Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On Hiatus

Most of you have taken my lack of posting as an indicator of my complete and utter immersion in the new 2.4 content. Unfortunately, that isn't true. I'm taking time off from WoW for health reasons. No really, I'm serious - I have a bad back, and I'm not talking about "oooh I'm a little stiff after powerlifting a brace of tauren prot warriors". I'm talking about the kind of pain that destroys your life. It went bad back in January, and I've been writhing in pain, doing exercises, paying for scans, seeing specialists and ingesting fistfuls of painkillers ever since. The strangest thing about it all was that I would get steadily better, and then plunge back into the pit of pain. Eventually I started a pain diary, and noticed that things usually went bad first thing on Tuesday mornings. What was I doing Monday nights that was wrecking my recovery? Well, Monday is raid night... ohhhhhhh crap!

To cut a long story short, I stopped playing (uninstalled all my games, no need to feed temptation) and my back started getting better. Now let's be clear - it's not really WoW messing my back up - it's my crappy desk and chair setup. The ultimate solution is to create a lovely ergonomic gaming station, so that my dodgy back is coddled and pampered in the manner that it deserves. While I would give up WoW (and PC gaming entirely) if it was required, I'd like to avoid it if I can.

I recognize that it's a bit ridiculous posting on a WoW blog about taking a break from WoW, but I wanted to at least say something. Look after your backs too - spend a few dollars on a better than average gaming setup and your spine will thank you. See you later!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Solarian down

Following our success with Al'ar, we surged on to Solarian and taught her a lesson about sun safety.

Solarian is actually pretty straightforward, as long as no-one blows the raid up when they have Wrath of the Astromancer cast upon them. Deadly Boss Mods and Bigwigs are useful, but they're no substitute for staying alert and reacting quickly. A few times we had healers concentrating a little too hard on everyone's health meters, and blam, it was raining men. Well, orcs, taurens, elves, trolls and undead at least.

It also appears that Solarian is like Aran in the way that she casts spells against random targets, including pets. For hunters this means that your pet will probably get clocked and may need copious heals, but it also means that Solarian will target snakes from a Snake Trap as well. 6-8 decoy snakes copping her arcane missiles instead of raiders can save a lot of healer mana, and maybe even a few lives.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finger Lickin' Good

After many attempts and frustrating evenings, The Endless finally downed Al'ar. Victory always tastes best with eleven secret herbs and spices.

Our biggest improvement was in picking up the adds in the second phase. Great work offtanks!

Al'ar didn't drop the Arcanite Steam-Pistol, but he did drop the Talon of Al'ar, a hunter-only trinket that at first glance looks amazing, but is actually pretty lame - the damage bonus doesn't apply to Auto shot. All three hunters in the raid passed on it, so it went down to a random /roll. The rolls were appallingly poor (reflecting our total lack of interest) but I managed to win the race. Hurrah.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Now What?

My guild The Endless are in TK and SSC at the moment, giving Lurker and Void Reaver a weekly belting. We don't have the tank resist gear to handle Hydross just yet, but we have been concentrating on Al'ar the Phoenix God - or as I like to refer to him, The Big Chook. Al'ar is a bit of a pain, but we've steadily improved our strategy and execution against him. Our best attempt is currently 17% in his second phase, and considering the way people are improving their gear and co-ordination, I think we'll get him down very soon.

The worrying thing is that if we don't get Al'ar down before 2.4 drops, we might not get him down at all. Since the attunement limitations for Hyjal and BT are being lifted, will we persevere with the big chook when we could be taking potshots at Rage Winterchill or High Warlord Naj'entus? Word on the street is that both these bosses are easier than Al'ar, and much much easier than crazy fights like Kael'thas or Lady Vashj. Is gearing up on the BT bunny bosses and then returning in triumph to roast Al'ar over an open flame the way to go, or are we jumping too far ahead? Even if one's guild is devoted to the noble goal of downing every boss in the game, it would make sense to knock off the low hanging fruit and then tackling the more difficult bosses with better gear.

In many ways the brave new attunement-less world of 2.4 is a dangerous one. I can see guilds breaking up over it, as the standard path of progression vanishes and leaves the kind of rudderless freedom one experiences during a drug-fuelled bender or national revolution. What can we do? Anything! We should we do? I have no idea! Let's shoot that guy and set him on fire! Yeah!

Monday, March 17, 2008

So You Want to PvP

PvP in Wow has certainly evolved from the days of random mass gankings in the shadow of Tarren Mill. Battlegrounds and Arena are now integral parts of the game, with torrid action and excellent item rewards attracting legions of players, casual or otherwise. The big problem for new players is that right now, everyone you're going to be fighting has at least some PvP gear. Plus, anyone with any sense wears their PvP gear while running around questing, which can make world PvP fairly lethal. Add in PUG premades often only letting in members with a certain resilience, and it's a hostile world for someone new to PvP.

The good news is that there's help on the way in patch 2.4, with the addition of new PvP Rare Item Sets. Items from these sets are purchasable from faction vendors at Honored reputation with Keepers of Time, Thrallmar / Honor Hold, Lower City, Cenarion Expedition, and The Sha'tar. This provides a relatively easy way for new players to get some basic PvP gear before stepping into the ring and having their faces pounded into mush.

Looking at the hunter set, it's pretty clear that the Stalker's Chain Battlegear isn't as good as the Gladiator's Pursuit in terms of stats and bonuses, but it does provide 86 points of resilience, and 35 more from the 2 piece set bonus. 121 resilience is an excellent starting point for a newbie PvPer, and its decent chunk of stamina doesn't go astray either. Good hunting!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Closer and Closer

With parts of the 2.4 on the Blizzard background downloader, let's take a quick look at the small list of hunter changes that will be hitting the live realms shortly. Apart from a few animation and display fixes, we have:
  • Hunter's Mark: Hunters with Improved Hunter’s Mark will now properly overwrite Hunter’s Mark cast by Hunters without the talent. Wow, this might be enough to undo part of my recent rejig and get Improved HM again if I can actually tell which mark on a boss is which.
  • Improved Mend Pet now has a 25/50 chance to remove one Curse, Disease, Magic, or Poison effect, up from 15/50%. Very nice for BM hunters, this stops situations where it's easier to let your pet die and rez him clean than deal with unpleasant debuffs.
  • Multi-Shot: This ability will no longer strike any secondary targets which are under the effect of crowd-control spells that break on taking damage. i.e. Polymorph, Sap, etc. I'm not sure I like this one - talk about easy mode! Note that the change says secondary targets, which I translate as meaning that multi will still break CC if you target a CCed mob directly, but it will certainly make multi a lot more useful in raids, instances and even PvP, where at least one enemy is CCed.
  • Track spells will now persist after death. This isn't particularly earth shattering, but it makes life easier, particularly in battlegrounds.
That's it for 2.4 for hunter mechanics - not a lot, but a few interesting ones. The multi change dumbs things down a bit, but to be honest multi-shot was fairly underused in most circumstances. This change will make it more popular, and stop huntards everywhere from embarrassing themselves.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I'd had the Belt of the Black Eagle on my shopping list for a while, and I'd expected to either buy the pattern off the AH or have it drop for me, and then wrestle hordes of guild druids for the vortexes in SSC or TK. What I didn't expect was to see the belt itself on the AH for 800g, and actually have enough cash in my Shiny Items Fund to snap it up right then and there.

