Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Fall of Naxxramas


Of course I also got the Wraith Spear just two days after getting Massacre put on my other weapon. Hah. It seems like the Wrath Spear is better than Cryptfiend's Bite for SV, whereas CB is better for a BM. I also got a side-low-upgrade wrists with some hit that I need badly. I'm not sure where I dropped so much hit in gear. I'll have to go back and put on some old stuff. I'm often scrounging for a ranged Draenei to hang with in party-raid. There are fewer than you'd think!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Oh look. I "finally" defeated Ragnaros. lol. I guess I hadn't kept my fiery helm long enough. Yes, I defeated Rag once a week for a year or so back in the stone ages. Max exalted with the Hydraxian Waterlords and all...

It was kinda hysterical to rip through it in 20mins. We spent more time summoning curious friends in than actually dps'ng.

Dragon Rider

My epic flying mount stable has been always lacking a certain someone. I have the normal stuff. I have some oddball stuff. I have some pretty stuff. But until this week, I didn't have the stuff. Thank you Wyrmrest Accord.

Ah, the kids will be happy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ready Check

Last night was the first night we had a raid that had 25. It was also the first night that I was late to the raid. My wife got home late with the kids and I didn't want to ignore them, so I was late. There was someone who had DC'd for 10mins so I took his place AFTER I had helped the kids find their way to a sleepy dreamland.

I managed to respec, remove an addon, and clean up my interface a little bit. Okay a lot. I have looked at a lot of interfaces and I think the biggest difference is honestly the dimensions of my screen. I have the classic size screen. Everyone else seems to have a widescreen with lots of extra room for the less important-to-be-in-your-face visuals.

So it was the first time we tried the Military Quarter. This is because it was the first time we had two priests. It was also the first time we didn't have people DC'ng left and right. And 25 people. Wow. What a concept. :) It was fun. There were enough people that hadn't done it in 10man that it was a little slow. It was also slow because we were introducing a lot of people to the NiKarma loot system we use. We also did OS-25, and Vault-25. I would have skipped those as they're very puggable, whereas Naxx is a little less-so. But it made sense. We had new people and we all did well. We got it done and had fun.

I got my polearm set with the high-end enchant, and I won a drop off the Four Horsemen. Some day I'll get a gun! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things ta do before raid time, pt2

  1. Download the patch.

Things ta do before raid time

All mandatory. No negotiation:
  1. Work.
  2. Kiss my wife.
  3. Login before the queue strikes.
  4. Read bedtime stories to the kids.
  5. Tuck the kids into bed.

Well, okay I have to negotiate #2. And #4 is slipping some nights because the boy is reading Pokemon books by himself.

So what about these?
  1. Respec tweaks.
  2. Spec pet differently?
  3. Massacre for my new weapon.
  4. Look at swapping gear to tweak my +hit.
  5. Think about +haste, but don't sacrifice dmg from ES.
  6. Nuke at least one addon, maybe two.
  7. Tune the LnL alert settings.
  8. Remember to grab the arrow maker and flasks that my alt mailed me.
I probably could spend at least 20 minutes on each of these. /sigh

Monday, January 26, 2009

3.0.8 Still Giving Survival a Chance

I seem to be getting used to Survival. I do miss the extra pet talent points. I am toying with changing the talent spec around a bit. ... There seem to be too many circumstances where trap-dancing does not work, which is a little frustrating I suppose. Sapphiron wasn't proc'ng from my fire trap. So I might shave some points here and there and get a trap-dance and sniper combo. Trying to double-dip on trapping and sniper-range would of course be a challenge. I am moving Disengage to my main bar instead of my FD macro. An almost instant 10 yards doesn't hurt.

Got Sapphiron down last night though. Seems easy enough if everyone moves well. Maybe replenishment helped more than my lost dps. Dunno. It was fun though!

KT seems like an even easier fight. We just lost some steam after two attempts. They were decent attempts... we got through the trash both times. But also, both times we had healers standing next to each other and both getting iced. That's just something to learn. They did great with all the melee we had though. We were a little heavy on melee, got a triple ice and everyone lived.

