Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kheldul Brings You Tidings of Joy - Happy Winter Veil!

Merry Christmas! Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Festivus. And all that stuff!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pet Tanks Can Dodge Like Mad

Damage to tanks is supposed to be more even (less spikey) and generally lighter. In making it less spikey they killed avoidance with the Chill of the Throne debuff. Every character gets it in the party or raid. All the tanks are quite familiar with this debuff.

Pets do not get that debuff.


Go Flash! Go Fluffy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

With Microsoft Games, Everyone Will Know You're a Dog

For some reason, Microsoft wants to peel away one of the layers of anonymity in online gaming - supposedly to shame unhealthy gamers. I guess that's another reason not to get an Xbox. ;-) Here's the patent abstract:

An avatar generator for a virtual environment reflects a physiological characteristic of the user, injecting a degree of reality into the capabilities or appearance. Thereby, many of the incentives of the real world are replicated in a virtual environment. Physiological data that reflect a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication. Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise. Physiological data that reflect the health and perhaps also mood also improve social interaction in virtual environments. People seeking to meet and become acquainted with particular types of people are not thwarted by the artificiality of avatars. The physiological data can be gleaned from a third party health data collection repository, a healthcare smart card, a real-time physiological sensor (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, peak flow, pedometer, etc.)
On the opposite side, since I'm not short or overweight, I guess I couldn't play a dwarf.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Taking a Battering and Various News

So I saw the hilt on AH this morning. It was listed for 80,000 gold. It's the first one I saw listed. I don't have 80,000 gold. If I did, I wouldn't spend it on something that will be replaced so soon.

I did however go into Heroic PoS (great planning on abbreviations there Blizz...) and solo'd the first two guys a couple dozen times. I lost my pet twice. I was just using my wolf while in pet-tank spec. (Thanks for the Call Stabled Pet cooldown bug.) I looted a green or two. No hilts. No epix.

I want to experience the quest line. It looks quite cool. I'm not overly eager to buy the hilt even for a sub 10k price just for experiencing some content.

In other news, AH also now has the first wave of epic ammo on sale on my server. It's going for 50g / 1000. Although, I noticed one unsavory character listing some of his for 35g / 100. (Notice the missing zero.) This is still too rich. That comes to 5silver per shot. I don't know my average shots fired per night rate. Spot-checking a 7min 42sec fight, it appears that I fired 659 shots. So those ammo prices will be (have to be!) dropping like a stone in a couple weeks even without in-guild crafters.

In the "fix Kheldul's equipment through upgrades" news, my craptacular ring was replaced with the PoS ring which was then replaced with the first Ashen rep ring. This means, w00t! It also means I do the +hit gem dance again. I'll also look at other pieces I can swap in that don't have hit. Or maybe I'll just trim a little and stay at 8% this time. (I had tweaked things to be at a hair over 7% before. (Thank you space goats!))

Oh and my little side project Shammy healer is now up to a gearscore of 4400, has 2-3 cuts for each epic gem color, and has made 14,500 gold in the past three weeks by "creating value".

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kheldul's Weak Gear

Kheldul has some seriously weak gear. At least as viewed at the item level. He does have stacks and stacks of conquest and triumph badges. (So many that he filled out some of his PvP gear with them and still has plenty.) Unfortunately, there don't appear to be any upgrades.

One of his rings is level 213. He has tried to get the ToC-25 ring and the easy Ulduar-25 ring. Unfortunately his dice and/or DKP have always been found lacking. When it comes to rolling, he rolls a lot of 1's.

Both trinkets are level 200 (greatness and the mirror). Greatness is of course great. But the mirror does suck. He has a bunch of other trinkets with higher iLevels but they suck more. No ToC-25 love. None of the many drops from even Ulduar-25 either. Or even Sarth. And who is running Ulduar anymore? :(

The Herkuml War Token is certainly tasty. But honestly, would I go for it before I take new armor? 60 Emblems of Frost is a bit rich. I guess I should go ahead and grab the Triumph trinket. In order to make it work, I'll need to flip my +hit gems and macro it appropriately. I've gone through three big waves of +hit re-gem waves. When I'd really like to get some ToC-25 love. And of course, if/when I did I'd have to completely re-gem back.

