort of dragon-type boss whose name I can't remember; he's standing on a big ledge, really high above some water. The first time my group ran this, it didn't occur to us that the boss could push you off the edge. So there we were, starting the boss, expecting your typical tank'n'spank and suddenly the tank was gone. One minute he was there, the next... *poof*... no more tank. The "Uh..."'s in party chat were met with the tank's reply, "He pushed me off into the water" about a second before the rest of us turned into dragon food, still with silly looks of mystification on our faces I'm sure.

Now whenever we fight this boss, we pull him to the wall first. No more disappearing tanks for us!

4. Dire Maul, Again
: I mentioned this a couple posts back. Basically I jumped off a ledge, forgetting a little minor detail: my pet. A few minutes later, in the midst of minding our own business, Locke runs up with more elite mobs than I've seen in my life hot on his tail. Our whole party was squashed basically before I could blink. It was embarassing but oh-so-hilarious.

5. Zul'Farrak: We aggro'd one of the scarabs. Enough said.

So, there ya go! I tag... whoever wants to do it! (I'm not very good at this tagging thing.)

Oh, and ding 67... yes, ignore my Armory profile and the banners on my blog that are dependent on my Armory profile. The Armory hasn't updated my character in a week now, and I've no idea why (especially since my guildies are getting updated just fine...)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Roleplay & Character Choices - Combining my Comments into a Post

I've seen a lot of blog posts around lately that seem to be hitting on sort of the same note; that is to say, the idea of playing a gender different than your own (the subject may or may not involve roleplaying).

I've been responding to a lot of these posts and I noticed that a lot of my responses were coming out pretty much the same so I figured I would turn it into a full-fledged blog post.

On Roleplaying: Roleplaying and things related to roleplaying (coming up with new characters, giving them stories and backgrounds, imaging their life in Azeroth, etc.) is pretty much 90% of what draws me to WoW. The other 10% or so is the mechanics of playing my hunter. And I'm sure you all know how much I love playing my hunter, so you can definitely see just how important roleplaying is to me. That's just my personality and how I am-- I like imagining things. I definitely understand why roleplaying isn't everyone's thing, in fact, I don't think it's most people's thing. But, it is my thing. It is a huge, huge part of what makes WoW interesting to me. (Yes, I'm a geek, I know. =D) If you were to take away Tawyn, Night Elf Hunter who I've invented this huge story for... and replace her with an equally-leveled but different character that I did not invent, it would be very, very hard for me to keep playing the game.

And where is this leading to?


On Playing as a Character That is the Opposite Gender:

For a long time, I've been just a little confused on why so many people play as the opposite gender. It wasn't that I had a problem with it, it was just hard for me to understand why someone would play as a character that they couldn't identify with on that base level. Yes, you could make the argument that the opposite gender looks more attractive to you, but for me that wasn't nearly as important as being able to play as a character that you could really identify with. (And I say this as a very, very tomboyish female. My characters are tomboys, but they are still female. Like me.)

And then, thanks largely to an excellent article at Big Bear Butt Blogger, it hit me. I'm looking at the game a lot differently than most people are.

That is to say, I am a roleplayer and a daydreamer and I imagine my characters as extensions of myself, and... avatars of myself in a parallel universe, so to speak.

The majority of you guys, I imagine, are a bit more normal than me, heehee =P And you play the game as just a game, or as a movie. Big Bear Butt said that he liked playing female characters because he likes watching female characters kick butt, like in a movie or TV show, for example. It has nothing to do with creating a character that is an expression of yourself. And that's a very normal thing, and it makes a lot of sense. I had just sort of forgotten that, and assumed that everybody was like me and into the whole roleplaying thing.

So, thanks Big Bear Butt for hitting me back into reality for a few minutes and helping me understand a lot of my fellow WoW players better. I'll try not to dig myself so deep into the RP-hole next time. (Even if it is a lot of fun down here!)

P.S. A lot of roleplayers actually play the opposite gender too... because good character ideas are not limited by gender. So it's not a roleplayer thing, I think, so much as it's a "Pike" thing. =P

The People of WoW

One of the neat things about our guild is that it has a very large number of people that are in their 50s and 60s, level-wise. These are all people who are either playing for the first time, like myself, or have largely abandoned previous high-level characters and are now leveling alts almost exclusively. It's quite handy because you almost always have some people to quest with or run instances with, and I'm excited because so many of us are coming up on 70 now so it's like we're already going to be pretty much set for doing all those big 70 instances that are coming up (including our little guild's pipe dream... it starts with a K and ends with an -arazhan.)

