Archive for the “guides” Category

Okay I’ve played around with Beast Mastery a bit in heroics and stuff and I have some tips for it. Note that this is not a comprehensive guide and I haven’t done any rooting around EJ or any real math or anything.

OVERVIEW:

Beast Mastery is now providing a very different playstyle than it has in the past. See, we used to be all about burst. Now, we’re all about ramping up. Your AoE damage is gonna suck now that we’ve lost Volley and MultiShot is expensive, focus-wise. Your DPS is probably gonna suck if your group is full of warlocks doing 10k on bosses (did I mention that I’m back to leveling my warlock? >.>) and thus the bosses die within ten seconds. Where your DPS is going to shine is on longer fights that allow you to use Focus Fire, get some of those tasty Kill Command crit procs (can’t think of the name right now), and take advantage of the new Glyph of Kill Shot which is ridiculous and awesome.

In addition we have a lot of fun procs and a lot of fun buttons to press and while I still dislike the mechanic of Focus (until I get used to it anyway) I’m liking all the new stuff-to-do. I’ve spent some quality time with all three specs and I can honestly say that I find the new Beast Mastery to be the most fun– and I’d like to think that I’m not being biased when I say that, seeing that I really fell in love with Survival a couple months back.

ROTATION:

Basically on a single-boss fight you are spamming Arcane and using Kill Command when it’s up. Use Bestial Wrath when it’s up. View Steady Shot as a “Mini-Viper” of sorts (that made the transition to using Focus easier for me). I.E., when your gas tank is starting to run dry, pop a couple of Steadies to get it back up to speed. Use Focus Fire when you see the icon light up. I had a comment ask if they had to be watching their pet’s Frenzy stacks now– no, you don’t, as far as I’m aware, because Blizzard is nice and made it so you get a big shiny glowy effect on your Focus Fire button when you can use it. (Note: you also get the big shiny glowy effect when your Kill Command “Killing Streak” thing procs.)

Just like I view Steady Shot as a new Mini-Viper, I also view Fervor as a Mini-Readiness of sorts, because it restores Focus to you and gives you a few extra seconds of Fun Stuff To Do. That is, I’ll pop it a few moments into a Boss Fight, as follows:

TYPICAL BEAST MASTER BOSS FIGHT:

The Beast Within ->
Rapid Fire/Any Trinkets ->
Serpent Sting ->
Spam Arcane and use Kill Command when it’s up ->
Once Beast Within fades, pop Fervor… this will give you a little more juice now that you’re not getting the Focus cost reduction from TBW anymore. ->
Right around here Focus Fire is gonna light up, so use that. ->
Go back to Arcane/Kill Command and Steady as necessary. Serpent Sting again if you’ve got a ways to go on the boss. ->
Optional: Check Recount and feel special.

SPEC:
Pretty straightforward; scoop up the talents that give you DPS increases. Really the only choice you’ll be making is Spirit Bond vs. Improved Mend Pet. As usual I’m addicted to the latter but I imagine most people will pick the former, or perhaps put one point in each.

I had five non-Beast Master points left over, which I dumped into Go for the Throat and Efficiency.

GLYPHS:
Right now for Prime Glyphs I’m using Kill Shot, Steady Shot, and Arcane Shot. They’re sexy.

OVERALL SPEC/GLYPH SETUP:
I’m using this. Use at your own risk because I sort of just made it up as I went along.

PETS:
Corehounds are the current New Hotness because they get Bloodlust/Heroism. A lot of pets get a lot of great stuff though, check out this chart for details (I didn’t make it):

…of course, really the chart should have a line that says something to the effect of “Are you Pike -> Yes -> Use Whichever Pet is Prettiest” because you guys have to remember that I’m that person who refused to use a wolf throughout the entire duration of WotLK because I thought dinosaurs were much more awesome, so…

…yeah. *coughs*

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
I’m not sure if it’s bugged or what but Kill Command sure likes to tell me I’m “out of range” and the like when I try to use it. DISREGARD THAT, just wait to use Kill Command until your pet is actually attacking something.

Also my pets seem to be dying a lot.

Dunno, I’ll get back to you on those.

Okay, I think that’s about it. Questions/comments/rants/raves/rambles? Lemme know! *points to commenting link*

Comments 29 Comments »

I had a request for this, so although I feel a bit silly writing this up mere weeks before everything changes, I am here to deliver!

I’ve been playing around a lot with Survival lately, and having a lot of fun. Black Arrow is tied to Lock and Load so you quickly learn not to “waste” Black Arrows. I don’t really have any hard and fast rules for this, other than what’s common sense:

  • Don’t use Black Arrow when the mob is about to die.
  • Don’t use Black Arrow if you are or are going to be in Viper.
  • Don’t use Black Arrow on mobs that are non-elite and/or going to die in a few seconds.

and etc.

Don’t feel too bad if you screw up– it has a fairly short cooldown so “wasting” a Black Arrow ultimately isn’t something to beat yourself up over; it’s just something to watch. (Lock and Load itself does have its own 22 second internal cooldown, which still isn’t that bad.)

Lock and Load will also proc from trapping things. You don’t get a chance to do this much in PvE at current but you’ll soon figure out moments and take them to your advantage (Hint: the ghouls during the last boss fight in ToC).

And that is Black Arrow.

-

As for me, I’m still plinking around with Netherwing Dailies. It’s going much faster than I was expecting. Guys: I’m not doing all of the dailies, I’m not going overboard with eggs, and I’ve skipped a few days because I’ve been busy or whatnot, and I’ve already hit Revered in two weeks. Easy-squeezy.

