Wednesday, May 23, 2007

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering.

And I should have looked into this particular magic a long time ago: at level 40, in fact.

I've finally succumbed to the temptation to swap professions. From levels 1 to 40, leatherworking was great, because I could gear myself well with items I made. But the drop-off after 40, when I began to wear chain mail, was precipitous. I haven't made anything personally useful in ages. When I can deck myself from head to toe in epic gear with PvP rewards alone, there's just no compelling reason to keep leatherworking as a profession.

I want stun bombs and rocket launchers. I want teleporters and goggles. At level 60 I think I've more than adequately demonstrated the viability of melee-only hunting as a levelling path. I'm hungry to grow my repertoire beyond the handful of attacks I have now. Engineering won't pave my way from 60 to 70, but it might keep me entertained enough to actually get there.

For the nonce I'll keep skinning, but trade leatherworking for mining. The skinning/mining combo should enable me to make a nice profit from materials as I level mining. Once my mining is levelled up adequately to power level my engineering, I'll drop skinning and complete the transition.

This presents an interesting problem in terms of roleplay, too. How can somebody not dexterous enough to use a gun negotiate a gyromatic micro-adjuster? I may need to find a sympathetic gnome willing to craft a handicapped-friendly version.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It is delicious patch. I must eat it.

Today's 2.1 patch boasts several nice enhancements relevant to the melee hunter. Of particular note:
  • The Cobra Reflexes skill, previously usable only by King Bangalash, can now be taught to hunter pets. This effect increases attack speed, but reduces damage dealt per attack. Petopia's initial report observes that the increase in speed is sufficient to raise overall pet DPS, despite the reduction in attack power.
  • There are several fixes/improvements to Kill Command. It can now trigger from Ferocious Inspiration, and Frenzy can be triggered from Kill Command. Kill Command has been removed from the global cooldown, and it can be used even when your pet is out of line-of-sight.
  • The Survival Instincts talent increases attack power by 2/4%.
  • Mend Pet has been changed from a channeled spell to an instant cast HoT, getting you back into combat faster. Improved Mend Pet also reduces the mana cost for the heal.
I've been dawdling at level 60 for a while, putzing around Hellfire Peninsula. The Kill Command changes are really encouraging me to make the push to 66. I want to start seeing those Rank 1 Wing Clip crits dishing out +130 damage, instead of the 7 damage they do now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ding 58: Gweryc Does Outland

This is a land in which I had long ago made my home, but which welcomed me only recently. Surrounded by new faces and new threats, my strength of will remains unbroken.

I am Gweryc, called Halfhand. Remember that name, you denizens of Outland. For I vow mastery over you. None on my home world were challenge enough. Even before the Alliance would admit I had made my way to stand among them at Honor Hold, I had proved myself more than a match for the demons plaguing Hellfire Peninsula. Inevitably, even prominent officers from Stormwind and the Wildhammer aviators confessed to needing my help.

Crippled I may be, but disabled I am not. Though my maimed hand may no longer be suited to a gun, I still have strength of arm. I am capable. Yes, I have something to prove. And with the Light as my witness, I vow to prove it.

Monday, May 7, 2007

That it were mine to crush the Demon

At last, the much-anticipated level 52 opened up for me like a flower, permitting me to partake of its sweet nectar: a Demonslayer sword bearing a Demonslaying enchant. This was the first item Gweryc had used that I actually considered a twink. Characteristically, I'd found the sword itself at a bargain price using Auctioneer. However, the enchant was donated by my main, who had rather fortuitously bought the Enchant Weapon - Demonslaying formula at nearly the same time I'd found the sword.

The sword itself, I'm sorry to say, was a tremendous disappointment. Although the sword is a natural host for the enchant, the +99 AP on the Demonslayer just doesn't make up for the loss of the stats on my Ice Barbed Spear. Let us speak no more of that sword, forever.

So what about the enchant itself? Demonslaying has a chance on hit of afflicting a demon with Smite Demon, dealing 75-125 Holy damage and a 5 second stun. Reports on the proc rate are mixed. Some claim it procs so infrequently it's not worth it, while still others claim several times per fight. The most reliable reports claim about 2 ppm.

Demonslaying is definitely better than a sharp stick in the eye, but it too fell short of my expectations. I confess that I didn't observe the exact performance of the enchant with my usual statistical rigor, so I can only offer anecdotal evidence. When it procs, it's a Very Good Thing. The Holy damage is nice, but the real win is the stun. I was generally able to take off half the demon's life before he recovered from that stun. However, the stun didn't proc nearly enough for me to feel as overpowered as I'd hoped. It certainly wasn't bad, but it was hardly imbalanced, either.

I like predictability. When I pay for an enchant, I want to have confidence in what it can do for me. Yes, I did better with this enchant grinding on the demons of Felwood than I would have without it, and I did appear able to cause it to proc off Wing Clips as I'd hoped. However, the enchant didn't proc on the majority of fights. Like critical hits, the effect it yields is a pleasant bonus, but it's not something you want your life to depend on. (And unlike critical hits, there's no gear I can obtain to increase the proc rate.) Down the road, this has really discouraged me from taking the proc-based Mongoose enchant over the reliable Savagery or Major Agility.