Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For the.....Horde?

While Blizzard's announcement that you will soon be able to switch Factions didn't really surprise me, from a lore point of view I'm rather horrified.

After all, I may not be an RP'er, but I still do think of Phyllixia as an individual with a personality, allegiances and a history; changing Phyllixia's race, class, name or faction would change her entire character.

From a practical point of view.... well, a few of my guildies (and, I'm sure, many others) are excited about the prospect; there will probably be a few more alts in our guild when the option becomes available.

Personally, I wouldn't switch - not only because of the friends and acquaintances I've accumulated while PuGging and raiding with my Alliance guild, but also because "Phyllixia" is a night elf, not a blood elf, and she serves Tyrande.

Of course, if Blizzard ever decides to add Forsaken hunters, Tyrande had better be prepared to argue her case to keep me!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

3v3 Arena Weekend

GotFrag has finally released videos of the MLG Columbus WoW 3v3 Arena tournament some weeks ago, which includes full coverage of every single match.

While there weren't any brilliant 1v2s a la Orangemarmalade, some of these were definitely worth watching (you could probably skip most of the voiceover commentating if you're just interested in actual Arena footage, but the commentators were actually quite amusing in between games).

Rogue/Mage/Priest teams of course still dominate, although there are a couple of Rogue/Lock/Shaman and cleave teams thrown into the mix.

Unfortunately the single hunter (in a holy pally/DK/hunter team) didn't have a very exciting role, so there isn't much hunter action.... but then, this is Arena; besides that one European team with Nihilum's Cherez in Season 2, hunters just aren't a good fit.

In other related news, this weekend is the Blizzard regional finals for WoW and WC3, and the European site is streaming all of the action live.

I was interested to see that some of the competing 3v3 Arena teams are using totally different compositions (Shaman/Hunter/Mage and Priest/Pally/Shaman, for example), so I'll be keeping an eye out for how well these teams do against the dominant RMP.

If you can't watch live, WC3 replays are up on the site already, but expect to wait weeks for the 3v3 Arena videos, if last year is anything to go by!

**Edit: 3v3 Arena vids are actually going up right now. Props to the Blizzard web team!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vice Versa

Lately I've been feeling rather amused - or maybe wistful - at the thought of how my "main" (BM) and "off" (Survival) specs have been playing out for me.

Occasionally - fights with adds in particular, which is actually quite a few Ulduar fights - my PvP-Survival spec (which I was using either for Replenishment or because I've forgotten to switch out) has out-DPSed my PvE-BM spec.

On the flip side, my all-DPS 3v3 Arena team benefits more from theburst damage of BM than the CC my Survival spec provides.

What to do? Should I switch to using BM for PvP and Survival for PvE (keeping the same talents I already have, of course - I'm not "BM spec since beta" for nothing and I'm certainly not going to start speccing the latest fashion now!)?

I'm pretty sure my BM spec would still out-DPS my Survival spec in fights where mana and adds aren't an issue (Replenishment and AoE capability put Survival way ahead of BM in these cases, even when it's a PvP spec), but it's hard to tell when my guild doesn't use the same raid composition from week to week.

Or... maybe I should switch specs according to fights - BM for fights like Ignis and Hodir; Survival for Razorscale and Freya, for instance?

Hmm... now that I think about it, that actually sounds like fun. It'd be a challenge trying to keep my shot rotation straight if I'm switching from one spec to another every other fight - perhaps I'll try that in one of my guild raids and see how I go!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Deterrence, while great in theory, is extremely awkward to use.

People tell you it's "bad" to keyboard turn and back up - and it is - but to use Deterrence you have to do exactly that to make it work.

Thankfully, a Blizzard post has given me hope it will be changed to 360 degrees, which would enable us to do what we do best - run out and get range - without having to face our opponents:
At this point we are probably likely to keep RoS as is (though we may have room to lower the cooldown a little) but buff Deterrence by removing the facing requirement. Deterrence is supposed to be your survival tool and RoS is supposed to be a cool bonus ability.
The Roar of Sacrifice change had me complaining in my previous post, but a Deterrence change would definitely go a ways towards making up for it - the only thing we'd have to worry about while protected by a 360deg Deterrence is facing another hunter.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Patch 3.PvP

Patch notes for 3.PvP, a.k.a. 3.2, are up.

Why 3.PvP? Well... most of the changes I thought were interesting are related to PvP, with only a couple of PvE changes making me sit up. Let's see....
The newest season of Arena gear can only be purchased if you meet the requirements with your 3 or 5-player team rating.
Wow, what a blow to 2v2ers. Sure, it's a bit more of a scissors-paper-rock bracket than the other two, but I've always found that bracket fun. There wouldn't be any reason for "hard core" Arena-ers to do it any more.
Players with experience gains turned off who compete in Battlegrounds will face off only against other players with experience gains turned off.
Well... it's now easier for twinks to *be* twinks... but when you enter the battleground you're not really "twinked" compared to the other twinks, are you? I'm sure we'll see twinks trying to get around this to join the "regular" battlegrounds.
Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead.
One of two major non-PvP changes that made me think. If heroics drop Conquest, there may be less people going to Naxx/Maly/OS... not great for PuGs, although it's good that heroics will be visited again.
All items that provide "X mana per five seconds" have had the amount of mana they regenerate increased by approximately 25%.

