Category Archives: guides

Hunter vs. Hunter 101

Thanks for all the input on my last entry, regarding my custom avatars. I’ll think about it some more; I’m sort of short on time these days, but I’m also short on money… so yeah! I’ll be thinking about it. Thanks for all the feedback, I will definitely take all of your opinions and requests into consideration. I do want to stress that I’m not turning this blog into any sort of corporate showing-off-my-PayPal-button scheme. If I were to offer my avatars for sale it would probably be a limited-time-only thing. Because writing guides and telling stories is what I do best so that will always be the primary purpose of this site.

Anyways: Here is a story/guide combo (two for one!):

Earlier this morning I was in Stranglethorn Vale with my level 34 hordie. For those of you who are new or haven’t been following; I’ve got my 70 Alliance hunter on an RP-PvE server, and a 34 (well, now 35… but 34 this morning) Horde hunter on an RP-PvP server.

Because this character is on a PvP server I’ve been explicitly avoiding STV for the most part, but I do want to do the Nesingwary Expedition “Mastery” quests that culminate in good hunter stuff.

So there I was, level 34 and searching around for panthers, and I saw this level 38 Alliance hunter out of the corner of my eye. I figured I would ignore him, hoping he would leave me alone. But nope, a couple minutes later he springs on me and attacks me.

I beat him.

I threw on a bandage and ate some food, and then resumed questing. I’m too much of a carebear to do any corpse camping or /dancing or the like. Besides, it’s just not good form! Anyways, a couple minutes later, he comes back. He attacks me again, opening with Aimed Shot. Again, he lost.

…to make a long story short he attacked me no less than five times, and all five times he lost to me.

Now I won’t deny it: it felt really, really good to know that I had consistently outperformed a hunter who was four levels higher than me and whose pet was at least five levels higher than mine (my poor kitty got kind of behind because I was working on another pet for a while.) Especially because he was always the one initiating combat, he always got the first shot off, and more than once it was Aimed Shot.

But I’m not one to sit around and simply be proud of myself (although as I said, it felt durn good), so I’ve thought of some mistakes that I either know he made, or think he probably made, which prevented him from winning. And I’m posting them here because hopefully they will be of some help to a newer hunter! =D

For the record, I can’t find this guy’s spec because Armory has been weird all morning. Or I would do a spec/gear comparison. So this is all based on my observation and hunches:

For Starters:

Buffs: I had both Aspect of the Hawk up, as well as Mark of the Wild which a passing druid had given me not too long before all the combat happened. I don’t recall the other guy having Aspect of the Hawk up, though it’s possible I just wasn’t paying attention. Aspect of the Hawk will buff your ranged attack power. It’s good to have. Mark of the Wild is a fantastic buff. Druids who put it on me and especially on my pet, make me happy. (Thorns on the pet makes me happy too.)

Hunter’s Mark: I have a Hunter’s Mark/Pet Attack combo button. This means that my pet and I are never attacking something without Hunter’s Mark on it. The guy I was dueling never once put Hunter’s Mark on me. Hunter’s Mark is going to buff your ranged attack power and if you have Improved Hunter’s Mark it’s going to buff your pet’s attack power… and on this particular character, I’d thrown a point into IHM before starting down the Beast Mastery tree, so I had that going for me.

As a bonus… and actually maybe this is just me, but I’m going to say it anyway… I honestly find nothing scarier in battlegrounds than a Hunter’s Mark suddenly appearing above my head, followed by seeing a flash of a big red pet out of the corner of my eye. Because I know what’s coming. *shudders*

Rapid Fire: This is the biggie. Rapid Fire increases your firing speed by 40% for 15 seconds. I love using this against other hunters, because it seems to me that other hunters often forget to use it in a duel or in PvP. It has a pretty big cooldown (which can be decreased a little through a talent in the Marksman tree, Rapid Killing), so I was only able to use it… twice, I think, throughout the course of our five spars. But it makes a huge difference. Faster damage = good, in the case of fights like this.

