3.3, Thoughts from a tired mind

3.3 oh how I have coveted thee.

So much promise, so many new toys to play with.

Assuming of course I can actually get online.


 Some folks say life “critted” them. Some are right. In my case it was more a case of life stunlocking me so I couldn’t do any of the things I really wanted to when I wanted to do them.

I had fully intended to write up a good long post about how I am experimenting with the new tools that have been given us, but I really did not get to do a whole hell of a lot last night. There are, however, plenty of changes coming for the way I do things within the game. I’ll talk about a few of them.


First things first. Ever since the moment Blizzard mentioned cross faction mailing of heirloom items I have been stoked. I have another Hunter Horde side that I would like to get to 80 some time soon, that will help a lot.

One problem with the patch notes on the subject of mailing though, they never said anything specific about it. Was it just the armor and weapon pieces? How about the Tome of Cold Weather Flight? BOA vanity pets like the Blizzard bear? Hell, even head and shoulder enchants are BOA now, could I send one of those?

Well, on a few of those I can actually give a concrete answer. The others I will test out later today. Last night I sent over a set of chest armor, a set of shoulders, and a Tome of Cold Weather Flight. Those I can tell you for a fact work. Tonight I will try to send shoulder and head enchants along with a vanity pet and see how it goes.


Next on my list of things to do is work on my UI.

I logged in and took a look around (once I could finally get on) and realized it had been well over two years since I have tried playing with something even resembling the default UI. I decided as kind of a project to see just how I would adapt to it, so I turned off everything that was not nessacery.

So far I am pretty impressed with the improvements. The only thing I really miss is having the questhelper arrow under my feet. I find myself looking at the map more and more now. On the plus side I really like the way the new quest/map interface works.

For the time being I am only running Auctioneer on my banker characters. The others are all going back to the default UI with Omen, Deadly Boss Mods, Altoholic, and Identity.

The only toss up at the moment will be whether I can find a way to set up the default raid frames in such a way that I can actually heal. I guess we will just wait and see on that one.

It should be interesting, who wants to be in my first VOA pug with the new setup on my Priest?

Wake up and smell the future

Hi folks,

Just figured I would take a quick break from NaNoWriMo to throw in my two cents worth on the pet store.

Yep, the same damn thing everyone else is talking about.

I see people screaming about how selling an in game pet for real dollars is game breaking.

I see people complaining about various other account services as well, faction transfers and PvE – PvP realm transfers chief among the complaints.

I have read about how this is a horribly slippery slope. Apparently we will wake up one day and find them selling conquest badges for real money or something.

I have also read a few articles where the authors were extremely unconcerned. essentially saying “they are just pets, and pets have been for sale for a while. Just look on ebay.”

I suppose my take on all this is a little different.

I don’t see it as a way to separate the haves and the have-nots within the game, although to some extent it will. I also don’t see it as some kind of slippery slope that Blizzard might go sliding headlong down at any moment. I see all the changes that have been coming in the last six months or so as a window into where the future of WoW lies.

Since my brain is mush from the whole “Write a novel in 30 days while simultaneously doing everything else life calls on me to do” thing so this might come out a bit disjointed. Sorry about that.

We are all fantasy gamers here right? Well, lets take a walk down fantasy lane. Pretend for a while that you are an executive for a company. We will call them Blizz because I am too damn tired to make up a cutesy name right now.

You have this game, it is literally the cash cow for your business. 

Just like a farmer you will tend to that cash cow as best you can. As a farmer your job would be to milk that cow for as much as you can without causing it to dry up. After all if it goes dry you are hosed, but you don’t want to leave any milk there that you should have taken. 

Now as this executive you know about the next generation MMO, the one you hope will turn out to be the next cash cow. The last one is getting a bit long in the tooth after all. Now you have a few problems.

You don’t want to compete with yourself for subscribers.

You don’t want to just turn off the old game, after all there is money to be made there yet.

You have promised all along that you would never allow out of game purchases to give an in game advantage (a promise artfully broken by the refer-an-alt program, but meh.)

