Tag Archives: survival

Melee Hunters are Officially a Thing, So Let’s Talk About It

Well, it looks like Survival is finally and officially going to be the melee spec.  And I don’t mean the weird sort of hybrid Lacerate spec from Vanilla.  A full on melee spec.

…and that’s all we know so far.  That, and they get a polearm or something for their artifact weapon.

I find myself wondering how they’re going to play out.  Will they play like a warrior?  Like a rogue?  Since we’ve got Focus and that works similarly to Energy, I’d assume it’ll be kind of like a rogue.  But I also think with large weapons like polearms, things’ll feel more like a warrior or paladin with a two-hander.

I also find myself thinking about the role the pet is going to play.  Maybe there will be combo moves where the pet and hunter act together?  Who knows!  There are a lot of possibilities.

ss538lJNj4cj18lAll I know for sure is that, even though every expansion I gripe like an old fogey about “hunters these days”, this is definitely gonna be the biggest change to the class we’ve had since mana was replaced by focus.  How is it all going to turn out?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

What do YOU guys think about Survival going melee?

A Survival Is Fine Too

…terrible and geeky title references aside, I spec’d my Horde hunter Survival because, well… currently she’s Survival due to RP reasons. (You know, as “RP Reason” as I can get away with for somebody who never actually roleplays.)

So I was dinking around with Survival and originally I wasn’t actually impressed. In fact, I bought dual spec (cheap now!) and went Beast Mastery, haha.

But then I figured “Dude, Pike, your main character is Beast Mastery, just give Survival a shot on your secondary character. Gosh already.”

So I started to practice with Survival. I reforged up to some Mastery and then the hunter hotfix came through the other day making things even yummier.

The Verdict:

Survival is currently hilarious.

Reason #1 Why Survival is Currently Hilarious:

This is my casual character who has never raided and is in a bunch of like… Triumph badge gear and the super old Nesingwary gun.. And yet when I pop trinkets and Lock and Load procs my DPS goes through the roof. Like, 8k. It’s freaking hilarious. Of course, then it dips down to a number that is lower but still very respectable.

Reason #2 Why Survival is Currently Hilarious:

Improved Serpent Sting + Serpent Spread.

Improved Serpent Sting makes your Serpent Sting do instant damage on first hit, like a normal shot. Serpent Spread makes your Multi-Shot put Serpent Sting on everything. Take these two talents and go Multishot into a giant group of mobs. I promise you will clap your hands and start giggling.

…I was going to have a Reason #3 but right now those are actually the only two reasons I can think of. The extremely high focus cost of Explosive Shot negates some of the fun, I think. That said, I really enjoy the spec. Almost as much as Beast Mastery.

Next up: Marksmanship!

The Black Arrow How-To

I had a request for this, so although I feel a bit silly writing this up mere weeks before everything changes, I am here to deliver!

I’ve been playing around a lot with Survival lately, and having a lot of fun. Black Arrow is tied to Lock and Load so you quickly learn not to “waste” Black Arrows. I don’t really have any hard and fast rules for this, other than what’s common sense:

  • Don’t use Black Arrow when the mob is about to die.
  • Don’t use Black Arrow if you are or are going to be in Viper.
  • Don’t use Black Arrow on mobs that are non-elite and/or going to die in a few seconds.

and etc.

Don’t feel too bad if you screw up– it has a fairly short cooldown so “wasting” a Black Arrow ultimately isn’t something to beat yourself up over; it’s just something to watch. (Lock and Load itself does have its own 22 second internal cooldown, which still isn’t that bad.)

Lock and Load will also proc from trapping things. You don’t get a chance to do this much in PvE at current but you’ll soon figure out moments and take them to your advantage (Hint: the ghouls during the last boss fight in ToC).

And that is Black Arrow.

