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BigRedKitty: Quit Nerfing Our Necessity

Daniel Howell

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.

In the lovely dawn of the Burning Crusade era, before the bugs were patched, the mobs scaled-down, and the promise of ten more talent points gnawed on our brains like termites in a house made of sticks, there were some wonderful situations that required skill, patience, tenacity, and guile.

They needed, in a word, a hunter.

And you and your hunter brethren were there to fill the void, to complete the circle, to provide the key ingredients toward making those impossible dreams come true. It was glorious, it was awe-inspiring, it was waves of gratitude from the massive collection of the lesser classes crashing over the Internet and into your headphones inspiring you to greatness. You were giddy. You were excited. You were quasi-but-not-really god-like.

And then Blizz nerfed it all to Sporeggar and back again. Typical.

But the echos of past glory still exists. For many of us, those memories are fresh and intoxicating. For others, they are a myth and only spoken of in hushed tones and in quiet, dark places where we meet to plot our return to prominence.

Let's bring our pain and suffering into the light. Let's remember what has happened and what has been and talk about it openly and with pride. BRK teaches young hunters to hone skills that are not needed in today's game because the day may come when our talents are once again critical to our guild's success.

Do you remember when they were?

We used to Kite. Nowhere was kiting more necessary than Upper Blackrock Spire. To the many of you who never got to run this instance in its heyday, you'll find it hard to believe how often one would see in general chat channels,

"need hunter for UBRS, have 9/10 and gtg"

Yes, we were needed and needed big-time. General Drakkisath, the final boss of UBRS, was important back then as he dropped every class's Dungeon Set One chest armor. This was not a difficult fight as long as the raid had a hunter who could Kite.

The setup of the General Drakkisath fight was thus: Drak was flanked on each side by an elite, making it a three-mob-pull. The fight strategy was for one of the adds to be crowd controlled, either by off-tanking or other means, and Drak to be Kited away from the fight until the other two elites were killed. And what a Kiting effort it was.

Drak was fast but not as fast as a hunter with Aspect of the Cheetah. The key was to Kite Drak as far away from the add-fight as possible. This was accomplished by getting a massive initial aggro with an Aimed Shot, followed with a Serpent Sting so that every tick of the sting kept him aggro'd on you. The hunter then ran out of the room, across a bridge, and then had to pop Drak with another shot, preferably another Serpent Sting, to keep him on your tail. Drak would be kited into the ZOMG Five-Mob-Pull room, (where many a raid suffered hideous deaths,) and then the hunter would make a choice of where to take him.

If your party was sufficiently geared and had the DPS, we would take Drak into The Beast's room. This was an easier kite in that one was less likely to get lost or lose aggro, but the leap over the fire was tricky. If you hit the fire with Aspect of the Cheetah active, you'd be stunned, Drak would catch you, end of Kite. But timed properly, the fire-leap was the last hard part of the Kite and the hunter would run waaay back into the darkness that was The Beast's starting area. Once at the back of this "room", (it wasn't really a room, it was more just an undesigned area that had no floors or walls or ceilings but was perfectly safe once The Beast had been dispatched), the hunter would Feign Death and fall off of Drak's threat list. Then Drak would usually aggro on the healer back at his starting room and make a bee-line for her.

For raids that required more time to kill the adds, the hunter could Kite Drak all the way to Rend Blackhand's chamber. This was much more fun as one had to make turns and twists and not get lost while Kiting this massive dragon throughout the instance. Eventually making it to Rend's room, the hunter would run to the very back corner, let Drak get right up on his grill, and drop FD at the last possible second. Again, Drak would aggro the healer and boogie back to the rest of the raid, the hunter on his heels to help take him down.

"Drak incoming, aggro'd on Priest!" we'd call out over vent. The tank would stand and wait for Drak as he and the hunter raced back to the raid. The tank would grab aggro, the raid would burn Drak down, someone's chest armor would drop which would most likely to be sharded as shaman-gear would drop for alliance raids and paladin-loot for horde.

Regardless of the crappy gear, another superlative Kiting was cheered. Hunter reputations were made and destroyed on this boss. Lists were kept, names were recorded.

"Yeah I've seen him Kite Drak before. He's good."