The logical thing to do would be to simply convert you existing game from a subscription model to a microtransaction / free to play model.  If you could pull that off you could run the new one on a subscription model without forcing your customers to choose.

Another advantage would be in having competition in the microtrasaction MMO market, something you sorely lack at the moment. After all, you don’t make games to make friends, it’s a business. The object of business is to make profit, thats simply the way it works.

Ideally you would figure out a way for players of your old game to get a bit of a leg up in the new one. Perhaps by implementing a points system for doing tasks within the game.  This would be a lot easier to implement if we force them to tie all their games together under one login, we should do that as early as possible to work out the bugs.

Let the points earned in the old game be useless there and only spreadable in the new one (selling only vanity stuff or BOA starter gear of course). That way people from your old game would feel like they had money in their pockets for the new one, what better reason to try it out.

Now, knowing that a straight shift would scare some subscribers away you come up with a long-term plan. Start integrating the microtransaction model into the game. Proceed very slowly and cautiosly, until by the time your new game is ready all the infrastructure is in place.

Once the new game is released you can then announce that you are graciously going to make the old game free to play, while leaving the microtrasactions in place to still make a profit. Most of those that prefer the subscription model will move anyway,  so you can always start selling epics later.

Sitting back you think to yourself, Good plan.

Lets do that, we’ll start with pets.

Everyone loves pets.

Of Beastmastery and Tenacity, and why I went there

Somehow a lot of my posts start out with “So, I was poking around online….”. Kind of like most of my really funny stories from my military days start with “So, my friends and I were in this bar in (fill in countries name here) minding our own business…..”. I won’t go in to any of those now, perhaps another day.  Today I talk about pet talent choices.

What the hell does all that have to do with a pet spec you ask?

The real answer is that after looking I was no able to find much in the way of “premade” pet specs.

Now I don’t claim to be some kind of Hunter guru, I have not taken one to sunwell, nor have I done arena with one. I have not soloed world bosses or even dungeons harder than Black Rock Depths (runecloth farming ftw). One thing I have done though is level. I have leveled two Hunters to 70 already and am currently working on a third who is 56 as of last night. So I decided to put down the specs I plan to use for leveling just in case someone may be interested.

For starters I leveled one of my 70’s Marksman and the other two Beastmastery. I plan to level through WotLK as Beastmastery on all three. Assuming I go back to my retired Horde Hunter and level him, Otherwise it will be all two of them. Second, I tend to level solo for the most part. I quest my way along to the level I want to ba at and worry about gearing up and respeccing once I get there.


Pet Choices

Let me say this, you can level with any pet you feel comfortable with. There is no “best leveling pet”. Back when I leveled Marksman there was, I leveled with a boar and loved it. After the great boar nerf I decided on a cat as my leveling partner with my second Hunter. They are still together today. That being said I have run with both a cat and boar at 70 as well as leveling with a gorilla. The gorilla is hands down more fun, at least for me.


Talent Choices

Occasionally I am kind of vague. This is odd since according to my wife I am about as subtle as an asteroid impact. I am not going to even try and be subtle here. If you take away nothing else take away this comment.

You and your pet have one, shared talent spec.

Do not think of your spec and your pets as separate, because they are not. Like no other class in the game we have a real symbiotic relationship with our pets. The choices in each spec reinforcing those in the other. The way I see it there are nine different possibilities. Beastmastery/Tenacity, Beastmastery/Cunning, Survival/Tenacity, Marksman/Ferocity… you get the idea.

Is there one “magical” talent spec for everything? No.

That’s why I am just worrying about leveling at this point. I intend to level one of my hunters Beastmastery/Tenacity and the other Beastmastery/Ferocity. The reasoning is simple. At level 80 one will be raiding and the other farming. One uses a gorilla named Thumper to aoe grind and farm things. The other uses a cat named Shadow to do dps.



I intend to start at level 70 with this spec for my hunter and this one for my gorilladin. I will build it towards these builds at level 80. This is the Hunter that will be my soloing farmer at 80 and some of those talent choices reflect that. For instance, I skipped Cobra strikes, Go for the Throat, and Invigoration.