As for me, I’m still plinking around with Netherwing Dailies. It’s going much faster than I was expecting. Guys: I’m not doing all of the dailies, I’m not going overboard with eggs, and I’ve skipped a few days because I’ve been busy or whatnot, and I’ve already hit Revered in two weeks. Easy-squeezy.

…did I just say Easy-Squeezy? You have permission to facepalm.


Hi dead blog! *pokes with stick*

I figured I should write something. So here I am. Hooray! And as a bit of a double bonus, I figured I’d return to my roots and actually write something huntery. Double Hooray! So intense!

So, here’s the deal. As of now, I sort of consider myself to be a… triple-spec’d hunter. As we probably all know by now, I have two level 80 hunters. Well, Tawyn‘s been rocking her Beast Mastery main spec and her Marskmanship Fun spec. And for a while, poor neglected Lunapike was rocking the Beast Mastery spec as well. But of course, right?

Well, recently I blew the dust off of the latter and decided to start playing her again. At that point, I hadn’t seriously played her in months, so she was decked out in a bunch of super-old-school stuff like dungeon blues, heroic purples, and Nesingwary. Spec’d Beast Mastery she was getting maybe 3k in heroics, which is like… half of what Tawyn does on a lazy day. Beast Mastery is a fickle, gear-dependent creature.

Anyways I sort of missed big numbers and I was feeling ambitious and I knew I didn’t have the gear for Marksmanship so I went Survival. Yup. Now for those of you just tuning in, my grumblings about Survival are pretty well-known. I’ve ranted about it many-a-time in this blog: how much I dislike the rotation and basically find it un-fun in every way. It’s why Tawyn’s dual spec is Marskmanship.

…so I’m not sure what I was smoking when I decided to go Survival, but go Survival I did, and you know what? This time around I really enjoy it. I’m not even sure why. I think it finally “clicked”. I mean, in essence it’s a very similar rotation to Beast Mastery, except that stuff is on lower cooldowns, so you have to be a bit quicker on your feet… and you get Lock and Load. By the way, Lock and Load is super fun. It’s tied to Black Arrow, so once you figure out how best to use that one, you’re good to go.

I can also see why SV is the recommended “Freshly Minted 80 Hunter” spec. Upon spec’ing it and heading into dungeons, it was basically like… Go Directly to 50% more DPS, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. It was very plug-and-play.

Anyways, I have also rediscovered my love of level 80 PvP. I love pre-50 BGs to death, but the endgame stuff with all the resilience and everything was never really my bag. But I did so many BGs on Lunapike this last weekend, and had a blast. It feels like I have a ton of toys to play with as Survival.

But yeah. Sorry for the massive TLDR. I’d break this up with pictures but WoW is down and I’m too lazy to go hunting through my screenshot folder.

If you want me to write about something in specific, lemme know, because I’m having a terrible time coming up with stuff to put in this blog lately. Just keep in mind that I’m still pretty much retired-from-raiding so super intense strategy guides are probably out, but most everything else is open game.

Patchwerk University Says…


Well, I did it. Got into Naxxramas as Survival. Unfortunately it was a 10man and not a 25man, and furthermore… the raid was kind of a giant failure. Yay PuGs, right?

It had one thing going for it though. The raid decided to do Patchwerk first. So that’s what I did. (And all I did in Naxx, actually.)

I felt really in the zone. I had super rhythmic music playing in the background, I was firing my shots in the correct order, my latency was low, my FPS was high, I was watching Quartz like a hawk and hitting my buttons and hotkeys the split second I was able to. Perezvon was Furious Howl’ing up a storm and I felt like I had finally nailed Survival and that there was absolutely no way in heck I wouldn’t beat my previous 10man Patchwerk high score.

So when it was all said and done and all the dust settled down I whipped out Recount…

I was a thousand DPS higher than second place.*

…I was 400 DPS lower than what I usually do as BM. (3333 as SV compared to 3700ish on most of my BM attempts. My personal high score on 10man Patchwerk is 3980, as Beast Master.)

