Monday, October 29, 2007

Hunter Gearing

So I have a question for you all. How do you gear a 40s hunter? I've gone all-out on agility since I started and now have 216 agility. You've probably noticed that my HP has been decreasing over the weekend from over 2000 to 1800 now. I've been getting nice mail pieces and loots with lots of good agility buffs, but they're lacking in stamina buffs. As it stands right now, my agility is almost double my next buff, and my armor is no longer green-lit in the armory.

The problem is I tend to melee quite often, and my swords skills is now 222/225. I have a feeling that it's gonna be a problem if I don't get more stamina and/or armor.

Should I balance my gear more?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Azeroth Exotic Animals

Oops, haven't posted in a while.

I was asked by my friend who had not completed the Master Hunter quests if I could help him complete the King Bangalash stage of the chain. Since I was getting annoyed at the aggro radius of Bloodsail pirates onboard their ships, I decided to go and help him out. Since both of us are hunters, we started talking about how cool it would be to have Bangalash as a pet.

Then it hit me. I had not taken a second pet since I got my rare Duskstalker at level 10. The only other times I had tamed other pets was taming a Ghostpaw Alpha and an Elder Ashenvale Bear to get Bite 4 and Claw 4. I know you must be thinking "A hunter who doesn't tame pets for skills? Does this guy even know how to play a hunter?" I had not taken pet skills as a priority as playing a hunter. Why? I was too busy exploring Azeroth itself and questing. I was pretty happy with my pet anyway; there was no pressing need to change it.

But then Bangalash changed it all. After taming him, I felt like as if I were level 10 again. How cool it was to learn Dash 2 and find out how fast cats can be!! And then I realized (a second time because I've forgotten since level 10) that a Duskstalker can learn Prowl. So then I decided to track down an Elder Shadowmaw Panther to learn the skill. The problem is, I still haven't been able to learn it after taming it. I'm not sure what's going on because I've gone around killing at least 10 mobs with it without being able to learn anything from it when it should normally take 2 mobs. If anyone knows what's going on, feel free to let me know that I'm an idiot.

It's funny how Bangalash looks like my Striped Frostsaber mount though.

The next day, I got so excited after taming Bangalash that I decided to look for a suitable name for him. After wiki-ing white tigers, dubbed royal Bengal tigers (and learning that they're actually normal Bengal tigers with a recessive gene), I decided to name him Mohan, after the first of tamed royal Bengal tigers.

Being the compulsive wiki browser that I am, I started looking at odd colors of various animals, such as the white lion, black tiger, and blue tiger. They are actually much like Sian-Rotam, the infamous ghostly Shadowclaw, and Moonstalkers. It doesn't stop there! There's still the rare raptor mob Takk the Leaper, black lion Humar the Pridelord, and albino gorilla Ukh'loc. How cool would it be to tame all these very unique looking animals? Blizzard definitely did not make up all these animal colors out of the blue. They are very real!

Oh, I forgot to mention I named my Duskstalker Vornskr...because I wanted it to be vicious even though it doesn't look like one.

As a last note, thanks to Kestrel for linking to our blog. I noticed a spike in my site views and was wondering how that happened, especially since I didn't make a post... :P

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dungeons: Lessons Learned

Recently, I decided that I'd try playing a bit more in dungeons than in the world environment. Dungeons had never been something I desperately want to go to, even for the loot. By the time I hit level 20, I had only made two runs through dungeons. Once in Blackfathom Deeps, and once in Deadmines. Those runs probably shouldn't even be counted as actual runs because there was always a 60+ helping me and another person. It was either for the quest or just for fun. Even now, I mostly go through dungeons just to finish off quests rather than grinding for a specific rare item.

When I go into the 30s, I was recruited a couple times by PUGs for runs through parts of Scarlet Monastery. This was my actual first experience going through a dungeon where we had a full 5-member party with the regular combination of tanks, DpS, and healers. I've made a couple of friends along the way, and each of us has learned several things in our roles. I've had my share of sending my pet at the wrong target and pulling a few more mobs than we wanted. We've also had times where our plans don't go exactly as planned; times where one guy had to go AFK for some time; and problems with a party member not playing his role right and being a pain about it.

It happens. I take note of it and move on, I suppose.

Last week, I had just logged in at Booty Bay not sure what I wanted to do that day. While walking around vendors and such, I was whispered by a hunter in the low 30s. He asked if I could help him run SM. At this time, I was already 42 and had just reached the upper range of Cathedral's level range, and the other instances won't really do me much good with experience and loot anymore. Why not, I decided. After all, I was pretty much in his position not too long ago. So we got a group together, another person in the mid/upper 30s, others at the first guy's level.

