The Great Klinderas Nerfing of 2011

In other news, I’d like to share a story.

I’m spending time with a friend of mine, just being my fabulous self when I look at my twitter.  Someone from the guild, namely @CutDownTheTree, told me fantastic news:

Ghostcrawler had been spotted.

I raced my way  over to Vash’yr, and began combing the area for signs of the elusive crab.  After about 15 minutes, I finally spot him, his shimmering hide clearly visible! I drop a trap, and start taming… but the animation got cancelled because he disappeared.

I thought that he despawned or something,  but no! Apparently his elusive, crabby self just goes invis intermittently.  Right when my friend says this, poof: there’s a crab.  I drop the trap, and begin the tame!

A few seconds, and many, MANY smacks of the nerfbat later, I witnessed a miracle.

NERF ME NOW GC, I DARE YA! HAHAHAHAHA!
Love,

Klin

Furrious Raiders: The Cunning Mk. 2

Hello! Welcome to the second instalment of this series of guides that’s designed for PvE success! For your pet.

Although the ferocity pets from lat time’s discussion are very adept at dealing damage and “ripping” problems apart, they oftentimes do little else to help the group or themselves! This is where the brawn of ferocity meets the brains of our next family.

Keep in mind that despite all the amazing talent choices, the perfect builds, and the perfect mean nothing if you don’t use it properly.  Skill still determines the majority of your success, but talents can help make that success easier to attain!

Without further delay, let’s get started on the furry little geniuses of the pet world!

CUNNING

Cunning pets are exactly what they sounds like: smart, brainy, and uncannily resourceful.  They are NOT the type to smash and shred their way through  problem: rather, they will probe defences until they find the single, its bitty weak point in something and tear it a new hole.  If you were being chased by a hunter pet, the ferocity pet would be the kind you could close a door on, and run away from while they beat the door down (which wouldn’t take too long, to be honest).  Cunning pets would find a way to not only unlock the door, but infiltrate the air vents and head off the nearest exit!

So although their damage potential may not be as obvious as a ferocity pet’s damage, their damage can begin to far surpass that of a ferocity pet under the right conditions.  Not only that, but they have other, sneaky ways of increasing not only their DPS, but their survivability at the same time! Let’s take a look at this fascinating talent tree in a PvE setting.

BM PvE Cunning

Non-BM PvE Cunning

Believe it or not, the Non-BM tree is pretty much the same as the Ferocity Non-BM from last time, but with a few key changes.  Why is this awesome? Because it means that, curiously enough, the cunning pet is a very viable choice for Non-Bm hunters! Also curiously enough, Beastmaster hunters don’t really gain a huge advantage over Non-BM Hunters in this tree DPS wise.  There are only so many DPS talents! As such, our fabulous selves have to start branching out into unfamiliar, utility territory.

Please keep that in mind while I explain my reasoning for this fascinating tree!

DAMAGE!!
Serpent Swiftness
Remember my explanation of Serpent’s Swiftness in the Ferocity post? For those who don’t, it went something like this: It’s free.  It’s attack speed.  Attack speed means DPS.  DPS good.  Get 2/2 for DPS.

You know what, you come up with a good excuse not to get Serpent Swiftness for PvE, or for the next 5 talents, and I will eat my goggles.

Spiked Collar
Straight up, easy to understand, and a 9% increase to your pet’s DPS.  No brainer 3/3 talent, here we come!

I just got to thinking, I say that a lot.  NB3/3T is much shorter, isn’t it?

Culling the Herd
Another NB3/3T! Increases your pet’s and your damage output!  It’s a wonderful, fabulous talent complete with every breakfast, and neglecting this important part of your breakfast will give you scurvy.

So don’t neglect to take it!

Feeding Frenzy
This is a straight increase to DPS, but it’s the first talent point that is unique to Cunning pets.  So what’s the catch to a 16% increase to damage dealt? It only works when the target is below 35% health.  That’s a simple condition with a HUGE bonus! For a full third of the fight, we get a 16% increase to damage, and at probably the most important part of the fight too.  That’s roughly a bit more than a 4% increase in total DPS from your pet for 2 talent points! Not bad at all, and thats me talking.