/tilts head to one side and scratches scalp

And so I leave it at that. See, I am going to be working evenings the rest of the weekend so my chances of getting into another raid before I continue with the project and move on to Marksmanship are slim.

The verdict? Well, to be honest with you guys I am convinced I was using the right glyphs, spec, and rotation. And that screenshot I posted in my last post was a bad example; normally my pet is only doing about 15% of my damage, he was doing an unusually high amount in that last screenshot due to the mechanics of the fight, but I know I was pulling my weight this time.

So why did I not see this big DPS increase? Why did I wind up failing the Patchwerk test?

My guess is that it’s a gear issue. The vast majority of my gems are +hit gems, and I couldn’t exactly afford to lose those so I couldn’t re-gem to Agi. On top of that, I am puttering around in a mixture of Heroics blues, Naxx10 stuff, and a couple of Naxx25 and badge lewts. My guess is that at a lower gear level (like mine), BM simply scales… better.

And honestly I can’t help but think the fact that the Beast Mastery playstyle feels like it’s simply a natural extension of myself helps too… =P

Survival was an interesting experience, to say the least. I have gone from absolutely and utterly disliking the playstyle at the beginning of the week, to a sort of jovial handshakey acquaintanceship. I can appreciate the complexities of the shot rotation (even if staring at Quartz and my action bars made me feel horrifically claustrophobic) and the big Explosive Shot crits were pretty fun to watch– when I could see them out of the corner of my eye while staring at the action bars, anyway.

…but it wasn’t quite “home”. I have heard it said that playing a hunter spec is just pressing buttons in a different order… we will have to agree to disagree on that one. *nods*

* The second-place contestant was a very good Death Knight friend of mine who is normally neck-and-neck with me in the DPS department. He later expressed his befuddlement to me at how very poor his DPS was that round, and I’m starting to wonder if the group makeup was just horrible somehow and if that had something to do with my own performance. Guess I’ll never know, though. Not having a stable raid group sort of made it rather difficult to do a decent analysis of specs, really.

NOW We're Gettin' Somewhere


So that’s basically about, oh, 50-100 DPS more than I do as BM on 10man Patchwerk. I probably should’ve just snapshotted the Current Fight (I think it was on Overall) but hey, it was a nice number. And much more than I’ve normally been doing as Survival so far this week. (Even if the whole Twilight Torment thing from my pet kinda skewed the numbers. I had decent numbers on the other fights too, so it’s justified. /cough)

Mostly I’m surprised because I don’t feel like I changed my playstyle at all. I did wind up sucking it up and installing Quartz this morning, but I don’t think it had much of an effect, since overall my latency is pretty low and my FPS is pretty high. Very helpful for my moonkin, though. >.> 1900 DPS at level 75? Yes please. Aaaanyways, perhaps I just got the right mix of buffs, finally.

I feel like I am finally starting to get into the Survival groove. Maybe. At least, this was the first time I saw a bunch of mobs and thought “Oh! I should use Frost Trap for Lock and Load!” only to find out it was on cooldown because of Black Arrow. I’ll uh… remember next time. >.>

…Frost Trap is the one, right? <.<

In Which Pike Needs To Learn to Play

So I am both pleased and somewhat befuddled to report that any Beast Master worth their salt could destroy me in DPS right now. Seriously, today, spec’d cookie-cutter Survival and using a cookie-cutter wolf, in both a 10man and a 25man VoA… I wound up a good 300-400 DPS short of what I’d do as Beast Master.

…heck, I do more DPS as a Beast Master in 10man Naxx than I did as a Survivalist in 25man VoA today. And I had a kitty druid and a bazillion other yummy things in VoA that I normally don’t have in Naxx.

Before you ask, yes I’ve read the Elitist Jerks threads, yes I’m using a glyph/spec/rotation setup I got from them, and yes, I am being very careful not to overwrite my Explosive Shot DoTs when Lock n’ Load procs.