Obviously the Vindicator's Chain Girdle is better for PvP, but the Black Eagle will do very nicely for my raid set thank you very much. I fully expect that now that I have the item, the pattern for it will drop in tonight's raid, but that's okay.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I respecced last night before we took on Al'ar and Void Reaver, but before Chain Trap and BRK get all excited, I'm sticking with Marksmanship for now. The talents I dropped were:

Trap Mastery 2/2 - I'm doing less heroics these days, so the extra trap resist is less important. I've also got a lot more armour and HP, so if a trap gets resisted I'll probably survive and be able to kite the mob around.

Improved Hunter's Mark 5/5 - This was a tough choice. The talent adds 110AP to all melee attacks on the marked mob, which can add up to quite a bit if you have a large cadre of rogues and DPS warriors. Our raids don't seem to have that many melee classes though, and most of the time another hunter marks the boss and invalidates the buff, so I think I'll let this one slide.

Barrage 3/3 - I don't tend to use Multi-shot much in raids because of the chance of breaking CC, and I don't use it on bosses because of its mana inefficiency. I do use it in PvP whenever I can get myself into a decent position, but this isn't very often.

With the 10 extra points, I grabbed these talents:

Efficiency 2/5 - I already had three points in this talent, so I added two more points to help with my raiding mana issues. I'll still be potting aggressively, but it will give me a bit more headroom.

Go For The Throat 2/2 - This one's a bit of an experiment in boosting my pet's damage. I crit pretty regularly, so this talent should give him a lot more focus to burn on Bite and Claw. In long boss fights, this hopefully will add up.

Improved Stings 5/5 - Another experiment, with a mainly PvP focus. With these five talent points, Viper Sting will burn 1778 mana off an enemy, and reduce the chance to dispel it by 30%. It also ups Serpent Sting's damage by 30%, which makes it a bit more formidable and efficient. I might even use it in raids if I'm in a group with a mana regenerating buddy.

Combat Experience 1/2 - A small overall buff to Agility and Intellect, which means a few more points of RAP, a teensy bit of crit and a tad more Intellect, which gives me a little bit more mana.

It'll be interesting to see how much actual difference these changes make. Improved Stings in PvP will probably be the most visible, although if Go For The Throat works the way I hope it might it might boost my pet's damage significantly in long battles. Cross fingers!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cruel World

Despite many moments of temptation, I managed to save up the huge pile of honor points required for this little beauty:

When I bought it, I felt a little bit let down. 30,000 points is an awful lot, and although there's an enormous amount of crit and an excellent PvP activation ability on it, I wondered how often I'd really use it. Well, it turns out that the answer is a lot. I seem to pop this once per Arena game without fail, and quite regularly while running around in battlegrounds. Being able to thwart an enemy's "one more shot and this guy is dead" calculations is worth a mountain of gold, particularly if it gives me enough time for Scatter Shot to come off cooldown, or my druid arena buddy to land a nice fat heal.

For raiding, this trinket isn't bad either. The crit is lovely, and the ability can provide a few extra delicious seconds of survival to grab a lifesaving heal from a raid healer. So far, I've used it after Lurker's Geyser and Tidewalker's Watery Graves, and I'm expecting to use it against Void Reaver's orbs and Al'ar's meteors and adds too. Note that if your HP is under 1750 when the time runs out, you don't die - you're left with one HP, which can be a little unnerving.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Future Weapons

Hunters are always on the lookout for a better ranged weapon, since every standard shot we make is modified by its quality. Going from an 83 DPS bow to a 93 DPS bow will actually increase your overall DPS by 20, because Auto and Steady Shot both get a 10 DPS boost. Note that Arcane Shot's damage is calculate from Ranged Attack Power only, so the damage of your ranged weapon doesn't matter at all when you're using that type of shot.

The next step up from my current Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix is probably the Arcanite Steam-Pistol from Al'ar. I honestly hadn't even considered this puppy until recently, when The Endless got the big chook to 42% in his second phase. It's a small damage upgrade, but it's one I'd jump on in a second if it actually drops.

Also on my radar is the Merciless Gladiator's Crossbow of the Phoenix, from Arena season two. There's no personal rating limitation on this any more, but at 3261 arena points, it's expensive. That's around 13 weeks of arena play at our usual 1400ish rating. Considering it would only be a minor upgrade and the points would be better spent on Vengeful gear, it's unlikely I'll follow this one through.

The next option is the current season's ranged weapons, the Vengeful Gladiator's Heavy Crossbow, Longbow and Rifle. These are a serious step up in damage, and well worth the 3750 arena points. They also require a rating of 1850, which is pretty impossible for an arena bunny like myself, although the rating restrictions for S2 were removed when S3 launched. This will probably not be the case when S4 launches, with the word on the street being that S3 main weapons and shoulders will still have rating requirements, but they will be lowered. It's also good to note that Season 4 will probably launch a significant amount of time after 2.4 launches too, which will further delay any chance of me getting my hands on one of them.

Probably the most likely and worthwhile upgrade is the super swanky Crossbow of Relentless Strikes which will be available from Smith Hauthaa for 150 Badges of Justice. I'm at 74/150 right now, which will probably mean another 7 weeks of collecting at my fairly casual rate of 10 badges a week. Note that these new items won't be available straight away - Smith Hauthaa only appears in phase three of the Shattered Sun Offensive, which is progressed by everyone on the server completing dailies on the island of Quel'Danas. I'll be there doing my part, let me tell you.

As for weapons like the Serpent Spine Longbow from Vashj or Legionkiller from Supremus, I know they exist but I'm not devoting any brainspace to them, as I'm just not likely to see them any time soon. Even the Ancient Amani Longbow from ZA isn't likely to fall into my hands without a dramatic change in my schedule, and by the time that happens I hopefully will have already upgraded.

