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Archive for October, 2010

So you have this hunter and are lost in the new patch? Here is the short short version to get you up and running. I am not a real theorycrafter so this is not going to be all math. Also it will not  really be optimized and might be actually wrong. But it will get you up and running.

So the new thing is Focus. Mana is out and Focus is in. It works a lot like the ‘Energy’ that Rogues and cat druids use. This means it fills up fast and drains out even faster. The hunter version of this, focus, fills up about half as fast and rogue energy. So you can’t just wait for it to fill and expect to do any damage. The way you manually fill it up is to use Steady Shot.

So Steady  Shot fills it up and other stuff drains it out. You don’t want to keep it full because that means you are not getting the most out of your focus. Right off you can see that you will need to be casting Steady Shot all the time. Think of your rotation as SS, SS, something else, SS, SS, southing else. What that other thing is depends on your spec and all that jazz.

I have been experimenting with using Arcane shot and/or Kill Command as my ‘something else. Also I put on serpent’s sting and use Chimera Shot whenever it is off cooldown and I have enough focus.

That is pretty much it. There is lots of optimization to do but that is what I said it would be, the short short version to get you up and running.

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Warn your gnomes

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EDIT: Larisa (yeah, like you guys need me to give the url for Larisa) pointed me to a commenter on her Angry Tree Post, who linked this thread: in which Ghostcrawler says:

Art is very subjective. We’re very used to the phenomenon of half of a class loving say their tier set art and the other half thinking they are the worst thing ever.

Messing with player models is always risky and we know the current Tree of Life model is one of those things that is either loved or hated. That is why, as promised, we are offering a minor glyph if you just prefer the older, treant-based, version of ToL.

So, kudos Blizzard. Restos only have two useful minor glyphs anyway. Ok, I’m glad you thought about this and for once didn’t just ignore us. I’ll glyph my old tree, and use the cooldown. I do wish there was a way to make it permanent though.

 

THIS is our new tree form?

The one they took our permanent, happy little tree away for? Yeah, sure, our tree was scrawny. And a bit sickly looking. It’s an uprooted tree that spends all its time in dungeons. But it was mine, and I loved it.

This… this is an abomination. Where to start? The size? The ugly face? The hunchbacked effect? The fact that it is somehow terribly terribly masculine? Look, Blizzard, I’m a girl. I play female toons and I like it that way. I don’t want to turn into this abominable, obviously male thing.

I hate this tree. Hate, hate, hate. I do not EVER want to see it on my screen. Ever. I’m boycotting new tree cooldown. If I can’t raid in Cata as a resto without it? Fine. I’ll level a priest, dammit. This – thing – no. Just no.

I’m going to start calling it Pedo-Tree. Because it looks like a molester. The kind that lives down at the bus station. This tree has to register with the cops every time it changes addresses. This tree tells long, meandering stories while you try to edge away without making eye contact. It is not, in fact, a healy tree. It is a tree of ugh.

Zelmaru at Murloc Parliament is giving up resto druiding entirely. I’m not ready for that yet – but I do refuse to use this tree. Call me a conscientious objector, if you like.

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Tuesday

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What Are You Doing First?

Didn’t down the Lich King last night but boy did we have fun trying. Now we’ve got the rest of the week to learn how to play our classes all over again before we go back and face Arthas.

Which brings me to my question. What – once you’ve logged in, downloaded your patch, realized your addons are broken, logged out, fixed what you could, logged in, pulled out hair, and then made peace with it – what’s your first goal? Ok, also after you re-spec. If you’re like me you just can’t even move out of the inn with your talent points unspent.

So there you are, all re-specced. Now what? Regem all your gear because [some stat you liked] turned into [some stat you don't like]? Buy new glyphs? Install the glyphs you wisely already bought?

“Learn to resto druid” and “learn to mage” are top priorities for me. So is “check out what Cataclysm pre-events are around”. Are the guild achievements going to be live? Because I’d be down for getting started on some of those…

Everything changes today, but the world will look the same. Our content will be mostly the same. It’s just us that change. It’s sort of nice. Let this Cataclysm hit us one step at a time, thanks….

 

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Start the weekend with a 25 man raid on ICC on Friday night with the guild. End it 48 hours later in a ten man. In between?

I had one weekend goal: to get my various collection of badges and stone keeper’s shards turned into heirlooms before the patch hit and the cost was prohibitive. Problem 1: I don’t know what my worgen is going to be. Goblin will be a shaman, but worgen? No idea.

Problem 2: turning in my stone keeper shards (over 500 on each of my two characters) requires us to win Wintergrasp. Which isn’t something you can count on….

