Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finally! Level 70!

Well, I finally hit 70 last night, and I have already spent a bit of time on Northrend. I picked the Borean Tundra rather than Howling Fjord to start off with, but I have not done a lot there yet. I did enjoy driving the tank, though, as well as the ejection. I had one unplanned ejection in a rather difficult spot, but it all worked out. I simply mounted, rode back and got another tank.
I've gotten lots of skins, but no mining yet.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Level 66

Once again, I have been blazing along...and now I am in Terrokar at Level 66. Well, actually, I am in Thunder Bluff having just picked up KILL COMMAND!
This got added straight to my Steady Shot spamming macro, which looks like this now:

#showtooltip Steady Shot
/stop macro [no combat]
/script UIErrorsFrame:UnregisterEvent("UI_ERROR_MESSAGE");
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Kill Command
/castsequence reset=3 Serpent Sting, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot

I actually had one more Steady Shot in there since it about equaled the time the Serpent Sting takes to wear out, but I don't mind refreshing it a little more often since it helps regenerate Mana while using Aspect of the Viper.

I haven't tried it with Kill Command yet, as I am waiting for my Hearth cooldown so I can get back to leveling, but I anticipate no trouble. I will change the macro here if it turns out that there is an error.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Level 62

I have spent the last two days in Hellfire, and just got 62 while grinding outside of Spinebreaker Post. The only reason I did any grinding was because I did not feel like doing another quest, but I did not want to go to bed before I got my level, and I only had about 7k to go. I know it hardly matters, but it's always satisfying to get a level. Plus I am trying to catch up to a friend. :)

Any, this weekend I plan to catch up on some posts instead. I have to finish what I started about the Pet Talent Trees, plus I want to get started on some Hunter Macros.

Lastly, I want to reiterate my request for ideas about what kind of Add-on to write. Again, I am looking for ideas specifically related to Hunters, but it is not absolutely required.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Level 60!

Well, I made it; I did not need to finish most of the quests in Eastern Plaguelands, possibly because I got ahead of the guide by resting or grinding more than was called for. There are even whole chunks already removed from the leveling guide now that Blizzard made it easier.
Anyway, now I need to get my mining up to 300 before I head to the Outlands, as I want to level out there as well. So, of to Tanaris for a few circuits, and then maybe to Burning Steppes (once I can mine Thorium).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Level 57

It has been a while since I posted anything about my progress on my latest Main...I ma not at level 57, less than 2 bars from 58. I have started questing in Western Plaguelands.

Unlike many of my friends who play World of Warcraft, I do not go to the Outlands until I am level 60. Yes, I know you can go there at 58, but I feel it is a great disadvantage to do so.

First, you can use up the easy quests that would otherwise get you to level 70, leaving you no option but to grind your way on the last level or two. Second, the initial quests go a low slower because you are comparatively underpowered. I prefer to be as strong as possible when I do my quests, and I suspect I can more than make up the extra time spent in Azeroth by burning through the Outlands quests faster.

In fact, I plan on doing all the quests outlined in the Horde leveling guide that I use, even if it takes me to 61 before going to the Outlands!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hunter Pets and the Ferocity Tree

If you pick a pet for its damage potential, it makes sense to pick talents that will increase its DPS. So if your pet has the Ferocity Tree, which talents should you choose?

First, you need to ask yourself how many Talent Points will your pet have? Your pet gets one Talent Point at level 20 (regardless of whether you leveled the pet to 20 or not), and one Talent Point every 4 levels afterwards (again regardless of whether you leveled the pet to its current level). At level 80, that means 16 Talent Points.

But wait! There's more! Hunters who spec Beast Mastery are able to get the Beast Mastery talent for themselves, adding another 4 Talent Points for their pet (all of your pets get this).
The Talent Tree is split into 5 Tiers. In order to pick a Talent from any given Tier you must have picked 3 Talents for every level below it. So you need 3 Talent points in Tier 1 before you can pick any Talents from Tier 2; you need 6 Talent Points in Tier 1 and Tier 2 combined before you can pick from Tier 3, etc.

Talents have from 1 to 3 ranks, each rank requiring one Talent Point. The entire tree would cost 32 Talent points, but as 20 is the maximum you need to decide which Talents are not worth picking up.

