Saturday, December 29, 2007

Music to WoW by ;)

Someone started a thread with suggested class theme music in the General forum a day or so ago. That inspired me, so I've spent roughly the last two days since then putting together a rather exhaustive list of music to listen to for all different elements of the game. Incidentally Pike, this is also why you haven't seen me in-game since then, possibly. ;-)

Some of this music is rare and difficult to find, although most of it will be searchable on Google by name, and you can then find how to obtain it from there. Also, in case this is necessary...I'm listing the names of songs only; so I'm not infringing copyrights.

This also probably isn't entirely finished yet, either...I'll keep adding to it for a little while yet.

BM Hunter:- Black Betty, by Ram Jam.
Night Train, by Guns 'n' Roses.
Mescaline, by 1200 Micrograms.
The Pokemon Theme.
Cotton Eye Joe, by the Rednex.
Gettin' Drunk, by the Beat Farmers.

Marks Hunter:- Moonlight Sonata 14, by Rave over Beethoven.
The Dominoes Fall, from the V for Vendetta Soundtrack.
Playing to Win, by John Farnham.
Batman Begins Main Theme, from BB Soundtrack.

Survival Hunter:- Baraka Spirit Zone, by Etnica.
Terminator 2 Main Theme, from T2 Soundtrack.
You Can't Kill Me, by Mojo Nixon.
Nurture My Pig, by the Reverend Horton Heat.
Swamp Thing, by the Grid.
Savin' The Day, from the Ghostbusters Soundtrack.

Druid:- Contradanza, by Vanessa Mae.
Power of Celtics, by Shiva Shidapu.

Feral Druid:- The Animal Song, by Savage Garden.
Cat Druid:- Whenever, Wherever by Shakira.
Send Me On My Way, by Rusted Root.

Bear Druid:- The Bare Necessities, from the Jungle Book soundtrack.
Resto Druid:- Night In That Land, by Nightnoise.

Boomkin Druid:- Ride On Time, by Black Box. (Semi-rare now)
Walk This Way, by Aerosmith and Run DMC.
You Spin Me Right Round, by Dead Or Alive.

Mage:- Attack - Plastix, by Bexta.
Friend Like Me, from the Aladdin Soundtrack.
Be Like Mike, by Gatorade. (Pyroblast ;) Rare - Email me if you can't find it)
Big Blue Dress, by Cranius (On YouTube)

Priest:- Mea Culpa, by Enigma.
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? by Culture Club.

Holy Priest:- Almost Unreal, by Roxette.
How Do You Do, by Roxette.
Hero, by Enrique Eglasias.
Bed of Roses, by Bon Jovi.

Shadow Priest:- Spybreak, from The Matrix Soundtrack.
Operation: Blade, by Public Domain.
Arabian Nights on Mescaline, by Infected Mushroom & GMS
First Impression, by Dave Joy.
Salvia Divinorum, by 1200 Micrograms.

Rogue:- The Last Ninja, by Magnus and Erik Band. (Rare - Email me if you can't find it)
Mortal Kombat, by Utah Saints.
Spin That Wheel, from the TMNT Soundtrack.
Punch In The Face, by Frenzal Rhomb.
One Jump Ahead, from the Aladdin Soundtrack.
Everything About You, by Ugly Kid Joe.
Bad Boys, by Inner Circle. (Troll Rogue)
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC (Suggested by Josh)

Warrior:- Working Class Man, by Jimmy Barnes.
All Fired Up, by Pat Benatar.
Thunderstruck, by AC/DC.
TNT, by AC/DC.

Paladin:- The Touch, from the Transformers (1987) Soundtrack.
Superman Theme, by John Williams.
Big Time, by Peter Gabriel.
It's Not Easy To Be Me, by Five For Fighting.
St. Elmo's Fire, by John Parr.

Warlock:- Isolated, by Chiasm.
Touched, by Vast.
Forsaken, by Disturbed.
Hunger, from the Transformers (1987) Soundtrack.
The Imperial March, by Metallica. (Orc Warlock)

Shaman:- Sweet Lullaby (Apollo Mix) by Deep Forest.
Earth Tremors, by Fractal Glider.
Red, by Endorphin.
Divine Moments of Truth, by Shpongle.
Arcazection, by LioZ. (Old, impossible to find, but awesome. Email me for it)
UK USA, by Eskimos & Egypt.

Orc National:- Barbarian Horde, from the Gladiator Soundtrack.
Troll National:- Dreadlock Holiday, by 10cc.
Tauren National:- Ly-O-Lay Ale Loya (Circle Dance), by Sacred Spirit.
Forsaken National:- House of 1,000 Corpses, by Rob Zombie.
Dwarf National:- Protect Your Mind, (Braveheart Theme) by DJ Sakin.
Gnome National:- Hook Main Theme, by John Williams.
Goblin National:- Space Pussy, by Hallucinogen.
Night Elf National:- Contradanza, by Vanessa Mae.
Human National:- Kingdom Skies, by Jase. (Old, impossible to find, but awesome. Email me for it)
Blood Elf National:- My Michelle, by Guns 'n' Roses.
Draenei National:- On Sacred Ground, by Yanni.

Zone/Area Music. (This is by no means exhaustive; just a couple I've come up with)

Hillsbrad Foothills:- And Then They Start To Dance, (Dumonde Mix) by DJ Snowman.
The Crossroads:- Egyptian Nile Music, by Soliman Gamil.
The Wailing Caverns:- The Cobra's Dance (Fallahi Rhythm) by Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy.
Camp Taurajo:- White Whisper, by Deep Forest.

Ratchet:- Deep Blue Sea, by Brian Eno.
Man of Colors, by Icehouse.
If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? by Mental As Anything.

Tanaris:- Desert Storm, by Infected Mushroom and Holymen.
Bloodhoof Village:- Stomp Dance, by Music of the American Indian.
Desolace:- Baraka Spirit Zone, by Etnica.
Razorfen Kraul:- Shredder's Suite, from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Soundtrack.
Stranglethorn Vale:- Suneater, by This Morn' Omina.
The Hinterlands:- Rain Song, by Myth.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Seeing how the other side lives

I went and visited Pike over on Silver Hand this morning, which was fun. I got up to level 6 after Pike logged off, but then as well as being tired, I ran into a rather creepy gnome in Goldshire who first said my toon was cute, then asked where the Darkmoon Faire was, and then asked if he could "work for me." I thus logged off immediately after that. That's the down side of playing a female toon, I guess.

Although definitely not always, they can sometimes be rather sinister little creatures, gnomes. This one had a pointed moustache and the proverbial Fu Manchu beard, to add stereotypical weight to the impression.

Although they can also be fun to play, too...I had an alt a bit back, which was my first time playing one, and ran around Goldshire screaming, "I'M A GNOME! I'M A GNOME! I'M A GNOME!" for probably close to two full minutes or so, noticing how much more quickly I at least *seemed* to be moving, as well as what it was like to have a vantage point that much lower than other people's. Was great fun...although I think the other people in Goldshire probably thought I was insane.

In terms of Alliance races, I've now played pretty much all of them; I like the Draenei as well, but in terms of the Night Elves, I've never been able to get over my experience with them in Warsong Gulch enough to actually be able to play one myself.

*Eyes begin to glaze over* "Must...kill...Warm...sweet...Night Elf...blood..." *begins twitching*

Oh I have to go and clean up the drool.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Jubei'Thos has free transfers!

I still won't have the money for gametime for another few days yet, but if I can get back in time, apparently Jubei'Thos is having free server transfers to help lower its' overflowing population. I think I will almost certainly transfer off if so...although I really haven't had much of a chance to play WoW in general these days, even when I had game time. Christmas is always busy, however.

What I was going to ask though, there any particular server where most of the people who read this blog have characters? It'd be cool if a few of us could meet up on one particular server and do some stuff at some point. Of course, even if some of you had to roll alts, the new experience discounts make doing so much faster than before.

So if we were going to find a server to congregate on, which would it be?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New forum thread

I posted the first thread on the forum, since apparently other people are a little shy so far. ;-)

The thread is asking for opinions on whether or not to take the slaying talents (+3% damage to humanoids or monsters) in the Survival tree. I noted that people in the blog comments have been suggesting to do so. Let people know what your opinion on this is. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

The War on Vermin

Summer's here again, and for me, that means the mice, ants, and white tail spiders are too. I need to get the grass outside my house cut, as I think that is drawing the spiders.

I had to go to the supermarket here yesterday and get some surface spray insecticide, three insecticide fumigation bombs and some rodenticide bait stations. After having a mouse in my bedroom and nearly having a large white tail spider fall on my head near the back of my house, I'm fighting back. ;-)

The mouse hasn't been seen since, and on seeing another large white tail spider earlier this evening, I sprayed down my front door frame with surface spray. It seems I'm going to have to repel them room by room, pretty much.

I greatly envy people living at higher latitudes at this time of year...because not only do I need to endure the heat at this time of year, but I also find myself having to re-assert my position at the top of the food chain. ;-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another new Survivalist's blog

Got another new one here, Lienna's Log. She apparently just got started this month. Go look, say hi, etc. ;-)

My own forum

I decided to follow in BRK's example. Unfortunately this isn't hosted by me; it's a free site, but still seems to work fine.

The address is - Go make an account if you want, and start some topics up...I've got an initial announcement there, and will add some more stuff in time. I noticed though that I've been getting some questions in my comments recently, which is really cool...but at the same time, I thought a forum might make things a bit easier...they're a bit better for two way communication than blog comments.

Of course, I will still be posting here, and probably what I will do is copy some of the stuff I write over there back here, in order for it to exist here in a more read-only form...we can do actual discussion etc over there. This should be good though. :)

A few different Survival builds

Following my last post, I thought I'd put up a couple of different builds, for use when doing different things.

