Thursday, December 22, 2011

*Crickets*

I don't know about anyone else's guild, but mine is rather empty at the moment due to SW:TOR and the Christmas break.

At times like these, I of course turn to PuGs... and the LFR tool is making it easier than ever to get loot.

The encounters themselves are also quite fun - the Spine of Deathwing is probably my favourite, since it actually feels like the way a dragon should be fought (seriously... why the hell would Onyxia, Nefarian, all the green dragons, Azuregos, Vael or any other frickin dragon that I missed fight us on the ground or in a cramped room when they can fly?!).

I am also rather amused by the tank queue - yes, there is one! - in LFR; it's a switch to have to be waiting for healers rather than tanks for a change (although sadly, the DPS queue is still the same 10-20min wait it usually is).

Anyway, as I'm not likely to post again before Christmas, I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Winter Veil - don't forget to open your Winter Veil presents come Sunday! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Race to World First

I thought I'd highlight the Race to World First movie.

It's a longish documentary about WoW in general and focussing on high-end raiding guilds, with interviews with various players from some of the top guilds in the world.

It's probably not anything extraordinary in terms of content, but I found it interesting enough to watch.

I have to admit... I think some of these people take WoW a little too seriously for my taste (I lost count of the number of people saying they were the #1 in the world), but I suppose each to their own!

Oh, and another thing - they even mention an Aussie raiding team, Adept, who managed to grab the world first heroic Halfus Wyrmbreaker kill. Oi oi oi! :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Guild Restructure: Earning my Stripes

Well, not so much earning as there isn't anyone else that wants the job :P

Basically, a couple of weeks ago, our then-guild leader, Sailan (Siha of Banana Shoulders) announced her decision to step down, due to a waning interest in WoW.

Our new guild leader, Benalis, is clearly keen on bringing new life to our little guild and promptly asked me if I would take the role of PvP officer.

This would be a new role, because Southern Wardens traditionally hasn't been interested in PvP; a number of guildies have no interest in engaging in mass slaughter on the battlefield and I've mentioned before how I've had trouble even finding a regular 2v2 partner.

However, now that I've reluctantly accepted this leadership position (I'm a sheep at heart...), I will do my best to make guild PvP a fun and challenging experience for everyone (yeah, that sounds cliche-ingly corny to me, too :P).

Sooooo.... anyone interested in joining our guild? We do PvP! And stuff! *cough* Yep.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More 4.3 Musings

After having seen most of what Patch 4.3 brought, I can now comment on the following:

  1. Gem prices are horrible :(
  2. The new 5man dungeons are fun, especially End Time
  3. The LFR tool is as easy to use as the LFG tool and the PuG standard is similar too - either great or terrible
  4. The makeover of the Darkmoon Faire is brilliant (and does this remind anyone else of the original Monkey Island? I keep having flashbacks to Meathook with his parrot and the Fettucini Brothers' circus... o.O)
  5. Tyrande is a huntard:

...Seriously, Tyrande? Out of Arrows? :P

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's a crossbow!

Finally, my crossbow actually sounds like a crossbow instead of a gun! I'm so glad Blizzard fixed the sound for this, although I suppose I'll probably be upgrading it in the near future. Oh well :P

One other little thing I've noticed that isn't specifically in the patch notes: Blizzard cleaned up the tracking list and hunter-specific tracking has its own pullout tab. It looks a tiny bit neater, which I suppose is a good thing.

Other than that, I haven't seen too much of the new Patch (Blizzard of course decided to do a rolling restart in the middle of my first new 5man dungeon run, so I haven't completed that yet), so I will probably post more stuff as it comes.

In the meantime, here's my brand new Elven Ranger look:


Not quite a Warcraft 3 pre-banshee Sylvanas, but close enough! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hour of Twilight: Breaking Dawn

...Yeah, I think Blizzard missed the boat on Patch 4.3 naming. Think of how many worgen Team Jacob could have had on their side! :P

Anyway, Patch 4.3 is being applied tonight, which means I'll finally be able to free up more than 20 bag slots' worth of gear for Transmogrification. (Woo!)

I haven't quite finished my Dark Ranger outfit, but my Elven Ranger outfit is pretty well done - the only consolation prize is rather unfortunately the most important piece; Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix as a placeholder for the Golden Bow of Quel'Thalas, which I haven't managed to get yet.

Either way, I'm looking forward to my new look and also looking forward to seeing everyone else's new look - I'll definitely be spending a little more time checking everyone's gear in town now!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chuck Norris is one of us!

Apparently, the ubiquitous Chuck Norris not only approves of WoW, he's a hunter to boot!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arKpdxjHamI

Always knew hunters were epic :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Phyl back from Pandaria

With all the hype about the next WoW expansion, I found it quite amusing that I'd coincidentally booked a RL trip to the very place where it's based: China.

There are way too many beautiful pics to post here, but here are a few:

Pandaren Housing



Pandarian River



Alliance vs Horde

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deterrence Tanking FTW

I've slowly been going through the more interesting parts of Blizzcon (in my opinion, anyway!).

No panels or previews for me - anything I can read about in a patch note isn't worth watching in real time. Competitions are where I'm at!

Arena is always my first stop - you can't beat the dynamics of fast-paced PvP, really, because anything can and will happen.

My second was the live raid.

This year was probably the best setup out of all the previous years: pitting 2 top WoW guilds, Vodka and Blood Legion, against each other in a race to clear Firelands bosses.

It actually was fairly close, with one guild's half-wipe on Baelroc and full wipe on Ragnaros determining the other guild's win.

My favourite part: if you listen to the commentary (around 8:20 in part 2/4 of the linked vid), hunters get a shoutout on the half-wipe because they used Deterrence to help tank Baelroc after half the raid died.

The commentators mention that that is a familiar sight, and I'd have to agree - I've definitely done my fair share of Deterrence tanking whilst raiding! :D

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blizzkorean!

I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of the Asian gamers, so it probably comes as no surprise to hear that I was all set to cheer for the Koreans (hey, I'd cheer for an Aussie if there was one! Damn our latency...) while watching the replay of the 2011 Blizzcon WoW Arena finals.

To my delight, the team that won - OMG - also had a hunter in it, so it was doubly fun to watch all the matches they won along the way.

It never fails to inspire me to become better, try the tactics, pick up hints and tricks about how to deal with PvP against other classes.