…did I just say Easy-Squeezy? You have permission to facepalm.

Comments 5 Comments »

I have two Trees: Tamaryn, the level 80 Tree, and Songlark, the level 62 Tree. Both were leveled as Resto back when leveling as Resto was seen as being at best a little unusual and at worst downright masochistic and insane. Either way: these days, with LFG and the ability to level pretty much without leaving a city, it’s much more feasible.

So, in the vein of my instancing tips for new hunters, here’s my advice for new leveling sproutlings:

1.) Rejuvenation and Regrowth are your friends. They are your bread n’ butter spells until you get higher up on the tree ladder. Use Rejuv as sort of a blanket heal, and use Regrowth to fill in the gaps.

2.) But what about Healing Touch? Acceptable as a pre-Nourish flash heal if you glyph and talent for it, but doing so is not mandatory by any means. Just be aware that unless you’re flash-heal-ifying it, you probably shouldn’t be using it (until you get Nature’s Swiftness). The cast time is too slow. Regrowth is almost as good, is a quicker cast, and has a HoT at the end.

3.) Who Should I Be Healing? In an ideal situation, the tank should be taking the most damage and you should be concentrating on that person. Obviously, there are things like AoE damage and the like. At low levels, the best you can do for minor AoE damage is to toss a Rejuv on everyone… it will usually take care of it. When crap hits the fan, you will need to prioritize your heals, in which case keeping the tank and yourself alive is probably the most important. Speaking of which…

4.) Watch your own health bar. I know this sounds silly, but I have this in here because this is a common mistake among new healers and heaven knows I had this problem for the longest time. I would be watching my party’s health bars like a hawk and suddenly die because I forgot to check my own. Don’t feel too bad– a lot of new healers fall victim to this. It’s just something to practice!

5.) When should I be healing? Back when I was leveling Tamaryn, I had to be veeeerrry careful about not healing too early, or I’d pull aggro. These days, thanks to greater tank threat generation, that problem is pretty much non-existent, although it’s still worth knowing about. Don’t unload all of your heals onto the tank right at the beginning of a pull. Toss on a Rejuv just as he’s running in and then go from there.

After that, thanks to the magic of TreePower, you will find in many lower-level dungeons that you don’t have a lot to do other than let your HoTs tick. Don’t worry, if you like casting, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to Heal Like a Maniac in raids once you’re all grown up. (*cough Valkyr Twins cough*)

6.) Tranquility? Awesome for when AoE damage gets out of your control. Causes a ton of threat, but again– that’s not as big of an issue now as it used to be.

A note here, for when you get into raids: It only effects the members of your party. That is, the five of you that you see in your party and not the entire raid. Still, don’t immediately dismiss this spell just because you are in a raiding environment. I think I was once laughed at for using it in a raid (I say “think” because what happened was that somebody made a non-specific snide comment right after I used it.) Assuming that was directed to me, what that person didn’t realize was that everyone in my party, myself included, was taking tons of AoE damage. Tranquility was perfectly justified and I got the last laugh. So there.

7. Barkskin is Awesome. You get Barkskin at level 44. Put it somewhere prominent on your action bars and learn to love it. Mobs on you? Barkskin. You’re taking lots of damage? Barkskin. You get one of those random huge DoT debuffs that various mobs like to fling at you? Barkskin. A lot of new trees forget about this spell, but it’s amazing, so get in the habit of using it!

8. What Do I Do With this Newfangled Lifebloom Spell? Use it when you need an extra HoT. Use it when you anticipate someone taking a lot of damage in the next five or six seconds. Use it when Clearcasting procs so you get free mana back. Bellweather has some awesome Lifebloom tips (as well as hot pictures of Gambit) over at her blog.

9. Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires: I know we’ve all heard “Don’t stand in the fire” a million kazillion times before, but it bears repeating if you are new to healing because sometimes, we just get so zeroed in on staring at those health bars that we forget to watch our surroundings. Don’t let that happen to you! Remember– you’re a druid and as such you have a bunch of heals that you can cast while moving. Not to mention that a quick shapeshift will get you out of most snares, and you’ve got Cat Form + Dash at your disposal if absolutely necessary. Don’t stay rooted (groan) to the spot when bad things happen.

10. Dance Often. Because you’re a tree, and not dancing is a crime.

TreeTime

Need More Info?: I talk about Leveling Resto Specs here and about general Tree’ings here. Happy Healing!

Comments 12 Comments »

Since my last “Advice for New Hunters” post seemed to go over so well, I figured I’d make one specifically geared toward instancing. Now I made one of these a while back, but it was a.) during Burning Crusade and b.) Aimed more toward 70s/heroics. So, here’s one mostly directed for newer hunters!

See, in doing my random instancing I’ve seen a lot of things like hunters randomly using traps at strange places or complaining about why they aren’t higher on Recount (because, you know, Scarlet Monastery is serious business). So, here are some tips to make your instancing smoother:

1.) Know Your Shots. Until you get Steady Shot at 50, this basically means keeping Serpent Sting up, then Arcane Shot when you can, and Multi/Aimed depending on your spec. Don’t bother with Concussive Shot because it doesn’t do damage (but it does use up mana!). Distracting Shot is another one that you don’t want to use… not only does it not do any damage, but it taunts enemies to attack you instead! (Thank you to Anna for reminding me of this one in the comments.)

Once you hit 50 it means using Steady Shot when everything else is on cooldown. Pretty simple!

