Currently, with only three slots for Major Glyphs, the essentials to get your average PvE Beast Mastery hunter by in the world come down to:

Glyph of Steady Shot

Glyph of Bestial Wrath

Extra damage from Steady Shots while a Serpent Sting is active and a Bestial Wrath with a cooldown of about seventy seconds when combined with three points in Longevity is a delicious meal you don’t even need to drizzle sauce over. Nom nom nom, yummers, heart glyphs, etc.

However, like any indie band’s “The Difficult Third Album”, this leaves an uneasy choice for that final slot. Glyph of Serpent Sting gives an extra three seconds of the DoT allowing for one extra tick and probably another two Steady Shots before it needs re-applying.

Glyph of Aspect of the Viper, which I am currently using, increases the Aspect’s mana regeneration by 10% which is working quite well, the less time spent in Viper the better, right? That said, an extended Serpent Sting would be good too. Arg! See? Tricky choices.

However, within the grim walls of the forthcoming nerf is this:

And all I can think is, hey, what about Glyph of Arcane Shot?

Since it looks like Arcane Shot is going to be worth taking the time to include into the warp and weft of your shotcloth, a refund of 20% of the mana cost while a sting is active has gots to be good news. I mean, chances are there’s going to be a fair amount of Serpent poison in the mob’s bloodstream anyway and the chance to be kept alert with a slightly more complicated rotation is good news for anyone who, like me, gets bored with mainly using just the one button but loves the BM spec too much to go for Marksmanship.

The question is, would the total mana savings from this glyph outweigh the extra mana-gain from GoAotV over the course of a full mana bar? Arcane Shot is by no means cheap to cast, even semi-regular use is guaranteed to get you OOM a hell of a lot quicker without it.

Hmmm. This needs tests! Science again! I said science again!

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Today is the first birthday of this very unblog. That’s a whole year of directionless musings, cutely naïve advice and over-laboured opinions. Which post was your favourite?! ;)

I have a cake, one of them party whistles that unfurls a strip of garish paper when blown and a bunch of imaginary party attendees which will be represented by the number of people that comment on this post. Oh, and booze. Lots of booze!

P’aaaar-taaaay! P… Partay?

Yeah, woo!

(it began…)

It is, of course, naive to base the output of damage purely on the number of epics a player has, suffice to say that the other two DPS members of this party to heroic Halls of Lightning had about 75% of slots filled with epics compared to Anj’s single Pendant of the Outcast Hero and crafted stroke quest blues, hit cap and delicious Beat Mastery. So, you know, if you wanted to make that argument Epixxxor Obsessives, there’s the details.

anj_damagedetail_holhcanj_damagetable_holhc

That’s just an insane gap, and I wasn’t even playing super-perfectly myself because, hey, I never do! A few Serpent Stings and Kill Shots were missed and the usual, albeit very occasional but nontheless embarrassing “Oh hells, I’m still using Viper!” moments. The warrior gained a fair second place from the number of wipes we endured during Loken where he was the last one standing, in fact for the bosses eventual fall, it was just tank and healer for the last twenty-or-so percent.

A conversation before Lich King arrived with a roguey friend revealed that I hoped the damage meters would become a little less predictable with the host of new talents coming up and maybe after the nerf that will be the case. Have I said that before? It feels like I’ve said that before. And that. Oh dear, I’m getting stuck in a loop…

The point is, no I’m not perfect and I will forever be far from it, but I still put work into the damage I do, blood, sweat and tears, y’alls, and to be honest I’m more than a little tired of that work being brushed off as “Bah, hunters are OP!”.

I remain without fear of The Nerf Stick and may be tempted to add, “Bring it on”.

Rawr.

ps. Been testing out 2/2 Invigoration and, although I have no detailed breakdown of the figures, it feels like it shows a greater ability to stave off needing to switch to Viper than 5/5 Efficiency did. Vaguely-scientific tests continue…

I cried.

:(

For the lost and/or confused, this text refers to a death knight quest. Anything further information would be considered a spoiler.

winters_newoutfitFinally putting her leatherworking skills to use for personal reasons, a little bit of farming followed by a run to the auction house to spend just over 850g on leather and Eternal Air to make the vast majority of the Eviscerator’s collection. This was the choice: Which is the most fun, farming for hours to slowly gather a huge stack of Heavy Borean Leather or, OR! Blowing a large chunk of money on buying them from others and recouping the money from fun and interesting quests? Of course it’s the latter.

