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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 10

Levels 41-60

That's right, we're gettin' you to level 60 today. Mostly because you simply do not learn a whole lot of abilities in your 40s and 50s. Here's what your trainer is going to give you:

Aspect of the Wild
at level 46. This will give you, your pet, and your group a whole lotta nature resistance. If you group a lot, you will sometimes be asked to use it in various PvE situations; for example, the end boss of Slave Pens, or Hydross the Unstable in Serpentshrine Cavern (yeah that's a long ways off, but see, some of your most random abilities go a long way!) I also use it when solo'ing sometimes if there's a big poison on me or my pet, or are otherwise fighting something that does lots of nature damage. Other than that, you won't be using it all that much. I have heard it said that it lessens the effects of hunter stings and rogue poisons in PvP but I haven't tried this and honesty I think there are probably better aspects you could be using. (Hawk/Monkey/Viper, depending on your situation.)

Track Dragonkin at level 50. This is your last tracking spell, grats on getting it! If you are Alliance, go into Stormwind Keep and pop Track Dragonkin. No wonder Lady Prestor is so grumpy all the time eh?

And finally, Tranquilizing Shot at level 60. This shot is going to get some love in Wrath of the Lich King but until then it is mostly going to be one of your Things You Never Use. In its present incarnation, it removes frenzy effects from certain mobs and those mobs are in a limited number. I believe I've used it twice total, once on a boss in Molten Core and once, just for kicks, on one of those undead horses in Karazhan:

Ventrilo Reinactment:
Me: "Hey [tank]."
Tank: "What?"
Me: "I just used Tranquilizing Shot."
Tank: " did what?"

Now right around in here is also when you will probably be learning your top-tier talent in your chosen talent tree. Let's talk about 'em a little. The Beast Within is my personal favorite because it's exciting and also sort of an "I win" button in a lot of situations. It gets you out of CC and makes you un-CCable for 18 seconds, it lessens the mana cost of all your abilities, and increases your damage output.

In PvE use it when you need to kill something fast, if you want your pet to nab more threat but your Intimidation is on cooldown-- and in instances/raids I use it basically anytime it's up so long as the following conditions are met: the tank has a bunch of aggro, and it's not going to be wasted (using The Beast Within when the mob is going to die in three seconds, for example, is not ideal.)

In PvP use it when you're heavily CC'd, fighting a warlock, need to kill something fast, or when you want to annoy the living heck outta rogues/warriors. Typical Line Running Through Pike's Head In That Last Situation: "Oh you think you can slow me huh? Oh I THINK NOT! I'ma kite you I'ma kite you I'ma kiiiiite you~"

Marksman hunters get Silencing Shot. Now this is going to turn into a "real interrupt" in Wrath of the Lich King, until then it's still a lot of fun in my humble opinion. Some of my earliest Alterac Valley jaunts were spent as Marksman and those were the days, Silencing Shotting priests to my little huntery heart's content. Also super useful for pulling casters when trapping them in PvE. Overall Silencing Shot is probably one of my favorite things from the Marksman tree.

Survival gets Readiness. The "usefulness" of this ability often seems to be debated, but while I haven't ever used it myself it seems to me to me to be something that could really save your rear sometimes. Trap resist and your new trap is still on cooldown? Bam, readiness, new trap. Or double-Deterrence "tanking" in an emergency. Stuff like that. Still, a lot of people opt to skip this one in favor of other talents.

Well, that'll do ya 'til 60. Your basic Shot Rotation and playstyle is still going to be basically the same-- your world hasn't changed quite yet for another couple of levels.

Things to do between levels 40 and 60:

"The Hunter's Charm": a questline that starts at any hunter trainer while you are in your 50s, this will take you to Azshara and eventually into Sunken Temple and culminates in a handy hunter trinket of your choice.

Alterac Valley: All my hunters get Ice Barbed Spear, that's just how it goes. Some people opt to get the bow instead; it's hard-hitting but in all honesty the stats are not as good and it is slooooow as all heck, which means if you are Beast Master you will eventually run into some issues down the road. That's far down the road though, by which time you will probably have a new bow. So pick what you want, especially because sometimes you will get lucky and find something with similar stats to my beloved Spear on the Auction House. Oh, and you get one of these rewards by winning an Alterac Valley. Pick up the quest at your faction's AV entrance at level 51.

My Ice Barbed Spear is still in the bank. I loved it dearly. I'm tellin' ya though: come Wrath of the Lich King, our love will be reignited.

