Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Part 1 - Attack, Follow and Stay
Part 2 - Aggressive, Defensive and Passive
Part 3 - General pet abilities
Part 4 - Species-specific pet abilities
To begin: there are 4 slots for pet-specific spells on our pet bar.
For me, the 2 left-most slots are the easiest to reach (Ctrl-4 and Ctrl-5), so the abilities I have here are both important for timing and on long(ish) cooldowns, such as Ravage (for timed stuns in PvP) or Call of the Wild (to coincide with burst DPS - Heroism/trinkets/Beast Within etc).
The right-most slots, if not required for the more important pet spells, are either emergency spells such as Heart of the Phoenix or Last Stand, or abilities that I need to make sure aren't on autocast (due to the bug where pet spells turn autocast on and off randomly if not on your pet bar), such as Growl for my raiding pets and Cower for my tanking pets.
Spells that do NOT need to go on your pet bar include things like Bite/Claw/Smack and Cower or Growl (ie spells that can be left on autocast ALL the time).
Anything left over that needs to be cast manually and you can't fit onto your pet bar, you will unfortunately have to macro and pull onto your player bar.
Prioritizing pet abilities for the pet bar
Ferocity pets are almost always used for DPS and not much else. Almost all of their abilities can be left on or off autocast due to their short cooldown, so you generally won't have problems organizing these.
As an example, here's my raiding wolf's pet bar:
In order, I have Call of the Wild, Dash, Growl and Heart of the Phoenix.
Call of the Wild and Dash (for moving pet in and out quickly) are really the only two spells that I need on the bar, since they need to be cast at specific times. Every other spell (Furious Howl, for instance) is on a short enough cooldown for me not to have to watch it.
To fill the last 2 slots I chose Heart of the Phoenix so I don't have to look for it when my pet dies and Growl because you REALLY don't want that spell on autocast in the middle of a raid and not notice. If you have Lick Your Wounds, I'd put that on the bar instead of Growl.
Do make sure you watch your pet's Focus though - occasionally I've found Bite to be turned off (due to the autocast bug), so if you see that your pet isn't using up Focus like it should be, just check and make sure that all the pet spells are casting appropriately.
Depending on what purpose your Cunning pet has, you'll need to have a look at your most important spells.
For PvP, this is usually the species-specific spell, since most people choose PvP pets according to these - Ravage or Pin, for example. Of the family-specific spells, Dash, Bullheaded and Roar of Sacrifice are common in PvP specs; you may also have Roar of Recovery.
Wait a minute - that's too many for the pet bar!
Well, if you have all of these, the best one to macro and pull onto your player bar is Roar of Sacrifice. This is mainly because to cast the spell, you need to be targetting someone to cast it on them - using a mouseover, focus or specific player macro can be more useful than having to target someone manually to cast it from your pet bar.
As for Carrion Feeder, it's an out-of-combat talent and it's therefore not essential to have ready access to it. PvPers are unlikely to have this talent anyway, since there are more useful places to spend a talent point; if you're using your Cunning pet for farming you can rearrange your pet bar accordingly (have Growl/Cower on there and leave the species-specific spell on autocast, for example).
For me, this is the worst pet bar to organize in terms of how many active talents you can get.
In the talent tree, you can get Charge, Last Stand, Intervene, Taunt, Roar of Sacrifice and Thunderstomp all at the same time if you feel like it, plus your species-specific spell and general pet abilities.
Personally, I only use my tenacity pets for farming or difficult soloing. My turtle's bar therefore looks like this:
In order, Last Stand, Roar of Sacrifice, Growl and Shell Shield, leaving Thunderstomp on autocast (I don't have the other active talents; if I did they would replace Growl).
If you're PvPing with a Tenacity pet (a crab, for instance), you will definitely want to macro Intervene and Roar of Sacrifice for your player bar, with Charge and your species-specific ability (Pin for a crab) on your pet bar.