Unfortunately I haven't been Arena-ing much this year and it doesn't look likely that I'll get a regular team, so I probably won't get to try out the things I've learnt... but one can only hope :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free ride

I'm surprised that my recruit-a-friend made it to 2 months; he's the type that doesn't approve of a "subscription"-type game and had only been playing on "free" game time until recently.

However, I now have a handy flying transport for helping lowbies in the future. Woot :D

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ranger Phyllixia


Not bad, huh? This is now my official elven ranger outfit for Patch 4.3's Transmogrification system - I have every single piece in my bags except the bow.

I'd really like to thank Veralynn of Arygos, whoever you are - the previews of full green mail sets was a lifesaver!

My dark ranger outfit isn't quite as matching:


...and I also don't have all the pieces (the shoulders are going to be a killer), but I'm still quite happy with it just the same.

I'll also be scoping out possible transmog gear for staves and polearms, because it's the default item you see - unfortunately I've already asked for Terokk's Quill to be restored for my dark ranger set and Blizz said no... so I'll have to think of something else :(

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Too soon, Executus!

Does anyone else think that Ragnaros' summoning animation is nowhere near as epic as the original animation in Molten Core?

It seems.... too sped up, somehow. Too smooth.



I guess you really can't beat the classics...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Camouflage

No, not the spell - my outfit!

I've been trying to find something to wear when transmogrification kicks in, and I figure it's my chance to look like how I've always wanted - a dark ranger, or failing that, a regular elven ranger.

The above is the closest I can get to an elven ranger - a much better attempt than my closest try at a dark ranger, below:


I just can't seem to find a decent matching darkish set... especially the shoulders.

And this isn't even counting the fact that I may not be able to actually obtain these pieces of mail - it's just what I come up with when playing around with WoW Model Viewer.

So if anyone out there has any ideas on pieces of gear to transmogrify - I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flame on!

Apart from Beth'tilac - I haven't seen what being on the web is like, so can't completely rule that out - the Firelands raid hasn't impressed me visually all that much.

This week, however, the orange finally got interesting: Alysrazor is a fun and fiery fight, not only in execution but also in looks:




Not to mention, Alysrazor drops one of the cooler-looking weapons I've seen for awhile; I really wish Blizzard had kept dual-wielding 1Hs viable for hunters, not just because of the loot potential but for looks as well.

...Can you tell I've been investigating transmogrification a bit lately? :P

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baradin Doesn't Hold

Well, not my gear, anyway.

I'd left the last 2 pieces of Valour Point vendor gear as the two that drop in BH - the Flamewaker's Gloves and Legguards - but even though I haven't been anywhere near VP cap most weeks (I think I've only capped VP once this tier), I almost have enough VP to buy them both and will probably end up doing so, since I haven't seen them drop yet.

Not to mention, PvP gear has been fairly scarce too - apart from the one belt that I won in I think the first or second week, I haven't managed to nab anything.

On the upside, I guess I'm not sick of killing Occu'thar yet - at least I can get VP,  even if I'm having the worst luck with gear.

Now, if only I could remember to check when Tol'Barad is on so I can join the queue...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brutal Beat-up

I finally convinced a couple of enthusiastic Arena newbies from my guild to do a few games and managed to get myself a new tabard.

It's not really the prettiest-looking tabard (and totally doesn't go with the murloc armour), but I'm definitely keeping this one.

I'm also hoping to continue the 2v2 or 3v3 games - surprisingly our hunter/warrior/mage combo didn't completely fail, even with the warrior not having done Arena and the mage not having done any since lvl 70 on a different class.

Not to mention, it's been a long time since I've been in a triple-DPS team and it's hard for me to call shots in a faster-paced DPS-only match when I haven't even had much practice in the current Arena environment (when did they get rid of the Ring of Valor starting elevator?! I approve! :D).

I don't know if I'll ever make Challenger again, but hey, one can only hope! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rare-ly a dull moment

Three more rare pets have been added to my "tamed" list:

Skarr





Solix



Ban'thalos



Skarr was fairly easy (Silence, Deterrence, Tame) and Solix was easy the second time around (kiting with Concussive Shot/Ice Trap until ~40 energy, then Concussive Shot, Deterrence, Tame), but Ban'thalos was a little tricky.

For Ban'thalos, I used the tree method:
  1. Move up, down and around until you can stand right at the tip of one of the trees (the tallest one just behind the quest givers)
  2. Turn to face Ban'thalos' path (this is important!)
  3. Lay a Freezing Trap in front of you (if you're not facing Ban'thalos properly, it won't be in the correct position to trigger the trap without you moving back and forth - and if you move back and forth, you'll fall off the tree!)
  4. Mount up and fly directly up so that you're in range to shoot (again, don't move back and forth, or you won't drop back onto the tree tip)
  5. Shoot Ban'thalos and quickly cancel your attack. If you don't, you will melee him before he triggers the trap... and the trap will break.
  6. Once trapped, tame away!

I probably won't keep any of these 3 pets... as fun as they were to tame, I still don't like the actual skins that much. I will, however, keep them for awhile until I can replace them with pet skins I do actually want (if anyone sees Loq up on US-Proudmoore, please let me know...).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's Twist Again

The interview I did with the Twisted Nether Blogcast is now up for download if you missed the live show: http://www.twistednether.net/2011/08/25/episode-141-rhok-it-yeah/

Here, you will find the answers to how I got my character name, why I started this blog and my preference on cake vs. pie...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Burnout or Bore-out

A couple of weeks ago, I'd been feeling reluctant to log into WoW.

Initially, I'd thought that I must have needed a break from raiding. A little surprising, sure - I'd been able to stay keen for the past 6yrs without needing a break from raids at all - but I figured everyone needs a break now and then and maybe it was my time.

I therefore voiced my opinion to one of our raid leaders, who sympathized but explained that because our raiding team was short on ranged DPS, it was difficult to bench any of us.

Of course, I didn't want to leave the raid leaders struggling, so I signed up for all raids the next week as usual... only to find out that they managed to give me a break after all: I was benched for one of our three raid nights (they're good like that :)).

I definitely appreciated the night off, but it didn't help - I actually still felt like I wanted to raid, but not, at the same time.

This week, I finally figured out what it was that was bugging me: I don't need a break from raids, I just need more time to do some fun stuff.

Having to do Molten Front dailies (for the minipet that just won't drop...) and capping VP was consuming almost all of my time outside of raids, and both are what I'd consider "farming" - no fun at all, in other words.

