Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh My

This just is not right.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back from Hiatus

Back this week from Chicago. Got to meet up with someone I've raided/grouped/guilded with for years, but never met before in person. It was very cool. I think I was expecting it to be stranger than it was. In fact, it was just as comfortable. Although I'm not sure I always looked at him while I was talking. ... kinda falling back to WoW communication. ;-)

Had a lot to catch up on at home before jumping into WoW at all. Got in last night for a guild-first kill on XT-002. That was cool. I did my job pretty well. Because of my break I haven't leveled up my wolf to 80 yet. So I was still raiding with my cat.

I got some new boots from that silly robot. The Twisted Visage also dropped, which is nice to see. Also picked up not one -- not two -- but three achievements. Nothing amazing, but still fun.

Umm what else... oh thanks to the new arena starting and since 3.1, I've upgraded three pieces of PvP gear. I'm now at 605 Resilience. Since dual specs came out, it seems like there are far far fewer heals being thrown around in random BGs. Maybe my sample size is just too small. But it makes sense. And the Resilience certainly seems to be helping. Maybe even more than balancing out for it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Armor Penetration

One of the juiciest GC posts I've seen. But then, I'm a numbers guy. I'm copying it here in case they decide they shared too much.

Okay, here is a fairly technical explanation we put together for how armor pen works.

We didn’t want Armor Penetration Rating to be too powerful against low armor targets, like it had been in BC. We also didn’t want Armor Penetration Rating to be too powerful against high armor targets.

So, we decided on a system where there is a cap on how much armor the Armor Penetration Rating can be applied to. So, the first X armor on the target is reduced by the percentage listed in the Armor Penetration Rating tooltip, and all armor past that X is unaffected. Another way of understanding that is we multiply the percentage in the tooltip times the minimum of the two values: the cap, and the amount of armor on the target after all other modifiers.

Computing the cap is a little tricky unless you are already familiar with how World of Warcraft armor works. There is an armor constant we’ll call C. C is derived as follows (in some pseudocode):

If (level<60)

For a level 80 target, C=15232.5. For a level 83, C=16635.

The cap for Armor Penetration then is: (armor + C)/3.

A level 80 warrior creature has 9729 armor. C=15232.5. So, the cap is (9729+15232.5)/3=8320.5. Let’s say a player has 30% armor penetration from armor penetration rating and no other modifiers that complicate the calculation (talents, Battle Stance, Sunder Armor, etc.). The game chooses the minimum of 8320.5 and 9729, so 8320.5. That is multiplied by 30% = 2496.15, and so that much armor is ignored. The effective armor on the target is 7232.85 (9729-2496.15). From a player point of view, the armor penetration rating didn’t ignore the full 30%, but instead ignored 25.66%. (85.5% as effective as expected).

These equations should help you be able to test and verify that Armor Penetration Rating is working correctly and as we designed. The tooltip is not actually inaccurate, as it states: “Enemy armor reduced by up to 30.00%.” That "up to" is key.

Please be sure to test without any other effects which modify the armor calculation (Battle Stance, Sunder Armor, Mace Specialization, etc.) as they may involve other systems that add additional complexity to the calculation.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where's Kheldul?

I'm traveling for work. I hopped on briefly and managed to get some exorbitantly-priced Explosive Shot and Kill Shot glyphs. (200 and 175 gold respectively!) Yes, I grabbed them at that price anyway. It's not like it's real gold.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Status Check

+ I thawed my corpse out of the frozen in time instance.
+ I got my button bars a little less overloaded with a castsequence SrS/BA macro to save a button slot. I'm not entirely happy with it, but I think tweaking the time, having BA's CD visible seperately and simply not accidentally hitting it when it isn't necessary would be a good start. I may have to scrap the whole idea and find another slot though.
+ Went into MC and took down a couple bosses. This helped me learn that I probably shouldn't be full tank spec for lvl 60 raid bosses. It took forever to get them down.
+ After the MC run, I got my tank glyphs... yes, I had been empty. And yes, I went with Mending over Arcane Shot.
+ I sold my uber ammo bags and quiver. I bought normal 20 slot bags. It felt sad. I was not happy to get the extra space. It feels generic and wrong. It's an optimization in our favor, but takes away the flavor. I'm also scratching my head wondering if I have enough ammo. Having it land in any open slot is also pretty annoying.

