Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Passing of Trackhoof

"Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
‘Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?

For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.

But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world,
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.’"

-- Tennyson; The Passing of Arthur, from Idylls of the King.

On waking up yesterday I learned that Trackhoof is no longer with us, at least in an in-game sense. I apologise for not having discovered this earlier, Track; I feel as though I was only just starting to really learn about you.

You did have a great and insightful writing style, which incorporated humour I think a bit more readily than I have really ever been able to do so. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that your ongoing presence will be sorely missed.

However, it also is understood that, as it is in real life, the eventual departure from a given game (or indeed, from gaming in general) is an inevitable, and in fact positive, part of every player's evolutionary cycle. Richard Bartle (the man who is arguably the father of this genre of games in a general sense) documented it when comparing the lifecycle of a game character with the archetype of the Hero's Journey.

It is the Ascension phase; that which the Avatar went through in the last game of the single-player Ultima series. It was depicted graphically and directly at the end of the first film in the Matrix series, where Neo hangs up the phone, takes one last look around himself, and then literally rises straight up into the sky.

Bartle describes it as a point where the individual player realises that for her, the game has fulfilled its' developmental purpose. Mastery (or near-mastery) of at least the relevant aspects of the game has been achieved, the in-game persona and external personality have been reconciled, integrated, and adopted where appropriate, and because there is nothing left for the individual within the game environment, departure has to occur in order to allow the individual to continue to evolve further.

So to consciously ask the question in my own case:- Am I there yet?

Truthfully, I would have to say no, not quite. Although there have been times where I've been able to feel that point coming closer; it's on this side of the horizon, so to speak.

I remember before leaving Jubei'Thos, when I was invited to a raid of the 20 man version of Ahn'Qiraj, and one or two of the more recent pvp raids, and I realised that not only did I know probably close to half a dozen of the individuals present on both occasions, (at least in passing) I had been the leader of the levelling guild in which two of them had spent a reasonable amount of their characters' development. There was, therefore, a sense of albeit reluctantly having become at least a peripheral member of the backbone group on that server.

I've spoken to a couple of individuals in the forum recently, however, Bandet and Alumatine, who have caused me to realise that, although I can see it happening reasonably soon, (at least in a PvE sense; I have no real interest any longer in PvP) the summit of my own developmental mountain, both in this game, and perhaps in MMORPGs in general, is some way off yet.

Given that Track was a member of the Horde, it is also perhaps appropriate that it reminds me of the final departure of the first Klingon Emperor, Kahless, at the end of that story. Like Arthur, he was not seen to physically die. He simply realised that the time had come, shouldered his weapon, quietly went out through the front gate of his capital, and walked off, into his people's history.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Contemplating moving to Wordpress

I haven't decided one way or the other yet, but part of me is thinking that the Lair possibly needs to evolve a little beyond what I currently have available with Blogger.

I'm not knocking Blogger at all; a free blog with a gig of storage is nothing to sneeze at; it's a good service and I've been grateful for it.

However, the problem is that it's a little Spartan. For comments and Trackback I've had to slot in support from Haloscan, and for traffic analysis I've had to rely on Feedburner which has apparently been having some problems recently. If people think of the net as a body of water, I find myself thinking of this blog currently as the equivalent of a raft made of a couple of logs lashed together with some rope. Very Survivalist, I'm sure, but I think it's time to upgrade to an actual boat.

The single main thing about Wordpress that caught my eye is their traffic analysis capabilities. Being the shameless narcissist that I am, I like keeping track of how many people are visiting the blog.

I've also considered full blown hosting, but to be honest the main thing that would mean is that I'd be paying more money than I'm comfortable with for services that I don't really need anyway. I had found myself thinking that if I did get hosting I could install a wiki, and go back and rewrite the early material I have here on starting with Survival, with proper wikification and links and such, as well as possibly doing a clone of a few of the Hunter specific pages on WowWiki, with my own customisations. I do write on WowWiki, but the problem with that is that I'm forced to abide by Baggins' and Ragestorm's biases and prejudices rather than being able to fully and freely express my own. ;-) (They of course insist that they're being neutral; Ha!)

What do you guys think? Wordpress, or should I just say the hell with it and go for the whole enchilada?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tips for a new Hunter

Had a new Hunter on the forum asking what tips we wished we'd been given when we were starting out. These were mine.


1. That solo farming instances of the appropriate level of difficulty is not purely as a source of income, but is much more valuable than merely the gold as a source of practice, experimentation, and the refinement of technique.

2. That the Blizzard default UI alone is not really sufficient to be a truly proficient Hunter, but that premade compilations can also be problematic. Learning about individual addons and discovering which are right for you as an individual is important. The websites and can be invaluable here.

3. That all three Hunter talent trees are viable and useful, that each have their place and purpose, and that when it comes to damage or gameplay in general, someone else's mathematics can never take the place of your own intuition and instinct. It is therefore of critical importance that you use that of the three trees which you most strongly resonate with on an individual level, whichever of them it is.

4. That while discovering your native spec is important, periodically changing to a different one of the three trees for a brief time can be equally important and beneficial, and will make you a far more effective Hunter than you could be by only staying permanently as one. Take the time to learn which specs use slow and fast weapons, the different shot rotations for each, and the rationale behind them. Also try to really utilise the unique abilties of each spec during your temporary stay with it.

5. That usually we are called to one specific class in this game, and that in order to be truly effective with it, we have to love it. If you are not able to derive at least a minimal amount of joy merely from the act of practice, without necessarily having any greater objective in mind, the chances are high that you are playing the wrong class for you as an individual. The slogan, "What's your game?" is perhaps more deeply appropriate than Blizzard may realise.

There are many more, but those are the general ones. Most of the others are more specific.


Just checked feedburner; my subscribers went down by half on Wednesday. I'm trying to remember the last time I had a drop that big.

I guess my trolling on the forum may have finally caught up with me. ;-)

I'm listening

In answer to someone in a comment a few posts back who said he wasn't sure if I read the comments or not, yes, I do.

It's actually the first thing I do when I get up now; check my comments, feedburner, technorati, and now gmail as well.

