Category Archives: Gameplay

Why Beast Mastery Hunting?

In a large, flaming, two headed nutshell...

Most of us experienced folks know exactly what Beast master hunters are.  We’ve been around the block, tried the rides, and have settled on the one that we like.

Some people are new to this game, however, and I feel like it’s my obligation and privilege of educating the Cata and Wrath babies as to what exactly is a hunter, and what it means to be a beastmaster.

So why don’t we start at the obvious beginning, with the question of all questions: what is a hunter? What is our purpose? And why are we so awesome?

WHAT IS A HUNTER?
Blizzard defines a hunter as a powerful ranged attacking class with pets to help dish out pain, traps to control the flow of battle, and… they have an easy time soloing.

In essence, they’re right.  We do massive quantities of sustained ranged DPS (Damage Per Second) to kill things dead.  Our pets help us.  Our traps can burn, poison, slow, and even freeze opponents.  And yes, we’re excellent soloers due to our personal tank.

The problem is, it’s a very basic description.  Hunters aren’t just that, and if we were, we’d be no better than warlocks, crafty, smelly, overblown sheets of tissue that they are.  Hunters can perform a huge variety of roles with all their abilities and skills.  If there’s a situation, we always have an answer for it where another class might not.

Here’s a statement for all of you: we are the swiss army knives.  We are the most adaptable.

Our strength as hunters is in dealing damage, but we can literally do everything but heal on a major scale, without the need to re-spec either (Suck it, Shamans/Druids/Paladins!).  We can tank with our pets, as shown by Big Red Rhino.  We can control the flow of battle.  We can kill things as quick as anyone else.  We can occupy and distract enemies, offering help to those currently in trouble.

The fact that there’s a saying that “all loot is hunter loot” is proof enough that we could do anyone else’s job, cause all they’re gear is our gear (It’s actually not, please don’t loot everything.  I understand that spellpower LOOKS like it might help, but we don’t actually use it.  I’ll explain gear later!).  A good hunter can be of huge benefit to a group in more ways than any other DPS class could try to.

TL;DR: We are the swiss army knives of Azeroth, and no one better forget it.  All the loot is hunter loot (Not really, please don’t actually think that.) and we can do any job anyone else can.  Our versatility makes us strong.

SO WHY BEASTMASTERY?
Marksmen focus on ranged damage dealing, specializing in the damage they can do.  Survivalists specialize in damage and crowd control.  What do Beastmasters specialize in?

Their pets, obviously.  And what do our pets do?

Here’s the short answer: pets do everything.  They CC, they debuff, they buff, they heal, they tank, they deal damage, they reduce damage, they increase all kinds of damage…  hell, pets even give bloodlust, Mini-blessing of Kings, and a  Leader of the Pack buff (The second last two of these are only usable as a beastmaster, bee tee dubs)!

So what a better way to be super versatile than to specialize in the one thing that really makes the hunter as versatile as it can be: pets.  As a beastmaster, just about anything can be tamed, and something out there is the perfect pet.

Besides, picking one of the other talent specs makes you a mail wearing mage, and that’s boring.  Mages read books, and do funky things with their hands.  Sure, the explosions are cool, but what happens when you run out of mana? Oh no, you can’t explode things anymore.  Boo hoo.

With a hunter, everything explodes, always, all the time.  And as a beastmaster, you get a large, angry T-Rex coming out of those explosions to eat people.

That’s about as cool as it gets folks. And that’s why we’re so awesome.

/flourish

Hellfire Ramparts: Done With, Done Quick

Time... is fleeting.

Time... is fleeting.

Well, I’ve accepted another challenge, and mean to make a meme out of it.

Upon looking at the blogs I read, I’ve found a gem of a challenge: a speed run, a race.

How quickly can you utterly destroy the Hellfire Ramparts? How quickly can you mow through that instance, looting all your kills, and destroying the generals and monsters of Kargath Bladefist?

Nance was the first to attempt and post this challenge (to my knowledge) to the internether in general.  He posted his time here.

