Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Remembering Survival

I just found this video on YouTube. It's of the last few minutes of The Dark Knight.

It reminded me of when I made this blog post, about what Survival ideally was, for me.

I actually do enjoy my dailies, now. I log in, do the Icecrown ones, sometimes go and farm Quel'Danas to make up around another 100g from there, and then log out. I just renewed my subscription, and I actually added a debit card number for the first time this month; so I'm not going anywhere.

It's nothing like what I have experienced in the past, though. The battlegrounds were glorious, primarily pre-TBC, but they could still be good during TBC as well. 5 mans during TBC were also still at least partly worth doing.

I can still play. I can still get in, and farm, and run the odd old instance with people, and dream...but it's not the same. I know it never will be again.

I can no longer express this to you on the forum, Ghostcrawler; but I will not forget what you and the "new Blizzard," have taken from me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Merc duty

As mentioned in an earlier post, I gave two guys a run through the Scholomance the other night; got the Achievement as well which was good. My pay was unusually good, as well; 200g.

I admit; when Rilgon talks about being passionate about raiding, as far as PvE is concerned, that is what I really love to do. It's actually the reason why I never raided during TBC. I was constantly taking people through different places. It very much fits Mirsh as a character, in RP terms in particular. ;)

I wish Blizzard would copy EQ's mentoring program, as it would give me a lot more to do in the game. EQ (and I think maybe EQ2) has a scenario where if someone higher level joins a 5 man or so group with lower level characters, the higher level person's gear will be downgraded temporarily to match the rest of the group. The higher level character is given some incentive for doing it as well, which I can't remember specifically...although I'd do it purely for gold.

Given that I've been forum banned (sheepish grin) would someone who still has forum access maybe be willing to start a thread in the Suggestions forum about this for me? I'd love it if Blizzard added this in a future patch. Given how big Pike's readership is too, I'm sure there are people on her server who would love it if they could get groups with her, as well.

Friday, April 24, 2009

On Black Arrow and Wyvern Sting

To answer Gundersson's last comment; yes, Wyvern was made our top tier talent in 1.7, and remained so until TBC.

I actually got Black Arrow and ES back recently with the talent reset, and I'm finding now that they don't make me too bored. I still use Immolation Trap for a couple of reasons:-

a) Because, although the damage over time is only marginally more, it still does it over 6 seconds, it kills things faster, at least once the trap goes off.

b) Because of the way I'm specced, I get Entrapment procs, which stack with the one second stun from Charge. It can be good for allowing me to get range once the trap goes off, or to help with kiting when I use Frost.

c) I just enjoy trapping more, although I'm not stupid about it, either. There are times when, as I've said, I'm 40 yards away from one particular mob, but there are others between it and me, and I don't necessarily want to pull every other mob between me and it. There are also times when I'm in a hurry, for whatever reason, and as long as I've got range, I will use Black Arrow then.

The reason why I don't feel that Black Arrow has made us a clone of Marksmanship, is because in the past, what we would have used for long range work is Wyvern Sting, but Wyvern has always been on a long CD. Black Arrow for me isn't so much purely a ranged L&L proc, (the presumed raider mentality) as it is a free second use of Wyvern Sting, without the sleep, but which *also* allows me to stack the near 3k damage of Serpent on top of it.

I understand that in raid terms, generating L&L procs might be considered the only reason why Survival exists, but the reason why I don't raid is precisely because I want to be able to do what I want.

So when I'm farming, getting an L&L proc isn't actually my main goal in life. I will often either use an Immolation Trap, Serpent, and a single ES, or BA, Serpent, and a single ES; or sometimes even just Serpent and a single ES, which also usually kills things very rapidly as well. When 3.0 first came out, I was as much an L&L junky as anyone else; but then GC put it on a cooldown, which I found clunky and annoying, so I learned to live without it.

The only time I really definitely want an L&L proc is when I'm doing group work (in terms of mobs) with Frost Trap. When that happens, against three targets, they will all get one ES each, or with two targets, the pet's will get two ES, and the second mob will get Serpent and one, usually with a Feign as well.

Another thing you may or may not find interesting; when farming, I never use Steady. At all. It is horribly mana inefficient, and use of Steady might have a lot to do with why you've mentioned that your pet can't hold threat either, Gundersson.