Monday, March 3, 2008

You're Late

I'm mainly running Kara for Badges of Justice these days, although I do have a small list of items that have never dropped for me. That list became significantly smaller last Thursday when Legacy and Garona's Signet Ring finally came my way. Legacy is the classic object of lust for hunters everywhere. It's the reason that Kara raiding hunters get a little thrill deep inside every time The Crone pops up in the Opera event rotation. When I finally got it, I felt like I should make a speech thanking god, the academy, and dedicating the run to Heath Ledger.

The problem is, after running some numbers and making some comparisons, the Vengeful Gladiator's Waraxe is simply much better, even for raiding. Giving up hit rating and over 1% of crit just hurts too much, even though the 8mp5 would be nice. I'm definitely just scraping by in the mana stakes, and that's 600 extra mana in a 10 minute boss fight. The pure agility on Legacy is great though, so there's a chance I might use it if I ever respec Survival, but for now it goes over my fireplace.

As for the signet ring, it's yet another solid piece of hit gear that has allowed me to shuffle a few things around for my raid set, making it:

Vengeful Gladiator's Waraxe
Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix
Vengeful Gladiator's Chain Helm
Shoulders of Lightning Reflexes
Ebon Netherscale Breastplate
Vindicator's Chain Bracers
Gauntlets of Sniping
Vindicator's Chain Girdle
Shifting Camouflage Pants
Boots of the Crimson Hawk
Vengeance Wrap
Violet Signet of the Master Assassin
Garona's Signet Ring
Vindicator's Pendant of Triumph
Darkmoon Card: Crusade
Bloodlust Brooch

There's an awful lot of PvP gear in there now, which is interesting. I'd really like to craft the Belt of the Black Eagle now that I have access to Nether Vortexes, but I haven't seen the pattern on the AH for months. It would be nice for it to actually drop in SSC / TK, but just like Legacy, I haven't been lucky with it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


It took The Endless seven tries to get Lurker down last night, which was almost enough to make me throw my leather raiding shorts in the bin and stick to Karathons for heroic badges until 2.4 drops. The crazy thing was that we probably had our best trash clear ever, with Hydross and Lurker groups going down like wheat in a hurricane. When we hit Lurker though, it was a disaster. People were dying on Spouts, rogues were getting one-shotted on Whirls, and adds were running amok everywhere. We really didn't deserve to get him down, but somehow we managed it.

We did discover that it's possible and sometimes even desirable to keep the island adds sheeped for pretty much the entire fight. Our DPS seemed to be lacking for some reason (possibly too many people already dead), and when a new wave arrived, any adds that were still alive weren't replaced. CCing them for the entire fight therefore becomes a decent strategy, although things can get messy if one pops out and immediately multi-shots players who are already low on health.

Nights like that one make me wonder why I even try to raid, but at least we got the bloody fish down. There was also one other fairly amazing bonus too - two Nether Vortexes dropped, so I got to make another kickass druid tank belt for a guildie. Grats Gopala!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Grats Kyo

The second Nether Vortex dropped the other night, so I finally got to make Kyodru his mega mondo druid tanking belt of gnarly stuff.

Of course he was drooling all over the place... and I felt pretty good about being able to make something powerful for a guildie. After 2.4 I expect this belt to become the standard for most druid tanks, so I'll have to come up with a decent crafting price when the queues begin. I'm thinking 50 gold for non-guildies, but it really depends on how many other people have the pattern on Barthilas.

Friday, February 22, 2008

More Haste, Less Rush

There are a tonne of items with Haste rating bonuses dropping in 2.4, which prompts a short examination of the stat and specifically how it affects hunters. Obviously it increases the rate at which we can make physical attacks, but what does that actually mean? Let's start with the basic haste mechanics, which were last changed in patch 2.2. The formula since then has been:

Hasted Speed = Weapon Speed / (Haste bonus 1 * Haste bonus 2 * (1+ (Total Haste Rating / 1576)))

Note the reference to both Haste bonus and Haste rating. These are two different things, and different abilities and items contribute to them. Attack speed increases from quivers and ammo pouches count as a bonus, as does the Beast Mastery talent Serpent's Swiftness, the hunter ability Rapid Fire and the Shaman spell Bloodlust. The Drums of Battle temporarily adds to the haste rating, as do items like my rather lovely Shoulders of Lightning Reflexes.

This formula applied to my current raiding gear is:

Hasted Speed = Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix / (Quiver of a Thousand Feathers * (1+ (Shoulders of Lightning Reflexes / 1576)))
Hasted Speed = 2.90 / (1.15 * (1+ (37 / 1576)))
Hasted Speed = 2.90 / (1.15 * 1.0234)
Hasted Speed = 2.46, which is just what it says on my Auto Shot tooltip. Yay!

It's good to note that Steady Shot's speed is also affected by haste, even though it doesn't say it on its tooltip. Its cast time is 1.5 seconds, which makes the formula for me:

Hasted Steady = 1.5 / (1.15 * 1.0234)
Hasted Steady = 1.27

This is a pretty essential mechanic, particularly if you're a BM hunter. If it was locked at 1.5 seconds, BM Hunters with full Serpent's Swiftness would lose the ability to weave Steady whenever they were Bloodlusted or popped Rapid Fire! So, Steady must accelerate as well.

Now that we've covered how haste works, we can look at what haste actually does. With 105% haste, you make 105 attacks in the time you would've usually made 100, which means a 5% increase in damage per second. This is good stuff, and this increase is a multiplier, which can means that the damage increase from haste gets larger as your gear gets better. If you do 500 DPS normally, a haste increase of 5% will take you to 525 DPS - an increase of 25DPS, which is equivalent to an extra 350 AP using the standard 14AP = 1 DPS conversion. If you do 700 DPS normally, the same 5% haste increase will take you to 735DPS - an increase of 35 DPS, which is equivalent to an extra 490 AP. That's pretty great stuff, so the more haste the better right?

Well, not exactly. The first downside of haste for hunters is that because we're firing faster, we're using mana faster. In endurance fights, this can be a problem. With a lot of haste, you're going to have to be very aggressive with mana pots, and possibly make use of Superior Mana Oil. Boxes in talents like Efficiency and Thrill of the Hunt also help. If you're still having troubles, Aspect of the Viper is your friend.

