Are you using your full potential?

So, reading blogs this morning while my TPS reports… umm, I mean FMS reports are generated from the worlds…. slowest….. database……. [snore], and came across a good one by Fikkle on For the Horde!

Fikkle tells a story about how he was in a situation where his normal methods of punching a mobs’ ticket as a Hunter weren’t working, and he was frustrated enough to mention it to a non-WoW player at work the next day. His non-WoW playing friend was able to suggest a possible solution, using a Hunter ability Fikkle himself had mentioned in the past, but had mentally put in the ‘cute, but mostly worthless’ category. And it worked.

I’m paraphrasing here, don’t go flame Fikkle.

This hits home to me on several levels.

Personally, I had the same thing happen. I had asked right here on this blog for your thoughts on Magister’s Terrace, complaining about the Shadow Priests’ lack of viable CC since there are no undead mobs in there to Shackle. And the majority of you smacked me upside the head and said “Mind Control, stupid!”

It’s a good thing Elystia/Shadewynn doesn’t play Alliance anymore, or she’d have probably beat me up in the game for being dumb.

Anyway, I had done the same thing with Mind Control. When I first got it while leveling, I played with it a bit. Of course I did.

And what I found was that it was situational, with a narrow useability window.

Why? Because it’s got a 20 yard range… and around 40 yards from me as the caster, the mob I MC’d would break the control and come for me. If the mob you can get near is all alone, there is no way you can get him far enough away to grab someone else. They need to be standing close together. AND, since you are channeling the whole time, you are open to attack… and if you are attacked, then you are facing the guy what whacked you, PLUS the mob you MC’d, PLUS the guy you were having your MC whack.

So, I mentally put MC into a box that said “awesome fun for PvP, but very risky in PvE soloing. Revisit later.” And never revisited it.

So you all told me to use Mind Control, and I looked at my bars in shock, saying, “Oh yeah, I got that, don’t I?”

And I played with it a bunch this weekend, testing the limits of what I could do.

And of course you are right, in an instance, with 4 other people including tank, where mobs are very often right next to each other, it is an optimum situation to use MC to have one mob take on a second, leaving the few remaining for the tank and other DPS to burn through… it’s a two-mob CC that actually whittles BOTH targets down in health, unlike Sheep or Ice Trap that leaves the mobs at full. And it can last for 1 full minute. Not too bad at all.

So yeah, on a personal level, Fikkle nailed it. I’m motoring along, I’ve leveled solo as a Shadow Priest, I’m used to doing things a certain way, and BAM! You come along and remind me that what worked fine solo is not using my abilities to their fullest potential in groups.

This is one of the reasons we blog about WoW, yes? To try and share our experiences on how to use our character’s abilities to their fullest potential?

I know that I still occasionally get emails from folks that read my Catform DPS sequences post and tell me how they had gotten used to whacking the mobs a certain way, and had never HAD to think about how to squeeze more DPS out of their playstyle. After all, when soloing, there isn’t that big a difference between burning the guy down in 3 seconds instead of 3.5 seconds in the grand scheme of things.

But when you’re a kitty in a raid, suddenly you need to know that you have to attack from behind to keep from triggering Parry or getting your attacks Blocked. All your opponent can do if you are attacking from behind is Dodge, or if you are not hit capped, you can also plain miss. Hello, if you increase your hit rating so you cannot miss, then all he can do is Dodge. Just a reminder, hit rating for cat gear is the number one reason you want to have two seperate feral gear sets.

And if you’re normal uber-OPness as a kitty with 2500 AP means you have totally slacked off on using skillz solo, and you just run on up, spam Feral Faerie Fire and then Mangle, Mangle, Mangle, well… that crap doesn’t cut it in a group or raid. Shred is your friend. As you well know.

I wrote a post a long time back about how I think this affects Hunters so much. The poor Hunter class has the huge ‘Huntard’ reputation, and I truly feel it is because there are so many awesome Hunter abilities that streamline solo play, that when it finally comes time for running instances or even grouping, many Hunters just have had no reason to learn to branch out and explore their other abilities. 

Chain Trap? What’s that? Kite? Huh? Oh yeah, I heard about some dude that kited some Fel Reaver to a city and let the guards kill it, sure wish I knew how that uber-l33t guy did that.

The Hunter class, and I’m speaking as asomeone that has leveled a BM Hunter to 70, seems very easy to pick up and run with… but as BRK has shown time and time again, when it comes time to group, there are some serious skills that you can bring to the game… and you haven’t needed to develop them while leveling.

