Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blog Changes

Faced with a different direction in my gaming & the way that Hunter has changed, I've decided to go a new direction with my WoW blogging.

I'm moving my efforts to a blog entitled OrdoSerp. The page itself is up and there are some posts already, but I'm still in a "building" phase with the look and feel.

The exciting part is the broader scope of OrdoSerp. Instead of just following Beroth's activities, it will be a blog about and written by members of my little alt-guild the Order of Serpentis. While I have no doubt that I will be the major contributor, at least one of my friends has already written a post.

OrdoSerp will still include tips for hunters, but will also include insights about all the classes we play. It will be a place for us to share our screenshots & group achievements. It'll be a place where we discuss balancing between our time & the various Raiding guilds we belong to.

So, please join us at OrdoSerp.

This blog will remain available for the time being. But remember, Wrath changes everything!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What's Old Is New

The recent Echoes of Doom patch & events have created a lot of excitement for my little band of friends in our little alt-guild. Before the patch, most of us were off on our merry little dailies, on various "main raiders" in various raiding guilds or leveling alts. At first the patch seemed to drive us further apart with folks running to the far corners of the old world seeking achievements. Then we started to come back together to farm old-world instances and re-do heroics. The Headless Horseman boss, the plague & the invasion all helped to drive us back into instances and re-equip long-forgotten Argent Dawn trinkets.

This excitement (and some serious dps increases) made us hungry for more. So, 7 of us ran over to Kara on a rag-tag group of Alts & mains to see if we could down Attumen and get at the event boss for the quest.

I know what you're thinking. Why not grab 3 more? This, again, is our little group of friends who've known each other for years. Our group time is for getting away from PUGs and guild politics. It's "us" time.

Our group consisted of:

Kara-Level Geared Feral Tank
Crafted-epics DPS Warrior/OT <---New Raider. He's Cherry!
Mint green Ret Pally/OT
T4 Enhancement Shaman/backup healer
T5 Frost Mage
New Epics Hunter Alt
T5 Geared Resto Druid

Attumen went down easy-sauce. It was so easy for my feral druid, that I hardly noticed that I was tanking both of them. We moved up into the servants quarters and after a "learning pull" we regrouped and downed the event boss easily. Well, since we're right across the hall, let's go kill Moroes. We should be able to get him, right? Why, in fact, we pwned him. I tanked him and all the adds, while a fury warrior picked off a mob one at a time for the group to kill. I built a high enough threat on Moroes that I put my back to him and fought the adds, thus avoiding blinding until I had to hit him one last time. Only lost one player when he blinded me and we ripped him a new one. So, hi on this achievement (but so late for a Thursday night) we called it and scheduled to return 10AM Saturday morning to see what else we could kill. And what happened Saturday? Fear the BEAR!!! RAWR! We mowed our way through Maiden & the Oz fights. We took a short break to lounge on the terrace and swat this gnat named Nightbane. What a wuss! We took a 5 min bio to make the rest of the instance think it was harder, thus preserving Nightbane's last shred of dignity.

We found Curator lacking and pwnd him accordingly. Illhoof slew one of our numbers and we just kept coming. It was cake. We moved on.

Our first real challenge came at Shade. And even with the "mistake" we nearly won. dead badge dispenser. On to Chess...

Amazingly, the with only 7 players, Chess event proved difficult. We lost the first attempt. We had to move more pawns into position and make some adjustments. It's still "free" loot! Running out of time, we rushed up the stairs, ganked Prince Malchezaar and called it "lunch."

Wait, what about Netherspite? Pah! His loot table sucks. Let's go try some bosses in ZA instead.

And so, after a break for afternoon chores and meals, we regrouped and killed 3 ZA bosses.

It was truly an experience. As someone who loves raiding, but grew tired of the drama of raiding, this was fun. We're grearing up and getting to know our abilities under the new system. We're seeing stuff "alone" without getting friends and guildies to slum with us on our alts. It was just great.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Lich King's Agents Are All Over

I was killing Zombies today on Beroth out of sheer frustration and then I started getting these messages. Apparently, so did Flyv. Looks like he's going to the dark side.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Go Phillies - Kill All Zombies

My gaming group are all converted to Phillies Phans because the sooner they win, the sooner I'll be online on my Bear tanking for them. I've been glued to the TV or radio every game of the playoffs.

