Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Profression Predator

I have spent a lot of money on Leatherworking. It was my first profession, and I will never drop it, not only because of the investment, but because I'm a sentimental kid like that. I'm missing around eight patterns (besides Ulduar, which is STILL holding out on me - but oh, we've had two of the SAME enchanting pattern.... /rage), so I pride myself on having the most complete Leatherworking on server.

That said, I also like to make some money off my profession. I'm not out to take over the market or anything, but I do like tips. I'm constantly linking to the requests in Trade, but you waste time having to open the spell book to link. I was working on a tell macro to respond to requests, but it never developed.

However, I came across an awesome mod called AutoLink. It scans the channels you specify for "LF", "link" and "!" and automatically sends a tell if you have the sought-after profession. It also recognizes if another player has a mod (like DBM) that blocks tells, and it temporarily ignores them to prevent spam.

I'm in LW heaven.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Girls and WoW: Again?

I did a dangerous thing: I ventured to the official forums. I admit I was perusing through the BlueTracker when this post caught my eye, but at least it only led to the Off-Topic forums and not the Hunter forums (no, I haven't broken my promise to myself).

A Blue acknowledged an up-and-coming blogger; an act I generally see as a good thing. However, for some reason, the fact that the author titled the tread Real Girls DO Play WoW and made it out to be something unique kinda bothers me.

Sure, the joke "OMG a woman on the internez!!1!" still goes around, but it goes around with the sort of sarcasm of a dying topic. Female players are not uncommon, especially not on WoW, at least not now. We might have been Blue-quality at one time, but I think now we are definitely Green. So what makes this blog any different from any other of woman-authorship? Is it because we are not "real girls"?

Now I'm just getting nitty-gritty (and perhaps a bit wishy-washy, too). No, I do not like the color pink, romantic comedies, or reading Cosmo. Yes, I do like discussing which captain of the Enterprise was better, figuring out my computer's malfunctions, and playing drinking games to really bad movies. I also enjoy wearing skirts (and, I too, have a discernible waist) . I caused some of the guys in the guild to "O.O" in response to hearing me coo uncontrollably over the new turtle mount. I am also a massive flirt. But maybe "real girls" simply don't play WoW, and that is the dividing line. Perhaps "real girls" are simply ignorant of the terminology and technique, and that's what makes them "real".

Beyond this criticism of the blog and her presentation of it, I actually think she has a good premise for blogging, abet not exactly an original one. She is an intelligent young woman who is new to the game, and she is blogging her experience. I've also noticed a trend in her posts to look at it from the anthropological point of view, and I like that twist to it.

So venture over to My Adventures with WoW to see for yourself. It is, after all, very healthy to see what it's like to be new to the game again. But let her down gently that she's not the only in-shape, female player out there ;)

This place is purdy :3

Hodir down, and we managed some great progress on Freya.

Video inc.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The GCD is a fickle friend

With 3.1, they took Silencing Shot off the GCD. I enjoy this change - it makes interrupting a breeze on bosses, and it is nice getting that one more shot in there when I am running away from void zones/AoE/death without screwing up my shot priority. Oh, and I'm sure it's nice for PvP, too.

But now that I have a taste of something off the GCD, I realize now how much I'd rather have other things off the GCD, most notably Hunter's Mark.

Pre-3.1, one of our SV Hunters was glyphed for Hunter's Mark, only because there were few relatively great major glyphs for SV. It took off some of the burden for me, since the spell was vital to my DPS, but that way I wouldn't have to worry about it not being up. But with the lovely new glyphs with 3.1, the only Hunter with strong incentive to make sure every single target is marked is yours truly.

Obviously I can't Mark every single add. Razorscale this would be impossible, save for the Big Whirlwind Guys and the Annoying Chain Lightning Guys. I try to not Mark mobs that theoretically should go down in less than ~10 seconds. But for fights like the Cat-Bitch, not only do her adds need top DPS, the cycle of changing DPS targets throughout the fight means the Hunter's Mark has to be switched as well. (This is the top reason why XT is annoying to me.) This is anywhere from six to ten instances where my GCD is lost to Hunter's Mark.

I am tempted to introduce a new concept to the raiding Hunter's environment - The Hunter's Mark rotation. Each mob has a Hunter assigned to it to Mark it. This has some complications, mainly just getting such a novel concept through, but also the fact that it only majorly benefits one person. Not only is it rather selfish to assign the other Hunters the role of buffing me, but it is a habit that is not exactly fundamental to our class. How well will they remember to do something that they don't gain as much benefit from? How many seconds do I allow them to remember to Mark before I Mark it myself, as I have begun to do automatically after switching to a target?

These fears stem from the BC-concept of "Hunters are a DPS class only. Period." There were many arguments on the official forums about the role of Hunters in raids, and the predominant stance of the BM-bastards was that a Hunter had only one purpose: To crank out as much DPS as possible. Buffing the raid was a by-product of that DPS. If you went SV for Expose Weakness, raiding Hunters said that you were "taking the hit" for the raid, as if doing less DPS but buffing your fellow physical DPS was a sacrifice. So while I know our raiders do what is asked of them because that is what is required of raiders, it is a heavy concern that I place my DPS in the hot-keys of another.

It's either this, or I spam the offical forums asking them to remove Hunter's Mark from the GCD. Oh, wait....

"We just can't do eet! The servers don't have da powa'!"


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yay, fertility!

Gotta love Noblegarden!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

If I could name a tier set..

It would be Skinning Stalker.

Why waste ammo when you can let the questers do it for you?

Friday, April 24, 2009

She feeds on your tears...

Well, Ignis died tonight. Yay. Managed to score an achievement while we were at it. No vid though - G was down for half the fight, so his angles were bad. I'll post another kill later.

You may wonder why I am less than enthused. Well, Auriaya's trash being bugged has a way of killing the mood.

If you don't know about Auriaya's trash, consider yourself lucky. If I go through the rest of this game without ever encountering such trash again, I will be happy. It consists of two pulls of two mobs each, both on either side of the middle platform. Theoretically, the two Storm Tempered Keepers are tanked apart from each other, but not too far to prevent them getting a buff that increases their damage. One of the mobs sends a slow-moving sphere towards the other that must be killed before it reaches him, else the second mob gets a buff. Both mobs must die at the same time as well, as to prevent the last-standing mob getting yet another buff.