Well, that'll do it for this time. Grats on getting your hunter to level 60! And thanks for sticking with me on this project! For those who want to catch up, here's where we're at currently:

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 [Current]

See you next time! /salute

Monday, September 8, 2008

Where In the World is Pike Sandiego

Those Rockapella guys were pretty cool. That was a pretty good show, really. I used to watch it every day alongside "Ghostwriter" which always had its biggest cliffhangers on Friday so I'd quietly go insane over the weekend. Poor lil' Pike.


I generally try to keep this blog WoW (and specifically, hunter) related but I have been tagged by one Lassirra to participate in a "Where Were You When..." meme. So without further ado:

September 11 Attacks

September 11, 2001: I was getting a ride to school (I was a senior in high school at the time) from some acquaintances and they were flipping through radio stations. I heard for the space of about two seconds something about airplanes crashing into a tower, which startled me, but they kept flipping through those stations and I soon forgot about it.

Then I walked into school and knew something was different... kids were huddled around in small groups talking in hushed tones. I caught up to my group of friends and was quickly told the news: airplanes had crashed into both the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. On top of that there were about a million other rumors going around: there was a car bomb on Capitol Hill, there was a bomb on the Statue of Liberty, etc.

I really can't remember my reaction other than the fact that I felt really bad when one of my most cheerful friends came up to us all bright-eyed and asked what was up. I felt bad because we had to be the ones to tell him that the world had turned upside down.

At 8:28 AM I went into A.P. Art, my first period class-- CNN was on TV-- and the very moment I sat into my chair the second tower collapsed, live. That was... surreal.

That entire day we did very little in each of my classes; in every single class we either watched CNN or had discussions about what was going on. Well-- almost every class. Spanish class we did vocab.

One year to the date after it happened I wrote up a little document for myself so as not to forget some of the details of the previous year. Here's an excerpt:

At first, when no one really knew what was going on, people were clamoring to compare it to something. Oklahoma City, they said. Then they knew it was bigger than that, much, much bigger. So they changed it. It was like Pearl Harbor.

Then they said it was even worse than Pearl Harbor, for several reasons.

At about this same time, people were wondering what to call it. The news channels on TV said, simply, “AMERICA ATTACKED” in big, bold, defiant letters. Sometimes they were called “The Terrorist Attacks on Tuesday,” or “The Terrorist Attacks on September the Eleventh.”

But it really wasn’t called anything. So people drew on Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was the day that would live in infamy. So this became “The Other Day that would live in Infamy.”

President Bush gave a speech that night. His main quote was “We will draw no distinction between those who carried out the attacks and those who harbor them.” It was a strong quote, but it offered no material to name “it,” as Roosevelt’s speech had done with Pearl Harbor.

A week went by and life was not normal. It would never return to normal, of course. So it became “The Week that would live in Infamy.”

Then, it was “The Month that would live in Infamy.”

Then, it was “The Year that would live in Infamy.”

And, finally, it wasn’t named after this quote from Pearl Harbor. It wasn’t named “World Trade Center” or “Pentagon.” It was given two names.

September 11; and, 9/11.

It wasn’t “nine-one-one” like everyone thought it would be at first. No. Nine-one-one is still associated with who you call if there is a fire in the building. This was different. This was “nine-eleven.”

From that point on, no one could get through the date of “11” without bringing it up. The months ending in “-ember” were worst. November 11. December 11. It sent eerily familiar chills up peoples’ backs; sent an ugly jolt of memories back to some obscure fragment of the brain...

Surreal to read that. I'm glad I chose to write it up. Solemn times, indeed.

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

January 28, 1986: I was two years old. I seem to have this vague, vague memory of sitting on the living room floor watching something about a space shuttle on TV and wondering when I could watch Sesame Street instead, but I dunno, maybe that's a false memory my mind conjured up.

Hurricane Katrina

August 29, 2005: I don't really remember what exactly I was doing when I first heard about this, but I do remember the aftermath; reading the newspaper in shock in the breakroom at Target (where I worked at the time). Oh wait, LiveJournal to the rescue:

Sep. 1st, 2005 at 11:00 PM

This whole Hurricane Katrina thing is just plain surreal. A major city wiped out (or very nearly so), pure chaos, no food or water, people getting raped and/or shot at, corpses in the streets...

You think "Wait, this is America. This type of thing doesn't happen in America, except in movies."