+ I got my new friend (I went with brown eyes) and leveled him up to 76. Level 75->76 took about 80minutes of non-stop farming in an instant-pop zone.
+ I saw the new Vault boss destroy us. We were 24-manning it and were often about 3-4k dps short so with some upgrades and a full attentive raid that seems do-able.
+ I went into Ulduar and didn't chain-DC or get frozen in time. And we beat Flame Leviathan in 25man. The trash after him is an interesting challenge. We hit the lava pot-belly boss afterward and got some steam burns. We were pretty short on healers at the time.

Still to do:
+ Need my SV PvE glyphs. Still nobody has them.
+ PvP button bar needed.
+ Some better PvE tank bars/macros needed.
+ Re-gear for PvE using the new spreadsheet suggestions.
+ Get my new brown-eyed wolf up to level 80. Once he's level 80 he will get a name.
+ Put together a couple tank sets.
+ Fix and improve tank button bars.
+ Find someone who has the SV Glyphs I want. Oh! Did I say that twice? Yep! I guess I really need them.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Finding a New Wolf and Giving it a Good Name

Those are my top three choices. The pet connoisseur will notice that none will be level 80. I'm going with classical wolf appearances and staying away from the outlandish. Or perhaps I should say "staying away from the northrendish." If you're in a pinch, you can always go grab a level 80 wolf a short two minute flight north east of Dalaran. I just feel like they're missing something that the above models have in spades. And to be honest, I'm leaning toward the last wolf model. The middle guy is nice (and a Rare I might add), but the light brown eyes of the last model feel right.

Picking a name is next on the agenda. I'm thinking something classy. For a dwarf, classy means old. My dwarvish name generator makes names that sound right for a character and not a pet. The same applies to my elvish name generators. However, I have an elvish word generator that does very well with pet names. Here are some of my top contenders with their meanings:

  • Aranroth ("king" and "wolf")
  • Belengwaw ("great" and "howl")
  • HimrothehtelĂ« ("cool" and "wolf" and "spring")
  • Himaroth ("cool" and "great-wolf")
  • Hadhodroth ("dwarves" and "wolf")
  • Lossarothntur ("snow" and "great-wolf" and "master")
  • Lossaroth ("snow" and "great-wolf")
  • Lossrothluin ("snow" and "wolf" and "blue")
For the record, my generator is pretty old and clunky. I wrote it in the pre-dawn era around 1995. However, the "language" is inspired by Tolkien's Sindarin. I'm not a linguist, but I gained a healthy respect for the field.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Survival Hunter 3.1 Talent Spec

Updated for 3.3 here.

For what it's worth, my main survival talent spec and main dps pet talent spec for 3.1 appear to be the most popular. I cover these in the post below. There are a few out-liers:

Some people don't like having the extra shot, Aimed Shot. I admit that it is a problem to have too many shots now with Black Arrow and not being able to macro Kill Shot to save space. It's pressure on our action keys. I'm dealing with that by folding BA and SrpS into a single button. I'll generally have to play around to find a duration I like. I really feel the need for Aimed Shot. While it pays to stay still, you get to move around a lot after you stand still. Multishot doesn't have as much to offer. In fact, I may move multishot if push comes to shove.

There are some variations on the ranks of Hunting Party. I've seen 1/3 and 3/3. The extra agility doesn't suck. I'm at 2/3. I found for my gear I was better off skimping one point there than somewhere else in the tree. I also didn't want to gimp my Replenishment by going 1/3.

Some people take up to five ranks of Improved Aspect of the Hawk. That's the spec of pre-3.1. Now you really need to be spending those points in Resourcefulness.

Rechecking Your Suvival Gear

With all the talent changes, I decided to load my gear into the spreadsheet and see the new Ulduar drops. I was a little surprised when I saw that some old items that I currently have sitting in the vault are now better for me than what I'm wearing. This makes perfect sense given all the changes. I'm just glad to know I still have them around. I'm looking at swapping my helm, chest piece, and maybe even ranged weapon.

