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Scattered Shots: Professional development

Last week David covered pet control, in case you missed it. This week I'll be talking about a question people ask on the forums quite often: "What profession is good for a hunter?" Each profession, of course, has its pros and cons. Most professions, in fact, have a variety of professionals involved at all levels, and in many cases you couldn't get two of them to agree on their career of choice for love or money. A cursory look at the professions forum will confirm it most days. But over the years, and with several hunter characters, I've picked up a few ideas from my own experience and from that handed out in the forums. Herein, I'll share what I know, and perhaps what some others have taught me as well!

The "Basic Income"
Not all players take pleasure in crafting. It can be tedious, time consuming, and the gear you produce can be replaced with drops in many cases at the same level. Hours can be spent running back and forth from auction house, to bank, to forge, to auction house, to forge, to bank, to Wowhead, back to auction house, and so on. If that doesn't appeal to you, the "Basic Income" might be perfect.

The problem many crafters run into is an age-old problem of "independent merchants and distributors" everywhere. In many cases, the stuff you can sell for the most profit is also the stuff you need to consume to make things. In many cases, professionals in WoW have to decide between leveling their profession and being able to afford pet food. One way to avoid that conundrum is to take two gathering professions. That way everything you gather, you can sell without consuming it, and you won't be worried about using up your ore to make armor or using up your herbs to make potions. You won't be able to make either!

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Filed under: Hunter, Herbalism, Mining, Skinning, Engineering, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Economy, Jewelcrafting, Classes, Making money, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scopes: The optimal optical augmentation option

Or

"I seeee you!"

It is often said in the workshop here at Hoof & Horn that the Engineer's finest asset is that he can have a little of most classes, and a pinch of all professions. We can float like mages, dash like rogues. We can stun like tauren, we can snare like druids. We can augment one's fishing, or teach one blacksmithing or even alchemy plans. Of crucial importance to many, including many Engineers, is our ability to surpass the enchanters at what they do best: augmenting weapons. For what enchantment can be placed on a gun? None that we have found, and we're tired of buying enchanters drinks to try to get them to talk. [Broke, too! -PG] The Engineers alone can craft the deadly accurate scopes, the only way to augment a ranged weapon. Schemata for scopes can be found throughout the known worlds, and in the dungeons of each. Many can be trained or purchased, while the most powerful are held by the lords of the underworld, or the minions of Karazhan. Herein we will discuss scopes, and related devices.

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Filed under: Hunter, Engineering, Tips, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Guides, RP, Making money, Enchants, (Engineering) Hoof and Horn R & D

Zapthrottle: The ramifications, rationalizations, and remunerations of mote extraction

Or

"Someone's been breaking the first two rules of Mote Club."

It can be said, quite accurately, that Engineering is not a merchant's craft. Many Engineers of all ratings bemoan the fact that their devices are not easily marketed. What we can make tends to require a rating in Engineering to operate, or it is bound to its maker on creation, or both. This tends to mean our prospective customers would, by necessity, likely be able to produce themselves what we might offer them for sale. To many an Engineer, this has been a burr in the cogs for years. To many other Engineers, however, it represents merely a challenge.

There are ways and means to make money as an Engineer, though not so much as those high and mighty Enchanters, with their "75 gold for that one, plus mats" profession. One such way is through mote extraction, or the science of Motectomization. Due to a recent settlement with the Engineering Student's Association, that word will not be used again within this lecture. The mote extractor, especially as combined with other facets of our profession, can prove quite a reliable resource, and quite a profitable one at that. Herein we will discuss the ways of learning the Mote Extractor, and where to employ it for the most lucrative results.

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Filed under: Engineering, Items, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Guides, RP, Making money, (Engineering) Hoof and Horn R & D

Scattered Shots: Weapon choices

(Apologies for the late posting of Scattered Shots. Next week we'll be back on our Thursday schedule.)

Last week I covered crowd control using traps. This week, filling in for David, I'll discuss the options available to hunters for weapon choice: ranged and melee alike. Hunters have a wide variety of weapons we can train, but our main concern is usually going to be ranged weapons: the bow, crossbow, and gun. Secondary to the ranged weapon of course is what we carry at our sides. Hunters can train in every weapon style except for maces (one and two hand) and wands. It's not technically a weapon, but for the sake of this discussion it's important to note that hunters cannot train in the use of shields. What this means is that there's a lot of weapons we can use, while not all of them are weapons that we should.

Adding to the decision is the fact that we hunters can learn to dual wield one handed weapons at level twenty. With one weapon, you tend to get more punch close up, but with two weapons you might lose some damage in melee, but gain an extra weapon's worth of stat bonuses, enchantments, and other augmentations. Each weapon you have equipped contributes its individual bonuses, if any, so it's a good idea to weigh the options, even for melee weapons which you might hardly ever use.

