Rapid Fire, Flaming Shots and Bear Traps, oh my?

Tweet from Blizzard Developer Celestalon  late this afternoon.   Sounds great!  Rapid Fire is great for MM, and I can't imagine anyone was really all that excited about Flaming Shots.

And Bear Trap!  I know what you're thinking, but it's not that kind of bear trap. Bear Trap was introduced in Wrath,  but then, as far as I can tell, was never implemented.  You can find it on NPCs like Harold Lane, who you may have assassinated.  It's basically just a root with a bleed. It'll be interesting to see how (or if) it plays out in Warlords.  

Also on twitter tonight,when someone called Focusing Shot "Boring"  Celestalon replied:

Focusing Shot currently sounds a little clunky to me, but I'm in favor of anything that has a higher damage output possibility while requiring a higher skill cap.   Regardless, I'm glad to hear they're putting a bit more thought into WoW's premiere class, the hunter.   

60% chance to increase spirit? if I wear two, that's 120%!

Simulation Craft, or SimC, a tool for hunters and their support classes

Over on the wow forums, I've been noticing an increasing amount of disagreement about optimal hunter builds and play.   This includes which secondary stats are best; when a secondary stat is better than a primary;  where shots fit in the opener, and even right now where shots fit in the rotation.   There are better theorycrafters than I who will answer what's best at any given time, so that's not what this post is about; what I did want to talk about is how we make those decisions/declarations.

The first part is the Best in Slot lists.   Over at Elitist Jerks and other places,  there are some incredibly competitive hunters,  trying every combination of gear and reforging possible, trying to find a gear set that will out-perform what had previously been thought of as the Best in Slot.   This is so precise that they have to make separate gear lists for Orcs and for Trolls,  who, depending on the gear, have the best dps racials in the game.

Then on top of that,  they'll take all of that gear and stat information, and test it out with various different rotations.   What happens if I cast Kill Command before Serpent Sting?   What happens if i cast Rapid Fire before Bestial Wrath vs after?

The point is, we're not making this stuff up.  It's not like someone says "it feels like mastery is better than crit".  Someone tries something,  they test it,  then compiles results;  they try something else,  then test it, then compile results, and on and on.

I'm not trying to tell anyone that these findings aren't debatable.   Debate until your heart's content, but test things out before you try to tell someone else what is what.  We as hunters, and really we as a society, are terrible about this.  We read something about stats on a blog (much like this one) last year, and now we fight adamantly when anyone who claims something else is right,  when we haven't even verified our own source.

XKCD explains where citations come from
And that, to me, is the key.   It's fine to take someone else's word for something.   We couldn't get by in life without doing that to some extent.  But if we are presented with data contrary to that previously held idea, it's time to either go back and gather data which you can present in opposition, or it's time for the idea to change; it's not, on the other hand, time for name-calling and mud-slinging.

The Thrill of the Spreadsheet: Crazy LnL Procs

This is part of a series in which we take a technical, more in depth look at huntering and hunter abilities.  If numbers aren't your thing,  you'll likely want to skip this one.  
Lock and Load
If you've played survival much this tier,  you surely are familiar with the giddy feeling all Survival Hunters get when you have that magical moment of getting 10-12 Explosive shots in a row, then when LnL falls off, it procs immediately again.

Well I was curious what the math was behind those crazy long chains.  Unfortunately,  since I don't have a background in statistics or probabilities, it was a bit harder than I had imagined.   On the upside, it was incredibly easy to create a little Python program using a random number generator and simulate a few hundred thousand results, so I at least had a little something to tell me if I was heading in the right direction.

My goal was to come up with the probability that you would get x number of Explosive Shots from Lock and Load.  Note that from this point forward, I'll be ignoring the extra shot you get from LnL resetting the explosive shot CD.  Though it's easy to add 1 to the number of Explosive Shots if that's what you're interested in; for our purposes it will be more helpful to just look at the "free" Explosive Shots you get from Lock and Load.

Also I should note, if there are any non-hunters who for some reason are interested in reading this,  I'm going to be using LnL to mean Lock and Load, and I will be using ES to mean Explosive Shot.   If you're unfamiliar with the mechanic,  the tier 16 4-piece set bonus states: "Explosive Shot casts have a 40% chance to not consume a charge of Lock and Load."  And for anyone, I'll be using the common notation "P(x)" to mean the probability of x.

Now,  click the link for the break, and go open a spreadsheet, we've got some maths to do.

The Evolution of Raid

Big red button from Mim

Blizzard developer Ian "Watcher" Hazzikostas is released part one of a two part Dev's Watercooler series on the evolution of raid design in the World of Warcraft.   Part one made its way from the very beginning in vanilla up through ICC, which is where it seems the vast bulk of changes to raiding happened; there have certainly been changes since then,  but it doesn't seem the philosophy of raiding has changed as much since then.

I really liked reading about some of their ideas behind the evolution during wrath.   I think Ulduar was a lot of raiders favorite raid of all time.   It had the vehicle fight, and a lot of different options.   And, what I thought was a lot of fun, was it had more natural flow for Hard Mode.   I definitely like the separate lock outs we have now,  but the ulduar system was fun too.

Remember the big red button for Mimiron?   I had to struggle week after week after week to not push the button.   That might have been the hardest part about that fight for me, since I suffer from whatdoesthisbuttondo syndrome.

Anyhow, it's a great article if you're into raider nostalgia.   Have fun.

Should Your Pets Be Rare?

Over at Eyes of the Beast Bendak has been doing a great series simply called Pet of the Week.  I've had lots of fun with it.  Sometimes he'll post about a pet I have and I can go into nostalgia mode, remembering taming it and how long I had to camp/search.   And sometimes he'll post about one I haven't even thought about before, which is great inspiration to get out into the world and search for new animal friends.

One thing it's been making me think about lately, however, is rare vs. common pets.  I think there's a sort of pride among hunters at having the rarest pets.   And it's not just rares as in silver name plates,  you've also got to have the rare pet that other hunters don't have.   It's about having that unique skin that no one else uses. I remember taming Quetzl who I just ran into randomly while questing in Winterspring.  I hadn't used him much,  but then last tier when we had that spirit Wind Serpent as part of our set bonus (you remember the one that would target who knows what and start firing for no apparent reason), I decided to get him out, and I found he wasn't rare enough to be coveted by other hunters, and since he was and is the only wind serpent with that skin, it meant I had a really unique pet.

