Archive for the “Hunter” Category

Panda-man ALWAYS intense!

Gotta love Harry Dean Stanton.

Tonight, I completed the Hunter rite of passage.

I successfully tracked down and tamed one of the new Pandaren rares, Savage!

And Repo Man or not, that was freaking intense!

I did not do this on my own. My inspiration was Cymre (of Bubbles of Mischief fame) with her recent post about tracking him.

It wouldn’t have happened, though, without Euphyley’s awesome post (At WoW Rare Spawns) detailing the how, where and why of Savage, with maps and all. And of course for the reminder that right now, before 5.1 is released, tracks are still displayed backwards, so backtrack ‘em. :)

I was inspired by Cymre to try my own search for this beautiful white jungle cat with the blueish-purple eyes. I have always loved tigers, and the look of this white tiger is simply stunning. Of all the rares, Savage was the one I hoped the most to be lucky enough to find someday.

I started at the western-most point of the Jade Forest on Euphyley’s map, just below the bridge to the Valley of the Four Winds.

I kept tabbing in and out, comparing where I was on the map to landmarks, trying to get oriented in my mind where to go next. “All right, so if I move to that grove of trees, then I can do a southeastern loop around that lake, then head up toward the mine entrance, staying to the left of the village.”

I stayed on my flying mount for the trip, not expecting much luck on this first excursion, walking slowly, criss-crossing where I thought the trail might be.

I went the entire route, all the way to the eastern coast, when suddenly I saw it! A dot that showed up as a Bloody Track!

I checked the orientation of the paw print, and it showed the claws pointing ahead of me… which meant he was actually heading back the way I came.

I whirled around, popped a flare… and nothing. Uh oh. Oh wait, there’s another track back the way I came!

And thus began a half hour stalking session.

That was intense. I had people whispering me, and I didn’t respond to anything. I couldn’t, I might miss a track or it would fade away!

I was fixed on the screen in front of me, analyzing every trace of land for the sign of the next Bloody Track.

It seemed like no matter how far I went, there were always more tracks in front of me.

It wasn’t until I was almost all the way back to where I started, at the southern shore of that lake south of the mine, that I felt I finally got ahead of the tracks. The southern part of the lake is bordered by a trail and mountains, so it’s a natural choke point. It became slightly easier to see the tracks, and to feel I was ahead of him. It also gave me a better feel that the flare might encompass where Savage would have to walk.

I popped that flare, and the thrill when I saw the giant, white-furred head push into view was amazing.

Seriously, if you are a Hunter, and you haven’t done this yet, please do yourself a favor and go on the hunt for one of these special rares.

Visit WoW Rare Spawns, look at the various rare Hunter pets in Pandaria, and set yourself on a safari.

Wow, what a rush!

Look ma, I’m a real Hunter now!

Thank you Cymre, and thank you ever so much Euphyley!

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I felt I owed you a glimpse at how Beartrap be rockin’ the fashion world.

I’d say he looks pretty happy, wouldn’t you?

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That is all. You can now carry on with the rest of your pew pewing day.

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Blizzard was kind enough to send out some “Recruit a Friend” emails to long-time players recently, invites that allowed you to give someone else 30 days of full free gameplay, unrestricted, in World of Warcraft with Burning Crusade.

I was quite pleased to get one, because with this invite, you can give someone else the full experience, with trading, chat, grouping, all that sort of thing.

I created an account for my son, who is eight years old, and got his computer set up to play.

Today, he played, and I mean truly played, World of Warcraft for the first time. He’s dabbled on my account before, but this time he was on his own personal computer, and I was able to be online in the game at the same time.

He created a Draenei Warrior, tried that for a bit, and decided that the Rage mechanic sucks. Hey, I didn’t influence him at all.

Then he created a Dwarf Rogue, with flaming orange beard, and gave that a go.

Around about level 3, I flew down to the dwarven starter area in dragon form, and took him for a ride around the frosty dwarven homeland.

I brought him up the valley, and I let him get off the dragon and chase a little boy down, and purchase his own pet bunny rabbit. Cassie taught him how to make the pet bunny his friend, and bring him out into the world to hop around and follow him everywhere he goes.

