6 things I wish I could tame, but probably will never be able to

Hunters can tame a lot of things, we’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a pet. We have many looks to choose from, many raid buffs to choose from, and even a choice about which pet spec to bring for the same raid buff. But there are still things I wish I could tame that I just can’t, and probably never will be able to either, some for very good reasons. Still, I can dream, right?

Frogs

I’ve loved frogs for as long as I can remember. When I was 4 my parents moved to a big property in the mountains and we had a creek which flowed through our back yard. Every summer I would be down there, finding all sorts of creatures, turtles, yabbies (Australian fresh water crayfish), trout, but most of all I found frogs. There were hundreds of them. We lived there for a few years, and but we moved to another place that backed on to a nature reserve. We had a swimming pool, and every morning I would scoop out the frogs that had got stuck in it over night. There were a lot of different kinds, I think I found about twenty different species over the years, including one which was presumed extinct in the region (that actually caused a lot of issues, a local developer had to stop a large construction near the reserve…. he wasn’t happy about it and he let us know).

So, frogs are special to me.

Frogs are freaking awesome. First off, once they’ve grown out of their tadpole phase, they are almost exclusively predators, some even eat prey as large as mice, birds, and snakes. SNAKES!  Frogs have a full 360 degree vision field, some can jump over 300 times their own body length, and some frogs are among the most toxic creatures on the planet. Frogs are freaking bad ass, and as the bad assest class in the game, we deserve to be able to have them hop along side us into battle. I’d picture them bringing along a pretty decent poison style raid buff, too. Maybe something along the lines of a rogue poison?

Sadly, I don’t see it happening. When it comes to wow, frogs are pretty thin on the ground. Sure, there’s a bunch of companion pets and a couple of critters out in the world, but there aren’t any 50 foot fire breathing old god corrupted frog bosses, or even level appropriate mobs. None.

Which is a real shame. Sure, there’s Murlocs who are vaguely frog-like, but it’s an easy argument to describe them as fish-people as it is to describe them as frog-people. It’s not the same.  Blizzard just hasn’t gone there. Yet. Maybe there’s hope in Mists of Panderia?

Swarms

Why tame just one thing when you could tame a whole SWARM of things? Afflict your enemies with a thousand stings of your bee minions! A horde of ants crawling over the skin of your foes! A plague of rats nipping crawling inside the armour of your adversary! Nine hundred killer wasps! Many creatures live in huge communities, and individually these animals are minor pests, but together they are dangerous. Unless you’re allergic, a single bee is unlikely to cause more than a painful sting, but aggravate a bee’s nest and you could easily wind up dead. Swarms of locusts plague farmers all around the world every year.

There are swarms in wow, the silithid are a great example of a massive insectiod community, and fortunately we can tame individual members of the group. Sci Fi would have us believe that the conciousness of these creatures is more than just that of a just a single bug, there’s a hive mind that is shared among the group. What if we could tame the entire group? Those who have read Terry Pratchett’s book Lords and Ladies will be familiar with the concept.

As much as I love the idea, it’s too far out of left field to really be put into the game. Still, it’d be awesome to have your very own bee army… or cockroach, or locust, or mouse, or scarab, or….

….whatever those things are. I’ll have that.

Murlocs (and Gorlocs)

Murlocs are among the most loved and most hated creatures in the game, but they have a certain charisma that I find irresistible. On one hand they’re fierce, cunning, killing machines who hunt in packs, defending their patch of shoreline with deadly skill, on the other they’re sho kewt! They’d make a great pet, but I honestly can’t say why. They just would, okay?

The main reason this will never happen is that they’re too smart. It’d be like taming an dwarf. Murloc’s have societies (albeit primitive), they have a guttural language, they have a culture of sorts, they use simple tools, and they even simple dwellings, which makes them at least as civilised and intelligent as my neighbours (who I would argue lack some of these things, but I digress). We’re much more likely to see them as a player race than as a hunter pet, which is fine by me, as long as they can be hunters! There’s precedent for that, too.

I’m sure there’s a yo dawg I heard you like X joke in here somewhere.