However, there are several pets/skins, that I think are just amazing looking, but no one seems to use them because (I think) they're so common.

One of my favorites is the Ember Worg in the Burning Steps.
Ember Worg and Giant Ember Worgs can be found in the Burning Steppe
I don't know what it is but I just think this is a beautiful wolf.  I love his red and white fur,  as though she's made out of a sunset; or perhaps so she can blend into the sunset then rip out your jugular veins without you ever seeing her.

Then there's the Offspring of Har'koa up north in Zul'Drak. 
Those Cursed eyes  of the Offspring of Har'koa
I get it, Loque'nahak is every hunters dream cat.  There is no question that Loque is amazing.  But these cat's are gorgeous!  Don't you just want to gaze into her eyes forever?   Plus, I saved so many of Har'koa's children when levelling,  and she said she'd never forget, so surely she won't mind if I tame just one of them. 

So how about it, any common, normal pets that you just love?   Any you were amazed that such a beautiful creature wasn't rare?   

Top Parses and the Curse of Hunter DPS

Current Top Survival Hunter Parses for Malkorok
Yesterday I spent a bit of time looking at some of the top Heroic Malkorok parses over at World of Logs.   Before I get into this too much, I want to clarify that I'm not trying to criticize any of the hunters who are getting top parses.  They are amazing hunters, and they're getting top parses because they're doing the best with what we have.   Now, with that said...

If there were any broad change I could make to the hunter class (or really all the classes, for that matter),  it would be to cut down on RNG for DPS purposes.   There should be a significant reward in DPS for playing your spec correctly.  That is to say,  if you play Beast Mastery, and you can get your Kill Command count equal to (seconds played/6), the game should reward you with more dps than someone who has to hit a cobra shot when their Kill Command is off cooldown because they don't have enough focus.

For Survival,  our signature shot isn't as powerful as Beast Mastery or Marksman,  because we get so many more of them with Lock and Load.   But it should still be a slight dps increase to hit your ES precisely when it comes off of CD.  And, more importantly, it should be a DPS increase to hit your ES immediately when LnL procs, and keep using other shots for a couple GCDs until you notice LnL.

Neglecting the top parse (which is a silly, cheese parse of only 35 seconds) every hunter in the top 5 had at least 2 different times when LnL proc'ed and they kept doing something else (oddly, casting a cobra shot seems the most popular thing to do right after LnL procs), delaying their explosive shots.  So as far as getting top parses goes,  you might draw the conclusion that hitting your rotation "correctly" isn't that important.  The reality is, right now, it isn't.   

At the moment all of the hunter signature shots don't hit sufficiently harder than our filler shots.   So you end up with a situation where it tends to be more important to get off the most shots,  rather than getting off the right shots.   To me,  that isn't a problem in and of itself.   The best hunters should be getting of the most shots as well as the right shots,  so it would still be rewarding good play, except for the letters RPPM.  

In case you're unaware, RPPM stands for Real Procs Per Minute.  It's basically a mathematical formula to determine how often certain trinkets or other abilities (like your legendary cloak or meta gem) will proc.   What it does to the game is makes us reliant on luck; on randomness; on good ol' RNGesus.   While RNG makes for fine game-play in certain instances,  when you could get  on hunter with the exact same gear and rotation might get 10 trinket procs while another hunter might get only 4 in the same fight,  we're talking about a very significant amount of DPS.   An amount which skill cannot make up for.

Survival is taking the brunt of this, because of our current 4-piece set bonus.   If you don't get an LnL proc in the first few seconds of the fight while both trinkets, your pre-pot and your scope are all up,  you can pretty much say goodbye to doing well that fight.   Except,  you might get incredibly lucky and get a huge chain while Dextrous and Vicious are up at some later point in the fight.  Who knows what will happen!   

Anyhow... sorry to get all rant-y.   There are certainly lots of things you can do to improve your dps.  I'm not at all saying that anyone should give up and just not try to do the best possible; we can all still get better.   It would be nice to have a little more reward for doing better.

If you're interested in improving your dps,  check out Ricket's Guide here, or Kripparian's here.  For more on how to parse, and how outside events affect your DPS, check out Ricket's video here.

RBGs: Silvershard Mines or. . . Hanging Out in the Hallways

If anyone reading this is even close to my age,  I imagine when you were little, you watched Saved by the Bell.  I remember before I went into high school, a couple decades ago I was expecting it to be like Saved by the Bell, by which I mean, I thought all we would do is hang out in the hallways, and very rarely spend time in class.   If only...

Silvershard Mines Strategies Corridors
I don't have a neat trick or a well drawn out play for Silvershard Mines.  But I thought I'd bring it up anyhow, because who doesn't want to talk about Saved by the Bell?  And because the more randoms I do, the more I notice people haven't thought through this BG.

This map is controlled by hanging out in the hallways, and playing with switches.   As you see in the picture,   there are three small corridors that can control all of the depots.   If your team can control 2 of them,  you've won this BG.  You may be tempted to leave your teammates behind and run up to the center to get control of a cart,  but remember the cart going into a Depot is worth waaaaaay more resources than controlling the cart at any given time.  

Once you graduate from randoms to RBGs,  you'll come up against some much more thought out strategies; the "three-corners" is a popular one (google it).   Regardless of the strat you're coming up against,  if you control the corridors, and control the switches,  you've got it made.

Silvershard mines hunter in camo waiting for prey
As a hunter,  one of my favorite things to do is leave one of your teammates on the tracks as bait (Mack, a DK on our team, is my favorite bait; people love picking on DKs),  and hang out on one of the overhead paths in your predator costume.  You can play hawkeye up here pretty well, picking off your opponents 1 at a time,  or if a cart comes that you don't control, you can quickly jump down to help "cap" it.

There are a couple things to remember,  the most important being what I just said,  jump down immediately if there's any chance your team won't control the cart.   Nothing makes BG leaders more angry in this fight than people not fighting on the cart.   The second thing is keep an eye on your map so you know if someone is coming up behind you.

The third,  which warrants its own paragraph, is for goodness sake,  do not use the berserking buff when there is no one around you to fight.   Both of these overhead paths have a berserking buff on them; go ahead and stand fairly close to them so you can grab it as soon as an opponent comes into range, but do not use it when you're all alone.   Maybe one day I'll do an entire post on using the berserking buff..

