Each week, Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the hunter class sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
Deportment: d?-pôrt'm??nt, noun. A manner of personal conduct; behavior.
Why is it so important that we conduct ourselves in a manner in which the other classes don't have to? Because a lot of people think we hunters are expendable, that's why. We have a bad reputation and much of it fairly earned. In order to build up your Hunter Karma you'll need to work extra-hard at not being a PITA.
There is a saying in the business community. Everybody who has a bad experience with your product will raise a ruckus and complain, but only one out of ten people who like your product will ever say anything to anybody. Negative press gets attention, folks, and hunters have a boat-load of it.
"Hunters break my sheep."
"Hunters break my saps."
"Hunters break my shackles."
"Hunters always cry for pet heals."
"Hunters grab aggro and then kite or melee the mob I'm supposed to be tanking."
"Hunters think all loot is Huntard-Loot."
So what can we do about this avalanche of negativity? How can we combat the Huntard Stereotype? What can you do personally to raise the awareness of proper hunter behavior?
Get In, Sit Down, Shut Up, and Hang On. That's what.
So what does BigRedKitty, that overbearing, mean-spirited blowhard, mean with that rude and obnoxious comment? A bunch. We're going to use it to break down four phases of raiding and how you can make those around you really glad they brought a competent hunter with them. The first phase is, of course, pre-raid preparations.
As a hunter, you have five things you need to do to be ready to start your next party or raid:
Repair. Every class needs to be fully repaired, of course, and you don't have any greater need to be repaired than any other class. Unless one counts the fact that you're already starting off with more negative vibes than all the other classes combined. If your priest shows up unrepaired, the raid will happily send him back and summon him. Should you show up unrepaired, be ready to be standing by the instance entrance suddenly party-less as they take for one of the other 127 Looking For Group hunters in your place.
Pet Food. Always come with a huge pile of pet food, even if your pet can eat mage-conjured food. Can you guarantee there will be a mage in your next 5-man party? No. Don't make everybody wait for you or cut down your pet's DPS because you forgot your Roasted Clefthoof.
Water. You use mana, natch. Can you guarantee that there will be a mage in your party? No you cannot. Get the best water you can, even if you don't have a mana pool big enough to take full advantage of it. Speedy drinking will keep you moving along with the rest of the party. "Hold on, we have to wait for the hunter. Again." is not a running commentary you want to see scroll by on your screen.
Ammo. You're a ranged DPS class for frickin' sake. Running out of ammo is so bad, so pathetic, that restocking your quiver or ammo pouch should be the last thing you do before you sign off and the first thing you check as you sign on. Run out of ammo? You might as well show for your next instance naked.
Potions and Food. Have at least two mana and healing potions at the start of every instance. You're not going to need them often, but when you do you'll be so grateful you have them. Do you like Elixir of the Mongoose and Elixir of Greater Agility? Grab them too. Do you cook? Warp Burgers grant +20 agility and +30 spirit. Next time you're bored out of your skull, go to Terrokar Forest and kill Warp Stalkers for 30 minutes and make a nice stack of twenty.
So with all this shopping you're going to be doing, this preparation time could mean a trip to a repair man, a water vendor, a general goods store, a food vendor, a run back to Azeroth for the Auction House, a hearthstone back to Shattrath, and then you can beg for a port. That's a very inefficient use of your time and it'll grate on your party members to no end.
So how can we maximize our efficiency? Buy in bulk and store it in your bank. You have a 15 or 18 slot ammo bag, but when you buy bullets, fill your ammo pouch and then buy 20 or 30 stacks more and dump them in a bag in your bank.
Pet food you always need. Why just carry two stacks when you can dump ten stacks in your bank. Ditto water. At the Auction House, splurge and buy 20 mana and health potions and whatever else you fancy. Dump it in your bank. The next time you log on, you'll go to the repair guy and the bank to stock up. No running around like crazy when you're late for Karazhan and you're out of everything.
"But BigRedKitty, my bank is full!"
Have you purchased all the available bank slots? Are you using a mule? Are you storing all those Argent Dawn and Zul'Gurub reputation items still? Chuck them, mule them, whatever. Don't let excuses keep you from running Karazhan.
This leads us to the final point - show up for your instances on time. Yes, just about everybody has a real life and will be pressed for time occasionally. But if you're ready to go fifteen minutes early, don't sit and wait for a port. Get yourself to the instance entrance and be prepared to port those late healers and tanks without whom your run will not go. Just as in the real world, punctuality is noticed and appreciated. Who would you rather have in your raid: an on-time and prepared hunter or late and scatterbrained mage? Hmm. We know who we'd take.
