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.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A benefit of being 70

I'm noticing one particular irony associated with being level 70.

Before I reached 70, I thought that once I did, I wouldn't have anything left to do and it would essentially mean the death of the character; a character which I've been playing for a long time, and have grown to love.

What I'm actually finding however is the opposite; it's easier for me to find goals to work towards as a 70 than it almost ever was before that. I think the reason is because rather than arbitrary quests defined by the game, they're objectives that I'm defining myself; in terms of farming for a particular piece of gear I need and so on. Thus, when I achieve them, they have a lot more significance than just completing a set quest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A wonderful trip to the Sethekk Halls

After so many negative experiences with pugs recently, I had an absolutely glorious one last night, to the Sethekk Halls. We did wipe a few times, but it was primarily due to inexperience of the layout of the instance and some very tricky pulls. In particular, with the group of mobs immediately before King Ikiss it was probably entirely unavoidable.

Given that I talked earlier about what I've felt can cause bad pugs, I want to identify a couple of factors which I feel contribute to good ones.

The first, most major point was the level of humility shown by the members of the group. These weren't individuals who had a God complex purely due to their character level. By contrast, in a Steamvaults run I had the other day, we had a Druid tank for about half of it who had one of the most shocking attitudes I've come across, which was also overlaid with a strong sense of elitism and, "I know how to play, and the rest of you don't."

Leadership of a group is something which I feel needs to be done with extreme flexibility and a fairly light hand, and I say this as someone who has acted both as leader and follower at various times; in more or less every pre-60 five man instance in the game, and Warsong Gulch in particular, I've done both. Humility in World of Warcraft is sadly as rare as it is crucial, at high levels. You need to be able to see yourself as being as fallible and human as every other member of the group; elitism promotes silence and prevents healthy communication and positive group dynamics from forming, causes wipes and failure to achieve objectives, and will very often destroy a group. Another important element here is appropriate deference; if while in a group I begin marking in an instance where I am unfamiliar with the territory, I will ask if anyone else has a more intimate knowledge of the instance in question, and if someone does, I relinquish marking ability immediately.

Leading on from this, the second point was that this was a group which allowed me to serve what I feel is my role in groups as a Survival Hunter, which sadly is exceptionally rare. I'm going to write about this more thoroughly in another post later, but briefly, I've noticed that BRK has consistently said that he feels that a Hunter's role is sustained DPS. For a Beast Mastery Hunter in particular, that might be true, but I feel that the primary role of a Survival Hunter is what I could refer to as tactical co-ordination. In this Sethekk Halls run, (with one exception) the rest of the group were willing to stay some distance away from me while I utilised the philosophy found within this article, and pulled slowly and carefully in order to minimise wipes. We had a total of four wipes or near wipes, from memory. One of those I acknowledged as my responsibility, due to incorrect estimation of the pull circle of a particular mob; another was caused by the impatience of other members of the group, moving forward rather than giving me adequate time to scout and identify safe targets, and the last two were largely unavoidable, due to the group as a whole having inadequate knowledge of how to handle the boss fights in question.

The third point is that the Sethekk Halls was, in my opinion, an exceptionally well-designed instance, with a level of symmetry and order more reminiscent of the original game's instances than most of those I have seen in Outland. The Mana Tombs in particular, by comparison, were a mess. Mobs were clustered around randomly, with inconsistent patrol paths, there were elevation changes for no discernable reason, and lots of odd places where you could get stuck.

By comparison, Sethekk was a consistent series of rooms and corridors, with mobs placed in logical ways. The succession of corridors between rooms meant that you could set up a defensive perimeter in a first room, (such as with Hunter traps, Shaman totems, and other forms of persistent AoE) carefully pull mobs from the second room back into the first room via the corridor, and thus process each group in a predictable, controlled, and safe manner, with minimal risk to the player characters.

Because of how open, haphazard, and random the Mana Tombs was, such orderly neutralisation of mobs was a lot more difficult, if not close to impossible.

"Well-designed" also does not mean devoid of challenge. We wiped initially on both of the major bosses; not only do they have strategies that need to be worked out, but they also have a large number of hit points which meant that defeating them, for us at least, was a test of our persistence, our ability to follow an attack sequence, and our ability to survive.

The fourth point is that the Terokk's Quill quest gave me a very concrete reason and incentive for going into the Sethekk Halls. By comparison, for a Hunter at least, with the Mana Tombs there really isn't much point. Shaffar drops a couple of nice but relatively unremarkable blues, the Ethereal Warp-Bow and the Longstrider's Loop, which certainly do not justify the level of annoyance involved in killing him, IMHO. Pandemonius is better, especially on Heroic, but the others are laughable, both in terms of lack of challenge, and relatively mundane drops.

