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They (the “They”) say that the British love a good queue. They will walk across burning coals to get to one, regardless of what is offered at the end of it, just for the chance to stand in line for something, all civilised.

Now, I’m technically British. I’m not sure how much weight that carries for it was, after all, the sheer chance of birth location and I have no love for the concept of patriotism, but being as how I hang around with a lot of other British people I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has said “A queue?! Where! Get me to the queue!”. Queues are annoying, but I think it is true that your British people will join them begrudgingly and silently seethe to themselves whereas your Americans will just flip out and splash Uzis around semi-colon, close bracket.

But look! Look!


Naxx25, after the Four Horsemen encounter and instead of everybody jostling to the front and clicking like mad on the chest (as happened countless times in Karazhan), almost without any instruction whatsoever everybody formed an orderly line. There’s me and Bups at the back there on the top picture, dancing and talking amongst ourselves as we filed gently to the front. So civilised! As queues go, it was a joy to be in it.

So, yeah, Naxx25. In with a group that could officially label me as “Being Carried”, I found out a few things:

  1. I am saving up for a new compuper but I am sure that this one cannot do twenty-five player raids. My framerate was below ten for most of the fights. For all I said about The Macro a few posts back, it was only the fact that I was spamming one button that got me from 16th (a few fights in) to 13th (at the end) on the damage meters. Sorry, The Macro, you have your place.
  2. Turning Spell Detail right down to the minimum is all well and good, but I honestly think that I’d be doing okay for FPS if there was another option to turn everybody else’s spell casting effects off! It wouldn’t be ideal but, hey, my poor elderly compuper. :(
  3. All video effects down to a minimum and 1024×768 :O By comparison it had the look of a cute 8-bit game bringing back lovely memories of my happy Amstrad CPC6128 days, which was okay I suppose. Maybe next time I’ll try 800×600 and keep living on pasta so maybe I can get a new machine next month.
  4. We didn’t do the Plague Quarter so I didn’t see if Arrowsong dropped, although I did get some new boots. However, having decided I needed to replace my boots to drop some haste, I managed to collect a replacement pair with even more haste. I have too much haste! WHY IS IT SO HARD TO AVOID HASTE?! My Steady Shot cast time is just over a second! :p More apologies and defense for The Macro, at least spamming that keeps my rotation in check without going mad.
  5. Finally, Naxx25 is really easy! When…  you’re in with a group that downs a boss under two minutes. :\

Welcome to the “I’ve Slapped Kel’Thuzad, Big Style” Club. Thanks, ooh a card too? Marvellous! :D


Patch 3.1 looms with its crazy changes, extra bag space and Beast Mastery given a full and frank apology abounds. Exciting future-visions aside, here in the hinterlands there’s not much going on except for the usual heroine antics with the possibility of “Hey, look what gear I got!” posts.

Okay, well, Wraith Spear if you must know, enchanted up to the nines with Massacre (850g spent on a single enchant, a new personal best), to replace the Icier Barbed Spear from Amphitheatre of Anguish back at level seventy-faaahve. I’ve also moved into a guild that has Naxx25 on farm and they’re going to run me and my friends through it quite soon, to which all I can say is: OMG! Arrowsong!

Talent-wise, I shifted a point out of Mortal Shots to put back in Beast Mastery because, although people say that you can still get as much DPS from sixteen pet talent points as you can from twenty, the increased survivability of kitty from the extra points should not be underestimated. Still no exotic pet, I mean if I was around in the area and Loque’nahak showed up, I’d make an effort to tame him but I certainly ain’t going out of my way.

Besides, I’m glad I did, an extra tier of pet talents sounds pretty nice. I am, of course, assuming that this extra tier will only available to members of the BM51 Club… ;)

And that’s it really. Not much else going on. Thank you for your patience. Your call is important to us.

(photograph by architekt2 and shared under a Creative Commons license)

Since I’m staying BM, it’s obvious that the current, or should I say “previous”, spec needs some tweaking. I’m going to give this, which I am calling “50/14/7“, a go:

BM, 50/14/7

Sacrifices, sacrifices. Talent points don’t grow on tress, believe me I’ve tried. I went a whole month using only 70 points and planted the one remaining in some fertile soil in the Cenarion Enclave, tending to it regularly with Moonwell water. Nothing.

2 points from Cobra Strikes.

1 point from Beast Mastery. Gusp!

1 point from Go for the Throat, and

3 points from Improved Arcane Shot.

Generous contributions which all get to go into Improved Tracking and Survival Instincts. An extra 5% damage on tracked targets with an extra 4% critical strike chance on Arcane and Steady Shot is hardly going to equalise it with Survival but it’s a start and at least allows me and Anj to continue life with a sense of enjoyment.

Add on the +2% from Focused Fire and 3% from Ferocious Inspiration and that’s an extra 10% damage across the board! Got to be worth a go, hasn’t it? You know? You try. You do what you can.

Training dummies testing, meh. I want to take this to an instance and see what happens.

We’ll survive the DPS crunch, we’ve weathered worse storms than this before! Chin up!

