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A Visit to the Public Test Realm

Friday, September 19th, 2008

So, I finally managed to get onto the PTR today!  I’ve tried before, but the lag was always unbarable.  It turns out the PTR isn’t so popular at 7AM.  So I hopped on, threw my talent points where they are likely to end up (really, just my current spec + a couple of the new BM talents).  Then I got to work on what I really wanted to play around with – the pets!

First off, I wanted to answer a question I had.  How will Willy’s Warp work?  (try to say that 5 times fast!)  I wanted to see what the deal would be with using Warp and Charge.  It turns out, like I was expecting, but hoping wasn’t true, you have to choose between them.  You can either use Warp or use Charge… which means, having a Warp Stalker will either: render one of the main Tenacity talents useless or render the pet family’s only special ability useless.  While he still seems to hold aggro pretty well, I don’t want to have a tank that can’t use one of it’s abilities.

So it looks like when 3.0.2 hits, Willy’s going to have to be released back into the wild, to make room for a more useful tank!  :(   I will miss you, Willy!

And the same goes for Fiddlesticks… I have always hated Prowl.  it’s no use, and I always run off and leave my pet prowling behind.

So I ventured off to try to find my next DPS pet.  First, I tried a core hound.  Pretty cool, I must say.  And that casting time debuff does stay up constantly, which is a nice little PvP thing to have!  But I don’t think I’d want one as my main DPS pet.

Next, I headed off to Netherstorm remembering those really pretty moths… I’ve always loved those purpley beauties!  So I plopped down a trap and tamed a nice level 68 moth.  The moment it flew to my side, I knew I’d found my pukka DPS pet.  He’s beautiful!  And he looks awesome with Brajana.  I took him for a test run on some of the nearby mobs, and not only could he kill things pretty darn quickly, but he could manage to hold aggro decently enough too.  Yep, this pet is for me!

So the next task is:  Find a new Tenacity pet.  I’m thinking I’ll give the Gorilla and Bear a try, see if I can decide if I want a pet who can multi-tank or one that can focus tank.

Sparkle is going to stick around as my Cunning pet.  I tried her out for a bit, and she does great DPS – I also really like some of the talents in the Cunning tree.  That mana regen thing?  Cool.

OH!  And I had a look through the Achievements panel.  There are some really neat ones, although I’m a little confused about the retroactivity – somehow, it knows I’ve done Black Rock Depts, but doesnt’ know I did Wailing Caverns.  Hm.

And “Deaths By Hogger” is a very neat statistic.  Gonna have to go aggro him and let him kill me at least once, just to have something there! :P

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Creepy Cunning Pets

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Disclaimer: This post was accurate as of patch 2.4.3 (Info from Wrath beta).

Bats

  • Sonic Blast: Emits a piercing shriek, inflicting x Nature damage and stunning the target for 2 sec.

Stuns are really nice to have… bats, not so much.

Birds of Prey

  • Snatch: The bird of prey grabs the enemy’s weapon with its talons, causing x damage and disarming them for 6 sec.

Ooo, disarm!  Now that’s how you annoy people.  I could see myself using that for PvP maybe… there are some pretty nice looking birds out there too.

Chimaeras

  • Froststorm Breath: Your pet simultaneously breathes frost and lightning at an enemy target, inflicting Frost and Nature damage and slowing the target.

Everyone loooves the Chimaeras!  I like the ones in Winterspring, the blue ones… pretty sweet.  I’d like to hear more about the ability though, since I know there have been lots of strange bugs with it in the beta so far.

Dragonhawks

  • Fire Breath: Targets in a cone in front of the caster take x Fire damage over 2 sec.

Probably the shortest DoT I’ve ever seen… 2 seconds?  Is that really necessary?  I’ve always thought the Dragonhawks were really beautiful, but I wouldn’t feel right having one if I’m not a blood elf.  And I wouldn’t feel right BEING a blood elf.  So I guess there goes that. :P

Nether Rays

  • Nether Shock: Instantly lashes an enemy for x Shadow damage. Also interrupts spellcasting and prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 2 sec.

A nice anti-spell caster ability, but I think I’d prefer a stun over a counterspell thingy, since I’m not focused enough to send my pet at casters… I just let it go where ever.

Ravagers

  • Ravage: Violently attacks an enemy for x, stunning it for 2 sec.

Ravagers creep me out.

Serpents

  • Poison Spit: Spits poison at an enemy, dealing x Nature damage over 8 sec.

