Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Wee Confession

I have a confession to make.

I am a horrible roleplayer.

"But wait, Pike, don't you only play on RP or RP-PvP servers? Haven't you scrapped every single non-RP character you've made precisely because you miss the RP? Don't you come up with vastly deep backstories and personalities for all your characters and view them as being about as 'real' as they can be without actually being real? Isn't the 'What toon do I feel like playing today?' question usually answered by 'What character story do I feel like exploring today?'"

Yes. And all that is 100% true.

But stick me in an actual roleplaying situation and I'll be completely at a loss for words. I don't know what my character is supposed to say! She's not me, she's herself. I don't want to put words in someone else's mouth.

Oh, I can probably fake it decently well. Especially if I'm allowed to throw in knowing puns and anachronisms ("I heard this crazy story that the world was born out of a Great Blizzard.") But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't guilty of bursting out into a rather infamous song mid-RP-session. (To be fair, the other person was a blood elf and didn't know what I was saying.)

I guess that's one of the things I like about my main servers, Silver Hand and The Venture Co. They aren't exactly shining star examples of roleplaying servers; people are more relaxed and passive, but you still do get the sense that people care about their characters. And of course, once you do find the underground roleplaying community, it's quite expansive.

Really good roleplay can be a scintillating thing; a showdown between Tawyn's guild and an overzealous all-Paladin guild in front of the Cathedral of Light comes to mind as being a bigger adreniline-rush for me than Karazhan ever was. But I still think I feel much more at home trapping and pewpewing than wondering if I'm roleplaying correctly. It's simply a matter of which I think I am better at doing. I enjoy doing things that I am good at.

All that said, I couldn't dream of not having the roleplaying element in the game, even if it's more of a passive background thing for me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the vast majority of my interest in this game comes from the fact that you can invent your own character. Give her or him a personality and a story and a life of their own. If that element wasn't there I think I'd quit playing.

I've had e-mails or comments or tells in game from people wondering how to get started on a roleplaying server. To be honest, if you're making characters on my servers it's going to be just like a normal server except you might see a few people with roleplaying-addons running around, and once in a blue moon you'll catch snatches of roleplay. That's really it. I think there's a misconception that people on roleplaying servers talk in Shakespearian English or use grandiose words in Trade Chat on a regular basis. I've never seen either. Don't be scared to roll on an RP server if you want to try it out; at the most, you'll be underwhelmed.

Who knows-- you might be better at roleplaying than I am. (Heck, I'm sure most people are!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Feelin' it: A Manifesto

Close your eyes for a moment, forget the world around you, forget your day job or your classes at school and feel that you are a hunter. What does that mean to you?

Does it mean you see you and your pet as being so much a part of each other that you draw energy from one another as you call on the aspects of the wild to give you speed and grace and a precise rhythm to your attacks?

Does it mean you see yourself as being the calculating sniper from afar, masterfully weaving your full pantheon of tricks and abilities into your weapon as only you can do?

Does it mean you see yourself as a wielder of defense and survival, knowledgable about the land and the terrain, impossible to kill, always ready when the enemy isn't, and quick to use all your resources to your advantage?


That's how you should spec.

I don't tell people how to spec. If somebody is clearly unsure about what they are doing I will offer suggestions, just as I do if people ask for advice. I am also not afraid to come right out and say that in most cases it's Beast Mastery topping the damage when it comes to our class.

But if you prefer to be a Marksman or a Survivalist I will not look down on you in the slightest and you will have earned a lot of respect from me for being a hunter. Pike does not discriminate against any well-thought-out spec.

You don't choose the spec. The spec chooses you.

In other news, I have been slowly picking through my blogroll and rearranging it a little and moving inactive blogs to a separate section. If you happen to be the author of an inactive blog, I still love you, and will restore you to the "active blogs" list upon a new update.

And if you link to me and I haven't noticed yet, feel free to poke me about it. I try to link to everyone who links to me back and who has some decent content. ^^ (Yes, this means my blogroll is huge. Wall of Text crits you for 47k. You die.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

*babbles something incoherently*

For the uninitiated, that's BRK's blogroll.

If you need me, I'll be fainted dead away on the floor somewhere.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Lemme tell you all a quick story.

Way back in the day when I was like, oh, level 25 or 30 or so and first stumbled across BigRedKitty... he did a lot of talking about a little weapon called Legacy. How much he wanted it and how long it took him before he finally got it. I was still a newbie and knew very little about this game but I knew that this must be one heckuva weapon. I started seeing other hunters with it and thinking any hunter who had it must be one epic hunter. How I longed to be an epic hunter someday like that, but it wasn't ever gonna happen, I was sure, because I was never gonna see Karazhan.

So all this time, ever since I was level 30, I'd longingly inspect those Legacy-sporting hunters, certain they'd forever be out of my league.

This is a happy day in Hunterland.