Haste also isn't that useful in Arena or Battlegrounds, unless you have a significant chunk of it. If you've got a very respectable 158 points of haste rating (a 10% speed increase) you're going to fire 10 shots in your standard time of 9, which will certainly help in bursting someone down, but it's unlikely you'll get the chance with all the interrupts, stuns, fears, traps, charms, intimidations and blinds flying about like doves in a John Woo movie. Personally, I'm going to concentrate on Stamina and Resilience, but I can see that half a second in the Arena can mean the difference between a win or a loss, not to mention peppering a caster with shots can almost halt their spells entirely.

There's also a limit to the amount of haste that can be stacked before it starts messing with a hunter's shot rotation. Auto Shot has a 0.5 second hidden cast time, which reduces the time Steady has to fire without delaying the next Auto. The standard player to server latency is around 0.2 seconds, but for me in Australia it's more like 0.35 seconds. This means, with my current raid gear:

Auto Speed = 2.46
Steady Speed = 1.27
Real Steady Speed = 1.27 + 0.5 + 0.35
Real Steady Speed = 2.12

This leaves 0.34 seconds of time to safely absorb network blips and human error without clipping my Auto Shot. When everything is running smoothly, it even allows me to sneak an Arcane shot into that gap every few cycles, which is good for the DPS. Now, If I had 200 points of haste rating and a 2.7 speed weapon like the Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle, the numbers would be:

Auto Speed = 2.08
Steady Speed = 1.16
Real Steady Speed = 1.16 + 0.5 + 0.35
Real Steady Speed = 2.01

This leaves only 0.07 seconds of safe time, which isn't enough to avoid clipping, given network jitters and my inevitable late night reflex degradation. I'd also lose the ability to slide in Arcane shot. This is an extreme example, but it demonstrates that although haste is quite powerful, it ultimately has a limit. Weapon speed, talents, latency and shot rotation all play their part, as well as all the other stats and bonuses you'll be missing out on by specializing in haste gear.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Little Bit of 2.4

I've been meaning to get around to posting about the upcoming 2.4 patch for a while now, but every time I start to put something together, another tasty morsel is announced. Well, this what has caught my eye just for now.

Number one with a bullet are the new items purchasable with Badges of Justice. WowHead has posted them already, and I'm drooling like Homer with a jumbo box of donuts over the Gauntlets of Rapidity (75 Badges), the Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard (100 Badges), the Leggings of the Pursuit (100 Badges) and a ring named Angelista's Revenge (60 Badges). There's also one more item of such enormous power that I tremble at the mere mention of its name - the Crossbow of Relentless Strikes for 150 Badges. By Elune's petticoat, that's a lovely piece of hunter gear.

Naturally there are a lot of raiders QQing over T6-equivalent loot being bought for tokens that can be grabbed from mere Heroics and lowly Kara, but I disagree. Just one loot progression path caters for just one type of player, and one type of game. Battleground loot creates a different game, as does Arena loot. Even crafted loot creates a different game (more on that in a bit). Having many ways to get geared does tend to wreck the "BT gear = I am awesome" rules, but they were always a bit stale and simplistic. It also means there's a better pool of talent for raiding guilds, which is good... right?

A new area is coming, called the Isle of Quel'Danas, with a 25 man raid instance called The Sunwell Plateau contained therein. This instance is above Black Temple in difficulty, which makes it Very Scary Indeed. I have no illusions about running through there, but there are a number of pretty amazing patterns that drop in the instance, and I hope to see the Embrace of the Phoenix on the AH soon. Holy goblin pornography batman, that's a sweet item. There's also a 5 man instance called Magister's Terrace, which is meant to be around Shattered Halls / Shadow Labyrinth difficulty. There's a nice hunter chest piece called the Hauberk of the Warbringer (no Wowhead link yet) in there, so I might have to check it out.

Of particular interest to me is the news that Primal Nethers and Nether Vortexes are becoming bind on equip in the patch. This unlocks numerous patterns for all levels of player, and creates a few interesting little economies within the game. Vortexes are also purchasable with 15 Badges and 7 gold, which is another good use of Badges if you really want one.

2.4 also sees the attunements for Hyjal and Black Temple removed, which allows mere mortals to see those instances before the expansion launches. This is cool, although extremely unpopular with the raiding crowd for obvious reasons. They're also removing the requirement of downing all the other bosses before fighting Vashj and Kael'thas in their respective instances. This removal is fine with the Burning Crusade winding up now, but I hope they keep the occasional attunement in WotLK. I hope they avoid the "kill the final boss in this instance and you can progress to the next instance" thing though - that's an obviously artificial barrier.

PvE tokens can also be used to buy PvP gear, with Tier 4 tokens equating to S1 Gladiator's gear, Tier 5 and 6 tokens buying S2 Gladiator's gear, and Tier 6 Sunwell tokens buying S3 belts/bracers/boots. The ever-useful Badges can also be used to buy S2 battlegrounds armor. Is there anything Badges can't do?

Obviously, that's a small slice of what I've seen around the traps for 2.4. MMO Champion is probably the best place for more details. Whee!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Current Addons

I played WoW for a very long time without any addons at all, which I think was a good thing. It's healthy to get an idea of how the basic interface works, and then add to it, particularly as there are a ridiculous number of addons out there that do all sorts of stuff. I'm a bit of a minimalist, and only run the few extra addons that I think I really need. For now, those are:

Omen The most important tool in a Hunter's arsenal, it tracks the threat of everyone in your group. It shows when you can DPS hard, when you need to Feign Death to clear your threat, and even when Feign Death is resisted! I prefer Omen to KTM because of the separate threat targeting, too.

Deadly Boss Mods Vital for raiding, it displays countdown bars and warning for various boss abilities. Being aware of deadly events and changes in phase in these fights is invaluable.

Auctioneer Classic This addon builds an internal database of item prices on the AH, and displays average prices in tooltips. It's a bit dependent on how often you run a scan, but it's worth its weight in gold (literally) when trying to price an item you're unfamiliar with. Personally, I prefer the Classic version of Auctioneer.

Mapcoords (Updated) A small addon that shows simple co-ordinates on the main map screen, both for the character and pointer.

OmniCC I used to run CooldownTimerBars for ages, but recently made the switch and am quite pleased so far. Instead of shrinking bars like DBM, this mod adds a numeric countdown on the action bar and on items in your bags. I find this works better for me, as my eyes are on my action bars during most fights. It also adds a numeric debuff countdown on mobs, which is excellent for keeping Stings and Hunter's Mark up.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Good, Bad, Ugly

I'm still having all manner of problems with my ADSL in the evenings, which is making WoW a bit of a nightmare. Everything dropped out at exactly 7pm (just when the SSC raid was being formed) and after an hour on the phone with IINet tech support going through the standard routines, they agreed that there really was a fault, and that someone from second level support would give me a call back in the next 24 hours. Then at 8:45pm, the line came up and everything was peachy again.

