Monday, August 30, 2010

Preparing for Cataclysm

World of Warcraft is changing. The Hunter class is changing. The way we play is changing. With the Beta in full swing we have heard (and seen) enough changes, that indicate that our beloved hunter class will feel completely different to play once the Cataclysm hits. First lets review all the changes that will impact the hunter playstyle:

1. No more mana. Instead hunters will now use Focus (similar to rogue energy)

2. No more Volley. (Also all other classes have had their AoE nerfed.)

3. Misdirection transferred threat fades after 30sec. (same with Tricks of the Trade.)

4. Silencing Shot damage removed.

5. Trap launcher will allow to launch any trap to a specified location.

6. Aimed shot now deals 300% weapon damge + X-damage and is on a 2 sec cast.

There are numerous other changes, but I feel these are the ones that hunters can prepare for now, whilst the other changes, such as the change to Chimera Shot (now effect being dependent on venoms instead of stings) will need the Beta or actual game to be practiced.

Preparing for Cataclysm now, means changing your play- style. This will cause you to most likely drop in DPS. Discuss with your guild your intentions. Some of the ways to prepare will need the help of the rest of your guild during raids or dungeons. Without access to the beta it will be difficult to see how these changes will play out, but there are ways in the current game in which players without beta-acces can prepare.

Threat management

Threat management will be very different in Cataclysm. With the transferred threat disappearing, I suspect that any misdirects will be used as openers or Add management only. So to prepare, use it as such. Only misdirect to pull bosses or put adds onto a tank. Refrain from using Misdirection in your rotation and instead work Feign Death into your rotation a little more.

Crowd Control
There will be a lot more emphasis on Crowd Control in Cataclysm. With Volley removed and other AoE's nerved, AoE tanking will happen a lot less frequently. This means CCs will need to be put into place. So see if your guild will allow its players to practice that during current raids. Practice Frost trap pulling as much as possible as this will also give you a feel for how the new trap launcher will most likely work.

Shot Rotation
Shot rotation will be something that's difficult to practice now without all the skills available, and without gimping your dps too much. But if your guild agrees for you to practice, there a 2 things that can be done. First unmacro Silencing Shot and use it purely for its interrupting purpose.
Second use Aimed Shot as an opener only. The 2 second casttime will not make it viable to use as part of our rotation.

Focus instead of Mana
As stated before, Focus will function similarly to Rogue Energy. So the best way to see how it will feel is roll a rogue. Be careful however. Rogues do not have the same regenerating skills that hunters will have (their only one being Adrenalin Rush and it is on a 45 sec cooldown). So even though you'll see how Focus will work, it will not give you an idea on how it will affect your shot rotation.
To see an idea of how Focus will effect your shot rotation, macro Aspect of the Viper with your Steady shot and use it only when you get below 50% mana.

So there you have it, a few ideas to show how one could prepare their play-style for Cataclysm. I must remind again though these changes will lower your dps considerably. Check with your guild to see if they will allow you to use these techniques on raids and let your group mates know on randoms. I also suggest to make these changes on a second separate Action bar, as not to screw up your main raid action bar. Also consider that these are theoretical ideas. certainly Threat Management and effective Crowd control can be practiced without too much worry, but Any changes to Shot rotation are purely theoretical.

keep on hunting,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Improving your hunter skill

Wrath is coming to an end, the hunter class is getting reworked, it is the perfect time to talk about how to be good hunter. It is a common idea to think greatness should be judged by DPS meters, but unfortunately the majority of players judge a players skill in exactly that way. There is much more to be being a hunter than just Pew Pew.

So what makes a good hunter? In a raid it is determined by what happens behind the scenes, that often is not picked up by the naked eye, that truly determines the skill of a hunter. Situational Awareness, Class Knowledge and an understanding of fight mechanics can turn any average hunter into a truly great one.

Threat Management
This is probably the most important role a hunter plays, a role he only shares effectively with rogues. For every fight a hunter should know how the mechanics of the fight will affect threat management. As a hunter you should know if adds will spawn that need to be misdirected to a tank or off-tank. You need to know when to use feign death because of a Boss Threat-drop. But the one skill that is most underused by hunters, in terms of Threat management, is knowing when to taunt. A hunter with great awareness will use Distracting Shot to taunt a mob that's going to attack a healer. He will also taunt a mob or boss to allow the bear tank to Battle-Res someone. He will taunt things of tanks, to let tanks lose debuffs. Distracting Shot is one of the most useful skills available to hunters, but it is important to understand that it is a taunt, and needs to be treated as such i.e. be at range and Feign Death before the mob gets to you.

Crowd Control

In today's World of Warcraft crowd control is often limited to the idea of eliminating a mob from the battle. But, if you look at the words, it is the "control" of mobs, and that includes anything that makes a fight easier to control. This should include things like Tranquilizing Shot, the most effective way to remove enrage effects of mobs or bosses.
This also includes Silencing Shot, an interrupt that silences the target for 3 seconds. Today's hunters have it macroed into every shot as it also does damage and is off the global cooldown, but the good hunters also have a action bar where it is unmacroed to allow for use when needed (which is more often than people think).
And what about traps? People often forget about traps. They are not as good as other forms of slows and stops from other classes, but with the arrival of Cataclysm and Trap launcher, hunters will now be able to trap at range, allowing them to be effective at controlling Mind-controlled targets and loose mobs.

