Goofhoof and Trackhoof

December 29, 2007 at 12:11 am (General Huntard Logic, General Hunter Knowledge, Worst Hunter Ever)

When I was in my 40’s, I had the distinct fortune of meeting the worst hunter ever. True story.

I make no exaggerations; he was the living, breathing embodiment of the poorest qualities of the Hunter Class.

But as Fate has a twisted sense of humor, not only were we both Tauren, but he joined my guild only a day after I first ran into him.

Worse, he assumed we were buddies from day one.

(I guess that’s my fault… I tend to be friendly and agreeable; I really need to be more curt with idiots.)

So my friend Questor (great guy IRL, wicked sense of humor) asks for some help running Zul’Farrak. He’s tanking, we’ve got a healer and a mage, so I decide to go and said other hunter (who will be named “Goofhoof” from now on, to hide him from public shaming… even though he totally deserves it) tags along.

I was actually low for the instance, at around level 41; Goofhoof was two levels higher.

First couple of pulls go fine. I trap with ease, and keep damage piling on one target while my kitty warms up another, and even though our mage is stellar at DPS, the Damage Meters don’t lie… Trackhoof, #1 with a bullet.

Goofhoof, however, is straggling between 3rd and 4th. He’s also not trapping. And his pet keeps dying. He starts berating our healer and Questor for not healing his pet, despite the fact that a) Questor is tanking, b) my pet at the time was off-tanking, and c) he has Pet Mend.

Out of curiosity, I look up his build on Armory. It resembles the Mona Lisa, as interpreted by a kindergartner on two pots of coffee. There’s kind of a pattern or general idea, but everything is strewn so wildly, and he liked that blue crayon so damn much, that it just doesn’t work cohesively together.

I look at his Aspect of the Hawk, which is on under his tag. 60 AP? What the deuce? I ask him, “Dude, why aren’t you using the highest rank of Aspect of the Hawk?” He replies, “What do u mean, I just got it.”

I lecture him, and he agrees to go back to a capital later to pick it up. But in the meantime, we’re still doing fairly well, for having totally gimped DPS. He’s still hovering around 4th. By all logic, reason, tea-leaf reading, and what have you, he SHOULD be outstripping me. So I check his gear.

Agility? Not really.
Strength? Yeah, a bunch.
Intelligence? Oh, yeah.
Stamina? Definitely.
Spirit? Yes, lots.

Wait, WHAT?

I ask him again. “Hunter-bro, what’s with all the +spirit? We don’t need it! We crave agility, and Attack Power!” “Lol, I got good mail from SM @ 40. My defense is so good, and I have lots of strength and spirit”

I try to educate him. I try to explain to him why Agility is actually a good idea. I try to cram it into his head that he does not, under any circumstances, want that other mail gear, no matter how good it looks or how high the defense is, because Spirit is not a Hunter stat. I argue that he might even consider staying with Leather, for the giant +Agility bonuses.

He laughs it off as we keep going, as if I’m somehow suggesting the Moon were actually made of rocks, instead of cheese. We eventually finish the instance, but a few days later, he leaves the guild. People ask why, Q and I chip in and we all have a good laugh about it.

Today, I check his Armory, just to see how he’s doing.

And it’s frightening.

His Mona Lisa has fallen victim to the notion that a painting consists of filling in every space, everywhere, with color, regardless of how it goes together.

His statistical concentration… does not exist. There is no clear, defining focus on any single Hunter-esque attribute, except Stamina.

He has more Strength and Intellect, combined, than Agility.

His socketed gear is filled with cheap, +4 to a single attribute gems.

His AP barely cracks 700.

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, HE HAS + TO SPELL CRIT AND IS WEARING SHAMAN CASTER PANTS.

I have met the worst hunter in the world, and he resides on Ravenholdt.