I didn't hold a lot of hope for getting back into SSC, but I managed to swap in just after the Lurker trash was cleared. We wiped once, and on the second go downed the salty old bugger. It was an eventful fight too, with Lurker submerging on 1% health, and leaving many in the raid thinking he was dead as a new wave of adds arrived and wrecked havoc. A few surprised people went down in screaming heaps, but we managed to CC enough of them to stay alive and polish the big guy off when he came up for air.

Getting Lurker down was good stuff, both for the raiders involved and for the guild as a whole. It's much harder for parasite guilds to poach players when we're actually downing bosses. The loot was good too - the main tank got his Mallet of the Tides, and I scored the leatherworking Pattern: Belt of Natural Power. Apparently this makes the best druid tanking belt in the game, and one of our feral druids went a little nuts when it dropped. I've promised to make it for him when I get the two Nether Vortexes (vortices?), although I really have no idea when that will be. TeePee rightly pointed out that the druid should have to pay DKP for me to get the Vortexes for the purpose of making the belt, as there are probably other people who want them as well. This seems to make sense - I hope people understand the process.

Getting that belt pattern suddenly makes me very, very attractive to feral druids, which makes the recent Feral Guard comic even funnier. Ladies, the line starts to the left. Wait, the Horde's druids are all Tauren! Runnnnnn!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get Up Off the Canvas

Last night was one of those nights where everything seemed to go wrong. The Endless ran SSC for the first time since our top raiders left, with the intention of downing Lurker. It was always going to be rough, but things went completely gnome-shaped for me when I joined the raid - my ADSL went down and flopped about like a dying fish for the next two hours. I could see it bringing up the line, trying to connect and dropping out repeatedly, but when I finally got through to support, they only had the standard "power cycle your router" crap. It eventually fixed itself, but I am no longer the huge fan of IINet that I once was. You let me down, you bunch of spanner crabs.

When I finally got back in, I swapped for Ozziehunter, who was having serious framerate issues. The poor guy only gets 15 fps in the Arena starting rooms, so A'dal only knows what a 25 man raid was doing to his system. The group was only just clearing the final trash mob group near Lurker when I made it inside, with the respawn timer running down. This was due to the main tank regularly disconnecting in the middle of battle and wiping the raid, which in turn was due to his broadband being capped, which was due to his brother downloading 50GB of porn and blowing his monthly quota. He's clearly the best-geared tank we have in the guild, but stuff like that just wastes everyone's time.

We ended up having only one shot at Lurker, and although it was pretty ragged, we managed to get him down to about 60%. I'm going to suggest that we divide the raid into groups next time, with each group having three dps, one tank and a healer, all assigned to a particular island. I fell through the cracks with respect to healing, and bought the farm when I got Geysered into the scalding water.

After we called the SSC run, the world server crashed, which was nice. After that, we got a Kara group together to finish off Nightbane and Netherspite, but couldn't manage anything better than five wipes on NB before everyone gave up. The tank was having trouble with his stance-dance macros, and we seemed to have all kinds of bother getting the skeletons down.

About this time, I was feeling pretty despondent. All I had for the evening was a big repair bill and a headache, but I decided that leaving the night at such a low ebb was unhealthy. Getting clobbered sucks, but getting back off the deck, dusting yourself off and getting some stuff done is the sign of good character, even if it's small. To that end, we got our ten 3v3 Arena games in, even though we had to find a sub for Ozziehunter, as he had bailed for the evening. It was rough and frustrating, but we got there, and I feel better for it. Whew.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hit Rating

I managed to get myself the rather nifty Gauntlets of Sniping the other day, for 60 Badges of Justice. I really should've grabbed these before the Shifting Camouflage Pants because of their excellent hit rating. I was stuck shuffling things around a bit for the last week or so, and it would've been nice to be able to fall back on those gauntlets to keep myself hit capped for raiding.

In case you're wondering, the hit rating cap for level 70 Hunters on level 73 raid bosses is 142, or 95 with 3/3 points in the Surefooted talent in the Survival tree. It's also possible to build a "trash raid set" based on the fact that trash is usually level 71 or 72, and needs less hit rating. This table should help a little:
Mob Level  Hit %  Hit Rating  Hit Rating (Surefooted)  

Note the huge jump from 72 to 73 - this explains how some Hunters flog all manner of head on trash, then take a severe hit in dps on bosses. You need 15.77 points of hit rating for each 1% to hit, so make sure you're covered.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Guild Drama

Unfortunately, The Endless had a bit of guild drama this week, with several of our top raiders (including the guild master) quitting and heading off to another, "more progressed" guild. This isn't exactly big news, but it tends to sting a bit for those left behind. The grass is always greener, and pretty much everyone talks up their guild at any opportunity, even if they're all a bunch of complete muppets.

Their departure leaves our raid crew with a number of serious holes that we'll either need to fill through recruiting, or through the development of existing members. The great thing was that after the initial dismay bomb, the remaining senior guildies leaped into action, organizing runs for ZA and Gruul, and even booking a Lurker run for next Monday. We successfully downed Gruul, but it was very messy and there were a number of wipes. I'll be pleasantly surprised if we punch Lurker in the gills, but the important thing is that we're all continuing to push forward.

I'm actually quite keen to run Zul'Aman, since I've only seen the first couple of bosses, and the loot is rather nice. Switching back to a ten man instance does seem like a bit of a step backwards, which isn't good for guild morale. It should help to gear people up though. Wish us luck.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


On a good day, a few games in Battlegrounds are excellent fun. They're done quickly, the action is fast and furious, and the ultimate honor point rewards are very good. Obviously having a decent set of PvP gear helps (200 resilience, woot!) but there's plenty anyone can do to help win the day, even if one's gear is lacking.