So if I post something, and you want to add some feedback...I might not reply to everything (as sometimes I just have mind blanks and don't always have worthwhile responses! ;)) but I do read everything that people leave, and I always appreciate whatever responses I get, as well. :)

This blog is actually probably the single most important thing in my life right now, if I'm honest. I think that's why, when people on the forum try to attack me, they use the blog as a point of focus...because they know that. I do appreciate whatever interaction I get with people through it,'s fantastic. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A reminder about Hunter melee

This was something I just wrote on the forum in response to a level 34 Hunter expressing sadness at people telling him he couldn't main tank instances.


Linix, I used to tank at your level as well. I loved doing it, too.

Then I got to Outland, and I tried doing it in Hellfire Ramparts. I died on the first pull, and so did my group. Very rapidly, and very messily.

Hunters on our forum who tell us not to tank are doing so for a reason. I couldn't be told, and I had to learn what that reason was for myself...but I did learn.

I've never liked dying, and so that's why, ever since coming to Outland, I haven't tried it.

Azeroth was designed with being a lot more Hunter friendly in general, and Survival friendly specifically, in mind.

I love my spec, and so I've tried to learn as much as I can about it, including its' history. During the beta of this game, Survival was originally intended to be the melee tree for Hunters.

Back then we had both melee weapon specialization talents and dual wield talents which buffed our offhand when dual wielding. We would have been like the Assassin's traps tree in Diablo 2.

I don't know entirely why, but those talents got removed before the game was commercially released, and so now we're the only class in the game with dual wield melee, who also don't get any buff to the offhand. We were also never given any buff to our damage mitigation from armor other than Thick Hide, which we would need if we were going to be a serious option for tanking.

Because some of those parts of Azeroth were already in the game during the beta, and also I think because up until TBC at least, most of the same people were still designing the game, most of the instances in Azeroth genuinely are Hunter tank friendly. It's still something that takes some doing, and you need a good healer and good dps backing you up, but it is doable...I know because I've done it.

However sadly, that is not true in Outland. Believe me when I say that there is nobody more unhappy about this than me; the trapping Assassin was my favourite class and spec in Diablo 2, and I very much would have liked to play that class in this game...but for whatever reason, Blizzard decided that it was not to be.

Fortunately I've been able to adapt, which I was forced, extremely reluctantly, to do at around level 62, and I still find range and limited melee enjoyable. Survival never was quite the tree I wanted it to be, but it's still good.

You might not be able to adapt to more pure range once you hit Outland though, and if that is true, I urge you to spare yourself some pain and reroll early. We are very short on Protection spec Warriors, now more than ever. I have an alt Prot Warrior that I love to play, and he is far more adequately suited to tanking than Survival could hope to be; and the best part is, Warriors stay able to tank in Outland as well.

Survival can play a critical role behind a dedicated main tank when it comes to keeping a party alive; I've always believed that and I still do. However, we need the Warrior and can benefit from his presence just as much as he can benefit from ours.

As much as it saddens me to admit it, I have had to learn myself that the Hunter is not a true tanking class. It was not intended for that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Horde Hunters - Troll or Orc?

This question keeps coming up on the forum, so I thought I'd post my reply here so I simply have to link to it for each new thread. ;-)


Blood Fury - free AP trinket basically; just under 250 at 70.
Command - +5% pet damage. Extra damage across all specs.

Hardiness - +5% resistance to stuns; great in PvP, and helps with kiting...also synergises well with Surefooted which includes +15% resistance to snares in the Survival tree, if you go that path.

+5 Axes - Legacy and the Arena Hunter weapon are both axes. could choose a Troll for da look, da rhythm, and da voodoo, mohn. ;-)

Spear dropped

On going into the Shadow Labyrinth earlier tonight, I remembered something I'd seen a wise Hunter on the forum write to someone lamenting that they'd farmed Kara for weeks, and still hadn't seen Legacy.

"Stop wanting it. In your own mind, let it go. The moment you truly do that, it will drop for you."

I'd already determined that I genuinely didn't care about the Spear; I've got Terokk's Quill, which has more base Ag even after the enchant.

So I went in there thinking I'd just have fun; which I did. Our tank was fast and very impatient, but fortunately he was also well geared. I'd put together the group and had been able to get two healers, which I always like. One of the healers went down once, and I ended up dying on Murmur because I pulled aggro, but it was fun.

Looks like that philosophy worked, too. The Spear dropped.

However, that itself was not the best thing that happened during this run.

It's funny how it works, you know. There are some instance runs I've been on where I was totally off my game; I've caused wipes, button mashed, and tripped over my own feet. Others, I'm in bullet time, like Neo. Things move in slow motion, I'm operating purely on instinct, and action and reaction merge seamlessly and effortlessly together almost before I've had time to think.

This screenshot was taken immediately after I was resurrected due to dying on Murmur. In case you can't make it out, Session average was 416 DPS; highest sustained burst was 851 DPS, which I got before Murmur, and on Murmur himself I got 849.

To put this into context, I've read BM Hunters on the forum mention getting 1,000 DPS on Gruul. That means at my peak, in 5 mans, I'm 150 away from that. I have a feeling raiding is going to be interesting.

This was also almost entirely unbuffed; the Shaman had Grace of Air up now and then, and I got the zone PvP buff near the end. But no pots, no food, no scroll.

Just a game, they say? Like Hell.

The euphoria's real.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A respec to die for

So with my Agility at 722 now, I was burning up inside with curiousity to see how high my Expose Weakness would be, and also what the experience would actually be like in-game.

After respecialising, I had the most amazing Scholomance run I think I've ever experienced. Expose Weakness grants me and the pet 180 AP, which is 55 more than TSA, and I also put points in IHM rather than Efficiency. My boar was going crazy, and I was killing mobs faster than I ever have (in that instance anyway) before.

Paperdoll DPS is at 240, meter around 420; so it's still probably abysmal by a lot of people's standards, but for me the play experience has been unbelievable compared to what I'm used to. I don't tend to rely on paperdoll numbers for my actual damage; given the amount I rely on traps and Serpent Sting, my metered damage is always going to be different, especially considering that the meter averages what I get from crits.

My burst was a lot more unstable during the four day BM respec, with the result that my metered damage was a lot more spikey; I could go up to over 600 dps on Scholo's elites very temporarily, but would often go back down to 3-400. I like the fact that given that my crit rate is higher now, my damage is a lot smoother and more even.

Speaking of crit...I'm at 26.15% now. So I'm doing 1200 damage before EW once every four hits, and probably 1400-1600 after EW, depending on what shot I'm using.