Thankfully, swapping ranged weapons will be much easier in 3.1 with the ammo and quiver changes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Time Lords Won

Sadly this is as "close" to the first boss as I got. We pulled Leviathan and got him down a bit pretty damn quick. But then the server froze everyone in all 25man instances in time for over 40mins before we called it quits. I could at least drive around in my chopper and snagged this shot of two active turrets on top of him.

Oh and I DC'd over 20 times. And I use an authenticator too. (Whee!)

All that, it was pretty fun. I like vehicles in PvP. I like them so far in 3.1. It would be kinda cool if they carried the iLevel concept back into PvP for vehicles. I like having a buff vehicle.

Things to Do

+ Thaw my corpse out of the frozen in time instance.
+ My button bars got overloaded with Black Arrow and Kill Shot.
+ Make a nice castsequence BA, SrS macro to save a button slot.
+ Make a strictly PvP button bar.
+ Work out bags now that I no longer have a quiver. (And 1,000 arrows sounds a lot larger than it is.)
+ Re-gear for PvE using the new spreadsheet suggestions.
+ Print out pet talent specs so I don't have to refer to my links.
+ Get my new wolf and level it up to 80.
+ Put together a couple tank sets.
+ Fix and improve tank button bars.
+ Find someone who has the Glyphs I want.

Another Flame Leviathan Video

3.1 Hunter Talent Specs, Pet Talents, Hunter Glyphs

This information has been updated for patch 3.3 here.


Here's what I'm going to try. I'll dual spec. I'm going with:

Hunter 3.1 Talents:
+ SV DPS 0/15/56
+ BM Tank 59/12/0

Pet 3.1 Talents:
+ Ferocity DPS
+ Tenacity Tank

Major Glyphs:
+ SV DPS: Explosive Shot, Serpent Sting, Kill Shot (Wow! No Hawk or Steady)
+ BM Tank: Bestial Wrath, Arcane Shot, Aspect of the Beast

I may be waiting on two of those Glyphs as they're brand new.

What will you choose?

The Beginning: Ulduar Official Trailer #2

Some Raid Videos

Flame Leviathan:




General Vezax:


Iron Council:

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Lull Before the Storm

I have to think 3.1 is coming Tuesday. I've seen more alts being played than anything. More forays into old content. More plugging away at achievements. But for me, I just feel unprepared.

This reminds me of a fun comic from Holm FTW:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Silly Achievements

Got these two last week:
Gonna Go When the Volcano Blows
Heroic: Gonna Go When the Volcano Blows

I'm so proud. o.O

Happy Easter!

Oh and FWIW, I think it was thanks to setting my camera zoom-crazy-far-out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hunter Soloing BC Instances

So last night I decided to see what I could manage in the way of soloing some instances. I did a warm-up run of going into BRD. You see, I was still survival raid-spec'd and didn't know how well my pet would hold up without those nice tasty pet-tank hunter talents. Well, BRD was a walk-through. Not surprising since it's level 55ish. I thought about trying the level 60 40man raid Onyxia, but realized I'd probably learn more about pet tanking in a more typical instance setting. So I looked at what 3.0 thought I had never run and decided to try a BC heroic instance. Heroic: Auchenai Crypts stood out. I didn't know it very well. I had run it a few times before 3.0, but I needed the achievement for regular and heroic.

I'll admit, I was a little nervous. I didn't remember the instance or any gimicks in it. And I didn't want to re-spec just for this. Nor did I want to fail. What I learned made me think I may really make my secondary 3.1 spec a hunter pet tank spec.

First up, I chose my thunderstomp pet. Then I went to my bank and fished out my Tier-5. I selected two pieces that seemed to keep my stats at the highest. These happened to be my Tier-5 shoulders and gloves. I made an Outfitter set for them. I emptied my bags of a lot of stuff and headed over.