Situational Awareness and being proactive
Being aware of your surroundings and what's happening in a fight is key to being a good hunter. It is easy to top a dps meter, but what good is that, if you wiped because a loose mob killed the healers. Or the tank died to an enraged mob. Or the hunter pulled threat because they were to focused on winning the dps race. When a situation turns bad it's not always the fault of the person who caused it, but also of those who did nothing about it. Be proactive, look for ways to ensure victory for you raid, without needing to be told. Know what abilities you have and use them to your advantage. Don't have the attitude of waiting for someone else to do it.

Reaction Time
When a bad situation occurs, a fast reaction is important. This will never happen if one is using the mouse to click your spells. Learn to key-bind and practice it on the training dummies. This will not just improve your reaction time, but also increase your dps.

Using the keyboard to move by itself is old and cumbersome. Use the mouse to turn and don't ever walk backwards. Use disengage to gain distance or simply turn and run and Jump shot (Whilst running away jump, quickly turn sideways using your mouse, shoot and turn back in one fluid motion) to keep dps up.
Assist your raid members with movement. On some boss fights (i.e Sindragosa's Blistering Cold) you can switch to Aspect of the Pack to increase their speed. Just remember to switch back to Aspect of the Dragonhawk.

One Acronym: CRAP

Everyone likes acronyms, and when it comes to improving your play as a hunter I can't think of a better one than CRAP - Communicate, research, awareness, Proactively.

Communication is key on any raid. it can be in the form of macros that announce your misdirection targets. Or announce things yourself in raids to make people aware of what you are doing. Taunting of a bear tank so he can b-res is pointless if he doesn't know you are doing it.

Research will help improve any class, not just hunters. Research boss fights and mechanics, study your abilities and think how they could be applied to benefit you. And scour the web for other people's ideas.

Awareness during a fight can make all the difference between success and defeat. Do not just focus on yourself, see the broader picture. Notice the loose mob running around, notice the add that just spawned, notice the healer that just died, notice the voidzone under your feet.

Proactively use you abilities. Don't wait for someone else to do it. The fault lies not with the cause, but with the one who did nothing about it.

I am sure there are other ideas out there on how to improve a hunter's game. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below.

keep on hunting,


Friday, August 20, 2010

Stopping the Goldseller (and buyer) evil

Recently in a Groinstabber's Gold post I mentioned buying mats from hacked accounts, and that I though it was a good idea. At the time I did not really understand the consequences of doing that. A comment from Euripides (from the Call to Auction podcast) reminded me that buying from hacked accounts is risky and can get you permanently banned. But before I go on here's my story.

The most profitable Trade
When I first got into gold-making it was all about the AH game, until I saw a trade chat advertisement selling stacks of epic gems at well below AH prices. So naturally I contacted the person, bought the materials and went on my merry way. I made more than 10k profit that day.

I had a couple of more trades lek that one, and everything was well until, one day, after completing another such trade, I ran towards Stormwind bank only minutes later, only to see the guy I had just bought from, completely stripped of all gear. It dawned on me then I had bought from a hacked account, and I got that sinking feeling. I felt extremely guilty.

The next day I discussed thi with friends of mine. They assured me hacked accounts get all their stuff back. and I shouldn't worry. So I didn't I kept buying of trade chat sellers, except this time, I knew that the sellers were most likely hacked accounts or funnel accounts for hackers. Then after 1 such trade involving 48 Primordial Saronites and 12 stacks for Dreadstones, I was slapped with a 72hr ban. I received an email from Blizzard notifying me of the ban and explaining that I was suspected of "manipulating the in-game economy using real-world currency". I of course, immediately sent an email back, stating my innocence and that the trade was completed using gold, not money. 40 Hrs later my account was reactivated and I received an apology email from Blizzard.

Don't buy from hackers
Now it is important to note that my view on the issue has taken a reverse turn. I am now fully against buying materials from hacked accounts, and I'll tell you why.

I had a recent email exchange on the topic with Euripides and at the end of it he said something that made me think. He said "that they should punish the (gold)buyers, not the people duped by the sellers." I have always agreed with that statement, without goldbuyers there wouldn't be any Gold-sellers. Anyway, seeing that statement made me think of something else; when you buy from mats from these hacked accounts, you give them the gold that they will sell on. In other words you suddenly become the supplier to these gold-buyers, and, in my opinion, that is just as bad.

But lets look at it from another angle, one I haven't looked at before myself. The materials a hacker sells either from hacked accounts or funnel accounts are, effectively, stolen goods. Now would you buy stolen goods in the real world, knowing they are stolen goods? I didn't think so.

Recognising hackers
So how can we recognise hacked accounts? There are a few things to look out for:

1. The name- If the seller has name thats just some scrambled letters he could be a funnelling toon for hacked accounts (eg. Hposeutpsfh)

2. Attempt to engage the seller in conversation. Talk about the goods being sold. Hackers want fast sales, they want to minimise the amount of time they spend online, so they will only reply in singular words, or sometimes not at all.

3. look at what their selling and the price they are asking. Again, because of wanting quick sales, hackers will sell the most common materials (epic gems, Primordial Saronites, enchanting mats, etc) at well below AH prices. As they say, if you see a deal too good to be true it usually is.

It's just plain wrong
I won't be buying from trade sellers again, the risk is just too high for me, and more importantly, it feels morally wrong. I will not be a contributing factor to gold-selling or buying. Anyone who feels there's nothing wrong with buying from hacked accounts needs to get their blinders removed and see the whole picture - it's wrong, it's promoting the theft of accounts. What are your thoughts?

Let's all do our bit to stop these hackers and gold-sellers,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cataclysm Hunter Skill Changes: Misdirection, Aspect of the Fox, etc

A recent Beta build introduced several new Hunter skill and talent changes, which in my opinion will have a pretty big impact on how the Hunter class will play in Cataclysm.