Edit: Well, I wound up doing even more gear-switching than I thought. I finally equipped my [Violet Signet] (I am 2% of my rep away from Exalted, by the way) to make up for the Hit Rating loss I got from equipping Legacy. Then I went to put my badges in the bank and discovered that you can only have a stack of 200 badges and I had 201. So I splurged and bought [Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard]. Next stop: Choco-Bow. In the meantime, buffed only with Aspect of the Hawk, I have jumped from 538 to 560 agility, from 1659 to 1705 attack power, and from 24.66% to 25.21% crit.

It has been a good day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

An Instance, For Instance

"I would love a hunter kindergarten entry on playing a BM hunter pre-Steady Shot, if you have time. Or on hunter roles in lower-level instances — I don't see much about that out there, either." - Ideale

Well, I sorta covered the pre-Steady-Shot thing in an earlier post, so let's talk about instances. There you are heading into Deadmines or Wailing Caverns for your very first time as a hunter. What are you going to be doing? Well, first of all, let's talk about what you are NOT going to be doing:


If somebody asks you to trap something for longer than about ten seconds tell them you can't. Unless you are a Survival hunter, chain-trapping does not exist until level 60 when you get Freezing Trap Rank 3. Period. There is no shame in telling your group that you won't have the mob trapped very long and it's really not worth it. It's not your fault your traps suck right now.

That said, do keep an eye out for situations where you might have to emergency trap something, such a loose mob running towards the healer.

Alright, so we aren't doing CC, then what are we doing? We are doing lots of DPS, and learning to control your pet.

Before you go into the instance portal, there are two very important things you have to make sure of: Firstly, that your pet is set to passive (and only passive), and secondly, that Growl is turned off. Having your pet set to passive is going to ensure that he only does what you tell him to and no more, and it is extremely important because it allows you complete control of your pet so he doesn't run off into the middle of nowhere anytime somebody looks at you funny.

If you are not used to having him on Passive, it might take a little while to get used to it. You may not like it at first. You will be having to use your Pet Attack button/key more than have and you might feel like your pet is wasting some time running back to you all the time. But... although I used to be of the school of thought that it was okay to have him set to Defensive for leveling/grinding-- to be honest, I can't stand that anymore. You get to a point where if your pet is out of control and doing things you didn't tell him to, it feels very awkward and unpleasant. You and your pet are One and he needs to be responsive to you and attack only the mobs you tell him to, and Passive is the only mode that allows that. Part of being a hunter is that mental calculation and planning when things go wrong. If your pet is attacking a mob that isn't part of your mental plan-- which he will do if he is on Defensive-- it can really mess you up. So while I am a very big advocate of "Passive-always-no-matter-what", if you like Defensive, then just remember to switch to Passive for an instance. =P

Growl you want to turn off so he isn't competing with the tank for threat. do have a tank, right? ("No, this is Deadmines/WC/whatever.") ... ...well, pretend you have a tank. He's not going to want some random hunter's pet stealing aggro from him all the time. You can turn it off by right-clicking on the icon for it.

So Pet = Passive, and Growl = Off. You are now good to go.

You're inside the instance. Now what? What do you attack? Well I, myself, like to have a Tank Assist macro for use in here. It's a simple macro that says /assist tank's name and it's nice to have something like that keybound or put somewhere easily accessible if you are a clicker. Basically what it is going to do is target the tank's target so you know what you should be attacking. All the DPS should always be focused on the tank's target unless told otherwise. Now sometimes your group will use raid symbols to further establish targets-- as a general rule, you kill Skull first and X second, etc.-- but the tank assist macro will make absolute sure you are attacking the right thing, especially in tricky pulls.

A word of caution with the tank assist macro though-- just because the tank is looking at something across the room, does not mean you have to attack it. That would be very bad. It's better to wait until you actually see the tank's target's health dropping or you see Sunders on it before you do anything, just to be sure.

And what do you do?

Send your pet in and start shootin'. It's as simple as that. For higher level instances you'll want to start up your shot rotation; for lower level ones you probably want to do basically what you've been doing while leveling-- open with a Serpent Sting* and then a mix of Autos/Arcanes. Do not use Multi-Shot unless there is just one mob left. Aside from breaking CC, it also might pull extra mobs towards you, which is not good.

* You may opt instead to use Scorpid Sting, which means the tank will not get hit as much which means the healer will not have to heal as much and may help things out in the long run. But use your judgment and decide if the group needs more DPS or not. In a group where the tank is ten levels higher than all the DPS it's probably better to use Serpent Sting.

For the most part, if the tank is tanking something, then you should always be attacking something. I would say there is an exception if you are deeply focused on crowd control but you shouldn't be in a lowbie instance. There is an old tanky adage: "My comrades are my weapons and I am their shield." You're not being a very good weapon if you're not shooting stuff and not having your pet rip something apart. =P

You do not want to attack something so much, though, that your tank loses aggro on it. Because that's just messy. Having a threat meter such as Omen, KTM, or Diamond installed will help a lot here; you will be able to watch your threat and get warnings if you approach the tank's threat level. (A threat meter is also nice for hunter solo'ing so you know when you are about to pull from your pet). If you don't have a threat meter, then play it safe, give the tank a few seconds to establish aggro on on something before attacking, and pop your Feign Death (if you are a high enough level to have it) if you have been pewpewing for a while.