2.) Don’t Forget Your Pet. I’m not going to rant about using the wrong type of pet or anything because I do understand– you’re leveling, having a bear actually makes sense if you’re mostly questing and just hopping into LFG every once in a while. However, lemme tell you something I’ve learned when wearing the Tree Suit. 90% of hunters I’ve ran into in heroics– heroics– don’t use Mend Pet. Why? I have no idea. This baffles me. Seriously, read this and then remember that now we have Culling the Herd, too, if you have any questions.

Anyways, the point is that I think Not Using Mend Pet is a very bad habit, and it’s one to break now while you’re still leveling. I know it may seem like a lot to keep track of, but honestly, soon “checking your pet” while doing your rotation will become second nature to you, much like checking your rear-view mirror while driving. So: learn to keep an eye on your pet, bind Mend Pet to an easy-to-remember keybind, and you’ll thank me later! *nod*

While we’re on the subject of pets, turn Growl off while you are in an instance.

3.) Regarding Those Traps… Explosive Trap is acceptable for AoE damage pre-Volley. Once you get Volley (level 40), it’s much superior for instancing.

Most of the other traps involve situational usage. Freezing Trap was, long ago, near and dear to my heart but it’s rare that you’re asked to trap these days, particularly in a low-level instance. However, it’s still useful for things like mobs running at you if Feign Death is on cooldown. No guarantees someone won’t break your trap, though. Frost Trap is a similarly situational one. Immolation Trap really isn’t worth it (I use it in PvP, though.)

So for the most part… don’t worry about your traps.

4.) Viper between pulls. You get Aspect of the Viper at level 20. Learn now to get into the habit of using it between every pull and then going back to Hawk when you’re actually doing damage.

It is acceptable to use Viper during fights if you absolutely have to, but if you’re careful and use Viper between every pull you usually don’t have to.

5.) Don’t forget Hunter’s Mark! Another good habit to get into is using Hunter’s Mark on what you’re attacking. I see a lot of new hunters who forget about it. Binding it to Pet Attack via a macro is never a bad idea, either:

/petattack
/cast Hunter's Mark


6.) Attack What the Tank is Attacking
: This isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be because so much is just AoE these days, but if you’re in an instance and you’re getting attacked a lot, it’s probably the first thing to look at. “Am I attacking what the tank is attacking?” Make an assist macro if you have to: /assist tank's-name

Sometimes you will get tanks who are just starting out. Learn to compensate.

7.) And I know I’m beating a dead horse here but Don’t Roll On Other People’s Stuff. I know this can be a bit of a tricky gray area especially in low-level dungeons where a lot of gear is bizarrely balanced in terms of stat allocation. And I know that learning “how and when to roll on stuff” is sort of an art form when you’re just starting out. For the most part, if it has Strength on it, don’t roll on it, especially if you have a warrior/paladin/DK in your group. Same deal goes for Spell Power: it does nothing to help you out.

Okay, I can’t think of anything else that is super vitally important to put here, so we’ll call it good for now. Hopefully this will be of some use to you newer hunters/players. Have fun in LFG!

Comments 31 Comments »

Note: This post is primarily directed to people who are not just new to hunters, but new to World of Warcraft as well. So if you already have fiftynine-thousand level 80s, you are free to skip this post. Or you can read and offer your own suggestions in the comments. Up to you!


There are a lot of WoW-related communities over at LiveJournal but my favorite, I think, is “WoW Noobs“, where people who are new to the game or to some aspect of it can come ask questions and receive friendly, non-judgmental advice. One of the really neat things about it is that a lot of the members are people who originally joined when they were new, themselves, and now stick around to pass on the proverbial torch. I’m one of those people; long, long ago, a BabyHunter Pike left a post there asking what the heck the meeting stone outside of Deadmines was.

I digress, though.

After all these years it appears that hunters are still the most popular class that new players pick, and it was a combination of a.) the sheer number of questions from new hunters who link their Armories on WoW Noobs and ask for help, and b.) all the hunters I’m running into in my warlock‘s random dungeons who roll need on strength gear, that inspired me to write this post. Remember, not everyone is an alt.

This is for you, new hunter! Welcome to the game! /wave

Here are some handy things to keep in mind as you travel through Azeroth (and beyond) as a hunter.

1.) Strength Is Not For You: If a gear has strength on it, you probably don’t need it. Exceptions are made if it has a ton of Agility on it, outweighing the strength. The fact, though, is that you are a ranged attacker and strength does nothing for ranged: it is a pure melee stat only! /nod

(While we are at it, Expertise is another melee stat that is not for you. Thank you to Argon in the comments for suggesting I add this!)

2.) Spell Power is Not For You: As hunters do not cast spells, spell power does nothing for you either!

3.) Agility IS for you!
: It effects your attack power, your crit, and (in a roundabout way), your pet’s attack power as well. Win-win all around!

4.) Max Out Your Talents: One thing I frequently see new players do is go through every spell in every talent tree and drop one or two points in each talent. If you are doing this, don’t feel too bad. I did it too. Yes, at some point in Tawyn’s long and sordid history, she was spec’d something like 2/5 Improved Hawk, 1/5 Endurance Training, 1/2 Improved Concussive Shot, 3/5 Lethal Shots, 2/3 Hawk Eye… yeah.

However, it is generally much better to max out those talents and to, for the most part, pick one talent tree and stick with it. Now, exceptions can be made to this “rule”, and there are some cookie cutter specs that involve not maxing out talents for various reasons. However, that’s generally not something you will have to worry about as a new player.

5.) Pet Control!: With the new LFG system, more and more people are doing dungeons at low-level, which is awesome. I recommend having your pet at least on Defensive, and if you’re really old-school and curmudgeony like I am you can even put it on Passive. Aggressive is bad.

