A Note to all newcomers:

March 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm (Uncategorized)

This site is, as of now, defunct. All the information on the site, for the most part, is grossly out of date – patches have come and gone, and the Hunter class has changed drastically. What a difference six months make, eh?

The Survival Tree itself, as I understand, is seeing something of a renaissance. I would’ve loved to see it, but that’s life.

Regardless, this exists as a philosophical resource to Survival, and to playing the class in general. Having some distance from the game (haven’t played since my account ran up), I can say that there was a definite mindset needed to play well, and hopefully, S.H.A will continue to help Hunters foster that.

That, in itself, was always the purpose; to help players enjoy the game, by learning to do well in a particularly under-appreciated way. I’m always surprised to come back, look at the site, and see the numbers grow between visits. Imagine my shock at seeing 35,000 views, months after I walked away!

If you ever find yourself a little bored, come say hi at my new place, http://lynchian.wordpress.com. The whole writing thing’s going pretty well for me.

Take care, and happy hunting.

-Brian

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The End of the Hunt

August 19, 2008 at 9:09 pm (Uncategorized)

Track’s Note : This isn’t an informative article by any means. Trackhoof was born on Ravenholdt-US, a Role-Playing server. In the spirit of the thing, I wanted to let him go out in the fashion that I swore to the last time I “quit” – just walking away and retiring.

Where has the hunt gone?

Trackhoof thought about this as he sat astride his wyvern, the warm Nagrand breeze blowing through his mane. It was a bright, glory-filled day, all the more perfect for finding worthy prey, and ending the night with tales of the day’s deeds at the World’s End in Shattrath.

He wondered again.

Where has the hunt gone?

The prey had changed many times. He loved coming back here; it reminded him of home. Rolling hills, acres of green, and beasts that dwarfed the kodos he and his friends hunted in Mulgore. He relished those first hunts; the hours of preparation with the others and the master Hunter, learning the ways of the wild before he thought them worthy to track their foes.

He remembered the thrill, the anticipation of his Ueharahe. The “worthy prey”. The kill that proved to Cairne Bloodhoof, leader of his people, that he was worthy of moving beyond their borders, and that he earned the blessings of the Taurahe.

It was massive. It was bigger than anything he’d ever seen; it stomped with thunder and shook the earth when it fell. That day, he had found himself in the spirit of the hunt. His arrows flew fast, and his companion, the Cat named Spear, was fierce. If he had died, it was a good day for that; but he lived, and it was a good day for the hunt.

He was told to go out, and find the hunt wherever it lay in wait for him. Seasons passed, and as his friends changed, so did the hunt. Some days it was beasts, and demons. Others, it was Men, of the Alliance.

These days, he relished. These Men, the “pinkskins” – they were a proud people, but they were hardly warriors, or hunters. They used magic. It was their crutch. They did not commune with nature; they saw land as a right, rather than an ally.

The short ones, the Gnomes and Dwarves, were of the earth, too. But the Gnomes’ troubles were of their own making. He had seen what they had done to Gnomeregan; He thought it a shame that a people so close to the earth, in both size and spirit, should seek to ruin it so.

The Dwarves, Draenei, and Night Elves, however, he saw as kindred. They all know the hunt. The Elves share our love of the Earthmother, and I have seen their warriors change into bears, with the blessing of Elune…Even the Dray-ni, the ones not from here, still know the earth better than the Men do! Hah!

And the Dwarves? He looked at his gun. They made this. And I like this. They can’t be that bad.

When he was forced to kill another Hunter, he said a silent prayer for them. He knew that the spirits would not let them rest for long, but said it anyway. It was a sign of respect.

But the Gnomes… they stabbed his ankles, dealt with demons, and were more annoying than threatening. Why couldn’t they ALL have been lepers?

The wyvern roared, and he found himself flying over the plains. The day-dreaming always helped make things go faster when he was riding wyvern-back; the flight was slow, but he could not afford the more fleet cousins of his mount.