Trapping: He could have trapped my pet, but he didn’t. To be fair, he did Feign Death each time to get out of it, but I quickly sic’d Alyosha right back on him. But remember that if you are facing a higher level hunter and the pet is big and red, well, there’s not a whole lot you can do CC wise to him.

Knowing When to Use Your Shots: He kept using Concussive Shot on me even though I obviously wasn’t going anywhere, and he wasn’t going anywhere, so it really didn’t make any difference if my movement speed was slowed. Now, maybe he had Improved Concussive Shot and he was hoping the stun would proc. Even so, I don’t think it’s worth it in a one on one duel of this nature. Also, using something like Aimed Shot or Steady Shot in the middle of your fight generally isn’t a good idea. It’s better to spam autos, Arcane, and Multi, and Serpent Sting really doesn’t hurt, especially if you’re a lower level and it’s really all you’ve got… Viper Sting is fun against casters, pallies, and yeah, other hunters. Especially if it’s in battlegrounds and so might be a longer fight than a one-on-one.

Have your Pet on the Other Hunter, Not on Their Pet: I see this a lot in duels actually. We sic our pets on each other. I feign death to get out of it. The other hunter’s pet is set to defensive so he starts attacking my pet. This means that his pet is not focused on me and it’s not really helping him out any. Be careful for this; in the heat of the battle (and the initial “surprise!” of me popping back to life… at least, I know it still always gives me a little jolt when another hunter does it), you might not notice that your pet is engaged on my pet and not on me. My own pet, personally, is almost always set on Passive. (Exceptions are when I am running lowbies through things… my strategy here is shoot everything once, and then have my pet wipe up the resulting mess… or when I’m grinding and I know it’s okay for my pet to jump from mob to mob if he has aggro on a lot of them.)

Other Stuff
: If you have trinkets that buff your attack power, etc. then use them. If you have time before the fight starts to turn Growl off, do that; your pet won’t need it.

There were also other special circumstances that are somewhat less controllable that gave me an edge. For example, my character is a tauren. I have a passive racial increasing my health by 5%. I also have 5/5 Endurance Training on that character, that’s another 5% more health. Some of the better gear I’ve got on that character right now come from PvP rewards; more stamina. So I probably had a better chance than a lot of other people at my level just because of that.

And lastly, I can’t deny that I’ve already got a level 70 hunter that I PvP with on a regular basis, so there’s always the experience factor.

Anyways! In my experience, a lot of hunter vs. hunter fights turn into tests of gear, stamina, and, in the ca

se of higher-level BM hunters… whoever doesn’t have Beastial Wrath on cooldown. So you have to look elsewhere to get the edge. Remember your buffs, remember your trinkets, remember Rapid Fire… remember you have a few different ways to avoid the other hunter’s pet, and remember that they do, also… and with luck you’ll come out ahead! As a closing note, I’d like to stress that this is just a very basic guide. There are a lot of little rules and nuances when it comes to PvP, and to be honest my hunter-vs.-hunter strategy will change depending on their spec and my mood.

Next on PvPing With Pike: Etiquette, taboos, and silly things that probably only Pike does! Stay tuned.

A Newbie's Guide to Battlegrounds: Part 2

Thank you all for the kind comments on my last post. Here’s the conclusion (for now) to the “Newbie’s Guide to Battlegrounds” series!:

(Edit: Matticus has reminded me that patch 2.3 brought some changes to AV. For example, you can now win the game through objectives other than killing the boss. I have yet to play the “new” AV but I will see if I can play some games soon and I’ll report any major changes. In the meantime, I think that most of my basic guide still stands (except for the part about pulling at the end) and will hopefully be a little helpful to people.)

Alterac Valley
The Basics: This is probably the most complicated to learn and master of all the battlegrounds, and it’s hard to condense the point of it into one sentence. Basically you and the other faction start out on opposite ends of a very, very large battleground. Your goal is to get to the other end and kill their leader, which is a very powerful elite NPC. And their goal is to come to your side and kill your leader. Along the way you’ll have to deal with a lot of NPCs that want to kill you, not to mention the other players themselves. It’s sort of like a big game of chess, only more chaotic.