You may at some point be asked to pull; what that means is basically to shoot a mob and deliver it to the tank. At level 70 you've got Misdirection to make this nice and easy, pre-level 70 you'll be best off standing as close to the tank as you can while still being able to pull, using a low ranking Arcane Shot, stopping your attack, and letting the tank pick up on it.

Hmm. Long blog post is long. So, we'll wrap this one up. I think I've pretty much covered everything about the basics of an instance. Basically, so long as you have your pet and your threat management under control and you're providing DPS, you are well on your way to being a sought-after hunter in later instances. Just make sure you've packed enough food for your pet and some water for you.

And say hi to Mr. Smite for me, wouldya? We're old buddies.

(Oh, and: /wave to all my friends and guildies who just recently discovered this site!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rediscovering Your Roots - And Your New Pet

Rediscovering Your Roots, for those of you who do not do not spend a lot of time on the Isle of Quel'danas, is a Sunwell daily quest wherein you get to travel to Razorthorn Rise (on the border of Terokkar and Hellfire) and temporarily "tame" a ravager to dig up roots for you. This quest is available to any class, but what's really interesting is that if you are a hunter, not only will you take to this quest like a fish to water, but you can put some of your hunter-skills to really good use.

I did some testing, and here's what you can do with your temporary pet:

- Any sort of pet attack macro (My pet attack/Hunter's Mark macro, for example)
- Intimidation
- Bestial Wrath (Big Red Ravagers really are Big Red Ravagers.)
- Mend Pet
- Use Sporeling Snacks and Kibler's Bits
- Teach him Growl. However, it does not show up because he already knows four moves and you can't change his moves.
- Misdirect onto him
- Bandage him
- Run around with him while mounted, just like in the old days

And here's what you can not do:

- Kill Command (kind of random, I think, because so many other pet-based abilities work.)
- Feed your ravager
- "Passive" pet abilities (Ferocity, Frenzy, Ferocious Inspiration)
- Keep him. =( If you go too far outside the area he automatically leaves you and runs back. Also, as of a recent hotfix, these guys cannot be tamed (at least not through the conventional method).

Similarly, you cannot open your spellbook to see his abilities or right click on him to see his attributes.

I'm curious to see how things that I do not have would effect him (Leggings of Beast Mastery, Devilsaur Tooth, etc.) unfortunately I don't have a lot of fun things like that to play around with.

Have any of you made some interesting discoveries on what you can/can't do with your temporary pet? Lemme know and I'll edit 'em into the list!

(Oh, and one final note while we are on the subject of dailies: do not underestimate the power of using the dailies to level a pet who is in their 60s. The other day just doing all the Sunwell quests both on and off the island got Eltanin from roughly 95% into level 63, to 65% into level 64. He is also now Loyalty Level 6. It is indeed a little challenging not having a higher-level pet for the harder quests... but who better to take on a challenge than a hunter! It's quite fun, actually.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

But They Are Lovely Glasses...

So there I was, heading out of Heroic Slave Pens*, and there, standing at the meeting stone, was a level 70 hunter. As I am prone to do when I see my fellow hunters, I decided to inspect him. This is what I saw:

A 23/20/18 spec.
An elemental shammy helm packed with intellect and bonus damage and healing.
Some sort of caster trinket.
Various spell-hit gems.
Two random daggers enchanted with Unholy and something else that I've never heard of before.

So as I was sitting there sort of /boggling at the guy, someone else nearby straight up asked him what was with his gear.

"What about it?" said the clueless hunter.

"It's all wrong for your class," the other guy said.

"Oh... I was trying to get a good balance of everything... how should I do it?" said the hunter.

And something funny happened. I felt sorry for the guy. Ebayed? Without a doubt. But you can't repress my inner hunter-trainer.+

So there I sat and told him what sort of stats he should look for in gear, and what sort he should definitely avoid. Then I told him a little about the different specs and how he should pick one to specialize in, rather than trying to spread out and be mediocre at everything. I told him to look at mine as a rough example.

He asked what the advantage would be of specializing like that, especially if he mostly wanted to do battlegrounds.

So I challenged him to a duel. Bestial Wrath, Intimidation... the duel was over in a couple seconds after he'd done maybe 600 damage to me total. "See?" I said.

"Thanks, I'm going to go respec right now!" he said, and hearthstoned out of Coilfang.

Did I magically transform him from huntard to hunter? Nope, I doubt it. Is he probably going to make some mistakes with his respec, if he even goes through with it? Yep. Is he still going to be wearing crappy gear? Probably yeah. Would I trust him with traps anytime soon? Nupe.

