Gameplay

Top 5 Survival Tips For Hunters

He didn't follow the tips.

Hunters have always had a reputation of being the dumbest WoW players, and that’s because a bunch of folk decided it’d be a good idea to play the class where they could shoot things and have their family pet Fuzzy in the game too.

This has bred a stereotype: hunters are casually based, easily aggravated 12 year olds with a serious ego complex; and if there’s anything they can do, surviving a 5 minute fight in a boss is not one of them.

Let’s make sure that we can by following a couple of simple tips.

5. You’re not the tank, and neither is your pet.

You, the hunter, are not a tank. You do not want aggro. You may be wearing mail, which is a step below plate, but here’s a secret.

The only thing that boss cares is if it’s in plate armor. If it isn’t, then it’s wearing cloth.

This is what you're wearing, and nothing else.

Studies have shown that 100% of hunters who let their pet or themselves gain aggro (under normal conditions) are total huntards, and have a much greater tendency to die shortly afterwards. It’s true! I conducted the studies myself.

Not to worry though! If you do manage to get aggro, there are ways to fix this small problem. Such as…

4. Misdirect can save lives.

This baroquely constructed skill is probably also the most uniquely crafted to saving your ass while returning the tank to his rightful place: as your meatshield.

 

So long as they don’t get in the way.

So what exactly are you supposed to do? First, make a macro that looks something like this:

#showtooltip misdirection
/cast [target=focus, help] misdirection; [help] misdirection; [target=pet, exists] misdirection
/target lasttarget

Once that’s done, make your tank your focus, so that the macro doesn’t  doesn’t break rule #5. Then activate the macro, and shoot the things that you need to! Congratulations, you’ve now actively conscripted your tank to take another beating!

Alternatively, you can force the monster to murder someone you don’t like; for instance, I remember fondly the one time I forced a boss to murder the most aggravating healer of all time. I wouldn’t make a habit of it though.

However, what I would make a habit of remembering includes…

3. Play Dead.

When shit hits the fan and even Misdirect can’t save you anymore, there’s only one more answer to saving your not quite so fabulous hide.

Feign Death.

 

Now would be a GOOD time.

Here’s a little song so you can remember how awesome it is.
When you’re the aggro man, and the game’s name is pain?

It’s time to Feign. It’s time to Feign.

Anytime you have aggro, or the area’s aflame?

It’s time to Feign. It’s time to Feign.

Did you like it? I know I did.

2. Eat food

I’m not even kidding. Go make a sandwhich, then come back. I don’t want you on an empty stomach. Eating has been shown to actually, you know, keep you alive. If you’re dead IRL, then you can’t raid/do ANYTHING.

So go make a sandwhich, have a glass of water, take a potty break, and then get back. I’m sure the article won’t go anywhere.

You know what? Take your time. Make a big juicy burger, sizzling with grease and delicious, tasty meat. Add some onions, take some crunchy lettuce, and add some Ketchup. Enjoy your meal with some people, friends, family… and then you can come back.

Or this. Take your pick.

I’ll wait, no worries.

1. Don’t stand in fire/black/voidzone/electricity/(Insert thing here)

There is no real need to explain this. If it looks like this:


This:


Or even this:

AVOID IT. %$#@.

-Klin

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How To BM: PvE Talent Spec

At long last, the wait is over: I finally got in the adequate testing, the flourishes, and the blasted, loot be damned spec to go with it.

So sit tight, and gaze upon the core talent any BM hunter should be following in order to PvE like… well, me!

BM Hunter CORE PvE Talent spec.

That’s a lot of info in one little square of pixels, no?

Although one would normally go through a detailed, exhaustive, and altogether boring look into what they took points wise, that would be silly. Why? Because the way talent trees are now make it very, very easy to make a good talent spec, even by accident.

It’s actually a lot quicker and easier to explain why I didn’t take certain talents. Since you need a minimum of 31 points to be able to expand into other trees. Here’s how:

Why Klin didn’t take some talents:
Pathfinding: This is a horrible idea for a talent in a PvE setting, and for a simple reason: it doesn’t help us at all!

Pathfinding simply increases the movement speed increase we get out of Aspect of the Cheetah and of the Pack (a.k.a Aspect of the Dazed. I’ve got stories folks, and they are not pretty) which is not something we care about in a PvE environment. There are enough reasons not to use Aspect of the Dazed in PvE that I could (and probably will) write a whole article on it. Suffice to say it’s been the culprit of countless deaths, guild splits, mass murdering sprees, and even a small house fire that consumed orphans.

Oh, and the increase to mount speed? Whoop dee doo! It’s not like we can fight while mounted on our super awesome Cenarion WAR Hippogryphs, so who cares. This is, in it’s purest form, a leveling talent and nothing more.