In a related vein, Rilgon has some suggestions on class priority/usefulness of the Deathbringer's Will trinket.

And then there is the easiest upgrade ever. That will be pretty hot. I can't wait.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little-Known Pally Pet Tank Healing Tip for Raids

In a fight with little raid damage, a solid pally healer can solo-heal a 10man raid if one of the two tanks is a hunter pet.

Refresher on Details

  1. Multiple Pally Beacons can be placed on the same person. Hurray! for 25mans.
  2. Beacons now transmit the Healing Done which includes overheal.
  3. Hunter pet tanks get +54% healing. They get this thanks to the hunter talent, Spirit Bond, and the pet talent, Blood of the Rhino.
  4. Pallys can and do get a nice Glyph to help healing multiple targets (usually melee near a tank).
Basic 10/25man Raid Situation
1 Druid MT, 1 Pet OT, plus dps, plus healers

The Tip
Beacon the MT. Heal the tenacity pet near five others (e.g.- melee). Get insane heals on your MT. Profit.

The Math Walkthrough
Say that the base incoming heal to the tenacity pet is 18,000. Thanks to +54% healing, that becomes 27,720 total healing. That 27,720 is applied to the tank thanks to the Beacon.

I have not verified this, but -- IF -- the pally has a Glyph and IF five others receive 10% of that 27,720 (2,772 * 5 => 13,860) then the tank may receive a 41,580 point heal (27,720 + 13,860).

Sound nice?

How to Heal a Pet Tank

What You Need to Know
  1. A pet tank should not be taking critical hits.
  2. Pets have decent armor mitigation but low dodge.
  3. Pets have 90% reduction in AoE magical damage.
  4. Pets should be able to take two big hits but three should kill them. This should be one less than a normal tank.
  5. Pets have less OMG panic buttons. They have one Last Stand. And turtles have an occasional Shell Shield.
  6. Hunter pet tanks get +54% to incoming healing. They get this thanks to the hunter talent, Spirit Bond, and the pet talent, Blood of the Rhino.
What Does This Mean for a Healer?
  1. Pets tanks will take steady damage so they need steady and frequent healing.
  2. Pets can shrug off all but the worst stuff on the ground. A tank-killer 50k magical hit will only be 5k.
  3. Pets don't have many panic buttons. A normal tank can be liberal about using them because they have a couple more. A hunter may be more tentative about using it because they only have one.
  4. Pets will not become immune for a while in an OMG event and wait for you to cast a big heal.
  5. Pets add 54% to your healing. Fifty-four percent. Because they can't take more than a couple big hits, use smaller heals with short or instant cast times. HoTs are good too.
  6. Pet tanks need a dedicated healer so they get that steady healing. However they may not need more than one if they get short spam heals.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hunter Macros for ICC's Lord Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper

Lord Marrowgar

/target Bone Spike

As soon as he bone spikes people (1 person in 10man, 3 people in 25man) hit this targeting macro and free your fellow raiders. Make sure that your raid isn't too spread out -- otherwise you'll end up running all over the place to free people.

Make use of Deterrence when Sir-Whirls-a-Lot gets into your neighborhood in his phase two. Just don't blow it before you need it!

Lady Deathwhisper

For the adds, these are the targets we want to nuke. This macro will target them all appropriately and in appropriate prioritization. You specifically don't want to try and do physical damage to the Reanimated Fanatic which this macro specifically does not end up targeting.

/targetexact Cult Fanatic
/targetexact Cult Adherent
/targetexact Reanimated Adherent

Also, don't forget to occasionally toss a Vipersting on Lady Deathwhisper.

Improv Pet Tanking in 3.3

Hunter pet tanking doesn't need to be a huge undertaking anymore. If you have a tank gear set, a BM tank spec and a turtle pet spec'd to tank, that is great. It is pretty awesome.

But now you -- yes, you -- can with very little preparation go ahead and tank some minor bosses or adds.

Improv Tanking
Put your pet on growl. Turn off cower. Toss on your PvP set. Get your resilience to 460. If your resilience is high enough then you don't need a tenacity pet to make him or her un-crittable. The advantage of using a DPS pet is that they will have a little easier time with threat generation. Note: the tenacity pet talent Guard Dog really just helps for the tenacity pet's lack of dps-threat.

