Friday, 28 November 2008

Signing your own death warrent

That’s what nuking does for an MM hunter. It’s something you learn very early on, way back. Before Burning Crusade. Before running Black Rock – way before then.

Remember? In those early days running around outside Auberdine with your first pet and a whole new armoury of shiny gifts from the trainer.

You couldn’t wait to unload them. Well I couldn’t – and I did. That’s when your pet came loping back to you to help out when tallstriders, moonstalkers and rabid bears were beating in your face.

It took a while to suss out what the hell was going on, but then that was part of the learning curve. You learned, in fact, when and when not to unload your big shots. So you run to level 60 and then to 70 - when BC arrives - armed with increasing experience.

Aggro management is king if you’re MM spec. Only a muppet doesn’t learn that lesson and after getting continually beaten up they give up and switch to BM.

Am I a quitter?

Absolutely not.

Am I going to crack this Lich King aggro problem?

You bet – at least we’re going to give it a good run for its money.

Why dumbo? You know BM is king and a fast-leveller

Why? I actually like MM and I’m not in a race to get anywhere.

But your pulling aggro more easily than you use to

Your point is?

You see, it’s just a question of learning some new lessons, like in the Auberdine days.

So my faithful cat Bukowski has been stabled for the time being and I’ve got myself a shiny white bear from Dragonblight.

He’s called Bertie, he’s tenacity and we’re going to see how he holds aggro while we damage the mobs from a zillion miles away using our arsenal wisely so we don’t rip the aggro away from him.

It’s all about timing. The nuking comes at a certain point when you know the bear will drop aggro, the mobs will go for your grill but you’ve judged it right to drop ‘em dead before you can smell their breath. (chimera and kill shot ftw).

That’s the new learning curve and for me that’s part of the fun of MM – using your skills to keep everything under control knowing that it could go horribly wrong if you don’t.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Is this the end of the line for MM hunters?

I HAVE not rushed into this blog, because I wanted to make sure I hadn’t got things wrong. Now I post and it seems that Blizz has finally achieved an apparent goal: to kill off MM hunters as a viable PVE spec.

Since day one, which would be about three years ago, I have run Draigg as MM spec. It’s the one I have enjoyed and I have levelled him from the early days in Teldresil up to 60, run the instances and then when the Burning Crusade expansion came out I took him to 70.

On the way he had acquitted himself admirably in instances, both normal and heroic, and been a King in Kara. He has the gear to prove it.

So along comes Lich King. Don’t get me wrong, I love the content, the quests, the graphics, but for MM it is an absolute pain in the butt. It would seem that if you’re going to enjoy the content as a hunter, Blizz is driving them all into BM spec.

The aggro levels have clearly been ramped up. You only have to compare how we dealt with the level 70 mobs on the Isle of Quel Denas with, say, the rampaging level 68 pseudo Vikings in the Borean Tundra and Howlin Fjord. The latter are hitting harder and are harder to kill.

That’s fine too. After all we don’t want to cream through the game content. That would be no fun, but the maths for MM hunters has gone down the toilet.

Me and my cat Bukowski are now having a hard - and to be frank - not very enjoyable time. Before I even use any heavyweight shots – arcane, steady or chimera – the cat is dropping aggro as early as the second auto shot in some cases.

The situation has been exacerbated because Blizz took away my ‘get out of jail’ card, the scatter shot, which was moved deep into the survival tree when the talents were rearranged.

So I’m constantly ending up with mobs in my grill. Yes you can try and back off with wing clip – but in many cases such is the mobs set-up that you finding yourself backing into another one behind you.

The level of skill required to manipulate your aggro, shot rotation, pet and avoidance tactics has gone completely out of the window. The mobs are just in your face, all the time. It’s just no fun. It’s exasperating.

Go BM you say? Well I don’t fancy it. I’m going to upset some folk here, but frankly I don’t think you need much skill to be BM. Your pet glues the mob to itself and you just stand there pew-pewing away without any problems.


MM was always a much more skilful class to use ‘in the field’, but now it is just ridiculous. Oh and yes, I do know what I’m talking about. I have a BM char, Scrumpy, who I’ve taken to level 40. It’s a walk in the park.

So what to do? Well I’m going to have to suck in hard, stable the much-loved cat and pick up a tanky animal – probably an arctic bear to go with the cub Blizz so kindly gave us all a the weekend – and see if there’s any improvement.

It's not a perfect answer, I love my dps pets. So watch this space.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The coolest Wow ride and ninja mania

This has just got to be the coolest ride in the whole of Wow – surfing across Howling Fjord on the shaft of a blazing harpoon.

So how have you found Lich King so far? I confess to degrees of both sheer joy and huge frustration. Guild needs means my druid Cadmus really has to be the first I level, but I’m still having a run with Draigg.

And I confess that even though having been MM spec since I first started with my elf hunter I’m having some serious doubts about his levelling ability for the first time ever, which is massively disappointing – but more of that in a subsequent post.

The game and quest content of LK is streets ahead of anything that TBC delivered, but ….

..the ninja rate has been staggering and deeply frustrating. Here's two of many occasions:

1: Standing on a box needed for a quest fighting the two mobs and someone loots the box from under you.

2: You start picking a herb, someone is watching, you get attacked by a mob, fight and they dart in and pick it.