Oh, I also got some new pants in the pug of the week. Even with the resilience throw-away stats, they fit a little better than my previous pair that had no throw-away stats. Which fit a little better than my previous previous pair with that haste which is much more tasty to me as SV instead of BM. And no, of course I don't actually throw it away. I'm a pack rat for possibly useful stats later.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A fun game to play

Did you play this game?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Views of the Tank

Perhaps I'm obsessive. Clearly, I need a cleaner interface. What I don't need is yet another view of the tank. I currently see the tank:
  1. As a character right next to the thing I'm shooting.
  2. As a character icon on my target's target.
  3. As my focus frame.
  4. As a hopefully green block with threat around it in my grid raid frame.
  5. As a name and life bar in my oRA2 tank list.
What should I cut? My target and target-of-target isn't leaving. My focus frame is necessary IMHO. My grid is pretty small compared to what a healer would need. oRA2 helps with multiple tank situations.

See the Grid and oRA2 addons. They're both great.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jumping In With Two Feet

So, I decided to give SV a try. Because I was solo at home, I had to get my kids in bed before raid time. This left me about 45mins with a target dummy to get a mod going and try some rotations, fix some macros, nuke BWrath as a glyph and do all my talents and pet talents. I didn't bother swapping gear around, re-enchanting, or re-gemming.

I didn't do tooooo bad. But it is the first time I wasn't on top. If I stayed BM I might not have been on top either, but in this way I did get some Replenishment on the table. I definitely didn't trap-dance as well as I'm sure I could. And my rotations weren't the smoothest. There also seemed to be a change in the boss hitboxes that made trapping a little more difficult. Maybe I'm imagining that.

And yeah, my UI is a mess. I was just trying to get that LnL proc and ES dot easily visible.

Oh, and here's my UI while in raid but not in combat:

Oh! And I should mention that in 4 years of playing, I've never had more than a tiny number of talent points in the survival tree.

Oh! Oh! I should also mention that I got a decent polearm tonight. I'm not equipping it yet because I haven't gotten it enchanted.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Raid Guides

Since I now have a voice and an audience, I have to say, I really really like the raid videos. Combine them with bosskillers and wowwiki and you've got a whole matrix of info. The tankspot videos are just hypnotizing. Is it Ciderhelm's calm voice or the calm sound track they always use?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BM Talent Tweaking

Until realm stability comes into any sort of play, I guess I'll stay BM. But it's still good to make plans.

Old 56/15/0 vs New 53/18/0.
  • General change: character and pet health instead of pet armor.
  • One less Frenzy. Thanks to Cobra Strikes, I think I'm averaging a pet crit every 1.5 seconds, so if I could drop Frenzy to 50% that would still probably be fine for 100% uptime. 40% with a 2/5 allocation is just a little too low and really makes me buy something too minor in exchange. I should have done this a while ago.
  • No more Invigoration. If we don't have replenishment from a spriest or ret pally then I'm at a minus 8-10k mana per boss fight. If we do have them in the raid, then the points are really wasted. Also note that it is only on pet special attacks, not all attacks. If it was all attacks we'd be a solo mana factory. I also should have made this change a while ago.
  • Arcane Shot FTW.

3.0.8 Decisions

Some days I really wish we didn't raid on Tuesdays. I'd really like some time in front of a target dummy. Somehow, I have to think they'll all be in use. (Debuffs and such will screw up people's calculations.)

I'm eager to try MM, though it seems like MM only got the SS nerf and zero buff. So, I'm not sure jumping BM to MM makes sense.

SV by comparison got the SS nerf, but a large ES buff. SV isn't something to just run out and jump into a raid with. I'd need a big flashing addon telling me about LnL procing. I need a better understanding of the trap CD vs the LnL hidden CD. And trap-dancing... recently I've tried a few raids dropping a fire trap at a boss's feet. I was a little surprised I could even do it.

Maybe if there's no other replenishment available, I can take it and low-ball the WWS for a little while, but at least be the mana battery guy.