But is he at least sorta tentatively on the right track now? I think so.

I have a tendency to see myself as a teacher. I am Hunter Class Leader in my guild and that is a badge that I wear with pride, not so much because it says I am good, but because it says my guild trusts me to take other hunters under my wing. I do not see myself as an expert hunter by any means; I still have a lot to learn and practice, and there are a lot of hunters out there that are as good or better than I am. Master Hunter? Nah, I'd love to be called that someday, but I don't think I'm worthy of the title. (And even if I am, it's not something I'd want to peg on myself-- that's a title that's got to be bestowed by another master.)

I simply want to teach others how to pull a little more efficiency and a little more enjoyment out of this class. And a lot of the comments left at this blog indicate that I have had at least some measure of success and that really makes me feel good. One of the great things about the blogging community is that we can all teach each other and you can have many different teachers. Because we have that luxury, do not take one person/site/guild's word as gospel. Search around, read different blogs, test things for yourself, reach your own conclusions, and come out a better hunter. That is my advice for the day.

I hope that you readers have obtained a little of that communal knowledge from my blog, and I will continue to do my best to provide more. ^_^

And yes, I know that perhaps I just view Azeroth with rose-colored glasses.

*Funny story here. We got a group together specifically for Heroic Underbog and it wasn't until some time after we'd downed the first boss in Slave Pens that we went "Wait a minute... this isn't Underbog..." We are brilliant, eh?

+My guild is quite aware of this. "Tawyn, ready for a summon?" "Hang on, somebody just asked me how to play a hunter." "...Tawyn... just link him to the website... and get out now while you still can..."

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I love Shamans.

Raid buffs + Grace of Air Totem? Mmm, mmm good. Too bad the feral druid was in the other group; my crit woulda been near-35%.

I've got something else in mind to discuss for today's post, however: trap resists. They happen, and there's not much we can do about them. As far as I am aware, the only way to lessen the chances of your trap getting resisted other than survival talents is through spell hit gear, and, well, I would not recommend that any hunter gear for that.

Trap resists can really mess up your chain trapping because if you are deep into a trapping cycle and fighting the cooldown time, there is not a whole lot you can do about it.

Yesterday in Karazhan we took three tries to down Moroes... which is more than usual. The first two times I was asked to chain-trap a mob for quite some time-- aka, we would kill some other mobs and Moroes before getting to my trap. Okay, I said, not a big issue. I'm pretty good with my traps, I've got my Beast Lord set bonus, and the Moroes room is nice and big and great for trapping.

Yet both those times, after the fifth or sixth consecutive trap or so, the mob resisted the trap, I still had a cooldown of 10 or 15 seconds or so to go, and because we had no other reliable way to crowd control that particular mob, it caused a wipe.

The third time we ended up picking up my trap and taking him out after just a couple chain traps from me, so we wouldn't have to deal with it again. This strategy was quite successful. I have to admit I felt rather embarrassed that my traps were not playing nice and being reliable... but on the other hand, trap resists are pretty much beyond your control. If your trap is resisted, it is not your fault.

So what can you do about it? Not a whole lot without spec'ing Survival, but there are ways to perhaps slightly lesson the hurt:


Lay down your trap far in advance of when the pull is going to begin-- but not so far in advance that it's going to disappear right when the pull is starting. If you have to, lay down your trap, wait for the cooldown to tell you you've got another one ready, and then tell the tank you're ready for the pull. If he starts pulling while your cooldown is still up, don't hesitate to tell him to wait a couple more seconds. If they are going to be relying on your traps, they should be willing to wait a few extra seconds for you to be fully prepared. Waiting to start the pull until your next trap is ready will give you all sorts of extra time and also means that-- for the first few traps anyway-- you will pretty much have another trap ready or almost ready should one resist.

(Note: If your first trap resists, and you have another one ready and use it, be sure you tell your group that you will not have your next trap ready in time.)

When the Trap Resists:

So the mob runs over your next trap and the big words you are dreading to see pop up on your screen: "Trap Resisted". First thing's first: announce it to the rest of the party. If you are on a voice chat program, that is your best bet. Otherwise, hopefully you have some sort of macro that you can pound that will say "TRAP RESISTED" in party chat without you having to type it out. Be sure that everyone is made aware of the situation first in case they have some ideas on what to do.

Now... what you do here is really dependent on your situation. If you have a trap that will be ready shortly, you can Wing Clip/Concussive Shot kite the guy until your next one is up. You can also throw an Intimidate and Mend Pet on your pet and send him in to tank the mob until you have another trap ready, at which point you can run up and lay the trap down at his feet. (I would use a Distracting Shot afterwards to be sure you rise above your pet's threat. But be sure you don't break your trap with the Auto Shot that will start afterwards! A Pull Shot macro is great for this.)