Given that I'm using both ToTH and Resourcefulness, it would probably be considered an unusual build, but I trap so much when soloing that I need the mana boost for it. ToTH is awesome when shooting as well, even though after my DoTs I'm still only normally using Steady to keep my overall threat down.

I'll also probably end up making around 80-90g from that run as I'm very happy. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Back on the gear trail

I've actually realised recently why I haven't been able to focus exclusively on going for a flying mount. It's because I don't actually want to go to Kara or further until I've basically got the absolute best gear I can get outside of that first, so that I'm entirely ready.

I just took another step towards that last night by successfully getting an enchant for my Terokk's Quill, so that it is now imbued with 35 agility, as well as the initial power of ten rabid bird freaks. ;-)

As far as your 2h goes, while it's true that the Sonic Spear is undoubtedly the better weapon, (especially given the +hit) potentially spending months waiting on the caprice of Murmur isn't something I have time for. If you're lucky to see it drop, I congratulate you...but I haven't already, which means I'm likely going to have to make do.

Although mind you, I don't feel as though I'm doing too badly anywayz. With the enchant, I've got close to 50 more Ag from the Quill than I do the Spear, which goes close to making up for the Spear's better AP as well. About the only area then where the Spear is hugely better is in terms of the +hit.

I also recently acquired a pair of these marvellous things, and although even when gemmed they weren't actually all that much higher in terms of base Ag than the green hands I'd had previously, the purple colour of the text means I'm a lot less likely to be derided as a newb and unceremoniously booted out of a pug than I would be otherwise. ;-)

I ran SV for probably six weeks waiting for the Beast Lord Mantle to drop. It did once, and on that one occasion, the other Hunter in the group won the Need roll, so I'm not waiting for that any more. I also spent a while agonising over an inability to get Heroic UB groups, (and then getting splattered all over the walls and summarily booted out of the one pug for it that I could get) for the Barbaric Legstraps, so I've also given up there as well.

So...I'm tired of running scrub pugs with astronomical drop rates, (where sometimes, as in Heroic UB, I myself am the scrub ;)) and don't really like the Arena. What to do?

The good news is that I can apparently farm my way into some pretty sweet gear, from what I've been learning. BRK's pre-Kara guide has given me some pointers, and scouring Wowhead has filled in the blanks.

For a chest, although I've been considering keeping my current Felstalker Breastplate with 3 Delicate Living Rubies, I've also had my eye on an Ebon Netherscale Breastplate when they've shown up on the AH periodically.

Trackhoof: I know there's no base Ag on it, but my problem is I've become a bit lopsided in favour of ag, and if I put Delicate Living Rubies in all 3 slots I'd still get 24 Ag, while rounding out some of my other stats that have been more neglected as well. I most likely won't do it, however...because not only does it lack base Ag, I know on equipping it I'd hear the sound of some poor, neglected Shaman crying far in the distance, and I don't really want to give them any more reason to cry than the ones on the forum anyway think they already have. ;-)

For my head, I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with the Stalker's Helmet of Second Sight with 3 Delicate Living Rubies, although I might throw in a Shifting Nightseye or two instead, since my Stam seriously needs some love currently.

As a neck, I love my Necklace of the Deep still with whichever gems, but some apparently prefer the Choker of Vile Intent, which considering that my hit is a bit low, I should probably think about as well...although that is a big loss to Ag if I do.

For bracers, I haven't yet seen better around than the Lykul Bloodbands, which drop from Hungarfen in the Normal Mode Underbog. The Felstalker Bracers have Int, and marginally more AP, but I'm Stam starved as it is, currently...and have never really cared about Int all that much. Fel Mana pots, ToTH, and Resourcefulness FTW! ;-)

For pants I'm going for either Scales of the Beast with Nethercleft Leg Armor, or Scale Leggings of the Skirmisher, (which is possibly the only bop instance drop I mention, although with a rate of 18% it's bearable, especially if you're also wanting Thrallmar rep for the bow) also with Nethercleft Leg Armor, a Delicate Living Ruby, a Shifting Nightseye, and a Rigid Dawnstone. I'll probably end up going for the latter pants because even though they have lower base stats, I really need the sockets.

For a belt, it's looking like the Belt of Deep Shadow
FTW. Leather, yes, but I'm a certified socket junky; I just love either the ag gems or the flexibility. For these sockets I'm not sure...I'm leaning in the direction of a Delicate Living Ruby and a Rigid Dawnstone; my hit still needs some love yet, but I've got to try and space things around a bit. Seeing as I'm already happy with my ag atm though I might well go for a Shifting Nightseye for the added Stam.

For feet, the Boots of the Crimson Hawk are the best I've seen Wowhead mention pre-Kara. However in getting the mats for these, do NOT, I repeat NOT, farm your own air primals.

SMV is a horrible place; the kind of Gothic, hellish nightmare which back in my drinking days I actually would have liked, because it would have fit my mood. Now that I'm happier however, I like to avoid such environments.

I went there to get air primals for both my current neck and chest, and dodging the gold farmers and Alliance griefers is stressful; not to mention that the monotony is literally physically painful.

I don't care how much you get charged for air primals on your server; cough up with a smile. Believe me when I say it's worth it. You're ensuring that you don't have to endure that pain and suffering yourself, and you're also rewarding whichever poor bastard that sells them to you for the fact that he does. ;-)

For my shoulders; we get to the crown jewel, if I can get it. The Shoulders of Lightning Reflexes. Go and drool over the WoWHead screenshot of these things.

The down side is that one of the mats is a Black Temple drop, so whoever sells it can basically name their price. Additionally I'd have to grind up leatherworking, and I don't have that we'll see. I'd like them, though.

One other thing I'm doing at the moment is my enchants. The main benefit of these I think is that they free up some socket space; I don't mind swapping out some ag gems for +hit and +stam, because I need it, but the good thing about the enchants is that I can do that and still stay at 700 ag, which is my goal for the moment. Google for the phrases Greater or Superior Agility, for the most part. AFAIK, hands, boots, and cloak are the other items that can be ag enchanted as well.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In Defense of Beast Mastery

I heard a fair amount of smack being talked about BM as a spec on the forum a week or so back. If I'm honest, in my weaker moments where one or two points were concerned, I also temporarily leapt on the bandwagon. However, a while ago on his old site, BRK wrote a post called, "Survivalists Need Love Too," where he had our back; today, I want to return the favour.

