Thursday, October 9, 2008



Well guys, it's that time. Blogger has served me long and well but this blog has grown beyond my wildest expectations and as such, I have "outgrown it" so to speak and it is time for me to take the next step.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to follow me over to my new site (which I am still tweaking a bit-- but it should be functional) and keep reading! I would also appreciate it more than you would know if you were to update any links to me you may have on your blogroll, so people continue to know how to find me.

Other than that, if you subscribed to this blog via my Feedburner feed, you shouldn't have to do anything; you should continue to seamlessly receive updates from the new blog. If you are a really long-time subscriber or did not subscribe through Feedburner for whatever reason, then this will be the last post you get until you update your feed. You will know because I will be posting on the new blog directly after this, so check to see if it is there.

As for this ol' place? I've already imported all the entries and comments that were here as of last night. I will probably be leaving it up for a few weeks and then I will be setting up a permanent redirect so any traffic that ends up here is pushed over to the new place. Ah, if this HTML could talk.

Well, nostalgia over. Onward and upward and I hope to see you there!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pike Lives. In LFG.

Apologies for failing to post anything constructive lately. I have a pretty hefty Top-Secret-Project that I am working on but which is sort of taking longer than I expected due to various reasons, so I promise I'm still around. Just busy!

Yesterday I was sitting around on Lunapike in LFG (my latest main hangout), hoping to weasel my way into a group, when I received a kind whisper from somebody asking if I maybe wanted to go to Karazhan and did I consider myself geared for it? I replied that I was still a bit undergeared in my own estimation but that I knew the fights and would love to go if the group was okay with it. Images of grouping with a fellow blogger and going in there with greens and coming out with purples danced in my head, but sadly the group filled up without me. Ah well. I really need to gear up more anyway. Though I am rather proud of going from 1150 to 1325 AP and 17% crit to 20% crit in the past week, but I find my lack of hit rating disturbing. This must be rectified.

I really do enjoy the "gearing up" process. Am I nuts or what? =P Now if only Kalithresh would drop me another Beast Lord for my Set Bonus and Murmur would hand me his Sonic Spear...

P.S. Yes I have a post about "gearing up at 70" in the works. It's the last in the "So You Want to Be a Hunter" series so I want it to be good. I apologize for my heinus slowness!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Okay, Pike's Gonna Sit You Down

And tell you a little story to make a point.

With all my spec testing lately and my latest entry on how my "relationship" to my pet, playstyle-wise, varied according to spec, I fear I may have accidentally given off some false impressions. So, I'm gonna clarify.

There are hunters of all specs who love their pets.

There are also hunters of all specs who really don't care very much either way. This includes some BM hunters who are BM only for the numbers, for example.

The point that I was trying to make in my last post, is that I missed the feeling of splitting my damage with my pet. I missed knowing he was doing 35% of my DPS. It felt awkward knowing that the damage responsibility was basically squarely on my shoulders. It felt lonely to me.

When I say that, I am not at all trying to discredit the relationship you lovely MM and SV hunters have with your pets, or say that they aren't important.

Tawyn was my first ever character and she was Marksmanship until level 55-ish.

The reason is because I had no idea what I was doing or what a spec was. So I asked my friends what to do with these newfangled talent points. At this point I'd actually started putting points into BM already but two different people completely mocked the idea of me spec'ing BM and told me Marksman was the way to go, so I promptly changed course and followed their advice.

Up I went through that talent tree and my owl Tux was there the entire way. He was my feathery little pocket tank. He was my leveling buddy. He didn't dish out a lot of damage but he held aggro like a champ. I loved him dearly. I loved him just as much then, as a Marksman hunter, as I do now as a Beast Master hunter.

Really though, I was hungrily eyeing the Beast Mastery tree the entire time I was leveling. Heck, I went off and made Lunapike so I could have a BM hunter that my friends didn't have to know about. There is a reason why I gave her a red kitty pet, aside from the fact that I think they're cute. It was a conscious, symbolic choice because Lunapike was going to be my BM hunter.

That Little Red Kitty is level 70 now, by the way.

Anyways, back to Tawyn. I finally said "Ya know what, screw everybody else. I don't care if they're going to call me a noob now. I'm respec'ing." So I did, and I'd like to say that I didn't look back.

...except I did look back, once. Because it sort of scared me at first. Tux went from being my pocket tank to being this Big Red Owl of Doom. He was doing as much DPS as I was at the time, if not more. "I've created a monster!" I thought. I spent about a level as BM and then spec'd back to my Marksman safety zone. Tux went back to being my mild-mannered companion. All was well.

Then I started to miss the whole "fast and furious" playstyle of BM and the idea that Tux could be more than just my tanky friend. We could fight alongside each other, each doing equal damage. We could be unstoppable, together.

Together we went through the Dark Portal and stepped into Outlands and that is when I spec'd to Beast Mastery for good and since then I haven't looked back. I wouldn't have it any other way at this point. We fight together. He isn't just there to keep the mobs away from me. He is there to buff me with his Ferocious Inspiration so I can in turn buff him with Kill Commands and tons of Focus, and we both act as an elegant killing machine, as One.

I have a special relationship with my pets as a Beast Master hunter. But that doesn't mean I love them any more than I did when I was Marksman. That doesn't mean I don't value them any more than I did when I was Marksman (although in a gameplay sense, obviously you do have to value them somewhat more =P)

When I was experimenting with non-BM specs in Beta, I felt a certain detachment to my pets in terms of there not being nearly so much hunter/pet synthesis (one procs something for the other) and the reason I was forgetting Mend Pet is probably largely because I was busy trying to work out new rotations. Anyways, that is what I missed about being BM. I missed the hunter/pet synthesis. I didn't love the pets any less just because I shuffled talent points around. That would be silly.

So! That is your Pike-story for the day. Hunters everywhere love their pets, and that is the way it should be. Just wanted to clarify that. Thank you, as always, for your comments and support and I will see you all next time.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

[WotLK Beta] Survival of the Fittest

So now all the BoP alchemy recipes start dropping for me. Now that I'm in Beta and can't keep them. /sob


Today I spec'd 0/9/52 -- Full Survival. Once again, I do not claim to be an expert on non-BM spec'ing, but it seemed like a decent set-up to me. Really the interesting thing that I noticed with Survival is that all the things I really liked about this spec also seemed to have an opposite and equal downside to them. So while the "wow" factor seemed to be there more than it was in Marksman, at the same time, the letdown factor was also here more than it was in Marksman.

Here, I'll show you...

Things I Liked:
Expose Weakness
So many crits!! <3
Hunting Party
Explosive Shot, because it's superfun
Knowing I have awesome traps

Things I Did Not Like
Knowing Expose Weakness now only affects myself
So many crits... so much pulling aggro from my pet after a string of them.
Hunting Party is a nifty idea and not bad, but... really, it does so little, in the long run. I'm still a mana monster.
Explosive Shot is only superfun for so long, and when the novelty wears off it's not a particularly exciting 51-pointer in my humble opinion.
Awesome traps either are not implemented currently, or I'm going crazy

Really, the hardest part of both this and the Marksman tree, was getting used to the idea that my pet is no longer important, other than as a meatshield to keep the enemy at range. I feel like I'm doing all the damage, which feels "off" to me. I even surprised myself when, more than once, I forgot to use Mend Pet and my Tenacity-- tanking!-- pet wound up dying. You've got to understand, I never forget Mend Pet. My pet rarely dies unless Shade of Aran has a vendetta against him or something. And yet once I get into a mindset of a non-BM hunter, I... forget to use it. Because I get focused entirely on myself. And I don't like that. I miss being "us".

I promise, this isn't supposed to be some sort of "BM Power" rant or anything. Survival was a fun tree to explore, it had a lot of perks, and I wouldn't mind exploring it further. I would also like to give the Marksman tree another (deeper) look, and also test all the specs on the training dummies. Because all my testing thus far has just been running around the world pewpew'ing mobs. I like to test in a sort of "open field" environment because that is where I will be spending a lot of my time when leveling.

But really, I can't envision myself spec'ing away permanently. My tests have confirmed that, I think. Before, I was sort of wavering. Because some of the stuff in the other trees was finally starting to look really appealing to me. And they still do. But I can't do it, I've gotta fight with my pet. It's like, you know that Digimon Tamers episode where Takato was like "I really really want to fight together with Guilmon!" and then they bio-merged into that super awesome mecha thing?