In Tier One you have the following Talents:
  1. Cobra Reflexes, 2 Ranks. This Talent increases the attack speed by 15% and then 30%, but reduces the damage of each hit. The overall effect is to increase damage, but I am not sure what the effect of lower hit value is on threat. I do not pick up these Talents. -- Note: Rick in China (see comments below) has pointed out that the Pet's threat is actually increased with this Talent, so this is actually a good Talent for BM Hunters to give their Pets. In addition, the faster hits means that the stacking effect of Rabid (see Tier 5) happens much faster and more frequently.
  2. Dash or Dive (depending on pet type), 1 rank. Increases the pet's speed by 80% for 16 seconds. This will help in surprising ways. Not only does the pet get to the mob faster, it can get back to you faster if you have taken on multiple mobs at once and you are getting attacked. This has saved my bacon more than once, and I always pick this one up.
  3. Great Stamina, 3 Ranks. Increases pet's stamina by 4%, 8% and 12%. Since you need to pick 3 Talents in Tier 1, this may well be where you pick up the other two points, at least to start off with. The choice is between this Talent, which increases the total amount of Health your pet has, and choosing the next Talent, which increases the Armor and therefore reduces the amount of damage that your pet takes. -- Note: with the correction that I got about Cobra, I no longer bother with this, until I have nothing else good to pick in later levels.
  4. Natural Armor, 2 Ranks. Increases your pet's armor by 5%, then 10%. Since later Talents will increase some of the healing abilities of your pet, Great Stamina might be a better choice. You can fill in some extra Talent points here in later levels if you choose. -- Note: Again, Cobra appears to be the better choice, along with Dash/Dive.
In Tier 2 we have the following Talents:
  1. Bloodthirsty, 2 Ranks. Pet's attacks have a 5%/10% chance to to increase happiness by 5% and health by 10%. This is huge; I have only one point in this Talent so far and I rarely have to feed my pet anymore. The reasons this is so effective are a) your pet's happiness does not suddenly drop in the middle of battle, which would reduce damage by about a third; and b) your pet has a much lower chance of dying, and the mana cost of healing is reduced. This is one case where a non-DPS Talent radically affects DPS in a positive way. Plus, having points in this Talent helps later on with other higher Tier Talents.
  2. Boar's Speed, 1 Rank. Increases Pet's speed by 30%. This is of limited value in my opinion.
  3. Improved Cower, 2 Ranks. Decreases damage to pet by 10%/20% over the next 10 seconds. Bloodthirsty already benefits total Health, and I am not sure if Cower reduces threat, so I am not a huge fan of this Talent.
  4. Spiked Collar, 3 Ranks. Increase damage done by pet by 3%/6%/9%. Extra damage is good, so you will probably end up making on this.
Tier 3:
  1. Avoidance, 3 Ranks. Reduces damage to pet by AoE effect by 25%/50%/75%. I can see having this Talent for pets to be used in specific raids. Other than that I am not crazy about this.
  2. Charge or Swoop (depending on pet type), 1 Rank. Pet charges or swoops an enemy, immobilizing it for 1 second, plus increases pet's melee attack power by 25 % on the next attack. The benefits of this are limited, I think, but consider this when using up extra Talent points.
  3. Lionhearted, 2 Ranks. Reduces duration of Stun and Fear effects by 15%/30%. This can be useful in certain situations; less time out of action means more damage by the pet, and less damage to the Hunter.
Tier 4:
  1. Great Resistance, 3 Ranks. Reduces damage to pet by Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature and Shadow Magic by 3%/6%/9%. This is a small amount of damage reduction to be spending Talent Points on.
  2. Heart of the Phoenix, 1 Rank. Requires 2 Talent points in Bloodthirsty (Tier 2). When pet dies, it respawns immediately with full health (10 minute cool down). This is pure gold. I don't know how many times this would have saved my bacon in raids. This is equivalent to a 100% heal plus a total reduction in threat, which in a raid is fantastic. Even in PvP or PvE it will come in handy. Make sure you get this.
  3. Spider's Bite, 3 Ranks. Increases chance of Critical Strike by pet by 3%/6%/9%. Since Critical strikes are approximately double a normal hit, it is almost the same thing as an increase in base damage. But the higher your critical hit chance to start with, the lower the percentage effect this would be. However, it does increase the frequency that buffs and other procs will occur that depend on Critical Hits. Definitely consider getting at least one or two of these, if not all 3.
Tier 5:
  1. Call of the Wild, 1 Rank. Requires 3 points in Spider's Bite. Pet's roar increase party's melee and ranged attack by 10%, with a 40 yard effect, for 20 seconds. In a large group, this can be a large amount of damage increase, vastly exceeding what the pet could do alone. for raiding, this is a great Talent to pick.
  2. Lick Your Wounds, 1 Rank. Requires 1 Point in Heart of the Phoenix. Pet heals itself for 100% of its health over 5 seconds. This requires channeling, during which overall damage is reduced. With other Talents and Skills you should have enough to heal your pet without too much problem, plus Heart of Phoenix is a good insurance policy. No need for this one.
  3. Rabid, 1 Rank. Requires 3 Points in Avoidance. Pet goes into a frenzy, Increasing Attack Power by 5%. Successful attacks have a 50% chance of increasing Attack Power by an additional 5%, which stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 20 seconds. With a potential overall increase of 25%, this might sound good, but to me it is a small benefit that can be used only every 45 seconds (cool down). Think about this only if you are running out of other good options.
Again, the important thing is to choose Talents that a) increase damage directly; b) reduce the amount of "down time" for the pet, thereby increasing damage indirectly; c) increase the chance of Critical Hits and other short term, high benefit events.

This Talent Tree works well with Hunters who have the Beast Master spec. The Hunter's damage will not be enough to overcome the threat generated by the pet, and the Hunter's talents will drastically increase the damage and other benefits provided by the pet. Hunters who have the Marksman spec may find themselves stealing aggro from their pet; but on the other hand they can do a tremendous amount of damage as well. In raids with a good tank the aggro will not matter.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Hunter AddOn

When not hanging around in Azeroth or the Outlands, I work as a computer programmer. It's not as glamorous as slaying dragons, and I don't get to ride griffins to work, but it pays the bills.
However, it does give me some background knowledge that I can use in WoW, specifically in creating Add-ons for WoW. I have purchased a big fat book that will teach me all the technology that I need to learn, so I now ask you to tell me what features you would most like to see in a new Add-on.
These features can be aimed at use for Hunters, or for all players -- I want to hear it all! If I get a lot of different features I might break them out into different add-ons; but everyone who gives me a suggestion will be given an opportunity to try the out before they are published to the general public.
One feature that I thought of was comparing items for the same slot and determining which is "best" for Hunters. There is a calculation process that looks at Agility, Hit Rating, Crit Rating, Attack Points, etc. It would be nice to have a feature that says "this item is 100 Hunter Points, and this one is 105." Or something to that effect.
Any other ideas?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Level 51 in Tanaris

I forgot to post yesterday, but I am now at Level 51. I am currently resting at the Inn in Gadgetzan, and will be finishing off a few quests there tonight before moving on to Azshara again.
At this rate I will be in the Outlands by Christmas for sure, but probably not Northrend. 19 Levels in 17 days? Hardly leaves time for shopping, I think.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Level 48 in Azshara