I think that this is the single most important contribution any class blog can try and make.

To let people new to the class know about things that are not apparent when you are soloing. Warn people in advance, “Hey, it was all fun and games and Sunday strolls along the beach while you were coming on up, but in a group at 70, here are a bunch of the neat things you can bring to the party to amaze your friends and make them want to play your class. And dear god, here are the things that will make them call you noob. Please don’t do those or we revoke your [insert class name here] license.”

If you write a class blog, than I encourage you to think of two different topics you can cover that would provide your readers with long-lasting benefits.

The first is a recommended gear guide for the spec you prefer, so your readers see what you recommend they look for and why. A Karazhan-ready gear list seems to be the accepted starting point, followed by a serious raiding gear list to shoot for. Start with something nice and casual-friendly, then maybe follow it up with the list of l33t drool-worthy gear most of us will never see. I practically LIVE on the Shadowpriest website because of the compiled gear lists.

If someone else has already done a gear list you use and love, don’t reinvent the wheel… just put a good link to it on your blog and point people that way.

And the second thing to provide your readers is the ‘how to squeeze more out of your class’ collection of tips and tricks you have learned the hard way. 

I know that, while I read most of the blogs I do because I enjoy the writing, the stories and the fun, when I put my game face on and want to know more about a class I am leveling, I go looking specifically for those two types of info… what to look for in gear, and how to do neat stuff with the class and not be a moron.

If I had to add a third, it would be a recommended talent spec, and why you choose the different talents you say you recommend.

And a fourth would be ‘things not to do in a group or you will get flamed, blogged about, and held up as an idiot by your server forums’.

An example? Seeing a poor Hunter that didn’t know any better get his Armory screenshotted and put up on the server forums… because he had Crusader on his melee weapon. You could prevent this from happening. It is a solemn responsibility.

I think it’s why BRK is the standard for hunter blogs. He covers all such topics with style and thoroughness. 

Just something to think about, my friends.


25 thoughts on “Are you using your full potential?

  1. I enjoy reading BRK’s blog for the reasons you mentioned. I have not had much of a chance to run instances but from reading BRK I see that, as a hunter, I will have to do some different things that I don’t do while soloing (namely chain trapping). I think that’s what makes a good class blog. You have a great feral druid blog and it’s for the reasons you mentioned. You share your experiences and try to help both the leveling druid and the endgame druid. It’s better for the WoW community as a whole to have people share their experiences with worthwhile advice so people can shake stereotypes (such as the “Huntard” stereotype).

    Anyway, that’s my 2 copper pieces.


  2. sigh – If you didn’t use mind control while soloing, it means you missed the ‘other half’ of the spell. Mind Soothe.

    You’ve got a threesome. You mind soothe each (instant cast, 15 second duration), you close to 20 yards (JUST where the MC says it’s in range), you cast mind control. With a threesome, I like to MC the “most dangerous” or hardest to kill mob as 2 on 1 usually means it’s going to die.

    Mind soothe doesn’t help much in raids because it helps no one but the caster. Still, there are some occasional uses.


  3. LOL! Yep, that’s right Kirk, you hit the nail on the head. I have never even tried to use Mind Soothe.

    I looked at the tooltip way back whenever I got it, thought “Hmmm, sounds like something to help me sneak past some mobs. But I ain’t here to avoid em, I’m here to KILL em.”

    And gave it a pass.

    So, now that you pointed it out, why, it makes perfect sense that they go together.

    Of course, it seems stupid to me that they give the attack a short range, and then added another aggro range reducing ability to compensate, instead of just giving the attack a long range in the first place. But I can see how, right off the top of my head, a short range forces MC in PvP to be used more ‘in your face’, so if it was a balancing move, cool.

    Yep, a perfect example of my just passing on it cause I didn’t see where it fit in while leveling, and never gave it a second thought.


  4. You can use MC to pick apart groups in instances where you don’t have the proper CC to take all 3 on at the same time.

    At the end of Blood Furnace, there are 2 or 3 difficult pulls of 3 mobs each. If you don’t have a Warlock to CC one of the big demons you can suicide MC the humanoid to make it more manageable.

    The whole group stands at the top of the ramp, while the nekkid priest gets close enough to MC the humanoid. The demons kill him, then kill the priest. You rez the priest and now you only have to worry about 2 mobs on a pull instead of 3.


  5. I’m now working on lvling up my first pally, I wonder how many abilities I’ll end up passing over thinking, cool, but not usefull…


  6. BBB, you need to take your Shadow Priest in Shadow Labs and MC the Shadow Priests in front of the Ogre boss. They are a lot of fun. They do lots of damage.


