Sometimes I wear a mask for a while.

There was that warlock that I leveled to 64 or something, and there was the druid who hit 80 and whom I raided with. Then there were all the other druids I promptly rolled. Then there were all those other classes I rolled which never hit 50. I think the closest was a 42(?) rogue.

And you know, it’s fun. And I’d like to think I’m an okay druid.

But then I take off the mask and become a hunter again and I’m in my element, doing something as natural to me as breathing. This is the part of the game that’s in my blood.

Hunters have changed a lot over the last five years. The skill of watching your pet’s aggro when you solo– and your own aggro in a group– is mostly gone. The art of chain trapping is largely gone now that traps last over twice as long as they used to and are rarely used anyway. Ferocious Inspiration, once a Beast Master’s most iconic talent outside of Bestial Wrath, is gone. Steady Shot and Arcane Shot swapped places as the Shot We Liked and then we dumped Steady altogether for Cobra. Shot weaving is gone. Mana is gone.

Blizzard doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing with Aspects. At one point we had a whole bunch of them and it felt like an important part of the class, but now we’re down to “Aspect of the Always Use so It Should Really Just be Baseline”, “Aspect of the Running From the Bank to the Mailbox”, and “Aspect of the PvP Maybe or Something?” and the latter is about to be removed.

Hunters of all specs languish at the bottom of DPS simulations, and Beast Masters are so bursty currently that PvPers are complaining and we’re probably first in line for the traditional x.1 nerfbat.

It’s a tricky business.

So what are people doing? Retiring the hunter until Blizzard figures out what they’re doing with the class? Perhaps. As for me, I couldn’t ever permanently put on another mask. Five and a half years of playing a single class drills instincts and habits into you that you wouldn’t have playing something different, and perhaps it puts a certain mindset into you, as well.

And so I’ll keep doing what hunters have always done. Surviving.

All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies.
And whenever they catch you, they will kill you.
But first, they must catch you. Digger, listener, runner. Prince with a swift warning.
Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

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Before I go into this I need to caveat this by saying that I quit raiding halfway through WotLK so this is coming purely from a “casual” perspective. I know that there are some kerfuffles going on regarding raiding but I have no personal experience with that so I can’t comment on it.

That said, Mists of Pandaria is fantastic so far. I really don’t have enough praise for it. I love the pandas. I love the quests. I love that I can group with people on other servers. I really love the zones. Every single zone so far is better than every one of the Cata zones (with the exception of Uldum but Uldum was just god-tier in every way so it sort of doesn’t count.)

Blizz has made a lot of really great quality of life changes and I appreciate them. I’m still waiting for a “toybox” or something to hold all of the toys we’re getting in panda quests because my bags could really use a break, but BEYOND THAT I love everything.

MoP has really revitalized the game for me. Cata was just… I don’t know. I wanted so much to like it. I appreciate all the immense amount of work Blizzard put into revamping 1-60, I really do. But something about it just didn’t click for me. Uldum, and to a lesser extent Vas’jir, were the only two new zones that I liked, and the others were thoroughly forgettable. Similarly I only really liked two of the new dungeons while the others just… urgh. Anyways, that’s why I hardly played at all during that expac.

But now here we are and I’m having a blast and Mr. Pike and I are talking about doing Loremaster because we’re just having that much fun!

Also, apparently a male blood elf hunter is my main now. I know, I know. But Mr. Pike rolled a female blood elf mage and grouping them up together is ridiculously adorable. Fun fact: this blood elf of mine has been around since Burning Crusade. No really, I think he was in his 50s or something when Wrath hit. Then I got him to 63 or so and quit leveling him entirely until about four weeks ago and now he’s level 88.

Also he’s cute. Shut up. MALE BLOOD ELVES ARE CUTE OKAY. I mean look at this bad boy:

Would tame.

How is MoP treating you, my friends?

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Tawyn, Hunter #1, has been making the rounds on and off for years and nothing.

Lunapike, Hunter #2, has been making the rounds on and off for years and nothing.

But today I was doing panda quests on Tawyn and I thought “Huh, Hunter #3 is my cat collector. I should send him up to Sholazar and see what happens.”

And so it came to pass that Althalor, Hunter #3, snagged Loque on his very first tiptoe into Sholazar Basin. Lucky SOB.

Congrats, belf boy. You’ve come a long way from posing with the Rake on

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So I was running a panda through Westfall the other day– haven’t done it since the Cataclysm redo– and was very amused to do a quest which involved finding pages from the Communist manifesto and also bits of cloth that are colored solidarity red.  Honestly I’m surprised the drifters from Westfall aren’t busy occupying Stormwind.

The Red Army is the strongest

Honestly I was feeling bad because I just had to interrogate all the homeless people for a quest and all I wanted to do was help them out and be on their side.  It made me wish that they were a faction and that I could hang out and help them rebuild Westfall and we’d do all sorts of neat things like own our own means of production.  But alas, it is not to be.

Oh well.  I put everything on the auction house for dirt cheap, and that sort of counts, right?

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Tawyn just got herself sloshed, got butt naked, and tamed another spirit beast.

I swear I don’t go out looking for these spirit beasts, they just show up when I’m around and then I have to have them.  It’s actually kind of annoying because my stable is almost full.  Good thing I’ve got two level 85 hunters and a level 79 hunter and all those other ones too!

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Let’s dig up some blogosphere cheer!

What have you been up to, my friends?

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So work decided to dump all sorts of overtime on me right as MoP hit.  I do have a guaranteed day off every week! …on Tuesday, and because of my current odd schedule, maintenance is usually starting the minute I wake up.  Between this and wanting to get a decent amount of sleep every night, WoW is, sadly, taking the hit.