Wolverine Bite
If there’s a protip for talenting anything at all, it’s that new abilities tend to get priority because they’re always awesome.  Bestial Wrath, Black Arrow, Chimera shot… these are talented abilities.  These are ridiculous and super powerful.  The same goes for your pet.

Wolverine bite is a powerful attack, and is therefor a straight DPS increase every time your pet critically hits; but I really want to show you just how powerful this attack is.

Taking the formula from WoWhead, let’s plug in the numbers…
Wolverine Bite = (1+((8 602*0.4)*0.1))
Wolverine Bite = (1+(3 440.8*0.1)
Wolverine Bite = 1+344.08
Wolverine Bite = 345.08

Okay, it’s not mind blowing, but it’s 345 guaranteed (pre talent and stat increase) damage every ten seconds.  I guess that’s okay, and it’s certainly better than no damage at all; but Wolverine should stick to his claws, I think.

Wild Hunt
Okay, this is a NB2/2T for everyone involved.  I did the math for how much it increases Bite over here in the last post, so I won’t do it again for post elongating purposes.  Suffice to say, take 2/2 and love them, cuddle them, and give them expensive wines once a year to show exactly how much you care for them.  These 2 points increase your pet’s DPS by enough to make you believe in a pet God.

Owl’s Focus
This talent deserves extra special attention.  It’s an NB2/2T, and there’s a very good reason why.

Your pet is above 50 focus, and can now activate Wild Hunt.  Your pet uses an attack, and it does all the extra damage, but the focus? Thanks to Owl’s Focus, that double damage attack cost no focus at all.  This little talent means that you can generally abuse Wild Hunt to a point where it wishes it had never left Kansas.  The poor talent will feel all used and cheated from not getting his focus points.  Because your pet focused like an Owl.

Now that’s a “hoot”! And this is a perfect example of what I mean by “sneaky” DPS.

BEASTMASTERS ONLY
Cornered
If those crazy non-bm hunters think that Owl’s focus is the sneakiest DPS talent ever, they’re probably right; but we still have the most insane damage increasing talent in the game.  Under the right conditions, Cornered grants your pet a 50% increase to damage. That is the single largest increase in DPS for any pet in the game!

There is a reason why it isn’t picked up by the Non-BM hunters though.  It requires your pet to be under 35% health.  That’s a rare time indeed, and usually your pet is going to want a heal at that point, nullifying the damage bonus.

We pick this up for the rare time when your pet does go under 35% hp, and when it does happen? Massive damage bonuses are welcome for the next few seconds.

UTILITY
Dash/Dive
Make pet move fast, nothing better to pick, longer explanation here.  Suffice to say, take a point in this and don’t look at it too funny.

Roar of Recovery
If there’s one thing people need, it’s more resources (MOAR GASSSSSSSSSS).  What’s a hunter’s resource? If you guessed Focus, you’re right! So what a better way to increase DPS than to give us more resources to do it with? Roar of Recovery gives us more focus so we can dish out more damage.  Smart use of this focus is what will make this talent good, or terrible.

BEASTMASTERS ONLY
Carrion Feeder
This is about as silly as it gets, but you know what I hate to do? Pay for food for my pet.  It’s like what ammo was before pet talents were invented.  And then pet talents were invented.  Carrion Feeder means a quick recovery of happiness, but that’s about all this will do for you.  It’s better than putting it in Boar’s speed though, since we already have Dash/Dive.

Bullheaded
This is a PvP talent.  It is kinda lame for PvE.  It is also situationally useful for PvE.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: Your tank just lost a mob, and it’s beelining for the healer.  What’s one easy way to save him? Pet tanking! Simply send your pet to attack the mob, Intimidate it, and use growl to keep it off the healer until the tank taunts the mob off.

Thing is, sometimes your pet takes damage from doing this.  Sometimes, your pet takes a lot of damage in general.  Bullheaded does at least one useful thing: it reduces that damage by 20%.  So, whee, your pet has a tanking talent.

CONCLUSION
Having too many point in a tree is possible for Cunning PvE.  Bullheaded and Carrion feeder are so utility that they’re barely useful in a PvE context.  For BM hunters, it’s rare to see Cunning pets for that very reason.  It’s also very saddening, because I love how Ravagers look like and wish I could use mine more often.  In fact, the last two points in Carrion Feeder and Bullheaded can be put pretty much anywhere, and that’s no good because anywhere else is PvP talent territory.

