Thursday, August 30, 2007

On Hunter Melee, Part 4

Recently, I experienced something of a problem in-game.

I am aware that, as only my second post on here, I stood at my newly acquired virtual pulpit and proclaimed what others have said, that Hunter melee was a Bad Thing.(tm) No less a personage than BRK himself expressed his approval of this, and others joined his cry of Amen with one of their own. (*grin*)

However, just a few nights ago, I was assisting a former guildmember on a passage through Zul'Farrak. We attempted the pyramid sequence, the one in which the pyramid is overrun by a large number of trolls, and the fight is aided by a number of both Alliance and Horde NPCs. At first, I attempted to keep range and shoot down the trolls in the supposedly appropriate manner.

I died. Repeatedly. My former guildy and I retreated, deciding to come back once we had figured out how to solve the problem.

Flash forward to the next night, where the friend in question lent me the money needed to purchase one of these daggers, which I equipped as a main hand, while using a slightly more mundane dagger that I had at the time as my offhand.

After obtaining this weapon, our progress through the pyramid battle was successful, and fairly straightforward.

The moral of the story is that although it is exceptionally rare, as a Hunter, you will still very occasionally encounter situations such as the above, where melee is the only option that will allow you to get out alive. So that you may be prepared for such situations when they arise, I offer the following advice, based on what in the past (and what again now in the future) has been my own customary practice. This may at first seem to be in contradiction of what I have already written. It isn't however, as I will outline below.

In addition to a gun or bow, I carry two types of melee weapons. The first is a spear with +Agility, which is the default choice, and which is in the melee weapon slot to provide me with an agility bonus during normal ranged combat. If you can afford it, and if the spear in question is one which you plan to keep for a while, the +35 agility enchant can be a good addition to it. This is also what should be used to apply Wing Clip while kiting, as Wing Clip now allows the weapon's base damage to be applied to the target as well. In situations where you cannot get range, the spear also can be used against single targets with very high armor.

The second type of melee weapon I carry is a pair of daggers. These should ideally be of 1.3 second attack speed as is the dagger linked above, and no slower than 1.7, and should also have +Agility or attack power, both to augment your damage and %dodge, and to enhance your ranged if you need to alternate between dagger fighting and shooting, as can happen. The Blade of Unquenched Thirst, which I linked above and again link here, has +22 attack power, and when I am able to buy a partner for it, I am also going to get the +15 agility enchants on both, which will give me a total of 74 attack power, and probably around 0.66%-0.75% dodge chance.

The daggers are a niche use weapon for us, and are only to be used very sparingly. Either in situations like the pyramid sequence in ZF, where you are overrun with multiple targets and cannot get to range, or in pvp against low armor targets such as priests, mages, or warlocks, where going to range can actually help them more than you, and where their armor is sufficiently low that you can still use the daggers to cut through it quickly.

The next thing I recommend doing is downloading the Outfitter addon, which allows you to associate different equipment sets to either stance changes or keybindings. You can then associate changing to the daggers with Aspect of the Monkey, and back to the polearm with Aspect of the Hawk, as well as setting the polearm as the default weapon for all other aspects. When you need to enter melee, you can thus hit whichever key you have bound to Aspect of the Monkey, and it will change to the daggers automatically.

As a final point, I again want to emphasise that I feel that a Hunter's overall time in melee should still be well below 10%. Use of the above melee weapons is very situational, and is not really something that you can be told about...rather I feel that it is important to develop your own sense of when using them is appropriate, and when it is not.

Another addon you can download is Recount, which as well as giving you a damage meter, will give you a pie chart which you can use to analyse percentages for the different types of damage you are doing. Melee is to the Survival Hunter as magic is to the Blood Elves. We can allow ourselves a certain, extremely small amount in order to curb the addiction and for use in certain scenarios, but too much is deadly to us in itself. ;-)

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