This trash is painful enough without them being bugged. We encountered one bug the first time we worked on her, where if mob is tanked closer to the other trash pack than his companion, the sphere goes to the other trash pack, pulling them, and even the boss if she is patting close. So we kept the mobs close to the side we pulled them on.

The other pack pulled. And nothing was even close to them.

Talk about a wipe fest. A painful one at that. We tried it twice before admitting defeat to any strategy where they were tanked on the same platform where we tank the boss. We ended up pulling them up to the portal platform:

We had to heal through all their buffs, but it worked.

Then came the rest of the nights wiping on Auriaya herself. Really, I hate this boss. We started working on rogue-distraction pulls, and they worked well, abet slowing her pat even more when the distracts came too soon/late. We managed a single attempt where she was at 10%, but then the inevitable deaths due to devil-cat occurred.

Have I mentioned how much I hate cats?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A good start to the week

Two days, five bosses down. The nerf to XT made it very easy to get in a couple of attempts, and despite the fact that it seemed like the adds were moving faster, we still managed a great achievement. I dedicate this one to Rilgon:

Eeeeek, Ayamiss attack!! /ducks for cover

We one-shotted Iron Council (and I forgot to pop my damn flask >_<). Check out the damage for the fight:
The other two hunters were both SV. G and I stayed together in each rune, and if anything, he had a head start in each one. I'm pretty happy! The Council dropped a pretty awesome sword, but alas, those melee types need stat-sticks for some reason... I took Drape of the Lithe for some hit maneuverability, but with it's weak AP, I won't use it until I trade something else out.

Ignis finally dies tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Auriarya Vid

SV Hunter PoV. As always, remember to watch in HD and full screen.

I died so fast you couldn't even see me fall...

This is a sloppy kill and a bad example of how to handle the Feral Defenders, but it was only our first kill :P

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Iron Council Vid

PoV of a SV Hunter. Remember to watch in HD and full screen!

Game has a habit of getting shocked by the tendrils. Not that I'm encouraging this, but considering that we hit the enrage timer and killed him by grace of timing (we assume he didn't enrage because he did the lightning-god-thing), best to only do it if you have range.

Also, I rather like the music :)

I. Hate. Cats.

You thought my annoyance and frustration over the lack of variety in hunter pets was startling, wait until you see me on Auriaya.

We downed the Iron Council in three attempts tonight. The SV hunter and I were neck-n-neck for top DPS; it was great. We did it the easy way, killing Stormcaller Brundir last. He dropped some lackluster shoulders and some guild money (with an awesome reference!), so we moved on.

So came the bitch. Yes, Auriaya is a bitch. Why? Because she walks around with four of these bastards. Sure, they are pretty, but, I swear, all the hate I have ever had for cats has been in preperation for this boss.

Like many difficult and fun fights in this game, this boss is all about the pull. The hunters acknowledged that our lives were forfeit when we did this pull, but we didn't realized exactly how little time we had to live. We tried it a couple times pulling her as she patted away (seriously, nerf that pat time) without much success. That is, her adds killed the entire raid in approximately 15 seconds.

So we tried a new tactic: Snake trap pulls! All three Hunters put down a trap as she patted closer, leaving the tanks able to pick up the adds and the Misdirects to go off without sacrificing a Hunter first. The results were okay, but we were still having difficulties with the add tanks getting one-shotted.

Finally, someone decided that it would be a good idea just to Line of Sight them to us. Traps went down, we all went around the corner....

... and I watched my life flash before my eyes.

We got her, thanks to my noble sacrifice *cough cough*.

I'll post the vids for both bosses once they are up.

Monday, April 20, 2009

XT-002 Deconstructor Vid

PoV of a SV hunter - remember to watch full screen and in HD. He has a very good graphics card, so make the most of it!

His UI is based off of Spartan UI, with PowerAuras, Bartender, Range Display, DoTimer, Nice Damage font, and CooldownCount.

Yay, progress!

XT and Kologarn went down tonight - hells yeah! We even managed a relatively easy achievement on XT while we were at it. I'll post the XT vid once the other hunter officer uploads it, but sadly the recording for Kologarn screwed up.

I must say, it is very nice to be MM - overall (like that really means anything) I was #2, but I was consistantly in the top five for every attempt that I survived through until wipe was called. However, I don't like my state for mana - loosing both Rapid Recuperation and Imp. Steady Shot is probably just too much (and one point in Efficiency doesn't cut it either, me thinks), so I'll probably put a point back into RR.

Loot-wise: XT dropped some boots, but I wasn't interested in trading crit for Armor Pen. Kologarn also dropped a trinket, which I was all for taking, but since so many other officers were bidding, I ended up passing just so we could get it distributed.

Oh, and this little shiny:

Four bosses down, ten to go!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

10 verses 25

I remember my very first 40-man raid. I had turned 60 fairly recently, and the GM of my guild was inviting everyone he could to help him kill the summoned Qiraji Emissary. I was so nervous seeing all these names pop up and a new chat color appear on my screen. I was determined not to embarrass myself though, and concentrated hard to not screw up. I had no idea that soon raiding MC would be a common thing, followed by BWL. The very thought of me one day becoming a guild officer that would organize raids and distribute loot was laughable.

I admit, I miss 40-mans. There was something very endearing about such a large number of players coming together to work towards a goal. I agree that the number was rather unreasonable for a lot of raiding guilds, and I think 25 is an acceptable alternative, but organizing and considering group synergy was a fun thing. Zul'Gurub is still one of my favorite instances ("Shirvallah, fill me with your RAGE!"), and I am sad that I didn't get to run UBRS before it was nerfed from 15-man to 10-man.

To the veteran raider, the concept of a 10-man being classified as "progressive content" is an alien one. The ranking for raid difficulty has always been 5 -> 10/15 -> 20 -> 40. With BC, this changed only with the elimination of 20-mans and the reduction of 40-mans to 25. A 10-man instance was still just a stepping stone to 25-man raiding. 3.1 forever changes this concept. Think if SSC/TK/MH/BT had 10-man modes!

