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A happy, bouncy parody music video, my favorite kind :-)

“You’re only crying right now ‘cuz a hunter got it.”

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A happy, bouncy parody music video, my favorite kind :-)

“You’re only crying right now ‘cuz a hunter got it.”

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Mirrored from My Cat Eats Faces.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Well, there we go again. Galena’s been packed and sent along her way to Silver Hand. The only 80 I have left on Terokkar now is my little DK. She’ll probably follow later in the year… we’ll see.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

According to the wonky new Armory, my hunter is sporting the “BM 19/26/47″ build as her primary spec. It’s early in the morning, sure, but even I knew something was wrong with those numbers.

Galena's BM 19/26/47

/does some quick calculations

Yes, I am apparently level 101. Woo-ha! Okay, Blizz, I guess I can forgive you all that nerf business if this is the way you see fit to recompense me.

…of course, I wouldn’t refuse if you threw in a free spirit beast too, eh? ;-)

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

There are days when you have brilliant flashes of metaphorical genius.

Then there are other days, when the best simile you can come up with involves… a potato.

——————

*flashback to a couple nights ago*

Earnest Guild Hunter: I like my tree a lot! That’s why I put all my talents there.

Tired and Slightly Drugged Me: And I respect your unwavering loyalty and principles. But… think of it this way…

EGH: …?

Me: Talent trees are like… a…

EGH: …?

Me: A potato. Yes, a baked potato.

EGH: *probably wondering just what drugs I was on*

Me: Well, a potato is great on its own, right? Starchy, hearty, easy to pop in the oven after a long day. It’s the bulk of your tree, y’see? But on its own, it’s just… y’know, a hot potato.

EGH: *fidgets and looks to the sky*

Me: Now, if you sprinkle in some stuff from the other trees to complement that foundation of potato — like some BM (let’s call that the bacon bits) and some Survival (that’s probably the shredded cheese and sour cream) and… what are the chives?

EGH: *blinks*

Me: Right. Chives are chives. Point being, with the help of some side components to accentuate your base potato, suddenly you have this wonderful new dish that you can sell at an overpriced restaurant! Mmm, DPS-y Raid Potato…

EGH: Umm… thanks?

——————

Not a faithful transcript, by any means, but close enough ;-)

Hmm, I wonder what’s for lunch…

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Hi, A! We’ve been seeing a lot of you, which is fantastic! I was watching you guys during Heroic Violet Hold the other night though, and noticed that you could be doing much more DPS than you seem to be. After taking a look at your armory profile, it became apparent that it had nothing to do with gear — you have a very good idea of what stats you’re looking for and seem to be getting geared pretty well — and everything to do with the talent build. So let’s do an experiment, eh?

Making a Marksman Hunter

Try this out and see how you like it. There’s rarely any need to sink all your talents into one tree, especially when our hunter trees offer so many cool things to play with. Some of the talents you’ve taken are very PvP and AoE oriented, which you don’t need — when choosing talents, our end goal is that each talent help maximize our final DPS on a single-target level 83 boss.

You’re starting to collect a fair number of Emblems of Heroism — you’ll probably want to spend the first 40 for the Mirror of Truth, one of the best DPS trinkets around. The tooltip on the trinket is messed up, but it *does* proc for ranged attacks and almost every raiding hunter has it as a result.

So yeah, take the talent build in that link for a spin, and do some target dummy testing. Drop me an email in-game or on the guild website if any questions come up :-)

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

As with all these “beginning a such and such” articles, I suggest going with the template, then tweaking things to fit your own preferences and personality after giving it a test run to familiarize yourself with the build’s options. Be aware of how each talent affects your overall performance, instead of taking something just because “it sounds good” — a bit of research and/or number crunching can mean a difference of hundreds of DPS!

Of the three trees, marksman is definitely getting the least specialization these days. This holds especially true in PvE and raiding, where MM is seen as the “PvP spec”. This is because it tends toward burst damage (hit them fast, hit them hard) at the cost of sustained DPS (firing at a boss for 10 minutes straight). It’s possible for raiders to work around the mana and aggro issues with careful cooldown management, though, and the spec brings along its own utility. MM hunters are highly mobile thanks to their arsenal of stings and Readiness, a quality that comes in very useful during fights heavy on choreography. The main reason I like to bring a MM in our raids is their very valuable raid-wide buff, Trueshot Aura (it stacks with Might/Battle Shout and is analogous to Abomination’s Might/Unleashed Fury). Most other builds use the MM tree to complement their specs for a reason, so let’s take a look at a good raiding spec for MM. (The following is taken almost directly from Wowwiki.)

11/53/7 MM PvE Raiding Build

Itemize for agility > attack power > crit to get the most out of those talents.

Suggested Glyphs
* Major Glyph of Steady Shot
* Major Glyph of Improved Aspect of the Hawk
* Major Glyph of Hunter’s Mark
* Minor Glyph of Revive Pet
* Minor Glyph of Mend Pet
* Minor Glyph of Feign Death

Alternatives
* Major Glyph of Trueshot Aura
* Major Glyph of Arcane Shot
* Major Glyph of Aimed Shot

The suggested shot rotation is Steady Shot with Chimera Shot at every cooldown (usually a 3:1 ratio). Weave Arcane, Multi and Aimed as available, and be sure to use Kill Command on those pets. Also remember to Misdirect to the tank and drop aggro whenever a cooldown is up, to keep aggro under control. There are macros available for some of this, but I’d suggest getting used to the rhythm of handling a MM rotation before anything of that sort, especially since there can be quite a bit of variability due to the amount of movement involved in a fight.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Yes, I do know that consumable ammunition will still be in the new patch. Have known since the news broke a couple weeks ago. That post down there is from February, when nobody knew and the whole news item was fresh off the racks.