Misdirection - Transferred threat is no longer permanent and will fade after 30 sec.

(Note: The same applies to Rogue Tricks of the Trade)

The way I read this is, after Misdirection is applied, any threat that is transferred to the target will disappear after 30 seconds. Not return to the hunter, but just disappear.

I think this is a great change, and will make threat management a whole lot more interesting. With this change I now see Misdirection and Tricks of the Trade only used at the beginning of a fight, or to misdirect new spawned adds to a tank. The tank then has 30 seconds to build aggro on the misdirected target, before the transferred threat will drop off. This will put a lot more focus on watching threat not just for the hunter but all other classes as well, as all players will now have to take the threat loss into consideration. I would also say that this puts classes with an efficient threat drop ability (hunters, rogues, Shadow priests) into the dps drivers seat, as those without will have to really control their dps.

Aspect of the Fox - Now allows you to shoot Steady Shot and Cobra Shot while moving and causes you to gain 2 Focus whenever you take damage. (Old - allows Auto-Shot while moving and increases focus regeneration by 20%)

Blizzard have indicated that they did not want one Aspect for all situations, and I think this change will split the Aspects into two categories: Aspect of the Hawk for stationary fights and Aspect of the Fox for fights with lots of movement. It also means that we can keep our full rotation even on the move, and I expect that having Modifier Aspect switching macroed in with Steady Shot and Cobra Shot, will be mandatory for raiding hunters.

Hunting Party/Survival Talent - now also triggers a 20% ranged and melee attack speed buff.

I am guessing that this is a replacement buff for the current Expose Weakness, which is no longer part of the Survival tree.

Serpent Spread(New talent) - Targets hit by your Multi-Shot are also afflicted by your Serpent Sting equal to 50% of its total duration.

Now this is just plain awesome. With this I expect Multi-Shot to get a lot more use on multi-target fights. Expect Multi-Shot to become part of Survival Hunter Shot rotations, at least on multi-target fights.

Silencing Shot - Damage component removed.

This to me makes sense. As Blizzard have stated, Silencing Shot is supposed to be a situational utility, and not something that is macroed to every other Shot.

That's it from the Cataclysm front for now.

Keep on hunting,


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Groinstabber's Gold: Resources

I've had several requests both online and through this blog for some some pointers towards other podcasts and sites that focus on Gold-making strategies. SO i've listed some below.

Call to Auction Podcast - This is the Authority of Gold-making Podcasts. Run by two of the big guns in Gold-making strategies, Markco of "" and Euripides of "", This podcast is incredibly informative. A must-have for anyone considering the AH game.

Just My Two Copper - This is the Number One Gold-Making blog in my opinion, and home to the JustMyTwoCopper forums. The site itself has just had a revamp and now even allows you to sign up for a Gold-making tips newsletter.

Phase 3: Profit - Another informative site, especially for those new to the AH game, with a lot of introductory strategies to get you on your gold-making way.

Warcraft Econ - A very informative blog that keeps you up with all the latest developments. Also home to the "Warcraft Econ Hall of Fame" where players who have reached the gold-cap share their stories and tips for your benefit. A must read!

Stokpile - Stokpile has stopped posting for now, however his posts are still very current in many ways and mandatory reading.

There are plenty of other gold-making blogs and Podcasts. These are just the ones I use. Hope this helps guys,

Be merry, be rich,

Groinstabber (Serebihm)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Groinstabber's Gold: Introduction

Groinstabber is my gnome rogue. He's also my Auctioneer. And with this section I will talk about gold-making strategies that I use.

I decided to get in to gold-making quite late in the expansion, when I got a little upset about struggling to make ends meet for all my toons. It was by chance that I was reseaching the mats for the Mekgineer's Chopper and realised that if i used Saronite Ore to craft the the Titansteel Bars it would end up much cheaper than buying the Bars.

And so it began. within a couple of months of trial and error on the AH I had over 100k gold, and was looking pretty. Then another of my alts hit 80 and I spent 52k gold on gearing him, before spending the remaining 50k gold on getting my Mountain of Mounts Achievement. That was last week.

With only 3k gold to my name across all accounts I basically had to start from scratch. so far I'm up to 20k gold again, which for me, considering the little amount of time I get between raiding and work, is a great week so far.

So for my first post in this section I will post 2 tips on gold-making:

Tip 1: Research, research, research

I cannot stress this enough. Research is your most important tool in gold-making this includes reading blogs and listening to podcasts focused on gold-making strategies, but they can only give you ideas. The bulk of the research needs to be done by you, on your own server's AH. That is because every single server has its own different economy. What might sell well on Khaz'goroth may not be profitable at all on Drenden. So if you hear or see a new idea on blogs and podcasts, head to your AH and check it out first before heavily investing into it.

Tip 2: Expand your business
Those that make the most gold, are those that are involved in many markets. This means if one of your markets collapses (like glyphs and epic gems have on my server, you have other markets that keep the business rolling.

Anyway this is all I have time for today.

Keep stabbing at the AH

Groinstabber (Serebihm)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

WotLK Hunter Progression Reminder

Too often I still get asked questions like "When do I go Marksman Spec?" or "When should I stack Armor Penetration?" So I'm going to give you a quick run-down.

This late in the expansion most new hunters have access to enough gear to allow them to spec right into MM, but if gold is an issue or you prefer to progress through the game properly, start of as Survival. You will stay Survival until ToC at least. Then once your gear averages out to 232 and 245 ilevel gear, change to MM to increase your dps.

