Friday, October 31, 2008

Phyl can cook

(so can you)!

A kind guildie (thanks Az!) who has an alt Horde-side donated the recipe for Dig Rat Stew to me last night, which now means I have every single Cooking recipe (and also every Alchemy recipe) in the game.

I've spent a lot of time and effort into collecting these recipes, so it's nice that Alchemy will have some profession-specific perks come WotLK. Until I added Lifeblood to my hotbar, every time a hunter-relevant leatherworking pattern dropped in raids, or someone would come past with their rings nicely enchanted, I felt a little left out... Not any more :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chill, mate

Although news from the Blizzard camp indicates that the zombie plague ends today, I wanted to comment on something that always amuses me when there's a one-off world event going on: people that complain constantly about it.

Because Proudmoore is a PvE realm, some people have been rather upset about the "forced" PvP aspect, and the lack of NPCs, of this latest world event. Understandable, I suppose (I'm a PvPer at heart, so being the victim of continuous ganking - or gleefully ganking people myself - doesn't faze me in the least), and most have the decency to keep complaints in-guild and not whine on the forums or trade chat... but not all.

Seriously... why?

To me, this world event was a great idea. It gives the RPers a reason for their character to go to Northrend, it gives PvPers a taste of total anarchy, it gives PvEers a couple of quests and a new raid boss and it gives everyone something new to do while waiting for WotLK:

No bankers in Ironforge? Go to Exodar.
Can't put your auctions up? Well, no-one can buy anything either.
Lowbie alt getting one-shot? Do as the PvP servers do - log your main (or get help from guildies/local defense) and clear the place out so you can quest in peace.

Hardcore raiders and PvPers were forced to do Shattered Sun dailies so that they could raid Sunwell and get Season 4 started, so to haters of the zombie event:

Chill out, and consider yourselves lucky that it didn't last as long as the SSO one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dear Zombies

If you're going to raid Darnassus, at least have the decency to kill Staghelm while you're at it.

...Oh, and invite me, too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's a jump to the left....

...and a step that's so right!

Hunter news from WotLK beta:
  1. Ranged attacks no longer benefit from the haste effects of Windfury Totem and Improved Icy Talons. This is a nerf to hunter white damage.

  2. We are also improving the armor on level 83 raid bosses by 10%. This will be a nerf to the dps of any class that does physical damage. For classes that would slide behind with such a change, we'll take steps to adjust them -- though it probably isn't as many as you think. The raid buff stacking overhaul was very beneficial to melee (and hunters). Sunder / Expose Armor alone can be a 20%+ dps increase, which is why we decided to attack the problem from this angle.

  3. Now the armor change won't affect PvP at all and the haste buff change will only have a marginal affect in BGs and only in Arena teams that include certain comps. However, in order to make sure we didn't nerf hunters too much, we made two changes to Disengage. First, its cooldown dropped to 25 sec (from 30) which can be talented to 16. Second, it no longer requires a target, but does require you to be in combat. Now if someone closes to melee, you can leap back without having to select them first. We require you to be in combat though so we don't see a lot of hunters bouncing around IF / Org or using it like Blink to goofily speed up travel.

#3 is what interests me most; I think most people would agree that hunters were OK in PvE DPS-wise.

Disengage not requiring a target is a great move. If we don't have to be in melee range to use it, it means that we can keep *other* classes out of our melee range by pre-emptively using Disengage, before they can catch up to us.

In fact, we can basically adapt our "jumpshot-kite" method to Disengage... only in reverse!

(Being fairly uncoordinated in game as well as in real life, I'm expecting a lot of deaths from accidental cliff jumping while Disengaging to stay ahead of an elite melee mob I'm trying to solo kite, but I'm sure it'll be fun... :D)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

High Achiever

Everyone is doing it; don't bother trying to deny it.

Whether it be working through the PvP list, the raiding list, the exploring list, the quests, or the current Hallow's End list, we're all madly scanning the new Achievements tab and ticking things off.

Personally, I've been concentrating mainly on picking up low level quests and running through the lower level instances; not only am I curious to see whether there actually *are* 3000 quests in the game currently, but doing them also lets me work towards the explorer's list, the dungeons list and reputations.