That being said, I’m still happy with what we are apparently getting. Bigger stacks of ammo and no quiver bonuses still means we get an extra bag of space. Sure, we’ll need to use a few slots for ammo — no worries, my other toons are carrying around more than their fair share of reagents taking up that same amount of bag space. And heck, being an engineer, I can’t say I’m too sorry that we’ll still be making money off of crafting ammo, right? ;-)

That’s all. Don’t see what all the fuss in the forums is about. Sure, Blizz might have been a bit trigger-happy in announcing its grand sweeping plans for re-inventing hunter mechanics, but nothing is ever guaranteed until it goes live. Designers get excited and babble a little, no big. At least it means they do have the idea in their heads, eh?

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

So back during the Great BM Nerf of 3.0.8, there were only three raiding hunters in the guild and two of us went Survival. After BM was unnerfed in the following patch, we stayed that way because it added some nice variety to the raid pool (we now have 2 BM, 2 MM and 2 SV, if my last count was accurate) so everybody could get a solid set of buffs. Well, that and at least I was too cheap to fork out another 50g for respeccing (and another few hundred on matching gems, enchants, and glyphs) when I knew I’d be throwing 1K at a trainer pretty soon to get dual specs anyway.

With dual specs looming ever closer, I suppose it’s time for all of us to sit down and figure out what our talents are going to look like. My hunter, I know, will have a spec for BM raiding (aka The Return of Wilhelm the Devilsaur) and a spec for Survival raiding (aka Halp! We Needs Replenishment!). Of course, there will be talent changes when 3.1 goes live, so anything said about talent speccing now is just what’s working in the live realms with only an occasional passing nod to what might happen with the new patch.

All that being said, let’s look at what a good Survival build should include. I based my hunter’s SV build off of Lienna’s recommendations and would encourage those new to SV to give her template a whirl. She goes step by step, provides nice pictures, explains everything very well and has been playing the tree since far before there was ever a hint of SV being as popular as it’s become. She knows what she’s talking about.

Survival Talents For PVE
Those Other Talents That are Not Survival but Help Survival

Like any other build, start with the template then start tweaking depending on your needs and preferences. There’s no such thing as a perfect build, although number crunchers can serve up countless “optimal DPS” variations. The player puts those talents into effect. A talent you specced for but don’t use because you don’t like it is wasted.

For a full discussion on all aspects of making your survival hunter, I refer you to:

The Elist Jerk’s Survival Hunter in WotLK Thread

Because there’s no use repeating what’s been put so well. It goes into detail about talents, glyphs, itemization, shot rotations, pets, and much, much more. A good read on a Tuesday morning ;-)

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Hi, R! I’ve been happy to see you in a few raids recently, and am looking forward to seeing you much more in the future. I figure it’s probably time to take a look at your Armory profile and see about getting your DPS to the impressive number that BM hunters can attain :-)

Talent Build

Try out this build: 54/17/0 Raiding Beast Mastery

In the BM tree…

I’ve taken out the Thick Hide because you honestly don’t need it in group situations where the tank is taking the hits. Those three points could more beneficially be distributed to Focused Fire (% damage increase and pet crit). You don’t need to max out the entire first tier for the same reason — your pet will have his own talents to help with stamina and you can afford to spend yours on special talents that affect you both.

Mend Pet is optional — a lot of specs leave it out entirely, though I do find the dispelling proc useful when the healers have other stuff on their plate besides decursing pets.

You don’t need to fill out Spirit Bond — there are usually healers on you anyway doing their jobs. You do, however, need to fill out Bestial Discipline, take all of Animal Handler and a good chunk of Frenzy because those three will easily push your pet DPS up by hundreds. BM hunters should always be looking to maximize pet DPS.

You can afford to lose Catlike Reflexes because, once again, neither your or your pet should be getting that much damage in a situation where there is a tank. Invigoration isn’t very necessary with the new Aspect of the Viper and mana regeneration options offered in raids. Those points can be spent elsewhere to beef up DPS.

If you have the 51-point Beast Mastery talent, you really should try to get yourself an Exotic as soon as possible. They do 10% more DPS overall and come with lots of really nice special talents.

In the MM tree…

You need 262 hit rating against level 80 raid bosses to be doing your best potential DPS. However, with 3 points in Careful Aim, you can reduce that to needing 164 hit rating. Since you’re working with an uncapped hit rating right now, I’d recommend taking all the points in Careful Aim. That way, when you are in a group with a Draenei’s Heroic Presence, you’ll be very close to hit cap. Of course, you’ll still be looking for gear with +hit whenever possible and trying to gem/enchant for it when you start getting better gear.

You don’t need improved concussive in raid situations, since most bosses and a lot of mobs resist it. It’s better to stick your points into Careful Aim (which will give you more overall AP) and Mortal Shots (which will directly increase your crit). Improved Hunter’s Mark isn’t necessary, since the the overall AP gain is a fraction of what you’ll get from the other talents that could use those points.

Lastly, I took off the points in Savage Strikes in the survival tree for that same reason — they’re better used in filling out the better talents in MM. Savage Strikes is also a melee talent, and you should never have to melee in a raid.

BM Glyphs

Steady Shot and Bestial Wrath are two must-haves, which I’m pretty sure you probably have.

The third major one can be either Serpent Sting or Aspect of the Viper — it’s really a personal preference thing. Since you seem to be worried about mana, I’d suggest Viper.

