Ding, ding, ding

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. My priest, Morham, is coming along nicely. With any luck I will be flying again by the end of next week, and healing again by the end of the month. I will probably try out a Discipline healing spec for a bit. It really seems like it will be interesting. Not to mention it is getting buffed in patch 3.1.
Sometimes everything just all comes together at once.

Sometimes everything just all comes together at once.


Speaking of 3.1 Some of the announced hunter changes (if they make it to live) will be very nice indeed. I am always chronicly low on bag space because of the quiver and all the extras I carry. Having an extra bag will be wonderful. It’s also a monster buff to new players entering the game.

I can almost see me sitting in front of the (possibly never coming) guild hall shaking my cane staff at the young hunters.

“When I was your age I had to buy every arrow I shot.”

“I had to roam to the four corners of the world to find a critter with bite rank 9 so I could teach it to Shadow.”

“My pets did not level up to me like your new fangled ones, that why I have had the same cat since my 23rd season.”

“When I was growing up, you couldn’t drop traps in combat.”

“What did that wolf of your just do? Clean that mess up and get off my lawn!”


Yep, I can totally see that.

What other changes are coming down the pipe? Well, there are some changes to piercing shots and sniper training that look interesting. Myself, I am not going to get myself all in a tizzy about the changes until they go live. When that happens, I will believe in them.

Blood in the water

The whispers in Darnassus said it was bad.  The natural order warped and twisted by the strange energies leaking from the wreckage. Wreckage that the Exodar had left strewn across the land as it came out of the heavens like a shooting star and crashed upon the face of Azeroth. I made the mistake of looking for myself.

Abominations roam the land. Creatures twisted and driven mad by power leeching from the great red crystals that litter the landscape. Most trees have shed their leaves, dying slowly. Others have become restless, attacking any that cross their path. But the worst was how the poison has effected the water. Instead of  bright and clear the waters run red. Almost as though the land itself is bleeding.

The elders say that the Dreani are good people, that they were just fleeing the forces of evil. They claim that the damage done to the land was unintentional, and I believe them. They had every right to flee, and sometimes bad accidents happen to good people. The questions burning in my mind had no outlet, no one who could answer.

I was at the inn in Darnassus, sitting at the bar having an ale when she walked in. A Dreani woman with a black lion at her side. Yet another adventurer from the look of it. Yet another who had seen the damage done to the land and done nothing to heal it.

A little deeper in the cups than I had ever allowed myself to go I flagged her over, bought us a round of ale (like I needed any more) and introduced myself. With an amused smile she took a stool next to mine. That’s when I started talking, started asking the questions I had been holding inside. 

It is now two long years after the crash. Why are you still poisoning the land?

Your people come out of the wreckage, gather your things, and leave. Why don’t you help?

Why don’t your people fix what they have broken?

You left to fight those who drove you here by going to outland? I understand that, but why are you off in Northrend fighting to clean up the mess a human caused while here, the land still bleeds?

Amusement passed from her features, thoughtfulness took its place. Then thoughtfulness passed as well as she reached a decision. Flagging down the barkeep she reached into her pouch and put down enough to cover us both. I realized there were many empty mugs on the table, and the remains of a meal to boot. I must have lost track along the way.

As we walked towards the center of town she started to speak. She told of how she and her people had become allies of the Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, and yes even Night Elves.

She told of battles fought on a broken world to avenge what had happened to her people.

She spoke of places in Northrend where nature was bent and twisted to the will of the litch king, of places where even death was no release from his service.

She talked of family lost, friendships formed, and debts to be paid.

One of those debts was to the land itself, and to those who had suffered because of it.

As we walked to the bank she explained to me that she had to go back to Northrend. She had debts to pay to those who had fought at her side through the broken world of outlands.  “I cannot stay and help the land” she said, ” but I can help you on your journey. ”

Then she started pulling things out of her battered footlocker for me to try on, Leather armor, shiny and new, A staff with green gems glinting at both ends, a worn leather pouch full of coin, bags and pouches to carry things in. “These should serve you for a time.” she said.

Then she pulled out something wrapped in a tattered bloodstained robe. Carefully unwrapping it she told the story of a friend long gone, a friend that had worn this armor as he faced down the demons of outland. The mantle was battered and worn, but fit like it was made for me.

