Archive | July, 2010

No Clear Alt

29 Jul

July has just about come to an end and I find that Rain’ has pretty much put the lid on all of her New Year’s Goals.  Loremaster and Seeker are done, I’m fairly well geared (even though I busted my 2 piece T9 bonus before I should have and didn’t realize it) and I’m carrying a actual *bow* as the gods intended for all true hunters.

Hunters of course are one of the games most extreme solo-artists.  Though in truth – we’re not really solo.  We have our pets – the faithful furred and fanged that obey our commands, travel with us, and share in our success.  The dynamic is one that I enjoy and quite honestly I’ve spent more happy hours thrashing about Azeroth and Outland with Windpaw at my side than I have in the company of “real” friends.

For the next few months I’m afraid this may be the way things will continue.  My regular raid schedule has been disrupted due to work commitments and the need to finish up some classes at a local university.  Most of my playing of late has been random stabs at PvP achievements and some 2’s arena.  That and I’ve been trying to pick a favored Alt to bestow with some love, and have been finding the choices rather difficult.

First off, there’s my oldest character – my Druid.  Sequoia – now known as Windpaws – hit 70 just the other night and was poised to be the focus of my solo efforts.  I’ve had ‘paws dual specced for a while now and she’s spent most of her time as a tree, healing folks through burning crusade dungeons.  My intent had been for her to move on into tanking and that I would random dungeon level her to 80 and beyond.  I was getting rather excited at the proposition and tossed down 5k gold to buy epic flight last night intending to start her down the epic flight form quest chain while waiting on random dungeons to pop.

And that’s where the trouble set in.

First off – I’m a fairly good tank.  I’m no raid tank to be sure – no real experience there – but a good tank for 5-mans and the odd heroic.  All of my real experience has been Warrior and Pally tanking thus far, so I was really excited to get back to driving that big bear ass around.  I happily queued up for a random Lich King normal (UK this time) and found myself facing one of the very best challenges an under geared out of practice bear tank can face – a pug group of massively over geared players.  It was a pretty typical scene; A potential fail-tank faces off with the over geared elite who already seem to be impatient with me because I bothered to stop and say “hello”.  The first couple pulls go off about as I expected.  The be-goggled warlock blasts out DPS on par with some 80’s I know and it’s a fight for aggro from that point on.

Now bear tanks have a wonderful tool for managing AoE packs.  With swipe and glyphed maul queued up I can wade into 3-5 bad guys and depend on it to reach out and touch all of them.  That said – bears seem to be missing some of the really solid and comforting abilities that warriors bring to the table like thunder clap and shockwave.  Without the ability to shockwave a pack into quick submission while tabbing devastates and glyphed cleaves all around, the urge to “fight” for aggro seemed a great deal harder than I remember.  Still –  over geared and aggro happy though they might be – I know how to handle groups like that.  First off – I never whined about needing to grab aggro, that just feeds their disdain and puts you in the position of being a fail-tank.  Next, I kept moving.  My healer never seemed to lack for mana and I didn’t particularly care if the dps were running a bit low.  Keeping that trigger happy lock at bay was important so – if I could keep ahead of him – I could keep the threat up.   Before we knew it we were plundering Ingvar and everyone dropped group without a sound.

Technically – this was a successful run.  No one died – no one complained.  But it didn’t seem very fun.  I figured this was mostly due to the fact I was out of practice and feeling self conscious about it.  Later that night I tried another run.  What do you know.  UK again.  A much friendlier group – much more reasonably geared.  I had spent some time rearranging things on my action bars and felt more confident.  Thirty minutes later and a few deaths to lay at the feet of a healer more absorbed in the baseball game he was watching than anything else and we were once again thanking Ingvar for his head and shiny new axe.

You know though…it still wasn’t much fun.  I kept aggro fairly well and had plenty of health and avoidance for the instance.  Still, something just seemed to be missing – some visceral aspect that I just can’t seem to put a name to.

Feeling a little out of sorts I jumped on Keladryn my baby prot-paladin.  Kel’ has been sitting at level 72 for months now.  Folks might remember me raving about this guy and his almost effortless tanking ability in previous posts.  Well – I figured if I was an out of practice bear tank I was an equally out of practice pally tank.  I spun the good dwarf around and killed some mobs just to remember where all of his abilities were and then queued for another normal random.

Huhn….UK….Again…..

Good group though.  Great healer – good dps – friendly.  One thing I noticed about halfway through the instance was that the warrior kept tearing aggro off of me.  He wasn’t arms specced though so I was confused as to how he was chewing through all my threat.  The answer hit me after we dropped the second set of bosses.

Turn on Righteous Fury, noob.

Sigh…still…there were no deaths and after turning on the prot-paladin’s signature passive tanking ability – threat was no longer an issue.  We cruised through the rest of the instance and rolled up on Ingvar.