Minor hunter glyphs kinda suck at the moment. Feign death is a favorite, though, and I’d tend to vote for the Mend Pet and Revive Pet ones to round out the 3.

Gear

You’ll get chances at loot when you go to raids, but there are a lot of good upgrades that you can work on in the meantime as well, both in and outside of instances. I got a lot of my pre-Naxx gear from soloing, crafting and rep, and they all had great stats which helped with raiding.

You’re probably starting to collect a fair number of Emblems of Heroism — you’ll probably want to spend the first 25 on the Pendant of the Outcast Hero for your necklace, then another 40 for the Mirror of Truth, one of the best DPS trinkets around. The tooltip on the trinket is messed up, but it *does* proc for ranged attacks and almost every raiding hunter has it as a result.

If you can get your engineering leveled to 440, you can make a pair of Truesight Ice Blinders, the best crafted hunter headpiece currently available. Otherwse, I’d try running Heroic Draktharon Keep for King Dred’s Helm, which drops pretty often. Another option is to get revered with the Oracles in Sholazar Basin — that will give you access to the Toothslice Helm, a very nice rep piece.

You can get an epic Ice Striker’s Cloak made by a leatherworker, which will last you possibly into Ulduar. Giantmaim Bracers and Giantmaim Legguards are two other excellent leatherworking epics that will serve you well for a very long time. They are all very worth getting, and our guild leatherworkers (Takarakasai and Faing) can make them for you. They’ll even go farming with you so you don’t need to buy all the mats and spend a lot.

I would also suggest getting your reputation with the Knights of the Ebon Blade up as soon as possible — this is the first rep priority for most DPS because they sell the head enchant we want, The Arcanum of Torment. Additionally, they sell nice shoulders and a pretty sweet sword. You’ll want to get reputation with the Argent Crusade after you hit revered with Ebon Blade, since they have an epic chestpiece and boots.

I see you are already revered with the Kaluak and would take advantage of that to buy their Whale-Stick Harpoon, a very good polearm that will give you more stats than the two level 70 axes you’re currently using.

Gems and Enchants

You should get a Relentless Earthsiege Diamond (+21 Agility & 3% Increased Critical Damage) for your helm when get one with a meta socket. Guild crafters can make the diamonds (I think there’s even one in the bank we can grab…) and cut it for you. You’ll need a gem each of red, blue and yellow to activate it, but by the time you get a helm with a meta you’ll probably have those gems anyway.

Once you have the gear figured out, we can take a look at gems and enchants (prioritzing hit rating first, followed by attack power or agility) to help boost your stats.

Please do let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything else I can do to help — I want all of our guild’s hunters to be at their best for raids and look forward to talking with you :-)

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Hi, F! I took a look at your armory tonight and noticed some stuff that I had some questions about, so thought I’d drop a note and see how it’s coming along with you in the wonderful world of Beast Mastery. I’m pretty sure that with a few tweaks, you could easily gain a 500+ more DPS and be pummeling our Survival butts in a few fights. :-)

Talent Build

A few things here and there. However, I know that people pick their talents for personal preferences sometimes and if you chose what you chose because you have a decided preference for it, obviously you should stay true to what you like. Test this out a bit, though, and see how you feel about it if you have the time.

53/18/0 Raiding Beast Mastery

In the BM tree…

I’ve taken out the Thick Hide because you honestly don’t need it in group situations where the tank is taking the hits. Those three points could more beneficially be distributed 2 to Focused Fire (% damage increase and pet crit) and 1 to additional stamina.

Mend Pet is optional — a lot of specs leave it out entirely, though I do find the dispelling proc useful when the healers have other stuff on their plate besides decursing pets. You could just as easily pop that point into Frenzy for a total of 4. You’ll never need all 5 in Frenzy, btw — hunter crit is too high to bother.

Just one in Spirit Bond is enough. I’ve seen lots of people forgo it with little effect, but it is a nice boost.

Animal Handler is a must! Pet expertise will easily push hundreds of DPS.

If you have the 51-point Beast Mastery talent, you really should try to get yourself an Exotic as soon as possible. They do 10% more DPS overall and come with lots of really nice special talents.

In the MM tree…

You only need 164 hit rating if you keep all three of those points in Careful Aim. As you get higher gear, you’ll probably find yourself getting rid of these points. For now, though, you have the option of keeping them there and re-gemming, or taking 1 point out of Careful Aim (meaning you’ll need 196 hit). I tend to vote for regemming at this stage, since you’ll be getting more gear soon and respeccing Careful Aim with each new upgrade can get costly.

Take 1 point in Go for the Throat to maximize your pet’s expertise and DPS. More than 1 point is overkill, especially with BM hunters.

Only take Aimed Shot if you’ll really use it — I know that weaving it into your shot rotation can sometimes be difficult and you might actually benefit more from a stronger Arcane or a couple points in Improved Tracking.

A few more builds, which I’m sure Kang has already pointed you to, from the very trustworthy Elitist Jerks:
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=ctbMzxtRwuMtsx0ecoZx00b
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=ctbMzxtRwu0ekx0eVbMhz
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=ctbMzxtRwu0esx0eVoZx

BM Glyphs

Steady Shot and Bestial Wrath are two must-haves, which I’m pretty sure you do have.

The third major one can be either Serpent Sting or Aspect of the Viper — it’s really a personal preference thing.

Minor hunter glyphs kinda suck at the moment. Feign death is a favorite, though, and I’d tend to vote for the Mend Pet and Revive Pet ones to round out the 3.

Gems and Enchants

You should really get a Relentless Earthsiege Diamond (+21 Agility & 3% Increased Critical Damage) for your helm. Guild crafters can make the diamonds (I think there’s even one in the bank we can grab…) and cut it for you. You already have the gems equipped to activate it, and it’ll boost your stats more than the current gem.

