Thursday, May 29, 2008

Onyxia - the 4 person assault

So, yesterday I was driving home and I called my roommate Delos to see what was going on. He reminded me that we wanted to try and to take on Onyxia with 4 people! So, I get home and low and behold, I only have 3 parts of my attunement left (jeez, I waited forever). So, we knock the tedious runs to Winterspring out and we are off! To Onyxia!

Let me first say, pre-BC, I didn't really raid. I did ZG four or five times, other than that nothing. So, I had never tried Onyxia nor had Cait and Bucky. So, our group make-up was Moonkin (Delos), Survival Hunter (me), Resto Druid (Cait) and Protection Paladin (Bucky).

So, we killed her (yay) on our third try! The first two tried we had MANY WHELPS! by mistake (Ony noobs, aye). regardless, we killed her!! Some things that were quite annoying: 1) her agro table seemed random and we all kept pulling her without actually taking lead on threat (omen). Also, I did not bring consumable, which OMG was that a mistake. If Bucky didn't judge wisdom we would never have done it. So, good times from the past times of 40-man content. One awesome thing to note: 32g each from her! Also, tons of DE items and blues to sell on the AH. If we can farm her, that would be a great income source! :)

It was one of the more enjoyable nights of WoW I have had in a while!

Also, we killed Hydross in my guild raid!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scatter Shot vs. Readiness in Arena

The survivalists greatest pvp dilemma: Scatter shot or Readiness in arena. I will be honest, the decision is very hard to make. It's like trying to figure out if you want a warm chocolate chip cookie or a fresh fudge brownie! The good news is: either way, you win. So, it is may be more important to consider your play style. Let's explore!
Crowd Control: 20 points
- Scatter Shot: Scatter shot allows you to neutralize your target while you place the trap at his feet. This make it easier to get traps on the desired targets. There are many moments in arena where a trap is placed and the opposing party can avoid it. Traps are more likely to work with scatter shot.

- Readiness: One would think readiness for trapping would be amazing. Unfortunately, this was ruined by diminishing returns. I can live with my traps having a diminishing return, but for my Wyvern Sting to share that return, is just ludicrous. That is a 31 point...a shaman can frost shock my 50 times in a row and never have a diminished return, but i can't trap then sleep him for two full cc's? Frost shock is free to everyone! Cyclone and roots also don't share cooldowns for druids and those are innate druid skills. No rogue skills stuns share it either. It is just nuts if you ask me.

What this really means is that readiness in arena for CC is near impossible to make as amazing as we would all like. It would be best served as a slowing/surviving mechanism. Use frost trap and then immediately use snakes or a second frost trap (if both frost traps are broken and you have the correct trap enhancing talent points you could cover a huge area in snow!). One nice thing about readiness is a double deterrence. Twenty seconds of immortality if you can keep the target in front of you.

Verdict: Scatter shot wins for arena in the cc realm because you will never need to dual crowd control as much as you will need to scatter shot. Scatter shot is a huge utility (escaping, interrupting heals, positioning your trap target, etc.) and readiness needs to have a buff via the Wyvern cooldown not mixing with the trap cooldown. readiness is only nice for a double deterrence, but if you have scatter shot you wont need deterrence as much as you need the space created by scatter shot.
Scatter Shot:15 points
Readiness: 5 points
Damage Output: 20 points
- Scatter Shot:It is not the damage done by the shot, but the damage you do after the shot. More importantly, did the scatter stop a big heal and then your continued dps finish the deal. It is also important to note that a timely scatter followed immediately with an aimed shot is huge vs a healer + dps team.

- Readiness: Readiness provides you with an excellent opportunity to burst harder than any BM or Marksman ever could. If you rapid fire and then simply use wyvern sting as a stopping mechanism or as your best DOT, then you can have a big burst. The beauty of readiness is if you don't kill someone during this reign of DPS, then you get a do-over and they likely have spent many cooldowns. The ultimate arena burst.