For Non-BM hunters however, the Cunning tree gives a lot of really applicable talents for your pet.  In fact, I’ve heard from Rilgon from Stabilized Effort Scope that Cunning pets are actually Higher DPS for Non-BM hunters than Ferocity pets! I’m not entirely sure myself, but I can believe that considering the synergy with Owl’s Focus and Wild Hunt, not to mention Feeding Frenzy and the unique pet abilities in the Cunning pet families!

For BM hunters though, every point in the ferocity tree, including the extra 4, are all useful for increasing DPS or directly influence keeping your pet alive.  Cunning pets, although really cool, don’t give as much bang for you talent point.  This blogger heartily recommends that BM hunters use Ferocity pets in a generic PvE environment rather than a Cunning pet.  Depending on your grouping, however, cunning pets might be more helpful.  Keep this in mind.

Otherwise, these builds are solid.  Any comments or question are appreciated, and I would love to see them in the comments section!

There won’t be another PvE hunter pet talent post, largely because the entire Tenacity tree is covered in great detail by another blogger, Big Red Rhino.  He can more easily answer Pet tanking questions, because pet tanking is the only role tenacity pets have in PvE environments.  They simply cannot do the damage that the other two trees can!

However, I do plan on putting up Hunter pet talent guides for PvP sometime in the near future! Keep your ears peeled for when that happens.

Now go out, deal damage, and may your pets be the best pets they can be! Maybe even as fabulous as myself!

/flourish

Furrious Raiders: The Ferocious Mk.2

Hello everyone, and welcome once more to the guide dedicated to PvE success! Through pet talents, anyway.

If there’s one thing we know about PvE for hunters, it’s that we dish out the pain.  We deal in massive quantities of sustained ranged DPS (Damage Per Second) and we deal with it every time we walk into a dungeon.  Although skill enters into it in a big way, and there’s nothing better for skill than practice, another huge factor in determining your PvE damage is your talent spec… and that of your pet.

Along with fellow blogger Deadpool (link to his twitter!) of THE WARCRAFT ZONE (his blog!), I want to help people with learning about not only which talents they should pick, but why, so that when changes occur you can all figure it out for yourself.  Make sure you check out his posts on the subject  as much as mine!

So, without further delay, why don’t we start with the pet family that is born and bred to deal huge amounts of damage.

Ferocity

Ferocity pets are made to deal loads of damage, more damage, and then some more damage! The thing is, that’s only if you talent them properly.  If you wanted, you could talent these furry friends to do no extra damage at all! That means they can do less damage than a tenacity pet! That’s no good folks, that’s just an embarrassment.  So let’s talent your pets right, so our furry friends can rip apart faces!

PvE Ferocity Build: BM Hunter

PvE Ferocity Build: Non-BM Hunter

Now we’re going somewhere! As you can see, there are a lot of talents that are similar between the two specs, if not most of them: being a beastmaster, however, has it’s obvious advantages.  Here’s a talent calculator so you can follow along with me as we work our logic through the tree.

There are a few things to keep in mind while we work our way through this, and it’s the recipe for DPS: Damage, survivability, and more damage! This is our recipe for DPS, for any DPS class ever.  Damage because we’re a DPS class, we get Survivability talents because dying means you can’t shoot things, and damage again because… well, more damage never hurt you.

Remember this as I explain my talent choices! Let’s dig right in.

DAMAGE!!
Serpent Swiftness
Not 1, but 2 glorious points for 10% increased attack speed at absolutely no cost? Sign me up.  While I’m at it, sign up the entire hunter community, pronto.

Spiked Collar
One of the simplest to understand talents of all time (OF ALL TIME), Spiked collar is a no brainer.  9% increased damage for everything the pet does is about as obvious as it gets.  3 points please!

