Thursday, December 30, 2010

Marks in far

So the good news is that hunters are no longer fubar and suck massive wind.  Things did get adjusted and evened out a bit at level 85.  

I'm still playing a MM spec. Its not an easy spec to play and that's most of what I enjoy. It takes a certain type of insane to chose this spec, especially when SV is so far an away a dps powerhouse. BM is a more "melee" driven spec with the pet being the primary weapon and SV is a mostly magic based talent line.  Marks hunters are the physical ranged dps class.  We are the weapon driven class, we live and die by our bow or our gun.

My primary raiding/heroic MM talents are pretty much standard. I decided to stay away from the AE driven talents and focus more on increasing my single target dps. I really don't wish to have a raiding spec set designed around trash mobs. 

After a bit of reading, research and testing I decided to try a little fun with my spec.  I picked up silencing shot, which I think is still a must have even without the damage component.  Our ability to crowd control and move casters from range sets us apart from the other physical dps classes and will come into major play in this xpac.    I decided to take the suggestion of putting a point into Resistance is Futile and I have not been disappointed.   Even with the low percentage rate it procs a fair amount in heroic boss fights and focus free dps is never a bad thing.

 MM glyphs are pretty straight forward with just two things to consider when picking outside of the norm.  If you find that you are using Silencing Shot to interrupt often, the Glyph of Silencing Shot is an outstanding choice.  If you aren't going to be at the top of the list for interrupts then the glyph is worthless.

 The Glyph of Chimera Shot is somewhat sticky.  Its a larger and more consistent dps gain than you get with the Glyph of Kill Shot but only if you are able to use it properly.  If you aren't consistently hitting your Chimera Shot a second earlier then you get no benefit at all from the glyph.   I'll be honest, my rotation is nowhere near smooth enough yet that I can pick this glyph up and use it for myself.  Eventually I'll get there but right now it just isn't working out for me.

Here's where it starts getting fun.  MM is a prioity rotation....with added thinking!  Holy crap they're letting hunters think and make decisions for themselves, oh the humanity.

We start by putting up Hunter's Mark and be in Aspect of the Hawk, then get Serpent Sting up on the target for your first shot.  This is not a rotation this is just every single boss set up.  Every single time.

MM standard priority is this:
Aimed Shot  on procs
Steady Shot in twos

Chimera is our signature shot, our biggest damage shot. It refreshes Serpent Sting and takes priority over everything, even Kill Shot.  Don't get so lost in your rotation that you don't have enough focus saved up by the time Chimera Shot is off cool down. Aimed Shot is used only when it procs as a free instant shot from Master Marksman.  Arcane Shot is the focus dump shot.

I know what you're thinking.  Pffft Cheres my grandmother can do this rotation who are you kidding.  Well my friends this is where it gets fun.

Steady Shot is a two second cast shot that returns 9 focus.  With the Improved Steady Shot when we fire two Steady Shots in a row it procs a 15 percent haste buff .  You want that buff up as close to 100 percent of the time as possible.  Improved Steady Shot does not proc if you have any other shot hit in between your two Steady Shots and missed shots do not count.

Break the pairs up only for Chimera Shot.   If an Aimed Shot procs after firing a Steady Shot wait to fire it until you get off that second Steady Shot.  Wiser minds than mine say to fire two steadies, an arcane, two more steadies, then another arcane. But there is no single set in stone rotation.

But wait.  It gets better!   

Marks has two talents that combine to bring buckets of damage to just the first 20 percent of its rotation. Careful Aim boosts the crit chance of Steady Shot by 60 percent while the boss is over 80 percent health. 
While the boss is over 80 percent health remove Arcane Shot from your rotation. You'll be spamming tons of Steady Shots but a side bonus is that your free Aimed Shot will proc a bunch.  

You should be aiming for at least four Rapid Fires every boss fight combining Readiness with Rapid Fire.  Be sure to use those first two Rapid Fires in the very beginning of the fight when you're using almost nothing but Steady Shots.  Rapid Fire makes your Steady Shot cast time very low so for that brief period when Steady Shot is boss you get off as many as possible.

Time your second round of Rapid Fires to coincide with Heroism / Bloodlust or a trinket proc, and hopefully for a period of the fight when you can stand still-ish.  You can cast Steady Shot while moving but you get more dps if your feet are planted.
But Cheres, I could just use Aspect of the Fox!  Yes you could.  And I could fly to your house, punch you in the face, put you back on Hawk and fly home.  You should know how to move and shoot without taking a dps loss.  Don't use a crutch meant for lesser beings. 

MM Stats and Gems

Agility is still our best stat.  Here's a quick and dirty rundown of stat priority.  It is not set in stone, its just a place for you to get started.


Meta socket Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond.  We have been promised a fix to the gem requirements.
Yellow socket if the bonus is 10 agility or 20 of another stat Deadly Ember Topaz
                        if the bonus sucks Delicate Inferno Ruby
Blue socket one for meta requirement Glinting Demonseye
                     if bonus is 20 agility or better Glinting Demonseye
                     if  bonus sucks  Delicate Inferno Ruby

If they don't fix that meta gem then of course fit the square pegs in the round holes as best as possible.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Happy Holidays gamer types

Third time's the charm

I've always known my guild was different.  We read quest text and warcraft novels.   I think we have a dozen Loremasters, myself included.  The lore interests us, heck we're Metzen's personal fan club.  And we like our achievements.  Oh boy do we chase them down like dogs with a bone.  We get nothing from them aside from our own sick, twisted, geeky need to have the boxes colored in. 