16/0/45. - The "phone booth" spec, dedicated purely to CC and wipe prevention. This is hard core Survival, it's unashamedly non-standard, and most people will think that it's utterly crazy, as it breaks a number of cardinal rules. It also doesn't work anywhere near as well these days as it actually did before 2.0, and prior to 2.0, this was my own full time spec.

The advantages though are rock solid trapping and CC, truly insane health, and a potential dodge rate of close to 40% with 700 agility. It also saved my life numerous times when I got jumped melee in either Desolace or Felwood; the Alliance trying that usually got a very nasty surprise.

The downside is utterly negligible ranged damage. You ideally only want to use this these days in a group support role, where you already have someone else designated as primary DPS, and you're focused on CC, safe pulling via the Perfect Zone of Ultimate Safety, and Deterrence offtanking. For that however, it can work very well.

It however should not be used for soloing, particularly in Outland. I speak from experience there. Just don't; you will die, and it will be messy and horrible.

0/21/40 - Cookie cutter. From what I've seen, this (at least at one point) was probably the forum-approved MM/Surv spec. You get most of Survival's goodness, including the stuff needed for trapping. However, this build also doesn't come with Readiness, and without more points in Marks, before you get to 600 ag, your comparitive raw ranged damage is still going to suck.

0/31/30 - "Waiting for Agility." I was using this for a while (or something close to it) until I got my 600 ag, at which point I switched back to something closer to the 0/21/40 build. This is a hybrid, for use when you still want to do decent ranged damage, (which it actually does) but don't want to give up Survival entirely. Personally though, if damage is your focus, I'd probably go with BM in preference to this; simply because BM will still do more damage than it, and you're also not really getting enough of Survival in this build for it to be really useful in terms of utility.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New blog

Added the url of Nomakk, a fellow Survivalist, to the blogroll...his blog is called Scattered Nightmares. He's only got two posts up so far, but I'm sure he will probably add some more. Let's make him feel welcome. :)

More about the Survival role

(An mp3 I recommend playing in the background while reading this post, or particularly the latter half of it, is Like A Dog Chasing Cars from the Dark Knight soundtrack. It's a good song for listening to where Survival in general is concerned, IMHO...Creates the right mindset. ;-))

Thanks for posting this, especially the part about about knowing your role. I've been trying to adjust to the spec, and it's been frustrating. I know that it's because I just haven't figured it out yet, but I still feel like a dork when the BMs and MMs routinely out dps me. I'm not making the kind of impact you described when you described saving the priest and the party from a wipe.

I had this in a comment from Ardent attached to the post about SV mana efficiency. His frustration is understandable. The common belief among Hunters both on the forum and off is that our role, first, last, and everything in between, is pure ranged DPS. I suspect that also the venerable BRK himself would be nodding and saying Amen at this point. For a BM Hunter, (and to a lesser degree, Marksmanship) he's right.

However, I'll also say that from what I've been seeing him write recently, BRK is actually starting to display an intuitive understanding of what Survival is about as well, and that is greatly appreciated. Given the degree of prominence that BRK has in the WoW-related blogosphere, his depiction of Survival has a lot of potential for influencing people's perceptions of the spec one way or the other; so him understanding the potential value of our role is as important as us understanding what Beast Mastery can do for us in a group.

What BRK has been noting recently (if only in passing and by implication of course, as Survival understandably is not his main area of focus) is that the main area where Survival differs from the other two specs is that the other two specs are predominantly offensive. Survival, on the other hand, is predominantly defensive.

Hence, Ardent is absolutely correct when he notes that in many situations, a Survival Hunter is going to get schooled on the damage meter by a Hunter of either of the other two specs. That's working as intended, and it's just fine; I don't have a problem with it at all.

A point of reference; in WoW earlier, although I was beaten by one particular Alliance shaman, (also level 70) I won the next three out of four duels with a second, and also ended up beating off an Alliance cat form Druid who had surprised me and managed to get in an initial Mangle before I'd started my own attacks. I can also say with certitude that before the introduction of Vanish, Cloak of Shadows, and Resilience, I never lost a single fight against a Rogue as a Hunter, and that many of those were won via hybrid melee.

I also don't do that via greater damage output. Compared to just about anyone else I know of, my damage sucks. PvE, I have topped 1200 DPS, but I need to go close to breaking my wrist to do so. Again, that's just fine.

I do it by keeping the enemy where I want them, and by where appropriate, utilising those abilities (Immolation trap, Serpent Sting, that supposedly "elite" Hunters turn up their noses at) that can deliver regulated and gradual threat, rather than burst, and which also mean that even if I need to spend time dodging, I'm still doing damage to the target. I remember in one particular duel against another Hunter, I managed to first freeze his pet, then apply Wyvern Sting to the Hunter himself, and I then actually paused for a second before continuing to destroy him in order to allow him to appreciate just how utterly powerless he was at that point.

This is a perfect illustration of the exact point. Beast Mastery is about giving you the ability to win, via superior raw damage output. Survival is about removing the ability to win from the enemy, via the utilisation of various tools at the appropriate time.

Survival is thus not about winning a fight purely or primarily due to greater potential damage output than the enemy. Survival is first and foremost about taking inventory of every last one of your abilities as a Hunter, (and having an intuitive knowledge of when the use of each is appropriate) and secondly, is about controlling, in every detail, the execution of a fight from the first step down to the last. Another reason for my adoption of this spec was an early realisation of (and actual enjoyment of) the fact that initial planning is often far more critical to the successful end of a fight than the actual fight itself.

Solo, that means that initially the individual scenario is carefully analysed. Distance and the proximity between mobs (if there are multiple present) is assessed, as is the likelihood of the Hunter surviving the encounter. For this, a realistic assessment of one's abilities is critical, as is the mod Mobinfo-2. Strategy (in terms of a sequence of steps) is planned, a trap is laid in an appropriate place if need be, and the Hunter carefully chooses the appropriate position to commence the fight without drawing the attention of other mobs if they are present. After all of this has been done, then, and only then, is the first arrow let fly. Sun Tzu wrote that winning 100 victories in 100 battles was not the epitome of skill, but rather that winning said 100 battles without fighting at all was the epitome of skill. Although that can't be applied to WoW directly, where it can be applied is in realising that, with Survival anyway, you can actually be far more effective doing less overall damage, if said damage is applied in the correct way.

In terms of groups, that means understanding and accepting that in many scenarios, other members of your group may well have a raw damage output which is substantially higher than your own. It is vitally important to understand here that damage alone will actually quite rarely ensure that a given PvE fight in WoW is won. The most powerful melee character in existence, if outnumbered, will be worn down and crushed, and this is especially true in WoW because of the game tending to favour single mob combat.

Another example; if you've got a sympathetic group, you can ask them to wait for a few seconds while you go ahead a bit in order to find a safe pull. You find a group of three mobs in a room ahead of the current one, isolated from any others. Assuming hypothetically that you don't have a Mage, for a moment, you mark two of them as trap targets, and one of them for tanking and general dps. (Skull) You then tag one of the three with the lowest rank Arcane Shot, pull the three back to the group in the other room, (thus entirely eliminating the possibility of a wipe due to adds) let the tank taunt the Skull target, and draw the other two back to you behind the fight. Taking care not to hit either of the mobs melee, you drop a freezing trap, freezing the first mob. You then immediately hit Readiness, drop the second trap, and freeze the second mob. With talents, this means that both mobs are now locked down for a maximum of 26 seconds.

The tank and primary DPS now have only a single mob to worry about, which they can take care of easily. You can offer them supportive fire, while with the aid of the Kharthus' Hunter Timers mod, monitor the cooldown status of both traps. If you spec for utility rather than straight damage, you will get a three second reduction on the cooldown time of Freezing Trap, which means that you can drop a second trap on an already frozen mob ahead of time, allowing for totally seamless re-trapping.

Another hypothetical scenario. (although you will need an intelligent group for this) While you have mobs 2 and 3 locked down with freeze trap, and the tank and primary DPS are engaging mob 1, something bad happens. You get a patrolling add. Retarget from skull to the add momentarily, fire Wyvern Sting, refocus fire on Skull, and inform the group that the asleep mob is now the next mob to be killed after Skull, rather than the second frozen mob. If the second frozen mob gets loose while the Wyverned add is still being fought, use Distracting Shot and set your pet onto it, while also applying Mend Pet. If you've also got a boar, (the ideal Survival pet for a few different reasons) there is an excellent chance that it will survive until the tank can arrive. Note the intent here is not for the pet to be able to kill the mob, as for it to be able to do so alone is usually an unrealistic expectation. The intent is for the pet to stand as a buffer between the mob and the rest of the group, doing incremental damage until the tank has finished with the previous mob and can thus safely intervene.

Final example from the same fight; the fight ended up going south. The second frozen mob got loose, and it and the wyverned add ended up surrounding the tank. The tank and healer tried their best, but the tank and the primary DPS are now lying cold on the ground. The mob the tank was on is near death; the other has taken a fireball or two to the face as well but is also still alive. Because you've been using both your boar and yourself as a secondary shield, the healer is also still alive, but you're going to have to move quickly if you want her to stay that way. What to do?

Put your polearm away for the moment, break out a pair of these, switch to Monkey, drop an Explosive Trap, hit Deterrence, Blood Fury, and whatever other ap trinkets you've got, and emit a 10 second long primal scream. Focus on dropping the one near death before Deterrence runs out. Once it's gone, grab the other mob with your pet, throw Growl on, feign once the mob is firmly on the pet, and then jump back and kite/shoot.