If there is still a gigantic amount of time before your next trap is ready, and you are not comfortable with kiting or pet-tanking for that amount of time (raid mobs, for example, can hit hard and your pet will not be up for long without dedicated heals), then there are not a lot of options other than running to the tank and Feigning Death. You should probably make sure the tank knows you are going to do it so he or she knows to pick up aggro on it before it runs to a healer or something.

In the heat of battle with everyone doing their job, it can be hard to remember your tricks and keep your cool. But learning to do so-- even if you don't realize it until after the fact-- will make you a better hunter and allow you to do your job more effectively.

The Aftermath:

So they had an offtank or some other form of crowd control pick up on your lost mob and you sort of feel sheepish. Don't worry, you can still be of some help! Extra traps just in case another mob gets loose can make or break a pull. Going back to yesterday's Moroes fight: after they'd decided to pick up on trap early, to prevent any unforeseen issues, I assigned myself to keeping a trap up right next to the priest, who was on dual healing/shackling duty. This was in case the shackle broke and ran towards the healer, who would probably be one-shotted. Sure enough, a couple minutes later, I noticed the shackled mob-- no longer shackled, but safely encased in my trap. Had my trap not been there, the priest would have gone down, and that would not have been a good situation.

As someone who majored in filmmaking, I have come to sort of feel that playing a hunter is a lot like the art of editing. Editing is an invisible art, so to speak-- if people don't notice your editing, then you know you have succeeded. It is the editor's job to make things appear seamless and misdirect (yes, they actually do use the term "misdirect" in my textbook) your attention to where they want it to go.

A lot of hunters who can successfully chain trap will get a lot of praise for their traps right off the bat because trapping hunters seem to be few and far between, but as time goes on you will find that people learn you are good with your traps and then simply expect them to be flawless. If your trapping is so good that nobody notices it (and the tank perhaps forgets about your mob and moves on to the next pull)-- then you have succeeded. If you have problems with your trap but manage to handle it in a timely and effective fashion with little outside help, then you have succeeded. And even if you don't have a dedicated something that you are trapping, if you have a backup trap ready in case of emergencies and it eventually gets put to good use, then you have succeeded.

And that's all for today! In other news... [Garona's Signet Ring]. It is delicious. I am really tempted to go buy [Angelista's Revenge] now (I have something like 167 badges, but can't quite bring myself to spend them yet) and walk away all nicely ring'd up. We shall see.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Aaaaand... Numbah Two

Level 58 and going through the Dark Portal for the second time... but the first time as a Horde character, and the first time on a PvP server. I'm super excited to see the differences. I suppose I'd best start preparing for Gankings-From-Above. (Though to be honest the ganking is not that bad on this server, bar a few run-ins in Stranglethorn and the occasional skirmish elsewhere. A little nervous about Outlands though.)

The leveling up to 58 went by surprisingly quickly and I'm sure the next two levels are just going to breeze by as well. I have to admit, I was very glad that the pre-60-leveling didn't get nerfed until I'd already hit 70 for the first time "the long way"... I got to spend more time exploring Azeroth for the first time and hitting up every zone. This time around, there were a lot of zones I had to skip or just skim through because of the increased leveling speed. But on the other hand, I sort of like it because it means I can come back to those "skipped" zones on my next time around, and they'll be more fresh for me.

I'm excited to get to level 62, get myself Steady Shot, and make a bunch of Hunter Kindergarten posts about being brand-new-to-Steady-Shot. No guarantees on how soon that will be, though!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hunter Kindergarten: Gettin' Ready to Rock Steady

So, pre-Level-62 hunter. You've heard about this mystical thing called "Steady Shot" and the mysterious term "shot rotation". You want to get into this shot rotation thing too. Right?

Sadly, there's not a whole lot you can do pre-Steady Shot to practice this. Most of your pre-Level-62 hunter career will consist of tossing a Serpent Sting on something and Auto-Shotting it down, with a couple Arcane Shots maybe thrown in for good measure. However, there is one little exception that, while it won't make you an expert on Shot Rotations, will at least give you an idea of what to expect:

Multi-Shot has a hidden cast timer to it; sort of like a mini-Steady Shot except with a cooldown, and with no casting bar. But because it does have a small cast time-- 0.5 seconds-- you can use it to sort of learn the principle behind a shot rotation.

A quick refresher on shot rotations and why they are important: Your Auto Shot is constantly going and you want to weave your special shots on top of your Auto Shot in such a way that they don't interfere. Auto Shot has a short space of time right before it fires where you shouldn't do anything or it will clip your Auto Shot. Learning to get your special shots off so they don't interfere with that Auto Shot cast time is called learning to use a correct shot rotation.

Many hunter shots, such as Arcane Shot, are instant cast, and as such it really doesn't matter when you toss them into your rotation. But Multi-Shot has a cast time (like Steady Shot does) and that's why we're going to practice with it.

