/cheer

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!

Fun With Respec'ing and Initial Thoughts

So today I respec’d from my normal “utility/PvP/marksman-ish” build into classic 41/20 Beast Mastery. It was a very incomplete build, however, because I’m not even close to level 70 yet, but I will go more into that later in this post.

My reasons for respec’ing were three-fold; firstly I was sort of getting bored with my current spec (not that I don’t like it, because I do, but I felt like spicing things up a little), secondly because I wanted to see Beastial Wrath/The Beast Within in action, and thirdly because I wanted to see if I can live without Hawk Eye, since it’s odd having those three points randomly in Survival if I don’t have anything else over there.

The initial verdict:

Stuff dies, and stuff dies fast. I seem to be critting a lot, which sort of amuses me because my crit chance % took a nosedive when I respec’d, thanks to not having enough points to put into the MM side of 41/20/0. But I seem to be critting left and right anyway. I think maybe because the Serpent’s Swiftness gives me more shots, that adds up to more crits. But I’m not sure, that’s just my initial thought. It could just be that I was getting lucky!

My trusty friend Tux has gone from doing about 30% of my total DPS to about 55%. Again, I’m sure I’d be doing more of the DPS if I had the points to put into MM but I don’t, so it amuses me that my pet is now my better half, so to speak. And is he a machine! He has gone from being my mild-mannered little pocket tank into a big red deadly ball of feathers. It’s an unusual thing which I’m not used to, but is it ever fun. Oh, and being a big red hunter is pretty fun too. ^^

Things that I am not too fond of: I miss a lot of my old marks talents. Granted I will get a lot of those back as I earn more talent points, but right now not having stuff like Mortal Shots, Lethal Shots, and Go For The Throat is a bit painful. I also sort of miss being able to put up those big crit numbers; even if BM does more overall DPS as I think it probably does, I’m a sucker for big crits. I’m an agility junkie so I’m still doing a lot of damage, but not as much as I enjoy doing.

I burn through mana even faster in BM than I did in Marks, and I’m not quite sure how or why.

Also the overall “feel” for BM is different than the overall “feel” for Marks in a way that I find hard to pin down and explain. It’s more… fast-paced, almost? More frenzied as opposed to calm and calculating, red as opposed to blue. Both specs require quick thinking, but they require it in different ways. It’s not bad, it’s just different, and different people will like different things and if you’ve been one spec for a long time it takes a while to get used to another, I think.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’ve decided to ditch Hawk Eye. If I ever start doing tons of PvP again or mess with a survival spec (which I know I will at some point), I’ll definitely pick that talent up again, but for a BM/MM PvE spec it doesn’t really seem needed to me. Better off putting those three points elsewhere!

Anyways, there you have it, my initial thoughts on my most recent respec. I think I’ll stick with it and play with it for at least a few days before I respec again, probably to something close to my “utility spec”. I’m definitely going to return to BM and try it out again later on down the road when I have more talent points, and I’m also going to give Survival a big test run at some point, but probably not right away.

I hope to be able to spend lots of time with and thoroughly learn each of the specs, because I feel that each spec has things to teach you and by spending time with each of the specs, you will become a better hunter.

Why I Am a Hunter (And Why I Play WoW)

I was browsing the WoW forums the other day (something that I rarely do, as I’m not particularly fond of the official forums), and stumbled across this thread which asks simply, “Who or what inspired you to play a hunter?”

And I decided to post my answer here rather than at the forum.

Why am I, Pike, playing a hunter?

Well let me take you back to Spring of this year, as I was just finishing up the last of my senior projects at university. Now that I was almost out of school and had nothing but “working” going on in my near future, I was mostly looking forward to playing some console video games when I got the chance– when you use Linux as your main operating system, it’s often more trouble than it’s worth to get most PC games up and running (though I did manage to get StarCraft and WarCraft III running with varying degrees of success, which made me happy.)

Then, one morning, my boyfriend informed me that he had installed WoW and had been up into the wee hours of the night playing it. Now you have to understand something: the two of us had spent the past year or so up until this point purposefully avoiding WoW like the plague. We both had seemingly endless amounts of friends who were, in our minds, addicted to the game: they did nothing but talk about WoW and they liked to inform us that “Oh you’ll start playing someday, you just don’t know it yet.” This annoyed us to no end so we vowed never to play it.

So when my significant other told me he had started playing, my initial reaction was one of shock, but it was replaced a few seconds later with “Well why did you start without me?”

