Category Archives: Talents

Sharks Aren’t That Great, It Seems

Testing, one two

Oops.

On one of my bigger posts, Furrious Raiders: The Ferocious, I was told that Wild Hunt is better than Shark Attack for all those non-beastmastery users out there(Rilgon and Pike are the ones that told me).

Well, I thought otherwise, so I did some tests.  I performed these tests under the following conditions:

-Link was talented properly and all tests were done with the same talent spec(with the exception of the 1 point difference from Shark Attack and Wild Hunt).

-All abilities were turned off, allowing only melee damage to enter the equation.  The only time this rule changed was for Furious Howl, and only to test scaling to a small degree.

-All tests were approximately 5 minutes long.

-All tests were pet only, and did not feature any Hunter interference with the exception of Aspect of the Dragonhawk being on.

-Link was the only pet used.

-I was talented for Survival PvE, and did not take any beastmaster talents capable of affecting Link.

-All tests were conducted on a level 70 dummy in order to avoid Random Number Generator interference(i.e, misses, glancing hits, etc.).

I base any and all conclusions on the average damage dealt by hits and by critical hits rather than the DPS or Overall Damage Done(ODD).  For a 5 minute test, Link had a preference of which talent spec he liked better in terms of critical hits.  As a result, by taking the DPS or ODD, I am skewing the results.  By taking how much his hits did on average, we can easily find a reliable average in 5 minutes, no matter how many critical hits he did.

In addition, it’s important to keep in mind I have 3 557 attack power while conducting these tests.

Now on to the results!

Shark Attack, no Furious Howl

Shark Attack, no Furious Howl

Shark Attack, with Furious Howl

Shark Attack, with Furious Howl

Wild Hunt, without Furious Howl

Wild Hunt, no Furious Howl

Wild Hunt, with Furious Howl

Wild Hunt, with Furious Howl

I have done these tests under very controlled, constant conditions with a constant, non-Random Number Generated environment that didn’t rely on resources that were finite.  This is pretty much the textbook definition of a perfect test environment.

The average damage dealt per hit while talented with Shark Attack was 294 damage, or 304 damage with Furious Howl.  Wild Hunt did 274 damage without Furious howl, and 290 with.  This looks like it shows that Shark Attack wins, but let’s take a closer look.

When Furious Howl was not active, there was a 20 point difference in damage.  When Furious Howl was used, the difference was only 14 points of damage.  Why is this important? Well, this brings us to scaling.

Scaling, as you may or may not know, is loosely defined as how much effect you and your pets get from buffs.  When there were no buffs present, it was obvious that Shark Attack was the winner.  By 20 points, no less.  But when we added 1 teenee tiny buff, that gap of 20 points shortened a great deal.  Link, with Shark Attack, was only getting a 10 point bonus out of it, while Wild Hunt gave a whopping 16 points instead! What this shows is that, with more buffs…

Wild Hunt would quickly outpace and outrace Shark Attack.  Furious Howl gives 320 attack power half the time, meaning that it really gives 160 attack power at all times(320/2=160).  If we were to assume that 160 attack power constitutes an increase in damage by about 10 points for Shark attack and 16 points for Wild Hunt, you would need a bit less than 640 extra attack power to have Wild Hunt beat Shark Attack if Furious Howl was applied all the time.  For other ferocity pets, this comes out to needing roughly 800 extra attack power to beat Shark Attack, at least for anyone with exactly 3 557 attack power.  Remember, if the hunter has less attack power, the pet has to get more attack power to make Wild Hunt more effective due to the lack of help on the hunter’s part.

So, in conclusions, I was wrong.  Wild Hunt is, for the majority of situations, better than Shark Attack for damage.  In addition, it gives the pet more stamina, which helps the pet stay alive more.  It seems that, out of this duel of talents, Wild Hunt wins with a comeback from last place.

But remember this: Wild Hunt will only beat Shark Attack if there are other buffs around.  If the Hunter does not have a large amount of attack power, Shark Attack will actually be better.  For PvP, this means that 2v2 Arenas and Ganking pets would rather have Shark Attack than Wild Hunt for damage purposes.  New level 80 Hunters might not have the attack power necessary to cause WIld Hunt to beat Shark Attack either.

SHARK ATTACK: LOSER!
WILD HUNT: WINNER!

If anyone believes that this test was conducted badly, or the results are off in some way, please tell me as this is the first time I tested something like this before.

Yes Pike, and yes Rilgon, you may both dance now.

/sigh

If this method of testing pets becomes popular though, I’m patenting it.  I want it to be called the Klin method, and I want royalties.  5 gold per use!

/flourish

Furrious Raiders: The Ferocious

bg_1

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of a series of guides dedicated to PvE success for your pets!

Well, success as far as far as talenting your companions.  But if there’s one thing I preach above everything else, it’s actually playing and learning how to do things.  Once you have a talent spec, success isn’t guaranteed, just given a better chance.

So, with that in mind, I think it’s appropriate to start this series of PvE guides with the pet tree dedicated to dealing a massive amount of damage:

Ferocity

Ferocity specializes in massive DPS, making up for it with a frail physique.  But when I say massive damage, I mean it! Ferocity pets are the king of the pack for DPS… but only if talented properly.  A poorly talented ferocity pet will suck terribly on the DPS front! You can potentially talent your pet to do almost no extra DPS, and that means that it can do less damage than a tenacity pet.  That’s saying something.  So talent your pet properly, dammit!

The regular build for PvE DPS is something like this.