There are, as always, some rules to this challenge.

Rules and Guidelines

  • Start the timer the second you walk inside.
  • You have to kill everything inside.
  • You have to loot everything inside. Skinning is optional.
  • Stop the timer the second you walk outside.

This is what I managed.

ScreenShot_072609_235655

18:22

Needless to say, I am pleased with time; however, I know I could do a lot better.  For one, I took a lot of time trying to maneuver Jormungandr away from the corpses in order to loot them.  I also didn’t take enough risks in an attempt to pull MORE mobs at once to volley.

Nonetheless, that’s my time right now.  Which, I might add, is the record! I’d like to add some further rules though, if I may…

  • To keep costs down, no raid foods and flasks.  Health and Mana potions included.
  • Bandages and plain food/drink (Mana Strudel works well!) are fine though, to help with the speedy recovery of a bad pull.

There ya have it, my fabulousness for all to see! If you want to try it out, but don’t have a blog, then post your times here in the comments.  If you DO have a blog, then write a post! If you’re not a hunter, but want to try this anyway, then do a speed run for your class! I’d be particularly interested in seeing how Priests might manage this, or Mages.

Give it a shot! Hellfire Ramparts Speed Run Meme Starts…

Now!

Hunter Gathering Professions

ScreenShot_072209_231001So you’re a hunter.

You can track just about anything, defeat enemies who would crush most people, and control the wildest, most dangerous beasts on the face of the planet…

But you’re jobless.

Don’t worry though! There are plenty of jobs to choose from, and they are all unique.  I’m going to outline and explain the professions you have available to you so you can pick which one fits your bill best.

GATHERING PROFESSIONS
Mining
Mining is widely known as the biggest money making profession out of the 3 gathering professions, and this is true for most servers.  Mineral nodes have multiple objects of interest: Ore/Metals, Elements, and Gems.  As a result, a miner provides the materials for a lot (5/7) of the Crafting professions! That means there’s always money to be made.

Gathering professions also come with a passive bonus based on your skill level, and mining is not an exception.  Being a miner makes you tough, and gives you a hefty 50 stamina bonus when your mining skill reaches 450.  This is particularly beneficial to PvP hunters, but is good for everyone as Hit Points (HP) are just plain awesome no matter what the situation is.

One issue is that you have to track the minerals to find them in any number, which stops you from tracking important quest mobs or other players.

Skinning
Skinning isn’t as big a money maker as Mining, but it does bring in the cash.  You just have to work harder for it, since you will likely have to kill a large number of beasts to make the same amount of money as a Miner.  Not that we a problem with killing things; we do that on a daily basis!

The reason why skinning is so awesome is because of the passive bonus, Master of Anatomy.  This skill gives your character a passive 32 crit rating, which is good anywhere.  Crit rating is damage, and damage is what we do no matter what situation we’re in.  Erego, for performance sake, skinning is the best gathering profession for Hunters.

Another reason this profession is made for us is because we’re the only class that can track beasts!

Herbalism
Herbalism is a good profession for money, particularly on servers with loads of high end raiders.  Herbalism serves the materials for 2 important professions: Inscription and Alchemy.  Inscription creates glyphs, which are in high demand at all times.  Alchemy has many potions and elixers which are necessary for high end raiding.  So depending on the server, this professions will either be very good or mediocre for money.

The bonus for herbalists is called Lifeblood.  Lifeblood is an activated ability (meaning you actually have to use it!) that Heals you over Time(HoT).  This HoT ability heals you for 2 000 HP when your herbalism skill is reaches 450.  

This bonus is a useful one since Hunters don’t have a self heal normally, just so long as you remember to use it.  Failing to actually use this ability makes it a useless ability.

This ability is mostly useful to PvP hunters, giving them another way to hang on for a while longer… but not as useful as mining if you’re a beastmaster.  Because your pet inherits a certain percentage of the master’s stats, the increase to your stamina from mining actually increases your pet’s HP as well!