Ah, and I forgot. I have two or three pieces of gear for each slot for this moment. I may even be putting on four tier pieces now for the haste. Oh, this will be a while to work out. Gah. Perhaps the real answer is to just stay BM for one raid. I wouldn't have to worry about re-glyphing tonight either.

I'm currently considering:

  • 2/18/51 - Survival Trap-Dancer spec, optimized for me and my gear
  • 11/53/7 - Arcane Marksman spec
  • 11/53/7 - AimedShot Marksman spec
  • 2/51/18 - [Crazy] Trap-Dancing Arcane Marksman(tm) spec
  • 15/51/5 - The Well-Adjusted Marksman spec
The SV spec is custom to me and my gear. I think I can crit a certain amount of the time, etc. Three of the four marksman specs are pretty straight-forward. The "Trap-Dancing Arcane Marksman" deserves a little explanation. For the high price of ten otherwise not too terribly useful talents, and the cost of one Immolation Trap every 30 seconds I'll be firing off two extra MM-enhanced arcane shots; instant cast, no cooldown, no mana, and no ammo. It sounds expensive but its a neat idea.

Rant: Blacksmithing for the Lose

Four years ago, I was trying to figure out what professions would go well with a Dwarf Hunter. I thought mining and either blacksmithing or engineering. Then I thought, naw.. engineering isn't dwarvish enough. So knowing that I could make some decent weapons and some mail in the future, I rolled with it. And blacksmithing could make some decent melee weapons and some decent mail. It was quickly out-classed by drops, but that was the way it was with all professions.

Then along came the run to level 70. Well, I swapped my "sword-smithing" out for "axe-smithing" as I saw the new tastey first, second, and third tier axes I could craft. I did this even though there was decent smithing and armor-smithing mail there too. But sadly, the somewhat elusive first drop in Kara out-classed those craftables. So, I at least felt good as resident blacksmither for guild BoEs, and made some decent coin from sharpening stones.

Now level 80 comes around. Yes, I do like having the ability to add slots to my gloves and bracers. That's pretty cool. But there is hardly any reason for me to go beyond a skill of 400. There is zero mail craftable. There are dozens of plate items. There are very very few weapons.

Should I re-roll blacksmithing as something else?

"Master Hunter" Kheldul

BTW, this isn't something I call myself. It's something that others started calling me a while ago. Perhaps it's tongue-in-cheek.

Do we live in DC?

I know it was crowded in DC today, but does it mean we have to disconnect all the time? Raid cancelled due to everyone who can decurse DCing left and right in Naxx. Turret cannons fire without cooldown but don't do any damage to anything. And the Wintergrasp buff gets stuck in an infinite loop of buff/no-buff with everyone everywhere which caused server crashes all the time. Latency around 900ms for most everyone in all of Northrend.

Fun times.

A couple friends and I went in and did AQ40. No lag! Trying out BM in a raid will have to wait.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Building a rep is of course important. Which should the hunter get the love from first? The first two I'd recommend are the two that you want to have toward the "end-game" of WotLK; The Sons of Hodir and the Knights of the Ebon Blade. They don't have juicy epic gear rewards you'll be interested in. They don't get you a nice big dragon mount. They do get you what you'll really need.

For the Sons you want to get to Exalted status. They provide the shoulder enchants you want. Their low-rep shoulder enchant is the same as Aldor/Scryer shoulder enchants. The Sons don't have a tabbard, so you have to get rep with them the BC-fashioned way, daily quests. For Ebon Blade, you'll want to get to Revered status. Luckily, they have plenty of quests, daily quests, and a tabbard! They have some nice weapons, but most importantly, they have your helm enchant. Until you're Revered, you'll be stuck going back to Cenarion Refuge with your new helms.

After you have those two reps in your pocket, then you can shoot for another one. I'd pick something based on your crafting pattern needs, or perhaps The Oracles for their trinket. Unless you only have time for dailies and never any heroics, you're likely to fill any gear blind-spots before rep-based gear saves you.

Monday, January 19, 2009


So, I pulled all my friends out of my stable and got a group photo. Let me tell you a little about them.