Mechanical Pets

We have engineers make us companion pets, why not deadly fighting pets too? It wouldn’t be hard, just reweaponise the de-weaponised mechanical companion. Maybe with a taser, or shooting acid from its eyes, or launching balls of exploding shrapnel from its mouth… I’m sure the goblins would make something fiendishly clever and totally safe*.

Something like this, except with more spikes.

This idea isn’t new, the guys at the Hunting Party Podcast have been going on about it for ages, and I honestly cant see any reason why it couldn’t happen. You wouldn’t even need to make a new pet species, you could just have an engineer crafted version of each existing type of pet.

*not safe at all.

Elemental Beasts

I realise we’re treading on the toes of shamans here, but screw them. They take tier tokens and agility mail that rightfully belong in the hands of hunters. Even if we want to split hairs and wonder if they’re elementals more than they are beasts we’ve dabbled in that area before and I don’t see any shamans running around with them. So, new type of hunter pet called Elemental Beasts, exotic, and on par with a spirit beast in terms of rareness, difficulty to tame, and abilities? I vote aye, good sir.

Case in point: charhounds. Not only do I want to be able to tame them, but I want to have two at once, and name them Riplimb and Rageface. I’d then whack them every day with a flaming rolled up newspaper while wearing the decapited head of their former master like a hat. Rageface would be whacked twice on Tuesday. /bitter. Seriously though, they look amazing, and I want them.

Dragons

From a design point of view there is almost, almost, a precedent for this: casters got to keep Tarecgosa as a mount on the legendary quest for the caster stick. Which is cool. Good for them.

A hunter pet is a different game though, the dragon wouldn’t just be ferrying us around (or turning us into it, or whatever), as a pet it’d be fighting along side us… cool! Thing is, its too cool. I just don’t see it ever happening, because it’s mean one of two things, either our DPS would be OFF THE CHARTS or the dragon would be weaksauce and hit like a wet noodle compared to what we should expect a dragon to do. Dragons are supposed to be some of the strongest creatures in the game. They’re not in the same league as wolves and panthers.

Again, this idea has been brought up before. There’s been talk that we should be able to tame one as a legendary pet, but the only way I can see it being balanced is if the dragon is severely weakened in some way, and that doesn’t feel right to me. I’d rather have no dragon at all than shame dragonkind with a crap dragon.

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Mists and Stats

In a Dev watercooler post today Ghostcrawler has given us a some clues as to what stats will be relevant in the next expansion. There is one hunter specific change of particular note:

Ranged attacks will be able to be dodged. Hunters will benefit from expertise and will have it on their gear, which will also allow hunters and Enhancement shaman to share gear more easily. 

Interesting! I guess we’ll need to position ourselves behind players in pvp now, particularly rogues and ferals (like they needed to be buffed vs hunters, huh), and thankfully ranged attacks don’t appear to be blocked or parried (unless things change).

It looks like we’ll need 7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise to be capped for PVE bosses, which isn’t a huge amount. I guess we’ll be looking at a reforge priority of hit (to 7.5%) > exp (to 7.5%) > crit > haste/mastery, but of course that all depends on the numerous changes we can expect to see between now and launch. This will probably bring us closer to being in line to what other classes have to put into “not sucking” stats.

There’ll now be 5 classes that can legitimately roll on any expertise agility item: Monks, Hunters, Shamans, Rogues and Druids, that’s a lot of competition! I don’t think this is a bad thing for hunters, it’ll open up the field of agility gear for us a little more. Pretty much any agility item will be hunter loot! I guess I have a legitimate reason for rolling need on Seal of Primordial Shadow “I’m just future proofing for Mists guys!”

Of course, as with any time there is a change with hunters, regardless of whether it actually benefits us or not, the wailing will be begin almost immediately….

“They took away my maaaaaanaaaaaa!”

I do wonder how new hunters leveling will go, though. I guess there’ll be some tweaking for the 1-85 stuff so that hunters aren’t too under powered, right?

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Mr I’m trying something new

Revngeek from Revngeek’s Parody Palace has just described a moment a lot of hunters can relate to, when they accidently (or not) misdirect to the healer. Whoops. The group wipes if the tank is too busy scratching himself to taunt off in time. Ah well.