...okay, never mind >.>

Thursday, October 2, 2008

[WotLK Beta] To Thine Own Self Be Trueshot

Got my quest from the nice Tuskarr guy, leaped down into the area behind him to start my quest, and:

Note: The person in General Chat who says he is a "big game hunter" clearly has his words confused with "a normal person who lives where Pike does and has to deal with the local wildlife."

Gaahh! Dazed and confused and blind. A relog didn't solve the problem so I wound up having to hearth. I'm worried that this might be an OpenGL problem (us Linux folks run the game with OpenGL instead of Direct3D), since I had a similar one with one of the Death Knight starter quests and that's what it turned out to be. But hopefully it's a bug that will be fixed. Hopefully. I reported it to Blizz, anyhow.

However, the point of this post is not silly Beta bugs, rather, it is hunter talent specs. Those of you who looked closely at the screenshot may have noticed something rather decisively un-Pike-like.

Yeah, see the Trueshot Aura?

Today I spec'd 3/51/7. Then went out and shot stuff. (Note: This probably isn't the best level 70 Marksman build. I don't know very much about the Marksman tree. I just sort of winged it =P)

Now, I regret to inform you that I do not have fancy DPS charts or anything to share with you, largely because the way I have always gauged my DPS has been through the use of a group of addons. SWStats + SCT Damage, to be precise. SCT Damage is basically like the game's built-in Scrolling Combat Text except it looks much nicer, in my opinion, and much more importantly it tells you what shot you did next to the floating damage number, or what move your pet used, and in short I find it to be very valuable for getting a good "feel" for my own personal DPS. Sadly, I don't have it in Beta, and without it, it's much harder for me to get a feel for DPS than I thought it would be.

So, I now present to you Pike's Thoughts on the Marksmanship Tree Based on Pure Intuition Which May or May Not Have Merit:

Things I Liked:
- Opening up my character panel and seeing a "zohmygawsh-huge" AP and crit number.
- Trueshot Aura
- Being able to do more than just spam Steady Shot. I said it way back in my spec-testing days of level 50, and I'll say it again: Marksman is the "cool calculating blue" to Beast Mastery's "frantically red hot". You shoot nice and slow as a Marksman hunter, and you can focus on weaving in other shots, and it's pretty neat.

Things I Did Not Like
-Lack of Bestial Wrath
-Lack of Intimidation
-The fact that I really, really wanted to use Readiness with Bestial Wrath and Intimidation, and only with Bestial Wrath and Intimidation, and, um... that would kind of defeat the purpose of Marksmanship and be overly ironic.
-Lack of the four extra talent points for my pet (I honestly missed these more than I initially thought I would.)
-Shooting felt too slow. =[ Serpent's Swiftness is a drug; so sue me. Or arrest me.

I whispered BRK and told him that I was testing Marksman. He said, "Wow, you must be even more sick than you said you were." It was of course in jest, but really, he had a point. I can see the appeal and I'm really happy that my Marksman friends got so much love this time around, but it's just not Pike. It's not me.

Armed with new resolve I gallantly leaped off Scryer's Tier, died (I forgot my horse cannot fly), rez'd, and ran to Stormwind and respec'd to Big-Red-Om-nom-nom-chew-your-face-off-goodness.

Of course, that's not gonna stop me from continuing to test out specs, and try them more thoroughly! Next stop: Survival. Though I am sort of expecting that my "Things I didn't like" list will look frightfully similar to the Marksman list. I'm kind of spoiled I think.

In closing, I now have a Gorilla named G√ľnther. I <3 him dearly. So many pets, so little stable space. FIVE SLOTS IS NOT ENOUGH. Also THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS. Er, EXTRA PET TALENT POINTS. Or something. /cough

We're All Mad Here

Okay, so I am currently sick with a nasty flu and 101-degree fever, so while anything I say in this blog can and will be used against me, I plead temporary insanity regarding anything in this post.

So yeah, I was thinking it would be fun to have three endgame hunters, one of each spec... then I was thinking... it would be fun to have one hunter for every race that can be a hunter... two down, five to go...

The little voices in my head are telling me I should probably lay down or something. I scoff at them, because I must defend Halaa. For reasons still unknown to science, defending Halaa has become my latest favorite past time. You get near Halaa, you get to meet Big Red Pike. Oh, what's this? I see you have brought a rogue, a warlock, and a resto druid with you! Yeah, bring it, good sirs. I will at least live long enough to annoy you with strategically placed traps and Viper Stings. I see the men coming with straitjackets. Okay, if you need me, I will be curled up with a blanket and a box of tissues. And probably my Nintendo DS.

Or maybe defending Halaa while browsing LFG for instance groups.

*shifty eyes*

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Family that Plays Together...

Hearthstone and Cynra have both recently written excellent pieces on online friendships and their validity. This is a a subject that really hits home to me. You see, my boyfriend and I met online and we know very well what it's like to have an "internet relationship" and the different reactions people can have to something like that.

"So, where did you guys meet? At school?"
"On an online video game forum."

But while it would be really easy for me to play the "Well my boyfriend and I met online and whaddaya know, here we are four years later, end of discussion" card, I'm going to relate this to World of Warcraft because this is, after all, a World of Warcraft blog.

A couple days ago, a group of us what I like to call "Old-School Entelechy" folks all got together in an AIM chat. We're the people who have been around the longest, who have been leveling and questing and instancing with each other since our pre-Outlands days. We're the people who eventually left our guild and, in many ways, have sort of drifted away from what we used to be: we are the people who forged an unbreakable bond and an unforgettable little personal legacy before floating away to focus on characters on different servers (I will not deny that I am at least partially guilty of this), or drifting away from the game entirely.

Anyways, five of us all got in a chat. By sheer coincidence our AIM group makeup was very instance-worthy: myself, two warlocks, our holy pally and our much-loved main tank from back-in-the-day-- the best prot warrior I have ever had the pleasure of DPSing for, and I'm not just saying that-- who has since largely left the game in the admirable name of higher education.

Well what happens when you get five of us old-schoolers in one place, for the first time in a while? We work ourselves into a little frenzy, that's what. We reminisced about crazy stories and tales from our WoW-playing past. We swapped screenshots. We commiserated with each other about how we never really did "finish" Karazhan, as our little group. So that springboarded into us talking about a possible Karazhan "dream-team", plucking together old friends and allies and brainstorming up our ideal raid composition for a one last huzzah before WotLK shows up and changes things.

So there we were just talking and talking about the game and stuff we could do together in the game if we were really serious about it, and who else but our tanky leader to break in and say "Guys. Forget about the game for a minute. I don't miss the game. I miss hanging out with you guys. I miss hanging out with my friends."

And then there was a moment of silence as what he had said sunk in, and we all knew that he was right.

That dream Karazhan run? There is talk of us actually pulling it together. If we did, it would be absolutely incredible. It would consist of people we have worked with and done amazing things with for over a year. People whose strengths and weaknesses we know very intimately which makes for an extremely satisfying experience.

But ya know what? If the dream Karazhan run doesn't come together, that's okay. If more of my friends quit playing or play alts on other servers, it's okay. Because we're still friends. We still have crazy AIM chats. We still have Ventrilo. We still have my boyfriend's forum. We still have a million things that we can talk about that aren't WoW.

And if it does come together, and we finalize a date, I'm going to make sure to take time off of work for it-- chuckle at me if you will, but for me, it's not unusual. For me, it's not "taking a weekend off for a video game". Rather, it is "taking a weekend off for a family reunion".

And that is really what it is about. It's not about the purples. It's about the people that you meet in game who become your comrades and then become your friends.

Don't forget that.

Ask Pike: Answers! Part Three

And here are the last questions from our little Q&A Session:

15. "Hunter Debate?? I say you and me use our blogs to debate some hunter issues and designs!" says Nomakk. While it's a fun thought, firstly I was never good at debates (can I use the term "carebear" here?), and secondly, I worry we may end up agreeing on most things anyway. But then again, I guess we could do playful pet vs. pet showdowns or something. Or some sort of hunter joke contest ("Two hunters walked into a bar. Druid's got 'em LoS'd good.") Guess we'll have to see?

