Category Archives: trapping

It Starts With a “D” and Ends With an “Ing”

Feels good, man!

Now I need to figure out what to do next!

In other news, I did Vortex Pinnacle. Guess what? I got to TRAP. My only issue is that I’m still sort of trying to figure out Trap Launcher. I seem to I run into weird LOS issues when I least expect it, thus, I fail at it more than I figured I would. You see, I come from the old school of chain trapping and I’m used to, you know, pulling the mob to me. Which I actually had to do a few times when improvising in Vortex Pinnacle today, which sort of made me feel all warm and fuzzy all over. Still, “Figure out Trap Launcher” is at the top of my To Do List.

In Loving Memory

Today is Patch Day, and I’m actually quite excited. Normal flying mounts at 100% speed instead of 60% (Lunapike rejoices), druid form updates, experience in battlegrounds, and a whole host of other things I am excited about. Gotta admit though, the lack of mention of either Wild Hunt or Animal Handler– both of which were supposed to receive nice buffs– in the official patch notes is making me nervous.

Really, the only thing I can think of about this patch that I’m not looking forward to is the change to traps that is going to make chain trapping much more difficult. Some people have said, “It doesn’t matter, hunters don’t trap anymore anyway,” and in a way, this is true, but in another way, it saddens me a little to say farewell to something so fun. And so, have the classic “Pike is Bored” movie I made long, long ago, in memorandum:

Gosh it’s weird to watch me in be in Viper the whole time. Remember that? o.O

In The Blink of An Eye: The Lost Art of Trapping

clapslateI majored in filmmaking. Yes, that’s right, while the bulk of my friends were busy doing math or science or English courses, I was learning about cinematography and lighting and screenwriting and sound design and watching dozens of movies. (Actually, probably the two courses that taught me the most were the black-and-white darkroom photography class and the “class” where I was the prop manager for an on-stage rendition of “Kimberly Akimbo“, but I digress).

One of the 200-level courses was an editing course and its professor was a guy that most of us loved to poke fun at. The reason is because he was a very proud self-professed “dinosaur” who liked to go into long rambles on how kids these days would just rush into digital editing without ever once touching a real piece of celluloid, and how this was a horrible, terrible loss. Because of this, our big project for this class was to take a bunch of footage that was filmed long, long ago and turn it into a ten-minute long story. Oh and this was “real” film footage– no digital editing allowed.

This project was notorious throughout the school’s film program for the tears it induced; little sketches and cartoons depicting the hellishness of it all hung taped to various shelves in that dark, warm, sticky editing room filled with Moviolas and splicers. There was almost always someone in there working on a project, and everyone was filled with relief when the semester ended and the project was over and we could all safely move on to doing the rest of our school career’s projects on Final Cut Pro.

And so it may shock you to discover my reaction when I discovered not long after that, that my class would be the last ever to do that project– from then on out the school’s program was going completely 100% digital from the start, and no future students would have to do the one token “film editing” assignment.

I felt sad for them.

Because suddenly I realized that in a way, my professor had been right all along. There’s something about actually handling that film footage that teaches you something that is hard to explain. Those future kids wouldn’t get to experience literally being drowned in reels of loose film as you sat on a hard metal foldup chair in that tiny room, bent over your projector, trying your best to imagine your near-microscopic viewing screen was a wall in a theater. They would never get to experience having to think over all your editing choices and weigh them carefully with your instincts before making that splice, because if you later decided you wanted an extra two frames of footage you had to go tape your film back together– no “Undo” buttons here. Those future students would never get to experience all the literal sweat and elbow grease and wouldn’t get to view the joyous celebrations of a group of college kids who would sneak bottles of wine into that infamous room on the night before the project was due, refusing to uncork them until 2 or 3 in the morning when their cut was done and they could wind up your final film with pride, knowing they had just accomplished something very tangible. Because nobody did that in the clean, airy, and yet somehow very sterile computer rooms.

Yeah… my professor was right.

You’re asking why I’m telling this story, and you’re going to giggle at me when I tell you why, but oh well. I’m telling this story because everytime I think of chain trapping and how it seems to be such an un-needed and un-practiced skill these days, I think back to editing class and how once again I feel like one of the last of the old guard.

