Friday, September 30, 2011

Hunter DPS Pro Tip #2: Information is Power You Need to Know

Take four minutes of your busy in-wow time and visit a target dummy.  Do this if you're a novice.  Do this if you're advanced.  Plow damage on the poor wooden thing.  While you're doing that, look at the things you don't normally look at on your screen.  Check your proc'd buffs.  Watch your timers.  Look at your key-presses.  See if your UI is showing you what you need to see and if it's pushing away the junk you don't need to see.

I bet in those four minutes you will find something you want to change -- and it will improve your play.

It might be getting a mod that alerts you to a proc.  I used to use Power Auras but I fell out of love with it.  I want to know the precise duration for a proc and sometimes even the internal timer for it to be available again.  I like a nice visible progress bar, so I use NeedToKnow.

When I visit a target dummy I am there to add something.  I always end up tweaking something else. Sometimes I remove something.  Too much information can be worse than too little.  Your brain starts filtering out stuff and you fail to notice important things.  Changing colors of UI components can help.  Making small macros.  Moving things around.

JS' Hunter Bar a.k.a Serenity
And there's also the opportunity to try new mods out.  Since I know your time is limited I'll only recommend one addon you may not have heard about: JS' Hunter Bar which is now re-written as Serenity.  It presents a focus bar with color shifting levels, shot availability, stings, CC timers, hunter mark status, and if something targeted needs tranq shotting.  I really have to say that it is quite powerful, well-organized, compact and doesn't tell you more than you need.  I use it in conjunction with a few NeedToKnow timers.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pet Tanking Ideas

Eidotrope over at suggests a number of ways to make hunter pet tanking a viable tanking option.  I do truly like the notion of pet tanking.  I have a mostly 378 item level pet tanking set gemmed and enchanted for mostly stamina for raid tanking.  But pet tanking is in a sad state.

One of my main concerns is that one tree would become a tanking tree.  This seems like a wrong move.  It would inevitably be the beast master tree, and I don't think that is a perfect match.

I would more envision it as another hunter aspect that works along the line of other class stances -- and with a redesigned Tenacity tree.  e.g.-
Aspect of the Beast (redesigned) is a hunter aspect that can be used with a tenacity pet.  When activated, it switches your bars, and has the character "ride" the pet.  All tenacity pet abilities are still possible through direct control.  In this aspect, the hunter is completely focused on controlling the pet and  takes no direct actions.  Because the hunter is not firing his weapon they are able to much more actively handle their pet; They help the pet cause more damage and threat with a better understanding of their opponent's weaknesses and they help the pet avoid a substantial amount of damage similar to druids.
Some pet abilities that are currently from pet talents would need to become baseline pet abilities.  Other abilities would need to be strengthened for proper tanking and boss tanking.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time for Heroic Modes

So, the nerf seemed pretty huge.  I was away for business last week, but the group did everything except Rag in one night.  That isn't new.  We usually got that with our normal group.  The big part was that the group had two or three people in the ten man that hadn't been on [m]any runs before.  So last night we went in and kicked Rag's belly and got him in the first hour.

Of course on the kill I got killed by a few un-healed Ragnaros lava bolts.  But again, that was because we barely knew what we were doing with the meteors and were using way too much of the platform.  But a brez fixed the problem.

In any case, if you're guild is like ours you'll be looking at which heroic modes to try out.  Our raid leader posted these stats on heroic boss kill order.  Unfortunately, I don't know exactly where to credit the numbers to.  Heroic Shannox is one hunters have a good role in.

H: Shannox: 12087 (34.13%)
H: Lord Rhyolith: 8393 (23.70%)
H: Majordomo: 6338 (17.90%)
H: Alysrazor: 5812 (16.41%)
H: Baleroc: 4876 (13.77%)
H: Beth'tilac: 4679 (13.21%)
H: Ragnaros: 312 (0.88%)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hunter DPS Pro Tip #1: Plan Your DPS

Get a mental picture of the important things you're going to do before you start a boss fight.  Specifically, think about the transitions, think about if you're going to need any burn phases or any AoE phases.  Understand what talent tree will get you and how you'll operate with that spec.   Plan when you want to rapid fire(s) to maximize its use but also to maximize it against specific targets (e.g.- when they're > 90% health).  Plan your on-use trinkets based on the rapid fire and bloodlust/heroism.  Plan when you need to already be at max focus for a phase transition instead of trying to scrape together focus.

Somewhat independent of the particular fight transitions, you should know how long the specific fight will be.  How many times should you be able to use Rapid Fire?  When will bloodlust/heroism kick in?  For on-use trinkets, how and when will you use them?  Will you be using a DPS potion or a health potion on the fight?

Generally, you want to stack your "power up" buffs.  Use your trinkets as often as possible, but do use them during rapid fire.  For proc events, monitor them.  They'll usually pop pretty soon into a fight, when they do pop your manual power ups to multiply the benefit.

This doesn't happen much in Cataclysm, but it used to sometimes be prudent to not blow everything at once.  There were some level 80 boss encounters where you might blow everything and then find yourself incapacitated for a substantial amount of time.  In those types of fights, spreading out some of the risk was more prudent.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What Hunter Class Leads Look For in Raider Apps

I'm the hunter class leader for my guild.  This was a bigger deal when we were actively raiding 25mans.  Now it's just a level of leader within the guild.  But I do evaluate applications for raiders.  For a ten-man raid, we like to have 15 or more active raiders so we can have a good group on any particular night.  People are absent some nights and you want to keep a balance of tanks, heals, and damage.  So we try to keep a few hunters on the raiding roster -- active or non.  We take posted applications ("apps") for raider positions.

When I look at an app, I want to see it written well.  It isn't a resume, but it is a reflection of the person behind it.  Will the person mix well?

After that, I go through a little checklist.

I look at the gear.  Does it all make sense?  Is it what they should be wearing at that stage of the game?  If they haven't done any FL content, have they done what they could with normal Valor points?  Have they done what they can with rewards from dailies?  AH items?  Rep?  Specifically, do they have the iLevel 365 items?  The two rings.  The boots.  The cloak. How are they progressing on the three tier-12 items?  The bracers?  The neck?

Then I look at gems and enchants.  Do they have the appropriate bonuses for BS, LW, Ench, JC, etc?  Are they using Agility gems unless they get a +20 agility socket bonus?  Do they have the helm and shoulder rep enchants?  Do they have the right meta gem?  Did they get a belt buckle?  The enchants don't need to be the most expensive versions, but really those prices are coming down a lot.

Then I look at talents.  Are they completely nuts, or is it a reasonable approximation of a good spec?

Then if things look okay so far, I look at their reforging.  I load them up in and/or  I really like to see their hit really close to 100%.  I want to see mastery sacrificed for crit and haste.

And finally, to know what they know, I look at what boss kills they've done and how many times they've done them.

In a nutshell for the TL;DR crowd:
  • Decent written app.
  • Badge gear.
  • Dailies / Rep gear.
  • Proper gems.
  • Proper enchants and rep enchants.
  • Reasonable talents.
  • Good reforging.
  • Bosses they farmed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Classic Tips inc

I plan on going through my two dozen hunter DPS tips -- clean them off -- prune them for patch differences -- and lay them out once again all nice and pretty.