Monday, December 20, 2010

Meta Gems, Primary vs Secondary Colors and Stats, and Reforging!

My Issue
Hey, so over the weekend I went through some meta gem soul searching.  My meta gem of choice requires me to have more blue than red gems.  Most of my gem slots are currently red!  So I went with almost entirely purple which gets the slot bonus but keeps the playing field of red vs blue even and then I tipped the balance by one for blue.  Then because I used purples with reforge-able stats I adjusted a little bit with reforging.

This was done in the context of having a jewel crafter and purchasing patterns useful for others.

Primary vs Non-Primary Colors and Stats
Non-primary colors (orange, purple, green colors) give you a +20/+20 in the rare quality.  Primary colors (blue, red, yellow colors) give you a +40.   The difference between the two is that it's usually +20 primary-stat / +20 secondary-stat vs +40 primary (or secondary) stat.

Primary Color/Stat Gems
If you're using a primary color, you want a primary stat on that primary color. That's the advantage of using a primary stat color.  Otherwise don't bother with a primary color.  Primary stats on primary color gems can't be reforged-to (or reforged away).

Non-Primary Color/Stat Gems
Unless you're a tank don't take stamina as a second stat without a really good reason.  e.g.- Take +agil +hit. If you're over the +hit cap, just reforge some away on your gear into a more useful stat.  This can get you the meta requirements you need MUCH more easily.

Primary vs Non-Primary Stats and Reforging
Item stats are either Primary or Non-Primary.  Reforging can shift 40% of a non-primary stat on an item into a new non-primary stat which is not already on the item.

Primary Stats that You Can Not Reforge:

  • Attack Power
  • Agility
  • Intellect
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Resilience
Non-Primary Stats that You Can Reforge to/from:
  • Critical Strike Rating
  • Dodge Rating
  • Expertise Rating
  • Haste Rating
  • Hit Rating
  • Mastery Rating
  • Parry Rating
  • Spirit
If your meta gem has ugly requirements and you don't want to lose out on gem slot bonuses, consider using reforging and some non-primary gem stats to get the slot bonuses and meta you want.  If all you want to stack is one primary stat, this wont work, but most of us have many primary and non-primary stats we need to balance now.

These comments are general purpose, but are specific to the current meta gem of choice.  Back a while ago, we were told that the old gem was flipping back to a requirement of "more red than blue" instead of the current "more blue than red".  But that was mostly about the old gem and a month ago.  They should switch it, but until they do you still really want your critical strikes increased by 3%. That is... until you have tons of gems.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pet Tanking in 4.0.3

Wow I love my TequilaShock.  I've done some city invasions with him and he can chain tank and do it well.  The threat buildup is really nice.  Kill Command, Thunderstomp, Acid Spit, and Growl are the main keys.  KC really does the job.  Throw in taunt, last stand, intimidate, bestial wrath, and burrow and it's a nice package.  I may even try and work in intervene.

I do need to learn to use Misdirect more often, but it's really nice what I can do without it.  Mind you, I'm not auto-attacking here with the pet on aggressive.  This is a fair amount of work and every GCD is used.  I do spare some for MDs, but I can't seem to get more in without a lot of other stuff falling by the wayside.

In these city invasions, you really don't have any idea who is a tank and who isn't unless you see their health going down; Looking for shields takes a bit too much effort!  For this reason, I have my pet trying to get a mountain of threat on at least one if not multiple elementals.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BM is Too Fun

I fully plan to keep BM as one of my talent trees.  The pets are just too damn fun.  The issue is that I'm doing far less DPS with them.

I'm often using my Ghost Worm, "Tequila Shock".  I don't even need to use Misdirect with him.  He's got two AoE abilities.  And between Kill Command, Growl, and his Acid Spit he generates great single target threat.  Add in the on-demand never-on-cooldown Misdirect-to-pet glyph and they are pretty amazing.

I also got back Fluffy, my Molten Core core hound who can now do Heroism.

I picked up three of the four different devilsaurs, each with a unique smile.  I tell the kids that somehow I found Chuckles again.

I have the cat and bear spirit beasts and I love their ability to toss out heals.  But wow are the spirit beast spawn points camped!

I still have my handsome wolf.  And my Ghost Hydra, Malcolm.  And my silver fur, green-eyed gorilla, Jason.  And Flash, my hyper-resilient turtle.

To round out my "ghost pet" theme, I got my "Ghost Cat".

Looking at all those pets, only a third of them are usable if I'm MM or SV.  These days you can use a different pet between each pull.  I guess I just need to work on doing more DPS as BM ... and layoff the tenacity pets.  They're just too fun.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Distracting Shot

Has anyone noticed anything disfunctional with Distracting Shot?  I tried to use it on a Twin Emps [skull level] boss the other day to get his attention and it failed rather miserably.  It's true that I may never have tried to do it on a raid boss before... so perhaps it just doesn't work on raid bosses.  Is this known?  A feature?  A bug?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Damage +15-25% on Hunter Signature Shots


"We have pushed a hotfix to improve hunter damage."
"Specifically, we increased the damage of the signature abilities (Chimera Shot, Black Arrow, Explosive Shot, and Kill Command) by 15-25%. This will both improve overall damage-dealing and make sure that these abilities are prioritized higher than other shots. We think this will bring hunters to a good enough state until they hit 85. Aspect of the Fox and Cobra Shot solve some specific issues at higher levels. Marksman hunters may still trump Survival and Beastmaster hunters until they’re 85, since their rotations rely a little on Cobra Shot."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

That Ole Trinket: The Oracle Talisman of Ablution

I was working on some of my gearsets (trimming actually) and I had to decide if I was going to nuke my Outfitter toggle for my [Oracle Talisman of Ablution] trinket.  I had been wondering about it and so, I went and did some testing.  Let me tell you, it's rather hard to do it if your pet is on the target too.

I was thinking it might be giving me focus back.  It makes the near little spell effect.  But no, it benefits every other class except us.  Woe is QQ.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tier 11 Gear Embarrassment

These are the hunter tier 11 sets. I could maybe see this gear as green level 20 gear or something.  Wearing a mean murloc head as a helmet? Fishnet handguards?  Boat bumper floats across the breastbone for when docking?  I really hope this isn't kept around.  I mean... it's gotta be a joke, right?

DKs are bad-ass. So are mages.  Pallies are pretty regal. Shaman are okay and at least respectable.  The only other class that might want to complain are the space-suited priests.  But a space suit isn't like a rolly-polly fish-head.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hunter Spec/Build Observations

So I think the SV 0/4/32 choice might be good at level 80.  Of course we'll want to ditch those sting talents at level 81.  In any case I feel compelled to toss down two steadies to keep the buff up, and that plus LnL procs have me with reasonably comfortable focus.  (And that's as they should.)  So pulling one point of focus saving for one point of damage increasing seems logical for me.  I like to have to think harder.  I may put it back when I need to think more about the raid I'm in though. ;-)

BM (32/2/3) can do good damage in novice faceroll mode.  It is also pretty damn challenging at the moment.  It has some interesting proc decisions and interesting powerups.  I think it can be more challenging than SV.  It certainly has a lot of options.  I was mostly facerolling it.  While doing that I was completely swimming in focus as you'd expect.  If I play it better I'm sure I'll be able to eat that up.

Oh and BM tenacity pets are really quite wonderful.  Send them at a pack of five mobs.  If you don't use multi-shot then you probably wont have credit for the kill on them all.  The number of stable slots is also quite amazing, and BM can get some of the best ones out there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's The Best Hunter Spec Now?

"What's the best hunter spec now?"  I've been whispered that.  I've seen it in trade chat.  Do we need to have this question raised so soon?  First off, everyone is "short" 5 talent points.  Secondly, all our numbers are certainly not finished being tweaked.  Third, your gear is a bit borked.  4.0 just launched on Tuesday.