I often have scenarios where I'll rapidly hear the "exceeded pet threat," sound effect in Omen 3 or so times per kill. Have any of you heard of barreling waves, in surfing? That's essentially what I do with threat, and you can only do it if, once you've got some dots up, you use pure autoshot after it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Escaping L&L/ES/BA boredom

I was obviously wrong about Immolation Trap, and I acknowledge that.

When I'm on my own at least, however, damage isn't actually my main priority.

It might be in an instance, yes; but as I wrote a few posts ago, for a bit before the release of 3.1, for farming I actually specced *out* of ES/L&L because I got bored with running around one shotting everything that moves.

If I'm still trapping, I can farm for hours and not get bored. With ES, though, I find my eyes starting to glaze over after only the first few mobs; as you say, it sucks.

Seriously; use dual speccing and, as a farming spec, give yourself this.

Then you can switch between that and the ES/L&L/BA whack-a-mole spec to use in Heroics or raids.

It's essentially what we had during TBC, but with the Glyph of Immolation Trap, CA, and Hunting Party as well. I'd never use this in a Heroic or raid of course; but when I'm alone, I can choose what's actually fun to play, not what's purely high DPS.

If I could spec for ES without Black Arrow I would, but unfortunately we're not given that choice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gundersson on Survival's rhythm in 3.1

Gundersson wrote to me close to a week back about how Survival's shot rotation is shaping up in 3.1. His comments are in italics. My responses are below his quotes, in normal text.

Finding the rythm of survival a bit.. broken. Dunno what it is really. I don't like black-arrow. It's taken something iconic to Survial, traps, and replaced it with just another shot.

Not for me it hasn't. I don't have exact numbers in front of me due to maintenance, but for me, Black Arrow wouldn't do much more than 2k damage, tops, and Immolation Trap does nearly 5k with the glyph, and in less time. Immolation Trap still has a 10% periodic chance to proc L&L as well, which is the same as Black Arrow itself.

Immolation Trap also costs more on paper, at 9% base mana, but with Resourcefulness it actually only costs 3%, due to 60% reduced mana cost.

Black Arrow is meant as a mobile L&L proc during raids (I saw GC say as much in the DPS forum) or Heroics when you want to stand still and shoot, but you also don't want to use Freezing Arrow because you want damage attached to the proc ability as well. I also use it at times for reach; if I'm in range of a group of mobs and don't want to pull the others, depending on their distance away, I will use Black Arrow, Serpent, (or Wyvern, but if so, I'll fire Wyvern first) and ES to kill one of them.

While I'm farming, if I really want to drop a single non-elite target quickly, I use an Immolation Trap, Serpent with points in Imp Stings, (which gives me close to 7k damage in dots) and Explosive Shot. (6k if all three charges crit)

That is mana intensive, but it still does more damage than Serpent, Black Arrow, and ES. It will also more than kill any non-elite mob (12k-ish health, tops) in the game that I know of. Other than for pulling isolated mobs out of groups, I never use Black Arrow outside an instance.

Black-Arrow makes your immolation trap redundant. It makes moving around useless now. You kinda just stand there and repeat a shot rotation based on priority.

Mobility would only be redundant for single targets. For multiples, I tend to use a Frost Trap and for up to 3 targets, one Explosive Shot each from the Lock and Load proc, as well as Serpent on one of them as well. Once Frost is down, circle strafe around it at range, and use Thunderstomp to hold targets in place.

It feels like they've made Survival's playstyle the same as Marksman now. Considering that crowd control from what I've heard still doesn't exist in Ulduar, our strengths are pretty much still wasted.

I don't raid, personally. I wouldn't have even done more than one Heroic in the last month. I'm farming for my epic flying mount, and a few epic rings on the AH as well. I didn't go to Naxx other than three nights in an initial week, and I've only been to Sarth once as well. Naxx bored me, and IMHO the equivalent of T7 can be had outside it, as well. The Argent Crusade rep chest is at least on par with T7.

Aside from farming, I will very occasionally do battlegrounds, but that is rare due to the Paladin and Death Knight still being the OP abominations that they are now. The DK isn't actually entirely unkillable if Army of the Dead is on CD, but the Paladin is ridiculous.

Sniper training is even more reason to just stand in one place and hit buttons.