One issue is that you have to track the plants you wish to pick, which stops you from being able to track important quest mobs and the like.

It’s a matter of Perspective
The important thing to remember is that this is all a matter of what you want to do.  There is no “best” profession for everyone, but there is a “best” profession for you depending on what you’re doing.

For example, if you wanted to be a raiding hunter, you would want to deal more damage.  Keeping this in mind, your choice of gathering profession should be easy: skinning, obviously.  A PvP hunter needs more HP or a self heal, giving you the option of  Mining and Herbalism.

By knowing what you want to do as a hunter, it makes your choice of gathering profession very easy! If you don’t know what kind of hunter you want to be, then you could pick any one of these and make money from it.

Next time, I’m going to talk about the Crafting Professions, so stay tuned!

A New Wolf

Okay, not quite.

Okay, not quite.

Not to mention another Hunter mannerism.

I’ve recently been attempting to use a ferocity pet in a PvP environment(as a beastmaster).  In order to do this, I had to pick one very important beast for the task.

In the end, I chose a Corehound.

This Corehound is not only the most unique of the 3 possible skins, it’s a homage to Dranei everywhere that says the following.

I’m your base, and I stole Fluffy.

Of course, I named him the only thing I could... Fluffy!

Of course, I named him the only thing I could... Fluffy!

Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to see some cool stuff from Fluffy.  He’s also a giant dog, so he and Link get along fine.

If he barks, all you have to do is play him some music, and he’ll fall right asleep!

Under The Gun: Tier 1

Teir 1!

Tier 1!

*dust*

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an Under the Gun post, and I’ve decided it’s needing a revamp.  It needs a new flair and a new breath of fresh air.

The talents I will dissect through these posts are going to be analyzed by tier from here on out.  Doing a specific analysis on talents like I have done in the past has been a little annoying to do, and it has been hard to write about other talents like that because it’s so incredibly obvious what their function is!

Secondly, there are more than enough talent analyzes for Marksmen and Survivalists out there, but almost none for Beastmasters! I figure that we Beastmasters need to get in on this, so let’s get this show rolling shall we?

Today, we’re going to analyze the first tier of the Beastmaster tree, which is one of the simplest to explain tiers of talents in this game.

TIER 1Tier 1 BM

Improved Aspect of the Hawk Improved Aspect of the Hawk.
5 ranks.

Your normal ranged attacks have a 10% chance to increase your attack speed by 3/6/9/12/15% for 12 seconds.

At first glance, this talent seems to be good in every situation: but it’s not when you think about it.  The tooltip for this talent is a bit sneaky, for starters.  Can you guess where?

It’s right here: your normal ranged attacks.  What does that mean? It means this talent only works off of your Auto-shot attacks, rather than your more interesting shots like Arcane shot or Explosive shot.  This defines this ability, and gives it a very narrow area in which to be useful.

With this knowledge, it’s obvious to determine that this talent is, in fact, PvE based.  In PvE, you have plenty of opportunity to use and abuse your Auto-shot.  By standing still, you shoot auto-shots and do extra damage.  The key part here is that you are able to stand still in PvE from time to time, allowing for a better chance to use this powerful ability.

For PvP however, this talent is junk.  Improved Aspect of the Hawk only has a 10% chance to procure itself(A.K.A “proc”) and you get a lot of time to get that to happen in a 5-15 minute long bossfight.  In PvP, your chances of getting this ability to work are incredibly low because you are moving around so much.  By moving at all, you reduce the effectiveness of the talent by a great deal, and that’s not using your talent points effectively.  Actually, it’s a waste to use this talent in PvP.

The other reason you wouldn’t want this in a PvP area is because of the Random Number Generator(RNG).  In PvP, you generally want to have a constant(or at least reliable) source of burst damage(A short period of extreme damage, usually caused by a great deal of critical hits).  Although this talent does provide a slight amount of burst, it’s a 10% chance that this works.  That’s nowhere near reliable or constant! In fact, that’s downright out of the ballpark of “handy” and flying to “wonky” at all due speed.