Ferocity PvE talent

Ferocity PvE talent spec without Beast Mastery talent

BM Ferocity PvE

The Beastmaster build.

The two talent specs are incredibly similar, there’s just 4 more points in the beastmaster tree.  There are a few key talents for PvE that both specs share, and some that are unique to the beastmaster tree due to the extra 4 points you can get via the Beast Mastery talent for all the beastmaster hunters out there.

Now, as all of you know, there are a few things to keep in mind when speccing for PvE DPS: Damage, Survivability, and more Damage.  But without being redundant, we’re sticking to Damage and Survivability, both of which have to be consistent and/or controllable to be effective.  This is the truth for anything DPS related, so all you other classes can learn something here too!

So, let’s take a look at our talent tree, and see if it follows our recipe for destruction!

DAMAGE
Cobra Reflexes
: A straight up increase to attack speed.  Nothing odd or strange about this talent being here, so let’s move right along.

Spiked Collar: 9% Increase to all damage done.  I shouldn’t explain this, but this is indeed a pure DPS upgrade.  Take it, love, live it, smell it, and take it again 2 more times ’til you have 3 ranks in it.  Just do it, and never look back.  You’ll thank me.

Spider’s Bite: 9% increased chance to critically hit.  Take a look at Spiked Collar.  Put what I typed there down here.  Learn to love again, and have a happy life.  Take everything in moderation… except this talent.  Full 3/3 here.

Rabid: This too is a pure DPS upgrade.  Although it isn’t constant, it’s damn well close.  With an uptime of 20 seconds and a cooldown of 45-31.5 seconds(it’s shorter if you are a Beastmaster with Longevity!), this ability only has a down-time of 25-11.5 seconds.  That’s next to nothing! So, another must have talent for PvE DPS.

Call of the Wild: Now, this is a different story.  This is hardly constant at all! It lasts 20 seconds, but the cooldown is a whopping 5-3.5 minutes! So why is this in a PvE DPS build if it isn’t constant? Because you can control this.  It’s not a random proc, it’s not a stroke of luck.  This is an ability which takes skill to use at the right time, and not just willy nilly all over the place.  For PvE DPS, that’s perfect! There will be times where you need to “burn” the boss, or when you need a hefty DPS boost.  This ability does both of these perfectly.  Just don’t waste it on trash, because then you’re doing it wrong(The only time this would be acceptable is if you’re about to die and you can salvage wipe by killing a certain trash mob.  Otherwise, save it for the bosses).

Shark Attack: Although not as splendiferous as Spiked Collar, Shark Attack still gives a 6% increase to all damage done, making this talent another 2 delicious ranks of damage that you can have and hold ’til death do you part.

Except all you non-beastmasters.  You guys are like those kids who sit at the table and don’t eat their dinner, waiting to get cake instead.

Half of Wild Hunt: The +20% increase to your pet’s attack power inheritance is a big help for DPS!.. but you non-beastmasters can’t get more than one rank in this.  See, this is the cake, but because everyone else ate their dinner, we get more cake.  *raspberry*

That and Wild Hunt actually does more damage than Shark Attack, since it scales with buffs a lot better than Shark Attack ever could.  So make sure you take that last point and stuff it in Wild Hunt! Here’s some proof to back me up, done by yours truly!

SURVIVABILITY
Dash: Although this gets your pet into the fray quicker(resulting in DPS sooner, but not by any means even remotely that important as to say this actually increases DPS!), it’s so much more useful than that! The increase to your pet’s speed can save its life! Dodging lava never was as easy as asking your pet to follow you and Dash.  Instant pet recall.  Or, heel! or whatever.  Wherever you think an increase to move speed might be useful, Dash can make an appearance.

Improved Cower: In my opinion, this is strictly better for PvE than Bloodthirsty.  What you rather have, a 1/5 chance in getting some HP back, or a more constant(see what I did thar?) 20% decrease in all damage taken? Your pet took 5 000 damage? try 4 000.  Improved Cower just healed my pet(preemptively) for 1 000.  That is all that needs to be said, I should think.

Avoidance: The only way that AoE damage is going to be 5 000 damage is through this talent.  75% decrease in damage taken from AoE attacks? With all the AoE Damage flying around, this is a must have for the pet.  Remember what I said about Spiked Collar? Put it here too, but love this differently.  It’s not for DPS, it’s for life.

The Other Half of Wild Hunt: Only the beastmasters get this, and that makes us happy.  40% increase to our pet’s inheritance of stamina? Perfect.

CONCLUSION
So, let’s take a look at how our tree fit into our recipe: 6 1/2 for damage, 3 1/2 for survivability.  Remember the recipe? Damage, Survivability, and more Damage.  2 parts Damage with 1 part Survivability.  It’s a science for this tree, it really is.  Like cooking a giant, furrious cake of death.

Ferocity DPS is at its highest when talented like this, and so that’s how you need to talent your ferocity pet to do DPS.  There’s no real two ways about it, but if you wanted to, you could tinker a little bit with the tree.

For example, if you’re still learning pet management, you could take the points from Improved Cower and 1 point from Wild hunt, and place them into Bloodthirsty and Heart of the Phoenix, but I wouldn’t do this if I knew how to control my pet since it’s a waste of points.  If you know how to control your pet, it shouldn’t be dying.  Ergo, no need for Heart of the Phoenix.

Aside from that, this is rock solid.  I wouldn’t change a thing in the non-Beastmaster tree, since you can’t salvage the points for Heart of the Phoenix, and there’s no where else of use to put points.  So you non-beastmasters get no variety at all here.