  7. Another great post (as usual).

    Yeah, there are all sorts of talents hidden in the various classes that turn out to be amazing for very specific situations. Fear beast is a handy one lots of hunters forget about. Eyes of the beast to scout and drag mobs away from teh action is another. Mages using fire or ice wards and dampen magic can making fighting elementals a lot easier. Etc, etc.

    One quick question about gear guides though:

    I love the one you did for aspiring bear tanks. It was a tremendous help in getting my bear geared properly (knowing which green quest items are critical “keepers” while levelling is fantastic). I especially liked how you put together a few sets, a la “here’s a decent set for a freshly minted 70,” “here’s where you should be pre-Kara,” “here’s a good endgame set.”

    Are there any similar guides you’d recommend for kitty gear?


  8. Hey BBB

    The last couple of posts have been spot on in regards to what I have been dealing with In WOW. Its funny I just recently added Hibernate, Barkskin, and Cower to my toolbar. I was fully aware of these talents but never provided an opportunity or reason to use them.

    Now that I have an arena team I enjoy sleeping those pesky Ferals and Hunters Pets. For those pulls in Kara that need AOE I always pop Barkskin and then my AOE. Only recently have I had to add cower to my toolbar. This was a result of two things better gear and power shifting. Last night I moved from #4 on the Damage meter to #2 not to bad for my first night trying it out.

    I don’t know if you or your readers use a lot of addons, I am trying not to but find that some of them are very helpful. Does anyone know if an addon exists that can tell me how much mana I have when I am in Cat form. Last night when I was trying out my new skill I found myself stuck in cow form for a bit while my mana slowly came back.

    I guess even a Feral Druid should carry one Mana Pot.



  9. @Itok
    There are a bunch out there off the top of my head is Druid bar (I think) essentially its a moveable mana bar you can put anywhere and will display when in feral.

    I find alot when grinding the same mobs you fall in a slump and it can get boring and then those habits will follow you in instances and raids. Being able to just go all out dps when solo and having to hold back in raids is a big thing for me as a moonkin.

    Something you can do though is use your abilites on multiple mobs your threat doesn’t stack on all mobs just on the one you are dpsing so switch over to the offtank target if you are putting out too much even if its just to put up insect swarm. Same can go as kittykat.

    I was farming the herds of clefthoof in nagrand for the leather and normally just do 1 at a time burning them down and it can get pretty boring. So to mix it up I challenge myself by rooting/dot one, starfire/hibernate one, send trees on another and nuke the 4th. Next thing you know your doing alot more then hitting one button and you have 4 mobs going at once.

    I do this alot my hunter in pulling large groups and keeping as many cc/kited as possible and its skills like these that are priceless in groups.


  10. B3, you definitely hit it on the head… and remind me why I do love WoW. The leveling aspect of this game is very very different from the lvl cap aspect of the game and like you guys have mention very different from the raiding part of the game. I still have a mage/rogue/priest/shaman to play yet so I’m still excited.


  11. Here’s some catform tricks I’ve used recently:

    Cattank – when farming, pull 3/4 mobs, let them come to you, and dps them all down one by one (unsubtle, I know, but I see great geared cats not doing this). A lot less downtime overall. If your dps is high, you’ll rock through the dailies.

    Maim – it does less damage… but, as a spell interrupt, its outstanding. Using it on the right mobs means you take hardly any damange, your energy recharges while they’re stunned, and you wont even need you’re other combo point moves – they’ll be dead by then. I’ve also done this tanking instance bosses where spell interrupts are needed and missing from the group (switch to cat, one combo + maim, switch back to bear)

    Soothe – useful while gathering – you can get alot closer than you think.

    Played with a warlock the other day who popped a “detect invsibility”. Situational, but pricless, where mobs are stealthed. I’d never knew warlocks could do that.

    Artorin, this is a side issue, but very close to my heart: you probably know nothing winds up a tank more than a dps who pulls aggro. Being feral, you experience this from both sides of the fence. I used to think about it as “holding back my dps – damn, I’m so much better than this” but now, I think about it this way: The tank is working hard to allow me the privilige of beating on a mob without being beat on myself. Lower repair bills, uninterrupted attacks etc etc… ahhhhh a life of dps heaven :). Then, rather than enjoying “personal maximum dps”, you enjoy “maximum dps up to the threat limit set by the tank”. It take a lot more skill, it’s much more of a thrill, and you certainly aren’t “wasting” your dps. (Of course, this breaks down if your tank is too weak for your group)


  12. @ARA
    I’ve raided as moonkin, resto and feral (tanking). Frankly time I spend not dpsing as moonkin is wasted time and dps. No I’m not casting starfire before the mob gets to the tank or stupid stuff like that. My point in posting that is that you can rotate your dps a bit so that you won’t pull aggro.