The mob will die, the Priest will res the others, the BM Hunter or 'lock will still take home first place on the DPS meter, the Warrior will still think he's the most important class in the game, a few of them will still probably think you're a crazy gimp for rolling the low DPS spec that hardly anyone uses, and you'll be lucky if anyone explicitly thanks you. At the end of the group however, the warm, feral sense of satisfaction you'll have in the pit of your stomach will be a little different to that felt by most of the other people who play this game...because even if nobody else says it, (or actually, especially if they don't) you yourself will know damn well who it was that made sure that group finished the instance.

That's Survival.

Monday, December 10, 2007

LF1M Offspec?

Karthas has a post up about cat form Druids being neglected for raids.

We don't have this problem as much now as we would have. As I've said before, the changes to Expose Weakness (among other things) made Survival start to become mainstream in 2.1, and these days of course on the forum, all the cool kids are doing it. (Well, those of them who aren't BM, that is ;))

Even so, it can still be a bit of an issue, especially if you're more heavily trap spec. (Which I often have been)

As I wrote in my comment on Karthas' post, I accepted a boomkin Druid for an Underbog run once, which ended up being an awesome experience. As well as the trademark machinegun Moonfire, (which does enormous damage, albeit with rather terrible mana efficiency) we got the usual buff, as well as offhealing as well when the main healer was oom, which probably saved us from wiping on a couple of big pulls.

Personally when running a group, I'll take any offspec with a res (Ret Paladins, Shadow Priests, Ele Shamans, boomkin/cat Druids) since I like having as many members of a group being able to resurrect as possible; it adds a very powerful form of insurance against wipes.

Also, although they don't have any real range, an Elemental Shaman is utterly devastating within a radius of ten feet or so; an RL friend of mine with a main shaman was getting 2k+ chain lightning crits before 60. Then you've got the res and all their other usual good stuff; if as a Survival Hunter you've never played alongside a high level Grace of Air totem, it's an experience worth having, let me tell you. ;-) I had three or four shamans in my old guild, and I loved them.

Although probably not the first choice for some groups, the Warlock is also probably the single most overpopulated class in WoW from what I've seen, so you'll never have trouble finding one. Most people probably already know about their trademark, Soul Stone, but as well as that and their summoning for getting groups together, they can also give you elemental banishing, (VERY useful in the Steamvault in particular) AOE Hellfire, and the soulwell for major healthstones. While Voidwalkers/Felguards can't main tank the higher instances, they can temporarily seal a breach in a pinch as well.

Paladins; as long as you can trap around it, Consecrate tanking can be great. I've been with a couple of tanking Paladins in some Steamvault runs, and given the vast numbers of mobs in that instance, I'd actually take them in preference to a Warrior in that specific case. Nothing got past them. Defensively I've also always compared Paladins mentally with the cave troll that was fought during the first Lord of the Rings movie; facing them in Warsong Gulch used to be a lot like that. It's a degree of robustness that can be useful in groups. Then of course you've got the resurrect spell, as well as the awesome and much loved Blessing of Kings in some cases.

Shadow Priests; although a lot of people overlook these guys, that is unwise. The synergy you get with both a Shadow and Holy Priest in a five man is unbelievable; spot healing from the Holy, reinforced by HoT from Vampiric Embrace, with Vampiric Touch acting as a mana battery. Then on top of that you've got two people who are resurrect capable, for extra insurance against wipes.

In other words, if you're hanging around Shat and looking for two more for a group after you've got the holy trinity (tank, main heals, main dps) covered, and you see a hybrid or a Warlock looking lonely, call them over. If the player behind the character is competent, chances are good that you won't regret it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

BRK has his own domain!

Most of you probably already know this, but apparently BRK has a new site. I've adjusted my blogroll link accordingly, for those of you who didn't know...Go have a look, as it looks good.

He apparently also has some forums up, so I'm going to have to go and check those out as may well catch me over there. ;-)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

MM/SV Mana Inefficiency

Another post which is an answer to a blog post here, this time from BRK. *grin*

How does Survival avoid being mana inefficient? I can think of a few different things.

- Know your role. Survival to some degree is a couple of different specs in one, depending on what you're doing. If you're going healer guard/trap spec, for mana efficiency make sure you get Resourcefulness. 60% mana cost reduction and 6 seconds off the cooldown of traps.

- Pot. In most of the scenarios I've been in, I generally haven't had to pot too much, but make sure you've got some mana potions.

- Use a lower rank of Multi-Shot. I learned this trick from one of the guys in the forum. If you open up your spellbook and look at Multi, you'll see that if you use it at a couple of ranks lower, the actual damage doesn't go down much, but the mana cost does.

- Use a good rotation. Survival and Marks both can use the 1:1.5. Steady, Arcane, Auto, Steady, Multi, Auto, Steady, Auto, Steady, Auto. If you've got CC around, you'll save a lot of mana from not using Multi.

- Do not be a slave to the damage meter. BM is there to do max possible sustained damage. We on the other hand are there primarily to keep other people alive. If your healer dies because you're out of mana from blasting away at range, and didn't have enough left to drop a freezing trap, that's a fundamental failure as a Survival Hunter, IMHO.

Again, BM can measure their success by their place on the damage meter. As Survival, when you have one of those moments that you wish you had Fraps for...when everyone else in the group (including the main tank) is dead, and standing back to back with the Priest, you manage to kill the adds and avoid a total'll know how to measure yours. ;-)

MMO Gender Bending

Was just reading Pike's blog where she has a recent article talking about why people play opposite gender characters in MMORPGs.

As a couple of people here have inadvertently but correctly mentioned, I am a heterosexual male. Yet I play a female character who I have strong emotional ties to, and who I actually at times speak about in the first person.

As far as sexuality is concerned, I will admit that Mirshalak visually is actually fairly close to my own sexual ideal...or at least one particular element of it. Given the percieved lack of femininity in Orcish females, this could be taken as additional evidence to support the theory that I am, in fact, homosexual...however, I actually consider the character highly visually feminine...just not, perhaps, in a conventionally stereotypical way.

Hence, my initial motivation with Mirsh was as a straight male wanting a female character who I would be visually, and I would definitely even say sexually, attracted to.

However, as time went on and I developed more of a bond with the character, the situation became more complex. I gradually discovered that being a female character, Mirsh gave me the freedom to express certain emotional elements which, stereotypically speaking, Real Men are not supposed to express. These included compassion, empathy, and a degree of protectiveness towards other people which was entirely new to me.

Given the above, I have, on numerous occasions actually, been accused of homosexuality by people who I played the game fairly extensively with. The question of my sexual orientation is one that I've probably actually devoted a couple of years of total mental time to, all up. I eventually came to the conclusion, particularly given my degree of enjoyment of heterosexual sex, that I wasn't actually gay...but that I perhaps quite simply was unusually emotionally active and/or honest for a straight male.

The creation of Mirshalak as a character coincided with a period of my life where I had only recently been able to become free of parental authority; thus, this character served as a vehicle through which I've at least hopefully been able to attain a greater degree of self-knowledge. It had led me to discover that in some ways I actually am a very different person to who I'd actually thought...but then again, a lot of those characteristics which I think of as being radically different are actually the same as those I posessed when younger...they now merely perhaps take somewhat different forms. Mirsh has taught me a lot about myself, and I almost certainly wouldn't have learned at least some of those things if she had been a male character.

Hence, if a person who is playing a different gender character doesn't explicitly engage in sexually oriented behaviour, my own belief would tend to be that having an opposite gender character on its' own is not sufficient grounds for suspicion of homosexuality. As Richard Bartle has written, perhaps the primary redeeming function of MMORPGs is to allow for the attainment of self-knowledge through being able to adopt various different non-real, experimental identities, and then actually inhabit said identities in a relatively neutral environment. From this perspective, rather than accusing a person of being gay, I'd probably actually suggest that they are not fully utilising the potential for personal development that MMORPGs offer if they haven't got a character whose gender is the opposite to their physical one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Invoking Kali in Warsong Gulch - WoW as spiritual catalyst.

And now for something completely different. ;-) (Though still WoW related)

I realise this probably isn't something WoW players talk to each other about much...but over the last 18 months, I've undergone a massive change in religious focus, and WoW was initially a big part of how it happened. You could think of this as an illustration of how much WoW has actually affected and influenced my offline life.

I've already written about how I've tended to play Survival as a spec from a predominantly defensive point of view...and that part of that involved more or less trying to emulate a prot spec tank in many ways. I've also written about how passionate I could get about Warsong Gulch.

There were times when I would go into a WSG match where the Horde were losing. The Alliance was basically running rings around us, apparently somehow able to materialise everywhere at once, and the Horde team would be standing around disoriented and talking about how this could be another lost game. I wouldn't be able to do this every time...sometimes the Alliance had a particularly good team, and they took the match. However, I often found that if I used some initiative in going after the flag myself and asked a couple of other people to help out in different ways, I could help turn even 2-nil games around more often than not.

I could also at times become euphorically single-minded about slaughtering (as well as actually attempting to induce fear in) the Alliance. As a faction, I will admit that I've always detested the Alliance to a point where many would probably consider it unhealthy. (Although note that I'm not talking about every individual player's more a cultural thing)

I will also admit that killing them is one of the main reasons why I've missed being able to play the game recently. I was aware that some (not all) Alliance players at least used their perception of the Horde as monsters as license to attack us; given however the way I consistently saw some (not all) Alliance players treating both members of the Horde, and even each other, in time, I developed the mentality that if in the Horde they wanted and expected a monster, I was going to put all of my energy into giving them one.

I don't know how many of you who read this will have heard of Kali, but she is one of the major Goddesses of Hinduism. As well as something else which happened offline, I eventually came to know about her creation story, which you can read here. As well as fitting with what I believe is the role of Survival as a spec, as I've written about before, it made me realise that my purpose in creating this character, as well as, to some degree at least, the temperament I could go into while playing with it, corresponded closely with what I was reading about this particular Goddess.