- Verdict: Readiness wins in a landslide for dps. The one issue it has is that arena is all about line of sight these days. So, regardless of your dps output, you need the target to stay in your view. If he takes a corner and you are set 20 yards away, you will have wasted that rapid fire running over to him. Scatter shot allows for you to position and control better to do more dps after the scatter has set up the opponent. Maybe not a landslide after all.
Scatter Shot: 7 points
Readiness 13 points

Consistency: 20 points
- Scatter Shot: If you have 5% hit, then scatter shot is very dependable. Aside from an evasion tapped rogue, scatter is pretty much a guarantee. i would say scatter shot can be an important part of every win.

- Readiness: The ability itself will obviously always work, but it's effectiveness is in question. I would say (being generous) that Readiness can win 30% of your arena battles by itself. Most of the time the shared cooldowns or misplaced traps will waste Readiness and it will have proved useless if things don't go exactly right.

- Verdict: Scatter Shot easily wins here. Readiness has too much luck factor to consider. Even if all goes well, if the other team survives then you are out of cards. Scatter will be back in a matter of seconds!
Scatter Shot: 14 Points
Readiness - 6 points

The Price: 20 Points
- Scatter Shot: 21st point with no pre-requisites. Easy to dabble in the Survival tree with scatter shot.

- Readiness: 41st point with with 5/5 Master Tactician points required to obtain it. The problems are are these: 1) 41 points is expensive for something with a 5 minute cooldown. 2) Master Tactician are points you would avoid for arena if you didn't have to use them for readiness. they aren't awful points, but they aren't as good as say, Improved stings (for arena).

- Verdict: Scatter shot is far more economical and provides for a lot of flexibility. Essentially you can get all the arena friendly points in survival and still have scatter shot! Readiness does however, bring a slight dps increase if master tactician proc's at the right time. Risky chance to make for points 35-40.
Scatter Shot: 12 Points
Readiness: 8 points

My overall experience: 20 points
Just to reflect on what has worked for me, let me say that scatter shot has long been in my arsenal. It is very difficult to avoid dying to warriors and rogues without scatter shot. Readiness simply doesn't have the escape power of scatter shot. On the other hand, readiness is amazing for your warlocks, mages and priests when you can keep them in your line of sight and in range. Having used both, I strongly lean to scatter shot for it's short cooldown and it's saving my butt when i really need it too (in a dependable way).
Scatter Shot: 16 Points
Readiness: 4 points
Final score comes to . . .
Scatter Shot: 64 points
Readiness 36 points

Take that for what it is: a random point system I tried to use to gauge the strengths of each ability when set beside the other. 13-7 simple means i feel in 20 scenarios, scatter would be better in 13 of them and readiness in 7.

Side Notes:
- The bigger the arena you are doing, the better readiness will get. That being said, I would still lean towards scatter in 5v5 arena simply for how powerful a successful trap is as opposed to a "maybe trap" when it is crucial. Play it by ear, your team may need some extra burst or some extra control. readiness gets the burst and scatter gets the control.

- What would make readiness the clear victor? If the survival 31st and 41st points were treated like 31st and 41st points. Wyvern Sting shouldn't share the same diminishing returns as traps. In addition, make readiness a 3 minute cooldown!! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What a Survival Hunter does for a raid

So, we tried Tempest Keep last night. just trash practice and such, no boss attempts. Fun for more than one reason. Shall I elaborate? Oh yes...I shall! :)

I have grown increasingly frustrated with my current guild as of late. Two main reasons: First, they glorify DPS and second, they ignore raid dps and proper group composition. Our group make-up is designed solely on the tank having an awesome group and our two officers (who happen to be dps classes) getting a nice group. Everyone else gets a random make-up. So, I decided to post on my guild forums about my concerns. Here is a piece of my post:

"The survival hunter is designed around RAID dps support. They sacrifice personal DPS for the sake of the raid DPS. Agility and crit are what matters. Every time the Survival hunter crits he opens an expose weakness which is 1044 agility = 261 attack power to all ranged and melee physical dps. So, if 14 attack power = 1 dps, then that is 18.64 dps for all melee and ranged physical dps classes. To put that in perspective, we had 18 such dps sources in Gruuls and Mags. That means 18 x 18.64 = 335.52 Raid dps added. This means that my total DPS contribution was 890 + 335.52 = 1225.52. Imagine if I was in the Shaman's group and the feral druids group.