    For instance I wait for the tank to get around 4k threat lead because my starfire crits for around 5k in raids. If I happen to crit I pretty much am stuck waiting OR I can rotate to the offtank target (target being tanked by offtank not multitanked mob) I check omen for the threat that tank has and can then cast a starfire or wrath based on the lead I have. Then I can go back to the primary target and finish it off. Time not dpsing is wasted time for everyone, the mob lives longer to hit the tank more for the healers to heal and increases time between pulls.

    When I tank I try and generate as much threat as possible on as many targets as needed. When I heal I try and keep all the members topped off and anticipate who may be taking dmg next. When I dps I try to kill all the mobs as fast as possible. What Moonkin lack in threat reduction and aggro wipe we make up for in armor. Alot of times in heroics that we lack cc in I will tank a caster or kill target so that the dps can open up on it faster and ulitmately its easier on the healer and the tank.


  13. BBB I’ve been lurking for a while, but your list of why BRK is successful, has me asking questions. I don’t run a class blog, but rather a leadership blog.

    I was reading over your list and trying to apply it to what I do. I wondered if you’d be a reality check to see if I grasp what you’re trying to say.
    1) Gear Lists? – I dunno maybe a roster management or other type of list?
    2) Squeeze more out – Maybe motivation and synergies? Synergy theorycrafting has been done to death by more intelligent people than I am.
    3) Talent Specs – Maybe this equates to leadership structures and policies/requirements?
    4) Avoiding pitfalls – Direct correlation


  14. As stated before: great post, as always.

    I remember one slightly embarrasing moment a while back right after my druid turned 70. I was pugging as a dps in one of the Auchindon instances and in the middle of a fight the healer whispers “innervate pls”. My first though was inner … what? The reply he got was along the same lines. I pulled up my spellbook and started going through it as fast as I could and found it – after the fight was over. Noone died so it wasn’t that bad but man I felt like all (including myself) was thinking “nab, l2p”. I’d never used it – and very seldom needed it – leveling as a kitty/bear. Same deal with roots, hibernate and stoneskin – except for the battlegrounds.

    Now, though, with my second druid in the making – my lil’ moonkin – innervate’s on cooldown 90% of the time and roots (and to some degree hibernate) are used in my standard sequence of spells. I rooted a Stegodon (elite-saurs in Un’goro) from start to finish earlier today and I must say it felt good to be able to spam Wrath, dots and a couple of Starfires on him.

    Ok, they’re not the toughest elites out there and we were both level 53, but either way it felt nice. And the rich adamantite deposit it was “guarding” that got me to 300 in mining made the small victory even sweeter.

    I couldn’t agree with you more; maim is great! Two zones that pop into mind are Ogri’la – the felfire can hurt a lot – and Quel’danas. Puonce a pesky caster, smack ’em up a bit and take maybe one spell then maim and watch them bleed while you get the energy back. It’s a move that should be used often both in PvE and PvP.


  15. Druid bar is definitely a great addon for displaying mana in forms, Artorin caught that one.

    Pidge, I am going to do a kitty gear guide… I really am. Not as hardcore as the druid tank one, though.

    Auzara, I haven’t seen your blog yet, I will when I get home. Sounds interesting.

    But I would think that, since the fous of your blog is leadership rather than the intricacies of one class, that your topics would be revolving around managing interpersonal relationships and organizing and focusing the attention of a large group of people? I’d think any topic that focuses on how to motivate your people, encourage positive behavior, highlight postive ways to get potentially negative feedback across or point out areas of improvement to people without causing hard feelings, and some good pointers on tools to reduce the time a guild leader or officer spends managing a guild (such as bank mods, event calenders, guild website tools, guild profession coordination tools, when to plan events for maximum participation, promotion and DKP tracking, that kind of thing) would all be very valuable resources for your readers.