In an instance, sure; but the only time we've ever not had a stationary rotation in instances was for a very brief time between 3.0 and 3.0.8, before those unutterable %^&* (there simply are not words) on Elitist Jerks told everyone to abuse the proc rate of Lock and Load.

The timer on Black Arrow also throws out the rhythm. It's got a 30 second cooldown but a 15 second duration or something like that.

I probably wouldn't use it, but then again, I've never really worried about L&L procs in Heroics at least. Caring about it in raids is up to you, but if you use Serpent instead, if you've got the glyph you're still getting the +10% damage to Steady Shot, (which badly needs it) and given that it has a 20% RAP coefficient rather than Black Arrow's 10%, will likely do more damage as well, even after the +6%.

Monitoring it doesn't really add to the fun of gameplay. Serpent sting handled everything well enough. You got your serpent sting on the target and then you got into your rotation, you were left free to manouver and react to things.

Personally, I felt as though even Serpent slowed things down way too much. With Hunter's Mark, it meant two GCDs before I was into my full rotation. Now if you use Black Arrow as well, that's three.

Now it's like you're almost required to have tunnel vision.

As I said, I don't raid. I got 200g from a couple of guys to do a Scholomance run the other night; most fun I've had with the game in months, actually. I saw parts of the instance that I haven't before, and in addition to the money, they were very grateful, as well.

Some people might enjoy raiding, but personally I find I have a lot more fun if I don't go near it.

If you want to have fun in this game, stay up until 3-4 am one morning and look for a guy levelling his way through HFP who never got a Ramps run, or find four kids and have them give you 50g each to take them on an Emperor run in BRD. It might take you 2-4 hours, but you'll have a blast, and said kids will love you for it afterwards. It's the closest I'm ever likely to get to real fatherhood.

Varian Wrynn needs killing

Those of you who've read my own rp pieces here will know I'm not a fan of the King of Stormwind, but only a few minutes ago, I finished watching the new Ulduar trailer at Gaming Diva's blog.

I honestly can't think of a character from just about any fiction that I've read who I've despised as much. I suspect Blizzard's aim in designing Varian as a character was to create someone who'd inspire strong emotion, and it worked. I've wished I could have the opportunity to kill Wrynn in-game practically ever since the character was (more prominently, in 3.1) introduced. I need to find someone raiding Stormwind for the achievement sometime, methinks; I also need to make sure I make it first into the throne room. ;)

I think, truthfully, it's because he's such a warmonger. When I first started playing this game, I was actually very peaceful. I played on a PvP server because I had friends who did before I got into the game, and later learned active PvP purely out of necessity. Back then on Jubei'Thos, it got so bad with my Mage that I literally could not quest at all in contested areas; so I had to roll this Hunter and learn to fight back.

I won't claim to be as pacifist as Rilgon is; I probably wouldn't have survived my experience with the education system if I was pacifist. At high school though, I learned to fight in such a way that if it happened, it only ever happened once; the recipient became sufficiently afraid of me that I never had to do it again. I didn't like that, either; I don't like intimidating people, but sometimes I would put up with bullying for close to 6 months before finally doing something because it wouldn't stop.

Wrynn and Garrosh are the primary antagonists within WoW at the moment, and truthfully I don't like either of them. By the time 2.4 came around, I'd got used to the idea that the two factions didn't fight each other much in-game any more, and truthfully liked it.

I still enjoyed the battlegrounds as much as ever, yes, but I considered that more of a sport; and it never had the sort of nasty emotional edge to it that world PvP was able to get. I also remember the truth that at release, WoW was, originally, at its' heart a PvE game, despite what the Arena revisionists have tried to tell people at times.

The war between the Alliance and Horde should have been allowed to stay over, IMHO, and Garrosh and Varian should not have been introduced. The battlegrounds and the Arena worked well enough for PvP in practical terms; in lore terms, I feel Blizzard should move on to other things.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Solo Sethekk Halls

I realise I'm probably around 6 months behind everyone else here as usual, but I managed to solo Normal Sethekk Halls earlier today. I was actually very surprised at how easy it was, since at 70, even in Normal mode, this instance was always quite challenging for me.

It was, I admit, a very slow process; probably around 2 hours. I move very slowly and deliberately when soloing instances. About the only real trouble I had was with Darkweaver Syth, and I also had momentary difficulty with the Time-Lost Controllers as well, before I figured out a good set of tactics for them.

