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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The Warrior of 2009

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is's column about aromatic essential oils for use in baths and to spruce up the house. Unfortunately I don't know anything about those so I'm going to have to talk about playing a warrior in World of Warcraft instead. My hands are tied, I'm afraid.

Wow, that was a year, huh? From the dizzying highs of fury spec in Naxxramas to the somewhat less dizzying highs of Ulduar, arms' constant evolution and protection spec's astonishing makeover as the expansion launched, 2009 was a year that saw warriors sway from top DPS and solid tanks as if in some kind of gale force wind. Armor Penetration went from a stat we'd take if we had to and is now one of our top DPS stats, Block got a makeover that led to changes in how abilities like Shield Block and Shield Slam calculate, and in general we saw the effects of stat inflation on gear really have an effect on us and how we stack up to other classes as tanks and DPS. If you were a tanking warrior in Naxx on January 1st. 2009, for example, you may have had upwards of 35k health. (To be honest, it's hard for me to remember, it may have gotten up to 38k if you stacked stamina.) Now, a geared TotGC tank walking into ICC can pretty easily hit 54 to 55k health fully raid buffed.

And it's only going up from here. Icecrown Citadel promises much improved itemization as well as crazy old school procs that should have warriors, be they DPS or tanks, salivating.

Warriors have definitely had their ups and downs this year, but I think we can say we're ending the year on a fairly high note. Fury DPS has managed to get back to a competitive place with the new weapons, arms still lags behind but has solid PvP and PvE uses, and protection is quite possibly the single strongest tanking class by virtue of sheer flexibility: other tanks may have more health, more armor, or more AoE threat, but protection's suite of abilities includes standouts like Shockwave, Vigilance, Spell Reflection and Warbringer, making it possibly #2 in every single tanking category when no class can claim to be #1 in them all. Let's look at some changes and how they shook out for warriors.

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, BlizzCon, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: The Shaman of 2009

2009 has been a year of almost continuous changes for shamans. It seems that not a patch has gone by without some changes to the class, some major, some not so severe. The class has seen mysterious DPS shortfalls, a minor controversy about health in PvP that then carried over into PvE content with the high levels of AoE damage in Ulduar with patch 3.1. Flametongue Weapon saw changes to prevent enhancement shamans from using caster weapons. Resto got a fairly substantial review and some significant tweaks. Elemental also saw some talents redesigned.

While all of this was going on, shamans also saw some controversy about itemization, gear scaling and having to share caster mail between two specs that value different stats, as well as the constant battle with holy paladins to keep their grubby, grasping mitts off of our mail. Yeah, we know you don't want that MP5 plate, but since you're the only ones who can possibly get anything out of it, go away and leave our precious alone. (Cue the pages of discussion on why it's perfectly acceptable for holy paladins to take caster mail and explanations in detail of why I'm an inhuman monster who drowns fish. Yes, fish, That's how evil I am.)

Now that we've got the pleasantries out of the way (remind me to tell you the story of the year my mom beat Santa Claus up in front of the extended family) we move on to shamans in 2009.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Classes, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: When you were there

From time to time it occurs to me that my character, were I a better roleplayer, has actually been to a whole lot of places. He's seen a ridiculous amount of things and would have a really hard time settling down on a farm somewhere on Azeroth or whatever it is old adventurers do when they're tired of killing old gods, elemental monstrosities, Dragon Aspects, ancient liches, and Illidan Stormrage, to name just a few.

It really occurred to me on a visit to Darnassus, in fact, to turn in the quest "A Cautious Return" that I should be able to do more than just hand the dude a note. I mean, I killed Illidan! I've kicked Kil'Jaeden's butt back down the Sunwell myself! I went back in time and fought Archimonde. (By the way, Tyrande, thanks for the slow fall item and all.) Lore wise, I've pretty much seen everything at this point and soon, I'll be running off to fight Arthas. You'd think I could say "hey, take it easy" to that Sentinel for the poor guy.

When you think about all our characters have seen (even new characters leveled from 1 to 80 with this expansion have traveled to an alien world and then to a frozen wasteland stuffed with titan relics and undead like the worst pizza crust ever) these are some really experienced folks (hence that bar on your interface, I guess) and I find myself wondering what kind of stories they'd tell. So now I ask you, what stories would your character tell? What lore moments were the ones you think he or she would be more moved by, impressed by, or pleased to have been a part of? For that matter, which ones were the best for you as a player?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: Patch 3.3 - What's on the horizon for hunters

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots. Instead of continuing the So You Want to be a Hunter series, this week I thought it would be good to take a break and review the changes in Patch 3.3. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of what's instore for us hunters.

