WWI Panel – Hunters.

June 28, 2008 at 4:33 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival)

You may or may not be aware of certain things happening this week in the WOW-world.

As it says, big things’re poppin’. On top of the possibility of having not one, but TWO talent trees available (insert squeals of glee here) to any player, thus reinforcing what I’ve been saying, we have a double-whammy of Hunter changes.

1) NO MORE AUTOSHOT CLIPPING.

2) PET TALENT TREES.

The first one might be a little hard to understand for some of you – so let’s do an explanation of shot rotations, real quick like.

You take a shot. Say it takes you 2 seconds before you can do another one.

If you hit Steady Shot, which takes a second and a half, .5 seconds after you do the shot, you’ll be in line for another shot, and nothing’s wrong.

You hit it a full second after you do that first shot, and there’s no other auto shot. You’ve effectively wasted a shot; the 1.5 seconds it took to fire that Steady Shot overlapped with the Auto Shot cooldown, and you get boned.

In Lich King, shit’s gonna change. No more of that “oh noes, I wasted another shot” stuff. You auto-shot, you Steady Shot, it auto-shots when you’re done. The shot rotation automatically becomes more fluid. No more crazy science, mathematical equations or such, or getting screwed because of lag.

One of the most difficult mechanics of the game just became that much easier to deal with.

Pet Talent Trees, as I understand from this panel, are my dream come true. Pet families get unique abilities, and with these trees, you can supplement them. Instead of joking about your pet tanking Illidan… it just might happen. And you’ll no longer be a slave to the ravager / cat / scorpid dynamic. You’ll be able to find the one, or three, that work best for you, and have them specifically tailored to the roles you need them for.

Blizz, you guys rock. Add more stable slots and I think you’ve answered our prayers.

-Track

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SHA Movies : Yes, Virginia, There IS A Weapon Switch Macro

June 23, 2008 at 8:58 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival, YouTubed Hunterology)

Yes, I run WoW on a Mac. Which means I have access to tools like Garageband and iMovie.

Yes, I recently recorded a promo for the Twisted Nether Blogcast. Which means I familiarized myself with at least one of the above.

Yes, somebody didn’t believe me when I said you could switch weapons in combat. Which means I got that evil grin on my face when I remembered I could record movies in WoW, and make a commentary in iMovie…

So, um, yeah, here ya go! SHA Movie #1, featuring yours truly, UggahBuggah the Ravager, and Clyde the unfortunate Clefthoof. Time was kind of short for me in making it, so I apologize if it isn’t terribly high-quality with the audio commentary.

It’s damn good though. Hope ya like.

And you can hit my new YouTube channel here.

-Track

P.S.

/equipslot16 YourMainHandsnameGoesHere
/equipslot17 YourOffhandNameGoeshere 
/equip AndIfYoureALuckyJackassYouPut”Legacy”here 

P.P.S Sorry ’bout the quick edit, I uploaded a higher-res version. I’m a stickler for quality.

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Casual (Noo Yawk) Hardcore?

June 22, 2008 at 11:32 pm (Uncategorized)

 

 

Incidentally, I worked with the mom of one of Agnostic Front’s many bassists. Cool story.

I was thinking about this topic recently. I’ve really scaled my playing back a LOT – where I used to clock in almost 20 hours a week or more, last week, I put in about seven. Five of that is just raiding, two nights a week. The other two were leveling a shaman with my girlfriend for fun.

There’s usually a discrepancy – if you’re raiding, you have to be “hardcore”. But most people put the <10 hours a week players in the “casual” category.

Only about 30% of all guilds even make it to Tier 5 content. Most of them are considered “hardcore” – Project X is most definitely “casual”.  We have one night of serious raiding a week, and we do weekly Kara runs. It takes about as long as most people do heroic instances – and I’m still active in the guild with only 7 hours a week of playing time. We have more hardcore players; but we also have more people like me.

Tonight, a casual guild took down Magtheridon on our second try. (first try, we wiped on the cubes. before that, there was an amusing moment when half the raid was shut out behind the gates, and we watched our guildies get swatted down…but we can’t count that as an attempt) One could say that this is due to how much the encounter’s been nerfed ; one could say it’s because we’re just that damn good.