See, if you are new not just to WoW but to MMOs in general, I can see how this could cause some confusion. It confused the heck out of me when I went into my first dungeon. I figured killing more stuff was good, so I put my pet on Aggresive. Bad idea. In a dungeon, you generally want pulls to be done methodically or at least relatively logically. Stay behind the tank and send your pet in on mobs the tank has aggro on.

While we’re on the subject, be sure to turn Growl off also! It’s your pet’s taunt and you generally don’t want things in instances attacking your pet. (There are situational emergency uses where it’s okay, but that’s more of a 300 level class and this is Hunter 101.)

6.) Massive Quantities of Sustained, Ranged DPS*: You are not a melee class. Do not do it. Leave it for your pet. You are designed to stand far away and unleash damage on things from afar.

I seem to keep running into lowbie hunters who roll Need on 2H axes loaded with Strength, and when asked why, proceed to tell me they are going to “try it out”. This always baffles me a bit. What is there to try out about it? Strength is a melee stat, and you will do much better if you just avoid melee. Trust me on this one. You are not a Rogue With a Pet. Although pretending to be one in PvP is hilarious. But that’s beside the point.

7.) Getting In Gear: Bad pun is bad. Sorreh. Aaanyway, As a hunter, you wear leather until level 40, and then you “learn” how to wear mail. This means a few different things. First of all, cloth is not for you… it doesn’t have your stats on it (minus a few hilarious “of the monkey” exceptions.) Secondly, not all leather/mail is for you. Remember, keep an eye on your stats. You are looking for Agility, Attack Power, and those sorts of things.

Thirdly, just because you’ve hit level 40, doesn’t mean you have to run out and replace all of your leather right away. Let it come to you. It will!

8.) About those shot rotations…: Sometimes I see low level hunters frantically concerned with shot rotations. Some of these hunters don’t even have Steady Shot yet. Here’s the deal: Until you get all of your shots (or at least Steady Shot), shot priorities isn’t something you have to worry about very much. Keep Serpent Sting up, use Arcane/Aimed when they’re not on cooldown, and you’re good to go. It is mostly a “learn as you go” thing, so don’t worry about it too much when you’re still knee-high to a grasshopper. And frankly, it’s a lot more intuitive these days than it was pre-WotLK, so learn it you will!

9.) Pick the Talent Tree You Want: I frequently see two different variants here: hunters who level up as some raiding spec they found on Elitist Jerks, and hunters who level up as Beast Mastery because it’s “the leveling tree”. I’m here to tell you: you can do those things if you want, but you don’t have to. It’s not going to kill you/ruin your WoW career if you don’t do SFK or Wailing Caverns as the level 22 variation of cookie-cutter Survival. And on the flip side of the coin, leveling as Marksmanship/Survival is nearly as easy as leveling as Beast Mastery. And it’s even easier now that you can basically level exclusively through LFG. Trust me. I say this as someone who has ten thousand hunters and has leveled them pretty much every way imaginable. Don’t stress about it too much. Try out what looks fun to you!

10.) There Are Jerks In This Game. Just as there are pretty much everywhere. You’re going to wind up in the group with the guy who is decked in heirlooms and spends the entire instance run talking about his five-million gearscore whatever. You’re going to wind up in the group with the person who tells you rather unkindly that you’re “doing it wrong” (though half the time, they’re doing it wrong themselves, as well.) It’s gonna happen. But you know what? It’s okay. Because you’ll also randomly end up in awesome groups with great people who are willing to help you out. Just have fun!

WELL, this post feels somewhat sloppy and half-completed to me, but honestly I think the best thing to do is get it out there and have you wonderful readers fill in the holes in the comments, since I know I left a lot of things out. A wise man once said “Release early, release often”, after all. And I think you guys would have a lot to contribute to this topic. What’s your advice to new hunters/new WoW’ers?

* Keeping the legend alive with this phrase, fo’shizzle.

Comments 54 Comments »

Veeeeerrrry slowly.

Ahem. Sorry. That wasn’t the point of the post. >.> Although it is quite true.

Any-whotsit, I get a frequent amount of e-mail or comments asking about how one should go about leveling a hunter, and with my latest TreePost I’m also getting some questions on how one levels a Tree. So I figured I’d give it a quick rundown!

Hunter:
Hunter is something I’ve leveled a bajillion times by now and I can toss up a leveling talent spec in my sleep. It typically goes something like this: dump 5 points in Lethal Shots (because I’m a Crit Monster), and then head down a “modified” version of “Beast Master Raid”. By modified, I mean 5/5 Endurance Training (instead of 5/5 Improved Aspect of the Hawk), and 3/3 Thick Hide. I used to also do 2/2 Spirit Bond but at this point I think Animal Handler is the stronger talent, even when leveling, and with Endurance Training and Thick Hide, most things would be hard-pressed to kill your pet anyway, especially if you choose to go all out and nab a Glyph of Mending.

My current casual hunter project is a level 55 hunter named Althalor; here is his talent spec thus far. (Gosh it’s nostalgic to see 41 points in Beast Mastery.)

Now remember, you really can’t go too wrong with a leveling spec. It’s not like Elitist Jerks is sitting around theorycrafting the most efficient ways to kill ten kobolds. Although that would amuse me.

Beast Mastery is obviously not your only option here. Tawyn leveled to 58ish as Marksmanship. Leveling Survival seems to be super in vogue now from inspecting the lowbies I see running around; I worry about potential pet-threat issues once you get Explosive, but hey, it’d make a great challenge I’m sure!