I gave him some gold, taught him how to buy upgrades from the vendors, train skills, and then set him loose once again on the starting area. I’m in the same room with him as he plays, his computer is in my office.

He reached level 5 before the evening was done, and as we tucked him into bed, he had some very revealing things to say about the game. He had few preconceived ideas, nothing to get in the way of his imagination, he had played for a bit, but he knew nothing of what was possible or what limitations the game held. Everything was possible to him, or could be, and he had no way of knowing unless he asked.

This is what he asked us and told us as we tucked him into bed tonight;

“My pet bunny is level 1, does that mean I can teach him to do tricks, and level him up? Can I teach him to attack? That would be so cool!”

We explained that the cute little pets like the bunny don’t fight, or ever level up. They’re friends to travel with you, and they can never be hurt like your character can. But, we said, there is another class where you can have your own pet that fights with you, and that class is a Hunter. And you can have cats, and bears, and wolves, and when you get even more powerful, you can tame dinosaurs to be your pets!

“Can you have a moose as a pet?”

Sigh. No, I’m afraid you can’t have a moose, sweetie. Ghostcrawler promised us a moose, but we still don’t have one yet. I’m sorry.

“Oh.”

“Well, if I go in the water, can I have a shark for a pet?”

No, I’m afraid not. You’re right, that’s a brilliant idea, whoever would have come up with that idea when Vash’jir was released was a genius, but no, you can’t have a shark for a pet underwater. But Hunters CAN have your normal pets, and they will swim along with you and fight underwater just fine.

“Well, what about a goldfish?”

A goldfish? What, as a friend or as a pet that fights for you?

“A goldfish to fight with you! He could be in a fishbowl and everything.”

Okay, the goldfish would be in a fishbowl. I guess the fishbowl would protect him like armor, I can see that… How would he move around?

“The fishbowl would have legs! And the goldfish could charge forward in the fishbowl and attack things!”

O.o

Okay, Blizzard, here’s the deal.

I haven’t asked you for much, but this time, it’s for reals. I challenge you to match the imagination of a child.

We don’t have moose combat pets, and we don’t have water-combat pets like sharks, but this…. this you can do. You know you can do eet.

You can make an Engineering-crafted Goldfish Assault Bowl on little mechanical legs, with little external saw blade and arc-welder waldo arms. The goldfish, genetically enhanced of course, can ride inside the little fishbowl with his head sticking out the top to see, and drive the bowl into battle.

When I imagine a Gnome Hunter, that’s now what I’m seeing for his pet.

I beg of you, at least think about making a Bad Guy Gnome boss that is like this. You’ve got Gnomeregan, the Gnomes are going to truly assault that place and wrap that storyline up some day, give the players a boss that will truly scare the hell out of them with the horror of a gnome mind unleashed.

Failing that, you’ve got the engineering goggles, you’ve got all this awesome Hunter stuff built into the engineering profession… just let your mind run riot, man. Let the Hunter Engineers make their own combat pets.

Now, I know it may seem over the top, maybe you’d be tempted to let it go with something sensible, like a mechanical dino-raptor. Don’t give in. Unleash your inner Steve Martin. Be some wild and crazy guys and gals, and give us the Goldfish Assault Bowl. Something about it just sings in my head and won’t let go.

The only way this could be better, would be if some great artist like Tish Tosh Tesh* drew up some stylized sketch of it poised for action.

I can see it now, walking into BlizzCon wearing a shirt showing the crazed face of a goldfish driving this over-the-top goldfish bowl war machine, shit-eating grin on his (or her) fishy face, with the words “Hunter + Mad Science = I Don’t Know What It Is, But It’s Got Aggro” written around it.

I can see it, I swear I can. It’s right there. And someday, in some role playing game somewhere, I am going to USE that idea. See if I don’t.

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I’ve attended a few raids now on my Hunter. My Druid is distracted by shinies, gathering non-combat pets and studying Archaeology on far-off planets, so my Hunter is getting all the raid face time.

I hope to improve my Druid to be raid ready someday, but it’s hard to prioritize when you’ve got one character already set and ready to go. I acquired epics while raiding with my guild, so I should put them to use in progression when they ask, isn’t that how it works?