Why you might ask?

Well, I am soloing with my gorilladin and the only pet special abilities I use are growl and thunderstomp. Since I find that with just Beastial Discipline I have enough to growl and thunderstomp every time its up I don’t need Go for the Throat. Cobra strikes? It procs off of Arcane, Steady, or Kill shots. When I am running with this combo I rarely use those, plus I have few pet specials running so it really does not benefit me. Invigoration? more of the same. If I am not going to try critting with my pet these are points better spent elsewhere.

This whole build is designed around AOE tanking with Thumper. I do the damage through Multi-shot and Volly, he keeps them occupied while I kill them. I use this very effectively already at level 56, often tanking 4-5 mobs of equal level with ease. The way I do this is the main reason I picked the glyph of Hunters mark and the glyph of Multi-shot.

My general tactic is to grind in threes. I will grab up the first mob and let growl hit. Then I will run to a second, letting growl go off again, then I will run him over to the third mob, growl and thunderstomp. With the glyph of mulit shot I find the cooldowns line up nicely. Thunderstomp, Multi-shot, Volly, Thunderstomp,  repeat until you run out of mobs.

My mana usage is such that about every 4th trio is done under Aspect of the Viper, the rest are done under Aspect of the Hawk. Running this way I can grind almost indefinately without stopping to eat or drink, and by pulling only three I rarely even need a mend pet before they are down.

Are there better ways to do this? Probably, I am sure there are as many different ways to do things as there are hunters out there. I just wanted to share what works for me.


When I started out on this topic I thought I would get it all in one post, now I see it would be a bit on the ginormous side if I tried to do that.  I will come back in a day or two with the Beastmastery/Ferocity build I plan to use on my second Hunter.

Until then,

Good Hunting.

A fundamental lack of loyalty

Yes its early,

Its both early in the morning and very early in the beta testing. As was so eloquently pointed out we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 months before WotLK finds its way into live servers and until then (indeed even after) everything is subject to change without notice.

The proposed changes to hunter pets are for the most part welcome. I think the whole Talent tree thing is a particularly great idea, but I sincerely hope that the respeccing cost of a pet is either free or nearly so. Am I being greedy? Wanting it all? Hardly, read on.

One of the other proposed changes is removing pet loyalty. Pet loyalty was always a bit of a nuisance, especially at higher levels it would take forever to get to be “best friend” to your pet. It really did need to be reworked, however I would have liked it to stay in the game in some form.

While I think both of these are good changes in their own way, I think I may see a bit of a issue in how they would interact both with each other together with minimal stable slots open to hunters. I think can already see the dawn of the “disposable pet”. Not a temporary pet you grab to go learn a skill but a full fledged throwaway pet.

Lets assume that there is available in the game a level 80 cat of some sort. I would say that is a safe assumption, but that’s all it is. Why tie up a stable slot with one? Why pay to re-spec?  If you need a cat go grab a cat. Tame complete *bam* instant best friend. Spec for what you want to do and throw it away when you are done. There is even the possibility with a little planning of using “Tame beast” as a form of crowd control in instances, similar to the way enslave or mind control is used to pull one enemy from a group and have it fight for you. The difference would be that It won’t wear off.

Everything I see can in fact be used as an advantage. I am not really complaining just thinking out loud. I am pondering weather taking away pet loyalty to the hunter coupled with a lack of stable slots serves to take away the hunters loyalty to the pet, and if so how I feel about that.

I suppose I can keep two pets that I actually needed to put a few levels on in the stables and keep one slot open for the pet of the day. I could but I don’t think I will. My pets are not throw aways to be used up and discarded. I am not a Warlock.

Something to ponder as I watch the calendar slide past towards release day.

A pet like any other

So here I am thinking again. I really should work on putting myself on autopilot in the mornings. Then again, where would I be if I lost my morning ramble?