I did a couple of small quests in Azshara to get my level 48, but now I am working on my Mining. My leveling has gone so quickly that I have found myself in areas where all the mining nodes are way above me.
I was unable to mine anything above Silver this morning, but I made a trip to Thousand Needles and I was able to pick up quite a bit of Tin and Copper, as well as a few Silver. The Tin and Silver mining got a me a few levels, and I was then able to mine Iron.
My circuit for Thousand Needles is a sort of long figure 8, where I go along the north edge of the map, then back along the south edge, and then back along the road. After that, I do the reverse. Sometimes I will go into the caves, but only if my tracking indicates that there is something that will possibly get me a level.
As there is not much Iron in Thousand Needles I decided to go to Arathi. There is lots of Iron there, especially on the west edge of the map. By making a few circuits around the edge of the entire map I was able to get myself to 168 before taking a break. By the end of the day I will be able to mine Mithril, which is my goal for now. This will at least mean that I can mine a few nodes while I am questing.
Plus, I have an extra 200 gold or so worth of bars, gems and stone in the Auction House...not bad for a morning's work!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pet Talents

One of the changes in Patch 3.0 is the way Pet Talents work. Most "talents" are already known to your pet and do not need to be taught or leveled. These are actually "skills" rather than "talents".
However, much like a character's Talent tree, you can choose the special talents that your pet possesses. in upcoming posts I will describe the three major families of Talent tree, but in this post I will mention just the basics.
Starting at level 20, your pet will earn one talent point every 4 levels. Also, each pet type uses only one of the three Talent trees: Cunning, Ferocity or Tenacity. This is unlike a player's Specs, where they can choose among talents across three different trees (such as Marksman, Beast Master and Survival for Hunters).
Lastly, when you "buy" a talent with your pet's talent points, you can add that talent you your pet's action bar, and toggle the auto-cast on or off as you see fit.
I should also point out that these changes apply to you and your pet regardless of whether you bought the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack or not.

Level 45 in Dustwallow

After lots of dragon slaying, I was able to reach Level 45 while questing in Dustwallow. Next stop: Tanaris!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Level 44 in Stranglethorn

Not much to say except that I got it while turning in a bunch of quests in Booty Bay. Also, I finished off the last of the Nesingwary quests by killing Bangalash.
Tomorrow, it is off to Dustwallow again!

What Kind of Pet to Choose

In the end, what kind of pet to choose is a very personal choice. Aside from the obvious issues of style and looks and cute names ("Hello Kitty"), you need to take into account the type of playing that you will be doing.
Another thing to decide on is how many different pets you want to keep. Remembering that they all take time to level, you don't want to have to spend a bunch of time leveling a pet that you will use infrequently anyway. You can buy space for up to five pets.
Lastly, you will want a pet or pets that match your Talent Specs. The pet you choose can be affected by the talents you choose, so you want to match the two as much as possible.
There are three main classes of pets, based on the "Talent Tree" that they possess: Ferocity, Tenacity and Cunning. Ferocity pets will have higher DPS, and their talents will also increase yours. Tenacity pets have higher Stamina and keep aggro better than other pets. Finally Cunning pets balance the best of both, and are flexible enough to work in most or all situations.
The best approach to picking a pet is to compare your own Talent Tree to that of the pets' trees, and decide what combination will work best in the type of scenario you will be working in. For instance, if you are Marksman spec, the you will be dealing fairly high damage compared to someone with Beast Master spec. You will also be creating a lot of Threat, and you run the risk of stealing aggro from your pet. This means that a Tenacity pet will help keep the mobs off you.
However, if you will be doing more raiding than questing or grinding, keeping aggro will be the job of the Tank, not your pet, so a Ferocity pet is called for in this case.
On the other hand, those with Beast Master spec don't have the threat that Marksman Hunters do, and can use a Ferocity pet without much fear of stealing aggro.
Cunning pets are decent for Battleground situations where conditions might change at a moment's notice. They don't have all the DPS of a Ferocity pet, nor all the Armor and Stamina of a Tenacity pet, but they are well balanced and have some other options that can help a Hunter stay alive in a PvP situation.
All that being said, it bears (ha!) mentioning that pets are a lot better than they were before the WotLK update. Almost any pet will be playable under nearly any condition, and usually all you will need to do to succeed is to change your strategy a bit based on whatever strengths your pet has. These various strengths will be explained in future posts...just check under the "pets" category.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Amish Paradise Warcraft Video

Another video to show you: This time it's Weird Al's "Amish Paradise" with some in game WoW footage.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aspect of the Viper

I am not sure how useful Aspect of the Viper was before the Wrath of the Lich King came out, but I sure find it useful now. It used to be that in the middle of a prolonged fight or series of fights, I would run out of Mana, and would have to rely on potions to restore it. Of course, that meant that a healing potion would be unavailable to me for a while, and that is not a safe thing to have happen. So I would end up leaving my Mana at low or zero, and then I would be unable to trap, or Mend Pet, or do any other useful stuff.
By switching to Aspect of the Viper I actually let my attacks generate Mana for me, as the Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot, as well as a few others, will actually increase Mana instead of use it up. In fact, if I keep this aspect on then my Mana simply stays at or near full and I can use spell after spell without fear of running out. The downside is that total damage is reduced by 50%. But if the pet is doing a lot of the damage in the first place, and if you are not running out of Mana, then this is a decent trade off.
I like to use this in long grinding situation, especially if I am taking on no more than one or two mobs; in other words, when it really does not matter how long the kills take. I end up more than making up the difference in the fact that I don't have to pause to drink or to mend the pet after Mana regenerates.
In bigger fights I might switch back to Aspect of the Hawk in order to take down lots of mobs fast, especially a boss, but afterwards switching again to Viper can help regenerate badly needed Mana in order to finish the fight. The last thing you need to have happen is to not be able to cast a Mend Pet when your pet is tanking the last three mobs for you.
I have also found that Aspect of the Viper reduces my aggro in relation to my pet's aggro. I am not sure if this is true or not, but I have found that my pet will hold aggro a lot more than when I am using the Aspect of the Hawk. Since my total damage drops, and my pet's does not, this make sense; but again I have not been able to get verification on this.
Lastly, if you have a bit if a run between spots, switching to Viper can help you generate your Mana, as you will get 4% of your total Mana regenerated every three seconds. That's 75 seconds for a full regeneration, so you can spend the time running instead of drinking. I do this only in situations where Aspect of the Cheetah or Pack is not safe.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Level 41, On to the Badlands, Broken Alliances