Mob LevelChance to be Crit Hunter Resilience
Needed to Avoid
Crits on a DPS Pet
Hunter Resilience
Needed to Avoid
Crits on a Tank* Pet
801% 410
81 1.2% 42799
821.4% 443115
83(Boss)1.6% 460132

Tank* refers to a tenacity pet with 2/2 pet talents in GotM.

After you've improv pet-tanked a few things, you'll probably want to grab a better pet, spec the pet as a tank for the big pet talent advantages, and maybe even put together a tank gear set. You can also want to go off the deep end and try a BM hunter talent spec and glyphs for a lot more pet survivability including the extra four pet talent points.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Pet Resilience Levels for Pet Tanking in 3.3

Pets can avoid crits from mobs and bosses either by: a) the hunter stacking a fair amount of resilience or, b) by the hunter wearing some resilience gear and the pet taking the Grace of the Mantis tenacity talent. For any real pet tanking, you need to use a tenacity pet. In the tenacity trees, GotM is a prerequisite to Wild Hunt which is not an optional pet talent. So tenacity pets get 4% crit avoidance off the bat. Now comes resilience from gear.

With patch 3.3, pets inherit 100% resilience from their masters. Previously this was only 40%. So hunter pet tanks do not need to wear as much resilience gear as before to avoid being critted. Here's how much:

Mob LevelChance to be Crit Hunter Resilience
Needed to Avoid
Crits on Pet
80 1% 82
81 1.2% 99
82 1.4% 115
83(Boss)1.6% 132

Because PvP gear is readily drawn from to put together a pet-tanking set, you will most likely over-shoot your resilience needs by a wide margin. Previous levels were easy to arrive at. Now they are just a couple pieces.

I probably wont do too many changes with regard to gear. However, these low numbers made me look into other talent options. More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recommended Hunter Talent Specs for 3.3

Recommended Hunter Talent Specs for 3.3

Looking for a hunter build in 3.3? Patch 3.3 is a great time to re-think your talents, change your spec, and improve your dps.

Marksman 7/57/7 (MM DPS)
Marksman hunters should trade Focused Aim and Improved Barrage depending on your hit cap. If you have someone else that you can guarantee will bring a Trueshot aura buff, then you can skip that and put more into focused aim or improved barrage. If you can guarantee that you'll have a Draenei in your party then you should only shoot for +7% hit.

Survival SV 0/15/55 (SV DPS)
Survival hunters can trade a point in Resourcefulness for Improved Hawk. They can also move Aimed Shot to Improved Hawk if there are other sources of mortal strike and they don't have movement issues. I am not recommending 2/18/51 even with the T9 set bonus. It only provides a minimal DPS upgrade and gives up Replenishment.

54/12/5 (BM DPS)
Beastmaster hunters who want another instant can go with a 53/18/0 for Aimed Shot.

Beastmaster 59/12/0 (BM Pet-Tank)
Beastmaster hunters who are pet-tanking can go with the crit-train route shown above. There are two other pet tank options talent options. One is the all-around buff system, 59/12/0. You can off-tank just about anything indefinitely. You can provide FI and advanced hunter's mark. Trade in focused aim if you're hit-capped. The other option is the high stamina route of 56/0/15. This gives up a lot of threat and raid buff talents in favor of +10% stamina.

Recommended Pet Talent Specs for 3.3

Wolf (16pt, dps) - recommended for MM and SV dps
Turtle (20pt, tank) - recommended for pet tanking
Devilsaur (20 pt, dps) - recommended for BM

Other Popular Pet Talent Specs for 3.3

Cat (16pt, dps)
Gorilla (20pt, threat tank)
Spirit Beast (20pt, dps)

Hunter Glyphs

Major Glyphs I recommend:

SV DPS: Kill Shot, Serpent Sting, Explosive Shot
MM DPS: Kill Shot, Serpent Sting, Chimera Shot
BM DPS: Steady Shot, Bestial Wrath, Hawk
BM Tank: Serpent Sting, Bestial Wrath, Beast