I had a trial copy of WoW laying around, which I managed to successfully install on Linux thanks to WINE and an awesome guide, and after several hours of waiting for patches and stuff I was in game, ready to make my first ever character.

I knew nothing about any of the classes. I had never played an MMORPG before, the concepts of “tank”, “healer”, and “DPS” classes were completely foreign to me. I have played some D&D, not as much as I would have liked, but enough to know how to play the game. In D&D my main character was a half-elven ranger. I always thought they were pretty cool. They had this ability to talk to animals once a day (or something like that), so once in a game I used a spell to talk to a little bird and have him go scout around for me. That really stuck in my head as a neat ability.

So I was thinking of that experience. And I was remembering how one of my WoW-geek-buddies had given me a run-down of all the classes and informed me that hunters were one of the best (if not the best) for solo’ing, and I sort of figured I’d be doing a lot of solo’ing.

And… that’s it. That’s why I rolled a hunter. I knew nothing about them at the time, I’d never played the game before. I had no idea they got traps. I had no idea they got Feign Death. I even had no idea they got pets. All I knew was that they got a bow and arrow and were sort of like my D&D character and were good for solo play.

(As an aside here, yes I rolled a night elf. I figured they were closest to half-elves that I could get, since humans couldn’t be hunters, and I liked the night elves in WCIII. I had no idea at the time that “night elf hunter” was the biggest cliché in the game, or I probably would have thought twice about rolling one. Actually I’m going to be completely honest with you guys here, I really wanted to roll a tauren and play Horde but my boyfriend had rolled a human ‘lock and I wanted to play with him, so Alliance I was! I have a couple tauren alts now though, to make up for it.)

And so, here I am. Here I am thoroughly obsessed with my class which was chosen purely based on a D&D game and some random advice given to me by a friend.

And yes, here are my boyfriend and I, thoroughly “addicted” to the game in general, now that most of our friends have grown bored of it and moved on. =P Heehee.

Guild Stuff

My guild has taken to calling me “The [Insert Synonym for “Strong” Here] Hunter.” So I am now commonly greeted with stuff like “How is The Mighty Hunter today?”, “Well if it isn’t The Fierce Hunter”, and “What is The Ferocious Hunter up to?” And these names are only used to refer to me and not any of the other hunters in the guild, at least as far as I am aware. Granted, we are a somewhat small guild right now, but still… I am amused.

Considerably more unusual, however, is the fact that I have apparently become the de facto “hunter expert” in our guild. The other hunters in the guild come to me asking for advice regarding spec, gear, pets, and basically anything and everything pertaining to hunters. I feel rather not-up-to-task for this job. I’m the WoW-nublet who hasn’t even hit level 60 yet and these people who are working on their fourth or fifth character, some of whom have had hunters in the past, are coming to me for advice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enormously flattered by it, but I can only hope that the guidance I am giving is actually good guidance.

Fortunately I feel that I have learned a huge deal myself from regularly partaking of the wisdom of blogs such as Big Red Kitty and The Hunter’s Mark, and many others (which I will link to at a later date), so even if I would refrain from calling myself a true hunter expert for a while yet, I think I can do an adequate job filling the role for the time being. I hope I can anyway.

And I suppose the above stories only go to show that other people can sense my enthusiasm for my class! I’m not surprised. =P

Reclaiming the Term

This probably will mark me as a bit odd, but I’m going to say it anyway: I call myself a huntard. All the time. And I sorta like being called a huntard.

“But Pike, ‘huntard’ is a bad name! And I thought you were into being good at your class and that kind of thing!”

I am. And I consider myself to be a fairly decent hunter. But see here’s the thing: I don’t view the term “huntard” as an insult like most other WoW-ers do. I consider it to be more of a term of endearment. Like “pally” or “shammy”. (Though I guess some paladins and shamans are offended by those terms– but many do refer to themselves as such.) “Huntard”, to me, should be a word signifying somebody who is geekily obsessive about, and hopefully skilled with, their chosen class: hunter in this case.

Obviously most people do not go along with my own personal definition of the word. As such I have to be careful about when and how I use it. I can’t go into a group and introduce myself as a huntard; that would probably be bad. I sort of hope that someday I can, though. I hope that someday I can say “I’m a huntard” and that will clue people off to just how much I love and try to perfect my class.

Ah well, we can’t have everything. In the meantime my boyfriend calls me huntard and I call him grumpy warlock. It works out!

Impressive!