The other day, our guild's current main tank, a 64 prot warrior who is fantastic to work with, whispered me and told me that I had to meet him in Blasted Lands, and that it was urgent. I was mystified, but quite intrigued, and hightailed it out of Nagrand and back to the old world so I could meet him there. Once we met up, he had me unequip my bow and quiver, toss all my arrows, and then he opened trade and gave me a present: [The Gunblade], complete with a +10 damage scope, a 16-slot ammo pouch and the bullets to go with it. It turns out he and my boyfriend had both pooled their extra gold and bought this present just for me. I was informed in a sort of semi-roleplaying-fashion (I love RP servers) that the gift was a thank-you to me for providing quality DPS and CC in instances, and in general "being good at your class".

Then... you know those guys in Blasted Lands whose HP falls down to about 1% and then they don't die? Yeah, best guys to grind your weapon skill on ever (because I've actually never used a gun before, even though I had the skill trained).

Anyways, the reason that I'm sharing this story isn't just to show off my new weapon (even though it is very shiny), but because it really showed me that even though WoW "is just a game"... it also "isn't just a game". The reason it isn't just a game is because of the people that you meet. These are people that you might not have met otherwise if you hadn't played the game, and yes they might be people that you never do get to meet in person. But just because you don't get to see them in person, doesn't mean that they are any less important or any less capable of doing kind deeds or being good friends. I was really touched by the present that I got and what it meant, and I hope that I, too, can perform similar acts of kindness and gratitude to the people that I hang out with in-game.

I've met a lot of great people in this game and I can't wait to meet others. And that's my little feel-good story of the day. ^^

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Five Things Gaming Has Taught Me

I've been tagged by Girl Meets WoW:

Five Things Video Gaming Has Taught Me:

1. Supply and demand. Thank you, online game economies!
2. Playing the same games as your friends and family members can be both very fun and somewhat difficult, at the same time. (I actually feel a full-fledged post coming on about this.)
3. We humans have a surprising ability to memorize a large amount of information which we feel to be important, regardless of whether it will be useful later down the road or not. I could probably still name all 151 original Pokemon and tell you their strengths and weaknesses if I sat down and tried.
4. The Super Nintendo is still the best video game system of all time.
5. There is a real person behind each of those characters in online games. Treat them accordingly (even if they don't always treat you as such).

I could probably continue the list pretty easily; I once wrote up an essay (and posted it on my personal-life journal, actually) about how video games have effected me and helped shape me into the person I am today-- geeky but true. I might have to repost that here sometime. I actually have a lot of ideas for future posts; I must apologize for not writing so much recently, but I've come down with a horrible cold and it's got me rather "out of it".

Tawyn is now halfway through level 66. She has been doing a lot of instance-running and that has really been bringing in the XP, so I've been leveling pretty quickly. It's hard to believe I'm getting this close to level 70. I've been loving all this stuff I've learned in the past few levels... first Steady Shot, then Aspect of the Viper, then Kill Command... it's changing my playstyle (for the better!), making my character even deeper to play and requiring more concentration, and it's making me feel like a "Real Hunter". People weren't kidding, the game really does change once you hit Outlands.

So exciting. ^_^

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bad Hunter, Good Hunter

Some of my adventures around Azeroth...

Bad Hunter:

-I jumped off a high ledge in Dire Maul. Guess who I forgot to dismiss? Mmyep. About three minutes later, in the middle of discussing strategy, my pet comes running up followed by basically every single mob in the instance. Admittedly those last two seconds before we died were pretty funny (I've never seen that many mobs), and the group I was with was very forgiving and reminded me that it was sort of a hunter rite-of-passage... but I still was pretty embarrassed.