Happily, both these builds are the best at what they’re supposed to do: Massive Quantities of Sustained Ranged Pet DPS.  So, depending on your hunting styles, you are going to use one or the other.  Right? RIGHT.

Next time, we’re going to take a look at the second tree(and the only other raid viable tree at that) for pets: The Cunning Tree, where smarts beat brawn and it’s not all about simple DPS… heck, it’s about complicated DPS!

Second Wind Of Survival

He's a maaaaaan tracker...

He's a maaaaaan tracker...

Well, I’ve gone ahead and tried my second favourite spec out of the 3 trees, the survival tree(I played with this talent and glyph spec: 0/14/57).

Pre-3.1, I can’t say I was this impressed.  The shot rotation wasn’t as much fun back then.

Post 3.1, survival has come back with a vengeance in terms of fun factor.  I’ve been running plenty of heroics and raids in an attempt to understand how the shot priority system for survival works.  It’s a lot more interactive than the Beastmastery shot priority, and I have yet to test the Marksman shot priority, so I don’t know about that.

The survival tree might be more fun for a number of reasons, but I think one of the big reasons I’m enjoying as much I have is because of my Power Auras addon.  It’s the addon which helps me keep track of everything in a quick, simple, and easily visible manner without looking all over the screen.  It’s entirely possible to take your entire User Interface and present all the important info around your character.  Yes, this is me selling myself out, but this addon works.  Plus, it looks incredibly cool, and it’s entirely customizable and easy to work with once you tinker with it for 30 minutes.

Allow me to show you:
screenshot_042209_120850Please please PLEASE don’t look at that recount.  Please.  I’ll give you all cookies.

This is my current display(with the exception of Xpearl.  For some reason I can’t make a focus target with XPearl or PitBull at the moment which kills my poor Misdirection Macro.  If anyone knows why, please send me an e-mail!) and as you can see, there are some funny looking symbols on top of my character.  I used the red one to represent when I need to use Hunter’s Mark, and it will disappear if anyone casts it on my target.  The green one shows that I still need to use Serpent Sting, and will only disappear if I cast a Serpent Sting on the target.  Since this was back when I was playing around with Beastmastery, there are a number of symbols you aren’t seeing.
screenshot_042509_012900Like the Beastmastery pictures, green means I need to apply Serpent Sting and the Red symbols on the sides show I need to apply a Hunter’s Mark.  The purple ring means I need to cast a Black Arrow, and the red fire things on the inside show I can fire Explosive shot.  This shows me what I need to fire still, and it’s up to me to put them in the right order.  I tell you this much: I would not be able to keep track of all this information otherwise.  I could play looking at my character rather than at my action bars, which is fabulous.

Oh, and a bonus, you can add noises.  When I can use Kill Shot, I have the word “BAM” pop up on top of my character with a ding noise, and I crack myself up every damn time.  It’s great!

/cackle

This post isn’t supposed to be about “how to Power Aura”, though I might do that as a future post if people think it’s necessary.  I was detailing how you can take all the information you need from around the screen, and put it in a convenient place so that you can properly execute your shot priority as a survivalist.

The shot priority is as such:
1.  Hunter’s Mark.  This should be the first thing you cast every time you attack a target.  The increase in attack power is substantial and should not be passed over.

2.  Black Arrow.  6% increase to all damage.  Black Arrow also deals it’s own fair share of damage and causes Lock and Load to activate.  All of this makes for a happy survivalist.

3.  Serpent Sting.  Thanks to Noxious Stings, Serpent Sting increases all damage done by 3%.  Not as much as black arrow, but it’s constant where Black Arrow is up half the time Serpent Sting is.  Technically, Serpent Sting increases damage by teh same amount, seeing as it lasts double the amount of time Black Arrow does.  But that’s mathcraft, and I’m not here to talk mathcraft quite yet.

4.  Kill Shot.  Whenever you can use Kill Shot, you should.  I am seriously undergeared despite my recent luck, and I still can crit for roughly 9 000 damage.  So use it!

5.  Explosive Shot.  This is the Bread and Butter of the shot rotation.  Despite the fact that you can only use it once every 6 seconds, Explosive Shot makes up for more of your DPS than any other shot, hands down.  It also procs Hunting Party, so it’s a must.

6.  Multi-Shot/Aimed Shot.  If you have Aimed Shot talented, then you should be using it right after Explosive shot.  If you’re looking for Multi-target damage, then you should shoot multi-shot.

7.  Steady Shot.  At long last, the bottom of the Priority list.  It’s a quick filler shot, and doesn’t do as much damage as the rest of your shots.  Nonetheless, it does enough to make us happy, and you’ll be using Steady Shot a lot.  It also re-applies Replenishment with Explosive shot.

Obviously, if your opponent has next to no HP left, you don’t really need to bother with applying all of the stuff at the beginning.  If it’s going to be a longer fight, it will be necessary to do so to keep your DPS high and mighty at the top of the meters.

All told, this is a lot of abilities to keep under check all at once.  But it needs to be done: your DPS depends on it.  Hence why I got Power Auras, and it works.  Works for Colemand too, since he has a lot of proc based abilities I can’t keep track of.  I highly recommend getting this addon or a similar one in order to help organize your shots.

So that, in a nutshell, is the Survivalist shot priority System.  SSPS.  It’s a cool acronym, if I do say so myself.