Monday, December 7, 2009

Leather Issue

Eurip has a good post over at OutDPS about if/when it's good to roll on leather. This is an interesting topic in general and specifically. First let me go over the specifics. Everyone's BiS is somewhat different given what gear they currently have. So let me use my current gear as the starting point for this very specific view. I had been planning my upgrades last week. I went to http://www.femaledwarf.com/ did my thing, and clicked on the link to my Custom Hunterloot.com Gear Ranking. These are the leather pieces that came out best for me:

Leather Wrists
Bracers of Dark Determination (BiS Heroic for me)
Bracers of Dark Determination (BiS Non-Heroic for me)

I'm actually planning on having Crusader's Dragonscale Bracers crafted instead. Is this a dumb waste of gold? Probably not in this case. I could get the leather non-heroic ones, but I don't roll on leather against DPS ferals or rogues. And the crafted ones are a little better -- and can be a lot better if I pick up a little more incidental hit elsewhere so both my gems can be +20 agility.

Leather Hands, Waist, and Feet
Gloves of the Silver Assassin
Belt of the Merciless Killer
Treads of the Icewalker

Generally Heroic ToC items will be better than non-Heroic ToC items. For me, none of these leather pieces are BiS compared with their mail equivalents. Sure I would take a +83 dps upgrade for the gloves. I don't care too much about having a 4 piece Windrunner set. However, the mail Heroic equivalents are better.

ICC and the Future of Mail
The question of leather vs mail for hunters will become the new factor in the "Is this an up for me?" theme. When hunters lose their mana ingredient, intelligence will no longer be a desired stat. What will distinguish rogue gear from hunter gear besides the mail vs leather tag? Will shamen be the new hunter-loot! meme?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pre-Potting and the Long Jump

A problem often arises in track and field's long jump. It's the foot fault. An athlete wants to maximize the distance they jump from the white board out into to the sand pit. Usually they have well-measured strides and know exactly where to start off from. But performance jitters, adrenaline, and changes in speed can throw that off. What results is a bad jump.

In World of Warcraft, Pre-Potting, the consuming of a potion just before combat begins, is a useful skill to get a tiny boost before battle and to not trigger potion sickness. It has plenty of challenges. First, many encounters have a boss dialog with you in combat that is longer than 15 seconds. On the bosses where there is not this dialog you can effectively pre-pot. The challenge is to not foot fault on the non-combat/combat line and end up with that being your one and only potion against that boss.

The classic advice for the super-star long jumper who is foot-faulting is this: Jump a full foot early - that way if you are off a little you're fine. This is especially true in decathlons. So my wow pre-potting advice is this: Pre-pot a good two seconds early ("one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two") - that way lag in vent will not cause you to have potion sickness.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for everyone who has linked to this blog. I am thankful for every comment.

If you have a blog that you'd like me to point to, just let me know.

Pet Tank Mr Grabby Hands

Last week I got a little surprise. We were doing VoA-25 in my "new" guild and we were at the last boss. The last boss is terribly boring. The hunter class leader (who recruited me into the guild) announces on vent that he's going to ask me to pet tank. Thank you reader Achillyse.

I did a double-take for about 2 seconds and then promptly flipped my talents summoned Flash and thanks to Outfitter my gear already switched to pet-tank. 10 seconds later I'm at full mana and Flash is tanking.

It was a little odd. Threat was of course a problem at about half-way down the line. I believe I got three or four misdirects total (two being mine) by about 50% of the bosses' health. We lost one ranged DPS from threat who maybe didn't hear a normal tank wasn't at the wheel.

I also am not sure I got any heals for the first 20-30 seconds or so. But the turtle shield and a mend pet seemed to do fine.

I also did not use a high stamina set. I went with normal DPS trinkets instead of stamina trinkets. Health was never a problem. He was un-critable, took plenty of reduced damage, and had the shield and last stand. I did pop last stand just for the hell of it when it was clear it wasn't an issue and to see his numbers shoot up.

I wasn't able to taunt back. This may have been my issue, or the boss may be one of the many that is pet-taunt immune.

You can see in the second picture that the pet does get picked up.