The fly in the ointment is the rampancy of premade groups (mostly Alliance in my Bloodlust battlegroup), where a number of players from one server form a team and join a battleground together. This as an idea is fine, as running battlegrounds with your mates is a core gameplay concept, and one Blizzard loves. The problem arises when premades are dialed up to their logical conclusion, with awesome PvP gear, a vent server, balanced class makeup, and razor-sharp strategy. Here's an example, where we didn't manage to score even a single point:

This is like going down to park on a Sunday with your mates to play social soccer, and having a team of guys turn up in uniforms, with a coach, and beat you 26-0. I suppose congratulations are in order, but neither team really got a lot out of the game, and when this happens game after game, it tends to sully the experience. Then by accident, I ended up as an extra with a Horde premade against an Alliance premade, and this happened:

The entire team left! Man, that's weak - they realized that another premade would be more of a challenge than a hapless team of randoms, so they left and chose to eat the Deserter debuff instead. Another day I joined a premade with some friends from a previous guild, and we came up against another premade:

Now, this Alliance team didn't leave. In fact, this was the best bloody fight I'd had in ages. Bodies were everywhere, bases were capped, stolen, defended, recapped, special teams would attack, feint, fall back, link up and attack in waves. We narrowly lost the game in the end, but it really was great fun. This is the way premades should be played - they should be matched up with other premades, and earn bonus honor points. Premades are tougher than pugs, so they should be rewarded accordingly.

Until this happens, I suppose I'm stuck with premades, although it does create perhaps the most satisfying feeling in the game - beating a premade with a pug. Ooooh, that's gotta hurt.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Axe-is of Evil

It took one extra week that it should've done, but I got my Vengeful Gladiator's Waraxe.

Seriously, no Hunter worth his or her salt should be without this puppy. It's 1000 Arena points, which is four weeks at a rating of 1226 in 3v3, or four weeks at a rating of 1434 in 2v2. If you can't manage that (and that rating for 3v3 is pretty easy), just do another week.

There's so much to love on this axe - hit rating, crit (46, holy crap), a tonne of stamina and a buttload of attack power. I'd forgotten just how much resilience is on it though. Wow. Now I just need to get it enchanted with Savagery before we run Gruul this evening.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Kara etc

I managed to finally get a good solid Kara run in on Saturday, which earned me a whopping 19 Heroic Badges and the Drape of the Dark Reavers. We downed everyone except Prince, who decided to stick his Infernals in an uncomfortable place (what... like the back of a Volkswagen?). That drape has some nice hit rating, and will allow me to shuffle a few things around for raids. It'll might even get a run in PvP because of its stamina bonus - my Vengeance Wrap is lovely, but has no stamina bonus at all, which is pretty icky for PvP.

It was really nice to get back into Kara again though, and put the hurt on those old, familiar bosses. I only raid Mondays and Wednesdays, and recently both those evenings have been filled with VR and Lurker runs, with a bit of Gruul on the side. Kara is the easiest way to get badges these days, and not being able to run it severely gimped my progression towards another piece of hit gear - the Gauntlets of Sniping. Now I'm just four badges away, which means that I don't miss Kara so much. I would've liked to down Prince and get that lovely Ring of a Thousand Marks though. Ah well, next time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Great New Item

I saved my gold, checked the AH carefully, and finally went from this:

To this:

For the record, it's a Dell 2707WFP and it drops from the Dell store.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Very Early 2.4 Notes

MMO Champion have compiled a pre-release list of changes for the coming 2.4 patch that have been garnered from various blue posts on the forums. Some great stuff in there, although note that any of these may change in the time between now and when the patch goes live. Here are few highlights:
  • Patch 2.4 will remove the restriction for Ritual of Summoning that prevents you from summoning players into instances. Provided the player meets the instance requirements, you'll be able to summon them in from anywhere in the world. Fantastic. Less down time swapping groups members when raiding or running instances. Makes locks even more valuable.
  • Once every 24 hours, through Enchanting (not Alchemy) you'll be able to split a Void Crystal into two Large Prismatic Shards. This is through a new recipe that's being added in 2.4. Good stuff, the market for Large Prismatics has gone through the roof, and most guild banks are filled with unused Void Crystals.
  • Players will now be able to purchase level 70 Superior quality (blue) PvP items from reputation vendors in Outland. If these items are good, this will help solo players to make the leap to endgame content. Hopefully they will be reasonable.
  • Players can now only carry 80 Conjured Manna Biscuits at a time. Solid work, stop people from stealing all the pies.
  • We've reached a point where we're now confident that applying diminishing returns to honor is no longer necessary, and we're currently planning to remove it with the 2.4 patch. Plus, What the removal of diminishing returns means for you is that as soon as you defeat an opponent that rewards you honor, you will receive that honor, and you will be able to spend it right then. There will no longer be an estimate, and you will no longer need to wait until the next day until you can actually spend it. Your achievements through honor-based PvP will be instantaneous. Bloody excellent. No more silly estimates or click-overs - earn your honor and spend it then and there. Two thumbs up.
  • All 25-player raid bosses that drop set tokens will now drop an additional token! Groovy I guess, was it taking ages for people to get their T5 bits? Maybe.
  • All 25-player raid bosses will drop more gold. Good, running TK and SSC was costing me a tonne in repairs, and I get to feign death all the time.
  • Loot dropped by Doomlord Kazzak and Doomwalker has been changed to Bind on Equip. In addition, the cash dropped by these bosses has been significantly increased. Wow, nice. I look forward to seeing the Ring of Reciprocity, the Scaled Greaves of the Marksman, the Black-Iron Battlecloak, and the Barrel-Blade Longrifle on the AH.
This is only the initial list of things for 2.4, and some of them will change, but there's some positive stuff there, even before mentioning all the goodness of the Sunwell Plateau. Huzzah.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

No Arena Points

My 3v3 arena team Old Buggers had a disaster land on us this week - we were awarded no arena points, despite the fact that we played a hearty and enjoyable ten games. We achieved our best weekly result ever too, 8 wins and 2 losses, and reached our highest rating since we started, 1496. At least that little bit of ass-kicking makes me feel a bit better.

The problem is that we played our games Tuesday night Australian time, just before the server restarted for maintenance. We hadn't managed to find time to play earlier in the week, so we hopped on and bashed them out, expecting that they would be counted for the week that was just ending. If they didn't count, then obviously they'd count for the coming week, which would save us from having to do them then. Right? RIGHT?

Apparently not. It seems that there's a "dead zone" for arena games just before weekly maintenance, where games won't count towards the current week OR the coming week. Although our rating and season win/loss ratio were successfully updated, the points just... vanished, which is a real pain. Naturally I checked with a GM, and when he started his conversation with "Note that I can't make changes to arena points or ratings, now how can I help you today?" I realized we were boned.

Now I understand that in a giant, networked system with thousands of concurrent players and millions of pieces of data swirling around in a giant ethereal hurricane, weird and bad things will occasionally happen. I do work in software in real life, after all. I also understand that giving GMs the power to change arena ratings is a Very Bad Thing, open to abuse and distortion, particularly in a system that essentially shuffles arena points from one team to another to change ratings.