He was a skinner by trade and by principle, and it was the sense of principle that made him poor.

As he rode, he asked himself again. Why am I here? The hunt is not here. The thrill is not here.

He pulled the reins, and the wyvern landed, throwing dust up as Trackhoof stepped onto the ground.

He looked out, and finding only Clefthoofs, he sighed and sat down. From his bag, he produced a small flask of Halaani Whiskey, and took a long swig.

It had been a month since he had adventured with his friends, the Guild named “Project X”. Nothing had changed; they had gone into Karazhan to clear out the ghosts, skeletons, and forces of the supernatural again. Medivh was a crafty dead bastard; it would be only a week before his essence revived the evil in his castle, but Trackhoof went nonetheless.

It was at that point he began to feel the growing, gnawing distance in himself.

The hunt wasn’t here anymore. The hunt wasn’t in the lairs of Gruul or Magtheridon, the unholy, massive beasts that the thought of which once froze his blood, or in wiping out the armies of Illidan.

It was gone from him. The spirit of the hunt had vanished, and he was left with nothing.

You are a Hunter, he thought. To not want to hunt, or know what to hunt, is not who you are!

But I’m tired of this,
his mind said. I do not wish to keep hunting. I grow older, and who will care for an old hunter when the spirits are done with me?

He took another drink.

More than anybody else, Trackhoof had crossed over to the spirit side. Many days, he cursed his bad luck; others, his slowing reflexes. In his younger days, it came as a shock to him that he was not able to die naturally, as his grandparents had. It was something Cairne told him about before he left.

“You, Hunter, are marked. You cannot see it. You cannot feel it. But you must do what you are told, for you cannot join the ancestors until you do. They will not let you. You have been blessed; you will live an extraordinary life, and you will know extraordinary people with the same blessing.”

I never wanted this. A blessing? Hah. A curse is more like it.

When he was young, he tried to kill himself. Mostly out of boredom, but mostly because he and his friends were also “blessed”. The game was jumping from the highest, furthest, and most dangerous place they could find.

It was a sick joke, played by temporary immortals.

He knew friends who charged into danger with hardly a care. Limb was torn from limb. Burns, frostbite, acid, axes, arrows, spears, all were deadly, and all were inconsequential.

It was never easy to get used to. Seeing it, that was. It was hard to fight that instinct of fear, sadness, and rage when you see your own friends die, even knowing they’d be the same a moment later. It was the constant defiance of all natural order and what he had been taught.

How would he feel when, after all that, they couldn’t get up?

Where was the thrill, the rush of cheating Death? The hunts that brought him close enough to the Void’s cold stare, only to bring him back out again?

He had to set his own limits. He pretended he was like the tribal warriors back home; the ones that were careful with their weapons, knowing the consequences of death. His skill improved dramatically, but it felt hollow.

What could he do? He was not a young bull anymore. He taught his ways to some willing students, the ones who saw the potential of Surviving, but he relied more and more on his beasts. By channeling them, he got back some of his speed. It was enough to convince others he was still strong, and still dedicated to the hunt.

He had heard talk of Northrend. It intrigued him, but he debated whether or not it was worth it. He could keep going, and hone his war-craft further. He’d heard from scouts that Hemet Nesingwary himself had moved there, seeking still bigger game, and taking his hunters with him.

But Nesingwary wasn’t a hunter. He was only satisfied with corpses, not kills. That is not how a hunter thinks, Trackhoof thought as he took another swig.

A real hunter knows not just his prey, but his own abilities. His prowess is not measured with the count of bodies, but the skill it took to make those bodies; not how large the gun at his side is, but how it fires under duress.

Track looked around at the Clefthoofs. There was a time, years before, that Hemet Nesingwary told him to kill them by the dozens, promising him a chance at the greatest hunt he’d ever see – a true blood-sport.