What I want to talk about comes from who I am, and where this blog comes from.

I spend my free time doing what I find enjoyable. Playing World of Warcraft is a big part of my free time, and an integral part of my enjoyment in WoW is playing how I like to play. 

My blog is called the Big Bear Butt, and it began with my adventures as a feral Druid, because feral Druids weren’t cool so there was some stuff to talk about. Blizzard didn’t approve of us for serious things. Old ground, won’t go over it again, if you’re not sure what I mean, check out the Tier itemization for Druids in Molten Core. Those feral pieces are pretty awesome… oh wait, there weren’t any. Druids were supposed to stand back, shut up, and heal.

I didn’t play a feral Druid to be cool or fill a niche, or to be a rebel. Nobody wanted me and there was no support for me. What I did was in spite of the mechanics, not because of them. I played feral because I loved it. I loved transforming from a person to a sleek panther to chew the faces off my adversaries, I liked transforming into a massive bear to maul all those that would challenge my authority.

I especially liked figuring out ways to use what WAS implemented in the game, the gear and the mechanics, to work out how to come as close as possible to being a ‘real’ tank. I loved being a furry bear tank, plain and simple. It wasn’t pixelicious, it was a big old furry bear butt filling my screen, and it was great. The day when furry Bear tanks stormed Karazhan successfully was a wonderful day for me.

I thought that I could write a blog sharing some of the stuff I’d done so others with the same wacky mindset could have the same fun bear tanking and loving it. That’s all. I also like to rant and ramble a bit. :)

Blizzard has long since taken bear tanking mainstream, it’s a recognized aspect of the class, and they work hard at balancing the class function with other tanks. How well they succeed or not isn’t the point; the point is, bear tanks have gone mainstream, but even if Blizzard announced they really were serious about the Druids only allowed to heal thing, I’d still be a feral Druid. Nerf ‘em to the ground, I’d be unhappy, but I’m not going to change my preference. I have played tree healing and like it, but that’s not why I roll or HOW I roll. It’s just a fun bonus.

All of this is a long winded way of saying that I play my Hunter as a Beastmaster because I love the concept of the Beastmaster. That concept was what drew me to the class, and it is my concept of the class, the things about it that excites my imagination, that are the reasons I keep loving it.

The core of my love for Beastmaster is that it is the spec that fulfills the dream I had at the beginning; you and your pet, together against the world, fighting side by side, each a valued team member.

Over the years, Beastmaster has undergone a lot of changes. Sometimes it has been weak, other times strong, most often right in the middle. During most of Wrath, it was pretty weak in raids in comparison to the other two specs.

A lot of people dutifully followed the DPS, looking for maximized raid performance. There were a lot of arguments back and forth, and valid points were made. Do you go on a raid with what is known to be a spec that does not perform as well as, or does not have the same potential as, another spec? If you do, regardless of how you are performing, if there is potential that is lost, aren’t you screwing the rest of the raid?

It’s a big discussion.

With my Hunter, I’m the same as with my Druid. If my blog wasn’t Big Bear Butt, it could have been “From BM with Love”. I am a Beastmaster. I’ve always been a Beastmaster, and I imagine I always will be.

I am also someone that likes to do the best I can with what I have when in groups with other people.

What that means is, if I have chosen to play as a Beastmaster to satisfy my own need for fun, and if I choose to bring the pet that I want to bring for my own fun, then that leaves me responsible to do everything else I can to drag the most performance out of Beastmaster when I’m grouped.

With that in mind, I read the wonderful BM Hunter thread at Elitist Jerks, where I was delighted as always to see that there are other freaks like me that love Beastmaster and are sticking with it. I used Zeherah’s Hunter DPS Analyzer (the online updated version of Shandara’s DPS Spreadsheet), I spent LOTS of time on Ask Mr. Robot disagreeing with optimizing results but studying the gear recommendations, and in general delved into all that study we love so much.