I did a few things wrong. I should have been in beast aspect for a bit more threat. I am also glyphed for it. (/facepalm!) I should have spoken up and asked all hunters for misdirects, healers for heals on the pet, and DPS for a little restraint. I should have made sure my pet had buffs (I think he got half of them). I probably shouldn't have tanked a boss that requires a taunt rotation. And I should have repositioned the boss after a jump ... but honestly the damage didn't affect Flash and it kept the melee away on the threat meter. ;-)


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #27: See What You Need

Tip #27: See What You Need
So much attention has been spent to good UIs. There's a reason. You don't want too much information. You need some of it summarized and some of it in your face. You can't have too much or you'll tune it out -- and maybe tune out too much. And if you don't tune it out, it will delay your other thought processes. You need screen real estate. You need good addons. You need to try out the features of the UI you make so that it works for you.
Do you need numbers spiraling out at you? Do you need to know who healed your pet? Do you need numbers counting down the milliseconds before the graphical bar shows it is complete? Do you need to see your pet casts? Do you need a timer bar for your Blessing of Kings buff? Think about what you need to remove from your UI as much as what you need to add to your UI.

After you boiled down what you need and don't need, make sure to have space to see what is going on around your character. Clutter is not your friend. If you're using Power Auras, don't make them so they obscure your general vicinity. (Power Auras is a great visual space-saver, but only use it for what is important!) Cast bars can be thinned. Keep what you need to look at front and center. Keep things that you scan quickly to the left and right. Humans, like other animals, grew up in the landscape world and have eyes horizontally aligned. We'll see changes and horizontal movement a lot quicker than a vertical change.

There is a thread over at Elitist Jerks with over a 100 hunter UI screenshots. Check it out for ideas.

I recommend Power Auras for the important stuff; Need to Know for the important procs and target debuffs; and Mike's Combat Scrolling Text to keep the information flow reduced and flowing out of the way. And of course everyone recommends something like Deadly Boss Mods and something for combat stats. There's also help for auto-shot visualization, and viper alarms.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #26: Pet Auto-Casts

Tip #26: Pet Auto-Casts
Last week, I fell into the old auto-cast bug. It wasn't in a raid, so I suppose it didn't matter much. But it was a good wake-up call and reminder. Pet auto-casts are still bugged. It may only happen when you change pets and/or dual-specs. But if you rely on auto-casts then you need to make sure they are still on auto-cast. Open up your spellbook and click to the pet tab. Do it when you sit down for a food buff.

For special hunter-buffing abilities like Furious Howl, you may choose to add a /cast for them into your shot macros (along with Kill Command). I have avoided doing that for a few reasons. One is that I don't want all specials (even those not usable by my summoned pet) in the macros, nor do I want to edit them or have different sets by pet type. And there are a lot of specials. So they will not fit in the 255 character macro limit. The other is that I've seen different approaches to putting these specials in macros. Some do somewhat suspiciously hacky petautocaston/petautocastoff combination within the same macro for the same ability.

I'm recommending Blizzard default autocasts. As long as they are on and actually firing off, you will not be too far behind yourself if you added them to macros. And you will want to use autocasts for most pet abilities anyway.

And by all means, if you have a foolproof way of macro'ng all pet DPS abilities into your shots please share it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #25: Timing Autoshot

Tip #25: Timing Autoshot
When someone talks about a hunter's Autoshot, they are usually complaining about the hunter not putting out enough damage. They are alluding to the fact that that hunter is just sitting back and letting their version of a swing timer do the work. And it's usually not working too well. Well, let me tell you that Autoshot is an important component to your DPS. Yes, it is not usually something easy to study. The problem is that Autoshot doesn't occur while you're moving. It's true that everyone needs to move. It's also true that every hunter worth their salt tries to not move as much as possible. Well, there's a tiny little gray zone in there.

Autoshot fires off at the end of the autoshot timer. This is the same as the "swing timer" for other classes. It will not fire if you are moving. It also will not start a new timer if it hasn't fired. So it is important to know/see/hear when your autoshot fire and get it into a rhythm. You want to stop moving or not move or very very briefly stop moving when your autoshot needs to fire.

If you allow more autoshots to fire, you have more shots fired, and will do more damage.

The tiny picture above shows my autoshot crutch. I use an addon that visually displays my a narrow autoshot timer above my normal spell timer. The addon I use is AzCastBar with the swingtimer plugin. It's a large package that can take a while to set up, so give yourself a good 20 minutes to try it out.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #24: Taking a Metered Approach

Tip #24: Taking a Metered Approach
Should you make use of the Recount addon? Should you use the WWS combat log visualization website? What about WorldofLogs? The answer is yes, yes, and ... yes.