When I am on, we've been enjoying the patch. The changes to the Bear Swipe mechanics make Rhus a genuine AoE tank. The changes to Hunter shot mechanics mean that I can enjoy dps with-out freaking out about clipping shots. If not for the stupid lag issues, I would give the patch 10/10 for excitement, game improvements & all around crunchy goodness.

So, how do I feel about the zombie plague? It's "exciting" and I'm not sure that's a good thing. I've completely given up playing my lowbie shadow priest. I'm avoiding cities. The whole thing is screwing with the tranquility of our little PvE server. Still I approve, even if I don't like it. It feels right and adds to the anticipation of the expansion. I just wish that it wasn't so disruptive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Welcome to patch day, otherwise known as the day that just about every tip on this site becomes obsolete. I hope that you all are as excited as I am about the prospect of no more steady shot clipping.

Since stepping away from raiding, I've been looking, without success, for an alternate direction for this site. The truth, as I've mentioned before, is that I've been focusing on my feral druid & on my lesser alts. Flyv has even encouraged me to rename my site & become a full-time druid blogger. I don't think that's going to happen. One of the reasons I got into this blog was that I wasn't finding blogs from raiding hunters that felt "accessible." I wanted to simplify the theory-craft and number crunching I read so that the casual player or the ALT player had a resource. Feral druids, on the other hand, already have people like Karthis, Flyv, Kalon & countless more.

So, what does the future hold? I'm not super excited about joining the droves of Exotic Pet "fan-boys" when the servers come up tonight. Yes, I'll be going with a Beast Master spec for now. Yes, I'm prepared to tame something exotic. But, I'm not sure I plan to stay there.

At this point, Rhus will be my main for Wrath. When I hit 80, I'm hoping to get my small group of friends motivated to do 10-mans with various friends in different guilds including the gang in QSS. Beroth, I plan to level in a more relaxed pace. I'm hoping that a solid PvP/PvE hybrid emerges by the time he hits 80. I'm eying a MM/SV hybrid idea.

For now, I plan to go with a 56/5/0 build at 70. It's far from ideal, but allows me to experiment with some of the new BM talents while retaining the same feel.

As for Rhus, I'm grateful that Karthis posted a Pre-Wrath Talent Spec the other day which matches my plans almost exactly (making me feel smarter than I actually am.) I'm tweaking and should have my decision by server-up in a few hours.

My biggest annoyance with the new expansion is timing. Yeah, Oct/Nov is great for the holiday rush, but it's also a busy time of the year. The Phillies are in the playoffs, Football season is in full swing, new shows are on TV, we've got this huge election thing (and I'm a politics junky), the "honey do" list is as long as my arm and there's the whole holiday travel thing. Who's got time to play WoW?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dealing with Latency Issues

This week my inbox had a plea for help from a hunter named Tripswitch over on the EU server Emerald Dream.
Please give me your advice on how best to maximise my dps. I have a level 70 Hunter, Tripswitch,, playing on Emerald Dream, an EU server. My latency hardly ever drops below 600 and averages around 700 and being located in South Africa, I don't think this will improve. I have installed Quartz but not bartender and I have Omen running. I am using the Talon of A'lar trinket but have recently read that it doesn't affect auto shot so have been trying the Bloodlust broach instead. I cannot see a difference between the two when used with the Skyguard Silver Cross trinket. My questions are these - is my high latency an insurmountable problem or can it be overcome with macros? Is the Talon of A'lar useless, as commented on in thott and wowhead? IF not, what macro can you suggest to use with it?
Thank you for any help you may offer.
Tripswitch has outstanding gear. He's clearly progressed through T-4 content and is making headway into T-5. The first issue, by all accounts is the Talon of A'lar trinket. I have heard nothing but bad things about it. All the hunters in my guild that spent time in TK have one. I don't think any of us have ever used it. It's theoretically good for PvP, but not when you would rather have the PvP-trinket & the Skyguard Silver Cross equipped. Trip is also a Beastmaster and very few have arcane shots in their normal shot rotation. My gut still says stick it in the bank and hope it becomes useful in early WotLK.

Poortyr, my guild's hunter-rep and all-around pewpew king maintains a list of recommended shot macros which I'm going to post here for you.