-I helped out a group in Scholo so one of the group members could get his pally mount, and another could progress in her warlock mount chain. Not too long into the instance I made a terrible mistake, clicked on the wrong mob, and without noticing, hit my "Hunter's Mark/Pet Attack" macro key. This proceeded to pull basically the entire room. We managed to survive somehow, but I was beating myself up for it and making it worse was the fact that the PuG-members of the group assumed I was a huntard and started telling me to dismiss my pet. I apologized, told them it was my fault and not the pet's, and that it wouldn't happen again and that my pet was staying out whether they liked it or not. I'm hoping they noticed that my pet was very well-controlled for the rest of the instance and that I topped the damage meters pretty squarely. Normally I don't like to flaunt the DPS meters but I really wanted to prove to them that I actually was competent and had just made a bad mistake. (And no I didn't actually post the damage meters, but I'm hoping they noticed =P)

Good Hunter:

-This story takes place during another Scholo run (I help lower-level guildies in lower-level instances a lot). We were doing one of the boss rooms, the pull hadn't turned out as we'd liked, and to make a long story short the entire room was on top of us.

It was pretty obvious that a wipe was imminent as I watched the group members fall one by one, so I took out as many mobs as I could before I was alone and overwhelmed. I ran out of the room, put my pet on defensive instead of passive (so he at least wouldn't go down without a fight) and feigned death.

Poor Locke, I thought, I'm going to be sitting here playing dead while he dies...

But wait, what's this?

Hey, Locke is doing pretty good against those three mobs (one of which was an elite) that are on him. He wouldn't live without heals and help, but still...

I got up, bandaged up, popped Mend Pet, took out one of the mobs, trapped another, and then proceeded to solo the 60 elite.

So there we were, my pet and I standing triumphant in the face of what was otherwise a wipe. It was here that I noticed party chat was filled with people saying things like "Okay, wait for the mobs to be reset... whoa, what the heck, Tawyn's not dead yet?" "Tawyn's still not dead?"

And then I said "Hey guys, I killed an elite for ya", not really thinking much of it, but then party chat proceeded to say ", Tawyn killed the boss."

...I did?

Apparently I did!

He was a few levels lower than me yes. But he was an elite, and he had buddies with him, and I took him down.

And that made me feel really awesome.

-I defeated an equal-level marks-spec'd hunter in a duel. I still had about half of my hit points left by the end of it, too. Looking back on it I can think of some things he did wrong, for example, not sending his pet in to attack me (granted I would have trapped it anyway, but it's the principle of the thing, ya know?) But it's funny because I always had this notion in my head that marks-hunters did a lot better in duels. So this was another one of those "feel-good" moments.

The Morals of the Stories:

- Dismiss your pet before you jump off a ledge.

- Be absolutely sure you know who you are targeting before you send your pet in.

- Don't assume you've lost when you're staring in the face of an instance wipe or a duel against a differently-spec'd hunter. You never know when things will conspire to give you the edge you need.

Oh, and lastly...

- Don't tell a good hunter what to do with their pet. Suggestions, okay. But "I hate your pet, please dismiss him"... no. Not a good idea. We have a thing called Huntery Pride and it comes out in full-force sometimes, and you probably don't want to mess with it. *nods*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Good Instance Runs: Chicken Soup for the WoW-playing Soul

I have to admit I don't do a lot of instances. It's not because I don't want to do them, so much as because I often don't have the time for them. I tend to be the busiest or the most likely to frequently AFK during the prime instance-running hours: the evening. So oftentimes I opt out of doing instances because I don't want to bother the others with any potential frequent BRBs.

Today, however, was Thanksgiving, so I had a lot of wonderful uninterrupted spare time. (And don't worry, I spent a lot of time with my family as well! =P My mom is a great cook.)

So, I ran Hellfire Ramparts. Twice. The group consisted of guildies and friends, mostly at level 60 (though I was at level 64), and included a warrior tank, a tree druid healer, a feral druid, and two BM hunters.

And I had an absolutely fantastic time, both times. The warrior had never done much tanking before and was very nervous about the whole thing, but he wound up doing a very impressive job. The healer was a great healer. The feral druid was one dangerous kitty. The other hunter was one of the best hunters I have worked with so far, and I'd like to think that I'm not too shabby either.