Darkweaver Syth has around 80k health from memory, and summons probably around half a dozen elemental adds. I died a few times with him at first because of being pre-occupied with trying to get the boar to tank the adds. I eventually figured out that I simply had to mow Syth down, and his adds would vanish on their own.

My strategy, then, was to send the boar in to Syth, then very carefully manage threat, while still trying to do fast damage until he was at 50% health. At that point, I'd pull threat; so what I did then was to feign death, drop a Frost Trap, and kite the adds in order to finish Syth off.

Ikiss also has about 85k health, and was enormously easy, which I was very surprised about, given how hard I remember him having been at 70. I sent the boar to him and then opened fire, and when I pulled threat, Ikiss blinked over to me. I ran around the other side of the nearest pillar during his arcane explosion, and then came back and resumed DPS.

For most people though, I'm not sure whether to recommend instance farming for really good money. I did another Ramps run today as well, and would have been lucky to make 50g out of it, all told. I possibly just had bad luck with drops though, because I'm pretty sure I've had 100g or so from there before.

Scholo isn't really an option any more either, since most of the blues there are devalued now, and nobody seems to want Dark Runes any more, either. The most money you'll probably make from a Scholo run now will likely be 60-70g for a really full clear, and most of that will come from blue non-recipe drops, and 20g from the AH for the average five stacks of Runecloth. I wouldn't bother trying to sell the Lifestealing and other recipes for more than 5-10g on the AH now, sad to say; I haven't seen them go for more than that since pre-WoTLK.

The good news is that Quel'Danas is still viable, (IMHO anywayz) especially as an augment to the 100g or so you'll get from the Icecrown dailies. I did the island earlier today, and made 90-95g or so. You get 12-16g from all of the non-flying dailies, and with not all that much farming, I made an extra 70g on top of that from trash and greens. Netherweave is still selling at around 6g a stack, too...and I got around 5 stacks of that, as well.

The respawn rate at the island is still as ludicrously fast as it always was, too; so the amount you can make is literally determined by the length of time you're willing to farm. Clear out one area with Thunderstomp and Volley, then go and do the same in a second area, and by the time you've finished in the second area, the first will have respawned.

I find it's faster to make money there than in Northrend sometimes because the island is small. I can round up a lot of relatively weak mobs and kill them all at once, and only have to travel a short distance to reach the next area and do it again. With Northrend, for the dailies at least, the Icecrown dailies are the only ones I know of which yield more than 10g each, and for the rest of them, you also have to travel to different zones, as well.

I feel that Northrend skinning is also good. I don't get Arctic Furs dropping a lot, but I can get 30-60g each for them on my server. 10g per stack is also fairly standard for Borean Leather, and altho the cave north of K3 has been nerfed (in terms of the spawn rate) it is still fairly good for leather.

So far, according to Accountant, I managed a profit of around 300g today, and I haven't done my Icecrown dailies yet, either.

For anyone with mining, that is probably considered laughably pathetic, but I feel it's ok. Although for miners who do their dailies as well, it's just even more money, and given the size of some of the gold sinks which exist now, (the mammoth, the Dalaran ring, etc) are any of us ever really going to say no to that?

Friday, April 17, 2009

A reunion

(This is a belated reply to Pike's, "There Was One She Still Missed.")


I was stripping the corpses of my most recent Undead kills in Sholazar, looking for scraps of the valuable cloth they had, which I could sell, when I noticed the gorilla with me was hungry again. Reaching into my pack, I carelessly threw him a banana, and continued.

As I worked, I realised that I wasn't close to the gorilla at all. It wasn't really fair of me; he was a good pet, and his ground shaking ability knocked down many of the Undead at once, and made them easier to hunt. I could tell that he was unhappy that I had not really bonded with him, as well.

I had also tamed a cat recently, as well. Her teeth and claws were sharp, and she was the pet I took when I hunted with others, although if I was honest, I only really took her to impress the other people I was with. There was a stronger connection with her than with the gorilla, but not much.

Thinking of this, my mind suddenly went back to my boar, and as it did, my head lowered involuntarily in grief and shame.

The boar was the greatest pet I had ever owned. My parents had been boar farmers, and he had been a gift from them to me, as a tiny piglet, on the day of my Rite of Choosing, when it was discovered that I was to be a Hunter, only a bare few months before we left Draenor. He had stayed with me during the Crossing to Azeroth, and the Blood-induced chaos which followed. We had grown up together.

