As a prot paladin, I've learned my place in the world (of Warcraft). True, that place is usually face-deep in the crotch of some monster, but that's beside the point. When I'm tanking, I know I'm here to do one thing and one thing only: to piss off bad guys so they'll leave you alone. Strapping on my shield and a mace keeps me in a Zen-like comfort zone where everything seems to just come naturally.
Like many others, though, I've found myself looking for more to do as Cataclysm lurches ever closer. After all, there are only so many things to get beaten by each week. This has left me joining a growing percentage of players in a less-than-exclusive club: "Hi, I'm Brian, and I'm an altoholic."
Most classes I've tried have felt fairly natural. I've leveled my DK and priest with no problems and have really been enjoying the early levels of both my mage and warlock (which, as you'd imagine, leaves me with quite an internal struggle). There's one class, however, that has managed to bewilder me at every turn. A class that, for whatever reason, seems so counterintuitive to me that It's taken me over a year and a half to hit level 27. My friends, I am -- cue dramatic music -- the worst hunter in the world.
That feeling that something's missing
I think it all started with the rotation. Something about it makes me feel like I'm missing something. As a pally, no matter where I am, no matter what I'm doing, you'd better believe there's a button for me to press. 6-9-6-9-6-9. I can 6-9 with the best of them, throwing out the occasional off-the-global taunt while I'm at it. On my little lowbie hunter, though, I always feel as if there's something I've forgotten to train. I open with a Concussive Shot to slow my enemy down, give them a taste of my Serpent Sting, follow it up with an Arcane Shot and a Multi-Shot, then...uh. Well, let's just say I haven't figured out what to do besides twiddle my thumbs for 3 seconds. That's not a lot of twiddling, so I usually end up throwing out two more Serpent Stings just to look like I'm doing something productive.
Of course, that's more of a lowbie hunter problem. I'm sure I would find something to fill my time with if I were ever to reach level 80.
More of an issue is my targeting style. As a tank, I want all the aggro. I'm an aggro addict. If I've got all the aggro I could possibly need on my current target, chances are I'll be tabbing over to get more precious aggro from another source. A funny thing happens when you abuse the tab button on a hunter, though. Instead of being praised by your team for doing a good job, you end up getting berated just because you invited a few extra quillboars to join the fun.
Still another thing that's missing
Yes, things are different for hunters, all right. Even their consumables cause me problems. If my main runs out of Honeymint Tea, it barely matters. Who needs to drink as a pally, anyway? Out of Symbols of Kings? Meh. I guess I'll just have to click on PallyPower more often.
Running out of things on this needy little hunter of mine actually seems to mean something. With no arrows, I might as well be useless. If I run out of meat for my pet, I have to farm more or just endure the sadface of shame my trusted friend keeps directing at me. The only thing that could be more depressing is if Sarah McLachlan started playing in the background every time my pet felt neglected.
In order to elaborate on just what a terrible hunter I am, I'd like to relay a story. I logged in a while back to find myself in Ashenvale with no meat, no arrows and no money. Due to the sporadic nature of my will to hunt, I couldn't possibly tell you how this ever happened. Since this was my only Horde character, I couldn't think of a single way to get any of these things (I hadn't been clever enough to think of the neutral auction house at the time). But like M. Night Shyamalan's career after The Village, the worst was yet to come.
While wandering down the path, looking for mobs I could melee to death, I happened to notice a pretty little creature off to the side. A Ghostpaw Alpha. It was the first beast I had encountered that made me consider getting rid of my trusty Elder Springpaw from Eversong Woods. Since there wasn't much else for me to do, I decided to finally get a new pet. I targeted the wolf and chose Tame Beast. Oh? Apparently I had too many pets already. After taking care of that little piece of business, I attempted again to tame the beast. This was when I learned two very important things: Some beasts are too high-level to tame ... and Beast Lore exists for a reason.
There I was, lacking arrows, a pet or basic competence as a hunter. It was almost enough to make me hang up my bow for good.
Once a noob ...
I kept on truckin', though. I slowly rebuilt from scratch, taming another feline, doing some low-level quests and getting back on track. I log on every now and then to play -- but no matter what, I think I'll always be a bit of a noob. Until they give hunters Crusader Aura and turn Hunter's Mark into a 30-minute self buff, I think I'll always find myself dazed and doing less damage than I should ... but at least I'll have fun in the meantime.
One last thing, before I go. Were you aware that hunters have a spell specifically designed for committing suicide, either by leaping from great heights or into groups of angry mobs? Yep, it's called Disengage. Frostheim I ain't.
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