Oh, Blizzard, you tease.

Recently the Death Knight changes have left me scratching my head. Death Strike's gone to an erratic, but useful self-healing ability to a major damage-dealer for Blood with hardly any healing, back to a solid damage dealer with good self-healing.

At the point when it hardly healed at all, I despaired of ever being able to duo old raids with Kate any more; wistful memories of Zul'Gurub, Molten Core and Onyxia's Lair flashed through my mind and a tear slowly traced its way down my cheek.

However, Death Strike now heals me for about 15% of my health each time I use it, provided I have at least 2 diseases on the target, which is a good enough portion of my health to definitely be worthwhile. So Death Knights, rejoice! Once again, we can sustain our own health in most situations without the assistance of a healer!


Goodbye, quivers... and hello again!

Jon was a bit sad when he found out that quivers and ammo pouches were being made obsolete--his hunter had the epic quiver, after all. He wasn't about to vendor it off, of course, but he was going to miss it. Me, I wasn't too concerned, after all I had barely seen my quiver since level 70 or so, and the ammo stacking changes would give me a lot more room in my bags. As soon as 3.1 hit, I unequipped my quiver (planning to vendor it later) and stuck a 20-slot bag in its place--I was thrilled.

As soon as I had the quiver in a bag slot, though, I noticed something strange--my quiver was showing up on my back again, even out of combat! I wasn't sure why... maybe it was just something added to the ranged weapons, rather than anything to do with the quiver itself. The graphic for the Knothide Quiver (yes, I was still using that at level 80... /fail) is pretty recognizable, though, and did not look very nice with Arrowsong.

Once I vendored off my old quiver, sure enough, the graphic no longer displayed--wanting to make sure it wasn't just an odd fluke, I picked up a low-level quiver from the Auction house and stuck it in a bag.

It looks pretty darn awesome. :)

Wowhead has some other neat quivers listed--I'm sad now that I vendored the Hunting Quiver when I did that quest. Oh well, I like the Light Leather one almost as much.

Now I just need to figure out if this is a Hunter-only thing, or if quivers now display for other classes that can use bows as well...

Edit: Thanks to some help from my friend Mutilated, I can now say that this seems to be a Hunter-only effect (or at least, it doesn't work for Rogues). Thanks, Mut! :)


Six Heads Are Better Than Two

And here's the proof!

I spotted Kaynor showing off his Hydra in Ironforge yesterday and couldn't resist bringing mine out as well. Sassy seemed pleased to finally encounter another of her kind. :)

This brings up the count of Hunters on Sen'jin who I know who have Hydras to...2.5. I know Gunwright had one but I'm not sure if he still has it or not, and so far I haven't run into any Hordies with em. That might just be because I don't visit Orgrimmar too often, though.

It's a fun feeling, seeing someone else with the same rare pet--I imagine it's a little like how a Hunter with a ghost wolf might feel seeing another one, though the Hydras were much easier to tame (the tricky part being simply leveling quickly and getting a specific daily). For a while, I thought I was the only one here with a Hydra--now I know I'm not, and it's not so lonely, more like being part of an exclusive club.

The Azerothian Hydra Fanciers Association perhaps?


No d20s required?

Despite enjoying roleplaying (we met at a Dungeons and Dragons game), Jon and I don't really do much with it in WoW. Sure, each of our characters has a somewhat well thought out back story, and I at least like to collect fun outfits as I level, but we play on Normal and PvP servers, and what little roleplaying we can't resist doing tends to be mocked unmercifully.

At one point last year we had decided to try out an RP-PvP server and really get into the whole roleplaying thing. We came up with our characters and their stories before hand--a Blood Elf of some sort, and an Undead Rogue--and were really looking forward to RPing them. I ran my Belf over to the Undead starting area, we had a little dramatic reunion (in /p, because I was feeling shy and not at all convinced there was roleplaying even on RP servers), and set out to kill some Scarlet Crusaders.

About that time, an Undead Mage decided she had a problem with me--she started following me around, tapping any mobs I so much as looked sideways at, and telling me in /say and /whisper that my kind weren't welcome here. This was before Sylvanas got her new model, so telling her "Why don't you go say that to your Banshee Queen?" only confused her, and she continued to follow us around, harassing me, for about an hour.

We haven't logged back on to those characters since.