Of course, the old quandary of Defence over Resilience resurfaced, given that the items stack plenty of agility with The PvP Stat in order to stay uncrittable whilst keeping the Dodge rating in check and not bothering with any sort of mucking around in the realms of Parry and Block.

It’s her first major change of outfit since arriving in Northrend, with the exception of some fringe accessories, thanks to small-improvement drops being eschewed in favour of the set bonus of the Merciless Gladiator Outland set and, of course, those gorgeous shoulderpads. The replacements are perilously close to bordering on chunky ugliness, although the rest makes up for it. One guild member’s first reaction was “Woah! Cleavage!” and he got a /slap. ;)

So, there you go, bad points, the shouldergear. Good points, with a minor change of rings, necklace and trinkets, it’s a snazzy all-in-one soloing, tanking and PvP outfit. A test run in normal Utgarde Pinnacle proved to be a crit-free crazy amount of DPS and threat, topping the DPS meters for the first time ever! Now to try heroics, maybe after spending a bit more money on some enchants, perhaps.

Anj would like to confess to her most shameful achievement, nothing to do with recently dashing around low-level regions to boost home city repuatations (for fun, because that’s what achievements can be if you want them to! If they’re a burden, hey, you don’t have to do them!), more like… (ahem)… My Sack is “Gigantique”. Well, you see, now listen, no, just hear me out for a sec… After the bag drop from Obsidian Sanctum, there was only a small number of extra slots needed to have BaudBag display a neat and tidy four rows of 20 slots (not including quiver, mind you).

So with no desire to need the creation of a whole new row, Anj has reached her bagspace cap. Yeah, okay, not since Wintersong of the Shattered Sun has so much money been spent on so little. I am weak. :(

“Dear Greatfather Winter…”

Anj has been a good girl this year, totally, she’s worked very hard and been nice, helpful and generally Good To Have Around. Also given that Winter Veil, according to Smokywood Pastures, is about Wants not Needs, her wish list doesn’t look so bad since Wants don’t even get a look in. Pure need all the way, don’t even talk about Pass.

And so, with thanks to AtlasLoot and because similar information on Teh Interweb is so fragmented its annoying, here’s Anj’s Wishlist for gearing up for heroics and Naxxramas. Obviously it’s BM-specced so +hit is taken over +haste where possible.

CLOTHING

Head: Headguard of Westrift (Eregos, Oculus).

Neck: Necklace of the Chrono-Lord (Chrono-Lord Epoch in The Culling of Stratholme).

Shoulders: Virulent Spaulders (leatherworking).

Back: Embrace of Sorrow (Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone).

Chest: Razorstrike Breastplate (leatherworking).

Wrists: Eaglebane Bracers (leatherworking).

Hands: Tear-Linked Gauntlets (Svala Sorrowgrave in Utgarde Pinnacle).

Waist: Belt of Tasseled Lanterns (BoE drop in Gundrak, or around 50g at the AH).

Legs: Leather-Braced Chain Leggings (Loken in Halls of Lightning).

Feet: Dragonstompers (leatherworking).

If you don’t have access to leatherworking yourself, it’s worth befriending one since the items created have reasonably cheap-to-obtain mats and beat much of what is available pre-heroics. Leatherworking, it’s what’s for dinner. Anj says, “Thanks Winters!”. Winters replies, “Yeah yeah yeah, do you think I could, you know, make something for myself now?”.

WEAPONS

Trophy Gatherer (Gortok Palehoof in Utgarde Pinnacle) is the best I’ve found so far as bows go, I’ve seen Nesingwary 4000 (engineering) equipped on more than a few hunters if unsubtle loud banging is your preferred way of fighting, costly mats though but that’s epic schematics for you. Crossbows… are pretty scanty as far as I can see.

Grab a couple of Fang of Truth from the Wyrmrest Accord quartermaster to boost the hit rating, you’ll need to be honoured but, let’s face it, you can do that pretty much on the quests alone.

ACCESSORIES

Kurzel’s Rage is a quest reward from an adventure in Drak’tharon Keep, although you’ll need to do a brief Molotov Cocktail-chucking quest beforehand on behalf of Mack at Granite Springs in Grizzly Hills.

