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 All the information on the site, for the most part, is grossly out of date – patches have come and gone, and the Hunter class has changed drastically.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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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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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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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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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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Beastmaster in Repose.

June 4, 2008 at 2:55 pm (Uncategorized)

Y’know what I just realized?

These so-called “differences” between the Hunter trees are a bunch of malarkey.

MALARKEY!

You can go on about BM this, MM, that, pull the other one. Doesn’t make a difference, it’s just different sides of the same die.

Yes, BM has a couple extra “oomph” features to it. But rather than play like a BM hunter, I still have that Survival Hunter mindset, and y’know what, it works!

BRK had a cool article the other day where he mentioned that he even respecced mid-run for Survival trapping. THAT is the way we should be, folks. We should be flexible, and do what the situation dictates. Some people level multiple characters so they can have a perfectly-geared X Y or Z -spec ready to go.

I say, again, malarkey. If you have the time, do it.

If anything, find two (or three) specs that you know you like to have in your arsenal, and know how to use them. If you know that extra trapping’d really make the grade for your group, have a Survival Spec ready to go. If you know you need the Serpent’s Swiftness and some other BM tools, go BM. If you need to be able to silence / scattershot, MM is your bag, baby.

The only key is being able to play your class well across each tree. That’s really all there is to it. 

-Track

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