Sunday, February 27, 2011

This will stop a hell of a lot of internal swearing

...if it makes it live:


•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:


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:


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

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! :)