First of all, it's a bad idea to go through Tirisfal when there are so many Horde 70s running Graveyard to have a chance at the Headless Horseman. I should've thought about that beforehand. We had a few problems getting ganked on the way and at the summoning stone, but we were soon on the way to running Library. At first, I wasn't used to being the "big boy" in the group, having the higher level character. It gave off an aura that I should be better than everyone else, and I wasn't really ready for it. I didn't mind picking up the aggro from someone who shouldn't have gotten it since I could take the extra blows, but it gives you a perspective from above: what it's like to be the de facto leader. I pretty much passed on all the dropped items since the others will need it more. I also realized how important communication is, especially if close-quarters combat is needed. I tend to make the assumption that everyone is on the same logic path as I am.

After that run, the night was still early, so I decided to look for a PUG for Razorfen Downs so I can get my Vanquisher's Sword quest reward to replace my aging Cruel Barb. This time, I took the initiative to gather up people in the LFG/M channels who wanted to run the instance. Soon enough, we had a warrior tank, resto shaman, an ever-useful druid, and two hunters. This time, the run went rather interesting. The initial run up to the the quest to protect Belnistrasz went without a glitch, with the tank managing well. The stages after that one were more interesting though. The other hunter, a BM/MM hybrid was a friend of the warrior tank. While observing his play, I noticed his higher-than-average-use of Multi Shot. I tend to keep away from using Multi Shot too much in dungeons just to avoid the accidental aggro, but here was a hunter grabbing aggro on 2 or 3 mobs once in a while. We had a few close calls with our healer, but it was worked out in the end. Fighting Amnennar the Coldbringer was a bit more interesting because our healer died once (but not for long thanks to resurrection). Fighting him was not bad, but the problem was the little minions that he spawned. I don't think we had our priorities right because the minions die when Amnennar dies. I ended up having to pull the minions off our healer a few more times before we finished the run.

All in all, I was satisfied in two rather different experiences I got from running dungeons that day. I think I still have much to learn when working in groups.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Exploration Adventures

My curiosity took me to interesting places the past few days: The Blasted Lands and areas I've yet to explore in Stranglethorn Vale.

I had just finished doing some quests that got me Exodar reputation in Swamp of Sorrows and decided to go back to finish off the Gelkis/Magram chain in Desolace. So I went the usual route through Deadwind Pass to Darkshire to fly off to the nearest harbor. But before I made it to the flight point, there was a quest giver who wanted me to deliver something to Nethergarde Keep. After getting some pointers from friends, I decided how hard could it be? I mounted up and went to The Blasted Lands, dodging some Horde NPCs guarding the Swamp of Sorrows flight point. The path was relatively straight forward, and soon enough I finished the quest as well as getting the Nethergarde flight point. Blasted Lands seemed to me like pictures I've seen of Outland. I can' t wait until I get there, granted I should get Burning Crusade first...

I got bored yesterday and looked at my Stranglethorn Vale map and noticed the big island kind of attached to the Cape of Stranglethorn. I thought it was strange that I've been there many times and haven't been able to get that part of the map to show, so I decided to go find out what else was there. I ran into a druid who was questing for Akiris Reed, so I helped him out even though I finished that quest already. We stumbled into the holy water spring on that island that gave me the exploration experience. But more than that, we also spotted the rare mob Naga Lord Sakrasis. Killing him was pretty straightforward, and we were also rewarded with Talisman of the Naga Lord.

After grouping, we decided to go questing for Zanzil Mixtures. It was quite a pain doing this, especially since we wiped a few times because of the random quick spawns happening. I probably should've practiced my trapping, but the situation almost got out of hand a few times. The find of the night was more exciting: the world drop Dazzling Longsword. At first I thought my eyes were playing with me when the name was purple, but they definitely were not. First epic find! I didn't win the roll, but finding the sword itself was pretty exciting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

LFG Hogger

One of the first elite NPCs that can be fought when starting a new character is Hogger, a gnoll in Elwynn Forest wanted by Stormwind's guards. It has been the subject of raids by level 1 characters with some difficulty.

Last week, Blizzard's Eyonix posted a comment on the "Anti Hogger-Nerf Movement" thread in the forums:
Hogger is becoming a level 73 outdoor raid boss. His loot will remain the same, I'm afraid.
I look forward to seeing level 70's going "LFG Hogger" on General chat.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Following the Crowd

A lot of people are picking up on the 2.3.0 patch notes story, so I guess I'll just mention a few things I noticed.

It seems like they're making a lot of changes to Stranglethorn Vale's environment (for the better?) to try to make it less annoying. Rebel Camp is now an Alliance flight point, which I'm not sure is a good thing if the only it'll do is draw more Horde campers. I am excited about the removal of Elite status from the ogres though. It's just in time for me to do the Mai'Zoth quest.

Not sure about the new dungeon level range adjustment and new meeting stone requirements yet. It's definitely going to reduce the number of level 70s running newer characters through dungeons.

The exciting changes for hunters will be Trueshot Aura's new status as a real aura, Arcane Shot change, and Serpent Sting. Perhaps the increase in Serpent Sting damage will make hunters a better DpS class. This kinda makes me rethink Loronar's talent build as a Marksman (for which I'll probably get some rap for not going Beast Mastery as endorsed by Big Red Kitty), especially in considering whether or not Improved Stings would be something worth investing in.