And that’s… pretty much all I’ve got so far. Plenty of trinkets have come and gone during the levelling phase, of which Automated Wepaon Coater has stayed along with Mighty Alchemist’s Stone.

Sphere of Red Dragon’s Blood though. Ooooh. Drops in heroic Nexus. Shouldn’t be too far away now since with most of the items listed already equipped, she’s already pulling her weight in heroics enough to be competitive.

Hopefully this is useful to someone else though. Remember, lists are good. Mmm.

Have a great Winter Veil ev’ryone!

x

Time for Bullet News(tm)!

  • Winters hit level 80 gathering bits of firewood in Zul’Drak. She is reported as saying: “They put up quite a fight!”
  • Anj has boosted her gear supported by Winterstar’s leatherworking habit. Razorstrike Breastplate, Eaglebane Bracers and Dragonstompers together with Belt of Tasselled Lanterns gemmed for +16 hit rating from the auction house and she might start doing a little better in the next heroic.
  • It still hurts Anj a little that Kurzel’s Rage, a ring she still needs to get from a pretty simple quest in Drak’tharon Keep, trumps Violet Signet of the Master Assassin with ludicrous ease. Badge gear can come and go but, dammit, she had to run Karazhan to exalted for that ring!
  • Although not started yet, the name for Next Hunter has been chosen. She is Bluesonja because she’s Draenic and… blue. But, you know, way better than the film
  • OMG! Getting the link for Red Sonja and I find out that “they” are remaking Red Sonja! Oh this I have to see. /gasp! I predict a train-wreck, as much as recent Hollywood output has made that statement like going to a road and predicting cars.
  • This might even need a rethink on the whole ‘Bluesonja’ idea. I mean, these things need chronological distance…
  • Dammit Hollywood, why must you ruin everything?!

Pew pew!

OKAY! Things that reeeeally get on my nerves in guild chat, while we’re on the subject. Yeah, okay, so we weren’t really on the subject but, pow! We are now!

Hey guys! What is [item] worth?

It’s worth exactly the same as what everything else is worth, which is precisely what someone is willing to pay for it! Check the AH! See what the going price is! Because, you know, these things change!

Which is best, [item a] or [item b]?

Grr! I don’t know. What are your stats like? One of those items has a lot of crit, are you okay for crit or would you prefer haste? Hey, listen, RatingBuster is a mere download away. Pff! One time, and I swear this is true, someone asked which to get out of the available colours for the Shadowmoon Valley epic flying mounts! Oh. My. God! Are your decision-making abilities that poor?!

There’s also a couple of things about EU-Bloodhoof that irk me for varying degrees of validity. The first and, okay, least worthy is “bio”. You don’t say you’re away for a quick wee, nor do you say you need a WC break or any number of far cruder sayings. You say: “Sec guys, quick bio”! And I’m like, what, you need a yoghurt?

Someone once said that “bio” is a nicer phrase which of course only applies if you’re a robot in some kind of Bicentennial Man scenario where everything has to be uncomfortably clinical and made of chrome. You are not soap powder. Shut up.

The next one is less a mild semantic disagreement and more… idiotic. THE LOOT SYSTEM!

Now, you see, growing up on Talnivarr, when we did an instance and loot dropped from bosses, if we needed it we clicked “Need”, if we didn’t we went for “Greed” and it made sense because Blizzard had programmed something to allow for such occasions. Bloodhoof, on the other hand, sees the greed icon as being a pointless addition and instead opts for a Need or Pass approach.

Let’s say you have an enchanter in your group. Loot drops and if someone needs it they click Need, those who don’t click Pass and the enchanter clicks Greed. Whatever the requirements of the group, if no-one needs it the enchanter gets the item, disenchants it and at the end we all roll for the shard. So far so good, not perfect but doable.

So what if you don’t have an enchanter in your group, like most of the time? Well, the needers click Need and everyone else passes, if no-one needs it we all have to look gormless at each other for a few seconds and then roll again! Yeah!

Consider this: There’s an enchanter in the group, loot drops and everyone makes their choice except the enchanter who watches the chat window to see what people have rolled. If everyone clicks Greed, they click Need, otherwise they click Greed.I’ve seen it working with my own eyes, I swear to Elune!

So… you know. Sometimes… sometimes I just get cross and… you know. I’m fine, really. Happy place. I think I need to lie down. For a bit. I blame work.