Survival Raid Spec
Marksman Agility Raid Spec

Armor Penetration vs. Agility
Survival hunter should always gem for Agility. Marksman hunters should also gem for Agility until they reach a passive Armor Pen. rating 750-800 (passive meaning gear only, no gems, no procs). Once one reaches that level, one can start gemming for Armor Penetration, as it will get one close to the Armor Pen. cap (1400) and be more beneficial than Agility. At this point Marksman hunters should also switch to a MM Armor Pen build.

Armor Penetration also affects MM shot rotation. When Armor penetration reaches around 450, MM hunters can drop Arcane Shot from their rotation as Steady Shot will do more damage (Arcane shot, being Magic damage will not benefit from Armor penetration, Steady Shot will).

For a more in-depth look at Armor Penetration and Raiding Specs check out the following guides on WHU:

Armor Pen vs Agility

Survival Hunter Raid Talent Build

Marksman Hunter Raid Talent Build

Marksman Hunter Armor Pen Build

Keep on Hunting,


Friday, August 13, 2010

Mountain O' Mounts Guide

Yes I am now the proud owner of the Blue Dragonhawk, reward for collecting 100 mounts. It was a long road, but not particularly difficult. Let's look at how it's done.

It is actually possible to reach 100 mounts WITHOUT farming any epic mounts from instances.

Alliance Reputation

To begin I farmed reputation with the Alliance factions, Stormwind, Ironforge, Darnassus, Exodar and Gnomeregan. The best way to do this is by completing their starter zones. It will also help a lot towards the Loremaster and Seeker Achievements.
Once you have all their reputations at exalted grab their mounts.

Mount count: 33

PvP Mounts
Now that PvP mounts just cost 50k honor this is easily ground out in a couple of days. The Black War Mammoth can be bought from Wintergrasp (must be under your factions control) for 300 Stone Keeper's Shards.

Mounts added: 6
Mount count: 39

Alliance Flying Mounts
Next get your flying skill, upgrade it to Epic Flying and by all the Gryphon Mounts.

Mounts added: 7
Mount count: 46

Sha'tari Skyguard
The chain for the Sha'tari Skyguard begins right next to the flight master in Shattrath, and involves dailies at Ogri'la in Blade's Edge Mountains, and at Skettis in Terrokar.

Mounts added: 5
Mount count: 51

You re now halfway there and will receive your first mount reward: the Albino Drake!!

Mounts added: 1
Mount Count: 52

Kurenai Mounts
Kurenai Rep is ground out in Nagrand by doing the Quests, most of them given in Telaar. Once all Quests are completed you should be just into Revered and will have to grind the rest out by Killing Ogres in the Nagrand and collecting Obsidian Warbeads. Handing 10 in at a time will reward with 500 Rep.

Mounts added: 8
Mount Count: 60

(Note their are actually 10 Talbuks, however the Dark Riding Talbuk and Dark War Talbuk are a little annoying to get as they require Halaa Tokens, both research and battle, which are difficult to get now that Halaa is rarely contested)

Netherwing Drakes
The Netherwing quest chain begins in Shadowmoon Valley, and the Rep is collected by way of completing dailies and collecting Netherwing Eggs, which are located all around Dragonmaw Fortress and the Netherwing Ledge.

Mounts Added: 6
Mount Count: 66

Singular Reputation Mounts
Winterspring Frostsaber: Dailies in Winterspring now reward 850 Rep.

Cenarion War Hippogryph: Complete quests for Cenarion Expedition all over Outlands.

Red Drake: You'll need to grind Wyrmrest to exalted doing quests, the daily in Dragonblight and wearing your Wyrmrest Tabard doing heroics.

Mounts added: 3
Mount Count: 69

An Qiraj Mounts
Yes the battle tanks In AQ count towards their mount achievement and the trash before the first boss all have chance to drop them. Also it appears once you have a mount and learnt it it will not drop again increasing the chance for the other colours to drop. The colours are green, blue, yellow and red (Red is also a Feat of Strength). it is possible to get all mounts in 1 run (it took 2 for me).

Mounts added: 4
Mount count: 73

Argent Tournament Mounts
This will be a long grind as the lesser faction mounts will require 5 champion's seals and 400g and the greater faction mounts requiring 100 Champion Seals each. There are also 2 Hyppogryphs costing 150 Champion Seals each, and the Argent Warhorse and Quel'Dorei Steed costing 100 Champion Seals each. So to get all mounts you will need 1025 Champion Seals. The maximum number of Seals achievable each day is 13 (10 from dailies, 3 from Heroic ToC).

Mounts added: 14
Mount Count: 87

Crafted Mounts
To get crafted Mounts you will need to be an engineer and Tailor. There are 3 different Engineering Mounts (Mekgineer's Chopper, Flying Machine Control and Turbo-Charged Flying machine Control) and 3 tailoring Mounts (Flying Carpet, Frosty Flying Carpet and magnificent Flying Carpet). Note that the Chopper mats will cost you around 12000g.

Mounts Added: 6
Mount Count: 93

Dalaran Mounts
There are 4 mounts sold by Mei Francis in Dalaran. 3 will cost you Gold one of which, the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth, will cost you between 16000 to 21000g (depending on your Kirin Tor Rep). The 4th Mount, the Wooly Mammoth is purchasable using 200 Badges of Heroism which can be collected doing heroics.

Mounts added: 4
Mount Count: 97

Sons of Hodir Mounts
Sons of Hodir Reputation is gained by completing dailies in Storm peaks and handing in Relics of Ulduar (10). The Grand Ice Mammoth will set you back 8000g.

