Archive for July, 2008

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Mend Pet – Healers and Hunter Pets in Instances

July 31, 2008

Just a few short (or rather, long) levels ago, Ferguson was running a Blood Furnace PUG.  In my group, was an “extra special” hunter, whose pet kept taking extraordinary amounts of damage.  True enough, there is a lot of AoE in the Furnace, so I did what I could to keep it healed up, but it was eating away at my mana.  I flip my Recount around to the healing meters to see that I’m the only one who’s been doing any healing.  I don’t mind helping a hunter out when the damage is just too much for the Mend Pet HoT, but I figured, it simply is not the healer’s job to look after the pet.  When I questioned this hunter about why he hadn’t healed his pet at all, his response was “He’s not taking any damage… he hasn’t even died once!”

I suppose, in the end, it was partially my own fault that he wasn’t healing his pet.  The group was doing well otherwise, and I’d been pretty good about keeping his pet healed up.  Maybe he didn’t realize that during a boss fight, I simply can’t focus on it.

This got me thinking – are there other hunters out there that rely too much on their healers?  What about healers who refuse to pay any attention to pets?

What if the two were to collide?!

… Anyway, I’d like to discuss this issue that affects me doubly – under what circumstances should healers heal hunter pets?  I decided that I need to get some input on this issue, since if I’ve learned one thing through PUG-ing, it’s that everyone has different strategies and expectations when it comes to healing.

I e-mailed a few Hunter and Healer bloggers, and they were all kind enough to respond with lengthy discussions on the topic.  All were very insightful, but it seems that we all unanimously agree on what seem to be two basic logical points:

A Hunter should be responsible for their pet.

A Healer should not be completely ignorant of pets.

From a Healer standpoint, pets take the lowest priority.  It is irresponsible of a healer to let a player die while they are trying to save a pet.  However, in my opinion, it is against the principle of being a healer if pets are completely ignored.  Even if it means watching them die as you wait for a chance to toss a Renew on them, it’s imperative that you at least know what is going on and keep them in the back of your mind.  Hunters should understand if you don’t get to heal their pets, but on the other hand – if you are sitting around twiddling your thumbs while the pet is at low health, show the pet some lovin’.  Lassirra of The Hunter’s Mark discovered the same thing as me while leveling up a priest after a hunter: there are more opportunities for this than I had thought there were.

Ego from the Egotistical Priest, told me about how she has a separate group in her raid UI (using XPerl) for pets.  It is less prominent than the regular raid groups, but when she has a couple seconds of free time and mana, she can quickly have a look and give a hunter a hand.

As for hunters, pet management is key here.  Proper pet management means knowing when to toss a mend pet, and when to recall your pet to your side.  It also means not really having to worry about the issue of getting heals from the healer!  If you are keeping good control of him, your pet should not need heals!  Unfortunately, especially when still leveling, some hunter’s haven’t really taken the time to learn how much is too much for their pet, Bremere of Healing Anonymous has had similar problems with hunters in lower level instances.

But there are situations, like when a pet is off- or even main-tanking.  At that point, Mend Pet shows itself for what it truly is, an ersatz Renew.  You wouldn’t expect a tank to survive on just Renew, especially if it’s a cute little kitty-cat?  This is one of those times when the healer priority list needs to be fumbled up.  Yet still, some healers somehow forget to help a hunter out even in this situation, much to Pike’s frustration (Apect of the Hare).

Matticus of World of Matticus brought up an excellent point about PvP.  Since obviously, I’m not a big participant in the arenas, I really hadn’t thought about the value of a pet in that situation.  Those things can be deadly to a caster – and if you can keep them up a little longer, it’ll probably do you some good.

In the end, it depends on a number of factors like group composition, amount of group damage taken, spare time and spare mana.  Hunters should do what they can to take care of their pets – but when its appropriate, heals are always welcome!

I’d like to quote something Jez from DPS: We Deliver said to me:  “It’s kind of like getting a mage table in BGs – you can’t expect it, but it sure is nice when it happens :)”

Thanks to all those who gave me input to help me write this post!

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Devilsaur, I choose you!

July 30, 2008

This is one thing about Wrath of the Lich King that has actually caught my attention.  The 51-point Beast Mastery talent: “Beast Mastery” (What an original name!)  The talent, as of right now, says:

You master the art of Beast training, teaching you the ability to tame exotic pets and increasing your total amount of Pet Skill Points by 5.