That said, here are the level 80 hunter specs I'm using right now:

Survival: 0/10/31.  Why?  Because I still have a ton of crit and want to play with the crit procs.  Now of course it's really only 0/5/31 until we're 85.

BM: 31/7/3.  Why?  Because BM is fun and you want to tame every last animal you used to have and even the ones you never could, because you weren't BM-spec'd!

Marksman: 5/33/3. Why?  Based on the talents, Marksman should be the best there is for DPS.  Sure the others should be good.  But Marksman has the fewest non-DPS talents of the group.

Personally, I'm planning on changing a lot and enjoying the ride.

Changes already!  See

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Addon To Try

The mythical is-it-April-Fool's-Day hunter addon that tracks DPS that was left on the table will be available for 4.0: DPScheck.

Monday, October 11, 2010

You Are Not Prepared: Hunter 4.0 Specs, Glyphs, Pet Changes, Spells, Macros, Shot Priorities

Time to re-learn the hunter game!  I've been trying to get onto the PTR since it opened.  My loader just didn't want to keep downloading.  It died frequently and only got about 1/3rd of the PTR down.  This was almost enough to load screens, but nowhere near close enough to play.

I've been spending most of my hunter time collecting acheesements (hero, did it years ago, pacman, master wg74 mnts incl. a hog, a whole bunch o pets, and not quite insane 36 rep incl. fur love).

I've also been preparing for tomorrow.  I prepped myself by getting every Glyph that exists today (including some that will be junk tomorrow).  I bought out a few AH markets that may be blossoming tomorrow.

All that said, I don't know the ideal spec.  I don't know how much I'm going to re-forge or into what.  I don't know the best glyphs to use, best shot selection or even my UI and macros.  It's all changing.

Here's the thing though:  It's okay.  In the next month, we'll work it all out.  But most likely nobody really cares about level 80... least of all Blizzard.  They are only balancing and tweaking things for level 85.  I mean, SV and BM don't even have access to cobra shot (the non-Marksman version of steady shot).

Everyone's UI is going to suck. Auction addons will be broken.  Macros will need to be stripped down and re-built from scratch.  It's all okay.  I'm not even overly concerned that my uber armor pen gems will become crit gems.  I may just reforge other crit and might even switch to SV for a while.

But I'll be keeping my eye on what works, playing with test dummies and showing off what I'm using. I really love all the specs.  To me: BM is like sittin on the floor givin your pet a good scritchin'.  MM is all about the ranged weapon and headshots.  SV is like dancing with your enemies and blasting them to bits.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hack Attempts

In the past 25 days, I've received 43 forged emails attempting to steal my Blizzard account.  Fun times.  They don't have misspellings.  They don't have bad graphics.  They don't look wrong.  The content of the email is about account suspensions, credit card expirations, game card extensions, account locks due to suspicious activity (Oh! The irony.), automated notices of account modifications, beta emails, inactive accounts, etc.  Basically, they've copied any email that has ever been sent from Blizzard to anyone (and many that would never be sent) and addressed it to me.  The language on the emails is usually perfect and identical to Blizzard's boilerplate support messages.

Here are some of the fun domains the links end up pointing to:

Tip: Buy the $6 authenticator or get a free app if they have one for your mobile.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pet Abilities Round One

Sweet stuff for Exotic pets (tame-able by Beast mastery hunters).  The big list is over at MMO-Champion.  Kings, heroism/bloodlust, sunders, heals, etc.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kheldul Should Be Glowing Red

Late the other night, I went in and did the unthinkable.  I nuked my secondary (Marksman) talents.  It was late and I had actually meant to nuke my primary (Survival) talents.  So following that mistake I went in and decided to make Marksman my "primary" talent choice.  That was neat.  After doing that I [thankfully] realized I had to re-glyph out of SV and into MM glyphs.  But why did I start all this?

I decided to almost drop Survival.  I made my secondary talents into a PvP spec.  It's focused around my normal Marksman talents and abilities.  I also keep all the same types of keys, but the macros under then are a little different.  I pulled a little out of the stand-and-shoot type stuff and more into mobility.  A little bit less DPS and a little more bells and whistles.  And a silly surprise.

Okay, I like PVP.  I've never had a PVP talent spec before.  This was kinda fun.  And the talents are fun.  And I can and do fire off three Arcane Shots in a row with my silly surprise.  But seriously, this is not why I started all this.

I started all this because of gear.  I got one upgrade and it made me shift at least five pieces of gear around for my primary Marksman DPS set.  If/when I get the 5th Sanctified piece, I'll trade in my 264 ArmPen shoulders for it, trade out my Sanctified pants for the ArmPen pants and call it a day.  Anyway, the main reason I got rid of Survival is that I re-gemmed all my gear to ArmPen.  Previously, I had half a set of ArmPen-Marksman-only gear and a full set of Agility-Survival gear.  Well, I said "fuck it" and re-gemmed half of the Survival gear's Agility with ArmPen.  That left Survival with a DPS loss (on top of it being behind) and we can't have that now can we?

I have twenty-two Armor Pen gems in my gear.  Hell, I even swapped out Zod's with the bone bow so I could slap in a gem and pick up a tiny hit. I should be glowing red.

PS: 0/53/18 is a nutty PvP spec.  I do love to trap dance though. And I never had Entrapment before!

PPS: I previous dragged around my previous Marksman set, my Marksman-sting-rolling set (T9x2), my Survival set, my PvP set, my Pet Tanking threat set, and my Pet Tanking stamina set.  I even toted around some of my toys and costumes.  I only left my frost-resist set from the Naxx days in my vault.  This talent change means I can vault the sting set and survival set.  While they weren't complete standalone sets, it's a fair amount that I can stop needing to consider.  Reducing complexity is very very nice.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Continued "Spell" Cata Changes

Curious Observation #1: Are there mana drain and disarm effects with Chimera if those venoms are gone now?

Curious Observation #2: Kill Shot no focus cost, but nerfed and CD extended.  Hmm.

Curious Observation #3: Multi-shot.  Kinda expected but a little disappointing in the "how is that supposed to work??" area.

Abstracted from MMO-Champion:

Beast Mastery
  • Viper Venom and Scorpid Venom seems to be gone.
  • Widow Venom no longer mentions "Only one Venom per Hunter can be active on any one target.", I guess the 2 previous venoms are indeed gone.
  • Focus Fire now has a 15 sec cooldown. Down from 30 sec.
  • Improved Kill Command now Increases the critical strike chance of your Kill Command by 5/10% instead of reducing its cooldown.

  • Kill Shot now deals 150% weapon damage (down from 200%) and scales with 30% of your Attack Power (down from 40%). Base damage reduced by 50%. Cooldown increased from 6 sec to 10 sec. Focus cost removed.
  • Multi-Shot - Fires several missiles, hitting your current target and all enemies within yards of that target for x% of weapon damage. / 40 Focus, 5-35 yd range, Instant
  • Aimed Shot no longer deals 300% of weapon damage, now deals [ 40% of RAP + 681 ] damage. Cast time increased from 2 sec to 3 sec.
  • Arcane Shot base damage reduced by 60%, now scales from 19% of Attack Power, up from 17%.
  • Chimera Shot no longer deals 190% weapon damage, now deals [ 24% of RAP + 401 ].