Culling the Herd
It might not be 9% increased damage from your pet, but 3% increased damage from your pet (12% straight, so far) and an additional 3% for you? It doesn’t get much more awesome than teamwork.  Another three point no brainer talent.  Oh, and if you thought that was the last no brainer…

Spider’s Bite
3 points later, our pet has another 9% increased chance to crit, which also helps to keep Culling the Herd up! Synergy is a beautiful thing, and this is about as blatantly obvious as it gets.  3/3.

Rabid
This is a DPS increase.  This is only 1 point.  This talent may not say it in plain english, but that increase to attack power is SIGNIFICANT.  Easy 1 pointer.

Call of the Wild
Here’s a big cooldown button.  When you need to do damage, and some significant damage at that, this easy to understand 1 point talent delivers like a fresh Delicio pizza.  Use when you’re using all your other big buttons to deal lots of other damage.  Also, you need the point in this so you can get…

Wild Hunt
This is the only controversial talent in the build, and that’s if you’re stretching it beyond reason.  There’s a choice for non-bm hunters between Wild Hunt and Shark Attack.  Let’s do a little math to show you exactly how much more awesome Wild Hunt is for those non-bm hunters!

Pet damage is heavily based on hunter gear and stats.  My pet wolf, Link, has a move called Bite.  As you can see, a hefty chunk of its damage is based on my attack power (AP).

I have 8 602 (AP) on my person.  Let’s plug it into the equation:
BITE = 186 + ((8 602 * 0.4) * 0.2)
BITE = 186 + (3 440.8 * 0.2)
BITE = 186 + 688.16
BITE = 874.16

Now, Wild Hunt multiplies that by 2.2 (An additional 120%!).  What does that do for us?
BITE + Wild Hunt = 874.16 * 2.2
BITE + Wild Hunt = 1 923.152

Great big Mammoth cutters, that’s a big difference! Even if it only happens once every few seconds (if YOU are talented properly), Wild Hunt helps a lot.  Now, let’s see what Shark attack can do.

Shark Attack gives a constant 6% increase to all damage, but let’s see how it behaves with Bite.
BITE + Shark Attack = 874.16 * 1.06
BITE + Shark Attack = 926.6096

That, folks, it pitiful.  Shark Attack barely boosted the damage by 52 damage.  Barely.  I can guarantee that it won’t increase the rest of your damage enough to catch up to the 1 000 plus difference in damage Wild Hunt made with 1 attack.

Proof in the pudding? I think so.  Take 2 points in Wild Hunt, and be happy with your no brainer talent.

Beastmasters only!
Shark Attack
We don’t have to choose: we can have both.  2 points for 6% increased damage? It’s like the expansion pack for Spiked Collar: not only does your now rabid, punk rock _____(insert ferocity pet here) move like a snake and bite like a spider, he/she is now part shark.  Sweet.

SURVIVABILITY
Now, we can’t make it up that high in the tree without taking some survivability talents.  Here’s what I took, and why.

Dash/Dive
We need three points to get past every tier in the talent tree, but the only points we’ve taken in the first tier are in Serpent Swiftness.  Putting a points into Great Stamina does very little for surviving, and Natural Armor does even less.  With Dash/Dive, you can not only get your pet into the action quicker (Hey hey! It DOES do DPS!), but it also allows your pet to move out of Area of Effect (AoE) attacks quickly! That WILL make a difference.  Stuff your point in here.

Bloodthirsty
Like Dash/Dive, this talent point is needed to get past the tier with Rabid and Call of the Wild.  Your other options include the rest of the tree, but let me let you in on a piece of advice: to no longer need food is nice.  To have a self healing pet is fantastic.  To have both of these effects passively just, you know, happen while it’s doing DPS, is priceless.  Take your point in Bloodthirsty and be proud!

Beastmasters only!
MOAR Bloodthirsty!
Once we have all our DPS talents, we still have 2 free to use.  Why don’t we use one of them to improve our already super helpful Bloodthirsty talent, and unlock probably the most unique and super awesome talent in the tree!

Heart of the Phoenix
Heart of the Phoenix is an unbelievably cool ability, with a strange past.  It used to not work at all, but now it works like a dream! Simply put the spell on your pet’s action bar, and if your pet dies? PRESTO, your pet is a shaman, and gets back on his feet, ready to tear more face! For a beastmaster, this kind of ability cannot be underestimated.  Taking a point in this is taking a point in your pet.