/flourish

Now, back to why this is fun: It’s different than being a Beastmaster in oh so many ways.  Being a Beastmaster required a lot more knowledge of what was going on since I had to keep track of both myself and my pet.  As a survivalist it’s a nice skill to have, but I only need to worry about myself.  On the other hand, the shot rotation requires a great deal of concentration to pull off accurately and a great deal of practice too.  Once you’ve got the shot system down though, it flows like a breeze.  I can consistently pull 2 600 DPS on a boss fight, and I am undergeared compared to most people pulling that kind of DPS.  It’s certainly a little bit more than I was doing as a beastmaster.

But you know what? I think I’ll keep it as a secondary spec, at best.  I’m still a beastmaster at heart and always will be, but Survival is a fun alternative because it’s so completely different.

Also, mana flows through me like water.

Large, flowing rivers of water that carry fish and other fruits of nature, enough to feed a whole godammed village.  It’s crazy! I’ve never seen so much mana.  I could run a car in real life with the amount of mana I had.

How To Kill A God

By fang and claw!

By fang and claw!

Patch 3.1 is here, and it’s en force.  That’s French for “you’re about to get hit in the face”.

Things have changed for hunters.  Big changes, every tree, no exceptions.  None! So don’t go thinking you’re not changing, ’cause things are changing.

How’s that for redundancy?

The Beastmasters are having a field day with all the new stuff afforded to them.  Well, not really “new” per se for us, but the changes to our already existing abilities will change us quite a bit.

Okay, not much of that either.  Aside from the new pet talents, nothing has changed for beastmasters.

You guys have all read these patch notes, so I’m not going to bother doing anything but linking them.  However, there is something I will be doing: I’m going to detail what talents I will be using in our new raiding environment.  Although our talents may not have changed, our raiding environment has in a big way.

A note before I begin: I have been unable to to actually play for more than 2 weeks over the past year, so anything I say will require testing and a pinch of salt.

The spec I’m going to be using for raiding looks like this: 52/12/7

I have put together this spec from reading bloggers who have been able to play the game, and from the input I’ve been reading about what Ulduar is like for beastmastery hunters.  So far, not only is it fun/hard, but it’s also very different from what we’re used to.

From Chain Lightning to Firebreath, the AoE damage in Ulduar is huge.  You will be hit, and you will be hit a lot simply by being around.  This talent spec will hopefully address this huge change while increasing our DPS.
klinderas-hunter-talents

The beastmastery tree, to all intents and purposes is almost exactly the same as the earlier 53/18/0 build of yore.  Do you see the difference? It’s almost like finding Waldo, isn’t it? Happily, this is actually a lot more obvious.  Cobra Strikes is missing a rank, isn’t it? The reason is that we needed that point somewhere else.

If you’ll take a look at the Marksmanship and Survival trees, you’ll notice that things have gone either: 1) Crazy or 2) terribly wrong.  Not to worry everyone, the trees are acting normally.  In fact, this particular way of putting in the points makes a lot of sense if you think about it a little.  Allow me to explain.

One of the big glaring problems in the Marksmanship tree is that we are missing the Improved Arcane Shot talent.  We didn’t put any points in it! We’re also missing 2 ranks in Mortal Shots, a talent that’s normally maxed out.  So where did those points go?  This is where the Survival tree kicks in.

We have 5/5 ranks in Improved Tracking, which accounts for our missing points.  Improved Tracking increases all of our ranged damage by 5%, whereas Improved Arcane Shot only increases Arcane Shot‘s damage.  Arcane Shot is not the majority of our damage: annoyingly enough, it’s Steady ShotThanks to Pike from Aspect of the Hare, I’ve learned that Improved Tracking does more DPS than Improved Arcane Shot(I know it says “Pre 3.1″ in the title of the article, but since nothing changed on our end, it still works).  In addition, I hate leaving talents half maxed, so I took 2 points from Mortal Shots to increase my ranged DPS by a further 2%.

That’s not the only reason I wanted to max out Improved Tracking: the other reason I put 5 ranks in it was to get to Survival Instincts higher up in the tree.  This talent perfectly meshes in with the Beastmaster tree, and yet it’s in the survival tree.  We should steal it…

We can discuss the heist at a later date.  For now, let’s concentrate on our big questions here: why Survival Instincts, and where did the points come from? The answer to our first question is simple: because it’s perfect for a beastmaster.  A 4% increased chance for Steady Shot and Arcane Shot to critically hit? That’s all win for us, as we love our crits, and these are our two most used shots to boot.  The more we critically hit, the more our pet crits, the more damage we deal.  Synergy is the name of our game, and we have it in spades with this talent.

The other reason we took Survival Instincts is for the 4% reduced damage from all sources.  Because of the rampant AoE damage in Ulduar, damage is something that can and will happen.  Anything we can do to lessen the damage a little bit is a bonus, and Survival Instincts is perfect for this: 4% reduction to all damage, and Increased chances to critically hit with our 2 most used shots.  Combined with the 5% from Aspect Mastery, and we’ve just gained 9% damage reduction from all sources.

The answer to our second question is easy to answer as well.  We took 1 point from Go for the Throat and 1 point from Cobra Strikes.  1 of these points is easy to justify: Go for the Throat(GftT).  We Beastmasters have a neat talent called Bestial Discipline; thanks to this talent, most of our focus problems are completely solved, and we have no need for 2 points in GftT.  1 point is still needed to keep our pet form being focus starved, so we didn’t take 2 points from here.  If I were to raid with a cunning pet, however, this would change things.  More on that later.