"No way. He got caught on the bridge and wiped the raid last week. Find someone else."

The culmination of BRK's Hunter Class was a successful Drak Kite. One didn't graduate without this critical component of our class's arsenal firmly established in front of the guild.

(Furthermore, Kiting-skill was the test for the Epic Hunter Quest and the Rhok'delar bow. We won't go into this specific subject here; it's deserving of its own column.)

Hunters would Kite things just for the thrill of it. Have you seen the movies of a hunter kiting Stitches to Goldshire? Or how about the pre-Burning Crusade Doom Lord Kazzak burning Stormwind to the ground? Yes, that was a hunter who kited that 40-man raid boss into the city.

Hunter-skill was Necessary back then. But where is our Necessity now?

Arcatraz is a difficult instance for the unprepared and inexperienced. However it used to be much worse than it is now. After Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates and Dalliah the Doomsayer are dispatched, a party runs up the curved stairs, across a transparent bridge, and encounters an elite mechanical trash mob. He's tough to be sure, but your party has downed a couple of these already and he isn't anything new.

But there used to be two of them here, and what was the only class that could crowd-control one of them? A hunter and his Freezing Trap. Without a hunter, it was a total pain to get past this point. Tank and off-tanking was required and a healer would get taxed close to or even beyond her limits trying to keep them both alive while the two remaining DPSers would slowly burn down the mechanicals one at a time.

"need hunter for arc, have tank and healer and gtg"

Wasn't that great? The first Outland faction with whom we reach exalted was Sha'tar because we ran this instance so frequently. It wasn't a Drak Kite or anything else wildly spectacular, but it was a Hunter Instance because of this single two-mob pull.

And Blizz nerfed it, removing a mechanical. No hunter needed anymore.

Mechanar is a harder instance than Arcatraz, in our esteemed opinion. Especially the tunnel leading to Pathaleon the Calculator. But the part of this instance most people have difficulty with is the second boss, Nethermancer Sepethrea. And even she's not the Big Problem, it's her {bleep}{bleep}mother{bleeping} fire elemental adds that are the party-killers. A total pain in the @ss, this chick is.

Enter the Hunter. When we first thought of doing this boss after Pathaleon -- Kiting her butt down his tunnel, fighting her in the last room of the instance -- and seeing this strategy work beautifully, we were positive Blizz had introduced this fight in remembrance of the Great Drak Kite from UBRS. Her adds were so slow and she herself so easy to kill that the elementals would disintegrate before they completed their trek across the tunnel. Having a hunter for Serpentia was a godsend and made her destruction the easiest part of the whole bloody instance.

"need hunter for mech, have tank and healer and gtg"

And we rocked that instance over and over again, introducing people to the Serpenthia Kite and telling anybody who would listen that this fight had a History. What you just witnessed, we'd announce, is a quasi-reenactment of the Great Drak Kite hunters had to perfect in order for guilds to get their Dungeon Set One chest armor! Pride, my hunter-friends. We kited that beyotch and people got their crummy shards -- her loot-list is pretty sad -- just like in the UBRS heyday.

And Blizz nerfed it, making Sepethrea Unkiteable. No hunter needed anymore. She's bound to her stupid room with her stupid elementals and her stupid loot-list.

WTF, over?

So what's left now. Shadow Lab? Our pet can tank Murmur but that's not a class-skill we can teach or really brag about. Steamvaults? Nothing. Karazhan? Nada. Misdirection is great but there's no real skill involved with it.

There's nothing left for us. Blizz has nerfed our usefulness, our "We Need a Hunter" moments. There are no more "need hunter" posts in the general chats anymore.

We are diminished.

But there is Hope. The new expansion is on the horizon and with it new instances and bosses. Perhaps, if we are both polite and boisterous, Blizz will recognize that we've continued to train our Kiting skills, that we haven't forgotten the Old Ways or the hunters that have come before us. Bring Drak Back! we could proselytize. Perhaps we shall be rewarded for our perseverance with a mob that cries out , "Hunter Needed".

And a decent loot-list wouldn't be bad, either.

Daniel Howell continues his quest to be introduced as an NPC in Nagrand and be the starting point for the new Epic Hunter Quest as the 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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