Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Level eighty 101

Starting a mini series of posts that's going to focus around what to do when a hunter first hits 80. Seems like I've seen way too many "fresh 80s" who look and act as if they arrived in a foreign country. Althought this is targetted towards hunters, it applies to all classes.

Rule #1 -> Know your stats. The first stat you should focus on as a hunter at 80 is not agility, but hit rating. Why? Hit rating determines weather or not you'll hold up in a raid environment, heroic instances, or even PvPing. If you take 3/3 focused aimed (highly recommended) you only need a hit rating of 164 (or 163.90).

Next is agility. Depending on your spec you'll want to balance this with AP. In general the rule of thumb is 1 agi for every 2 rap. Even though 1 agi = 1 rap, agi gives you crit and armor as well.

AP is next. AP is how hard you hit for base damage. Almost every attack uses a formula that adds a coefficient to AP.

Crit chance comes after AP. Obviously the more crit rating you have the more often you'll crit, but without having a good amount of AP you'll be critting like a noodle.

Stam is also very important. A dead hunter = 0 dps.

Int provides mana. Mana is good. Don't give up any of the above stats for int though.

Rule #2-> Know your user interface. Whatever type of UI you use, default or custom, learn it and love it. Place your buttons in spots on the bar that MAKE SENSE. I like to place the spells on my main bar in order of priority. I.E Killshot, Explosive shot, serpent sting, multi shot, etc. Keep your UI clean and accessible.

Rule #3-> Learn about fights. Nobody likes a person who comes into a fight and either A) Doesn't know the fight or B) Expects the raid leader to explain everything. Remeber: A good raider is one who likes clarification not total explinations.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Homogenization - Pros and Cons

Vanilla WoW. Easy mode. Casual friendly. Call it what you want, but there are two sides of the WoW story these days.
Some day it's too easy, some say it's fine. My opinion? Doesn't matter. I still pay the subscription.

Ever since the release of BC the WoW community has taken on the duty of blaming Devs of making everything the same. Classes share specific spells (fear ward, "execute", crowd control, etc), hybrids are just as good as "pure" classes, even talent trees are producing similar results within the selected classes.

This is good and bad to hunters for a variety of reasons.

The Good:
Lets go back to BC endgame. Beast mastery was king. Your pet tore the mob a new one while you pew-pewd and enjoyed it. Fast forward to the great hunter nerf of 09. BM got slapped into the back seat as survival took the thorne at the top of the DPS meters. Marksmenship is still... well marksmenship.

With 3.1 comes some changes that are good for hunters. Stacking ammo? +1. More pet talents? +1. Explosive shot nerf? +/- 1.

The goal, as said by the Devs, is to get all three of the hunter trees similar in damage output. The hunter community will just have to wait and see if that's truely a reality. If the promise is fufilled then hunter's will gain one thing we've never had before as end game players. Freedom. The freedom to play what we want without gimping our selves to high hell. The freedom to utilize our talents tree choices to their full potential. The freedom to not be /laughed at for showing up to the raid with the latest cookie cutter spec.

If the goal comes true, we will finally become a true DPS class. Of course there will always be one talent tree that does more damage. There's no way to beat the math. However, + or - 300 dps over 5000 dps total is nothing.

The Bad:
Every change that brings us closer to homogenization tends to remove a little bit of morale from the hunter class. Not only are we being internally unified, we're being made closer to every other DPS class. Each DPS class wants to do damage, crowd control, and live. Mages are no longer class cannons, hunters are no longer the king of survivability, warlocks no longer are the number one DoTers. This tends to remove the uniqueness of each class. Why be stuck with a mana pool and cloth gear when you can roll a plate wearing fury warrior of the same DPS caliber?

With the homogenization comes the never ending hybrid buff. Classes that can fulfill more than one roll, and be the best. And with the introduction of dual specs comes the problem of eternal one upping.

Example: Lets say you are in a guild where the main tank is a druid. The drood MT is a great tank. Always shows up on time, is fun to play with, but also likes being geared the best. In his spare time he started developing a healing off set incase he wanted to switch. Dual specs come out. Now mr.drood can swap between tanking and healing at the touch of a button and a 5 second cast.

During a progression raid, mr. MT drood is not the MT, but an OT. Your guild comes to a single tank encounter and doesn't need an OT, but an off healer. Mr. Drood saves the day with the touch of his 5 sec cast and BAM! you have an off healer. Epic Gear #20,000 drops with the best stats in the world. Its a healing piece. All healers roll and mr.drood wins with the help of fate. Mr. drood, however, already got a phat lootz drop of an earlier boss while tanking. Should he recieve this l33t loot?


Homogenization leads to problems of compition. Sure the gear works for everyone and drops more frequently. No more getting warlock boots without a warlock being present. However, you now have to roll against every other class who might use the piece.

Is this the begginning of the end for WoW? Are the devs making a fatal mistake of playing the "fair-game"? How cookie cutter will they make the classes?

Only time will tell. Until then, I'll be raiding with my spirit beast because thats what I enjoy doing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pleasing your public reps

As a newly dinged level 80 hunter I found factions to be daunting and overwhelming.
Tabards, quests, instances, HALP!

After doing some research I've tried to compile a list of the better factions and which ones I recommend you head for first.

1) Argent Crusade
Difficulty: Easy
The plague killing good-doers were a **tch to get rep with pre - BC. However, if you do a good deal of questing in Icecrown you should be close to or honored with Argent Crusade by the time you hit 80. Once you hit honored you can pick up
Cloak of Holy Extermination which is one of the better entry level 80 back pieces available. After some instance or quest grinding you can hit revered which offers Zombie Sweeper Shotgun
which is one of the nicer ranged weapons if you havn't coughed up the mats or cash for a nessingwary 4000.

Exalted is where the fun begins. Boots of the Neverending Path and Polished Regimental Hauberk are some of the better pre-25 raid drops you can get.

Knigts of the Ebon Blade
Difficulty: Easyish
Questing in Icecrown also gives a nice boost to starting rep for Ebon Blade. There are also three daily quests available right off the bat that are easy to complete, fast, and boost your rep.
Arcanum of Torment is a great head piece enchant, granting +50 AP and 20 crit rating, and Design: Wicked Monarch Topaz for you jewlcrafters out there, these can both be bought with revered status, as well as Spaulders of the Black Arrow. Once you hit exalted, Darkheart Chestguard becomes available which is a very sturdy chest piece, even though its leather.

3) The Sons of Hodir
Difficulty: Semi-Pain inducing
The quest chain to become neutral with the Sons of Hodir is very, very long. The quests however are extremely easy and go by quickly. See the comment made by Mumpley for a very detailed explanation on how to get neutral status. The Sons of Hodir offer some very nice equipment. Once honored, you can get your hands on Lesser Inscription of the Axe, and Giant Ring Belt. Revered offers the much wanted Ice Mamoth and Stalactite Chopper if you're a dual wielder. Exalted offers an updated axe inscription, Greater Inscription of the Axe, Reins of the Grand Ice Mammoth, and Design: Smooth Autumn's Glow.

These three factions are the ones you should focus on as a fresh 80. I'll try to cover some of the other factions and rewards some other time.