The second point we took was from Cobra Strikes.  Unfortunately, we needed all of our points form everywhere else.  Cobra Strikes, although a highly useful talent, needed to be cut down to give Survival Instincts its full power.  Hopefully, and this requires testing, the 4% increased critical hit chance to Arcane Shot and Steady Shot will negate the lost point in Cobra Strikes and keep our pet critting all the time anyway.

Equally important for us is how our pets are talented.  Beastmasters have two real choices when it comes to pets: Cunning or Ferocity pets.  Let’s take a look at how to talent our pets to our best advantage:
ferocity-talent-specThis is how a Ferocity pet’s talents should look like if your are going to raid with one.  We’ve taken as many DPS talents as possible in the hopes of maximizing our pet’s damage.  If you are still learning the ropes of Pet Management, then take 1 point from Shark Attack and place it in Heart of the Phoenix until you have mastered how to manage your pet.  It’s important to learn this skill as it is, in essence, how your pet will survive.  So learn to manage your pet!

Another change you can do is taking your points in Bloodthirsty and putting them into Improved Cower.  This does, however, shut out the opportunity to use Heart of the Phoenix if you need it.  It also makes Pet Death a bigger problem: it’s not possible to feed an unhappy pet while in combat.

Now, for Cunning pets, it should probably look like this
cunning-pet-talentsMost of these make perfect sense, and most of them can’t really be argued: you need all the points where we have them in order to maximize DPS.  However, you’ll notice something odd: I took Bullheaded.

This talent is, without a doubt, PvP centric.  Your pet dispels any effects that cause it to lose control, and it takes 20% less damage for 12 seconds.

Normally, you’d dismiss this talent: but we aren’t going to do that.  Why? Because that last part, “take 20% less damage for 12 seconds”, can save our pet.  When a fight starts getting really intense, our pet can and will be in the midst of a lot of harmful effects.  Using Bullheaded at a crucial moment can save our pet, and save our DPS.  It’s a poor man’s, every-cunning-pet Shell Shield with an added bonus of being able to regain control of the pet.

A big benefit to having a cunning pet is the Owl’s Focus talent.  Thanks to Owl’s Focus, you can take the last talent in GftT and put it in Cobra Strikes, filling it out completely.  This only works if you have 2/2 Owl’s Focus on the pet though.

CONCLUSION
In a nutshell, without any hands on experience, this is how I believe a beastmaster should be talented for a raid environment.  There’s really not much else to say other than test you talents, practice your pet management, and you’ll be alright when the Death God comes.

Creature Feature: Turtle

Oooooooooh reeeeeeeallllllllleeeee....?

Oooooooooh reeeeeeeallllllllleeeee....?

Turtles are probably the most symbolic pet of the tenacity tree, along with boars.  They are turtles: they have thick, iron-hard shells capable of withstanding any hit, and their powerful jaws can bite metal in half.  They are an immovable wall, incapable of backing down.

Largely because they’re too damn slow.

But in the world of Azeroth, Turtles aren’t just an immovable wall: they are a beast capable of taking on all odds and surviving.  They have jaws the size of a man’s head, and are powerful creatures; and for some reason, they can charge.  Don’t mess with Azerothian turtles.

GENERAL STATS
Turtles are, without a doubt, a tenacity pet.  This means that turtles are as solid as stone, and twice as hard to break.  Turtles are capable of being tanks in 5 man instances and can easily off-tank in a raid if need be.  But in order to reach this kind of potential, the turtle must be talented properly, as they do not receive an inherent bonus to their survivability as of patch 3.1.

The focus dump skill for turtles is Bite, and their unique skill is Shell Shield.

Turtles on Azeroth come in 5 different colours, all of which are tamable.  Physically speaking, aside from colour, all turtles look alike.  This means it you like how they look, you’ll love all the turtles! If you don’t like how the turtles look, then you’re out of luck.

Turtles are healthy animals with a balanced and varied diet.  Turtles will eat fish, bread, fungus, and fruit, all of which are attainable at most inns.  In addition, with a high enough fishing skill, you can always feed your turtle so long as their is a body of water from which to fish.

Turtles are a symbol of durability, both in real life and in WoW.  Some turtles in real life can grow to be over 100 years old!

Turtles are tamable by all hunters.

ABILITIES
Shell Shield: The turtle partially withdraws into it’s shell, greatly reducing damage taken by the turtle for a few seconds.

Shell Shield is a very simple ability with a very simple purpose: to reduce damage taken.  Simple abilities, however, tend to have a variety of uses and places where they can be useful.  The more simple an ability is, the more situations it can be used in.

For starters, the math.  The math isn’t hard: reduce all damage taken by half for 12 seconds.  If something hits your turtle for 4 000 damage, your turtle will only take 2 000 of that damage.  This is applied after armor reduction and resistances, so if your turtle has 50% damage reduction thanks to armor, Shell Shield will reduce that damage by an additional 50%.  Taking that hit for 4 000 from before, the armor of the turtle would reduce the damage to 2 000, and Shell Shield would reduce that to 1 000.

As you can see, Shell Shield is a positively massive boost to defensive power.  Cutting the damage you take by half has an almost unlimited number of uses! Your imagination is the limit, really.

The problem with having an almost unlimited number of uses is that sometimes, you can’t use it an unlimited number of times.  The same holds true here: you cannot go about spamming Shell Shield willy nilly; you must use it when it will be of the best benefit to you and the survival of the turtle.

For example, you have just sent your turtle up against a monster of equal level, non-elite, and your turtle is at full health.  Do you use Shell Shield? You shoudn’t, there’s no need.  However, if the same turtle is up against 6-8 monsters of the same level and his health is rapidly dropping, that would be a good time.

