All posts by Pike

My interface and addons

Firstly, I would like to say thank you to all of you reading this. Recently I have been garnering quite the little group of people who read and comment on my blog or who link to me. I really, really appreciate it. When I first started this blog, it was mostly so I would have a place to ramble to myself, so my non-WoW friends wouldn’t have to see so much of it at my personal journal. But a lot of neat people have started reading and leaving me comments, and I’ve discovered a lot of your great blogs as well, so I’m very happy with the way this has all turned out. =) And thank you again for reading and linking!

Anyway, I decided to make a post detailing the addons I use.

Here is a screenshot I took today, of Tux and I taking on a moonkin in Winterspring:

As you can see, I largely just use the default UI. I have a few addons to make a couple things a bit prettier, and a few to make my WoW-life easier, and a few that are there just for fun. But overall, the default WoW-look is functional to me (for the time being, anyway!) so that’s what I use.

Now, my addons:

The lovely 3-D animated frames addon (you can’t tell they’re animated in the screenshot, but they are) is X-Perl. X-Perl comes with a lot of other bonus things that I really like aside from the pretty frames, including but not limited to aggro/low-health warnings. This is a very deep and endlessly customizable addon and I love it to death.

The threat meter is Omen, which I have come to really prefer over KTH (which is what I used previously.) It looks nicer and is more customizable, and is still compatible with KTH if other people in your group use it.

The scrolling combat text addon is SCT and SCTD, the former showing what moves you and your pet are doing and the latter showing the damage being done. I also installed the “options” addons for both which let you customize it quite a bit.

Those are the addons of mine that you can really “see” in the screenshot. There are others I have, though, and they include:

FlagRSP2: A roleplaying addon that allows others with this or similar addons to view additional information that you include about your character (backstory, appearance details, your own roleplaying details, etc.)

SWStats: The good ol’ damage meter!

Census Plus: I love this addon because I’m a huge sucker for statistics and graphs and things. This will run a census on your faction and server, and you can check out exactly how many night elf hunters there are! (turns out, on my server anyway, there are more night elf druids than hunters. Maybe we aren’t so ubiquitous after all!) You can also sort the results by race, class, level, guild… all sorts of fun options. And then upload your information to a global site and compare! I love it.

Auctioneer: Cause really, does anybody not have it these days? =P Even though I wouldn’t call this a vital add-on for me… those many days of Neopets restocking taught me well enough how to price things on my own (I’m a geek, yes)… this is still a very helpful price-tracking addon that speeds things up and all and all I’m glad I have it installed.

Gatherer: This one is only “sort of installed” at the moment– basically a lot of things started acting weird for me, so I shut off Gatherer which was out-of-date and things started working again. Since then I’ve tried re-enabling it and it seems to work fine again, but at the same time, I don’t see this addon as being super vital for me. If it helps you out, that’s great… but I just sort of remember where the herbs I need are, they like to change where they are everytime I go looking for them anyway. It does have that nifty guild-send feature though. I may just re-enable this one for that.

And I do believe that’s everything! I’m always on the lookout for new helpful or fun addons, but I also don’t like to go overboard so come patch day I don’t have to go scrambling for hours for newer versions of them all. Heehee.

Hunter: A polarizing class?

Now I could be wrong, and I could just be seeing a very limited sample of peoples’ thoughts… but it seems to me that, perhaps more so than any other class, hunter is a class that you either “get” or you don’t. You either love it (perhaps to the point of obsession, *cough* me *cough*), or think it’s boring and wonder why anyone would want to play it.

My boyfriend has tried to play hunter a few times now to see what all the fuss I made about it was about… and he has sheepishly admitted to me that he just doesn’t get it; he can’t get into the class. He’s not the only one either, I think a lot of people just don’t “get” hunters.

It sort of makes me wonder why the class has such a polarizing effect… though when it comes down to it, I think it might be how people view the purpose of the class. At the most basic level, the style of a hunter is to have your pet hold aggro for you while you pew-pew a mob to death. I can understand why some people, particularly those coming from a melee-class background, might not find this appealing or challenging.