Mounts Added: 2
Mount Count: 99

Culling of Stratholme Mount
Bronze Drake: This is a guaranteed drop in heroic Culling of Stratholme of the Infinite Corruptor is killed in time.

Mounts Added: 1
Mounts Count: 100

Congratulations! You have now got your 100 mounts and will receive the Blue Dragonhawk.

Other Mounts that are not too difficult to obtain
Rusted Proto-Drake: Obtained by completing hard-modes and achievements in Ulduar 10man.

Sea Turtle: Has a chance to be fished up out of ANY Northrend fish pool.

Celestial Steed: Bought from the Blizzard Store

Black Drake: Guaranteed drop from defeating Sartharion with all 3 Drakes in Obsidian Sanctum 10 man. if you lose the roll offer a nice sum of gold to buy it of the winner (I paid 25k for mine which is more than the going rate, but it was my 100th mount).

Twilight Drake: Same as the Black Drake, except this one drops on the 25 man version.

Swift Razzashi Raptor & Zulian Tiger: These 2 drop in Zul Gurub. they are not guaranteed to drop, but these bosses are easy enough to solo by almost all classes. (no longer attainable as Zul'Gurub has been removed with patch 4.0.3a)

Swift Hawkstrider: Drops from Kael'Thas in Heroic Magister's Terrace. not a guaranteed drop and 3rd boss can be difficult to solo. Drop rate was recently increased.

Rivendare's Deathcharger: Drops of Baron Rivendare in Stratholme. Drop rate has been increased but is still very low 0.1%.

Green Proto-Drake: Has a chance to be obtained from the Mysterious Egg which can be obtained from the Oracles in Sholazar Basin once reputation hits Revered.

Red- Proto Drake: Obtained by completing the Glory of the Hero Achievement, requiring you to complete a number of achievements in heroics.

Black War Bear: Obtained by killing all 4 Horde leaders in their Capital Cities. Check TRade chat for players advertising the For The Alliance! Achievement.

Violet Proto-Drake: Obtained by completing all Holiday Achievements. So this will take you at least 1 year if none have been attempted yet.

White Polar Bear: Obtained from the Hyldnir Spoils reward, which in turn is obtained from completing the Brunhyldnir Village Daily.

So there you have it! Good luck with your Mountain of Mounts.

Keep on hunting,


Gunship I love thee!!

After months and months of waiting for Gunship to drop Scourge Hunter's Vambraces it finally dropped - on our first heroic kill. So I am now the proud owner of Scourge Hunter's Vambraces.
This is only the second time I've seen these drop, the first time being when I was benched (I had only just returned from a break) and they were disenchanted. Anyway I am extremely happy.

We also gave Saurfang a hell of a go on heroic, getting him as far as 4%. I think next time we will down him. We will see what tomorrow brings...

Time to gem and enchant my new shiny..

Keep on hunting,


Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Dying Art of Crowd Control

Remember Karazhan? Remember how the trash before Attumen needed to be CCed, so it wouldn't run around killing stuff? Remember how on Moroes, 2 adds were often Shackled and a third either kept frozen or at least kited by a hunter? Remember how the end raids of the expansion (Black Temple, Sunwell and Tempest Keep to some degree) were never advertised for Pugs?

Now think to this Expansion that's coming to a close. Can you remember the last time you had to rely on CC to get a boss down? Faction Champs in ToC springs to mind, but other than that I'm drawing blank. And also isn't it interesting how every raid in this expansion is now Puggable?

In an attempt to open raids up to more people Blizzard have dropped the difficulty in raids and heroics considerably. And in many ways it was successful for them more players into endgame content means more money in their pockets. But the downside is, that with all these easier raids it is difficult to find good players.

On a recent post on OutDPS, Eidotrope discussed the relationship between hunters and tanks and healers, and he commented on what makes good hunters and bad hunters.

I also have healer and tank alts that I take into raids and heroics and in my time have seen a lot of players, and I am baffled by the large number of average to below average players I come across. But it got me thinking and its not really there fault.

In raids these days Crowd Control is something of an afterthought. Trash gets rounded up by the tanks and then AoEd down. And its got nothing to do with gear. When my guild entered Naxx in blues and crafted epics we rounded up adds and Aoed them. When we entered Ulduar in Naxx gear it was the same thing. Then in ToC we don't even get trash, but to be fair we got Faction Champs, the only WotLK raid boss that really required a heavy load of CC. And now to Icecrown, where CC is used sparingly on Saurfang (frost traps for beasts), the trash in the Crimson Wing and on the Lich King fight for the Val'kyrs, a place a lot of players don't even get to.

So looking at it it from that angle I am not surprised that hunters around the world don't manage their aggro well or use some smart Crowd Control. They simply don't know any better. How could they when during leveling and even gearing in heroics and early raids, those necessary skills are simply not required. In so many boss fights these days, even if it was designed to use some kind of CC, depending on the group make up you can get away with using none at all. If your tank is geared enough you don't have to tranq the Shambling Horrors on LK. If your DPS is high enough you don't even need to slow the Valkyrs.

In BC hunters needed to know how to kite. We needed to know how to trap things effectively and keep em trapped. And the same level of skill was required by the other classes. if they didn't it was wipefest after wipefest. In WotLK effective CC appears to be limited to PvP and Arena, but only a small percentage enjoy PvP.