Saturday morning Reversion wakes me up to tell me we own WG for the next 12 minutes so I should get it done now. I hop out of bed, grab the mage, buy some shoulders, grab the tree, buy the rest of the shoulders and the caster staff. I’m pretty sure whatever I roll will be  a caster, so I decide to get the cloth, leather, and mail caster gear. Ok, so if I roll a hunter I’ll be sorry, but maybe I’ll keep that for later in the expansion.

That done, I decide to stick around and help defend WG. I guess the Horde were sleeping in, because we knocked down the southern towers, defended against both pushes the made, and kept the keep. Ok! So let’s grind enough badges to get the chest pieces to go with the shoulders. I needed about 40….

Reversion tanked, we grabbed some guildies, and were off on a whirlwind grinding session. Wheee! I  got most of the way to my goal before time to go get our traditional Saturday burrito lunch. Came back, joined with the guild to run the weekly raid – XT needed to die, and we were just the ones to do it.

Those raids are so fun with a vent full of cheerful people. I drove a demolisher (working toward the win-in-all-three-vehicles achievement) and we skipped from FL to XT. On the way to XT, I made too enthusiastic a gesture and my mouse flew off my desk and hit the floor. Hard. I picked it up. The cursor moved… but the buttons weren’t clicking any more.

I scrounged around and with Reversion’s help, got an old wired mouse plugged in before the pull. Ugh! Good thing I was healing easy content, because with no side buttons I was having to target and use keys to throw anything besides Rejuv. I’ve gotten so used to click casting….

So after XT died, I told Reversion we were going to Best Buy and we piled in the van for the trip. It’s a good half hour’s drive – along the coast, with the ocean  on one side and the bright blue sky overhead and the windows down. Worth the trip just for the driving.

And there we were at Best Buy, staring at gaming input devices. Mice, keyboards, keypads, weird combo items… I’m drooling over the Naga and the WoW gaming mouse, but I know they’re useless to me. You see, they’re right handed. So am I – but I mouse exclusively left handed. (Don’t ask). I need an ambidextrous mouse.

Turns out there is such a thing. I pull the SteelSeries Xai out of the box (don’t tell! I felt guilty doing it) and fell in love  almost at once. A little large for my hand but not unworkable. Two buttons on each side. The best feeling mouse I’ve ever set hands on…. mmm.

Reversion meanwhile was looking over mice too. He decided to try the WoW branded gaming mouse (he ended up taking it back and going with a different one for reasons I’ll let him explain himself). And then we stared at the keyboards…

They had a handful of “gaming” keyboards. One was just a normal keyboard but with glowing lights and a funky shape. But the Logitech one actually looked…. cool. There’s a bank of 18 keys (three groups of two rows of three keys) on the left, and you switch them between three modes to toggle different modes. We could see some immediate applications… and the little led screen at the top looked cool…

Long story short, we walked out of Best Buy with a new keyboard and mouse for each of us. We spent the trip back discussing how we’d set things up. Then we were really really good and did our yardwork :) while our new toys sat inside for us.

And then it was playtime! We’re planning a real in-depth post on it later, but basically we used Bartender to make the keybindings work. Now I can have my healing and utility spells in one bank; press the mode key and grab the buff/out of combat stuff spells.

I had to do a screwy work-around to get two of the buttons on my mouse to work right. I love this mouse, but unlike most smart mice it doesn’t have enough key-click options. Two of the mouse buttons are mapped to “tilt right” and “tilt left” which didn’t seem to do anything that I could read. So I mapped those buttons to F11 and F12 and then had those keys trigger mouseover macros for the spells I wanted. Result, the clicks work the way I want to and I can just hang my mouse over the Vuhdo frame and do anything I want.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Church over, it’s time for some laziness before the evening 10 man. Only I signed on and immediately got asked to a TOC25. What the heck, sure. Pop in,  beasts are dead, so we start on Jaraxxus. Get him done, get Faction Champs. Time for times. The raid leader is explaining the fight for those who don’t know or can’t remember, and there’s a few of those. Doing a good job of explaining to – and then a hunter pulls. Argh. We pick it up, we fight, a few people die, we get it under control and they drop. Loot gets handed out. The hunter who started the pull dc’s. Apparently he wanted the trinket, didn’t get it, and so was done. We make a try at Anub, bleeding puggers, and break up. It happens.

6 o’clock and time for the ten man. I’m excited. Analogue and Approximate (Reversion’s hunter) have been invited to an excellent ten man group that the guild runs. We’ve got an hour to get as far as we can before most of the raid goes to a 25 man continuation of a different guild’s run. We’ll do more Monday night. We get in, get pulling, and clear the first wing in 45 minutes. We thank them for the invite and go to make dinner. Reversion is playing Final Fantasy with the baby while I cook, when I hear voices in Vent in the next room. “Looks like they’re afk,” says the raid leader. I run back and there’s an invite on our screens. I accept and ask what’s going on. The 25 man didn’t happen so we’re getting back together.