 

I also got my T4 Chestpiece. 3 Fallen Hero Tokens dropped; the three big hunters that come to raids (me, Bog, and Iso) all walked out with new chestpieces, and Iso now has all five pieces of Tier 4. 🙂
I’m really proud of our little casual “Hardcore” guild. 😀
How about you? What’s your guild like?
-Track

 

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Ego(n) Check.

June 17, 2008 at 10:46 pm (Beast Mastery, Survival)

Survival Hunters and Hunter Enthusiasts, how are ya?

I feel like we haven’t had much to talk about outside of theory and all that cut-and-dry stuff. It really lacks personality, I know. But I just wanted to get it out on the table. You guys deserve it. Seriously, you do. At least now, if you happen to be a Hunter Class Lead / Guidance Counselor, you have another couple questions to ask potential hunters (“So, what do you do when you run out of mana in a boss fight?”)

Anyways, life is pretty good with Project X. Gruul is officially on farm, next week is us taking on Magtheridon in an attempt to complete our Tier 4 domination ; once he’s down three weeks straight, we’re doing both of ’em in one night, like every other guild at our level. I think we can do it, for sure – besides, I want my T4 chestpiece, dammit. 😛

Also, I’m seeing a girl who turned out to be a fellow WoW enthusiast – she’s kind of a beginner, so I’m having fun playing my first real Shaman while patiently explaining everything she needs to do. What can I say? I’m drawn to difficult classes and difficult women.

Ah! Before I go, I leave you with this little tidbit, the pure Survival raid DPS build that was brainstormed by the collective Hunting brain trust of Project X, and currently in use by one of our favorite hunters.

ZOMG SURVIVAL DEE PEE ESSS?

I personally would not take the 3 points in Survivalist, and move that 5th point in Mortal Shots to Thrill of the Hunt, but that’s personal preference; I feel I get enough health as is, and that Mana should be a priority. Also, you may get more mileage out of picking Improved Feign Death over Clever Traps if you’re Survival and Raid DPS, as you’re hitting it every time it’s up.

Point is, Improved Aspect of the Hawk and Focus Fire help make this one a nice little bit of kick-ass; no improved Arcane Shot or Barrage, so this is more like Survival meets BM, and apparently, it’s put out around 700 DPS. Granted, the guinea pig hunter using this spec is also fairly well geared, and won’t get any upgrades until we hit SSC / TK, so take it with a grain of salt, eh?

-Track

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Running On Empty : Hunters and Mana Conservation, Pt. 5

June 17, 2008 at 3:05 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival)

Ahh, the fifth and final installment.

Now, we’re talking about the last thing you can do to increase your mana conservation – taking talents.

There are a few that you can take in each tree that help out :

Beast Mastery has Improved Revive Pet and Improved Mend Pet. Without these talents, keeping your pet up takes a lot out of your mana pool, especially if you’re keeping him/her active. If you’re BM, you should have both of these, with one maxed and the other with one point at your discretion.

Marksmanship has Efficiency and Combat Experience. Efficiency reduces the cost of your shots by up to 10%; that adds up. Combat Experience increases your total Intellect by up to 6%, which can be a big boost to the Viper-popping moments. As many hunters take up to 20 points in Marks, picking up 5/5 in Efficiency’d be a good idea.

Survival has Resourcefulness and Thrill of The Hunt. Resourcefulness reduces your trap cost by up to 60%, as well as your melee attacks. If you get a lot out of trapping, this might be for you. Thrill of The Hunt is the supreme mana-regen talent – if you have high enough crit, it will return 40% of all the mana-using shots you crit with. (if you’re a Survival Hunter, then yeah, you’re gonna be using a TON of Shots). As I’ve said before, it turns you into the Hybrid of SUV’s.

That concludes the five-parter. Hope you found it useful.