But I also think that those of us who really “get” hunters are able to see past the fundamental mechanics and see the potential that is there. We look at all the hunter talents– the traps, the pet, etc.– and see a bag full of magic tricks. We put ourselves into challenging situations and see if we can get out alive. I am a sucker for attempting stuff in the game that I shouldn’t be attempting: doing quests that are orange or red for me, seeing how far I can solo an instance that just a few levels ago I was still doing with a group. Other people may see the fact that I can often do well in these cases as proof that I am “overpowered” or “easy-mode”, but the way I see it is this: I am a hunter, and this is how I get my kicks. I go into places where most others wouldn’t dare go because I like seeing if I can survive with my weapon, pet, and wits and tricks alone. It’s a rush; it’s exhilarating.

People get their WoW rushes in different ways, which is why people like different classes. But I would argue that a lot of us who really enjoy playing hunters do it for, to put it simply, the “thrill of the hunt”. I don’t think everybody quite “gets” that, and I’m not saying it’s bad. I just think it’s interesting the way different people approach classes differently.

And now, after eight days of very little gaming because I’ve been away from home, I’m headed back to civilization and World of WarCraft. As dorky as this will sound, I have really missed playing my hunter and I can’t wait to spend some quality time with the class again.

Beware My Rudimentary Art Skills

I have made a topbanner for my blog! As I do not have access to a working scanner at the moment, the characters were mouse-drawn in GIMP. Then they were pasted onto a picture of Elwynn Forest. I think it turned out okay. The hardest part was figuring out how to center the image because, by default, it aligned to the left. It’s still sort of stuck to the top of the banner but it looks okay for now.

Let me know if you’re having trouble reading the banner, I realize the bright blue text is kind of an iffy idea but I tried to make the text large enough to still be easily readable.

Other blog-related news: I’ve added my e-mail address to the sidebar. I don’t know if anybody would have reason to e-mail me but I thought it would be a good idea to have it there, just in case!

WoW-related news: My boyfriend admitted to me the other day that Tux’s wings annoy him sometimes. This is understandable and the curse of pets with big flapping wings. I love Tux and would never part with him but as I get closer to “the higher levels” of the game (aka the Outland Levels), I figure it’s time to start thinking about an alternative pet to use when the people I’m grouping with would rather I not have a bird. I have my raptor in the stable, but I’ve also been thinking about the ever-so-classy cat. Decisions, decisions, on what my third pet should be…

Born and Raised on an RP Server.

I’ve made a post before concerning my personal experiences with PvP servers, and I’ve been thinking I’d like to revisit that subject, as well as discuss another one. So, without further ado…

I play on a roleplaying server.

I play on a roleplaying server because my boyfriend picked that server, and he picked that server because it’s where one of his friends plays– as far as I know, that particular friend does not RP in WoW, so it’s sort of ironic that the three of us wound up on an RP server.

RP servers are interesting places and they have their own little “culture”. They have defined WoW for me and, I believe, sort of spoiled me because I was born and raised on one.

Now don’t get me wrong– for the most part, RP servers are really a lot like other servers. Not everybody is “in-character” 24/7, in fact the vast majority aren’t. And contrary to what you see on the WoW website about RP servers, I have seen people “in-character” on the general channels maybe… once or twice. We have hardcore PvPers and hardcore raiders, and we have lots of casual players, just like most other servers. I do, on rare occasion it seems, see people roleplaying. I do see a lot of people with the FlagRSP or MyRoleplay addons, though not everybody with those addons roleplays. Perhaps my favorite part, off the top of my head, is that you don’t get as many people named stuff like “Lolpwnsyou” or whatnot as you seem to get on non-RP servers. I don’t want to chalk this up to something like “maturity” as much as I want to chalk it up to how I think a lot of people on RP servers, whether or not they actually roleplay, sort of see their character as a real character in a story and thus want to bestow their character with an interesting name.

Now I have to admit, when I first began playing I didn’t see an RP server as a particularly viable choice to me, and I ended up on one mostly because I wanted to play with my boyfriend. But as time has gone on… I’ve discovered that RP servers fit my style perfectly. I do have a personality for my character. I do have a backstory for her. I do think about her life and adventures in Azeroth and how she would react to them. And, as I’ve mentioned before– pretending like I’m actually in a fantasy world is one of my favorite aspects of this game. (Yes I’m a nerd.)

My boyfriend, who has roleplayed via message boards and forums in the past, really jumped onto the WoW roleplaying thing and even though I was a bit wary at first I’ve started to roleplay myself as well. I don’t do it very often, but I have fun when I do and I’ve started to do it more frequently.