But look, apparently, it does happen in America. It's happening right now, and it could've happened to any city or town in the country, or in the world for that matter. If not by a hurricane, than by something else.

Yellowstone National Park is really just one giant volcano, if it were to blow right now I'd never know because I'd be dead so quick.


That last word really defines it all for me I think; it was just this this big feeling of "unrealness".

Reagan Assassination Attempt

March 30, 1981: Erm... I wasn't born yet.

John Lennon’s Death

December 8, 1980: See above answer.

Kurt Cobain’s Death

April 5, 1994: This would've made me about ten years old I think. In all honesty I had no idea who the guy was at the time and thus no idea this had happened. You gotta understand that I was the oldest child in my family so I had no older siblings who were going through a grunge rock phase, and my parents were both of the Early-Metallica generation and from what I can gather thought Nirvana was some sort of imposter anyway, so I didn't hear anything from them on the matter.

John F. Kennedy’s Assassination

November 22, 1963: Obviously I wasn't around for this, heck, I don't think my parents even remember this! I feel like a young'un.

Other Stuff That Wasn't On the Meme But I Remember Anyway:

Princess Diana's Death: I was in seventh grade. This was a big deal; my parents, siblings and I were watching the news until us kids had to go to bed and then my parents remained up long into the night.

OJ Simpson Trial: I was in sixth grade. I knew enough of what was going on to form my own coherent opinion that OJ was guilty as charged, only to have them come on the intercom at school to say that he'd been found innocent. Good times...

The Unabomber: Another thing that happened in sixth grade. See, this happened in Montana, which happens to be where I live (I ride a buffalo to work. ...ya know how many people believe me when I say that?) so this was a huge thing. News cameras all over the place.

Berlin Wall Coming Down
: I was in kindergarten and the teacher was pointing out East and West Germany on a globe and telling us that they were now one big Germany and it was really historical. I didn't really understand what was going on but took her word for it. And then went to recess.

Gore/Bush Election and the Subsequent Infamous "Recounts"
: Even though I wasn't old enough to vote yet this was a pretty big deal at the time. Big enough that the next year we got all new history textbooks: "New! Includes the Gore/Bush Election!" and then September 11 happened a few weeks later. Ironic. This election also resulted in me deciding I didn't like the Electoral College, an issue which I have since waffled on (hey, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about "issues"! So when I actually do think about one it's a big deal! ;P)

World of Warcraft Release Date: "Huh, so my brother has this new game. He's a big cow named Dairygold. Oh look, he died, and now he's... a ghost? Huh. Weird. *goes back to Starcraft/Final Fantasy*" (Perhaps ironically enough, he does in fact still play a cow.)

Well, there you have it. Where Pike was and what she was doing when history was being made. I hope you enjoyed the interlude, I enjoyed writing it up and it was interesting to look back on some of the stuff that has happened. Makes me glad I've always been a writer and journalist, a lot of this is stuff I don't want to forget.

Have a great week and I'll see you next time when we get back down to hunter-business!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Boom De Yadda


"It never gets old, does it?"
"Kinda makes you want to..."
"Roll another hunter?"
"...well, that's not where I was going, but..."

I love each of my pets
And I love Steady Shot
I love The Beast Within
I love more stable slots
I love my hunters
I think I'm quite obsessed
Boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda

I love to Feign Death
And Aspect of the Hawk
I love to bother rogues
I love when Frenzy procs
I love my hunters
And all their epicness
Boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda

I love my Choco-Bow
I love my Agi 'chants
I love crit rating
And non-revealing pants
I love my hunters
I play them all day long
Boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda

I love to chain trap
And I love kiting things
I love the jump-shot
I even love my stings
I love my hunters
And all they stuff they do
Boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda

I love to Misdirect
And I love Kill Command
I love to Aimed Shot priests
And weave my shots by hand
I love my hunters
I really, really do
Boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda
Boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda, boom de yadda...

(Inspired by this, this, and finally this.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pay It Forward

I've lately been playing my hordie hunter Lunapike quite a bit. She resides on an RP-PvP server, as opposed to Tawyn who is on a regular RP server, so seeing the game from the PvP-server side of things has been a bit of an adventure. I've been ganked by the obligatory level ??s who have nothing better to do, and I've reciprocated by raiding Southshore. I've learned to be wary upon seeing corpses of mobs laying around-- might be the other faction, after all-- and I've learned to rely oh so heavily on Track Humanoids. (Hunters have it easy here, I think.)