For pets, please, take Heart of the Phoenix.  It’s saving a life.

*cue emotional guilt trip music*

CONCLUSION
Now that’s a lot of wordage, but that’s more or less it; the very best way to talent your pets for DPS.  Now, we could put a point into Charge instead of Bloodthirsty, or instead of Heart of the Phoenix, but it’s really a PvP talent.  The stun does nothing against most mobs, let alone bosses, and the extra 25% AP only last for one attack every 25 seconds (and that’s by moving in and out of melee every 25 seconds!), and that’s definitely not that good.  In addition, the function of moving into combat quicker is covered by Dash/Dive, so I would say that this talent it pretty bad for PvE.

The same goes for the rest of the talents.  They’re all based on taking direct damage or being directly targeted, which is pointless in PvE.  Unless you have growl on permanently, your pet will never take direct damage.   Except Boar’s Speed, but that talent does one thing: move fast.  And we got that covered, don’t we? Dash/Dive?  Yeah, we do.  /flourish

With proper pet management, which you don’t need as much anymore to be honest, your pet won’t be taking much damage.  In addition, they can usually heal themselves through Bloodthirsty for any residual AoE damage they do take, and if they die in a freak hunting accident? Beastmasters are lucky and can use Heart of the Phoenix in a pinch.

So the builds are rock solid, there’s no controversy, and everyone is happy cause they do the most damage possible.  If you don’t use one of the two specs, then you should start.  Right meow.  I mean it! Go talent your PvE pet immediately, exactly like this.  Do the damage!

Next time I write a big guide, which should be soon, I’ll be covering a much more controversial topic: Cunning pets in a PvE environment.  Stay tuned!

Furrious Raiders: It Returns

Feral Hydra, by Steve Prescott

They're BAAA-AAAAACK!

Once upon about a year and a half ago, I had still been writing.  I had decided that I really needed to write guides for hunters, for their pets.  A huge number of hunters just didn’t know where to turn for their hunter pet talent analysis, and were just told what to do.

Well, that’s just not the way you should roll.  Yes, you tell people what you think they should do.  You do not do this without backing it up with at least a basic, casual analysis.  That’s what caused me to do my first attempts at the Furrious Raiders posts.

Since then, time has changed.  Talents have been re-arranged and re-done, and all of our pets just earned an additional talent point.  A whole new point! It’s amazing! It’s fabulous! It’s a christmas gift that keeps on givin’ the whole time you play!

So what do you do with a whole new talent point and some redone trees? You re-analyze them! This is the introduction to the same kind of in depth analysis, but for a world that’s changed and shifted since then, written by the same fabulous hunter that did it before!

Our first instalment is probably the easiest one to work with: Player vs. Environment (PvE) talent choices for Ferocity pets, for all specs.  Stay tuned!

Techniques Corner: The Jump Shot

Today, I’m going to tell you how to perform probably one of the most important techniques one can know as a hunter: the jump shot.  It’s doubly important if you’re as sexy as I am and just need to get away from a whole slew of women’s problems.

As a hunter, jump shots are pivotal for kiting and doing damage while moving.  I will illustrate how to do it with shitty drawings, since those seem to be the popular method.

Here’s me being stared at creepily by a ghoul.

Oh no, I don’t have any of my fabulous pets with me.  They’re all on vacation getting their fur washed, their scales trimed, or their chitin polished, ’cause I can afford that with the ridiculous amount of money I make.

Yes, I know I’m too cheap to afford a proper painter.  You shut up.

So there’s a ghoul, and he wants to eat my fabulous self.  Well, that’s not going to happen and we both know it, because I know how to jump shot.

Step 1: Make a strategic withdrawal.
So why do we do this? Because if anything is trying to kill a hunter, it’s trying to get into melee range.  Don’t let it! You must put distance between you and your stalker, unless you want to end up as its lunch (or stuck with it for lunch!).

Step 2: Jump
This is the most important part to remember about jump shooting: you have to jump to do it.  See what I did there to remember? It’s helpful.

So once you’re in the air, you have a precious few seconds of air-time before you hit that dastardly ground.

