Saturday, January 26, 2008

On Shot Rotation, pre 60

(Note: This is another post dealing with a pre-60 topic, so you raiders out there possibly won't be interested. However, if you're planning on making an alt Hunter some day, as I have recently, then read on)

Those of you who've been to level 62 before will know about Steady Shot, a skill which, rather than being used on its' own as such, is more used as the staple of a shot rotation. The other benefit of using Steady, even aside from the damage it does itself, is the timing of your shots; you can fire Steady Shot and get a white autoshot following it almost immediately afterwards, regardless of your weapon speed.

Recently though, on rolling a couple of lower level alts for different reasons, (mainly to play with various people I knew on different servers) I again found myself in a situation (at level 20 or earlier) without Steady Shot, or even without Aimed Shot, which I'm told is what Hunters used for a similar purpose before the expansion. What to do?

My own solution has been to use Arcane Shot as an opener, and then use Serpent Sting(Rank 1) as an off shot after that. So my rotation has been Arcane, Auto, Serpent, Auto, Serpent, Auto, Serpent, Auto, at which point Arcane was back up and I could use that again.

My alts are both level 22 now, though. A few levels ago they got Multi-Shot, which means the rotation changed again. After some experimentation, I went with Arcane, Auto, Serpent, Auto, Multi, Auto, Serpent, Auto, Serpent, Auto.

Some will probably call me a newb for using Serpent in this manner, and claim that it doesn't add any extra damage. Whether Serpent itself adds extra damage or not is something I'm unsure of...however what I find it does do for me is provide a very valuable means of timing my shots; I find if I get a good rhythm up I can keep the GCD on pretty much all the time, while still getting auto shots after the Serpents.

It also goes without saying that I wouldn't advocate the use of this after you get Steady Shot; this is purely for use until you do.

My results? With Venomstrike I've been getting a cruising average of 40ish DPS, (sometimes a bit over or under) and crits can cause me to spike at anywhere between 60-80. This alt's current paperdoll DPS is 31, and Venomstrike's base DPS is 15.

Here's a screenshot of a run two levels ago, with the above quoted result.

It's also worth saying that these rotations eat through ammunition at a faster level than what quivers for the level range are really designed for, especially considering that at a base speed of 2.40, Venomstrike in particular is a little on the fast side for my tastes. I've been carrying an extra bag, for a total of 3600 rounds, and a Wailing Caverns run will go through probably 1800 of that. Mana is also a concern; I tend to try and buy 40 melon juice before a run, and I'll probably go through half of that as well. I find it a lot of fun, though...that's why I do it. ;-)

Friday, January 25, 2008

In agreement with Pike

I was actually a little ambivalent about making this post. I'm going to continue to maintain the blog, but for the first time I think I actually found myself questioning whether or not to do so.

According to feedburner my numbers are constant, but it's been pretty quiet around here lately. If that's because people have seen what my recent conduct on Blizzard's forum has been like, it's then probably because they're afraid that if they do comment, they'll get their heads bitten off.

That's one of the other reasons why I sometimes feel as though Kali is a good match for least sometimes, I'm quite simply not a very nice person, unfortunately. Among other people, I suspect I alienated BRK fairly early on, something which I have since sorely regretted doing. My own in game character is uncannily similar to my out of game personality in a lot of ways; I can be abrasive, enormously vicious, and very poor at dealing with people generally.

Stalking demons in Desolace with nobody but the boar for company, and nobody else to rely on but him and myself to get out of bad situations alive, is something that comes naturally to me. Having to try and interact positively and peacefully with other human beings, though; that's a lot harder. The few times I've ever really tried to get close to anyone, I've invariably been stabbed in the back, and that has included family members; so while I help people out in-game when I can, both on or offline, the word trust isn't in my vocabulary.

Pike just made a very interesting post about why she is still playing WoW. She brings up a key point; and that is that she is only going to keep playing WoW for as long as it only feels like a game, and not a job. Given that I've also seen other people write about leaving WoW for the same reason, I see that as being evidence in support of Pike's theory.

This also incidentally is the main reason why I still haven't been to Karazhan yet, in case anybody is wondering. Kara itself might be great fun, but for me, the keying part lands squarely in the "job" category, which for me isn't any fun at all.

For both mounts I've had, I've had to deliberately grind out every penny; I've never been a huge fan of the quest system either for the most part, preferring instead to instance or simply wander and hunt, so questing hasn't been a huge source of income. Also, except for food and ammunition, every other cent of in-game currency I've ever had has gone to the auction house for gear upgrades. I don't like to think about how long grinding out 1k for my standard flying mount would take me, but I do know that it's a lot more time at the bottom of Skysong Lake (or worse yet; battling legions of gold farmers in SMV) than I'm willing to spend.

