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.
...to 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:
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.