Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On Training Low-Level Pets

So with the newest patch, raptors got the ability to learn dash. I do indeed have a raptor sitting in my stable. I got him in Wetlands at level 22 or so, leveled him to 36, and then realized that he was falling too far behind and I was having too tough of a time keeping two pets leveled with me. So sadly, poor Wash the raptor has found himself in the stable ever since.

But "raptors getting dash" inspired me to go out and pull him out of confinement and see if maybe, just maybe, I could start leveling him again.

Here's the catch: I'm a (currently) beast mastery spec'd hunter at level 53, and he's... level 36.

I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I was curious to see if I could do it, so I packed up and headed over to Blasted Lands where I would run into a bunch of mobs that were green to me-- hence they would still get us experience, while hopefully being not too difficult for me to handle now that I was, for all practical intents and purposes, pet-less.

My test run was, not surprisingly, very difficult. My pet rarely hit, and when he did he did very little damage. He couldn't hold aggro. My polearm skill wasn't particularly hot. But, after some trial and error, I managed to carve out a step-by-step strategy on how to do this:

Pike's Personal Strategy on How to Level a Pet That is 20 Levels Lower Than You:

1.) Get as far away from the mob as you can, and still be able to shoot it.

2.) Lay down an immolation trap.

3.) Send the pet in. Once the pet has the mob's attention, shoot at the mob with Scorpid Sting and Arcane Shot. At this point you've probably pulled aggro, so go ahead and shoot it as many times as you can before it gets to you.

4.) As soon as it runs over the immolation trap, feign death. The mob should jump back to the pet. This is when you get up and run far enough away to regain distance.

5.) At this point, the DoT laid by Serpent Sting is probably really close to running out. So fire off another Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot, and if all goes well the mob should be dead or close to it by the time it gets back to you, thanks to your sting/trap DoTs, and you should be able to finish it off pretty quickly. If something goes wrong or you need to buy some extra time, throw in some tricks like Wing Clip to get back to distance.

And that's what I've been doing. It seems to work pretty well for me. I actually got my dino to gain a level, but at that point I had to leave so I stabled him to continue progress another time.

I have to admit, running around with a low-level pet that can't hold aggro, and throwing down immolation traps of all things, has sort of made me feel like an uber-huntard-newbie. There were a couple of other hunters around while I was doing this, I can only hope they guessed at what I was trying to accomplish and didn't just think I had completely lost my mind. But if I can level my dear pink raptor up to level 70 I think it will all be worth it to have a unique pet-- it will be worth it to have a pet that can't be tamed "in the wild" past level 40. My current goal is for this to be the pet that I use in cases where, say, the group isn't fond of a big owl with flappy wings.

But yeah, I'm curious to know other methods regarding how hunters have trained up low level pets. Maybe I can find one that's a bit more effective than my current one.

In other, real-world news, I have a new job-- at a pet store. I find this delightfully ironic considering my class in WoW. *grin* ^_^

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Initial Thoughts On and Issues With the New Patch

So, the biggie patch 2.2.0 came out today. Initially after getting the patch installed, I actually couldn't log into WoW, because it froze up on me. It wound up being a sound issue, presumably because of all the new sound stuff in this patch (such as voice chat). And "Linux and sound", particularly sound in non-native games, is a very finicky thing. Fortunately I was able to go into winecfg and apply a temporary fix, but here's hoping I can go back to ALSA instead of OSS soon because until then I can't play mp3s while playing WoW without jumping through hoops.

Now that the jargon is out of the way... (sorry non-Linux-geeks!) here are some other general thoughts.

- The UI was a bit messed up and it took me some tweaking to get it back to how I liked it... but it wasn't a big deal overall.

- The sound is really quiet for me now... I have to turn my speakers up considerably higher than I used to in order to get it to a normal level. I also had to adjust the sound volume in-game quite a bit. I don't know if this is a Linux/Wine thing or if maybe some other people are having this problem too. A lot of people are indeed having sound issues now if the WoW "technical support" forums are any indication.

