Sunday, February 17, 2008

Puttin' Your Shoulder to the Wheel

So I'm sure most of us have been there: ahead of you, for as far as the eye can see, are approximately a million and a half elementals, ogres, or blood elves, and you're there to destroy every last one of them (unless someone else gets to them first) as a way to grind rep, motes, cloth, or what-have-you.

Now I imagine different hunters have different approaches to this. There are a lot of people, I'm sure, who will send their pet in to a mob, pop Mend Pet and Autoshot, and then alt+tab to play Desktop Tower Defense or go make lunch or something. This is one of the beauties of being a hunter, and also one of the aspects of it that I have this tendency to avoid-- not because it's wrong, but because it's just not exciting enough. So then you have hunters like yours truly who run up to every mob as though it were some raid boss that I'm trying to solo and go all out. Intimidate, Bestial Wrath, full-on Steady Shots and Kill Commands, trinkets, and... OHCRAPIGOTSAGGROAGAIN and OHCRAPI'MOUTOFMANAAGAIN.

This, friends, seems to happen to me more frequently than I'd like when I'm trying to grind. I'm not a very good learner apparently.

My co-host Illidan has a few words to say on this as well. Illy?

Yes, I know. /cry

Fortunately there is a way to strike a balance between auto-shot grinding and hardcore-hunter-mode grinding. Here's how I do it:

Basically I focus on two things here: keeping aggro on the pet, and keeping your mana up. This ensures that you will hardly have any downtime and you will be able to get a lot done in a short amount of time.

- Aspect of the Viper. I'll be honest; this one hurts and stings. Because I loooove me my Aspect of the Hawk. I love it much. But let's face it: Viper is handy. It helps us regen mana, and it helps us so we don't overpower the pet and grab aggro from him. It is my Aspect of Choice when grinding.

- [Power Infused Mushroom]. This is obtainable from an Underbog quest and it's a very lovely grinding trinket. Basically it means that whenever you kill something that would yield experience or honor, you get 200 mana. 200 mana may not sound like much, but it adds up. I'll usually swap out [Abacus of Violent Odds] for this thing, this further nerfs my attack power just a little bit which also helps to keep aggro on my pet, as Viper does.

- [Blackflight Arrows] are a lot cheaper than some of the better ammo which I usually like to carry around with me. They don't do quite as much damage but again, that's fine: your DPS does not matter when you are merely grinding for cash or rep. And again, aggro on the pet is good.

- [Sporeling Snacks]: Whether or not you want to use these is probably sort of dependent on how easy they are for you to make or obtain. For me, they pop up in the guild bank pretty frequently thanks to some of our crazy cooking fanatics so I usually have a nice supply. (And I do toss 10g or so into the bank anytime I take some-- a tip, if you will.) More stamina and spirit on the pet means less downtime between mobs. You may opt for [Kibler's Bits] instead if you have a pet that has a lot of armor/stam but needs a damage and threat boost.

- Using Intimidation and Bestial Wrath when they are available. I usually only use one at a time, per mob.

Well, that's how I do it. That's how I typically manage to maintain minimal downtime between mobs or aggro issues, while still being able to at least do some huntery stuff: Steady Shot + Kill Command is a very close friend of mine and I could never bring myself to shrug it off for Autoshot spam, even if it's just grinding.

There are some things I'll do to make the grind more fun or interesting; these include taking on more than one mob at once so I can practice chain trapping one while still focusing on the other, working on leveling a pet, using [Noggenfogger Elixirs] or [Dartol's Rod of Transformation] (if you manually weave your shots as I do, it's a heck of a fun challenge to try and do it without animations, as you will in furbolg form), and putting on music. I have no musical taste so I usually end up grinding to cheesy 90s electropop, and I love it. But do what works best for you.

...Hmm. I am feeling the urge to go play Desktop Tower Defense now. I used to be really good at that game, but then they changed it and added a bunch of new stuff and I turned into a jaded oldschooler who refuses to get with the program. Young whippersnappers!

...*goes to play it*


Boozsha said...

Ok, now you got me to playing Desktop Tower Defense.

Fanthis ( Kargath ) said...

I use Aspect of the Viper, Power Infused Mushroom ( Mana ) and this beauty.. Mark of Conquest. ( ) It has a mana gain on ranged attack like judgement of wisdom on a target. Between the three and my black grasp of the destroyer ( ) I can blow stuff up then rapid fire auto shot something else down to regen.

Althoran said...

Ok, you got me to play Desktop Tower Defense also!

Kestrel said...

I'm not going to go play DTTD, but, I am going to say I really enjoyed this article--as much for the fun of reading it, as the insight. :)

C. said...

Mmm, I need to go buy me a Mark of Conquest, I see.

What I generally do while grinding is run around aggroing everything I can, put it all on my pet, and kill. Repeatedly. I tend to run the very raw edge of getting us both killed and see how long I can go without sitting down and drinking/eating. I think of it as an endurance test--both of my mana regeneration and my nerves, since a lot of the strain of high-end content seems to me to be how well people can keep moving between pulls.

How's the Gladiator's Heavy Crossbow working out for you? I'm doing the honor grind for mine, but it looks like the Don Santos, which I already have, may be the better weapon for a BM hunter. But that's all based on theorycraft and not field experience...

Pike said...

@ Everybody - Desktop Tower Defense is really fun, no?

@ Fanthis - Those trinkets do look yummy...

@ Kestrel - Thank you for the compliment!

@ C - I'm quite fond of the crossbow, it has a nice speed for me and a very nice damage output. I haven't any experience with the Don Santos so I don't think I could make a comparison, but I am very happy with my crossbow and I'm glad I made the honor grind (even if it has burned me out on PvP for... well... a long time.)

Pike said...

And by "trinkets" I mean "trinket and glove"

*is tired* >.>