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Mists of Panderia Lvl 90 Hunter Talents

Blizzard have released the lvl 90 hunter talents that will be available in Mists of Panderia, and there are some really interesting choices for us. Of course, any and all analysis is very speculative at this stage, since we don’t know the details (like what the cooldowns are) and its entirely possible things could change by the time Mists of Panderia is released, in fact it’s almost certain it will once we see performance on the PTR during beta. Kaivax said in a blue post today that we’ve got a lot of changes still in the works for us, but if what we’ve seen so far is any indication we’ve got a lot to look forward to!

I’m really excited to see these three new lvl 90 talents in action, I think Blizzard have done a great job providing interesting choices, some will be “right” for some situations and not others, but no ability here appears to be “right” for all cases.

On the face of it Glaive Toss looks like it’s best suited to SV and BM, since MM will have a daze effect baked into their multishot so it’s possible the snare might not be very appealing to them. I can see Glaive Toss having some use in PVP, most likely only in battlegrounds, but using it to its full effectivness will be highly conditional. The throwing weapons flavour of the ability is a little odd though, and I wonder why we have an ability like this when we’ve just had our melee weapons removed. I’m curious to see how it looks on release day.

Out of the three, this is the one I am most interested to see in action, because I think the animation is going to ROCK!

Powershot seems to be most “in character” for a Marksman hunter, and I can see myself using it a lot. See that last line? Tripple damage, with 2 Ps. P IS FOR POWAH! That’s how ppowerful this is!

Figure 1: There is only POWAHshot!

Powershot and Glaive Toss are both clearly AOE abilities, but which one is “right” for the situation will depend highly on:

1) How far away the targets are from you: more than 30 yards and Powershot is the clear winner, 15-30 yards it could go either way, less than 15 yards and I think it’s almost certainly Glaive Toss.

2) Just how many targets there are, how densely packed the targets are, and if the targets are moving or not. The big feature of Glaive Toss is having the cooldown reset by hitting multiple adds on the way out and the way back in, and if you can spam it and keep those adds snared then that’s going to be really useful.

3) The relative cooldown of the two abilities.

Of the three, this is the one I’m least excited about for the animation, unless it is a massive giant flaming arrow of apocalyptic DOOM I’m going to be disappointed. I suspect it’ll be a slightly showier version of aimed shot.

In some ways this feels like the “right” choice for PVP, particularly arenas. If you can pin a melee down like that you can unload on them from a distance, with a bonus 15% damage buff! I can’t really see a situation where the other two abilities will be particularly useful in PVP,  so I think this will be the cookie cutter choice. The great thing is that it looks like it will target a player, not the ground, and creates an AOE CC around them! I really like the sound of that! Tactics wise, you could hit the healer at the back of the group with this, disengage, and when everyone runs forward to beat on you… STUN!

For PVE, I think this may be a great choice for single target bosses, simply because it will act like a damage cooldown. 15% damage on top of Rapid Fire, potions, trinkets, racials, and short duration pet buffs (eg: rabid) and ancient hysteria/bloodlust just sounds great for a burst situation…. you know what? Lets pop Readiness and do it all again, too! Of course, assuming bosses aren’t immune… I suspect anything that is immune to CC or stun will be immune to this, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Apart from boss fights I can see this being coupled will with multishot on groups of adds, just pop this down, stay back, and pew pew while the monsters just stand there looking dumb.

I’m really hoping the animation for this is something like the Chains Of Woe that Rom’ogg pops down in Blackrock Caverns.

Posted in Mists of Pandaria, talents | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pushing Ultraxion’s Buttons

Ah Ultraxion, for this moment ALONE were you created. Apparently. That’s your story, anyway.

This guy is a pain. On one level, he’s uncomplicated. Push the heroic will button when you have 3 seconds left on fading light. Push the button half way through the hour of twilight cast. Don’t push the button if your raid leader asks you to eat an hour of twilight (instead, push deterrence if you’re a hunter). Simple.