Jason is my Gorilladin FTW. He's named after a friend who is/was a great paladin tank. I still keep a couple pieces of Tier-5 gear around just in case we need to solo an easy instance. He usually does fine with just normal mend pet casts, but he needs a real healer for instance elites. He does pretty amazing dps in AoE-heavy fights. The last time that was a good enough reason to bring him to a raid was Mt Hyjal though. ;-)

Back just before? Wrath hit, a few friends and I hopped into MC and grabbed me a Core Hound. We were all fresh new Jenkins's. I haven't fully leveled him up yet, but she'll be my PvP pet once I do. Other than her wonderful caster speed debuff, she has the added bonus of tingling old MC memories of seeing an enraged massive core hound coming at you. She was my first exotic.

Chuckles is my fun dps pet. Chuck can rip stuff up quite nicely. Sadly he does a little less damage than cats and scorpids. He also has a pretty bogus hitbox flaw. He starts off with a rather large hitbox. The hitbox grows when he gets his specials off, and of course when he is en-wrath-ed. This makes some encounters pretty much impossible to keep him alive. He's bigger than the holes in the flame waves of Sartharion. He's eatting almost every Heigan the Unclean spew. My cat doesn't have these problems.

Malcom, the one in the middle (gaaah), is just the gimmicky ghostly three-headed hydra. Also known as crocolisk tank pet.

Pedicure is my raiding pet. He does pretty excellent dps. Yes, scorpids can buff-stack-poison better and higher, but that's getting nerfed to oblivion in 3.0.8. Cats are getting hit, but not too horribly and will remain a top choice for all talent trees. Having Pedz will allow me to try out other talents when the axe falls on BM.

So, there you go. /wave to the nice people

Saturday, January 17, 2009


There we go.

Realm Down = WWS Analysis Time

Oh joy. I get a few minutes to check on a few things in game, but no. Then again, I really wanted to just get "/played" on Kheldul so I could drop it in a post here. But that'll have to wait. The realm is down for the next few hours. I guess this leaves me open for making some posts and checking some WWStats.

I should say off the bat that every guild on our server has been struggling. Not really with the content, but with the various forms of lag and DCs.

The past two weeks lag has just gotten worse and worse. I think we've had three different flavors of "lag". The elderly realm has:
1) Too many people, two few 25man servers. We've seen this for a while. It's always fun doing farm runs and having your tanks all DC. Right? This is an old problem that has gotten worse and worse. Do a 10man, you're fine. Do a 25man and some DC even if they didn't have bad latency shown on their client.

2) Wintergrasp and Dalaran are hot spots, combined with a queues-worth of people on the server. This isn't particularly new, and "only" affects BGers for the most part.

3) Widespread bandwidth shortfall or failures affecting client latency going into Blizzard's colos. I have 3Mbps coming into my house. The traceroute showed a problem a step or two outside Blizz's colo. If traceroute shows an extra 500ms and dropped packets and it's four hops away from my ISP, "resetting my router" is about as useful as re-installing WoW. This seems like a new problem. The concern here is that it was affecting a LARGE and DIVERSE player-base. Hopefully, this new problem is temporary.

So, yeah, it's the beginning of the third week of having a 25man with maybe 18 connected at any one time.

Anyway, so I can look over a 25man WWS from Tuesday. I'm the top slot hunter. I'd just give the anonymized name, but it seems to change. Thursday, we just barely got a 10man going. But even on Tuesday, we had DCs coming out of everywhere. On Archavon we lost our MT and a bunch of healers the first time. (Almost got him anyway.) The second time I DC'd. Definitely not one of my finer performances. I guess I can blame latency being 2-3x what I normally play with. Loatheb I only got to 4k. I've come close to cracking 5k before. My crit rate was about where it should have been on that fight so I didn't under-dip on spores. I should point out for anyone that hasn't done Loatheb before, that dps should group up in 5packs under a spore and get the buff from its explosion. Based on crit rate, I see our other hunter didn't know that. I'll have to let them know.

I suppose this is also as fine a time as any to talk about shot rotation to help any hunters that are looking for a boost. This may be moot when 3.0.8 comes out, since Steady Shot is getting nerf'd on its AP coefficient -- but that patch is taking a long time.