-Track

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Running on Empty : Hunters and Mana Conservation, Pt. 4

June 16, 2008 at 11:46 am (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival)

So, previously, we discussed the following :

  • why stacking spirit is a bad idea
  • why getting some mp5 is a good idea
  • why picking up some enchantable weapons and dropping +30 Intellect on them is a great idea.
Just a quick thought on the last one – I was talking with one of the hunters in my guild, X, who brings up a phenomenal point. If you don’t want to give up +hit or some stats temporarily, grab the Shattered Sun Rep daggers, which you can get at Revered, and use those instead of daggers with Intellect.

You lose some additional mana, but you can keep your Hit rating at a high level, and not worry about wasting the shots on misses. Also, Elixir of Draenic Wisdom’d work great with that, as well as any Mana Oils you can muster. Keep in mind that the Mana Oils persist through death, so as long as you can keep your gear well oiled (har har har), you’ll be set for an entire night of raiding.

Now, let’s get to the meat of this one – proper potion use.

This can be a tricky one. Generally, if you’re a DPSing hunter, you want to use Mana potions instead of Health potions, but some fights, like Magtheridon, require that you use a potion or a Healthstone at a particular junction in the fight. 

But you want to get the most out of it and keep DPSing, and you’re running low on Mana.

This is where planning ahead comes into play, folks.

Read up on the boss strategy. If you know that you need to pop a Mana potion at a certain point, and estimate that you’re going to need mana before that, do three things:

1) Pop a chill pill on the damage, and hit Aspect of the Viper.
2) Hit Rapid Fire.
3) Switch over to Auto-shots, to maximize your mana returns. 

No potion, no nothing. Just coast on DPS for a bit. This is the Hyper-miling approach to getting your Mana back – shift your car into neutral, and just let gravity do its job.

Otherwise, here are things you can do to maximize returns :

1) Be an Alchemist. Not only do spend less money on potions, but you can also get the Alchemist’s Stone, which increases your returns on Potions, and once you hit Exalted with the SSO, pick up the Assassin’s version of it, and get some sweet, sweet AP with your better potions.

2) Use Fel Mana Potions instead of regular ones. Depending on your server, they may be more expensive. They also don’t work instantly, but they work over time, and you can get a decent amount more Mana out of them (especially if you have the Alchemist’s Stone). Also, if you have Viper on at the same time, with the Intellect enchanted daggers, and you’re “hyper-miling”, hellooooo Mana.

3) see Running On Empty parts 1-3. The more you use those tips, the less you might have to use potions.

Hunters, don’t feel like you have to burn through a bajillion mana potions in a fight. Your obligation is to DPS, but your second obligation is to yourself – if you cut down on your potion use, and get more out of each one, then one stack of 20 Fel Mana Potions could last you much longer than you’re used to.

In this respect, I think that people have severely underrated how important mp5 is, and it’s come back to bite us in the ass. Just because we can drink our way out of a mana issue doesn’t mean we have to!

In Part 5, we’ll discuss the virtues of taking Efficiency over Improved Hunter’s Mark. Somebody has to, but it doesn’t always have to be you!

-Track

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Running On Empty : Hunters and Mana Conservation, Pt. 3

June 15, 2008 at 1:02 am (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival)

Building on what was previously discussed, having Mp5 makes a ton of difference, but more so in long fights than short fights. So, what’s to be done about short fights?

Well, let’s take a look at the previous idea – having +30 Intellect enchants.

You, as a Hunter, get 15 mana for each point of Intellect you have. +30 means, you get +450.

Now, +60 means, +900. If you were to find two weapons with approximately 20 intellect on them to begin with, you’d start with +600, and could go as high as +1500 with the two enchants.

Okay. Now why is this an idea worth pursuing?

Two reasons :

1) Removable Brains

2) Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

By #1, I mean that if you were to carry dual-wield daggers that had Intellect Enchants on them, and start any fight, you’d be down some stats, but you’d have what’s practically free mana. Once you’ve used it up, equip your main weapon, and it’s as if you’d just drank a mana potion – your mana bar is back at full, on a technicality, and you’re still ready to kick more ass.

And by #2, look at this chart. You get the least out of AoTV when you’re the highest on Mana. But you get the most out of it at around 20% of your total Mana.