I must say, I don’t usually like the crawly type of pets… but there are some pretty sweet looking serpent skins!

Silithids

  • Venom Web Spray: Sprays toxic webs at the target, preventing movement for 4 sec and causing Nature damage over time.

Like I’ve said before… I don’t see too much of a point for stopping the mob from moving if it’s just going to stand there and attack my pet anyway… also, creepy.

Spiders

  • Web: Encases the target in sticky webs, preventing movement for 4 sec.

What’s with all the creepy cunning pets?  This is pretty much the same as the Silithid ability, but it’s lacking in doing damage.  I’d think they’d at least give it some extra time or something to make it not just a feckless copy of the Silithid ability.

Sporebats

  • Spore Cloud: Dusts nearby enemies with spores causing x Nature damage every 3 sec for 9 sec and reducing armor by y.

Another nature DoT, but I do like the armour reduction especially.  Spore bats are not creepy, I kind of like them.  I just wish they had more of a face.

Wind Serpents

  • Lightning Breath: Breathes lightning, instantly dealing x Nature damage to a single target.

Sparkle! :)   I have been playing around with my Wind Serpent quite a bit lately, and I must say I do like it.  It’s a little annoying how it tries to fly out to cast, but I can deal with that.

Well…. not too impressed by the Cunning pets, unfortunately.  I’ll likely be sticking with my Wind Serpent from this tree, or maybe give a Chimaera a try… they sound like fun.

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Ferocity Pet Face-off

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Disclaimer: This post was accurate as of patch 2.4.3 (Info from Wrath beta).

Carrion Birds

  • Demoralizing Screech: Blasts a single enemy for x damage and lowers the melee attack power of all enemies in melee range by y. Effect lasts 4 sec.

I’ve never been a big fan of the birds.  I don’t know, they just kind of bug me.  But I could see the Demoralizing Screech being pretty useful in many situations… though the duration is pretty short.

Cats

  • Prowl: Puts your pet in stealth mode, but slows its movement speed by x%. The first attack from stealth receives a y% bonus to damage. Lasts until cancelled.

I never used this ability on my cat, so having this as the special ability for my DPS pet doesn’t make much sense… I don’t think it would even be that useful for PvP, at least not for my PvP style (which does not involve sneaking).

Core Hounds

  • Lava Breath: Your pet breathes a double gout of molten lava at the target for x Fire damage and reduces the target’s casting speed by 50% for 10 sec.

Now this, this is my kind of PvP ability.  I could use a core hound for my pet for PvP, although the size of the pet might make it a pretty easy target. But they look so cool, I especially like the Kurken model.

Devilsaurs

  • Monstrous Bite: Your devilsaur ferociously bites the enemy, causing x damage, and boosts its own damage by 3% for 12 seconds. This effect stacks 3 times.

Pretty sure everyone is going to have a devilsaur.  They aren’t very cuddly, but I think I will have to train one, just to give it a try at least.  And the ability is pretty awesome.

Hyenas

  • Tendon Rip: Tears at an enemy’s legs for x and reducing movement speed by 50% for 6 sec.

Hyenas are kind of ugly… and the ability isn’t super.  It’s nice, but I can’t see myself using it all the time.

Moths

  • Serenity Dust: The moth’s wings produce a cloud of dust that increases its attack power by 10% and heals it for x over 15 sec.

Mmmm… pretty moths :)   I’ve always loved them, and I could totally see myself picking one of these up.  The special ability is pretty nice too!

Raptors

  • Savage Rend: Slashes the enemy with the raptor’s talons for x damage, and causes the target to bleed for y damage every 3 sec for 15 sec. Successful critical strikes with this ability temporarily boost the raptor’s attack power.

Raptors and trolls just go together, it makes sense.  Decent ability, although not great when DoTs are not supposed to be used (like in some boss fights).

Tallstriders

  • Dust Cloud: Your tallstrider kicks up an obscuring cloud of dust, causing all enemies within 10 yards to miss their next attack. Lasts for 8 sec.

Very unique ability, pretty neat… but I think I’d end up finding it a little feckless.  Tallstriders themselves… well, only the pink one is cool, of course.

Wasps

  • Sting: Your wasps stings for x Nature damage, and decreases the armor of the target by y for 20 sec. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible.

I really like the whole armour decrease thing for some reason.  This could be a pretty viable pet for PvP or PvE.