All of this has actually made it hard for me to play on non-RP servers. I miss being able to read so many interesting RP addon descriptions that make characters more than just pixels and polygons. I miss those random bits of good roleplay that I occasionally stumble across on my home server that make the game seem more real to me. And I miss the general attitude… it’s hard to describe without exaggerating, but RP servers are like the bright yet clumsy and picked-on kid in the back of the class who has loads of personality if you get to know him. We’re a bit different, and we know we’re a bit different, and we’re the brunt of jokes on occasion, but we like it that way.

And now back to my opening sentence– PvP servers. As much as I hate to say it, it’s true, I’m a carebear. =P My poor level 26 tauren hunter, who I love dearly, hasn’t been getting any playtime at all recently and it’s because she’s on a PvP server and I just can’t get into PvP servers. I’ve kept her on that server for so long because she is in a ridiculously awesome guild. But, sadly, a lot of important people have been leaving that guild and I think it’s on the verge of disbanding. If that’s what it comes to, I’ll be transfering her. To an RP server of course!

Here's To The WoW Bloggers

As a few of you may know, I am fairly new not just to the hunter class, but to World of WarCraft as a whole. When I was first starting out, I was a pretty terrible player. I really had no idea what I was doing, or what I was supposed to be doing. Today I look back on some of the epically bad newbie mistakes I made (“Hey, putting my pet on aggressive in Deadmines is a great idea, right?”) and cringe.

Fortunately for me, I was bright enough to realize that I was… lacking in the hunter skills department. So one day I went on a Google rampage to see if I could find some information to help me become a better player.

The two blogs that came up were The Hunter’s Mark and Big Red Kitty. These blogs really need no introduction; they both provide a wealth of information on the hunter class and WoW in general and both helped me immensely in my newbie-hood. Lassirra and BRK are hunters that I have huge amounts of respect for and I /salute them. However, after a while, I also noticed that they weren’t my only mentors– the commenters and readers of these blogs had a lot to offer too! Slowly I started visiting their profiles and sites and following various blog links that I stumbled across and building up a little collection of blogs to read. Some of these blogs are bigger and some are smaller but they have all helped and continue to help make me a better hunter and WoW player.

Kestrel’s Aerie is chock-full of information and help regarding pretty much anything and everything that is WoW-related, and also includes highly interesting features such as UI/addon reviews and a frequent “blog roundup” listing some of the most interesting blog posts of the week.

Little White Lion chronicles the both the ups and downs of the adventures of a hunter as she gets closer to level 70, and has shown me a lot about what I have to look forward to as I get there myself.

Balls of Z is a highly informative and entertaining blog about mages and a couple hunter alts. (I certainly don’t blame anyone for having more than one hunter alt, I can’t even count how many hunters I play by now.) Mages are possibly my second favorite class in the game and this blog, while still fairly new, has been a solid reference for my own baby mage so far.

Mirshalak’s Lair is to Survival what BRK is to Beast Mastery. This blog also has a lot to offer about various aspects of WoW, and these informational posts are accentuated with an inherent thoughtfulness and introspectiveness which makes a very good read overall.

Little Black Kitty is a newer blog that documents the adventures of leveling a draenei hunter. It’s been a remarkably fun read so far and the posts are often accompanied with absolutely adorable pictures of the blogger’s real life kitties!

Thrill of the Hunt features Top Ten Lists and a lot of information on everything from raiding to “budgeting your WoW checkbook”.

Bubble-Hearth is a pally blog (as you’ve probably guessed from the title =P) which I started reading not too long ago but from which I have already gleaned some advice on video capture and reducing lag, and which I look forward to reading more of.

Grumpy Old Dwarf
is, well… about a grumpy old dwarf! This is another blog that I just started reading recently, but it has a lot of personality and is always fun to read.

Saber Squadron I actually just started reading today =P Because I found out that they were linking to me and I regret to say that I didn’t know about the blog earlier! It’s about somebody who has gone all out and is multiboxing five hunters. It sounds like a fun adventure and I’m excited to read more about it.

And that is my listing of all the WoW blogs that I currently read. I am always looking for more because I am an avid reader/learner, so give me a shout out if you know of any others that deserve looking into! But this post is largely to say thank you to the WoW blogging community, particularly the hunter subset of that community, for unknowingly helping to raise this little hunterling. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a good hunter yet– I’m still low-level, and I’m still learning– but I think that I am getting there, slowly but surely, and a large part of it is thanks to you guys. I hope that someday I’ll be able to help newbies with my blog the same way your blogs helped me.

So I raise my Brewfest cup to you WoW bloggers today! =D

Spec'ing Back… for now.