Earlier in the column, I recommended a low level hunter train in a two handed weapon early, since the first ten levels involve a greater percentage of melee combat, prior to getting a pet to handle your aggro. I'll talk about where to train what weapons, what augmentations you can add to weapons, and which ranged weapons are the best, after the jump!

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Filed under: Hunter, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Renunciation: the trials, tribulations, and terrors of respecialization

Or:

"Are you sure you want to do this? Really?"

In last week's lecture we discussed factions and reputations an Engineer might find beneficial for their career progression. In that lecture, it was mentioned that the only real decision to be made for an Engineer is between the Goblin Engineering school, known as the Goblin Experimental Engineering Korporation, or the Gnomish school, known as the Mechanical Engineering Guild, Associated. Making this choice is an important step in the career paths of many Engineers. It involves a lifelong oath of loyalty, a considerable investment of time and resources, and it steers the direction your tinkering will take for the rest of your career.

Well, almost. One can renounce one's affiliation with M.E.G.A. or G.E.E.K. but at a cost. Perhaps a cost too terrible to bear for many Engineers. The life expectancy of an Engineer is short, and thus his lifelong loyalty can be considered a less than permanent thing. Even so, the memory of an Engineer is long, and it is no simple task to convince those who were once your sworn (and "lifelong") rivals that you are now their sworn (and "lifelong") ally.

You should know before you even consider this the drawbacks involved. Other professions allow a change of specialization with relative ease and minor expense. It is, for many of them, simply a matter of purchasing a new school. They are not like the Engineers, though. The Dragonscale leatherworkers are not foes of Elemental leatherworkers, not to the same degree as are Gnomish and Goblin Engineers. For the Engineer a sacrifice must be made, in order to demonstrate to your prospective new associates that your intentions are good, and your commitment to them firm.

Herein we will discuss the method of changing one's specialization within Engineering.

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Filed under: Engineering, Tips, How-tos, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Guides, RP, NPCs, (Engineering) Hoof and Horn R & D

Unobtainium: Rare, ridiculous, and remarkable reputation schematics

Or

"There's no such thing! Is there?"

Engineers have among the greatest freedom to choose our allegiances throughout Azeroth and Outland. While Jewelcrafters and leatherworkers spend hours and days making a name for themselves with the Furbolgs of the Timbermaw, or the druids of Cenarion, Engineers remain free. No such slaves to the grind of reputation, we. For what could we learn from the various factions of the lands? It's little they can teach us, and little we would gain from the work done. No, our main choice of faction has always been to join M.E.G.A. or to take our lives in our hands and join G.E.E.K.

With few exceptions. There are several factions we can seek out whose expertise in Engineering allows us to learn a thing or two (quite literally) from them. In this lecture we will discuss where an enterprising Engineer can go to learn some of the rarest schemata known: those derived from earned reputations.

The factions with which you'll need to work are the Zandalar Tribe of trolls in Stranglethorn Vale, the Cenarion Expedition, predominantly in Zangarmarsh, and the Consortium, predominantly in Netherstorm. Zandalar trolls will require you to join their battle against Hakkar, the Blood God, and his priests in Zul'Gurub. This will require a raid 20 strong, though if you've mastered the art of flying you'll likely find you need somewhat fewer than that to be effective. The Cenarion Expedition has agents posted in the western barrens of Hellfire Peninsula, but the main camp can be found further west in Zangarmarsh. They offer work mostly in and around Zangarmarsh itself, including, most prominently, reputation earned from delving into the Coilfang Reservoir: Underbog, Slave Pens, and Steam Vaults. Consortium reputation can be earned in Auchindoun, but only in the Mana Tombs, and that only until you've reached Honored. Beyond that you'll need to visit Nagrand for Ogre beads or, ultimately, Netherstorm for a variety of work.

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Filed under: Engineering, Tips, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Factions, Guides, RP, (Engineering) Hoof and Horn R & D

Scattered Shots: Crowd control

Last week David covered Arenas for the hunter, while I laid low and did a little more leveling. I'm to the point now where crowd control becomes not only an option, but at times a requirement. Hunters are known for our ranged damage output. It's practically the thing hunters are made to do: stand back and shoot. We are also quite good at crowd control using our traps, though. You'll see it in the Looking for Group channel fairly regularly: "LF1M DPS/CC."

That's us. Damage per Second and Crowd Control. They might be thinking Rogue or Warlock, but you should see those five letters and think "that's me." Not only is crowd control something hunters are good at, it's something which not all hunters do reliably or well. Being able to trap, and trap competently, will go a long way towards making you friends in both instances and the open road.