Tag Team, Back Again:
Who knew that Whoomp There It Is was actually an RBG instruction guide; "tag team, back again, check it to wreck it, let's begin".  The last thing I want to talk about in Silvershard Mines, is something everyone who does arenas always has planned out,  but too often goes unassigned in RBGs:  CC tag teaming.

Any guide you ever see on Silvershard Mines will tell you the same thing,  this is a CC game, not a kills game.   That's because unless you're at a place where you're outnumbering your opponents fighting for the same cart,  the time it takes to kill someone is going to be way more than the time it takes to CC someone outside of the cart's range.   The secret here is to get someone who has some good knock back coupled with someone who can root, stun, trap or even snare/slow.

Pair a druid friend with a Mage, practice getting them to Typhoon someone into ring of frost; or better yet typhoon two people into ring of frost. Or take your favorite DK and practice having them Death Grip someone into your freezing trap.

Of course, we hunters have a somewhat unique ability to sort of tag team with ourselves, by hitting a glyphed Explosive Trap,  followed by a Scatter Shot,  followed by a Freezing Trap. But even if you can get off that combo,  you'll want some friends to help follow up

And that's that.   Remember,  check it to wreck it,  and pretend like you're on Saved by the Bell!  

Getting Better in the End of Xpac Blues

Hunter from Warlords of Draenor Trailer
I've been in a sort of rotational funk the last few raid nights,  and I'm not exactly sure how to fix it.  I've been noticing my reaction times getting slower in regards to procs.   On a pull the other day I just forgot to use stampede in my opener.  It's particularly weird because it's not something I generally "remember", it's something I just do.

I have been looking through good parses on World of Logs.   Sometimes that helps a little bit.  It might inspire me to try a slightly different opener,  or something like that.   But mostly it's just not doing it for me.

I think part of it is just being tired of doing Siege of Orgrimmar over and over.   But I think more of it is because I know how much is changing in Warlords.  The more I look into the new perks and abilities, which do seem quite fun,  the less interested I am in perfecting the current system.

It's kind of like gearing up right now.  Sure it's fun to try to go after best in slot gear,  but knowing it's not going to help you progress any faster in the next tier makes a lot less of a reward for gearing up.   It's as though my current Epic abilities are going to be replaced with green abilities soon,  so why bother...

Hopefully they'll keep the information about WoD coming so I have something fun to think about, at least.  Really, what I need is more footage of that awesome hunter from the WoD trailer.

Cloak and Quiver Ep. 3

I'm really enjoying the new Cloak and Quiver hunter podcast.   This week Solar is talking with RogerBrown, hunter extraordinaire and the raid leader from insanely highly regarded guild, Method.  Roger predicts MM dominance at the beginning of WoD, along with going over a lot of the changes that are going to be happening, and some of the changes that still need to happen. I've got some links to RogerBrown's UI and MoP guide on the Hunter Tools Page, if you want more from him.  

The Thrill of the Spreadsheet: AP and Weapon Damage in Warlords

This is part of a series in which we take a technical, more in depth look at huntering and hunter abilities.  If numbers or discussions of technicalities aren't your thing,  you'll likely want to skip this one.  

If you only skimmed over the patch notes for Warlords of Draenor, you may have missed (or just not cared about) the changes to hunter Weapon Damage and Attack Power.

One important part, is to make balancing between specs/classes easier on Blizzard, they're making all primary abilities (agility, strength, intellect) give you one Attack Power.   This shouldn't matter too much in the long run, as they'll still be trying to make each class capable of a similar amount of dps ("trying") relative to each other.  If we were still going to have primary stats on gems,  it would have a large effect on our gemming strat, but since that is not the case,  the agility change won't affect us other than in a few unique places.

The other major change, is that Attack Power will have a much more increased effect on Weapon Damage.  Previously for every 14 AP you would gain 1 weapon dps, now we're going to see an increase of one weapon dps for every 3.5 AP.   That's four times as much weapon damage from Attack Power.  To counter this,  they're going to give weapon damage a 20% nerf, relative to the stat squish.

What that means is where previously AP added relatively little to shots like Aimed Shot, Power Shot or Barrage,  they'll now scale much more closely with increased Agility.   At the same time, unless Blizzard finds another way to buff them (which I'm confident they will) abilities that don't have a weapon damage component (like Glaive Toss or Kill Command) will be less powerful (compared to shots that scale with Weapon Damage),  since there will be less Attack Power from Agility (again, we'll of course have to wait and see how they balance this before we bother making any changes to our priority systems).

This is great news for MM huntering mostly,  since MM's primary damage dealing abilities are % weapon damage shots.  Where as during this past tier, MM wasn't really viable in PvE until you had a current tier weapon;  if you have really bad luck, and get most of your other gear before you see a bow/gun/xbow drop in WoD,  you'll still be able to play MM, because of this change to AP and weapon damage.

Of course blizzard will adjust and balance the abilities; they aren't going to let, for example, Kill Command be less powerful than arcane shot.  Still,  there's no way they can give them the exact same relative value, so we'll need to spend a lot of times at the target dummies when the WoD beta begins,  figuring out what our new priority is going to be.

Another side of this is currently, when your Agility procs are active,  you don't really want to use your abilities that rely primarily on weapon damage if there's an ability that scales with Attack Power available (which is generally true for other reasons we won't get into here), because your pure attack power abilities will scale better, and be a better use of your GCD.   In WoD it seems that won't as much be the case,  because the Weapon Damage Abilities will scale significantly with AP as well.   Again,  this is mostly important for MM hunters (because Chim Shot is a weapon damage based ability), but it will still be something to think about for SV and BM hunters.

Let's look at an example:

Arcane Shot:
The arcane shot formula currently looks like this: Damage=(1.25*(WD+(.2RAP))+3289 

Currently,  here's how my Arcane shot holds up with some various Agility levels (note these are all hits, no crits, and the damage done is an average of 100 shots at each agi level).
Agility 2883 7798 12893 18068 29041
Attack Power 8800 23398 38530 53900 75432
Ave Damage: 46631 51033 55617 60742 71941

I imagine that's pretty similar to the results anyone would get.   And if you use my formula based on an average Weapon Damage of 36156.21,  I get pretty close to each one of these.   