Some of my favorite memories in Burning Crusade where when I would go into a heroic with a tank that knew me and maybe a healer who knew me, and then two PuG DPS. The tank would mark up a pull– on a hard pull there would be the tank’s target and then there would be, for example, a sap, and a sheep, and then my beautiful blue square– the trap target.

I’d lay down my trap, the rogue would sap, the mage would sheep and then the pull would begin and I’d pull my mob into my trap and pewpew away at the skull. Then skull would be down and the rogue and the mage would run towards my trap… but oh wait, what’s this? The tank is headed at sheep, instead! So we’d all DPS sheep and I’d retrap my target and then the mage and the rogue would rush over to– oh wait, she trapped it again? And the tank, who knew me very well, would go right over to sap without blinking and we’d all DPS sap and then everyone would turn around right as I had finished calmly pulling my mob into yet another trap. At which point the tank would perhaps pause and /dance a bit before finally charging in.

Those moments were beautiful. And every time they happened I grinned to myself and knew I had pulled off a job well done. These days, things are easier and we don’t have a chance to pull that kind of thing off anymore. More than ever before, we are about the fabled Massive Quantities of Sustained Ranged DPS once spoken of by a wise man, and we have little room for anything else. Better? Easier? Your opinion. But as for Professor Pike, who has turned into her editing professor– I think that a hunter who has never trapped before is missing a little piece of knowledge and experience that they would find useful and fulfilling if they learned how, even in today’s world (of Warcraft).

Which is why my hunter kindergarten courses will always contain something on chain trapping, and why my sidebar still links to my Chain Trapping Tutorial Movie. Some of the specifics are different, but the basic gist of it is the same. And I still talk like a dork, so that hasn’t changed either. >.>

Remember: time and space are your friends. Lay your trap out early and use distance to your advantage, because that will buy you more time.

<3 (Oh, and in case you are curious, the title of this post, "In the Blink of an Eye", is the name of a book I read in that class, by master editor Walter Murch. I have long thought there was something very “huntery” about editing (or “editory” about WoW hunters), in that in my mind, both are sort of the unsung heroes of the finished product. Looking through that book recently, I’ve discovered there is actually a chapter called “Misdirection”. I rest my case. =P)

Freezing Arrow for Non-Hunters


I love you all. You tank for me, you heal for me, you provide lotsa DPS alongside me. I respect you and appreciate you and we’re buddies. But I’ve been running into a little problem in some instances and heroics I’ve been running and it’s caused some confusion and panic and at least one messy wipe, so it’s time to discuss it.

At level 80 hunters get Freezing Arrow, which allows them to trap something at range.

“Oh cool, trapping just got easier for hunters and they can trap casters now, right?”

Well… sorta. But there’s something very important to know about Freezing Arrow.

If you ask a hunter to open a pull with Freezing Arrow, do not expect that hunter to be able to chain trap afterwards.

To understand this more fully, let me give you a little bit of background info on trapping. A max-rank trap lasts 20 seconds, and the cooldown is 30 seconds. To get around this, the hunter works with two very important things: time and space. She lays down her trap and before she starts the pull, she waits a bit to allow her cooldown to tick down to ensure she will be able to have a next trap ready. Then when she pulls, the act of the mob running towards the trap gives her more precious time. When she does her next trap, she runs far enough away that the mob will, again, have to run, which will give her more time.

Given enough time and space, a skilled hunter could theoretically trap like this indefinitely, despite the cooldown limitation.

Freezing Arrow takes those things away. Say there is a group of four and you want one trapped. The hunter traps one and immediately that aggroes the three surrounding mobs. The hunter is given no time and because the mob was immediately rooted in place without having to run, she is really given no space either. When the trap breaks she will still have 10 seconds left on her cooldown– and cannot trap again.

Now this is fine if all you needed was one mob out of the way for 20 seconds. But if these are hard-hitting mobs and/or the healer is a little undergeared, or something else goes wrong… well, the hunter can’t help you out for 10 seconds. And it’s not her fault. It’s simply the limitations of her abilities.