16. "How do you personally undergo character creation when you envision a new character on a roleplaying server? How have you roleplayed a hunter in the past? And what other ways can you envision roleplaying a hunter, especially when you take into account racial tendencies and perceptions?" There are two different ways I start a new character, either I have a sudden flash of inspiration about one that sends me rushing to the character creation screen, or I feel like creating a [race & class] so I go make one with the intent of finding a story as I go. That first one there is usually the one that yields the best results though. I tend to incorporate various aspects of the game into my roleplay, it is often said by people that they can't get into RPing in WoW because of limited game mechanics, me, I find that to be an asset. A favorite technique of mine is to make my character somehow connected to a culture or homeplace that is not their own native one-- that gives you all sorts of opportunities when it comes to getting to exalted, getting a faction mount, getting tabards, etc. It says a lot about a character when they come up to you riding a unique mount and/or sporting a unique tabard, especially when they "match".

Hunters are an interesting class to roleplay because by definition they tend to not hang out with people so much as many other classes. Typically though, I can take one "aspect" of hunters and run with it. Tawyn in her current incarnation has roots of inspiration in Calamity Jane; a bold and fun-loving character who has an almost religious respect for her rifle and who isn't afraid to live life to the fullest. Lunapike is more reserved (though no less intelligent), focusing more on the spiritual aspects of "The Great Hunt". She enjoys learning about the many things the wilderness has to offer (hence her dual gathering profession of skinning/herbalism-- she's a researcher more than a creator). Althalor has a kindred-spirit respect of the creatures of the Barrens, lions in particular. So in a way, with each character, I am taking one aspect of hunters and making it their focus. It is difficult to make just one character the quintessential platonic hunter ideal; it has too rich of a history and is too deep.

Overall I try not to stray too far from a race's lore-given qualities, but still bestow upon my characters a certain uniqueness. It is admittedly a difficult balance to strike sometimes, but it's far from impossible. Different cultures do approach hunting in different ways, as do different individuals.

17. "Are you excited or dissapointed about the changes to owls (or, well, birds of prey) away from being a dps pet with aoe tanking abilities to a cunning pet with a disarm?": In all honesty Tux was always my solo/PvP pet. While the changes mean he may no longer be as good of a solo pet as, say, a rhino, he's still gonna be an epic PvP pet. So I'm pretty happy about things.

18. "Got an idea: a PVP guide for BM hunters. For duels and for arenas. :) Tips & tricks of sorts.": Well a loooong time ago I made a Battlegrounds Guide-- I think it's still fairly helpful even though it was written a.) before the AV change and b.) back when I was still kind of a wee hunterling. For duels, I once wrote a little hunter-on-hunter guide. Arenas are simply not my thing (though some of my buddies are trying to coax me into it again, so we will see). However, this does all still leave out hunter-vs.-[insert non-hunter class] here guides. So, thank you for the suggestion, I will look into that!

19. "I'd also like to know which pet in Wrath that you prefer. How will you you spending your first few days in Northrend? What color are your underpants?": Which pet I will be using in Wrath, I am still unsure of. I imagine I will be switching between all my pets. Granted that may make it really, really hard to keep them up to an even level with me-- so we'll have to see. I am looking forward to Tawyn & Tux together again, although it's hard to argue against the rhino.

My first few days in Northrend-- also unsure. I imagine the starting areas up there will be super hectic a la Isle of Quel'danas. I've considered focusing on lowbies for the first week or so for the mayhem to die down, but I also think a lot of people will be planning on doing that so really, if you want to wait for the mayhem to die down, I think you'll have to wait a while. Besides, I do look forward to all the shiny new Northrend stuff. So-- we'll see what happens.

I have different colors of underwear thank you very much. Mostly white though. Yeah, I'm boring.


(No really, once I was grouped with a hunter who rolled need on it.)

21. (paraphrased) "Recommendations on just-turned-70 weapons and gear?" I cannot tell you enough how much I love and recommend this guide. I am going to mail Zeisha chocolate-chip cookies, I swear. To quote the last post in the thread so far which happens to have been written by some huntard chick named Tawyn, "I just got my second hunter to 70 and it's just as much of a lifesaver the second time around as it was the first." Seriously, bookmark and love that guide.

If you want a slightly more personal response: I went with the PvP crossbow on Tawyn and it's not a bad choice, but in all honesty it's a little slow for a BM weapon and the battlegrounds grind was looooong to the point of being painful (and you know me, I love battlegrounds, so that's really saying a lot.) I know everybody and their dog has Valanos but it's really not a bad bet, nor are some pretty good ones you can get out of five-mans that will last you until Karazhan.

As for other gear, get thee to Shadow Labs and run the place silly until Sonic Spear drops. The hunter gods like to use this one as a test of extreme faith and patience so be prepared to live here until you finally get it. It took Tawyn countless tries to get hers and Lunapike ran it twice in a row yesterday with no luck, but it is worth it. Until then, Crystalforged War Axe is usually pretty cheap on the AH, or you can do like I do and run around with Survivalist's Pike enchanted with +35 agi. But then again, I'm kinda extreme and am willing to throw hundreds of gold into agility enchants at every chance I can.

and lastly...

22. "Yo Pike, I was wondering if you might be willing to address the issue of makeouts in your blog, and whether or not you would have them with me." Ah yes, makeouts. Serious business indeed. The problem is that you, my friend, currently have a monopoly on Pike-makeouts as it is. Moderation in all things* eh?

...including moderation. /sexy Spock eye-brow quirk

OKAY, there ya go! Everything you ever wanted to know about Pike answered. Maybe. If you want to know more, you'll have to wait for the next "Ask Pike" post. Scary proposition that there might be another, eh?

And now I will stop destroying you with walls of text that have scared countless readers off. G'night everyone!

*this phrase does not apply to rolling more hunters.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ask Pike: Answers! Part Two

And the answers to the next seven questions!

8. "What pets will you have after 3.0, and what pets do you think will become the favorites?": Currently Tawyn's three pets are: Tux the Owl, Locke the Kitty, and Eltanin the Windserpent. When 3.0 hits, Tux and Eltanin will be Cunning pets and Locke will be a Ferocity pet, and I will have the two new slots left to play with.

In Beta, those two slots are already taken by Wash the Devilsaur (Exotic Ferocity pet) and Raskolnikov the Rhino (Exotic Tenacity pet), and I'm having a hard time replacing those two to test others, because I already heart them so much. So in that case, I will have all three types of pets covered.

There are still so many other pets I want out there, though, that it's really hard to say. Tux is staying no matter what; Blizz could make owls the next sporebat and Tux would still be staying. Eltanin is staying because I love Windserpents and because I put a lot of work into getting him out of Zul'Gurub. Locke, oh Locke. The rare spawn kitty I had to tame at 4am. The pet I took into countless heroics and countless raids. The bumbling lil' kitty that has become the brunt of a variety of inside jokes among my little WoW social circle...

...if it really comes down to it and cats really do get as nerfed as early reports say they are, and I really need another stable slot, we may have to part ways.

I don't like to think about it though. And hopefully it won't happen.

Of course, the good news is, with two 70 hunters (I love being able to say that), I really have ten stable slots, so... perhaps all is not lost! /dance! I'm not sure what's in Lunapike's pet future though. That does make it all the more fun, I think.

9. (paraphrased) "Ever try a melee hunter or plan on trying one?": No, because I love the ranged aspect of the class too much. Lemme tell you though: Funniest way ever to beat other hunters in PvP is to melee them to death. No, really, it's a laugh riot. Jump on 'em, Wing Clip 'em, Snake Trap 'em, and let your pet eat their face off while they stumble around absolutely baffled at what is going on. I think they're too stunned to properly get away from me, because the worst that's ever happened to me is that I've been Scattershotted once or twice. Super easy kill otherwise. I evil yet?

In all honesty, I respect my fellow hunters and try to fight them honorably. But sometimes they're just being annoying, or you're desperate, and that's when you never know what kinds of crazy things you'll resort to.

Mostly in Warsong Gulch.

I Raptor Strike'd a flag carrier to death once. Don't tell anyone.