This past week we took our geekdom to new and exiting heights.  We are the number one guild on our server for achievement points!  What does that mean? Absofrekinlutely nothing to most of the warcraft world.  But to us it was some of the most silly fun we've had in the game and really great break and breather from the level cap/heroic gear dash.  It was also a great indicator of those who are willing to give one for the team and those who are there only for themselves.  I made mental notes if none of the other officers did.

It may not be the most important use of your game time but consider racing your other guildmates in LK heroic content.  Make it a real challenge, no tanks no healers.  Losers have to run The Oculus.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One Down

Found and tamed Terrorpene this morning.  I haven't quite found the right name for him.

No luck with the lion yet.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I hit level 85 yesterday and have started the gear grind. 

I am now actively stalking, camping, tracking two rare look pets for my stable.  First is Terrorpene, a lava turtle who is joyfully immune to traps and spits fire from a distance.  That should be a fun tame eh?  The other is is Sambas, a stunning and badass lion.  I don't actually need these pets, I just, hey I have the stable slots don't judge!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Newbie Hunter Guide, Cataclysm Style

This expansion has brought more hunter races to the table.  Many people are rolling new hunters to take advantage of the new combos.  I've been getting quite a few questions about specs and leveling and glyphs so I figured now was as good a time as any to go down the list of things any new hunter will need.

The First Ten
You start off life with a pet and some weapons, each determined by your race.  Don't get too excited about the pet, it’s more of a helper than a real partner.  You have no control over it; it will hit what you hit period.  Please learn now that fluffy has an aggro range like nothing you've seen before so pull safely until you are used to it.  The starter pet should never be confused for a tank since it will not generate any threat until after you've started to attack.  All you can do in these first few levels is get max distance and burn the mobs as fast as possible.  Pull with Steady Shot and follow that up with Arcane Shot.  You should be able to eek out 2 or 3 Arcane Shots before the mob is dead.  Honestly if it’s not dead before it reaches you then you are not at max distance or you've pulled something far too high level to be efficient.

Leveling Specs & Glyphs
At level ten you get to start building your leveling spec.  I really, really hate answering "Cheres what do you recommend I spec my hunter to level".  Most hunter specs are personality driven (for good and for bad) and you really have to try them out and get a feel for what kind of hunter you are.

Here's the short answer.  Beast Mastery is the fastest, easiest leveling spec by miles.  Here is a lovely Spec/Glyph link for you to use.

7uyI will be honest, I have always disliked the BM spec.  It just does not suit my play style or my personality.  Next in ease would be a Survival Spec.  This will give you really nice hunter generated DPS is still a nice learning curve spec.   I spent a good deal of my hunter life as a Survival spec.  I was Survival in vanilla when everyone was Marks.  I think it has a good deal of fun in it and a nice survivability rate.

I went to MM full time in WOLTK and have never looked back.  I love how it plays, it just suits me better.  I have started an Undead Hunter (dontcha wish your hunter was hot like me) and I'm taking her down the Marks tree.  I wouldn't use her spec, I've since changed my mind about how it should look, but I am here to tell you that it is highly viable to level, and level well, with a MM spec

Your New Best Friend
Oh how we hunters love our pets!  They are our defenders, our partners, our companions.  They are the wind beneath our wings.

Rule #1 with a pet is feed it often.  The happier it is the more damage it does.  You can check what foods your pet eats on its paper doll or go to Petopia.  Some pets are very picky eaters so keep that in mind when you go out to tame a new buddy. 

Your pet will have one dps ability, one threat generator and one detaunt.  When it gets high enough level it will also get a new special ability specific to its family.  In general, you just want to your pet's dps abilities on auto-cast.  Use growl (threat) when you solo and cower (detaunt) when you're in a group.

Your pet has three behaviors that affect how it attacks:
  • Passive Your pet will not attack anything under any circumstances. If you click on passive while your pet is attacking, it will stop attacking until it gets new orders from you.
  • Defensive Your pet will attack anything that you're attacking and will attack anything that damages you or the pet.
  • Aggressive Your pet will attack anything that gets near it. Just like a mob, it now has an aggro radius.  

I play with my pet on passive and send it individually to the mobs I am attacking.  I have a pet attack macro bound to my mouse button so it takes no real effort.  To me defensive makes a bad tab target situation worse.  Aggressive will very nicely and efficiently pull a zone, or a dungeon.  Whether you both survive the pull is another matter.

One important note on pets:  You will not get xp, rep or loot for anything your pet kills entirely on its own.  

Pet Tanking
Your pet is your tank. Get used to that concept. When you're fighting, let your pet attack the target first! You will always want to lead off with Kill Command, which along with your pet's auto-cast Growl will help your pet establish firm aggro right off the bat. Thereafter, you assume your DPS and healing roles. Keep Mend Pet up while your fighting (it doesn't cost you anything), and take down your target with a mixture of Arcane Shot and Steady Shot.