To start with, I'm going to outline why I think BM tends to get virtual rotten vegetables lobbed in its' direction from time to time, and then go about dismantling said image.

In the minds of at least some people, as a spec, Beast Mastery is seen as the Reese Witherspoon of the Hunter family. Blonde, busty, and otherwise gorgeous, and you could see yourself performing any number of explicit sexual acts with her quite happily.

However, it also appears to the casual observer that she doesn't have an IQ of too far above 50, and yet paradoxically, in some respects at least, she consistently outdoes her peers. People don't understand how this is so, the paradox irritates and mystifies them, (as paradoxes often do) and if they were going to be really honest with themselves, they'd admit that in many cases, they're afflicted with serious envy by this.

I did something a week or two back which I do every now and then; I respecced to 41/20/0 for 3-4 days. Reason why was because I thought it might be a bit faster for the Scholo farming I was doing. I also have a cat stabled, so I put my boar away and got the cat out for a bit.

After doing some pulls with BM and using Bestial Wrath and Intimidate a couple of times; it suddenly dawned on me. There are Survival specific abilities which do very close to the same things.

BW is (in many ways) a mirror image of Wyvern Sting. Both need to be used pre-emptively, at the start of a fight, and if done so properly, both can grant immunity to fear for most of the fight. BM has +50% damage for the duration; fully Imp Sting talented, Wyvern has about a 1.5k DoT. Both are consistent with their somewhat differing underlying philosophies, yet both will get you to exactly the same destination, in the end.

BRK's written about using BW and then Rapid Fire to dispatch someone very quickly in PvP, but I remembered a few scenarios where I've used Wyvern and then an Aimed, Arcane, Multi combo to do the same. Not only is the end result identical, but if you time it right, the process is eerily similar, as well.

Another thing I found out while doing Scholo, is that if you get Clever Traps, (and maybe Resourcefulness) Snake Trap can also be used as a fairly close analogue for Intimidation.

For a 3 mob solo pull, a BM solution might be to Charge/Growl one mob, Intimidate the other, and so pet multi-tank both mobs while the Hunter dispatches the third, if they're a caster.

For me at least, the Survival way of doing things has been to drop a Snake Trap in front of the three mobs, lead them into the trap before sending my pet, and then focus with my pet and myself on burning down the most powerful melee mob, while the other two mobs spend time smacking snakes.

It's true that Snake Trap doesn't draw aggro to the pet like Intimidation does, no...but that's actually a good thing. For Rattlegore and his adds, Snake Trap allowed me to regulate the amount of damage my pet was taking; if not for that, he probably would have died.

To also outline some scenarios where I probably wouldn't tell people to go with Survival before BM:-

1. Fast, straightforward farming where you're not expecting complications. For sheer damage, BM is always going to be around 100-130 DPS ahead of us, no matter what. That is usually primarily due to SS and the pet, however if you're fast and know what you're doing, you can also do a more complex rotation with BM which will increase the margin further.

2. Raids in pet friendly instances where your guild is ruled by politics, and raw DPS is the only thing your RL cares about. It's a sad fact of life, but some guilds suck and are run by narrow minded, ignorant people. Although this used to be Marks, these days BM is generally the one raid spec that if in doubt, you're not going to get kicked out of a guild for using.

3. Some PvP, especially the Arena before you get the requisite Agility. While Bandet has proven that Survival can do phenomenally well in the Arena, it isn't simple to do, and from what she has said, you need very much to subscribe to Survival's defensive philosophy. Given that most people are intractably stuck in the "personal DPS uber alles," mentality, it doesn't work for them.

4. If you're a player who has been taught to believe that DPS is the most important thing, and simply can't get that out of your head. Survival relies on a psychology where raw DPS is just one tool among many; one which can actually be dangerous if it is improperly used. If for you, DPS is the only important thing, then Beast Mastery is going to be a better fit.

5. If you're a player without a strong sense of individuality. In pre-TBC spec politics, when Marks ruled the roost, BM was seen as different, but it was tolerated. Survival was a spec that the use of was not tolerated at all among Hunters before TBC, and it only started to receive mainstream acceptance in patch 2.1. The derision I received both on the forum and in-game before the expansion was without mercy.

Thus, Survival Hunters get a lot of abuse, not only from other Hunters, but from other players in general. Survival is rare, it isn't well-known, and it involves doing the opposite of what Hunters are usually expected to do. As such, you're going to get called a newb and derided for your "lol Survival" spec often if you go Surv.

These days of course, according to conventional wisdom, BM is at the top of the food chain, Survival is second, and Marks is dead last. Thus, again...using Beast Mastery will generally only get you abuse from non-Hunters, not among Hunters themselves.

Why do I keep Survival rather than going with Beast Mastery myself?

1. Redundancy. BW and Intimidation are really nice, but their cooldown is long enough that per-fight anyway, once you burn them, they're gone. With my boar and a build including both Readiness and Resourcefulness, in Scholo I can take a four mob pull and then chain trap my way through another three adds after that. From what I've seen, although BM's damage is higher against single targets, it doesn't handle unforeseen adds as well, particularly with a cat.

2. Levelling. BM starts becoming faster after probably level 20, yes. However, unless you're rolling your second, speed in my own mind is not actually a Hunter's best friend when you're starting out. There is a lot to learn, and both burning through to the cap as fast as you can, and relying on the pet to do so, are not in my own mind the best way to pick things up. Also, Endurance Training and Thick Hide might be great for augmenting your ability to take damage, starting out...but Hawk Eye means you're a lot less likely to be in a scenario where you actually get hit in the first place.

I also levelled as Survival on a particularly nasty PvP server. (Jubei'Thos) The Horde/Alliance conflict on Jubei is both very real, and deeply personal. While I'll admit that I don't have any great love for the Alliance at the best of times, getting to 70 on Jubei will likely teach you to truly hate them. There was corpse camping for hours, and all manner of other mean behaviour engaged in.

Given my experience with that, I am never going to advise anyone to spec anything other than Survival for levelling in that context. Survivalist, Savage Strikes, and traps have let me kill Warriors melee in Warsong Gulch before 70, and although it may not be true since reaching 70, before the cap in world pvp I virtually never lost a fight against a Rogue.

3. Crowd Control. Given the talents we have, with the additional backup of Wyvern Sting, BM can't touch us in this regard. Beast Mastery, as I've said, does between 100-150 base dps more than Survival, pretty much always. Survival trades said 150 DPS for its' traps.