The new formula, according to the patch notes will be: Damage=1.25*(.8WD+(.7AP))+3289
If we disregard the stat squish (which should be fine because everything is supposed to be relatively the same), we can use the new formula by simply doing our own nerf of WD by 20%, and reducing the benefit of Agi to only +1AP  Here are our new results:

Agility 2883 7798 12893 18068 29041
Attack Power 5917 15600 25637 35832 46391
Ave Damage: 44623 53095 61878 70798 80037

What you're seeing is at lower AP levels Arcane shot is going to be lower than it is now, because Weapon Damage won't be as high as it is now (relatively).   But as your AP goes up,  the shot will scale even more.   

It should be very interesting going forward (well, interesting if you, like me, really love spreadsheets).  Should keep the theorycrafters busy for quite some time.


Interesting post on Battle Rez'ing in the coming xpac.  

So we've built a new system to be more transparent, and improve usability.
  • During a boss encounter, all combat resurrection spells now share a single raid-wide pool of charges that's visible on the action bar button.
  • Upon engaging a boss, all combat resurrection spells will have their cooldowns reset and begin with 1 charge. Charges will accumulate at a rate of 1 per (90/RaidSize) minutes.
    • Example 1: A 10-player raid will accumulate 1 charge every 9 minutes (90/10 = 9).
    • Example 2: A 20-player raid will accumulate 1 charge every 4.5 minutes (90/20 = 4.5).
  • A charge will only be deducted when a combat resurrection is successful (when the target accepts the resurrection).
  • Raid frames now show a debuff indicating that a dead player has a pending combat resurrection available.
  • Outside of raid boss encounters, combat resurrection spells retain their normal cooldown behavior.

I'm very curious to see how that works with hunter pets.  We've been lacking in that our Hero/bloodlust and brez cds wouldn't reset when wiping,  making them far less than ideal.   Hopefully the new system will include hunter pets.  

For those not wanting to do the math, here are the raid sizes and how often they'll get a new Brez.
10p- 9.00min
11p- 8.18min
12p- 7.50min
14p- 6.43min
15p- 6.00min
16p- 5.63min
17p- 5.29min
18p- 5.00min
19p- 4.74min
20p- 4.50min
21p- 4.29min
22p- 4.09min
23p- 3.91min
24p- 3.75min
25p- 3.60min

Or,  here's raid size and Brez'es per minute:
10p- 0.11br/m
11p- 0.12br/m
12p- 0.13br/m
13p- 0.14br/m
14p- 0.16br/m
15p- 0.17br/m
16p- 0.18br/m
17p- 0.19br/m
18p- 0.20br/m
19p- 0.21br/m
20p- 0.22br/m
21p- 0.23br/m
22p- 0.24br/m
23p- 0.26br/m
24p- 0.27br/m
25p- 0.28br/m

I really like this change,  and had been curious how things will work going forward with multiple "flex" style raids.   I haven't heard (or haven't noticed) how many brez'es 20 player mythic raids are getting.  Anyone seen where that was listed yet?   

Pet Changes in WoD

Great news on Hunter pet abilities over on the WoD site!   Check it out:

We did a comprehensive pass on Hunter pet abilities. As mentioned above in Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns, all full crowd-control abilities have been removed from Hunter pets and replaced those with new abilities, including spreading some that were previously restricted to exotic pets. 

Additionally, Hunters can now tame beasts from new pet families.
Hunters may now tame beasts from 3 new pet families.
Hook Wasp (Exotic)

For more click through the break...

RBGs: Battle for Gilneas Counter Trey

Battle for Gilneas has been one of my favorite BGs for a while now.  I like how simple it is, there are no real gimmicks,  and there are no long runs where you don't run into any of the opposing team.   Unfortunately, sometimes that can mean it gets a bit boring,  especially if your opponent caps Water Works before you,  they can "turtle" (sort of) for the rest of the fight,  not killing any of you, just AoEing, healing and respawning.

That's one of the worst experiences you can have doing rated battlegrounds.   So I thought I'd present here Delirium's Battle for Gilneas Counter Trey©.   Note, I made the images here using the Alliances starting point,  but everything applies regardless of starting zone,  it's fairly symmetrical.   Also,  I'm sure someone, or many someones, have already thought of this.   But they probably didn't give it a cool name like Delirium's Battle for Gilneas Counter Trey©, so...

Our RBG team starts off probably the same way many RBG teams do,  that is, sending a couple to lighthouse,  one to the overlook, and everyone else to WW.
As a hunter, I am on overlook duty, though anyone who is comfortable 1v1ing and 1v2ing will do fine up there.  It is quite helpful to have a hunter in this role, though, in case you're opponent is trying the 8&2 "invisible" strat, they'll have to get by my flare and enhanced stealth detection. The vast majority of the time our opponent will leave one or two at their starting area, and send everyone else to WW; when that happens, I'll jump down the cliff and help out there.  On the rare chance that someone goes up to my overlook,  if it's one or two dps (and they don't run away at the sight of my magnificent hunteritude) then I'll engage there and off them.  If they've got a healer with them, or it's a larger group,  I'll disengage back to the light house so the three of us can take them down.   Most of the time I end up at WW, though.

This is of course not anything special, it's just a way to start the fight.  At higher ratings you get more teams who will leave one at LH and send 9 to WW, which works similarly.  Where the counter trey would come in, is if we allowed them to cap WWs, and they went into a sort of holding pattern.   At this point, we can attempt to ninja cap WW.  Or we can just sit there and hope to beat them in a straight up brawl.   Generally healers are so much more powerful than Damage Dealers in PvP that they'll have the cap for too long while you're trying to brawl with them (this is why they don't have 10v10 arenas).

Another thing that sort of sets this up, is generally the two or three at LH don't have anything to do, they're just twiddling their thumbs.  So sometimes they'll go harass the opponents at mines.   What's fun here, is that now your opponent knows that the two from lighthouse are ready to go to mines any time.  So if you can take just two people from WW and start heading to Mines,  they'll most likely assume they'll be facing 2v4 at mines.   This, is when Delirium's Battle for Gilneas Counter Trey© happens.
In case that's not clear, the play is:  two players peel from WWs and head for Mines.  If two or more opponents follow, then you're in a great position, because at the same time your two players from the lighthouse have snuck over to WW, leaving you with 8v6 at WWs.   The "faking" players can choose whether to engage at Mines to really put some pressure on them, or, the safe, and better option, to head across the Overlook to go protect the LH.

The best part is,  if the fake-out completely fails and no opponents follow,  you're not any worse off than you were before, you've got two players at LH, and everyone else 8v8ing at WW.   So no harm done.   But if it does work,  you've got two players 2v2ing at LH,  and everyone else 8v6ing at WW, while two of them twiddle their thumbs at the mines.   