Still!  I have tamed some neat things!  Such as:

The raid bosses are creatures that I specifically went after to add to my raid boss pet collection (which began with Magmadar back in 4.0 or something), but the spirit beasts I just stumbled across and tamed spur-of-the-moment.  The owl and blue cat make me happy because, as looooong time readers will remember, my very first pets ever were, in fact, an owl and a blue cat, so I think it’s neat to have… “evolved” versions of them, so to speak!  (I still have the originals, of course.)

I really want to play more WoW and scope out Pandaland and such but yeah, time issues.  I promise I haven’t abandoned you all yet, though!

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Let’s talk about this game. Who’s been around for a long time? Raise your hand. Ah yes, I see you, and you there in the back. When did you all start playing?

Barring a couple of stints messing around in Vanilla Beta, I started really playing in Patch 2.0.3. Burning Crusade was still shiny and new and a few weeks or so into my entry into Azeroth Patch 2.1.0 happened and it was a big deal. Take a look at some of this stuff:

  • “Replaced the current Mend Pet channel spell with an instant cast heal over time. ”  Yes.  Channeled Mend Pet was a thing at one point.
  • Millions of raids and heroics getting nerfed.  And BC raids and heroics were not terribly easy.
  • Black Temple introduced!  Netherwing Dailies introduced!  Druid Flight Form introduced!
  • “Bonus healing gear will no longer effect Mend Pet.” – This is because hunters were decking themselves out in shaman gear and solo’ing everything, which was hilarious, by the way.
  • “Lightsworn Vindicators outside the Black Temple will no longer attack players who are Hostile with the Aldor. ” – Okay, this is just funny.

Weird to go back in time, isn’t it?  There’s a lot of stuff that I think we forget about old WoW.  We get all nostalgic for the stuff that we liked and then forget about the stuff that we didn’t.  Remember when hunters had three– THREE– stable slots?  Remember when you had to go out and tame new pets in order to learn new abilities to teach your pets?   Remember when mounts and companion pets took up bag space?

Often times when I find myself missing an old expansion pack, what I really miss is the playstyle of a particular class.  I miss the careful manual shot-weaving of Burning Crusade, back before Blizz unhooked shots from auto shots.  And when it came to Druid healing, Wrath of the Lich King was my personal favorite.  And so forth.

I can see why Blizzard doesn’t want to introduce legacy servers and such.  Accessibility wise, the game has done little but improve.  Blizzard doesn’t want to “rewind” and reverse those improvements.  But when you get attached to a certain class or spec’s playstyle and it gets all changed up– that’s what I miss.

Well, and doing Karazhan at 70.  That was pretty great.

What sorts of things were around in WoW when you started?

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There have been a lot of changes in WoW since the last time I played.  A lot of these are pretty great, but some are not-so-great.  Here’s my own personal list of the not-so-great:

5. Lack of Hunter Stat Sticks

I’m fine with getting rid of minimum range (good luck getting me to break the habit of keeping range though), but how am I supposed to carry both Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle AND Legacy now? Pike is not impressed.


4. Chess Event is Bugged

All I want to do is to solo Karazhan but as of 5.0.4 Medivh now cheats every ten seconds instead of every minute. Have fun doing this one solo! Especially when nobody tells you of the bug and you spend an hour trying to do it.

LEGO RATING: That long skinny piece.

3. Wailing Caverns is Still In The Game

I will fiercely defend stuff like BRD and Gnomeregan until the end of time but Wailing Caverns is just something else entirely. The great part is that Blizzard said something like “Hey guys, we’re nerfing Wailing Caverns to make it easier!” but in reality their idea of a nerf is as follows:

Actual in-game map of Wailing Caverns.

: That pointy triangle piece.

2. You Can Still Get Sunken Temple as a Random Dungeon

Accurate depiction of what I do when that happens:

LEGO RATING: Two pointy triangle pieces.

1. Gnomes Still Can’t Be Hunters

LEGO RATING: All the legos that you need to build a Turbo-Charged Flying Machine.

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So I’m gonna steal a page from the wonderful RockPaperShotgun‘s book here and tell you, well… what I think about a certain something.  Today’s topic?  The New Talent Tree which everyone loves to hate!

You are staring into the abyss-like eyes of the worst thing to happen to videogaming since Pac-Man on the Atari 2600.

Okay, okay, let’s cut the theatrics.  I’m going to tell you what Blizz was going for with this.  What they were going for was as follows: “Oh hey, EVERYBODY who uses this spec takes this talent.  So since EVERYBODY takes it, we’ll just give it to that spec by default.”  That’s really it.  They didn’t sit around and have an evil laugh and make nefarious plans about how to homogenize the specs.  The specs are still intact; you just get the stuff you were going to get anyway without having to click on it.  That’s all.

That said, there is certainly something to be said for, well… the excitement of getting a new talent point at every level and getting to click on it.  Heck, there’s even something to be said for those old talents from back in the day that increased your crit chance by 1/2/3/4/5%.  Blizzard cut that stuff out because they thought it was boring, but those incremental number changes were exciting to me and to a lot of other people.  They made you feel like you were progressing.  Why do you think people get all excited for gear that stands a mere incremental number change above other gear?

The Long and Short of It (That’s What She Said): I miss the old talent trees but I’m certainly not sitting around crying as though someone just shot my dog.  And it’s definitely not the end of the world.  Also, A Murder of Crows is smurfing awesome. Do you remember the movie “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story”, and how at the end a bunch of crows came and landed on the bad guy and then he disappeared? Yeah. That is this. Awesome.

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