Now are there exceptions? Well, of course. Deep Survival hunters get a trapping talent that will help them out a little here, and Marksman hunters have Readiness which means they can trap twice in quick succession. But even these exceptions have limitations. Be sure you check with hunters before starting a Freezing Arrow pull to see if they have these talents or are even comfortable trapping this way. For some of us old-schoolers who did it the old way for a long time, we’re still sort of practicing with this newfangled arrow.

One other thing– Freezing Arrow can miss. It’s not like the rest of our shots, it’s more like an “AoE”. Not a big problem if the mob is standing still, but potentially a problem if the mob is moving around a lot.

Okay, that’s all from Pike for now. I really wanted to get this out there because I seem to keep running into it being a problem. Just remember that as a general rule, you shouldn’t ask a hunter to open a pull with Freezing Trap if you want it chain-trapped. And if the hunter volunteers to do so, and they are a BM hunter… then, well, tell ya what, I’ll make a “Freezing Arrow for Hunters” post soon and you can direct ’em here. =P

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 7

Intro to Freezing Trap

Greetings, young level 20 hunter! You’ve just got Freezing Trap which is going to make your life easier!

You may have heard of a mythical thing we like to call “Chain-trapping”, i.e., chaining your traps together such that you can keep a mob trapped indefinitely. Now, that is indeed what you are aiming for eventually, but keep in mind that it’s not exactly something you’ll be doing very much before you get Freezing Trap Rank 3 at level 60. Your traps simply will not last as long. At this point, if somebody asks you to chain-trap in Deadmines or WC, there is no shame in telling them that it’s not a good idea.

So what are you going to be using lowbie traps for, then? When solo’ing and leveling, it’s very handy for keeping extra mobs out of your hair.

An example situation would go something like this:

You see two mobs standing next to each other. You send your pet in on one. They both aggro on your pet. Now the problem is, that if you just continue this scenario as is (you and your pet both attacking one target), it’s very possible that the second guy will pick up on your Mend Pet threat and come running for you.

So what do you do in advance of this situation? You lay a Freezing Trap down at your feet right about the time you send your pet in. If Second Guy comes running for you, he will run into your trap. Usually you can keep him trapped long enough to finish up your first guy.

If your pet is taking a lot of damage you can also purposefully pull one guy into your trap by way of Multi-Shot: that will alert Second Guy to your presence and get him to come running into your trap, so he is off of your pet.

A trap can also be quite handy to give your or your pet some recovery time before you finish up the fight. If you are already both quite wounded after a large pull and you have one guy left, you can trap that guy, pop up a Mend Pet and throw a bandage on yourself, and then finish up the guy in your trap.

Overall, Freezing Traps are one of the most useful tools you have at your disposal as a hunter. Always keep them in mind. They are your main form of crowd control and as you level and get better ranks of Freezing Trap and practice with them… you will learn that a hunter who knows how to trap is a hunter that everybody loves.

Things to Keep in Mind:

-Your trap needs two seconds of “arming time”, that is, if you lay down your trap right as a guy is on top of you, you will have to take a hit or two for a couple seconds.

-Once you lay down a trap, it will be active for one minute (before it disappears).

-Damage done to the trapped target will break the trap. That includes DoTs such as Serpent Sting. If you suspect you may possibly be trapping, it is a good idea not to use Serpent Sting. You can, however, use things like Distracting Shot because it doesn’t cause damage and will not break your trap.

-Traps have a chance to break early. It’s not your fault when that happens, it’s just something that you will have to deal with sometimes. Traps can also be resisted entirely, and there are some mobs that are immune to traps.

-Remember to put some space between the trap and you, or the mob will still hit you before getting frozen. Not a big deal when out in the open field, but rather more important in a raid or heroic.

-It is very possible to accidentally break your own trap via Auto Shot. If you have this problem a lot, you may want to look into a Pull Shot macro.

Freezing Traps can be improved (along with all other traps) via Survival talents, which will make chain-trapping easier, but you certainly do not need those talents to be a successful trapper. All it takes a little practice and a little timing. Eventually, as you gain higher ranks of your Freezing Trap, you will be able to start practicing your chain-trapping; but until then, just get a feel for when and how to use your trap.

In closing, I leave you with “Tawyn’s Trapathon”, a movie I made several months ago (and which you may have already seen, but hey!):

Yes, it has its nub moments, but I wasn’t going for anything particularly fancy at the time, I was just FRAPSing one of my routine farming sessions. =P

And I will see you on our next installment of SYWtPaH, when we get to level 30!