10. "Why haven't you leveled Lunapike to 70 yet?": Well, since this question has since become a moot point, I'll change it to say "why did it take so long?" History lesson first. Lunapike was born on the Wildhammer (PvP) server a long time ago-- before this blog was a even a glimmer in my brain. Heck, Tawyn was still level 30-something. Lunapike hit level 28 or so before I transferred her to The Venture Co. (RP-PvP) because not being in an RP environment was soul-crushingly depressing to me. Okay, maybe not quite that depressing, but it was still pretty sad. Anyways, that was right about the exact time as the leveling speed change, and slowly but surely Lunapike spent the next year getting to 70.

I have three reasons on why it took her so long. 1.) I am a notoriously slow leveler. I take my time to look at the scenery and I have the memory of a goldfish so while boyfriend-with-the-crazy-memory can memorize the best routes to do all the quests in every zone, I can't. =P 2.) I had a 70 who I was doing all sorts of fun stuff with, and I sacrificed a lot of alt time for that, and 3.) 40 hours a week at this silly thing called "work" really cuts into your WoW-time.

11. "Since you love to RP and seem to have background stories for all of your hunters, how will that change/evolve when wrath hits?": My characters are sort of like a Wiki site, they are editable when I get inspiration. Sometimes they go through major overhauls, other times just tweaks. In the past couple of months I have actually changed Tawyn's character alignment from neutral good to chaotic good, which I find much more fun to roleplay, and those personality changes have enabled me to put more depth into her backstory.

There is a good possibility that WotLK will contain some faction or town that I will fall in love with (similar to how I fell in love with the Mag'har to the point that I've changed Lunapike's story so that she has moved in with them in Garadar-- I'm working on getting her exalted with them at the moment), and that may change things up a bit, but that's okay. The Warcraft timeline is marching on, afterall, so there may very well be things like that in my characters' future.

I am currently undecided on whether or not a certain important person from Tawyn's past should, "lore"-wise, be located in Northrend or not, which would forewarn an eventual meeting. Decisions, decisions.

12. "What are your plans for wotlk in terms of characters and specs?": Well, the nice thing about having two 70s of the same class is that you can mess around with different specs without having to respec too much. I can tell you right now, you're going to be hard-pressed to tear me away from my beloved Beast Mastery tree. So at least one of my characters is gonna be toting around exotic pets. Now the other specs are looking pretty yummy too, and in all honesty some hybrid builds are also not looking too shabby, so it wouldn't surprise me if I played around with some of those.

But really, I don't know for sure yet. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

In terms of characters, Tawyn and Lunapike are getting to 80 and then I'll work on my druid. Then probably on another hunter. =P

13. "What KIND of unladen swallow?". Well, either African or European, that's for sure.

14. "What should I do with my badges? I have enough to get the Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard. Should I or just use my badges for gems and sell it for gold?". Hmm. This is actually kind of a toughie. I will begin by saying two things: firstly, I myself own the Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard on Tawyn and I love it dearly, dearly so. It's basically one of the best hunter chestpieces in the game, period. The second thing is: had you asked me this question earlier in the year I would have told you hands down to get it.

But WotLK is a couple months away. This makes things a little tougher.

The way I see it, assuming you are a "casual raider" like myself (i.e., you raid sometimes but Illidan and friends aren't in the cards)... you have two options here, depending on your own thoughts on how badly you need gold, how much min/maxing you are willing to do gearwise, etc. Option one would be to go all out and get the Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard cause it's just that epic. Option two would be to get the gems and sell them for gold, and farm Heroic Magister's Terrace for Tunic of the Ranger Lord instead. That Heroic-MrT chestpiece is not a bad replacement-- the Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard is still a good head and shoulders above it overall, but if you're okay with having a "very good" chestpiece as opposed to an "excellent" chestpiece, then it's definitely a viable option.

Which should you go with? Only you can answer that question, because you know where your priorities lie. Tell you a little secret though; if I was making the choice I'd go with the Scaled Drakeskin =P

To Be Continued...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ask Pike: Answers! Part One

Okay guys, here's the deal. My "Ask Pike" post got a lot of really great questions! So as not to crit you with a wall of text, I'm going to post the answers in chunks. Here are the first seven. (Yes, seven. It's a good number. Do not dispute this fact.)

1. (paraphrased) "What is your opinion on the new Aspect of the Viper and the new Survival 41-point talent (Trap Mastery)": I haven't been messing around in Beta as much as other people; there is still a lot for me to do in the Live game so I've been playing Live. I did some quests with the new AotV and I also did some solo instances to test my rhino with the new AotV and for the most part I like it. I think a passive regen component would be nice for between pulls (and Blizz has said that is coming), but PvE-wise I like it. It adds some new depth to the hunter class and I always welcome that. You have to plan for when you know you have a big fight coming ahead, and adjust your Viper usage accordingly.

Now moving on to PvP, I can understand your concerns. I do not do Arena, but in its current implementation, Viper is my aspect of choice in certain battlegrounds (I'm lookin' at you AV). And even then I occasionally have to sit and drink. The big question, in my mind, comes down to "is the shooting-based regen from the new AotV going to work in a battlegrounds-PvP situation", and that I cannot tell you without actually going and trying it.

And all THAT said, I know they have changed it lately and I haven't exactly been in Beta lately, so, if I have said anything misleading or outdated, I do apologize!

As for your Trap Mastery comment: I haven't paid much attention to the changes to the Survival Tree other than I find them to be interesting (not really in a negative or positive sense, just a "...huh!" sense.) Like I said, I have spent too much time playing Live lately. =P

2. "How excited are you about Naxx on a scale of 1-10?": New Naxx is gonna be pretty awesome. Bringing back Cryptstalker Armor is gonna be pretty awesome (am I the only person in the world who liked how that set looked?). My biggest regret is that I never got to do Naxx in its current implementation. So I'm givin' it a final score of 9.

3. (paraphrased) "More Alamo-styled posts?": Possibly! But no guarantees. In all honesty I was not expecting it to be that popular so it was going to be a one-time thing. However because people seemed to like it so much, I am game for a possible sequel sometime.

4. "What kind of gaming did you do, and characters did you enjoy, before WoW that you think led up to you playing five million hunters at once?": My game-playing has always been rather all over the place, genre-wise. I devoured games of all types on the Commodore 64, Atari, and Colecovision, and then I devoured games of all types on the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. (My Playstation I acquired for the sole purpose of playing Final Fantasy. I was a major Nintendo fangirl, okay? =P)

At around that time my game playing sort of started to plateau into a comfortable existence of playing Starcraft 12 hours a day* and playing various games on my Game Boy/Game Boy Advance the rest of the time. I later got a PlayStation 2 and a GameCube but I actually didn't do a lot of gaming on them other than cavorting around Super Smash Bros. Melee and various Metal Gear Solid games. And I did play a lot of Halo for somebody who never had an XBox (my parents did, and when I could tear my mom away from Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, I was all over that. Sniper rifles were lame by the way. Come out with the pistol and fight me like a man!)

Then World of Warcraft showed up and the rest is history.

It's hard for me to pick a favorite genre or style of game though I'd say Real-Time Strategy if pressed. I also have a major soft-spot for Final Fantasy Tactics-style games but they don't seem to come around very often. Really though, I have fallen madly in love with RPGs, First-Person Shooters (Goldeneye 007 anyone?), action-platformers, and everything in between.

But my three favorite games, will, I think, always be Super Mario RPG, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Starcraft.

As to how that all possibly correlates with my hunter obsession, I can't tell ya. I guess I was pretty good at that "shooting the targets from horseback" minigame in Ocarina of Time though. I think the closest I have come to pre-WoW hunterness is the ranger character I played in D&D who I really liked, and in all honesty, that influenced my class decision in WoW more than anything else (with the possible exception of a friend who told me they were "easy to solo with" and I figured I would be solo'ing a lot.)

Really, the more I think about it, the more I think a lot of my "hunterness" has its roots in real life. I was an unusual kid when I was younger. I eschewed normal friends in favor of a trusty stuffed animal sidekick; people confused me anyway, animals were my passion. During recess I'd leave the playground and run into this big group of trees, a mini-forest of sorts, that we called, well... "The Trees". The Trees were offlimits but I went there sometimes anyway, because it was a million times better of a playground than the jungle gym was. I got in trouble once. I didn't deny what I'd done; I rather defiantly told the teacher that yes, I was playing in The Trees, thank you very much.