What sucks is the way the game carried merrily along, adding points and updating our ratings - giving us every indication that what we were doing was completely valid. If there's a black hole for arena games before maintenance, show it! Disable rated matches, don't update our week's win/loss ratio, or (duh) carry the games forward to next week. Any software system has limits, so point them out and we'll try to work with them.

The painful lesson of this episode is don't play arena games on Tuesday evenings, Australian time. My foggy memory tells me that we were playing after honor had ticked over for the day, but before the server went down for maintenance. This shall forever be known as the Dead Zone time, when madness descends upon the land, foul spirits rise and arena points are swept into the darkest nether reaches.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'd been planning a post on resilience, with cool information on exactly what the stat does, and possibly a nifty little table. Well, WoW Insider beat me to it, and did it so much better than I could have ever done. They even have sections for gems and items that give resilience bonuses, including a number than can be gained from drops and quest rewards. There's also a good WoWWiki page on Resilience, which is where I'd started to pick things up a while ago.

To summarize, resilience does three things:
  • Reduces PvP crit damage against you
  • Reduces PvP DoT damage against you
  • Reduces the chance you will be stuck with a critical hit in PvP
The last one is the biggie - if you're facing off against a good-looking Orcish Hunter with 31% crit (anyone we know?) and you have 160 resilience, his crit will go down to 27%. This significantly reduces the chance of you copping his beloved steady/auto/arcane triple crit special to the groin. The same 160 resilience will reduce crit damage by 8% (not bad) and DoT damage by 4% (meh).

I'm still gemming my PvP gear for raids (8ag red, 8crit yellow, 4crit 6stam blue) because a lot of it will be reused in my raid set when I get bit more hit rating. My Gladiator's Chain Spaulders could possibly be re-gemmed, but it hardly seems worth the effort for 12 measly points of resilience. Still, that's 0.3% crit off whoever is attacking me. Hmmmmm.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Bosses

Last week was quite industrious - The Endless downed Void Reaver again, and beat The Lurker Below to a fishy pulp as well. Both fights are reasonably fun, essentially tank and spank with extras, and no ridiculous crap that randomly wipes the raid.

Void Reaver makes things interesting by firing Arcane Orbs at random players, which sail out and explode for around 5000 damage in a 20 yard radius, and silence for 6 seconds. Running away from these is the best option, as they don't track - they land where the player was when the orb was launched. Deadly Boss Mods has an excellent warning for this - the targeted player gets a skull over their head, and automatically says a warning message. The tricky thing is that there will be multiple orbs in the air at once, so fleeing from one may lead you into the path of another. Keep alert and watch where you're running - remember that you can always run backwards if there are several landing in your immediate area.

The Lurker Below is a little more tricky - his spout should be avoided by diving in the water, and the adds must be dealt with quickly before he surfaces. One thing I did notice is that when in the water, it's possible to swim down deep enough to keep shooting. Of course I had a pretty great group with a resto shaman and a shadow priest healing me constantly, but that allowed me to continue dpsing hard pretty much the entire time. Another thing I learned is that when the adds swim to the islands, they don't become "active" until they finish their little walk. One sauntered right over my Freezing Trap, stopped just on the other side, and started attacking us. Make sure that trap is right at their destination point. It's also good to pop a Misdirection on whoever is tanking the Coilfang Guardian closest to your island, to make sure that they don't go wandering off and hit squishies.

It's quite amazing how quickly raid performance improves once people start getting the hang of a fight. The first few Lurker attempts were a mess - people were getting spouted all over the place, adds were sprinting off and killing healers, and the Coilfang Frenzys even respawned halfway through an attempt and completely chewed our faces off. Every attempt was an improvement though, and soon people worked out where they needed to be and what their roles were, and soon the Lurker was fish food. Grats.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Casual Arena

Some people assume that because I'm running around with a Vengeful helm that I'm spending all my WoW time in the arena. This is a very long way from the truth - I do my minimum 10 matches a week, in either my 2v2 team Wandering Monsters, or my 3v3 team Old Buggers. With our rating hovering somewhere in the 1400s, this earns me around 250 arena points a week. Vengeful armor pieces cost 1875 points, which means eight weeks of play for me to pick one of those lovelies up.

Needless to say, this is a really great deal. The items are fantastic and the time investment is tiny. We'd be unlucky to spend a single hour a week doing our 10 matches, which is nothing when compared to the many evenings we've all spent collecting Heroic Badges, running instances for gear, raiding, grinding and collecting Honor Points in battlegrounds.

The other thing that makes arena great is that it's actually really fun. People are running all over the place, pets are growling, spells are whizzing by, everyone's yelling in vent and (hopefully) the enemies are hitting the floor. We got completely pulverized the first week we played (1 win and 9 losses) but we still had a great time. The next week we won 6 and lost 4, and much cheering was heard across the internets. Every game is different, which makes it about as far from a grind as can be. Naturally PvP gear, a vent server and good class selection helps, although even getting pummeled ten zip each week earns points, and you can always make a new team if your rating gets too low.

So there we have it - arena, it's not just for sociopathic teenagers anymore.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Current PvP Gear

When switching to my PvP gear from my raid gear - I only have to swap four items. I'm sure this will get more complex as I continue to assemble more PvP gear, but for now it's easy.

Gladiator's Chain Spaulders These are the old Season 1 Arena shoulders, now available for 11250 Honor Points and 20 AB tokens. Typical PvP gear, with good stam, decent resilience and a bit of crit. Good sockets too.

Gloves of Quickening These drop in Kara, from the Maiden of Virtue. They're really a PvE item, but their strong crit gets them a nod in my PvP set for now.

Vindicator's Chain Girdle One of the new Season 3 battlegrounds items, this belt is classic PvP. Excellent stam and resilience, with solid agility, crit and intellect too. Costs 17850 Honor Points and 40 AB tokens.

Gladiator's Chain Leggings Another S1 piece that I bought with Honor Points on the opening day of Season 3. Massive stamina here, along with excellent resilience and more good all round Hunter stats. Two pieces of Gladiator gear adds a further +35 resilience as well, which is excellent. Costs 14500 Honor Points and 30 WSG tokens.