(image by StickBus and is shared under a Creative Commons license. This post takes the record for the longest time spent sat in my Drafts pile).

Anj was invited with friends to try her hand at a heroic instance, despite being pretty undergeared for such adventures. First was The Violet Hold which failed at the second boss, followed by Utgarde Pinnacle which… failed at the second boss. Never mind, the Emblems will be mine! Yoink!

Still tweaking with level cap talents, currently one point in Go for the Throat and one in Rapid Killing which may switch to both in GftT since her current crit rate is quite low and the super-low Bestial Wrath cooldown with full Efficiency is working wonders for mana conservation.

The Lich King overhaul for hunters opens up all kinds of questions for the talents though. With Lick Your Wounds and Heart Of The Phoenix on my instance/raid kitty, are two points in Improved Mend Pet really that necessary? There’s one there and one in Improved Revive Pet at the moment for tier-progression filler, but is it better to put them in Improved Aspect of the Hawk despite the fact that it never seems to proc when it’s most needed and is almost guaranteed to treat you to faster shot speed only when any mob is below 10% health?

So the proposal looks like this:

anj_talent512000

Dealing with the big issues of the day, the preference debate over Careful or Focused Aim is raging like wildfire through the halls of the Hunter Academy, at least in the Beast Mastery Wing where Marksmanship points have to be carefully chosen. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll get the +hit rating from gear no problem but extra attack power from Intellect, Mighty Thought Elixirs and mage buffs? Woo! Easy choice, really.

Hm. There’s work to be done. Yeah, there’s still a small questy element in there, Thick Hide. I know. Grilla and Volley, what can I say?

Okay, Sholazar Basin, it’s just you and me. Going in at 79 and nobody is leaving until I’m 80. I’d already done enough quests for the achievement with Winters so the questing was helped by familiarity and Not Worrying About How The Hell I Got Roped Into Helping The Wolvar When I Really Want To Be On The Side Of The Oracles.

Working for Avatar of Freya was a lot more fun than doing Nesingwary’s dirty work (seriously want a quest to finish him off now), and as much as the zone is Skinner’s Heaven, it rates pretty well for herbs too. Let’s just say that Anj isn’t going to be short of a few Elixirs of Mighty Agility any time soon…

Something that’s bugged me in WoW for a long time put into words a hell of a lot better than I can, from Jeffrey Rowland (America’s Sweetheart) over at Overcompensating:

Let’s talk about rape for a moment. Rape is not what George Lucas did to your childhood. Rape is not what happens when a sports team beats another sports team by a wide margin. Rape is not what happens when your electric bill is higher this month than it was last month. Rape is when a person violates another person in the most despicable, degrading way imaginable and among the myriad of terrible things humans can do to one another, rape is among the worst. I think the casual misappropriation of the concept of rape extending all the way to its widespread comical usage is disgusting even by Internet standards. Off my chest.

Yeah. So, you know, knock it off.

The most recent ding put Winterstar equal with Anj on mighty level seventy-eight and with lots of my friends already on eighty, does this bother me? Not a jot. I mean, first of all, I’m pretty happy with how long The Levelling of Anj and Winters Together has lasted – seriously, I expected one to take over the other at some point and remain sufficiently more interesting to keep the gap growing but, hey, I’ve shown an uncharacteristic amount of discipline.

Anyway, the new expansion isn’t even two months old yet, between now and the next expansion I don’t think time is going to be an issue, going at a moderate to brisk pace and enjoying the levelling process in the meantime is hardly going to break the bank. Winters has only just begun questing in Sholazar Basin and that’s the furthest either of the sisters have travelled so far, having been diligently working through the quests in Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills.

Of course, the benefits of having level eighty friends is the ease at which I can get invites to the level cap instances which you wouldn’t think is that big a deal but there’s far too many people obsessed with keeping everything easy-mode and afraid of anything even remotely challenging, you’re either over-geared or not invited. Psh. Kids. Just because they ain’t a God Mode. This is my theory and I’m sticking with it. :p

Anj has taken part in The Culling of Stratholme and also Utgarde Pinnacle, the first of which continued her unbroken experience of having no useful hunter drops, at least until Trophy Gatherer dropped in the latter. We all know how excited Anj gets about shiny new bows, despite the fact that the selling of her old pointy stick launcher has left a -20 Hit Cap deficit. Well at least it’s a round number, one has to expect stat fluctuations while gearing up. It’s par for the course!