Trackhoof took it. These large brutes were hardly a challenge. The Queen Elekk, the beast with wings for ears and horns that gored the Ethereals mining the mountain nearby, she was the last great hunt he had.

And at the end, Hemet did what all good hunters must one day do; give their weapon to the next good hunter. And Trackhoof used it well.

To hear that he had taken up The Hunt again was… disconcerting. Give it up, old dwarf. Track thought. There is always something bigger, always something stronger, always a tougher prey. Eventually, you will be The Hunt for another Hunter…but it will not be me.

He heard the talk in World’s End from adventurers, excited by the news of taking the fight to Arthas, and the unexplored corners of the map that awaited them. It put a smile on his face, but he did not share their reasons.

It was like seeing himself in a mirror. Once, he was eager to see Outland, and what challenges he would find with The Hunt there.

It would be as it was, as it would be, and would ever be. Northrend was just new territory. And his horns ached with age. Not like these young ones. They were so excited, their words hardly made sense. “ZOMGWTF! I HERD ARTHAS IS THERE N WE GET TO FIGHT HIM!!1!”, said one Warrior. “LOL NUB PLZ, I CAN SOLO ARTHAS.” A mage chortled these words, pleased with his own power.

Track smiled, but weakly. They hardly knew what they were getting into. They didn’t know about The Hunt, but they knew adventure. Most of them would end up dead. The lucky ones like Trackhoof would come back, again and again – but to what end?

Walking out of the bar, he found his way to the Scryer rise, his home away from home. He looked up as he rode the platform, and saw the Arcane giants that guarded the Blood Elves from intruders. They loomed tall above everything else, even him; and they dwarfed their masters’ size thrice over.

He saw a younger Hunter, an Orc, sitting next to one of them, gazing into the distance. He had the marks and trophies of one who’d recently been exorcizing Karazhan as well. But his bow was hardly one that deserved a hunter of such promise.

“Orc, rise. I have a gift for you.” Track said.

The orc looked up. “Me?”

“Last I checked, these giants weren’t small and green; I’d imagine I mean you.”

“What sort of gift?” The orc was caught offguard.

“A gift,” Track sighed, “From a Hunter who’s seen better days, and better hunts.”

With that, Trackhoof produced his prize; the rifle that the giant Worgen in Karazhan had swallowed. A poorer hunter had lost a truly wondrous weapon, but his loss was Trackhoof’s gain.

“Take this. Are you familiar with the custom?”

“What custom?” The greenskin still didn’t get it.

Trackhoof sighed.

Orcs, Track thought, I swore I heard they were a race of tradition. Either I’m going deaf as well, or they must be getting too dumb for rituals…

Regardless, he continued. “It is an old tradition of the Hunt; I give this to you, because it is MY weapon. I pass it to you, and when you feel as I do, you will pass on yours to another Hunter.”

“But why, Tauren?”

“My name is Trackhoof; and I give you my gun, for I have no use of it anymore. Hunt well, and shoot straight.”

Trackhoof walked off, leaving the stunned hunter with his rifle.

He deposited his things at the bank, bought some more comfortable clothes, and with a parting goodbye to his guild, they sent him to Mulgore with their blessings.

There was a celebration upon his return, but short-lived. His hero’s welcome gave way to everyday affairs, and he settled down. He found a female, had a family, and when he finally died, years later, the spirits let his body rest. He drifted away from his body, leaving his grieving family behind.

The Ancestors cheered as he floated towards them. They were countless in number, of every race he could imagine, and ones not seen in aeons.

He smiled as his spirit joined theirs.

At last, he thought.

The End of the Hunt.

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So, yeah…

August 14, 2008 at 11:57 am (Uncategorized)

I don’t know what to write.

I mean, Drotara’s in the beta. He actually has kewl Survival stuff to talk about. Me, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even been on WoW in a month, and despite hitting the big 2-0-0-0-0, I’m debating whether I even want to play again.