If you are keeping the 3 points in Careful Aim, then the rest applies:

The shoulders can afford to be regemmed for AP or agility.
You can take Icewalker off those boots and put on AP instead.

Guild Website!

Lastly, go to the guild website and click on “Guild Applications” in the info box on the left. Fill out one of those forms so we can give you an account with a mailbox and forum posting access :-P

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

There are some people who say that macros are cheating or a sign of a lazy player. I’d challenge these people to go through life without ever touching another microwave oven, dishwasher, calculator, or ball-point pen. Macros are not strictly necessary, and plenty of people never touch them with no ill effect. They are tools, however, and can make life easier if you wish to use them. The same can be said of addons, and we all know what a big fan I am of those :-) When I was on a slower-running computer that lagged with too much screen activity, macros became especially important to make sure that I was catching cooldowns with delayed key response and still making decent DPS. That didn’t mean I was automating anything, because I was going through my rotations and reacting in a way that stll required actual player input, but it made each one of my keystrokes more efficient. I don’t have a lot of them, just a few that are especially useful, and thought I’d share them.

Double Shadowmeld
#showtooltip Shadowmeld
/cast Shadowmeld
/cast Prowl

Mostly for /afk-ing when there are mobs around, and you don’t want them to see your pet as well. Obviously, you need to be using a cat. I use this instead of standard Shadowmeld in raids as well to drop aggro because it doesn’t do anything to the pet when it is in combat, but will still cloak you. Why bother with two buttons when one will do?

Steady Shot Plus
#showtooltip Steady Shot
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Kill Shot
/cast Steady Shot
/cast Kill Command
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Does exactly the same thing as a Steady Shot, but makes sure that Kill Shot and Kill Command will get included if they’re available. Since those two are things that you want to pop whenever possible, I just glomp them onto all the spells in my rotation to make sure they’re covered. That also means that I don’t need to have the Kill Shot/Kill Command buttons on my bars, because I know that they’re being used at all times.

Explosive Shot Plus
#showtooltip Explosive Shot
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Kill Shot
/cast Explosive Shot
/cast Kill Command
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

and

Serpent Sting Plus
#showtooltip Serpent Sting
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Kill Shot
/cast Serpent Sting
/cast Kill Command
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Both of these are set up exactly the same as the Steady Shot one, for exactly the same reasons.

Trapdance
#showtooltip Explosive Trap
/cast Explosive Trap
/cast Disengage
/cast Explosive Shot
/cast Kill Command
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This one might be a bit excessive to some — you can easily leave off the Explosive Shot because it sometimes won’t be up when you hit the button. When it is available, though, it’s kinda cool because you set a trap, bounce backwards, and shoot all at the same time! I like using Explosive Trap because it gives a nice broad blast with some AoE damage over time, but you can just as easily use Immolation trap to keep it more single-target. This is mostly for Survival hunters, because using traps greatly ups your Lock and Load proc rate, which in turn skyrockets your DPS when used correctly. You want the Disengage in there because you’ll have to run into melee range to set the trap, but don’t want to stay there when your best damage is at very long range. So bouncing you back right means that you only have to take a few additional steps back to be right where you started. Lots of time-saving going on there.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

I’m not gonna bother making a guide, because plenty of people have made very fine ones for us already.

If you are using Scrolling Combat Text, please check out Lienna’s guide.

If you are using Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text, please check out the Warcraft Hunters Union guide.

If you haven’t decided which one you’re going to use yet, I’d suggest trying the second one (Mik’s) because it’s been updated most recently and is just one big addon, as opposed to several smaller ones linked together. At least, that’s the reason I use that one. Lots of people like SCT, though, and I believe it’s been around longer.

Once you’ve done this walk-through for L&L, it’ll be easy enough to plug in other events or spells that you want similar warnings for.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

My hunter is my main and the toon I most enjoy playing. Heck, she’s the one this blog’s title mostly refers to. However, as I scrolled through my older entries, I realized that I didn’t really post a lot of pictures from when she was leveling and upgrading, like I have been with my other toons. Tons of piccies of alts, but strangely few of the one that I see the most of. Not having early pics is understandable, since I didn’t even think to screencap methodically until halfway through my second toon. But I’ve had a stack of caps from since she was 70 just sitting on my puter, which I had fully intended to get around to organizing and never did. So this is my remedying that in one fell swoop.


The most recent pic of Gal and the first one where she’s decked out in full 80 epics. Finally, whee! Since she’s staying Survival until dual specs come out (because I’m too cheap to pay a respec fee on top of the 1k gold I’ll need to open up the option), Kiisa the kitty is once again her go-to pet. The more things change, the more they stay the same :-)


Probably one of the earliest pictures I have, she’s even still wearing an old guild tabard from before we moved to Breakaway. This was around the time when the boy and I were Kara-ready but discovered that we had very low chances to actually run with the guild we’d leveled in, despite our having geared ourselves to higher-than-appropriate levels with no help from raid drops whatsoever. I believe she’s wearing her Beast Lord set here, which at the time was pretty necessary for the trap bonus. And that goofy sword is the Khorium Champion, probably her first purple piece ever and a totally inappropriate weapon meant for warriors. She desperately needed hit rating, though, and that trusty old piece of metal supplied a huge chunk of it for months. It also surprised more than a few rogues in PvP — the added strength proved quite effective in smacking down would-be assassins who were expecting me to scream and run back to shooting range. I remember a week of grinding gold for the mats, then running through Shattrath looking for a blacksmith to make it. It still holds a special place in my heart.