During the most glorious days of my life, in Ashenvale, when I had fought with the Warsong Outriders, against the Silverwings, the boar had been with me then. He had helped me win countless victories.

When we were alone, in Desolace, in my youth, and suddenly a Night Elf rogue would be upon me, and there was no other help for miles, the boar would be between me and them, taking their blows upon himself, so that I could fight them off and save us both. He would be grievously injured sometimes, after those fights; I had to spend hours bandaging him. Yet he never hesitated to do it, as many times as was necessary.

And for this service, for his sharing of my victories, and my losses, and his protection of me with his life; for his having spent most of his entire existence with me, I had rewarded him...

...by abandoning him in a wooden cage, to rot.

At that thought, I knew I had to get him out. I hearthed back to Dalaran, where the sun was just in the process of slipping down below the horizon. I stabled the gorilla, and had been about to go and get the boar out, when I heard the sound, coming from the next stall.

It wasn't the usual squealing or grunting. It was a long, slow, keening wail. I hadn't heard it since my childhood; I used to hear it during my parents' work. It was the sound a pig made right before it went to the slaughter, when it knew its' life was about to end. It was filled with grief.

I went back out, and looked at the Blood Elf stablemistress.

"He has been making that noise ever since you left him here," she said to me. "Every single night, for months. In all of the years I've worked here, I've never seen an animal so unhappy."

I went back and let him out. There was a pause, as I don't think he believed it was really me, and then he leapt at me, snorting, snuffling, grunting, and licking my face, his own face still wet with his tears, which after a few moments, mingled with my own. The stablemistress smiled at us both.

"I gather you'll be taking him with you?" She asked me.

I looked down at the boar, who was still running in circles over the fact that I was back, and nodded to her, smiling myself now.

We went back to Sholozar together, and fought some more Undead for their cloth. I had to go a bit more slowly with him than with the cat or gorilla, but I didn't mind.

There were, so people told me, more formidable pets than a boar. Pet types which were fiercer, had claws. My boar, like me, also wasn't getting any younger, and there would come a time when we were both too old to hunt any more.

I could accept that. For a Hunter, a pet wasn't just another weapon. Most of the time, it was the only other company we had. A pet ideally was an extension and mirroring of your own soul.

A companion.

Others could say there were more effective fighting pets if they wished. The boar was mine, and we would die together, as we had lived together. As we sat together after nightfall, when I'd made camp in a safer part of Sholozar, I swore to him that I would never forsake him again.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A post to GamingDiva

Another non-WoW related post here; for those of you who don't like those, sorry about that guys. This is going to be a post about vegetarianism. I'm initially going to outline, more fully, my reasons for being interested in it, and then I'm going to ask GamingDiva if she would be willing to offer some advice about one potential health issue which I've read about online.

I also realise that the response to this, from one or two of the people who still read me is possibly going to be, "We don't care. This is a personal issue. Keep it to yourself." As I've said before though, guys; my blog, my house rules. If you don't like it, I don't mind if you don't read. If it wasn't for wanting to ask GamingDiva for some guidance, I wouldn't be writing it at all, most likely; but seeing as I am, you're going to get the whole thing.

My other motivation in writing this post is to hopefully help some other people who might, on an offchance, be in the same position, have some concerns, and be looking for advice. Gundersson told me via Gmail once that something I should do with the blog was to continue to be honest about the things that are important to me; so I'm going to.

In a comment on one of my earlier posts, GamingDiva mentioned being vegan, and having written about it. I was very happy to learn that she mentions being healthy from it, as well.

Given both the picture of Kali at the top of the page, and some of the other things I've written, people could be forgiven for thinking that I've wanted to do this for religious reasons, but it isn't actually that at all.

It's fundamentally health related, and there are three specific issues:-

  • Cancer risk.

    At least 50% of the people who I have known personally, have died of cancer; several of them prematurely. I thus feel a particular determination and interest in avoiding this disease and/or reducing my risk of the development of it.

    My grandfather, who I live with, is currently dying of what was originally prostate cancer which has now gone to his skeletal system, and he also suffers from a damaged lymphatic system, due to chemotherapy. His wife, my grandmother, died in 2000 of what was originally bowel cancer which later spread throughout her entire body. They both ate beef twice a day, every day, for 60 years.