After spending a good few levels and over a week as a Beast Mastery hunter, I’ve returned to Marks. What do I miss the most from the BM tree? Believe it or not, probably Improved Mend Pet. I hate it when poor Tux contracts a disease or something and I can’t do anything to help him out. I also miss Intimidation, and of course, Serpents’ Swiftness and “The Big Red Button”. But I’ve found myself wishing for IMP back more than anything else.

Thoughts on returning to Marks: I thought for sure “Oh, my poor pet won’t be able to hold aggro anymore”, but actually he’s still an aggro-holding machine, possibly even more than he was as BM. I believe that this is thanks to two things: Improved Hunter’s Mark, which gives him a melee boost, and Go For the Throat, which gives him more focus and more chances to use Growl. These are two things that a normal 41/20/0 build would probably have, but mine didn’t because of lack of talent points, and it made a big difference. I also think my Trueshot Aura helps out a little, but obviously it’s not going to make up for the lack of a Beast Mastery build in the pet-power department.

Tux is back to doing about 35% of my total DPS instead of 45-50%. That’s still a considerable amount of damage. I really feel that a marksman hunter cannot and should not underestimate the power of his or her pet.

Overall going back to Marks sort of feels like “going home” to me, but that’s just because I was “raised Marks”, so I’m comfortable with it. I really enjoyed the time I spent as BM and I definitely plan on returning to it and playing with it even more once I get some more talent points. Next up, though, is Survival! I’ve been wanting to try that one out for a long time.

Anyways, one last thing: thanks to one of my jobs, I am going to be WoW-less for the next eight days starting tomorrow. I will have my laptop with me, (because I’m a geek with three computers), but my poor laptop isn’t capable of running WoW. Fortunately I will still have internet access, and thus I will still be able to read all my favorite blogs and also try and make a few posts for my two or three readers to enjoy. I have a couple ideas for things I would like to write about. =D

On Training Low-Level Pets

So with the newest patch, raptors got the ability to learn dash. I do indeed have a raptor sitting in my stable. I got him in Wetlands at level 22 or so, leveled him to 36, and then realized that he was falling too far behind and I was having too tough of a time keeping two pets leveled with me. So sadly, poor Wash the raptor has found himself in the stable ever since.

But “raptors getting dash” inspired me to go out and pull him out of confinement and see if maybe, just maybe, I could start leveling him again.

Here’s the catch: I’m a (currently) beast mastery spec’d hunter at level 53, and he’s… level 36.

I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I was curious to see if I could do it, so I packed up and headed over to Blasted Lands where I would run into a bunch of mobs that were green to me– hence they would still get us experience, while hopefully being not too difficult for me to handle now that I was, for all practical intents and purposes, pet-less.

My test run was, not surprisingly, very difficult. My pet rarely hit, and when he did he did very little damage. He couldn’t hold aggro. My polearm skill wasn’t particularly hot. But, after some trial and error, I managed to carve out a step-by-step strategy on how to do this:

Pike’s Personal Strategy on How to Level a Pet That is 20 Levels Lower Than You:

1.) Get as far away from the mob as you can, and still be able to shoot it.

2.) Lay down an immolation trap.

3.) Send the pet in. Once the pet has the mob’s attention, shoot at the mob with Scorpid Sting and Arcane Shot. At this point you’ve probably pulled aggro, so go ahead and shoot it as many times as you can before it gets to you.

4.) As soon as it runs over the immolation trap, feign death. The mob should jump back to the pet. This is when you get up and run far enough away to regain distance.

5.) At this point, the DoT laid by Serpent Sting is probably really close to running out. So fire off another Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot, and if all goes well the mob should be dead or close to it by the time it gets back to you, thanks to your sting/trap DoTs, and you should be able to finish it off pretty quickly. If something goes wrong or you need to buy some extra time, throw in some tricks like Wing Clip to get back to distance.

And that’s what I’ve been doing. It seems to work pretty well for me. I actually got my dino to gain a level, but at that point I had to leave so I stabled him to continue progress another time.

I have to admit, running around with a low-level pet that can’t hold aggro, and throwing down immolation traps of all things, has sort of made me feel like an uber-huntard-newbie. There were a couple of other hunters around while I was doing this, I can only hope they guessed at what I was trying to accomplish and didn’t just think I had completely lost my mind. But if I can level my dear pink raptor up to level 70 I think it will all be worth it to have a unique pet– it will be worth it to have a pet that can’t be tamed “in the wild” past level 40. My current goal is for this to be the pet that I use in cases where, say, the group isn’t fond of a big owl with flappy wings.