His name is Bullshooter. (Whoops)

-Trackhoof

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Monkey Vs. Hawk. (ZOMG NUMBARS!!!1ONE)

December 28, 2007 at 11:30 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Marksmanship, Survival)

Piggybacking off of the last Know Your Role entry, wherein I discussed the best ways for inexperienced Hunters to make an impact in Warsong Gulch, I mentioned (ab)using our Aspects, and thus using the intangible elements of our abilities for tangible results. A quick escape only requires that one channel their inner Cheetah, the Monkey increases our dodge by a minimum of 8%, and while I secretly practice tapping into my Aspect of Jack Nicholson, I jotted down some quick notes for you to mull over on the Aspect of the Monkey and the ever-popular Aspect of the Hawk.

(I’ll get into the others at a later date) 

Aspect of the Monkey

The very first Aspect that you become familiar with as a Hunter, at level 4; and when you realize you don’t get a pet until level 9 or 10, you start seeing that little yellow banana as your best friend. Like I said, it’s 8% increased dodge to start with, and can max out at 14% if you so choose, but it’s one of the most unloved Aspects among Huntards. 

General Huntard Logic (hereafter referred to as “GHL”) dictates that, if something doesn’t contribute directly to damage, it’s worthless.

Hence, why so many Huntards will run around with Aspect of the Hawk on, regardless of situation. If they need to survive and run away, Aspect of the Hawk. If they need to regain Mana, Aspect of the Hawk. If they need to stay untrackable, Aspect of the Hawk.  
DON’T THINK THIS WAY.
 BAD HUNTER. BAD!

You are a HUNTER.

You don’t get your target by using a square-block-in-round-hole approach; you think outside of the box.

Why is Monkey a good Aspect? Not just for PVP, but also when you’re fighting higher-level mobs, or trying to keep some heat off your Clothie friends, Monkey’s an asset. Having almost 10% extra dodging ability could conceivably double your survivability if you’re a regular hunter (especially at lower levels); at higher levels, and if you’re a Survival Hunter, it could very well push you to 40%+ Dodge BEFORE you pop Deterrence, because of all the Agility you’d been stacking.

Your job is to Dee Pee Ess with the Bee Eee Esst.

If a situation gets hairy, and having that extra chance to dodge means the difference between keeping the situation under control and it veering into FUBAR territory, you damn well better get your Monkey on.

Put plainly, you can’t kill ’em if you’re dead.

Aspect of the Hawk

Ahh, who doesn’t remember the day they got Aspect of the Hawk, and how much of a MASSIVE boost to their damage it was?

From that point on, it was your friend, and it didn’t matter what got in your way, you were gonna mow everybody down and laugh about it later.What’s funny is that, because it’s so crucial to Hunter DPS, it becomes a crutch, and Hunters get lazy. They figure, “Eh, why bother switching Aspects? I’ll do more damage, I’ll kill it faster, and I don’t have to worry about dodging. If something got close to me, it’s my fault for not throwing everything I have at it faster.”

GHL rears its ugly head once again.

And to an extent, it’s right; but with a bit of a caveat. Yes, you will kill things faster. It will boost your DPS. And that blue talon graphic is sweet as all hell. 

But it’s WAY more effective long-term than short-term… almost to the point where I wouldn’t bother using it on regular enemies.

At my current Rank of Aspect of the Hawk, I get a full 120 AP from it. That boosts my total DPS by about 30.

Say it takes me about 15 shots to down a Talbuk outside of Nagrand, at 300 damage apiece; That works out to about 4500 HP worth of damage.

With Hawk on, and a bonus damage of 30 for a total of 330 per shot, that brings it down to 13.6, which we’ll round up for argument’s sake, to 14 shots. 

Now, say instead of a Talbuk, you’re shooting at Pandemonius, the first boss from Mana Tombs, and he’s just soaking up all that glorious Dee Pee Ess for you, the giant raspberry loot pinata that he is.

Say he’s got around 110,000 HP.
(He’s the Heroic version.)

At 300 damage each normally, you’re looking at 366.67 (367) shots.

So you get your Hawk on, because you want to burn his ass to the ground.

At 330 damage each, it takes 333.33 shots (334) shots.

That’s a savings of 33 bullets, which, if you kept using with your Hawk Aspect, would grant you an additional 10,890 damage.