Maybe I could come up with other ways of making money. For a little while I went with the idea of selling runs to twinks through such places as BRD or the Deadmines, but although less boring, that quickly became more frustrating than primal farming...and it isn't particularly profitable, either. People welching at the end of the run was generally the least of my problems; the worst thing is when one of the scrubs paying me for a BRD run in particular wants to also actually take part in fighting. They would invariably die, and in BRD I often would as well, simply because I had to focus far more on babysitting them than actually killing things myself. Even for a Hunter, repair and resupply costs after that at 70 are not enjoyable.

Also, I have an offline housemate now, who I'm levelling an alt with on Earthen Ring. ER is a good place; minimal lag, none of Jubei'Thos' instability, and it's also probably the best server I've been to yet in terms of the people, except maybe Demon Soul. Very quiet for the most part...just good fast instancing and levelling with laid back people.

I might get to Kara eventually, but it probably won't be for a while.

A visit from my boar

An odd experience here.

Yesterday I was doing an instance (the Wailing Caverns) run with an alt I'm levelling up with my RL housemate on a different server, in order to be able to play with him there. On one pull there was a sheeped Druid and a few other mobs...I sent my boar to help kill one of the shamblers, and then immediately sent him to attack the sheeped Druid by mistake. He Charged at the sheep...and then when he was about a milimeter away from it, ran back to me. Someone else commented on how that was beautiful pet control, and I took credit for it, although I probably shouldn't have, because the odd thing is I didn't actually hit the follow button to make him come back.

I then had the odd thought out of nowhere that because I generally have a toon with the same name (Mirshalak) and a boar on a few different servers, that perhaps there is actually a spirit that is associated with my various boars...different copies, but fundamentally the same animal.

So it's wierd that I also just woke up from a strongly vivid dream about being in a cave somewhere and wrestling around (in the manner a kid possibly would with a dog) with my boar. The odd thing was how clear the tactile impressions were. His fur was shiny black, and very rough and wiry, with a thick mane along the spine. I can also remember the sensation of a somewhat moist, flat snout against the side of my face.

The only other thing I can remember strongly is patting the mane along his spine, his heavy breathing, and telling him while I did so that I would never, ever get another pet. ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Survival pvp videos

A forum thread linking some inspiring videos, validating in the PvP context my long held, and continuing belief that a Survival Hunter is the greatest single class/spec combination available within World of Warcraft. ;)

You will note that non-crit per hit damage is not especially high, when compared with other Hunter specs...this validates my earlier statement that Survival's lower comparitive damage output is not a handicap for those who are sufficiently intimate with the spec.

In Surv we trust. ;) (Sayge of the Darkmoon Faire, you and I still need to get together at some point for a chat)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Steamvault stress test

Just did a Steamvault run a few hours ago. I had a shaky start, but we avoided any wipes, and I eventually got my keybindings sorted out and got in the game.

It occurred to me that the Steamvault is probably one of the main instances I've done that can truly sort Huntard from Hunter. The number of potential adds here are enormous; many of the pulls are extremely chaotic, and you have to be on your toes at all times. CC is needed nearly every pull, as well. I've been the cause of some truly spectacular wipes in that particular instance, when I was first learning the's very tricky if you don't know the ground.

This was also the first run I've been on where group buffed I've cleared 30% crit, as well as having 255 paperdoll DPS. My RAP was a bit over 1500...Probably not quite Kara ready, but definitely getting close.

I'm no longer in the guild I was previously in...left it when I transferred to Thaurissan, and I should probably write to them and let them know what happened. Basically with the video card going, and everything else, it was just the wrong time for me. I think I'm going to slowly prepare for Kara unguilded, and then either pug Kara itself and guild for the later raids, or drift between guilds as necessary for runs. I can't see myself staying in the same guild for too long a period of time...I value my independence too much.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"It's a low instance. We don't have to take it seriously."

I apologise if it seems like this is two whine posts in a row...I think maybe that's the reason why I delayed posting it for 10 days. Anywayz...

While playing my Alliance alt on Silver Hand, I did a couple of groups through the Deadmines. In the first group, we wiped hard maybe twice, and then the two people running it realised that we needed to start using The Perfect Zone of Ultimate Safety. We did so, and naturally no further wipes were forthcoming.

In the second group, we had two tanks, a Paladin and a Warrior. The Paladin had a terminal case of impatience, and the Warrior was a 12 year old who apparently could barely speak a word of English, and who was very new to WoW in general. I compared the group's operating style with drunken in, we flailed around randomly, but somehow, totally inexplicably, we didn't wipe until Van Cleefe himself. The tanks chain pulled everything in sight; there was no waiting for the Priest, the Warlock, or myself to regain mana, and in many cases there wasn't even any pause between pulls at all. We might have only wiped once, but I still didn't enjoy the experience.

Why do I care, I hear you ask? I care for three reasons.

1) People with 70 mains who are running through with an alt habitually forget and underestimate the lower instances. They think they can sleepwalk through, chain pulling everything in sight, without any element of real co-ordination whatsoever...and then wonder why, even in supposedly "newb" instances, they still wipe hard. The lower instances aren't necessarily as easy as people think, for the level. Shadowfang Keep in particular can be, in my own mind, actually one of the toughest five mans in the game, considering the level range.