Head out to some place full of mobs that are relatively easy for you to kill but that you aren't going to one-shot. Myself, I think I was in my 50s and went to Scarlet Monastery Cathedral. Now nab a pull of two or three and get your pull down to just one that you can focus on, perhaps by trapping one and taking out another. (Don't forget: Multi-Shot will break CC, so if you're gonna trap, trap him out of the way.)

Now hit Multi-Shot. Try and do it when your character is getting ready to fire off an Auto Shot. Did you notice something "weird" there? Did you see your character sort of do something odd with their weapon? Perhaps your Auto Shot was just delayed?

If so, congrats, you have just observed some of the byproducts of hunter shot weaving.

If not, that's okay, you still just wove a shot-- but Multi-Shot's cast time is so short that it's not that easy to really "observe".

Now the trick here, is to make it so it doesn't delay your Auto Shot. So go practice on some other mobs and try using it at different times. Be alert. Watch your character very closely. Listen to the sounds that your weapon is making. Try to learn when, visually and aurally, is your best time to use your Multi-Shot.

Now, Multi-Shot can be a little tweaky, and weaving your Multi-Shot has a rather different feel to it than weaving a Steady Shot, thanks to the different cast times. And honestly, Mulit-Shot's cast time is so short that you do have a lot of room for error so you won't really get that fast-paced feel of Steady Shot, where your timing has to be much more precise. But the point of this exercise is to learn what it means to weave your shots and get a basic idea of what it takes to do so. Multi-Shot is a great way to sort of introduce yourself to that concept.

And, well, that pretty much does it for today's lesson. To be honest Shot Rotations really don't start mattering all that much until level 62. You can experiment with weaving your Multi-Shot but it's not going to cause any particularly impressive DPS increases, and for solo play, having maximum-possible DPS is certainly not a top priority. Your best Shot Rotation for pre-level-62 is any that allows you to do decent damage while not burning yourself out of too much mana or pulling aggro too quickly. For most people I imagine this would involve a Serpent Sting opener followed by mostly Auto Shots, with an Arcane Shot or two. Once you do hit level 62, and you are a Beast Mastery Hunter, you will find that you pretty much stop using Arcane and Serpent Sting all together... but that is a subject for another post!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What's In a Pet?

Teal Windserpent shall be known as Eltanin (pronounced ell-TAY-nin as far as I can tell) : brightest star in the constellation Draco. It perhaps isn't an overly witty name as so many of my other pet names are, but my new Windserpent has a majestic presence of sorts to him, and thus he needed a majestic name. And it still does have a pretty neat little meaning behind it.

He is now halfway through level 62 and he is Loyalty Level 3. He got there partially through some solo-grinding, but largely through group work: so far, thanks to the help of some guildies, Eltanin has already seen several group quests in Shadowmoon Valley, basically every single Sunwell daily there is, and even the inside of Auchenai Crypts.

I've grown rather attached to him in just these past two days, which is sort of alarming because he was supposed to be an experimental pet of sorts. Whatdaya do when you've got three pets you can't part with? (Especially if you're a big dork like me, and all three pets come off as having completely different personalities and quirks which makes them even more special.) I suppose all I can do now is pray that Blizzard gives us more stable slots for Wrath of the Lich King.

I've been thinking lately I would love to see a fairly-"realistic" picture of Tawyn and her pets; perhaps she'd just be relaxing, content, by some campfire in the middle of the woods with Tux on her shoulder or perched on a nearby branch, and Locke resting his head on her knee, and Eltanin quietly keeping guard a little ways away. Sadly the extent of my artistic talent is cutesy Disneyesque cartoons; I could never fashion something the way I've described it. I'd commission a good artist to draw it, though. Cause I'm obsessed.

Speaking of obsessed, I rolled another hunter. Is this 14, 15 now? I've lost count. Only three of them are level 20 or higher anyways... (Hey, the first step is admitting you have a problem.)

Hmm, I suppose this wasn't a particularly interesting post. In order to bulk it up a bit, I'll add that I have now added Twitter updates to my blog sidebar and I'm going to experiment with that (in case anybody cares about various mundane details of my life), and yes, I have Hunter Kindergarten posts in the works. I love writing them, but I like to spend time on them. /nods

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pet Taming: A Story Told in Pictures

Well, the results were in, and the masses wanted me to give the Windserpent a try:

Now there's high-level Windserpents all over Outland. But I, being me, needed something special. Something... dare I say... teal. Something I'd fallen in love with during a random fun-run of Zul'Gurub a few weeks back:

This Guy

Level 61 elite Soulflayer, found in Zul'Gurub, a pre-BC level 60 raid instance. The only other Windserpent with that same skin is found in Wailing Caverns. Yes... yes. He would be mine.

So I bid my goodbyes to my wolf Amarok, got my boyfriend (on a lowbie alt) to set up a raid group for me so I could get into the instance and then I walked into Zul'Gurub solo. And by solo, I mean solo. No pet. Just Tawyn.

