Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The urge to expand, extend, develop, mature

Okay! Very little preamble this post. Here are the addons I'm using that are most relevant to the project. Of course I use others -- roleplaying addons, Auctioneer, and so on -- but these are the highlights as they relate to the melee hunter project.

UI Addons!

Aspected Again

Q: What deals holy damage, uses mana, has over 12,000 health, wears metal armor, prefers a two-handed weapon, lays down AoE on the ground that damages anything that walks into it, and has a row of buff icons laid out in an aura bar?

A: A melee hunter with the Darkmoon Card: Vengeance, explosive traps, and the Aspected Again addon.

This addon places a series of buttons for Hunter aspects into the shapeshift bar for convenience. It also will provide a priest with Shadowform or a shaman with Ghost Wolf buttons. This is an almost complete rewrite of PoeticDragon's Aspected mod in order to work with the 2.0.1 patch of WoW.
Fizzwidget's TrackMenu

This indispensable addon causes the tracking icon on your minimap to function as a dropdown menu of tracking skills. It works with all tracking abilities, including hunter talents, gathering skills (like mining), and even the dwarven Treasure Finding talent. This should be part of the default WoW UI. It's that good.

Fizzwidget's Feed-O-Matic

My incredible Feed-O-Matic features state-of-the-art nutritional analyzers to make sure your pet’s hunger is satisfied with a minimum of fuss, advanced selective logic to make your pet doesn’t eat anything you have another use for, and a weight optimizer to make sure the food in your bags stays well organized! Just press the “Feed Now” button and it’ll intelligently choose a food and accurately toss it to your pet.
This is a very handy addon, but my favorite part is the emotes. "Gweryc feeds Cafall a nice [Clefthoof Ribs]. Yum!"

Combat Analysis Addons!


This is the addon I prefer for analyzing my own DPS/IDPS. The breakdown is very detailed and lets me analyze myself and my pet separately or together.


Another tool for analyzing my performance. It's a lot easier to see where my DPS stands in a group using this than it is with KombatStats.


Another valuable analysis tool. I like watching my own threat-per-second, even just against my pet, to know where I stand.

Gear Addons!

This is a mod to make swapping trinkets easier. It will display your two equipped trinkets in a bar. Mouseover on either trinket will display a menu of up to 30 trinkets in your bags to swap.
TrinketMenu is a key component of the Raptor Bite macro listed in the last post. TrinketMenu doesn't just make swapping trinkets easier -- it makes it automatic. As the documentation says: "3.0 introduces auto trinket queues to TrinketMenu. In options you can sort a trinket slot to the order you want trinkets equipped, turn on Auto Queue for that slot (Alt+Click the trinket on the bar or check the tab in options), and the mod will automatically swap trinkets as they're used and come off cooldown."

That's what the "/use 13" line in my Raptor Bite macro is for. It automates use of my melee trinkets for a dps boost any time I've got a trinket available to use, which I nearly always would, thanks to TrinketMenu.

Today, however, I've removed the "/use 13" line from my macro and stopped using TrinketMenu in that way, because I've obtained a single trinket that easily surpasses the utility of a chain of lesser ones. My Bladefist's Breadth, Terokkar tablet, and Core of Ar'kelos have all been put aside in favor of the Darkmoon Card: Vengeance. A ton of stamina and dps? Do want.


This addon is absolutely brilliant. Before I used it, I took it apart and looked at the code, and sure enough, it not only takes into account your class, it even accounts for your spec. It knows, for example, what it means from a tanking perspective that I have points in Lightning Reflexes. It knows that, as a Hunter, I can't use shields, so it disregards the +block value on a given item when calculating its tank points. Brilliant work.

Rating Buster

Another gem from the author of TankPoints. This converts the stats listed on an item into values that are more meaningful, for example, representing str and agi as AP. When used together with TankPoints, it's a lot easier to see where I'm making trade offs in gear.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Things that don't quite make sense can be our most valuable tools.

As an Engineer, I've taken to stocking a number of tools. Some I keep with me, others in my Fel Iron Toolbox in the bank. But no tool is more valuable to me than the macros and add-ons I make daily use of. As my pet wolf Cafall continues his own ascent to level 70 (slowed significantly by the fact that I'm spending a majority of each week in battlegrounds now), I'd like to share some of my favorites. Macros today, and I'll cover add-ons soon.


"Raptor Bite"
#show Mongoose Bite
/cast [nocombat] [group] Furious Howl
/cast Raptor Strike
/stopmacro [nocombat]
/cast [exists,target=pettarget] Kill Command
/use 13
/castrandom Mongoose Bite, Counterattack
This is my workhorse. Almost all of my damage is dealt by this single macro.

Line 1 sets the visible icon for the macro to be the same as Mongoose Bite. I use that as an alert; when the MB icon lights up, I know I need to hit that button as fast as possible until the MB happens.