Although I'm a civilian, and relatively physically passive in offline life, with both physical and certain psychological disabilities meaning that that will likely always be the case, being Mirshalak has given me the ability to live out and begin to get in touch with the more militaristic side of my personality...which up until a year or so ago, I hadn't even really known I'd had. Given that Kali is also very much about duality, and incorporating a number of positive aspects as well as aggression, to the degree that I am practically able, I have thus begun to attempt to worship Her within offline life, as a more concrete extension of what began within World of Warcraft.

It is interesting...Blizzard have written about people forming offline romantic relationships as a result of playing WoW...I find myself wondering if they've ever heard of an instance of someone finding God as a byproduct of this game. It proves one thing, though...don't ever let anyone try and tell you that what happens in WoW can't have tangible, positive effects on people's entire lives, including their offline existence.

I'm still standing

I'm still here, and am possibly going to start trying to play on a limited basis with my current ATI card...although 17-20 FPS really isn't likely to be enjoyable. If the guild hasn't already written me off, they well and truly can now, unfortunately.

I also have another gametime runs out in four days and I'm not going to be able to afford more for probably another four after that.

I really miss WoW, though. I miss being this character. I miss doing 5 man instances; I miss being a megalomaniac in Warsong Gulch pugs but us ending up winning because of it. ;-) It's hard to believe, but I think I also actually miss the festering snake pit that is the official Hunter forum, too.

Don't give up on me, guys...I am coming back. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some bad news

The external video card for this computer apparently died the day before yesterday. I'm currently using the motherboard's on-board graphics card, an ATI card of indeterminate model. I attempted to log into WoW yesterday, and average between 9-20 FPS.

I'll still post periodically, since many on the forum would likely claim that I could still have the same level of knowledge about the game without playing it anywayz. ;-) So I'm not going anywhere.

For the record, I loathe ATI's cards. I owned one a year or so ago and was appalled with its' performance, (or lack thereof) whereas my experience with the three nVidia cards I have had has never been anything short of superb, in either Windows, Linux, or FreeBSD. I've consistently seen them being reviewed as being grossly inferior, as well.

I will freely admit to the probably deeply bigoted opinion that with many things, there is usually something which is the genuine article, and then there's the cheap knock off. For me, in terms of cola, that's Coke, in terms of processors, Intel, and in terms of graphics cards, nVidia. ;-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Survival weapon comparisons

Some might say I'm pilfering BRK's content, here. My apologies, BRK...but you have provided me with fodder for a post of my own. Think of it as an annotation to what you've stated, from the Survival side of the fence.

Someone wrote to BRK and asked which bow they should go with, out of one that dropped from the Shattered Halls, and Valanos' Longbow.

Valanos' Longbow
130 - 242 Damage Speed 2.80
(66.4 damage per second)
+10 Intellect
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 10.
Equip: Increases attack power by 22.

Skyfire Hawk-Bow
108 - 202 Damage Speed 2.40
(64.6 damage per second)
Equip: Improves hit rating by 14.
Equip: Increases attack power by 26.

As BRK stated, out of the two of these, I feel that for Survival, Valanos' is the better choice, for a couple of reasons.

  • +Crit.

    Although at first glance, this one might seem obvious, it deserves a slightly closer look. While I've said in the past that I believe it's true that Agility should be Survival's single highest priority, my own experimentation with Cheeky's spreadsheet suggested that Agility alone isn't going to get you much higher than 28-30% (prolly 35% max) base crit. If you want to keep going up from there, (and of course we do ;)) that's when crit rating enters the picture.

  • Intellect.

    I may not have said it directly before, but I feel that Intellect is probably the single lowest priority stat for Survival. Yes, we do use mana, and a lot of it, but Efficiency from the Marks tree and our own Thrill of the Hunt massively reduces real mana consumption. Not only that, but you'll likely hear about Marks Hunters with a mana pool the size of the Sigsbee Deep who still end up needing to pot during long instances.

    The moral of the story is thus that if we come across gear which throws us some Int on top of stats that are a lot more important, (like Agility) it's icing on the cake, and by all means, take it and enjoy it. Just don't go out of your way for it.

  • Higher Base Damage.

    2.2 base DPS might not seem like much, but as I've said before, for damage, Survival isn't a free lunch. We get crit bonuses, yes, and 4% ap from Survival Instincts, but the rest has to come from gear. More noteworthy is Valanos' extra 40 damage on the high end. Higher base damage means higher damage crits. 'Nuff said.

  • Slower attack speed.

    BM is going to want the faster attack speed to capitalise on Serpents' Swiftness. We on the other hand tend to want slower weapons in order to try and compensate for lag when performing a 1:1.5 rotation. BM usually only does a 1:1, or Steady, Auto rotation with some extra shots situationally, so for them having a fast weapon is a plus in pretty much every regard. For us on the other hand, a fast weapon makes it more difficult to time our shots, when then translates to less damage overall.

This might also offer people an idea of why developing good instincts for gear selection is also very important for Surv. At times you'll come across pieces of gear in your travels which you'll think looks cooler, and that you can also slap on interchangeably without too much of a problem. For Beast Mastery, that to some extent might be true...but for us, it generally pays to look a little deeper.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Blog Link: Freejack

I've just added another link to my own blog list; the World of Freejack. Freejack is a level 70 41/20/0 Beast Master Hunter from Maui, in Hawaii. Coincidentally, Hawaii was the home of one of the earliest people I regularly communicated with online, back in 1995.

By another coincidence, Freejack's home server is Aman'Thul, an Oceanic PvE realm where I myself have a couple of low level Alliance alts.

He writes about some interesting stuff, including guild dynamics and experimentation with the macro system. However, when looking at technorati a minute ago I noticed he still didn't have any linkbacks there, so I thought I'd give him one to help get him a bit more publicity. Go forth and check it out. ;-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Linux guide I wrote a while back

Hey guys,
Possibly not entirely WoW-related I know, but this was a little guide I threw together prolly a year or two back to help someone learn about Linux from the ground up. I'm aware that this won't be for everyone, but some of you might be interested. This doesn't explicitly mention setting up WoW in Linux, no...but by the time you've gone through the six steps here, you'll know that much about Linux anywayz that you'll most likely be able to figure it out on your own. If you can't, ask me. :)

This also might take a couple of weeks for you to go through, a bit at a time. Another reason why you might want to look at it is because Vista is pretty much a complete flop. (As explained here by someone who's apparently a fairly hard core Microsoft fan) I'm still primarily with XP myself, but either Linux or FreeBSD will almost certainly be my next OS once XP hits end of life.'s the guide. :)

1. First of all, grab Knoppix, burn it to a CD, and spend a few days (or a few weeks, whatever you feel comfortable with) playing with it. Unless you go into the install option, the base CD doesn't install anything to the hard drive, so you can't harm anything. For the purposes of these exercises, you might want to just run from the CD for a while and do them that way. This is a completely safe, non-intimidating way for you to initially get your feet wet.

2. While you're exploring Knoppix, there are a few things to read which will really help you. This [] will give you a very good
introduction to Linux, in terms of a little history of the system, how to begin using it, and how some basic things work. Here [] is another in-depth document about using Linux, leading on from the previous one.

3. Once you've gone through those two, (take as much time as you need) this [], written by the same
man as the introduction, will introduce you to the Bash shell, the textual command interpreter where as a sysadmin in
particular you'll likely be spending a lot of your time. This will ease you into scripting in what I think will be a very
non-intimidating way. You will be able to try out all of these exercises with the Knoppix CD, and again, because the CD
doesn't install anything to the hard drive, you needn't worry about destroying your existing system's contents while you
learn. This [] is another book on Bash
scripting which to a degree follows on from that one, and will go into somewhat greater depth. Both of these should lead to
you feeling very comfortable writing shell scripts and moving around to a degree on the system.

4. Here [] is where we get
to some meat. This document goes into compiling and installing generic Linux/UNIX software, and offers some basic
applications and examples. Once you've gone through this, coupled with the material above, you should now have sufficient understanding to be able to compile and install at least a basic application yourself.

5. The Pocket Linux Guide will take you step by step through the process of learning to make a small, bootable Linux system on two floppy disks.

Although compiling a basic custom kernel is part of this process, the Guide contains a link to another document which
explains very clearly how to do this, and given the background you will have received from the previous documents, this
should not be difficult.

6. Once you have completed the Pocket Linux Guide, you will then be ready to proceed to this [] site, which is the homepage of the Linux From Scratch Project. Here you will be able to read an HTML-formatted book which will give you the necessary information to successfully build an entire base Linux system of your own, and a more pure boot CD than Knoppix to initially build it upon. The Linux From Scratch Project also has a sequel book, Beyond Linux From Scratch, which describes how to install, among other things, a full graphical user interface with the X Windows system.

7. After you have completed all of this, although it is not crucial, I thoroughly recommend reading this [] book during idle moments. (It's still a good mealtime accompaniment for me) It will give you a detailed knowledge of the history and philosophy behind the UNIX operating system in general, which I am sure you will find enormously useful.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm on the threshold

Yesterday, for the first time with Survival, according to my meter, I broke 400 overall dps (me 320, my boar around 110) farming ogres in the Southwind Cleft. Granted, this was with a full 1:1.5 rotation, (I still can't do it without using Multishot) but especially considering that I'm actually pure trap spec at the moment, (no Barrage, no TotH) I don't think it's too bad.

My individual crits are lower than they were with Marks, (Multi was critting for around 1.7k at the high end with Master Marks, RWS, and the Barrage talents) but my crit rate is up 4% to 22% now, so it happens more often. Individual crits are back down to about 1.1k for multi/arcane, and prolly 1k white.

