Friday, April 11, 2008

Why I'm not having bug blues

(This post is likely to get me flamed. The methods I'm talking about using here aren't necessarily going to be for everyone; I'm not like the robots in the forums who suggest that if you don't do everything their way, you're a fundamental failure as a human being. What I am saying though is, try might like it. ;-))

There have been a lot of threads posted on the forums recently about mana regeneration issues, reduction of threat generation from pets, and also autoshot getting frozen when using Kill Command.

I admit, I haven't really been affected by any of these issues. I can explain why.

The first thing is, I generally don't use Kill Command outside groups. I certainly wouldn't use it for farming, since I tend to want the mana for other things. So the bug associated with it hasn't affected me.

For the threat and mana issues, I will outline my usual rotation/attack sequence when soloing/farming.

For Single Targets:-

1. Apply Hunter's Mark.

2. Drop an Immolation Trap at roughly 15 yards from the target, if you can measure it. The addon Nudge is invaluable for this. This also becomes partly intuitive with experience.

3. Use Arcane Shot (Rank 1) as an initial low threat pull shot.

4. Apply Mend Pet pre-emptively if necessary, so it is active while the pet engages the target.

5. Time sending the pet so that it reaches the mob when the mob reaches the Immolation Trap. Ideally this macro can be used to combine both Applying Hunter's Mark and sending the pet at once.

6. Move backwards to re-establish maximum range.

7. Apply Serpent Sting.

8. Commence fire with Auto Shot until the target is dead.

This was tested recently by Efri while levelling his new Hunter on my server. He reported substantially greater mana efficiency than when he was using Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot without trapping.

The other benefit of this attack sequence is that for some reason, I have noticed that even if Omen records me as having the same level of threat with a mob as my pet, the mob will still stay with my pet in many cases if I am only using Auto Shot, whereas firing Arcane Shot will pull it instantly. There can sometimes (not always) be an initial burst of threat due to Serpent and Immolation Trap initially ticking simultaneously, but if that happens, Feign and auto shot afterwards will ensure the mob stays with your pet.

Also, you can put Disengage back on your action bars somewhere. Disengage does not clear threat to the degree that Feign does, but it will reduce your threat; and there are times where if Auto Shot is what you're using, that is enough.

There's a particular quote that is worth mentioning here;
"Match the weapon to the target."

What that means in this context is this; if you're in a raid scenario with 24-39 other people and fighting a boss who's a DPS race, then sure, by all means, spec BM and go nuts.

If however, you're farming or against single mobs, alone, you will find that it will serve you better to adopt a very different strategy. Here, you're not pressed for time, and you want to apply sufficient damage to the mob in order to kill it, without engaging in overkill.

Overkill is bad for two reasons:-
a) It wastes mana. If you get adds after the current mob that you're on, and you've gone nuts with a full 1:1.5 rotation, you've wasted mana on the current mob that could otherwise keep you alive with the adds.

b) It raises not only threat with the current mob, but also ambient threat. Ambient threat is a very real thing, but it isn't measured by meters. (Or at least not accurately)

What that means is that if you want to kill crowds of 3-4 mobs, (although more will kill you) you keep Mend Pet up, cycle Growl on the first two targets, drop a Snake Trap, and use Serpent + Auto to kill each one. Yes, it's tricky. Yes, you have to balance your aggro, your health, the pet's health, and that of the mobs. It is, however, doable. I've done it in the Scholomance.

The single most important thing to remember in such a scenario however is actually to have the discipline not to panic and use Arcane Shot to try and kill the mobs more quickly. That will actually make it far more likely that you will die, because it will pull one and possibly more of them from the boar onto you, resulting in your very rapid death.

As I said to Brigwyn on MSN, there have been two occasions recently where I successfully finished a five mob fight in the Scholomance with less than 400 health and mana. To the naked eye my bars were empty; I had to actually mouse over them to see what the values were. It's a technique I've started calling air walking; because in a way, that's what it is.

The recent threat/mana nerfs are actually going to mean, more than anything else, that more Hunters might have to learn to do something that I've already been doing for a while, now.

You'll have to start riding the rapids.

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