The Badlands are somewhat like Stranglethorn in that there are lots of beasts to be skinned, but the terrain is a lot more wide open. The quests here have been mostly easy, but there was one that gave me a little trouble: Broken Alliances. This is where you have to kill the "Boss" who is surrounded by 5 other ogres.
I actually had to kill him twice, as I died on my first attempt, and my bags got bugged when I came back to loot him. Anyway, the strategy to kill him is simply enough in concept, but can be difficult to execute. First, the whole group spawns at around 63, 63 and they hang out there for a while. After a few minutes they move west to a patrol circuit. There is one "midget" ogre that lags behind the group, and he is easy to pick off without any adds. After he is gone, you need to wait until the group is nowhere near any beasts that can join the fight. Send the pet in on the boss, and fire away until he is dead. Try to freeze any mobs that attack you, but save your feign for when the boss is dead. Wait for the pet to die and for the mobs to move on. Rez your pet, loot the corpse and you are done.

Questing and Gold

For players who are hell-bent on leveling, it can sometimes be tough to make enough gold to do the things you want to do. Today as I reached Level 40, which was the old Mount requirement, I noticed that my bank alt (my only other toon on this server) had well over 100 gold, plus about another 100 gold worth of stuff in the Auction House. Plus my main had well over 30 gold.
Level 40 and over 130 gold in just two weeks, and I am not even counting the two Blue items I still have to sell, as those were just lucky drops.
Despite having gotten this far this fast I really don't play a lot of hours, as both my job and my blogging keep me pretty busy. I just make use of some of the guides I bought for fast leveling and making gold in order to save me a bunch of time. Sure, I lose out on the thrill of "discovery", but for me the Internet is a way to share information. Why should I reinvent the wheel when someone has already gone to the trouble?
I like achievement more than discovery when it comes to gaming. I know not everyone is like that, and they would prefer to figure it all out for themselves. Others want to use the Internet and look up information in sites and forums and such, and trust that the info they get is not out of date. I have done that, but I still go back to the guides as a means of saving time. After all, any time I save looking up what quests I ought to do next, or what items will get me the best stats, or which spec is best for my Hunter while leveling, is time that I can spend actually leveling.
Check out the links on the right if you want to see the guides I use.

Level 40 In Dustwallow

Finally I can wear mail, as I reached Level 40 this morning while questing in Dustwallow. I had another one of those quests that are supposedly "bugged" for Hunters; this one was called "The Grimtotem Weapon", and you plant the totem in the ground and attack crocolisks. The totem zaps the crocs, and you get credit for one test (you need ten). Again, I used my "shoot before sending the pet" method, and not only did I get credit every time I did this, sometimes I got two credits with one kill! I am not sure if this is a bug or not, but if it is then it is the sort of bug I would like to see more of!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Level 39 In Dustwallow Marsh

As the title suggests I have gotten Level 39 while questing in Dustwallow Marsh. The quests are pretty simple, but there is one quest that is supposedly "bugged" for both Hunters and Warlocks, and that is "What's Haunting Witch Hill". By killing the Undead just north of where you pick up the quest (Jarl's Cabin at 55, 25) you get "information", and you need 10 of these. It is supposed to be a 100% drop rate, but apparently Hunters and Warlocks were not getting drops all the time.
I checked a couple of sites and forums, and the common suggestion was that if the pet gets the killing blow then you won't get the drop. I tried playing with this, but I still did not get drops every time, and I thought it might have something to do with range distance.
Then I tried something based on a hunch, and I got my last three drops in three kills, and that was to make sure I got the first shot in, not the last. I was only able to test this on three before I finished the quest, so if anyone can confirm this, please leave a comment to that effect.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Level 36 In Stranglethorn

I'm not sure why people don't like Stranglethorn. I have always found it to be one of the most efficient areas for questing, especially as a Hunter. For instance, I was fighting Bloodscalps at the Tkashi Ruins near 33, 14, and I was actively working on at least 3 quests simultaneously: Bloodscalp Ears, Hunt for Yenniku, and Bloody Bone Necklaces. The last one requires 25 necklaces, so I did not finish that quest along with the others, but later on I did finish it along with Shrunken Heads at 19,12. And all this time I was collecting pages for the Pages quest from the Nesingwary Camp.
All of this was possible because I was working with Joana's Guide for Horde, which lays out the best order of quests to pick up, work on and turn in. It has saved me so much time that I have gotten to Level 36 in about ten days.
And I still love getting all those skins, so I am enjoying Stranglethorn!

Ozzy Plays Wow!