Patch 3.3 is on the PTR and as we download the patch we've been busily reviewing the patch notes along with the unofficial information from posted up over on MMO-Champion. Without giving everything away in the first paragraph, let's just say that this is looking to be one awesome patch. Without going on about how good it is, let's take a look at what's being said.

From the PTR Patch notes we got to see some insight where Blizzard's development team is taking our class.

  • Misdirection: Redesigned. Instead of having finite charges, it now begins a 4-second timer when the hunter using Misdirection performs a threat-generating attack, during which all threat generated by the hunter goes to the friendly target. In addition, multiple hunters can now misdirect threat to the same friendly target simultaneously.
Now I'll admit when I first saw this change I was a bit hesitant. Changing one of core abilities is always disconcerting. But then I started thinking about it a bit more.

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Filed under: Hunter, Leatherworking, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Rumors, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: So you want to be a Hunter - Part 5 Levels 31-40

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots, So you want to be a Hunter series. This guide is intended to help new Hunters better understand how to play the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of how to be a Hunter.

Welcome back to the fifth installment of the So You Want to Be a Hunter leveling guide. This week we'll take a journey from 31 through 40. As you journey through these 10 levels you'll have the opportunity to see many of the great vibrant landscapes that will be changed in Cataclysm. Also, if you want you can quest in Dustwallow Marsh and see brave adventurers tackle the revamped Onyxia courtesy of Patch 3.2.2.

As every week we'll recap what we have covered up to now.

Part 1: We reviewed racials and their impact on the hunter class. Reviewed each of the current races and what the benefits were of each racial.

Part 2: We quickly talked about the first nine levels. We also went on to talk about each of the three hunter talent trees and their basic play style.

Part 3: Last week we discussed what happened from levels 10 through 20. We also went over the quests to learn how to tame your first pet.

Part 4: We covered some of the covered attacks, buffs and spells. We also began looking at how to teach your pet new skills by applying pet talents.

With that out of the way, let's mount up and head on out of here.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Leveling, Guides, Talents, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Patch 3.2.2 sees stealthed Hunter nerfs

I guess it was all just a dream after all. Here I thought that maybe, just maybe we could see the beginning of Cataclysm and somehow see Blizzard sneak worgen hunters into Patch 3.2.2 and give them the ability to tame dwarves. (Just in case my attempt at sarcasm fell flat, you need to know I fully understand we won't see worgen hunters until Cataclysm.)

Although worgen didn't manage to sneak in, we did see some other changes that somehow slipped under the radar. Their is only one downside to these undocumented changes. There's some good news and bad news. Since it's always better to end on a happy note, we'll start off with the bad news.

It seems that what we all noticed on the PTR and hoped beyond all hope actually managed to make it into the recent patch unscathed.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

Patch 3.2.2 Hunters see changes to Bestial Wrath

Ghostcrawler has reached into his mysterious bags of tricks and drew out the Hunter card once again it seems. Last week we discussed the recent change to Armor Penetration. While we all agree that it is a nerf to Marksman Hunters and will reduce their DPS. The jury is still out on whether it is a game mechanics correction (which I tend to believe) or some evil plot to cause Hunters to spend more gold.

Well the changes continued to happen. Last Thursday we heard more from Ghostcrawler regarding a new change that will be hitting Beast Master Hunters in Patch 3.2.2. The interesting thing about this recent change is it is both a buff and a nerf. To help explain what I mean let's take a closer look at how Ghostcrawler explained the change on the Damage Dealing Forums.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Buffs, Forums, Battlegrounds, Arena, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: So you want to be a Hunter - Part 3 Levels 10-20

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots, So you want to be a Hunter series. This guide is intended to help new Hunters better understand how to play the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of how to be a Hunter.

Welcome back my Hunter compadres! We've made it to Part 3 of So you want to be a Hunter. I know we have had lot's of things happening of late with BlizzCon and Cataclysm, so it's probably a good time to give a quick recap on what we've done so far.

Part 1: We reviewed racials and their impact on the Hunter class. Going over each of the factions races and what the benefits were of each racial. For now we haven't talked about the new races that will be added to the Hunter class in Cataclysm (Worgen and Goblins). We'll have to address that when the new expansion is released.

Part 2: We discussed each of the Hunter talent trees and their basic playstyle. We talked about Beast Mastery being the partnership between Hunter and pet. We also reviewed the Marksmanship and Survival trees and how they are more about the individual Hunter, their offensive power, utility and flexibility.