While you’re in the air, you cannot change which way you are jumping: you will continue to go the direction you started jumping in initially.  So in this case, on our 2-d plane of existence here, even if I turned up, down, or even left, I would continue to go right.

Here’s the part where you need to use a mouse, and not your keyboard.

Step 3: Turn
As you can see from my lovely illustration, I am still going to the right, but now I am facing the creepy ghoul.  Keep in mind, you can’t stay in the air forever.  Being able to turn to your opponent with a flick of the mouse is going to take some practice, but it isn’t hard in the least.

Okay, so once you are in mid air, and you’re traveling away from your opponent, you have choices.

Step 4: Fire ze missiles!
This is where you shoot the ghoul in the face with whatever instant speed shot you want.  Arcane shot, Explosive shot, concussive shot, even chimera shot are all shootable at this point.  Anything so long as it doesn’t have a cast time! Be creative, and be quick about it because most of this entire technique takes place within a 2 second time frame.

Once you’ve shot the ghoul, it’s time to hit the ground and make more strategic withdrawals!

Step 5: Hit the ground running!
Before you hit the ground, turn so that you are facing away from your target.  When you hit the ground, you should be still running away from the creepy ghoul!

As you can see, I went the same direction the whole time (as in, away from the creepy ghoul) and look! He’s been hurt and is starting to QQ at how OP it is that I can jump shot.  And now, you can be fabulous like this too!

Repeat steps 1-5 until the end result!

Experience points, gold, fame, ladies, pie, bathtubs, invites to nice parties, and not dying! These are all benefits of learning to jump shot, which in and of itself is integral to kiting.  Learn it.

For those who want an extra challenge!
Once you hit level 83, you learn Aspect of the Fox, which is a fun tool to use for jump shots.  Why? Because it allows you to jump shot Cobra/Steady shot too!

When you’re in midair at step 4, use Cobra or steady shot.  You will begin casting the spell.  Now try to time your next jump so you finish casting the spell while looking at your target!

Well, that about wraps it up…
So while I enjoy myself on a sunny beach somewhere, I fully expect the lot of you to practice this technique until you are covered in scrapes, bruises, and repair bills.  For you few who succeed, I expect you to be covered in nothing but amazing, ’cause otherwise you’re doing it wrong.

Be good everyone, and Happy Winter Veil!

/flourish

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

Homecoming

Klin in a bar

Here begins our story. Again.

The bar was nigh on empty, the dim light from fading lamps and candles casting flickering shadows across the walls.  The bartender, a blood elf with long blond hair and clear evergreen eyes, cleaned a few mugs just to pass the time.  When you’re a blood elf, you can just magically wish for the dishes to do themselves and chance are, it will happen.  Whistling, the bartender turned towards the patron sitting on the stool in front of him.

“Now stranger, anything else before I close up?” He put the mug he was cleaning in front of the figure.

The man sat in silence for a few moments, his cloak hiding most of his features save for a mesh of rich, auburn coloured hair that fell out of his hood.

“Actually, I haven’t had a bottle of Pinot Noire in… two years? I’d like a bottle.”  He paused for a moment.  “… please.”

“That’ll be twenty silver coins please.”  The clattering of coin sounded throughout the bar, and moments later the bottle was empty.

The man wiped off his chin, put the bottle on the counter, and smiled at the bartender.  “You’re a super nice person, ‘tender.  Mind if I call you ‘Tender?”

The bartender just shook his head and continued to clean glasses.

The man stood up.  “Thank you all for the terribly soundless evening.  It was soundless, like, without sounds.”  He bowed, nearly fell over, and turned to the exit,

And collided with a Death Knight.

The Death knight’s cold, eerie and metallic voice chilled the evening air.  “Funny, bumping into you here.  Sit down and have a drink, it’s on me.”

The man shook his head.  “I think I’d rather go somewhere else, if you don’t mind.” He started to make for the exit again, but a large, gauntleted hand grabbed his shoulder and held him fast.

“I didn’t ask.”  Grinning, the Death Knight sat the man down at a table, then sat down opposite him.

The Death knight’s ice blue hair framed his elfen features, all perfectly maintained despite his resurrection.   His cold eyes were the only real give away of his ‘profession’ other than a hefty smell of gore and decay.  His armor was thick and plated, and showed gouges and scars of having fought fiercely up in Northrend against his former master.