I love Shamans.

Raid buffs + Grace of Air Totem? Mmm, mmm good. Too bad the feral druid was in the other group; my crit woulda been near-35%.

I’ve got something else in mind to discuss for today’s post, however: trap resists. They happen, and there’s not much we can do about them. As far as I am aware, the only way to lessen the chances of your trap getting resisted other than survival talents is through spell hit gear, and, well, I would not recommend that any hunter gear for that.

Trap resists can really mess up your chain trapping because if you are deep into a trapping cycle and fighting the cooldown time, there is not a whole lot you can do about it.

Yesterday in Karazhan we took three tries to down Moroes… which is more than usual. The first two times I was asked to chain-trap a mob for quite some time– aka, we would kill some other mobs and Moroes before getting to my trap. Okay, I said, not a big issue. I’m pretty good with my traps, I’ve got my Beast Lord set bonus, and the Moroes room is nice and big and great for trapping.

Yet both those times, after the fifth or sixth consecutive trap or so, the mob resisted the trap, I still had a cooldown of 10 or 15 seconds or so to go, and because we had no other reliable way to crowd control that particular mob, it caused a wipe.

The third time we ended up picking up my trap and taking him out after just a couple chain traps from me, so we wouldn’t have to deal with it again. This strategy was quite successful. I have to admit I felt rather embarrassed that my traps were not playing nice and being reliable… but on the other hand, trap resists are pretty much beyond your control. If your trap is resisted, it is not your fault.

So what can you do about it? Not a whole lot without spec’ing Survival, but there are ways to perhaps slightly lesson the hurt:


Lay down your trap far in advance of when the pull is going to begin– but not so far in advance that it’s going to disappear right when the pull is starting. If you have to, lay down your trap, wait for the cooldown to tell you you’ve got another one ready, and then tell the tank you’re ready for the pull. If he starts pulling while your cooldown is still up, don’t hesitate to tell him to wait a couple more seconds. If they are going to be relying on your traps, they should be willing to wait a few extra seconds for you to be fully prepared. Waiting to start the pull until your next trap is ready will give you all sorts of extra time and also means that– for the first few traps anyway– you will pretty much have another trap ready or almost ready should one resist.

(Note: If your first trap resists, and you have another one ready and use it, be sure you tell your group that you will not have your next trap ready in time.)

When the Trap Resists:

So the mob runs over your next trap and the big words you are dreading to see pop up on your screen: “Trap Resisted”. First thing’s first: announce it to the rest of the party. If you are on a voice chat program, that is your best bet. Otherwise, hopefully you have some sort of macro that you can pound that will say “TRAP RESISTED” in party chat without you having to type it out. Be sure that everyone is made aware of the situation first in case they have some ideas on what to do.

Now… what you do here is really dependent on your situation. If you have a trap that will be ready shortly, you can Wing Clip/Concussive Shot kite the guy until your next one is up. You can also throw an Intimidate and Mend Pet on your pet and send him in to tank the mob until you have another trap ready, at which point you can run up and lay the trap down at his feet. (I would use a Distracting Shot afterwards to be sure you rise above your pet’s threat. But be sure you don’t break your trap with the Auto Shot that will start afterwards! A Pull Shot macro is great for this.)

If there is still a gigantic amount of time before your next trap is ready, and you are not comfortable with kiting or pet-tanking for that amount of time (raid mobs, for example, can hit hard and your pet will not be up for long without dedicated heals), then there are not a lot of options other than running to the tank and Feigning Death. You should probably make sure the tank knows you are going to do it so he or she knows to pick up aggro on it before it runs to a healer or something.

In the heat of battle with everyone doing their job, it can be hard to remember your tricks and keep your cool. But learning to do so– even if you don’t realize it until after the fact– will make you a better hunter and allow you to do your job more effectively.

The Aftermath:

So they had an offtank or some other form of crowd control pick up on your lost mob and you sort of feel sheepish. Don’t worry, you can still be of some help! Extra traps just in case another mob gets loose can make or break a pull. Going back to yesterday’s Moroes fight: after they’d decided to pick up on trap early, to prevent any unforeseen issues, I assigned myself to keeping a trap up right next to the priest, who was on dual healing/shackling duty. This was in case the shackle broke and ran towards the healer, who would probably be one-shotted. Sure enough, a couple minutes later, I noticed the shackled mob– no longer shackled, but safely encased in my trap. Had my trap not been there, the priest would have gone down, and that would not have been a good situation.