I needed to do retro raids, try some elite soloing, do some PvP, finish collecting rare Archaeology pieces, or hell - even do some fishing (while reading a book IRL, of course!).

This week, I didn't even get halfway to the VP cap... and you know what? I didn't care one bit. I was too busy trying to get the bindings, Anzu's, Kael's or the Baron's mount to drop!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oops...

Accidentally killed Solix the other day because I hadn't read up on the taming strat and didn't realize he would die if he ran out of energy.... I felt a little sorry for the other hunter that was there (although to be fair, the other hunter was going about it completely the wrong way anyway and died at least 3x before I had a go).

On the upside, I did manage to tame Karkin, which wasn't difficult at all. I didn't name it because I had no intention of keeping a crab (I retamed the pet I let go fairly shortly afterward), but it was fun anyway. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jumping into the Twisted Nether

Surprisingly, someone out there must think that the stuff I write on here is not complete drivel, because the people at the Twisted Nether Blogcast have kindly invited me to join their show tomorrow.

I can't say I'm an expert at anything at all, really, so I have no idea whether what I say will entertain anyone... but I'm looking forward to it anyway :)

If you would like to listen in, I believe the 8pm PST start time equates to a starting time of 1pm Sunday, AEST.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The New Rhok Demons

These days, it is pretty common to come across hunters that have no idea what my blog title references.

For the old school hunters, we know what exactly what it means to have "done your demons". A rite of passage, proof of skill... you weren't a hunter until you had that bow.

With the Cataclysm breaking that quest chain entirely, I was a little sad that no new hunter would ever get the chance to experience a challenging test like that again, even though all the "new" tricks (trapping in combat, Disengage, Deterrence...) made killing those demons a joke.

Well, I've since discovered I was wrong.

There *is* a mini-hunter test, and completing 1/8 of it took me 9 deaths:



Initially I hadn't been that excited about the 8 new pet taming challenges - the skins aren't generally unique and the rarity of the spawns put me off (there's next to no-one in Outlands now and I still can't manage to find all the rares for Bloody Rare) - but doing this was extremely fun.

Personally, I wish Blizzard would make them spawn more often - if they're easy to find, they wouldn't be such a status symbol, and more hunters would do it for the challenge rather than just to say they have a rare pet.

I still wouldn't keep all of the skins - one spider in my stables is quite enough, and I think the green skin is probably the most appropriate one for me - but I'm definitely going to seek out these rare tames now. Rhok on! :D

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When too much is too much

One of the reasons I've continued to subscribe to WoW is I've always managed to keep it balanced.

Sticking to one main character - my hunter - helps with that, because if I don't invest time in playing other characters I don't end up playing as much overall.

The past couple of weeks, two different friends have been playing WoW; one a fairly new player who I felt obliged to help out (because I'd been trying to get him to play for years), and one a raiding veteran in a small horde guild that needed another member for raids.

Feeling pressured to play not one, but two alts as well as my hunter was getting to me. It seems stupid that a game would stress you out, but it does happen.... and I think the stress filtered through into real life, where I made decisions (totally unrelated to WoW, incidentally) that I might not have made otherwise.

I don't think I'd change anything - although the newbie will almost certainly never play again and I haven't decided whether to try and raid on my druid or not - but it's a lesson I will keep in mind for next time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thank you!

Much appreciated :)


...Clearly I should make more posts asking for gear!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gun? What gun?

So far, I've steadily ignored the fact that there happens to be a perfectly good upgrade for my crossbow.
I could use the excuse that it's expensive, but 1) I have plenty of gold and 2) if it had been a bow, I would have made one as soon as a guildie had the pattern.

It isn't the first time I've purposely not upgraded a ranged weapon because of looks, aesthetics or just because, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

In the meantime, I'm determined to will the Lava Bolt Crossbow into dropping. And it will. At some point. Soon. Please? :P

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When it rains, it pours

The past week has been a flurry of reforging, enchanting, gemming and juggling for +hit for me. Opening up a new GoH vendor, getting 4k Honour points back from Blizzard (when I hadn't expected to), having enough Valour points and having good luck with Firelands trash saw me pick up:...all in the one week.

I'm pretty sure it must be because I gave up the PvP pants that dropped off Occu'thar to the correct hunter when the Master Looter mislooted them to me a couple of weeks ago.

Good karma FTW!

Monday, July 18, 2011

/petassist? More like /petconfuse

I hadn't really had too many problems with /petassist until recently, although I hadn't really liked the change to start with.

However, I've started to wonder if juggling your pet with /petassist might be possible new source of entertainment, because mine seems to do it a lot.

Seriously - has anyone managed to keep their pet bouncing between mobs but not actually hitting any of them for an entire raid trash pull? At least it'd make trash more interesting, if nothing else.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Casting Mis-HEAL-direct on ~Tank~

Has anyone else noticed that the current Misdirection animation sounds/looks like casting a heal?

I know it's a small thing, but I do play with game sounds and whilst it doesn't exactly put me off, it's still a little disconcerting.

Hope it's a bug and Blizzard changes it back; the old sound somehow seemed a lot more... decisive? More fitting, anyway - rather than the soothing sounds my druid makes when throwing a few HoTs up! :P

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WoW's celebrity couple

I know his wife is dead, but seriously... why is it that the name "Mankrik" (or various spellings of it) must always appear somewhere in general chat?

Clearly, Hyjal is the new Barrens... but I suppose one positive thing is that Mankrik looks to have gotten over the death of his wife and moved on :P

(If you haven't seen why people keep asking for him in general chat, there's an Achievement)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Remember to Eagle Eye!

If you've been farming the new Firelands raid for rep - or even actually trying the bosses, if your guild is more organized than ours - remember that you can use:

/cast !Eagle Eye

...and you can chain cast Eagle Eye all the way down to the other end of the raid... meaning that merely standing at the start of the zone can get you pretty pics like this:


Now that's one cool-lookin' boss :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Can't believe it's come to this

Naxxramas used to be the ultimate raiding experience.

40 people, top of the range computers to counteract the lag, split second timing, zero mistakes... if you weren't the most coordinated team, you weren't capable of doing it.

A few days ago, I joined an 8man PuG, supposedly to do Achievements.

We ended up failing (some people *really* can't handle Heigan or Thaddius), but a few of us continued on anyway. Someone DCed, someone left...

...and 6 of us ended up doing the entire of the Naxx military wing with no healer class.