Exotic, you say?  Oooo!  How intriguing.  Even more intriguing is how little we (and the developers themselves) know about what exactly this could mean.  My first reaction was non-combat pet training!  Wouldn’t it be cool to see that little bunny hopping along the road, and instead of giving it the standard drive-by axe-murdering, you could tame it and keep it in your pocket!  Cute!

But then I thought, well, as cool as that would be, I don’t think it’s a talent-point worthy cause.  /sadface.

Well, if you haven’t heard the news, Exotic pets seem to be more along the lines of Devilsaurs and the other beast-like creatures that have been previously untamable.

Coooool.

So this has got me asking:  What do YOU wish was tamable? I’m going to say a couple that would be really cool are Zevras and Giraffes, I could start my own ersatz petting zoo!  Well, if only there were more stable slots…

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WoW as an eSport

July 29, 2008

Okay, this will be a bit of a rant – and I know many people out there are going to disagree with me wholeheartedly… but what is the point of having a blog if you can’t be biased?  🙂

Let me just start of by saying – I like do to PvP.  I spent enough time in Alterac Valley to rep up to Exalted for my Wolf, and then did it AGAIN to get the Alterac Valley tokens when the untimely change came in the way the mount was purchased!  I will do Arathi Basin with or without a pre-made any day of the week!

Heck, I even leveled on a PvP realm!

And then Arenas came into the picture.  Okay, neat, they are like mini-battlegrounds, or group-sized duels, that could be fun, says I!  I can see the appeal.  And I wasn’t the only one that saw the appeal, the arenas quickly became very popular.

In fact, they grew and grew to be more popular than battlegrounds had ever been.  People focussing purely on Arenas, tournaments being held, paying money for good teams to gain you points… it was becoming quite a big part of the game, bigger than I ever thought it would be.

Again, what others do with their game time is their business.  I don’t care if people are spending all their time in these arenas – although I’ve tried my hand at it and couldn’t really see the appeal in these < 5 minute matches, with no variety of scenery… Feels like ersatz Halo, really.  I come to WoW for the epic battles, for seeing new places and working together with a group of people.  Arenas would never be the focus of my game – just like PvE would never be the focus of others.

Now let me get to the meat of the post – my whole point.  My problem is that arenas seem to have become a focus for Blizzard.  They appear to be paying more attention to the arena PvP crowd than the PvE crowd, which in the end, I believe to be the core of the game.  They’ve begun balancing classes for PvP purposes, changing abilities to change how they affect arenas, and seem to not even care how this affects PvE.  All I ever hear about is arenas nowadays.  And I am sick of it!

I listen to a number of WoW podcasts on my bike into/from work, and they seem to be flooded with content about arenas.  One in particular I have noticed is the WoW Insider Show.  The majority of the time, its arenas, arenas, arenas! Do they ever talk about how the Al’ar fight works, or about group composition for raids?  Nope!  It’s all “what do you think of this new change for arenas?”  or “What do you think of the RMP arena team make-up?” Honestly, I don’t care about the arena tournament, I have only a passing interest in Season 4 gear.  There is more to this game than that.

The WoW universe seems to have become two completely different games smashed into one – the Arenas game, and the PvE game.  To me, it feels awkward at best to have these two games clashing with each other.  And unforunately to me, it appears the Arena game is winning out.  Afterall, when was the last time someone offered a prizes of $200,000 for downing a raid boss?

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DING!!

July 27, 2008

At 4:24 this afternoon, in the heart of Netherstorm… Fergy entered the wide world of LEVEL SEVENTYISM!

It was a long couple of days, but I made it! And I’ve already managed to max out my tailoring, craft an entire Primal Mooncloth set and respec to holy!  I am determined not to be a ersatz healer!

I MUST thank a few key people that helped me – Teiya and Stangz for helping me finish some nasty group quests, Fooli for drudging through all the Mastery quests with me, Dublin for helping me aquire a few much-needed Pirmal Lifes, for Koukou, Tharaks and Tharina for donating their Primal Mooncloth cooldowns, and most of all…

BOOSTAH!  For scaring me into finally getting my booty to 70!  And also, for giving me a CRAPLOAD of Netherweave and Primals.  If it weren’t for him, I’d probably still be level 66 hanging out somewhere between Terrokar and Nagrand.

What a busy weekend!

/sleep

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WoW Word of the Week!