/trashbin

Improved Mend Pet: Improved mend pet doen’t seem that bad at first glance, does it? I mean, why the fuss? It gets rid of innumerable afflictions, you know, afflicting your pet; but to the experienced hunter, this is obviously a trap.

See, PvE has become incredibly nice to hunters of the past couple of years: where once our pets got destroyed by AoE spells and curses that normally ran rampant in the PvE universe, our pets can now gleefully shred away at a boss (i.e Squeaky toy) while the strange looking people around it run screaming from the giant clouds of death and destruction.

Why is it always the Orphans?!

What does this mean? Well, it means your pet very rarely (and I mean so rare that it’s not even an issue) receives a debuff in a PvE environment. So why bother putting two points into something you don’t even need, am I right? They’re better placed into Spirit Bond, so that you don’t die from the aforementioned  clouds of death and destruction and so that your healers don’t hate you.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera: Not only does this reference a movie that I found incredibly confusing and strange (I was anywhere between 10 and 12 years old when I saw it, so go figure), but the talent itself serves no purpose in a PvE setting.

Yes, it can reduce the cooldown of your Disengage. Yes, it can reduce the cooldown of your Deterrence; but it comes at a really, really high cost.

One of the key things to being a Hunter, or any ranged DPS class for that matter, is that we don’t get shot/smacked/mauled/torn apart/wrathed/terror’d/fired/____ (<- insert death inducing predicament here)

Suffice to say that we don’t want to get hurt. In order to receive the benefit of this talent, we have to get hurt.

Imagine this: you’re the Hulk. So what’s the only way to save people? To get mad. So you ask someone to punch you in the face so you can be stronger; except instead of  getting stronger, you get dead, and instead of saving people, the people call you a noob and /spit on your corpse. The Hulk doesn’t sound so cool now does he?

So, lesson learned: in a PvE setting, where you can avoid a lot of damage, you avoid it. So if you can avoid being punched in the face by _____(<- insert face smashing bad guy here) you probably should, which renders this talent useless. Take the 2 points and put them someplace else is what I say, and it’s what I did!

So that’s the BM tree
The thing is, with the way the new talents work, just stuff the talent points everywhere else and bam, 31 points. No questions asked, you just completed the tree. It’s really that much easier to make a talent spec by looking at it and asking yourself “what talents in here are worthless” and then filling out the rest.

So, with that out of the way, I now get to explain the outside parts of the spec.

Holy fandango, it’s the MM tree!
That’s right everyone, we’re out of the BM tree and making waves in the Marksmanship and Survival trees; however, before you start pouring your points into Rapid Killing (please don’t waste points there…) I’d like to give you one more section of Core points:

The Core in the MM tree
Believe it or not, some of the talents in this tree feel like they were designed for us BM hunters, and I’m not complaining. Let’s dive right in:

Go for the Throat:
Now that we get autoshots while we move, this talent has gotten infinitely better. So long as you’re facing your opponent, you should be shooting him in the face. Every time one of those shots crits, your pet gets focus. The more focus it has, the more it can abuse Wild Hunt; and like I’ve explained before, Wild Hunt is ridiculous.

My good friend Gradii/Aifel put it this way: you can gear for a lot of things, but focus isn’t one of them. So take talents in it.

I full heartedly support that message.

Efficiency: If there’s one thing I like more than gathering more resources, it’s saving them. Efficiency does exactly that: instead of spending 25 focus on an Arcane Shot, I spend 22. This little difference actually matters: with the way we prioritize attacks and shots, it’s difficult to get more than 1 arcane shot between Kill Commands (actually, I found it difficult to get more than 1 Arcane Shot every 2 Kill Commands!) which is not a good thing. With the 3 ranks in efficiency, I could shoot 1-2 Arcane Shots without any real distress.

Why is this important? Because Arcane Shot is a huge source of damage for us. If we can’t shoot it, then we can’t make use of the damage potential it has, not to mention the other endearing qualities it brings to the table. For instance…

Sic ’em!: This talent is a direct follow up to Go for the Throat, except instead of autoshot  giving your pet hugs, it’s Arcane shot. And what kind of hugs? The kind that give it a free basic attack when you crit with Arcane shot.

The implications of this are fairly large. While testing this talent, I could only look up to the hunter gods and thanks them for this talent; basically, it allows me to abuse Wild Hunt more, and I love abusing Wild Hunt. Anytime this procs, chances are your pet will either a) use Wild Hunt without expending any of the cost or b) be able to use wild hunt in a few seconds since their last attack cost nothing.

It pretty much is fabulous for everything I want my pet to do, which is damage. I can pretty much guarantee that Sic ‘Em! is a gimme.