 “The other things I give as gifts, Giligan, but these hold many memories for me. When you reach your 80th season I wish them back.” she said. “You will be able to find me in the city of Dalaran, just ask the barkeep for Drupadi.”

Has your Bear gone Missing?

About a month ago one of my favorite blogs, The Big Bear Butt, suddenly went silent.

A solid week passed with not a single post. Now this guy not only writes well, he writes a lot. Often more in any two days than I put up in a week. I dropped him an E-mail and found out that his feed was broken. Apparently Feedburner lost its mind and forgot to send his posts along to the rest of us.  He had made a post about it, but unfortunately since the feed was busted I never got it.

Catch-22 right?

Well, it seems that even a month after the fact he continues to get notes like mine asking if he is alright, stopped blogging, got abducted by aliens, things like that. So he has asked us, his fellow bloggers, to mention this in hopes that maybe a person or two that is still wondering what happened will read it.

He is still there, honest.  Either drop by his site and re-subscribe, or use this handy link to his feed http://thebigbearbutt.com/feed/.

You’ll be glad you did.


How I built my Survival Hunter (with duct tape, duh!)

I would like to say I got most of my information on switching to Survival from two sources. A most excellent 3.08 Survival Hunter Guide Written by Xumio and hosted on the Hunting Lodge forums was one. The other was a couple of posts on Lienna’s Log. I you have not read these yet, please do yourself a favor and check them out.

Seriously, go, I’ll be here when you get back.

Back? Good.

Now I will explain what I did when switching over to my current Survival spec and how my playstlyle changed as a result. I will also look into how the spec I made is just a little borked with my current gear and how I am going to tweak it to wring even more MQSRDPS out of it.

I’ll start in the Beastmastery tree.

I chose to pick up 4/5 in Improved Aspect of the Hawk.

I originally picked this up before I got my hands on the Glyph of Improved Aspect of the Hawk. Now along with the 3% haste I am getting from my gear it is actually overkill. I only need to be sitting at 16% and I am sitting at about 21%. There will be a bit of a respec in order here later today to drop it down to 2/5. That will put me a little light at 15% But I think I will get more bang for my talent points by putting those two into the Marksman tree.

Speaking of the Marksman tree, some really nice talents are to be had there.

I picked up 5/5 in Lethal Shots for an extra 5% crit. Heck yes, sign me up.  The more I crit the more often I proc Expose Weakness, Master Tactician, and Hunting Party.

Careful Aim (3/3) was a no-brainer also. Anything that converts 100% of my intellect into attack power is a beautiful thing. Scales quite well with raid buffs as well. Arcane Intellect just became and attack power buff, sweet!

Mortal shots was another easy choice, I dropped all 5 points into this one, getting me a 30% increase to damage from my critical strikes. Depending on the buffs that I am getting I have seen crit as high as 49% in 25 man VOA this weekend.

Lastly I picked up one point in Go for the Throat. Since I am critting so much I don’t really need both. My cat Shadow still provides a good chunk of Dps when he is not rage starved, and with one point he had plenty.

Now, remember me saying I was taking back those two points from Improved Aspect of the Hawk? well, those are getting used right here. I am going to be putting both points into Rapid Killing. I found that I am even more of a rapid fire junkie than I was as Beastmastery, so the more I get to use it the better. We shall see how it works out, I might end up changing this again later as I get more haste.

Now we move on the the Survival tree.

First I grabbed Improved Tracking (5/5). Now I just have to remember to stop tracking minerals when I am running instances.

Hawk Eye (3/3) makes for a decent filler talent. It does make staying at range for Sniper Training a little easier. Anyhow, I need to spend three points to get to tier three, so here they are.

Survival Instincts  (2/2) is nice in two regards. I get a bonus of 4% to my critical strike chance for Arcane Shot (which is now off my hotbar), Steady Shot, and Explosive Shot when I put two points here. The icing on the cake is the 4% damage reduction. While not worth the points by itself, anything that makes my healers job easier is a win in my book. 

Survivalist (5/5) much the same as Survival instincts. It provides a boost of 10% to my Stamina for 5 points, and later a dps boost through Hunter Verses Wild. Harder to kill, and does more damage. Yes, please!