I have had to put up with not being able to go to Halaa to buy my arrows because the other faction has it, and I've rejoiced when we've put together a raid to take it back. (By contrast, on Silver Hand, Alliance controls Halaa about 99% of the time... so I never had to worry about it. Though in all honesty, VeCo Horde has it a bit better than VeCo Alliance in World PvP I think. Us hordies probably have it about 75% of the time when I've been there.)

I read once on the WoW website that, lore and RP-wise, Blizzard considers PvE and PvP servers to sort of be differing dimensions of the same point in history: PvE servers are where Horde and Alliance have established an uneasy truce, and PvP servers are where they are still actively at war. This, I have found, brings some depth to roleplay (nothing like getting demolished by a night elf druid after you have just killed a beast that is important to night elf druid lore) and offers a fun twist on a world that you have perhaps already explored PvE-wise... and makes for some interesting stories.

This particular story takes place in Blade's Edge Mountains. I was doing a semi-long questline that involved putting on a gas mask, talking to a projection, killing some demons, gathering keys, and powering up some big obelisks. As I headed off to do the first step, an Alliance Shadow Priest, only one level lower than me, showed up at pretty much the same time.

She saw me and hesitated for a bit, trying to size up whether or not I would attack her, I imagine. I tend not to attack people first, though, unless they are being annoying in some way, so I went right past her and started attacking the mobs I needed. She did too. We stayed far clear of each other, each of us keeping a wary eye on the other as we turned in our first step in the quest chain.

Off we went to do the second step. About partway through, I noticed that one of my mobs had some DoTs on it... DoTs that weren't mine. Shadow Priest had opted to make the first move and establish herself as "friendly". So I reciprocated a few minutes later when she seemed to bite off more than she could chew and I helped whack the extra mobs off of her.

Still, we remained silent to each other. I have seen it happen in the past; people who do something to assert themselves as "friendly" and then conveniently change their mind shortly later. Despite that, I was getting good vibes from her, so we continued questing.

Then came the final part of the chain, where you used keys to activate five obelisks. Only one person can do this at a time and Shadow Priest got there first. One by one she activated them and I stood by and watched, waiting for my turn.

And what did activating those obelisks do? Summon a level 68 elite.

Shadow Priest was level 66. And alone. Well, alone except for...

She turned and saw that I was standing there watching. I like to think that we somehow communicated something there. Some sort of nonverbal and nonemote "nod". She charged in.

After she got in the first hit I sent in my pet and away the two of us went at the thing. It was a long and hard fight and by the end of it, Shadow Priest was literally down to 3% health, but we did it.

She turned to me and /bowed, our first real communication, and I /bowed back. Then she sat to eat and drink while I went off to activate the obelisks myself. And on cue, the level 68 elite showed up.

I sent in my pet and started my attack. Shadow Priest was right there, tossing DoTs on it after I'd tagged it. This particular elite hits hard and my Mend Pet really wasn't cutting it, but with aggro constantly bouncing back and forth between my pet and Shadow Priest, we somehow managed to do it. Like last time, it had been a close one, and my pet did die in the final few seconds. But, we'd done it.

Afterwards we /cheered at each other. Then she Mind Controlled me and gave me Power Word: Fortitude.

We went on our separate ways, having completed the quest.

Flash forward about an hour later and I was doing a different quest in a different part of the zone. Somehow I'd wound up with more mobs than I could take on top of me. I ran into a tunnel hoping to shake them off, only to unwittingly run into more. I was bracing myself for the final blows when suddenly the mobs were all feared. Feared?

I turned around. Shadow Priest to the rescue! It took a while but we managed to take down all the mobs. I /cheered at her again and she Mind Controlled me again and gave me Fort again before we parted ways.

Later I Armory'd her and found out that she has over twice as many honor kills as I do, and I have a lot-- clearly she's no "care bear". Clearly she likes her PvP, as do I. But while a wise man once said "It's easy to forget what a sin is in the middle of a battlefield", you also never know what sorts of crazy alliances with kindred spirits you'll make.

And I salute ya for that, Syphrilia of VeCo. /salute

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 9

Levels 31-40

Now that you are at level 30, your typical playstyle is going to go something like this: Send in pet/Hunter's Mark, Intimidate if it's ready (if you are pure Beast Mastery), open with a Serpent Sting, let a couple Auto Shots flow and toss in an Arcane Shot. Most mobs will be dead by then.