If you're really in a bind,  you could augment the play a bit,  but upping the number players on the fake-out team.  If you send four people from WWs to act like they're going to mines,  and you get four opponents follow,  they'll you'll be 6v4 at WW, which is a bit easier position to be in.  If no one follows, you of course have the option to push mines, where you'll be 4v2. Though of course your risk goes up in that if no one follows, you'll be 4v8 until the LH crew gets there, and likely won't be able to recover by the time your fake-out team gets back, since some of your players will surely be dead.   

Tertiaries and WoD Item Levels

I saw this at the brewhall, datamined from the latest alpha build.   The reason it's significant, I think, is it's a green with a tertiary stat, which says something about the design philosophy going into Warlords of Draenor.  
Previously Blizzard made it seem like the tertiary stats would be random bonuses,  but if they're a major part of our trinkets,  then we'll be able to have some control over the type of build we go for.  As far as I'm concerned, this is great news.  Part of me doubts there will be a trinket like Assurance of Consequence every tier,  but having some sort of tertiary trinket available every tier will be fun.

The other thing this tells us is where the level 90 greens are going to be.   516 is a pretty substantial jump from the 430s many players are in when they hit 90 in pandaria.   Levelling straight through Pandaria into Warlords will feel like a significant bump in power.   Also, if we compare this to the early level 100 weapons we've seen,  it looks like our current heroic raiding gear will be good through level 94 or 95,  which is about where most people expected.

I'm finding myself very curious how the early content will be balanced.  The Timeless Isle was very well done, in that it had content for heroic geared players in 543s, and it had content for fresh 90s in 430s.   Blizzard has stated that they want to use the timeless isle model more in their levelling zones,  so we should be in for a fun time.

The Thrill of the Spreadsheet: Hunter Haste Soft Plateaus

This is part of a series in which we take a technical, more in depth look at huntering and hunter abilities.  If numbers aren't your thing,  you'll likely want to skip this one.  

As we finish this tier, and are approaching our BiS gear for the whole xpac,  I thought it would be fun to look at the upper echelon of haste plateaus and soft caps.   It's generally considered that hunters don't have haste plateaus anymore, because our ranged haste and overall haste will change so much during a fight, and perhaps more importantly because our legendary items continue to benefit from more haste well after we've reached the most possible.  However, there are still some "soft plateaus" we should be interested in.  The Dire Beast numbers are particularly of interest because they'll help us compare DB with Fervor and ToTH.

Note that all of these assume you have a 10% attack speed buff, and that you are not a goblin.

Dire Beast:
At 8990 Dire Beast will be able to get off an 11th attack,  bringing its focus regen up to 110/minute.
At 14141 Dire Beast will be able to get off a 12th attack,  bringing its focus regen up to 120/minute.  
At 19293 Dire Beast will be able to get off a 13th attack,  bringing its focus regen up to 130/minute.  
At 24444 Dire Beast will be able to get off a 14th attack,  bringing its focus regen up to 140/minute.  
At 29596 Dire Beast will be able to get off a 15th attack,  bringing its focus regen up to 150/minute.  
At 34747 Dire Beast will be able to get off a 16th attack,  bringing its focus regen up to 160/minute.

Cobra Shot:
At 12695 your Cobra Shot cast will be 1 second during Rapid Fire.   
At 16940 your Cobra Shot cast will be 1 second during Bloodlust/Heroism.
At 34769 your Cobra Shot cast will be 1 second normally.  

Aimed Shot:
At 26491 your Aimed Shot cast will be 1 second during Rapid Fire.   
At 31797 your Aimed Shot cast will be 1 second during Bloodlust/Heroism.
At 54087 your Aimed Shot cast will be 1 second normally.

Focus Regen:
At 21245 you'll regen 6 focus/second (this is not a plateau)
At 10620 you'll regen 5 focus/second (this is not a plateau).

I realize some of these numbers are quite unobtainable even in Heroic WF gear,  but it's still interesting to think about, for me at least.   

A Sonnet to Distracting Shot

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My arrows can reach, though my pet line-of-sights,
For you, distracting shot, are ideal style of play.
I love thee in a dungeon when tanks do fail
to keep ads at bay, giving healers a fright.
I love thee freely, as Draenei love the light.
I love thee purely, as buccaneers love the bloodsail.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In peeling off mobs ’till there is not one left.
I love thee with a love more than talents that I lose
Of all my lost buttons, I love thee most to press,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if the old gods choose,
I shall but love thee still after blizzard puts you to death.

The Casual Dilemma

There are a lot of times when I'm relieved to not be in a hard core guild these days.  I'm currently on a casual 25 player team, with a 30 player rotation.  And it's not that we do a lot of min-maxing as a group,  that is,  there's no "this class has to sit for this fight", etc.   Instead we have a large roster so people can take time off if they need to, which is just awesome.   There's no getting yelled at from a raid-leader who doesn't really know how to motivate people, and really there's very little drama at all, aside from the occasional complaining in /o (but I'm pretty sure that's why /o was invented).

With all that said,  I do miss pushing content.   I don't mean racing for world firsts,  or even realm firsts.  I mean doing content before you out-gear it.  We probably shouldn't need to be pushing 575-580 to down Malkorok. The way this tier is turning out, however, that seems to be what it takes.  

The bulk of the problem is it seems we're carrying at least a couple people every week.   In 25 player raiding,  there are so many people and therefor so many chances for life to get in the way.  One month we lose a good dps, well now we have to go recruit then gear a new player, who may or may not be able to compete on the same level as they person they're replacing.   Then the next month we lose a good healer, so we go through the same process,  recruiting and gearing.  

Another issue is because we are a "casual" guild, a lot of players in the guild think they deserve a spot come raid night, regardless of whether or not they are at all prepared for raiding.  This wouldn't be much of a problem; I don't mind saying "no, you're obviously not prepared",  except occasionally we do need those people to fill in, which means gearing them up, and going over their logs with them, trying to get them to a good place.

Both of these things are fine in normal progression.  It's once we get to heroics that this really becomes a problem.   

For example, last night when we were planning on quickly killing H Nazgrim and getting in some solid pulls on H Malkorok,  we didn't have enough DPS (that is, dps who could pull their own weight) to do it.  We would have had to 6 heal it if we took all heroic-geared players,  or taken two dps who were severely under-geared.   So instead we switched to normal to do a nice and easy farm night.  I actually sat out for most of it since I don't need any normal gear,  but got called back in once they got to seigecrafter so they could have a bit more dps.  