So as I've hopefully shown, despite using Survival myself, I still feel that Beast Mastery has some extremely viable uses in a number of different scenarios, and shouldn't get the sort of derision I've recently seen it getting.

I like to think that part of the philosophy behind Survival is the idea of being able to identify the right tool for a particular job. The reason why I temporarily respecced BM myself a week or so ago is because I'm not too proud or narrow minded to be able to admit that for some jobs (faster farming, PvP, more pet friendly instances, higher overall DPS) that can mean going outside Survival itself.

I've cleared 700 agility

I'm moving closer to my gear being semi-respectable, at least in terms of Ag if no other element, yet. ;-)

Granted, this is with Lightning Reflexes, but I'm at 716 currently, and just below 25% crit. A warp burger, Major Ag pot, and Scroll V together could bump me up to around 790.

My RAP with both Hawk and TSA (given that my current build is 0/30/31) is around 1650. If I stay with this spec and keep building gear wise, I can probably hit my pre-Kara goal of 1700 fairly easily.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sisutar's Macroing/Keybinding guide.

Hey guys,
Wanted to try and give a bit of a plug for Sisutar's new macro/keybinding guide. I actually had it open and was looking at it just last night, and recommend it. It's got a few things I hadn't thought of in terms of macros, which I will be attempting to incorporate into my own setup. Check it out. :)

On Survival's "Viability"

In the comments on my post about spec reconciliation, I noticed that WyldKard and one other person talked about how Survival was non-viable for raiding.

This isn't the first time I've basically seen Survival as a spec being written off as a joke. It's always done in a calm, rational, mature tone of voice by someone who claims that they're not out to upset anyone; it's simple theorycrafting. After all, you can't argue with cold, hard mathematics, can you?

I've had to put up with ridicule (not from most people, mind you; only from a minority) both in game and in the forum for my spec for a long time, and I'm very, very tired of it. So today, I'm going to answer these individuals with a refutation that I've also been saving for a long time. I wanted to avoid playing this particular card, because part of me thinks it's gratuitous and in poor taste. However, in this case the lower part of my nature is going to win out.

I'm assuming nearly everyone here has heard of a European guild called Nihilum. On Wowwiki they're described as the number one WoW PvE guild on the planet, and they also represent the first time that economic sponsorship has been given to a World of Warcraft guild. Their world first kills include virtually every major raid boss within The Burning Crusade.

Now I want to mention a specific member of that guild; an individual with an Orc Hunter named Ahoq. Ahoq is the Hunter class officer for this guild. I invite you to take a look at his armory profile. It is here, and it is extremely impressive.

This is an individual who, not merely by association with this guild, but from his individual armory profile, we can see is, without any exaggeration whatsoever, WoW's Hunter class's answer to Michael Jordan.

When you look over his armory profile, you will undoubtedly eventually notice his talent spec, and at last we come to the relevant point.

It isn't Beast Mastery.

It isn't Marksmanship.

It's 0/20/41. He has 41 points in the freaks' tree. The crazies' tree. The fringe tree. The talent tree which, out of the three, before 2.1 you'd get laughed out of the forum for daring to mention so much as the existence of above a whisper.


To those who doubt the credibility of Survival as a viable spec for any use, PvE or otherwise, I have but this question to ask.

Do you think it is possible...just merely possible...that given what both he as an individual, and his guild has achieved, that perhaps Ahoq knows something you don't?

My Alt Project:- "You're Hired!"

Recently I had the idea to re-establish for my main on Thaurissan what I'd already had to a degree on Jubei'Thos before the transfer; an economic support infrastructure of alts of the kind that I'm told is fairly standard for most dedicated WoW players these days. My most pressing need to do this at the moment is in order to save for a flying mount, which I still don't have yet, as shameful as that is to admit.

So yesterday I made an alt Forsaken Mage, which incidentally is also what my second (and previous main) character on Thaurissan had been before this Hunter. The Mage is not being made primarily for the purpose of being played as such, but to provide gathered herbs for sale to generate additional revenue and locally produced potions such as health, mana, and major agility for the use of this character, my Hunter. Although the main other reason for attempting to reroll a Mage was sentimental, the two other practical reasons were the class's tremendous potential as a high level courier due to its' teleport spells, and also the amazing videos I have seen showing the practice of AoE farming.

To give some background for this post, the main reason why I gave up on the Mage as my primary character class was due to its' excessive fragility; while levelling I died constantly, even to mobs in friendly territory. Given that at the time I was on a PvP server, when I started reaching contested areas, that only became worse to the point where the character became largely unplayable.

At some point earlier today, with one of the Agamand Mills quests, having died repeatedly while attempting it on my own, I began to experience the same problem. After resurrecting for the second time, I paused in Brill to analyze the situation. I didn't feel that an investment in better gear at that level alone was likely to solve the problem; what I needed was the assistance of more robust classes.

So I put a message in General; "Requesting assistance for the Family Crypt quest," waited a few minutes, and got no response. On performing a /who Tirisfal query I discovered that there seemed to be an unusually large number of higher level characters in the zone at the time, so I decided to try a different approach. My new message in General was:-

"Offering 2 gold as a fee to anyone willing to help me complete the Family Crypts quest."

A few moments later I had a whisper from a level 21 Priest offering her assistance, and the quest was completed fairly rapidly after that.

Several hours afterwards, in the Barrens, I again had the same problem with the Echeyakee quest, due to its' associated adds. On trying the same approach in Barrens general, I was literally flooded with whispered offers of assistance in response.

I'm not pretending to have come up with a new idea here; I know it's customary for twinks to buy runs through the Wailing Caverns or the Deadmines in order to get items they're seeking, but what I haven't heard of too often is people being hired for more general work as bodyguards outside instances.

I suspect, however, that there is a high level player somewhere on Thaurissan who is going to be offered a fairly regular bodyguard job as I seek to level this Mage as rapidly as possible. I'm thinking that with a level 70 (or close to) Warrior at my side, levelling this Mage isn't going to be anywhere near as problematic as attempting to level my first Mage was, particularly in contested areas. ;-)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New addition to my blogroll:- Witch Doctor.

I first found out about this one through the venerable BRK. There is an enormous degree of humour present in this blogger's writing. I've found myself laughing hard while reading her posts on occasion.