Recount is far more than "who is on top of the meters". You can drill into it and find out your shot distribution and further in for %miss, %crit. You can make sure your pet is doing the damage types it should. You can look at it for just a particular boss or overall. You can see what other people in your raid are doing and how they did or didn't do good damage. You can see it all as it is happening without waiting around. Please do not stare at it while raiding. You can have it minimized and look at it after a fight. Please do not share or spam the meters.

wowwebstats.com (AKA WWS) allows you to upload your normal raw combat.log. So does WorldofLogs.com. Both provide incredibly fascinating views and explorations of the data. In order to use it, you do need to have the combat.log file. You start writing to the combat log file by typing /combatlog. You also stop writing to the combat log file by typing /combatlog. If you have it on too long or don't delete the file after you're done with it, then you'll need to edit the file with a reasonable text editing program. Just make sure to have complete lines. If you always want to generate a combat log for a particular instance (or zone), you can use a great little addon called clsaver. It allows you to permanently toggle combat logging of an instance or zone.

Both websites show you aggregate information, but also let you slice and dice the information down to the boss, the player, and/or even the spell or spell effect. You can see who took how many ticks of standing in fire, how effective an auto-shot is, or even how many times your trinket proc'd. You can also see other hunters on other servers on the same bosses and look at what they did. I should also add that worldoflogs.com has great time-series graphs to see how a fight went over time. This lets you see how, when, and how often you spike your DPS.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #23: KISS

Tip #23: Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.)
There have been almost two dozen non-trivial not-so-conventional hunter DPS tips so far. There are quite a few left to come. Refer to the tip list before playing. I strongly suggest you decide on just two of the tips to try and work in. Do not try to change everything you do. That's not the point of the tips and it won't work. Focus on just getting used to two of the suggestions. When you think you're comfortable, and have used them in raid conditions, then is the time you should work in some more.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #22: The Skin Is Always Greener

Tip #22: The Skin Is Always Greener
Right now you can login to your account and change your race (or faction). Some races are just plain ole' better for PvE Hunter DPS. Before you do this, you'll want to do some research. Below are the racial abilities that benefit you in PvE:
Orc - Pet +5% Damage, 322AP
Troll - +5% vs Beasts, +20% Attack Speed, +1% Crit with Bows
Blood Elf - mana refund
Tauren - nada

Dwarf - +1% Crit with Guns
Draenei - guaranteed Draenei in your group
Night Elf - nada
The Orc and Troll racials are actually pretty close. Orcs abilities look great. They have a free trinket and large pet damage boost. If they're BM then that boost is a nice huge offset to the penalty of being BM. ;-) The Troll's +20% Attack Speed is a multiplier on top of any haste effects. (It's not additive.) So if you pop it when you're under other haste effects then you'll have an additional 1.2 multiplier to that boosted damage. And if they're fighting beast bosses then they're in the money. Blood Elves and Tauren have more PvP related specials. And they aren't green.

The Draenei hit aura is a beautiful thing. But to be fair, you could essentially add that ability to Dwarves and Night Elves for the purposes of comparison. It's why Alliance let space goats raid with them after all. So that leaves Dwarves as the best choice for Alliance hunters in terms of base PvE benefits. Night Elves lack PvE buffs in favor of some PvP abilities.

When Cataclysm lands, all races (both Horde and Alliance) will be able to be hunters except Gnomes.

So who should you switch to? The big three are Orcs, Trolls, and Dwarves. And they're pretty much ranked in that order. That shouldn't be your only criteria of course. Super hard core raiders might disagree. No matter what, it's good to know what some of the benefits of a transmogrification would be. I may end up switching an alt, but I can't see changing my main's race. Characters take on a personally that is tied to how they look. But if you're already looking for a change, a couple hundred extra DPS isn't anything to sneeze at.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #21: Macros and Saving Steps

Tip #21: Macros and Saving Steps
For any keyboard operations you do, are there any of them that are multi-step and always the same? Do they deserve a spot on your keyboard bindings, or is something more deserving? If they are multi-step and multi-button clicks, then consider making them into macros. One button press is much better than two. For any mouse-click operations, are there any multi-step multi-button or multi-target abilities you click? Just because you may choose to be "a clicker" doesn't mean you have to click like nuts. Reduce the number of clicks.