Well... that's it for the Pet Control guide, finally! Feel free to post questions/comments (or email me) if you think I haven't covered something and I'll make sure to get back to you.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
If you don't know what I'm talking about:
Currently, the honour-only non-set pieces start at ilvl 226, with last season's Arena armour at ilvl 232 and weapons at ilvl 239. If you're lucky enough to get drops from Koralon (or good enough at Arena to get the current season's rated Relentless Gladiator gear), the ilvl starts at 245 for non-set pieces and goes up to 251 for weapons.
PvP gear is relatively easier to get than waiting for drops in raids, so if your raid is going for Flame Leviathan with towers up and having trouble, you may want to check if swapping in pieces of your PvP set is actually better than wearing your raiding gear!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Let me tell you, if you like Arenaing, you should watch these.
Not only is there significant hunter action (yes, really. Go watch because you may never see this many in LAN tournaments again!), but these were some of the closest Arena matches I have ever seen.
Since there are so many (I haven't even seen all of them myself yet), I'll recommend some highlights so far:
eMg vs anything
This team, comprised of hunter/enhance shaman/pally or priest (dubbed the "beast cleave" setup due to shaman ghost wolves and hunter pet), eventually won the overall competition.
In their first match (against Fnatic) there is a fairly decent stretch of hunter kiting, although the MVP of this team was definitely the priest/paladin Kintt (yes, the one that used to play for team Pandemic) - his instincts were flawless, particularly in the later matches.
Button Bashers vs anything
This Korean RMP, also known as HoN, is still the most aggressive and dynamic 3v3 team I have ever seen, even though they didn't make it through the round robin heats.
Anyone who follows the Arena scene will probably remember the mage Orangemarmalade; he hasn't dropped his game one bit and both his teammates Numberone (priest) and Hannival (rogue) have their moments too.
Match highlights are winning two 2v2s against a mage/priest (2 different teams) as both a mage/priest and a mage/rogue - not quite as spectacular as the 1v2 Orange pulled off in a previous tournament, but still very impressive.
The finals - eMg vs x6tence
It may not have been that close in the end, but who wouldn't want to watch not one, but two hunters in the finals of an Arena tournament - ZOMG!
They played key roles in winning their matches too, since more than one Freezing Arrow hit its mark - who would have thought it'd be worth the risk to use this spell instead of Frost Trap?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
I'd thought this day would come... my penchant for stacking Agility over AP probably helped, but since a PvP-Survival spec isn't too different from a PvE-Survival spec, it was only a matter of time, really.
2pc T7.5 + 2pc T8 is still more DPS than 4pc T8 for my BM spec, but 4pc T8 is now superior for my Survival spec. Basically, the order is:
BM 4pc T8 < BM 2pc T7.5 + 2pc T8 < Surv 2pc T7.5 + 2pc T8 < Surv 4pc T8
There isn't *too* much difference between BM and Survival - 40-60 DPS assuming an absolutely perfect shot rotation and raid conditions, so I'm not worrying too much yet, especially since paperdoll DPS never turns out to be the same as actual DPS.
If, however, it ever gets to the point where I'd do significantly more DPS with my PvP spec.... I might have to think about raiding with it as well, or at least change something in my BM spec to make it more raid-optimal.
Probably the former; I get attached to certain talents/glyphs; I don't know if I'd want to give those up!
Monday, September 7, 2009
The Beast Within - Save for coordinated burst DPS or to get out of being CCed
Intimidation, Scatter Shot - Use to interrupt a cast or stop a mob beating on someone
Silencing Shot - Use to interrupt a cast
Distracting Shot - Use to taunt a mob off your raid members (eg. a healer). If your tanks are taunting, it may be best to leave it to them as this shot is in the same diminishing returns category.