With all that in mind, it's understandable that when I ran into a newcomer to the game, who still believed with all his heart that it was a role-playing game and played accordingly, I was quite surprised (though pleasantly). I'd just rolled up a human mage to play around with, and there he was, a level seven dwarf paladin complaining aloud about human architecture and how was he supposed to find anything in a building that consisted mostly of lots and lots of stairs. We killed some Defias together, headed south to Goldshire and the farms, and traveled as far as the Eastvale Logging Camp. He was in character most of the time, and I found myself trying to do the same--I don't know if I succeeded, but I did use "LOL" a lot less than I usually do, and once I accidentally misspelled "it's" as "tis".

We're both up to around level 18 now (with the heirloom shoulders "from a wealthy relative" I caught up easily), and Jon's joined us, as have a couple of other friends who rolled new alts at around the same time. We're getting ready to do our first Deadmines run, and he's so excited--he's not new to roleplaying games, but he is new to WoW, and watching him discover everything for the first time is a blast. I'm a little worried, though, how he'll take it the first time he runs into someone who tells him "lolRP, u fail nub" or something similar.

Does anyone else still believe WoW is for roleplaying? :)


Survival...and loving it.

I'm a great BM hunter. Pet micromanagement is my forte, and there's really nothing so awesome as the stunned look on a player's face when he realizes that no matter whether he attacks me or my big red pet first, he's dead. (At least, I imagine they look kinda stunned, it's possible there's some panic there as well. Can you tell I'm having fun leveling on a PvP server?)

That said, as the title and screenshot attest, I have gone Survival (at least with Izzy, Schen is still BM for leveling), and it is amazing.

It's kind of funny that I'm going Survival now, long after everyone else switched over, and after the BM-crippling nerfs have mostly been reversed (I didn't even respec for that). I'd tried it out in the past, and I just couldn't seem to get the rotation down--immolation trap, explosive shot, multi shot, ack my pet's dead and I have aggro! It was uncomfortable and it seemed just too hard. I was satisfied with where I was with BM, and so I went back to it.

This post made me step back and take another look at why I was staying BM.

Beast Mastery is my comfort zone, my safe place. I know it very well, and I can squeeze about as much DPS out of it as my gear will allow. Survival is only "hard" for me because it's not BM. It's a trap I fall into frequently. When we go out to eat, I always order the same thing or the closest I can find to it. I like one particular smoothie at Jamba Juice and don't really go out of my way to try the others though I'm sure they're just as good. I admit to being a little more adventurous with my Doritos, but that's only because my favorite flavor is no longer available. And it kind of bugs me--I don't want to miss out on something good just because it's different from what I'm used to. I realized that this was what was happening with me and Survival.

With my earlier re-spec I'd focused on the differences and how alien this strange new playstyle was to me. I tried trapdancing and even tamed a new pet. This time, I made an effort to give Survival a fair try. My wolf, Bolt, stayed at my side, and still does a fair amount of my damage. I spent about an hour practicing my rotation on the test dummies in Ironforge before tagging along on a quick Black Temple run for the achievement (I finally got to /fangirl at Illidan!) and then a Heroic Azjol'Nerub where I blew the other DPS away. This time, I'm staying Survival.

My wolf still bites and my hydra still tanks, though. I'm still a Hunter, after all.

Of keeping one's cool.

She never believed me, you know. When I insisted that Player-versus-Player action would help you in fights against computer-controlled monsters, she would just shake her head and find an excuse.

A few days ago, we were together on our horde characters, myself a paladin, her a Hunter. She always keeps up Track Humanoids, which helps us to spot enemies from far away, on Dragonmaw they can attack us with impunity, and fresh into Northrend means we're fairly low-level. We were fighting Magnataur close to the mountains, when she noticed a Death Knight riding by. She advocated leaving it alone, I concurred but with the understanding that if he should be working on the same quest as us we should attack him.

He was.

After he went down, a rogue attacked us. It was higher level, and took down Kate's Hunter. She did not escape my wrath, however. Soon the rogue and death knight came at us together. We focused on the rogue first, bringing it down quickly, but I died right afterwards, from the death knight. Kate handled him beautifully, managing to bring him down with little trouble.

Afterward, Kate remarked how back when she was new, another player attacking her like that would've made her freak out, but now, with more experience and more importantly, having learned, as she put it, "one death won't kill you," she has become much more adaptable and calm in the frantic circumstances of PVP, which helps her in all other aspects of the game, too.

Here's a picture we took of my paladin shortly before the attacks.

More sparkles than Edward Cullen! -Kate