In a Mana Tombs run yesterday, with Leader of the Pack I hit 29% crit as well, and considering that I've also got Master Tac atm because I wanted Readiness for trapping, that means I was getting a temporary max of 39%. With a Shaman providing Wrath of Air and a Paladin with Blessing of Kings in a group, I'm reasonably confident that I could probably clear 35% before Master Tac as well, which would mean 45% while it's up.

These numbers are already telling me though that going forward, there is potential for absolutely Godlike ranged damage with Surv. Right now I'm feeling somewhat like how I'm guessing the Wright Brothers did during the initial test flights of their prototype plane; I'm on the runway, and just starting to temporarily leave the ground every so often. I can see myself eventually hitting 50% crit fairly easily if I can keep progressing with gear, and at that point I'll really be going into orbit.

For anyone non-Survival who is reading this and considering conversion, (*grin*) if ranged DPS is what you're doing it for, the true break even point seems to be around 600 agility, in terms of it becoming competitive with the other two specs; that isn't even so much for EW, as it is to bump your crit up enough. My current base before Lightning Reflexes is in the neighbourhood of 540 or so; and LR has bumped that up to around 620, especially considering that I just finished socketing my helm as well. You don't need 600 base before LR, but you will want around 530-550 base before switching if you haven't used Survival before.

You will also likely struggle to clear 300 dps with Survival with less than 20% crit, as its' ranged damage is almost entirely crit based. My paperdoll DPS is still only around 227; my crit is the only thing that bumps it up. Contrary to what other people say, I actually don't recommend crit rating in favour of agility, either. Although it's true that you'll get your crit up more easily with rating than Ag, (and I am going to have to get more rating myself probably after around 27%) you only have room for so many stats. Gear space that is devoted to crit rating possibly isn't gear space devoted to Ag, which actually drives your ap down twice; first in terms of base, and second in terms of EW. Attack power is already at a premium for me as it is, so I'm finding I need to go Ag, Ag, Ag. ;-)

For the people who still want to do Surv between 10-60, at that point in the game it's primarily about the DoTs. (Serpent Sting and Immolation Trap) The trap and sting scaling in 2.3 is going to be a dream come true for us at the low end; I still use Serpent/Immolation trap when I need to solo mobs with massive health, (such as Tusker in Nagrand) but can't afford to risk pulling them off my pet.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In response to Karthis

Edit: I originally mistook this as having been from Pike, and not Karthis...hence the absolute URL for this post. I've edited it to the degree that I can, and I do apologise, Pike.

Karthis wrote a response to my Rogue rant here, and so this post is going to be a reply to it.

Where to begin? Well, how about with a fabricated counter-example that I could easily see appearing on a blog some day:

I hate Hunters... I mean, does any other class collect the number of unskilled braindead people as hunters? It's as if Blizzard woke up one morning and said: "Let's make a class for people who failed basic math, and have all the manual dexterity of a cinder block." I don't like grouping with hunters because their unprofessionalism and outright stupidity infuses any group they become a part of, and I feel as if my IQ is dropping by the second.

Total rubbish of course, but I have grouped with a number of utter huntards in the past - mostly in PUG scenarios.

I'm honest enough to admit that this actually isn't total rubbish, Karthis. Maybe it is when talking about every single Hunter in existence, yes...but I will admit that when I've been playing my alts, I've had some Hunter problems as well recently...and I also know what the class's general reputation is. I attribute my own recent negative alt experiences primarily to three causes:-

1) The groups I was in were below level 40. A Hunter without Feign Death is a Hunter who, while still being able to draw massive amounts of aggro, is unable to drop said aggro. Hence, they draw crowds and cause wipes.

2) Player impatience. Most of the new characters I've grouped with recently were people who already had multiple 70s, and ironically, this actually seemed to cause them to make more mistakes than an entirely new player...mainly because, given the length of time it had been since playing the early instances, they would underestimate the level of difficulty present in the low level instances for characters of equal level, and assume they could simply race through it chain pulling everything in sight.

3) The inherent level of complexity involved in playing the class. I wouldn't know how many times I've heard it said on the Hunter forum; while the Hunter is an easy class to begin to play, it is actually fiendishly difficult to play well. There are just so many different variables to keep track of; your provisions, pet control, threat management, shot rotation, trapping, to melee or not to melee...none of these things are difficult individually; but put all of them together, and then throw the Hunter into a completely unfamiliar possibly begin to get the picture.

I was practicing daily in the Scarlet Monastery for probably six weeks a bit back in order to try and shed some of my own Huntard tendencies, and based on a rather messy duo BRD run that happened yesterday, it would seem I'm still in need of a lot more practice as far as pull order and crowd control is concerned. I've also caused some utterly monumental wipes in the Steamvault in particular due to backing into random adds. So yeah...there are a lot of Huntards out there, quite honestly...and I'm entirely willing to admit that most of the time, I'm one of them.

One of my best WoW-friends is a Rogue, and she is an absolute joy to group with - friendly, courteous, and even humble.

I need to meet some of these people. ;-)

I have met Paladins with god complexes

Ah, yes. I refer to this particular affliction as "Buzz Lightyear Syndrome." It's a coincidence that you mention it, actually...with my alt Warrior I did half a Blackfathom Deeps run with a textbook case just yesterday. We'd barely even get one pull finished before she'd charge madly on to the next, all the while continually telling us at length about the Paladin's total invincibility. Never mind caster mana or any semblance of order...just charge, charge, charge. Although we didn't wipe, a Warlock and I ended up hearthing out in disgust around halfway through...although in hindsight, it's actually pretty funny.

"To infinity...and beyond!" ;-)

drunkard Priests

I did an SM library run with a stoned tank once. Not a positive experience.

I think that Mirshalak needs to get over himself, and give Rogues another chance. Perhaps massive bad luck has landed him with a few bad apples in the past, but that is no excuse to blacklist the entire Rogue community.

I was actually thinking earlier today that I possibly do need to reverse my stance here. I can only conclude that my bad luck has indeed been massive, because the bad apples honestly have numbered more than a few...but you're right. My attitude has been bad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I want to write today about probably the single greatest source of emotional pain which currently exists in my life at this point, as ridiculous as it may sound; the Rogue class in World of Warcraft.

Most people, even the most positive and mature, have at least one thing in their lives that bothers them to the point of complete and total irrationality. For some people it's spiders. For others it's cockroaches or slugs. For me, it's the Rogue class in this game. I actually don't like mentioning the above animals in association with Rogues, since to be honest, my feelings towards those three groups of animals are actually highly compassionate and tolerant, compared to how I feel towards Rogues.

In just under two years of playing this game, I can honestly say that I have encountered three rogues who were played by people that I did not consider at least partially (and usually completely) sociopathic. The rest were people who had no concept whatsoever of working with people in a group, and generally caused silence and bad feeling in groups, as well as having an overwhelming tendency to hijack control of groups and engage in dominant behaviour.

In other scenarios where, for example, a member of a group had died and needed help getting back to our position in an instance due to respawns, the Rogues that I have grouped with will generally refuse to assist the rest of the group, instead announcing that they would rather continue to solo mobs in the instance by themselves. They also tend to be obsessive about people waiting for Sap, and I have no patience for that...mainly because I know that virtually every other form of CC in the game can be used after combat begins.

Part of the reason why I think they are like that is because the mechanics of their class are actually designed around sociopathic behaviour. The class was fairly obviously designed almost exclusively with pvp griefing in mind; with possibly the single exception of Sap, it has virtually no value within a group pve scenario at all. An adjunct of this is that, despite the shameless favouritism that the class has been shown by Blizzard historically where class balance is concerned, players of the class typically have the gall to turn around and accuse other classes of being overpowered. Of course, I understand; in a Rogue player's mind, any class is overpowered unless said class is completely unable to defend itself against a Rogue. If any of the other classes in the game are in any way able to defend themselves against the Rogue, then in the archetypical Rogue player's mind, said other classes are overpowered.

The Rogue can do generic DPS, yes...but for group PvE I'd generally prefer to get that from another class which not only usually doesn't attract the same degree of psychological problems, and from a mechanic point of view has other redeeming characteristics as well.

Given the consistently negative experiences that I've had with players of this class over time, I will confess that it is the one class in the game that I now refuse to group with or really associate with in any way at all. This might come across as bigoted, discriminatory, and generally highly unpleasant...but on one side of the coin there are the number of problems I've had with Rogues, and on the other, as I've stated, the fact that the class contributes nothing whatsoever that cannot be obtained from virtually any other.

I tell myself it's immature...I tell myself it's petty, and that it only brings me down...but I can't bring myself to cease honestly, fervently wishing that the Rogue class in general quite simply did not exist.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I just ran into this on the forum.


I've just started to do instance runs with my move to the Outlands. I've noticed that my trapping technique seems sloppy (I don't always grab aggro, I feel a little slow, etc.). I've also noticed there seems like a significant delay between when the mob becomes trapped and when I turn to DPSing.

So I want to know, after your trap target has been marked, and someone else makes the first pull, what sequence do you follow (with macros, move order, or whatever) to ensure your mob gets trapped and to fairly seemlessly start DPSing with yourself and your pet.

First of all, I assign focus target to my up arrow key. Focus is good to use because it means you can lure your trap target and then commence DPSing Skull smoothly without risk of shooting your trap. You will also want to download a mod which lets you view your focus. Some use Focus Frame, but I use Perl Unit Frames because it does a few other useful things as well.

When you've got it, go into the Player section, turn on player portrait and 3D player portrait, and move the scale down to around 85 or so. Do the same for Party, and then go into Combat Display and set it to Always Hidden. You will want to drag the bars to the right a bit to get your player portrait to fit in the screen; you can right click the Perl Unit Frames minimap icon to unlock them, and then just right click it again to lock them in place once you're happy with it.