Feeling disconnected from humanity like that, finding yourself instead in nature-- this is the type of thing that society beats out of you as you grow up, and then you find it again years later in a video game, of all things.


I dunno.

Just some food for thought.

5. "How about your thoughts on the Auction House and the economy of the servers you play on and what could happen with LK after it's release?": Hmm, kind of a toughie. Though I use Auctioneer, I don't really "play the auction house" very much and the only prices I'm familiar with tend to be the prices of herbs because I'm a herbalism junkie. The prices in WoW already fluctuate a lot anyway, based on time of day, etc., to the point that a lot of times I can overprice something and it will still usually be sold by the end of the 48-hour period. I predict that the current primals and motes are gonna lose their value as they are replaced with... whatever the new primals and motes are. Things like that.

6. "We know that you are completely sick with obsession over the huntar class, as am I. But what other char class is your second passion, what do you play when you are unhuntarded?": Healing is a guilty pleasure of mine. Its feel and the timing involved is basically the exact opposite of huntering and in that way, I find it very interesting. Druid is my highest-level non-hunter class-- I've got one at level 48-- and I've also got a second druid who is level 20. I fully intend on getting the first druid to endgame at some point, with the goal of healing.

Interestingly enough, I cannot get into druid DPS. Not a fan of Feral (though Bear tanking looks like something I might try). Currently spec'd Boomkin and it's moderately fun, but it's... definitely lacking something. The majority of my leveling thus far was actually spec'd Resto because healing was the only aspect of the class that I could really get into.

It is slow going as far as leveling my druid goes but I really do enjoy healing.

I have also lately been finding myself enjoying mages. I tried the mage class once upon a time and eventually decided I wasn't a fan-- it was too much "root and nuke" which I think is sort of what turns me off to boomkin, too. But I'm currently leveling a new mage with my boyfriend and it's a lot more fun this time around, to the point that I actually wouldn't mind seeing endgame with her, either. If that is the case, that will be the first time I have liked doing DPS that is not hunter DPS. We'll have to see! =P

Other classes do not seem to do it for me. But, I'll never say never.

7. "Why are you already taken??!?": Because four years ago I joined an online Zelda fan community and hit it off pretty well with some crazy guy with a million posts.

Yes, we met online.


Next post: Next seven questions! (I believe I had 21 total, so this "sevens" thing should work out pretty well.)

* Anybody who has ever played Starcraft needs to go watch this, now. I dare you not to giggle. Especially at the last 15 seconds.

Friday, September 26, 2008

And Then There Were Two


Hey guys.

Ask Pike (So Not a Cop-Out Post)

I've been hit with a wonky case of writer's block (blogger's block?) lately. So I come to you to say... ask me something! Hunter question? Ask it. Personal question? Ask it (well, so long as it's not too personal...). Questions regarding my thoughts or opinions on WotLK, RP, non-WoW games, or the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? Ask them too! Just leave a comment and I will make a follow up post in a couple days responding to them all.

/wonders what sorts of Pandora's Box she has potentially opened here, before hitting the "Publish Post" button.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Hunter Enchants Cheat Sheet: Burning Crusade Edition

So you've hit 70 (or are getting precariously close to it), now what?

You want enchants. I see a lot of freshly-minted-70 hunters who do not have their gear enchanted, or have them enchanted incorrectly. Fear not, Pike is here to help while her WoWish avatar Tawyn goes off to get smashed at Brewfest (Seriously, part of Tawyn's RP is that she's an alcohol fiend. Brew-of-the-Month-Club has her name all over it.)

In this guide, I'm going to tell you the best enchants you can get per item slot, and how to get them. As a forewarning, do note that this list is PvE-oriented. So let's start at the top:

Glyph of Ferocity:
Requires: Revered reputation with the Cenarion Expedition. 85 gold with the Revered discount (80 with Exalted).
Get It From: Fedryen Swiftspear in Zangarmarsh.
Additional Commentary: This will net you 34 Attack Power, and 16 Hit Rating. This is a great inscription that will help you a lot in your quest to get hit-capped. Work on your Cenarion Expedition rep as you move through your 60s (lots of stuff in Zangarmarsh and Blade's Edge) and the remaining grind won't be that bad at all.

Inscription of Vengeance
Greater Inscription of Vengeance

Inscription of the Blade
Greater Inscription of the Blade

Requires: Honored for the green inscription, Exalted for the blue one, with either Scryer or Aldor. Aldor will need two Holy Dust for the lesser inscription and eight Holy Dust for the greater inscription, while Scryer will need two Arcane Runes and eight Arcane Runes, respectively.
Get It From
: The person standing in the back of either Aldor or Scryer bank, depending on who loves you the most.
Additional Commentary: When you first hit 70, chances are good that you will not yet be exalted with the Shattrath faction of your choice. But it doesn't take much to be honored and net the lesser of the two available shoulder inscriptions for you. Once you've got that out of the way, you do want to work on getting up to exalted, eventually, so you can nab the Greater kind. Aldor's is more AP-oriented and Scryer's is more crit-oriented but they are both very solid inscriptions and you will be getting a good deal regardless of which faction you pick.

Enchant Cloak - Greater Agility
Requires: Greater Planar Essence x1, Arcane Dust x4, Primal Air x1
Get It From: An enchanter.
Additional Commentary: Simply the best hunter cloak enchant!

Enchant Chest - Exceptional Stats
Requires: Large Prismatic Shard x4, Arcane Dust x4, Greater Planar Essence x4
Get It From: An enchanter.
Additional Commentary: +6 to all stats doesn't exactly sound special but it's a well-rounded enchant, and really the best we've got.

Enchant Bracer - Assault
Requiers: Arcane Dust x6.
Get It From: An enchanter.
Additional Commentary: Straight-forward, best hunter wrist enchant, and very nicely priced to boot!

Enchant Gloves - Assault (the K-Mart Gloves Enchant)
Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility
Requires: Assault: Arcane Dust x8. Superior Agility: Small Prismatic Shard x3, Greater Planar Essence x3, Primal Air x2
Get It From: An enchanter.
Additional Commentary: Superior Agility is the better of these two enchants, as it will give you AP and Crit and scale with Blessing of Kings. But Assault is a heckuva lot cheaper, and is a decent alternative if you have just recently hit 70 and are short on change.

Nethercleft Leg Armor
Nethercobra Leg Armor
Requires: Nethercleft: Heavy Knothide Leather x4, Thick Clefthoof Leather x16, Primal Earth x8, Primal Nether. Nethercobra: Heavy Knothide Leather x4, Cobra Scales x4, Primal Air x8, Primal Nether.
Get It From: A leatherworker, or the Auction House.
Additional Commentary: If you are having stamina problems that e-mail spam cannot solve, or you do a lot of PvP, the first choice will be fine for you. As you move from five-mans/heroics into raiding content and/or are very much PvE oriented, the second choice is much better DPS-wise.

Enchant Boots - Dexterity
Requires: Greater Planar Essence x8, Arcane Dust x8
Get It From: An enchanter.
Additional Commentary: Hunter-tested, hunter-approved!

One-Handed Weapon:
Enchant Weapon - Greater Agility
Requires: Arcane Dust x8, Greater Planar Essence x4, Large Prismatic Shard x6, Primal Air x2
Get It From: An enchanter.
Additional Commentary: The best enchant for dual-wielding. 'nuff said.

Two-Handed Weapon:
Enchant 2H Weapon - Savagery
Enchant 2H Weapon - Major Agility
Requires: Savagery: Large Prismatic Shard x4, Arcane Dust x40. Major Agility: Large Prismatic Shard x8, Greater Planar Essence x6, Arcane Dust x20.
Get It From: An enchanter.
Additional Commentary: These are both solid hunter enchants. But the way I see it, Savagery is more of a "just turned 70" enchant as opposed to Agi which is more of a "raiding 70" enchant. Savagery is cheaper and will be a big boost to your AP, which in my experience, is harder to come by in the early-70 game than it becomes later on. Major Agility is my personal preferred enchant here because it also gives you some crit, and of course, scales with Kings. But if you are a pre-Kara 70 who is still working on five-mans and Heroics and you don't wind up with pally buffs very often, Savagery is a fine replacement.