We cleared Seigecrafter and Paragons with one pull each,   but when we got to Garrosh, half the raid team just forgot how to play.  We've had normal Garrosh on farm for quite a while now, and well,  he hasn't magically come up with any new abilities,  but it still seems to be taking people by surprise.   We had several people, each pull, dying to annihilate.   I had begun to think that maybe I was having some hunter bias,  perhaps for less mobile classes the Annihilate mechanic is just to tough,  but after asking around, everyone has assured me that no... no it's not...

These are the trials of the casual raider.   I definitely think it's worth it.  I have fun raiding with this team.  I've just got to remember to check my expectations.   On the plus side of this,  we recently realm transferred a resto druid and are starting to gear her up for raiding, but she's already geared for pvp, so we have another solid healer on our RBG team, and we ran some twos last night, which was a lot of fun.   Got into a couple of epic battles (well, as epic as 2v2 can get).  

Why I don't play the AH, and you can, too.

When I was twenty-two, I took this big long road trip around the western two thirds of the country.  At one point, I had been hiking in the mountains in Utah and was trying to plot my route to get to San Francisco to visit a friend from college.  I had been back country for a while, and wanted to get a hotel room, so I ended up stopping in Reno, where I learned you can get a really nice hotel room for pretty cheap, because they expect you to give them all your money gambling.    I had never been to a casino before,  so I figured why not give it a try.  After cleaning myself up, I went down to the casino floor, and realized that there had been a zombie attack, or at least everyone in there looked undead: just pulling levers on the machines, over and over.  I tried it for about 2 minutes before I realized how insanely boring it was and moved on.

I even tried going to the card tables.  At the black jack tables people looked just as dead as the slot machines, so I moved on to poker.  Remember that Matt Damon poker movie, Rounders?  Well I thought it would be like that.  Instead, it was even worse than the slot machines.  No one seemed to be having much fun; except when occasionally someone would pretend to be a big shot, and place a slightly higher bet.

The point is,  I don't get gambling.  I don't see the fun.  It's boring.

That's how I feel about playing the auction house.  Sure, you could be gold capped in just a few weeks, but goodness gracious a million gold is not worth the monotony.  Especially when enough gold to get by is so easy to come by in the game just by playing.

To be clear, I do use the AH.  I'll sell crafted or gathered gear/materials on there.  That's not what I'm talking about though.  What I think is crazy, is searching through the AH (generally with an addon), and then buying things and re-listing them for higher prices.

Let's think about some ways to get gold easily that don't make me want to kill myself.

Looting kills while questing:  this should go without saying, but when I'm on my skinner, I can't believe the number of people who don't loot their kills.  Even if it'll just get you a couple gold each from vending white or grey trash, that'll add up eventually.

Old Raids:  Even if you're not the best soloer, you can probably handle BC content with no problem.   Run some of those on 25 player and you can vend plenty of gear and drops to grab around a thousand gold in one run.   If you have a geared hunter, it'll only take a few minutes to get through as well.   Pick one where you can focus on getting some gear you want for transmogrification or a rare mount drop, and you won't even notice how much gold you're making.

Timeless Isle: My newest 90 hunter that I boosted a couple weeks ago already has around 10k gold.   I was actually really surprised when I noticed, because I've really only played with him on a couple of flex runs, and on the TI.

Warbringers and the War God:  As I mentioned in my war-god guide,  those stolen insignias are worth plenty of cross-realm and cross-faction available gold.

Even when I was levelling my very first character, I remember hitting 60 at the same time as another guild member, and I paid for his flying,  just because I had the gold to do it (see looting kills) and I wanted to have a buddy to fly around outland with.  Now at max level, no, I don't have enough gold to buy that 500k spectral tiger mount;  but I do have enough for a reforge mount (though I wish I would have known that reforging was going away).

When there's all this fun to be had, why would anyone want to sit in a boring old city running back and forth between their mailbox and the AH?

First and Last

I was going over my own logs from last weeks raids, and I noticed I had a fun achievement for Heroic Sha of Pride; being first in damage done, and last in damage taken.
  My DPS wasn't chart breaking,  that is, it certainly wasn't a ranking parse on WoL,  but out of the 25 of us, ~360k came out on top.   The reason I'm writing this, though, isn't to talk about my DPS.
While hunters should be expected to perform really well in regards to their DPS,  that's only half of it.   As the most mobile ranged class in the game, we should also be expected to have the lowest damage taken on every fight.  That means never taking avoidable damage.   On heroic Sha,  that mostly means constantly watching your feet, because the rifts are always shooting out avoidable ground effects.   It also means timing your deterrence so you can use it during swelling pride, and while closing rifts; if you've got a little luck, you should be able to deterrence then disengage over a couple rifts without taking any damage from them, or any damage from swelling pride.  With CTHC you can do this trick 4 out of 5 swelling prides.

Of course there's also some amount of luck involved, because the DoTs Sha casts on players isn't avoidable.  But for the most part,  lowest damage taken, and 10th or 12th lowest damage taken is a difference of how much avoidable damage you took.    I was in three prisons and banished once, but I did have four Gift of the Titans.

There was one area I didn't excel in,  which was rift closing.  I was just slightly above average with number of rifts closed, so I guess that's what I'll be needing to work on next time.

Pet Tanking War-God Dokah

This is a continuation of a series for those of us who are wanting to make the leap from run of the mill hunter, to hunter extraordinaire.  We'll be going through soloing that isn't quite in the realm of "extreme soloing", but is beyond the grasp of the average WoW player.
Toward the end of expansions it seems the AH markets die off pretty quick; especially in MoP where there's so much free catch up gear.  One of my favorite little farms is War-God Dokah.  

For some reason,  people on my server don't bother farming War-God Dokah.   I've only ever, that I recall, run into one other person up there, and since he respawns every half hour, there's plenty to go around.  For me, however, he's on my "anytime I have a spare minute" list of things to do, because he's a great gold maker, and he's great for farming resources.   The Dinomancers you have to kill to get to him drop tons of the pets, which vend for 62g50s, so even if you don't have a good pet market on your server, they give you a fine chunk of change.  They also, for hunters only, drop plenty of Ancient Tomes of Dinomancy, which vend for 37g50s each.   Then the War-God himself drops 4-16 Stolen Insignias for the various pandaria faction, which only vend for 17g50s each,  but tons of them drop.   The other huge benefit of these, is they are account bound, so if you say, just started a baby hunter on another realm or in another faction,  you can send these over so they can start with some gold in their pockets.  Then finally, he drops a big bag and a small bag,  which will contain resources for one or two professions.  