My only theories are a.) the massive slowdown my computer likes to throw at me in 25mans (though that still doesn’t explain the performance I wasn’t exactly proud of in the 10man today), b.) my AP gems are coming back to haunt me (Edit: Now that I think about it, I think I have mostly +hit gems… so never mind >.>), c.) it takes more than a few days to figure out the nuances of this spec, or d.) I hacked the gibson and bent the rules of the game to my will so BM simply does more DPS when I play it.

*shifty eyes*

I’m glad I’ve set the rule on myself that I must stay my test specs for a full week though, or I woulda given up and respec’d by now. I will figure out these Survivalist Shenanigans if it’s the last thing I do.

In druid news, I healed ZA. Well, part of it. Eagle Boss can go die. x_x

(P.S. Just to clarify, you don’t have to worry about me turning into a superhardcore min/max style hunter. I am going pure cookie-cutter right now merely out of curiosity to see if I can figure out what the hype is about, so to speak. Once my curiosity is sated I can go back to things like, well, using my raptor <3)

Survival SPECulation: Day Two

So my second day of full Survival was not particularly exciting, although I was pleased to wake up and find all sorts of helpful hints and the like left in comments on my blog (and really has me wanting to make a “What hunter spec are you?” poll, just for curiosity’s sake, since it seems a good deal of you actually are not BM!)

I did enough dailies to learn that my pet can hold aggro just fine if I let him chew on the mob for five seconds or so before I open up. I’m just so used to BM where I can basically start shooting the second I send my pet in. (Now to be fair, I do usually have to be in Aspect of the Beast even as BM or else I’ll pull, but hey.) Once I figured this out, solo’ing became much better than it was yesterday especially because I never dipped below about 80% mana. Ever. My inner mana-starved Beast Master kinda wanted to cry about it, I’ll admit.

I got into a quick Heroic Azjol’Nerub, and then a Heroic Violet Hold later on. I kept Recount open and set to “Show Current Fight” for each. My reaction to the resulting numbers was extremely variable, bouncing anywhere between “Gosh, this isn’t nearly as good as my BM numbers” to “Why am I getting Patchwerk numbers in a five-man?” The vast majority of my reactions were firmly in the middle, though– the “I am doing about the same amount of DPS” camp. All it took, though, was a good solid string of crits to push me back closer to 10man Patchwerk territory.

I have discovered that where Beast Master is all about mobility with things like Kindred Spirits, Survival and Sniper Training lean much more towards stillness. It’s sort of a new style of playing that I’m still trying to get used to. See, I love running around while fighting. It’s especially bad on my druid because all I ever cast are HoTs so I’ll run circles around the boss, jumping frantically up and down and twirling around while I toss Lifeblooms and Wild Growths around. While I’m not quite to that point with my hunter (thanks to the whole you-gotta-stand-still-to-shoot-anyway thing), I still enjoy mobility and I strafe around a lot, so learning to suppress that has been kinda difficult.

The day ended with pounding away on training dummies. Again, the numbers I wound up with were extremely varied. At best, I was getting about 400 DPS more than I do as BM, and at worst, about 100 less. The majority of my experiments placed me about 150ish DPS more than BM with no outside buffs. Honestly I don’t know if that’s good or not; I have no idea how much this Fabled Big Survival DPS Increase is supposed to be. ANYWAYS, as far as I am aware, I am using the correct glyphs, spec, and shot priority– juggling my two DoTs (Black Arrow and Serpent Sting) and then Kill Shot -> Explosive Shot -> Aimed Shot -> Steady Shot, as well as having to shake things up with the occasional Lock & Load procs. The Survival rotation is rather complex, but I’m pretty sure I had it down. It really does feel like a Boomkin on Speed (I am allowed to say this because nobody wants Trees in Violet Hold, they all want Priests for some reason which I’ve yet to ascertain. So I’ve spent a lot of time in the chicken suit lately when I play my druid.)

