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BigRedKitty is thrilled to be here

Daniel Howell
Each week, Daniel Howell contributes Big Red Kitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for the hunter class sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.

So here we are in our new WoW Insider beach-side bungalow, a home-away-from-home, as it were. It's spacious and clean, but begging for some paint on the walls, trophies on the shelves, and some Sporeling Snacks in the fridge. Let's see what we can do about that.

My name is Damh and I've been a World of Warcraft addict since March 2006, and have played a hunter since that April.

As this new year arrived, the expectation of the Burning Crusade expansion blossomed in our hearts, and the one-year-anniversary of making my wife watch her bad 80s movies alone came closer, I decided I just couldn't go on posting my ideas and thoughts in my guild's hunter forum where they sat alone and unread. Perhaps I was naive, but I wanted to impart some wisdom and hoped someone might learn from my mistakes, gain some of my insight into the hunter class, and laugh at my jokes. So I made a blog upon which I could yap and babble, knowing full well that nobody would read it. I didn't care; it was for me.

Ridiculously, my silly blog has surpassed 40,000 hits and, in its prime, averaged almost 900 hits per day. Our hunter brethren are apparently thirsty for knowledge, so I wrote, got email suggestions, and tried to make the site very personal and like a community.

Remember that WoW Insider ran a contest looking for new columnists? Well, someone forwarded that page to me, I applied, was accepted, and *poof* here I am.

But how exactly did I get here? Read on...

My first WoW toon was a gnome mage. Basically, I was terrible. I scrapped my way to level 20, had crud for gear, no money, couldn't kill anything my own level or higher, and I was stuck in Loch Modan for the foreseeable future. The Wetlands were my Waterloo, I couldn't get through that damn locked tunnel, and the desert zone to the south was Instant Death.

So there I was bouncing around Thelsamar when someone whispered me, asking if I wanted to go kill Chok'sul. Me, in a party? I'd never really done a pick-up group before... but sure, why not try. I sure wasn't getting anywhere on my own.

We swam across the Loch and arrived at the Mo'grosh Stronghold where our party leader started talking about how to fight the elite ogres. And what a leader he was; a level 21 dwarf hunter with wicked-cool goggles, a gun that blew smoke when he fired, and a pet bear named Snugglez. He laid out my strategy bluntly,

"Let the warrior charge the ogre, wait three seconds, then hit the ogre with all the fireballs you've got, ok?"

I hesitated. My success with my fireball spells had been limited. Usually, I would send a fireball at a mob, causing the mob runs toward me really quickly. I'd have to freeze it in place, run away, hit it with another fireball, and hope the thing died. But this hunter said not to worry, that the warrior will keep the ogre from running at me. Really? How cool.

Then he showed us what mob to attack by marking it with this big, bouncing, red arrow. Can only party leaders make a big red arrow mark? Could I do that? Nope, he said, only hunters can. Well no wonder he was the leader then, he can make big red arrows; it only makes sense.

We watched the warrior attack the first ogre... waited three seconds... I saw some weird shapes beneath the mob's name graphic on my screen, said a quick prayer and let loose with my demolishing barrage of fireballs. I watched the health of our warrior go down, and tried desperately to kill the ogre before the warrior became ogre dung. And Poof! His health went back up! How did that happen? Oh. A priest. I got it, now that makes sense. Nobody died, the warrior was bloody but standing, neither the priest nor I had any mana, but the damn ogre was dead.

"Eat and drink, folks," the hunter said, "we have a lot more ogres to go." Fascinatingly, his health hadn't been diminished at all, and his mana was more than 3/4 still full. His pet, which had dutifully attacked the ogre then run back to his master's side, was calmly munching some meat. The hunter just stood there, watching, waiting for the rest of us to be as ready as he.

We marked, blasted, shot and healed our way through the ogres, got into the big cave at the back of the stronghold, and pushed our way to the back where we saw two more ogres... and Chok'sul, himself. How were we going to take on three at the same time when we can barely down one without someone dying? Our hunter leader explained that my job was to polymorph one of the ogres, his bear would off-tank – off-tank, that's a new term - the other, and we would all kill Chok'sul together. My primary responsibility was to keep my polymorphed ogre polymorphed; doing damage to Chok'sul was secondary.

Polymorph, off-tank, Warrior-Charge... Attack! Bullets, fireballs, burn it down!


Resheep? Oh! Polymorph, that's me.

Chok'sul down, now the off-tank!

Good, he's down, don't attack the sheep. Let the priest heal us and get some mana back... now go!

With the last ogre down... we sloshed through the smoldering gooey remains, and we looted Chok'sul's head.

The strategy had worked perfectly, and I was in awe. This hunter was a master tactician, a Sun-Tzu, a Patton, an Alexander the Great. He understood class roles and exploiting them while minimizing weaknesses. He took command and got us to work as a team. He had a pet bear, and wore goggles, and made loud, smoky gun sounds, and had a big red arrow-mark, and under his leadership, we took down Chok'sul. And while I made a great /train sound, my existence was hurling fireballs and making sheep.

So I shelved my mage, whose name today I cannot remember, and rolled a dwarf hunter. His name is Damh. He tried every pet imaginable, but eventually found his soul-pet for life, a Winterspring Frostsaber Pride Watcher, and named him Hobbes.

Together, Damh and Hobbes are BigRedKitty, and from this point further, the pronoun "I" shall not be spoken. We are "we"; BRK is a team, and we exist in the plural.

And we also speak in the third person a lot.

What can you expect from us? If you take a gander at you'll see we cover a broad spectrum of hunter discussions that we intend to continue in our new home:

Top Ten BRK WoW Insider Column Categories

10. Hunter Talents and Spells Discussions
9. Build and Gear Analysis
8. Game Mechanics and Theorycrafting
7. Hunter PvP and PvE Strategies, Tricks, and Tips
6. Reviews and Opinions on Upcoming Changes to the Hunter Class
5. Striking Fear into the Hearts of All Other Classes, Especially Those Tasty Priests
4. Mocking and Belittling Those Who Deserve It, Especially Melee Hunters
3. Breaking-Down Outdated Imperialist Dogma by Espousing Beastmastery
2. Completely Improper, and Sometimes Libelous, Personal Commentary
1. Totally Ripping Off Letterman with Our Own Top Ten Lists

"Rude, dismissive, caustic, and insensitive writing backed by solid research and well-reasoned arguments is how BRK rolls."

That sentence was a founding tenet of the BRK blog, and we shall continue it in our new WoW Insider home. Thank you to our editors for giving us this opportunity.

Now whose feathers should we ruffle first?

Daniel Howell narrowly escaped life as a mage to fulfill a destiny 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

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