If you’re standing still, this talent can increase your DPS by a good margin.  Your auto-shots are always shooting, so a 10% chance is bound to happen.  In addition, your attack speed is so greatly increased during this time that it would be silly not to take this talent for PvE purposes.

For PvP however, this talent is damn near useless.  It’s unpredictable, relies on you standing still(Which you should most definitely not be!) and doesn’t give enough real “burst” damage.  I humbly submit that this is the PvE talent of the tier.

Like a good coin, however, this tier has 2 opposite sides!

Endurance Training Endurance Training
5 ranks

Increases the health of your pet by 2/4/6/8/10% and your total health by 1/2/3/4/5%.

As mentioned earlier, tier 1 of the Beastmastery Tree is much like a coin: there are two sides, and they are opposite, a heads and a tails.  Endurance Training is the heads to Improved Aspect of the Hawk’s tails, and that’s true in every sense.

First, lets examine this from a PvE perspective.  Health is nice in every environment, but it’s not necessary in PvE.  Our job as DPS is not only to deal damage, but to take as little of it as possible to help our healers do their job.  If everyone is doing their respective jobs and you die as DPS, it’s your fault.  A lot of damage can be avoided, if not all of it.

Health, as a result, is not really needed.  We get enough health from equiping our gear.  Past that, all health in PvE is extra.

That’s why this talent doesn’t do well in PvE; in fact, it’s useless.  PvE talents do one of two things: do damage, or utility.  Endurance Training does no extra damage, and provides no extra buffs to help the raid/party.  Ergo, not good for PvE.

For PvP, however, this talent is necessary.  In PvP, the priorities for talents are different: survival and damage(preferably burst damage).  Endurance training does survival, and it does it well; not just for you, but your fluffy companion as well! Since your pet as a beastmaster is of the utmost importance, having this talent for PvP greatly reduces the chance that your pet will be killed if you’re careful(about 3 000 health points without WIld Hunt, much much more with WIld Hunt!), while also helping you not to die in 5 seconds.  Having this talent generally can add 2 000 health points with the right gear, and being a Tauren grants you a little bit more.

For the sake of importance and of clarity, the extra health of your pet doesn’t do well in PvE.  If your pet dies, it’s your fault.

For those who are really lazy…
TL;DR: Improved Aspect of the Hawk is the PvE talent of the tier, Endurance training is the PvP talent of the tier.

/flourish

Surprise Bananas!

He's baaaack!

He's baaaack!

Hot on the heels of the Creature Feature: Gorilla post I made, I’m making an announcement.

I’ve tamed a gorilla and I liked it.

Yes, the pet with an interrupt most people would say sucks, is now in my employ.  I have decided to name him Diddy until I tame a more permanent pet(Diddy is only accompanying me until I find Loque’nahak).

I play on a PvP server and I have had the opportunity of seeing a Gorilla in action while hunting Loque in many Solo and PvP situations.

First, for the reasons that all tenacity pets are good tanks, gorillas still do have thunderstomp contrary to some opinions.  He can still AoE tank with the rest of them, and do a good job.  They aren’t called Gorilladins for nothing!

In addition, Pummel is a neat tool against caster mobs.  They try casting anything and that Gorilla is all over them like a cheap suit.  Heals? None.  Shadow Bolt? Forget it.  This is particularly helpful against creatures and monsters who have a big nasty spell and you can interupt it.  Just a smack on the noggin and your good!

Now, for PvP.  I would argue that a gorilla is an incredibly effective means of interupting spells and allowing for a killing blow.  Unlike Cunning pets(who have been touted to have better interupts!) Gorillas have Charge.  Charge does do a mini stun for a brief amount of time, which does interupt spells! Timed properly, Charge is a stun/interupt you can use at will.  Seeing as the Gorilla is the only Tenacity pet with and interrupt(in the form of Pummel!), this has a certain weight to those who wish to use a tenacity pet in PvP.