No, not even a pally or druid tank - both tanks were warriors.

It's a little sad, killing the 4 horsemen without a healer. That encounter used to take 4 tanks and some epic timed swapping.

Then again... I suppose it's even sadder that we didn't manage to get any Achievements done with all 85s except Spore Loser, because someone (different!) failed each time. Seriously... who fails at Thaddius charges with only 7 people, Heigan dancing *before* the second phase, and controlling DPS on the 4 Horsemen?!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Catching up with old content



Among the list of things I've always meant to do and never got around to finishing are the Argent Tournament dailies for mounts and the Winterspring grind.

Yes, I do realize it's a lot less of a trial than it used to be, but anything that involves repetitive easy work in WoW doesn't tend to motivate me much.

With Firelands coming in soon however, any free time I'd usually have would be eaten up with Firelands content, so I thought I'd better do this stuff whilst I still can!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Can Haz Chromaggus

I went into Blackwing Lair recently with a guildie and came out with a new skin colour for Cerberus:


I have to say, duoing BWL with a boomkin is pretty easy - Razorgore gave us the most trouble, but the rest is pretty much a faceroll.

Some tips:

Razorgore: if your partner is controlling Razorgore, keep Mend Pet up to help grab aggro on all the mobs and stand just below the platform so that you can quickly pick up any mobs running towards the orb. I found using a tenacity pet in MM spec the most helpful; if you get low you can hit Chimera, but I mostly relied on traps. Staying in Aspect of the Fox helps to keep your Focus up - you don't really need the extra DPS Hawk provides.

Everything in between: Tank n spank. If you want to tame Chromaggus, just stand at max range and go for it; no tricks required.

Nefarian: Using an heirloom ranged weapon will completely negate Nef's hunter class call, so you won't have to worry about your bow breaking. In phase 1, it's easiest to let the mobs come to you and kill them all in a pile rather than picking them off quickly, so that in phase 3 they'll all rez in the one spot. Being in BM spec can be helpful for breaking you out of fears occasionally. Be mindful what each of your raid member's class calls are and act accordingly.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Now that's what I call a great raid

My guild, like many casual-friendly guilds that don't have a set 10 people for every raid, occasionally has trouble with consistency.

Even though we may have most bosses on farm status, we'll still wipe repeatedly to them some weeks, which seriously hampers our progression time.

Tonight, however, was the first time in awhile that I've felt we had a brilliant run - 5 bosses down in Blackwing Descent (including Atramedes, a new one for me because I missed our first kill), with most of those a one-shot.

I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow night's raid - the Ascendant Council will hopefully go down, meaning we'd just have Cho'gall and Nefarian to go... and I'd really like to clear them before Firelands hits, just to say we did it before the nerfs kick in.

(And before anyone says "Sinestra", I think it'll be pretty difficult to get through an entire raid's worth of heroic mode progression to get to her before Firelands hits :P)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Achieving by AFK

I haven't been doing too much in WoW lately, because I've been busy IRL on non-raid nights.However, for the times I've been at home, I've managed to do work towards an Achievement even when I've been busy - Bloody Rare.

Basically, I park an alt in an appropriate location, occasionally coming back from being AFK to tap the keyboard so that I don't get kicked out of WoW... and with a little help from the NPCScan mod (yes, I've extended my addon list to a grand total of 3!), picked up the rares as they spawn.

I'm working on the Outland rares rather than the Northrend rares, because I think people are probably spending less time in Outland than Northrend at the moment, but I think when it gets to Loq I may have to park my hunter at the camp spot rather than an alt - that's one rare I'm pretty sure I won't have time to relog another character for!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Windrunner Interlude

Although I did play Warcraft 2 quite a bit - it was my first RTS and I loved it - most readers of this blog would know that Sylvanas Windrunner in Warcraft 3 is one of the main reasons I started playing WoW and rolled a hunter in the first place.

Even though her pre-banshee life was short (in terms of campaign maps, anyway!), I couldn't help but admire her tenacity to keep fighting, trying to protect Silvermoon from Arthas. She just kept coming back, and even after she was dead, she used her new Dark Ranger powers to her advantage and became the leader of the Forsaken.

However, I recently read the novelizations of the Warcraft 2 campaign plus expansion: Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal, where Sylvanas' older sister Alleria's story is told.

I was totally struck by how similar Alleria's story was to Sylvanas' - both were exceptional rangers, leaders and tacticians, loved and protected their family to the last, were willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause and pursued their enemies with a reckless burning passion.

I'd never given much thought to Alleria after playing WC2 - the lore behind that game didn't come through as well for me, whether it be because Blizzard improved their storytelling in WC3 or because I was too young to pay much attention - but after this I think I'd really like to know where she is and what she's been up to.

I don't know if she'll replace Sylvanas as my favourite ranger, but if Blizzard brings her back with an epic storyline.... who knows? :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wish they'd make up their minds...



Multi-shot damage has been reduced. It now deals 120% weapon damage at level 80 or higher, down from 137%.

Anyone else tired of having Multi-Shot damage changed each patch?

I have to be perfect to kite on Magmaw as it is; a nerf is going to make it that much harder... all I can do is hope that I'll still have enough aggro from a full Focus bar to make it work as MM.

Well, either that or start trying to get better gear from the new raiding tier so that it won't matter :P

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Impressions of the Zandalari Uprising

So far, ZG has been a lot more fun for me than ZA, purely because it's changed so much.

It also seems more of a challenge, since the last two bosses are where most PuGs (and even guild groups) fall apart.

In fact, I haven't even killed Jin'do the Group-breaker in a guild group yet; the PuG stat bonus helped with both of my kills.

However, there's one thing I did take away from a guild ZA run that I find interesting: a taste of how fun it can be to work things out for yourself.

It's really a little like the elite soloing runs I do - wipe until you figure out the right way to do things.

On my first foray into ZA with a guild group, we went in "blind" (not reading the strats) and figured we'd work out any changes from the old 10man raid on the way.

After wiping a few times on the lynx boss before realizing that we didn't need to spend valuable DPS time on killing the water totems, our priest was still having a little trouble keeping us alive, running out of mana and losing clothies in particular to the cat spirit.

I idly clicked on a totem to read the buff description after biting the dust during one attempt and said, "Hey , what happens if you actually stand next to the totem?"

Of course, once we figured out that the water totems actually gave our priest practically unlimited mana and also helped to keep the DPS alive during the split phase, the fight was a breeze.