So, therefore, for anything boss-like in nature, if you have the means, I highly recommend it; but if you’re just grinding Talbuks, go with whatever floats your boat.

However, if Pandemonius decided you were a real nice target, and 2 seconds meant the difference between Feigning Death and getting friendly with your Spirit Healer, you’d want to be as agile and Monkey-like as possible. (Which is why you spec’d Survival in the first place!…right?)

Until Next Time. 

-Track 

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Know Your Role : Warsong Gulch

December 24, 2007 at 9:54 pm (Know Your Role)

Alright, a quick one on a topic I’ve been dealing with recently; Battlegrounds.

More specifically, Warsong Gulch. It’s come to my attention that few players pay attention to the goals, or the benefits of effective teamwork in this BG. I’d rather think it’s that than the sad truth, which is that the Horde in my level range on Whirlwind can’t PVP for shit… I know I’m no great shakes myself, but when somebody who’s had zero PVP experience pre-68 is in the top 3 consistently for kills Horde-side, something’s got to be done.

So, Survival Hunters Anonymous brings you this: the first installment in an ongoing guide for Huntards everywhere, thus entitled Know Your Role. Fittingly, it’s the easiest Battleground to understand, and also the hardest to get marks for, due to the nature of capture the flag games.

Your role in Warsong Gulch is simple. Kill everybody else, and provide tactical advantages to your teammates where possible, in the form of your shots, using your pet for assists, Flares, and traps. Cap if necessary.

More often than not, though, with your abilities, you will be the gatekeeper, the guardian, the flag-returner, the destroyer of worlds, or maybe just the guy who pops Rapid Fire, hits aimed shot, and nails the carrier just before they cap it.

In any case, you are a team player. Work with other hunters, but know that you are an assist role. You shine in killing things and providing ample distraction, and if possible, getting your Cheetah on, popping Deterrence, and running like hell with the flag in tow.

Your tools of destruction? Concussion Shot, Scatter Shot, Intimidation, Wyvern Sting, Wing Clip, Raptor Strike, Deterrence, Frost Trap, Freeze Trap, Snake Trap… really, all of the traps, and almost everything in your arsenal. Also, your barely-used Flare skill is of utmost importance here.

I’ll assume you’re new to it. Your goals are simple; do as much damage as possible, in as little time as possible, and disrupt as many other people as possible while you’re doing it. Rarely will you find a lone mage or hapless priest running toward you; more often than not, they’ll have friends. So while your friends are pounding away at them in melee range, and they expect you to stand still to sling arrows, DON’T.

Move around. Mess them up a bit. Now’s when you drop your traps; if you want to hit multiple targets, Explosive Trap’s your best bet for adding damage, and Frost Trap, one of my favorites, will keep them slowed down enough for you to pile on the shots. For individual targets, Freeze Trap (which, if you’re a good hunter, is useable without thinking) will isolate them and keep them out of the action, Immolation Trap will be good for killing them and getting them down and out fast, and Snake Trap is just plain evil. Poison damage that slows, cripples, and, best of all, puts mother-effin’ snakes on their mother-effin’ asses? Sign me up!

Now that you’ve dispatched them, let’s turn our focus to that lovely fellow or lass running away with a red streak behind them. Ye gads! They’ve stolen your flag! Now what do you do? Concussion shot, away! Slow them down, and give your compatriots a chance to catch up. Better yet, toss a Wyvern Sting or Scatter Shot their way, and disrupt their escape entirely.

If their team is smart (And usually, those crafty Alliance sons of dogs are), the flag capper will have a healer of some kind accompanying them, or will themselves be a healer. That works to your advantage; you remember a little something called Viper Sting, don’t you? Good. It doesn’t drain a ton of mana, but if you use it wisely, and combine that with Rapid Fire / Aimed Shot, you can, in under two seconds, disrupt their mana flow, reduce their healing’s effect by half, and knock a nice chunk off their friend’s health bar.