“I’m a level one hunter and have no idea where to start! Help me Pikey-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” is another similar question/plea I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot. My answer here would be to direct you to my 12-part “So You Want to Play a Hunter” series, which will walk you step by step through playing a hunter from levels 1 – 70.

Caveats About Said Guide: This was written pre-WotLK, so a.) it only takes you up to 70, and b.) Some of the stuff regarding things like Auto/Steady shot weaving, certain levels at which you learn things, and a few abilities are not present or are significantly different. Still, most of the lowbie stuff is relatively accurate, and it’s the best I can offer until someone ties me to my desk and kicks me into rewriting the thing for WotLK.


Resto Druid
:
Most people will tell you to either level Feral and tote around a healing set for instances, or level Balance. Pike will tell you that there is nothing that will teach you to heal the way leveling full blown Resto and living in LFG and healing instances will. This is why if I plan on being a healer at end game, I level as a healer. The experience is invaluable.

Anyways.

I do make a few tweaks here, although it depends rather on your style of how-you-will-(slowly)-kill-things-between-healing-dungeons.

If your style is to nuke things to death as a mini-moonkin, then you may want to stick to your standard resto spec, albeit maybe getting your Balance points out of the way first, or tweaking Balance a bit so you have the shortened cast time on Wrath/Starfire. Completely acceptable.

If you tend to do as I do and play as a RestoKitty, I’ll fill out 5/5 Naturalist and sometimes Furor as well. Neither of these talents are ones you will have at as a level 80 tree, however, they make leveling go considerably smoother. Some RestoKitties have even gone one or two tiers into Feral as well, though I’ve yet to try this myself.

As a RestoKitty, it may be to your benefit to keep some of the Rogue-ish gear you will no doubt acquire in your questing and travels and toss it on when you have to do a quest. When you combine that with a RestoKitty-ish spec, your solo’ing and questing– while it won’t be blazing fast– also won’t be as gimpy as people tend to assume it is, at least in my experience.

A word of warning, however: RestoKitty does become more difficult to pull off as you get higher in levels, so it may be worth your while to switch to the spellcasting method of solo’ing once you hit 60 or 70, or look into dual-specs.

Other options: RestoKin/Dreamstate typically involves going deep enough into Balance for Moonkin Form and then dumping the rest of your talent points into Restoration; something akin to this. This makes you a versatile, Red Mage-styled, jack of all trades who can heal pretty dang well and still kill things relatively quickly. I couldn’t do this myself, partially because I’m too in love with Tree Form and partially because I’m also in love with Wild Growth, however, I’ve heard that it’s very effective and might be something you want to look into.

RestoFeral is considerably rarer, and from what I can tell involves things like Nurturing Instinct and going about half deep in each tree. The lack of overlap between gear and talents would, I think, make this more unwieldy than RestoKin, but some people have done it, and it might be worth a shot if you really like RestoKitty.

Hokays! I hope that helped a bit and/or was able to clear some things up. Lemme know if I made some dire mistake (like saying Naxx boots dropped from Karazhan, not like I’ve uh, ever done that before of course >_>;;), in the meantime, I’m off to go read more Jules Verne <3

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Let me begin by saying that this is a post that’s been rolling around in my head for some time now, but I am just now summoning up the courage to actually write it up. There were two reasons why this was. The first was that, as I’ve mentioned before, I try not to post too much non-hunter stuff on this blog, just out of the name of organization. Then it occurred to me that even though I personally care about that sort of thing, most of you probably don’t, so I stopped trying to let it bother me.

The second and larger reason was that I felt terribly unqualified to write about resto druids. When you grow up in a blogosphere that includes Phaelia, Bell, Leafshine, Sylly, and dozens of other druids who have been doing the Tree thing FOREVER, you sort of feel like you could never do a resto druid post justice since they’ve already covered everything and they probably know more than you do– not to mention you worry you’d be impinging on their territory.

But then as I was contemplating all of this on Twitter the other day, I made an offhanded comment about how I’d just finished two-healing ToC10 and found the last fight pretty intense, at which point someone replied with a comment like “Wait, you’re healing ToC10 but you don’t feel qualified to make a post on resto druid basics?”

At which point I realized he’s probably right, and I am just being overly humble as I am prone to do x_x

So here ya go, Pike Talks Trees:

TreeBubble

INTRODUCTION:

What is tree healing? Probably the best I can do to describe it is to say that it’s an extremely versatile healing style that focuses largely on HoTs, or Heal-over-Time spells. Note the “extremely versatile” bit though: there are many different personal takes and styles regarding Tree Healing, and it’s one of the more interesting things about it I think that differentiates it from hunters or probably most DPS classes in general, which is much more “Here’s your spec, here’s your glyphs, here’s your rotation”-based.

Tree Healing is very mobile: a good percentage of the spells you will be using are instant cast so you can use them while jumping up and down or running around. No excuses here for standing in the fire!

Tree Healing is– with my personal style anyway– focused on damage prevention and “pre-healing”. When raid healing, you’ll work nicely with a healer who compliments that by filling in the gaps, so to speak. One of the more neat healing experiences I’ve had was healing Patchwerk; it was just me and a holy paladin and I was keeping the tanks stuffed up with HoTs while the paladin filled in the gaps. It worked quite awesomely.

TreeTime

SPEC:
Sort of like the vast number of healing styles available to you, there is definitely room for flexibility in your basic healing druid spec. A very rough framework would probably look something like this. You’ll also notice you have nine points leftover to play with, which you can use to tailor your spec to your own healing style. For example, if you find yourself using Nourish a lot, Empowered Touch and Nature’s Grace might be to your liking. If in addition to using Nourish a lot, you find yourself having mana issues, you’ll probably want to fill out Tranquil Spirit as well. Living Seed has its fans and detractors, personally I’m a fan myself, probably because I lean toward being a Regrowth fiend at times.