Sure, we could have saved ourselves the repair bill by reading up beforehand, but I'm really glad we didn't - it made me feel a tiny bit like being in those top guilds that do this type of thing all the time, figuring out how to kill bosses when there aren't any strats to read.

I mean, I know it wasn't much - the healing circle the dragons in Vortex Pinnacle leave on the floor is a similar concept - but it still felt like a huge lightbulb moment when we figured it out!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back in Business

After weeks of respeccing to Survival for Magmaw in Blackwing Descent, Patch 4.1 finally made the Multi-Shot change I was looking for: a big enough buff to MM AoE that I would be able to kite parasites.

Although my Focus management needs to be absolutely perfect to pull it off, I'm ecstatic to report that I can now afford to stay MM for this fight, meaning I can stop feeling annoyed at having to respec every week and our raid leader can stop feeling guilty for wanting me to do it, even though it was my choice in the first place!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Well that's depressing...




***QUEST SPOILER***

The poor dragon entrusts her last egg to you with her dying breath, and you send it in to fight and "die" for you? Yeesh.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Holiday raiding time 2: Bigger Challenges

In fact, the biggest:


I grabbed a couple of guildies (a mage and hunter) to make the fight quicker, but it took over a hundred gold in repairs before I managed the trick of swimming backwards and making tiny adjustments to kite the enormous Whale Shark - WITHOUT a range mod.

Yes, I'm aware that it would have been a lot easier if I had installed some sort of range check (too close and the Whale Shark 1-shots you for about 1,000,000 damage, too far and it resets - the range you need to stay in is supposedly 6-20yrds)... but hey, I hate mods and use as few of them as possible; why start adding to the list now?

Besides, I've now proved that I can do it, so nyah to everyone who thinks it's impossible to do this Achievement without one :D

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holiday raiding time

It's that time of year again - school holidays, the Easter looooong weekend, the official Raiding Break.

And, of course, the absolute best time to get all the stuff in WoW done that you can't do during a regular raiding week due to lack of time: raiding Achievements, lowbie quests, reputation grinds, fun retro raids... and dungeon soloing.


My only "wipe" was on the Chess event while I figured out how things work, and the only other minor trouble was Netherspite before I figured out that I had to kill it within one round of portals, otherwise having the green beam debuff meant the dragon went back up to full HP.

Definitely need more of a challenge next time round... perhaps I should try a couple of bosses in Naxx! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

We beat our record

My 2v2 partner and I have had our share of long Arena matches.

Back in the days when mana drain was a common tactic, we started taking screenshots of the time it took to win; 21min ended up being the highest, against a mirror match (pally/hunter).

However, this new record takes the cake: 45min, the current Arena match time limit.

Sure, we didn't win (in fact, both teams lose rating when a draw happens) and unfortunately I don't have any proof (it automatically ported us out almost immediately after the match came to a close)... but I still think it was a damn good effort.

I hope we get that team again in future - losing is one thing, a draw just makes me keen to try again, because I know we can beat them! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New but Not So Shiny

I periodically go through my WoW screenshot folder, rename all the screenshots and store them in folders so I can find them again if I need them.

After sorting through 10 or so of the Algalon fight I did couple of weeks ago, I've realized something - I have nowhere near as many screenshots of the new content than pre-Cataclysm content.

I mean, I know Algalon is quite a visually exciting fight; there's a very pretty celestial theme going on. However, I've hardly taken any screenshots of Cataclysm raids at all - probably a couple in Throne of the Four Winds, but that's about it.

I'm not sure if it's because the raid zones just aren't visually interesting, or because I'm not interested in general... but either way, I hope something stands out in raids soon, otherwise I'm not going to have any good screenshots from the first Cataclysm raid zones at all!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why doesn't Blizzard hire this guy as a Game Tester?!

Jider the rogue has done it again, on bosses I never thought could be soloed: Twin Emps and C'thun.

I would never have come up with the idea of pulling another boss into C'thun's room to port you out of the stomach... pure genius. If Blizzard wants a bug tester, surely this guy should be on the top of their list to hire - how many people would have come up with that solution?!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The things that surprise you

I joined an Ulduar 25man PuG today to try and get my Glory of the Ulduar Raider Achievement.

Usually these PuGs are terrible - someone stuffs up an Achievement, people get annoyed and leave, the raid breaks up at the later bosses, people roll need on everything...

Although this raid had a rogue that rolled need on quite a few items ("for repairs" - as if the rest of us didn't have the same repair bill) - the rest of the run was actually not bad.

Mimiron was where everyone really impressed me; the raid leader had stuck a symbol on his head and told everyone at specific points in the fight to stand together and everyone did - some guild raids I've been in haven't had such a tightly formed pack.

Vezax took a couple of wipes, but Yogg 1 Light was a one-shot, even with people entering portals that hadn't seen the fight at all. Algalon was a one-shot too, even with me spending half the time taking screenshots.

...and I am now the proud owner of another Proto-drake. Woo!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I cheated to get this



...I specced Survival.

It's probably the first time ever that I've had to respec specifically for a raid, since a small DPS loss doesn't tend to wipe raids and usually that's all that you lose if you're the "wrong" spec.

For Magmaw, on the other hand, my raid counts on me to handle the parasites... and after the raid wiped repeatedly due to me not being able to keep aggro on them and also not having enough overall raid AoE DPS to get the first pack of worms down before the second pack arrived, I was forced to admit defeat - something I absolutely hate to do.

I'm the BM-spec-since-beta girl, the one that managed to Rhok all her demons entirely as BM (if you have no idea why it was so hard to do that quest chain as BM back then, pretend you have no talents at all, not use your pet, do only 60% of the DPS of your average hunter - because pretty much all raiding hunters were MM back then - and then try and kite an elite with Serpent Sting and nothing else. Even then, you're still cheating because we can now auto-shot on the move :P).

I do not like to give up on things, just because I'm a different spec. I don't mind if it's harder; in fact I revel in the challenge. I just don't like it being next to impossible (and keep in mind... I don't have anything against Survival itself. In fact, if it wasn't for exotic pets, my two specs would be MM and Surv).