So, re-equip the daggers or what have you (steal a 2h / dual wield equip macro from your warrior friends) but at a point when, relatively, having that additional mana means your pool is lower than it actually is…then pop AoTV and Rapid Fire, and just watch the mana regen like crazy.

If you’re at around 200 Intellect, having an extra 150 means you get a total of 192.5 mp5 when the talent’s cranking at full force, at around 20%. This isn’t including the 5% buff you can get from the Tier 6 armor, or the additional 35% of your level (24.5 mp5), which means you’d have almost 220 mp5.  (that last bit got added in a recent patch.). That’s a stark contrast with the 130 you’d get normally, and all you have to do is equip a different set of weapons.

Complain all you want about running out of mana and how Viper’s a shit-poor excuse for a regen ability – it’s the PERFECT solution, it’s right in front of you, and all you have to do is take advantage of the mechanics.

Generally, if you pace yourself, you can stay at around 50% with Aspect of the Viper and be fine… but let’s face it, you’re a Hunter; if you paced yourself, you’d be bored. You can occasionally hit that Feign Death button, but for the most part, pacing yourself is a chore.

It will depend on the server, but if you buy daggers with 20 Intellect, it shouldn’t run you more than 10g, tops. The mats’re around 120 or so on Drenden, don’t know how it is on yours, but 260 gold for having gobs of mana at your disposal, which will serve you throughout the rest of the game (considering I have 6000, an extra 25% is AMAZING) and possibly benefit you more than any two armor enchants you could have instead.

-Track

Pt. 4’s on the way, it’ll deal with proper potion use. I should mention that if you get Pallies to give you Wisdom and Kings, the dagger thing should put you on easy street, but I’m focusing particularly on what you, and only you, need to do in order to get the most out of your mana pool. After you do the hard work of figuring out mana conservation, anybody else’s contributions will just be giving you fringe benefits.

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Running On Empty : Hunters and Mana Conservation, Pt 2.

June 14, 2008 at 12:08 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival)

Of those 6 that I listed, we can rule one out immediately – #5, Stacking Spirit.

Hunters need to stay in the Five Second Rule, otherwise, we lose the infamous “MSQoRDPS” that we are so well known for – and stacking Spirit doesn’t work for us, in terms of our more prevalent stats and our damage. 

The other 5 are reasonable, so I’ll be exploring them in this series, and detailing the most efficient ways of getting the most mana for your shots… so let’s start with #6.

Currently, I have 58 mana regen outside of combat per 5 seconds, and 6 during. Keep in mind I also only have 193 Intellect… Not bad, but not terribly good if you want to make the most out of Aspect of the Viper without the T6 bonus.

I typically hit 33% of my mana a good distance into the fight, depending on what it is. On a fight like Gruul, I’d have to down two potions before the fight’s done – on our 6/8 kill, I was DPSing for 6.5 minutes, while the fight was going on for 8 minutes.

So, roughly, I have to pop a mana potion every 2.5 minutes. Not too shabby, but it could stand to be a lot better, as I’d ideally like to have to pop one, while at full bore and handling Mend Pet, every 3 minutes.
If I didn’t worry about the pet thing, that’d push me up to 3, but obviously, you lose out a lot if you don’t keep him up. 🙂

 I have a whopping 6 mp5 right now. There’re a couple other pieces with mp5 out there well within my reach – the t4 GlovesScaled Greaves of Patience (which, if I switch back to Survival, I’m definitely breaking out), and maybe the Beastmaw Pauldrons from Kara.

I’d lose some +crit in the case of my shoulders, but that’d all put me at 24 mp5, which, over the course of the 6 and a half minutes I’d be doing Gruul, would give me 1872 mana while I’m fighting.
 Currently, I get 468 in the same time frame – just from one piece of armor!.

Mp5 wouldn’t be as useful for quick fights in raids, i.e. Kara and ZA’s shorter bosses, but picking up just two items (that I’d probably go for anyway) and giving me almost 1900 mana back over a 7 minute fight?

Sign me up!