What? They’re still running away? Rubbish. You have Aspect of the Cheetah, don’t you? Well, catch up and do some damage. Slow them down. Concussion Shot to start things off, engage them, and Wing Clip ’em ’till there’s feathers all over the place.

So, having slowed them down, you’ve got them where you want them. Unload everything you’ve got on them, send in your pet, and make those poor saps pay for stealing your flag.

And while this has all happened, you’ve stolen their flag, too? Good work! Assuming you’re not Survival, your best bet is to, if no enemies are around, put on Aspect of the Cheetah. If there are, Monkey or Hawk it up, drop a frost trap, and high-tail it out of there. Don’t forget to Feign Death if anybody’s got a pet on your tail. Call out to your teammates for some cover, and make a beeline for your base.

So, you’ve saved the team, captured the flag, won the game. Good job, you’ve earned yourself those three WSG marks and a bit of honor.
You’re definitely getting good at this, so keep it up!

Just remember for the future, a few key PVP concepts that you might want to get in your head (so you don’t lose yours!) :

Mobility. Stick to instant shots, or combine Rapid Fire with anything like Steady Shot or Aimed Shot for increased speed, but don’t be afraid to plant yourself to get off a Multi-shot once in a while. A stationary Hunter is a dead hunter.

Movement. This is different than mobility for one reason, and one reason only – you control your own movement. Get familiar with using the run feature with your left and right mouse button, instead of your WSAD keys, or *gasp* your directional arrows. Doing this not only keeps you moving, but also allows you to reposition yourself in an instant, rather than “key-turning” and leaving yourself wide open for attacks.

Efficiency. Using an Aimed Shot when you could get away with Arcane or Multi is a waste. Conserve your mana, focus on kills instead of numbers.

Healing. Don’t beg other people for healing. Be responsible. Bring bandages, potions, and whatever you think you’ll need to the party. Same goes for food. If the mage gives you magic muffins, be gracious. Don’t demand them, ’cause he sure as hell doesn’t have to give them to you!

And above all…

Targeting. Easy targets are good, but go for the ones that will help out the most. See a pesky priest? Pew-Pew his pugnacious posterior to Perdition’s Flames and back again. Warlock giving people trouble with his fearing? Dump a Viper Sting on him and lay on the hurt.
Your job is to keep your team a) alive and b) winning. Don’t give the other team’s key players a chance to hinder your goals.

After all, you’re a Hunter. Wear the mantle proud, and dominate.

-Track

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Hunter Trees for Dum…I mean, Night Elves

December 18, 2007 at 1:50 am (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Marksmanship, Survival)

If you’re one of the hojillion Marksmanship hunters or their BM kindred, you no doubt are asking yourself a simple question right now.

“What in Sam Hill convinced you to pick Survival, much less blog about it? Don’t you like massive amounts of AP? Do you have no love for turning your pet into a furry killing machine whilst you make a target into a pincushion (Or Alterac Swiss, if you’re a gun nut like me)? Survival’s not for me. There’s no I-Win button! I DEMAND BUTTONS!”

Poppycock! Survival is simply the apex of what it means to be a hunter. You rely on your pet less than a BM hunter would to provide damage, much like a MM hunter does; but if your target breaks away because you decided to roll in guns-a-blazin’, your Survival talents give you more flexibility than either of the previous classes.

(If you manage your aggro properly, though, you won’t have to worry about that….)

But let’s break the advantages of each tree down to its most essential elements, shall we?

Relative Advantages of The Beastmastery Tree

Improved Revive Pet, Improved Mend Pet. You get more mana-efficient heals, it cleanses some nasty stuff from your pet’s debuff bar, and it gives your healers one less target to worry about. (Pets are your responsibility, and nobody else’s.)

Focused Fire. 2% damage overall’s nice enough. But 10% extra crit chance with Kill Command? Turning this down is saying, “Heavens no, I loathe the idea of playing my class the way I should! I don’t want your free damage handouts!”

Intimidation. – Handy for building aggro, stealing aggro, stunning, disrupting… a must-have for all BM Hunters, no matter what or whom you contend with. But you already knew that.