Notable also was the Gilded Ringmail Hauberk quest reward from Junk In My Trunk which replaced Scaled Drakeskin Chestguard, the first of Anj’s two hundred-badge items from Outland to be put to pasture.

Onwards, quite literally, HO!

During the Ampitheater of Anguish event in Zul’Drak, the planets align for Winters.

xp_equinox

For those unfamiliar with Fubar: ExperienceFu, that’s 77.8% left to go for level 77, with a comfortably snug 77.8% of rest time remaining. Doesn’t this sort of numerology summon demons?

No decent rewards for the likes of a feral druid in Lich King’s effective The Ring Of Blood 2: Blood Harder, other than XP and the helpful feeling in aiding a group that was asking for a tank for ages in the LFG.

Answering a Too Cute cry for help elsewhere in Zul’Drak filled that gap with Staff of the Sorrowful Chieftan many days earlier. And it seems like just months ago that Winters finally managed to feel the delicious power of that wonderful Staff of Beasts. Oh, wait, it was just months ago.

Anj, on the other hand, swung by the Ampitheater pretty much as soon as hitting seventy-five and asks you to remark on the fine craftsmanship of her Icier Barbed Spear, and that it remains shiny and uncontaminated by blood.

With regard to this post about how hunters are doing too much damage and need to be taken down a notch or two, well, as much as it’s an overused phrase I’m gonna come right out and say it. Meh.

There have been a number of occasions, going through the Recount damage reports after an instance, where I have felt just a little bit guilty about the amount of damage myself and particularly my pet has been doing so I kinda saw it coming.

Winters would also like to add that hunters that she has tanked for that have used nothing but Volley are deeply annoying and, to be honest, she’s glad of it. The good hunters will roll with the punch, adjust their play style and still top the bill, overkill and find the will to carry on.

The huntards on the other hand, go and stand in the Moaning Corner where you can find all the accessories you need to bitch, whine and complain but for the love of Elune don’t ever change the way you do things.

;)

Anj hit seventy-five mere metres into Drak’Tharon Keep, had to wait the whole instance to get her delicious new powerrrs but, on the plus side, managed to finally pop the talent point for Aimed Shot and equip that Mighty Alchemist’s Stone that’s been hanging around in the bagspace for about three levels now.

Dalaran was explored for a bit, eyes wide with wonder, before exiting avec Skyguard Drape via the sewer outlet to the land below. Because for “Red Mist” Anj, harpoon-surfing just wasn’t enough.

Whirlwind adventures aside, it was time to get back to the pencilled-in plan of One Level Anj, One Level Winters, and move my poor, lagging druid up from seventy-two and finally putting Borean Tundra to bed in the process. The “Nothing Boring About Borean” achievement was gained even though, to be honest, the zone started to get a bit, well, boring.

Well, okay, patchy in its look to the point of schizophrenia, although there were some good quests in there it is hard not to compare it unfavourably to Howling Fjord. I’m just sayin’. On to Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills, the latter of which not only reminds of a park close to where I live, but is also most notable for Doing Your Duty, perhaps her most grim adventure so far.

However, I’ve been thinking of doing something recently that seems to come at some point to all staunchly proud hunters while being completely misunderstood by the other (lesser) classes. It’s time to… Roll another hunter! *Fanfare!* There are reasons for this, these being:

  • I want a Draenei one.
  • I’m not leaving Beast Mastery for Anj (love it too much, for serious, have done since level ten), and want to try out the Survival or Marksmanship trees.
  • I want to have a character that begins at level one with a completely fresh achievements sheet, just to see how it goes.
  • There are no plans to muster up the motivation needed to continue levelling my rogue so she remains on The Old Realm keeping her engineering with her. I need a new engineer.
  • I suppose it’s possible to have too many hunters but, honestly, has anyone ever found that limit? ;)

And also, perhaps the one that will most determine exactly how long it will be until this project actually begins:

  • Heirloom items! Kitted out to the nines from square one onwards! Woo!

I just need ideas for her name, so if you have any suggestions I’ll be happy to be the judge of them.

I should add that simple ground-rule that the name should be a pretty standalone affair, no references to race, class, spec, professions, role or level, nor should it use any šþêçïäl characters to get around the name already being taken, thereby annoying the hell out of anyone who wants to whisper or invite me.

October 2017
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