Next, if I'm out of combat or if I'm in a group, I'll buff with Furious Howl if possible. My tests have shown that if FH is on cooldown, or even if I don't have a pet out, this line is skipped, meaning it's always safe to use. When soloing I only use FH before a fight so Cafall can reserve focus for Bites and Cowers, if necessary. But in a group, when I'm likely to be off-tanking and when there are additional melee classes nearby, the Howl is of more benefit than the Bites.

Now we try to cast Raptor Strike. This is an "on next hit" spell, so it, too, can be part of a fall-through chain of logic.

The "startattack" command initiates combat proper. If I'm in melee range, this begins dealing white damage. If I'm not in melee range, it's the equivalent of right-clicking a mob I can't reach. I stand there looking menacing, brandishing my axe, but doing nothing.

If I'm not in combat at this point, the macro stops. I want this to happen because the command "/use 13" activates the trinket in my first trinket slot if that trinket is not on cooldown. Since trinket effects tend to be short in duration, I want to make sure I'm actually in combat before I use one. As with the other commands so far, a trinket on cooldown is skipped over by this command, so the next line executes.

The line prior to the trinket activation should be familiar to any hunter who likes macros: it orders my pet, if available, to perform a Kill Command. If this is not possible, the command is skipped over.

The last line of the macro is finally one that can't be fallen through. If I've dodged or parried recently, this is the time to perform a Mongoose Bite or Counterattack. By using the "castrandom" command, the button remains spammable. As long as I spam it fast enough, the right attack will happen in a timely fashion.

/cast [modifier] Wing Clip(Rank 1); Wing Clip
This is another spam-friendly macro. If I'm trying to cause an on-hit effect to proc (my Maelstrom trinket, for example) I can hold down the alt key and expend less mana while I "gamble" for the proc; otherwise I can just press the button normally and get the most potent Wing Clip.

#show Immolation Trap
/cast [nomodifier] Immolation Trap; Explosive Trap
#show Freezing Trap
/cast [nomodifier] Freezing Trap; Frost Trap
Fire and Frost are variations on a theme. Single-target traps by pressing the button normally, and AoE effects by holding down a modifier key.

#show Call Pet
/cast [pet] Dismiss Pet; Call Pet
One-button macro for calling and dismissing my pet.

#show Revive Pet
/cast [nomodifier] Mend Pet; Revive Pet
Another one-button macro. Heals or revives my pet.

I confess that I'm no expert at the WoW macro system, so there may be bugs I don't know about or optimizations I could make to any of what I've listed above. If any are apparent, I'd love to know about them. Hopefully, though, some of you will find these useful and be able to modify them for your own use, particularly the "Raptor Bite".

Bis zum nächsten Mal!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Today is the first day of the rest of your life: DING 70.

So I herd sum things. The melee hunter isn't viable, eh?

Please, if we haven't met yet, let me introduce myself. My name's Gweryc. I'm a melee-only hunter, and have been from level 1 all the way up to level 70. Not once in my life have I fired a ranged weapon. Don't believe me? Check out my weapon skills in the armory!

Not viable, they say. Hmm. Not viable for what? Levelling? Scratch that -- I made it to 70.

Not viable for grouping? No... I didn't solo my way to the Choker of Bloodied Feathers and the Delicate Green Poncho.

Not viable for instancing? No, that can't be right, or I couldn't be wearing a quest reward from Hellfire Ramparts. I'd never have gone to Zul'Farrak at 47 with an all-peer group and gotten my Carrot on a Stick. I can chain trap with the best of them, AoE with fire traps and bombs, AoE CC with ice grenades. Thanks to engineering, I can even do a traditional "ranged" pull with Misdirection and my Goblin Rocket Launcher to set mobs on the tank. And in fact, I usually end up off-tanking! I'm at 11k health and climbing, and I'm working on becoming uncrittable. Don't think I'll make it? Well, I'll bet a lot of you wouldn't have believed a melee-only hunter would make it to 70, either.

Not viable for reputation farming? Nuh-uh. The Kurenai were happy to hand me a Far Seer's Helm when I reached Exalted with them.

Not viable in PvP? I can't tell you how many times I captured the flag this weekend in EoS, and consistently came in on the middle of the "damage dealt" column. But you'll have to take my word for that one since I don't have "Justicar" over my head... yet.

Not viable for having fun? Let me tell you guys. I'm not a min/maxer, as you might have guessed. I'm not one of the hardcore, nor do I really aspire to be "elite". As I said at the start of this project, I get my kicks from stretching the game to its limits. And I've honestly had a blast with this character.

It's a challenge playing this way, it really is. And that's exactly what I love about it. This way of playing isn't for everybody! That's okay! Some people enjoy raiding, some enjoy crafting or fishing, some like PvP. To each their own. For my part, I'll keep on looking for ways to do things just a little different, to make it work, and to have fun with it as I go.