World of Warcraft. For some, a game. For others, a replacement for our doctoral thesis. You ever hear the joke, God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world? Yeah, the modern version should read God created MMOs to keep geeks from ruling the world

Oh, what was my bone of contention with Ask Mr. Robot? Mr. Robot seems to think that Mastery as a stat comes far below everything else. Everything. I tried some tests, and I swear if there was Mastery on something, it wanted it gone. On the other hand, Elitist Jerks seemed to think that Mastery was somewhat on par with Haste, and a little below Crit. I’ve always been a fan of a teeny bit of balance, so having any gear with Mastery on it thrown out the ranking window felt, to me, to be twisting the recommendations a bit. Then again, I modified things my own way and I’m happy with it, and isn’t that JUST what we love to do? Read everything everybody else recommends, study up, analyze, and then in the end do our own damn thing regardless?

At least that’s better than MaxDPS.com, who still hasn’t bothered to update their BM or Marksman settings for Cataclysm. If I was a newly 85 Hunter and went by that, I’d assume Survival was the only possible way to go.

Well, so here I am. Raiding on a Beastmaster Hunter.

Beastmaster Hunters got shit on a lot in Wrath of the Lich King, in terms of raid performance and reputation. It seemed like every other tweak, Survival got top, then Marksman, then Survival again, but no matter which was the chosen one, BM got a rock. 

The trade off, I think, was the Exotic pets. It was like Blizzard was saying, if you get to have the Exotic pets, then you can’t expect to do good DPS too, otherwise why would anyone play anything else?

My answer to that, of course, is why design things so the only reason you play a spec is because that’s the one with the biggest numbers, or because you bribe them with pretty toys? You should play a spec because you like the playstyle or core concept first and foremost, not because you’re a numbers whore.

But fine, if that was the tradeoff, I took it quite happily. Spirit Beast Bears, and Devilsaurs, and Core Hounds, oh my.

I’ve done a few randoms with my pet Devilsaur in heroics in Cataclysm. You know what reception I get?

I’ve had more than a few BMlolz, Huntard lrn2MM, Moron, and, I’ll admit, a few “lol love the pet name” for AnnCoulter.

I don’t play for accolades from the pug group, but I’m quite happy that my DPS is consistently in the 16k range now, plus I’ve got my CC trapping and my Misdirection. It tends to shut up the “BMlolz” crap. Very few people continue to talk shit when their DPS is less than yours. There are still some, though, there are still some.

I’ve been to guild raids, and I don’t feel that my DPS is holding anyone back. My IGNORANCE may be holding the guild back, but not my DPS.

The most telling thing for me, though, is how often I hear the following after a run, both after guild raids and from random heroic pugs.

“Wow, I’m amazed at the DPS you can get out of BM, that’s amazing.”

It’s a nice thing to hear as a player, but I hate what it continues to say about Beastmaster.

Thanks to Wrath of the Lich King, a large portion of the player base has the assumption that BM damage inherently sucks, and even this late into Cataclysm, over 6 months now, the characterization is still going strong.

Most people do not want to bring a sub-optimal spec to raids, of course. If the perception is that BM is bad, then people won’t bother trying it. They’ll wait for Frostheim to tell them what his results are, and that will be that. Or read up about it on Elitist Jerks, of course.

Until something comes along to challenge the assumptions, the legacy of Wrath of the Lich King is going to linger like a bad cheese. If you don’t suck, people will be surprised. If you have a fancy pet, people will assume you don’t raid, or are on your off spec.

That’s pretty sad.

Me, I’m happy exactly where I am. Maybe my DPS would be higher if I was Marksman or Survival, but then again I probably wouldn’t handle the flow right and my DPS would drop. My own preconceptions would get in the way.

Maybe I’m screwing my buddies every time I zone into a raid as BM, and deny them an extra potential 500 DPS.

Maybe.

But I’m doing all right, and when the Firelands hit, I know that while everyone else is polishing their guns and bows, I’m gonna be hunting those 8 new exotic BM only pets, hunting them down and taming them, and having a wild old time.

Whatever assumptions other people make about BM, whatever impression people have of our DPS potential, whatever attitude people want to have about BMlolz, when it comes to awesome exotic pet fun, this expansion is OURS!

The time of the Beastmaster is come, and woe unto those that love cool pets that forsake it!

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