What does 77 extra agility mean? It is 77 x 1.15x1.02 (from talents) = 90.32. 90.32 x .25 = 22.58 attack power each. 22.58/14 = 1.61 dps for our 18 physical dmg sources = 28.98 dps added to the raid (growing as his agility grows). So, the ideal make-up for a support hunter is a shaman using Grace of Air and a feral druid. "

I then went on to explain the other valuable group make-ups. So, raid time comes and our guild leader says "our main tank is out, would you mind doing the group make-up". Obviously I was quite excited to do this. So, I designed the groups trying to get our spell dps mana regen and our healers some mana regen. Also, focusing on getting the two physical dps groups together.

As a side note, I would like to let everyone know that Dranei retribution paladins are amazing for a dps group. They bring 2% more damage and 1% more hit for their party. So, I put two BM hunters and a rogue in his group. That hit is HUGE in that group (neither hunter is hit capped and both pets miss a lot as well as the rogue). So, I remind that Pally how awesome he is whenever I get the chance (tell yours thanks, i am sure it will be their first time hearing it!)!

So, the end of the night comes and our stats are posted for mags and we did 9900 dps as a group. Our two previous runs we did 8900. So, not to take all the credit in the world, but 1k dps is an amazing upgrade. I just hope when the main tank comes back that they decide to keep my services!

In the near future I will post some items about readiness and my different survival builds. I have discovered many things in the last few weeks!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My best friend (Inspired by Pike) ~Part One~

This post was inspired by Pike's post! A BM hunter who truly appreciates her class! (Aspect of the Hare)

Pets are likely the sole reason one would decide to roll a hunter when purchasing the game. If you have no knowledge of the game at all, it is comforting to have a companion with you at all times(back-up, if you will). Even if you do, once you watch a hunter solo some elite or just out questing you may desire to have that company through your travels of our great World....of Warcraft.

I find myself wondering sometimes why the biggest selling point of my class (the pet) is also the most restricted aspect of my class. I can get 20 slot bags, a 24 slot quiver and even 5 billion bank spaces! Four pets? That would be a tragedy. Is there a hunter out there who wouldn't save up...500...1000 or whatever gold to have another pet slot. I mean, I am all for balance and keeping the game fair, but who does it hurt to give more pet slots. I would even do an "atunement" for them!

I like to think that because I have had my pet since she (Sadie) was level 8, that I will be able to keep her forever and still bring in other pets that I enjoy. To have to line them up and lay down pro's and cons and then dismiss one is just so cold. Regardless, I have always thought the pets could use more depth! A few idea's I have had:

1) Pet loyalty and aging. Simply, as your pet gets older and you keep her and use her more, she becomes different. She becomes unique. Maybe some innate attributes are learned by the elder pets of our server. Like, a new 70 who tamed a Ravager in outland has the base ravager. Then you have someone who tamed a ravager at level 10 and kept him until 70. The older, aged ravager has through her journeys developed harder skin (2% more armor), more awareness (10 more focus) and has taught herself to be refined and accurate (+1% chance to hit).

My cat has seen countless quests and places. She has endured tireless grinding, deadly pvp and learning to live with her bear and wind serpent companion. She has more game play than new 70 hunters by far. To reward her? She is the same as any other 70 cat. Kinda seems unrealistic a pet wouldn't "develop" into a better pet if you truly stayed loyal to her.

2) Pet transformation. This is an idea I always thought would be amazing. Like a 20 part quest line titled "Heart of the beast" or something like that. Where you went on trials and quests that required the clever use of your pet. As opposed to the brute tank, damage and die role the pet serves now. For instance, a group of NPC's that your pet must solo fight as you wait behind a barrier that stops everything but pets! It is something that would require a lot of creative design, but OMG! would hunters love it!