Then you want this macro:-

/cast [target=focus] Distracting Shot

Then, as soon as your targets have been marked, (you have to be quick, here) target blue square, (usual trap target) and press the up arrow to set the blue square target as your focus. Then set your target to Skull. Notice that this effectively means that you can have two mobs targeted at once.

As others here have said, move to a good distance to the side of the group if you can and then drop your trap, in order to prevent your trap being broken by someone else's AoE.

As soon as the pull begins, use your Distracting Shot macro to lure your trap target over to the trap. Wait a moment to ensure that the trap target is coming towards you before you begin shooting Skull. Ideally, the single Distracting Shot will be enough, and you can continue shooting Skull. If it isn't enough, try using an aimed or arcane shot with the trap target as your target, but be careful to press Escape twice immediately after the single shot, in order to ensure that you do not break the trap as the mob moves into it.

When the current fight is over, press Escape to clear your target, and then press the up arrow again to clear your focus, ready for the next target.

As far as spec is concerned, if trapping is something you want to focus on to a degree, you may be interested in trying to obtain a few of the midlevel talents in the Survival tree. Trap Mastery is the main one which is desirable, as it reduces mobs' chance of resisting your traps by 10%, and in a number of the higher level 5 mans, that is necessary in order to be able to trap reliably.

I hope this is of some assistance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Arena is Killing this Game

I'm noticing a very disturbing trend in this game, recently. I'll be trying to run 5 man instances, and will be looking for a tank. I do /who Shattrath, and after searching through a number of the other cities, find that by far the largest concentration of different people (and Warriors in particular) are in that city.

I go down the list, messaging them and asking them if they are willing to come. Usually it's the Steamvault, but sometimes it's the Shattered Halls as well. To a man, the answer is no thanks. From my time on the forums, I've begun to realise that nearly every one of those 70s I see in Shattrath will be in queue for the Arena.

I've been looking at the Arena gear recently, as well. From what I've been able to figure out, it's better than just about everything else in the game, other than maybe Black Temple stuff. Hence, people have very little real incentive to do group PvE any more.

The forums have become even more toxic than usual recently, as well. There has been an unbelievable storm of crying and screaming among Hunters in particular, but other classes as well, for class changes. Every change however that is asked for is purely in relation to the Arena, and anyone who dares voice concern about the effect that this might have on PvE balance is immediately and ruthlessly shouted down.

Another negative change on the forum has been the use of someone's Arena rating as a measure of the worth of their opinion. It is now standard practice on the forum, that if you don't agree with what someone has written, to simply use their arena rating (or lack of, according to your own standards) to entirely discredit said person's opinion, rather than attempting to mount a counter-argument based on the actual topic at hand.

I believe that all of these elements, both within the game and outside it, (in terms of the forum) are contributing to the continual decline of player population within the game. Some of you may not have heard of a man called Tom Chilton, or Kalgan, who is apparently the lead designer of the pvp elements of the game, among other things. This man, it turns out, was also the lead designer of the Ultima Online expansion, Age of Shadows, which is generally blamed for the downfall of that game.

Age of Shadows introduced a particular dungeon, Dungeon Doom, which was very different in design to the earlier dungeons of the game. Dungeon Doom ended up becoming the sole focus of nearly everyone who played the game; you didn't log into UO to do anything other than farm Dungeon Doom, in the end.

Dungeon Doom also led to UO becoming much more explicitly item-based than it had been previously, but you didn't get the items from there in order to use them anywhere else, because there was nothing else in the game that was more difficult than Dungeon Doom. People got the items from Dungeon Doom solely for the purpose of being able to claim that they were inherently superior to others who didn't have said items.

Hence, what had once been a varied and worthwhile game degenerated into nothing other than an e-peen contest. Not long before I finally left the game for good, I actually saw one particular character outside the Britain Bank with nearly all of the rare drops from Dungeon Doom equipped.

The character's name? Peter North.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Voice Chat Adventures

I was finally able to get a group together to do the quest chain in Shadowmoon Valley for the Stalker's Helmet of Second Sight. Now I just need to farm up enough cash for two more Delicate Living Rubies, in addition to money for my flying mount, in addition to another possible spec adjustment once I hit 650-700 Ag.

During this group though, I had voice chat going and was talking to one of the people in the group; it's a great addition to the game, and I strongly recommend trying it out if you haven't already. I had a really interesting conversation with a guy from America while playing an alt for a bit on Demon Soul the other day, too. It's great for meeting people.

My first experience with it was also a scenario where a guy flew with me over to the Black Temple and showed me some great mobs for cash and signet ring grinding, which was probably the best of the three, as well. I'm trying to be a bit more social in the game, and am discovering that I can learn a lot of secrets about earning gold and other things by doing so.

It could just be my hardware, but I wasn't able to get it going via Linux,'s one feature that is Windows only, it seems. That is a bit of a shame, because it means I can't have OpenGL, (which I love) with lower latency and voice chat all at once.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Starting to worry

So, my guild originally wanted to start running Kara at the beginning of this month. They didn't have enough people then still, so it got pushed back to the middle of the month.

That would mean the 14th. Which is five days from now.

I honestly don't think I'm going to make it. I've just got my epic land mount yes, which means I now only have to save for my flying mount...but making 1k gold in 5 days? Not only that, Jubei'Thos is dead for groups. I tried to find a group for Durnholde, because apparently I have to run that for Kara attunement; nothing. I've been trying to get SH groups for some of the drops there as well, again; nothing. Even when I can get groups, it will be with every class other than a tank available.

I always thought also that guilds were actually supposed to work together even as far as attunement and so on was concerned; I guess I'm just on at the wrong time of day, but whenever I do get on, I'm lucky if there are three other people there.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm thinking I should continue getting ready at my own pace, and when it happens, it happens. If I'm ready to go in time with the current guild, great...if I'm not, I may end up having to leave and seek another guild that are ready at the same time I am.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

WoW in Linux

Recently I started having technical difficulties while running WoW. I'm in Australia, and in addition to the lag problems a lot of other people have mentioned, even with the Oceanic servers, I was also having problems where at times I'd get randomly disconnected from the server.

Like a lot of people, I initially thought the server was to blame. However, I'd previously installed WoW in Linux as part of a different project of mine, (I've been using Linux in some form or another for close to a dozen years now, on and off...although Windows has remained my primary system for most of that time) and had already noticed in passing that my latency seemed a bit lower under Linux. I went back over to it a couple of times recently when a lot of other people were complaining of lag or dropouts from the server...and lo and behold, for me those problems entirely disappeared.

My ping times are consistently under 400 ms, (occasionally under 300 for brief periods) I never experience the types of disconnections I used to under Windows, and the OpenGL rendered graphics are really gorgeous, and moreso in some ways than Direct3D in Windows. On the negative side, the currently experimental voice chat wasn't working when I tried it this morning, but I'm fairly sure that's due to my sound card.

Of particular relevance to Hunters though is the fact that a below-400 ms ping time means I have at least some chance of being able to perform a proper 1:1.5 shot rotation, which is the recommended rotation for Marksmanship or Survival, without anywhere near as many stray shots. The other reason why this is a good thing is because if I'm not having stray autoshots between my specials, it raises my odds of having crit specials I've started seeing scenarios at times at least where I can fire Steady, Arcane, Auto, and get a 1k+ crit on both specials in a row. Pretty awesome stuff.

If you're interested in having a crack at doing this yourself, you can download Ubuntu and then go to the WoWWiki page for more information. If you do a search in Google for "Ubuntu wiki wow", (without the quotes) you'll also find a link to the Ubuntu wiki. You might want to go to that wiki anyway if you're new to Ubuntu in general, and have a read up about it. It does take a little bit of doing, as most things with Linux do, and if you're not technically inclined you might want to leave it...but if you're feeling adventurous, give it a try. :)

For non-American players, the lag reduction is probably going to be the single biggest draw, although some of you might be interested in seeing how things look with the different rendering engine, as well. It's very nice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I have links!

I discovered technorati, and lo and behold, people are linking to me! Only four at the moment, but :) - Teeth and Claws. A feral Druid from Garona server, apparently. Seems have quite a lot of writing on different stuff. - Xizang has been one of my most regular commenters here. - Aspect of the Hare. A fellow Hunter, by the looks. Greetings. :)

The last reaction was actually from BRK, the veritable Godfather of Beast Mastery, who I have a sidebar link to.

I also want to mention Wolfstalker, whose blog I quietly added a link to, but who I haven't actually explicitly mentioned. He/she (I think it's a she, but not entirely sure) seems a wonderful person. She's written a tutorial for new Hunters which I think I have mentioned before, and can often be seen on the Hunter forum, braving the trolls, the elitism, and the vitriol, and often being the source of the only answer many new Hunters to the forum end up getting to their questions.

A /salute to you all! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I love my guild :)

Thanks for all the feedback, guys. :) If anything, the single best thing it confirms is that yes, people are still reading, despite me being so slack with updating lately!

Also, in terms of my current spec choice; I feel like I need to explain something. (As in, I'm currently 0/40/21)

Everyone who reads this ought to know by now that yes, I do love Survival. However, as I said to my class officer this morning, the main reasons why I've loved it is for the trapping and melee stuff. Being honest, until you have around 700 agility and 25%+ crit, compared to the other two trees though, the ranged damage just isn't there.

Another thing I said to my class officer earlier is that despite Survival being my native spec, I was willing on at least a temporary basis to respec in whatever manner we mutually decided was in the best interest of the guild. He has been awesome about this as well; there has been absolutely no pressure on me to go in any direction whatsoever. A fear of that is what kept me out of guilds for a long time, because I read a lot of posts on the forum where people complained that their guild or raid leaders arbitrarily demanded that they respec according to said leaders' misconceptions, without giving any thought to that individual's playstyle.