The idea of 10- and 25-man versions of raids was novel in Wrath, but it wasn't really weird until this patch hit. Content was cleared relatively quickly after release, mainly due to the fact that there were only two "novel" 25-man instances, and they only had a single boss each. Large guilds ran the ten man versions of the instances for their challenges, if not for gear. Sarth10+3D was the most difficult encounter pre-3.1, abet Blizzard admits this was a mistake on their part, but it made 10-mans seem part of the standard raid week for the 25-man raiding guilds. Now there is a new multi-boss instance for 10-man groups, an instance that is new, but not part of the a 25-man guild's goal.

We have new content with drastically different scales of difficulty between 10- and 25-man versions. We have only downed two bosses in Ulduar 25, but the Ulduar 10 group that went in this weekend on the offnights has gone through nine bosses so far, some of them on hard mode! For the most part, the gear are side-grades, but it is great for experiencing the bosses and their hard-modes before we face their counterparts on 25-man.

While I like Blizzard's approach to allowing content be accessable to all sizes of raiding guilds, I think it will take me a while to get used to it. I don't want to say it is dumbing down of the game to make every 25-man have a 10-man equivalent, but it does make that elistist-side of me that treasures my good-fortune of finding a dedicated raiding guild twitch a bit (Yes, I want to emphasize the luck-factor associated with being an end-game raider). It took 40 to kill Nefarian and C'Thun, 25 to kill Illidan, but only 10 to kill Arthas and Yogg-Saron? It doesn't make sense...

Friday, April 17, 2009

My OCD misses my ammo bag

It took me awhile to give up my ammo bag after the patch. I am very particular as to how my bags are arranged, and figuring out how to distribute 12 slots to ammo in a way that satisfies my need for order will take time. The fact that my bullets filly up my first bag immediately drives me insane. But it's a waste to not use those extra bag slots, so I conceded to dragging out the Dragon Hide Bag from the bank and filling it half up.

I frowned when I saw that they were removing ammo bags/quivers. I think it was pointless, pure and simple. Not only are they removing yet another feature that gives the hunter class some flavor, but the only benefit people tell me is that it gives them is more bag space. Great. Further homogenization of the game for 8-10 more slots.

The greatest thing I dislike about WoW right now is the disappearance of details. No more quests or books to learn different skills or spells. No more certain locations to do certain things. Sure, it's easier, but it is also boring. I admit that only being able to create flasks at an alchemy lab was annoying, but it also required just a tiny bit of forethought and planning, and that made it interesting. There will never been another Rhok'delar or Benediction quest, nor is it likely that another Nat Pangle-like quest for a profession will emerge again. Hell, you don't even need any mats to make a fire now, despite the fact that they first created Gnomish Army Knives, then removed Simple Wood. This game is trading in complexity for simplicity, and that saddens me.

So what have we gained by this loss of a quiver? A bag slot. Fill that up, with ammo that no longer automatically goes there, half-way for a net gain of 8 to 10 more bag slots. Maybe some of you will use that for a profession bag instead. I've always just used my bank. But then again, I've never noticed a problem with bag space. When my bags are full from farming, I go to town, vendor/mail off anything I don't need, then go back to farming. Bag space, for hunters at least, is a matter of time, not slots.

I'll get used to it. I always do. It is easy to adapt to simplicity. After all, you don't hear many hunters complaining how difficult it is to not weave shots. But I'll mourn this change for the rest of my WoW career simply because something that made us special has been declared "impractical".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Razorscale Vid

Razorscale 4/15/09 from Ouro Raiding on Vimeo.

This was yesterday's kill. It is very sloppy, but it is our first kill, so worthy of attention.

Out tactic was to split the raid between both sides in order to minimize chain lightning damage. It is from the POV of our other hunter officer (SV), who was on the opposite side from me. This is good, because you don't get to see me eat two back-to-back fireballs and die soon after her first landing -_-.


Happy Birthday, Butterfly!

A wee bit late, but mid-April marks the first year anniversary of this blog. I'm quite happy to have been writing about Marksman-huntering for a year now, and even though when I started it was out of frustration for the state of the hunter class in the Burning Crusade, now the prospects for playing what you love have never seemed brighter.

Thank you for following along on my journeys through Azeroth and Outland, and here's to another year!

I know I promised pics from Spring Break, but alas, none of my moth shots came out well and I only managed to identify one (a Four-lined Chocolate - no, this is not my picture), so I will give you a portrait of my class, put together by the art-minor in our group:

Guess which one is me!

I need about a dozen more talent points...

I miss Aspect Mastery terribly. Not only does losing the talent put me back under the 5k RAP mark, but the Ulduar fights almost demand damage mitigation of some sort.

I fully concede that Survival Instincts is a must now. The amount of raid damage that is going on for the first three bosses after Flame Leviathan is nothing short of mind-boggling. While we worked on Ignis for a good two hours after downing Razorscale, we just couldn't figure out any other way of doing the fight in its current state without stacking healers. Deconstructor, while it can be thought of as a Solarian-Voidreaver-Noth fight, allows no wiggleroom when you get the bombs, for the damage starts immediately. I value Aspect Mastery now more for its improvements to Dragonhawk alone instead of the buff to Viper.

These fights are also rather melee-unfriendly, that is to say, rather pet unfriendly as well. And while I can manage my pet as well as the next hunter, there are very few instances in these fights where Tinea is not taking damage. Serenity Dust is great, but I definitely miss Improved Revive Pet. Luckily, mana has not been an issue, so rezzing her mid-fight cost me more time than anything.

Of course, the four points I want won't simple appear out of thin air. The three points that will be the first to go, I think, will be Improved Steady Shot. The last point most likely from Rapid Recuperation. ISS has not impressed me that much, particularly since wasting it on Arcane Shot is more detrimental now than before. The point from Rapid Recuperation because I have not had mana problems. But we will see. I plan on waiting until next Tuesday to change anything, so that any bug fixes can be changed in the mean time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Against better wisdom, we plowed straight into Ulduar 25. It was laggy to all hell, Ignis was bugged, but regardless, it was a wonderful experience.