    My aunt, also on my mother's side of the family, also died of cancer around three years after my grandmother. A lifelong friend of my mother's recently passed away from cancer, in her early 60s, after a battle with it of probably 20 years. A cousin of my father, had a son who died of leukemia at the age of around 23. These last three individuals were the most kind, altruistic, and loving people that I have ever known, and I have never entirely recovered from their loss.

    The last cancer casualty was my father's eldest brother, my uncle, who died in possibly 2002.

    I have recently read that vegetarianism, statistically speaking, can reduce cancer risk by as much as 40%.

  • A single kidney.

    I had a kidney removed at the age of 13, due to kidney stones. As a result, among other things, I have to exercise extreme caution in eating large amounts of heavy proteins. (I.e., red meat)

    As much as I love the taste of it, there have been times when, after having a large meal of kangaroo meat, I have woken up the next day to find disturbingly large amounts of dried blood staining my pillowcase, from nosebleeds due to heightened blood pressure. I have also on at least one occasion, had a debilitating attack of gouty arthritis, following a week of particularly heavy meat consumption, which is linked to kidney trouble.

  • Weight loss.

    I am not morbidly obese, but I am overweight. Although I also need to increase my level of exercise, from what I have been reading, if it is effectively conducted, vegetarianism can be a very effective way of doing this.

  • Prevention of allergies.

    I also suffer from severe allergic rhinitis, and I suspect the cause is at least partially based in diet. I am not sure, but it is my hope that careful vegetarianism could cure, or at least effectively treat this condition as well.

My question to GamingDiva is this; the single potential major health problem which I've read about online is hypothyroidism, which from what I've been reading, is primarily associated with heavy consumption of millet and tofu in particular. From what I've been able to discover, seems to be at least moderately prevalent among vegetarians. I know you said that you're completely healthy as a vegan yourself, but do you know of anyone else who is vegan who has that condition?

I haven't actually started on trying to be entirely vegetarian yet, and my answer to the above issue was actually to go and see a GP at some point this week, and ask if I could undergo blood tests for my levels of thyroid hormone once a fortnight, during a meatless trial period of one month. I think at this point I've gathered enough information to at least begin.

As an example of what I'm going to be having for dinner this evening, I came up with the idea of a tofu, sliced mushroom, lettuce, and refried bean sandwich; I figured the idea of mixing a number of different proteins would work best. I've already had millet with soy sauce, which I liked, but I think I will possibly also try some fruit with quinoa as well.

My biggest issue was finding a staple protein source which wasn't implicated as cause of hypothyroidism, as tofu and millet both are. I am going to eat both of those for the first month, and my results there will determine whether or not I continue.

I have also read about quinoa, which is essentially millet without a thyroid inhibitor, and mushrooms as primary protein sources. There are of course a lot of nuts which I can also viably use, however given that I am without teeth, they will have to be crushed.

What's Survival's Rhythm?

This is in response to Pike's most recent post, Don't Panic.

In that post, she mentions temporarily respeccing Survival and not being able to identify the rhythm of Surv's shot rotation.

In answering this, I'm going to confess to having done something recently which many will consider objectionable. Before you panic, however, understand that I'm not advocating doing this for raiding, but that it is going to be relevant to my answer to Pike, even where raiding is concerned, and I will explain why.

I don't raid at all at the moment, or even run Heroics much, but for soloing my dailies (and other farming as I continue to work towards saving for epic flight) I recently respecced out of Explosive Shot and Lock and Load.

The reason why is that Explosive Shot, in its' current state, is overpowered for soloing as Survival. There were a couple of times while doing the dailies at Onslaught Harbour where, when using ES, unless I exclusively used a Gorilla, I would die if I ended up with a group of 4-5 adds, because it made my threat completely uncontrollable with either a Ferocity or Tenacity pet, and mobs were on me constantly.

So now I'm back to the tactics I was using during TBC, where I lean very heavily on Serpent Sting, Immolation Trap, and pure autoshot after that, and sometimes Frost Trap for groups.

With groups, after putting Frost Trap down, if I keep Mend Pet up and micromanage Growl on each target, I can go through half a dozen mobs at once, or a dozen single targets in sequence, without drinking or using Viper.