  • Serpent Spread - Targets hit by your Multi-Shot are also afflicted by your Serpent Sting equal to 6/9 sec of its total duration.
  • Point of No Escape no longer affects Freezing Arrow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hunter AoE

All DPS classes need to be able to AoE with some effectiveness.  We currently do fairly well. We do great as single target DPS, so we don't need to be the best in AoE.  Personally, I feel that warlocks, boomkins, and mages should be better than hunters, spriests, and melee in the AoE department.  Our trap and volley are both nice and get the job done.  Heck, if you're SV, you can trap, volley, wait for a LnL proc (or two if you drop a frost trap too) lob in 3 Explosive Shots, and go back to volley and trap.  You can be top trash dps if you want.

In Cataclysm, we will no longer have Volley.  We'll be "making more use of multishot" to paraphrase.  I have to agree that our channelled Volley spell is kinda hokey and using a "shot" is a better idea.  The idea that we have too many buttons and need some trimmed is a bit of a red herring IMHO.

Losing Volley will also further remove one more item from our losing rogue-hunter battle.  We can't damage them unless we see them.  And we can't get them out of stealth with an AoE.  To that end, I say fix the real problem: Flare really kinda sucks and should have its travel time greatly reduced and it should have its cooldown removed to just the global cooldown.

In Cataclysm, we'll be able to launch our traps as if we attached dynomite sticks to the arrows or had a grenade launcher slung under the barrel of our rifles.  That's nice, but it's not good AoE DPS or expected to be good AoE DPS.  Plus, the cooldown on traps suck.

So we're told Multishot will work to fill the void of the Volley.  Honestly, Multishot seems hokey too.  I kinda get it for bows, but don't really visualize it for crossbows or guns.  And Multishot in its current form doesn't come close to filling an AoE void.  So Multishot must change too, right? 

Will it be a cone-like attack?  A cone-like attack sounds like a shotgun, but where does that leave bows and crossbows?  Will it simply change to hit more than just three targets and remain a bit odd?

What about something crazy?  How about a shot that sounds like it should be called TNT Shot.  Target one mob and fire it.  It does instant damage to all mobs near it.  Sounds like it should be called Explosive Shot, right?  That's how right it is for the hunter class.  Oh, and they already gave us something similar 20 levels ago.  Not that we ever used the thing

Then again perhaps we should all just run around with a different pet.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Profession Switching

I'm currently Blacksmith/Miner.  It isn't the worst, but it generally sucks.  I get two extra gem slots.  I got no craftable weapons for a hunter and no craftable mail (unlike in Vanilla and Burning Crusade).  I hardly ever mine.  I don't ever have my detect mining up because I've left my improved tracking off once or twice before.  So, Blacksmithing really just gets me some stamina. Cataclysm's Blacksmithing weapons are all BoE.  The same with Leatherworking.  Engineering however looks to have some fabulous ranged weapons and of course the helm.  They also have some gem-like stuff.  Engineering items are listed as Bind on Pickup.  But World of Raids refers to them as BoE.   If they are BoP, it will suck big time and might push me over to doing BS/Engineering.  Reminds me a little of college.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cata DoTs

Cataclysm will not be allowing (or demanding of) you to front-load the crazy empowered crit SrpS for the Chimera to refresh for the entire fight.  That sounds like good news to me.  I don't like flipping into my T9x, T10x2 set in LK and wont want to do something similar in Cata.
HoT and DoT refresh
Dots and hots adjust on the fly now when they're refreshed. There is less reason to try and get everything lined up perfectly for big numbers before you cast the spell. You'll be able to game it a little bit for the initial spell duration, but it won't refresh infinitely with the big numbers.

We have to rebalance the entire game anyway given the magnitude of the Cataclysm changes, so don't worry about being penalized for any old mechanics that may no longer be relevant. (Source)

Friday, July 23, 2010

You Wont Want To Wear Leather Anymore

You wont want to wear leather anymore.  You'll strive for all mail because your class likes it like that.  I'm glad they put down the stick and handed out a carrot.

Cata Talents

I was playing with the new Cataclysm hunter talents. They are starting to take shape.  SV is very expensive.  Their 5th and 6th tier talents need to have their ranks reduced.  There just aren't enough points compared with the other two trees.  Admittedly MM is a bit light, but BM looks right on and it's considerably less than SV.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Secret?  I didn't catch the WHU podcast live.  (House repair, pool, BBQ, and then True Blood was my Sunday line up.)  Looks like the linked image was made on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hunter Blog Roundup

Cataclysm changes abound.  The talent trees were announced and a few other cool things.  Here's a quick round up.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


MMO Champion has a brief mention which has me quite intrigued. It reads, "Last but not least, the Minimap now allow you to track multiple things at once! Hurray!"

As someone with mining as a lame-ass skill (Yeah, OMG, he has mining as a skill?!?)  This change is a godsend if I can use it and track DPS targets at the same time.  Generally these days, I don't use mining for anything.  I'm waiting to see how buff other trade skills will be in the expansion.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

RS and PvP Happenings

Tuesday was a bit of a wash.  Got in on just four ICC-10H bosses.  Wednesday was decent.  We had 25, so we finally hit Halion.  It wasn't an ideal 25, but we eventually got everyone with the program and downed him.  It was certainly fun, but also tiring.  THE trinket dropped.  I bid essentially 28 full raids worth of DKP, but lost. 

I found 10man easier and harder.  It was easier to orchestrate phases 1 and 2.  In fact in 10man, I don't think we ever didn't get to phase 3.  But in 10man balancing the damage is harder and you need to have more people flipping back and forth.  In 25man, we had people who had issues with the shadow realm dance.  But balancing the damage was a bit easier.  It wasn't easy, but it was easier.

The heroic version adds all sorts of extra perfection to the boss.  I imagine we could do it in 10man because the dancing element was easier with a smaller group, and the void zones would be less of an issue with a smaller number of people.  Heroic 10man offers shoulders which might be an up for my current MM ones.

I've been trying for a few more PvP achievements.  So far, just making progress.  But some are quite evil.  Overall, the PvP is fairly fun.

I finally visited all the horde cities.  That was neat.  It was a completely and utterly fail group that somehow managed to just barely not fail. It was about 10 new level 80s, 10 not-new level 80s, and 10 level 60-75's.  The level 60 didn't even have Burning Crusade, so he couldn't go to the Blood Elf boss...  Oh!  And me and two others basically took her down.  Even though she kept going into EVADE and resetting to full health.  We spent 20minutes downing her, her guards, the pvp bosses, and killing the occasional real player.  We had no real horde competition though.

It did provoke a strong counter-attack, but they hit IronForge.  IF's throne room is basically a death-trap of a place, and that's what we made it.  It was another 15minutes of hunting down stragglers hiding in all the different rooms there are in IF.

Add in some random battlegrounds and Wintergrasp, and it was a PvPathon.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Holy Shit: Talent Trees

The goal for Cataclysm remains to remove a lot of the passive (or lame) talents, but we don’t think that’s possible with the current tree size. To resolve this, we're reducing each tree to 31-point talents.
Well, that'll simplify a lot I guess.
Talent trees will have around 20 unique talents instead of today's (roughly) 30 talents, and aesthetically will look a bit more like the original World of Warcraft talent trees. The 31-point talents will generally be the same as the 51-point talents we already had planned for Cataclysm.

While leveling, you will get 1 talent point about every 2 levels (41 points total at level 85). Our goal is to alternate between gaining a new class spell or ability and gaining a talent point with each level. As another significant change, you will not be able to put points into a different talent tree until you have dedicated 31 talent points to your primary specialization.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pets, Pets, Pets, and More Pets!

More pet fun info:
You have 5 active pets and 20 (or more) stable slots. You can summon an active pet whenever you want, out of combat. This replaces the remote stable spell. In other words, if you have a crab, a bear and a wolf, you can swap from wolf to bear in between encounters.

You must visit a stable master to change which are the active pets though. There are a lot of stable slots, so you can catch Spirit Beasts or rare spawns or whatever you want, even if you don't think you will use them often.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pets Pets Pets!