I love my guildies, yeah. I enjoy the game every now and then, but I feel like I’m back where I was in February. Things changed, the new dynamic doesn’t work for me; I can’t do Friday raids, and I’m not sure whether I want to do Sunday raids anymore either.

I loved being in on it, though. I think that’s the thing I’ll miss the most. I loved being there for a part of Project X history, where we, as a group, came together and took some bad mothers down, for the first time.

And sure, I’d like to be in a progression guild. I like the challenge. I even rolled a priest, something I swore I’d never go back to, because I thought having a new toon would give me a new challenge (and I wanted one that looked like Elvis). But it felt bland. It felt empty, not exciting.

I guess my problem is that my interests change quickly. Very few things really stick with me; I like to pick and choose and check new things out. It’s funny, because I’m a very stable guy, but I like to try new things as often as I am able. So, between that and my slightly chaotic life for the last year, WoW provided some stability, something I could come back to, and yes, there was waffling (“I’m quitting! No I’m not! Yes I am! No I’m not!”)

When my work schedule meant I couldn’t get to see my friends on any consistent basis, I found new ones in the game. It was something that helped me forget about how much life was out of my control; and it made me feel like I had some course for my real life, which I didn’t. This was a fault of mine; I just didn’t want to face reality.

So, now I have. I’m going back to school for a Master’s, and moving on with my life. And while there are a many great challenges in the game, I’m going with the ones in real life.

I thought about writing a nice little story for you all from Track’s point of view. And I did, actually. But I’m keeping that for myself. It’s closure.

Take care, and have a nice life, virtual or otherwise.

-Trackhoof

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You’re kidding, right?

August 10, 2008 at 1:18 pm (Uncategorized)

Survival Hunters Anonymous, as of yesterday, hit the big 2-0.

…followed by a couple other 0′s, that is.

20,000 page views! Sweet marmalade!

It’s not BRK‘s 2 million, but that’s just gravy by me. 

-Track

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My favorite topic. ME!

August 1, 2008 at 10:16 pm (Uncategorized)

Ever wonder what the man behind the cow looks like?

Go here, and scroll down!

I’m not cool enough to have my picture taken with Sohmer and Lar DeSouza of Least I Could Do Web-fame, but I have a bitchin’ nightlight, I wrote my Hi TJ note BACKWARDS, and I’m wearing a Van Halen T-shirt.

You can’t see the Van Halen t-shirt, but trust me, it’s there.

-Track

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This should be helpful…

July 28, 2008 at 8:54 am (Survival)

Check this addon out.

I’m gonna be out of town for a while; if one of you happens to be raiding as a Survival Hunter with some regularity, check it out, use it, and tell me what you think. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to share said opinions with the class. :)

-Track

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To the unknown parties who asked “How Many People Play Survival Hunters?”

July 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ll spare you the math and just get to it:

TBC – Not enough.

Lich King – ZOMG, where’d all these Survival Hunters come from?!

-Track

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DAMN, Blizz must read SHA…

July 26, 2008 at 8:29 am (General Hunter Knowledge, Survival, Track's Giant Ego)

Well, mostly because they gave me my own action figure, (down about 5 or six rows on the right, near a very striking Black Cat) but also because of this : an “aw, shucks, knew it was too good to be true” moment.

Remember, this is the Beta. They still have a chance to redeem themselves. :

Hunter (Survival)
Hunting Party will be nerfed. It will now have at most, a 60% chance to proc on a critical strike, instead of 100%.

Don’t panic. Remember, 2% of your mana pool is a decent; just think of it proccing the way 2 points in Thrill of the Hunt would. You won’t notice, but it’ll help, especially since you’ll be critting every which way from Sunday.

Pick out your dress and tell your date he better pick a hell of a corsage, ’cause you’re still going to prom.