Steady-shot (SS) is our meat-and-potatoes shot. For a vegetable side, you'll apply a serpent sting (SrS). You apply the sting because you've taken a glyph of improved steady shot which bumps your SS damage up 10% when you have a sting applied. You probably also have a glyphed serpent sting that increases its dot by 3 seconds. Hunter glyphs FTW.

BM hunters should just wail away with SS, mixed in with some SrS refreshes. Toss in Arcane Shot or stutter-stepped Multishot while moving.

MM hunters like that as well, but they'll also Chimera Shot (CS). Aimed shot will be more common too.

SV hunters also do the SS, but generally they'll trap-dance to proc their Lock and Load, such that they can get their free Lock and Load Explosive (ES) dot-shots off (spaced out of course).

So is there a decent macro for the base SS? Yes, there is. There are many like this, but I haven't found any exactly like it. Basically, it makes sure you're auto shotting, and allows you to spam-press for steady shot. If Kill Shot is up and the mob health makes it possible, then it'll do that instead. If Kill Command is available, it'll do that as well. It also gets rid of many of the failure sounds such as "I can't do that yet!" and red error messages.

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

You'll fire your SrS, ES, CS, arcane, and aimed all some other way. But SS is meat-n-potatoes. You could throw Kill Shot and Kill Command in other loaded shot macros. I do. But SS should be the most pressed button so this is where it needs to be.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kheldul the Hunter and Me

Kheldul has been making his way through Azeroth since November of 2004. I'm an East-coast player, playing on a West-coast server. Back then it didn't matter. All servers were housed in a server farm in CA. Doing the East on West thing meant that I could play a little later and have plenty of people on to do things with. It also meant that I could get on at times that weren't typically crowded if I wanted to.

Kheldul has never had a name change or a server change. He's been in a surprisingly small number of guilds. Somehow the guilds always are well-run, mature, and without too much drama.

I do have a few alts. I never max-leveled any until BC. When I did, I did it quickly and geared it up very quickly. I haven't done much of anything with them since Wrath. Kheldul deserves to get as geared and played as possible. He has a lot of iLevel200 epic gear in the bank. All the drops from Heroic 5mans that a hunter could want. (I'm planning on needing haste someday.) My equipped gear may be my PvP gear, may be the gear I'm planning on using once it's enchanted, or it may actually be my PvE gear. Don't obsess over armory. ;-)

I may start leveling another character to fill in the time between raids and be available for when we have a raid shortage, but Kheldul will always be ready and willing and the thing I think about.

I was talented in Marksman for a very long time, until BC. Since then I've been Beastmaster spec'd and thoroughly enjoy it. I got through half of the 1.0 raids (MC, BWL, ZA, AQ20, 3/4 of AQ40), much of 2.0 (but never killed Illidan and only 2/4 in MH and just trash in Sunwell), and now with 3.0, getting enough raiders and surviving MT DCs seems to be the biggest challenge. I've been looking at SV huntering quite a lot lately.

I'll most always be talking about PvE. However, I do enjoy PvP BGs quite a bit and it may slip in from time to time.

I'm closely watching all the PTR reports and GhostCrawler statements about the incoming hunter changes in 3.0.8. I remember the great pre-BC hunter nerf very well.

I'm a numbers guy. I'm an engineer IRL. I like macros and addons. I like being the best and don't like "being-that-guy".

I don't play every night. I've never been in a guild or alliance that raided more than three nights a week. I usually don't play on weekends.

I'm (/gulp) middle-aged, a husband with a great wife, and a father to some mind-blowingly great kids.

I hope you enjoy reading stuff here and find it useful.

Where to begin?

There's so much that I want to cover here. I'm just getting started, and clearly I'd like to start with some meat. To get some control over the scope of the coverage, let's jot it down:

  • Character introduction, player introduction, and play style.
  • Helping good hunters become great hunter players (Repeatable!)
  • Tips, macros, and add-ons. (Repeatable!)
  • Numbers, math, shot rotations, talent choices. (Repeatable!)
  • Fore-warned rants. (Repeatable!)
  • Fun stuff and happenings. (Repeatable!)