First of all: All you Marksmen, spec into Silent Shot. Don't let this "PvP-talent" be sidelined. You'll need it for Razorscale's adds.

We tried Flame Leviathan with all the towers up first, accidentally. While we had a couple people who knew what they were doing from the PTR, only one tower's debuff was up (yay bugs!), so we those of us who only knew the fight from strategies didn't know where to go for the towers. I must say though, the insanity that erupts when all the towers are up is pretty cool.

The big machine went down. Auto-badge looting is probably the best idea Blizzard has had since depreciating respec price. Gloves of the Fiery Behemoth dropped, along with plate tanking bracers and a caster neck. I was on a motorcycle this time, but I can't wait to try the other two vehicles or be catapulted on to the Leviathan to short circuit it.

From there we went to Razorscale, but the server lag was so terrible that we decided to make friends with the MC giants across the way to Ignis. The trash was AWESOME. Not only were they completely melee unfriendly, but the paired elementals in there spawned two fiery tornadoes, too! It took us two attempts of nearly wiping the raid to figure out the mechanical golems.

Ignis wasn't loosing his add debuff, but we tried out various strategies without too much avail. Server lag had cleared up by this point, so we spent the last hour working on Razorscale. We got her to about 75% on our second attempt. It is a matter of not standing in the shinies, tanking the whirl-winding add successfully, and keeping the watchers silenced. Chaos, in other words! At least two of our top guilds got it tonight (including the achievement for her).

Oh, yeah, and deep Marksman is wonderful! I couldn't get an accurate comparison between me and the SV officer, but it looks about even. He tamed a wolf in UP before he came (mine is still 76), so it was a bit unbalanced buff wise. I miss Aspect Mastery and Improved Revive Pet though, considering how melee-unfriendly these fights are; Tinea died a lot.

With the glyphs no longer requiring a Lexicon of Power, I am considering carrying a bunch of standard ones around to use for certain fights. Glyph of Kill Shot for add fights was my main thought, though I'm sure there are others as well.

All in all, I'm quite happy with 3.1, though I'll have to wait until this silly BA is done to do anything with the Argent Tourny. Happy Patch Day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Me and my dual spec

It was time that I sat down and decided this thing. I've been pushing it off for awhile now (I hear my BA calling even as we speak), but with the patch downloading in the background, it is time for it to be done.

My raiding spec. Part of me is rather bitter that Ulduar is not like AQ, and I could take out the points in Improved Tracking without a second thought. Freeing up seven talent points would make me so happy... Glyphing for Chimera will make Improved Steady Shot more viable, since its greatest strike against it is its availability when Chimera is on CD, but those two points are also the first to go should I decide the talent is not pulling its weight. Switched from Efficiency to Rapid Recuperation, but I'm still undecided about it. And yes, I dropped Aspect Mastery, and no, I'm not pleased about it. I liked 40% Viper and 90 more RAP from Dragonhawk, not to mention the ease of mid-fight pet rezzing...

Glyphs: Chimera, Serpent Sting, and Trueshot Aura.

My PvP spec. Removed all the fluff pet and mana talents, but I admit I am lacking in my PvP prowess, so any thoughts would be nice. I also had glyphs picked out, but evidently Glyph of Aspect of the Monkey got nerfed, so that is out. Suggestions, oh my PvP-huntering brethren?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Raiding Hunter Loot in 3.1

It's a pain for me to go through MMO-Champions massive loot list, looking for upgrades, so I'm making this list to consider each slot for what was seen on the PTR. We still don't know what Yogg-Saron or Algalon drop, so who knows what shinies await from them! I'll upgrade this once the patch hits, content is cleared, new gear discovered, and mistakes are corrected.

All my thoughts are directed towards Marksman raiding, so my interest in agility, stam, and intellect are not necessarily the same as a Survival- or Beast Mastery-specced raider.

Circlet of True Sight - Iron Council 10
Helm of the Furnace Master - Ignis 25
Tier 8
Tier 8.5
Neg's Thoughts: Both the Furnace Master and Tier 8.5 are the potential upgrade from Blue Aspect Helm. The major difference between the two is haste verses armor pen. Tier 8.5 has more agility and a red socket, while Furnace Master has a bit more intellect and a yellow socket. Leaning towards Tier 8.5. The Circlet looses a lot of AP, but also has a lot of hit.

Pendulum of Infinity - Vezax 25 -Hard
Broach of the Waiting Night - 19 Emblems of Conquest
Nymph Heart Charm - Freya 25
Choker of the Abyss - Vezax 10
Seed of Budding Carnage - Freya 10 - Hard
Neg's Thoughts: The clear winner is Pendulum of Infinity, with its higher AP, crit and socket. Freya Hard's neck is appealing as well, with its plethora of hit and socket.

Shoulders of Misfortune - Trash Mobs 25
Mantle of Fiery Vengeance - Leviathan 10-Hard
Iron-studded Mantle - Iron Council 25
Ironaya's Discarded Mantle - Auriaya-10
Tier 8
Tier 8.5
Neg's Thoughts: Tier 8.5 is appealing with its hit, socket, and high agility, but it is haste heavy. Mantle of Fiery Vengeance has low AP, but high crit and intellect. Shoulders of Misfortune is a balance between the two.

Drape of Icy Intent - Hodir 25-Hard
Drape of the Lithe - Iron Council 25
Drape of the Faceless General - Vezax 10
Winter's Frigid Embrace - Hodir 10
Shawl of the Shattered Giant - Kologarn 10
Neg's Thoughts: Evidently they are giving away hit on 25 and crit on 10... Faceless General > Frigid Embrace, Icy Intent > Lithe. Icy Intent is by far the BiS with the AP and socket, but if you don't need the hit, the Faceless General is nice too, with two sockets and the highest agility of the lot.

Chestguard of the Lasher - Freya 10
Chestguard of Insidious Intent - Yogg-Saron 25
Tier 8
Tier 8.5
Neg's Thoughts: Tier 8.5, duh. Really, you can't ask for better stats than that, except for maybe a yellow gem slot :)

Frost-bound Chain Bracers - Hodir 25
Bracers of the Smothering Inferno - Razorscale 10
Neg's Thoughts: Frost beats fire.