  16. @Pidge – Kitty Gear List…

    Look for Emerald’s Feral Gear list… It’s not quite like B^3’s lists of gear sets for different points of progression, but it is a fantastic ordered-list of Feral goodies…

    I’ve been using it to guide my hear selection for a while, and it Rocks… I’ve come to “know” the order of some of the slots, and use it to determine which Heroic to go play in at times… But I’ve also been known to tab to it when an unexpected item drops… That way I can quickly check if said item can be passed up or sharded, or if I’ve been a lucky Kitty…

    It also let’s you think about Rep and crafting slightly differently, in that you can immediately look “above” your current gear and see if there’s a pattern or similar that could help out. It can also help point out where Badge gear is an effective buy compared to Heroic drops…

    Two examples for me:

    Noticing the Fel Leather Gloves were better than I was wearing… That sent me scurrying to get Consortium rep to get the pattern…

    Finding the Shard Bound Bracers are lovely DPS and easily accessible from the Og’rilla (?) dailies…

    The Lists are linked off B^3’s home page…

    Several of the Feral bloggers have identified the lists as their source for their own hear recommendations.

    Have fun,



  17. Emmerald’s is crap for the reason that it assumes extraordinarily low attack power. It’s not a bad list of gear, but the rankings are very poor.


  18. Off the BlackBerry now, so more detail…


    “The values from the model are dependent on the used base attributes, and the further away your character is from them, the larger is the potential error. However, experiments in changing the base attributes have shown that the effects are quite small and the relative order of the items is quite unchanged, except in the extremes. The used base attributes are shown in the “Info” page for each list.”

    Kitty Info pages: Base attributes used in the calculation of the stat values – AP 2500 Crit 30

    Kitty High Gear pages: Base attributes used in the calculation of the stat values – AP 4000 Crit 45


    Either I’m doing something really stupid, pre-Kara, or I think the base attributes aren’t too far off… For Kitty DPS (which was the original question from Pidge).

    Feel free to correct me, but I don’t think that 2500 AP is “extraordinarily low attack power” for pre-Kara Kitty.

    Have fun,



  19. Another great post, your breakdown of topics to cover is most enlightening, certainly it has given me something to think about writing… when I have become good enough to have some actual tips to pass on.

    You are right about the hunter issue too, the class is just so plain easy to play solo, demanding very little of the skills needed to go into an instance; chain trapping, proper pet control, misdirecting, scorpid sting, when to FD, the list goes on. I have a feeling the old level 60 epic questline may have taught some of these skills, but sadly it was hidden behind a rather large barrier of content which soloers and 5manners would never see. We see many of these issues in our guild where there is a rather large gap in party contribution between a fresh level 70 hunter and a veteran.


  20. I think it’s good to write about even stuff that has been covered before. I am a Beast Mastery hunter blogger and you’d think there wouldn’t be a market for those anymore since BRK’s got it covered, but the amount of “thank you” comments and e-mails I get from people who enjoy my different spin on “old” topics has really made me feel good and glad that I’m not just parroting stuff from say BRK.

    So what if there are a million druid and hunter blogs out there already, don’t be afraid to make a new one and say what you’ve gotta say! (Especially us poor hunters who can use all the help we can get to teach newbies the ropes)


  21. Stobnor, check out (Toskk’s DPS gear method). The big thing is that he doesn’t take into account the ability of scaling stats with raid buffs, overall relative gears, etc. Mostly, it’s a static list. What is best for your gear set is very much going to depend on what you already have, not a fixed number. He also does not rank things based on set bonuses, so the 2pT4 bonus? Totally left out.

    It’s not a horrible list, and sometimes it’s really right on. But it’s not gospel or perfect.

    2500 attack power is pretty low for 30% crit. I’d expect it to be at least 3k.


  22. If you run Heroic Ramps Make sure you MC the pats with the dogs, its so much fun, you one shot both of the dogs, those guys do crazy DPS


  23. I know this may be a little outdated, but i’ve been reading through the whole of the blog and i reached this post.

    I recommend you to keep playing the warlock alt, make him affliction.

    In the end, there won’t be any “oh, i forgot i had this” because if you do some casual grinding and some instances, you get to use all of them.

    For example:
    Detect invisibility is very nice on the invisible shades in kara, have your resident lock cast it on all the raid and dps ahoy.

    Curse of weakness stacks with demoralizing shout (i think), and can be yummy on Gruul’s later growths

    Curse of recklesness stacks with ferie fire, lowers armor but increases monster AP, it can be also nice on gruul, on first growths to help generate extra rage and help melee dps.

    Curse of doom is better than curse of agony on boss fights, also if you’r about to die at the later stages of a boss fight, make sure you throw a curse of doom, it just may be that tiny dps that saves the 1% wipe and turns it into a kill.


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