Today I was herb-farming in Hillsbrad and stumbled across a level 24 Blood Elf Hunter taking on a level 30 Giant Yeti. I reigned in my horse and observed as, bit by bit, she took him down. A very impressive feat, I thought, for somebody who, say, didn’t even have Feign Death yet. I’m still not sure how she did it, although it seemed to involve a lot of bouncing around, a lot of shifting aggro between her and her pet, and at least one healing potion.

By the end of the epic battle it was getting to the point where either side could have been the winner. I think the blood elf probably would have won anyway, but just to be safe I quickly fired off a shot, critting and easily disposing of the yeti. I wanted to let her know how impressed I was… /congrats, perhaps? But she pulled a /bonk on me and ran away. So I responded with a /giggle on went on my way as well.

Dear level 24 Blood Elf Hunter on Silver Hand, and all other awesome resourceful hunters everywhere: you guys remind me why I love this class so much. Because playing a hunter is like playing with a big bag of magic tricks– it’s fun, it’s supposed to be. Please keep on performing epic feats of survivability and have fun with your class!

On PvP Servers

I’ve been wanting to make a post regarding my thoughts on PvP servers for a while now, and now, while my other computer is busy running a file system check, sounds like a good time.

I really, really want to like PvP servers. They add an element of excitement to the game that is lacking on normal servers. I like the idea of them in principle– “in principle” being the key words.

The main problem, for me, is that the my idea of an ideal PvP server, and most other peoples’ idea of an ideal PvP server, seem to conflict.

For an example, I will tell of some of my adventures yesterday. I was logged onto a tauren alt, questing in and around Tarren Mill in the Hillsbrad Foothills, which is arguably one of the most contested areas in the game. In my hour and a half of playing, most of which consisted of hunting bears and mountain lions for some quests, I was ganked… 8, 9 times? I lost count around there. One of those was a decently fair fight– I say decently because the other person was four or five levels higher than me– but it was still a fun enjoyable little skirmish and I dished out some damage before dying. The other 7 or 8 times I was ganked, it was by somebody who was level ?? and was able to one- or two-shot me.

To me, PvP servers would be ridiculously fun if most of the PvP went on like the first fight I described– by people at decently similar levels. But in my experience, most of the PvP is high-levels ganking low-levels, when the low levels are trying to quest or something. That, to me, is not fun. It is just annoying.

Now I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject; maybe it gets better later on, or maybe it’s just like this in certain zones (like Hillsbrad and STV). And obviously a lot of people enjoy PvP servers, and I don’t blame them. But my style of play is one where I like being able to go to Booty Bay and think “Wow, what an interesting place full of interesting characters”, and not “Oh joy. Booty Bay. I wonder how long I can survive this time before I’m one-shotted, maybe I can last more than a minute and set a new record.”

So there you have it– why I’m not a big fan of PvP servers. I will continue to play on many of them because it’s where most of my friends play, and because (as far as the aforementioned tauren character is concerned) I’m a part of some great guilds. But when given the choice… I think I’ll stick to my normal/RP servers.

Closing Note #1: I am yet to try an RP-PvP server, I would definitely like to look into that.

Closing Note #2: Some interesting stuff does indeed happen PvP-wise. For example, the level ?? guy who went around and killed all the low-levels he found… except for me. And then he proceeded to help me kill a monster to finish a quest. I don’t know why he chose to help me instead of gank me. I like to think that maybe he is a fan of Dostoyevsky’s novels, after which my pet Alyosha was named. Much more likely, I was the only girl there, and/or he was planning on killing me later and I just left before he could. Either way, it was interesting and sort of fun.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Battlegrounds (A Confession)

I will start by saying that, in general, I’m not a huge fan of PvP. I’d rather be playing on a normal server with my PvP flag safely off than, well… the alternatives. I’d rather be /waving at and /dancing with members of the opposite faction, instead than ganking them. Yeah, I’m a carebear, that’s how I roll!

But I have this thing for battlegrounds. Anytime one of my characters gets to a level that ends in 8 or 9, I’m off to Warsong Gulch or Arathi Basin.

Now sometimes I feel like a masochist for this. Battlegrounds can be (and usually are) excruciatingly irritating for me… often filled with rude people and twinks. Now I don’t have a big problem with twinks, they’re playing the game the way they want to and I can certainly see the appeal of twinking… but it does make things hard for us “normal players” in battlegrounds. If the other side is full of twinks, and your side isn’t, well, things just aren’t fun.