Gloves of Unerring Aim - 28 Emblems of Conquest
Gloves of the Fiery Behemoth - Leviathan 25
Gloves of the Steady Hand - XT-002 Hard
Gloves of Taut Grip - XT-002 10
Tier 8
Tier 8.5
Neg's Thoughts: It's between hit on Tier 8.5 and crit on Unerring Aim. Tier 8.5 also has the red socket, and with it more AP. The set bonus will decide in the end between the two, if the gloves are the weakest piece of the Tier 8.5, then spend those Emblems! Else, once Hard Mode becomes accessible to you, Steady Hand is definitely the shiniest with those two sockets and ton of crit!

Belt of Dragons - LW
Belt of the Ardent Marksman - 28 Emblems of Conquest
Belt of the Betrayed - Thorim 25
Belt of the Blood Pit - Thorim 10
Neg's Thoughts: Sadly, the only thing the Ardent Marksman has in its favor is the hit. At first glance, the large amount of AP on the Betrayed is tempting, but the two gems slots and crit on the Belt of the Dragons puts the LW-made belt over the top.

Darkcore Leggings - Vezax 25
Saronite Mesh Legguards - Razorscale 25
Leggings of the Tireless Sentry - 39 Emblems of Conquest
Leggings of the Insatiable - Yogg-Saron 10
Tier 8
Tier 8.5
Neg's Thoughts: Great Earth Mother, Darkcore Leggings have a ton of agility! But as tempting as that it is, they have over 100 less AP than Tier 8.5. The Saronite have nearly as much agility, but are lacking in everything else besides Armor Pen. Still, should Armor Pen prove worth our while, the ton of stamina on them also makes the Saronite decent for a stam set. Still, unless you are interested in stacking agility, Tireless Sentry > Darkcore, not only for total AP, but also for hit and crit. Tier 8.5 would have to be my choice, with the greatest AP of the lot, a ton of crit, abet it does have the least agility. It also has a +6 hit socket bonus for a bit of wiggle room.

Brass-lined Boots - XT-002 25
Boots of Living Scale - LW made
Greaves of Swift Vengeance - Iron Council 25 Hard
Boots of Unsettled Prey - Vezax 10
Tempered Mercury Greaves - Mimiron 10 Hard
Neg's Thoughts: Again, Brass-lined have a lot of agility, but the two sockets on the LW-made Living Scale give them nearly 50 more AP, in addition to their crit. Greaves of Swift Vengeance have a little more AP and a decent boost to agil over Living Scale, but they also have a lot of hit. This can be a mixed blessing, because a lot of good peices already have hit, and hit is preferred over ArPen, but it makes rebalancing other slots a pain.

Metallic Loop of the Sufferer - Vezax 25
Loop of the Agile - Iron Council 10-Hard
Band of Draconic Guile - Razorscale 10
Inscribed Band of the Kirin Tor - Lower Ring + 1000G
Cindershard Ring - Ignis 25
Band of Lights - Algalon 10 (Not on Wowhead yet - pic)
Neg's Thoughts: Haste on the lot. Draconic Guile is the only one with out crit, but only offers Armor Pen as the alternative. Unless you already have the Kirin Tor band (I do not), don't bother upgrading unless you have bad luck on drops. Metallic Loop and Loop of the Agile have more AP and crit. Cindershard has a rather icky combination of Armor Pen and hit, and while it has more hit and agility than Surge Needle Ring, it does not beat it for pure AP, making it an upgrade for only Strong-Handed Ring.

Pyrite Infuser - Leviathan 10
Wrathstone - Kologarn 25
Blood of the Old God - Yogg-Saron 25
Mjolnir Runestone - Thorim 10 Hard
Dark Matter - Algalon 10 (Not on Wowhead yet - pic)
Neg's Thoughts: Pyrite is a very nice upgrade from Grim Toll, replacing that lackluster proc with one much more appealing. If you need hit for some reason, it is nice. BotOG is an awesome further upgrade, with nearly all the hit you will ever need. Wrathstone is also a mediocre upgrade from Mirror of Truth. Wrathstone also marks the return of the "use every two-minutes" trinkets that seem to be lost in the latter half of 3.0, but its CD doesn't make up for MoT's proc. No upgrades for DMC: Greatness or Fury of the Five Flights, but if you lack one (like me), there are nice alternatives here.

Range Weapon
Avalance - Hodir 10
Deliverance - Yogg 10
Rifle of the Platinum Guard - Ignis 10
Magnetized Projectile Emitter - XT-001 10 Hard
Siren's Cry - Auriaya 25
Giant's Bane - Kologarn 25
Skyforge Crossbow - Thorim 25 Hard (Algalon 25)
Neg's Thoughts: They are very similar, with the gun having .1 more DPS and 2.9 speed and the bow with crit and 2.8 speed. I'm leaning towards the bow, but I have a feeling that there will be several debates and tests before it is decided. Obvious the xbow wins out in the end - finally breaks the 200 DPS benchmark!

Stat Stick
Rune Edge - Iron Council 25
Lotrafen, Spear of the Damned - Vezax 25
Hoperender - Thorim 10
Twisted Visage - XT-002 25
Spire of Withering Dreams - Kologarn 10
Tortured Earth - Vezax 10 Hard
Darkedge of Depravity - Algalon 25 (Not on Wowhead yet - pic)
Neg's Thoughts: While Hoperender does have an interesting socket, it still can't compare to Twisted Visage, which would be the direct upgrade to Black Ice. While the Spire has a lot of AP, it lacks the agility of the other three. The most direct upgrade to Journey's End appears to be Lotrafen, with its massive amount of crit. Rune Edge isn't bad either, missing just 10 Armor Pen from Lotrafen, and it would be nice to play with a sword again. It's kinda depressing that Algalon's stat stick has such icky stats, though the gems slots are nice :(.

Because of the simply amazing set bonuses on Tier 8, it is imperative to have four of the set. Eyeballing it, it looks like the weakest would be the shoulders, though our choices for the shoulder slot aren't exactly great all around. I'm leaning more towards not taking the gloves, the more I look at it.