Ranged Weapon:
Khorium Scope
Biznicks 247x128 Accurascope
Stabilized Eternium Scope
Requires: Khorium Scope: Hardened Adamantite Tube, Khorium Bar, Star of Elune. Accurascope: Lava Core, Essence of Earth, Delicate Arcanite Converter, Dark Iron Bar, Thorium Tube. Stabilized Eternium Scope: Hardened Adamantite Tube x2, Felsteel Stabilizer x6, Star of Elune x2
Get It From: An engineer, or the Auction House.
Additional Commentary: You are a hunter; you should always have a scope on your weapon, period. Don't just save it up for that one special drop that may or may not happen. Get a scope. Khorium Scope is the cheapest here and if you are short on money and want a decent upgrade, it's your best bet. The Accurascope, while it does amazing things to your hit rating, is often in short supply because of Molten Core's sad relegation into the closet. In all honesty, the prize of most hunters is probably Stabilized Eternium Scope. It's expensive. It's worth it.

Okay, that'll do it. Let me know if I made any silly mistakes or left something out in my quest to get this done or otherwise fracked something up. Remember: don't underestimate the power of enchants! A hunter who always wants to perform at their best will have all their gear enchanted with the best enchants they can get, and that is a hunter who people will remember. Good luck!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Post Your Bank

I don't care if it's a mess. I don't care if it's embarrassing. Post it anyway.

Let's see what we got in the old closet here...

Whoo, talk about a mess. And I haven't even opened all the other bags and the two overflowing herb bags. But because I'm sure you don't wanna see all the random crap I've accumulated, we'll just look through the main portion here...

Row 1:

Plain Letter
: This is a letter the boyfriend sent me after level 4 Tawyn ran around Teldrassil in a desperate attempt to get to this "Stormwind place". He apparently made a desperate attempt himself to get to "Night Elf place" and wound up somewhere in Arathi Highlands. The letter details his attempt and his resolve to try again later.

You'd better believe I still have this letter.

Chicken Egg: My first mini-pet. Somebody showed me how to get it and helped me set up a /chicken macro. I never bothered to get rid of that macro... it's still there in my macro menu.

Wood Frog Box,
Parrot Cage (Senegal),
Jingling Bell,
and Clockwork Rocket Bot: Minipets that did not wind up in my bags with the other 12 or 13 odd minipets that I usually carry around. Hmm, so that's why I never have bagspace.

Chestnut Mare Bridle: Ahh, Tawyn's first mount. Her name was Buckles. Yes, I name my mounts. So sue me.

Row 2:

Warsong Gulch Mark of Honor
Arathi Basin Mark of Honor,
Alterac Valley Mark of Honor,
and Eye of the Storm Mark of Honor... ye olde PvP badges. 99 WSG, yipe. I must be a masochist of some sort.

Obsidian Warbeads,
Oshu'gun Crystal Powder Sample,
and Apexis Shard... collectables!

Row 3:

Minion's Scourgestone (oldschool?)
Spirit Shard
Zaxxis Insignia
Halaa Battle Token
Halaa Research Token
Arcane Rune
Badge of Justice... more collectables!

Row 4

Gladiator's Chain Helm,
Merciless Gladiator's Chain Gauntlets,
and Merciless Gladiator's Chain Spaulders... the PvP gear that I pull out when I want to add more o' them PvP tokens to my collection, or when no one responds to my "BORED HUNTER WILL DO ANYTHING I HAVE TRAPS AND COOKIES AND HUGS" pleas in LFG. ...which is actually quite frequently. /sob

Cat Carrier (White Kitten): was given to me as a present for answering a quiz question in guild chat. I still remember the question. "What anime includes the name of a WoW profession in the title?" Yeah, easy question, I was the first to answer so I got a kitty in the mail. What a deal!

The Gunblade: This is never leaving my possession. I will never forget the story behind this. I was level 65ish and a guildie who'd I'd been instancing with for a while took me all the way out to Blasted Lands, telling me he had a surprise for me. He handed me a package with the Gunblade in it, as well as an ammo pouch and bullets, and then he /saluted me and informed me that it was my present for being a good hunter. The gun served me well until 70, and yeah... it's stayin'.

/stoically stops thinking of old guild

Sonic Spear: Such good memories of when this dropped. I can't bear to get rid of it.
Guild Tabard: Tawyn will always and forever wear the Private's Tabard, because it fits her character and looks nice, but ya never know when you'll need a guild tabard... at least for a screenshot or two.

And yeah, see all those other bags? Those are stuffed full of various holiday items, nostalgic gear, nostalgic quest rewards, and the mandatory RP gear (I actually have never been one for "RP outfits", figuring my characters' RP outfits are their gear... but you never know!)

It appears that Tawyn, just like her human player counterpart, cannot bear to throw anything away. Adding new stuff to the bank is always an agonizing thing. And so many times I've staunchly said "Today is the day I organize my bank!", marched up to the banker, and... found that I couldn't bear to toss anything. Hi, my name is Pike, and I have a problem.

Please tell me I'm not the only one! /whimper

Friday, September 19, 2008

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 11

First off, big apologies for getting so off the ball with this series. I know I used to reliably post every Monday and these days it's much more haphazard. Partially I blame real life (curse that real life, getting in the way of more important stuff! /shakes fist) and partially I blame the honest truth that it's simply difficult to write something like this when I know I'm just gonna have to rewrite it in a couple months.

But I do this in the name of huntering everywhere!

Levels 60-70

That's right buster, we're gettin' you to 70 today.

At Level 62? Steady Shot. Praise Elune, the Light, the Earthmother, the Voodoo, or whatever you praise. Now in WotLK, if the hunter trainers are correct in saying so, you'll actually get this at level 50 which is pretty spifftastic but until then, 62 is the magic number.

Steady Shot is basically responsible for hitting you upside the head and saying "Shot rotations nub!" And this is where your playstyle goes from Auto Shot/Serpent Sting to something much more akin to what you'll be doing at endgame: weaving your shots.

"But Pike, I don't know what you mean by that!"

Don't worry, it takes a little practice. You want to learn to weave your shots, including your Steady Shots, inbetween your Autos in a way that they do not clip your Auto Shots and hence cause a loss in DPS. For more details on this (especially if you are BM-spec'd) I'm going to scoot you over to a guide I wrote here and a video I made here. The macro, if you choose to use one, can come later-- all hunters should understand the fundamentals first.

Moving on: Level 64 gets you Aspect of the Viper. Before the recent change to mana-regen this was a nice new Aspect, but after the recent change to mana-regen this has become an "OMG YES MY LEVELING LIFE IS SAVED" Aspect. I'm not kidding, on my latest hunter, levels 62-63 were spent with Mana Oil constantly on my weapon and an Intellect Elixir always active, and I was still going through water like nobody's business.

Aspect of the Viper is going to become your best buddy in terms of leveling, grinding, and a lot of PvP. Some people use this 100% of the time in raids/instances/heroics. Now I dunno about the higher-level raids, but honestly I do not see Viper as a raid/instance Aspect. I use Hawk. The DPS increase you get with Hawk (and by extension Improved Aspect of the Hawk) is not to be sneezed at, and especially with an Elixir of Major Mageblood, Mana Oil, Int/Mana regen buffs or some combination thereof, I've done basically every heroic as well as Karazhan with Hawk up 100% of the time (with rare exceptions in cases where Illhoof or Prince will decide to drag on and on and ooooooon).

At level 66 you will learn Kill Command. Kill Command is usable anytime you crit and if you have Focused Fire, it has a very good chance to crit itself. It does a lot of damage. It also has its own little cooldown that you will learn to time and coordinate with your shots. I myself have it hotkeyed so I can easily pound the hotkey without interrupting the rhythm of my shots.

At level 68 you get your final trap, Snake Trap. Snake Trap releases a bunch of little snakes that attack something for you, using an assortment of poisons. When to use it: In PvP to annoy the living daylights out of people and slow them down, and PvE on bosses with random aggro tables, for example, our good buddy, Shade of Aran.

See, poor Shade here decided he's tired of those motherfrackin' snakes in his motherfrackin' library, so he blows them up. Instead of you. Handy eh?

