Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More hunter gear - helms

Another on my semi-random posts of good gear for 70 hunters.

First, this is the cream of the crop, at tier 6. You wont get it any time soon if you just hit 70. Forgetaboutit.

However, there's this pretty good quest reward from SMV (Stalker's Helm of Second Sight). Thottbot says its a pretty easy quest too (not a group quest), but dismiss pet before you kill the big bad.

And finally when in Kara look for this (Cowl of Defiance) and this (Steelspine Faceguard).

Interestingly, the total RAP from the quest reward (Stalker's Helm is just as good as the stuff from Kara. The kara gear has more INT, but the Stalker has 3 gem slots! So you can massively increase your RAP with that quest reward.

Almost Kara Keyed!

So last night, after much begging and abasement, my new guild ran me through Shadow Labs to get my first key. It was *long*, the key is at the very end of the instances. It took about 5 hours to completely clear it, but we did pretty well. We wiped a few times on trash 6-pulls, usually bc of a DC or a runner (which would aggro another set of 6 mobs).

I was the highest on the damage meter! I know we hunters shouldn't get too excited about that, but consider that all the others had better gear that me, and other ranged dps'er (a lock) had nearly full epics. I had a few blues but mostly quest reward greens. Think about that, if I was doing better at my job than a guy decked out in epics, then I will kick unholy ass when I get to kara and get a full set of gear from there (which may take a very long time, granted). Anyway, i've done half a dozen instances in the last week, and I'm getting much better. Not too much trap breaking. Not too much deaths (there were a few stupid deaths on my part though, those trash mobs really hit hard!). Once i got into the rythem i was pretty good. It also helps that everyone else knew the instances and knew the bosses. Surprisingly, the bosses weren't extremely challenging, we didn't do wipe after wipe on them.

Anyway after than, we ran steamvents briefly to get another piece of the key, so i just need arcatraz. I didn't get any boss drop blues :( The sonic spear, unfortunately, didn't drop off of murmur (very sad). I'll love to run SL again to try and get that spear though. Whats nice is that i'm the highest level hunter in the guild, which means, at least for now, any hunter gear that comes my way I can grab without competition.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Joys of PUGS

This is a great post on the ten commandments of PUGs by Kaestrel. Everyone should read this and heed.

I've been doing a few PUGs to try to get Kara keyed and get some halfway decent gear.
It usually doesn't go well, since there aren't enough experienced and well-geared people in the group (and there are 16 new instances in OL, I've only done 4 of them so far).

Example 1: Sunday morning, ran Shadow Labs (which I need for first part of kara key). We died at the first boss.

Example 2: Botanica in Tempest Keep, this group had it together mostly, but we wiped hard at the second boss, which requires you to melee the adds, I am of course not a melee person. We could probably do this with 3 melee types, me, and healer.

Example 3: Stek Halls (or something like that. This was a 65-68 instance (the others were 70 instances, designed for level 70 players), and was easier, but it was quite late, nobody knew what they were doing (first time through for all of us). We downed first boss but kept wiping on trash en route to second boss. Pulling, heck just being in this instance is very hard, lack of manuever room, tons of mobs together, etc.

Anyway instances are fun, but so far have yet to bear fruit. If i only had a guild that I could run instances with! (oh wait, i do, but they won't let me go...)

But something must be said about the greatness that is the voicechat in 2.2. Its so hugely useful I can't describe it. The divide between those who do and those who don't have a mic is vast. Its very hard to communicate effectively while running around and getting killed without a mic; you are too busy to type quickly. I actually think its a huge sign of the quality of teh player if they have a mic or not (and use it).

Here are my thoughts.

1) Dont' talk too much (i break this alot). People tend to be very focused in instances, and inane chatter may break concentration.

2) Don't chew and talk, don't chew while wearing mic. Easy and obvious.

3) Don't trash other people using mic. Its harder to be mean to people via voice than it is via chat text. But some are still asses.