  • Five pets can now be stored with the hunter at all times. Any one of these five pets can be summoned via the Call Pet ability.
  • Hunters now start with a pet at level 1.
  • The Stable will now store 20 pets. If a pet is moved into the Stable, its talents are wiped.
Cataclysm sweeeeeetness!


Ammo and the Auction House

I play the auction house. I know my market and have made about 100k gold there. I play the AH maybe four or five times a week for 20mins each.  I've bought about 40k gold worth of items for my characters. So I've "given back".  I don't abuse the markets.  I don't scam.  I like to think that I create value.

So when I see scammers I like to crush them.  Observe this picture I took a week or so ago:

See the 300 "stacks" listed by scamming a$$h@ts? That's a bunch of poor hunters who will show up at a raid and be dumb-founded as to why they are OOAmmo. Stacks should not be one arrow or bullet. They shouldn't be 100 arrows or bullets either.

The problem is that 100 and 1000 stack sizes look damn similar in the AH tool. There really just isn't room for four numbers. And stack sizes of one don't list a "1", they just list the icon without a number. So it is actually easy to buy these. I'm not sure if I ever did. And I might not have noticed!

Stacks of ammo should always be the full 1000 stack size.

So I buy a normal stack and send most of it to my hunter. Then I poison the well for the scammer. I list stacks of 1 at my cost, 41 copper in this case. Nobody will buy the scammer's "cheap" stacks. They'll by my "cheap" stacks and that's all they'll see. If they're dumb then they aren't out any cash. But it's also a good "Doh!" moment for them when they see one stack listed for gold and another listed for a few copper.

Below is another night showing me do the same thing:

Until we get unlimited ammo, don't be fooled. And if you play the AH, you can do your server a service and prevent others from being scammed.

Here's the scary part. I sell a dozen or so 41c arrows every 48 hours. I always look ... and they're to all sorts of different people. The scammers aren't buying me out.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Playing with Builds: Readiness

I know all the Cataclysm stuff is way too early to talk about.  I'm confused by one item.  Readiness is still in a prime location on the Marksman tree.  It instantly removes the cooldowns of all your abilities except for BW.  Well, that's nice.  Except only a few shots have cooldowns.

In the current model, a hunter would blow all his big shots and then hit readiness and blow them all again. 

In the new model, a hunter blows two big shots requiring 50 focus each and then he's at zero focus.  He hits readiness and can't do anything anyway.

Is Blacksmithing Useful In Cataclysm?

For hunters, Blacksmithing does not look more useful, than it is currently.  There is a nice epic craftable Elementium Poleaxe for level 85.  That is better than what we have now.  (No level 80 craft-able hunter weapons from Blacksmithing.)  That said, that one polearm appears to be BoE.

RIP Halion

Once again, real life intervened and left our 25man raid quite short.  I think we had about 17.  So we formed a 10man and visited Halion.  About half the group had been there on Tuesday.  (Tuesday is our official 10man night.)  We got him very close a number of times.  We got to phase 3 each time.  Keeping the damage even was a bit tricky.  We had one floater and then a death.  I was happy to have gotten killshots on her in both realms. We finally got the smack-down on her not too late in the night.

I was running as Survival for the only source of replenishment.  It wasn't a bad thing not needing to try to do steady shots in the shadow realm.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 13 - Loot Combinatorial Headaches Cause Mistakes

I did everything I said I would in my previous post. It involved buying a T9.5 and a T10.5, downshifting two use T9.5x2 and shuffling over to use different T10.5x2. It required gems and re-gemming. It required a chest enchant. It required me shooting out to Ebon Hold for the helm enchant. It required me to go to IF to respec. It required me to reset all my macros in the UI. I had to deal with addon issues from the patch. I tried some target dummy stuff. I made another Outfitter gear set. I did all this an hour before the raid.

But I made a mistake. I had been using the DPS calculator which also helpfully shows your hit rating and percentage. I wrongly thought it didn't include my Draenei buff. But it looks like it did take that into account.

I loaded a full +3% from talents. I snagged a Draenei in group for a +1%. But my "DPS-MM-Sting" gear set only had +3% hit. 3 + 3 + 1 = 7. We need 8. I'm looking at this after loading up on some new arrows and thinking about how I just regemmed everything. And then the raid started.

I got nervous and flipped to SV for the trash. I knew the sting set would suck for trash anyway. I flipped back to MM for Marrowgar and auto-equipped my new my sting gear set. I was second or third on damage done and had three missed auto shots. I didn't check the rest. One thing I learned though: it's difficult to roll your sting forward and still do a lot of immediate damage to people who are spiked. You kinda have to hold back a little.

So I was a little disappointed, but I kept at it. On Deathwhisper, I did my adds job. But again, I had to retain the Chimera just for the boss who I had a nice sting rolling on. Luckily the adds go down quickly so I didn't feel bad about the less-than-amazing damage I did on them. That said, I managed the #1 spot on damage for that fight.

For the Lootship Battle, I didn't take a cannon and I didn't just shoot from our deck. Instead I rocketed over and killed the mages. That was fun. But for that fight, I flipped gear (but not spec) to my previous MM-DPS gear set. No stings to really roll there...

For Saurfang, I went with the stings. It was reasonably easy to keep the nice sting refreshed and still kill my beast (and help with others). Again, I had to restrain myself and not completely unload on the beasts.

For Dreamwalker I went with an obvious non-sting set but again stayed with Marks. I probably should have flipped to SV for the better instants and traps, but no biggie.

We then hit the Princes. We don't have good combatlogs from the night because people were DC'ng quite often (thanks to the patch). That said, I think I went with stings for the Princes. We had FIVE hunters, so I didn't have any orb duties. I'm not sure if using crit-stings was a win or not on the fight. You end up targeting five different mobs in the fight or so.

We also hit VoA and cleared it looking for a mount drop. (No luck!) I stayed in my crit-sting gear and it was easy to keep it rolling throughout each fight there.

The crit-sting gear should be great for Rotface, and Festergut. I'm not sure about Putricide and his adds. I guess it depends on how many ranged we have and how fast they go down. There are also those two pauses where the sting can (will?) fall off.

That said, I think we're hitting Sindragosa tonight.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 12 - Loot Combinatorial Headaches

I picked up a ToC Trophy on Thursday. I'm toying with the idea of doing T9.5 x2. It seems like the head and legs would be the way to go with the armor pen. I currently have the T9.5 hands, legs, and shoulders. I don't think I bled through all my emblems of triumph on gems this month, so I'll buy the head.

I also got a wonderful and fabulous class mark. It only cost me almost all my class DKP. So that puts me at three. I have the hands and pants. So I can trade out the pants for the only other real option, the chest.

This would put me at T9.5x2 and T10.5x2. I might only flip to this when I'm doing a stand-and-shoot boss that I can reliably keep stings rolling on.

By the same logic, I probably should flip to SV for all other fights. Hrmmm.

The T9.5x2 and T10.5x2 bonuses sound great and all, but the chest kinda sucks compared with the BoE one and the badge one. And the logsplitters are crying for a fitting. Either of those choices would break my T10.5 set though. :-/ Oh, and my +hit takes a nose-dive so I end up needing to trade in some +mana and/or +dmg talents for focused aim. So... more shuffling.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Work Makes Play Sometimes Less Playful

Just want to do a little work plug here. My video transcoding system processed over 1,300 outputs (various different formats and bitrates) for one day in one day for Their video coverage of E3 is extreme.

I remember a little story about how some people wanted to recruit heavy-duty Star Trek fans for participating in actually making the Star Trek world. The result was that the fans didn't want any part of it. They had normal jobs and wanted to do their own thing. That always struck me as odd, because I always thought it would be great to publish a story or contribute to the science lore.