There are also quite a few other objectives for you to capture or accomplish along the way, which may or may not be skipped. Some of these objectives are more important than others, though– graveyards, for example. The more graveyards your faction has, the more places you will be able to rez at and the sooner you’ll be able to get back into the fight, which will give you a significant edge. In general you will want to have graveyards close to where your offensive team is currently.

General Strategies: It’s hard to discuss general strategies for AV because it’s so big and “deep”. But there are certain things that seem to be “givens” in the typical game. The Horde is going to take Stonehearth Graveyard, and the Alliance is going to take Iceblood. After that, the Horde takes Stormpike, and the Alliance takes Frostwolf. Finally, in the final stretch, Horde takes Stormpike Aid Station, and Alliance takes Frostwolf Relief Hut. People wanting a really fast game and wanting to beat the other faction speed-wise may prefer to skip Stonehearth/Iceblood all together and go straight for Stormpike/Frostwolf. People who are more interested in farming honor will go slower, taking everything along the way and stopping to kill Captains Stonehearth or Galv.

A typical strategy is to “let” the other team capture one of the graveyeards (generally Stonehearth/Iceblood) so they don’t start rez’ing way back where they started and make life hard for your offensive team.

For the most part what you will probably want to do here is just follow your offensive team around, especially if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing. After a while, you’ll start to learn your way around. I find it best to keep the mini-map up in the bottom corner of my screen on this one, just so you can see where you are and where everybody else is.

Basically, in a nutshell, what you are probably going to be doing is following the offense from graveyard to graveyard, capturing these graveyards along the way and eventually getting to the boss at the end.

Defense is very important for graveyards. Capturing graveyards is just like capturing the flag in Arathi Basin– you click on it and wait for it to change colors. However, it takes a much longer time. While you’re waiting for the graveyard to cap, it’s a very good idea to stick around with at least one other person and provide some defense. I find myself “stuck on defense” a lot because nobody likes to defend, everybody likes to go kill stuff on offense. But it’s still very important. If you’re defending a graveyard do the same strategy you do elsewhere when you’re defending– tracking, flare, traps. Do take note that you will probably see members of the opposing faction rushing by you on occasion; often they don’t want to stop and fight you, but want to catch up with their offense. In that case, use your judgment on whether you want to attack them or not, and keep in mind that they might be trying to distract you to get a stealthie in.

Once the graveyard caps, a bunch of friendly NPCs will show up who will guard your graveyard for you. Generally that means you can go run and catch up to the offense now. You can also keep defending the graveyard if you like, but the NPCs will usually do an okay job of defending and, most of the time, will at least keep the graveyard safe until your team caps the next one.

Eventually, after taking a few graveyards, you’re going to get to the big “bad guy” at the end. It’s important to take the graveyard that is there– either Frostwolf Relief Hut, or Stormpike Aid Station, depending on if you’re Alliance or Horde. Because the boss is probably going to kill everybody and the trick is to rez at that graveyard that is right there and run back in and keep attacking him, while people are still on him.

Don’t go in the building right away, wait for a decent offensive team to have been built up and then let somebody else (someone usually volunteers, so I let them) pull out some of the NPCs that are in there with the boss. These NPCs can be very powerful and some of them have really vicious AoE attacks. (This is one of the parts where I often find my poor pet is dead; Avoidance Rank 2 helps immeasurably here, as does keeping a Mend Pet up if he’s fighting somebody really hard. Oh, and make sure he has growl off. If he pulls aggro and nobody else gives him heals, he’s probably a goner.)

