20 Questions with Feanoro of Not Quite Immortal
In this special feature, we had the privilege of interviewing Feanoro of Not Quite Immortal, the top-ranked guild on US-Silver Hand. We first met Feanoro through his blog Trueshot Aura last July. He is an active raider and participated in realm-first kills of Wrath of the Lich King raid bosses as a Marksmanship hunter. We’ll let him tell the rest in his own words.
First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Feanoro, a Marksman raiding hunter on Silver Hand. I’ve been through all the raid content for classic and BC, and, barring any disasters, I should see all the content Wrath will offer us.
What brought you to World of Warcraft?
Originally, I came in on a guest pass from a friend on Silver Hand, Leonius. I’d completed plenty of other Blizzard titles before… all the Warcraft series, of course, Diablo 1 and 2, a little Starcraft… but I have to admit, I was concerned WoW would be following EverQuest‘s “grind or die” philosophy. In retrospect, I should’ve had a bit more faith in Blizzard, but it can’t be helped. I’m here now, and enjoying every minute.
What made you choose to play a Marksmanship hunter?
I chose a Hunter because I’ve found I prefer ranged combat, scouting, and pulling in fantasy games. I prefer Marksman spec because it brings a balance of high personal damage and utility, which is my preference.
I know your focus has primarily been PvE raiding. Do you find time to PvP?
Very occasionally, but by choice rather than time limitations. I’m not going to give a rendition of “Woe Is Me, A Hunter in PVP” but I do think we could use some work in that area. Also, unless going with friends or guild, I just don’t enjoy it that much. Personal preference, really.
What’s your take on the current state of Marksmanship hunters?
After the debacle of BC and hunter damage being based on working around mechanics no one will argue were broken, the class and MM in particular have gotten a nice shot in the arm. While you could push MM to do decently in BC, it was sadly impossible to equal BM numbers, due to Serpent’s Swiftness proving that linked Auto Shots and specials was a poor design. Right now, the trees are a bit uneven, despite Blizzard’s stated goal to encourage pure dps to spec for their preference, but the 3.0.8 patch will correct that a bit, I think. MM specifically will be requiring a bit more cooldown watching and timing, but I feel that MM has always been about a variety of shots and a more complex rotation.
If there is one thing about hunters you could change, what would it be?
What to change? The entire pet system, and subsequently the Beast Mastery tree. As it stands, a not insignificant amount of our damage is based on the assumption our pets are alive and attacking. As we all know, there are many times when it’s difficult to have our pets attacking (and in some cases, alive!) the entire fight, artificially limiting our dps. This is worst for BM, as many of their talents boost only the pet. Blizzard has made some baby steps towards correcting this with spells like Ferocity’s Bloodthirsty talent, but there’s much more to be done. I’d like to see pets remade to be a bit more like Death Knight pets, where being unable to use your pet isn’t quite so harshly penalized. Further, I’d like to see talents more modestly improve the pet but also the Hunter. This is not to say I think we should be able to go without our pets, only there’s plenty of room for improvement.
How long have you been with Not Quite Immortal? Do you hold any key positions?
I’ve been with NQI since early 2007, about when we started killing Gruul, and currently am honored to hold an officer’s position. Among other things, I work with our hunters and tanks to ensure smooth boss pulls and steady chain pulling on trash, as well as working with people to improve their dps.
Silver Hand is an RP server. Is a raiding guild any different in an RP server than in any other server?
Well, we don’t call raid directions in iambic pentameter if that’s what you mean. We don’t actively encourage or discourage RP among our members, and many at the very least have established personality traits for their mains. During raids, we joke about such, and turn it into a motivator on farm content or something to relieve any stress. For example, a running joke back in Sunwell that we used to keep up our pace was Feanoro despising Blood Elves and wanting to keep moving to slaughter more of them.
Describe a typical NQI raid night for us.
We joke and kid around on vent, but overall, NQI doesn’t screw around in raids. We keep up a steady, fast (but not rushed) pace, and pride ourselves on high dps, with friendly contests to push each other to improve.
Where is NQI now in raiding?
I’m pleased to say NQI has cleared all the current 10- and 25-man content, our latest kill being Sartharion with three drakes. It’s a good challenging encounter without being twitchy like say Eredar Twins, testing your ability to control a fight while not being a hard gear check.
You’ve mentioned to me that you entered Naxxramas when it still hovered in Eastern Plaguelands. How is it different now from the one you remember before Burning Crusade?
One major difference is the overall tuning of the place. Naxx was the pinnacle of classic raiding, and, in many ways, Blizzard’s answer to raiders stacking every buff they could possibly find in that the place practically required all those buffs. Compared to other classic raids, Naxx was a huge step up in the amount of coordination and discipline a raid needed to succeed. However, most serious raid groups are now used to encounters at those levels, and Blizzard has thankfully greatly reformed the buff systems. Combined with very slight nerfs (Heigen’s poison splash doesn’t one-shot, tanks do not need to perfectly position themselves for phase one of Thaddius) and of course everyone’s previous familiarity with the fights, the new Naxx isn’t a pushover, but it’s certainly not difficult.
What has been the most memorable moment from playing World of Warcraft?
Well, although it’ll sound like bragging, the most memorable point has to be earning my Rhok’delar back in classic WoW. That event was incredible, and gave a real sense of accomplishment. Many of the old school hunters, myself included, wish Blizzard would revive the idea of class quests like that one.
Do you have any plans to go back to blogging? I’m sure some people would like to see the perspective of an experienced Marksmanship hunter on the cutting edge of raiding.
In all honesty, ceasing to blog was a combination of real life being busy and my being a tad lazy towards it. I do plan to start again, perhaps with small pieces, to get myself in the habit of semi-regular writing. One idea I’ve had is to talk about each of the current content’s bosses from the Hunter’s perspective, to avoid limiting myself just to theorycraft and mechanics discussion.
Favorite hunter ability?
Is Hemet Nesingwary evil?
Evil, no. A bit crazy, but what Dwarf isn’t? I think the best word for him is “enthusiastic”.
Bow, gun, or crossbow?
Ideally a bow, since the gun sound slowly drives me insane.
Have you ever met Pike of Aspect of the Hare (Tawyn on Silver Hand)?
I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure, but I’d certainly welcome such a meeting.
“First know your class, second know your spec, third, see steps 1 and 2.”
—Howitzer of <Fusion> on Turalyon
Three tips for an aspiring raider?
First, know your class and spec inside out. Know as much as you can about each skill and talent, constantly experiment to learn new techniques.
Second, get to know your fellow raiders. Learn how they do things, learn how to work with them. Heroics are a great place to really get an idea of others’ capabilities, especially if you make a point of going with different groups.
Third, THINK. This is something no one can teach you. Don’t just grind along in the raid, following orders and waiting to be told what to do. Observe everything that’s going on, and you start to see “aha, Blizz is repeating the ol’ expanding poison/wall of fire/pie to the face trick” rather than “Boss A does Ability Q every X seconds”. When you can anticipate and react on the fly, you’ll be doing very well indeed.
Would you like to make any shoutouts?
Thanks of course to NQI’s awesome raiding team. It’s a pleasure to rip up all the challenges Blizzard tosses at us with all of you.
And it has been our pleasure speaking with you as well. Many thanks to Feanoro for this interview. Please stop by his blog if you have the time, take a look around, and say hello!