My first pull was fine. Single mob. My second pull resulted in I think four mobs. Not too challenging. Then I skirted around the mobs and pats. Generally, I'd pull as little as possible. I found some pats to be pretty ridiculously difficult. CC didn't work on maybe half of them. And when you think it's just a pat of two, suddenly four non-elites spawn. While they don't have much health, they do heal and do toss some real damage and DoTs. Thunderstomp wasn't happening fast enough. And to get it to happen more often I had to crit more and draw aggro more. It was not easy. I wiped twice on trash. When I saw pats of three on the bridge plus hidden knock-back guys, I found a corner and let them pass by. ... My thinking was if two become six then three become nine. Probably not quite right, but still easy enough to be patient with.

The first boss was quite easy. He pats a little bit so wait for a good time to get upstairs and into an alcove. My approach was to set a mark on him, flip a MD on my pet, and then wait a few seconds. When the MD had maybe ten seconds left, I tossed my mend pet HoT and sent him in. This way I could let loose on the MD shots and then immediately MD again. This gave him a pretty big aggro boost. I needed the aggro boost so that I could lay into him when I needed to generate health for my pet via the tier 5 two piece set bonus. I kept mend pet up the whole time and burned him as fast as I could. I hadn't read any of the abilities of Shirrak the Dead Watcher before-hand, so he surprised me a little bit. ("Oh! That explodes...")

So I was feeling a bit more confident, and worked my way in deeper. I died again from the trash and had a longer run back... and more waiting for pats, etc. And it was getting late. But I was motivated. And it was fun.

I wasn't using wowwikki, and am still not entirely sure, but I only killed two bosses, although the last boss seems to be a two part boss. I remembered having to clear the entire end boss room. This wasn't especially easy. Pallies would love it. For me, I was still having problems with thunderstomp kicking in and with generating enough focus. I need to control this manually more effectively. Autocast is not where it's at. There were about six large pulls to clear the room. I got better as I went. I tweaked my autocasts a bit more to manage focus. The first two felt much harder. Here's a picture looking backward:

And forward to my opponent:

So, my first attempt on the boss was a little silly. I hadn't remembered his ability. I had thought it was a mind control. I figured that wouldn't be too bad because mind control on hunters also controls the pet. So I'd just be inactive and lose some cooldowns perhaps. Well, I got him to about 10% or so and suddenly I'm getting wailed on by something that looks kinda like me. Well, I decide to burn the boss. I chose wrongly. The add ate me with a couple crits which seemed unlucky. My second attempt, I pop a flask, put in some good ammo, mark him, fire off a MD and wait for the cooldown to get close for a re-application, drop a trap, toss a HoT, and send my tank in. I burn him again, but then this time, I kite the add and kill the boss. Ah! But wait, there's more. The add, or perhaps a second guy becomes a powerful mini-boss and then needs to be tanked and killed. All in all not too bad. Oh! And 61 silver off the boss. ("w00t!") Some more screen shots:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eye of Eternity Picture Trivia: Notice Anything Wrong?

If you need a clue, there's something showing up on in my minimap that shouldn't be.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thinning the Hunting Party (aka Blogroll)

It's time I did some house-cleaning of my blog roll, "The Hunting Party". The pack has thinned. These have been removed because they've either retired, been idle far too long, or no longer focus on hunters:
Snake in the Grass
Female Dwarf Hunters Do Exist
ScatTerEd Nightmares
Point of No Escape
No Ammo Melee Time
Gun Lovin' Dwarf Chick
I will be keeping BRK around a little longer.

Feel free to suggest other hunter blogs that I'm missing.

We'll miss ya BRK.

BRK Video from Temerity Jane.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


So.. how does one get on others' blogrolls? I'm coming up on post 100. How does one get "discovered"? I do not want stardom -- just some recognition in the community.

Speaking of which, I need to clean out some of the departed hunter bloggers from my blog roll, entitled "Hunting Party" on the left.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What Not to Wear

EJ readers will scoff and possibly LOL. But even they know people near and dear who do it. People go to their character page on and click on the "Find an upgrade" link. Well, of course that's fine. It shows many somewhat similar items and somewhat similar stats and shows you them in a mostly iLevel ordering high to low.