Unleashed Fury, Ferocity, Frenzy, Ferocious Inspiration, Cobra Reflexes. – If there’s a pillar that the BM tree is built upon, it’s these five talents. More pet damage, more pet crit, faster pet attack speed ON crit, more damage on pet crit, and faster attack speed for the both of you. Win freakin’ win, baby.

Summary : You hit faster, and so does your little buddy. You two practically feed off of each other.

You’re like Timmy and Lassie… if Lassie grew five feet and turned fire engine red every time Timmy got in trouble.

But if your BFF gets taken out of the fight, you’re just a schmuck with a gun and some traps. Played wisely, you are deadly. Played poorly… you probably should’ve picked MM, ’cause you clearly don’t think a pet’s important to you.

Relative Advantages of The Marksmanship TreeLethal Shots. 5% crit. Why do you even need to ask? Who cares about more damage when you can have a 5% greater chance to DOUBLE your damage?

Improved Hunter’s Mark. Free AP for your favorite melee maniacs. AND your pet.

Rapid Killing. Good for the free damage on opening shots when you’re grinding, even better for the reduced cooldown on Rapid Fire.

Mortal Shots. …seriously, you’d turn down MORE damage for your crits? Shame on you! Bad Hunter! BAD HUNTER!

Combat Experience, Careful Aim, Ranged Weapon Specialization, Master Marksman.Much like the Five talents o’ Bestial goodness in BM we discussed earlier, these picks supplement your raw damage. Combat Experience increases your AP and Crit through 2% more Agility, but also gives you more Intelligence; Careful Aim takes said Intelligence and turns 45% of it into AP. Master Marksman gives you 10% more AP, and RWS gives you 5% more overall damage.

This is why you pick MM; so you can dee pee ess with the bee eee esst.

Silencing Shot, Scatter Shot. PVP talents galore. Shut that nasty priest up! Keep Jimmy from a-chargin’ his Pyroblast! Hell, put a sock in that warlock before they mash their heads on the keyboard and kill you that way! Confuzzle that silly flag-carrier, shock that annoying rogue, and when all else fails, use it to pick off that hunter before he sends HarryPlopper charging your way.

Summary : So you decided you like guns and bows more than you like Fluffy. That’s cool. You’re pretty balanced, and you can handle yourself. Provided you know what you’re doing, you’re pretty damn deadly. You’ve even dabbled with skills I didn’t bring up. That’s cool too.

Just make sure you get a nice shot rotation going, though, and pace yourself. It’s tempting to shoot off everything you’ve got in a salvo of massive DPS… just make sure that when the smoke clears, your target’s on the ground, instead of chewing on your head.

And finally…Relative Advantages of The Survival Tree

Improved Wing Clip – As my guild leader once said, “Survival = Hax… on the sole basis of Imp. Wing Clip.” You use it enough to clip down pesky running targets, or slow down others to get some distance on ’em… why not have a 1 in 5 chance of them being rendered totally immobile?

Deterrence – As my guild leader also said, “Deterrence = Hax.” Can’t argue with the increased +dodge you get with more agility; why not hit the Panic Button, Aspect of the Monkey, and let your Orc go MC Hammer on his prey?

Entrapment, Clever Traps, Trap Mastery – You really, really, have no choice in the matter. You pick-a Survival? You take-a the traps. You like-a the juice? We like-a the juice.

Survival Instincts, Killer Reflexes, Killer Instinct, Expose Weakness, Thrill of the Hunt – ZOMG, another five-pack of good talents. I thought good things come in threes? Nevermind; These are another terrificly top-notch talents worth your investment, if you go Survival. +Crit, +damage %, and +15% total agility? Count me in. Getting mana back when you crit on your special shots, AND getting an AP boost when it happens on any crit, on top of that other stuff?

Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.

Wyvern Sting – Opinions differ on this; but putting somebody out of the fight for any amount of time in PVP is incredibly useful. For PVE specs, sleepy mobs give you time to kill other mobs. Raiding, I wouldn’t expect to use it as much; but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, so chalk it up as a good thing. Again, Flexibility = Key.