With Cataclysm I hope Blizzard address this issue and bring some Skill Requirement back to raids and dungeons. it doesn't have to be on Boss fights, even just tricky trash will force all classes to re-learn the dying art of crowd control. But until then we are going to have to live with players not knowing how to use their CC abilities. We are going to have to live with having to tell people to use Misdirect or tricks, and we are going to have to live with the fact that its not really their fault. All we can do is accept this fact and do as I do, offer our knowledge to these players, and teach them the wonders of Crowd Control, so they may improve and prepare for the future.

keep on Hunting and save the art of crowd control,


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

1st Attempts in ICC Heroic 25

Well we only got to spend an hour in ICC 25 heroic, but at least we downed Marrowgar on the 1st attempt. The fight was surprisingly easy but the 30% buff and the fact that at least half of us have done it regularly on 10 man probably helped.

On to the strategy itself it did not vary much from normal mode. In heroic mode he has more health, hits harder and casts bonespike even during Bonestorm. There are also more Coldflames and they hurt a lot more, so be ready to move. For Bonestorm we split our raid into 2 groups with one group going left, one centre and one right.
It is imperative that all DPS switch to Bonespikes when they are up an a /tar Bonespike helps a ton (/tar Bone should be enough) for quick target switching.

We did move on to Deathwhisper but spent our 4 attempts wiping, although our progress improved the more we changed our strat. The best strat for us, it seems is to have everyone behind the boss forcing the adds to come to us and we then AoE them down with splash on the boss.

Well we'll see how we go tomorrow.

keep on hunting,


Mana Regen Guide for ICC

Recently on the Hunting Party Podcast the question was asked what the best way was to regen mana on the Lady Deathwhisper fight, Viper Sting or a few cooldowns onto Aspect of the Viper, And I thought to myself this isn't the only fight mana can become an issue (Note unless you have a really unfavourable 25 man group make up, the only times one would run into mana issues would be on 10 man).
 So I'm going to go through all bosses and write up a few strategies.

First of the important thing is to look at the fight and use it to your advantage. Make use of what Blizzard gives you in each fight.

Marrowgar is very straight forward. If you should run into any mana troubles, plan ahead and before you run out use a bonestorm phase to switch to Aspect of the Viper and refill. If an MM hunter make sure you don't lose your Serpent Sting though.

Lady Deathwhisper
In going with use what Blizzard gives you, well here Blizzard gives you big fat mana battery in Deathwhisper herself. In this fight its not about how much dps you can do anyway, and depending on what your role is it may not even matter at all. So just relax and if you see yourself dropping low in the first phase just switch to her in between the adds and pop of a singular Viper sting Chimaera Shot combo, and then continue on the adds. Make sure you have enough mana before going into Phase 2 though because this is the burn phase where you do want be able to DPS as much as possible.

Gunship is the easiest encounter in here and for the hunter one of the easiest to top the dps meter as long as you aren't jumping or in a cannon. Just Volley to your hearts content and refill in Aspect of the Viper on the Axethrowers.

Saurfang is a fight where, if you're running out of mana you just gonna have to bite the bullet and switch aspects. As a hunter chances are you'll be asked to look after the beasts (as all ranged should) and you want to dps them down as quick as possible. I suggest once the beast you were focusing on is down, switch in to Aspect of the Viper and see if you can get a few shots off, on someone elses target that may still be up. Just make sure you have enough mana before he goes into his soft-enrage at 30%, because that's when he needs to be burnt quickly.

Festergut & Rotface
Festergut is effectively a pimped up Patchwerk in my opinion, and Rotface a tweaked Grobbulus. There aren't really any phases which would be more useful for mana regen then others, so just switch when required.

Professor Putricide
professor Putricide is also a boss that doesn't really have any phases that are more suited to switching Aspects than others, but you do want to be mana up before he hits the 3rd phase at 35%.

Blood Princes
For your average raid guild and maybe even your not so average raid guild this is going to be utter and pure chaos. You will be spending a lot of time running, you will spend a lot of time switching targets and sometimes you may be spending a lot of time dpsing Kinetic Orbs. Don't worry about what your DPS is and just refill your mana when you need it.

Blood Queen
If this is done properly this fight will be over before you could possibly run out of mana, and if it isn't done correctly you will most likely wipe.

Valithria Dreamwalker
This goes back to what I said at the start, use what Blizzard gives you, and in this case Blizzard gives you regular Mana Power-ups in the form of Risen Archmages. So if you see yourself running low switch to an Archmage and fire off the old trusted Vipersting Chimaera Shot combo, then continue as you were.

Sindragosa is a fight where you never really want to give up dps on her, so the best time to regen is during her air phase. Switch to Aspect of the Viper, dps the ice-Cubes then switch back when she lands and be on your merry way.

The Lich King
The same applies here it does to Sindragosa, you again don't really want to drop any dps during the main phases, so use the intermission phases at the edge to switch into Aspect of the Viper and refuel. Then when you are manaed up or the phase is over and you have to run back in switch back and DPS to your hearts content.

So there you have it. These are the strategies that I use when it comes to regenerating mana. feel free to comment on them and let me know if you think there are some better strategies, I will be more than happy to update this guide to include your tips.

So keep on hunting, and next time you see the Lich King steal his polearm for me :)


A blogging lesson learnt

So a lesson in blogging has been learnt already. I have been advised that the macro below is pretty much obsolete as damage bonus is applied to the hunter as long as you are tracking one of the types and the mobs your'e killing is one of the trackable types. Thank you Frostheim for pointing this out me.

This change has happened a long time ago to, so the fact that I didn't know about it can only mean that this change must have happened at a time I wasn't around. Not to worry...

So the lesson is keep the blogs on current topics and one may succeed. Oh and don't take breaks from WoW, things might change and  you could miss them. Anyway I'm off to Ruby Sanctum 25 and ICC hard modes. I will let you know how we went after.

keep on hunting


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Coolest Hunter macro you may not have yet!