For example, Misdirect can be a small or large DPS loss for a hunter. If in the middle of a battle you need to click MD, and then move over and click a tank, and then click or press some damage shots then you have room to improve your DPS downtime with a Misdirect macro. Do you have a ton of buttons tied up for melee attacks? Reduce them to one melee macro. Do you tab-target to an enraged mob and tranq shot them, or do you stay on your DPS target and toss a /cast [target=mouseover,exists] Tranquilizing Shot mouse-over on them? If you manually click Kill Command, you have room to improve your DPS with a macro:

#showtooltip Steady Shot
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast [target=pettarget,exists] Kill Command
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Do you put your pet DPS specials on auto-attack? Or are they macroed too? Not only will you save steps, time and thought cycles, but you'll open up more important slots on your button bar.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #20: A Room With a View

Tip #20: A Room With a View
Zoom out. Hunters don't do well with a first-person-shooter view. Go isometric and zoom out at a 45 degree angle. It often helps you see more of the fight area by zooming out even further (this requires a little more computer power):

/console cameraDistanceMaxFactor 4

If you have a job to do pivot your perspective without pivoting your character. You can also get a top-down view if you need to ... say run around and gobble up orbs of your color in ToC. And if you're resistant to using a /range display then you can more easily eye-ball the distance between you and your control-V'ed neighbor.

You can also use it in Anub's room, pivoted down and see the frost orbs by looking down instead of looking up.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #19: DPS for Dummies

Tip #19: DPS for Dummies
Every so often you should go get some super-cheap ammo and practice with a target dummy. Give yourself permission to practice in the purest form. Hop off the hampster wheel of daily quests for 15 minutes. The target dummy will not require you to move, but you can try moving in-between your cooldowns and autoshot timer. You can try variations in your rotations and look for differences. It's easy and you will change something you do, modify a macro, or change something in your UI you've always meant to. I promise you will.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #18: Mind Your Peripherals

Tip #18: Mind Your Peripherals
The response latency of a wireless keyboard is somewhat variable. I've seen claims that range in average English of "unbearable and unpredictable" to "incredibly fast". They do look nice on a desk. As a whole, they don't perform. No matter what the claims, your gaming performance is going to be better if you use a keyboard and mouse with (normal length) cords. Do you want to have every command that you pass into Wow to show up late? How about the mouse not tracking quite precisely?

Another issue with wireless mice is that their batteries can run out. A typical word processor user or web browser user moves the mouse a heck of a lot less than the typical Wow gamer.

Stick with the cables and cords.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #17: Small Pauses Aren't Always Bad

Tip #17: Small Pauses Aren't Always Bad
If you have a big shot coming off cooldown reaaal soon, but it isn't quite there yet, should you wait? The shot analyzer spreadsheets do not wait. They take what is available off cooldown and fire them off in priority order you specified. If you do this while raiding, you will often do a Steady Shot when your big shot or shots are just 0.1 seconds away from being available. Think of it this way: If your money shot is twice or three times as good as a steady shot then you should allow yourself to wait to fire it. Spamming the Steady Shot when Kill Shot, Explosive Shot, or Chimera Shot are almost available is usually a slight DPS loss.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #16: Kill It Dead

Tip 16: Kill It Dead
Kill Shot must be pressed each time it is available. No, you can't macro it into other attacks. You have to be on the ball and you have to press a button to make it happen. You can make that button be a macro of the cast and a /stopcasting on the line before it. If you have power-up trinkets add in a /use of them as well. But don't think the stopcasting beats the global cooldown or you'll be wondering why the key didn't do anything. I, myself, am pretty close to binding this to more than just one key. I'd like an entire region of my keyboard so I can slap a general area instead of a specific key. ;-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #15: Be a Leech