Hokay, but I still have 3 talent points left! What do I do?
Well, this is where it gets tricky. See, we’ve already passed our core: the key stuff is taken care of.

However, as the most astute of you (and the people that can read!) have noticed, we still have three points left before our spec is finished.

As I see it, there are three reasonable sounding options, of which two I think are the best. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got:

Careful Aim: This talent is… odd. I mean, sure, our Cobra shots get an amazing chance to crit for the first 20% of a fight. I don’t mean to sound bored with this but… yeah, actually, I do. It’s boring. It’s not even that useful!

Allow me to tell exactly what cobra shot does: it keeps Serpent Sting on the target (which is important, but that’s not the focus of this article) and gives us focus. Otherwise, it does low damage.

Unlike Arcane Shot, Cobra Shot crits don’t do much for me. They do very little, to be frank. So, I think this talent sucks; but if you think it sounds awesome, then you’re entitled to that. I respect that.

Although I certainly do not agree.

Pathing: Ah, haste. A little history: BM hunters used to never need haste. We used to have a talent that automatically gave us 20% haste, and same for our pet. I miss those days.

Suffice to say that we don’t have that anymore, and that Pathing provides a small amount of haste that we can use. Which brings up the question: why do we need it?

In order for BM hunters to use Kill Command on every cooldown, while still using our focus for Arcane shots, we need the focus we get off of 2-3 cobra shots first. Once we have that focus, we’re good to go for another Kill Command and a couple Arcane shots, and the process starts again.

The thing is, Cobra shot has an inordinately long cast time. It’s not Pyroblast/Aimed shot/______(<- stupid mage ability I don’t care about goes here) but it’s still long for us, especially since we have to move around a lot in fights. Happily, haste brings that cast time down, and with some help from other abilities (Focus Fire, Rapid Fire) we can bring the cast time to about 1 second. That’s awesome, but those abilities don’t have a 100% uptime: that’s where pathing helps.

Having 3% increased haste isn’t a big shoveltusk, but it’s big enough that I would consider it if you feel your cobra shots are too clunky.

Improved Serpent Sting: Serpent sting is a powerful shot: unfortunately, not only is the name of this talent about as stale as most pop talent these days, Serpent Sting is not a shot I want to be re-applying all the time. As a result, I wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of the first half of the ability (to be fair, no hunter does: Survivalists use Cobra shot to keep it up, and Marksmen use Chimera shot to do the same).

The thing is, the increased crit chance does do a decent amount of damage, and I can guarantee that you will need to re-apply Serpent Sting on occasion:  there have been more than a few times where I’ve used Bestial Wrath, and upon exiting my murderous rampage I noticed that Serpent Sting fell off the boss. Woops!

It does help with DPS, more than I can say Careful Aim ever will. I’d take it.

So that was “precise” Klin. Thanks. Like, I feel all reassured.
Oh, don’t be so cynical. The reason why the last bunch are vague is for one very important reason: they’re to taste. I find I’ve got enough Haste on my gear that I don’t need many points in Pathing, and I don’t really like Careful Aim.  I put my points in like this:

Klin's all purpose, super fabulous PvE Spec!

It’s all purpose and super fabulous!

It’s also what I find works for me. So what does this mean for you? Well, dear reader, it means that you’re actually going to have to respec a bunch to find out what you like best.

Screw you!
Why thank you. Suffice to say, at least the build can be tailored to the player for a small amount of it. So get out there and try things out! Experiment! Learn to know what your hunter feels like.

BUT I WANT COOKIES, AND THAT MEANS A COOKIE CUTTER!!11
Too bad, go get cookies somewhere else. I’m not going to tell you how to copy me; however flattering it is, it’s also kinda creepy, and I’d appreciate it if you made your own style instead being the creepy groupie who just wants to see me naked.

So is that the guide you’ve spent 3 weeks writing?
More or less. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope it helps you out.

This shouldn’t have taken three weeks!
Being fabulous has no time limit.

/win

/flourish

How To BM: A PvE Hunter Guide Part 1

Hello everyone!

I’ve made a few alts, and while I was running lowbie dungeons and the like, I ran into several fledgling hunters.  Aren’t they adorable? Trying out the new pets, the shots… everything they did was new to them.   The thing is, they didn’t know how to spec, gear, or do anything.

I figure that, as a primarily BM hunter site, I should show people How To BM properly.  This is going to take a long time to do, due to classes and such, but with time and great fabulousness I will manage!

So, to whet everyone’s appetite, I will show you what I think is the best possible way to spec your BM hunter for PvE Damage!
Next time, I will go through the first half of the reasoning why I picked these!

Stay tuned.

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

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!