In this article I'll be discussing ways to use your Freezing Trap as a method of both controlling crowds and making friends. For those of you who haven't yet learned it, Freezing Trap is learned at level twenty. Rank One provides a ten second freeze. Rank Two upgrades at level forty for a fifteen second freeze. Rank three upgrades at level sixty for a twenty second freeze. Once the trap is laid, it will remain in place for sixty seconds before fading if it is not sprung. Meanwhile, the trap's cooldown is thirty seconds. Laying one trap while another is ready to spring will cancel the first one in favor of the second one.

Several talents exist to assist with trapping, in the Survival talent tree. Points spent on Entrapment give your traps an increasing chance to snare any opponent which trips them. Points spent on Clever Traps increase the duration of Frost and Freezing traps, the damage from Explosive and Immolation traps, and the number of snakes summoned from Snake traps. Points spent on Trap Mastery decrease the chance your opponents have to resist your traps. Points spent on Resourcefulness decrease the mana cost of traps (and melee abilities) as well as their cooldown. Talent specialization is up to you, but be aware that some or all of these talents will make your job as a trapper much easier.

We start trapping things after the jump.

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Filed under: Hunter, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Excerpts from the Book of Gears: The mysticism, mayhem, and madness of mechanics


It is often said that the Gnomes are the least spiritual of the races of Azeroth. The wonders of their world are mechanical in nature, technical in design, and largely owed entirely to their own hands. Gnomes have little chance to become healers of any stripe, and some say this is due in part to their willing isolation from the world of the spiritual and the touch of the divine.

But there exists in many other races the desire to connect to the source of all creation. To reach out and touch the infinite. To some Engineers, a function of their artifice is to access the forces which power all of creation, and, once there, to perhaps make just a few minor adjustments, maybe tighten up a gear or two. The cataclysmic danger of any Engineer able to do any such thing does not, as a rule, occur to such Engineers. Those who might naysay such grand designs as heresy, madness, or more commonly A Really Bad Idea For Too Many Reasons to List are not generally included in conversations on the topic. Engineers, perhaps Gnomish Engineers in particular, are not easily dissuaded from a task they have set themselves. In light of this, they do not often invite others who might try. It seems a waste of energy all around.

It is the spiritual side of Engineering we will discuss today, using notes provided by Chief Engineer Geargrinder.

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Filed under: Engineering, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, RP, (Engineering) Hoof and Horn R & D

Battle of the Bots: The clamor, commotion, and cogwheels of combat toys

The mind of the Engineer is an engine: always running, always in need of service. For the quizzical tinker, puzzles and games are the lubrication of that engine, allowing the Engineer to relax the gears in his head while employing their ceaseless motion upon diversions, that the mind's mainspring might be fully wound and its cogs sheened with oil when again the Engineer returns to the bench. Also, we like playing with toys.

As is often the case, Engineering's innovations in the field of toymakery and diversionology set us ahead of our counterparts in less distinguished professional fields. Herein, we will discuss two of Engineering's least appreciated and most rarefied devices: the combat robots.

There are two models of robot made by the Engineer whose sole purpose is the eradication of others of their kind. The Crashin' Thrashin' Robot and the Steam Tonk Controller are both popular choices, for those able to produce them. The Crashin' Thrashin' Robot operates on its own internal Decisionometer, so the Engineer has no capacity to control it. The Steam Tonk, however, is a tribute to the mastery not only of the crafter, but the skill of the Tonkateer who operates it.

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Filed under: Engineering, Items, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Guides, RP, (Engineering) Hoof and Horn R & D

Scattered Shots: Threat management

Last week David discussed finding and training your pet. This is a great time to start practicing threat management. When you attack a target in a group, your target will be threatened to varying degrees by everyone in the group. This becomes really important later in your career, when you will more often be facing targets in instances, or larger targets which require a full group to kill. Take advantage of the early levels of Hunter to practice threat management, and bring more to those groups than they might be expecting.

Most classes have to group with someone before they ever have a chance to think about, much less practice, threat management. But we have a built in tank: our pet. We can practice this as clumsily as we need to, dying as often as we have to, all without an audience to mock us. Your pet'll never mock you. He's your best friend! Just don't ask what he tells the other pets when you're not listening.

I'll be discussing "threat," also known as "aggro" or "hate" depending on the group. All of these words refer to one thing: how mad the target is at you and all your allies. Lots of things can cause threat to rise, such as standing within a mob's range, smacking a mob with a gigantic slab of marble, or even healing a party member who is in the process of doing either of those things. Lots of things can also cause threat to drop, such as being feared, being polymorphed, or being killed. Understanding a little about how to manage your own threat will help you prevent that last option from happening to you or your party members.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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