But yeah, I’m curious to know other methods regarding how hunters have trained up low level pets. Maybe I can find one that’s a bit more effective than my current one.

In other, real-world news, I have a new job– at a pet store. I find this delightfully ironic considering my class in WoW. *grin* ^_^

Initial Thoughts On and Issues With the New Patch

So, the biggie patch 2.2.0 came out today. Initially after getting the patch installed, I actually couldn’t log into WoW, because it froze up on me. It wound up being a sound issue, presumably because of all the new sound stuff in this patch (such as voice chat). And “Linux and sound”, particularly sound in non-native games, is a very finicky thing. Fortunately I was able to go into winecfg and apply a temporary fix, but here’s hoping I can go back to ALSA instead of OSS soon because until then I can’t play mp3s while playing WoW without jumping through hoops.

Now that the jargon is out of the way… (sorry non-Linux-geeks!) here are some other general thoughts.

– The UI was a bit messed up and it took me some tweaking to get it back to how I liked it… but it wasn’t a big deal overall.

– The sound is really quiet for me now… I have to turn my speakers up considerably higher than I used to in order to get it to a normal level. I also had to adjust the sound volume in-game quite a bit. I don’t know if this is a Linux/Wine thing or if maybe some other people are having this problem too. A lot of people are indeed having sound issues now if the WoW “technical support” forums are any indication.

– “Sale pending” mails from things I sell on the Auction House… I don’t know much about this yet, so I’ll pass on judgment for the time being. =P

– Raptors get dash!! Time to pull Wash out of the stable and have some fun (and if you get the reference to his name, cookie for you!)

– A bunch of random stuff from my bank wound up in my bags. o.O Yeah, I have no idea how it happened. It was completely random stuff too, I couldn’t see any rhyme or reason for what it chose to put into my inventory. Fortunately that one was easy to fix, I just went to the bank again.

– Everybody can talk in World Defense now… I think. All I know is that nobody has ever talked in that channel before and today a bunch of people were in there talking up a storm and alternating between reactions of “wow we can talk in here now!” and “…okay, leaving this channel would be a good idea now.” So I’m assuming it’s a patch thing, or maybe the people on my server just figured it out today. =P I don’t know how much I like this idea yet, I really like having World Defense on so I can see what’s going on but if it turns into a big global spam channel I won’t be happy. We’ll see how it goes I guess.

– The biggest issue for me I think is the whole “time to upgrade all my addons now that they’re out-of-date and giving me error messages” thing. But this isn’t a patch problem so much as it’s my problem for being an add-on junkie… not as much as some people, but a junkie none the less. I think at some point I’d like to make a blog entry about what add-ons I use and why I use them, and then decide if I can live without some of them. I already had to disable Gatherer because it was acting up the other day and to be honest I don’t miss it that much… yet.

Overall, I think I am mostly sad that the new voice chat feature will very likely not work on my computer (refer back to the “Linux and sound being finicky” bit.) Why does this sadden me? Well, because the big joke going on currently on my server is that voice chat will prove that all night elf females are actually played by guys. So I think it would be hilarious to show through voice chat that there is in fact at least one night elf female on Silver Hand actually being played by a real live girl. Heehee. Hopefully I can in fact get voice chat to work so I can be all devious and stuff. =P

Sorry for another long entry! I know I talk too much.


Well, it took going from 0/3000 neutral to 2207/6000 friendly with Stormpike to do it– but I’ve finally won an AV game and got my [Ice Barbed Spear]! (Testing the link pop-up there, let’s see if it works! Edit: It works! Woot. =D )

Mmm… it’s shiny.

I don’t want to play another AV game for a long, long time though. But playing nonstop battlegrounds these past couple of days has given me some interesting perspectives on the differences in PvP with a BM spec and PvP with an MM spec. It is hard to keep your pet alive sometimes. And in a place like AV he seemed to be dead a lot, unfortunately. Many times I caught myself wishing I was spec’d Marks for this battleground, but I stayed with BM anyway, because I knew it would be good practice.

I seem to have caught on to the basic idea, though, although try as I might I couldn’t keep Tux alive during the final boss fight. I just blinked and he was gone. I’m not sure if he grabbed aggro or if he fell victim to a bad AoE attack or what. We won though, and I have my polearm!