The Warp-Bow is almost exactly on par with the High Warlord's Street Sweeper, which is relatively easy (if time consuming) to obtain these days; simply do Alterac Valley for one of its' weekends. The amount of +hit on the Loop is perhaps nice for the level, but grab the socketeds from the Underbog, (a lot easier to obtain, IMHO) and throw in a couple of yellow gems, and you've got the equivalent right there, with some armor and probably a few other stats to boot.

In closing, the difference between having a positive pug experience and a bad one seems to involve a number of different factors. The lessons this taught me were to try and identify a bad group early, (if I've got one) and to do some background research on an instance before I go there, both to determine whether there's anything there that I want or need, and whether the overall quality of the instance and the likely experience that I will have justifies the difficulty and expense. (In terms of ammunition, repair costs, and supplies)

While I can safely say that the Sethekk Halls run was one of the most satisfying experiences that I've had with this game overall, if I'd known beforehand what I do now about the Mana Tombs, in the case of the latter instance, I wouldn't have bothered.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gearing up, part 2

I'm still really busy collecting different items to get my agility in particular up to scratch. I found this guide, and also got some tips on the forum from the person who wrote it which really helped. Two days ago I was able to get a Necklace of the Deep and socketed it with 2 +8 agility gems, for 37 total agility. The item I'm currently farming the mats for is the Felstalker Breastplate, which will give me a total of 57.5 agility when fully socketed, after Lightning Reflexes, and a total of 109.5 attack power.

The next item I'm going to be chasing after that is Terokk's Quill. With a +35 agility enchant, this will give me 102.35 agility, and the same amount of attack power. In total, that will be 159 agility, and 211 rap.

I still haven't found socketed leggings, shoulders, or boots yet, either...Got to look for those next.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Experimenting with a new pet

I just recently tamed a level 65 cat from near Sylvanaar in the Blades Edge Mountains, which I've named Sprowl. He is a lot more fragile than my boar, but does better damage as well, so I'm going to level him and then alternate between the two depending on what I want.

The odd thing is that although I'm 70, Sprowl is apparently still levelling himself. I've looked at his experience, and it seems to be going up. This is good, because I was worried that a pet only levelled if I was still able to gain experience myself.

The last two posts

Some people are possibly going to be wondering where my last two posts went. I deleted them, because I felt that they were excessively and unnecessarily negative.

I want to apologise to anyone who was offended by the pugging post in particular. I'm going to try and be a lot more civil to people from now on, including on the forums.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

On respecting convention

I just responded to someone in the forum who had put together an experimental Survival build with a talent calculator, without Mortal Shots, and was requesting opinions on it as well as wanting to know why MS was really necessary.

I feel that this is an important issue. Although I maintain that Survival is fundamentally about thinking outside the box, I've learned that there are certain situations where it's actually important to think very much inside the box, and that this is one of those scenarios. My forum response follows.

The only thing that is really going to teach you anything reliably is your own experience. I used to spec very melee heavy (in terms of Surv) without MS, and do a number of other crazy things. (I'd never do it for serious use, but EW, Imp Hawk, Master Tac, and Rapid Fire all proccing at once is something every Hunter needs to experience once, IMHO ;-))

People here in the forum called me a scrub, a newb, and a munter, but I didn't listen. Then however, I started dying. A LOT. I'd put 100g away towards an epic mount, and ended up having to spend probably 75 of it on repair bills during my first three days in Hellfire Peninsula. I got rolled that hard the first time I went to the Hellfire Ramparts that it almost hurt behind the keyboard. My results in battlegrounds were sometimes good, also, but if I was honest they weren't as consistent as I might have liked.

So I went back and thought about it. I respecced, first straight Marks, (which, with all love and respect to my Marks brethren, wasn't for me, personally) and then at the time to 0/20/35 or so. For admittedly a brief period, after doing this I topped the kill chart in AB once, which was something I'd never done before, and my ranged damage was up a heap in 5 man instances, as well.

In short, there are concrete reasons why a lot of the people in here advocate the things they do; however, sometimes we use the degree of vitriol that their advice is often served with as an excuse not to listen to it. I'd actually recommend that you don't listen initially...go and spend 200-250g or so on respecs, experience everything in the three trees that you'll end up a far better Hunter for it.

However, you'll also learn why people say that you really should take Mortal Shots.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"69, Dudes! Woah!"

I'm hoping to finally reach 70 this morning. My wierd, constantly changing sleeping pattern means that I haven't had much contact with my guild in the last couple of days, either...I'm hoping they don't kick me out because of that. ;)

As hopefully part of the gear needed for doing raids though, I also got Valanos' Longbow from the Auction House for 25g yesterday morning. Although I'm not 70 yet of course, this means I'll be able to switch over to it immediately when I am. I did have my eye on a crossbow from Naxxramas which I had thought did over 80 dps, but either I was mistaken, or Blizzard have nerfed it in a recent patch. It's probably a good thing, since I doubt I'd ever be able to find a group for Naxx anyway, certainly on my server.