What some people do: They look at that list and see items higher than their current item and say to themselves, "I'd take that if it dropped." What's crazy is that they think that it if they're a hunter and the item has +spell power. They think that if they're a holy priest and the item only improves damage. A mage with a healing proc trinket. A death knight with a shield bonus trinket. Etc.'s "Find an upgrade" link gives you a grab bag. It is a primative shuffle through items available. Use it as a quick reference. Use it as a spring-board to gear planning. sucks as a stand-alone gear planner.

So... okay what should you use? If you're planning all by yourself outside the game, you can use item websites like and wowhead has nice filters (e.g.- searching for shoulders). thottbot has nice drill downs into spell mechanics of items. They both have community and decent comments. wowhead's are probably better IMHO. If you're going on a raid you can browse so you can be clued-in to what might be good for your class-spec, and what might be better for another class-spec.

If you are a hunter and want to be spoon fed with goodness, you need a computer with Microsoft Excel. (No, unfortunately won't cut it.) Here's what you do. Go get a copy of Shandra's spreadsheet. Get the LIVE version. Open it up and change your name, realm, and region in the Overview tab. Then on the Gear tab click "Load Gear from Armory". After its pulled in all that info, go to the Talent tab and do the same. Then the choices open up. You can enter in Pet info, and Shot Rotations, and Buffs. Those aren't critical steps, but are useful. Flick to the Gear Planner tab. If you filled in Pet, Buffs, and Shot Rotations, then the Gear Planner info will be on the money. Otherwise, you'll take some default which may be a little off. What it will show you is your current gear, and how much more or less dps you'll do with other important pieces. You will get a custom best-in-slot view of gear. Print out the tab and keep it next to your keyboard.

So that may help with planning in advance. But what if you spill a frothy adult beverage on that paper or can't find Microsoft Excel? Or maybe you just aren't playing a hunter! There is a stop-gap solution for you. Try the RatingsBuster addon. When you look at any item that you don't have equipped, it will add into the item info a delta of it compared with your current item. It will pick a few important stats to your class that may need to computed. It will use all stats on the item and what you're currently wearing. It will factor in your level for computations. It can presume gems. It's really quite nice.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

3.1: No More Magical Kill Shots

Kill Shot will be on the global cooldown (GCD) when 3.1 lands This means a few things. Most notably, it means that it will no longer fit magically into a macro. Secondly, it means you'll need a space for it on your bar and need to get used to using it. Kill Shot is always the best shot you can make if it's up.

I bring up the following for two reasons. First, some people don't know this, including a few at EJ. Secondly, I had a previous post detailing that you should make all your main shots macros, and include the magical Kill Shot in there for maximum Kill Shots per target. Those will no longer work.

This service announcement brought to you by the emote: /sigh.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Master Loot and The Hit Rating Dance Continues

Master Loot

So Thursday night, we didn't have a full 25man raid, so instead of running Malygos, we took a couple wings down in Naxx. A lot of healers. A lot of tanks. Not so many dps. It still worked out and was a good time.

It was an interesting night too, because I was running loot for the first time. I had thought I'd just do Malygos, which would be pretty easy. Instead we were bathed in loot. "Running loot" means being master looter. It means hanging by the dead boss while everyone else moves to clear out trash to the next boss. We use a slightly modified "Ni-Karma" system. The add-on is pretty decent. Basically every hour and at the start and end of the raid, you get 5 karma. If you see an item you want that's an upgrade, you can privately ask the master looter to "bonus" on the item. This means you will add all your accumulated karma toward rolling on the item. If you win, exactly half of your karma is consumed. You can also "nobonus" on the item, which expends no karma. If someone bonuses and has more than 50 karma than another bonus or nobonus'er then those people with 50 karma less don't even get to roll. Anyway, it wasn't too bad using the system and I think I got most everything right. It certainly was a little odd to never take out any trash. By the last boss, I had the system down pretty well.

The Hit Rating Dance Continues

So Gothik decided to drop my pants. I "bonused" and blew enough karma to ensure that I probably will not ever get good loot off of KT. But it was BiS for me so I went for it. What I hadn't realized at the time was that it also had +hit on it. So now I'm at over +9% to hit. And the number of +hit gems I have to swap out is getting pretty small. I swapped out the Leggings of Colossal Strides.

