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Hunter Midnight Launch Reminders

With less than 24 hours to go (and less than 12 hours in Europe) to a midnight launch, those who have pre-purchased Mists of Pandaria will want to go over their final preparations for exploring the continent of Pandaria. Tips are already abound from the blogosphere, such as this one from Tabana at the WoW Hunters Hall. Frostheim also recently wrote up an overview of hunter leveling to 90.

If you are still looking for more tips to make your hunter’s midnight launch go smoothly, use this brief checklist as well.

Bring one or two pets with you only. While it may be tempting to bring five pets in your immediate stable to be able to use stampede as soon as it becomes available, Pandaria has a whole slew of new pets and models to tame. This will enable you to immediately start tracking the new rare pets if you come across their tracks instead of figuring out later which pet you want to abandon. If you are only bringing one pet, take one that can be multipurpose for DPS in dungeons and tanking for solo questing. Otherwise you can bring a dedicated ferocity and a dedicated tenacity pet.

Check your talents. Many testers have already said that the three specializations don’t make a difference during leveling, so choose one that comes to you naturally. Pick up talents that you think will be useful for your own leveling method. I will be leveling as Marksmanship.

Toggle Trap Launcher on. You may have noticed this in the weeks since Patch 5.0.4  rolled out, but Trap Launcher can now be permanently toggled on such that you do not to click the ability every time you want to launch a new trap. If you haven’t already done so, now will be a good time to begin getting used to using it for easy access during leveling.

Are you doing anything special to prepare for your midnight launch?


The Week After

A week has gone by since the surprise announcement of Mists of Pandaria‘s release date. Momentum is slowly building toward the release, and one can definitely see the increasing urgency to wrap things up in Cataclysm.

On Friday, two days after the announcement, I finally achieved something I have never done before: complete an entire expansion’s worth of content while it is still current. Our 10-man raid defeated Heroic Madness of Deathwing for the first time, resulting in a spree of cheers and congratulations all-around. Coincidentally, our victory came exactly six months after we first defeated Madness of Deathwing in normal mode.

Although I started Cataclysm a month late, I worked through all of its raid contents while they were still relevant. Somehow I was entering newer content earlier and earlier, and by the time Dragon Soul hit, I was raiding regularly from the first weekend. I think last week’s announcement gave our raid team a real sense of urgency now that the end is in sight. We needed to finish this expansion after breaking our backs over Heroic Spine of Deathwing for three months.

It really is a strange feeling when I realize I have completed the Cataclysm expansion. A few elusive achievements remain, but this is the first time I can truly say that I’ve beaten World of Warcraft, at least for now. I can finally move on to the next chapter in the story. Thrall’s words in the original Mists of Pandaria preview really spoke to me because I have been there for all the previous events in Azeroth’s history and because I was also facing the Destroyer himself when the preview was released.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid all information from the beta, but I think I’ve read enough to interest me in the next expansion and yet haven’t spoiled myself too much to feel like I am stepping into content that I am already familiar with. I wanted my experience to be fresh and awe-inspiring, just like the moment I entered the portal into Outland, and just like the moment my ship entered the canyons of Howling Fjord.

Mists of Pandaria is personally exciting for me because it is based on a culture that is familiar to me. I can’t wait to see how Blizzard will be tying elements of Oriental cultures into the Warcraft universe. I am already impressed at the artistic elements which have been added into the beta. I anticipate I will be devouring as much of the new content as I can. Many people in the Western world only think of dragons, knights, and princesses when thinking of the fantasy genre. They do not realize that fantasy is also a vibrant genre in the East, filled with mysticism and legends. As a professional working in cultural competency and awareness, I am excited that World of Warcraft can become a platform for introducing new cultures to people.

If you told me two years ago that I would be able to reach the pinnacle of end-game content in this expansion, I would not have believed you. If you ask me now what I will have done at the end of Mists of Pandaria, I do not know. But I do want to know, thus when I set foot on Pandaria, I will open my eyes and ears to any opportunity that will allow me to immerse myself further in the contents of the game. I don’t know where the blog will go in the two years to come, but I hope you will let me take us on this new adventure together.


That Lame Duck Period

For some reason, the new year has brought a “lame duck” aura over Cataclysm, where we are just waiting for the release of the next expansion. This is actually the first time that I have cleared raid content for an expansion while it is current. Loronar, Destroyer’s End, killed Deathwing two weekends ago. Now I’m beginning to focus on my somewhat neglected alts to see if I can get them to 85 before the next expansion.

Cataclysm moved surprisingly fast. The final raid content was released within one year of the expansion’s release, staying true to Blizzard’s commitment at quicker expansion releases in the future.

This may be somewhat concerning for casual players because they may feel that game content is moving at a much faster pace than they can keep up with. Even I’m still trying to catch up on finishing the Argent Tournament. The speed of this expansion really hit me when I realized I can remember last year’s Lunar Festival like it were yesterday.

So what does a hunter do at end of his hunting season? I don’t intend on hanging up my weapon anytime soon, but perhaps putting more time into those neglected alts of other classes will continue to bring new perspectives into how to improve my hunter gamelay.

What will you do?


Round the World We Go

Once again, I am making a pilgrimage back home to Southeast Asia. I can’t guarantee a regular update schedule over the next month, but I hope you’ll still read my entries when they come up~!

Happy hunting to everyone, and may your weapons strike where it hurts the most.


PTR 4.2: Utility Changes

The Public Test Realms received an update last night, most of which seem to be pointed toward improving utility. There are 4 items of note for hunters, most of which seem to revolve around our utility, rather than offensive, abilities.

  • The Aggressive pet stance has been removed and replaced with the Assist stance. This stance will cause the player’s pet to attack the player’s target. The pet will not change targets unless the master attacks a new target for a few seconds.

Sometimes it’s fun putting your pet on aggressive in a low-level area and watch it go berserk on mobs. The Assist stance sounds a lot like the Defensive stance. I’m guessing the difference now is that the pet can change targets mid-fight using the new stance, which may still be situational and will take some time to get used to. If done correctly, this may help with target switching in Omnotron Defense System.

  • Multi-shot damage has been reduced. It now deals 120% weapon damage at level 80 or higher, down from 137%.

For those who are keeping track, this means the Multi-Shot change from patch 4.0.6 to 4.2 is increased damage by 218%, as opposed to the 250% given at patch 4.1. I have not noticed the original change to be overpowering, but the developers must think otherwise. I suppose we will have to reassess once again at how many targets will Multi-Shot be economical for Beast Mastery and Marksmanship hunters.

  • Traps now scale with hunter stats such as hit, expertise, spell penetration and attack power as intended.

This change is heaven-sent. Traps have had numerous issues with being resisted. While rare, it made hunters wonder why this was the case if our hit rating and spell penetration were capped. Surprisingly, developers have said time and again that this was a difficult problem to work with because traps are treated as objects rather than proper spells. To have this change roll out this early on the PTR means they must have found a way to work around that obstacle.

  • [Darkmoon Card: Hurricane] damage done when triggered has been increased by 40%, however, it can no longer deal critical strikes and no longer receives any modifiers to its damage from the equipping player.

This is somewhat interesting. When I was still using the trinket, the damage triggered from it would account for approximately 3% of my total damage. However, I wasn’t aware that it was receiving modifiers. I will go on the PTR again to see if this has made the trinket come to par with either Essence of the Cyclone or Fluid Death.


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