One the preparations are ready, we're going to actually try to kill stuff. This phase we're delighted to call:
No, this isn't just for jump-happy Night Elves. What we want to impart is that, during the run, there are ways to be useful and ways to be a pest. Concentrate on the former.
Don't pull until the raid leader says to. Yes, you know the time is right because the patrols are gone, but if the raid leader isn't ready, nobody is. He's got a hard enough job without you deciding willy-nilly to start a fight. What may be best for you may not be best for everybody else.
Don't grab aggro. You've got the best aggro management skills in the game. Use them. Use your Premature Feign Death trick to dump your aggro before you get to the top of the threat list. Let the mages and warlocks worry about throttling their DPS to keep the tank happy. Your Feign Death spell has a 30 second cooldown, so use it. Does your pet grab aggro unintentionally? Don't forget that you can train Cower to reduce your pet's threat. Keep your tank happy by keeping your aggro profile low.
Don't melee. You Are Not Prepared to melee. You wear mail, but the healers are not primarily looking at you. Do you think a tank can take a beating from a 70 elite without heals? Of course not and neither can you. By the time the healer notices your health taking a dive, you might be quite and thoroughly dead. If you grab aggro and Feign Death is resisted, run like a child to his momma -- right at the tank -- and let him grab that mob off of you. You can try to Wing Clip, but don't Raptor Strike. For Elune-sake, you're trying to dump aggro not get more.
Wonderful. You're actually killing things and that's good. Sooner or later, strategy is going to come into play big-time. You can affect the effectiveness of your party by paying attention to this phase, which we call:
The raid leader needs to communicate with the party or raid. He doesn't need you being a distraction in his communication channels.
Don't spam DamageMeters. Keeping track of your DPS is important. Shoving your #1 place down everybody's throat after every trash mob fight is doing nothing but causing strife among the DPS classes. They'll more than likely become more concerned with climbing the chart than doing their job.
If you in a run with people who aren't familiar with you or your mad skillz, and you're the only hunter in the raid, in the heat of a battle we recommend you refer to yourself as "Hunter." For example, you've been assigned Blue Square to chain trap. The warrior pulls and you grab your mob and trap him. You move off and set another trap. When your original trap is about to expire, tell the raid,
"Hunter has Blue."
Clear and concise, your party should know not to waste an off-tank on your controlled mob. Everybody has grouped with a hunter but not everybody has grouped with a good hunter. They may not know how well you chain trap and they might freak out when they see Blue Square break free and come running at you. Let them know you're on top of the situation.
Make sure the tank is ready before you Misdirect Pull. Once you fire that thing, there's nothing you nor anybody else can do to reset the fight. Ask the tank directly, "Are you ready for a Misdirect Pull?" and don't fire until he says Yes.
Don't engage in activities that will hamper your ability to control your Multi Shot. We have heard of guilds that actually ask their hunters to remove Multi Shot from their action bar! Don't break crowd controls because you were chatting with that sexy shaman and not paying attention to your fight.
The boss is dead and it's Miller Time. Everybody wants phat loot, you're no different. However, the manner in which we interact with the spoil-distribution is the phase we call:
You got in the group, fulled geared, prepared, and on time. You watched your aggro and confidentially communicated your trapping and pulling to the raid. You take down the boss and something nice drops. It has strength, agility and stamina.
You should pass. Just because you can use gear doesn't mean you should get it. Why? Because getting into one run is good. Making the other people glad to have you so you get more runs is better. Want an example?
BigRedKitty has several of the 65 DPS ranged weapons. Ornate Khorium Rifle, Recoilless Rocket Ripper X-54, Consortium Blaster, Telescopic Sharprifle, and Wraithfire Hand-Cannon. Running Arcatraz as a pugged 5th for another guild, we had the Emberhawk Crossbow drop. We asked the rogue if he'd like it. He freaked.
"You're a hunter and don't you want that?"
"Not if you can use it for stats or something. It's not an upgrade for me, but if it is for you, take it."
"Dude! That's so cool! Thank you! You can run with our guild anytime!"
And just like that, we'd got Street Cred with his entire guild and we've been invited on several more runs since.
Get In, Sit Down, Shut Up, and Hang On. Be prepared and on time, play your class appropriately, communicate effectively, and don't be a Loot-Freak. You'll have a much better time, make more friends, and increase our Hunter Karma. That means more instances for all of us.
Daniel Howell continues his quest to thrust pride back into the Hunter genre as the Damh and Hobbes hunter-pet duo extraordinaire known to lore as BigRedKitty. More of his theorycrafting and slanderous belittling of the lesser classes can be found at bigredkitty.blogspot.com.
[Fan art by Moony]