I love my job. But working somewhat on the other side of it now, it's easier to enjoy something that is not directly related to my work. So I think those Trekkies made the right move.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 11 - New Gear and Enlightenment

Last night I had a free night and ran with our guild ICC-10. It isn't a completely consistent group. Some "ten man nights" there aren't 10. Other nights there are plenty of people to choose from. I've only run with the guild in ICC-10 three or four times. The two most recent runs were last night and at the end of April when we first nailed the Lich King to the floor. Last night we had a bunch of people new to heroic 10man versions. Myself being one of them.

In a little less than three hours we killed Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, Lootship, Deathbringer Saurfang, Festergut, and Rotface. There wasn't too much to learn and honestly Marrowgar seemed the most difficult. Perhaps it was most difficult because our ten man had two hunters (neither of us had done the heroics) and Marrowgar's melee hitbox is ridiculously large.

I had to swap to Survival on Saurfang so we'd have enough replenishment for the spam healers. It was just us two hunters. (We also had no locks so we couldn't use the pally DI-and-soulstone-back approach.)

It was a lot of fun learning some challenging fights. I also came away with two new pieces of gear from the night. I thought that the Pauldrons of Lost Hope should replace my Dual-Bladed Pauldrons without question at least for Marksman use. I also thought that Saurfang's Cold-Forged Band would find an easy home with my Marksman gear. I was in error. All the numbers showed equipping these as a DPS loss. And regardless of how I gemmed them.

My enlightenment came from re-reading some of my previous posts. I decided to use Zeherah's Hunter DPS Analyzer to change my shot rotation and remove Arcane Shot. This let everything click into place:

  • Don't use Arcane Shots for stand and shoot bosses for a DPS profit.
  • Pull out the talents from the now less-used Improved Arcane and since I'm [amazingly] still above the hit cap dump them into either being the Hunter's Mark bitch or full bore steady shot which I'll now be spamming a bit more.
  • HM on a personal basis is a +100 DPS win. I'll pull the other hunters along too of course. ;-)
  • Full improved steady shot and rapid recuperation would help about the same with damage, but would work on adds. I may just split the difference a bit.
  • We usually can rely on having a space goat so I am okay at 7% hit. But I will need to dip into the +hit talents with another gear swap.
  • My Outfitter gear addon now auto-swaps gear sets for my primary and secondary talent tree swaps.
  • I now do marginally better with armor pen gems now than with agility gems which is a first. I'll stay with agility gems in shared gear but move to armor pen gems in strictly Marksman gear. If I re-gemmed everything to armor pen I would get only about a 70 DPS gain. I would also hurt my Survival side. I may need to run SV for ten-mans in the future.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 10

Damage done. That's the first topic I wanted to talk about after I switched to Marksman. Well. The weekend after I switched my pimped-out desktop blew the Windows segment of the hard drive. It's a RAID0 config and was pretty grisly to get all my iTunes copied off it with an external drive without Windows. But I managed.

That said, I've been raiding Marksman on my laptop. I had to turn down graphics like hell just to get my frames-per-second to be playable in 25man instances. So, it's a little hard to compare if; 1) my being Marksman sucks, or 2) my gear sucks, or 3) my rotation sucks, or 4) my computer sucks, or all four.

Now firstly, there are some fights where I happen to do pretty well. I might be in the top 3. But often I find that I'm not. I am usually over 10k, but I could do that as Survival too.

Addressing the first point: on some fights, I just don't keep my buffed stings maintained. There might be adds that take a smidge too long to get down. I could be smart and Chimera the boss before the sting wears off. I feel like that requires a focus macro, which I really would make it as a target-of-my-focus macro. I also suck in that I will still accidentally refresh a serpent sting with a lesser serpent sting. Lose! So I do suck at Marksman.

Addressing point two: my gear isn't bad, but it fails at any decent armor penetration. Okay, it's not completely terribad. I'm at around 400. I am making improvements. But I'm not even sporting T-9.5x2.

Addressing point three: my rotation appears to be wrong. On a stand and shoot boss, I will use Arcane Shots. I probably should give up that habit. I need to do testing with and without Mangle (Cat or Bear versions) present. 30% isn't anything to sneeze at.

Addressing point four: I have some research to do to get my spiffy desktop back and better than ever.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Not This Website

I redesigned my guild's website.

If you hate Javascript for some reason, you might hate this. I did write it from scratch so it is clean and light-weight.

I'm not overly-proud of it. The graphics aren't the best. The use of graphics instead of text adds some heft. PNGs aren't universally accepted as awesome.

But hey, the DKP CGI was quick and looks pretty decent. And it's a helluva lot better than what was there before.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not a Hunter Post

I don't usually mention my alt except in her support role to my hunter. But last night after our 25man raid, I broke off and did a heroic daily with my hunter and then my alt. My alt is a shaman healer.

So it was me and a top DK DPS from my guild in the LFG. We got a modestly geared tank and some other measly DPS. From the moment of zoning in. I was barely able to keep in range of him to let the heals fly. We were out of combat maybe four times the entire run.

We finished Heroic Halls of Lightning in about 9 minutes. Maybe 8. I wish I was keeping track. There were a couple times two or more people were under 20% health. The worst of it was up front when the tank took two packs on the first lightning boss when the mobs were empowered and when I had the lightning DoT/debuff that nukes you if you move. I was of course far out of range of the tank and my DK.

I'm proud to say, nobody died and I didn't even need to pop a manatide totem. I think we might have been able to shave off a minute or so if we had two more top DPS. I've just never seen pulls like that before.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 9

I've been starting to side-grade for Marksman gear. I suppose that's not entirely accurate... some of the iLevel side-grades are actually upgrades for both Survival and Marksman talent focuses. But to be more accurate, they are good swaps for Marksman and minimal swaps for Survival.

Last week I picked up the Leggings of Northern Lights. Unfortunately I already have my Sanctified Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Legguards and I only have it as a two-piece. All the sheets show it as a DPS loss to swap. A large DPS loss. But I figure I might slot them in when I get a third Sanctified before I have my fourth.

On Monday, I purchased (for a measly 50 frost emblems) Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape. It was a small "30 DPS" upgrade over my Shadowvault Slayer's Cloak.

Also on Monday, I purchased (for 5,600g) the Rock-Steady Treads. They are a big up from my Treads of the Wasteland because I currently don't need the +hit. Emphasis on currently. I'm not throwing them away.

I'd also jump at taking the Logsplitters, but my second T10.5 piece are the Sanctified Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Handguards. So again, the set bonus makes it a DPS loss to break it.

I'm also eyeing the Longstrider's Vest, but I don't want to detour my route to the Sanctified Ahn'Kahar Blood Hunter's Tunic, and my Carapace of Forgotten Kings doesn't suck.

In summary, I need some damn class badges to drop. Every week it seems like we get shafted. Other class clusters are barely bidding on the badges. Ours go for max DKP every time they manage to drop. Maybe I just need to run some heroic ten mans. Bah! to the RNG.

If I ever do go for the ArmPen gemming, all these side-grades are nice to keep for an agility SV set.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Personal Epic Fail

So my 9 year old son was talking about something over the weekend. He used the words, "Epic Fail". Together as you might intend. He's also previously exclaimed, "Oh Em Gee". Literally those letters instead of "Oh my God". He doesn't play online games, other than say Webkinz. He doesn't have a phone. He doesn't IM or even email. It's all second or third-hand electronic internet infestation.

IMHO, if he says, "WTF" I'll either ROTFL or PWN his 1337 allowance.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 8

I re-read something over at our de-wow'd trash-talkin' Angry Butterfly. I remembered the post and sought it out. The focus of the post was a little different than I recalled. But it had the info I wanted.
Since I PuG more often then not these days, I find I get a lot of tells requesting my opening shot rotation.