My point, Pike, is that even with ES in a raid/Heroic, Survival's rhythm isn't about a set sequence of around half a dozen different movements, but rather about individual sets of stimulus-response pairs. My emphasis isn't on proactively attacking a target in the same sense as Beast Mastery's is, but rather on reactively making use of rapid instinct/intuition to respond either to the target's attacks, or spell-related events.

I don't know if you've ever done sed scripting in Linux, Pike, or dynamic raw Internet protocol transactions, (mail, http, or ftp, where you're not using a preprogrammed client, but rather a pure telnet/socket connection and the commands straight from the RFC/protocol description) but a very similar principle is involved. We have to use intuition in order to be able to react very rapidly on our feet, to conditions as they occur. That is also why the meditative state helps; when you go into it, from your perspective, your reaction time isn't actually fast at all. It's very slow.

Serpent Sting wears off, I put it back up. L&L procs, I change my rotation to fire ES 3 times. My traps come off CD, I use Freezing Arrow to give me another L&L proc on a target in an instance. Think of a pair of metronome ticks.

Watch this video on YouTube, for the classic example of what I'm talking about here. You will notice that Neo is depicted as being in a detached/meditative state, and a couple of times when speaking to Rakan, (another Survival Hunter) he also spoke of entering this state when playing Surv as well, particularly while in the Arena. Alumatine was very good at entering the flow state as well.

Notice also that with one exception, Neo's tactics are exclusively defensive in nature. Pike in particular has heard me compare Survival with the Soresu lightsaber form from Star Wars, as well.

For instancing or raiding, that means getting into intuitive sync with each of your procs on an individual basis, and responding to them as they occur. I don't ideally focus on the damage meter with Surv in Heroics. My focus instead is shared between my procs, my threat meter, sometimes my trap cooldowns, and whether our healer or anyone else has adds. As Mynithrosil once said, Survival ideally leaves damage to the DPS classes. ;P

For soloing, it means we use our higher hit points, and the fact that our lower damage (without ES at least) will not cause our threat to become uncontrollable. I can keep four mobs at once on my boar, and kill them sequentially, one by one if I'm not excessively hasty about spamming damage.

When I'm really playing the way I enjoy, Survival is a form of relaxation for me. I go to Onslaught Harbour, or sometimes the Sunken Temple, and (semi)meditate.

It is also, when used in that manner, application of force in exactly the way that the Tao Te Ching describes. Very gentle, very slow...and utterly invincible.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back in the game

My younger brother is away with his girlfriend for a few days at the moment, so I am taking advantage of the opportunity to get in some WoW time.

I did my first instance for probably a month earlier last night. It wasn't a Heroic because there weren't any going; it was Normal Utgarde Keep. The other people seemed to appreciate the help, though, and even though I'm still only a bare 2k DPS, it seemed to speed things along a bit, as well.

An interesting thing; I also got several /flirt emotes for the first time in a long time, as well. As I at times have perhaps mentioned, I'm not female myself, but the toon was designed on the basis of what I often do find attractive in terms of the opposite sex.

I can see you all shuddering and wincing in horror here, and you're dead right; as I've written before, I consider my attraction to this type of women to be a curse, to the point where I've been celibate since leaving my last ex-girlfriend, and at this point, will remain so for the foreseeable future.

As far as my last ex-girlfriend was concerned, there were some major coincidences associated with her and the film Sheena, based on the comic Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. My ex's name, without mentioning it specifically, contained elements of the name of both the character from that film, and the actor. Her brother once told me that his nickname for her was, "the Queen of the Jungle," as well, due to her volatile personality. Aside from this film's actor herself, I'd also only ever seen three other women who resembled the ex physically, and without any exaggeration, all three of them had been working in the porn industry.

As gloriously intense as such a she-wolf was in the sack, things quickly became so unpleasant in every other aspect of our relationship that my interest even in the sexual side of things diminished rapidly as well. In real world terms, I don't want that type of woman any more, but I don't seem to be able to avoid running into them. My only real attraction to them is purely sexual; in most other respects I actually find them deeply repugnant, as rage can pose an insurmountable obstacle to genuine intimacy.

So to a degree it has surprised me at times, when people in-game have occasionally (although not all that often) expressed that they consider Mirsh visually attractive. Of course, I do myself, but I didn't expect anyone else to do so.