Wyvern Sting - Sleeps a mob; will leave a ticking sting on the target so you won't be able to CC it immediately afterward unless you replace the sting with Scorpid Sting
Scorpid Sting - Use on physical DPS mobs to make them miss
Chimera Shot - Use this after Scorpid Sting to disarm melee
Frost (or Freezing) Trap - Drop one as soon as the cooldown is up. Frost may be more useful overall for people to kite targets, particularly if you have Entrapment
Snake Trap - Chance of slowing target; if snake poison is on a target it will break CC, so may or may not be useful depending on strategy
Disengage - Use to kite melee (in conjunction with a snare if possible), or get into/out of range of a mob (or healer)
Deterrence - Use while being focussed
Feign Death - Use while being focussed or to break a spell cast (eg. sheep)
Master's Call - Use to break snares (eg. Frost Nova, Chains of Ice)
Wing Clip, Concussive Shot - Use on melee to slow their movement (towards any raid member; not just yourself)
Tranquilizing Shot - Dispell as much as possible (particularly the DPS target) to purge HoTs and buffs
Aimed Shot - Keep one up (particularly on the DPS target) for the Mortal Strike debuff to healing
Scare Beast - Usable on the hunter's pet
Counterattack - Very few hunters would have this (even the PvPers), but use to stun melee
- Certain pets have CC abilities (eg. Crab Pin, Ravager stun, Spider web, Nether Ray spell interrupt) and talents to help mitigate damage (eg. Roar of Sacrifice, Intercept)
- Certain hunter talents can also help (eg. Concussive Barrage), although a raid-specced hunter is unlikely to have them
- Keeping DoTs up (eg. Viper or Serpent Sting) will keep the rogue from vanishing and important debuffs from being purged; a Flare may help with the rogue as well
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Part 1 - Attack, Follow and Stay
Part 2 - Aggressive, Defensive and Passive
Part 3 - General pet abilities
Each "species" of pet has a unique ability. Some of these are tailored for DPS, others for PvP, others for tanking... and some are just random abilities that suit the pet but aren't as useful. Below, I've separated the various abilities into specific uses for comparison.
***Note: I am NOT going to argue the pros and cons of each pet here. There are plenty of other places where you can find out which pet is best for what purpose; this guide is about pet control only***
Single target DPS:
Cat: Rake (and Prowl)
Devilsaur: Monstrous Bite
Dragonhawk: Fire Breath
Raptor: Savage Rend
Scorpid: Scorpid Poison
Spirit Beast: Spirit Strike (and Prowl)
Wind Serpent: Lightning Breath
Moth: Serenity Dust
Wolf: Furious Howl
All of the above are pretty standard single-target DPS spells except for Furious Howl, Serenity Dust and the bonus ability Cats and Spirit Beasts get, Prowl. On the whole, these abilities (apart from Prowl) can be left on autocast, although since some of them are DoTs you may need to be careful if you want to use crowd control.
For Prowl, I personally have a macro on my player bar:
....since I like to use my cat for camping nodes in battlegrounds.
Crocolisk: Bad Attitude
Sporebat: Spore Cloud
Swipe and Spore Cloud can both be left on autocast, as their cooldown is quite short. However, keep in mind that Swipe only affects mobs in front of the Bear, and Spore Cloud acts like a Paladin's Consecration - it will only affect the area where it's dropped.
For Bad Attitude, I'd recommend pulling this onto the pet bar and leaving it off autocast, as it's a fairly long cooldown.
Bat: Sonic Blast
Bird of Prey: Snatch
Chimaera: Froststorm Breath
Core Hound: Lava Breath
Hyena: Tendon Rip
Nether Ray: Nether Shock
Serpent: Poison Spit
Silithid: Venom Web Spray
Worm: Acid Spit
As these stuns, snares, debuffs and DoTs are all situational and important to cast at the right time, I'd recommend pulling them onto the pet bar and leaving autocast off.
In some cases (Sting, Poison Spit, Lava Breath and Froststorm Breath, for instance), the spells are on fairly short cooldowns, so you may be able to get away with leaving them on autocast. However, you still run a risk of not catching your opponent out if your pet runs out of Focus or the autocast is mis-timed and wasted.
Carrion Bird: Demoralizing Screech
Tallstrider: Dust Cloud
Turtle: Shell Shield
Demoralizing Screech can be kept on autocast, as it's a fairly short cooldown.
Dust Cloud, Shell Shield and Warp are all situational and should be pulled onto the pet bar to use manually.
Now that all the pet abilities have been covered, the fifth and final part of this guide will focus on how to organize the million and one pet spells onto 4 measly spell slots on your pet bar!