I've also been quite lucky with the Hallow's End stuff - last year I'd grabbed the Hallowed Helm because no-one wanted it back then, and a couple of days ago I managed to win the roll for a Sinister Squashling.

....Not that I would bother changing my title. I'm not one for following the crowd; I'll probably end up just sticking with "Challenger"!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Releasing my inner mage

In every other computer game but WoW, I've tended to pick the casters. Sorceress in Diablo 2, mage, wizard, all that stuff.

I didn't pick a mage in WoW (mainly because of Sylvanas Windrunner), and really, hunters aren't all that different - they use mana, they're ranged... but until now, they never had any decent AoE.

...I'm really hoping Blizzard doesn't nerf Volley until I finish AoEing through all the low-level instances.

(Also.... running a BT PuG and ending up #1 DPS over the mages and druids - we didn't have any warlocks - by a good 1% while spamming Volley was absolutely hilarious, considering I don't have the best gear. Enjoy it while you can! :D)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aspects of change

Breaking news on the WotLK hunter forums!

Everyone's favourite Blizzard crab Ghostcrawler has announced that:

  • Aspects are OFF the global cooldown
  • Hunters will get a NEW Aspect called "Aspect of the Dragonhawk" at level 75 that will combine Hawk and Monkey
  • All spells/talents/glyphs that affect Hawk and Monkey will be applicable to the new AotD (AotDH?)

I know we won't get it until level 75... but I'm still /cheering like mad anyway. No global cooldown and one less ability to have on my bar to look forward to has got to be a good thing :D

Stables Shuffle

New patch, new pets! :D

I have farewelled Hydrastorm, my faithful raiding pet for BC. He served me well, and hopefully he will find his way back to his original home.

I do, however, welcome 3 new pets into my stables to join Shadow, my new raiding/DPS pet:

Seismic the gorilla - AoE grinding tank
Koopa the turtle - Single target tank
Razor the ravager - Arena PvP

Until I get Razor levelled up, Vampyr the bat shall serve as my Arena PvP pet.

Hooray for the new pet system and more stable slots! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spec for 70-80

Unlike the hordes of people that change their spec specifically to ease the levelling curve, I pick my talents to head immediately towards end-game. Luckily, BM actually *is* the recommended spec for levelling (although it's unfortunate that the same can't be said for my Destro warlock!).

Here are my picks for talents going into Patch 3.0.2, reasons behind my choices and something that may surprise those who know me: I won't be taming exotics!

End-game talents:
Level 70 talents:

Talent staples:

  • I have to take The Beast Within (BW). No question about it.
  • In the latest WotLK beta build, Readiness resets BW. This, to me, is much better than having an exotic pet - in PvE, you get the extra damage for twice as long; in PvP, you go twice as long without being CCed (not to mention you can also stun twice with Intimidation!). I only wish I could pick up Scatter Shot as well, especially since it's so low in the Survival tree... but you can't have everything!
  • I always pick up Hawk Eye - I love having the longest range in PvP, and it's also useful for kiting or staying far back out of the action in raids.

Talent Breakdown:

  1. Previously, I had always picked Endurance Training over Imp AotH, but testing the new pet talent tree in WotLK beta has me thinking I won't need it. 5/5 Imp Hawk it is!
  2. 2/2 Focus Fire, 2/2 Imp Revive, 1/5 Endurance Training, 5/5 Unleashed Fury. Not much to say for these; the choices aren't great for lower tier BM tree.
  3. 1/1 Aspect Mastery, 2/2 Imp Mend Pet - worth it for the points.
  4. 5/5 Ferocity, 2/2 Spirit Bond, 1/1 Intimidation, 2/2 Bestial Discipline - I've always liked Spirit Bond, and it's actually buffed enough in WotLK for people not to automatically dismiss you as dodgy if you take it (bonus! :D). BD - With the new pet abilities, having as much focus as possible can't be a bad thing.
  5. 3/5 Frenzy - It won't be up 100% of the time (4/5 is the usual), but I think it's enough and I want the extra point for elsewhere.
  6. 3/3 Ferocious Inspiration, 1/1 Bestial Wrath, 5/5 Serpent's Swiftness, 1/1 BW - nothing special here.
  7. 3/3 Longevity - Can't possibly pass up an even *shorter* cooldown for BW, Intimidation and pet specials (1.17min BW with Readiness and Glyph? HELL YES!).
  8. 5/5 Lethal Shots, 5/5 Mortal Shots, 1/1 Aimed Shot - Staples for the MM tree.
  9. 3/3 Careful Aim - If you think we have mana problems in BC, you haven't seen WotLK. We're going to need more +Int, and you can't go wrong with this talent.
  10. 2/2 Go for the Throat, 2/2 Rapid Killing, 1/1 Readiness - More pet focus, and 3min Rapid Fire (with Readiness!).
  11. 2 floating points in the MM tree - either Imp Hunter's Mark, Imp Stings or Efficiency; haven't decided yet.
  12. 3/3 Hawkeye - I like it, so there. :P
  13. 3 floating points in any tree - 3/5 Imp Tracking looks good, but I haven't decided on these. Is 1/2 Survival Instincts better than 2/5 Imp Tracking? Or possibly points in Invigoration (supposedly mediocre talent on beta), Frenzy (to get 4/5), Animal Handler (how easy will it be to "master" using Master's Call?) or Kindred Spirits? Or any of the talents I mentioned for the other floating points in MM? /ponder

Anyone have any ideas as to where to put my floating points? Have comments on this end-game spec? Think I'm crazy for being a self-confessed BM hunter and *not* want to tame exotics? I'd love to hear from you! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

WTB New Wardrobe

I know it's been said millions of times by others, but.... ZA gear is damn fugly.

On the upside, the ZA PuG that I got the helm and bow from was also my first kill of Hex Lord and Zul'jin (I'd missed my guild's killing of Hex Lord), so I would have been happy even if I hadn't received any loot :)

..../hide helm

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How far will your gear take you in WotLK?

The question that occurred to me as soon as I copied my character over to the WotLK beta realm was: How good is my lvl 70 gear?
No, of course I didn't level up and see what gear is replaced along the way... that would be way too easy (and time-consuming!).

Instead, I rode straight through Borean Tundra to the higher level areas... and here are my observations:

1. Phyllixia and Shadow vs Elite 74 mob: easy.

2. Phyllixia and Shadow vs level 80 melee mob: easy (I assume the skull was 80 because there were some level 79s).

3. Phyllixia and Shadow vs level 80 caster mob: would have been easy, but I accidentally aggroed a 2nd mob (a lvl 80 melee mob of the same type as shown above) and Shadow died :(

Things to keep in mind:

  • Cats are Ferocity (DPS) pets, not Tenacity (tanking) pets
  • Shadow was specced into Bloodthirsty
  • I was specced into Spirit Bond
  • I was NOT wearing my 2-set Riftstalker bonus, which would have provided extra healing (to the tune of 15% of my damage) to Shadow. I just didn't need it! :D
Acknowledgements: This post was brought to you by Death, and lots of it.

(In my defence, I didn't realize that you get to the higher level areas of Northrend via Borean Tundra and not Sholazar Basin, so I spent a lot of time trying to find the path :P)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Arena: Gear vs Skill?

This is an old topic, but I thought I'd spotlight it because I had a discussion recently with some guildies about whether people having a head start on Arena gear in WotLK would make that much of a difference.

In my opinion: Not as much as some people think.

Two videos I'd like to use to highlight my point are these:

2v3 Arena - Warrior/Druid: Rating 1650-1900
2v2 Naked Arena - Hunter/Priest: Rating 1700-1800;8628918;/fileinfo.html

Yes, they're old vids... but they still show that skilled players can climb their way up the Arena ranks whether they have good gear or not. They may not be able to hit 2000+, but they can definitely get a high enough rating for at least one piece of armour every couple of weeks... and really, that's all you need to catch up gear-wise.