Mics have rescued horrid PUG situations to enjoyable, fun events. Wipe 10 times in a row? At least everyone has commentary on it. :)

Hunter weapons at 70

Lets talk about the weapons, since that list is nicely available. As you can see,the weapons are scored based on a statistic (HAP) that indicates how useful the item is for hunters. There are three things that are useful for hunters: pet hit point/armor, which STA helps, mana pool, which INT helps, and ranged attack power, which AGI helps. STR is worthless, SPI is not really helpful at all. Avoid those two at all costs. The items you want to acquire depends on your purpose. If you want to go PVP, then a large mana pool is real useful, as is STA to some degree. (I'd take a large mana pool over RAP any day in AV).

So anyway, PVP - more focused on burst damage and a large mana pool, so +crit is good, +int is good. PVE - instances, you want +STA for your off-tank pet, you want +INT to not run out of mana, but mostly you want RAP, AGI, +crit, and +hit.

So with that in mind, how about the [Sonic Spear] vs [CrystalForged War Axe]

SS has great stats: +hit(24), +atk(62), +agi(35), and +sta(30). Great for increasing your attack power and thus DPS, and also helps you hit those 70 bosses. The total increase in RAP is ~160

CF Axe has huge +sta (50), but also +atk (80) and +crit (27)

Clearly the axe is inferior, but you can get at the AH, whereas the Spear requires Shadow Labs runs, which isn't cakewalk for non-kara geared folks.

Level 70 gear for hunters - overview

After you hit 70, the way to advance is through gear improvement. The difference between the well-geared 70 and the quest-reward geared 70 is about two-fold (which is huge). There are a number of paths to take to get this:

1) Arena (the arena rewards are quite good, but hunters are terrible at Arena play)
2) Battlegrounds (the rewards as far as I can tell are not great)
3) 5-man instances. These provide very good gear, but requires a group of 5 people. I found that its quite difficult to do this with PUGs (pickup groups) who have no idea what they are doing. (describe more fully here)
Anyway instances are fun, but so far have yet to bear fruit. If i only had a guild that I could run instances with! (oh wait, i do, but they won't let me go...)

4) Auction House. There's actually a good deal of gear at the auction house from bind on equip stuff that drops in the world. For example this axe looks good to me, and at 70g is a bargain. But its probably not currently in AH, since its a rare item. BRK has a whole (as usual excellent) post on Hunter gearing for Kara, using mostly AH stuff (or maybe all AH stuff)

Anyway this list has a bunch of hunter weapons and where to get them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Days of yore?

Whats it with WoW Insider these days that they have so much fondness for EverQuest (EQ)? I played it and absolutely hated it, to the point where I didn't touch MMORPGs for 3 years.

Anyway here is what I wrote in response to this reminiscence

I played EQ for a bit 3ish years ago. I *absolutely* hated it. I finally quit when I was griefed to no end by a teenager. Remember those days where your body was stuck somewhere completely inaccessible? Yeah, no thanks. WoW is *so* much better. WoW is playable, I don't know how people got to love EQ; the graphics were terrible, the gameplay stupid, etc. Or maybe I didn't know how to play. Whatever. WoW is what EQ could never be; easyish to play, hard to master, lots of stuff to do with people who are nice and friendly. Didn't find that much at all on EQ. So, yeah, I don't know what Robin is smoking here, but my EQ experience was completely opposite.

I play on a RP server, and it is annoying that the chat is never in RP (never ever, really), nobody does RP, nobody even tries. I went there to escape the kids, I mostly succeeded I thinkk. My server is full of very nice, very kind people (there are some asshats but few and far between). Especially at 70, you don't get to that level, generally speaking, by being an ass hat (but I know a few...). I think once you get out of the starting areas and the 10-20 areas, the inanity dies out.

I wish there was more RP too, but what can you do if the community doesn't want to enforce it? You can't realisitically expect Blizz to have any sort of interest in protecting RP, its like trying to bail a sinking boat with a spoon. GMs have been very helpful to me every time I needed it though, so koodoos to the WoW GMs! (sooooo much better that EQ GMs, which were non-existent, not to mention the support, non-existent)

More Guild Drama

I also switched guilds, again. "Hands of the Light" just wasn't working for me, so I went with Jalee/Soon's guild, "The Ancient Ones". No hard feelings towards HOTL, but I couldn't get anything done. It took me on average 24 hours /played to gain levels (maybe less, but not much), because no one would help, everyone wanted run throughs, etc.