Shell Shield is the big red “EMERGENCY ONLY” button that should only be pushed in an emergency.  The 1 minute cooldown on Shell Shield allows for frequent use, but only when it is necessary to use it.  If you spam it all over the place, you’re going to find yourself in a situation where you need it, and it’s not there.  Then you die, and your will turtle simply glare at you and ask for food.

Shell Shield, very notably, reduces all damage the turtle would take.  10 000 damage Pyroblast being sent his way? Try 5 000.  Turtles are, without a doubt, the most resilient tenacity pet in the game thanks to this ability.

ENVIRONMENT
Turtles are a tenacious beast, and can survive some of the harshest conditions on the planet.

Turtles are most commonly a Soloing pet, and they are excellent at this.  Thanks to Thunderstomp, turtles can hold AoE aggro very well while taking an almost non-existent amount of damage.  For this, turtles are recognized as being very powerful leveling pets, and they can naturally tank lower level instances without much difficulty.

Turtles can take this a step further, too.  Some hunters can use turtles to effectively tank level 80 heroic dungeons if talented and geared properly.  Some elite hunters can even use turtles to tank raids! Shell Shield becomes a great thing to have in this case, since some bosses have an enrage which causes them to deal more damage, typically near the end of the fight.  This “soft enrage” can be largely mitigated thanks to Shell Shield and competent healers.

Turtles have a place in battlegrounds if talented properly.  They can deal a non-negligible amount of damage, which is good.  What makes turtles shine is the fact they simply won’t die.  When used properly, the synergy between a hunter and his turtle can easily defeat an opponent or two.  Shell Shield also helps the turtle survive moments where the opponent decides to focus exclusively on the pet with the hope of handicapping the hunter.  Because they will be dealing an incredibly small amount of damage to the turtle, they will simply be wasting their time.

Battlegrounds and Arenas are all the same to turtles.  Thanks to the extra survivability, turtles are hard to kill.  This makes sure that any abilities tied to the turtle have a better chance of sticking around for the entire match.  The only problem with turtles is that their Shell Shield does not give any advantage to the hunter aside from a really durable pet.  Turtles simply don’t have the utility of a spider or the damage capability of a Hyena(which also has more utility, sadly) in order to be optimal pets for arena.

KLINDERAS’ THOUGHTS
Turtles are passive, but powerful creatures.

Much like stone giants, turtles are tough, slow, and kind.  These gentle giants are famous for turning the worst situations into the easiest of battles.

Powerful turtles are the most intelligent turtles.  If a turtle knows when to hide in it’s shell and when not to, a turtles can survive even a dragon’s wrath.  I’ve heard stories of turtles fighting battles where they are horribly outmatched, and they still come out on top.

What is odd about them though is that they are deceptively quick.  When you normally see a turtle, they prefer to walk slowly.  If angered, however, the charge of a turtle can and will break bones.  Being charged by a turtle is almost exactly like being hit by a man-sized boulder.

COLEMAND’S THOUGHTS
Turtle soup.  Add green onions and leaks, and a touch of vinegar.

What did you honestly think I was going to say?

Creature Feature: Raptor

You best be not frontin' this Raptah.

You best be not frontin' this Raptah.

These highly intelligent beasts are better left in prehistory.  Their speed, their power, intelligence, and their cunning made these beasts formidable predators on their own.

But that’s the thing: raptors tended not to work alone, but in packs.  These incredibly intelligent beasts co-ordinate attacks on prey much larger than themselves and win.

These beasts were probably best left in prehistory.  Azeroth isn’t so fortunate… but hunters can tame these beasts, and be on the winning side.
GENERAL STATS
Raptors are a ferocity pet.  This means that these beasts have a tendency to deal extreme amounts of damage, and can deal the most damage out of the three pet talent trees.  Thanks to changes done in Patch 3.1, ferocity pets no longer will have an inherent advantage in damage dealing capability and must be talented properly to do the high levels of damage they are capable of doing.

The focus dump for Raptors is Claw, and their unique attack is Savage Rend.

Raptors are savage, ruthless dinosaurs, not fluffy rabbits.  They only eat meat! Happily, meat is incredibly easy to find, as most animals drop meat of some kind when killed.

Raptors have 13 different coloured skins, all of which are tamable! Raptors can be found in bright greens, blacks, blues, reds, and even hot pink, making finding the perfect raptor for you that much easier/harder.  They come in two physical varieties: the intelligent tribal kind from Azeroth, and the feral species from the Outlands.

Raptors were popular pets to have back in the Burning Crusade.  Thanks to their high damage modifier, they were perfectly useful pets.  Nowadays, Raptors are even stronger than what they once were, and are particularly useful in the hands of hunters who can guarantee that the raptor will get a critical strike when they want it.

Raptors can be tamed by all hunters.

ABILITIES
Savage Rend: Slashes the enemy for damage, causing a wound that does additional damage over time.  If the attack critically hits, the raptor will go in a frenzy and his damage will be increased.

This ability is interesting in that is does can do 3 things all at once.  First, it does initial damage, or damage all at once.  Afterward, it applies a  debuff on the opponent causing physical damage over time.  Lastly, if the attack critically hit, it gives a buff to the raptor which causes all of the raptor’s attacks to do 10% more damage.  This is as of patch 3.1.

Like a good number of abilities, there’s one thing this ability is meant to do: hurt things.  No fancy slows, no fancy stuns, just pure and unadulterated carnage.