“So to what do I owe you the pleasure of my company, Death kinniget?”

The Death knight looked pensive for a second.  “Actually, it’s to ‘whom’, and a lot of people at that.  First, do you remember Eldadres? He studied for a long time on where you could have been, and how to get in contact with you; and although he didn’t find a way to contact you, he found out a way to track where you were in a general sense.  You went to universes I didn’t know existed, planes where I didn’t you could exist.  What they all had in common were the elements.  Which is where the second person comes in: Windpaw, a shaman.  She focused really hard on learning how to find out which place you were in by speaking to the elements of that plane.  So when you came back to this one, we knew you had come back, down to the second you came.”

The man shifted in his chair, not uneasily, but largely because the chairs were uncomfortable, more so than he remembered.

The Death knight continued.  “Once you got here, we only needed to track you down.  So, you owe Aifel here too.  The instant you set foot back on Azeroth, he was on your trail.”

From the shadows of the bar  emerged a young blood elf.  His spiky brown hair did nothing to cover the completely uninterested look on his face.  He sat down at the table with them.  “Sup.”

The death knight continued.  “Once he had your movements all mapped out, he informed me of where you would be.  And here you are.”

The man smiled.  “I suppose you got help from another old friend of mine.  Where’s Colemand?”

The Bartender turned around.  “Alright, now that he knows, can someone take this frivolous magic off of me? It tastes like mildew.”

With a wave of the death knight’s hand and some arcane mutterings, the bartender turned from a young blood elf bartender into a stooped, fearsome looking Forsaken death knight.

“Much better.  I don’t know how you can all live with that crap all the time.”  Colemand sat down at the table as well.  “Honestly, it’s worse than being dead, and now I know both.”

The Death knight shook his head.  “Well, no one said you had to be here Colemand.  You could have stayed in your kitchen, feeding the war effort.”

Colemand’s guttural laugh filled the bar.  “Hellscream doesn’t know the meaning of food! Cooking for his army felt like cooking dirt.  I’d rather go out and make my own food.  Besides, I haven’t made a Gnome pie in ages, and I heard they make them in priests now, too.  If there’s anything more delicious than irony, I want to taste it.”

The man sat still for a moment, then looked up at the blood elf across the table from him.  “So why all the love? I’m not the most important elf on Azeroth, not by a long shot.  I wasn’t even present to see the downfall of Arthas.  I’m definitely no hero of the Horde, and I’m certainly not on Hellninny’s good side.”

“True, but Hellscream does know that you got shit done.  With Deathwing on the rise, that’s what needs to happen; but that’s not the reason we sought you out.  To be honest, Hellscream probably doesn’t care that you’re here at all.”  The Death knight clasped his hands together.  “Look, we all know you left to search the universes.  For a woman, no less.  A gentleman’s move on your part, to pursue love; but it didn’t work, did it?”

The man’s face turned sombre as the death knight continued.  “Maybe she died, maybe she didn’t love you, maybe both.  Either way, she’s not in your life anymore.  And now you’re here, drinking yourself silly from the west coast of Kalimdor to the east coast of the Eastern Kingdoms.  We’re here to make you do what you were born to do.  You are a hunter, and a damn good one.  Maybe not the most practical, nor the most flexible, but certainly one of the best.”

The room went silent.  Aifel sat silently picking his teeth with a dagger.  Colemand starting scratching doodles into the table using a clawed, iced finger.  The death knight sat in silence his hands still clasped in front of him.  The man stared down at the table.  This continued for what seemed like ages, the silence falling on the room like a  musty covering.

Finally, the man looked up at the death knight.  “I don’t see how a lot of what you said is your business.  You’re treading on ground that I honestly don’t want anyone to tread on yet; but you’re right about one thing, Elnoriah.”

The man threw back his hood to reveal long auburn hair, tied to keep it out of his face, bright evergreen eyes, long elegant ears and eyebrows, and a large smile.  He whistled sharply, a piercing sound, and no sooner had he done so than a large black wolf had bounded into the room and knocked the man over and started licking his face.

“I am fabulous.”