Blizzard has added to their list of celebrities who are advertising for them. I am not sure if Shatner or Mr T really play WoW or not, but somehow I can't imagine Ozzy being able to work the mouse without getting the shakes. Anyway, the ad is funny, and I couldn't resist posting it :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hand of Iruxos Quest

I used to have a tough time figuring out how to do the Hand of Iruxos quest, or the equivalent for the Alliance (its name eludes me right now). It is completed in the center of the first building at the entrance to the Thunder Axe Fortress in Desolace (around 55, 24).
Approaching the Fortress is no big deal; I used my Mana-efficient Aspect of the Viper method, which involves shooting to pull, backing up while the cat gets aggro, and then finishing off. As long as there is clear space behind you this method works well.
Once you get past the gates it is important to clear the whole area by the door to the building, because you need to be able to back up if the mobs inside the building come after you. After the outside area is clear, you need to watch for the single mob that circles the hallway. The building is round, and the hallway circles the central room. There are also stationary mobs in the hallway, but these need to wait until the patrolling mob is taken out.
After you get inside, you need to work fast, as these mobs respawn very quickly. I like to switch to quick-kill method, which involves sending the cat and setting Hunter's Mark at the same time while using Aspect of Hawk. For the first mob should be shot a little before the pet gets to him, as you want to pull the mob away from the other one behind him, to avoid doubling up. Once he is done, turn around and take care of the one behind you. Now you have room behind you regardless of which direction you decide to take. Working quickly, go around the hallway and clear out the mobs.
Getting into the room can be a bit tricky, and don't be surprised if you pull more than one mob. Set a freeze trap, and send the pet in and hope for the best. Be ready to feign, but do so out in the hallway. As long as none of the mobs have respawned you will be fine.
After the mobs in the center room are clear (Horde can ignore the Alliance NPC; it is there for an Alliance escort quest that you can be happy you are not doing), click on the red crystal in the center of the room, and be prepared for a tough fight. I prefer to stay back and work with Viper Aspect again, which lets me use lots of Mana for Arcane, Serpent Sting, pet mending, Concussive and Multi-Shot. Again, Feign Death can be useful here, but it may be resisted because of the level difference.
When you have finished the demon, loot it for the box, and get ready to fight your way out. Even if you did this at top speed they will be respawning already.
I did this as a Level 33, and Feigned twice due to my own mistakes, but did not die at all. At the same time I took care of the "Burning of the Spirits" quest (while I was outside, as it takes a little longer to kill the mobs while collecting the gems), and the "Sceptre of Light" quest at the top of the tower to the left of the gate once you get in.
Just try to pull one at a time, go through the mobs quickly, and all will be well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shimmering Flats Quests

There are 5 quests that I like to do together when I am in Shimmering Flats. I was Level 31 when I picked them up, and got my Level 32 when turning them in.
They can all be picked up at the race track in the center of Shimmering Flats from various NPCs. They are: Hardened Shells (get the shells from tortoises); Bump in the Road (Basilisks, Crystalhides and Gazers); Load Lightening (Vultures); Salt Flat Venom (Scorpids); and Rocket Car Parts. The first four require you to kill beasts, the last requires you to pick up items around the area (car parts, of course). Bump in the Road only requires you to kill a certain number of each, while the others need specific drops, but be aware that the drop rates does seem to be better than it used to be.
If you run directly east from the track, and start tracking beasts, and work your way around the outside of the track you should be finished or almost finished all the quests by the time you complete the circuit. There are a few things to watch for though. One is that some of the tortoises are level 35, as well as some of the Gazers. I was able to take them down without any trouble, including one time when I got attacked by a second Gazer while occupied with the first.
Each time I moved into a new area, I would clear out the aggressive mobs first (red dots on the mini map), then grab any rocket car parts, and then tortoises. My bags did get full, but when I got back to the track to sell some stuff I was pretty close to the last area that I needed to go to.
South of the track is where you will find most of the Gazers; but as I mentioned, be careful not to get attacked by too many mobs at once!
Lastly, there is a gun vendor at the track who also sells gun ammo. I did not remember to write down his name, but he is there...and I did not see any ammo vendors for bows.
I adjusted my attack method slightly, and it seems very quick and efficient. I do not add Hunter's Mark, but simply get to a maximum distance from the mob and hit it with an Arcane followed by a Serpent Sting. My cat attacks automatically and proceeds to get Aggro. If need be I start backing up until the mob attacks the cat, and I then stop and let Auto Shoot do the rest. If the mob starts running toward me again, I hit it with a Concussive Shot to slow it down, and usually the cat gets aggro again. If I had to use the Concussive Shot at the beginning, and it is not back up yet, I will do a Feign Death to lose aggro. If I needed to I would be able to do another Concussive, but it never happened. And if I get low on Mana I switch to Aspect of Viper for a bit until my Mana tops up again.
By using this method I required no food, drink or bandages. The only healing was for my cat, and that only costs a little Mana. No time lost for sitting!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stranglethorn Raptor Mastery

I like the Raptor Mastery quest, along with all the others from Hemet Nesingwary, mostly because all the mobs are in one spot, and they give nice hides every time! :)
Easy way to finish this quest is to run to coordinates 25, 15 and put your tracking on beasts. If you are capable of killing these raptors, then you can certainly handle the tigers and panthers in the area too, which makes the second part of those quests a natural combination if you are speed leveling.
And, oh...the hides! Plus all the hides from the Young Stranglethorn Tigers and Crocolisks on the way back to Nesingwary's wonder I was able to get my mount at Level 30!
My usual method of attacking is to set Hunter's Mark on the target and send the cat in. As soon as the cat has aggro, I do one Arcane Shot and let Auto Shoot take care of the rest. If the Raptor leaves the cat I hit it with a Concussive Shot and start backing up (watching for mobs behind me on the inset mini map), and let the cat damage it while it tries to get to me. Sometimes they do make it to me, but by then they are nearly dead. Other times the cat gets aggro back and the deal is done.
All in all, a fun and easy quest at 31.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Level 31