Welfare epics in the form of PvP Merciless Gladiator pieces started creeping in. She picked up engineering around that time as well to get the goggles, an investment that she’s still benefiting from to this very day. Headpieces are hard to come by, and any profession that guarantees a endgame-level headgear eight levels before you hit the cap is worth looking into. Trusty old Kiisa, the same cat she’s had since the starting area, looks spry as ever at 70. By the time the picture on the right was taken, she’d transferred over to Breakaway and was picking up some dungeon gear but finding that nothing was really beating some of those PvP pieces. Sadly, the sword was exchanged for a more class-appropriate Zul’Aman fist weapon.



Then Northrend came. The hair went up and a series of crazy coloring mishaps began. She got herself a rhino, Mathilda. And later, a moth named Simon. The armor didn’t really change for most of her leveling experience. She had picked up a Halberd of Desolation from Black Temple before the expansion and would get several levels of good use out of it.


At level 77, the Icier Barbed Spear from the Champion of Anguish questline finally tempted her away from the BT polearm. Wilhelm the devilsaur became her standard dungeon pet around this time as well.


Ah, the magic of dinging 80 for the first time. Only to find yourself in funny-looking blues and realizing that it’s going to take a LOT of instancing to get you back to some semblance of coolness once again. The spear from earlier got sacked in favor of the Whale-Stick Harpoon (aka the fishpoker), a reputation reward from the jolly little Tuskarrs. She also stopped experimenting with hair color and went back to her natural shade.


New shoulders! It’s funny how shoulderpads are one of the least-needed armor items, but have become some of the most obsessed-about. Those previous ones with the scrawny metal feathers were really annoying me. I was very excited when these nicer-looking ones dropped.


While wandering through Zul Drak, I came upon an alternate skin of Kiisa — it was basically the same grey leopard, only with a slightly different posture and glowing red eyes. It was love at first sight. My cat got a facelift.


A few different helmet options ensued. That first one was thoroughly goofy and I dumped it the first chance I got. I rather enjoyed the bronzed, horned mask and wish that it would have been available
later on instead of being a stepladder option on the way to epics. Combined with the purple Kirin Tor tabard, it gave the outfit a rather festive jester-like flavor.


The day King Dred’s Helm dropped and I saw what it looked like, I think I facepalmed. My poor hunter looked like she was dipped and rolled around in a mat of mud in this outfit. Sure, she was dual-wielding The Key and Greed, but no number of cool weapons could distract you from the fact that she looked like a half-melted sat-on Hershey’s Kiss. Sigh. If Outland was where the designers first discovered fluorescent colors, Northrend was where they started experimenting with how many ways they could mix those colors together until they became uniformly ugly shades of brown.


An emergency makeover session ensued. Mostly in the form of splurging a couple thousand gold to level my engineering enough so that she could wear the new set of goggles. The epic flyer would have to wait, but at least she had her dignity back. The colorful-yet-muted tones of the Ebon Blade tabard covered up the rest and went well with her hair. The dark neutrals and cool colors pulled everything together well, though definitely in a much more somber way than the previous endgame. Very befitting of Northrend. The high neck of the chestpiece ended up working to an advantage, making the pulled-back hair look fashionable. This actually ended up being one of my favorite looks.


Picked up a dagger, a two-handed sword and the T7 chestpiece. Can’t honestly remember the names of the weapons because I was changing through them so fast for a while. I remember those shoulders, though, because they would be they would be the last blues I would have for weeks. More on that later.


This particular outfit stayed around for a while, too. In fact, she’s still wearing that Wyrmrest tabard because it’s the only faction she’s not at exalted with yet. After getting the T7 chest, she went back to wearing the Polished Regimental Turtlehauberk because it looked better and the stats worked better with the new survival build she was forced to adopt with the big BM nerf.


And then another momentous occasion indeed. After downing Kel’Thuzad for the first time, the affectionately-named Bumpy Fenderbow (aka Drake-Mounted Crossbow) that she’d been using since her first few levels in Northrend finally got replaced. With a level 213 GUN. My hunter had maybe used a gun once before that, and only for a very short while. Quite a bit of confused auction-housing and crafting occurred before she was able to get the appropriate ammunition and ammunition storage device to make this upgrade usable.


That wasn’t all, though. Ol’ Kel also dropped a Staff of the Plaguehound. Since there were no druids in our group, my hunter ended up taking it for the great stats upgrades, despite that pesky little bit of expertise rating. If only there was an enchant that could change that to crit rating…


Which brings us right up to what happened last night. So like I was saying before, I pretty much had purples in every slot except the shoulders. In fact, I was starting to upgrade to heroic raid purples and still not seeing any shoulders. Due to my horrible roll luck, everybody around me was getting shoulders if nothing else. It was getting rather depressing. Then my computer broke for a week and a half and when I came back, it seemed that everybody was finishing up their tier sets and there I still was, with a pair of blue shoulders from one of the first heroic instances I ever did. Slightly disheartening? Yes. But as luck would have it, I ended up attending our heroic Naxx run last night — I was supposed to be studying instead — and after a series of wipes, a lot of strategizing amongst the priests and tanks, and quite a few trips to repair, we killed heroic Razuvious for the first time. Guess what dropped. Guess who had migrated to the top of the loot ladder during her time spend wallowing in a weeks’ computerless self-pity? Guess who squealed loud enough to break the eardrums of several small animals in the immediate vicinity?