Fixing Multi-Shot next patch is something I'm really looking forward to, because I hate not being able to do something in the spec I want. .. and with a 250% buff on Multi-Shot, hopefully it'll be enough for me not to have to respec again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest post on Warcraft Hunters Union

Apparently I've paid my dues, because Frostheim over on the Warcraft Hunters Union blog has honoured me by asking if I would do a guest post on his site... so if you'd like to know about how to get the most out of PuGs, go check it out:

Pain-Free PuGging for Hunters

Surprisingly, he let me post the whole thing - I always ramble on way too long! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cataclysm Pet Control: Part five - Organizing your pet bar

This is the final post in the Pet Control guide, updated for Cataclysm.

Part 1 - Attack, Follow and Move To
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 Sonic Blast (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, 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 (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

Ferocity pets are usually 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 usual Ferocity DPS pet bar:


In order, I have Call of the Wild, Dash, Cower 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 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 Cower because you can use it when your pet is taking too much incidental damage (which doesn't happen often in a raid situation, but may do for specific boss abilities like bleeds).

Cunning

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 - Sonic Blast 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 on there and leave the species-specific spell on autocast, for example).

Tenacity

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, Shell Shield, Cower, Thunderstomp and Last Stand, leaving Growl on autocast (I don't have the other active talents; if I did they would replace Thunderstomp). If my turtle had Taunt, I'd put that on the first slot and shift Shell Shield and Cower down one, because you're more likely to want Taunt in an emergency and on an easy-to-reach hotkey than the other abilities.

For the same reason, I recommend putting species-specific spells in the first slot for easy access and macroing Intervene and Roar of Sacrifice to put on your player bar.


And that's it for the Pet Control guide! 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.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cataclysm Pet Control: Part four - Species-specific pet abilities

To recap:

Part 1 - Attack, Follow and Move To
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 bonus 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***


Raid buff or debuff replacements:

Bear: Demoralizing Roar (and Rest)
Devilsaur: Terrifying Roar (and Monstrous Bite)
Dragonhawk: Fire Breath
Hyena: Tendon Rip
Fox: Tailspin (and Play)
Raptor: Tear Armor
Ravager: Ravage
Rhino: Stampede (and Horn Toss)
Serpent: Corrosive Spit
Shale Spider: Embrace of the Shale Spider (and Web Wrap)
Silithid: Qiraji Fortitude (and Venom Web Spray)
Spirit Beast: Roar of Courage (and Spirit Mend and Spirit Walk)
Sporebat: Spore Cloud
Tallstrider: Dust Cloud
Wind Serpent: Lightning Breath
Worm: Acid Spit (and Burrow Attack)
Wolf: Furious Howl

Most of the straight buffs and debuffs can be left on autocast, as you will want these to be up at all times. However, if there are adds in particular fights that die quickly and your pet is required to switch targets frequently, it may be better to keep pet debuffs on long cooldowns (such as Fire Breath) off autocast so that it can be fired on the main target as soon as possible.

For the pets with extra abilities (mostly the exotics), some care is needed in using them.

Ancient Hysteria, the equivalent to Bloodlust/Heroism and Time Warp (and sharing a cooldown with these), can only be used once per fight, so you will need to determine exactly when this should be cast and be ready for it. Keep in mind that if your core hound is incapacitated or in the middle of casting another ability (eg. Bite), it may not cast and you'll need to spam the ability to make it work.

Utility spells (Spirit Mend, Horn Toss, Venom Web Spray, Web Wrap and Burrow Attack) should be off autocast. I recommend pulling these onto the pet bar to use as appropriate; Horn Toss, Venom Web Spray and Web Wrap to CC adds and Burrow Attack for AoE.

For Spirit Mend in particular, a macro may work better, as this ability needs to be cast on a friendly target. For example:

/cast [@mouseover,help] Spirit Mend(Exotic Ability)

...will cast Spirit Mend on your mouseover target.

For Prowl (and Spirit Walk as well, if I ever manage to tame a Spirit Beast), I personally have a macro on my player bar:

/cast Shadowmeld
/cast Prowl

....since I like to use my cat for camping nodes in battlegrounds.

Play and Rest are bonus abilities, which I tend to leave in the spellbook and manually find when required.


Utility:

Bat: Sonic Blast
Beetle: Harden Carapace
Bird of Prey: Snatch (and Trick)
Crocolisk: Ankle Crack
Chimaera: Frost Breath (and Froststorm Breath)
Crab: Pin
Dog: Lock Jaw
Gorilla: Pummel
Monkey: Bad Manner
Moth: Serenity Dust
Nether Ray: Nether Shock
Scorpid: ClenchSpider: Web
Turtle: Shell Shield
Warpstalker: Time Warp
Wasp: Sting


For almost all of these, I would recommend pulling them onto your pet bar and manually casting them as required. Frost Breath and Ankle Crack could possibly be left on autocast due to the short cooldown, but you really want the rest to be ready when you need it.

Trick is another bonus ability and as with the others I'd leave it in the spellbook and save your slots on the pet bar for something else.


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!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2v2 in Cataclysm

It's pretty well into the season for Arena now, and I thought I'd share some observations about the 2v2 bracket:

Firstly, when Blizzard stated they weren't going to balance around 2v2, they really meant it. Most of my Arena matches are incredibly one-sided; all-caster teams get pwned even before they run out of cooldowns, but all-plate teams will almost always come out on top (unless they're *really* terrible, anyway). Rather a different mindset to previous seasons where there was always a chance you could win.

Druids are as annoying as ever - if they can kite well, they can last for ages (or at least a good 10min after their partner dies, particularly in the Dalaran Sewers).

The rogue ability Smoke Bomb is incredibly annoying, as I'd predicted when Cataclysm was still in the beta stage - not only can you not target the enemy, your healer also cannot target you. Not brilliant when your Disengage cooldown isn't up and you're disarmed, although the next patch should help with that (when Deterrence no longer requires a melee weapon, meaning you can cast it while disarmed). It's also very difficult to tell where the smoke is, since there are no bright colours involved in the spell.

I'd really like to try some 3v3 at some point to see how balanced it is, but it's difficult to find a time when everyone is free. Plus, I'd have to figure out some new strats because I'd have new classes to deal with; my old 3v3 partners (rogue, mage and occasionally hunter to go along with my current pally partner) don't play any more.

Oh well, at least my gear is improving - 1 purple a week that I can even wear to raid is pretty hax considering!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cataclysm Pet Control: Part three - General pet abilities

See Part one (Attack, Follow and Move To) or Part two (Aggressive, Defensive and Passive) for pet commands and stances.