Total hit on Tier 8.5: 143, or 149 if you go for the socket bonus on the pants. Add the hit from the bracers and cloak, then you have 222 hit, 6.77%. This is about 8 hit shy from 7%, freeing up two points from Focused Aim. If you'd rather not go with the socket bonus on the pants, then 14 hit can be made up by a gem.

Feel free to cite, discuss, note links, and call me out out on a stupid mistakes.

Leatherworking in Ulduar

Eight Leatherworking patterns will drop from the bosses in Ulduar. Like Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern, they will make boots and belts. However, unlike those patterns, all the products are BoE so that more than just LWers can use them. This also means if you have the mats, you can make a tidy profit off of these lvl 226 items. The patterns themselves are also BoE, so they can also be sold for a pretty sum to those completionists, like me.

Footpads of Silence
Boots of Wintry Endurance
Death-warmed Belt
Belt of Arctic Life

Lightning Grounded Boots
Boots of Living Scale
Belt of Dragons
Blue Belt of Chaos

I hope you've been saving up on the leather goods! The 40 Nerubian Chitin will be a particular bitch. Three items require between 8 and 12 Eternal Life or Shadow in place of the leather extras. However, every piece takes 8 Arctic Fur and 6 Runed Orbs. Runed Orbs are the equivalent of Nether Vortexes/Hearts of Darkness from BC. They may be purchased for 15 Emblems of Conquest, in addition to dropping from bosses in Ulduar.

Happy farming!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Growing up on WoW

It's a strange thing to grow up in the 90s, as far as the Internet is concerned. We are the first generation to experience the online world as part of our emerging social lives. Sure, the generations before us are engaging with people online as well, but our generation was the first to grow up with it.

Chatting , IMing, and online gaming were just becoming the standards they are today. Parental controls were on the cusp of being considered, as all sorts of chat room horror stories were emerging. I know I did a lot of stupid and very silly things in chat rooms, not to mention saw several things no child should see before they are mentally ready. I also succeeded in embarrassing myself thoroughly in the first Multi-User Dungeon I ever attempted.

And that's the thing. I was embarrassed in front of many people that I would never meet, never see, and never recognize me in real life as the player that was killed by a fish. The online world was adding more social pressures in addition to the many social situations that kids would have experienced pre-Internet. Not only are we embarrassed by some middle school fashion atrocity, but something we told a "friend" in confidence over AIM is now being gossiped about over the entire school. I can't fully express my relief that I didn't experience the worst of cyber bullying until I was old enough to deal with it, but it is a sad reality for kids growing up today.

My guild has always had a "18 and over" policy. With Wrath, this recently changed to "21 and over," a change I question. Not only does this exclude a handful of raiders, in addition to one officer, but it means a good core of our membership would not have been admitted in the past. Has that three-year difference changed so much?

There has been only one exception to our policy, and we accepted him as a raider because of many vouchers for his maturity, intelligence, and skill as a player. He was the epitome of a good raider all through BC and into Wrath, and everything you really expect from a decent person on the Internet, so much that officers, myself included, tend to forget that he is just 14. But, he is still a young teenager, and if any issue arises around him, his age does comes into factor.

As 3.1 nears, tensions are rising as we decide what initiates are pulling their weight, what backup raiders we need to gear, and who we should bring in to polish off the meta-achievements. Our resident teenager already caused some frustration amongst the officers for asking earlier to join another guild's OS10+3D farm raid in order to polish off his Glory of the Raider. This was the day before we downed it ourselves, so while his worry was excusable, the lack of faith in his fellow raiders was unnerving. It took a miscommunication between him and the guild leader to start up another debate as to how his age affects our shared online experiences.

I was playing moderator for this incident. I know both the raider and the GL well, and I was working with one over Vent and the other in chat to find the source of the bitterness. When the evening's raid finally ended, the officers got together in Vent, and I asked the raider to join us. He said very little aloud, instead communicating in chat through me. The other officers wouldn't have this, and called him out on it. When he did finally make a statement, his voice was heavy with tears.

I felt awful. He was now being badgered for crying over a game by adult men who had no idea what it was like to grow up in a social environment like an MMO. I was proud of him for admitting that he preferred to keep it to chat because he could control himself better and keep his thoughts rational, but I felt so guilty for pressuring him into a Vent conversation where he would be exposed for putting so much emotional investment into an online community. I told him that he was not alone in his frustrations of dealing with this social life, and that if he ever needed to talk, I was always here and knew what it was like.

One of the officers called me a "mother hen" for wanting to shelter him, but I don't think I wanted to shelter him as much as I wanted the other officers to empathize with him. He had admitted his mistakes and the fault for the miscommunication, but they did not fully grasp what it was like to have such emotional ties to a group of people online. What happens in WoW can be as important as any other real life event, socially and emotionally. Getting laughed at by your guildees can be as harrowing as getting laughed at by your high school peers. It is the same development that everyone deals with, except now it is in relative anonymity and amongst people who don't recognize that online society doesn't immediately disappear when they log off.

The consequences of how we treat our fellow gamers are real. It is now standard for kids to learn how to deal with the connections they make online, and how to manage the resulting emotions similarly to what they experience in the real world. You cannot expect everyone to experience WoW like it is "just a game." While we may be fighting groups of pixels in order to achieve shinier pixels as rewards, the friendships we form, the words that we say, and the memories that we share show that MMORPGs are beyond just interacting with a computer.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Cookies of the Dark Side

With the patch potentially coming next week, there is a rush among the raiders to polish off Glory of the Raider. Those of us who have things like the stupid Volcano achievement are hoping that the patch will wait until the 21st, but regardless, there is now real incentive to push even harder. After all, the next set of 310-speed protos will only be more difficult to attain (and exceedingly more attractive).

So with great bitterness, I'm respeccing to SV for the three hour increments that we push our second kill on Sarth10+3D.

First off, I find it greatly annoying that I'm doing half the work and getting more DPS, though I will admit, when Lock and Load procs, spamming Explosive Shot is fun. Secondly, I dislike the fact that my mana issues are essentially non-existant compared to Marks. I was running dry on the first drake as MM; as SV it took me half-way through the second.