Quest mobs rarely stay alive long enough for Serpent Sting to be worth your while; likewise, you don't want to blow the large focus cost of Kill Command on something that's almost dead -- save that focus for the next mob in line. If you're fighting an elite or a mob many levels higher than you, then Serpent Sting and reusing Kill Command are well worth your while.

Pet Threat
Your pet is your tank.  Your pet is your tank.  Your pet is your tank.  Therefore treat it as you would treat a player tank.  No wait, treat it nicer than that.  
Your pet generates threat three ways: using Growl, which generates a set amount of threat; using Kill Command; and by the normal damage that the pet causes. Your pet's Growl is not a taunt.  Pet growl is not a taunt.  Once more with feeling.  Hunter pet growl is not a taunt.

One of the keys to making sure your pet generates as much threat is possible is for you to be hit-capped. Yes, even while leveling, this is important.  Your pet inherits your hit rating and through that hit rating it generates its own expertise rating.  If you're at the hit cap for the mobs you're fighting, then your pet will not miss or bee dodged or parried.  That can increase your pet's damage while tanking by 20% and as we just learned that increases our pet's threat by 20%

Just a suggestion from long term experience.  If you are attempting a difficult mob, let the pet get off two growls and throw a kill command before you start to dps.  Extra insurance never hurts.

What's the Best Pet
When it comes to leveling, you can really use any pet that you want.  Since your relationship with your pet is so important, thought should go into things like, looks, animations and sounds.   Wolves stop, scratch and howl.  Cats stretch and roar.  Worgs run funny.  Warp stalkers are just, well, annoying.

All pets fall into one of three talent tree types.  
  • Cunning pets talents and skills focus on utility and mobility making them exceptional PvP pets.  But they're also a nice balance of dps and tanking which makes them lovely solo pets.
  • Ferocity pets talents and skills focus on increasing both pet and hunter DPS.   They're highly popular raiding pets but handled properly can be very good solo pets.  
  • Tenacity pets talents and skills focus on tanking.  Tenacity pets have tanked 10 man ICC bosses.  They are outstanding solo play companions

Do I need Haste?
Keep it simple for now.  Agility, hit rating, stamina, attack power.  Everything you are killing now should be dying in less than a minute so avoid haste.  It just doesn't give you enough punch to give up another stat.

Follow me!
Real hunters are a scary bunch.  We want to kill more, kill faster, kill harder.  Where's the challenge, how far can I kite this mob.  How many corpse runs till I can solo this raid dungeon...
We have the ability to handle big groups, slow things down, stop them and when things go horribly wrong, to fall down and play dead like a girl.

Push your hunter, I promise its fun!  Kiting mobs is a blast.   Before Blizzard decided our fun could be far too destructive hunters would compete to see who could kite boss mobs the longest.  When an Alterac Valley match would take two days, I'd kite Korrak the Bloodrager around into enemy territory and feign death as soon as enemy mages started to AE. 

Take the time to kick the tires and open it up on the highway.  The hunter class will never disappoint.  Have fun!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A lone hunter.....

I wasn't one of those up before the sun playing the game, I wasn't even playing it at noon.  I did get a few hours in and so far I'm having a good time.  I decided to play my hunter solo just so I can get a feel for how things are at my own pace and not many people like to hang around while I read quest text.

So here's the deal with my thoughts on leveling my hunter.   I don't enjoy leveling as BM and with the misdirection change I have no worries that my pets will have aggro issues.  The healing component of Chimera Shot is just too nice for solo play to pass up.   I changed my MM spec from a raid focus to a solo focus.  The combo of Rapid Killing and Recuperation talents means less need to use Steady Shot for focus generation in a fast shooting environment.   They should also give me the freedom to chain pull and attempt bigger pulls.

My rotation will also be different of course.  So far I just use instant shots and send my pet in.  Hell I don't even wait for the pet to get aggro all that often.  Things die before they get to me so all is good.  As the mobs get harder I will have to be a bit less lazy but that's why Blizzard invented Misdirection

For pets I've broken out my cat again.  I missed Maethor, he and I have leveled together since I tamed him way back when I was level 23 or 24.  I never used another pet till I hit WOTLK and wolves became king.

Its comforting having him around.  Hunters are so very odd about pets aren't we?  I am bringing the turtle as backup for harder mobs and bigger pulls.  

I started out leveling in Vashj'ir.  The 3D aspect of the underwater zone took a bit of time to get used to but all those free, dead beasts lying around means I'm skinning capped! Booyah!  I will probably stay down there and level since I'm enjoying the storyline and I have a pretty sea horse. 

I'm not so worried about the gear.  So far nothing's really been much of an upgrade and if this is anything like the xpacs of old my stuff should carry me easily to level 83 without any worry.

I have to say that I like leveling this version of the hunter more than my previous mana using incarnations.  Its much more what I hopped the class would be like when the game first started.   A lone hunter traveling Azeroth with her beloved companion taking down foes and ridding the world of evil and and stuff.