But alas, things still weren’t quite right. The spaulders were bigger than I’d expected and in combination with the ponytail and turtleneck, ended up making my hunter look like a giraffe-necked pinhead. Alterations were in order. Thanks to the hit rating on the new piece, I was able to trade out the turtlenecked hauberk for my T7 piece. Maintaining hit rating and gaining tier bonus, check. A quick trip to the salon was in order, so that the hair could cover up the neck area, and finally, my hunter was presentable once more.

Which brings us up to date! Yay!

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Because I saw this a year ago and it still cracks me up every time.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been trying to explain to my guildies for ages now that my hunter was smacked with the Bad Roll Bat of Doom the minute she came into existence. The only way she usually gets upgrades is through crafting, reputation items, hoarding badges like a hamster, or the occasional pity loot when nobody else in the raid needs it. This is especially bizarre given how many lifetime boss kills she’s had. No, seriously, it’s gotten to the point where I’ve given up being bitter about it, it’s just sad, inevitable fate. Somebody up there really really likes making my hunter’s life difficult. And I do think it makes me that much more willing to work my butt off for everything and that much more thankful for anything that I wind up getting.

However, for the sake of those who don’t believe me and haven’t been there for one of my countless pathetic rolls, I present this:

It was a pair of purple leather shoulders that the rogues/druids didn’t need, therefore the two hunters in blues decided to give it a shot. Taka (who I have nothing but the fondest regards for) rolls a 2. There is a collect breath-holding in our living room, as we consider that I might — just might — have a chance. Then… I roll… a 1. There is a lot of tittering laughter in the Vent channel. Heck, I’m snickering like a maniac at this point. Because really, I saw that coming, I really did. My rolls. The stuff of infamy. /bow

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

*FLAIL*
*FLAIL*

No more consumable ammo in 3.1! No more lugging around a metric ton of expensive arrows! No more paying for the privilege of each and every attack! OMG. NO MORE QUIVER. What am I doing to do with all that space in my bags?!

My jaw dropped when I read that and I had to rush here and go spaztastic for a minute.

*flails some more*

Okay, I’ll go back and finish reading the rest of the notes now.

*bounces*

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

So after raiding a couple of times post-nerf, then browsing through the charts posted at various forums, it’s pretty clear that the current spec for highest hunter DPS is Survival. As I have stated previously, I am a BM hunter for my own sanity and because it is what I enjoy the most. The idea of seeing my pet shrink in significance from trusty-companion-and-teammate to mere accessory status causes no small amount of mental anguish. For this reason alone, I would probably just stay BM and go along my merry way. Except for a couple things.

Last night, I had a talk with the SO (who also is one of our raid leaders) about my hangups over the Great BM->SV Exodus, and where that left me. He was quite understanding and pointed out that I’d still be taken in raids regardless of spec, because my old spec — while no longer topping the meters — still performed highly enough to put me in the upper half of the DPS group. I do not search for raid spots beyond what our guild offers, so I have no issues about whether or not I’ll be accepted outside of that setting. This left the choice to re-spec purely in my court. Which, as we all know, will quickly lead to a lot of inner turmoil and self-reprobation stronger than anything somebody else could dish out.

Our guild has always been supportive of everybody playing the spec that makes them happiest, and tried to accommodate off-specs even in raids if the attendance allows it. This has primarily been a policy that has effected tanks and healers, but BM spec would probably fall under this category now as well. However, many of our guildmates (I can think of two shaman, a priest and a couple of tank-types just off the top of my head) have taken it upon themselves to re-spec as needed for raiding purposes to be better contributing members on the whole — oftentimes at great and recurring expense to themselves.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from these people, it’s that the social aspect of the game encourages us to bend in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise in a more self-motivated (single-player RPGs, say) environment. They juggle multiple specs to do their best in raids and suit themselves in their downtime. There is really no reason why I couldn’t be doing this as well, especially when we’re talking about a 25% increase in damage that could help our guild progress that much faster through content. Especially when we do not yet have Naxx on farm-status, our people are still getting geared, and we need to bring everything we’ve got to each and every fight.

Then there’s the part where my own words come back to bite me. When I wrote up the class lead mission statement for the guild, I included a bit about how leads should “be familiar with the different specs available to their class, ideally having played each one enough to have a solid grasp of the mechanics and specific details needed for each tree.” Admittedly, I have not touched the other trees since the expansion, and that was just plain complacency on my part. With the majority of the class now switching to another tree, it becomes necessary to understand survival more fully to better aid other hunters in the guild when making their own speccing choices.

So with that being said, Galena will be going survival when the realms come up this afternoon. I’ll probably take my cat along on raids until I finish leveling up a wolf for the additional raid buff. [Never mind... our warriors' battle shouts will override Furious Howl. Looks like my flappity moth is coming to raids after all... that should make the tanks really happy ;-) ]

This will probably stay in effect until we have a few good survival hunters to fill raid spots, allowing me to slink back to BM unnoticed. Or until Blizzard figures out where all the hunters went and nerf survival as well. When not raiding, my hunter will probably see a lot less use as I will be concentrating on leveling my balance druid, who is proving to be quite an enjoyable little DPS-monster herself. She was a healer during Burning Crusade, and might be doing a bit of spec flip-flopping as well, depending on what the raid needs. Guess it’s time to stir the pot and see what floats.

…or maybe I’ll just go level my death knight and be done with it. Heh.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

So the boy and I were having a discussion over lunch today about different hunter builds and how they affect DPS distribution in the hunter/pet dichotomy. The issue was an age-old question — do you want to be doing a total of 2500 DPS with yourself pulling 1500 and your pet 1000, or do you want to be doing 2000 all by yourself and 500 on your pet, in case there is a raid situation where pets are not usable? Both are highly viable ways of playing and both have their rabid proponents. So my answer to which is better? “Yes.”