At the start it didn’t look so bad but a disastrously high fall from DPS grace in a couple of heroics had me thinking, hmmm, maybe I’ll try this Survival spec gubbins and see what all the fuss is about.

Yeah, I tried it. 50g spent on a respec and, some Training Dummy time later, another 50g spent to spec the hell right back to Beast Mastery again. What went wrong?

One. Using Immolation Trap to proc Lock and Load is all well and good, and fine for some people, but I wasn’t going for it. Throw Sniper Training in as well with it’s snazzy damage rewards for greater distance and suddenly I’m running for miles! When Anj first picked up a bow with a view to learning how to use it, she pretty much signed a waiver saying that pointless running back and forth wasn’t for her.

Two. Well, *splutter*, it’s Beast Mastery! Obviously different people have different play-styles and it’s great that we’re all catered for but, personally, I quite like the synergy betwixt hunter and pet, up to the point where I even feel uncomfortable with the word “Mastery”. We’re a team, me and kitty, we love each other and couldn’t live without each other. Sure, occasionally I’ll roll with my gorilla for questing, but that’s only because I’m giving kitty a well-earned break because she works very hard! Survival? Pet might as well not be there. Am I getting too emotionally invested in something to think that switching from my “Me And My Buddy” spec is in some way betraying KittenHeels? Hmm, maybe. But ah dun care!

So I’m sticking with Beast Mastery. On the training dummies with SV I was (it seems like a heavy-handed word to be using but I’m going to use it because it’s true) effortlessly doing more DPS than I was with BM. Well, it had to be effortless, it was a whole new way of playing and I had no idea what I was doing for the most part but there was still the same number of buttons to press, it’s not like I went from hotkeys to a command line system. Effortless. That’s including even missing out the DPS time spent on running to melee range to drop a trap and then Disengaging back, moving a bit more back to get to the optimum range and then going back to the weaving.

So I find myself torn between two thoughts, either the mass exodus from Beast Mastery to Survival cookie-cutter specs is something akin to a person shifting support to a different football team when their own starts losing a few games (which is a totally bad analogy for me because I don’t even like sport) or…

(whispering) Well, you know, is it a big unspoken protest, given Ghostcrawler’s comments about fixing BM if everyone shifts to Survival? (/whispering) OMG, am I being a scab?! Let’s face it, the DPS classes want to do as much damage as possible because, well, it’s their job but the blogs and forums I’ve read show that Beast Mastery wing of The Hunter Academy is emptying out, with the last person to leave being instructed to simply toss a ball of tumbleweed into the hall before they switch out the lights.

Either way, I’m not going to spend my time gathering a bunch of new gear for a different spec only to have to throw it out again when Teh Blizz see the error of their ways. I, and I expect many others, don’t want to be the automatic top of the damage meters, we just want to be invited to raids or heroics and have a chance at barely competing and maybe even be spared from the gallery of morons who hear the word “nerf” and their ears start bleeding.

Blizzard haven’t solved the problem of one spec being more popular than the others, they’ve just moved it somewhere else. Perhaps the only way they’re going to even begin to sort it out is by, more or less, equalising the damage output of each talent tree but maintaining the diversity of ways in which it is achieved, obviously with differing results to widen the gap depending on the effort that goes in. Insight or naivety? You decide! ;)

Choice. It’s not much to ask!

(picture by Reverse_Thinking and shared under a Creative Commons License).

I’m not so easily confused that throwing one extra shot into my rotation is likely to trip me up, but a slight shift-around of the action bar in order to make my four mainly-used abilities a little closer together is causing some problems, nothing that won’t take a little getting used to though.

anj_308actionbarThe cooldown of Arcane Shot allows for three Steady Shots, and two rounds of Arcane, Steady, Steady, Steady fits nicely into the duration of a glyphed Serpent Sting. OMG WTF LULZ this is too much, I need a macro!

Winters has macros, and she loves them. There’s one for a Mangle followed by two Lacerates, another for Mangle with two swipes and a third one for an onmouseover Lacerate, they work very well. The thing is, while tanking there’s target switching, looking out for escaped mobs and generally ensuring that all the monsters are primarily concerned with her, plenty to be keeping an eye on. Even though most of the time it’s spamming one of three buttons, there’s still a sense of involvement.

For ranged DPS though, the next logical step to a shot-rotation macro is to bind it to every key on the numeric keypad and I can just repeatedly mash it with my palm, proud of the fact that I’m providing flawless DPS (for the most part, not counting a number of variables that can and will make any such macro fall flat on its face) but slightly troubled by the fact that I might as well not even be there!

Pretty soon all hunters will be wearing the same outfit, using the same weapons with the same pet and the same talent spec and that is when you know the end is nigh.

There will be no rotation macros for me because I can manage pressing buttons and still find time to give a knowing wink to the healer when an escaped mob trips a timely-placed Freezing Trap and disaster is averted. “Macros”, psh! BRK should be ashamed of himself, delete his character immediately and roll a warlock.

I’ll reserve the domain right now…


July 2018
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