The macro that was on here is actually obsolete, so I'm going to have to find a new macro to put here! When I do I'll let you know :)

Explaining my UI

Here you can see a screenshot of my User Interface. Theres only a few Addons that are currently visible and I'll explain each one, as well as those "invisible" addons that improve life as a hunter.

The Bar at the Top is TitanPanel. I like TitanPanel because it shows me all sorts of useful information such as game performance, memory usage, Total Gold, Location, Gear damage etc. The Loot section is actually a /roll button. It also has a function which allows access buttons to be placed on this bar for your addons, which means the button around your minimap can be removed.

My main UI addon is nUI+. I like the layout of it and the fact it is almost an all in one package. As you can see, it provides you with a HuD around your character (which can be turned of) for both yoou, your pet and your target. Any cooldowns will be shown with a timer just below your character, meaning your eyes will never have to wander far from your character. Another great feature of the HuD is that next to your targets or your own health bar it will place icons of any Debuffs with a timer and number of stacks you or the target might have. This makes keeping track of stacking debuffs, such as Sindragosa's Chilled to the Bone, a breeze. And once again your eyes will not need to wander far from the action to see what's going on.

On the left and right of the screen are the Buff and DeBuff windows. Buffs and Debuffs are displayed icon name and timer, with the timer changing to red when it is about to run out.

On the bottom left you see the nUI+ chat box, on the bottom right you see the OMEN/Recount integration window, with the button that allows you to switch between Omen, recount, combat log and a map.

The bottom centre is your party frame. when playing solo it displays your health frames for you, your pet, your target and your target's target. The centre image displays your focus target, or if no focus target is set it displays you minimap. As your party grows these individual frames become smaller, as your party frames are added.

nUI+ allows for 7 action bars to be displayed, including being able to switch between shot bars (arrows next to main bar). This is a great feature which allows you to switch between 2 shot bars (i.e one with macros and one without).

I believe every hunter should run ViperNotify as there is nothing worse then switching to Viper aspect and in the heat of battle forgetting to switch back. ViperNotify will play a sound when your mana pool is full and Aspect of the Viper is still active.

oRA2 is a raid assist addon which allows for the display of main tanks as well as the tanks target making targeting of the tank a breeze. No more excuses for dpsing the wrong target.

Deadly Boss Mods
DBM is a must-have for every raider and usually a required raiding guild addon. It provides announces, raid warning and whispers for important events during encounters allowing you to react in a timely manner. A similar addon with the same purpose is BigWigs and i do know people who do run both, however I have noticed difference in the timers and have found DBM to be the more accurate.

RatingBuster provides gear stat breakdown, analysis and comparison on the fly, allowing you to see if an item is an upgrade. When mousing over the loot it will display the gain/loss of each stat on the item in comparison to the currently equipped item, underneath the item's stats.

TBAg is a nifty little Bag mod that makes bag management a breeze. It also allows you to view any alts bags even when on a different character as well as any bank contents on any alt you might have.

GupPet is a fun little addon which when clicked mounts you on a random mount, or brings out a random pet (with a random pet automatically brought out when entering the game from any loadscreen). It also keeps track of mount and pet collection and provides a list and details of any mounts or pets you may not have yet and where to find them.

So there it is, a list of all the addons i run for raids or that are visible on my UI. There are a few addons I run I haven't listed but that is because they do not have any effect on raiding whatsoever.

Online Resources

When rolling a hunter new players have the fortune of being blessed with the biggest, friendliest and most helpful WoW community online. The Web is littered with hundreds of Blogs and podcasts dedicated to hunters. So below I have listed the best resources there are:,, is maintained by Euripides. is maintained by Darkbrew. is maintained by Frostheim. Together they are the 3 parts that make up The Hunting Party Podcast, the number 1 Hunter Podcast online. They release weekly shows where they discuss all the latest hunter news, have live Listener Q&A sessions and answer Listener emails. On top of that The podcast features guests such as regular favorite BigRedKitty. Very informative and great entertainment value at the same time.

The 3 sites themselves are extremely useful and informative with Warcraft Hunters Union in particular featuring a fantastic Guide section. These 3 plus the Podcast are a must for all Hunters!

here you'll find the home of Zeherah's Hunter DPS Analyzer, a web adaptation of Shandara's Hunter DPS Spreadsheet, and in my opinion the single most important tool within the online Hunter community, a treasure that must forever be protected. it allows any hunter to load his character from the Armory into the Analyser, which will then calculate the raw DPS based on the characters stats and gear. it is an invaluable tool that can tell you how much DPS your new item will provide, or how your new spec will affect your DPS.


Petopia is site dedicated to a Hunter's best friend...his pet. Here you will find everything that you need to know about your companion, where to find it, what abilities it has, even what it looks like and what food it prefers.

Minor resources:
For me the above mentioned resources are all a hunter will ever need, but there are more blogs and sites that can be of interest.
This is your number one source for Hunter related Beta content, full of videos and images. A great insight into what's in store for the best class in WoW.
Another blog dedicated to our pets. Very informative, and a special insight intopets within the beta. and
One cannot list Hunter resources without mentioning these two sites. Both Sites are dedicated to bringing you the latest WoW news and developments (which includes hunters), and in particular features regular guest posts by previously mentioned bloggers such as Frostheim and Euripides.
I have put Elitist Jerks last because it can be a bit of a double-edged sword. If one has the patience to scour its Hunter forums in detail, one can find some fantastic insights and some amazing theorycrafting within its posts. The downside is it can be sometimes difficult to distinguish between useful and useless information as there are literally thousands of posts.