Figure 1: push button, collect loot

On another level, Ultraxion is horrendously unforgiving. One error and it’s swing low sweet chariot. You are hugging the floor. You just flat out die. Dead. See ya later alligator. The fight really takes a certain amount of awareness to do properly and if your group is sloppy you could be looking at Ultaxions big cheesy grin for some time. A few raid teams I’ve been part of have had a bit of trouble with this fight, people were either watching the wrong cast bar (Deadly Boss Mods gives a warning for when he’s about to start casting, and you need to be pushing the button when he’s already begun casting and is half way to the finish), or “lagging” or “I pushed the button but it didn’t work” both of which I suspect are at least sometimes code for “I forgot”. Sometimes you eat a fading light right before hour of twilight and your button isn’t off cooldown yet… now that’s a valid excuse to die the first couple of times, but you should be aware enough to realise that on the second fading light cast in you hour of twilight sandwich you need to hit the button a bit sooner. No biggie.

Figure 2: two large chunks of doom between two thick cut slices of apocalypse bread

It is an easy fight to get tunnel vision on too, and with good reason; Ultraxion is a big guy, and has a lot of health. Don’t hold back! There can be up to 45 seconds where you’re doing nothing but standing there pumping out damage (or pumping our healing, or pumping out… tank…ness… whatever), so you’ll have large chunks of time where you can really get some hurt on the guy, but if you don’t pay attention you can miss the crucial moment where you need push the button. Don’t be that guy! Personally, I keep my mouse on the button the whole time so when the time has come to push the button my finger is already on the button, but you can key bind or macro it (/click ExtraActionButton1) just as easily.

Once your group has figured out the basics of the fight, the achievement is pretty straight forward. There’s a lot of classes that can survive eating an hour of twilight, and Icy Veins has a great guide to it. This guide is especially useful when going for the achievement Minutes to Midnight (which probably refers to this, rather than this or this, since he’s bringing out doomsday and all) which requires a different player to soak each hour of twilight. My team got this achievement without any trouble, in fact we got it on our first ever kill with a perfect execution: not single death! We were lucky that our group composition had plenty of soaking abilities in it, and who was soaking which hour was called out during the fight. 

Figure 3: Insert joke about Alexstrasza’s chest

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Don’t stand so close to me!

So I had a good raid last night. We got two achievements (Don’t Stand So Close To Me and Minutes To Midnight), our first kill on Ultraxion, and a decent chunk of a way into Blackthorn, not bad for a group this new! I’m really happy with how most of the team performed, and I see us doing great things together!

Morchok: Don’t stand so close to me

This achievement is named after a pretty cool song by the Police from way back in the 80’s, and fittingly getting this achievement had a bit of a sting to it.

First up, we were using Deadly Boss Mobs, so each raider used the command /range 5 to set up a 5 yard range around each raider. Then, we set up 5 markers equally spaced around Morchok.

Figure 1: there is no hidden pentagram

Then, we assigned players with a fast travel ability (sprint, disengage, blink, demonic circle) to each one. The “slow” players were assigned to the gaps. The trick would be that we’d spread out fast and have no risk of being close to each other. With 3 hunters in the group this was no struggle at all.

Figure 2: circle of life

Now, there’s a little RNG in where the protective spikes come out of the ground, so my brilliant plan was to have the slow players stand a distance behind the fast marked players like so:

Figure 3: brilliant plan

What could possibly go wrong? Well, RNG is a harsh mistress.

Figure 4: you can’t make an omelet without… something something… 

Well… uh… at least there are less people to try and account for, right? That was part of my plan all along, I swear! Morchok isn’t too taxing a fight, and we managed to one shot him even with a chunk of our party hugging the ground.

Over all, we didn’t find this achievement too difficult, and I think it’s well with in the capabilities of most raid teams.

Figure 5: Morchok? No thanks, I’d like LESSchock!

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Steampunk Hunter Transmog!

Dreämy from Drunkard’s Regalia has made up an incredible looking steampunk hunter transmog set! She even goes so far as to include a list of matching pets with the look, simply genius! It almost makes me want to race change to undead, because the over all look is just so perfect.

Although it will require a bit of farming for a few of the pieces, and you may need to substitute in something for the engineering goggles, the vast majority of the pieces are BOEs. You should be able to get most of this set together without even leaving Orgrimmar (or Stormwind, if you’re one of THOSE people).

If you do struggle to find one of the pieces, following the theme of copper/bronze coloured metal and dark brown leather should keep the look consistent. There is a great add on called MogIt which you might find useful for searching for alternate pieces.

Dreämy has done a similar look for clothies, which is also stunning.

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