Besides pet commands and stances, your pet will have several "active" abilities or talents that you will need to control. Some will be species-specific (such as Prowl or Pin), but most will be shared abilities between all pets, or within the pet families of Tenacity, Cunning and Ferocity.


Shared pet abilities:

Growl - Generally, you should have Growl on autocast when your pet is tanking and off if not.

One exception to this would be in PvP, where Growl can be used to your advantage by manually Growling at player pets, taking their focus off the player until your opponent redirects them.

Cower - You can leave this on autocast if your pet will be taking some damage and you don't want to worry about it, although I highly recommend not doing so.

The main reason is because if you don't have Improved Cower, your pet will take a 50% movement speed hit - not good if you're trying to switch targets or pull your pet out of danger quickly.

The second reason is that Cower will only autocast when your pet's health dips below 40%. Occasionally there will be times when you can pre-empt incoming burst damage to your pet, so you may want to save the cooldown for those times.

Bite/Claw/Smack - Every pet has one of these abilities, which are pretty much all the same spell. This is a "Focus dump" ability, which means any spare focus your pet may have will be used by casting this spell.

Usually, you would want this on Autocast, as the other pet abilities that cost Focus have a longish cooldown and the Focus would be wasted. However, if for some reason your pet is constantly out of Focus, or you want to make sure your pet will have Focus for when you really need it (a stun or CC ability in PvP, for example), you can turn Autocast off.

Dash/Dive or Charge/Swoop - These aren't pet spells, but talents that are common and useful enough for most people to have at least one pet specced into. Keep autocast off, otherwise the ability will get used every cooldown and waste Focus even if your pet isn't moving.


Tenacity-specific abilities:

Thunderstomp - For AoE tanking, this talent can be kept on autocast. If some kind of crowd control is required (or if you don't want your pet pulling aggro on mobs), this needs to be turned off.

Intervene - You may want to macro this, as you need a friendly target to cast it on. A simple macro may look something like this:

/cast [@player] Intervene

...for yourself, or perhaps:

/cast [@mouseover] Intervene; [@player] Intervene

...which will cast Intervene on your mouseover target, or yourself if you don't have a target.

Roar of Sacrifice - See above for Intervene. This is also a Cunning ability.

Last Stand - If you expect to use this in a hurry, I would recommend pulling this out onto an easy-access place on your pet bar, or creating a macro and pulling it onto the player bars instead. Although it won't be used often, trying to find it in your spellbook can be annoying.

Taunt - See above for Last Stand. In addition, make sure your pet is attacking the target you want it to Taunt before you hit this spell.


Cunning-specific abilities:

Carrion Feeder - Unless you use this a lot and don't need all four spaces for pet abilities, you can leave this one in your spellbook.

Bullheaded and Roar of Recovery - See above for Last Stand.

Roar of Sacrifice - As above for the Tenacity talent.

Wolverine Bite - In general, this can be left on autocast as for Bite/Claw/Smack. Again, if you find you need to save Focus, you can turn autocast off.

Ferocity-specific abilities:

Heart of the Phoenix, Call of the Wild and Lick Your Wounds - See above for Last Stand.

Rabid - See above for Wolverine Bite.

That's it for now. Stay tuned; I will be covering species-specific pet abilities and how to organize your pet bar (Blizzard really needed to give us more than 4 slots on that thing...) in another post.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's a Vicious Circle

...literally, because this season's Arena gear is called just that - "Vicious". :P

So does anyone remember Arena Season 4?

I was 2v2ing quite happily with a pally, Brutal gear was the latest fashion and everyone was wearing it because it was by far the easiest way to gear up.

Well, I'm finding myself in that place again: My paladin partner is back, I'm now wearing 8/16 pieces of PvP gear - exactly half - for my best PvE DPS set and it's by far the easiest way for me to gear up.

It's probably because my guild started raiding a little later than usual, meaning I haven't had much of an opportunity to gain much raiding gear, but still... it's a good thing I enjoy Arenas, or I'd probably still be stuck with blues; as it is, I'm well on my way to Cataclysmically Epic, with only 3 slots to go.

Plus, I guess the hunter PvP set does look way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the stupid murloc outfit!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This will stop a hell of a lot of internal swearing

...if it makes it live:

Hunters


•Deterrence no longer requires a melee weapon to be equipped.

Disengage and Frost Trap (hmm... when the hell did they change the name of that to Ice? I'm so out of it...) seriously don't cut it when trying to get away from pesky melee most of the time... and that's if those cooldowns are even up.

(Yeah, yeah... I know I should have a weapon chain. I'll put one on as soon as I get a PvP 2H rather than using my PvE one)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cataclysm Pet Control: Part two - Aggressive, Defensive and Passive

Part one of this Cataclysm pet control guide covered the pet commands Attack, Follow and Move To.

Once you have that under control, we move onto the pet "stances" - Aggressive, Defensive and Passive, in that order as the three right-most spells on your pet bar.

As for Attack, Follow and Move To, the default key bindings for these spells are rather awkward to reach, so you may need to re-bind them to a different key and/or make a macro:

/petaggressive
/petdefensive
/petpassive


Using Pet Aggressive

Having your pet on Aggressive is usually not a good thing, as it will randomly attack anything within a small radius without you having to control it. However, there are situations where it is useful.

In PvE, this usually means places where there are lots of adds and you don't have to worry about either loot (you need to "tag" each mob with a spell to get loot from it) or pulling aggro.

An example of this would be Admiral Ripsnarl in The Deadmines, since your pet will often start attacking the elemental adds before they even appear on your screen. However, I wouldn't recommend having your pet on Aggressive in raids and dungeons unless you're absolutely confident that you can control it (and not forget to switch it back to Passive/Defensive later!).

The most useful PvE use of Pet Aggressive is to nab highly-camped mobs - parking your Aggressive pet on top of the spawn point will usually help you tag the mob before anyone else in the area unless there are 20 mages spamming Arcane Explosion around you.

In PvP, having your pet on Aggressive is incredibly useful for flushing out stealthers - your pet will usually be able to see rogues and druids before you do even if you have Track Hidden and a Flare up, so it's best to use it when you know those classes are around.


Using Pet Defensive

If you're comfortable with controlling your pet, it's easiest to leave your pet on Defensive most of the time. This ensures that when you're attacking, your pet is also attacking.