Once again, some fast progress, but mostly because it was a day off from work. already at level 31 on my Tauren!
I was worried that I would not be able to afford my mount; back before I took my break it was still level 40 before you could get a mount, but I always had enough money by that time. Now at 30 I was not sure, but it turns out that it costs under 45 gold. I was able to sell some silver bars and bronze bars, and 3 silk cloth stacks and I had more than enough. I made my way to Bloodhoof Village and got my brown kodo, and then I lost it! Or so I thought...
Again, Blizzard has changed things a bit...before my break you had to keep your mount summoner in your inventory, but now it is more like your spells or macros. Woohoo -- more bag space!
So now I am in Stranglethorn Vale working on the hunting quests for Nessingwary. I always make a ton of money there on skinning, and these quests seem to be made for Hunters. I just wish there was a mail box at the camp so I could free up my bag space! But there is even some good vendor trash there: Bristly Whiskers off the cats there sell for about 83 silver a stack, not bad for low 30's!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back After a Rest

Yes, I am back after a long rest away from the game. As I expected, the excitement of Wrath of the Lich King was enough to bring me back!
Due to the long queues on the server where my Main is, I decided to start a new toon on a different server. This time I decided to go with a Horde toon, as I have some friends on this server. My new toon is a Tauren Hunter, which I started a week ago. He is at Level 28 already, but not very wealthy yet (with no Main to bankroll him!)
I am not sure if it is because leveling for Horde is supposedly easier, or if there were changes that made leveling easier, but I am going through levels faster than I recall doing previously. I am using Joana's Guide for Horde to decide where to go and what quests to do, and I think this is the main reason I am leveling so fast. If I did not "waste" time on professions I expect I could have been about Level 35 by now, or maybe even higher. But I prefer to have some money in my pocket when I can get a mount, so I went with mining and skinning as usual. Skinning is super easy to level, but mining is a little tougher as you have to keep your eyes out for nodes.
Currently I am finishing off some quests in Ashenvale.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Power Leveling for Hunters

Hunters are perhaps the best characters for solo play, and that makes them especially good for leveling quickly. What is the fastest way to get to Level 70? Simply put, it is questing. Grinding will never get you the XP that quests will, especially since you need to kill things for quests a lot of the time anyway.

On top of that, quests give you new equipment and cash, which always come in handy.

The problem is, it is not always easy to know where you should be questing for which level, or which chains are appropriate for your level. Also, you have a maximum number of quests you can be on at any given time, so which ones are most efficient for your time? Which quests should be avoided altogether?

Once you have decided on the quests, you still need to get the info you need for locations for loot, mobs and turn ins, as well as any strategies you might need. Sure, you can look those up on Thottbot, but that is more time wasted.

For me, the best time saving was in getting a guide that already had all these things worked out for me. The most efficient path to Level 70 had already been worked out, and all I had to do was walk that path. And magically, every time I came to a new area, not only was I ready for the quests there, but I even often had quests to turn in right there!

There are many good guides available, but the one I used is still considered the "gold standard"for leveling guides, Brian's Guide for Alliance. Of course, as the name suggests, it is appropriate for Alliance characters only. Fortunately there is a sort of "companion" guide for Horde, called Joanna's Horde Guide. I am not sure if they are written by the same people, but this one gets equal praise from people that I know.

Both of these guides use the PDF format, often with links to quest info at Thottbot. They are quite complete, and are updated frequently for new patches. The only downside is the flipping back and forth between the game and the guide, but these is a very minor inconvenience.

This inconvenience has been eliminated in the iDemise Team guide. They have created a system of notes that you import into your game, and the map then contains all that you need for leveling: locations, tasks to complete, etc. I found this to be very convenient, especially since I could "highlight" the next location to go to, and simply run to the point on my mini-map. However, when I bought this particular guide it was very new, and there were a few mistakes, but they were easy enough to figure out in most cases. I expect that there will be updates as there is for the other guides. However, the one thing they don't have in the guide is links to Thottbot for quest info, so if you need to look something up you'll have to search for it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mana-Efficient Shot Rotation

In raids, you do not want to run out of mana if you can help it, as this drops your DPS by a large margin. For this reason you want to make your shot rotation as efficient as possible from the point of view of Mana Used per Extra Damage Done.

Since Auto Shot uses no Mana at all, it is the most "efficient" shot from that standpoint, but it also does not extra damage (except for crits). The next most efficient shot is the Steady Shot. For the extra damage it does it uses little Mana, and therefore should be the "go to" shot for extra damage. Stings, Arcane Shot and Multi shots use too much Mana, and should be used as Kill shots if you still have Mana left over at the end of a fight.

Here is my Shot Rotation Macro:
#showtooltip Steady Shot
/cast !Auto Shot
/castrandom [target=pettarget, exists] Kill Command
/cast Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Line 1 of this macro simply replaces the "?" icon with the Steady Shot icon once I put it on one of may Action Bars.

Line 2 is a little less obvious. Clearly it is intended to get Auto Shot started so we get one shot in before the cast for the Steady Shot. But what is the "!" for? If you look at your main Action Bar (as long as you have not changed it) you will see "Auto Shot". If you click this, it starts the Auto Shot, and your character will shoot until it cannot any more. If you click it again, the character will stop shooting. So this button is more of a toggle than a cast. What the "!" does is make sure you are only starting the Auto Shot, and not toggling it. This is very important, as you do not want to lose damage output by turning off your shots!

Line 3 will attempt to cast the Kill Command spell, which gives your pet extra damage on the next hit. Kill Command is only available after a Critical Hit, and can only be cast once the cool down is over. So this is simply a spam of the Kill Command, but it will only be cast if the pet has a target (and not in "Stay" mode). If the cool down is still in effect, or no crit has made the spell available, there will be an error message (more on this below).

Line 4 will cast the Steady Shot, which was the whole point of the rotation.

Line 5 clears the error messages from the screen, which is important when battling! You will still here verbal messages from your character if you have that turned on.