July 27, 2008

So now that I’ve started blogging, I’ve realized that my vocabulary is severely lacking.  I have always managed to get my point across using just the words that are short enough to remember how to spell.  And with a career as a software developer, the shorter the word – the better! Unfortunately, that’s just not the way of the blogging world.

And now, I’ve come up with an idea to teach me some big words, while still keeping anyone reading entertained.  It’s called…

WoW Word of the Week!

*applause*

So the idea is, every Sunday I will post a word that I don’t know (generally chosen by me because I think it sounds funny or it has a Z in it or something) and I will attempt to use it in a WoW related sentence.  But anyone who knows me, knows that is just not enough to get me to remember it – so my goal is to use this word ONCE in every post for the coming week!

This is where you come in.  Your goal is to give me more examples.  When I post the word, please try to make your own WoW related sentence, see if you can help me get the idea! Your second job, and the one that will probably take the most work:  Make sure I remember to use this word every post!  If you catch me not using the WWotW, well, you win a prize.

This week’s word is:

ersatz

\AIR-sahts; UR-sats\, adjective:
Being a substitute or imitation, usually an inferior one.

Example:  “For the Alliance!” is such an ersatz battle cry.

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How do you like THEM apples?

July 26, 2008

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And the battle.. begins!

July 26, 2008

Ferguson needs to get to 70.  I’ve been a little… lax in my leveling with him, but not anymore!  It took me 3 months to get from 51 to 66, and at that rate, I won’t see Kara before Wrath hits!

Of course, a little competition always helps to motivate me… so now it’s now a RACE to 70!  Boostah’s druid, Tupelo, has gone from 48-58 in 2 days, and if he gets to 70 before I do… I will never hear the end of it!

So here I go.

So much for my plans of cleaning the apartment and going shopping this weekend… I’m not leaving my desk except for the occassional trip to the fridge!

Do I think I can get to 70 by the end of the weekend?  YES!

I’m already 67 and three-quarters!  Only 2 and one-quarter levels to go!!

TUPELO, you are going DOWN!

Heck, I shouldn’t even be typing this… I gotta get back to my Mastery quests!

/charge!

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Ten Hunter lessons it took me way too long to learn.

July 25, 2008

I am not ashamed to say that I haven’t always been the leet MQoSRDPS machine I am now.  There are many mistakes I made as a young (and not so young) hunter, and I want to share these with you, not just for your amusement, but so no one else out there has to make the same mistakes.

Make a macro to recall your pet.  Make it easily accessible. For a long time, whenever I wanted to bring my pet back to my side, I would physically click the little tiny “follow” or the “passive” buttons on the pet bar.  This has proved to be not quick enough, and when paired with the unlisted lesson “make sure you have the right target before you attack”, can annoy many mages and other CC’ers.  I have since changed my key bindings so that /petattack is bound to Shift-W and /petfollow is bound to Shift-S.  This way it emulates the moving forward, pulling back motion my character makes (without the Shift).

Do not place Hunter’s Mark next to Multi-shot on your action bar. I must admit… I haven’t remedied this yet.  They are still beside each other.  It is, indeed, a recipe for disaster.  One slip of the finger and… well, you know the story.

Misdirect is built for a focus-macro. If you have your tank set as your focus all the time, and you don’t have to target them to misdirect, it makes for much smoother pulls, and much easier aggro-loss recovery.  I will go more in-depth when I get around to doing a macro post.

Pets can be well fed too. A little extra strength never hurt anyone, right?  Go kill some buzzards and get yourself some treats.

Keep an eye on your pet. This one is mostly for the other Beast Masters out there.  Your pet is an important part of your role.  It makes up a third of your damage, so you do not want to lose that.  You can’t heal anyone but him, so keep that Mend Pet flowing.  Spend the points in Improved Revive Pet if you can.  If your pet dies early on in a boss fight, it is well worth 4 seconds to get back a significant amount of your damage.  You wouldn’t stop casting Steady Shot if you were low on mana, would you?  No!  You’d pot, you’d AotV, and you’d get that valuable damage back.  Your pet is just as important.  DO NOT LET HIM DIE.

You do not need Blessing of Salvation. Feign Death has a 30 second cooldown, and when you are on an aggro-aware boss fight, you can clear your aggro if you start to creep up on the tank.  If a you have less than 4 Paladins in your raid, you should not have Salv.  You should have Might, Wisdom and Kings.