It wasn't long before I found my target. Unfortunately, he was constantly flanked by two level 60 elites who acted as bodyguards. If I trapped and started to tame the one I wanted, I was quickly swarmed by two elites who hit hard and have various stuns and poison abilities. Not good.

I tried a couple of strategies here, none of which quite worked. I tried getting onto the higher platform and trying to tame him from there, so they'd have to run to get to me-- but then he just went out of range and the tame failed. I tried to tame him from the water, but he wound up evading it. I soon realized I would have to get the two entourages out of the way before I could focus on the guy I wanted. So I figured I could maybe throw down a Frost Trap and kite them and slowly burn them down. This failed miserably thanks to their charge'n'stun tactics. It was all sort of discouraging and I began to wonder how I was ever going to do this without various Survival Hunter tricks. But no, I wasn't going to give up. Cause I'm a hunter, dangit.

So eventually, after much trial and error and my feign death button worn from use, I realized that as a Beast Master hunter, my best weapon would be exactly what I was missing... a pet.

So I got one.

A level 60 serpent in ZG. He's kinda cute, no?

Now, I felt, I was ready. I went back to the taming spot and laid down a freezing trap. I positioned it in such a way so when they patrolled back, they would walk right into it, and I'd have another trap cooldown ready.

And around the corner they came, and into the trap Teal Windserpent popped. The other two dashed at me. I laid down another trap... double-trap! And with two of the windserpents crowd-controlled I sic'd my new snake on the other and proceeded to burn him down. But it wasn't long before Teal Windserpent broke out of the trap (early, I think) and shoved me off the ledge and into the water... which I hadn't exactly been banking on. And so, I regret to say, thanks to some unfortunate stuff that happened, I hit the bucket.

My serpent and I (who I'd renamed Kaa because he'd sort of grown on me) went boldly back inside. We were down to just two.

Same routine as before. Laid down a trap...

Trapped Teal Windserpent. Sic'd pet on his red buddy. Intimidation, Bestial Wrath, and onslaught of MQoSRDPS. Uh-oh, Teal's out! Chain-trapping for the win!

And now the time had come. As he was heading for my next trap, Teal Windserpent got off a fear and a bunch of poison on Kaa, sending him running. But before he could finish him off, I /thanked him and hit the abandon button. Just me and Teal Windserpent now...

Aaaaand action:


Now he just needs a name. Oh and he needs to be brought up nine levels. It's gonna be a pain, but hey, I've got nothing better to do during farming sessions. And how often do you see one of these guys runnin' around? I mean, I adore Locke, but I think he must be the most popular cat model on the server.

Oh, and the above story-- I think I could have probably pulled it off with no deaths if I hadn't been standing too close to the edge. It woulda been tough, but I think I could've done it. Almost makes me want to go back and try it again... almost.

And yes, this is one of the reasons why I can't get enough of this class. Who else gets to pull of crazy stuff like this, in the name of something that equates to some 30% of our DPS? =P

In other news, my new boots, they are lovely, no? /pose

Monday, May 5, 2008

That Fateful Day

One year ago today I wrote the following in my LiveJournal:

I'm playing the World of Warcraft free trial.

My night elf hunter has awesome teal hair.


"Darn straight I have awesome teal hair."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Window Shopping

Firstly, thanks for all of your continued kind comments! I received a lot of requests for more hunter kindergarten posts and guides for lower-level hunters. Well you've come to the right place: ask and ye shall receive! I'll be working on more Hunter Kindergarten guides shortly.

Lemme tell you a little about today, though. I got home from work, logged onto WoW, and noticed I had a mail waiting for me from Blizzard Customer Service. Excitedly I ran to the mailbox, eager for my boots, and found... two badges. Just those. And a letter from Blizzard that seemed to be closing up the whole issue.

They also had an e-mail address, though, telling me I could e-mail them if I had any further requests, so I quickly fired off an e-mail to them telling them about my boots and how I saw them and couldn't get them, and could they pretty please get them to me?

After that, though, I was in sort of a low rut of a mood, stressing about my boots and all. So I went and did some Sunwell dailies and then went to the new badge loot vendor and decided to take a close look at the badge stuff because to be truthful all I'd really paid attention to before was the Choco-Bow.

But today I saw this and immediately began drooling. And it cost 100 badges. I had more than enough.

And I wavered. I was suffering from No Boots Syndrome and I needed something to lift my spirits and ohhhh that chestpiece is about a million times better than my current auction house blue which I've been wearing since about ten minutes after I hit level 70.

But the bow that I'd been wanting forever...

But now I have this rifle which is still pretty darn good and which just plain looks sexy...

And I hit this horrible crossroads where I couldn't make up my mind and I didn't know whether I wanted to spend 100 hard-earned badges only to later decide I'd made a terrible mistake and would rather have the bow or something, and then have to earn 100 more badges.

So I decided to do something I'd never really done before and consult The Spreadsheet. Most of you probably know what I'm talking about. Basically a hunter sat down and coded up this ridiculously complex and awesome spreadsheet where you can insert all your stats and it will cook up your DPS and your shot rotation and you can sit around and fiddle with stuff to your heart's content and decide what is optimum for you.