Pummel is a great little tool! Unlike some other abilities that do extra damage on the attack, Pummel is only on a 30 second cooldown(21 if you’re a Beastmaster, which is in comparison to 40 seconds for most of the other pet abilities and 1 minute for Sonic blast on the bats!) and can be used more often, which is important.  Yes it is a melee ability, but between Boar’s Speed and Charge, your Gorilla will be in melee whenever you want him to be, making the range some other abilities you can use be a bit of a moot point.

Personally, I find the Gorilla to be incredibly powerful when facing casters, and this pet would be particularly strong with a Non-beastmaster to take advantage of the lower cooldown.  Imagine this: a marksmanship hunter in PvP.  He has a gorilla.  He knocks a caster down to half Hp.  In an effort to save himself, the caster begins casting a spell.  The MM hunter uses Silencing shot.  The caster panics, uses some cooldowns, and then tries again after 3 seconds.  Gorilla uses Charge.  The caster tries once more.  Pummel.

At this point, the hunter has probably thoroughly destroyed the caster.

So remember kids: Gorillas.  Don’t mess with them, unless you gave the bananas to kill it, and even if you do, good luck trying.

Creature Feature: Gorilla

He's preparing a knuckle sandwich!

He's preparing a knuckle sandwich!

Gorillas are one of the most well known and now least understood pets in the game.  They were before their time, having had the ability to use AoE threat; however, it was limited in size and scope due to the 1 minute cooldown on thunderstomp and the lack of additional threat.

When the Echoes of Doom patch came out, Gorillas were at the forefront.  Having overtaken and unseated the previous tanking kings(boars!) they now stood high and proud with their 10 second cooldown thunderstomp.  AoE tanking and the Gorilladin were born.

Gorillas may not be as used anymore, but they are still a force to be reckoned with.  When you have the power to smash your way through any problem, there’s no need for a plan other than tank and spank!

GENERAL STATS
Gorillas are a tenacity pet beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Their thick arms and corded muscle are more than strong enough to withstand the blows of anything in its way.  They are more than capable of tanking a 5 man instance(among other things!) but only if the gorilla is talented properly.  As of patch 3.1, pets of all kinds share the same 5% bonus to all stats, and an incorrectly talented tenacity pet is more than capable of being outanked by a ferocity pet.

The focus dump skill for Gorillas is Smack, and their special move is Pummel.

Gorillas in WoW have 7 different skins, 5 of which are tamable.  Although not as sizable a list as say, cats, gorillas still have some variety in terms of which ones you can get; so long as you don’t mind how they are built.  All gorillas share the same physical build, so if you think that gorillas are too broad/big/furry/silly, then you’re out of luck.

Gorillas are a very peaceful animal, and their diet reflects this.  They don’t eat meat or anything like that, but they will eat fruit, bread, and fungus without a fuss.  Of course, this means they like bananas.

Gorillas are the figurehead of AoE tanking, and are the closest you can get to taming a humanoid.  In fact, I never skin gorillas as I find they are too close to being human for my tastes.

Gorillas in real life are a passive species which only attack if aggravated or if they feel threatened.  They live in colonies with one Alpha male called a Silverback; they are called this due to the colour of their fur changing from black to a whitish grey.  It is still recommended to not get too close to one since they have the strength to snap grown men in half.

Gorillas are tamable by all hunters.

ABILITIES
Pummel: bonks the target on the head, causing them to lose concentration and lose the spell.  They can’t remember how to cast from that school of spells for a couple of seconds afterwards.

The facts are these: pummel interupts the spell being cast, pummel stops the target from using spells of that kind for 2 seconds, pummel does no damage, and pummel is on a moderate cooldown.

Happily, there’s no math for this ability other than being able to count to two, because two is the number of seconds that pummel affects the target.  Not being able to do damage should be the most bothersome thing about this ability, as the rest is all good news.