Macro for Quick Power Boost

Depending on your specs, you will have some temporary buffs for your Pet and Character that will give you extra killing power. Presumably the same is true of trinkets, as most of them have a "use" buff in addition to "equip" stats. If you are in a long, drawn out battle with a boss it is nice to be able to quickly access all or most of these buffs in one easy keystroke, so you can maintain maximum damage. After all, that is our job! Here is what I have:
/cast Bestial Wrath
/use Bladefist's Breadth

Bestial Wrath is the Beast Master buff that vastly increases the Pet's damage output, and the Hunter's as well if you have the correct specs. The Bladefist's Breadth is a trinket that increases Attack Power by 200 for 15 seconds. Both of these in unison increase my damage significantly, so I use this macro when I have long battles with bosses, or if I get swarmed by mobs and I want to kill them quickly (such as when mining, so I don't lose the node).

My second trinket does not have a use, but has a random buff that has a chance to occur on critical hits. When I have all three of these going at the same time, my damage goes through the roof! For this reason I like to keep my Crit% as high as possible. Right now it is at 24.78%. Anyway, because the second trinket (Hourglass of the Unraveller) does not have a "use", I don't add it to this macro; otherwise I would.

Fast Attack Macro

This is a macro that I use to attack mobs quickly with my pet, but with no loss of damage due to not taking the time to cast a Hunter's Mark:

/Cast Hunter's Mark

I then bound this to the same key that Hunter's Mark was bound to previously. There are very few instances where a mob that my pet attacks is not going to be shot at as well, so this is much more efficient than doing the Mark and Pet Attack separately. Even better, when my pet is on "Stay" (as in cases where the boss would easily kill the pet with AOE damage) he does not attack the target; all I get is a Hunter's Mark on the target, and I can start shooting.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hunter's Misdirection Macro

Here is a great macro for making sure you do not get aggro from the mob you are attacking. In PvE it means your pet should get the aggro and keep it long enough for you to burn it down. I find this very useful in Hellfire when doing my mining runs, as there are a few 63 Elite mobs guarding some nodes. If I get the aggro instead of my pet, then I take forever to kill it, and sometimes don't survive.

In raids it is even more important, especially if you are pulling for the tank or playing with an under-equipped or inexperienced tank who might not hold aggro well.

Here is the macro:
/cast [target=focus,help] Misdirection; [help] Misdirection;
[target=pet,exists] Misdirection

The first line simply means that the button you assign the macro to will show the Misdirection icon instead of the "?" icon you should choose when making this macro. The remaining line (from "/cast" on) is actually one line with three parts.

The three parts are simply conditions that are checked before casting the Misdirection spell. The first section looks to see if you have a target called "focus", and then casts the Misdirection for that focus (more on setting the focus below). The second looks to see if your current target is a friendly one (party member, for instance), and casts the Misdirection on that character instead. Finally, if the other conditions are not true, it checks to see if your pet exists, and then casts it on the pet.

What Misdirection does is switch the threat that comes from your next three shots from you to the target of your Misdirection. So if I cast Misdirection with my main tank as the focus, my next three shots will appear to the mob I am shooting as though they came from the tank instead of me. This helps the tank gain and maintain aggro, but the spell only lasts for a few seconds, and you should only cast it just before you start shooting.

In order to get this to happen, you need to either target your tank and cast the macro, or better yet, set the focus to your tank with the following macro:

By targeting your tank (or other party member) and casting this, you will set that player as "focus", and the Misdirection will always be cast on them instead of whoever you are targeting, or even your pet.

Hunter's Feed Pet Macro

This Macro generally comes in two flavors: one that uses a specific bag slot, the other using a specific item. I prefer the item-based macro because I am at level 70 and use the same item almost all the time. I first made the macro when I was in Stranglethorn, so that's what this sample represents:

/cast Feed Pet
/use Tiger Meat
I had a lot of Tiger Meat because of the quests I was doing, and with this macro it does not matter which bag slot it is in. The first line simply calls the Feed Pet "spell", and the second uses the item specified. When you upgrade to a new item to feed, you can replace the item name in the second line. Bind this to a key, and you have a one-keystroke way to feed your pet. This is particularly useful in raids when you need to quickly feed the pet and then drink for more mana all while the rest of the party is waiting.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Useful Assist Macro

In a raid, a Hunter's main job is to take down whatever mob he has been assigned to. Generally we are told which mob to kill by means of symbols above the mobs, chat window, voice chat (as in Vent), or through add-on messages. However, this means that the tank, or whoever is leading the raid, needs to spend time communicating instead of doing what a tank should be doing.

So I use an "assist macro" to help with this. What it does is set your target to the target of whichever player you are assisting. So if you have your macro set to assist your main tank, whenever you call the macro it will set your target to the same as his. Here is the macro:
/assist player1

And "player1" gets replaced with the name of the player I am assisting, and the macro gets keybound with "a".

Some hunters will add the line "petattack" to this macro, but I do not. This is because a tank will often be switching between mobs to give various attacks (Sunder, etc), or marking them for various players to trap. The last thing I need to do is send my pet in on a mob that the tank has not yet established sufficient aggro to hold. Also, if the tank has a distant mob as a target, that could be disastrous if my pet went to attack it.

So what I do is spam the assist macro button until the target no longer changes, and wait for the signal to attack. This signal is announced ahead of time, and usually is a skull, an "X", or a chat announcement from an add-on. For less experienced tanks, we simply wait for 3 Sunders.

Another use for the assist macro is for a hunter that is new to a particular area or instance, is to set the macro to a more experienced DPS player (usually Hunter or Rogue), so they can simply follow that player's attacks. This is really helpful for bosses that require a specific kill order, and it is faster than taking the time to explain the order to the new player, or try to keep up with marking the mobs. This is especially true if the tank is going to be staying on one mob while the others are burned down.