- "Sale pending" mails from things I sell on the Auction House... I don't know much about this yet, so I'll pass on judgment for the time being. =P

- Raptors get dash!! Time to pull Wash out of the stable and have some fun (and if you get the reference to his name, cookie for you!)

- A bunch of random stuff from my bank wound up in my bags. o.O Yeah, I have no idea how it happened. It was completely random stuff too, I couldn't see any rhyme or reason for what it chose to put into my inventory. Fortunately that one was easy to fix, I just went to the bank again.

- Everybody can talk in World Defense now... I think. All I know is that nobody has ever talked in that channel before and today a bunch of people were in there talking up a storm and alternating between reactions of "wow we can talk in here now!" and "...okay, leaving this channel would be a good idea now." So I'm assuming it's a patch thing, or maybe the people on my server just figured it out today. =P I don't know how much I like this idea yet, I really like having World Defense on so I can see what's going on but if it turns into a big global spam channel I won't be happy. We'll see how it goes I guess.

- The biggest issue for me I think is the whole "time to upgrade all my addons now that they're out-of-date and giving me error messages" thing. But this isn't a patch problem so much as it's my problem for being an add-on junkie... not as much as some people, but a junkie none the less. I think at some point I'd like to make a blog entry about what add-ons I use and why I use them, and then decide if I can live without some of them. I already had to disable Gatherer because it was acting up the other day and to be honest I don't miss it that much... yet.

Overall, I think I am mostly sad that the new voice chat feature will very likely not work on my computer (refer back to the "Linux and sound being finicky" bit.) Why does this sadden me? Well, because the big joke going on currently on my server is that voice chat will prove that all night elf females are actually played by guys. So I think it would be hilarious to show through voice chat that there is in fact at least one night elf female on Silver Hand actually being played by a real live girl. Heehee. Hopefully I can in fact get voice chat to work so I can be all devious and stuff. =P

Sorry for another long entry! I know I talk too much.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Well, it took going from 0/3000 neutral to 2207/6000 friendly with Stormpike to do it-- but I've finally won an AV game and got my [Ice Barbed Spear]! (Testing the link pop-up there, let's see if it works! Edit: It works! Woot. =D )

Mmm... it's shiny.

I don't want to play another AV game for a long, long time though. But playing nonstop battlegrounds these past couple of days has given me some interesting perspectives on the differences in PvP with a BM spec and PvP with an MM spec. It is hard to keep your pet alive sometimes. And in a place like AV he seemed to be dead a lot, unfortunately. Many times I caught myself wishing I was spec'd Marks for this battleground, but I stayed with BM anyway, because I knew it would be good practice.

I seem to have caught on to the basic idea, though, although try as I might I couldn't keep Tux alive during the final boss fight. I just blinked and he was gone. I'm not sure if he grabbed aggro or if he fell victim to a bad AoE attack or what. We won though, and I have my polearm!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Am Apparently Doing a Lot More DPS...

At least, I am according to my boyfriend, who posted the following in guild chat after him and I had quested together for about an hour:

(Apologizes on the small size, click on it to enlarge.)

Hmm... maybe I'll stick with this spec for a while.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fun With Respec'ing and Initial Thoughts

So today I respec'd from my normal "utility/PvP/marksman-ish" build into classic 41/20 Beast Mastery. It was a very incomplete build, however, because I'm not even close to level 70 yet, but I will go more into that later in this post.

My reasons for respec'ing were three-fold; firstly I was sort of getting bored with my current spec (not that I don't like it, because I do, but I felt like spicing things up a little), secondly because I wanted to see Beastial Wrath/The Beast Within in action, and thirdly because I wanted to see if I can live without Hawk Eye, since it's odd having those three points randomly in Survival if I don't have anything else over there.

The initial verdict:

Stuff dies, and stuff dies fast. I seem to be critting a lot, which sort of amuses me because my crit chance % took a nosedive when I respec'd, thanks to not having enough points to put into the MM side of 41/20/0. But I seem to be critting left and right anyway. I think maybe because the Serpent's Swiftness gives me more shots, that adds up to more crits. But I'm not sure, that's just my initial thought. It could just be that I was getting lucky!