Wolves

  • Furious Howl: Increases attack power by x for Party members within 40 yards of the wolf. Lasts 10 sec.

Wolves are pretty nice, and this is a nice party-wide buff.  Depends how well it scales though, I haven’t really seen the numbers on that.

So in conclusion.. my Ferocity pet is looking like a Devilsaur, Moth, Wasp, or possibly a Core Hound if I want one of these as a PvP pet.

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Tenacity Pet Showdown

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Disclaimer: This post was accurate as of patch 2.4.3 (Info from Wrath beta).

Alright, it’s time I stop being stubborn about the upcoming expansion.  I haven’t been completely avoiding it, but I’ve been trying to focus myself on the game at hand, on the stuff that I can do now.

But with the 3.0 patch on the horizon, it’s time for me to start thinking about the future.

So, I’ve started to look into what pets I will want to use.  Right now, I have three pets:  Willy the Warp Stalker, the pet I leveled with from 65-70, my tanking pet.  Fiddlesticks the Cat, my reliable DPS pet who has accompanied me on many raids.  And Sparkle the Wind Serpent, the newest addition that I’ve been playing around with lately, although she still hasn’t hit the highest level of loyalty.

I’d like to tame one pet from each talent tree, but I can’t just look at which pets are prettiest anymore, since each family has a unique ability.  So I’m going to go over all the pet families in each tree and their special abilities, and try to figure out what I think about them.  I figured I’d do it here, since I’m sure I’m not the only person looking into this.  Feel free to share your opinions or help me decide which pet to pick!

I’m going to start with the Tenacity pets.  Tanking pets.  This is super important, since I’m going to want to level with a decent tanking pet at my side to hold the aggro.

Bears

  • Swipe: Swipe 3 nearby enemies, inflicting x damage.

Bears always felt a little boring to me.  Although I always thought the diseased bears from the Plaguelands and Felwood were pretty cool looking!  Swipe is an appropriate ability, and I would love to have a pet that can hold aggro on multiple mobs like this.

Boars

  • Gore: Your boar gores the enemy for x. Causes double damage if used within 6 seconds of a Charge.

I never really liked boars, although I suppose the Helboars that are present in Outlands aren’t quite as wimpy looking.  I just don’t know if they are my style.  However, the special ability is pretty sweet.  When used in combination with Charge, that’ll be a nice damage and threat boost right at the beginning of a fight, which would hopefully mean I can go all out right away.

Crabs

  • Pin: Pins the target in place, and squeezes for x damage over 4 sec.

LOL, Crabs.  I don’t know how super useful the pins the target in place thing is, since that doesn’t mean it’ll stop it from attacking.  I can see the use in it, but Intimidation already has me covered there, I’d say.

Crocolisks

  • Bad Attitude: Snap back for x damage at any target that strikes you for the next 45 sec.

Crocolisks are kind of neat, but the noise they make drives me crazy!  Too bad their special ability is so amazing for AoE tanking.

Gorillas

  • Thunderstomp: Shakes the ground with thundering force, doing x Nature damage to all enemies within 8 yards. This ability causes a moderate amount of additional threat.

I had a gorilla for a while, I think they’re pretty cool, and the AoE ability is pretty nice.  I’d consider picking one up again for sure, although I don’t know how much I’ll be fighting multiple things at a time.

Rhinos

  • Stampede: Your rhino slams nearby enemies within 10 yards, causing x damage and knocking them back 15 yards.

I am sad about this ability.  I think a rhino would be an awesome looking pet, but this special ability is not really any good for PvE.  The last thing I need is my pet knocking my target into another group of mobs or knocking him out of my shooting range.  Booo.

Scorpids

  • Scorpid Poison: Stings an enemy for x Nature damage over 10 sec. Effect can stack up to 5 times on a single target.

Scorpids are alright, although I prefer something with fur.  The ability is also just alright as well, I think I’d rather have something that does direct damage than a DoT, but meh.

Turtles

  • Shell Shield: The turtle partially withdraws into its shell, reducing damage taken by 50% for 12 sec.

I had a turtle once.  They’re cute!  I like the ability well enough, and I’m sure it would be nice, but with the talent to improve the healing done to the pet, if I get into a situation where this is necessary, then I’m probably screwed as it is.

Warp Stalkers

  • Warp: Teleports to an enemy up to 30 yards away and gives the pet a 50% chance to avoid the next melee attack. Lasts 4 sec.