“You again?” He almost whined.

“Me again – make with the head beyotch.”

When it was all said and done I put Kel’ away for the night and ran around on my warrior tank for a while.  Tanking on both felt good.  Felt right.  Which is too bad because I was really looking forward to tanking as a bear.   I’ll give it another shot tonight – we’ll see how it goes.

Who’s That COW in Dalaran?

27 Jul

Who indeed….

Back in the Saddle

26 Jul

For those of you that might not have noticed:

Two of my favorite WoW Bloggers are back at it again (at least in some fashion.)

Pike – who had been blogging almost exclusively on her great new site : Clockwork Hare is back to updating her WoW Blog:  Aspect of the Hare again!

Make sure to swing by and visit if you haven’t lately!

Also – BRK over at Big Red Kitty, the Blood Colored Lion of Mountain Size himself is back!  He’s blogging about the beta (::bastard::) and shilling druid t-shirts.  For the most part his entries have been high energy video clips of huntery stuff from beta land.  They are sure to entertain so if you haven’t been by the BRK in a real long while – you really, really should….foshizzle.

editor’s note – Windpaw will never use foshizzle again – that’s a one time deal….

Achievement Screenshotter..er…er

20 Jul

I love this addon: Achievement Screenshotter

It does exactly what it says – captures your various in game glory moments from level ups to achievements to battleground scoreboards.  It’s not perfect – and from time to time it will just inexplicably fail to do anything – but when it *does* work – it can save some really nice moments for you.

My big problem is forgetting to hit my screenshot button when on the verge of a really important achievement or when I’m still mixed up in staying alive or in the throws of a first time raid kill.  Screen shotter grabs these for  you (though the results can be varied).  Things like lag or bad UI will still junk up your screen shots, but at least you won’t miss it the next time something important happens and you’re too busy to remember to polaroid the moment.

With a little bit of pre-planning you can close down inventory windows, remove distractions and capture some fairly neat achievement dings.  Here’s my blood elf hunter, Tam (one of Rain’s many incarnations) finally putting down the What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been meta achievement.

The day I officially decided to start down the road to Loremaster.  You’ll notice that Rain’ looks very “Orcish” at this point.  Some people can’t keep the same hairstyle for longer than a couple of days.  I can’t seem to settle on a faction.

Screenshotter is configurable – so if you don’t want it snapping pics every time you rep-ding you can turn that off.  This is nice as my kids like to create new characters just about every week.  Invariably my screenshot folder starts filling up with glory shots of their latest alts dinging level 2-6 and picking up their account bound pets.  A great addon either way though and well worth the occasional need to prune through the screenshots.

And Then There Were None…Finishing Loremaster

19 Jul

It finally happened.  With the heavy lifting of Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor out of the way, the final obstacle on the road to Loremaster was Outland.  Questing in Outland is – in two words – dead easy, and all of the zones fell by the wayside like sheafs of wheat to the scythe.


I’d rather have liked to have ended my travels by turning in an epic chain quest or some such – but in the end – it was poor Terokkarantula that had to fall before my tour of old world content was finally complete.  There was at least a funny story to share as upon finding the big spider herself, herself, I also came  upon a Tauren druid and her apparently fallen death knight companion.  Terokkarantula loomed above them both like Shelob to Frodo and Sam.  It dawned on my quest soaked brain that these two were actually partaking in a bit of Role Play and I decided to leave them to it.  Nothing destroys immersion like some random achievement whore rolling in and killing one of the props.  So I logged out for a while and did some PvP on my Horde Shaman.  A hour later, my blood lust sated and my daily arena points collected, I zoned back in to Terokkar, hoping that the pair of RP’ers had drank deeply of denouement and moved on.

Not so much.

There – in bear form – the stolid druid rested like a great furry guardian over the death knight’s still body.  I blinked.  Wow.  What I wouldn’t give to have had an ear for their In Character chat.  Was the loyal bear partaking in an extended soliloquy about her fallen friend?  Had Terokkantula bitten him?  Was the Tauren druidess trying to bargain with the great spider for a thimble full of venom in order to reverse the poison in her companion’s icy veins?  Or better yet – was she using some combination of druidic magic and natural power to perhaps reverse the nature of the death knight’s cursed form?

The more fertile parts of my imagination simply roiled at the possibilities.

“They’re probably ERPing,” quoth a helpful guild mate in /whisper chat.

Or AFK.  Or…something.  I put the thought of furry on blood elf death knight on giant spider erotic role-play out of my mind (with some effort…gah….) and logged over to my auctioneer to do a bit of moneymaking.  After about 200 gold earned and some busy work around the house I finally came back to Rain’ and Windpaw.  Was I alone with the big spider yet?

I was not.