Honestly the biggest thing I noticed from my tests was that I can do 180,000 damage before running out of mana as Beast Master, and 260,000 before running out of mana as Survival. Similar DPS, but huge difference in overall net damage done.

Regardless, I am only two days into the Grand Experiment, so we’ll see how things continue to go…

Outwit. Outplay. Outspec.

I’m playing a game with myself. It’s called, “Pike is actually going to learn to play the other two hunter specs”.

Yes that’s right. Don’t panic. See, I’m sure we all know by now that I’ve been primarily a Beast Master hunter up until this point. This is so largely for two reasons; firstly, it really is my favorite hunter spec (don’t get me wrong), and secondly, well… this seems to have unofficially become a BM hunter site and I figured you guys would appreciate it. /blush

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the other specs or secretly long to learn to play them well. I mean, seriously, anytime I’ve ever spec’d SV or MM recently has resulted in a DPS loss, which simply isn’t logical and means I am playing them incorrectly. So I figured… now’s as good a time as any to figure them out!


The Rules:
1.) Must play one spec for one week. No temporary respecs or spec-swapping allowed.
2.) With said spec, must do at some dailies, a few heroics, and at least one raid (preferably a Naxx clear, but something like OS or VoA will work if necessary) and report back to the blog.
3.) Must not talk about Fight Club
4.) No matter how much he begs, never, ever feed your pet after midnight.

Okay, so the last two rules are a joke, but ya know.

Anyways, with said rules in place, I swapped over to Survival (figured I’d start with it since it’s my dual spec so I’m already glyphed for it) and headed off to the Argent Tournament.

The first thing I noticed was that I pulled aggro on Chillmaw within about half a second and Feign Death failed to work so I wound up Deterrence tanking him. 1200 dps on that fight. Oh yeah, off to a dandy start. /cough (Oh, and how the two Death Knights in the group failed to grab aggro from me throughout the entire fight… I will never know.)

The second thing I noticed was that when fighting the Scourge mobs for that one “kill 15 Scourge” daily, it was impossible for my pet to hold aggro beyond more than a second.

The third thing I noticed was that Misdirection extended one second of pet aggro to about two seconds of pet aggro.

The fourth thing I noticed was that Growl was off and Cower was on. Derp. Swapped those around.

The fifth thing I noticed was that with Growl safely on, my pet still couldn’t hold aggro more than a second or two without Misdirection.

The sixth thing I noticed was that mana issues while solo’ing were pretty much gone.

The seventh thing I noticed was that my traps were always on cooldown when I wanted to use them (Black Arrow’s fault).

The eighth thing I noticed was that it was near-impossible to do a proper Survival rotation on random level 79 non-elite mobs, because they were all dead after an Explosive and a Steady or two. Eventually I just abandoned using Serpent Sting and Black Arrow entirely because I didn’t need ’em. And lastly,

The ninth thing I noticed was how empty I felt when I realized that suddenly, I was just another Survival hunter with a wolf in a sea of Survival hunters with wolves. Now you’re probably thinking “Pike, you dork, you were totally a BM hunter with a cat and then a BM hunter with a windserpent in Burning Crusade.” And it’s true… I was. But somehow it feels different now and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I differentiated myself back then by refusing to use the Steady Shot macro so I still felt fundamentally unique. Back then, I got my kicks from out-DPSing macro-using hunters with my manual rotation in the same way that today I get my kicks from out-DPSing cookie-cutter specs. Or, perhaps it’s because I was naive back then and automatically assumed that everyone was having as much fun with Beast Mastery as I was. I dunno exactly, but whatever the reason, being like everyone else bugs me now in a way it didn’t before.

Anyways, I am now bound into using Survival until next Sunday evening, though, so we’ll see how things go. I am actually very excited for this project and looking forward to getting a nice glimpse into other worlds of hunteryness! ^_^