It will be good to be back with a bow as my primary weapon. I started using guns with Galgann's Fireblaster at level 40 or so, but then went back to bows for a bit before getting the High Warlord's Street Sweeper at 60, which is a superb weapon for the level. I prefer the quietness of a bow however, and although it isn't a problem with my character, I know that with some the firing animation for a gun can be a bit more lengthy/convoluted as well, which can actually be a problem while kiting.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hunter theme song

Someone was asking what a good one would be.

It's from Pokemon, but it fits very well for WoW's Hunter as well.

"I want to be the very best
Like no one ever was
To catch them is my real test
To train them is my cause (oooh)
I will travel across the land
Searchin' far and wide
Each Pokemon to understand
The power that's inside! (Power inside!)

It's you and me.
I know it's my destiny!
Ooh you're my best friend
In a world we must defend!
A heart so true
Our courage will pull us through
You teach me and I'll teach you
(Gotta catch 'em) Gotta catch 'em Gotta catch 'em all!

Every challenge along the way
With courage I will face
I will battle everyday
To claim my rightful place!
Come with me, the time is right!
There's no better team
Arm and arm, we'll win the fight!
It's always been a dream!"

Monday, September 3, 2007

Gearing up

I finally first arrived in Nagrand a few days ago. It's probably the most atmospherically beautiful location I've been to in WoW yet, and I love the dynamic nature of it as well, in terms of Halaa being able to be taken by either the Horde or Alliance, and the fact that with most of the other settlements there, you seem to need to build rep with the faction in question in order to be able to use them as well. The moneymaking potential also is amazing; I could be wrong, but in 3-4 hours' questing I seem to have made close to 60 gold, which was due to vendor trash, quest rewards, and greens. The motes and primals are worth a lot of money too, it seems.

I'm currently chasing some gear which will hopefully set me up reasonably well for at least the initial period after I hit 70. I was initially motivated to visit Nagrand in part by my discovery in the forums of this gun, which has about another 2 base DPS more than my current one, the Gunblade. It might not seem like much, but it's about the best weapon I've been able to track down so far, outside an instance. I know the raid drops provide better, but this will probably be about the best I can get until then.

Those are only primary or instance weapons, mind you. For a farming/questing weapon, I've actually been using this, with initially Blackflight Arrows, and then Halaani Razorshafts. This might seem like a weird choice, but the point is that because the max damage range is about half as much as my gun, I don't get big crits, so while farming it's a lot easier for my boar to hold aggro. With the gun the crits give me aggro spikes all over the place, and it gets very hard to drop aggro back to the boar.

After my quiver's haste bonus, I get a 1.5 sec attack speed with the bow. That means I have to very much be on my toes with the rotation, but making it is still very possible if I'm paying attention. My latency was under 400 ms most of the time this morning at least, that helped. According to Recount, going flat stick I can still get 200 DPS with it, as well...which seems to be more than enough for mowing down Nagrand's wildlife.

I also saw the Eaglehorn Long Bow on the AH earlier. I'm hoping it will still be there tomorrow, since I'm too tired to finish grinding for the money for it now. As a questing/farming weapon, that would be a even better, since although the DPS is 40, (hence mobs would die faster) the damage range is still nice and low, so crits wouldn't be a problem.

The other piece of gear I'm saving for at the moment is another Blade of Unquenched Thirst to go with the one I've already got. Once I've got the pair, I'm planning to get them both enchanted with +15 agility, and together with their 22 base ap and Lightning Reflexes, that should get me close to another 80 ap, which will give my rap a nice boost. That will also be another 5 DPS, and probably around 0.66% crit; it all adds up.

As I've already written, I don't intend to use those daggers all the time, but coupled with the small amount of +hit that I've been saving up recently, they will work very nicely for when I do plan to use them. I'm estimating my melee DPS with them will be around 180ish or so...maybe a little more...which I don't think is too bad.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A validation

I did a five man run in the Mana Tombs this morning which showed me that I can still be successful with Survival. I came in second at the end of the run, but was first on the meter for a brief period about halfway through; the person who came first was the rogue leading the group. It's not a raid, no...but it felt good.

Me coming first about midway through the instance.
Me coming first about midway through the instance.

Second in the meter right after the fight with Shaffar.

So for people who are wondering; yes, if you get a nice weapon and have a tight rotation, Survival can be competitive damage wise, at least in 5 mans. This isn't the first time I've had this result. You do need high agility though, and although my agility after LR is 525 now, and about 450ish before, I still can't get my ap over 1200 without losing ag. :(

Back to Survival

I respecced back this morning. :)
Currently 0/20/39; very nearly at 70 now. My crit is at 21%, but I'm a little too overbalanced in favour of Agility currently; I need to work on my ap some.

BM is a spec with a lot of great things about it. However, I had previously tried pure Marks, I've tried BM...and I can honestly say that I'm never going to move from Survival again. As a Hunter in this game, it's who I am, it's who I've always been, and it's who I always will be.