It was an interesting experience suddenly switching to a ubur-range frame of mind. I'm in a happy rut for Three Drakes, moving in the exact same way every week. But now I have to keep in mind my range for Sniper Training, and I'm sure my having to think about that hurt my DPS some. Oh, and that trapping thing... yeah, that'll take a bit to get used to.

I was going to stay SV for the weekend, since I really need to work on my BA, but then I noticed it's WSG weekend, and decided that staying SV was just not going to happen. No way am I going to grind rep outside of my comfort zone. I was back MM not five minutes after leaving the instance. My gems will have to stay Agility for the weekend, but it's a tiny loss compared to the gold it would take to do Agility -> AP -> Agility -> AP.

No, there is no amount of ease or DPS that could ever tempt me away from Marksman. It's complications are, afterall, one of the qualities of the spec that make me love it. But if I have to forgo my short-term happiness (and I mean extreme short term: maybe eight hours) to make up for Blizzard's folly of making 10-man Sarth3D more difficult than anything 25-man, so be it. At least I'll get a cool title out of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

End the segregation!

For ages now, we Hunters have been the outcasts of the DPS classes. Despite our use of mana, our arrows are not spells, and we cannot be called casters. Despite our use of weapons, we do so at range, and cannot be called melee. It’s time... for a change.

I say to you today, my friends, that even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.

I have a dream that Hunters will rise up and cast off the shackles of oppression.

I have a dream that we will no longer be erroneously classified as “caster” or “melee.”

I have a dream that we will be looked at and labeled, simply, as “physical.”

I have a dream that one day, when this occurs, Hunters shall forever be considered integral to the dedicated damage-specific parties. Such groups will no longer invoke images solely of the meleeing classes, but also of our brothers and sisters at range.

I have a dream that one day we will not have to suffer for our range status, and be able to stand with the rest of our party to absorb Meteor, for there will be no minimum range.

I have a dream that one day we will no longer suffer the stunlocks and backstabbing of our peers, and be able to shoot them at point-blank.

I have a dream that one day there will be no strength or expertise on DPS gear, and the loot shall be available to all!

Free at last! All loot will be free at last!

Inspired by Richard and with apologizes to MLK Jr.

I might have to find an arena team

Because this little guy is just too cute:

Typically I shy away from arenas but for this little guy, I might make an exception!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Content cleared!

Sarth10+3D down! Woooooo! Big grats to all my guildees!

While I was in on it for the first hour, this bit of concentrated evil that has usurped my immune system decided to make another push towards killing me, and I politely stepped out for the other hunter officer. Not sure how soon after I left they got it, but downed him they did, and I am very happy for them!

Now all we are missing is 6-minute Maylgos 25! Next week's goal ;)


Edit: Actually, I lied. Our MT, two of our healers, and our enhance shaman got Glory of the Raider last night. Uber grats on their (ugly) mounts!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Attack of the Memes

Apparently people love me and think I write things of value. I wish I had as much confidence in myself as you all apparently think I have :3.

Rilgon nominated me for the Honest Scrap award, for dedication in MM end-game raiding. Really, I am genuinely flattered, mainly because it means that my main goal for the Butterfly has not become a failure: Show that you may still love your identity as a player while enjoying the push towards end-game content. In addition, I received another nomination over at Too Many Alts, so I suppose I should post this little chain letter like a good blogger.

The rules for acceptance are as follows:
1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

Seven, eh? Alright, there will be repeats among our little community, so you don't have to bother acknowledging if you have already gone through this before :P Sorry I'm so late to the game!

1) Pike's Aspect of the Hare - Yes, the girl has been nominated out the ying-yang for every WoW blog award possible, but she does deserve it. Particularly after that inspired Eyes of the Beast post, she will have my love now and forever (in that blogging sort of way, of course.)

2) Windpaw's Shock and Paw - What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good RP writer. Plus I really appreciate his RL status throughout most of his blogging history. Oh, and he plays a lady Tauren. Win all around.

3) Nassira's Diaries of a Marksman Hunter - Yes, the girl started blogging after I did, and yes, she is now infinitely more popular than I am, but I won't hold that against her... much... Regardless, Nass is a great writer, theory-crafter, and all around helpful person, despite raiding with a cat. That I will hold against her.

4) Rilgon's Stabilized Effort Scope - What, I have no problem tagging the person that tagged me. I won't inflate his ego any more than it already is, but I will let you on to a little secret: SES was the first Hunter blog I started reading.

5) Fessran's Snake in the Grass - Despite being AFK for over a month now, I really love this blog for its humor and dedicated Hordiness.

6) Kordwar's WTF, are you survival? - Sure, he's SV, but I fully intend to bug him in the future for PvP advice, because the boy has the skills.

7) This last one is a cop out: Everyone who I didn't link. 'Cause really, I think you all are awesome authors, cool players, and all around nifty human beings.

Okay, ten random factoids....

1) I'm going to miss the University of Chicago when I graduate. Everyone here constantly complains about how they are tired of the constant stress, the miserable winters, and the less-than-satisfying *insert-your-non-premed-or-econ-degree-here* programs, but we all know that once that day comes in June, we will pine for the beautiful campus, the intelligent conversation, and (of course) Scav.

2) I believe there is no such thing as random. Computer random obviously has its rules, as does the human mind. Try it yourself: Speak a number 1-10 once as second for 5 minutes. You'll start noticing the patterns.

3) Pasta is my life blood. If I could I would eat it every day. Especially with alfredo. And asparagus. And shrimp. Mmmmm...

4) I am a published author in the National Geographic... Letters to the Editor. I submited an e-mail thanking them for an article on E. O. Wilson, and I suppose it was good enough to warrent print.

5) I used to read a lot as a kid, but that changed when I came to college. I have a huge stack of books I bought and need to read, so that I my goal when graduate: Read more.

6) I used to be addicted to the Official Hunter Forums back in BC, but I quit cold-turkey when Rilgon took his hiatus. I haven't been back since.