My job was DPS + CC, and it was one of the first times that I was really asked to provide consistent CC throughout the duration of a dungeon rather than just a few times. The other hunter and I actually played off of each other really well here; sometimes my trap would be resisted and she would be right there with a backup trap, or vice-versa. But what I really felt proud about were the times I had to chain trap. Sure, I'd practiced with the raptors in Arathi a la BRK, but here I was being asked to do it in a much more crucial setting. I guess I shouldn't have worried because I seemed to do pretty good job, and that culminated in my sudden development of a severe case of "I'm-turning-into-a-real-hunter-itis", a horrible disease that causes one to gesture frantically at the screen and tell one's significant other "I'm chain trapping! I'M CHAIN TRAPPING! Are you watching??"


I also got to pull, at the warrior's request. Oh, and the healer healed my pet whenever he was offtanking (or saving the healer). Both these people actually have level 70 hunters already so that may have helped.

Overall it was a fantastic experience. I feel like I learned a lot, and it felt really good to exit the instance knowing we'd done so well and handled the problems we'd came across. I got myself some new gear, and then because I was feeling particularly giddy I threw down a bunch of gold on an agility enchant for my polearm. At level 64, my agility is now over 400 and my crit chance is now over 15%, and I am one happy little hunterling.

I'm going to start trying to do more instances.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the States!

Monday, November 19, 2007

I couldn't help myself.

I got my tauren hunter to level 29 today, and as is the typical case with me when I get to the end of a "bracket", I'm taking some time out to go play in the battlegrounds.

So there I was, guarding Blacksmith by myself in Arathi Basin, feeling a bit awkward about not having Flare or other helpful higher-level skills and dreaming of the trinket I'm saving up honor for. We're winning this particular game and it's nearing the end, but I've still got a freezing trap sitting at the flag waiting for anybody who wanted to try something at the last minute.

Suddenly I heard a familiar noise. I turned around and, what do you know, a rogue is caught in my trap.

Now I try to be a friendly person and honorable fighter in PvP, and throughout the whole game, really. I thank players for their heals or buffs and in general I think I'm a pretty nice person.

But at this point all I could do was be amused at the hapless rogue as my mind cycled back through all the dozens of times I've fallen prey to the stealthed hand of this particular class...

/target rogue

And then I sic'd my kitty on her and she went down like a fly, and it felt pretty darn good.

Dear rogue, wherever you are... I'm sorry for laughing at you when you were stuck in my trap. But you have to realize how funny it looked and how nice it felt to be the one catching you by surprise for once. I was laughing with you, not at you. I promise. ^^

My tauren also tamed a new pet today; the windserpent Arikara. He apparently makes quite an entrance when you summon him. And I've never had a windserpent before, so it'll be fun to try him out. I named him Ivan to go with the kitty Alyosha, and yes the third pet is going to be Dmitri. Cookie for anybody who gets the reference to my favorite book. *cough* =D

Friday, November 16, 2007

Desktops & Blogs

This is a screenshot I took today of my current computer desktop:

The wallpaper was made by the extraordinarily talented artists over at The Bronze Kettle, which is a very good WoW blog that I would recommend looking into if you haven't already.

Speaking of blogs, I've finally updated my sidebar's blogroll; in fact, thanks to Google Reader and some code, it should actually self-update now every time I find a new blog to read. (Thanks to Mania for originally pointing out that you could do this!)

My blogroll has gotten very big in such a short amount of time, if it gets much bigger I might have to make a dedicated "page" for it. But I like having all the links on the blog itself.

Ding 63 and I got my [Survivalist's Pike]! It even has my nickname in it, so you know it's gotta be a good weapon. =P

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ten Random Thoughts

I sort of have a lot to talk about, but most of them aren't things I want to make full-blown posts about. However, here is a random sampling of what has been on my mind and in my WoW lately:

1. The Dead Zone is gone and I still unconsciously back up to "get range" even if I don't have to. I can't help myself. It's months and months of hunter training that I don't know if I can undo. Heehee.

2. The Hellfire Peninsula music really has a very Holst-like feel to it. It feels right out of the Planets Suite to me. It makes me wonder if that's where the game's composers got some inspiration, or if I'm just being a geek. My money is on the latter.