Idle thought: too bad I can't do something with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th best in slot pants that I still have obsessively kept on hand. I guess I'm not doing too bad. I finally got rid of my nature resist set. ;-)

In any case, I'm now 35 over the hit cap. Pretty insane. I have a +16 and two +8 hit gems slotted. 32 hit. I also have the Icewalker enchant on my boots. So, more re-gemming. If I had the nobles trinket, or Sarth's, then I probably would be dropping the Grim Toll and adding all sorts of +hit gems back. What a silly dance.

Comments, comments, comments

Okay, so Thursday morning or so I opened up the comments sections. You don't need to register, but there's a little are-you-human verification step if you are not registered and logged in already. Enjoy.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Maximum Camera Distance in Wow

If you want to have to squint to see your tiny little body in your UI, this is the command for you. Beware: You may not want to pan all the way out if your computer doesn't have a decent graphics card.
/console cameraDistanceMaxFactor 4
OMG, I can see everything now. I snagged this off of yet-another wonderful video. It works great for OS+3D (which we've yet to nail).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tranq Shot Macro

Need a Tranquilizing Shot macro? This one is pretty good and not overly situational.
/cast [target=mouseover,exists] Tranquilizing Shot
It lets you keep dps'ng the things you're dps'ng. When you have something you need to tranquilize, you just make sure your mouse is over it, and you hit that button. If the thing you had your mouse on top of could be tranq'd and your cooldown was available, no sooner said, a tranq shot will stray off your target and hit the mob to be tranq'd. If it can't be tranq'd, then nothing is wasted. Works like a charm. It was great back in SSC days on the murlocs. It is still great with enraged flames in OS. You don't have to target something else. You don't have to stop dps'ng. The only reason you might not want to use this is if you don't like to use your mouse and use up a key that fires the tranq.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hunter Pet Tanking

I'm playing with the idea of making my dual spec be a hunter pet tank. Either MT for small bosses or OT... or solo'ng old raid content. I enjoy putting together different gear sets for different occasions. This is an expansion of that.

At the moment, I'm looking at this 56/15/0 hunter talent selection, with perhaps my Ghost Hydra tenacity pet with the new 3.1 pet talents. I am stumped though. There are definite trade-offs between mitigation, stamina, and oh-sh!t buttons. I'm pretty used to having Last Stand and Taunt for a tank pet. Not having them would be weird. Thunderstomp costing a talent is a little bummer, but it does open things up a bit for pets other than my ape. Not having Charge is also a bit difficult to swallow. Not super important for a MT, but for OT, Charge and Intervene are quite handy.

So perhaps there are a bunch of different pet talent groups. A MT spec, an OT spec, a solo'ng spec. What I'm looking at is a mix of stamina, easy healing, mitigation (dodge, armor, aoe reduction, and less crit-ability), increased threat, Taunt and Last Stand. You can stack the pet talents for a single objective like for high stamina, or for high threat generation, or excellent mitigation. But that seems far less useful.

Oh, and this is useful info for someone putting together a hunter pet tank. You'll want to vary your own hunter gear. Before hunter talents or pet talents even come into play, hunters pass on a percentage of their own stats to their pets. Here they are:

Percentage of
Hunter's Stat
Given to Pet
40.0%all magic resistances
22.0%ranged attack power as attack power
12.9%ranged attack power as spell power
45.0%stamina (though I've seen 30% claimed by some)

The real tricks come in when you take the above base stats and add in the talent multipliers, percentages, etc. I have no idea if all the talents are multiplicative or additive or some combination. I went for a little more stamina and a little less mitigation, but not by a whole lot. Is AP 22% of my RAP times 1.2? Or is AP 42% of my RAP? What is the pet's health? 45% of my stamina, plus another 40% of my stamina, plus 12%, plus 4%, converted to health, and then another 10% added? Armor is similar.

So yeah, as soon as dual specs come out, I'm thinking of taking pet tanking as my secondary. Is that completely crazy? I do PvP in BGs. Wouldn't it be wiser to have a PvP spec as my secondary?