The quest line could even be a living chain. Like, if you fail to complete a journey too many times then your pet would get a demoted level. My frost sabre is now an Inferior Frost Sabre or a Demoralized Frost Sabre and she has a debuff on her. Something like hit points lowered by 10% and all resistances lowered by 20% (enough to inspire not using that pet). I figure a debuff because a permanent change would be frustrating for someone who makes a few mistakes. Two or three weeks and then you can restart the quest line with your regular frost sabre again (this provides and incentive to have multiple max level pets!).

On the upside, what if you complete the first 10 quests!? Your pet becomes a Noble Frost Sabre and you get to chose an "armor kit" like item to put on your pet. Sorta like grinding a rep for a perma-head enchant. So, you choose the ~30 stamina 15 strength~ kit if your non-bm -or- the ~+3% Pet damage if you are BM. Not those exactly, but you get the idea. Then you complete all 20!! So, you get en "epic" version of the pet kit and the Noble Frost Sabre is now a Marvelous Frost Sabre (or something of that nature).

I am gonna split these ideas up, because I don't want a 500 mile long post! So, more to come on my crazy pet depth idea's! Part II coming soon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday morning maintenance

What an entertaining weekend of seeing Ironman (amazing movie, excellent work by Robert Downey Jr.) with Laser Chicken and Just a WoW Girl! We tried an awesome movie theatre where you get a menu when you walk in and a waiter takes food orders before the movie! It was a great time! After a fun weekend I finally decided to teach myself to use Links on my blog. I figured it was easy, but I under-estimated how easy it would be! So, from now on links will find their way around my blog!

Also, I have added some quick links to my sidebar for easier locating of my "helpful" posts. Some arena segments and some just general PVE hunter help. I will expand these as I write the actual entries!

This leads me to my thought of the day. What do you like to see?! Is my blog friendly to search, easy to find things....and enjoyable to read? =D I am open to suggestions if you have them! Thanks!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Raid DPS as Survival

So, as of late I have grown increasingly frustrated with my "raid worth" in the 25-man content. The main reason being that when you look at WWS I am lucky to hit 800 dps. Mind you, I have 32% crit and 2009 RAP unbuffed. One thing I have learned though, is that my efficiency is where I make my money. As survival you likely will never lead your 25-man in DPS, BUUUUT you may lead it in damage done. Which, considering that DPS is not near as impressive as how much you contributed to the night's triumphs, that isn't too bad.

Here is how I compete with our pure DPS spec's and classes:

1) Be diligent - Bring full consumables every night! Try to be very efficient at switching targets on trash. Those extra seconds of dps are crucial to being competitive on the damage output.

2) Live!! - This one is big. Let's consider that our BM hunter does 1050 DPS and I do 800 dps. If he dies just once or twice, then I have no contributed far more damage throughout the night. His 1050dps for only 75% of the time that I did 800 wont hold up on the final damage output.

3) Keep that pet alive! - It is like having a permanent DOT the entire raid. I find that if my pet dies, then I simply wasn't paying attention (obviously a 15k cleave is not my fault!).

4) Shot rotation - This is a survival hunters best way to be sneaky on dps. Most BM hunters use a steady + auto shot macro. Personally, I use one that includes steady, auto, arcane, serpent sting and mutli-shot. This does two things: First, I am not pounding one button the entire raid. Second, I am constantly aware of cooldowns and my surroundings. I may need to save a mage with a sleep or a timely trap. basically, the lack of a macro use really helps me to stay alert.