3. I got my Epic Mount!

4. What's with all the shaman-inspired Outlands gear? I keep finding myself choosing the leather rogue quest rewards over the mail shammy ones. Yes, my armor is taking a bit of a hit, and yeah I like Intellect, but come on... if you give me a choice between a +30 agi, +30 stam, +attack power leather piece, and a +12 agi +12 stam +12 int +magical damage/healing mail piece... I'm gonna take the former. I've heard other people say that shamans have an unusually high amount of Outlands stuff, but wow, I had no idea they were this prevalent.

5. I have been challenged! Namely, my guild has put forth a bit of a friendly challenge for those among us who are in our early-60s: to get to 70 by Christmas. A few people have even taken it farther and have a 100g bet on the line for whoever gets there first. I've agreed to participate in the challenge but at the same time, I don't want that to be the sole reason I'm leveling. I'm playing the game for fun, afterall, not to see if I can beat my guildies to 70. So I'm going to maybe kick up my leveling just a notch, and then not worry about it after that. I'll get to 70 when I get there.

6. Speaking of my guild, I really like it a lot. When I first started this blog we were this tiny little guild of about 20 people; somehow we seem to have exploded recently to nearly 100 characters and almost as many accounts. Some people have their tiffs, as you will see in all guilds, but other than that our guild is full of friendly and intelligent people who willingly donate money to others' mount funds and run newbies through instances on a daily basis-- seriously, we seem to have an abnormal number of high-level members who love running lowbie instances. It's kinda funny really... watching the guild's higher-levels all scrambling to be the chosen one who gets to help someone through Deadmines, which once culminated in a Grand Deadmines Race which involved people pairing off and seeing who could run through the fastest. Yes, I do love my guild.

7. I have transferred my tauren hunter to a new realm: The Venture Co. It's an RP-PvP realm. See, I know I often mention how I find PvP realms to be irritating because of all the ganking that goes on. However, I recently got this little dream in my head of being able to say I've leveled to 70 on a PvP server, and being able to experience that and broaden my knowledge that way. But being on a regular PvP server, I really missed the RP, so I've compromised and moved to an RP-PvP server. I'm really happy with my new server so far, though admittedly I've only just transferred-- but it makes me so dorkily giddy to see real roleplay going on, and it's already made my little tauren about ten times more fun to play.

8. Right after the transfer took place and I hopped onto my tauren alt, I noticed something unusual... track humanoids not only shows humanoids on the minimap, but beasts as well! Has anyone else experienced that? I sent a ticket into Blizzard and a GM had me do the whole "disable-all-your-addons" dance, but it didn't change anything so I have been informed that it's being looked into as a bug. In the meantime... it's, um, very handy for contested zones, so it's staying up... *hangs head guiltily*

9. My main is now a Scryer. Aldors had a decent ring, but Scryers had an alchemy recipe, and I'm a bit OCD when it comes to my professions. Gotta catch 'em all!

10. I'd completely forgotten how difficult it is to keep two pets leveled up with you simultaneously, especially since I seem to be perpetually rested these days so I'm always getting double XP while my pets aren't. I fear I may have to soon make a decision and have one pet stay with me to 70 and then come back and grind the other one later. On the other hand, at least leveling a pet that is 7 or 8 levels lower than you shouldn't be quite as bad as leveling one that is several dozen levels lower than you... hopefully that's the case, anyway.

*glances over list*

Hmm. I think I write too much.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Newbie's Guide to Battlegrounds: Part 2

Thank you all for the kind comments on my last post. Here's the conclusion (for now) to the "Newbie's Guide to Battlegrounds" series!:

(Edit: Matticus has reminded me that patch 2.3 brought some changes to AV. For example, you can now win the game through objectives other than killing the boss. I have yet to play the "new" AV but I will see if I can play some games soon and I'll report any major changes. In the meantime, I think that most of my basic guide still stands (except for the part about pulling at the end) and will hopefully be a little helpful to people.)

Alterac Valley
The Basics: This is probably the most complicated to learn and master of all the battlegrounds, and it's hard to condense the point of it into one sentence. Basically you and the other faction start out on opposite ends of a very, very large battleground. Your goal is to get to the other end and kill their leader, which is a very powerful elite NPC. And their goal is to come to your side and kill your leader. Along the way you'll have to deal with a lot of NPCs that want to kill you, not to mention the other players themselves. It's sort of like a big game of chess, only more chaotic.