So there you have it! A list of some of the best Hunter resources available on the Web. I am sure there are many more, some of which I may just have forgotten, but these mentioned above will ensure, that your time on your hunter will be extremely productive.

Who knows some time down the line other sites may be able to add this blog to that list.

One can only hope.

keep on Hunting,


Monday, August 9, 2010

A little more about Serebihm

So, a little more about Serebihm of Khaz'goroth (US). I started playing WoW back in 2007 halfway through Burning Crusade and Serebihm was my first character I rolled. Previous to WoW i had played Guild Wars for a year and a half and had really enjoyed the Ranger class.
Through my times levelling I met a group of 4 other players and we kind of bonded and levelled to 70 together, and once there joined our first raiding guild Enigma Thirteen. It was a casual raid guild with some great players, but also a lot of average and not so good players. And hence our progression stayed in Karazhan, Zul Aman and Gruuls Lair, with Lootreaver in TK and 2 bosses in SSC.

When Wrath was released the group of us knew we wanted more progression this expansion and worked hard to change the guild attitude to match our goals. However, this just caused division within the guild and just after the release of Ulduar the guild broke apart, having cleared Naxx, and Sarth on 25man, and all 10 man content. A group of 10 went on to create a new guild called Rapture, however it soon dawned to us that some of our problems were dragged with us to Rapture and so this guild also broke apart after having made great progress including downing Mimiron prior to his big nerf. The next guild I joined is the same I'm still with now, at that point 3rd ranked on Alliance GOAT. And I had finally found the home I was looking for. The guild had some great players and excellent organisation. it shows today as it is the longest existing Alliance raiding guild on Khaz'goroth.

In my time with GOAT i have achieved everything I set out to do at the beginning of the expansion. I have seen every single boss fight in this expansion, have gotten my Rusted Proto Drake from Ulduar 10 hardmodes and were one of the first alliance guilds to clear ToC 10 on hard modes (unfortunately we were not so lucky on 25man in both instances). Now I also technically have downed LK on 25 man and downed Halion and are making great progress through ICC 10 HM (9/12 but we expect Sindragosa and Putricide to drop next attempt).

I love the Hunter class and I've gone to extraordinary lengths to be as good as i can be. My guildmates are often amazed at the amount of macros I run, and around my server I have gained the reputation as a go-to hunter when wanting to know things hunter related. I do tireless research have subscribed to multiple hunter podcasts and blogs and have spent copious amounts of Gold on respecs and re-gems simply to test new setups (2235g spent on talent respecs since WoW has been keeping track). I currently run a bog standard MM raid spec with 1228 Armor Penetration unbuffed, and have a BM solo farming offspec. my 5 pets I run with are Smoochy the Rhino, which is my solo BM tank pet, Silvermane the Gorilla, my newly tamed MM tank pet, Lupus the Vargul Blighthound, my main raid pet, Razor the Winterspring Frostsaber, the first raid pet I ever tamed and can't bring myself to abandon, and last but not least Blacksting the Wasp, my secondary raid pet when we have no feral druids or CoW warlocks.

So check out my hunter on the Armory right here!

Other than my hunter I have 4 other 80 toons:

Groinstabber, Gnome Rogue, also my AH PvPer
Aristocrates, Dwarf Priest, Disc/holy healer
Kurabihm, Night Elf, Druid, healer/tank
Hellsworn, Draenei Death knight, Tank/ DPS

Outside of WoW I'm 30 years old, married without children (so far) living in New Zealand and work in the casino industry.

More posts with actual helpful information are on their way over the next few days.

So keep on hunting,


Time for Blizzard to fix Release Spirit?

So, I finally have enough info collected to dive into my blog, and I'm going to start on a negative post.
This week my Guild on Khaz'goroth (US) GOAT finally got its 25man LK kill. I was part of this group. During the fight we, had just pushed LK into Phase 2 and we tried a new strat for the Val'kyrs. I was picked up and the strat did not work as we intended resulting in me dropping to my death. In this phase 2 more people died as well, and the raid leader commented that we would not try this strat again. I released naturally thinking 3 people down is a big loss, especially 2 were healers. What I didn't realise is that, the other 2 deaths weren't dropped, they were killed by the remaining Raging Spirit and a defile. So they were Battle-rezzed and the fight continued. To my shock and horror and elation at the same time the group continued the fight and downed LK with me sitting outside released. Then it happened! I did not get the achievement, however, the words "You are now saved to this instance" were sprawled across my chat box. Are you serious Blizzard? After doing some research I realized that this is a hugely common occurence especially with the LK fight. So i was sitting there thinking if WoW can register that I was there at the beginning of the fight, and then also registers when the boss dies, even though I am sitting outside, it should be able to put 2and 2 together and figure that this player was part of the kill and should receive the achievement (On top of that the Hunter Polearm dropped which I would have won due to my high EPGP score but alas I could not receive loot either). So this ended up a triple whammy: No Achievement or Title, No loot, but saved to the instance. After opening a ticket and waiting for 3 days I get a reply that"My problem is beyond the scope of powers of GMs".

So I think its time that Blizzard fix this. This happens regularly and everybody has done it or knows someone who released early accidentally. I propose that Blizzard put in a new button that while you are a ghost you can return your body dead into the instance again. This would fix all issues. You released to early? No problem hit the "Return Body to instance" and everything is fine. An early release like this on LK, after months of working on him hurts. The only consolation I have that another player also released except his was after the LK killed everyone.

Anyway I'd love to hear what you all think on this topic. I need a break while I calm down again. :)