Maybe it’s a bit of dodgy fence-sitting there, but why bother trying to say what’s better when it varies with each player? In the end, I rolled a hunter and made her a beastmaster because I like pets. It was not because I was looking to top DPS charts, though I gladly do as much as I can to help the group I am in. Enjoyment of the game has priority over the would-haves and should-haves of DPS min-maxing. And for me, enjoying my hunter means playing with one of my several hand-picked, carefully-groomed-and-trained pets at my side, knowing that I’m not a single unit but part of a team. If I wanted to play a solitary DPS sort, I’d be a rogue. If I wanted a pet as a tool, I’d be a warlock or a death knight. What I choose to be is a “we” where each part fully counts and is accountable, where the complexity of controlling all the variables involved in that “we” make the game a quick-thinking free-wheeling chaotically creative and fun experience. I chose a build where I could realize my pet’s full potential because I wanted my pet to be as much a part of that “we” as possible. It is for this reason that I will stay a beastmaster at heart through the upcoming Nerf From Hell, right up until dual specs allow me to pick up something else that might be useful for raids.

Now, if you are all about wringing out every last bit of DPS from your hunter (at this point, the boy raises his hand) then by all means consider a build where you are doing considerably more damage than your pet, and can afford to lose it for more periods of time. If you see that pet as a tool, that is perfectly acceptable and even sensible. DPS is what makes him happy, therefore he should build around that particular goal. Heck, I’d like to have a survival or MM hunter in some of our raids as well, just for their awesome buffs. It’s all about mindsets.

Speaking as a class lead, the main thing I want for the hunters in our guild is to reach their full raiding potential while still maintaining their own personalities, quirks, and preferences. Build templates and other preparational suggestions are provided as starting points, not as die-casts. We don’t want an army of clones (we all know how well that works out, if you’re an evil overlord), just skilled and knowledgeable individuals who know the reasons for their choices. One shouldn’t pick a talent simply because the guy at the top of the chart picks it, but because they see how it affects the dynamics in their own gameplay and might therefore enhance their performance. All the while remembering that just as important as doing well is whether you’re enjoying yourself in the process. That’s why it’s a game.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to start. You’re level 80! Time to start tearing up end-game content and getting decked out in epix, right? Sorta. When raid leaders (or more cautious PUG-ers) start looking for their DPS and inevitably pull up your armory page, you want them to not cringe. Don’t let your armory profile be something that people take a screencap of to giggle over with friends. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with how many purples you’ve got equipped, or even how big your numbers are. It’s just a simple matter of stat priorities. For example, a MM hunter rockin’ strength and expertise stats might as well just move to a remote Siberian monastery, his chances of getting into a decent raid are that low. You’d be better off in some properly statted quest greenies at that point.

What are we looking for, then?

All PVE Hunters: Hit rating. To the Cap.
Marksmanship Hunters: Attack Power, Agility, Critical Hit, Intellect, Stamina
Beast Master/Survival Hunters: Agility, Critical Hit, Attack Power, Intellect, Stamina
PVP Hunters: Resilience, Stamina, then above according to build

From here on out, I’ll be focusing on PVE hunters. Let’s pull up a profile (I’m using the WoW Heroes auditor, by the way) and have a quick looksee:

Base Stats

Strength: No, seriously, if you ever see a hunter using something with strength, start worrying. Unless they happen to be temporarily using a nice rogue weapon as a space-filler for a rapidly upcoming upgrade, and it has some other really great stats to compensate. It happens on occasion (I admit to toting around an epic warrior sword for a while because the hit rating was too good to refuse) but for the most part, strength is useless to hunters. It’s a melee stat that only effects melee attack power. And if you’re down to spamming raptor strikes at a raid boss, chances are it’s an outright wipe anyway.

Agility: Ah, sweet agility. Now here’s a hunter stat. It will give you attack power, critical hit, and armor all in one shiny package. We’ll get into specific conversions later. If you’re still working on upping your crit, take agility. It’ll give you a nice little grab bag of everything you need.

Stamina: A certain amount of stamina is nice. Being able to stand a hit or two will make the healers’ jobs a lot easier, and help you in your secondary role as clothie guardians. Remember, however, that as a ranged DPS in a raid, you shouldn’t be taking much damage anyway. That’s what the guys up front are there for. You just have to pump out as much damage as possible without drawing aggro. So don’t bulk up too much on stam at the expense of other stats, just enjoy it as the opportunity arises. It is worth noting, however, that BM hunters should be a bit more aware of stam, since it will increase your pet’s stamina as well. A live pet is better than a dead pet, especially when your talents are leading to it doing 40% of your damage. Pet survivability can be aided by several other factors, though, so don’t let that be your sole consideration.

Intellect: A certain amount of intellect is nice, too. We’ve always struggled with the mana issue, and even with judicious use of Aspect of the Viper, it can still be a problem. Bigger mana pools are never a bad thing, as long as they don’t come at the expense of more important stats. Intellect can also increase ranged attack power if you have points in the MM tree in Careful Aim (something with most builds can afford, since it’s only a second-row talent). If you’re looking to pump out more DPS (and especially if you have Careful Aim), pick intellect over stamina.

Spirit: Is slightly less laughable to have than strength, but doesn’t really come on hunter gear. So chances are that if you’ve got a lot of spirit, you’ve left behind a trail of crying, naked shamans. For shame! Seriously, spirit helps with mana and health regen, but please leave it for the casters. We’ve got healers, foods, and aspects to take care of that kind of stuff. There’s more important stats to look for.