Replenishment: This buff now grants 1% of the target's maximum mana over 5 seconds instead of 0.25% per second.
The other non-PvP change... and a nerf. What hunter has more than a token few Mp5 points from gem(s) on their gear?!
All pets now receive 40% of their master's resilience and 100% of their master's spell penetration.
About frickin' time, but what about armour penetration? And is 40% really enough Resilience?
The time that traps will exist in the world after being put down has been reduced to 30 seconds, down from 1 minute.
This will make setting up chain trapping slightly more difficult, since you won't be able to set it up early and wait for the trap cooldown.
Traps now have separate 30-second cooldown categories: Fire (Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap and Black Arrow), Frost (Freezing Trap, Frost Trap) and Nature (Snake Trap). A hunter can have one trap of each category placed at one time.
OK, not bad at all. Survival hunters in particular will have an extra Entrapment from Snake + Freeze/Frost, and be able to use Black Arrow to boot. Guess I'll have to move some of those traps back onto my bar.
Roar of Sacrifice: Redesigned. This ability can now be used on any friendly target to make that target immune to critical strikes, but the hunter pet takes 20% of all damage taken by that friendly target. Cooldown increased to 2 minutes.
Buff to PvP.... major nerf to PvE. Using it to reduce incoming damage when doing elite soloing just got that much harder.
  • Added a new pattern for Flask of the North, usable by players with a high alchemy skill. The recipe is purchased from Northrend trainers. Flask of the North increases your spell power, attack power or strength for 1 hour and is usable in Arenas. It is not consumed when used.
  • Endless Healing Potion and Endless Mana Potion no longer usable in Arenas. Amount of health and mana has been increased, and the cooldown reduced.
Had to add this one in, since I'm a Herb/Alchy - I'm not sure whether I should call this a buff for Arena or not. Stats are definitely nice, and the Endless potions definitely needed a buff in terms of how much HP/mana they gave you, but sometimes that extra HP boost was enough to keep me alive.

There were many other changes that interested me, but aren't hunter-related as such, so I'll refrain from discussing them here... this post is a pretty huge wall o' text as it is!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Epic upgrade IRL



When we're not madly AoEing, my new computer gives me up to 70-80fps in Ulduar, an instant (rather than - literally - 5-10min) load-in time for Dalaran and the ability to run (and tab out to) other programs running in the background without the 5min wait.

I've also discovered that my character's shadow isn't actually a small dark circle on the ground, which was rather disconcerting at first, but it's definitely growing on me - my drake flapping against snow was a good couple of minutes' entertainment.

Hooray for a better WoW experience!

(In case you're wondering - the settings for my old computer are fine for raiding; y0u won't miss any important boss spell effects. You could even lower the settings further than what I had)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

To die or not to die

When I started in WoW, there were many reasons I rolled a hunter rather than any other class.

A pet. A ranger. Shadowmeld. Sylvanas Windrunner.

One reason I didn't was Feign Death.

However, once I did train the spell, it was like a drug with no side effects. One that made you invincible.

Soloing group quests? Have a go and if it doesn't work out, Feign Death and start over. Aggro too many mobs? Feign Death and run away. Dazed off a mount? Feign Death, re-mount and continue. Spot a herb? Let my pet get aggro, gather the herb, trap the mob, Feign Death, mount up and get the hell out.

Unfortunately, my alts, which aren't hunters, don't have Feign Death.... and boy, do they pay for it.

I think, though, I'm starting to break free of my hunter habits and play classes as they should be played. For example, I'm finally confident enough on my mage to pull a group of melee mobs and AoE them down rather than killing them one at a time. My warlock has less downtime than my hunter while farming. Even my druid rarely dies after learning hotkeys for Swiftmend and Nature's Swiftness.

Of course, some things I still can't handle - I tried several times to solo Princess Tempestria on my druid, but always ran out of mana and health by the time I got her adds down and had to give up (I'm still certain it can be done; I'm just not as capable with the class yet... and my unusual spec probably didn't help either) - but my alts don't die nearly as much as when I started.

So, I'm happy I've weaned myself off the addiction
. Feign Death isn't a drug any more, it's a car.... and if I'm on a character that can't drive, at least I've trained myself to take the bus!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hunter elite soloing

For years, I'd followed the Hunter vs. World series, where Dysphoria, a Kiwi hunter on Frostmourne, managed to solo dungeons that technically shouldn't be soloable.

Unfortunately, Dysphoria retired from WoW, and although there were (and still are) forum threads floating around where hunters post about their epic soloing feats and how they'd managed it, I thought that was the end of videos.

Not so.

Haiatu from Nathrazim (going by the name Xhellhawkx to post vids) has managed to solo quite a few dungeons, including most of Molten Core, AQ20 and heroic Magister's Terrace.

Sure, it lacks the story and machinima quality of Dysphoria's Hunter vs World series, but it's nice to know there are still hunters out there that act as inspiration for the rest of us to try soloing old world content!

Monday, June 8, 2009

If only it was better than my gun....

I managed to snag Avalanche, a rather pretty bow (and a lovely name to boot!), from an Ulduar 10man PuG.

Unfortunately it's still a downgrade from the loud and obnoxious Giant's Bane (from Ulduar 25man) I'm toting at the moment, so I won't be using it.

Here's hoping 25man Auriaya will give me Siren's Cry (which is the same model and the only upgrade left besides the 25man Thorim hard mode Skyforge Crossbow) soon, although I still like the colours of Avalanche better!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beware the wolves

...especially the ones from Elwynn Forest.

This one apparently made the trek all the way to Exodar to slaughter my poor Lamb. No wonder I have so many minipets - the animations from these are totally worth the price!

(For the record, I have 81 so far, which is well over the 75 required for the Achievement)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I should zoom in more often

Zooming out is great for seeing incoming damage, flame walls and potential gankers.

Zooming in, however, appears to Pwn.