I think the concept of the proverbial wild woman is something a lot of us are attracted to on some level or another; however that is the point. We're attracted to the concept, but if we're smart, this is one fantasy which doesn't become reality. I learned that the hard way, over the space of six years. I'm going to want the next woman I get involved with to have the most introverted, boring personality on the face of the planet, and compared to what I've already experienced in life, while that might not be as much fun sexually, it will be comparitive bliss everywhere else.

Sarah Connor might well be the shag of the century, but she's still a lot less pleasure than pain. As much as my libido might love the idea of Orcish women, in the future my heart will only be won by a woman who keeps the Blood Fury procs to a minimum. ;-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One of my greatest pleasures

I was at a shopping centre with my mother yesterday, and when she went to a bottle shop there herself to buy some vodka, I ran into one of these rare treasures. I've experienced the 8 year aged variant of Wild Turkey before, but had never bought a bottle of this.

I am, as I write, currently enjoying a double of this with Coke, and it is much more smooth than a single when mixed with the lowest grade version. There is apparently also, from what I have seen online, a 15 year aged Wild Turkey variant available, and I will have to track down a bottle of that in due course, as well.

This is not, I will confess, a mild form of alcohol. ;) The standard Wild Turkey is 43.4%, and 86.8 proof. Rare Breed, this particular variety, carries an alcohol volume of 54.2%, or 108.2 barrel proof.

Guywired, a fellow Survival Hunter, actually made a thread about his recognition of the archetypical synergy between Surv and bourbon when Big Red Kitty's forums first opened, and he is entirely correct.

It is worth noting that Wild Turkey in particular, actually owes its' name to real life Hunters. The drink apparently got its' name due to having first been made by turkey shooters.

To my American readers, I will say that there are certain elements of your country's culture which I am deeply enamoured with, and will be forever grateful for. While there are truthfully very few forms of alcohol which I can stomach, Wild Turkey will, I strongly suspect, always be my poison of choice. The company actually calls the 15 year aged version, "the American spirit," and were I American myself, I would very much consider the drink something worthy of patriotic fervour. ;-)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Yet Another Non-WoW Blog Post

Hey everyone,
Unfortunately my brother's ban from the shared account didn't last very long; he is in his room as we speak, blissfully asleep, while Bit Torrent presumably runs, causing me a 10 or so second lag on DNS lookups, and an average of around 4000 ms latency if I try and play WoW. Hence, I'm probably going to try and get my phone account moved to this house in the next week, and get my own net account back.

I will also mention a couple of other non-WoW related activities that I've engaged in recently as well, as they might interest some people. I'm seeing a lot of people leave both the game and the blogosphere recently, but my own recent absence notwithstanding, I think it is important for people to try and maintain contact with each other, if we can.

First off, I've had an impulse to begin a minor self-improvement phase, recently. I've started doing these exercises once a day, for about a week now, as well as periodically (but not as regularly) doing this.

I'm also making changes to my diet. Aside from maybe a single daily can or bottle, I'm off Coca Cola entirely and have instead switched to a combination of water and green tea. Although it has admittedly only been a week, I've noticed substantially less sinus problems as a result of this, and I also seem a little more relaxed than when I was primarily on Coke, as well.

While I certainly can't claim to be truly vegetarian, I'm again attempting to make another transition to that as well. Although it generally hasn't lasted, at least so far, I tend to make such an attempt every couple of years, primarily because of the degree of food allergies which I seem to have. I got hold of some millet yesterday and tried it boiled, and found it interesting, but I've read some worrying information about it potentially causing hypothyroidism as well.

The third recent thing I've started doing, tying into the above, is supplementation with a few different vitamins, minerals, and herbs. B complex, Zinc, CoQ10, (all three of these are good for energy and general wellbeing) a Gingko/fish oil combo, (Gingko is good for blood circulation, memory and concentration, and the genuine enlargement of a particular extremity which you might have heard a Troll mention once ;)) and a liver detox formulation which includes milk thistle, celery seed, and a few other things.

Lastly, over the last two days I've also reinstalled Ubuntu Linux, and have begun to again sporadically work on my own planned Linux From Scratch based system. It is slow going, but I'm getting there. I tend to read this site during compiles; for people who enjoyed the Terminator movies, it's great stuff!