Ancient Ones is a end-game guild; there is nobody serious there who doesn't have a 70. They do Kara, but casually. So far a good group of people, but I just don't know many of them yet (but those i do know i like alot).

Guilds are like families, but you have to find your fit. For example, after I left HOTL, my old guild leader Votaire decided he wasn't happy there either (he had my first guild Force of Nature merge with HOTL, so he could step down as GL). So I asked if he wanted to come to Ancient Ones. He came, and left the same day, went back to his old guild FON (is GL of it now i guess). Meanwhile all the old FON people are split into four guilds; some which I don't like are in a guild I won't mention (b/c i can't remember and don't care), some are sticking with HOTL, some are in AO, and some are back at FON.

I'm glad i went to Ancients, its the only guild I've been in that is actually doing Kara and is serious about it. HOTL wanted to do old end-game stuff (which would be fine if we had already cleared Kara and couldn't do more, but it requires serious time investment to get attuned to those instances, as bad as Kara). FON is a leveling guild, strictly for 50s and below. That other guild, well who knows what they'll do, probably not much (because the GL is an ass and everyone knows it). Anyway, it's sad to split off from people i've known for 4 months, but I really need to move on, I haven't much time to spend with guildies when I don't get anything out of it, since I play with my wife and my RL friend (separately), I don't have much time to play on my main, and if I was stuck running instances, i would have zero time (which was the case for a good month).


I hit level 70 this morning, so I'm finally done grinding XP for my main character (in Netherstorm, great place to level quick). Now i get to grind rep for Kara attunement and to get my netherdrake mount. I really, really want one. Anyway so i'll spend my time now doing that. (Here is the link for Nether Drake grind process).

Monday, October 15, 2007

no Hunter deadzone?

Wow, this is just huge. Well, i had a huge commentary on the issue that i posted, but i didn't get the confirmation email (with the comment) yet. So i'll post that later. But basically, yeah, this makes hunters much easier to play, esp. in instances where its often quite tight quarters. And i'm tired of hearing people say 'oh hunters suck', true there are a zillion hunters out there, and true they are easy to play. But we're pretty vital. My friend Faradhim (priest) says the game is much easier when i'm on (actually too easy, we can coast through any quest, and there are no red quests available). Anyway, this is a good thing.

Oh, here's what i said on WoWInsider.

68 hunter main here. I'm pretty good, but not BRK (but
who is?).

Deadzone, yeah I rejoice. But I also just got through a teaching a
training session explaining how our entire reason for being is making
sure mobs are at range. So now no deadzone somewhat nerfs this. But
I also thought, while doing the training session in ZF, that most
instances are pretty hard for hunters, with LOS and deadzone issues.

Almost impossible to kite like you do out in the open (by kite i mean
move around in a circle, not run away like in UBRS). So this will
mean kiting is so much easier in instances now. What most people
don't realize is that we still have huge issues:

1) Line of Sight (nuf said).
2) You must be standing still to place shots.
3) Our best shot, steady shot, has a 2 sec cast time. Means it can and will be
interrupted easily by PVP people or mobs.
4) We still won't be able to use ranged weapons in melee. We'll still get our butts kicked by warriors in melee, most likely.

Finally, yes this will make hunters easier to play, but its also very easy to distinguish good from bad hunters. Really, you can do it in 10 seconds. Do they break CC? Can they kite? Can they trap? What's their shot rotation? Are the serpent stinging trash mobs? Pretty dang easy.

Oddly, BRK has been silent on the issue so far.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fun at Earthen Ring

My best friend and I are finally playing WoW on earthen ring, we're playing horde side. It comes at an opportune time as my guild in blackwater raiders is breaking up (slowly but surely). So its a nice diversion from my level 65 main and 3 alts there (bank alt, 22 druid, 12 warrior). Being second in command of the guild is somewhat laborious, particularly when it seems like your the only one who cares about keeping the guild running. Anyway time for a vacation.