Learn how and when to use your traps. I leveled up before the 2.0 switch to trapping in combat, and I never really saw the use of them.  Consequently, I pretty much forgot they existed, and the first time I really tried using a freezing trap was in my first run with Unemployed, in Steamvaults at 67.  Like I said, I was a noob.  All of the traps have their uses, and you should be familiar with them and take advantage of them whenever you can.

Cooldowns are meant to be used. Between my Beast Within, Bloodlust Brooch, Bladefist’s Breadth, Berserking, Rapid Fire and Drums of War, I pretty much have a an extra buff going at all times.  Even during trash pulls.  Every little bit helps!  I used to always save my trinkets and abilities for emergencies or burst DPS phases, but the ones that have 1-3 minute cooldowns will be back up so quickly, you might as well use them whenever you can.

Check who is next for aggro BEFORE you Feign Death. Do Ferguson and his fellow healers a favour.  If you somehow happen to get aggro, whether it is by overtaking the tank, or because the tank has been incapacitated, your immediate reaction is “OMGWTFFD!”  It’s good to be quick on the feigning, but you should be aware – the mob is going to go for whoever is next on his threat list.  If that’s a healer, then that healer is going down.  Remember that you can kite and take hits a lot better than most clothies can.  Try to get control of the situation without automatically resorting to the Play Dead button.

You will never know everything about your class. Keep learning.  You may think you’re an expert now, but there are still things you can learn from people who play the game differently.  Keep up with resources like BigRedKitty and even Elitist Jerks, and you’ll be constantly learning something new.  All of the blogs I have linked to from here are great tools to help you improve yourself, so be sure to check them out!

Someday I hope to have a similar post about priests, but I still have a lot of learning to do in that field.  If anyone has any other lessons they’ve learned and would like to share, please leave a comment!

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Anticipation for WotLK

July 24, 2008

A.K.A.  “Why I did not sign up for the Wrath Beta.”

With the opening of the Beta for WotLK, the news about the new expansion has hit the world with quite a lot of force.  With my horrible memory, I must say I don’t quite remember how bad it got before the Burning Crusade was released, but this time around, the drama is already going strong.

Even though the expansion isn’t set to be released until at least November, some guilds have already fallen apart.  Many guilds have stopped bothering with progression, and players are quitting the game left and right to wait for the expansion.  They say, what’s the point of progression when in 4-6 months, we’ll be replacing our T6 with greens?  Sure, that’s one way to think of it.

But that’s not how I think of it.  If you are going to go along with that kind of thinking, you could just as easily say, what’s the point of playing WotLK when the third expansion will be out in just 2 years?  It’s the mentality that you are playing to get the best gear, and if there is some reason that in the future, it is all going to be replaced, then there is no reason to get it.

I can’t say I understand that myself, though.  Sure, I want to get better gear, and it’d be great to have the best gear out there – but to me, the gear is just the means, the goal is to see all of the terrific content that Blizzard has designed for us to play.  Just because the expansion is coming out soon, and there will be more content to see there doesn’t mean I will stop playing.  In fact, it motivates me!  I need to work extra hard if I want to see as much content as I can BEFORE it becomes obsolete!

Unemployed is working toward a planned Onyxia raid right now, and that is what has gotten me thinking.  I wish I had worked harder to see things like Onyxia and Naxxramas before the Burning Crusade came out.  I feel like I’ve missed a book or two in a comic book series.  Sure, you can catch up if you miss them, but it’s just not the same.  And now they are rare editions, it takes a lot of work to get a chance to see those old instances and raids.

So I say to you, stop panicking!  Cherish what we have now, savour it, stop reading all the Wrath of the Lich King news, and get back to your raids.  You will see it all in due time, when it is ready to be played, and you will have another couple of years that will go by all to quickly before the next expansion is released.

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Gearing update!

July 23, 2008

Figures, I post about how I haven’t gotten new gear in what feels like years, and the gear just starts flowin’ in!  Maybe I should QQ more?  In the last week, I’ve gotten myself a new ring and my first two pieces of Tier 5!  That’s right, watch out healers, this hunter is going to start competing on the charts!

And, most importantly, I must not forget my new hat, complete with built in ghost wolf pet!  See, I may have been too lazy to actually tame one when I had the chance, but thanks to Don Carlos, I get to join the happy crowd of wolf owners.  Thanks to Boostah, Tigerfeet and Hemo, who joined the Shiny Hats club with me!