Lastly, I sometimes have a secondary assist macro set to a healer. If the healer gets aggro, I like to be able to set my pet on the mob and try to steal aggro back, or I can at least try to trap it.

I always spell out the whole name of the player I am assisting, including making sure to capitalize where needed. I am told that putting in just the first part of the name is sufficient, but if you have two players with similar names this could be a problem.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Gloves!

Last night was a Karazhan run, and it was the first this week for our group. I count this a successful raid on four factors:

1. We took down 4 bosses, which is good considering the limited amount of time most of us have on a week night.

2. We wasted little time, only the amount needed to switch out a few players who had to leave.

3. We had only one wipe, and we very nearly avoided that one.

4. I got new gloves!

My current gloves are the Gloves of Dexterous Manipulation, which have good stats but are made of leather. I got these on a previous Karazhan run from Attumen the Huntsman, but this time the donor was the Maiden of Virtue. She was kind enough to drop Gloves of Quickening for me, which was only fair since she was the boss we wiped on. These gloves have Stamina and Intellect on them instead of agility, but there are Crit and Attack Power bonuses. But the important thing is the improvement in my armor, which is 507 instead of 228, which helps both me and my pet in mitigating damage.

So off I go to get some gems and enchants so I can wear these things with pride!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Helmet of Second Sight

Well, since I did no raiding or anything in game tonight, I thought I would post about some of my current gear. And since it is logical to start at the top, I decided to talk about my helmet: the Stalker's Helmet of Second Sight.

First of all, who can resist anything named for a Stalker? Second, the stats on this helmet are somewhat impressive, and they certainly were an improvement on what I had before. Truth be told, I can't remember what I had before, it was that much of an improvement. Anyway, +31 Agility, +12 Stamina (nice for the Pet!), +8 Intellect, and three blue gem sockets. I opted for + Agility on the sockets, and gave up the minor bonus for matching gems, because of the improvement to Crit %. Lastly, I was able to pick up an enchant from the Cenarion Expedition that gives +34 Attack Power and +16 Hit Rating, which probably is as much of an improvement as the helmet gave.

This helmet comes from the quest line that starts with Zorus the Judicator in Wildhammer Stronghold in Shadowmoon Valley called A Ghost in the Machine. The first three quests can be done alone, but there will be a point at which you are given three quests called "Divination: Gorefiend's X", where X is Truncheon, Cloak or Armor. It is the last which will require the most help, and although the quest recommends 5 players, we did it with 4 (Tank, Healer, to Hunters - a simple Tank-and-Spank operation). The other two can probably be done alone, but having a group will make it faster and safer. Also, the people who help you should either be on the quest, or have done the quest and still have the goggles you get in the first quest, or the helmet. Either of these will allow them to attack the mobs that are needed. (Our healer did not need them, since she only needed to see the players needing healing.

But as good as this helmet is, there is another I am going for. Since I gave up Blacksmithing in favor of Engineering, I have some goggles that I can make that will give even better stats: The Surestrike Goggles v2.0. These require 350 Engineering to wear, so these are not available to everyone. The downside is that I lose the +31 Agility and the +8 Intellect (I can get the enchant again, though), but I get 28 Stamina instead of 12. The increased Attack Power goes from 60 to 96, I get a + 13 Hit Rating and +38 Critical Strike Rating, and it has a blue gem socket and Meta Gem socket. But the big thing is the increase in armor: from 503 to 726. This is not only good for me, but also increases my pet's armor too. And since I am BM spec, having my pet alive greatly increases the damage that I can do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

First Trip to Zul'Aman

Well, rather than going to Karazhan as I had thought was planned, we went instead to Zul'Aman. For those who do not know, this is an instance which is designed to be a quicker run than Karazhan, but with tougher bosses. Because we had more than 10 people ready to go I was only in on the first boss, which was fine with me considering we nearly wiped on the one I was at. When you consider that Nalorakk is the easiest of the six bosses, it was probably a good thing I was replaced with a bit higher DPS hunter!

However, the experience I got was well worth the time it took, and we did take him down the second time (we reset rather than wiped due to some quick thinking, and only two deaths out of the ten). Plus I got a badge of justice, which I now have enough of to trade in on something decent.

So, what did I learn? Well, not only do I need more DPS (520 per second is what I did according to SW Stats), but I really need to use better Mana potions. I will need to read up on what is available; if anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear about them.

Also, if there is a way to avoid spending 50 gold on a flask for just one boss, that would be great too! But 120 extra Attack Power is pretty compelling.


Hello, fellow World of Warcraft Hunters, and all of you who simply want to learn more about Hunters in WoW.

My aim with this blog is to explain what I know about Hunters (whether I am right or not), and what I still want to learn. I also want to document my progress in the end game process, which for me is basically raiding. I am not much for PvP, but I will include what little I know in some future posts.

For those who want to look me up, my main character is Ruenn on Cenarius, a PvE server. Our guild, Optical Illusion, has been raiding Karazhan for a while now, and I have been getting better and better at playing my role in the raids. I am not usually called upon for crowd control, which is good because the freeze trap seems to have been nerfed of late. So I am pretty much just DPS now, and I have been averaging about 360 damage per second in most raids. That's usually third in our groups, depending on who attends.

Ours is a small guild, since we place as much importance on good manners as in good player skills, so we do not have a large pool of players to choose from when raiding. However, several of the players have more than one character ready for Karazhan, so we can usually put together a good mix. Also, the entire guild is dedicated to making all players better, and we do not use the DKP system to control who gets which drops. Because of this, newer players tend to improve very quickly, which makes our raids that much stronger.

Well, time for me to start getting ready for tonight's raid. I will be posting after we are done to let everyone know how we did!