My trusty friend Tux has gone from doing about 30% of my total DPS to about 55%. Again, I'm sure I'd be doing more of the DPS if I had the points to put into MM but I don't, so it amuses me that my pet is now my better half, so to speak. And is he a machine! He has gone from being my mild-mannered little pocket tank into a big red deadly ball of feathers. It's an unusual thing which I'm not used to, but is it ever fun. Oh, and being a big red hunter is pretty fun too. ^^

Things that I am not too fond of: I miss a lot of my old marks talents. Granted I will get a lot of those back as I earn more talent points, but right now not having stuff like Mortal Shots, Lethal Shots, and Go For The Throat is a bit painful. I also sort of miss being able to put up those big crit numbers; even if BM does more overall DPS as I think it probably does, I'm a sucker for big crits. I'm an agility junkie so I'm still doing a lot of damage, but not as much as I enjoy doing.

I burn through mana even faster in BM than I did in Marks, and I'm not quite sure how or why.

Also the overall "feel" for BM is different than the overall "feel" for Marks in a way that I find hard to pin down and explain. It's more... fast-paced, almost? More frenzied as opposed to calm and calculating, red as opposed to blue. Both specs require quick thinking, but they require it in different ways. It's not bad, it's just different, and different people will like different things and if you've been one spec for a long time it takes a while to get used to another, I think.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I've decided to ditch Hawk Eye. If I ever start doing tons of PvP again or mess with a survival spec (which I know I will at some point), I'll definitely pick that talent up again, but for a BM/MM PvE spec it doesn't really seem needed to me. Better off putting those three points elsewhere!

Anyways, there you have it, my initial thoughts on my most recent respec. I think I'll stick with it and play with it for at least a few days before I respec again, probably to something close to my "utility spec". I'm definitely going to return to BM and try it out again later on down the road when I have more talent points, and I'm also going to give Survival a big test run at some point, but probably not right away.

I hope to be able to spend lots of time with and thoroughly learn each of the specs, because I feel that each spec has things to teach you and by spending time with each of the specs, you will become a better hunter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why I Am a Hunter (And Why I Play WoW)

I was browsing the WoW forums the other day (something that I rarely do, as I'm not particularly fond of the official forums), and stumbled across this thread which asks simply, "Who or what inspired you to play a hunter?"

And I decided to post my answer here rather than at the forum.

Why am I, Pike, playing a hunter?

Well let me take you back to Spring of this year, as I was just finishing up the last of my senior projects at university. Now that I was almost out of school and had nothing but "working" going on in my near future, I was mostly looking forward to playing some console video games when I got the chance-- when you use Linux as your main operating system, it's often more trouble than it's worth to get most PC games up and running (though I did manage to get StarCraft and WarCraft III running with varying degrees of success, which made me happy.)

Then, one morning, my boyfriend informed me that he had installed WoW and had been up into the wee hours of the night playing it. Now you have to understand something: the two of us had spent the past year or so up until this point purposefully avoiding WoW like the plague. We both had seemingly endless amounts of friends who were, in our minds, addicted to the game: they did nothing but talk about WoW and they liked to inform us that "Oh you'll start playing someday, you just don't know it yet." This annoyed us to no end so we vowed never to play it.

So when my significant other told me he had started playing, my initial reaction was one of shock, but it was replaced a few seconds later with "Well why did you start without me?"

I had a trial copy of WoW laying around, which I managed to successfully install on Linux thanks to WINE and an awesome guide, and after several hours of waiting for patches and stuff I was in game, ready to make my first ever character.

I knew nothing about any of the classes. I had never played an MMORPG before, the concepts of "tank", "healer", and "DPS" classes were completely foreign to me. I have played some D&D, not as much as I would have liked, but enough to know how to play the game. In D&D my main character was a half-elven ranger. I always thought they were pretty cool. They had this ability to talk to animals once a day (or something like that), so once in a game I used a spell to talk to a little bird and have him go scout around for me. That really stuck in my head as a neat ability.