But yeah, the point is: you’ve got options!

GLYPHS:
Going along with the trend, we’ve got options as well when it comes to glyphs. Rejuvenation and Healing Touch (if you find yourself wanting a pre-Nourish flash heal) are great options for leveling, I’ve found. Once you hit 80, the Nourish glyph is extremely powerful, and the Swiftmend one is pretty nice as well. If you find yourself doing a lot of raid healing, Wild Growth is a great glyph. Innervate has its uses and fans, and if you use Regrowth a lot, the Regrowth glyph is delicious. Again, this all comes down to your personal style!

I wanna be like you when I grow up!

I wanna be like you when I grow up!

SPELLS:
Ah yes, the meat (or bark?) of being a restoration druid. Let’s take a look at the spells you’ll have, and when to use them:

Healing Touch: This is the first healing spell you’ll learn and it’s… hmm. Let’s just say you’re probably never going to use it again except in conjunction with Nature’s Swiftness as an emergency heal, or more accurately, one of your “OH CRAP” buttons. I have Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch tied to a macro, and it’s basically an instant cast flash heal on 3 minute cooldown. I use it when someone’s health is dropping surprisingly quickly and I need to give them a buffer before I can start stuffing them full of proper HoTs.

Rejuvenation: This is a spell that most resto druids hold near and dear to their leafy heart, and rightly so. It’s very powerful and versatile. A DPS took some damage? Rejuv. You took some damage? Rejuv. Tank needs more HoTs? Rejuv.

You will probably notice yourself using this spell the most when you’re raid healing. Fights like Razorscale or Twin Valks are essentially just using Rejuvenation at every. Global. Cooldown. and Wild Growth every six seconds.

No, seriously.

Learn to love it.

Regrowth: Assuming you’re crazy like me and leveling resto, once you’ve got your holy duo of Rejuvenation and Regrowth, that will become your healing style up until you hit the Outlands levels. Stick a Rejuvenation on the tank and use Regrowth to fill in the gaps. It’s very whack-a-mole-ish, but there ya go.

Your use of this spell at higher levels is going to be situational and depend largely on your own personal taste. I tend to use it as a flash heal more often than I use Nourish, simply because it also tacks on a HoT at the end that lasts for a whopping 27 seconds if talented correctly. So if you’re in a fight where there’s lots of AoE damage going around, you may as well use it and give yourself that extra HoT buffer, ya know?

A typical strategy that I would do for someone that needs a lot of flash healing, though, would be An “OHCRAP button” if needed, then Regrowth once, followed by as many Nourishes as you need to prop that person back up to near full.

That’s just me, though– as I said, Regrowth is kind of one of those “You’ve gotta come up with your own style for it” spells.

Nature’s Swiftness: Useful in conjunction with Regrowth at lower levels; once you hit the higher ones it exists primarily to be used in a macro with Healing Touch as an OHCRAP Button (see Healing Touch above).

Tranquility: A Massive AoE heal that is helpful for when AoE damage somehow goes haywire and gets out of your control, or useful as a one final attempt to salvage a potential wipe. I don’t use it very often though it can be handy on stuff like Gluth’s decimate. Also drives your opponents insane when you do it in the middle of a bridge turtle in Alterac Valley. >_>

Swiftmend: One of your OHCRAP Buttons, Swiftmend is essentially a flash heal on a reasonable cooldown. It’s unusual in that it heals for the amount that your HoT would heal for, but all at one time. Last I checked it picks Rejuvenation first if you have multiple HoTs on your target. Do remember that it won’t work unless you do have a HoT on your target first!

Wild Growth: Awesome AoE heal that you will quickly become addicted to. Very useful to use on the melee DPS/tank area since they tend to soak up the most damage; also handy for when a poison cloud or ring of fire pops up underneath an unsuspecting group of ranged.

I like to use it on pets if they need it, because I’m nice and because it gives a boost to the melee anyway.

I also like to jump into the middle of the action while using it on myself, because it makes me feel heroic. But then, I’m odd.

Lifebloom: Oh gosh. If I had to pick one resto druid ability with a long and windy history, I’d pick Lifebloom. Anyways, this sort of falls into the Regrowth category of “You’ve got to play around with it and find your own style” at this point.

It’s an unusual heal in that it stacks up to three times on a single target, and you can either “refresh” your stack by using another Lifebloom before it “falls off”, OR you can let it “bloom” for a decent little flash heal and get some of your mana back. Way back in the day all druids ever did was refresh Lifebloom, but these days that’s rather mana inefficient so you see more people letting it bloom.

I tend to use Lifebloom for the following situations: Heavy tank damage where an extra HoT is needed (Patchwerk, various enrages, etc.), an extra AoE heal if needed (in conjunction with Rejuvenation and Wild Growth), and situations where you can time when someone will need a heal (Loken in Halls of Lightning, Loatheb, etc.) I.E., if you time it just right, you can get the bloom to bloom right when someone will need it.

Once you get a decent set of gear it’s also pretty much the only spell you’ll ever need to use in heroics. Stick three on your tank, let ‘er bloom, rinse, repeat. Wild Growth and Rejuv for your occasional AoE damage and you’re good to go.

Some very good druids I’ve talked to never use this spell, others use it quite frequently. Experiment and figure out what’s best for you!

Nourish: Your token flash heal and the subject of Nourish vs. Regrowth debates everywhere! This is another one of those spells where some druids use it a lot, others not so much.

