Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ray, I Feel So Funky

Yes, while waiting for the patch to install, I get even more obscure than usual in my quotes and allusions. No, there isn't really anything you can do about it.

So anyway, in the two days immediately following Tivara reaching 70, I got to take her on two raids, one to Magtheridon's Lair and one to the top part of Karazhan (starting with the Shade of Aran). It certainly helped to have prior experience with those places, so that what I needed to learn was just what ranged dps characters do in the various fights.

First of all, I'm really looking forward to seeing how Distracting Shot works once the patch is done. It is hard (at least it was hard for me) to get enough threat generation going to actually pull my assigned trapping target to me rather than having it sucked up in the seething vortex of aggro that always forms around a well-geared tank. I've been practicing my trapping, and I'd say that I'm now fairly reliable at it. I'm hoping to drop the "fairly" part at it in the next week or two, and maybe be at what I'd consider genuinely good by the time Lich King comes out.

(In my personal hierarchy of performance, there's the point at which you can be counted upon to do your task at a useful level, and then there's the point at which you do it well enough that it's worth others' going out of their way to give you more chances to do it, because it really helps out more than the norm.)

Wow, raiding sure is easier and less stressful when you're not a healer or a tank. Responsibility? We've heard of it, but we have no truck with such nonsense. A little trapping, sure, but mostly it's just me and my pet blasting away except when we need to hold fire for a moment.

And what do we get for that heroic control? We get dead bosses, that's what we get. Here's Tivara, Alcyone, and guildmates in the aftermath of downing the Shade of Aran in Karazhan.

Tivara, Guildmate, and the Remains of Aran

I want to be careful not to extrapolate too much from a limited set of data, generated in the euphoria of getting to try out hunter raiding. But if even just most of this level of satisfaction carries over into the longer term, I'm going to enjoy raiding a lot more in 2009 than I did in much of 2008. Repeatedly running into a wall and finding "I can't do this anymore" is tiring and disappointing. Even if I do find limits I'm not thinking of right now, I'm hoping to go farther this time, and to make a softer landing when and if I do have to say that I've gone as far as I can, since I know so much more about what constitutes an early warning sign of raiding trouble in particular for me now. But I really do hope to be in there plinking and trapping away as far as Archon and friends can go.

Oh, yeah, knowing that I've got some readers who aren't up on all the details of WoW: If I'm so happy with my gorilla (and I am), why aren't I bringing him raiding? That's simple enough. In raids, there are people who specialize in getting monsters' attention and holding it, while damage dealers (like Tivara) beat the monsters down. This works best when amateurs aren't competing for prizes in the "most appealing to monsters" category. Gorillas' Thunderstomp would compete with the real tanking characters for aggro (the monsters' attention), but Sagarmatha doesn't have nearly the capacity to absorb damage or do other useful things that, say, Marendyn and Grimfell (in the picture above) do. Alcyone's single-target damage dealing works great, however - if I play my part well, neither Tivara nor Alcyone draw aggro away from the tanks, but do help with the beatdown. Essentially, Sagarmatha is a tank for times I don't have a tank. But when I do have a real tank, it's foolish to try to duplicate that role, and Alcyone puts more hurting on the designated target per unit of time.

Hunters have Swiss Army Stables, essentially - the right pet for the job at hand.