Note: If you are Alliance, some of the NPCs here are elite wolves. You will often hear it repeated “DON’T LOOT THE DOGS!”, meaning the wolves. It is said that if you loot the wolves, they will respawn and you’ll have to fight them again. I have no idea if this is really true or not, since I’ve heard people say different things on this subject, but personally I like to err on the side of caution and leave the wolves alone. (You really shouldn’t be looting in the middle of the fight anyway, but I digress! =P)

Once all these NPCs and any defenders are taken care of (it might take a while and you might die a couple times– that’s expected, so don’t worry about it), and preferably once the relief hut/aid station is cap’d, somebody will usually give the call: “All in!” or a similar variant. This means it’s time to kill the boss. Now the most important part, once you are in the building trying to down the boss, is to not run out of the building, ever. If you run out of the building and the boss follows you out, he will reset to full health. So if he’s on you and your feign death cooldown is up, just let yourself die, you will rez nearby (hopefully your team has the closest graveyard!) and be able to run back into the fight really quickly.

The boss fight is just like the boss of a dungeon, you will need tanks and healers and DPS. So it’s very crucial that you have adequate tanks and healers here, because without them the DPS can’t happen, at least not very well. Keep in mind that this guy has really horrible AoE attacks (even worse than the previous NPCs) and your pet is probably going to die even if he doesn’t have aggro. Being a BM hunter, I typically use Beastial Wrath first thing so I can get that overwith before my pet falls and then I can’t use it anymore. After your pet dies just keep on DPS’ing as best you can. You will probably pull aggro at some point, since you’re a hunter and hunters are aggro magnets. 😉 In that case, run to the nearest tank and feign death; if it resists or your feign death is on cooldown, then as I mentioned before, stay where you are, take one f

or the team, rez with your pet and run back in.

Basically during this fight the goal is to whittle down his health bit by bit and keep at least some people on him at all times, because chances are a lot of people are going to be dying and making the run back in, and you don’t want him to “reset”, which he will do if he kills everybody. Also, often (but not always) by this time, the other team is also at your own boss so there’s sort of a rush to see who can down the boss first. With any luck, your team will be first, and you’ll have won your first AV!

Your Role as a Hunter
: If you find yourself on defense then once again you will be very prepared for it, just as you will be in other battlegrounds, thanks to your traps and tracking and flare. If you’re on offense then just use your Blizzard-given talents to DPS the enemy down. Preferably you should have growl turned off on your pet throughout most of this battleground but if you find yourself needing to take down an NPC (and the NPC isn’t too hard for you) then hit the growl button or use Intimidation and do like you would any other mob.

A lot of this battleground just has to do with huge battles– masses of Alliance and Horde just rushing at each other. If one side really has a numbers advantage then it will show, but otherwise it can really go either way. Put Hunters’ Mark on rogues, use Scare Beast on druids, Wing Clip warriors, and all in all just try to put all your hunter-abilities to good use.

If you see a big mass of the other team coming for you, stop and take a look around and make sure you aren’t alone. You don’t want it to be all of them vs. just you, or you and one or two other people. If you have no chance there’s no shame in backing up for a bit and waiting for the rest of your team. Putting yourself in the front lines is generally not a good idea, try to stay sort of back– you are a hunter, after all. If there are casters or other hunters standing on high ground, shoot them back, because you’re one of the few classes that can do so… save the poor melee’ers the work of having to climb up after them.

And that’s AV in a nutshell! There is a lot more to it actually; there are quests you can do in AV and there is a way to summon a big elemental to fight for your team, but if you are just starting out then you shouldn’t have to worry about those things for now; just get the basics down.

The rewards of doing Battlegrounds:
Doing battlegrounds will earn you both honor (for kills, etc.) as well as marks (for victories. A loss gets you one mark, and a win gets you three.) Honor and marks can be used to buy things in the Champion’s Hall or Hall of Legends, or outside of the battleground’s instance portal. Some of the things you can buy include PvP-oriented gear, epic mounts, and various other handy things such as the Insignia of the Alliance/Horde, a trinket which you can pop to get you out of Fear, Frost Nova, or anything else that hinders your movement. Most of the stuff is for level 70s, but you can find great things if you are a lower-level character as well.

