Monday, March 26, 2007

Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?

My first level 60 (pre-expansion) was a shadow priest. After him came a druid who is now a moonkin. A close friend of mine plays a paladin tank. So you might say that I have a certain familiarity with and sympathy for unusual gameplay. I like doing things nobody believes in, just to spite them. I like pushing limits. For me, World of Warcraft ceased being about pwnage and phat lewtz a very, very long time ago. My monthly subscription rents me a playground, not a bunch of pixellated e-peen enlargers, not a spot as somebody's slave in a raid guild. It's all about fun, and I get a major kick out of pushing the envelope. So I suppose it was really inevitable that I level a 100% pure melee hunter at some point. I mean, look at these quotes:
Honestly, how could I resist that?

Now, I'm not unrealistic. The hunter class is designed for ranged damage. (Although Blizzard concedes that when "wearing light to medium armor, hunters can also dual wield weapons in combat, fighting beside their pets in battle.") I don't expect to dish out massive damage. I don't expect to be number one in anything, except possibly Leatherworking. But I do believe that a melee hunter is perfectly viable as a personal playstyle, and I intend to prove it.

To make this work, I've had to make some concessions.

First off, I will not group for an instance unless the group knows beforehand that I will not, under any circumstance, deal ranged damage. While it is precisely the "your class must play this way" cookie-cutter mentality I'm challenging, I have no desire to upset someone else's gaming experience by forcing my own strange choices on them. This effectively excludes me from any instance group, but that's fine. WoW accommodates questing/grinding to the exclusion of instancing.

Second, I will not join a guild that is not aware of my decision. Guilds -- good ones, anyway -- work hard to maintain their reputation, and a 100% melee hunter is a potentially massive source of embarrassment.

I will, however, willingly participate in group quests outside instances without preamble if I'm invited to do so, because this character is hosted on a PvE roleplaying server. The RP environment should be relatively accommodating of a person doing strange things out in the world. And if it's decided that I am not welcome in a group, asking me to leave before fighting a pack of elite dogs outside somewhere is not the same as reaching a boss halfway through an instance, then realizing that you need to replace a team member.

Without instancing, I intend to rely nearly exclusively on my leatherworking skill to maintain my armor. To keep my weapons current, I will allow myself to participate in battlegrounds. Unless the group in a battleground is pre-formed, battlegrounds are different from instance groups in that the constituency of the group is random. In other words, you take what you're given. I believe that I have a right to participate in a random grouping like that, as much as a shadow priest or other non-optimally specced character. And certainly an active BG'er of any style is immeasurably preferable to an AFK'er. However, I am not particularly fond of battlegrounds, so it may prove to be that I will use my main to purchase BoE blue weapons at every ?8-level (18, 28, and so on) from the auction house that are approximately equal to the rewards I could have gotten had I spent the time in Warsong Gulch.

I will also permit my main, an enchanter, to put enchantments on my gear, though nothing grossly disproportionate. No Fiery enchant on my level 10 "of the Monkey" dagger. Overpowering the hunter by use of enchants would be antithetical to the purpose of the project, which is to demonstrate the viability of a melee hunter. At that point it's the twink gear winning the battle, not me and my wolf. Gifting myself level-appropriate enchantments doesn't seem unreasonable to me. I have a Draenei friend who is a jewelcrafter near my own level that sends me items to use, just as I send her gemstones and patterns she can use, and I have a tailor friend that has donated bags. Even a backwards Dwarf has friends in the world, and their assistance is always welcome.

While my self-imposed restrictions represent a significant limitation in the number of avenues open to me, I firmly believe that I will be successful in reaching level 70 without tremendous difficulty. I will use this space to detail both my journey to 70 and the tricks I've learned as a pure melee combatant, just as I would welcome constructive criticism.

For Khaz Modan!


Samuele Scettri said...

Just found your blog, let me tell you something: that's great. Really it is, I'll be reading you everyday.


sunjun said...