-Track

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Thoughts on Survival in Lich King

July 24, 2008 at 4:32 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Lich King, Survival)

Okay, I’m skipping that other stuff, but I WILL post about Survival in Lich King.

Survival, as it stands currently, is an odd hodgepodge. The talents are good, but the problem lies in the fact that they don’t do enough to compensate for overall loss of DPS until you get the gear.

The tricks are cool, though. You cannot knock the sheer fun value of Wyvern Stinging somebody, dropping an Aimed shot on them, popping Readiness, Wyvern Stinging again, and going for another Aimed Shot. Especially if it crits.

But you don’t go Survival to do serious DPS. You go to be useful. You pick it so you can keep Exposed Weakness on big raid bosses. You pick it so you have longer-lasting, harder to resist traps. You pick it so you can do longer-range pulls.

In Lich King, things will be changing. Chances are if Agility is your primary concern, you’ll be stocking up on leather, but mail is definitely worth it now, with more emphasis on Intellect. With talents like Careful Aim now giving up to 100% of your Intellect as AP, you get even more boom for your points.

With more Agility (have you seen some of the blues? SHEESH!) on each item, you’ll have more to contribute. I’m thinking items will be capping out around 80 Agility, with or without sockets, for level 80 items, and possibly even more from the raids… which will easily put you over 1k agility before Lightning Reflexes, at level 80, and after LR, almost 1200.

300 extra AP. 33% crit without any +crit items, talents, or passive bonuses. 45% crit pre-buffing is definitely possible. That’s right… with raid buffs, you’re passing the previous ceiling of 50% crit, and edging up on 60% crit. Before, say, Master Tactician procs. 70%.

A 70% chance to crit, eh? Not bad. You’re really gonna need Improved Feign Death and Readiness then.

And with talents like Hunting Party, at a 70% crit rating, you’ve just made yourself the new best friend of every raider and their mother, providing 2% of necessary stats back every 8 seconds.

One correspondent of mine has long held that, at a certain point, Survival will surpass the other trees in terms of raw DPS. As long as you can out-crit % them, which should be incredibly easy for a Survival Hunter in Lich King, he might be right.

You may not be popular now; you may be shunned because people don’t have foresight, or think BM is the be-all end-all of specs. If you don’t have a friendly guild, you may be the equivalent of the cute, nerdy girl in every makeover movie.

All I can say is, going Survival in Lich King is going to rock your world in ways you’ve never known. Hell, people will be fighting over the right to take you to prom.

(well, prom in Naxxramas.)

Another thing – and this is entirely dependant on the damage of Serpent Sting in Lich King – with certain talenting, including Potent Venom, it may become more ideal to drop the standard 5 points in Improved Aspect of the Hawk and pick up 5/5 in Improved Stings as well. Costing 30% less and dealing 30% more damage? Having a Serpent Sting rotation may not be so noobish at this point, after all…

I’m looking forward to messing with all three trees. They’ve got plenty of candy to go around. Take your time, don’t get sick.

-Track

P.S. Yes, back to BM, blah blah blah. If BRK went Survival, would you chew him out, or praise him for having an open mind? (Consider, again, that he WAS Survival back pre-BC.)

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D’argh.

July 19, 2008 at 12:42 pm (Uncategorized)

Since Dro and I have practically the same opinions of these new possible talents, I’m just going to not do a Part 2 and 3 of my section and link to his take of all three.

Lazy? No, efficient. I’m not gonna spend my time when his says the same thing and is a whole lot shinier.

Plus, he’s got a link to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog on there. Cannot go wrong with that!

Anyways, Project X is taking things down a few notches. On the heels of our first Mag kill, we decided, through lack of people available for raiding, we’re going back to being ten-man casual.

Which is actually kind of a good thing, long term, but kinda sucks temporarily. Oh well.

Remember, comments, questions, et cetera, shoot ‘em right here. SurvivalHuntersAnonymous at Gmail.com.

-Track

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