And at level 70... Misdirection. A wise hunter once said, "Misdirection is the best hunter skill ever. I use it all the time, in almost every dungeon I run." This is something I heartily quote for truth. What it does, is make it so the threat of your next three attacks are applied to the target of your choice.

...that's the tank, by the way. *pulls you away from the priest*

Use it on bosses, firstly, and if you're like me, you may opt to use it on every pull that it's up so you don't have to Feign Death within five seconds because you're a crit-monster. Also useful for pulling something straight to the tank. If that something has a huge aggro radius, be really careful when you do it. Prince likes to squish hunters. You'd think he dated one once or something. Just sayin'.

Ideally when you use your Misdirection you will use your three-biggest threat-generating abilities (I like Distracting Shot, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot, myself) but it's okay to just fling the Autos and Steadys in there too, that'll cause plenty of starting threat.

Well, congrats to you. If you've followed this series so far you will have followed the steps on how to get a hunter from the character selection screen all the way to level 70, and hopefully learned how to "not be a huntard" as well. The series isn't done, because I've got a 12th episode planned on endgame stuff. And then of course, when Wrath of the Lich King hits, I'll extend it to 80 (and probably rewrite much of the earlier stuff as well.)

Oh, and here's the Table of Contents so far:

So You Want to Play a Hunter?

Part One: Introduction & The Birth of a Hunter
Part Two: Just Starting Out & Levels 1-5
Part Three: Levels 6-10 and Jump Shot Kiting
Part Four: Talent Points & Pets
Part Five: Life With a Pet
Part Six: Levels 12-20
Part Seven: Intro to Freezing Trap
Part Eight: Levels 21-30
Part Nine: Levels 31-40
Part Ten: Levels 41-60
Part Eleven: Levels 61-70 [Current]

Have a good weekend, yarr!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

[WotLK Beta] The Man, The Myth, The Legend

So I decided to do something completely crazy in Beta and see if I could tame one o' them core hounds. From Molten Core. Solo. Hey, I'm a hunter, I can do that, right?

Got about halfway through Blackrock Mountain when I remembered I needed to be in a raid group to even get in the door.

Oh hey, some nice dwarf and his bear are gonna party with me! They even flew all the way over to help me out!

We had about a dozen different plans and they all failed to go through, thanks to evade glitches, threat glitches, and a variety of stuff refusing to work right. We were so close a couple of times that it was just frustrating. Lemme tell ya though, the bear is a beast. Never seen a hunter pet tank not just one, but two Molten Giants for so long. I am so gonna get one if I can tear myself away from my Rhino who I just solo'd most of Slave Pens with.

Anyways! The moral of the story is: If you are a Beta blogger you had better be on the lookout because I do periodic /whos and you might be the next person who gets roped into one of my crazy schemes, fo'shizzle.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

With All Due Respect to Alamo

Welcom 2 Pike teeches u 2 play HUNTAR!

Do u liek huntars? I do! Lots of stuff huntars can do. Shots stuff, play ded, roll over. Huntar gets pets for taim and every1 luvs huntar in grup. Taht is why lotsa huntars in LFG. U shuld try it!

Sum huntar is for steady shot spam. Sum huntar is for traps and sum huntar is for scattershots LOLZ!

First huntar, Beastmaestr is for if you liek to be big an red like Big Red gum LOL! EXcept u not so sticky. Unless u use traps mabye! Beastmaestr is for use steady shot, kill command, ummm... ya beastmaestr is for DPS DONT LISTEN TO WAT ANY1 ELSE SAYS!!

Second huntar is Marks Man. Liek a man who marks sumthing. They get scattershots, maybe maek u scatterbrained 2 use?? Anyways tehy got big numbers, tehy gots 2 multishot BUT DON'T BREAK SHEEP u got to be nice to mages they make u water.

Third huntar is Survival DON'T BE VOTED OFF TEH ISLAND LULZ! They get reely good traps, can trap stuff 4ever and this 1 tiem i actually got 2 go to a RAID!! And tehy had a survival huntar and he trapped Moros' freind 4 liek FIFTEEN MINUTES!!! Ya!

So u decide wut type of huntar u want to play ok. Next u use your aspects. Monkey is 4 fighting wit sword and 4 monkeying aroudn J/K! But u no try to fite with sword 2 much. Hawk is gud 4 pewpew that is wut huntars are for ;) Viper is 4 mana but R U A CLOTHIE?? I DONT TIHNK SO! But sum huntars need mana so its ok. I need mana sometiems but dont tell any1. Acually I need mana lots its embarasing lol ><

Tehn u decide on pets, cat is good pet bcuz CAT IS FOR FITE OK. Ravager, dinosour also good. Tehy r DINO-MYTE! U use pet and u shoot stuff! See huntar is fun. Sum ppl tel u that durid, teh ret pally, staff warlock is fun but tehy are missing out when they dont play huntar.

Now remembar ALL HUNTAR IS GOOD IN GRUOPS, every1 lieks them but they are scared 2 invite u in group or 2 raid, cuz u are just 2 awsome 4 them! So u juts got to keep tryin, sumday u can go to teh raid just liek me! Rmember all wepons with agil, int, stam is gud for u. Now u go out there and HAV FUN! :)

(So yeah, this started out as So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 11. I got carried away with the intro, it would appear... oops? Anyways, enjoy the silliness, I figured a lot of us could use some!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gettin' Philosophical

Recently, Bell over at 4 Haelz had a rather heartfelt post about why she can't get too excited over Wrath of the Lich King... one of her quotes is:

Perhaps some of it is the impermanence. I can’t get interested in anything that I know might be gone or changed or revamped or whatever in days or hours or minutes. Perhaps some of it is that it is possible my class (whichever class at that time I happen to be) could be much less important to the raids, and it’s a little hard to imagine that your niche is no longer your niche.

Now I guess what I want to say here is: I understand perfectly where you're coming from.

It's really hard for me to really seriously play poor Tawyn and Lunapike and "the gang" because it feels like I'm dancing on a cloud or something, and it's ready to dissolve at my feet.

But that last line there really hit home for me, "It's a little hard to imagine that your niche is no longer your niche."

Blizzard is taking my shot rotations away. Let me explain that. Shot rotations are one of my favorite aspects of the hunter class and one of the things that really, at the time, sort of set me apart from a lot of other hunters. It was always this intuitive thing for me. I got Tawyn to level 62, got Steady Shot, went out and killed a mob and after I'd killed that one mob I knew what a shot rotation was. It has always been instinctive and natural and a matter of pride that I knew what it meant to weave my shots in the correct order and timing, and that a few other hunters actually came up to me in game and asked me to explain the concept to them.

Blizz is taking it away, and while I fully understand their reasons for doing so, and it will certainly mean an increase in hunter DPS-- I sometimes feel like I'm sitting here clutching my security blanket tightly, knowing that any day now Blizz is gonna come and take it away for good.

But you can't have your blanket forever, or you'll wind up strung out on bedspreads.

So I decided that change was necessary, it happens and we gotta evolve with it. I've accepted it. Some stuff I like will be going away, it's true. I was on Beta the other day and spent about a half hour battering away at those training dummies, trying to figure out a way to salvage the shot rotation playstyle, but it's not there anymore, it's button spamming from here on out.

But you know what? There are a ton of fun new abilities to play with. I am madly in love with the new Disengage. It puts you back at range instantly. I love it with a passion and have this little "aww man" moment when I try to use it in Burning Crusade now and it doesn't do anything. I love the new pet stuff. I am digging the way the new Kill Command almost works like a backup Intimidation.

But most importantly... I still love "huntering".

Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand... I don't care, I'm still free, Blizz can't take my class from me.

I went out into the wilds of Northrend and it was just us. Tux and I. We've been together since he was level eight and I was level ten. Tux patiently taught me what it meant to be a hunter. Even when I didn't feed him at first because I didn't know I was supposed to. Even when I didn't teach him Growl because I didn't know about it. Even when I ran around Raptor-Striking stuff and letting him die. He has been there the whole time. And in the Beta the other day, for those fleeting fifteen minutes before the server crashed, it was just us running around experiencing the wonder of an all new world and all new stuff to learn. Just like the old days.

Huntering is alive and well.