Today I was thinking about why I enjoy the hunter class so much and just can’t get into the warlock. On the surface they sound very similar. Both are mana using ranged DPS classes. Both have pets. Both have crowd control functions. Both lose a bag slot to either a quiver or shard bag. If I enjoy one I should enjoy the other right?

Well, I don’t. The warlock just won’t click. They are so similar and yet not. Then it came to me, its not the character I can’t get into its the way they deal with their pets.

Look at the differences. A warlock has a minion, a hunter has a pet. It seems like a little thing, but the difference is huge.



A minion is summoned, pulled away from his “home” on another plane and forced to fight against their will.

A pet is tamed, it shares the adventuring and the leveling. It has it’s own talent tree and its own skills. They are not forced into what they are doing, they are partners.

A warlock actually has a spell to sacrifice their pet. Did I hear myself correctly? They kill their pet on purpose? I still can’t wrap my head around that. I have seen hunters, myself included, stay with their pet and continue to fight long after they should have given up an run.

Some of my best moments in the game are the fights that my pet and I managed to pull off when we should never have been able to. A good example happened last night.



With Drupadi, my level 45 hunter alt, I was questing in the Hinterlands. We were trying to solo the robot chicken escort quest. It was going very well right up until the end. Just before the last group of trolls appeared two stealthed wolves attacked. We managed to get one of them down before the three trolls spawned.

We took on the trolls and the wolf , with a bit of trapping, a big red cat, and a bit of dancing around we got down to the last two trolls and they both ran. One down fast but the second grabbed two more of those stealthed wolves. There I stand, cooldowns blown, low health, out of mana, with three more to go. Do I feign? Run? No, I decide to take the troll with me on the way to the graveyard. I pop the troll as the wolves get to me……Ding…..what do you mean I am not dead? Woot! I have mana! Trap one kill the other then take the trap.

Looking around I realized I had just taken a 7 mob chain pull all at least 2 levels higher than me.

I think the difference between the two is that a warlocks pet is an extension of the warlocks abilities. A hunters pet is less an extension and more a part of the character, almost a character in their own right. That is enough of a difference for me I guess.

The way I feel about the pets both in real life and on my hunters could be summed up by an article written long ago much better than I could put it, so here it is.



A Kentuckian’s Tribute

The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away, there by the graveside, will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death

Text is from a pleading that Senator George Vest made to a jury in Missouri in the fall of 1880. Full speech and details can be found at www.dogreader.com

A new beginning

I have been leveling a Troll hunter lately in order to play with friends that are on a different server than my main. Up until recently I would grab a boar at level 10 and never look back all the way to 70. However with the recent nerfs to a boars aggro generation I started experimenting with other pets. In the process I discovered how much I like leveling with a cat.

I decided to go poking around on Petopia and found a cat I really liked the design of. It just so happens the highest level it can be tamed at is level 20, and that was in Darkshore. So after a visit to the local vendor to make sure I had a few sacks of meat Dekado, my young Troll hunter heads off on the long walk to Darkshore alone but for Vira.


Vira was a good companion and true. A young black boar that once roamed the coast west of Orgrimmar, she had now been with me for ten seasons. She was in fact the first companion I had tamed after learning how. After a long run helping me fight my way through to my new companion it was time for me to let her go. I gave her a snack to send her on her way with a full belly, then waved a reluctant good bye.

Creeping through the brush I laid a trap and started using the talents I had been taught by my trainer, speaking in a calming voice I slowly convinced the great charcoal cat that I meant no harm, that friendship would make us both far stronger than either one could ever be alone. There was a flash in her eyes as her decision was made…we were now joined as one.

Working together like a finely crafted machine we carved our way back to friendly territory. Tired and sore we made camp our in the crossroads for the night. Tomorrow we will head south to Camp Tajuro and whatever it has in store. Tonight though we rest by the fire in the great room of the inn. As the great cat naps by my side I scratch idly behind her ears, and ponder what she should be called.


My new companion


So here is where you come in. If you can think of any suggestions for Dekado please put them here, I’ll be sure to pass them on.