So I was thinking of that experience. And I was remembering how one of my WoW-geek-buddies had given me a run-down of all the classes and informed me that hunters were one of the best (if not the best) for solo'ing, and I sort of figured I'd be doing a lot of solo'ing.

And... that's it. That's why I rolled a hunter. I knew nothing about them at the time, I'd never played the game before. I had no idea they got traps. I had no idea they got Feign Death. I even had no idea they got pets. All I knew was that they got a bow and arrow and were sort of like my D&D character and were good for solo play.

(As an aside here, yes I rolled a night elf. I figured they were closest to half-elves that I could get, since humans couldn't be hunters, and I liked the night elves in WCIII. I had no idea at the time that "night elf hunter" was the biggest cliché in the game, or I probably would have thought twice about rolling one. Actually I'm going to be completely honest with you guys here, I really wanted to roll a tauren and play Horde but my boyfriend had rolled a human 'lock and I wanted to play with him, so Alliance I was! I have a couple tauren alts now though, to make up for it.)

And so, here I am. Here I am thoroughly obsessed with my class which was chosen purely based on a D&D game and some random advice given to me by a friend.

And yes, here are my boyfriend and I, thoroughly "addicted" to the game in general, now that most of our friends have grown bored of it and moved on. =P Heehee.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Guild Stuff

My guild has taken to calling me "The [Insert Synonym for "Strong" Here] Hunter." So I am now commonly greeted with stuff like "How is The Mighty Hunter today?", "Well if it isn't The Fierce Hunter", and "What is The Ferocious Hunter up to?" And these names are only used to refer to me and not any of the other hunters in the guild, at least as far as I am aware. Granted, we are a somewhat small guild right now, but still... I am amused.

Considerably more unusual, however, is the fact that I have apparently become the de facto "hunter expert" in our guild. The other hunters in the guild come to me asking for advice regarding spec, gear, pets, and basically anything and everything pertaining to hunters. I feel rather not-up-to-task for this job. I'm the WoW-nublet who hasn't even hit level 60 yet and these people who are working on their fourth or fifth character, some of whom have had hunters in the past, are coming to me for advice. Don't get me wrong, I'm enormously flattered by it, but I can only hope that the guidance I am giving is actually good guidance.

Fortunately I feel that I have learned a huge deal myself from regularly partaking of the wisdom of blogs such as Big Red Kitty and The Hunter's Mark, and many others (which I will link to at a later date), so even if I would refrain from calling myself a true hunter expert for a while yet, I think I can do an adequate job filling the role for the time being. I hope I can anyway.

And I suppose the above stories only go to show that other people can sense my enthusiasm for my class! I'm not surprised. =P

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reclaiming the Term

This probably will mark me as a bit odd, but I'm going to say it anyway: I call myself a huntard. All the time. And I sorta like being called a huntard.

"But Pike, 'huntard' is a bad name! And I thought you were into being good at your class and that kind of thing!"

I am. And I consider myself to be a fairly decent hunter. But see here's the thing: I don't view the term "huntard" as an insult like most other WoW-ers do. I consider it to be more of a term of endearment. Like "pally" or "shammy". (Though I guess some paladins and shamans are offended by those terms-- but many do refer to themselves as such.) "Huntard", to me, should be a word signifying somebody who is geekily obsessive about, and hopefully skilled with, their chosen class: hunter in this case.

Obviously most people do not go along with my own personal definition of the word. As such I have to be careful about when and how I use it. I can't go into a group and introduce myself as a huntard; that would probably be bad. I sort of hope that someday I can, though. I hope that someday I can say "I'm a huntard" and that will clue people off to just how much I love and try to perfect my class.

Ah well, we can't have everything. In the meantime my boyfriend calls me huntard and I call him grumpy warlock. It works out!