Friday, February 20, 2009

Dust off that Alt-Hunter

I've been playing Wrath for a while & have been level 80 for some time. It's time to work on an alt. It's time to dust off my beloved hunter.

If you're like me & haven't been playing your hunter for a while, you may be surprised. Hunter looks the same but the differences will jump out at you. The game may be easier, but suddenly you can't seem to play & eat your sammich at the same time. Fear not. Make some tweaks and you'll be back to your Pew Pew Munch Munch days soon enough.

Mana Management

The big "issue" in Wrath is the major change to mana regen & the way the Aspects work. You absolutely want to cycle between your Aspect of the Hawk (or Dragonhawk) & Aspect of the Viper quickly. You'll find yourself swapping a lot. You may also find yourself forgetting to swap.

Find an addon to flashed a notice to turn off Aspect of the Viper when you've hit 100% mana. ViperNotify does this in a very minimalistic way. Combine it with a very basic 1-button cast sequence macro like this...
/castsequence Aspect of the Hawk, Aspect of the Viper
Again, you'll need to make changes when you hit a high enough level to get fancy aspects.

Target & Pet Management

There are other changes to game-play as they relate to pets. A pet of Aggressive or Defensive will attack your target the moment you cast AutoAttack. This is both great & frustrating all at the same time. When soloing you still want to send your pet in before you attack. You also want to "stay on target" when your pet engages multiple mobs. The same is true when in a group. Fast switching to the tank or main assist target is very important. Combining these functions with Hunter's Mark (due to Mark being on the GCD) is a great idea. I use 2 macros to achieve this.

The "Pet Attack Button" is a simple point and shoot part of your cast sequence. You want to mark the target & you want your pet to engage first.
/cast Hunter's Mark
/petfollow [target=pettarget,exists]
The "Switch Targets" macro requires you to set a Focus target in group. I'm a big fan of setting a focus targets. It serves a dual purpose of keeping you on target & allowing for rapid use of Misdirect. If you aren't in a group, then this switch target button will allow you to follow your pet onto it's next target.
#showtooltip Hunter's Mark
/assist [target=focus,exists]; [target=pet, exists]
/cast Hunter's Mark
Combine this with a basic Misdirection Macro & life is easy. You'll note that I do not have the non-focus element to your standard misdirect sequence on this macro. It's a personal preference.
#showtooltip Misdirection
/cast [target=focus, exists] Misdirection; [target=pet, exists] Misdirection
Now Pew Pew

The other development in Wrath is the increased complexity in shot selection. Gone are the days of simply spamming Steady Shot.

If you are using the Glyph of Steady Shot, then you want to have Serpent Sting as part of your rotation. But finding room for it & Kill Shot (and getting Kill Shot off in time) is tricky. This macro will always allow you to cast Serpent Sting, but it will always keep Kill Shot the visible button. If your bar mod changes color when an ability is ready, then you'll always know when to cast Kill Shot.
#showtooltip Kill Shot
/cast Kill Shot
/cast Serpent Sting
/script UIErrorsFrame: Clear()
Even though we no longer have to weave Steady Shot, we still want to use that old standby macro. I've simplified it based on the current mechanics.
#showtooltip Steady Shot
/cast [exists, target=pettarget] Kill Command
/cast Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame: Clear()
Here's another macro I've been toying with. It's not perfect, but it does the trick. It takes advantage of things not on the GCD and combines them with Aimed Shot (something you want to cast more.) The two trinkets will not go off at once. Replace these with your own, obviously. And remove BW if you aren't spec'ed Beastmaster. (Hopefully this means you're 80 & switched Survival.)
#showtooltip Aimed Shot
/cast Bestial Wrath
/use Bloodlust Brooch
/use Empty Mug of Direbrew
/cast Aimed Shot
There's a lot more to all this of course. Mostly, it's about finding your way through the mine-field of shot selection. Remember an unused cooldown is a lost opportunity. Aspect management is just as important as shot selection. Survival hunters may be the hot new game in town, but it's still mostly about skill.

You are hunters. All mobs fear you!

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