I may not have actually said this before, but if I was ever going to get an alt to 70 that I was going to actually play, (and not merely for farming to support this character) it would almost certainly be a Shaman. The class may have its' issues, and it certainly is not the equal of its' rival, the Paladin, in terms of survivability, but from everything I have seen, the hybrid gameplay initially promised by the class does survive intact. I have an offline friend who has a fair degree of ability with the class; he has offered me evidence to suggest that although they may be a highly challenging class to play well, like the Hunter, the sight of a Shaman in action who is truly intimate with the class is nothing short of magnificent.

I will admit that the hybrid nature was one of the other elements which initially motivated me to roll a Hunter; I was dissatisfied that there was no melee viability present whatsoever with my Mage. I require ability in both melee and range to avoid boredom, aside from anything else. The Shaman may have less viability at range, but I will admit that since the release of the expansion, my focus in this game has been almost entirely on PvE anyway, as I have generally been unhappy with the nature of the PvP related changes that have occurred since that time; particularly those at the level cap.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Confession time

Recently in her email to me Sisutar made the statement that I was probably a very busy person and so she didn't mind if I kept my reply to her somewhat brief. That made me think about what my offline life really is like, and also made me realise that I feel a need to share a few elements of what it's like. I also understand that you don't want to listen to angst, and drama, at least most want to hear about WoW. I apologise for that, and realise that this will be over soon...I'll be back to writing about WoW again in the next post. ;-)

I also understand that most people greatly covet the anonymity that the Internet offers us. I have actually tried to be less forthcoming than I usually would be in the case of this blog, primarily because I feared some of the monumentally vicious individuals on the official forum using anything they could find out about my offline life as ammunition. That's about to change.

As well as having the character in WoW that he does, BRK has revealed to us that offline as well, while he may not actually be at that point yet, he is perhaps closer than many of us to what we might define as self-actualisation. He has a beautiful wife, and by all accounts a full life in several other respects as well.

I also understand that, given the image I have been accused on the forum of conveying, it might be assumed that my own existence is similar. However, truthfully it is exactly the opposite. I only recently ended a mutually psychologically abusive five year relationship, which I had only entered because it was my only means of ceasing to live with my parents. Due to moderately severe autism, a number of physical and psychological sexual problems, my ongoing struggle to resist a toxic and militantly codependent immediate family, and a precarious economic situation, I have little hope of obtaining another in either the short or long term future.

I have a ninth grade formal education, and have been unemployed since leaving high school in 1994, which coupled with some physical problems and the autism, renders employment prospects almost entirely non-existent.

In the South Park episode, "Make Love, Not Warcraft," the antagonist was depicted as an overweight man in a white singlet, who sat in an empty house doing nothing but playing World of Warcraft. I can honestly say that without any humour being involved whatsoever, that is closer to my own real life situation than I would usually be comfortable admitting.

It also causes me to realise now, why I continue to play WoW. I'm not like BRK, who has a coherent life offline, and simply has WoW as a form of recreation, and who also carries into WoW the degree of self-actualisation that he has already attained offline.

I continue to play World of Warcraft because, in reality, it provides me with one of the only real means I have, of feeling as though I have a concrete reason to continue to exist. Shadderhorn and the others on the forum who have attacked me and made this accusation were correct, and I'm going to flatly admit it.

I have no offline life.

If I wanted to be truly lame here, I could create an analogy in terms of the Matrix. Neo ended up becoming someone unbelievable; Thomas Anderson was a generic nobody. Likewise, although my behaviour on the forum hasn't always reflected this, I like to think of Mirshalak as representing the better elements of who I am; an individual who, in another life, in another world, and in another scenario, I actually might have been. James Osborn on the other hand is someone who I prefer to spend most of my time trying to avoid thinking about.

I know how negative I can be at times, but I honestly am enormously grateful to everyone who I've been able to correspond with in the process of writing this blog. You've made more of a positive impact than you might think...and times, you just might have saved a life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Don't fool yourself. Speed kills."

Any Australians reading this may recognise that the above was an advertising slogan used by the Traffic Accident Commission in a series of deliberately disturbing television ads several years ago, designed to deter motorists from driving too fast due to it having potentially fatal consequences.

However, the principle also applies in WoW. I was doing one of my daily Scholo farms earlier with a 60 Paladin. She was, admittedly, a lot more competent than most I've had with me in similar scenarios, and generally kept herself alive fairly well. However, there was one occasion where she charged into a group of mobs with abandon and got herself killed, although I was able to survive.

It reminded me of how, in the five mans I've done, I've never seen a single more common cause of deaths and wipes than impatience.

The tank who wants it to be a "fast run" because he has to go in 30 minutes, when the instance in question realistically needs (at least) an hour and a half. Wipe, wipe, wipe.

The tank who refuses to clear the multitude of adds in either the Steamvault or Slabs, in order to "save time," and then someone takes a wrong step in order to get range, or try to run from one of the mobs they are engaging. Spectacular chain wipe.

The group who consider first place on the unholy DPS meter to be the sole measure of their worth as human beings, both inside WoW and outside it, whose aggro thus goes through the roof. The tank can't hold aggro, the mobs all charge past him to the back of the group, and are immediately drawn to the healer, who is frantically trying to keep everyone alive in the midst of this chaos, and thus generating even more aggro than the DPS. The healer dies, and for the rest of the group it becomes only a matter of time. Wipe.

The newb who I'm gullible enough to take on instance farming runs, who's decided that he's bored with me fighting things and him simply looting, (when such is a measure designed to keep him alive) and charges headlong into the next group he sees. The last thing I usually see in such a scenario is one of his hands reaching out to me helplessly from beneath a group of mobs. ;-)

I don't try and save someone if they do that to themselves, either...I consider it an important part of their education. I do make a reasonable effort to protect the person I'm with, but if you're two manning something with me, and you pull mobs that I'm not ready for, I feign and you die. It's very simple, and it's done in the hope that if you put yourself through that enough times, eventually you might learn something.

There have been times when people in groups with me have been frustrated with me because they think I'm too slow and take forever to do something. I admit, I often am very slow, deliberate, and methodical...I find that solo at least, it's one of the primary elements of Survival as a playstyle. In terms of the parable of the tortoise and the hare, if the tortoise had a WoW character, I'm guessing it might have been a Survival Hunter. The proverb, "Slow and steady wins the race," is worth meditating on.