In recent days I have seen the greed, selfishness and avarice of the human race plummet the depths and I confess at one stage I just logged off out of pure frustration.

Sure it’ll all settle down as the game and chars begin to spread out, but frankly it wasn’t nice to see such mean-spiritedness invade the virtual world.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Aspect of the Wait

So there I am in the queue - well a sort of late-night gaggle of Wowheads really - waiting for the clock to chime midnight when we all turn into Lich Kings.

Then the man in the store who's mildly amused at this sudden gathering says:

"Your here for the game?"


"Hmm, well we've only got 16 copies."

16? 16?!!

"You gotta be kidding."


I count 20 in the queue and there's still 15 minutes to midnight (sounds like a good song title to me) and people still joining.


I try and count those in front of me. It looks like 13 maybe 14. Good grief form an orderly line here.


If I came as my druid I could root one just to make sure, maybe even try and sleep the guy that looks halfway there already.

But I'm a hunter so do I use frost trap or freezing trap? Depends if I just need to snare one or slow a whole bunch of em down.

Eventually, with much ceremony, a guy arrives with a red plastic box and starts handing out the games.


Whew, close call. There's some upset-looking guys at the back there.

Hope they're not shammies otherwise there's some chain lightning going round.


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

You cannot be serious

You see, someone out there doesn’t actually understand the momentous, earth-shaking magnitude of the expansion patch that is about to hit Wowland.

Like everyone else, the Lich King Fidgets have now reached such a level that I’m doing a pretty reasonable impression of Michael Jackson in his video Thriller. I can barely sit still.

We’re all geared up, wound up and ready to go. So …. I thought I’d just check and make sure that the order we’d placed with Amazon was all hunky dory and would be landing on our doormat pronto.

We were shocked. Amazed. Gutted. Our order, we were told, would be dispatched on November 17.

November 17!! Don’t they understand what’s going on here?

Panic broke out in the ranks and our cat Scooter ran for cover.

An online check revealed that a store a few miles down the road from our home would be open at midnight and selling Lich King.

So the online order is cancelled and we have rubbed down our epic mount ready to charge off into the night on Wednesday to grab our booty. Phew.


Thursday, 6 November 2008

Pet that stopped 'em in their tracks

NEVER have I trained a pet that has attracted so much attention. Forget your devilsaurs, core hounds and goriladins, this one saw me collecting dozens of whispers in the streets of Stormwind and the murky halls of Ironforge last night.

Not just from other hunters either, but rogues, locks, warriors. They all chucked out single lines like: ‘awesome pet’ or engaged in a running dialogue asking what it was and where I had got it from.

While beta and the patch threw many new pets into the spotlight, yesterday’s patch saw another one creep in under the radar without any sort of fanfare.

It is the Shattered Hand Warhound. As soon as I heard about it on the grapevine I grabbed a band of merry men and off we went to Shattered Halls Heroic - me, Malachita, Flashgordon, Mothra and Milock.

We creamed our way through to the first dog handler – and then wiped while I was trying to tame the hound.


After repeating this twice more someone asked if these were the right dogs, I did a check and realised these were Rabid Warhounds, were untammable and the ones I wanted were in Ramparts.


Fortunately the guildies I mix with have a great sense of humour and they did manage to see the funny side of me standing there like a lemon chucking hearts at a dog and being two-shotted by it.

We eventually got the right animal and so I introduce you to Spartacus.

One rogue in SW thought it was cool that I’d managed somehow to train a horde mount!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

A plague on them

SO what did you do during the Great Zombie Plague? Well I eventually logged off because it was a complete pain in the butt.

And it seems I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Blizz was swamped by complaints as players worldwide were in uproar over the undead plague introduced into the game.

At one point while waiting at the IF battleground point, all the BG npcs turned into zombies and died so you couldn’t get into anything. Crazy or what? Well infuriating actually.

This virtual infection wasn’t fun. It just spoiled the game. It eventually became so contagious you couldn’t move anywhere without getting infected and quickly dying.

This disruption also came with a sinister undertone. There has been a suggestion that scientists – RL one’s that is – tracked the progress of the disease in the game and so giving researchers an opportunity to see how people reacted to the spread of such a virulent plague.

Sorry, but I thought Wow was all about escapism. Frankly this was a bad call by Blizz.

Still at least I got in some good healing practice with my fledging priest.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Web of intrigue in BG

So we’ve got a nice little action rolling guarding the flag in WSG. Me, my pet, a rogue and a druid healer.

Some hordies keep coming – but they are returned to their graveyard on a regular basis. Eventually they get fed up and most of them turn up.

We call in reinforcements. It’s a horde blitz, but well thought out. There’s locks and mages and a warrior to spring and clear the trap and while the fight rages the Sneaky One – aka rogue – drops off the balcony, sprints in grabs the flag and ……

..quickly goes nowhere. Why?

Well I have the Pet of Pets for such a situation and I’ve anticipated the moment.

Incywincy was held back from the raging fray then put on the flag man.

/cast web

And there you have one frustrated rogue. Four seconds may not seem a long time, but when you’re standing there like a muppet waving a big blue flag you shouldn’t really have, four seconds is a lifetime.

Well a deathtime actually.

He gets burned down megafast.


I guess spiders post-patch still haven’t been seen much in BGs yet judging by the ‘rofls’ and ‘awesome’ that went up in BG chat and whispers.