Pummel is particularly effective against healers or in PvE encounters where interupts are crucial(Which are few and far between).  When used on a healer casting a healing spell, it will interupt the spell being cast; since the majority or classes use one school of magic for their healing spells, pummel effectively stops healers from healing themselves for another 2 seconds which give you more than enough time to slaughter them.  If your opponent is casting a crucial spell like Haunt or Cyclone, Pummel effectively stops that as well.  The uses of pummel are many, and a creative mind can come up with any number of uses for it.

The thing is that you can’t use pummel on everything, because that’s the rogue’s job.  You have to use pummel at the most opportune time in order for it to be effective, rather than using it all over the place.  If you interupt a Shaman casting Lava Burst only to have your kill foiled by a Healing Wave, you have no one to blame but yourself for your charred corpse.

What I mean is that Pummel is on a 30 second cooldown period.  If you use it on a Hunter’s steady shot, then you have to wait another 30 seconds(or 21 if you’re a beastmaster!) before you can use it again, and I can guarantee that you’re going to need again during that period of time.

Happily, the cooldown isn’t as restricting as some other pet abilities you can find around the area, and you can use Pummel on whatever you find is necessary(keyword being necessary!) in order to win.  If you use it on an affliction warlock casting Immolate, that’s wrong.  If you use it on an affliction warlock casting Haunt, you’re doing it right.  If you’re using it on a paladin casting any heal, you’re doing it right.  If you’re using it when he’s… I don’t know, casting his hearthstone, that’s probably wrong, btu still funny.

Unfortunately for PvE, the lack of damage on this ability, the lack of interrupts needed from you, and the semi-restrictive cooldown make this ability suck for Heroics and raids.  Most big spells can’t be interrupted anyway.

This is a PvP ability, all the way.  This thing oozes of PvP utility and reeks of PvE uselessness just because of the lack of times to be able to use it.

ENVIRONMENT
Gorillas are durable and tough creatures, while still being quick, agile, and intelligent enough to outwit and destroy some of the “upper” races of Azeroth.

Gorillas are, like all tenacity pets, very good for soloing.  Thanks to a baseline Thunderstomp, Gorillas can easily hold aggro on 5-6 equal level monsters for as long as it takes to kill them all.  In addition to their thick armor and high HP, gorillas have access to a variety of talents designed to make them more durable and more easily kept alive.  This allows intelligent hunters to Solo most monsters in the world, with very few exceptions.  In addition, Pummel allows a smart hunter to utterly destroy some world monsters that rely on their spells to destroy players.

Gorillas also enjoy battling in battlegrounds, where their strengths are made very apparent.  Their durable exterior allows them to survive when most pets wouldn’t, and they can still dish out a pretty decent amount of damage.  In addition, they have access to many very useful PvP abilities which help reduce incoming damage to the hunter.  Lastly, Pummel allows a skileld hunter to stop healers from healing important people in a fight, which can lead to a victory instead of a loss in a clutch match.

Arenas are the same story, but with smaller, more important numbers.  One interupted heal can be the end of a healer, and a win for your team.  Although they don’t have the ability to hold people in place or slow them down, and interupt is just as, if not more important than those types of abilities as it can mean the end for your kill target, and a much easier match.

KLINDERAS’ THOUGHTS
Gorillas are like Orcs: big, brutish, but useful.

I have recently had the joy of working with a Gorilla while on my search for a Spirit Beast, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  He can destroy monsters I would otherwise have trouble with, and when an Alliance member comes to kill me, the Gorilla does a very good job of not only keeping me alive, but keeping my opponents out cold.

They’re also incredibly gentle.  The Gorilla I have been working with has a particular fondness for finding and playing with flowers.  He also frequently picks them for me, presenting them to em with a big goofy grin.

His rage, however, speaks volumes of what he truly is.  He has smashed apart and entire ridge of Undead without a moments notice, only to exit unscathed.  It’s a wonder that the Scourge haven’t already been defeated when there are animals like this in the world.

COLEMAND’S THOUGHTS
This is how it’s done.