To solo this guy, you will want to be fairly geared. If you're over 530 ilvl, your pet should be able to handle his melee, but there is a sort of "enrage timer", in that the dinomancers around him respawn quite quickly.   He has 42m health, so to kill him in 3 minutes you'll need to do about 235k dps.  To kill him in four minutes, which will be pushing the respawns, you'll need 175k dps. 

If you perhaps slept through patch 5.2, the War-God can be found on that big ship off the southeast shore of the Isle of Giants.   Swim out,  and before you jump up there,  hit your camo and you can walk right by that big ol' dino.   Once inside the lower deck of the ship,  MD to your pet and hit barrage, you can pull the whole room at once.  They're worth killing for the tomes and pets that will most likely drop.   On the upper deck you'll do the same thing, just be careful with your barrage so you don't pull the War-God while you have 15 dinomancers to deal with .   There are 4 in a line that are pretty close to the War-God, so I'll generally put my pet on passive and pull them individually from max distance, so I don't chance hitting the Dokah with my cape proc.   Once the dinomancers are dead and looted,  you'll probably want to start on Dokah immediately, so as to not run into the dinomancers respawning.   

Dokah has the same abilities as the Warbringers, with the exception that he does all 5 of the abilities, and they hit considerably harder.   If you've farmed the Warbringers for mounts, though, you'll already be prepared for all of these abililties, which are:
  • Scarabs--he summons some scarabs, which can be taken out without switching targets with a quick multi-shot,  or if they're too spread out, with a barrage.  The only consideration here is don't barage toward the northwest side of the boat, or you'll have a giant devilsaur coming at you.   
  • Meteor Shower--he summons some meteors.  This won't affect you much,  they're a problem for casters who can't move, but we can easily out-range them, so just get out of the way.  If you do get hit, they won't hurt bad, however.  
  • Horrific visage--he'll cast this on whoever has aggro (your pet) and they'll be feared.  It can be annoying because it can line of sight both Dokah and your pet.  If you see this being cast,  make sure you refresh Mend Pet, in case your pet gets in a spot where you can't heal her.  It can happen that it'll send your pet downstairs,  but I've only seen it once, you should only have a couple of dinomancers to deal with if your pet does pull any, though.  Shouldn't be a big deal. 
  • Thunder Crush--only effects melee, and doesn't hurt your pet, so just make sure you don't stand in it. 
  • Vengeful Spirit--this ghost lady will 2 shot your pet, so keep your pet away from her. She's quite slow, but you'll need to move 50 - 60 yards (or 3/4 the length of the boat) for her to despawn before she gets to you or your pet without having to move twice.  If you're BM,  you can't afford to lose so much dps while you're pet kites her,  so make sure you take aggro when she appears, then you can kite her around while your pet tears up the war-god.
The method is incredibly similar to Archiereus, so read that if you'd like more detail (just substitute Vengeful Spirit where it says Golem).   The gist of it is:

Keep Dokah's aggro on your pet.  Keep glyphed Mend Pet up at all times.   If he casts scarabs, AoE them down.  If he casts Vengeful Spirit (which has a significant cast time), go ahead and /petmoveto all the way to the other side of the boat.   And Pew Pew.   It might take a couple tries to get used to the managing the Horrific Visages (if you're BM you can save your BW for this and negate them),  but other than that, it's quite straight forward.  Pew Pew, collect loot! 

And once you're done,  fight some giant dinos!  

Datamining Updates

The WoW Hunter Blogosphere is going crazy with updates from the Warlords of Draenor Alpha.

NCPRicket take a first look at hunter changes:
Bendak goes over the pet changes datamined by the good folks over at Petopia and MMO Champion.
And Darkbrew has a great overview of the hunter's responses.
And don't forget to take a look at this datamined Engineer-build level 700 hunter weapon.

Pet Tanking the Archiereus of Flame

This is the first in a series of Basic Soloing Guides, for those of us who are wanting to make the leap from run of the mill hunter, to hunter extraordinaire.  We'll be going through soloing that isn't quite in the realm of "extreme soloing", but is beyond the grasp of the average WoW player.

When I purchased WoD and received my "free" boost last week, I decided it was time for another max level hunter, which means I've been visiting the Timeless Isle again.   It's actually been a lot of fun.  Delirium (my main) had a five thirty something ilvl when the Timeless Isle first came, so I never had experienced it as a lower geared hunter.

Over the last couple of days, I joined a few pugs for rep grinding, and just to get coins, loots and burdens, and several people while in group told me we couldn't do Archiereus, that you needed a raid group to kill him.
If you're fairly geared at this point, you may find that ridiculous, as he's a bit of a push over for SoO normal or heroic geared players if you just kite him around a bit.  But for everyone else, here's the easy-mode way to kill Archiereus.   

What you'll need:
You probably want to spec Survival for this.  You can do it as BM, but you'll lose a lot of dps when your pet is kiting Arch away.  

You want the Spirit Bond talent for this, as well as the misdirect glyph and most likely glyph of mending.  (Spirit bond is a clear winner over Iron Hawk because you shouldn't be taking any damage yourself).  

You'll need to have a macro and keybind for "/petattack" as well as a macro like:

You'll want a macro to misdirect to your pet.  I use this:
   #show tooltip Misdirection
   /cast [@focus, help] [@pet, nodead, exists] Misdirection
If that makes too many buttons to press, you could also just macro it into another shot like Arcane or Explosive Shot.

You might want an addon that displays your target's cast bar.   It's displayed in the Blizzard standard UI, but it's small and out of the way.   If you can keep track of it without an addon, then you're good to go.  

##Note that these are all things I have anyway, not things I did or got for Arch.  If you don't already use all of these things, then now's as good of a time as any to upgrade. 

How it works:
Arch only really has two moves you'll be worried about.  The cone of fire on the ground, which will one-shot you, and the big magma golems, which will one-shot your pet.   The great part is, however, your pet doesn't have to worry about the fire,  and the golems are too slow to ever catch your hunter. 