Finally, doing a lot of PvP will make you a better player, in my opinion. You will learn how to be more effective with your class in certain situations that you wouldn’t come across in PvE, and you will quicken your reflexes as well. PvP and battlegrounds are a very different game than just PvE, and it can be very fun aside from teaching you more about the game.

And I think that just about does it for my Battlegrounds guides for now! I have yet to play the fourth and (for now) final battleground, Eye of the Storm, but once I start playing that one I shall return with a Part 3 of my guide. These guides were obviously not meant to be an authority on battlegrounds and you really have to do a lot of playing to learn. But I hope that they at least have given beginners a good idea on how to start and what to do, so they aren’t completely lost when they enter the battlegrounds for the first time, as I was.

So until next time, get out there and do some battlegrounds, soldier! =D /salute

And as always… questions, comments? Lemme know and I’ll do the best I can to answer them!

(Back to Part 1)

A Newbie's Guide to Battlegrounds: Part 1

At the request of one of my readers who wanted to know some basics on battlegrounds, here is the first part of what I hope to be a couple of posts on this subject. I certainly make no claims to be a battlegrounds expert by any means, but I’ve played quite a few and I put together a guide that I sort of wish I’d had when I was starting out.

Warsong Gulch:
The Basics: Capture-the-flag. Horde and Alliance each have a base, and you have to run into the enemy’s base, grab their flag, and bring it back to your own (with your own flag still intact.) Capture the flag three times to win a match.

General Strategies: This varies. Different people have different ideas. Some people like to leave a couple people on defense, others like to group up and rush en masse to the other base. After you have played the game a bit, you will sort of get an idea for what types of things are common, where the typical hiding places are, that sort of thing. Stealthed classes, for example, like to hang out in your base and capture your flag when you least expect it (like five seconds after the flag has been returned to your base). Ranged classes or casters will get onto the roof and shoot you; fortunately we hunters can usually shoot back. *grin*

Your Role as a Hunter: Again, this will vary. But I think that hunters make very good members of the defensive team. You have freezing traps to lay down in front of the flag (if you’re Alliance, the blue trap sort of blends in with the blue flag, so it works out awesomely), you have Track Humanoids so you can see who’s coming and announce it to the team, and you have Concussive Shot and Wing Clip to slow the enemy down. You also have Hunter’s Mark, which you can pop onto whoever has your flag, so your entire team can see that person on the minimap. If you are a night elf, you can hide your pet in the corner behind a wall (or have him use prowl), and then shadowmeld yourself, so you can catch any intruders by surprise.

Hunters also make good offense and are good flag-capturers, largely in part to Aspect of the Cheetah, since when you have the flag you cannot mount. Aspect of the Beast can also be useful so their own hunters (and druids) won’t see you coming! Again, crowd control really shines here (it’s good for essentially this whole battleground), if you’re being chased just throw down a freezing or frost trap or fire off a Concussive Shot, then turn on Aspect of the Cheetah and make a break for your base. Keep Track Humanoids/Track Hidden on (pesky rogues!) so you don’t inadvertently run into any members of the opposing faction on your way there.

My honest opinion is that druids often make the best flag-runners, as they can stealth in and then travel-form out. They can also heal if they have to. But really, anybody can do it, and hunters are very capable of it.

Capturing the Flag!: To capture the flag you run right up to your own flag and it “caps” automatically. Do remember that if your own flag is AWOL, you can’t capture the enemy one. In that case your best bet is to find a spot to hide, hopefully with some people guarding you, while the rest of your team goes out and tries to hunt down your flag.

No matter what you are doing, as a hunter, be sure that you are aware of your surroundings and that you are able to broadcast these to the team. If you are on defense, use Flare a lot to check for rogues. If you look on your minimap and see people coming to the base, announce it: “[number of people] inc”, (where “inc” stands for “incoming”), or something along those lines. If you see the flag carrier on your minimap, click on them so it will do that little circle thing that shows the other people in your party where they are.