Digging up this old thread to post the 3 macros I use the most often,taken from wowwiki and Stareye. All are spammable,and one is a mana burning macro,use with a keen eye on your mana pool

3:2 macro

#showtooltip Steady Shot
/cast [target=pettarget,exists] Kill Command
/castsequence reset=target/3 Steady Shot, !Auto Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear(); UIErrorsFrame:Show()
/script UIErrorsFrame:Hide()

1:1 macro

#showtooltip Steady Shot
/castsequence reset=2 Steady Shot, !Auto Shot
/cast [target=pettarget] Kill Command
/sript UIErrorsFrame:Clear();

SS/AS/Arcane/KC macro (aka the mana burner)

#showtooltip Auto Shot
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] Kill command
/castsequence reset=5 Steady Shot, Arcane Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

this one clips your Auto Shot by design,but the results are worth it.Try them all and see which works best for you.The first 2 macros listed are contingent on shot speed,the 3:2 being for 1.80 sec and above,the 1:1 for 1.80 sec and below.enjoy!

One note: If you want to fool around with the Talon of A'lar, then try it with the "Mana Burner" macro. This macro would theoretically maximize it's DPS generation.

Now, on to the issue at hand: Latency.

Latency is a Steady Shot rotation killer. The potential for shot clipping grows steadily after 2-300 ms of Latency. When mine blooms over 1000, I generally go watch a movie. All classes are hamstrung by latency, but hunters (especially beastmasters) get pounded. Why? When you're trying to precisely get two shots off together in a span of 1.5-2 sec, every millisecond counts. If you hit 1000 latency, that's a full second. For a mage or a warlock, it can mean that your over-all dps is slower, but for a hunter it means that the rhythm of your shot can be so out of sync that none of your autoshots are being cast. That can be a 40-50% reduction in damage.

That said, consistency is still your friend. If your latency is high but steady, then you can compensate for it and maximize your dps potential and gaming fun. I would start by performing a test.

Step 1: In addition to Quartz, download Recount. It's one of several dps chart options. I'm suggesting it because you can pull up graphical on-screen reports that show discreet data about shots fired, damage done, misses, crits, everything.

Step 2: Load all the macros from Poortyr's list. Keep them all handy. Put the "3.2" macro on you favorite keybound key. Keybinding is essential for the test.

Step 3: Fly to Area 52 and find Dr Boom. From the rocks above him you should be able to target him. Here's where you can start experimenting with your shot selecting, keyboard layout and even your trinkets. Attack him for 2 minutes at a time (using your Hunter's Mark as a timer.)

My first recommendation would be to try spamming your macro key and reviewing your data. The recount chart can actually be kept up when you're doing the test. You may need to reset the data between tests. Still, you should start to see patterns. In this basic test, you want to have your AutoShot & SteadyShot hit almost evenly.

Next try using Quartz as a timer and time your Steady Shot casting.

Step 4: Take the shot method that you are most comfortable with and go farm your favorite mobs. As a skinner, I'm sure you have a few you like.

Step 5: If after steps 3 & 4, you feel that the latency & shot selection is still causing you loads of problems, try a re-spec to Marks or Survival. Both slow your shots down. The longer the lead-time, the more chance you have to compensate for your high latency. Survival hunters are very gear dependant, so you may find this problematic. Marksmen on the other hand have a very similar feel to Beastmaster (only slower) and have a lot of tricks (even in Raids) that are overlooked. A good MM can keep up with Beastmasters, especially in situations where the BMs can't use their pets. Also, MM's are great in PvP with scatter shot & silencing shot.

Good luck!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Trinkets & Gear

Today, I secured the Badge of Tenacity for Rhus. For the unaware, this little blue trinket is one of the best feral tanking trinkets in the game. I have been told by multiple sources that Bears are still using it in Sunwell. That says a lot. The 308 Armor is multiplied by 400% in bear form. The extra boost of agility when I activate it gives me a big boost in dodge and is one of the closest things a bear has to an "oh shit" button.

So, my tanking trinkets are set with the Badge and the Darkmoon Card: Vengeance. The question now is which do I keep equipped when I need to use the Medallion of the Alliance? I plan to pose this question to my "experts" and make sure to share their answers with you.

My druid's wishlist (excluding raiding & 10-mans) is nearly completed. I'm just a few badges away from the Band of the Swift Paw and should secure the Vindicator's Band of Triumph in short order. I plan to get at least one more piece of PvP gear, the Merciless Gladiator's Dragonhide Gloves, but it's for PvP, not for my tanking set.

So very shortly, I will be running out of non-Kara/Raid upgrades for Rhus. Sure, there's more stuff out there, but most of it is from honor & badge grinds. With Wrath a few months away, I don't feel the desire to grind Skyguard or Ogri'la when Beroth has already been through it.