If you find yourself wiping in a 5 man though, take a minute. (Hell, take a couple)

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then open them again.

Observe your surroundings. Check the minimap. Are there patrols near you in the instance? Are there other adds, close to a group of mobs you have decided to engage, that the tank thinks the group can skip to "save time?" Hopefully, if you're not allowed to mark yourself, you've got an intelligent tank who can be reasoned with about such things. Some tanks are open to such negotiation; others sadly aren't.

If I'm running a 5 man though, and someone (particularly the tank) says they need to make it a fast run because they have to go in 30 minutes, I will generally boot them out of the group and get someone else who does have time. That might sound harsh, but it's a move with the welfare of the group as a whole in mind.

Yes, in terms of both soloing and instancing, I play this game very slowly. Why?

Corpse running is one thing I don't have time for.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New blog:- She rolls Horde

Just found out about a new Hunter blog; She Rolls Horde. Apparently a fellow SV Hunter. Not much there yet, but worth a look. :)

I have forum groupies. ;-)

While I'm not quite at the point where I can claim to be the leader of my own cult yet, it seems I'm off to a good start.

Meet Shadderhorn. He's a guy on the official forum who has mentioned taking the time to "do some digging," online where I'm concerned. Naturally, I'm flattered that someone considers me worth such an investment of their's genuinely touching.

He is also of the apparent opinion that writing a blog about one's WoW character indicates the lack of (and presumed need for) a significant other. Given that I know that BRK at least is quite happily married, I felt sure that some of you might find that perspective rather interesting.

I've never mentioned here either some of the adventures I had previously on the Blizzard forum with some of the apparent denizens of Elitist Jerks, either. Apparently that crowd has since moved on to greener pastures, for the most part...where exactly, I am not sure.

If any of you who read this haven't yet descended into the snake pit that is Blizzard's official Hunter forum before, I suggest a visit if you're feeling adventurous; consider it a rite of passage. However, I also recommend wearing fireproof underwear and making sure that your self-image is fairly robust first, as well. There Be Dragons. ;-)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Spec Reconciliation: Why We Need It

Just the other day on the official forum, I saw one of the usual "One True Spec," threads. Someone in there was talking about how they felt this was Beast Mastery, for ALL situations.

I (without at all trashing BM, at least I thought) offered a response as to why I thought Survival had some benefits. The previous author basically rode straight over the top of those, and ended his post with, "BM still superior spec in all scenarios."

I'm not going to try and claim that I've never indulged in spec bigotry myself. I think at some point, in our weaker moments, many (if not all) of us do. However, in this particular post I'm going to do the exact opposite. I want to try and end the rationale for flame wars about which is the "best" Hunter spec, and demonstrate why I feel that a group (in terms of 5 mans anywayz; I can't speak for raids yet) with both a BM and a Survival Hunter is going to be vastly more effective than a group with only one of them alone.

I once had the incredibly good fortune of doing a Black Rock Depths run with myself, two other Hunters, (one BM, and one pure Marks) and two Warlocks. Any sane reader of this will immediately wonder why not having a tank and healer could be considered fortunate; however we only wiped once, (we got caught by the dwarves below the ledge leading up to Incendius) but other than that, we were utterly unstoppable. The Marks Hunter gave the other two of us TSA and their usual awesome burst, the BM Hunter provided FI and the proverbial big red kitty periodically, and I was able to keep adds locked down with Freezing Trap and also provide some tanking with my boar.

This is my point; each spec only illustrates a single, lone aspect of our class. The reason why I'm going to love having a BM Hunter in a five man is the same reason why a Protection spec Warrior is going to love having one; like the Warrior, as Survival, damage isn't primarily what I do. To use another analogy, BM is to a Hunter what Shadow spec is to a Priest; namely, offense, or damage dealing. Conversely, as Survival, to again use the Priest analogy, you could compare me to their Holy spec. Damage isn't my main priority; helping keep the group alive is.

A BM Hunter's main yardstick for their worth in a group is possibly going to be, "Did I top the damage meter?" at the end of it. Conversely however, my own at the end of a group is more likely to be, "Did we wipe, and if so, how many times?" If the BM Hunter wasn't at the top of the damage meter, he's likely going to want to improve his game. Likewise, if the group I was in wiped, I'm going to want to improve mine in terms of CC, careful pulling, protecting healers, and negotiating for the co-operation of the group.

BM Hunters, I don't feel that anyone who is Survival should take it as an insult or an indication of inferiority if you beat us on the damage meter. I in fact sincerely hope you do, and am relying on you to do so, because that's not my job. My job is noticing when a stray mob has got past the tank and is on a healer, or using CC to make sure the tank preferably only has a single target at once.

I know Pike or BRK would tell me that BM can perform those roles just fine; I'm not saying you can't. But picture this; we're both in a group together. Because you've got me, you can focus exclusively on burning down Skull faster than anyone else, (what you're specced for) and because I've got you, I can focus exclusively on CC and keeping the cloth safe, (what I'm specced for) which in itself can be a full time job.

According to my own philosophy of play, the ideal attitude for a Survival Hunter is not to care if (other than keeping EW up) a single arrow of theirs is actually fired at the group's target(s) at all. (For trash pulling anyway; single boss targets are different, of course)

If EW stays up, CC goes off without a hitch, the tank is able to focus on the target in front of him without needing to worry about the people behind him, the cloth classes (and thus, the rest of the group) stay alive, and we don't wipe, I've done my job.

So, to those BM Hunters who possibly have some difficulty understanding this, (and this isn't directed at either Pike or BRK, because I know they both do) please understand that the simple fact that you do a lot more damage than Survival does not mean that Survival lacks justification for its' existence as a spec. Yes, you do more damage than us. That's perfectly fine. Working 100% as intended. If you're not beating me on the damage meter, there's something wrong. To again use the analogy; Shadow Priests do damage. Holy (for the most part, except when soloing) don't.

Also, to people who like leading five mans; purely as an idle experiment, if you're at 60 or 70, next time you do so, considering getting a tank and healer, but after that actually filling the other three slots with a Hunter from each spec. If each truly knows their spec, I predict that the results will amaze you.

Farming the Scholomance, Part 2

In one of the comments for my solo Scholo post, Pike said that she felt that soloing Scholo in its' entirety would be too big a project for her. (and presumably many other people)

However, the good news is that you don't need to do the whole thing in order to make some serious cash.