So, we’ve got that. If you can get even 25 mp5, even though it doesn’t sound like much, it can really add up over time. If you can bump it up to 30, you’ve got more than 2300 mana back. That’s definitely worth looking at. 

Part 3 will be focusing on exploiting Intellect for your benefit. Yes, I said exploit; there really is no better way to put it, as you will be blatantly taking advantage of the game’s rules, and using them to your advantage.

-Track

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Running On Empty : Hunters and Mana Conservation, Pt. 1

June 14, 2008 at 11:25 am (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival, Uncategorized)

Lately, I’ve been struggling a little.

“What? The prissy little BM Hunter’s struggling? Boo-hoo. Spec Marks, get a real taste for the blues, and then tell me how you’re struggling.”

Oh, get off your damn high horse. 

I’m dealing with the same issue many of you hunters are – mana conservation. I even have 5/5 Efficiency, which, some would argue, is silly, as BM hunters have amazing mana consumption.

Amazing isn’t good enough. I want PHENOMENAL mana conservation. 

Right now, I’m sitting at a little under 6000 mana and 8500 health. My Hit rating is 9%, AP’s in the mid 1500’s, 22% crit, 596 Agility. Damage is not an issue.

Potting, however, is. Some fights, you need to be able to snap back from a big hit and keep going. Can’t really do that if you’re bandaging yourself, and it’s even worse if you need to make the call between staying alive for the rest of the fight doing gimped damage, or dying 30 seconds earlier but making a bigger impact.

So, I’ve come to examine the following –

Just how much does a Hunter NEED Mp5?

Think about it. You’re shooting at a constant rate – somewhere between every 2-3 seconds, and no doubt using a spell in the process. That keeps you out of the Five Second Rule, which means you have several routes as a hunter :

  1. Carry +intellect enchanted weapons. Start a fight with them, drain through their “free” part of the mana pool, switch to your main “stat-stick”, lay on the hurt, and switch back when you need to maximize your Viper returns.
  2. Join Manaholics Anonymous, and become a fierce devotee of Mana Potions. A nice quick fix.
  3. Fel Mana Potions. Helps you pace yourself, and you can get a nice boost if you’re using Aspect of the Viper at the same time, as BRK has previously discussed.
  4. Get Efficiency. It helps.
  5. Stack Spirit, and stay out of the Five Second Rule as much as possible. “Lolz Spirit iz good no?”
  6. Stack mp5. It’s a constant mana regen, but with the trade-off in stats, would it be worth it?
To Be Continued in Part 2. 
-Track

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Heads Up!

June 13, 2008 at 7:42 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Hunterology, Marksmanship, Survival)

What started as a minor thought on mana regeneration has snowballed, taken on a life of its own, and will become a gi-NORMOUS post of major interest for y’all.

This is the first time I’ve ever warned you, adoring public, about a post, particularly for a blog that I considered more like the Library of Alexandria. The topic has been touched on by other sources, sure, but this is a real whammy, and I intend it to make you think about your gear in a new light, regardless of what kind of hunter you are.

But, then again, if you’re raiding high-end material, you already know this stuff. 😛

This post will not be for you, pro players. It won’t even be for my one decrier, a certain Corben Dallas, who is no doubt still weeping openly about the loss of a Survival hero and the fact that Leeloo dumped him… Chill out, Grizzly Adams, when I get a little more +agility on my gear, I’m coming back badder than ever, and if you want to see a T4-raiding Survival Hunter throw out some DPS, you betcha sweet bippy I’m gonna give it to you. (Drotara’s got t6 covered, so I’m calling dibs on the lower stuff. :P)

If indeed, as I said, much of what you learn about Huntering, you learn as you go along, and the rest you pick up from intuition, this would fall under the first category. You don’t become a kung-fu master by watching 36 Chambers of Shaolin and “knowing” which forms work best in what situation, or which strikes are used against what attack. You learn by doing, by being inquisitive, and by getting your ass kicked occasionally. Discomfort is a powerful learning tool… and when you feel the squeeze, you know you’ve got to change something, right?

-Track

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