So...although I'm most likely going to go back to 0/20/41 Surv once I have the ag and crit to make it work, for the moment I'm staying Marks, by my own choice, in order to improve my damage. This isn't just for my own place in meters, either. The thing that prompted me to start looking at temporary alternatives was a guild run to the Shadow Labyrinth, where we wiped three times on Murmur. Someone else asked why we were wiping on him, since it actually seemed like a fairly straightforward fight. It hit me as to why we were; the group DPS just wasn't there at the level it should have been.

Anyway, I have to go back into the game and get busy, now. I've worked out that I need another 14 water primals to get my epic land mount, and a total of 70 water primals for my basic flying mount. I'm probably never going to want to go into Skysong Lake again, after this. ;-) Although I'm thinking maybe I should mix it up with some air farming from SMV as well...since they sell for more, too.

Thanks for sticking with me even though my posting has slowed down a little. If anyone's interested, there's a song I'm listening to a lot while preparing for Kara's a good one for it. It's an Australian song called, "More than a Game," and is rather difficult to get, but if you want it yourself, email me and I'll tell you where you can get it.

Also...if you don't have a guild where the people treat each other as well as they do in the one I've recently joined, you owe it to yourselves IMHO to /gquit and find one that is like that. :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Warlock Rock

I've finally got sick of trying to run the Shattered Halls and Steamvaults for the gear I wanted to go to Kara with, primarily because said stuff never did actually drop. I'd discovered a viable alternative was the bind on pickup epics at the top of the leatherworking profession, and I'd already gained enough rep with a few factions to be able to pick up some nice ones.

However, my dilemma became that my two professions were engineering and skinning. I didn't want to drop engineering, so that meant skinning had to go. However, the next problem was that the AH at the time didn't have much light leather, and what they did have cost over a gold each.

Enter the Warlock.

I'd had a Warlock alt for a while, but I didn't enjoy playing it much because, although the playstyle is good for instances, for soloing I grew bored very quickly due to it being insanely overpowered. However, I realised that for rapid farming to support my main Hunter, it would be exactly what I was looking for. According to the information I've been able to find online, the Warlock currently holds the proverbial gold straw hat, with a BM Hunter still coming in second. Life Tap and Drain Life are apparently the reasons, in that they allow the Warlock to use mobs to regain health and mana, effectively allowing the class limited invincibility, and close to zero downtime.

Thus, my plan is to level him up as quickly as possible, while also sending light leather from WC to Mirsh, where I need it at this point for leatherworking. Once the lock gets high enough that soloing instances starts becoming a possibility, I'll drop mining for enchanting and focus on using it to make money via disenchanting blue drops from the Scarlet Monastery and RFD. Once I get the lock up, this should help me get my flying mount a lot faster, too.

Any advice people could give me on a good farming spec for the lock would be good, too...I've also been told that stam is the main attribute that they that true?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The long trip up the Kara mountain

I've got 220g saved towards my epic land mount now. Once I've got that, it's immediately on to farming 1k gold for my basic flying mount so that I can go to the Arcatraz and get my last key fragment for Kara.

There are still some pieces I need to do instances for; a few bits of Beast Lord in particular. Steamvault pugs can be iffy; sometimes they're really good, often they're really not. ;-)

My current gear wishlist. (Sorry these aren't linked; but it's nearly 4 am here. You can search for these if you're interested)

+35 Agility for my current weapon, Terokk's Quill. (Sonic Spear would of course be nice if it drops, but I'm not holding my breath, and after the enchant, the +hit is the Spear's only real advantage anywayz)

Stalker's Helmet of Second Sight - (SMV Quest Reward)

Barbaric Legstraps - (Heroic Underbog) - with Clefthide Leg Armor

Bladefist's Breadth - (Mechenar)

Gyro-balanced Khorium Destroyer - (Engineering - somewhat arduous to get, but I could farm up the mats eventually)

Beast Lord Mantle - (Steamvault)
Beast Lord Handguards - (SH)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Forum question - Staying SV or going to BM?

Another question that just came up on the forum.

Ok I have been Survival for the longest time, I love the spec. I only went Bm to lvl from 60-70. My question is other than getting KZ gear is there anything i could change to be better. I might respec to BM, but i really like Suv.

Flame on or what ever, just some help is needed.


- Diz

You need to do that which you love, and that which you lean towards instinctively/intuitively when you're in combat with something. Does your hand instinctively go to Wyvern Sting or one of your traps, or does it go to Intimidation or Bestial Wrath? Do you think of a fight primarily in terms of straight damage, or more from the perspective of problem solving?

Go out into Nagrand (or wherever) and solo a few mobs. Observe yourself killing them, and the manner in which you do it. Do you go more for Serpent Sting, traps, and kiting, or sending the pet and then Steady, Auto?

Watching your own playstyle, and determining which of the two specs it most resonates with, will give you your answer. Nobody here really can; the answer to which is the right spec for you, is the answer for you alone.

This is something that I've just realised myself only recently; my own experimentation with Beast Mastery was intended to please other people. BM in its' own ways is a wonderful, wonderful tree, and I'm not saying it isn't. However, as I'm writing here, I finally realise that the most important thing is to go with whatever resonates most closely with your instinct. For me as a single individual, that's Survival. For someone else, it might be Beast Mastery. For another person, it's another class entirely.

I read the first book in the War of the Ancients trilogy, recently. It's a series of books by Robert Knaak based on WoW. In it however there's a point where the demigod Cenarius creates an axe, for an Orc, Broxigar, and gives it to him. Brox is in awe, and exclaims that the axe, "feels like part of my arm."

I'm realising that in this game, that is how whichever class or spec a person plays needs to be for them. My first character, as in BRK's case, was a Mage. I still have the character, and occasionally I still play him. The Mage is a fun class to play for a change once in a while. However, whenever I play him or visit the Mage class, I'm always very conscious of the feeling that I'm there as a guest; a visitor. In my heart, I myself am not really one of them, and that is not intended as an attack on them, either.

As pathetic and absurd as this may sound, I can honestly say that there have been very few other things that have given my life more meaning than the Hunter I play in this game. There also hasn't been much that I've done that I've loved more, either. I feel that WoW has taught me about two particular forms of love that I had never previously experienced directly, before. Patriotism, or the love of one's group or tribe; (in my character's case, the Horde) and the love of a sport.

I play a Hunter because I love it. I feel that if you don't love the class or spec you play, then any other reasons that someone else might suggest for staying with it are already moot.

Are Hunters really broken?

I just saw this question on the forum.

I love hunters and was going to make one but after everything that I have read about them being broken it is making me hesitate a bit.

Are hunters really broken?

No, we aren't. However, a Hunter does require more attention to detail if you really want to play one well, IMHO. As an example...

You're in a five man instance. Someone's marked a target for you to trap. You've got to drop a trap, pull the target over, lead it into the trap, and then make sure autoshoot doesn't hit the trap once you've done it. Is a Paladin using Consecrate nearby, or is someone else using aoe? That could break the trap, so you'd better check.

Then after you get the mob trapped, you're expected to dps the skull target, so you send your pet. You have to make sure Growl is off because otherwise the pet will pull aggro from the tank. You also have to make sure that while you've got enough range to shoot, you don't stand too far back, because if you do you might pull adds and wipe the group; better check your minimap for that. You also need to watch mana efficiency in your rotation. Are you going to use Steady Shot only, or Arcane as well? Are you going to use Aspect of the Viper to maintain your mana supply if this is a long fight, or Aspect of the Hawk for increased damage?

Is your shot rotation up to scratch? You'll need a good one if you want high dps against that skull target, but even though multishot is your highest damage shot, you'd better not use it in your rotation, because if you do, you'll break your trap, and a sheep if there is one, and wipe the group. Are you using the highest quality ammunition that you can get? If you're not, your damage against that target will also be lower.

As you send your pet, you notice his happiness is down a bit, which means his damage output will also be lower in this fight. You'd better remember to feed him in time for the next fight. Did you bring enough pet food with you for the duration of the instance? Is your pet set to passive? You'd better make sure he is, otherwise he could chase the mob he's attacking if it runs, which could bring adds, and cause a wipe.

So, once your pet is set to passive and set on the target, you start your shot rotation against the mob. You need to time your shots carefully for maximum damage, and you can't use a macro if you want max damage, either. While you're shooting the mob, and keeping an eye on your pet to make sure he doesn't run wild, bring adds, and wipe the group, you're also keeping an eye on your timer addon for when your trap breaks. You'll need to keep that mob on you until you can get another trap down, because if the mob gets free and gets to the healers...

You get the idea. The above example also assumes that you're not the one setting raid targets for the group. ;-)

Gold farming

I've recently been farming water motes in Nagrand; I'm attempting to work towards first my epic land mount, and then a basic flying mount which I need to finish Karazhan attunement. I have a feeling that before I'm finished I'm going to want one of those pointed straw hats that the Chinese wear out in the fields; it's already starting to feel like that. ;-)

Still, it's peaceful, and actually a lot more pleasant and preferable to farming air in Shadowmoon. I really don't like SMV at all, to be honest. Not only is there a lot more competition there, (in terms of other people farming motes) but the drop rate is lower, and the atmosphere of that zone is hellish and extremely unpleasant.

For the water, most people seem to charge around 16-19g per primal; I try and charge anywhere between 14.95 and 15.45, depending on what the market is doing. I find they sell a lot faster that way. Also, there have been times where I used to try and ride the market a bit, with copper in particular. I used to find that if the market spiked, and I followed suit, it would go down again very quickly, and my own item therefore wouldn't sell. Hence, I'm finding that being more consistent on price works better.