Savage Rend is particularly useful if you can guarantee a critical hit, as this guarantees an increase of 10% of all damage done by the raptor.  Beastmasters can use Cobra Strikes to get the guaranteed critical hit, which is a huge bonus.

For non-beastmasters, your chances aren’t so high.  If the hunter uses Kill Command and then gets the raptor to use Savage rend directly afterwards, a correctly talented hunter & pet can get the critical hit semi-reliably, though it’s not a guarantee like Cobra Strikes.

Let’s do some simple math to understand this: a pet has a 5% chance to critically hit.  A correctly talented raptor will have 3 ranks in Spider’s Bite, thereby increasing this crit chance to 14%.  The only easy to access talent for non-beastmasters that can further increase this is Focused Fire.  By using Kill Command before the raptor uses Savage Rend, you can increase this chance by an additional 20% for a grand total of 34%.  This isn’t large by any means, but it certainly is better than nothing.

Beastmasters not only get lucky with Cobra Strikes, but there’s even more in store for them.  With 5 ranks in Ferocity, you can increase your raptor’s chance to critically hit by an additional 10%, for a grand total of 44%.

Even if the raptor doesn’t critically hit, the synergy between Savage Rend and Kill Command cannot be denied.  Kill command increases the damage done by the raptor’s 3 next special attacks by 60%, 40%, and then 20%.  If the Savage Rend critically hits, the the damage is increased by 10% for the last 2 attacks.  Instead of 60%/40%/20%, you’re dealing with an increase of 60%/50%/30% damage per attack.

Both abilities are on the same 1 minute cooldown, or 42 seconds if you’re a beastmaster, making them perfect for one another in almost every way.

The key to using Savage Rend is not in having it on autocast.  The key to using Savage Rend is in manually casting it when it has the best chance to critically hit, or to do the most damage.

For PvE, this can be and should be used as often as possible to the greatest effect.  For PvP, Savage Rend should be saved for times when you need someone dead very quickly, and it should not be squandered.

The initial damage is physical, meaning it is affected by armor.  What is unique about Savage Rend is that the damage it deals in full is spread out over 2 seperate effects: the inital damage and the debuff damage, or bleed damage.  This gives Savage Rend a great deal of flexibility.  The bleed damage is affected by Mangle and Trauma, which can be a poweful advantage.  In addition, bleed damage cannot be dispelled by a rogue when it uses Cloak of Shadows, so Savage Rend can be an effective means of keeping a rogue under pressure in PvP.

Savage Rend is a melee attack, so it goes without saying that your raptor needs to be able to wail on your prey in order to use Savage Rend.

Savage Rend is a powerful ability, but it cannot be used without care.  It must be used at the best possible time in order to maximise the raptor’s chance to crit and deal damage.

ENVIRONMENT
Raptors are intelligent beasts best suited to hunting large prey in packs, but they are potent hunters in every respect.

In PvE, raptors are very powerful.  Well timed Savage Rends can increase a raptor’s DPS by well over 5%, and even more than that for beastmasters.  With all the cooldowns available to ferocity pets, not to mention the hunter itself, raptors can really shine in PvE.

For Battlegrounds, raptors can help the hunter deal large amounts of damage in a limited amount of time.  The initial attack followed by a 10% increase in damage and a bleed effect will put a player at a great disadvantage if they don’t deal with the raptor quickly, but at the same time, you are still a clear threat.  While your raptor has eaten your opponents face off, you have been pumping the poor bastard so full of lead and arrows that his children will be constructs.  Raptors deal and incredible amount of burst damage that should not be trifled with.

Although the Raptor lacks the utility of a chimaera or a crab, raptors more than make up for it with their burst damage.  When an opportunity arises in the arena, you have to take it.  If you don’t, you are setting yourself up to lose.  When that opportunity arises, raptors perform a stellar job of keeping the pressure on the target.  If the target is a rogue, they can’t Cloak of Shadows expecting to get away due to the bleed.  In addition, a very angry dinosaur is ripping their face off, and for a great deal of damage in a very short amount of time.

Once again, I cannot stress how important it is to time your Savage Rend for the greatest effect.  It could mean the difference of a loot/a win, or a wipe/a loss.

In solo environments, raptors aren’t bad, but they aren’t going to make things easier for you either.  You can easily level to 80 with a raptor, but it might take awhile longer than getting a cunning pet or a tenacity pet.

KLINDERAS’ THOUGHTS
Raptors are frightening.

Their scaly hides have been known to act in manners unbecomming of beasts.  They hunt in packs like wolves, but have the added benefit of claws as large as my head which can rip a chunk of flesh the size of a melon from you chest without any struggle.  They can leap great heights and distances, and their jaws are strong enough to break bones.

Other curious things I’ve noticed is that the raptors from Azeroth seem to be tribal by nature.  They create intricate stone necklaces and bands with feathers on them to denote rank and title.  If they had fingers rather than claws, I am sure we would call them Lizardmen rather than raptors.

Once tamed, these beasts are a pleasure to work with, however.  They understand complex commands, and can learn them very quickly.  They even have a sense of creativity, and can improvise thei attacks to suit the current situation.  They also seem to understand basic speech, and attempt to communicate back.  Through thourough study and dedication, you can actually talk to your pet!

The feral raptors from the Outlands, however, are a different story.  They are still clever, but are much more powerful and dull compared to their unmutated brethren.  They also seem to have an incredible sense of smell, especially for magic beasts.

Raptors are frightening, but very rewarding companions.  To tame one is a challenge, but one with an amazing prize.

COLEMAND’S THOUGHTS
You have to wonder if these creatures didn’t spawn from chickens.