Tip 15: Be a Leech I mentioned this in a previous tip, but I'll put a spotlight on it here. Know the fights you can use Viper Sting. Make special macros on it so it doesn't slow you down. Either a mouse-over or special ones with targetlasttargets. Doing so will keep you humming and mana-ful for a long time. Hit it when there's a lull in the action. But only bother with it if you think you might need to dip into viper aspect. If you don't need to go to viper aspect then don't bother with leeching. If being a little mana leech keeps you out of viper aspect then the cost of a few global cooldowns is nothing.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #14: Go Forth and Multiply

Tip 14: Go Forth and Multiply
Aimed shot is nice as the MS debuff and it's nice as an on-the-move shot. If you're standing still and there's the potential for more than one target getting hit, Multishot is your friend. Why hit one when you can hit two or three? The other super duper DPS multiplier is of course Volley. Now I don't want to make you into a rogue FoK nut, but you can get some really incredible numbers on trash. And since it's channeled, if you're on the low FPS or latency, it can help your numbers too. Now trash isn't always trash. Ony and XT-002 are easy examples. Kologorn, Freya and Anub' (especially heroic) also spring to mind as presenting big volley opportunities. It used to be the case that it was beneficial to volley-AoE any group of more than two mobs. They nerfed that and then buffed it. You have good AoE ability and you can also AoE harder because you can FD in-between volleys. Don't wait to be told to AoE.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #13: Don't Jinx Me!

Tip 13: Don't Jinx Me!
Have you ever been to the thirteenth floor? No? Do you know why? There will be no tip number thirteen.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #12: Maur DoTs!

Tip 12: Maur DoTs!
How many stings can you put on a mob? One per mob, right? How many mobs do you have? How buffed up is your serpent sting these days? Serpent sting isn't the piece of crap it once was. It has T8 set damage bonuses and the T9 set bonus lets it crit. It is often extended. It buffs other shots for SV and is vital for MM and even BM. So... why not spread the love and DoT up a few mobs?

(And yes, you can do something similar if you're in a LnL proc. But I'm not going to talk about different talent-only spell effects, k?)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #11: Pet Time on Target

Tip 11: Pet Time on Target
Nothing makes me wince more than seeing a hunter with their pet by their side in the middle of a standard fight. And no, I'm not talking about things like Mimiron and Kel'Thuzad. (I will recall my pet a ton in those fights.) Your pet should be DPS'ng. It should not be by your side.

Except on some careful occasions and times when you'll need to pull your pet out, you most likely should not have your pet on passive. You want your pet on defensive. Is that a controversial statement? The reason is that you don't want to have to constantly send your pet "back in". It's both an extra button press for you, and it's travel time away and to the fight. What else? The pet talents, dash and charge are very good to minimizing your pet's downtime. They behave quite well on autocast. Charge can have a slight downside if a mob is being repositioned but doesn't affect bosses. Remember that pet movement is your overall dps loss.

In further effort to minimize pet movement time, you can park your pet closer to where a boss will be pulled to. Don't park it exactly where the tank will stand. You don't want the pet cleaved or one-shotted. Park it closer than your outfield position and closer to where the back of the boss will be.

Kheldul's Hunter DPS Tip #10: Minimize the Viper

Tip 10: Minimize the Viper
Everyone knows that the less time you're in Aspect of the Viper, the better your DPS will be. Some people like to pop a speed or rapid fire when they're in viper so they get out of it sooner. I won't argue that point, but I don't do it myself.

I will tell you that you should get an addon to flash in your face if you're in viper and at full health. It should say "hey idiot, flip to dragonhawk". I haven't found one that says that to you, but they should make one.

The other thing I will advise you on is that if the boss is below 50% health then you shouldn't need to viper your mana back to full. It's a crying shame if you do it. If you used all your mana in getting the boss down to 40%, then you don't need to use all your mana again to get the boss down to -20% health. Do a quick calculation and only mana-up to what you think you'll need.

There are also other ways to keep your mana up if you're not getting enough replenishment or wisdom judgments. You can flip to viper when there is an idle time or if you're out of range. But even easier, you can and should toss a viper sting on a mana boss or minion that you're not DPS'ng. They buffed that sting a while ago. Be a mana leech!

Finally, if you're shooting anything other than steady shot and autoshot while in viper aspect, you're doing it all wrong. Pop out of viper if you need to slam a big shot. Don't stay in viper and use that mana on a half-powered shot. You'll do very little damage, use more mana, and end up in viper longer for no benefit.

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