As someone who majored in filmmaking, I have come to sort of feel that playing a hunter is a lot like the art of editing. Editing is an invisible art, so to speak– if people don’t notice your editing, then you know you have succeeded. It is the editor’s job to make things appear seamless and misdirect (yes, they actually do use the term “misdirect” in my textbook) your attention to where they want it to go.

A lot of hunters who can successfully chain trap will get a lot of praise for their traps right off the bat because trapping hunters seem to be few and far between, but as time goes on you will find that people learn you are good with your traps and then simply expect them to be flawless. If your trapping is so good that nobody notices it (and the tank perhaps forgets about your mob and moves on to the next pull)– then you have succeeded. If you have problems with your trap but manage to handle it in a timely and effective fashion with little outside help, then you have succeeded. And even if you don’t have a dedicated something that you are trapping, if you have a backup trap ready in case of emergencies and it eventually gets put to good use, then you have succeeded.

And that’s all for today! In other news… [Garona’s Signet Ring]. It is delicious. I am really tempted to go buy [Angelista’s Revenge] now (I have something like 167 badges, but can’t quite bring myself to spend them yet) and walk away all nicely ring’d up. We shall see.

Traptacular Trapathon

When you are chain-trapping, possibly your two most important assets are: firstly, making sure your trap cooldown is up before you first pull, and secondly, distance. Putting distance between yourself and your trap helps more than I think many people realize; it can give you up to some ten seconds of extra time if you concussive shot/wing clip your mob, and still a lot of extra time even if you don’t.

I have a lot of hunters who will ask me how I can keep something trapped for so long, and those are my secrets. Starting off with no trap cooldown, and then maintaining distance. If you lose distance, you can still regain it later to maintain your edge– it’s difficult but can be done.

I’ve discovered I’m really into this whole “movie” thing (I guess my filmmaking degree is coming out here?) so I’d like to show Tux in his motion picture debut in “Trapathon: Tawyn Gets Bored”. Basically when I get bored farming Scryer signets, I’ll go trap a mob and see how long I can keep him trapped while I burn down the other guys. This is mostly a “just for fun” movie as opposed to an “instructional” movie because I figured BRK already has his fantastic chain-trapping how-tos— so this is mostly to show that keeping your distance = endless chain-trapping, even if you don’t have any points in Survival:

Music: Beatnick vs. Loituma – Leva’s Breaks/Caramell – Caramelldansen (Speedycake Remix)

(Yes, this is the type of stuff I listen to when I play WoW. No wonder I’m so upbeat and postive about the game all the time, right? =P)

Another important thing to keep in mind when you’re trapping is to make sure that you are inbetween your trap and the mob you are trapping. Sounds obvious right? Well sometimes it’s easy to forget and move yourself so you have a better shot at whatever you are shooting at the moment. Always be aware of your surroundings so you can adjust yourself if need be– for example, you’ll notice at around 3:50 that I saw my hapless Trap Victim was running towards me and not the trap– so I had to quickly move myself so he would run into my trap instead.

So there we have it: Start with your next trap ready, maintain distance, and keep the trap between you and your mob. With those three things you can trap indefinitely, at least until you decide to pull five mobs at once =P And even then you can regain your trapping rhythm and continue trapping indefinitely… well… until the wrong mob runs into your trap anyway.

I enjoy making these movies but I sort of feel like most of the instructional stuff has already been covered by BRK and others such as The Hunter’s Mark. But if you’ve got anything in particular that you’d like to see, let me know and I’d be glad to see what I can whip up! (Oh, and also, let me know if you’ve got a good solid place where I can host bigger sizes of these movies).

Trapping Those Pesky Casters

I realized it’s been a little while since I posted a guide. And because I always want to have some guides available for newer (or older) hunters wishing to hone their skills, I figured I’d post a new one.

Today’s topic comes from a question somebody in my guild asked me the other day, while she was in ZF: “Tawyn, how do you trap casters? The person marking always seems to mark the caster for me to trap.”