I've never really used The Spreadsheet before; I tried it once before and got confused and quit. (I get confused easily. >.>) But this time, armed with Drotara's guide, I plugged in all my stuff by hand (the Open Office version, which is the only version I can use on Linux, does not let you import info from the Armory) and did some research.

Turns out that by either getting the Choco-Bow and keeping my current chestpiece, or getting the new chestpiece and keeping my current gun... I get almost the same exact DPS increase. I think the bow gets me a very slight edge (less than 1 DPS). Either way I do gain about 18 DPS. The super interesting part was that with the bow, I'm the one getting most of the DPS increase, whereas with the chestpiece, a lot of the DPS increase will come from the pet. So I suppose it's really a choice of whether I'd like to have more of a pet-DPS increase or focus on the hunter-DPS increase. And also a choice of whether I'd rather spend 100 or 150 badges to obtain roughly the same increase. And a choice of whether I'd cheat on my rifle (my preciousssss) with a Choco-Bow.

Leanin' towards the chestpiece but I don't want to make any major decisions right now. Especially because I sort of wonder if the haste rating is going to make things harder on my hand-woven shot rotations. So for now...

I will have patience and will think about this some more.

And I will wait for my boots.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Teacher's Work Never Ends

I think that sometimes we may take what we know about a subject for granted and assume everyone knows it. That's one of the reasons why I've been somewhat reluctant to post "hunter kindergarten" guides in the past... because I often fear it's stuff everybody already knows.

But just now, while playing a lowbie hordie, I heard the following two things said by two different level 70 hunters:

"BM hunters don't need agility, they need attack power."


"The best shot rotation for 41/20/0 Beast Mastery uses Aimed Shots and Arcane Shots, and Steady Shot but only against dazed targets because it does more damage against dazed targets."



Sorry Barrens hunters, but it's back to school for you guys. Let's go over some stuff real quick here: and I know I don't have the math to back it up, but I do have some personal experiences.

Attack Power vs. Agility

Attack power isn't bad per se, but here's the thing, if you are gearing for Attack Power over agility, then you are basically giving up crit in favor of a little extra damage per shot.

Whether or not AP helps your "pure DPS" more than crit does is somewhat debatable and is largely dependent on gear, according to Cheeky, a hunter that I have a lot of respect for.

But let's go beyond "pure DPS" and think about what happens when you crit as a typical Beast Mastery hunter. You get to use Kill Command. More DPS. Your pet has a very good chance of crit'ing with Kill Command. More DPS. This procs Ferocious Inspiration. More DPS. Also when you crit, your pet gets a bunch of focus via Go for the Throat. This lets your pet use his focus dump moves (more DPS), which also have a good shot at crit'ing (more DPS) and procing Frenzy (more DPS) and Ferocious Inspiration (more DPS). Now I haven't done any math or anything but I'm having a hard time believing that some extra attack power is going to overcome all the benefits of crits. I myself would much rather see a big crit number on my Armory page than a big AP number.

Now the key is balance, you don't want to stack crit chance and let your AP suffer or vice versa. That's why agility is so good, because it contributes to both. Not to mention when a paladin gives you Blessing of Kings, it is going to scale based on your agility and not on flat AP or crit increases.

And that is why, in Pike's opinion, Agility > Attack Power.

Shot Rotations:

My fellow hunters, do not underestimate the importance of using a good shot rotation if you want to do lots of DPS. If you are a Beast Master hunter you do not need to be using Arcane Shots (unless you have a slower weapon and can thread one in there) and you should never be using Aimed Shots. I have done heroics with hunters who have a nice solid spec, are very well-geared, and yet do very little DPS compared to me, and the reason is because they are simply spamming whatever shots they can when the cooldown is up. You need to learn how to time your shots. I know it seems kind of counterintuitive at first to simply not use certain shots when they're sitting right there in front of you, ready to be fired. But ya gotta trust me on this one. Grab a nice weapon like Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle, start weaving in Steady Shots between your Auto Shots, and hang on and enjoy the ride. The results will amaze you.

My damage meter told me I was hitting over 1100 DPS during my last Kara run; I don't want to quote that just yet because it seems a little high to me and my damage meter has been sorta glitchy lately anyway. But I know I am doing close to 1000 under optimal circumstances and the reason is because of my shot rotation.

As for Steady Shot: apparently it really does do more damage against dazed targets (I... feel kinda silly for not knowing this before >.> I guess you can learn stuff in Barrens Chat.) but that doesn't mean you should be saving it and only using it against dazed targets. It is the most mana-efficient special shot that you have and you should make the most of it.

Well, that wraps up today's little review. In closing, I just want to mention how much I dislike lag. Because it throws off my groove.

This little guide was hastily written up before running to work, so as always, lemme know if I made a mistake or left somethin' out.