There are also quite a few other objectives for you to capture or accomplish along the way, which may or may not be skipped. Some of these objectives are more important than others, though-- graveyards, for example. The more graveyards your faction has, the more places you will be able to rez at and the sooner you'll be able to get back into the fight, which will give you a significant edge. In general you will want to have graveyards close to where your offensive team is currently.

General Strategies: It's hard to discuss general strategies for AV because it's so big and "deep". But there are certain things that seem to be "givens" in the typical game. The Horde is going to take Stonehearth Graveyard, and the Alliance is going to take Iceblood. After that, the Horde takes Stormpike, and the Alliance takes Frostwolf. Finally, in the final stretch, Horde takes Stormpike Aid Station, and Alliance takes Frostwolf Relief Hut. People wanting a really fast game and wanting to beat the other faction speed-wise may prefer to skip Stonehearth/Iceblood all together and go straight for Stormpike/Frostwolf. People who are more interested in farming honor will go slower, taking everything along the way and stopping to kill Captains Stonehearth or Galv.

A typical strategy is to "let" the other team capture one of the graveyeards (generally Stonehearth/Iceblood) so they don't start rez'ing way back where they started and make life hard for your offensive team.

For the most part what you will probably want to do here is just follow your offensive team around, especially if you aren't sure of what you're doing. After a while, you'll start to learn your way around. I find it best to keep the mini-map up in the bottom corner of my screen on this one, just so you can see where you are and where everybody else is.

Basically, in a nutshell, what you are probably going to be doing is following the offense from graveyard to graveyard, capturing these graveyards along the way and eventually getting to the boss at the end.

Defense is very important for graveyards. Capturing graveyards is just like capturing the flag in Arathi Basin-- you click on it and wait for it to change colors. However, it takes a much longer time. While you're waiting for the graveyard to cap, it's a very good idea to stick around with at least one other person and provide some defense. I find myself "stuck on defense" a lot because nobody likes to defend, everybody likes to go kill stuff on offense. But it's still very important. If you're defending a graveyard do the same strategy you do elsewhere when you're defending-- tracking, flare, traps. Do take note that you will probably see members of the opposing faction rushing by you on occasion; often they don't want to stop and fight you, but want to catch up with their offense. In that case, use your judgment on whether you want to attack them or not, and keep in mind that they might be trying to distract you to get a stealthie in.

Once the graveyard caps, a bunch of friendly NPCs will show up who will guard your graveyard for you. Generally that means you can go run and catch up to the offense now. You can also keep defending the graveyard if you like, but the NPCs will usually do an okay job of defending and, most of the time, will at least keep the graveyard safe until your team caps the next one.

Eventually, after taking a few graveyards, you're going to get to the big "bad guy" at the end. It's important to take the graveyard that is there-- either Frostwolf Relief Hut, or Stormpike Aid Station, depending on if you're Alliance or Horde. Because the boss is probably going to kill everybody and the trick is to rez at that graveyard that is right there and run back in and keep attacking him, while people are still on him.

Don't go in the building right away, wait for a decent offensive team to have been built up and then let somebody else (someone usually volunteers, so I let them) pull out some of the NPCs that are in there with the boss. These NPCs can be very powerful and some of them have really vicious AoE attacks. (This is one of the parts where I often find my poor pet is dead; Avoidance Rank 2 helps immeasurably here, as does keeping a Mend Pet up if he's fighting somebody really hard. Oh, and make sure he has growl off. If he pulls aggro and nobody else gives him heals, he's probably a goner.)

Note: If you are Alliance, some of the NPCs here are elite wolves. You will often hear it repeated "DON'T LOOT THE DOGS!", meaning the wolves. It is said that if you loot the wolves, they will respawn and you'll have to fight them again. I have no idea if this is really true or not, since I've heard people say different things on this subject, but personally I like to err on the side of caution and leave the wolves alone. (You really shouldn't be looting in the middle of the fight anyway, but I digress! =P)

Once all these NPCs and any defenders are taken care of (it might take a while and you might die a couple times-- that's expected, so don't worry about it), and preferably once the relief hut/aid station is cap'd, somebody will usually give the call: "All in!" or a similar variant. This means it's time to kill the boss. Now the most important part, once you are in the building trying to down the boss, is to not run out of the building, ever. If you run out of the building and the boss follows you out, he will reset to full health. So if he's on you and your feign death cooldown is up, just let yourself die, you will rez nearby (hopefully your team has the closest graveyard!) and be able to run back into the fight really quickly.