If someone can do 2v2 naked against S2-geared people and get an Arena rating that in the current season would have been high enough for 4 pieces of Brutal Gladiator, I'm damn well not going to make any excuses for myself about being stuck in the 1600s due to sub-par gear! :P

Sunday, October 5, 2008

No pet food? No problem!

There are plenty of other websites out there that will inform you about the latest pet info from WotLK beta. However, I'm going to briefly review a particular aspect in the beta/PTR that I'm a fan of: Pet happiness.

Now, I raid. However, I don't like filling my bags with stacks of pet food. My current raiding pet is Hydrastorm, a green windserpent... and unlike the other raiding favourite, the ravager, Hydrastorm eats mage bread.

Once the new pet talents come in with Patch 3.0.2, Ferocity pets will be able to pick Bloodthirsty, a talent that enables your pet to gain happiness while fighting.

The setup:
  1. Fed Shadow up to full happiness (ie green).
  2. I let my pet die once (and it wasn't easy... I had to aggro at least 5 same-lvl mobs to make a decent dent in his HP).
  3. Rezzed.
  4. Shadow's happiness is now at "Normal" (ie yellow, not green).
  5. /petattack lvl 70 Wooly Mammoth Bull.

Each proc of Bloodthirsty gives +20 happiness (and heals approximately 70-80 HP for my stats), which most hunters would realize is more than a tick of "sub-standard" pet food (+17 happiness). Not only does Shadow solo the mammoth with ease (I can hardly see the shift in HP), his happiness is back to full about halfway through the kill!

Rhok on! :D

Friday, October 3, 2008

Actress for Hire, PST

Yesterday, I finally managed to finish collecting enough coins for a full Brewfest outfit.

As usual, I sat in front of my bank for 10min trying to decide what to get rid of so that I can actually fit them in.

Although I have my share of non-combat pets, mounts and tokens that will disappear from my bags in patch 3.0.2, the majority of my bank is actually filled with trinkets (over 30 at last count), various festival outfits and other items that are technically useless.

I have been known to bring out the old stuff on occasion (it was incredibly fun doing MC and Onyxia at 70 with Rhok, Hakkari blades, Lovely Black Dress, Cannonball Runner and Barov Peasant Caller), so I'm always glad I don't play a hybrid class that needs bank space for different gear sets. However, I often wonder why I bother - it's not like I've ever had a need for a pitchfork or disease cloud, but somehow, I can't seem to get rid of them.

Of course, I'm far from being the only person with bank space problems (at least I don't have a tabard addiction, for instance), but unless I decide to make a machinima and need the props, I really should sell all of that stuff. Yep.

......Excuse me while I farm for the Timbermaw trinket.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vote #1 for PuGs!

Well, I hadn't expected this so soon after putting a vote in for PuGs, but here it is:

A'lar and Rage Winterchill are both bosses that my guild has downed before, but we hadn't managed to be at the right place in the quest chain when we killed them.

Thanks to 2 different PuGs, Phyllixia is now attuned to Black Temple. Woot! :D

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pros/Cons of sticking to one class

Although I do have another 70 alt, I rarely spend time on her. Ditto my other alts, probably because most are on different servers to each other *and* my main (most are rerolls with RL friends). I have also never switched professions, or even my main talent tree.

Because of this, I tend to be a little... one-sided.

In my guild, I'm often the first to post on my guild forum with alternative kiting pathways for mobs, changes to hunter spells, tricks with traps or new ways to use Misdirect. I know not to blow mana trying to burst a mage down if they haven't used Ice Block yet, or to keep a Flare up when a rogue is around.

On the other hand... I rarely remember that mages can use Slow Fall and rogues Cloak of Shadows against raid bosses to prevent incoming damage.

The other day, I was in a ZA PuG. One of the other raid members, a tailor, used a Netherweave Net to snag the Dragonhawk trash scouts and prevent them from running away.

Now, although my warlock is a tailor and has this pattern, I'd never thought about the fact that they could be used on the scouts - a tip that could have helped my guild when we were wiping on that content.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has this problem, but I always have a /facepalm moment when I come across something that suddenly makes me realize that even though I'm an OK teacher in the Hunter subject, I'm still a student in everything else!