T.N.T. (3/3) just sounds fun. Seriously, how could you not grab a talent with that name. It’s worth all three points just for that. Even without the cool name it gives Immolation trap, Explosive trap, and Explosive shot a 15% chance to stun targets for 3 seconds. That’s just the icing though, the real bonus is increasing the critical strike chance of Explosive shot by 9%.

Lock and Load (3/3) is another one worth the three points just for the name.  A 100% chance when trapping a target and a 10% chance on each tick of Serpents Sting to cause the next two Arcane or Explosive shots to trigger no cooldown, use no ammo, and use no mana. (note: 30 sec cooldown).

As an added bonus Lienna wrote up a very nice post on how to make scrolling combat text give you an audible cue when Lock and Load procs, personally mine is the sound of a pump shotgun being cycled. Who could ask for anything more.

Hunter vurses Wild (3/3) Increases the attack power of you and your pet by 30% of your total Stamina. Not only does this make Survival Instincts a decent Dps boost, but it just turned every stam buff you get into more attack power. Fortitude buff? Attack power. The extra stam on stat food? Attack power. Got druid buffs? Attack power from this and Careful Aim! ❤ Druids.

Killer instincts (3/3) is pretty straight forward. 3 points, 3% increase in critical strike chance with all attacks. ❤ Crit.

Another straight forward talent is Lightning Reflexes (5/5). My 5 points buys me a 15% increase to Agility. Remember those Druid Buffs I was talking about earlier? Those are applied before the percent is figured out, so even more attack power and crit from those. Still ❤ Druids.

Expose weakness (2/3) has apparently exposed itself, because it is a lot weaker than it was last time I went this route. It no longer benefits the entire raid, but is still a solid talent to have for the self buff. With two points I have a 66% chance for any of my ranged crits to increase my attack power by 25% of my agility for 7 seconds. Even with only 2 points I saw that it procced early in the fight and was up about 90% of the time.

Wyvern Sting (1/1) may seem to be more of a PvP talent, at least it seems that way to me. I suppose having a second form of ranged crowd control to go with the ice trap arrow may come in handy at some point. Either way I need it to get to Noxious Stings, so it gets its point.

Next up is Thrill of the Hunt (3/3) With this build I crit a lot. Anything that will refund 40% of the mana I spent firing a shot that crits is a wonderful thing.

Master Tactician (5/5) Successful ranged attacks have a 10% chance to increase crit by 10% for 8 seconds. ❤ Crit. A 10% chance may not see like much, but this is actually up a good amount of the time.

Noxious Stings (3/3) is the whole reason I took Wyvern Sting in the first place. Besides the PvP aspect of the boost to Wyvern Sting if it’s dispelled, it increases all damage done by me to targets afflicted with my serpents sting by 3%. I am already keeping Serpents Sting up at all times anyway, might as well do more damage because of it.

Sniper training (3/3) seems to be a pretty situational talent to me so far. I have mods installed that let me know when I am out at least 30 yards, but find I can’t often maintain that range due to movement of the target, cave ins, not wanting to stand in the fire… That kind of thing. An extra 6% damage is nice if I can play the range game, I am just noticing it is a little hard to do on most fights. The jury is still out on this one, but it seems better than any of the alternatives.

I have seen some folks that love this and some that consider having it a burden they feel they have to carry to help out the raid. Well I for one actually like Hunting Party (3/5). I only went three points deep in this because my crit rating is so high.  I have a 60% for my Arcane, Steady, or Explosive shot crits to grant me and 9 others the replenishment buff for 15 seconds. I find I am critting so often that it rarely, if ever, expires before refreshing itself. Also being able to fill the “Mana battery” role is quite helpful in finding groups for pug heroics. In short, I play this character in groups, so I spec to benefit the group. If I wanted to spec for running solo I would go back to Beastmastery.

Lastly we come to Explosive shot (1/1). This is the money shot, the whole reason we took the walk this far down the tree. I could get into a bunch of math on this one, but suffice it to say that this shot hits hard, ticks hard, and crits often. I get about 40% of my total Dps from this shot. I can no more imagine going Survival without it than I can running as Beastmaster with only Mr. Pinchy as a pet.

I like this build, I have fun with this build, and I do more damage while bringing more utility. The best part is it is not a cookie cutter build. Just as it is evolving today from a 4/14/53 to a 2/16/53 to reflect the amount of haste I need it will continue to evolve as my gear changes. I think that is what I like about it the most.