The boss fight is just like the boss of a dungeon, you will need tanks and healers and DPS. So it's very crucial that you have adequate tanks and healers here, because without them the DPS can't happen, at least not very well. Keep in mind that this guy has really horrible AoE attacks (even worse than the previous NPCs) and your pet is probably going to die even if he doesn't have aggro. Being a BM hunter, I typically use Beastial Wrath first thing so I can get that overwith before my pet falls and then I can't use it anymore. After your pet dies just keep on DPS'ing as best you can. You will probably pull aggro at some point, since you're a hunter and hunters are aggro magnets. ;) In that case, run to the nearest tank and feign death; if it resists or your feign death is on cooldown, then as I mentioned before, stay where you are, take one for the team, rez with your pet and run back in.

Basically during this fight the goal is to whittle down his health bit by bit and keep at least some people on him at all times, because chances are a lot of people are going to be dying and making the run back in, and you don't want him to "reset", which he will do if he kills everybody. Also, often (but not always) by this time, the other team is also at your own boss so there's sort of a rush to see who can down the boss first. With any luck, your team will be first, and you'll have won your first AV!

Your Role as a Hunter
: If you find yourself on defense then once again you will be very prepared for it, just as you will be in other battlegrounds, thanks to your traps and tracking and flare. If you're on offense then just use your Blizzard-given talents to DPS the enemy down. Preferably you should have growl turned off on your pet throughout most of this battleground but if you find yourself needing to take down an NPC (and the NPC isn't too hard for you) then hit the growl button or use Intimidation and do like you would any other mob.

A lot of this battleground just has to do with huge battles-- masses of Alliance and Horde just rushing at each other. If one side really has a numbers advantage then it will show, but otherwise it can really go either way. Put Hunters' Mark on rogues, use Scare Beast on druids, Wing Clip warriors, and all in all just try to put all your hunter-abilities to good use.

If you see a big mass of the other team coming for you, stop and take a look around and make sure you aren't alone. You don't want it to be all of them vs. just you, or you and one or two other people. If you have no chance there's no shame in backing up for a bit and waiting for the rest of your team. Putting yourself in the front lines is generally not a good idea, try to stay sort of back-- you are a hunter, after all. If there are casters or other hunters standing on high ground, shoot them back, because you're one of the few classes that can do so... save the poor melee'ers the work of having to climb up after them.

And that's AV in a nutshell! There is a lot more to it actually; there are quests you can do in AV and there is a way to summon a big elemental to fight for your team, but if you are just starting out then you shouldn't have to worry about those things for now; just get the basics down.

The rewards of doing Battlegrounds:
Doing battlegrounds will earn you both honor (for kills, etc.) as well as marks (for victories. A loss gets you one mark, and a win gets you three.) Honor and marks can be used to buy things in the Champion's Hall or Hall of Legends, or outside of the battleground's instance portal. Some of the things you can buy include PvP-oriented gear, epic mounts, and various other handy things such as the Insignia of the Alliance/Horde, a trinket which you can pop to get you out of Fear, Frost Nova, or anything else that hinders your movement. Most of the stuff is for level 70s, but you can find great things if you are a lower-level character as well.

Finally, doing a lot of PvP will make you a better player, in my opinion. You will learn how to be more effective with your class in certain situations that you wouldn't come across in PvE, and you will quicken your reflexes as well. PvP and battlegrounds are a very different game than just PvE, and it can be very fun aside from teaching you more about the game.

And I think that just about does it for my Battlegrounds guides for now! I have yet to play the fourth and (for now) final battleground, Eye of the Storm, but once I start playing that one I shall return with a Part 3 of my guide. These guides were obviously not meant to be an authority on battlegrounds and you really have to do a lot of playing to learn. But I hope that they at least have given beginners a good idea on how to start and what to do, so they aren't completely lost when they enter the battlegrounds for the first time, as I was.

So until next time, get out there and do some battlegrounds, soldier! =D /salute

And as always... questions, comments? Lemme know and I'll do the best I can to answer them!

(Back to Part 1)