So yeah. Often times I sit there getting my tail handed to me over and over by twinks, or our team refuses to work together, or a variety of things happen and I wonder “Why oh why am I doing battlegrounds? I hate this!” Then after the match I go right back up to the battlemaster and do it over again.

Why?

Because when things do come together… when your team does work well together and maintain and execute a tight plan… when it’s not just entirely twinks and you find yourself locked in good solid battle with another guy… when the game is a close, close match and you happen to pull it off… it sure feels good.

I’m not a twink and I wouldn’t call myself a PvPer. I just occasionally find myself gripped by this random addiction to battlegrounds. My fairly new tauren hunter Lunapike has been rocketing down the questing/leveling path but I’ve held her at level 19 for what must be a week by now because I can’t bear to level her, I’m having far too much fun. The 10-19 Warsong Gulch bracket is painful and irritating to play, and it makes me want to kick my computer over, but it’s fun.

And there you have it, that’s my confession. Battlegrounds, I hate you, but I love you. And try as I might, I can’t get over you.

Alliance vs. Horde?

A lot of people have huge preferences when it comes to what faction they play on. They will only play on one particular faction, they have many reasons for it, and those who play on the other faction are “nooblets”.

…so it’s okay to like them both, right?

Cause that would be me. I really have no preference. I like various aspects of each faction and I would very happily play either. What faction I choose to play on a particular server mostly has to do with what faction my friends/guild are.

Going a little more in depth though, here are some things that I’ve noticed: (note: these are all my personal observances and they are probably different for you!)

Races: I’d like to start by saying that I actually like all the races in the game. Some people out there have races they love to hate (gnomes and the elves come to mind), but I like them all. However, in general, I find the horde races to be more interesting. If I had to pick my three favorite races in the game it would probably be… Tauren, Troll, Night Elf, in that order. Two horde races up top. I really love everything about the Tauren– their lore, their starting area, their philosophy, their physical “look”, and their special move Warstomp. Trolls are a close second, I can’t tell you exactly why I find them so intriguing, but I do… they’re just fun! Night Elves I like mostly because I am enamored with their lore and backstory. I like playing them too, but… when it comes down to it I’d rather play a Tauren or Troll.

So, when it comes down to what races I like best… horde wins.

Locations: There are a lot of really unique locations in the game and I like many of them. However, I am going to admit right here and now that I am madly in love with Stormwind. Best place in the game. I love the layout and the way it looks, I love all the big statues out in front, I love the sweeping choral music that plays. I also love Goldshire, if you can get past all the… kids that hang out there. Hehe. You know what else I love? Darnassus. I didn’t used to be a big Darnassus fan, because I found it to be confusing to navigate, but it’s really grown on me recently. It’s way out of the way but I go there sometimes just for the heck of it.

Horde has some great locations too. Thunder Bluff and Mulgore come to mind– I really find Thunder Bluff to be unique and memorable and I’d call it my “home city” hordeside. And I love the lore of the Undercity, even though the city itself isn’t really my style.

But in the end Alliance is the clear winner for me in this category. They get Stormwind, Darnassus, Ironforge, the ridiculously cute Goldshire and a lot of memorable places in general in the Eastern Kingdoms. As much as I love Thunder Bluff, in the end Durotar/Orgrimmar is just too blindingly orange for me, the Undercity/Tirisfal is a little too spooky, and Silvermoon, while gorgeous, ends up being rather dull. Alliance wins!

(That said, I have to admit, I harbor a severe phobia of Exodar. I once wandered around there for about a half hour trying to find the exit. I shudder just thinking about it and I pretty much refuse to go there.)

Maturity Level/People: Hehe, this is probably the one some of you have been waiting for. A big argument I hear a lot is that “I play [insert faction here] because the players are so much more mature than the other side”. Well… I think it probably depends on what server you’re on and what type of server you’re on because that’s really the only difference that I’ve noticed. I’ve seen a bit more of the testosterone aspect on PvP servers (both factions) and a bit more introspection and “artsyness” on RP servers (both factions) but the difference isn’t particularly huge. (I’m afraid I haven’t spent enough time on a normal PvE server or an RP-PvP server to share my thoughts on those yet.) People have been rude to me on both factions and people have been nice to me on both factions and in the end I really think it comes down to the individual people on each individual server, rather than faction. Horde/Alliance tie.

Final Score: Horde – 1 1/2, Alliance – 1 1/2. I like them both equally well, they both have their strong points and weak points and I am more than willing to play either. I might revisit this at a later date with some more categories and such, but until then… Pike’s out!

Everyday I'm Huntering