My Vengeful Gladiator's Chain Helm should probably be mentioned too, since it's technically the best PvP item I have. It's good enough in enough areas to be in my raiding gear, but PvP-wise it has insane stam, great crit, great resilience and solid other stats. Its only drawback is that it looks goofy, so I hide my helm to prevent people pointing and laughing.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Current Raid Gear

Like many players, I have been accumulating more than one "set" of gear. At the moment, I have a PvP set that I wear for PvPing and day to day questing, and a raid set that I use for raids and instances. To be strictly honest, I only swap four items to switch sets, because the rest of my gear is pretty good for both activities. Since I walk around in my PvP gear, my Armory Profile nearly always makes me look like some kind of crazed PvP bunny, so I thought I'd list my raid gear as a point of interest.

The first thing you'll notice is those sexy pink and red gloves. No idea what the Blizzard item designers were thinking there - they certainly don't look the kind of gloves a stealthy Hunter would wear when he stalks his prey. Neither do the shoulders really, with their gem-encrusted ceremonial gridiron player pastiche, but let's move on.

Vengeful Gladiator's Chain Helm This took me about six weeks of casual arena (1875 points) to acquire, and it's a great piece of gear for all weathers. I recommend raiding Hunters keep their HP above 8000, and the +61 stamina on this item helps. The +12 hit rating is the crowning glory though. Very nice.

Shoulders of Lightning Reflexes These are my pride and joy. I was lucky enough to find their LW pattern on the AH for less than 200g, and then insanely lucky to have a generous buddy give me the two Hearts of Darkness I needed to craft them. Those hearts are BoE drops from Black Temple, so they usually go for upwards of 300g each. These shoulders are the first item I've nabbed with haste on them; +37 haste rating translates into 3.52% increase in attack speed. Great for longer fights, but not much help in PvP.

Ebon Netherscale Breastplate This is part of the Netherscale Armor set, crafted with Dragonscale Leatherworking. This set is amazingly easy to make, and extremely good for a Hunter. It lacks pure agility, but makes up for it with lashings of crit, AP, +mana/5 and plenty of sockets. It has a great +20 hit set bonus too, which is great for raiding.

Ebon Netherscale Bracers Another part of the Netherscale Armor set. A bit lacking in Intellect, but plenty of goodness elsewhere. It doesn't even need a Primal Nether to craft - they're practically giving this one away!

Gauntlets of the Dragonslayer A drop from Gruul, these are excellent all-round Hunter gloves. Two red sockets are very nice too, and mean they can be loaded up with +8ag gems for Survival Hunters who need to stack lots of agility.

Ebon Netherscale Belt The last piece of the Netherscale Armor set. Very nice, and as with the other pieces, available from the trainer at 375 LW.

Shifting Camouflage Pants G'eras in Shattrath gave me these for only 75 Badges of Justice. The 2.3 changes really helped me here, with Kara bosses also awarding badges in addition to Heroic bosses. 75 is an awful lot though.

Boots of the Crimson Hawk Another LW pattern that drops in SSC / The Eye that I bought from the AH for a few hundred gold. Very healthy stat bonuses for Agility, Stamina and Intellect, with a bit of crit and AP to round them out.

Vengeance Wrap I bought this pattern for a Tailoring buddy of mine, and he made the item for free when he got hold of a Primal Nether. Lots of crit and and AP, but no stam at all, so I'm working on swapping this out in PvP in the future. Great for raiding though.

Violet Signet of the Master Assassin The top-level physical DPS ring from the Violet Eye. Good AP and decent stam, but no crit at all. It does have +25 hit though, which is pretty sexy. I'll probably swap this out for better damage stats when my overall hit rating improves.

Ring of Arathi Warlords This ring costs 25 Heroic Badges, and is a good starting point for a raiding Hunter who has just started running Heroics and Kara. No agility, but good crit, stam and AP, and 25 badges won't seem impossible.

Vindicator's Pendant of Triumph The only current piece of PvP gear in my raiding set, bought for 15300 honor points and 10 Eye of the Storm marks. Solid crit and AP, and huge stamina, as should be expected from a PvP item.

Bloodlust Brooch The standard trinket for Kara-weary raiding Hunters. Excellent for boss fights, particularly when coupled with Rapid Fire. Costs 41 Heroic Badges.

Skyguard Silver Cross I use this trinket for its pure crit bonus when clearing trash mobs in raids. Note that that the bonus +140 AP only has a chance to pop when I or my pet deliver the killing blow, not anyone else in the raid. Obtainable from the Sha'tari Skyguard at Exalted reputation.

Darkmoon Card: Crusade This trinket is made for boss fights, where the bonus +120AP is built up quickly and remains in place for the entire fight. Quest reward for collecting the Darkmoon Blessings Deck.

Sonic Spear The classic 2H weapon of so many Hunters, which drops off Murmur in the Shadow Labyrinth. For pure damage output, the Blackened Spear is probably a teensy bit better, but lacks 30 stamina and more importantly, 5 hit rating.

Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix The top-grade Hunter ranged weapon from Kara, that drops off Prince Malchezaar. Great damage, nice agility bonus, and a bit of AP as well.

In total I've got one Arena piece, six crafted items, one drop from Gruul, three Heroic Badge items, one item from Honor Points. one normal instance drop, one Kara drop, one quest reward and two reputation rewards. I didn't realize how many crafted items I have, and I like it - high level pattern acquisition, sale and gathering of materials makes levelling a profession worthwhile.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Onwards and Upwards

Last night I had my first Void Reaver run with The Endless, followed by my first serious Gruul run. It was all very exciting, and made even more so by our successful deactivation of Void Reaver, and our termination of High King Maulgar and his cronies, and finally Gruul the Dragonkiller.

Hunter loot wise, the rather nice Void Reaver Greaves dropped off VR, and after a short bout of DKP bidding, they went to a senior Hunter in the raid. I was fairly happy with this, firstly because it was my first raid with the guild and I'd feel like a dick sailing in and grabbing loot, and secondly because they're only a tad better than my current raiding undies, the Shifting Camouflage Pants. Those things took me weeks of Badge farming anyway, and replacing them so soon would probably give me a heart attack.

I had more luck with Gruul though, where I managed to snag the Gauntlets of the Dragonslayer, which are an upgrade from my current T4 gloves. A little more stam, a little more int, a few more points of AP and a little more crit. Not a bad evening's work at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


So, here we are. My very own World of Warcraft blog, dedicated to things Huntertastic, where I can spout wisdom, knowledge, opinion and pure lies and feel joy for doing so. Some small sliver of it all might even help someone, somewhere to enjoy WoW a little bit more, or provide fleeting entertainment to the eternal Internet peanut gallery. Huzzah.