What you'll want to do, is keep aggro on your pet at all times.  You can Misdirect every three seconds, and you'll want to do it pretty much on CD.   There's no reason to take any aggro for your self (and it will help so when some other player comes up, they won't have as much of a chance of ripping aggro).   You'll also want to keep Mend Pet up constantly.   Especially at <=500 ilvl, his melee attacks will hurt your pet.   Other than those two things, just fight as normal.   

Where you'll want to switch things up, is if you see him start to cast conjure golem, you'll hit your petmoveto macro,  which will put a little green circle under your mouse so you can get your pet the hell out of there.   You'll be moving your pet so she's around 30-40yds from you, and 30-40yrds from where Arch just was.   This will keep his Blazing Blow cone from hitting you, and keep your pet well out of the golem's range.   

You can continue to do this in a little circle. With Mend Pet and Spirit Bond, your pet will never really drop much in health, and you won't have to worry about dodging those pesky fire cones.   

Getting out of trouble, tips and tricks:

  • If someone else comes up and takes aggro (and they will), don't worry about it.  Just make sure your pet is higher than you on the aggro table, so when that silly rogue or pally die, you can go right back to what you were doing.   Since it can get messy in there,  feel free to keep your pet out of the melee pack,  then she can start kiting again once she gets aggro back, and you won't have to worry about missing a golem.  
  • If your pet dies, you're not in trouble; just don't panic.   Remember you should be around 40 yards from arch.  So throw up a conc shot, and then hit rez pet, and pet attack.  You'll have plenty of time to get your pet attacking, and then feign death so Arch goes back to your pet.  
  • I don't use Barrage or Glaives,  because you don't want to accidentally pull something else.   Especially the lower your ilvl.   Just a little extra damage will tip the scales on your pets health pretty quickly.
  • I use a turtle so I can pop shield shell  if its health starts to drop.   But really any tenacity pet can do the trick.  

Congrats, now you can head over there whenever you like for your daily chance at that XP boost potion. 

The Introduction

Greetings hunters!  After only a couple short years of planning to write a Hunter Blog, I'm finally getting around to it.   Normally, I suppose I would have taken time in this first post to explain who I am, perhaps some of my philosophy toward huntering and general WoW gameplay.   But then of course, right as I'm getting the site up, Blizzard has to go and release the first set of alpha notes for Warlords of Draenor.   So who cares about me, let's get right to the good stuff.

If you'd like to see the actual patch notes (as though they're any chance you haven't already), head over here. I'll just go over the big ones here.


Aimed is now required to be used instead of arcane.  This is a fine change, since top tier hunters were doing this anyway.  It will make the spec a little clunky,  but the extra focus and focus savers will help alleviate some of that.   Throw in the glyph,  and that Aimed no longer interrupts Auto-shots, and MM is in a pretty good place.

MM loses Silencing Shot.  That's too bad.   I knew it was happening because they wanted less CC.  I understand that 2v2 doesn't matter to much of anyone, but having Silencing Shot made it lots of fun to go up against healer-dps teams.

No more Serpent Sting.  I have absolutely no problem with this. It didn't really make sense for MM anyway.


LnL is now baked into Black Arrow.  No worries here.  Having traps force proc it so you know for sure you were going to get at least one proc during your opener was really nice.  But it seems Blizz has been wanting SV to rely more and more on RNG for a while now, so over all, no big deal.

No more kill shot.  This one surprised me a bit,  with traps at 50% reduced cool down,  I thought they were trying to give SV a little bit of a pvp push,  but simultaneously taking away our execute, and taking away any sure chance of proccing LnL, will make that pretty tough to finish someone off.  Still, in some comps and in RBGs it will be nice to have the added sustained damage.

Serpent Sting is SV only.  This was to be expected.  And I'm happy with the change.  However, this is somewhat nit-picky,  but I'd rather do away with Arcane Shot.  Call it serpent sting, or serpent shot, whatever,  and it can work exactly the same as arcane shot with serpent baked in,  I just feel like it's quite messy to call it arcane shot.  It doesn't make any sense that hunters would be using arcane to begin with, anyway.

  • Improved Camo:  Camo no longer breaks from dealing or taking damage.
  • Enhanced Camo:  You heal 5% of your max health every 1 sec while Camo is active.

If this makes it to live, it means we get 30% of our health back every minute, without affecting our DPS.   That is insanely awesome, and is enough to make me really excited about playing SV.  

Beast Mastery: 

Having to choose between Blink Strikes and Stampede will be rough.   This might turn into a substantial AoE / single target type decision, especially once they add in all of the pet damage buffs from the Perks.  I imagine Stampede will become "mandatory" for single target.  

No more Serpent Sting.  BM is going to have a lot more "free" damage from pets auto-attacks.  So getting away from SS will be a good thing.


No more aspects; except all the aspects are still there, they're just abilities now.  Can I get a great big "who cares?"

Loss of CC pets.   I don't feel as upset by this as others seem to be.  They're removing lots of CC from the game.   So of course they have to do it to hunters as well.  It'll be alright.

Loss of Hunter's Mark, Distracting Shot, Rapid Fire, Widow Venom, Scatter Shot.   I understand that scatter shot has to go away because of CC changes.  But thank the titans they let us keep Conc Shot.  What makes a hunter the most fun in the game, is when it's just you and your pet, out in the wilderness,  taking down giant dinosaurs or what have you.   Distracting shot wasn't in the way for anyone?  it didn't have any implications for PvP (well...) and was only rarely used for Raiding (adds on garrosh, maybe a couple others this tier).  Widow Venom wasn't in the way of anything either (I didn't check to see if monk's were losing this ability as well).  These types of abilities don't really affect balancing or anything else.  They just make playing hunter more fun.  So I'm sad to see them go.

Hunter's Mark hasn't been very useful since they made it auto-apply to your current target.  So in that regard,  not having hunter's mark isn't much different than having an auto-applying hunter's mark.  Perhaps I'm still lamenting losing it long ago, when it stopped being useful.

There's more, and maybe I'll throw in my two cents as time allows.  This post is probably long enough as is, though.  (Of course, there's always room for a picture of taking down a dino).  It looks like over at the Brewhall  Darkbrew has a good overview of all the changes, and Bendak at Eyesofthebeasts is doing a post on each different spec that gets into more details, if you're searching for more hunter specific info.

For the time being, thanks for stopping by!  I'll be adding more to the resources pages up top, and hopefully having some decent content to add up here.