As for me, I tend to treat it sort of like a minor OHCRAP Button. That is to say, once my Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch macro and Swiftmend are gone, and I know HoTs aren’t gonna cut it, it often turns into a Nourish spam race. This works very nicely in conjunction with Nature’s Grace, which is the specific reason why I roll with that talent.

Druids who use this spell a lot tend to use it to “fill in” their HoTs, similar to what you’d do with Regrowth while leveling. Me, I often find this to be too whack-a-moley, so I tend to stick with HoTs. Your HoTs will do just fine in most heroics or five-mans and in raids you’ve probably got another healer (or two, or three, or…) taking the “place” of your Nourish for you.

Again though, mess around and see what you like!

WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE?
:

Now if you are newer to Tree’ing, you might be feeling like your head is reeling a bit at this point. All these heals? All these “situational uses”? But what about in practice?

Take a look at my tree’s healing output for a recent fight; in this case, Anub’arak at the end of ToC10:

TamarynHealsAnubarak

You will notice that Rejuvenation was a good bulk of my heals, followed by Lifebloom. I’m assuming this is because what with the little bugs running around and that sort of thing, this was a fight where a lot of people were taking random bits of damage, so it was turning into a “Let’s toss a HoT on everyone” fest– which, you will discover, is prone to happen in raids a lot.

Here’s my overall data, for that entire ToC10 run:

TamarynHealsToC10

Remember earlier when I said that I tend towards using Regrowth more than Nourish? Yeah. That thing heals like a truck. …erm. Maybe not the best analogy. But you know. (“heals like an emergency room”… “heals like Dr. House”…?)

Anyways, though, you’ll notice in this example that most of what you see here falls in line with what I was saying in my post. The addictive nature of Wild Growth (I used it 1319 times, apparently), the frequent use of Rejuvenation, with Regrowth and Lifebloom to back them up, and then Swiftmend, Healing Touch, and (to an extent) Nourish as the “OHCRAPS”.

Now, is this necessarily what your healing output would look like? Maybe, maybe not. The main thing about resto druids is that there are so many ways to heal and the best advice I can give to you is to practice. Healing is all about instinct and gut feelings and having to react and make decisions on the fly. There is no “rotation” because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s very, very different from DPSing, and if you haven’t tried it, I’d suggest doing so! It’s like a whole different game.

Well, there you have it. How I do it when Pike iz 4 healz. I hope that this perhaps answered any questions or gave basic advice to any newer or up’n'coming trees, and hey, if this goes over well there might be more tree stuff in the future– at this point my druid has seen almost as much content as my hunter has, and you know what, I like it that way. Variety is awesome.

/treewave

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I made this movie waaaay back at level 70, but I just watched it and it still appears to be relevant to us today. So after cleaning up the comment section a bit (the things that pop up on YouTube movies in a year and a half /sigh), I thought I’d share it (again) to those of you who perhaps haven’t seen it. The Jump Shot is a situational hunter move that helps us to kite things or during PvP, and is also a really fun trick to impress people with when you’re on a low-level, pre-pet hunter. It’s always a handy thing to know, I think ^_^

I still sound like a giant dork, but maybe someone will find it helpful nonetheless! =D

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OnyxiaMG

Phase One: Don’t stand behind her! Stand off to her side or something. Misdirect onto the tank. Pewpew!

Phase Two: Onyxia will be in the air, so you can keep shooting her, although your pet won’t be able to reach her. What I’ll typically do here is stick my pet on the “large adds” that show up every once and a while.

Whelps will show up every so often. Once the offtank has a firm grasp on them, Volley to your heart’s content. If your computer is slowish, do not look at the resulting AoE. (You’ll thank me later).

Every so often, Onyxia will do a Deep Breath. You’ll know cause it’ll say “Onxyia takes a deep breath…” This, roughly translated, means “Don’t stand in front of her or you will die.” I’ve found that your best bet here is usually to just get out of the middle and run to the side, as it is surprisingly difficult to keep track of where she is when she’s flying around.

Phase Three: Your pet can attack Onyxia again– yay! Back to a tank and spank, except that Onyxia has this annoying tendency to toss fears around like no tomorrow. Bestial Wrath (and presumably things like the PvP trinket, etc.) will get you out of it, but it won’t be off cooldown nearly enough to save you from all of them. Just grit your teeth and bear it, and don’t stand too close to the whelp caves on the side, lest you are feared into it.

Phase Four: Loots! Whee!

I got a gun out of Onyxia-10 a few days back, which means for the first time since Naxx10, I have a non-sucky ranged weapon. Still holding out for the 25-man version, but this will work nicely in the meantime. I think my favorite part about the new gun is how plain-looking it looks from a distance, although it has some nice little details on it if you zoom in. In the plainness is the beauty, I think. I rolled on some epic crossbow in ToC25 but I’m kind of glad I didn’t win it, my plain lil’ gun is better aesthetically. /huggles it

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LoadScreenArgentDungeonAs I’ve written about before, there are a lot of goodies for everyone in the new five-man instance, Trial of the Champion, and hunters are no exception. As such, I’ve ran it a lot on Tawyn and even more on Lunapike (at this point I’m running it for the gun. About a dozen runs and no gun so far. Our Pike is a Sad Pike. Marrowstrike, on the other hand, consistently and dutifully shows its face every other time. Too bad I got it on my first run…)

Anyways, I’ve ran it so much that I’ve got a good idea on what to do as a hunter. And since I figured there’s always new hunters out there who haven’t run it yet and will probably do so in the near future… here is a handy guide for you! ^_^ It is probably a little skewed towards Beast Masters but hunters of all stripes should find something useful here, I hope.