Whatever was going on there on Terokkarantula’s ledge was both long lasting and apparently intense.  The bear was still there – her fallen charge still fallen.  Neither were AFK.  I thought of RP ways I might insert myself into their play but finally decided that enough was enough and smoked the big bug with a few well placed chimera shots.

Moments later I turned that final quest in and proudly enabled my new title.  Crusader no more, Loremaster Rainchaser now walks the lands of Azeroth!

To avoid the post achievement slump, I hearthed to Dalaran and immediately started working my way through chunks of left over quests in Northrend.  For most, the Seeker title is found as a byproduct of completing Loremaster.  For Rainchaser, the act of faction change has left her about 195 quests short of 3000, but with gobs of uncompleted work left in the Alliance zones.  I managed to chug through about 60 of that number on Sunday before I couldn’t stand the thought of questing anymore.

Either way – two huge parts of my (in game) New Year’s Resolution will be complete and leaving me with one huge question.

What next?

Ok…Goblins are Cool…

15 Jul

Yeah – I know I said that the whole new Horde = BAD thing is pissing me off.  I know I said I hated the fact that they seem to be big mean tree cutting, resource hungry meanies and that I wasn’t enthused about Goblins at all…

But…

This little dude and his love monkey are just too damn cool for words…When I start thinking about the PvP possibilities of a jet pack using, rocket glove having little green meanie of a hunter with a poo flinging monkeh pet?  Yeah – that’s just too much cool in one terribly confined space.

That and the female goblin models are absolutely adorable.  Just one more reason to look forward to the next expansion.

Now…I just have to get over this whole “focus instead of mana” thing.  So weird.  Good thing aspect of the fox makes some of it more bearable.

Huntering the PvP Plains – Crawl Phase

8 Jul

So in between all of this Loremaster / Seeker business that I’ve been trudging through has been some planning for (what I hope to be) a much improved situation for battleground PvP in Cataclysm.  BG PvP has historically been one of my favorite things to do in the game, but with all of the changes to the hunter class, the rise and fall of resilience and the sad state of affairs of Alliance PvP in Emberstorm – I just haven’t found a lot to love lately.

The sad truth though is that for all of the excuses I can come up with in regards to how bad WoW PvP seems to be at the moment don’t hold a candle to the fact that I have let my PvP chops completely fall by the wayside.  Like anything that requires muscle memory to do well, you really need to practice PvP to be good at PvP.  I have not practiced in ages.  Thus – I am no longer good.

It’s time to get to goodering myself.

Step 1:

Faction Change to Horde….

Step 2:

….

Wait – what?   🙂

Okay – joking aside….

Step 1: Some visual learning aides are required – hit the hunter PvP video circuit…

Videos are a great way to pick up tips from folks that already have their PvP chops solid.  Quality is hit and miss of course and you’ll see a dozen blurry crapfests set to bad music to every useful video.  Here are a few that I find helpful for different reasons:

Kripparrian’s 3.2 PvP Video

Krip’ doesn’t follow the trend of stacking skads of resilience.  Instead – he combines really smooth moves with top quality PvE gear and (often) a pocket healer.  Hell – who needs resilience when  you’ve got a priest keeping you topped off.  Seriously though – Kripparrian’s videos are always high quality productions that are set to good music and are crystal clear to watch.  When I say his moves are smooth I mean it.  In a world where noob PvP’ers are frantically thrashing at their buttons, Krip’ manages to destroy people in detail by remembering a saying a lot of my buddies use when they practice room clearing.  Slow is smooth – smooth is fast.

This is Watupm – the video is kinda fuzzy but if you stop motion on his text hints – some are fairly useful.  It’s not all PvP canon by any means, but if you’re a new Hunter getting into PvP you can do a lot worse than watching this video and picking up some simple tips.

My personal favorite hunter PvP movies are probably those done by Danaik.  If you like to watch really good world PvP and want to see a survival hunter played to the very *teeth* – check these videos out.  One note of caution: Survival Hunters have seen a nerf or three since these were made and  you might not be able to reproduce some of the moves.  That said – Danaik makes a habit of destroying level 80 players while only level 72-73 herself.  It’s worth a watch to pick up some great moves as well as to enjoy probably the very best music selection in any Hunter PvP videos – PERIOD.  I’ve linked the first video – watch all 4 – or – better yet – head over to Warcraft Movies and watch the full length versions.

Okay –  that’s step one down.  We’re picking up some visual aides and getting ourselves in the mood.  The next steps?

  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice

At the moment I’m stuck playing on my laptop which isn’t the greatest for raiding or fast/furious pvp.  I need to address this, but it’s no excuse to not get out and play.  If I can manage to record a few clips that don’t suck – I’ll post them here.

How about the rest of you?  Any suggestions as I work toward the goodering of my PvP?  Videos?  Macros?  Websites?  Drop me a link!