7) I love sky. Lots and lots and lots of sky. I'm originally from Kansas, so I was raised on being able to see the horizon. Every day that I'm in the city and don't see the sky meet the earth, I get a little more depressed. Going to Florida last week and being able to see the stars again brought tears to my eyes.

8) Despite the fact that I'm a hardcore raider, much of what I do is decidedly un-hardcore. A lot of things I do because they are fun and please me, not necessarily because they make me a better raider. For example, the first faction I grinded rep for in WotLK was Wyrmrest Temple, for the Red Drake. This caused several other raiding hunters to /facepalm... Another example is Tinea, my moth. No, she's not the greatest DPS pet, but she is satisfactory, and I love her. I find the secret to enjoying this game as an end-game raider is to find the balance between playing for your fellow raiders and playing for yourself.

9) That said, I am considering getting rid of Hctib the Plainstrider for Sai the Wolf. Sai was my very first pet years and years ago, and I released her some time in STV. Bad idea: Naming your WoW pet after your dead dog. Releasing her was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in WoW. Who will win as my main raiding pet has yet to be determined.

10) I like to claim I am the most expensive one-night stand in history. Seriously, use a condom, else you might get stuck with me, a book-starved, gamer kid that ends up going to one of the most expensive schools in the country! Really, you want to plan for a kid like me, not have one as an accident!

Rilgon also tagged me in this little meme, I suppose as retribution for something or other -_-:

Answer the following questions:

About You –

Real Name: Rea (pronounced 'ray'; there is no 'h' in there, so don't give me that 'ray-uh' crap)
Age: 21
Country of Origin: USA
Fetish: Um... I love being dominated, most likely because I'm a very domineering person normally.

Random Things –

Guilty Pleasure Music (something you’d never listen to in public): Flowery hippy stuff, like Enya and Dana Mase.
Worst Fashion Decision (I don’t care how old you were): Skorts -_-
Proudest Moment: I really don't know. I try not to keep track of such things, mainly because I have more important things to deal with in the present, let alone try to bask in the glory of former days.
Best Misheard Words: Over Vent: I jammed the thing in her box.

Questions for You –

Do you sing in the shower? Yes
How much frosting do you like on your cupcakes? A lot.
When was the last time you made love? Three weeks ago.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever found hidden in or under your couch? A full pack of gum. I haven't lived with a couch in a long time.
What is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever put in your mouth? Budweiser Clameto. And I chugged that bitch.

Free-for-All, Share 4 Things You Want to Share –

1. I roll Tauren characters because I enjoy being tall, since I never will be IRL.
2. The most prominent part of my OCD manifests itself in the worst possible way: I'm an obsessive scab-picker.
3. My defense mechanism is to tell everyone about my big issues, that way they are no longer solely mine to deal with. The smaller things I can deal with, but the really heavy problems I can't deal with alone - I feel like I might break apart.
4. I love not having to rely on cars. If I could roller-blade and/or take the bus everywhere for the rest of my life, I would.

I tag.. no one, since I'm so late to the game. But if you would like to fill it out, be my guest ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blogroll Update


Careful Aim - Aerynn's a Night Elf MM Hunter, but I won't hold her race against her... *too* much. I rather enjoy her twist in blogging format as a product of the characters, not the player.


35 Yards Out - It's been a couple months, hope everything is alright with you and yours! If you ever come back, I'll be happy to add you again

Female Dwarfs Hunters Do Exist - Silence on your end for a month now, and there was some tension in the last few weeks as well.

Hanging in the balance:

Snake In The Grass - I really enjoy this blog, so I don't want to drop it out of blind hope that the author will return :( Hope everything is okay!

Frustrated, but not really

We ran two 6-minute Malygos10 last night. One raid made it, the other did not. My raid was off by 10 seconds on our final attempt. The other team also got Surge Needle Ring, which was promptly fought over by three people. The other hunter officer got it.

Honestly, we were not that far off, all things considered. We had one shaman and no DK, so our spark stacking was completely dependent on the MT moving the dragon. Here is where I issue massive praise to all great tanks out there than can maneuver a dragon. Seriously, you guys rock. It is a very impressive site to see sparks stack despite coming from opposite directions, but we lost some seconds due to the wait on the sparks. Despite luck factors, our fastest Phase 1s caused him to enter Phase 2 a few seconds after the second vortex.

Phase 2 is still our weak spot. If we don't have any sparks down, it's pretty much over. If we do have sparks down, range can burn down the Scions fast enough that the Nexus Lords still remain, but there is increased pressure on the healers.

Our greatest cheat was a tool known to every Hunter in the Burning Crusade: The cast sequence macro.

/tar Malygos
/castsequence reset=target Flame Spike, Flame Spike, Engulf in Flames

Hotkeyed to anything but the main action bar, this leaves you free to move and not be concerned with loosing your stacks as you dodge the Static Charges. Mind you, you can squeeze a little more DPS out by first going Flame Spike, Engulf in Flames, then the 1 -> 1 -> 2 macro, but it does the bulk of the work. I have done it both by hand and by macro, the result is the same.

In other news, the next two weeks are going to be very intensive for me as I wrap up my BA and prepare for graduation in June. Some crap already hit the fan due to my absence for the first three days of classes, so I'm trying to sort it all out while still remaining sane and satisfying my need for WoW.

Also: PvP is only stress-relief when your side is not being stupid. GRRRRRR.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Talk about a nice welcome back present!

With a 100 roll!

Back from Spring Break!

*blows dust off the blog*

Well, my intentions to keep the Butterfly active didn't exactly fail (<3 to all of you that kept coming despite my break!), but the blog is a wee bit rusty.

Plans: Finish up the Neg + Tinea tale. Hopefully I can wrap that up this weekend and get it posted.

Post about the biology of WoW. The massive amount of biodiversity I saw in the past 10 days inspired me to write about the different species you see in WoW, in addition to some of the evo-devo aspects of it. Nerdy, yes, but it has interested me for a while now.

Discuss some guild intentions for Ulduar and dual specs.

Update the header (?). Tier 6 is soooo last expansion, but I'm not exactly thrilled with the upcoming set either, but we'll see what I can do.

I will post some pictures soon!