So here we go!

FIRST BOSS: WALL OF TEXT

It is an “intro” that introduces all the competitors and it crits you for eightmillion, every time, no matter what.

Okay, so it’s not really a boss. >.> Hey, you can’t blame me, I come from a background where we’d go “HEY GUYS CAN WE GET SOME TIPS, WE CAN’T GET PAST THE GONG BOSS” in Zul’Aman General Chat.

Aaaaanyways…

FIRST BOSS: THE JOUSTING THING

There are a bunch of guys who you will have to joust. I’d direct you to the Jousting movie I made earlier, but this is really quite different because there are four other people who will be doing it with you. The main deal here is to keep your shields up and charge when you can, and shield break between charges.

If you somehow lose your mount (you are unable to heal your mount during this), try to do it near the wall where you can hop onto a new mount very quickly. Otherwise, you may be trampled and stunned, oh, and for some reason it has this tendency to kill your pet. So try to avoid being dismounted for long.

After all is said and done your group is probably going to run out of the instance, because the transition to fighting them is… unpleasant. This is getting fixed in the next patch, but until then, you’re runnin’ out.

Once you run back in, you’ll have a little time to set up before fighting the three bosses. Don’t forget to unequip your lance in favor of whatever your Stat-Stick of choice is.

I open up with a misdirect on the tank + Multishot to help him grab early aggro on the three bosses. The main thing that you as a hunter need to know about this is that there is bubbly goo on the floor that a.) you should not stand in, and b.) your pet should not stand in either. The tank should be moving out of the way of the goo so your pet shouldn’t be in it for very long, so Mend Pet is probably all you will need. Just keep an eye on your pet’s health throughout the encounter, and you should be good to go.

FIRST AND A HALF BOSS: EADRIC THE PURE

You’re either going to get this guy or some other boss. Let’s talk about this guy first. He is, by far, the easier of the two.

Step-by-step instructions:
1.) Hunter’s Mark/Pet Attack
2.) Pewpew

…okay, so there are a couple things you need to be made aware of. The first is a thing where he yells out “HAMMER OF THE RIGHTEOUS!” and hurtles a hammer at you. Basically, it actually takes away all your abilities except for the hammer, and you have to chuck it back at the guy. Pretty self-explanatory. If you “kill” the guy with it you get an achievement, but don’t hold on to it for too long or about 90% of your health will go byebye.

The second thing is that he’ll do a big flash of light which will blind you for a few seconds and make you unable to attack. The easy way to get out of it is to spin around when you see the warning, watch for the light flash behind you, and spin back. If you miss it, it’s not a big deal, I just think it’s kind of fun to do.

It doesn’t effect your pet so just let him gnaw on the boss! Whee!

SECOND BOSS: PALETRESS

This fight is actually really difficult and is probably the first where I’ve developed a little huntery strategy for it. First of all, make sure you have full mana or close to it at the beginning. Viper on the mobs before it if you have to.

Okay, now, this is my strategy. Your mileage may vary.

Paletress will come out. Start doing your thing but don’t pop any cooldowns yet. Don’t Bestial Wrath. Don’t Kill Command. Don’t trinket. Don’t Rapid Fire. Because Paletress herself goes down like a rock without it anyway. Now…

She’ll summon something. Usually an old raid or instance boss. This isn’t as awesome as it sounds because instead of the old boss doing all their Old Boss Abilities, they just sort of sit there and smash on the tank and occasionally fear. So, it’s kind of a let-down.

But they’re really difficult to fight.

So THIS is when you pop all your cooldowns. You want that “Memory of [Whatever]” down as fast as possible. Not to mention, Bestial Wrath makes you immune to the fear (which is especially annoying because it also does damage).

Once the Memory is down it’s back to Paletress who once again goes down like a rock.

NOTE: I’m not sure how or why but my pet has this tendency to randomly take a lot of damage throughout this entire fight. I think Paletress and the Memory both have an aura or something that does damage. Anyways, keep a Mend Pet up and keep a close eye on your pet’s health.

LAST BOSS: THE BLACK KNIGHT

This guy is also pretty difficult. There are three phases to this guy, and here’s the lowdown:

1.) Pop everything you’ve got on the first phase– you might as well. Unless you’re a Marksman, Rapid Fire probably isn’t up yet from the previous fight, but don’t worry, it’ll likely be ready for the last phase.

2.) Second Phase! The Black Knight is apparently a Death Knight and summons Army of the Dead. You can AoE them but I’ve found that it’s often best to just focus fire down the Black Knight himself as fast as possible. If you do choose to AoE then keep your pet on the boss while you volley the adds.

The adds will probably be running around so Feign Death/trap to keep them out of your hair. With some luck this phase won’t last that long.

There are green circles on the ground, don’t stand in them. /mock stern face

VERY IMPORTANT: Once the Black Knight himself is down, all the adds will explode. One time I was in the middle of the adds when they did so. I died. Please do not stand near the adds!

3.) For the third phase, the Black Knight turns into a ghost and it’s back to a tank-n-spank. I’m not sure if there’s a threat wipe or not but I always misdirect the tank at the beginning of this phase, just in case. The main twist here is that there’s a bunch of random damage being dished out to all the party members so this is mostly a healer fight. Don’t be afraid to use things like healthstones, Lifeblood, Gift of the Naaru, or health potions here to help alleviate the healer’s woes a bit.

Just get him down fast– most of your cooldowns are probably back by now.

And that’s that! ^_^ Happy loot-diving~

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