8 o’clock, baby in bed and food eaten, we start again. We do Rotface on heroic – my first one that wasn’t lootship! We wiped once but it was fun. Other than making my fingers hurt from all the healing, it wasn’t too bad at all. We do Festergut normal since the weekly quest was Fester/Rot, and then try Putricide  on heroic twice before swapping back to normal and downing him.

Oh yeah- so we started Saurfang before we switched the difficulty back to normal, accidentally, and while we did switch the difficulty, he started with 100% blood power. So we did that whole fight with one mark out. Don’t try this at home, kiddies.

Anyhow. We were at quitting time but we decided to continue and knock out the blood wing. I hate the Princes fight. It’s just so much running around, trying to heal, trying to find the people who need heals… but they died. And so did the Queen, although we wiped on her the first time.

Tonight we’re going in, killing some dragons, and taking a long, hard look at Arthas. This group has all mostly killed him before and we’re thrilled to get the chance to try, alongside them. We transferred servers and guilds hoping for a chance to down Arthas before the expansion is over. It would make me really happy to do it tonight, the last time I can be a tree for the whole fight…

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Changing things up

It has been a busy weekend. Actually we have been fairly busy in-game since we server transferred. The new guild is working out nicely.
Attitude + competence = win.
We got in several raids and did a bit of heroic grinding (for heirlooms) with guildies and are starting to get to know them. Some runs were so-so and some, where there were a lot of pugged in people were downright fail. But the attitude of the Crits folks was good. Also things were well run with calm and clear direction. And that makes almost anything great.
Changing things up.
So right off the bat we were in a alt ICC run and it was clear they had an abundance of tanks. I have considered my bear Reversion as my main for a long time but I quickly adapted to bringing my hunter as my ‘main’. This meant Approximate needed some work. I had some empty sockets and my rotation was sloppy. Her DPS output was respectable but had room improvement. So right away I started swapping gems and tweaking things where I could. Then came this weekend. A 25 man gearing up run netted me Distant Lands and a ring and a rifle. Then a 10 man progression run netted me a new head and boots and an upgrade to my rep ring. I went from around 5.4k gs when we moved to over 5.9. This blew her right past both of my bears and makes Approx my most geared character.
Interfacing in new ways
So Saturday morning Analogue bumped her mouse off the desk. It died. The Logitech LX8 Mice were doing a good job for us but that was the second time one croaked when it took a fairly mild shock. We had space mice but none had the buttons she needed for her healing setup so off to Best Buy we went.
When we got there some new keyboards and two new mice found their way into our basket. I will do a post on just that stuff. The new keyboards are great and deserve a post to really talk about them. But in the process of setting up the new buttons they offer I moved a lot of Approximates utility abilities around. Now I have easier access to stuff. I used Deterrence for the first time in ICC last night thanks to the new setup. It is so critical for you to be able to get to what you need when you need it.
Macros seal the deal.
To take Approximates DPS to the next level I needed more. I needed to tighten up my rotation and use my cooldowns better. I was looking at how to use my engineering rocket launchers (glove enchant) and I hacked up a nice little macro to put them on my Explosive Shot and to suppress the error when they are not on cooldown. This got me thinking and I also macroed a trinket and Kill Command to my steady shot. Those both had fairly shoot cooldowns but I was not using them enough. Getting the most out of your dps requires you to get those things off more often. Optimally I would be timing them with various procs but I am not there yet.
Anyway, the sum total of all that was that last night in a progression group of well geared people I was able to hold the #3 over all damage spot the whole time. Well except those couple trash fights went I forgot to get out of ‘Viper’… But overall it was good. And because the new keyboard gave me better access to my rocket boots (Nitro Boosts) and other goodies I was able to (mostly) stay out of the fire. All in all I was very happy with my performance. It feels like I took my hunter and just shook the dust off and tightened the bolts down. Just in time to relearn how to play her, I know :P
But at least tonight, when we get a shot at Arthas, I feel like my dps is in the best form it has ever been in.
There is still more to do. I have more tweaking with my hots keys to do. I also need to finally dig up something like power auras. Keeping my dots up more consistently would be a good DPS increase. It might even be time to respec to MM. I will look into that after the patch drops. Oh and there is another glyph I need to swap from my old ‘heroics running’ load out. One thing at a time and ever upward. The self improvement never stops. :P In game anyway.

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