2) Wiping (particularly numerous times) isn't fun. Even at low levels when repair bills aren't prohibitive, it still isn't enjoyable. It causes long delays, and it causes bad feeling, frustrates people, and potentially means that they're more likely to leave the group before the instance is finished. This means that if you have a concrete reason for running the instance, (a specific item or quest) you then have to go through the additional delay and hassle of finding another group.

3) As pretentious as this might sound, I view playing a Hunter in WoW as being a legitimate virtual sport. As such, it follows that I also hold the philosophy that if the game's worth playing at all, it's worth playing with at least some degree of competence and care about what you are doing.

That attitude doesn't start in the Shattered Halls or Karazhan; it starts in the Wailing Caverns. If you only begin to care about your game once you get to that level, you're going to have a much harder time than if you'd taken things seriously earlier. It also logically follows that if you truly love the class you play, this attitude will likely develop naturally; you won't have to consciously work to cultivate it because you'll want to become as highly skilled with the class as you can anyway.

If you're finding that you don't care about whether you do well when you play or not, then it is possible that the class you're playing isn't for you. There are nine classes in the game; this means that there is a fairly high likelihood that one exists which is an intuitive fit for you, and you owe it to yourself in my opinion to find it. That isn't going to be a Hunter for everyone; in fact I would tend to suspect that if the player population of this game was truly divided along the lines of the appropriate class for them, that while still adding up to the overall population, the population size of each individual class would actually be fairly small.

I feel that low level instances, while often being worthwhile in and of themselves, are also there to provide a natural, gentle buildup towards more difficult and higher level content. In order to prevent the learning curve from becoming too steep, as well as being a detriment to the rest of a group later on, training for instancing should begin as early as possible, as should an attitude, not of elitism, but of respect for the game, and for the value of competence while playing it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Is The BRK Forum Redundant?

Although it's nearly two weeks old now, there was a post here which mentioned in passing the concept that the BRK Forum was "unnecessarily redundant."

While I might agree with the author that my own attempt at a forum apparently was genuinely redundant, I'm going to make a spirited attempt to argue that BRK's isn't redundant. In doing so, I'm possibly going to make a couple of statements which will range from being somewhat controversial to possibly offending at least a few people, for which I apologise in advance. However, this is a rant which, if I'm honest, has actually been building inside me ever since I first visited the official Hunter forum, and as such, it needs to be expressed.

The above-linked blog post also mentions that BRK's forum has a somewhat less "hardcore," feel to it than Elitist Jerks in particular. I'm going to come out and say something which I've felt for a while, here...and that is that at least in terms of that board's representatives that I saw on the official Hunter forum, EJ is or was extremely appropriately named. The irony, of course, is that the name undoubtedly would have been meant as satire, and so from that point of view, it's just too bad for them that in all seriousness it ended up being such a good fit.

For a private forum, of course, that is neither here nor there...the owners of a private board are entirely free to do whatever they want. However, for a public forum, which the official WoW forum inevitably is, to serve as merely being a mutually ego-gratifying circle jerk for a small, select group of people at the level cap, represents an entirely inappropriate hijacking of the forum's legitimate purpose.

I'm also not talking about anything remotely resembling worthwhile theorycrafting here, either. I'm talking about extremely vocal crying about the game's mechanics by such individuals, who prefer to attribute their lack of effectiveness to supposedly broken mechanics rather than their own base incompetence at playing the game, and acts of collaborative terrorism in which blatant (and sadly, at least partly successful) attempts were made to coerce the developers into "adjusting" the mechanics according to said individuals' preferences.

So that then begs the question. Why does this matter? Why is a level cap circle jerk such an inappropriate use of the official forum?

The short answer is because people at the level cap (despite their own view that they are the only group with any valid reason to exist) aren't the only people who use the forum. I wouldn't be able to count the number of times I've seen requests for guidance from new users go entirely unanswered in the official Hunter forum, when the attention of everyone else there has been devoted to yet another crying thread originating from a narcissist at the level cap. Something especially ironic is that on occasion, when I or someone else (such as Wolfstalker in particular) have attenpted to answer one of these requests for help, we've actually been attacked by one of the 70s for doing so.

Hence, the point is that BRK's forum is most definitely NOT redundant. We need someone with readership at BRK's level to host a forum that isn't as "hardcore" (read: full of moronic egotists who think that the two endgame pastimes, raiding or the arena, are the only two justifiable activities within this game) where newer Hunters (and even older ones) can go to give and receive advice in a humble, positive, mature, and sane environment.

That isn't something you're going to find either in the official forum, or (to a lesser extent) Elitist Jerks. This is something which we've needed for years, but which only now do we really have much possibility of actually obtaining. BRK's forum, far from being redundant, is thus potentially far more important than he might realise.