Armor: Reduces the damage you and your pet take. Refer back to stamina — for the most part, we should not be in the path of physical damage. Ranged, yay. While your pet could be taking some damage, we’ll be working on its survivability issues later and you’ve got a few more pet healing tricks up your sleeve at 80 than you did at 70. Armor is nice, but if you see a particularly nice leather piece with great stats, don’t let the armor difference dissuade you from upgrading. However, do be nice if there are desperate rogues and feral druids ahead of you in line.

Defense

Defense: You’re kidding me, right? Like any other melee stat, if you’re close enough to use it, you’re probably going to be dead soon.

Resilience: Only if you’re PvPing, or using PvP gear while waiting for an upgrade. Stopping gaps with PvP gear is okay, as long as you’re not using too many pieces. That’ll just gimp you. Resilience helps a bit when dealing with casters in a raid setting, but there are too many other stats that take priority.

Dodge/Parry/Block: HAHAHAHAHA. Let the plate wearers figure out what these are for.

Melee

Expertise: Please, don’t tell me you have this. Lie to me if you have to. Ranged attacks are not dodged or parried. This only effects melee. Why are we even looking at this category?

Ranged

Power: There’s our pretty numbers! Currently, our raid leaders like to be seeing around 3000 to start, unbuffed with aspect. Raw attack power will give both you and your pet more damage potential. There has even been some talk among the number crunchers that attack power could very well overrule agility as the top hunter stat in the new expansion. However, these are still early times so there’s no final verdict yet. Agility is still best for those who are working on their crit. If you have a nice crit already, though, feel free to stack the AP. It’s a shiny stat.

Crit: More pretty numbers. Aim for 30%, either through agility, buffs, gems, enchants, talents, what have you. Aside from causing a big boom, a lot of our talents are crit-dependent. Especially if you’re a BM/MM, those crits will trigger pet crits (Cobra Strikes, Go For the Throat), which might also trigger raid-wide buffs (Ferocious Inspiration, pet talents) that will let others crit… and you get the point. Embrace the crit.

Hit Rating: The first thing I go for on any new DPS is hit. It is vital when you’re in a raid and is able to drastically increase your damage done even if you change no other stats around. That being said, there is still some controversy surrounding the proper hit cap, and studies are still being conducted on the subject. While previously we had been assuming a 9% cap (296 hit rating) without talents, recent experimentation has shown that a cap of around 8% (262 hit rating) could be all that is needed for raid bosses (3 levels higher). However, there is currently a bug that effects how hit is transferred to pets, so that those hunters who take the three points in the MM tree under Focused Aim do not seem to transfer that hit rating decrease to their pets. Therefore it is up to the the hunter to decide whether to go with the lowest number (164 hit rating + 3/3 Focused Aim), to pad a little to help their pets, or to just go with the whole number without Focused Aim (262 hit rating). If you’re just starting to gear, take the talent and make life easier for yourself. As you get better gear with more gem slots and hit, you can trade out the talents/enchants/gems for AP/agi as needed to balance your hit. Remember, there is no point to going OVER the hit cap — that’s just wasted points that could be put somewhere else. As you can see in my profile, I’m currently overcapped and will probably reconsider some of my enchants/talents as a result. Oh, and if you’ve got a draenei friend who’s willing to let you keep them on a short leash, you can further reduce yo
ur hit cap by 1%. As yet, they’re a bit too bulky to fit in standard bag slots, but who knows what the future of gnomish engineering holds?

Armor Penetration: A stat that occasionally pops up, which we can sort of take or leave. Armor penetration increases with your own DPS, and decreases with your target’s armor. It’s useful against low armor mobs, which pretty much makes it not hugely useful in a raid setting where we’re pumping most of our DPS into high-armor bosses. Nice for trash pulls, I guess, like when you’re AOEing one of those huge swarms of non-elites. Not very high priority. A bit here and there won’t hurt, but don’t aim for it and feel free to trade it for a shinier stat if the opportunity presents itself.

Haste: Is problematic. A little can be useful, a lot can be messy. Especially if you’re a BM. It is all contingent on your build, your weapon of choice and your shot rotations. Which will be a much bigger post later on. What you want, basically, is a speed that will allow you to use your more powerful shots and stings while still getting as much out of autoshot as possible. An ideal BM shot rotation will give you the most use from your steady shot, followed by auto-shot, then stings/volley/etc. I find a number around 2.0/2.1 to be good for this but it can vary. If it is too low, then you start having problems with global cooldowns and latency messing up your timing. If you’re having to autoshot all the time because your cooldowns are up so fast, there’s no time for mixing it up and using your special shots. At which point you might as well just set yourself on auto for the entire raid and go out for a cup of coffee. The magic number is different for everybody depending on the performance of their computers, connection issues, personal response time, gear, etc. Play a little with this to see what works for you.

Spells

What, you’re not satisfied with taking stuff from shammies, rogues and druids, you’ve got to start leaving behind naked clothies, too? Tsk! Put. The. Robe. Down.

Other

Healing: No, this will not help your bandaging technique. Move along.

MP5 out/in: Not something you actually gear for, just something that comes from your other stat choices. Let it be.

In Conclusion

Take a close look at your stats and see how they’re balancing out for you. Aim for them with priorities in mind, and try to get rid of the sore thumbs as soon as possible. You there, with the melee trinket. Give it back to the pouting death knight. Really. Thank you. :-)

More Reading

If you want a quick rundown of stat conversions at levels 70 and 80, check out The Hunting Lodge’s Stats and Equivalences, and forgive them their spelling ;-)

If you like lots of numbers, formulae and charts, check out The Elitist Jerks’ Combat Ratings post. It’s a good one.

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