Arathi Basin:
The Basics: King of the Hill. There are five areas on the field for you to capture (they are captured by clicking on a flag, and waiting a bit for it to change colors). If you capture one, your faction starts earning resources. The more you have captured, the faster you earn resources (and if you manage to capture all five, you earn resources at a ridiculous rate and you’ve pretty much won.) The first faction to 2000 resources wins.

General Strategies: Again, like Warsong Gulch, there are people who like to group up and steamroll all the flags one at a time. Typically I think it’s best to leave a few people at each flag for defense.

If you get into this battleground for the first or second time and don’t know what’s going on, defense is almost always appreciated. Plant yourself down by a flag, preferably with a teammate or two, rotate between Track Humanoids, Track Hidden, and Track Beasts (for those druids), pop a Flare every so often, and be on the lookout for the other team.

Your Role as a Hunter: As with Warsong Gulch, hunters will be good for defense for all the same reasons. Although in this battleground, I think it’s less about slowing the enemy down as it is about actually fighting them and beating them. The other team will try and capture your flag that you’re guarding, but because it’s a static flag– it doesn’t move– they can capture it, and then if you manage to kill them afterwards, you can recapture it very quickly. So there’s not the whole run-in-run-out thing that goes on with WSG.

You will be good for offense because you can shoot people from far away. It’s what we’re for, afterall! =P Eagle Eye is another great tool here, if you’re at some high ground and want to see if, say, there are people at Blacksmith (the middle area of the map), use Eagle Eye on it and then report to your team what you see.

General PvP: The lower level battlegrounds… the 10-19 bracket and the 20-29 bracket, in particular… will be full of twinks, or players who spend hundreds of gold to deck themselves out in the best possible gear for their bracket. If the other team has a lot of twinks and you are just wearing normal questing gear, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the graveyard, waiting to rez. I’m not saying you’ll be 100% useless against a twink, but… you won’t have an easy time.

A really good healer can often make or break the game. I always, always try to compliment good healers when they show up, because they seem to be rare and I want them to know that their skills are appreciated.

Stamina is good. Honestly I don’t have dedicated PvP gear (not right now, anyway), but if you want to get some, be sure it has lots of stamina. You will live longer, and thus do damage for a longer amount of time.

Spec is a matter of personal preference. Marks/Surv seems to be the perennial PvP favorite, and for good reason; there are all sorts of helpful PvP talents in those trees. Furthermore, if your pet dies (this seems to happen the most often in AV) you can still do a lot of damage. But a really good BM hunter is a truly frightening and awe-inspiring sight, and as my brother is fond of saying, “There’s nothing scarier in battlegrounds than a Beast Mastery hunter.” I have seen BM hunters just devour the rest of the field like nobody’s business. However, it’s a lot harder to be BM in PvP than it is in PvE, because you have to spend a lot of time watching your pet and keeping it alive. Anyways, I think a lot of dedicated PvPers choose to spec MM/SV instead, and that can be a very deadly combo.

What you do with your pet is another matter of personal preference, personally I like to keep my pet on passive in battlegrounds (most of the time) because he has a tendency to disappear otherwise– chasing somebody across the field.

While we’re on

the subject of pets– in battlegrounds, if your pet dies and you die later, you will both be rez’d together at the graveyard, with your pet at full happiness. Use your judgment on whether you want to self-rez your pet yourself, or wait until the next time you die. I find myself self-rez’ing my pet more often in AV, which I didn’t discuss in this particular post– a lot of times your “lifespan” is a lot shorter in the other battlegrounds.

Alright, that does it for now! I have begun writing my Alterac Valley guide but as it’s the “deepest” of the battlegrounds so far, it’s certainly shaping up to be a very long article, so I’m going to post it separately.

These guides are not supposed to be all-inclusive but hopefully they have just provided a brief overview to BG newcomers about what to expect and what they can do to help out their team. Enjoy, and I’ll see you next time for our next installment!

(On to Part 2)