Oh Willy, how I love you!  I know the Warp Stalkers don’t get a lot of attention, but I really liked the Warp ability.  It meant I didn’t have to wait quite so long before attacking, and it was also a great way to tag mobs when competing with a Night Elf Hunter w/Cat on the Elemental Plateau.  But I think Charge makes Warp a bit feckless, and I think I might prefer to have the charge affect.  So that’s not great news for Willy.

Worm

  • Acid Spit: Your worm spits acid at an enemy, causing x Nature damage and reducing its armor for 30 sec.

Although the ability is pretty neat in that it decreases the target’s armour, I just don’t think I could get over the look of the worms.  Creepy.  Maybe if they have some really cool ones in Northrend… maybe.

So, that’s it for Tenacity pets.  Right now, I think I’m stuck between a Bear, a Boar or a Gorilla.

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The Ghost of Patches to Come (Wrath of the Lich King)

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Yep, I’m doing a Wrath of the Lich King post.  Surprise!  Well, I had a theme going… I had to finish it!

I’m going to take this opportunity to actually read through the patch notes for the beta, I’ll highlight all the changes I am interested in or excited about.  This will be the first time I’ve actually looked at them, so it should be fun, but my naivety about the upcoming expansion will be apparent.

Patch 3.0.1 (beta)

Barber Shop – This is a neat idea… not sure if they have decided if they are bringing in brand new hairstyles and such, because that would be great, but I don’t think I’d changed my look right now.  Besides, you can’t see my hair – I’m wearing a bucket on my head!

Achievement Points – I think this will be fun.  I hope they make the points worth something – tabards and titles and such… but even if they don’t, I don’t see why anyone would have a real problem with this.  Sure, you might not really be concerned with achievements, but they aren’t going to hurt your game.  Well, maybe it will be a bit annoying for people to be bragging about them or whatnot, but they’ll do that with anything.

Death Knights - I look forward to trying out my own Death Knight.  I probably won’t do it right away, and I doubt I will level it to 80… probably won’t even get it to 70.  But it’ll be neat to see!  I’m afraid of the over saturation of Death Knights that is inevitable… we saw a lot of Blood Elves and Draenei with the release of Burning Crusade, but this time, it will affect group composition.  I’ve never really been into melee type classes, so I probably won’t be a big fan of playing the Death Knight.  But, at least Blizzard has added a new class to the game!

Pet Talents – Woo!  This is awesome, adds a whole new dimension of customization to the Hunter class.  I really look forward to playing around with it and figuring out the best way to spec my pet.  I also hope this helps with the always present “pet can’t hold aggro” issue.

If a hunter tames a pet that is more than five levels beneath their own level, the pet will then have their level increased to five levels beneath the hunter’s own level. I must say, I’m probably going to go looking for new pets because of this.  I’ve always been waaay too lazy to level a pet up.  I think I can deal with 5 levels though.

Improved Shadow Word: Pain (Shadow) – Now increases damage done by your Shadow Word: Pain by 5/10%, but no longer increases the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain. I think this is a nice move.  I know when I was leveling, I’d usually have a mob dead before the SW:P was worn off, making the talent point a little useless to me.

Wand Specialization (Discipline) has been removed. I don’t know, I always took this when leveling my priest.  Saves me mana if I can just wand the mob down the last 30% or so… Am I the only priest who used this?  But I guess they had to remove it to make room for other things.

New Calendar feature – Neat, but I think this might go the way of the voice chat… just a bit too late to be used, and it is something that either everyone or no one will be using.

Players will now be able to access their non-combat pets and mounts by clicking on the pets tab in the Character Info panel. *cue the beam of light from above and chorus singing*  I would buy the expansion for this alone.  Seriously.

There are a few other little changes that I think will be handy to have, even if they don’t make a big difference in the game:

  • Quests can be shared with party members at any distance.
  • Quests can be shared with party members by linking the quest into party chat.
  • Shift-clicking to loot mail: You can now hold Shift and click on mail in your in-box to automatically loot any items and gold without opening the mail.
  • A 5 minute timer will appear over the player’s unit frame showing the countdown until your PvP flag is cleared.

Well, I really am looking forward to the expansion.  I don’t really want to hear more detail than this stuff, but I don’t mean I want to be all hugger-mugger about it… I just like surprises and experiencing things first hand.  It’s nice to know the big things to expect, but I don’t need to know how much spell power is going to be on my gear and all that.  That is a discussion for another day… in about 5 or 6 months, I suppose!