Well, before we go any farther, I want you to make sure that the person marking is aware of the fact that trapping casters is a difficult thing to do. It could be that they haven’t played a hunter before and thus this little problem hasn’t occurred to them. I got lucky in this regard; our guild’s main tank already has a level 70 hunter of his own and he is very, very good about making sure that I don’t get the casters unless necessary. So be sure you politely let whoever is marking know that, if at all possible, you should be trapping the non-casters.

Now then, sometimes you really don’t have a choice and you will have to trap a caster anyway. The main problem with trapping casters is, of course, that they stay in place and cast spells at you from afar rather than run up to you (and thus, run into your trap). So, what can we do about this? Well, let’s take a look at some of our options:

Silencing Shot: Silencing Shot does exactly what it says on the tin: it silences the target for three seconds. If the mob is silenced, he can’t cast spells, and will default to trying to hit you with his stick. Open with this thing and it should give you enough time to pull the mob into your trap. The downside is that it is the 41-point-Marksman talent. Therefore, only full-Marksman hunters will have access to this shot; BM, Survival, and hybrid hunters will not be able to use this.

Warlockery!: Our warlock friends have a minion called the Felhunter. This minion has an ability sort of like Silencing Shot; it will silence a mob for a few seconds, thus allowing you to pull it into your trap. The downsides: Firstly you have to have a warlock in your group, and secondly… well lemme put it this way. In my experience, warlocks don’t typically like to be told what to do with their minions, much in the same way that we hunters don’t like to be told what to do with our pets. This is very understandable, of course. But poor warlocks are often told to use certain minions for certain tasks when they’d really rather be using their Imp or something. So if you’re going to ask your resident ‘lock for help, be sure you are very polite and that they aren’t already using a minion for a very needed reason. Most ‘locks, I’m sure, would be glad to help, but it’s always good to let them know that their help is appreciated. (Or you can get lucky like I have and get a warlock who comes up with this idea on their own and volunteers their felpuppy before you’ve even thought about it.)

Other Classes’ Help: I have to admit here, there is a lot I don’t know about non-hunter classes. However, I believe there are other classes with a sort of silencing ability. Shadow Priests, for example, can silence. You might ask around and see if any one in your party has any sort of silencing ability (if you don’t already know for certain). I know the warlock one mentioned above surprised me the first time I heard about it. You might be pleasantly surprised too.

Okay. But what if you’re not a Marksman hunter, and you don’t have an available warlock or other silencing class in your party? Then what?

Then we use a little trick we call Line-of-Sight.

Basically this means you are going to set your trap down by a corner of a wall, shoot the mob, and then run around the corner. If the mob can’t see you, he can’t cast at you. He will run to catch up with you, and pop! He’ll run right into your trap.

Here’s a little illustration I whipped up:

(Yeah, it’s not too pretty, but it works, right?)

Things to watch out for include making sure the trap isn’t too far off the beaten path (though they always do seem to have a fairly wide “radius”), making sure the place you’re hiding behind really is a good place to hide behind (i.e., it’s wider than a thin tree or something), and placing the next trap pretty close by so when the first trap breaks, he can hardly move without being trapped again.

Also, it’s a good idea to keep your mob selected. That way, if when you run around the corner you can’t see him anymore, you’ll be able to see the trap debuff pop up under his nameplate and know that you were successful.

“But Pike, what if I’m not a Marksman hunter, there is nobody in the party that can silence, and there are no walls in sight? Then what??”

Then… you do the best you can. Which for me usually means running up to the mob and throwing down a trap at their feet. Make sure you don’t invoke the wrath of any other nearby mobs when you do this, though!

Lastly, remember that practice makes perfect– if at first you can’t figure this thing out, keep trying and you’ll eventually start “picking up” what to do at what times and where to best place your trap. Hopefully it won’t be long until you’ve added yet another little magic trick to your Hunter Goodie Bag.

Alright, there you have it. A Basic Beginner’s Guide to Trapping Casters. I’m sure there are probably other little nuances regarding this topic that I haven’t covered, but hopefully this will at least enable you to get the general idea. As always, your questions and comments are quite welcome.

Until next time… hunt’s luck!