However, you still have to keep an eye on your pet and make sure it's attacking the mob you want it to - as I mentioned in Part one under "Using Pet Attack", pet AI isn't exactly genius. Some fights are better done with your pet on Passive, even if it means more micromanagement; your pet will often turn and attack a mob with an AoE attack that hits your pet rather than sticking to the mobs you're attacking yourself (your pet will usually hightail it for the goblins throwing bombs at you in the Helix Gearbreaker fight in Deadmines after the oaf dies, for instance).


Using Pet Passive

This is what I would recommend you have your pet set to all the time if you want to be safe. The only downside is that if you're not on the ball with Pet Attack, you'll lose DPS.

Pet Passive is also useful for pulling your pet out of danger. In particular, it can be used in conjunction with Master's Call if you need to get your pet back fast - pulling out of Sartharion flame walls, for instance. On the flip side, it can be used to get your pet back into range for Master's Call - often in PvP your pet will be too far away to cast it, even though Blizzard did increase the range for casting to 40yds recently.

Finally, as mentioned in Part one, you will need to have your pet on Passive and Stay if you want to Misdirect them and don't want them attacking when you shoot.


That's it for Part two - hopefully reviewing Part three onwards won't take too long! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cataclysm Pet Control: Part One - Attack, Follow and Move To

This is the first of my updates on my previous series of posts on Pet Control. Things have changed a lot in Cataclysm, but the one thing that hasn't is the importance of making the best use of your constant companions - those 25 best friends you have in your stables! :)


How to make your pet Attack, Follow and Move To:


The 3 leftmost buttons on the pet bar are Attack, Follow and Move To in that order, with the default keys being Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2 and Ctrl-3.

Now, unless you have an unusually-shaped hand (or perhaps have long fingers), these combinations are extremely awkward to hit as keybinds.

There are few ways you can change this to work.

Firstly, you can alter the default options for the Blizzard interface. This can be found by pressing Escape for the Game Menu -> Key Bindings, and scrolling down to Pet Action Buttons 1-10:




Pet Attack is actually given a second default keybinding, found further down and defaulting to Shift-T, which you can change as well (note: I've rebound Shift-T to something else in the screenshot below):


Secondly, you can use macros:

/petattack
/petfollow
/petmoveto

Some people like to combine these commands with other spells so that their pet attacks at the same time as casting:
/cast Hunter's Mark
/petattack

However, I don't recommend this myself, because I always prefer not to link spells (so I can cast Hunter's Mark *without* sending my pet in, for example).


Using Pet Attack:

Pet Attack should be one of your most-used pet spells, particularly in raids and dungeons or when grouping. You really want your pet to be attacking the main DPS target, which it doesn't always automatically do.

If your pet is on Passive, it will not attack anything unless you use Pet Attack. In this case, you will need to use this ability every time you change targets.

If your pet is on Defensive, it will automatically attack the first target you hit and switch to other targets if the first one dies. In this case, you need to be careful - occasionally your pet will NOT be hitting the target you want it to be hitting, so you still need to use this ability fairly often to make sure it's DPSing the right target.

This is especially the case in raids, where your pet will hightail it for a target that's casting spells, but you don't want it to be DPSing. For example, your pet will often want to go back and whack an unreachable boss (eg. an immune or airborne boss) after an add dies, so you want to make sure it's hitting the next DPS target rather than trying and failing to attack something it shouldn't.


Using Pet Follow and Move To:

Pet Follow brings your pet back to your side, but unless your pet is on Passive, it will run off and continue attacking, so I tend to just hit Passive for the times I want to recall my pet (Pet Follow is generally the default state). I only tend to use Pet Follow after using Pet Move To.

Pet Move To brings up a targetting circle and tells your pet to stay exactly where you tell it to go, meaning it won't run back to your side. This is extremely useful for different situations where you don't want your pet to be next to you.

For example, if you're pulling to a tank using Misdirection, you can use Pet Move To to keep your pet out of the way - particularly useful if you're pulling adds back behind a wall where the rest of your group is.

You can also tell your pet to move to a certain position for easier or faster access to mobs (eg. moving your pet to where the melee DPS will start a boss fight rather than back where the ranged are, so your pet can start hitting that much quicker).

One thing to note: pet AI is quite advanced these days compared to what it used to be, but you still need to be careful in dungeons and raids (particularly in places like Gnomeregan where jumping off without dismissing your pet tends to mean your pet takes the long way around and pulls every mob on the way down). You used to be able to use Eyes of the Beast to jump your pet down and stay while you jump down yourself, but using Move To won't allow this because the AI won't find a viable path. Instead, you'll have to dismiss your pet and recall it after jumping down yourself.

Finally, one of my favourite uses of Pet Move To is when doing difficult soloing. You can park your pet away from you, Misdirect mobs to it, run past the mobs and then Feign Death once far enough away from them (preferably far enough away to auto-dismiss your pet), thus avoiding having to kill them. You can also put a Frost or Freeze Trap in between the mobs and the pet so that they'll be even slower getting to your pet.

Here's an example screenshot in Utgarde Pinnacle of what I mean:



That's it for this section, stay tuned for the rest of the Pet Control guide, updated for Cataclysm!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Camouflaging Moths

Most pets, when Camouflaged, merely turn transparent.

The moth, however, appears to turn into what looks like a hovering flea or larva:


Pretty cool, if you ask me - of course a moth would want to tuck their brightly coloured wings away when trying to camouflage themselves! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pet DPS: They do matter!

The other day, I did a heroic Lost City of Tol'vir run with my guild.

As Marks spec, I naturally fell to second place on the DPS meter, about 2-4k DPS short of our Surv spec hunter in the first couple of boss fights.

However, I had to laugh when we jumped up onto the croc statue heads to do Lockmaw, because whilst I set my pet to stay on the ground, the Surv hunter didn't - meaning his pet was out of action for the whole fight.

Guess who was top DPS then? Yep, me.

One of the main reasons I've been proud of my "BM spec since beta" tag is because back when I first joined my guild and started raiding Molten Core, none of the hunters cared about their pets. MM was pretty much the only decent DPS spec back then and pets were fairly weak. Even so, I as a BM hunter consistently held my own in comparison to the other hunters merely because I used my pet as much as possible... and managed to convince a few to at least rez their pet occasionally, if not use it.

So, if you're a hunter (or any other pet class, for that matter!) and still don't know how to handle your pet, go learn how (yes, I really should update those pet control posts for Cataclysm... will try and do that at some point), because they do great DPS even if you're not BM! :)