Summary: It relies a decent amount on chance for damage, but the strengths of better trapping abilities, increased agility for dodging / crit / AP, superb crit-tied abilities, AND a free crowd control spell.

Weaknesses? It’s gear-based, meaning that it shines as an end-game spec, rather than an early or mid-game spec. There are no killer damage talents early on, like in the other trees.By all means, if you want to level as Survival, I commend you. I didn’t go Survival until I hit 65, I was MM until 30 and BM from there through Outland.

So, there you have it. The meat and potatoes of each tree, laid right out for you.

My advice? Find the tree that suits your playing style. I leveled as all three, so, having tried each and consulted experienced players for advice on Survival, I found one that suits my needs and strengths.

Until next time, -Track

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Hello….

December 14, 2007 at 3:49 pm (Beast Mastery, Survival, Uncategorized)

Welcome to the first official “meeting” of Survival Hunters Anonymous; this is a light-hearted take on being a Survival Hunter, but with aspirations of being a suitable resource for all things Survival.

For me, it all started back in July. I had just finished some quests in Feralas, and I was feeling pretty badass; I had even dueled a druid that was in the top raiding guild on the server and put him in his place five times straight. (I think he still hasn’t figured out how I was able to see him after he went into Cat form… but he may have gotten the idea that all hunters have innate stealth detection, and it might have been my fault.)

Needless to say, as that was done and I was boasting about Hunter superiority in Guild Chat, two new hunters logged in for raids that night.

Both of them were Survival spec’d.

It was like finding out you had not one, but two more eccentric uncles than you were used to; sure, it means more presents at Christmas, but they always get you weird stuff, like sweaters and toe socks made of duct tape.

Regardless, I struck up some light-hearted conversation; if anybody’s gonna get duct tape toe socks, it’s gonna be me.

I mentioned that I love being a Hunter, and particularly Beast Mastery. I loved my big red cat, I loved off-tanking, and the sheer glory of showing up pushy Mages by topping DPS meters. I boasted, bragged, and with little humility, said I’d even pet-tank Hyjal when I hit 70.

(I mean, how hard could THAT be?)

They laughed, naturally. Then they started talking to each other, and peppering their speech with devilish phrases that stuck in my head.

“Utility”.

“Crowd Control”.

“Flexibility”.

“ZOMG, 30% crit”.

“Applesauce”.

These words took on a life of their own in my mind. I knew the path I was on was fun, easy, and rewarding, but their world of possibility ate at me like an eight year old with massive tooth decay; It was rotting me out from the inside with sugary potential.

For months, I resisted.I stayed strong.I power-leveled.I replaced my bow with a nice, shiny gun.

(I love guns.)

But it still wasn’t enough. I felt like I was living somebody else’s Hunter-life.

Then, it came to me. At Level 65, I realized that I had taken myself as far as I could go as a Beast Master. I had even diversified my stable, adding JoanRivers, the Flying Two-Headed Turkey of Doom, and Zumulus, the Scorpid, to keep Swayze company.

Even the clickety-clack of Zum’s precious little claws couldn’t fill the empty stable that was my heart.I needed challenge; but more importantly… I needed to respec.

I needed a Hunter makeover, Survival-style.

So, tingling with anticipation, I packed up my things and ran to Orgrimmar.

“You do realize, that once you respec, it will more expensive each time?” The trainer said. “For now, it’s 5 gold. That’s a bit of a hum-dinger, you sure you want to do this?”

“YES! And damn the cost! I want my improved traps, massive crits, and killer PVP talents! No longer will I play my class the way some snarky dwarf tells me to; I’ll do things my own way!” I cried aloud.

“Uh, Track, wtf? Was that in the wrong channel?”

“No, random guildie! I don’t care who knows it! I’m Survival now, and damn proud of it!”

“Well, what’s your spec? Are you taking points in Master Tactician, Wyvern Sting, or Deterrence?”

“Uh, funny you should ask… I didn’t figure that part out yet.”

Welcome to Survival Hunters Anonymous. And when in doubt, improvise.

-Track

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