Speaking of talents, I had to respec yesterday after going through most of level 40 without Trueshot Aura. The reason? I was putting talents into Improved Aspect of the Hawk, to which Someone responds that it may not be as versatile as I thought it would be. I was also putting talents into Hawk Eye, which increases my range. Needless to say, I can no longer properly judge range for starting Auto Shot since I no longer have the 6 extra yards...

So many talents! I wish I could just learn them all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The ! and the ?

One thing I absolutely love about World of Warcraft is the sheer number of quests available to do. I admit I'm a lore and history nerd, so I read if not skim all the text of the quest descriptions. It's amazing how Blizzard can come up with all the story for this game.

There's nothing like the excitement of seeing a new ! on top of an NPC's head and the ? for completing the quest. It's free experience and XP too (provided you can complete them)! I'm pretty sure I did 99% of the quests from Teldrassil, Darkshore, and Ashenvale, and by the time I was moving on to Eastern Kingdoms, I was 1/3 through Revered for Darnassus and Honored for all other Alliance factions.

Quest chains are especially my favorites. These are probably my favorite and most of the major quest chains there is for 40 and under:
  • Raene's Cleansing. Picked up from Raene Wolfrunner in Astranaar, this is the one of the first major quest chains available for Night Elves and Draenei. The story revolves around an attempt to recreate a legendary rod that had been used by the wizard Dartol to infiltrate furbolg tribes. The rod was split into three pieces when Dartol's true identity was discovered. This chain provides a wealth of background information about the furbolgs, especially the mystery surrounding their corruption. You actually have the option of not turning in the last stage of the quest and keeping Dartol's Rod of Transformation, which does a pretty cool transformation effect. I've actually seen people use this instead of completing the chain.
  • The Legend of Stalvan. Stalvan Mistmantle is the mystery character behind this quest chain. Legend has it that he was responsible for a massacre of a family of nobles, but no one has ever been able to link him to the event as the killer. What's interesting is that one can find a younger Stalvan in the Old Hillsbrad Foothills event of the Caverns of Time. You can watch an excellent movie about Stalvan made by Silet that provides Stalvan's history.
  • The Defias Brotherhood. Probably one of the most mysterious groups on Azeroth, the Defias Brotherhood is known for its thievery and underground activities. This quest chain takes you through the history of the brotherhood, showing that the group was not always an evil band of mercenaries. Residing in the Deadmines, the leader of the group, Edwin VanCleef was once a stonemason for Stormwind before he went into hiding. Killing him drops a pretty good sword that I still use.
  • The Missing Diplomat. Perhaps the most intricate of Alliance quest chains, this one takes you through many parts of the Eastern Kingdoms and to Theramore Isle in Kalimdor. Although the king of Stormwind since the end of the Second War had been Varian Wrynn, citizens of kingdom had been told that his son Anduin Wrynn (named in honor of Sir Anduin Lothar?) had recently risen to the throne without any explanation. The actual reason is the secret that Varian Wrynn had gone missing during his journey to Theramore to speak with Jaina Proudmoore, the ruler of a separate human Alliance faction in Kalimdor and one of the heroes of the Third War. Even through the 17 stages of this quest, the chain's storyline has yet to end. Blizzard has expressed its intention to continue the storyline sometime in the future.
  • Tiger Mastery, Panther Mastery, Raptor Mastery, Big Game Hunter. As a hunter, this is a quest chain that should definitely not be skipped (even if it's in the despised Stranglethorn Vale). The rewards of this chain include decent gloves, leggings, chestpiece, and bow/gun. While this can be considered a "grinding" quest chain, it can test your skills as a true hunter while killing the beasts and their elites on your own.

Let me know if you have any other quests/chains that you find very interesting and I'll definitely check them out if I haven't already (even if it's a gray quest!).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Binds on Equip

The inspiration of this blog comes from the numerous World of Warcraft blogs available out there. Though no one specific blog inspired this one, I do admire many of them out there.

I started playing World of Warcraft (unofficially) in early August when I borrowed one of my friends' warlock for a week because he wasn't going to be able to log on for some time. Needless to say, jumping into the game at level 20-something was a bit strange because I was learning everything on the fly. Fortunately, I had other friends who had also recently started or have been playing the game to help me out.

It was my first MMORPG, but definitely not a first-timer to Warcraft. Having read a lot of lore along with my introductory play time, I was drawn into getting an account for myself.

Why a hunter? I was probably "forced" into the decision because while playing on my friend's warlock, I picked up the highly prized Ranger Bow by chance from a chest in Duskwood. Of course, I didn't know how valuable and powerful it was at the time, but reading about it drew me into making a hunter as my first character.

If you're curious, no, I didn't use it to "twink" my hunter. I am now using a different bow after hitting level 30, but I have that first bow to blame for drawing me into this game! Since I hit level 40 last Sunday, I figured this would be a good starting point as any to start writing.