About a year ago now, when first I started playing around with the Auction House, I found out about these wonderful little gems. They're called Dark Runes, and Warlocks can use them to trade life for mana. Here's the interesting part, however; their index price on the AH is 15g, (just under the price of a water primal) and that can go close to 25g, depending on what the market is doing on a given day. I find they sell faster than I can replace them, seems our Warlock brethren love them.

Also, although it's true that the drop rate of them with two of Scholo's bosses is just under 50%, the Necromancers and Dark Summoners in the outer rooms still have droprates for them of 12% and 15%. A full clear of the two rooms where I've found those mobs so far will usually get me three of them, which means a cool 45g all up, plus probably another 10-15g in shrapnel, trash, and greens. That by far is the best money I've found in Azeroth myself so far; previously I had thought only Outland could offer farming that good.

So for those of you who like me, have hit 70 but aren't in raid gear just yet, even if the bosses in Scholo might be a bit much for you solo, you'll still find that you can solo the trash up to Rattlegore with some careful pulling, and make yourself some very nice money.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I've broken 70 subscribers!

Yes, I know this is probably still pathetic in comparison with BRK, but...according to Feedburner I had 71 subscribers last highest number yet! I didn't think I'd ever break 70. I've also noticed from technorati that I'm getting a couple more people adding me to their blogrolls as well.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of the humble Lair...the 100 sub milestone still awaits! ;-)

Solo Scholo

I was going to do some groups to get more of the gear I need for Kara over the last few days, but I can never get runs to where I need to go.

Although I'm attempting to get back to moving towards Kara again, also in terms of cash grinding/farming, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the idea of farming water primals ad nauseum to pay for a flying mount really doesn't do a lot for me.

So, while thinking about it a bit the other night, an alternative came to me; solo farming the Scholomance. This has a few different points in its' favour.

1) Even at 70, with my current gear anyway, it's still sufficiently challenging that I have to think about what I'm doing a bit. Back in days of yore, Scholo was originally a ten man raid for 60s, and although it's been massively toned down, soloing it will still keep you on your toes in places.

2) The place is a gold mine. Mobs drop anywhere between 5 and 25 silver apiece, and bind on equip blues can often fetch close to the same as a water primal on the AH. (In the neighbourhood of 15 gold)

It's also meant that I've had to go back to my roots a bit, as far as tactics appropriate to solo Survival are concerned. Although I'm still purely ranged, the emphasis on conventional burst damage (Multi, Arcane) is minimised.

I don't think this has ever been talked about before either, at least not by me, so I'll take a moment to go into it a little at length. The two main pillars of solo farming as Survival (for me at least) are Serpent Sting (and yes, Lienna, contrary to my earlier post which I now admit was misguided, I do only cast it once ;)) and Immolation Trap. I lean on these two and Snake Trap very heavily when PvE soloing, and virtually never use Arcane or Multi at all. There are two main reasons for this.

This is the Scholo solo farming spec I'm currently using. You will notice that this is not, comparitively speaking, a high burst damage build, and that is by design. For instance work, I want mana efficiency, talents which boost periodic damage, (Immolation Trap and Serpent Sting) trap augmentation, and low per-hit damage.

1) Mana efficiency. This might initially sound insane, but look closer. By combining Serpent Sting with Immolation Trap, with the talents in the above build, I get a total of 2379 DoT over 15 seconds, for a cost of 397 mana. Four Steady Shots with Autos after that are usually enough to kill a mob, which means a total of 837 mana per kill. With 6k mana, if I go out to max range so I don't need to feign, that means I can kill seven mobs between drinks.

2) Aggro management. This is the single most important reason. With the above DoTs lasting for 15 seconds, I'm getting 158 DPS, which is only around 60 dps above the boar. My current paperdoll DPS is 232, which works out at just under 400. Most of you are going to say that's horribly, disgustingly low...and you'd be right, which is actually why I love it. 400 DPS will kill mobs with Scholo's health range in around 15 seconds, plus what the boar gives me, but it will also do it with entirely regulated aggro the entire time...which means I don't pull from the boar, which means I don't get swamped and die. (And yes, you can die on your own in Scholo if you're not paying attention; I already have a few times)

As for some of the other points with that spec; two of the talents which the cool kids usually take that I didn't in this particular scenario were Mortal Shots and Surefooted. I didn't take MS because I wanted Imp Stings to regulate aggro, and MS actually would have caused more burst aggro due to the higher crits, and I didn't take Surefooted because I wanted the points for Trap Mastery and Imp FD, already have some +hit gear, and don't particularly care in this scenario if I miss an auto every now and then.

In case anyone's asking, yes, I am going to respec back to a more sane 0/20/41 before I again set foot in an Outland 5 man, which will also include the sacrosanct 5/5 Mortal Shots. ;-)

I actually had to respec twice for Scholo tho because of how deeply I've had it drilled into my head that, "If you do NOT take Mortal Shots in EVERY SINGLE SCENARIO, you are a NEWB, with UTTERLY NO WORTH as a human being, inside WoW or outside it!" on the forum. I know that in 99% of cases it's essential, but I consider this case the 1%. Being a slave to the damage meter while doing this so far has actually got me killed.

I took Trap Mastery and Imp Feign Death because both were being resisted. Rattlegore in particular hits like a truck; when you feign while you've got him on you, it really isn't good if he doesn't care.

I also took Readiness for adds. If I'm fighting two mobs, one locked down with freeze trap, and pull another, two accidentally, I can Wyvern one, hit Readiness, drop a Snake Trap on the other, and go back to what I was doing.

With Readiness I can also give Rattlegore a two trap punch. Set Immolation Trap, lure him to it with Serpent, send the boar, smack Readiness, jump forward and drop Snake Trap at his feet, feign to drop trap aggro, jump back and commence Steady fire. The rapid fire of the snakes can keep him from attacking, the venom dot stacks with Serpent and Immolation Trap, and he's dead before he knows what's hit him, without me having again pulled aggro. That is basically the central element of how Survival does damage here; no one source does much, but you put around four different gradual sources together, and use that to regulate aggro. It's the proverbial death by a thousand cuts.

If you want to try this yourself, among other things, you'll also need a pet that can take a beating. With my DoTs and if I keep Mend Pet up, my old pig can withstand Rattlegore, but a cat probably wouldn't be able to.