Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My pulling sequence at the moment

As mentioned in my last post, I'm back with Explosive Shot at the moment. What I outline here is purely for use against mobs; I got schooled in a duel with a Shadow Priest last night. This spec and method is not for PvP at all.

I know it will sound as though my rotation is changing a lot right now. That is true, and I will admit that it is slowing my levelling down somewhat. However, I have felt a need to do a lot of experimentation with Explosive Shot and various traps, in order to figure out how it and my traps can work together.

Although the below methods are also going to seem extremely slow and overly complicated for some people, I find they give me the following advantages.
  • Mana use is around 5% per kill, with 2-5% health per kill at times as well, due to mobs possibly getting the odd stray hit. With Resourcefulness, ToTH, Lock and Load, and 3/5 Hunting Party, the only mana I spend is for marking, Serpent, traps, and the very occasional Mend Pet. This means that for single mob pulls, I can continue pulling indefinitely, with no down time. Multi mob pulling might cause me to need to eat and drink a bit, but I generally don't go below 45% health.

    Aside from eliminating downtime, the secondary advantage to mana efficiency is a greater chance of surviving against unanticipated numbers of adds. As mentioned previously, I die far more often indirectly because of being out of mana, than I do from scenarios where I still have sufficient mana but simply run out of health.

    Survival is the Ebenezer Scrooge tree for a few different reasons, and this is one of them:- If I can use as little mana as possible against mobs which I do anticipate, that in turn means that I will have as much as possible for mobs which I don't.

  • This is the single most secure method I know of for dealing with unplanned numbers of adds. At 10k health, I can generally handle 4-6 non-elites with my cat and survive; I anticipate that with a Gorilla using the below chain-trapping method in addition to Volley, I could easily survive twice that number.

  • I'm not going to lie to you. If the below seems somewhat slow, that's because it is. Another element of Survival's Saturnine/Scroogelike nature is the fact that, to really enjoy its' characteristics, being slow can at times be as much of an advantage as being fast, especially if it means being deliberate and avoiding mistakes. It's a conscious exchange; I trade speed and offensive damage output for control, robustness, and endurance. The philosophy is that even if I'm a bit slower on per-mob kills because of that, my overall time spent is still a lot less than if I try and hurry, and end up corpse running. The proverb of, "more haste, less speed," applies.

    My individual mob kills are based primarily around my trap duration, which means 15-20 seconds each. When fighting multiple mobs, after one kill, sometimes I will stop for the last five seconds of a trap cooldown as well, to let my cat build some additional threat on the second mob before dropping the next trap and engaging it.
Because of the extra damage which ES gives me, although I'm still trapping every pull, I don't use Immolation Trap most of the time right now. Instead, I've found it good to focus on a trap which inhibits the movement of a mob as much as possible, and I've found that that is easiest with Snake Trap.

Although there are still times when I will use it, Frost Trap just doesn't work as well for me, for a couple of different reasons.
  • The snakes have their own aggro table, so if I drop Snake and feign, a mob is going to spend time killing the snakes first.

  • Frost Trap works very poorly on slopes, and if you fight on a slope, you're only going to get a small left to right portion of the slick to work with.

  • Snakes can apply crippling poison, which slows mobs by 70%. Frost Trap only slows mobs by 60%, and Wing Clip by 50%. I find that when having to fight more than two mobs in sequence, this extra 10-20% speed difference translates directly into me saving an extra 10-20% health, and in scenarios where the adds sometimes just keep coming, in densely populated areas, that is the difference between being able to continue questing/farming, or having to make a corpse run.
So my rotation at the moment is:-
  1. Drop a Snake Trap at 20 yards from the mob. I'm able to use the RangeDisplay addon to figure out how far that is.

  2. Walk backwards to 35-40 yards. As I'm about to hit the 40 yard point, I fire Serpent Sting, and because auto shot won't fire while I'm moving, I also quickly press another key to turn auto shot off. This is so that I don't get a 1k autoshot crit, and front load more threat than the pet can initially get past with Growl. Serpent Sting as an initial shot builds threat over time, so Growl and my pet's specials have more of a chance to keep up.

  3. When the mob hits my Snake Trap, I press another key that is bound to a macro which both applies Hunter's Mark, and sends my cat to attack the mob. Dash means that the mob won't stay at exactly the same spot as the trap, like Charge would have, but that is ok, because when the mob and cat walk forward a bit before fighting, I can simply backpedal.

  4. When Lock and Load procs from my Snake Trap, I use the rotation Explosive Shot, Aimed Shot, Explosive Shot. Sometimes if it's a more difficult mob, or if I've got an add and so need to get the first one down more quickly, (say against the two part horse and rider mobs at New Hearthglen) my rotation will be Explosive Shot, Aimed Shot, Multi Shot, Explosive Shot. The second rotation however uses quite a bit more mana, so I don't use it unless I really need to.

  5. After using the non-Multi rotation, the mob will usually be alive for another 1-2 seconds, which is fine. I can either fire another autoshot to finish, or keep backpedalling while my pet and the snakes finish up. I find that I can generally time it so that the snakes and the mob both die at exactly the same time, which means my kills take 15 seconds precisely, and with Resourcefulness, my trap cooldown usually finishes 1-2 seconds later as well.
If I know that I can expect to have adds ahead of time, my procedure is a little different, but not much.
  1. First, I chain trap. Chain trapping for me means putting down my first trap before I pull, and waiting until the trap cooldown has only 5 seconds left before pulling. This is slow, so you won't want to do it every pull; only for ones where you're expecting adds.

    Pike (and some other people) might like chaining Freeze Traps, and that's fine, but I actually like putting down a Frost Trap first, and then using a Snake Trap for each individual mob. The reason why I do this is because, if you use Freezing Trap, it will only stop one mob. Frost Trap gives me a 60% speed reduction against however many mobs walk onto the slick, even if it's another four or so. Snake Trap against individual mobs then also gives me the additional 10%, which means that while I might still have to move around a bit, I am at least able to distribute a marginal amount of CC to all of them. I can also Feign Death and apply Growl to each of them, while of course keeping Mend Pet up.

  2. Next, when I send the pet, I put Mend Pet up, I Growl at the first mob, attack said first mob with the pet until around halfway through the Growl cooldown, and then retarget the second mob and Growl at it.

  3. I then redirect the pet back to attacking the first mob, drop Snake Trap, and kill it in the usual way. People might say to simply use Volley, but if I do that without a Gorilla, I pull threat very quickly.

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