They have the same kind of bone structure, the same shape, and they both lay eggs.  If their bones were hollow, they could fly.

But then I couldn’t suck out the bone marrow, let alone catch them to see if they taste like chickens.

Oh, and they do taste like chicken…

Under The Gun: Scatter Shot

WARNING: May not work as shown.

WARNING: May not work as shown.

Welcome to Under the Gun! This is where I dissect a hunter talent or ability, giving you pointers and ideas to help you know how and when to use said talent/ability.

Today, we’re going to take a look at a talent which is also an ability once learned.  What this means is that once you use a talent point to learn this ability, you actually have to put this ability on your action bar for it to be useful.  These types of abilities normally only cost one talent point to learn the Rank 1 version of the spell.  If there are additional ranks to the spell, you can learn them at you local hunter class trainer.

Now, let’s get started, shall we?

TALENT: SCATTER SHOT

What is it?
Scatter shot is an activated ability, much like Arcane Shot.  You must use a talent point to learn how to do Scatter Shot, there’s no two ways about it.  Happily, that’s all it takes: 1 talent point.  It only has one rank.

It’s near the top of the Survival tree, on the 3rd tier, second from the left.  In order to talent it, you must have spent at least 10 points in the Survival tree.  There are no prerequisite talents for Scatter Shot, making it incredibly easy to obtain for anybody who wants it.

Scatter Shot is an ability that, when used, deals 50% weapon damage and disorients the target for 4 seconds.  It turns off your auto-attack as well.  It can only be used from 15 yards away or less, making it a close range shot.  It has a 30 second cooldown, and is an instant cast spell.

Simple Math
There’s not a lot of math to be had with this one.  Scatter Shot deals 50% weapon damage.

For my fabulous self, my weapons does 746-919 damage per shot, before applying Aspect of the Dragonhawk and other such buffs.  From here, the math is incredibly simple.

Carry the one…

Scatter Shot will deal only 373-459.5, and that’s before armor reduction.  The damage Scatter Shot deals is physical, so the already incredibly small amount of damage it deals only gets smaller.

If I was shooting myself in the foot, I have about 33.7% damage reduction with my wicked awesome level 70 gear.  So, let’s do more maths!

Drop the six…

Scatter shot would only deal about 247-328.5 damage to me.  This is hardly a scratch to my 13 181 HP, so this makes one thing clear: Scatter Shot is NOT used for damage.

PvE Applications
For PvE, Scatter Shot has very limited uses.  As we have proved earlier, Scatter Shot does very little damage, so it’s not going to be used in a shot priority.  It can only be used from up to 15 yards away unless talented and glyphed, so you have to be close to the action to use it.  Lastly, it turns off your auto-attack, which interrupts your damage even more.

So how can you use it in PvE? Well, there’s one reason for taking this talent: stalling for time.  If there’s a runaway mob(which, let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of them nowadays) and it’s headed towards you or the healer, then Scatter Shot allows you to stop the mob for a couple of seconds while you stick a Freezing Trap under it.  That’s about it though, and since Crowd Control(CC) is hardly used in PvE nowadays, you aren’t going to be finding a lot of situations where Scatter Shot will be useful.

Not at all recommended for PvE

PvP Applications
This is where Scatter Shot Shines.  In PvP, everyone is uppity about getting in your grill so you can’t shoot them anymore.  Scatter Shot is your “STOP” button in these situations.  That Warrior not letting you get away? Bam, you got 4 seconds to do what you need.  Death Knight just yoinked you? Bam, 4 seconds.  Druid doesn’t want to be snared? Bam, you got 4 seconds.

This is probably one of the best panic buttons a Hunter has in their arsenal, and it isn’t weird like some other abilities I could mention.  *cough**cough*Disengage*cough**cough*

In addition, Scatter Shot can be used to interrupt a spell from being cast.  Is that paladin about to cast a heal? Bam, now he isn’t.  It’s like a poor man’s version of Silencing Shot.

Just a note though: any damage dealt to the target will dispel the 4 second disorientation effect.  So make sure you don’t have a Serpent Sting or anything else ticking on the target, or you Bam button will be short lived.

VERY Recommended for PvP

Soloing Applications
For Soloing, Scatter Shot has the same uses as they did for PvP; it’s going to be your “STOP” button in a sticky situation.

This is useful, but for Soloing, not necessary in the least.  Normally, your pet should be taking the hits, and if the baddies are after you, you should be able to get your pet to take the aggro again quickly.

The only time I can see this being needed for Soloing is if you are levelling as a Survivalist.  In that case, take Scatter Shot, as there is hardly anything better to pick for soloing.

Whatever floats your boat for Soloing.

Verdict
Scatter Shot is very much a PvP talent, and not much else.  It is useful in Soloing, but not anywhere near a “must have” talent.  But for PvP, oh man, this talent can save your tush more times than you would care to count.  It’s another shot in an already impressive arsenal of shots that hunters can use to kite and control opponents, and this is crucial in PvP.

For PvE, this talent is useless.  Not a great many groups need CC anymore, and that’s all Scatter Shot is able to do.  Even then, it is only 4 seconds.  That’s only long enough to grab a cookie and stuff it in your mouth, and that’s not nearly long enough to be very useful.

Scatter Shot is for PvP, and that’s that.  It is useful in Soloing but nowhere in the realm of needed, and damn near useless in PvE.  This makes your choice incredibly easy.

And that concludes this installment of Under the Gun! Hopefully you are no longer scattered about taking Scatter Shot, and that you know how and when to use it.