Here it is:

Misdirect -> Serpent Sting with Rapid Fire/Call of the Wild Macro and Kill Command-> Chimera Shot -> Aimed Shot ->
->Misdirect -> Chimera Shot -> Aimed Shot and Kill Command -> Steady -> Steady -> etc. until Rapid Fire is done, then pop it again.

This is a massive amount of damage within the first 15 seconds or so, particularly with any number of trinket, pet abilities, and set bonus procs.
This made me realize something. I've been using Readiness for all of a week. I have been thinking of it a little wrong.

I think "Rapid Fire, wait for rapid fire buff to end, Readiness, Rapid Fire". That isn't bad. And yes, of course I dump all my good shots before and after the Readiness. But really it should be, "Rapid Fire, Readiness, wait for rapid fire buff to end, Rapid Fire". Meaning: I shouldn't wait for my rapid fire buff to go away use my Readiness.

You can see my slightly flawed thinking in my Rapid Fire macro:
/cast Rapid Fire

/cast Call of the Wild

/in 15 /w Kheldul BLOW IT ALL -then- READINESS

Instead I should do something like the following until I get it in my head right. I may need to make a special Readiness keybind. Currently it's a mouseclick which interferes a little with the slamming home of all my shots.
/cast Rapid Fire

/cast Call of the Wild

/w Kheldul UNLOAD and then READINESS then UNLOAD
/in 15 /w Kheldul RAPID FIRE AGAIN

Saturday, May 29, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Sidebar for the Traitor

I am a traitor to Beastmaster Hunters everywhere for giving up my pet-tanking spec. Whoops! I just gave up BM and pet-tanked a heroic in SV spec with Flash, my turtle, in my pet-tanking gear because the tank didn't want to do Oculus. I am a traitor to Survival hunters everywhere for trying Marksmanship. Whoops! I need to flip back to SV because I'm not bursting these adds down fast enough. Double-Whoops-Ooops! I'm a traitor to Marksmanship.

Meanwhile my gaming computer blew a sector on one of the RAID0 drives ... happens to be something Windows XP needs when it starts up. So I've been playing MM on a lesser computer in 1024x768 and graphics low and just managing 20fps.

I don't remember the exact words from a certain Marksman hunter, but this is close: "Survival is like defusing a bomb every 30 seconds".

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 7

Another hunter asked me in the raid Wed night if I wanted a particular drop (if it dropped). I had no idea. So gear planning is the order of the day. I revisited one great resource I already knew about and found one I hadn't ever tried before. I learned the answer to the question and I found out a lot more.

The first stop is "". You can get to it directly or you can get a nice and easy custom loot list by; a) going to, b) importing your profile, c) enabling the best raid buffs and debuffs, d) hitting update DPS, and finally in the update DPS tab click the link to the customized hunter-loot list. It sounds long, but it takes me 15seconds now. Here is my custom loot list. It is pretty handy to be able to link to the list.

It tells me I should downgrade (iLevels) in a bunch of places in order to get higher DPS. Yes! I'm currently doing gear wrong for Marksman. It also points out a few upgrades that I already know I should make. And it highlights how incredibly well-itemized gear is from ICC-10 Heroic. I however don't really trust for proc based gear. It ranked the Lady DW bow that has a proc as pretty low. And it says it doesn't handle trinkets well.

The second gear planner I tried was RAWR. I had never tried it before and it's pretty nice. You go there and download it. I re-discovered it after talking to a rogue friend who wanted help with gear planning. To his dismay it is a Windows program. RAWR3 is in beta and is a Silverlight-based web app. Silverlight purports to support Apples but it's a Microsoft library. That said, Silverlight is competing against Flash so Microsoft does have a little incentive to have it work everywhere.

RAWR seems to hide a lot of detail from the user. And it isn't fast to configure raid buffs. But it does a great job graphically. And it lets you gear plan and prune possible drops that may be out of your ability to obtain. For instance: my guild is not going to be headed to ToGC-25 any time soon. Uncheck it and boom! Those items are gone.

RAWR also has a nice stat benefit/analysis. It claims that currently ArPen is in fact slightly better for me than Agility. But only ever so slightly. Since my SV and MM gear are currently the same, I won't be switching anything out. But when I get a side-grade piece just for MM, I'll know which gem to slot in.
I am a little suspicious of both and RAWR as far as set bonuses. I suspect RAWR handles procs better. That said, I believe and the spreadsheet both would be a good verification step before anyone does anything ... drastic with their gear.

Friday, May 28, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 6

I keep doing some things wrong with this Marksman stuff.

First off, my instinct is to hit my Explosive Shot as soon as a mob needs some serious damage. My Explosive Shot button is actually my Chimera Shot button. So this is great on a boss who I have already stung. I slam that home every time it is available. But on add mobs or trash I'm usually not thinking to throw them a sting. That was a dps lose for Survival. So I'm hitting them with my big shot -- except it's really a Chimera without a sting to Chimera at all. Chimera fires off and then I realize it wasn't exactly a big hit. /sigh.

My second thing is I hit Serpent Sting accidentally too much. I hit it when I shouldn't. I do hit it when I need to upgrade my chimera rolling sting on a boss. But I also sometimes hit it and effectively downgrade the sting and waste the overlapped DoT to boot.

Why do I do this with Serpent Sting? Well, as SV I'm good -- very good -- at keeping my Serpent Sting up. As soon as it falls off, I slap it back on. I do this by a little macro trick of not having the button be available until I switch targets or until the duration expires. So I see the button become available again. I don't have this visual aid as MM. I just see it available and want to hit it.

I'm not doing Readiness as well as I could. This is mostly timing and knowing when a heroism will be sneaking in. We're also downing bosses quicker and quicker so it's harder to guess. Clearly I'd like to use rapid fire four times in a fight and manage to get some back to back kill shots. But it's a little bit of an art form and I'm only using finger paints at the moment.

I'm not doing burst damage on adds very well. I had to move backward on the blood beasts. And I felt hamstrung on Putricide adds. Maybe that's just the thing with Marks and if I don't like it on those bosses I should flip to SV.

So last night on Dreamwalker I flipped to SV. And then on the vampire Queen I was MM.

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Detour to PvP

It was probably just some luck of getting PvPers who will buff and maybe kill healers first, but I think I like silencing shot better than wyvern sting.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 5

I'm playing the marksman tree with arcane shot. At least until I get my armor penetration up. This means I need to have a lot of keybinds. I generally only put spell abilities on my number keys. With Survival, I made accommodations for space by using clever macros with multiple casts or castsequences. I also desire to not have the layout be significantly different than my Survival layout. So I am painted in as far as the number of slots I have and what I can do with them.