Isn't being a hunter fun?

Let's see what you'll get in your 30s. And while you are in your 30s, don't forget to stop by Hemet Nesingwary Jr. in Stranglethorn Vale. He and his buddies have a questline that culminates in all sorts of delicious huntery rewards. (If you are on a PvP server, do this quest at your own risk.)

Track Demons
you will get at 32. Does what it says: tracks demons. It might surprise you who is a demon. Next time you see somebody innocuously walking a round Un'Goro or Winterspring telling you they love the weather, put on Track Demons.

No, really.

At level 32 you also get Flare. I don't know about you guys, but leveling on a PvP server this last time around has at this point trained me to be rather deathly afraid of that "zheeeew" noise that happens when a rogue or druid nearby stealths. Now what Flare does, is expose all stealthed units within the range of your Flare. So next time you hear that noise and see a shimmer out of the corner of your eye-- pop a Flare where you think it was and demand that they show themselves!

It is also one of your most used moves in battlegrounds when you are on defense. When I am guarding a flag/node/etc. I will keep some sort of trap refreshed (Freezing/Immolation/Snake, depending on my mood and what I am guarding) and pop Flare every time it's up. The best way to beat a rogue is to catch them at a distance before they pounce on you and proceed to stunlock-stunlock-dead you. I mean it too, rogues at a distance are delightfully squishy.

Moving on, at level 34 you will learn Explosive Trap. This is your first real form of AoE (aside from Multi-Shot which I honestly don't think counts too much.) This is useful when you are trying to kill large groups of things with little HP, and useful for raids/instances where they tell you "everybody AoE!" so you don't feel completely useless. It can pull a lot of initial aggro so be prepared to Feign Death in that last situation there, unless you want approximately four thousand and seventy-three Phantom Guests pounding on you (before they all head to the warlock who inevitably dies. Don't tell me this doesn't happen to your raid too! /shakes finger).

And at level 36 you get Viper Sting. I love Viper Sting. This is when to use it: in place of Serpent Sting on mobs who have mana and annoyingly powerful Fireball-of-Doom abilities that remove half of your pet's HP, and in PvP against casters/healers/other hunters. Using it on other hunters always gives me a sort of sick pleasure; please forgive me if you are Horde on Bloodlust (or Alliance on Nightfall) and I have done it to you. I can't help it.

Always remember it's situational though: if you need to eke out more damage then use Serpent Sting. If the raid boss has a mana pool of over 9 million (oh there I go with the horrible internet puns again) then it's not worth it. Usually, anyways. I've seen some weird boss fights where getting the mana down quickly is key.

And finally you hit level 40! Let's see what you learn:

Aspect of the Pack: it's basically the same as Aspect of the Cheetah except it effects your party! Granted, now that everybody should have a mount, it's not particularly special, but it can be nice for, say, running back to your bodies in an instance after a wipe. Be careful when you use it. If anybody in your party is attacked while under the effects of Aspect of the Pack that person will be dazed. Keep an eye out for your party and if you see something heading towards a member of your party switch to another aspect immediately. The same applies for when you are using this to help out the flag runner in Warsong Gulch.

And do not under any circumstances engage in pulls/boss fights/PvP with this Aspect on. The number of hunters I have come across in Arathi Basin who are trying to protect the flag with Aspect of the Cheetah/Pack on is staggering.

You also get Track Giants which, well, tracks giants.

And lastly, you will get Volley, which is your second form of AoE. Useful for all the previous situations that I outlined and for making cool visual effects in the middle of Stormwind. Do remember though that it is a channeled spell and damage done to you while casting can break it.

Depending on your talent spec, this is usually also where you will unlock access to your 30-point talent, unless you are Pike and always stick five points somewhere else first. Beast Mastery gets the famed Big Red Kitty Maneuver, Bestial Wrath, which makes your pet do some serious damage for 18 seconds and also makes him immune to... basically everything. Survival unlocks access to Wyvern Sting which has its fans and... not-so-big-fans; it'll put something to sleep for 12 seconds and then put a DoT on it. Marksmanship gets Trueshot Aura which will buff the physical attack power of you and your party. Spoiler Alert!!: This talent is getting an excruciatingly awesome buff in Wrath of the Lich King. /spoilers

Well, that'll do it for today's edition of SYWtPaH. I may be speeding things up because there aren't too many abilities left for you to learn (though many of the ones that are left, are important). Go ye forth and do huntery things!