5) HAX - Cant beat that fire mage in damage output for the raid. A few timely mis-directs will surely solve that issue! (use at your own risk, some guilds frown on this technique)

Those are my top 5 that i can think of now. As survival I try to look at my DPS and realize that:
A) I am helping our 3 Hunters 3 Rogues, Fury Warrior, Enh. Shammy and ret Pally get 250 attack power all night. So, though I may do 800 DPS I am definitely contributing to ALL of their DPS as well.
B) Survival is support. I try to save healers, I can tank a target for 10s or so and I kinda feel like the star sometimes. I help kill the 5 targets, all while saving a priest and a mage. Do people notice, not really (sad, but true), but at least i can take solace in the fact that I am helping everyone, not just thriving on personal glory.

I guess that the moral of this story. As survival I could lead Kara in damage and heroics in damage and even 25-mans in damage. Unfortunately, the glory will still be granted to those who did the most "DPS" for the raid/party. So, I do 2 million damage and our rogue does 1.5 million, but he has 900 DPS to my 800, so he had the better night. Yeah, I guess I have a slight bitterness to gauging your ability to do damage on your DPS number and not how much damage you actually did. Am I wrong? Should I strive to do 1k dps or should I really believe damage done is more important? Maybe I should just spec BM and share in the glory of awesome DPS numbers! :(

Friday, May 9, 2008

Progression and Aggression

Magtheridon has been slain! Woohoo! 6 pieces of loot, 3 hunter chest pieces!! (mage & lock too I guess...). I actually didn't roll because my chest piece is quite nice from ZA and figured the other 2 hunters and a newer lock would benefit more (as I rack up the DKP).

Now, SSC wasn't as successful, but it was our first time! We couldn't try Hydross because our Nature Resist warrior was not around. So, as painful as I feared it would be, we tried Lurker. Yes, painful...but promising I must say. We got a lot of practice and people are getting it down. Besides, we have never failed a boss on consecutive weeks. I am betting we can down Hydross AND Lurker next week! :)

Aggression came from PVP. After our SSC run I still had my flask and was raid buffed. So, I decided to do the EoTS daily. You know, EoTS as alliance is not as bad as you may think. Ok, it is pretty bad, but I am consoled by the way my hunter performs now. I can tell one short snippet of why I love it. The horde team in one EoTS was doing their old "Hold the flag and farm" technique. So, I crept up the side of the tower and realized a shaman in ghost wolf with 5k HP had the flag. Sadly, he had 2 priests and a resto-druid with him...what to do...

So, I have a flask, 988 Agility and 42% crit right now, right? Lets try it! Aimed Shot, 3700 crit, arcane shot, 1500 crit and then bam Multi-shot hits the Shammy for 2100 (DEAD!) and both priests for over 1500. Just like that the Shaman dies. From there the fun level dwindled as I fought 3 healers for...I dunno, 3 minutes? :D Either way, it was refreshing to see I can drop someone faster than healer reaction time. Did he have 300 resilience? Probably not. But hey, we were down by a bagillion points at the time and it was the shining star of that BG for me!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gruul...Mag...SSC...Oh mY!

So, for the first time, Nomakk will enter SSC . Last week he got to meet Mag for the first time as well! Mag is the most fun I have had in an instance/raid in a long time. We got him to 17% on try 3 (our guilds first ever attempts), but never closer than that. We seem to be having trouble with the cubes. If anyone has any insight on click timing, please share! We followed everything we can find, but it seems to be a bit ambiguous as to when to click them.
  • When bigwigs says "5 seconds to..."
  • When we see the cast begin
  • When the spell is channeling?

Our best success seemed like we always did it early, but then there was some debate as to whether we should do the clicky early. He goes down tonight!

SSC will likely start tomorrow, barring Mag owning us tonight. I have decided to deepen my survival points from 33 to somewhere from 34-40, not quite sure yet. I am assuming trap resist, timing and cooldown will be needed again. We have 1 lock and 3 mages though, which is why I am conflicted as to the respec (dps loss for cc quality). If anyone knows how important it is, please let me know. Regardless, the respec would provide an excellent spec for those "hero moments" where the raid realizes that hunters do indeed save the day from time to time! :)

Wish me luck and any advice is much appreciated!
(telling me to spec BM, is NOT advice!) =D