This is my Steady Shot Meat-n-Potatoes Macro. I might be casting Steady when I'm just grinding around or when I'm conserving mana. I don't need to add a lot of stuff with long cooldowns or mana-draining abilities here. I don't let it complain if KC or Howl aren't available yet. (No worries!)
#showtooltip Steady Shot
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0

/cast [target=pettarget,exists] Kill Command
/cast Furious Howl

/console Sound_EnableSFX 1

/cast !Auto Shot /cast Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This is my new "What the heck is Arcane Shot?!?" macro. Nothing special to say except that if I'm tossing in Arcane shots then I have mana to spare and I want DPS up. So I also toss a Silencing Shot if it is available. This isn't great for PvP ... unless you're only dueling.
#showtooltip Arcane Shot
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0

/cast Silencing Shot

/console Sound_EnableSFX 1

/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast Arcane Shot
This is my similarly-made Aimed shot macro. Same disclaimers as Arcane shot as far as use and use in PvP.
#showtooltip Aimed Shot
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0

/cast Silencing Shot

/console Sound_EnableSFX 1

/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast Aimed Shot
It's sad to say, but I never had Call of the Wild macro'd before. I ... *gasp* had it on Auto. Well, now that I have a bunch of gear procs I do have a decent reason to lay it all on. I also give myself a little reminder to do it all again when my load is spent. I think that's kinda cool. And I need the reminder. Unfortunately heroic instance bosses don't usually last more than 15 seconds so I haven't had much use for it yet.
/cast Rapid Fire

/cast Call of the Wild

/in 15 /w Kheldul BLOW IT ALL -then- READINESS
Here's my initial sting button. I don't really know if the Howl benefits the sting. But I'm certainly not going to put in a /in 1 before casting the sting. You want to sting multiple targets, right? Oh, and I do have Bite on Autocast. That said if I happened to have him sitting around this would make him leap into the fray. And the sting is usually the first shot. IFF I wanted him to stay by my side, then I have to hit the sting and control-2 him back. So, you might want to remove that whole section.
#showtooltip Serpent Sting
/cast Furious Howl

/cast Serpent Sting

/use [@pettarget,harm,exists] Bite

/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 4

I'm in the unfortunate place of not having a four piece T10.5. I'm also in an unfortunate place of having my two T10.5 pieces match two of my three T9.5 pieces. I have two T10.5 and two T10. And of course the two pieces of T10.5 that I do have are the ones that do not have the Armor Pen stats. It's probably why I got them. Armor Pen wasn't the big Survival spec stat of choice.

I've been browsing up/side/down-grades. I have access to emblem gear, occasional VoA-25, ICC-25, and ICC-10H. On ICC-10H however, I'm usually not going to raid an extra night or two to do it. That said, it has some nice stuff.

Here's the list of mail gear with Armor Pen and Hit that I have theoretical access to. Pretty short list, right? And all are technical downgrades except for the Handgrips of Frost and Sleet from ICC-10H. Here's the full list of Armor Pen mail (grouped by slot) that I have or could get.

I have about 110 emblems of frost to spend. The cloak side-grade is easy. But then it's a toss up between the T10.0 chest and the emblem chest. Stat for stat the emblem one is ahead, it's even ahead for the T10.5 version, but the tier chest has set bonus options.

I think I'm going to have to get another 40 emblems or so and then work on getting drops. Once I get a side-grade drop or two, I'll be able to fill the rest in with emblem gear.

And of course there are always some future outright upgrades.

In my next post I will share some of my macros.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 3

I've started doing random heroics again now that I realize I may need to get some side-grade ArPen gear. I got assigned to an Oculus group. The tank insta-dropped. We signed up again and waited. And waited. Well, after 5 minutes I whipped out my turtle. Interestingly enough I was perusing the pet talents and noticed that it was borked. Badly.

It appears that if you go from 51pt BM to something non-51pt BM all your pets talent trees are hosed. I didn't really have 36 talent points. I had 16 to spend, but I couldn't spend them on any of the talents I wanted.

The solution is to head to your pet trainer and re-talent all your pets while you are in your new MM spec. Yes, all your pets. Re-spec'ng pets doesn't appear to cost anything.

Friday, May 21, 2010

On The Road To Being a Marksman - Part 2

With Marksman it is much more important to apply new stings when you are under the effects of a temporary buff. The effect is applied to the DoT. And Chimera Shot will renew the existing DoT. This means I really need to see when I'm under the effects of a good proc or stack of procs. I need to get this visually queued up with Power Auras or Need to Know. I tweaked Need to Know a bit last night, and I owe Power Auras a re-visit.

I need to work out if it's in my interest to do Arcane Shots. I'm not liking what my bars are looking like. ;-)

I went to my bank vault last night to pull out "all my Tier 9.5 gear". Unfortunately it appears that I only have the gloves, pants, and shoulders. These are about as bad as it gets in the tier 9.5 category. Why? Well first: I have Tier 10.5 pants and gloves. I have the Tier 10.0 stuff, but ouch. I really want to keep the Tier 10.5 and the set bonus. The decision on upgrading those pieces from T10 to T10.5 was made in the context of being a SV hunter and having other really good SV iLevel 264 gear for other slots. Now I'm wondering if I need to farm for the other T9.5 or T9.75 (Heroic) gear. In either case, down-shifting to Tier 9.5 isn't looking as easy as going to my closet.

I need to see which MM gear (side-grades) I should take. I've got about enough for one piece of token gear.

I need to revisit my macros. Some will need Marksman versions and Survival versions. Some are just for Marksman.

I need to spend some time with a target dummy.

On The Road To Being a Marksman

In my last post, I mention that I got my tipping-point trinket and have started on the road to being a marksman hunter. Marksman was my first choice far back in vanilla wow some 5+ years ago. I'm coming back and it has changed a lot.

I started with a pretty basic Marksman talent allocation. I'm quite iffy on the Arcane Shot talents. I may go with a more mana-ful allocation. And of course if when I get MM-sidegrades I will need to pick up some hit via the talents.

The first thing I did when I loaded up the new talents was to start making the button layout as similar to my SV layout as possible. I don't need to be hunting around for the MD button. I want Silencing Shot where Wyvern Sting is. Etc. Etc.

The second thing I did was to just try the damn spells.

The third thing was to get the right Glyphs.

And the fourth thing was to make my Serpent Sting duration bar thicker and a more eye-catching color. It's now green instead of brown.

There is a huge amount of stuff left to do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Taking the Plunge

Deathbringer's Will dropped last night and I won the bid. To re-count my previous choices when this happened, I am being pointed pretty strongly at a Marksman build.

So after the raid, I headed to Ironforge, flipped to my Pet-Tank BM spec and -BIG-GULP-re-spec'd it Marksman. I then queued for a random heroic while I worked out the details.

Well unfortunately, the heroic popped before I even had my pet-tank stuff off my bars, let alone having MM spells there. So I flipped to SV to just get it done.

The pug matching algorithm needs some help. I got slotted in with four people all from the same server who were in 2100-3900 gearscore gear. (I sit a little over 6k.) They all died on the first pull of Gundrak. I manage to kill off the last two mobs. On the first boss, the DK is doing quite literally nothing and something glibs the tank. As I'm waiting for them to ghost back in a second time, I pull out Flash, my Turtle and swap to my pet-tank gear. Flash is at around 33k health. Not crazy-good, but higher than the tank. And unfortunately, I could no longer go to my BM tank spec.

From that point on, things went smoothly. I continued to MD to the tank, but Flash OT'd one or two mobs. In my +stamina gear (I was around 44k health) I did a little under 60% of the damage.

So while this was a sad little pug, it made me realize that I don't have to give up pet tanking just because I'm giving up a talent allocation designed for it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Maxing DPS with Disengage in ICC

I use disengage in every ICC fight except the gunship. It's a very fast way to move and not delay shots.

I don't try to use it for running straight faster though. I'm a combo mouse and keyboard mover. It works well for me. And running without stuttering your movement delays auto shots and lowers your DPS. So I'll usually do a slightly not straight move. I run straight, stutter, strafe-turn-disengage then mouse-turn back. Depending on cooldowns, I might also let steady-shot turn me as its castbar progresses.

Here's how I use disengage in ICC.

There is often a lot of distance to cover. Plus it's great to clear frost lines.

Lady Deathwhisper
I generally DPS LDW and am responsible for the back guy (who is tanked). I hit disengage after DPS'ng and mouse turn in midair with a MD on the rear tank. After downing the rear mob, I quite literally strafe some side mobs on the return to the boss.

Disengage straight back if my bloodbeast gets too close. This happens surprisingly little. But in a pinch it's great with a slow trap and a concussion shot.