If you're going to farm water motes yourself at some point, one item I really recommend farming Gnomeregan for is the Hydrocane, which allows you to breathe underwater. Wowhead places the drop rate at 18%, which feels about right, since I had to re-enter Gnomer six times to get it. It drops from Viscous Fallout, who is the first boss in Gnomeregan and is located in the first large, open room not far from the entrance. Googling for Gnomeragan map will give you the layout, anyway. He's an elemental, so put ele tracking on to find him. The troggs on the way in are a bit of a pain, too. They're not at all difficult to kill, of course...but they do slow things down a bit.

Getting to Gnomeregan for Horde players also would otherwise be a real pain, but thankfully there's a goblin teleporter to the instance in Booty Bay. If you get the boat from Ratchet in the Barrens, once you're there, look for a goblin NPC called Scooty who is standing right next to a teleporter pad. Talk to him, and he should either give you a quest and the transponder you'll need for the teleporter, or hopefully another transponder even if you've done the quest. Then just walk into the teleporter, and hearth out once you've got the 'cane. It might be a bit confusing when you first port in, as well...since it drops you beneath the surface, but still outside the instance. If you walk forward a ways, you'll find the entrance.

Something else that I was going to write about; I'm finding Survival is working fine for me as a farming spec. I usually kill one of the lake spirits in 3-6 hits, depending on how much I crit. I'm using Steady, Arcane, Auto, Steady, Auto, Steady, and then the mob will be dead by then usually. If I'm impatient, I'll put multi in after the second Steady, but my mana gets drained very quickly that way since although I also have Efficiency, I only have one point in TotH at the moment.

Better armored targets are a bit different; for them I drop an Immolation trap at about half way from max range, (120 mana with Resourcefulness, does 1200 damage with Clever Traps) use Serpent Sting as a pull shot, send my boar when the mob hits the trap, and then jump out to max range while my boar gets aggro. After that it's either the usual Steady, Auto in most cases, or straight autoshot with periodic re-application of Serpent Sting if I don't want to pull aggro. I soloed Tusker the other day, and the way I did it was pure autoshot with Serpent, because that way she stayed on my boar and I didn't pull her.

The other reason why an Immolation Trap and Serpent Sting can be important is that they're a form of insurance for if I don't crit. My damage is almost entirely crit based, but at 21% my crit chance is still a little unsteady; sometimes I'll get 3 in a row, and other times I can do entire kills without getting one. The trap and Serpent go closer to adding the damage difference I'd be doing if I was critting, even if I don't, so I get more consistent fight durations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sightings of Plain Striders

Recently I've seen a couple of Hunters in Outland with Plain Striders as pets. Despite what I've read about conventional wisdom on using these as pets, on closer analysis it does make some sense.

Although they don't have the ability to learn secondary damage skills as some pets can, tallstriders do have access to Bite, which from what I've read is a very high damage pet ability. Additionally, tallstriders can learn Dash, (unlike Spiders and a few of the other less commonly seen pets) and get a +5% bonus to base health. The health bonus would make them workable as a tank pet, particularly with the Greater Stamina/Natural Armor trained passive skills. Their animations that I've seen also look good, too.

For my own purposes at least, there are more effective pets around, (I'd never give up my boar, primarily due to Charge, which I really need for the aggro generation) but I remember a BM Hunter I met in the Bone Wastes a bit back who had a tamed Mazzranache, and who was very enthusiastic in his praise of it. Tallstriders also don't get the 10% damage penalty that my boar has, either. For what I do, that isn't so much of a problem, but I know that would bother some people.

Anyone who is at 70 who wants one can still have one, too. Blizzard have included a tallstrider in Terokkar Forest which is level 70. I might actually go and grab one myself at some point, now that I think of it, purely to try it out a little. Could be good for a change, anyway; and I still have a third pet slot available currently.

Although their diet is a bit finicky, one of the things they eat is fungus, so for Horde Hunters anyway, it's not too difficult. You'd need to go back to the Undercity every few days and talk to the mushroom vendor on the upper level. For Alliance Hunters I'm not sure, but cheese is one of the other things they're listed as eating, and from memory cheese is fairly common among Alliance vendors.

A big red plain strider Dashing at something would surely be a sight worth seeing, if nothing else. ;-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why for me at least, a Hunter ISN'T a DPS class

I find myself wondering...can there be such a thing as a spec identity crisis? I'm fairly sure that's what I'm experiencing right now.

I did my first Shadow Labyrinth run with my guild yesterday morning. We wiped three times on Murmur before killing him. Although my trapping was solid earlier, I was dead last on the sacred damage meter.

That made me think; obviously my dps sucks, because if it didn't, I wouldn't have been at the bottom of the list, and we would have been able to drop Murmur a lot faster than we did. I'm also remembering the smug pronouncements that I've read on the forum about two Survival Hunters in any group (or even an entire guild, apparently) being a waste, due to both EW clashing and Survival's customarily abysmal damage output. My class officer and I are both Survival, and he hasn't expressed a problem with me staying Surv, despite me having spoken to him about it. I also figure that because I don't want to be a liability to the guild, I should do whatever I can to try and improve, damage wise.

So I go and respec BM again; a crap BM build as well. Completely by accident, I ended up getting a couple other things and missing BW.

Flash forward to this morning. I'm feeling extremely tentative and uncertain. Farming water motes in Nagrand was going fine, but then an RL friend with a 63 shaman msges me and suggests attempting we try and two man Ramparts. I say ok fine, although I have grave misgivings about our ability to do it. Ramps is actually one of the hardest instances I've done in some ways.

So we go in. First few pulls are tricky, but we get through. Eventually we get to a point which, despite it being a three mob pull that ordinarily (as Survival, of course) I could handle, due to having Wyvern Sting and less chance of trap resistance. I drop trap, lure one of the three mobs over to the trap, and put the pet on another. The mob that was supposed to get trapped resists, all three mobs congregate on me, they kill me, and then the shaman. We try again, trap gets resisted, same result. We try again, and exactly the same result. My repair bill by this point is nearly 10g, so we agree to leave it. I logged out, and came to write this post.

My problem is that I really don't know what to do spec wise at this point. I've spent the last close to 18 months playing Survival; it's got to the point where I feel as though to a degree the tree is instinctive, at least as far as trapping is concerned...and it is also a mirror of my own playstyle/psychology. My DPS is terrible, yes...but usually, when I'm soloing at least my CC can chunk it down enough for me to be able to cope.

People are hence going to say fine, play the way you need to, be Surv, problem solved. That isn't the solution to the problem. The single main reason being, that although in BRK's case, a Hunter might be a pure DPS class, in my own case that isn't the case.

As Survival, my DPS sucks. It's beyond horrible; I'm struggling to clear 300 in 5 mans according to the meters I run, and although I've been top a couple of times, I've been at the bottom enough to know that the only times I'm at the top are when the rest of the group are people who don't know what they're doing.

However, what I have become moderately ok at I think tho, is CC. Again you might be saying, fine and dandy, if Surv works for you, be Surv. Where this argument again fails though is that I've been reading that CC virtually isn't used in raids. In raids apparently, there is nothing other than DPS.

I want to raid, but my dilemma is, if raiding is only about pure DPS, then by playing the way I know how, the only way that I really feel that I can, I'm apparently only going to be a liability to the group I'm in.

I actually don't think I'm the only person who's experiencing this problem. According to a recent forum post I read, on the EU servers at least, the number of people speccing 35+ point Survival has risen by around 3.6% in the last few months. That means that there's going to be a lot more people who, like me, are caught in the dilemma of playing a (comparitively, at least) non-DPS spec for what is supposedly a pure DPS class. The single main reason why this is a problem is because of how difficult it then becomes for us to convince guild and raid leaders, and other Hunters, that we're both credible and necessary. It's like what Shadow Priests have undoubtedly experienced, except in reverse. Priests are socially expected to be a healing class, and so because when as Shadow they want to DPS instead, it isn't accepted because it goes against the majority's expectations. By contrast, Hunters are meant to be a DPS class, whereas Survival is largely about doing other things besides pure damage.

Something else also happened this morning that really made me think. I found myself thinking that if I didn't know how to play BM as a spec, all I'd need to do is go to BRK, read what he'd already written, and I could learn. That then brought back to my mind the comments that people have already left on this blog, that before me, for Survival, a resource like that didn't exist. At the risk of sounding horribly arrogant, (especially considering that I don't feel as though, being honest, I really have anything like the level of ability needed for this) apparently I've ended up becoming the Louis Skolnick of Survival. As someone who'd read this blog said to me on the forum last time I experimented with BM; "Mirsh, you've gone BM. That just seems...wrong, somehow."

It's caused me to realise, thinking about it now; I can't turn tail and run on this, to a spec which I don't know how to use anywayz. For a long time among the Hunter community from what I saw, a scenario existed where Marks was the dominant spec, BM was the fringe or "different" (but still tolerated) spec, and Survival wasn't something mentioned at all in polite society; it was as though the tree literally didn't exist. It was considered the domain of nerds, freaks, and the mentally unhinged, and if mentioned was again forgotten about as quickly as possible. Among WoW's social mainstream, before patch 2.1, speccing Survival simply Was Not Done. It isn't coincidental that posts on the forum where people ask about Survival are reminiscent of what it sounds like when people start realising that they might possibly be homosexual; Survival among WoW players has literally had almost a similar level of stigma attached.

Now, that is ever so slowly beginning to change. The number of people willing to look at the tree and experiment with it is rising; there are forum topics being made about it every day. Survival is, at long last, coming out of the closet. For the sake of being true to myself, and the sake of said people who are potentially going to need advice, whether I end up raiding or not, I need to stick with the tree for that.