It is still a really scary thought in many ways. For a while now, I have been a hunter teacher, and knowing that I have to become a student again is sort of a scary proposition. It will feel out of place. But then Boozsha said something interesting. He said, "Well when WoTLK these 70 blogger hunter masters will have to start leveling(most likely). It is going to be great to read these post about them leveling again."

Now euphoria from being mentioned in the same breath as BRK and Drotara aside, he has a really good point. We have a lot that we can teach to each other and learn from each other and it's exciting.

And that is why I am embracing Wrath of the Lich King. Is it gonna be scary? In many aspects, yes. Is it going to change a lot of things I was really comfortable with? Yes. I do admit that in a lot of ways these last few weeks before the 3.0 patch are gonna have me feeling like The Kiwi*, spent simply pewpew'ing stuff in casual Heroic and Karazhan jaunts and reveling in my last flight of the 2.0 hunterdom I finally feel like I have mastered after working on it for so long. But unlike the Kiwi, I have more flying left to do.

I'll see you in Northrend.

* If you can get through that movie without tearing up, you are a stronger hunter than I. /reaches for box of Kleenex

Friday, September 12, 2008

[WotLK Beta] He's back.

Conversation From a Few Months Ago...

Me: "So guess what, I heard that in Wrath of the Lich King, I'll be able to tame those big dinosaurs from Un'Goro."
Boyfriend: "Really?"
Me: "Yep!"
Boyfriend: "...can you do me a favor?"
Me: "What?"
Boyfriend: "Tame one of those... and name it Wash."

[WotLK Beta] Tawyn & Tux's Excellent Adventure

So it took some sleuthing, geekery and hackery, but the WotLK beta runs as smooth as butter under Linux with Wine.

Took me a good five or ten minutes to figure out how to use mounts.

Took me another five or ten minutes to distribute talent points (55 points in Beast Mastery is okay, right?)

Ten minutes of running around Shatt trying stuff out and using The Beast Within (Sade, was that you in front of Aldor bank? ;o I wasn't sure so I was kind of afraid to ask. I'm shy like that.)

Ten minutes of setting up my hotkeys again, training Tux, and pewpewing a couple things in Terokkar. Steady Shot feels... off. I'm sure I will adapt to it with more time.

Then I went to Stormwind, found the harbor, stood on a boat with a group of people, all of us asking "is this the boat to Northrend?"... realized the boat wasn't going anywhere and hopped on another boat...

It's huge you guys. I'm so excited. Too bad I have to go to work now >.>

Oh, what are some addons that work in Beta? Somebody in trade mentioned that X-Perl did so I will be looking into that. I hadn't realized until now how much I rely on stuff like Scrolling Combat Text and RatingsBuster.

If you are also in Beta and wish to say hello, you can find me on the Northrend realm, both Alliance and Horde; Tawyn on the former and Lunapike on the latter. ^_^

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Linux Users Do It With Wine

(Warning: Techie-ish Post mostly for the benefit of people who may reach this via Google. Read at your own risk!)

So the Wrath of the Lich King Beta installer worked fine on Wine at the beginning-- no issues, nice smooth graphics on the pretty Installer screen... and then I had to read the EULA (where "read" is defined as "hit Page Down twenty times within a span of two seconds") and hit "I Agree". Pretty straightforward right?

Well no, because the Installer decided to keep the "I Agree" button grayed out and not let me click it. Bugger.

A quick Google search showed that this was indeed a Wine bug and could be fixed by one of two options; either updating Wine (which in all honesty is itself a bit of a chore simply because I am using an older version of my distro) or doing something crazy and hacky.

Obviously I chose the latter.

This is what I did:

1.) Installed "IEs4Linux", which sticks a Wine-version of Internet Explorer on your computer. (Yes I installed IE. This is the type of sacrifice I make for this game.)

2.) An attempt to run the installer via IEs4Linux's Wine told me I needed to have Burning Crusade installed. So, I went over to my Burning Crusade folder, opened the terminal inside the folder, and typed the following:

pikestaff@pintsize:~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/World of Warcraft$ WINEPREFIX=~/.ies4linux/ie6 wine wow.exe

Which created the registry files for the original WoW/BC, then I hopped over to the WotLK folder and...

pikestaff@pintsize:~/Desktop/WotLK-Beta-3.0.1-enUS$ WINEPREFIX=~/.ies4linux/ie6 wine Installer.exe

And I was able to start up the installer, click the "I Agree" button, and...

All set!

Of course, now comes the dreaded patch downloads, and my computer tends to download patches at a horrifically slow rate, so I'm off to bed while it does that. My characters haven't copied over yet anyway (I am copying both Tawyn, my level 70 Alliance hunter, and Lunapike, my level 68 Horde hunter, to Northrend, the PvE beta server. When I'm all set up you fellow beta-people can say hello!) so, I'm okay with waiting.

I will continue to bring you updates of a Linuxy nature and a huntery nature as they come. I will also continue to bring non-Beta news to those of you who would like to keep WotLK a surprise-- in all honesty I don't plan on spending as much time in Beta as a lot of other people are cause I'd sorta like to be mostly surprised too. I just gotta get in on the new hunteryness for a bit. Anyways, I think I might mark my Beta posts with [WotLK] or [Beta] or something in the title as a spoiler alert.

I figure, lotsa bloggers are showing you the nuts and bolts of Beta, I will give you vintage Pike thoughts on Beta =3


Wrath of the Lich King™ Beta Test

You have been selected to participate in the beta test of World of Warcraft®: Wrath of the Lich King™. Welcome!

In the beta test you’ll get an opportunity to test the first zones of the new Northrend continent, and the new levels above 70. We look forward to your feedback on the overall experience, including quests, monsters, zones, aesthetics, and more. We would also appreciate reports on any bugs you may encounter. These can be logged using the /bug command explained below.

I am off to work now, which is actually fine because the downloader tells me there are at least six hours remaining. I come to you all with a question, though. I know many of you frequent my site in part because I am one of the hunter blogs out there that is still dealing primarily with the non-WotLK content. I sort of don't want to change that. Plus, so many other bloggers out there are already covering the Beta.

But is there anything in particular that you would like me to cover or not cover, aside from "How well this all runs in Linux with Wine" which is probably the first thing I will be reporting?

And which is "so far so good" by the way:

I honestly mostly just want to mess around and get some ideas of new huntering for myself I think-- if current content is what you all want, then that is what you will get, because I still love the current stuff. And I don't want to spoil WotLK too much for myself!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Fable of the Gnome Rogue

The Tauren Hunter was merrily bounding into the Silverwing base in Warsong Gulch; she had been enjoying these player-verses-player excursions lately and was rather fond of her 25,000 honor that she had stockpiled for when she would hit 70 in a couple more levels and would need a nice set of war gear to go with her set of standard adventuring gear. She made it to the roof of the enemy building when suddenly she was jumped upon! By a very persistent gnome rogue.

Now, the tauren knew that many of her fellow hunters dislike the rogue because they are very good at taking away that which hunters prize most: space. However, she has an odd knack for managing to catch rogues before they catch her, and even when they do catch her first she has a knack for wriggling her way out of their grasp, so at first she wasn't afraid. She directed her trusty red lynx to Intimidate the rogue, during which time she laid down an Immolation Trap and got a little bit of range and then hit him with a Serpent Sting.

He was soon on top of her again though, and sadly his first initial strikes had taken a critical toll so she was down on her luck right from the start. Still, they tussled for a bit, before the hunter's health ran low and she collapsed to the ground.

She did not release her spirit though, for the rogue was himself weak, and he was still burning from the Immolation Trap and still feeling the ache of the Serpent Sting...

He saw her watching him, so he targeted her and /laughed.

Then, smugly, he started to bandage himself.

Serpent Sting removed the bandage effect.

The gnome's eyes widened. They say in this world of pixels and polygons, facial expressions cannot change. I swear to the Earthmother, though, that his eyes widened as he came to a sudden realization.

The last tick of the Serpent Sting went off and he fell to the floor.

They lay there for a few seconds, simply targeting each other. Then, when the tauren hunter was sure her message had clearly been sent across, she calmly released to the graveyard.

The moral of the story, oh best beloved... do not /laugh at a hunter, for they have a disturbing tendency to have the last /laugh. Or the last /giggle, anyways.