Move out of center in one click, just aim your butt for something not overly green.

If I'm not the collapse spot, it's how I move to my spot after a collapse. Quick rotate, disengage, quick rotate (possibly via steady shot which will rotate you while winding your cast bar).

No specific use here, but it's often to get in range of a dps target instead of moving away. You do have to choose one or another and it's probably just easier for me to properly disengage when I'm under less pressure. I do occasionally use it in the final burn phase.

I'm usually on kiting and safe-killing duty of the explosive zombies. It's great for kiting. It's also great for getting to DPS a blazing skeleton on the other side of the very large room.

Blood Princes
I'm not usually on kinetic bombs. One of the luxuries of having a bunch of hunters. So I use it to get to far range of the everyone-spread-out shock vortex.

Blood Queen
Again, I use it to get to far range for a spread-out before the fear timer hits. Basically it just gives me a little more time DPS'ng the boss.

I haven't killed her in 25man yet. Chalk it up to business travel and light attendance? But it's pretty common to pop it after the pull-in.

Lich King
Supposedly if you are carried by the Valkyries, you can get a priests' levitate and disengage back from the cliff if they drop you. I tried to do it without a friendly priest and it just launched me under the platform for a long long time. I did use it in other ways. But I used it sparingly. I used it for positioning on killing the Valkyries. I used it in killing and kiting orbs. I used it when a Valkyrie grabbed someone and then we had to move for the black ooze. But that's luck of the timer. Generally, I didn't use it anywhere near a ledge. With a 25 second cooldown on Disengage and a 15 minute plus fight you could use it a silly number of times.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fun and Exhaustion and Pet-Tank Gearing

I was starting to get sick and way too tired to raid last night. Luckily, there were people available to take my place.

I did work on my pet-tank set a bit more after Wednesday's raid. Maybe that's why I was exhausted. I'm up to 40k health on the hunter with zero buffs. That gets my turtle up to about 33k. Not too shabby given all the benefits pets get with regard to +heal and what-not.

I've really only three additions. One is completely normal and acceptable: the Wrathful Gladiator's Chain Leggings. One is completely silly amounts of stamina for pet-tanking, but whose "Use:" works surprisingly well in PvP too: the Corroded Skeleton Key. And the last is better than sharding for sure. It's a second Distant Land. Both my pet-tank and PvE dps have the 110AP enchant. But one has two blues, and the other has two reds.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What is the Will of Deathbringers?

There is a decision that I will need to make soon. That decision point is when my last non-iLevel 264 item is replaced by Deathbringer's Will (DBW).

I am currently dual spec in Survival and Pet-tanking. I enjoy both. Survival is my raid spec. I provide replenishment and it is seemingly in short supply lately. But when this trinket lands I know that I can get a lot more dps by changing to Marksman. And not just Marksman using Agility and all my current gear -- but Marksman Armor Pen and all new gemmed gear. We're talking about getting rid of one of my two favorite talent trees and possibly all different gear in exchange for a large dps gain.

Here's the deal:

10707Current gear and SV
10803Current gear and SV and DBW
11349Marks Agil with current gear (and T9.5x2)
11517Marks Agil with current gear (and T9.5x2) and DBW
11559+Marks ArP with essentially different gear and DBW

The "+" is because I haven't even looked at using different ArPen-focused gear.

So when DBW drops, I can just equip it and get ~+1% dps under ideal circumstances. Or, I can change talents, swap out gear, re-gem everything, and get over an 8% dps improvement. And as an intermediate step, I can try out Marks without changing much gear and get a 7% increase.

The problem here is that I only have dual specs, not tri specs. And of course it would be great to have a PvP-specific spec... I'm not sure how I want to handle it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Traveling and Great Places To Camp

Raiders! Krasus’ Landing sucks. If you aren't a mage, you have your hearth in Dalaran. Going from one of the few inns out to Krasus’ Landing and then flying to ICC requires you do dodge all of Dalaran's no fly zone. You can skirt to the north and/or below Dalaran. But it is just irksome.

I loved it when ToC was the thing to do. Not because it was a good instance -- it wasn't near the top of the list. But I liked it because of the portal tabard. The Black Temple was a good instance, if but a little too hard. And it had a very nice neck piece for frequent visitors.

Now, if you have an engineer, you can use your personal wormhole to flip around Northrend once every four hours. That only helps you with The Eye and Ulduar, which don't see much activity these days.

Express Raider Travel Options
Since they're not going to rotate Dalaran 180 degrees any time soon and point Krasus' Landing in the right direction, I'll give you two very nice alternatives. Pleasant even!

Hearth and Travel Option #1: If you really like to camp at one of the two public respectable inns in Dalaran instead of riding to Krasus' Landing and then flying around Dalaran, ride to the Violet Citadel. Take the portal up near the rep vendor, opposite the portal to Tanaris. Once in the Purple Parlor walk outside. Mount up and fly directly to ICC.

Hearth and Travel Option #2: If you don't mind the smell of garbage and blood, set your inn to the one down below in the sewers. When you hearth, you will be a quite literally just a step away from a vendor, your bank, the guild vault, and a mailbox. When you want out, just mount up, and ride down the tunnel. Switch to your flying mount at the end and fly directly to ICC.

I'm still using Option #1. I like to see people and don't mind capturing gearscores as I do. But option #2 really is just missing an AH and toilet. Then you'd never have to leave.

Logging In The Field

When I raid, I usually login with only a few minutes before the start of a raid. So I will usually fly Kheldul to the instance and logout right there -- either a day or two in advance. I'll resupply with mail from my alt courtesy of my squire. I'll mount up and repair and sell any junk I don't need. Those two items are really great for staying out in the field. Engineers of course have other options.

Camping the Auction House

For anyone who supplies (or "plays") the auction house, there is a great little spot for Alliance players. Not many talk about it because it does provide a competitive advantage. The spot is in Stormwind and you can access your mailbox and auction house without running between the two. Make a macro to target the left-most AH vendor. Then hotkey an "interact". You can interact with her by banging on the wall -- while standing next to the mail box outside. It's... glorious.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Alternate Identities Supporting Your Main

I have two level 80 characters. I don't talk much about my alt, Khelark, but she's pretty great for an alt. While she is fun to play in her own right, she is mainly there to support Kheldul.

1) She makes all the serious money. She does it by "creating value". She's got tons of gem cuts. She usually has between a half-dozen and dozen uncut epic gems of every flavor in her inventory. She supplies AH with a steady stream of the things people need at a reasonable profit.

2) She is often camped at the Auction House. She makes sure Kheldul has ammo, flasks, speed pots, and even health pots.

3) She makes sure Kheldul has all the right epic gems he needs in the mail for dps and pet-tanking... often fetch-able during a raid thanks to Knight Kheldul's other loyal supporting squire. And if Kheldul gets some loot on a Wednesday, Khelark just buys him the suitable enchant if nobody is available to do it, before the Thursday raid.

4) While she has bought herself a few nice things (1, 2, 3) for 9-12k gold each, she gives Kheldul plenty of goodies -- some that even have very useful effects.

5) She converted plenty of things to BoA honor tokens and sent them to Kheldul so he could get honor gear twice as fast.

6) Finally, she supports Kheldul as a release valve. If I want to do a PUG, a 5.4k gearscore healer can get an invite pretty quick. I don't have to worry about raid locking my main. I don't have to go over-board focusing on the most minuscule issues on my hunter. A healer can make or break a group. And there are new sometimes unexpected challenges. "Can I heal and dps more than the dps?" Last week, I solo-healed VoA-10 and went on a reasonably successful ICC-25 PUG. I even have proof of doing the easy gunship battle in heroic. Release valves are a good way to keep your main fresh.