A question that I'm getting asked with increasing frequency these days is: "I've done everything there is to do in Wrath, Cataclysm doesn't even have a release date, and I'm bored! I'm sick of ICC and I'm not in the beta. What can I do to enjoy WoW?"
The end-of-expansion doldrums are hitting us all, and they've teamed up with summer in a flanking maneuver sure to leave almost every raid sign-up sheet a sad and empty thing. As the expansion winds down, we're left in a limbo-land. It's not yet close enough to Cataclysm to start preparing ourselves for the new expansion, but we've already conquered all the challenges of the old expansion.
If you're looking to breathe new joy and excitement into your WoW time, I've got a solution that just might work for you. Set your uber-geared badass Kingslayer away for a moment. You've done everything there is to do with your hunter for now. Instead, take a look at the class with fresh eyes, with a horde of bearded friends at your side, and learn what epic really means by rolling a new level 1 hunter!
Challenges aren't just at level 80
Blizzard designs the most challenging content in the game to be at the level cap. It has to do it that way. If it made something super-epic and challenging at level 30, you could just wait until you were level 35 or 45 and it would be trivial. But that doesn't mean the only challenges in the game are at level 80.
Much of that older content can be just as challenging, or even more so, than most of the level-capped content. We tend to lose sight of some of the awesome content in the older game as we race past it in with our leveling blinders on. If something is hard, if a quest is red, you just get a group or wait a few more levels.
But what if you approached that same content, not at a higher level, not at the level it was designed for, but at a much lower level? Maraudon might be old hat, but charge in there at level 30 (and without tanks or healers) and it's suddenly a whole new experience. You're suddenly digging through every ability you have, every piece of gear available to you at level 30, looking for new ways to stretch the class to its limits and beyond. And you're doing it just to get through a particularly nasty trash pack. And when you finish the dungeon at your comically low level, it feels just as good as taking Sindragosa down the first time did. Maybe even better, because you're doing something very few people have ever even attempted -- you're seeing the content in a new and challenging way.
That epic feel
Sometimes you'll hear the debate on 10-man versus 25-man raiding, and that 10-mans just don't have that epic feel. Then the old-timers will chime in about how back in their day it was 40-man raiding and nothing today can compare to that level of epic.
But one of the great things about MMORPGs is the massively multi-player part. We don't need Blizzard to create an epic experience for us -- WoW has everything we need to make it ourselves. Try massive, sprawling raids of 200, 300, 500 players swarming across the landscape with a common goal, enemies and servers alike shuddering with their passage.
Or how about pushing the hunter class to the limits, into realms it was never meant to go? Brush off any notions of other classes -- who ever said that you need them? Not us hunters! Who needs tanks when we have pets? Who needs healers? We can heal our pets or kite the mobs. Imagine a team of hunters tackling 5-mans. One hunter pulls aggro and starts kiting. When the mob (or boss) gets close, another hunter hits Distracting Shot and starts kiting the other way ... Back and forth, side to side, ping-ponging the enemy to death while no hunter gets touched.
These things are epic.
The <WHU> guild
<WHU> is an all-hunter guild that does just these kinds of things. It's run by yours truly, with massive amounts of help from several people who are really too good for their own good. In the <WHU>, we have occasional epic events, including the videos you see here, and spend a lot of happy downtime looking for new challenges that can be conquered by an all-hunter team.
One of the key elements of the <WHU> guild is that we have a level cap. Anyone can join the guild, but we are not allowed to level past this artificially-imposed level cap. This keeps us on similar footing from epic adventure to epic adventure, and since the cap is only raised every several months (or longer), the slow levelers aren't left behind.
When the level cap was level 19, a common pastime was seeing what dungeons could be 5-manned by an all-hunter group. We ran out of dungeons when an all-level-19 hunter team took down Gnomeregan, the highest-level dungeon we could get into at the time.
Or for those more into PvP ... Imagine assaulting Arathi Basin with an all-hunter team. A rain of bullets that blacks out the sun, followed by a swarm of pets across the blacksmith. When we hit a BG, we tend to win and win brilliantly, with the enemy shocked and awed.
Since the <WHU> guild started, I have never, ever logged on when there weren't other hunters online. Ever. Whether 4 a.m. or 3 p.m., there are always hunters there working on leveling, or professions, or digging up some new challenge to overcome, or just hanging out and chatting with other hunters. Everyone there is a hunter, and one of the great things about the hunter community is that of all the classes, we seem to be the most helpful and excited about our class, the most eager to share and help and work together.
At times, the guild members organize their own in-game events -- most recently, an in-game bar crawl.
The hunters in the <WHU> have even formed an alt guild -- started mostly with DKs -- that exists to have higher-level characters who can farm mats and money for their baby hunter mains. They are largely responsible for stocking the <WHU> guild bank full of awesome gear that is useful at the current level cap and gold and bags to get the new characters started, and they sometimes do truly prodigious farming for secret mats for our epic events.
If you'd like to join up and you are invited to do so, here are the details you need to know.
Guild rules We don't have a ton of rules, and ours are simple and easy to follow. Violators are summarily booted and banned.
You must be a dwarven hunter.
You may not level beyond the level cap.
Be polite. Avoid personal attacks, excessive leetspeak or any language that would get you in trouble at work or isn't allowed on primetime television.
Characters who are not at the level cap and do not log on in over two weeks are kicked from the guild without malice. We just do this to keep the rosters clear, and if you come back after an absence and discover you aren't in the guild, you just need to ask for an invite again and it's yours. Level-capped characters are not kicked for inactivity.
How to join Membership is open to any hunter who can follow the simple rules of the guild, and joining is easy as can be.
We are on Icecrown North American server (Alliance side, obviously).
Join the custom <WHU> chat channel by typing /join WHU.
Ask in the channel for an invite.
Next hunter event
The next epic hunter event will be taking place on Sat., Sept. 11, at 6 p.m. server time. It will be open to all <WHU> hunters levels 1 through 30, and there'll be a couple more coming fast on its heels. We hope to see you there!