We also discussed what stats you will want to consider as you level. Though this might seem a bit out of place, knowing what to expect early on will hopefully help you make better decisions later on. However you shouldn't worry, we'll make sure to give a refresher course later on.
Now we are in Part 3 of our weekly series. We will continue reviewing leveling your Hunter from level 10-20. We'll talk about taming your first pet. We'll also review some of the more interesting pets and where they can be found. Having a unique is one of the perks of being a Hunter.

We'll also talk about placing those first talent points. Building on the lessons we learned last week. We'll be able to make a decision on how to craft a solid leveling talent build. One that will offer us enough power to down mobs, but also enough bonuses to help protect and keep our pet alive as it plays the role of tank.

As a reminder, here's some guidelines for using this guide.
  • So you want to be a Hunter is for the new player and/or a new Hunter.
  • This guide is not a "How-to get to 80 in less than 3 days" leveling guide. It's more of a "What to expect as you level" guide.
  • Except where highlighted, this guide does not take into account Recruit a Friend or heirloom bonuses.
  • Since most players tend to level by themselves, all talent build suggestions will focus on a solo leveling/grinding build.
  • This guide focuses on the leveling the PvE Hunter. We will discuss PvP and raiding in other guides.
One of the joys of being a Hunter is being able to run around with your best friend right by your side. And believe me, your pet is truly your best friend. I can't tell you the number of times that my turtle FatElvis has charged back and rounded up several elite mobs giving me the crucial few moments I needed to survive. The only drawback to having a pet is you can't tame one until level 10. What's up with that Blizzard?

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: So you want to be a Hunter - Part 1 Racials

Good day folks and welcome to Scattered Shots. The column that takes a good look at what it takes to be a Hunter in the World of Warcraft. I am Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge. This week we'll be starting our "So you want to be a Hunter" class guide series.

I have to admit something, I'm a chronic leveler. I do it over and over. Yes, I know it's not the typical play style. Yes, I also know it's highly unorthodox. By now you are probably thinking, "Who in their right mind would want to be a chronic leveler?" That someone would be me.

See when I get bored, and the game starts to become a bit of a drag I can't help myself. It only becomes a matter of time till I feel the need to scratch an itch to start over. Yes, I know it's crazy. But you can look at it this way, at least I know how the game works for the beginning Hunter just as well as the raiding one.

Having done this a few times now, I thought it would idea to put this experience to some practical purpose. It seems to be a waste and not at least write up a Hunter guide for new Hunters. So I thought I'd create a new series of posts entitled, "So you want to be a Hunter."

Before we get started, I need to make sure we're all on the same page by setting some ground rules.
  1. This series is intended for the new player and/or a new Hunter.
  2. Since most new player won't have a rich uncle in game, nor does everyone use Recruit-A-Friend, I'll just focus on leveling up the old fashioned way.
  3. When discussing zone and levels, I'll only highlight some key quests along the way.
  4. Except for when we reach the "getting ready to raid" guide, all guides will focus on using a solo-leveling/grinding build.
So there, with some ground rules set. Let's get started on making you the best Hunter possible.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Night Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Draenei, Blood Elves, Leveling, Factions, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Hunter Guide has covered patch 3.2 extensively. Everything from the surprising changes to flying mounts, to the latest and greatest loot, and all the changes in between. In our patch 3.2 class, raiding, and PvP guides we take a look at exactly what changes and how the changes will affect your playing.

Patch 3.2 will be on the live servers sometime today (or as Blizzard might say, "Soon®"). Given all the hype and excitement with the release of the different Class Q&A's, Hunters have a bit to look forward to..

Seeing that the inevitable changes has either already, or is about to happen on the live realms, I decided to go back and re-read the patch notes and revisit my initial thoughts about them. As I re-read the changes in the recent light of the Hunter Q&A, I think the changes make even more sense than they did originally. Not that I necessarily agree with all of them, but just that they make sense. See, it seems to me, that the changes are in line with Ghostcrawler's strategy laid out in the Hunter Q&A. And with that in mind I thought it would be a good time to rethink the changes and discuss them below.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King

Essential addons for Patch 3.0.2 [Updated x6]

Let's take a look at what addons are working for patch 3.0.2. First a simple rule taken from the UI forums post done by Kaydeethree: "Any 'Wrath beta' compatible mod will work in 3.0.2." With that said, there is a long and comprehensive listing of 3.0.2 compatible addons over on WoWWiki.

But the fun doesn't end there. The next step is obtaining all those new addons. I've compiled a large set of the essential addons and linked to at least one direct download source after the break. Each download source is either trusted beyond doubt – or tested and confirmed to be virus free.

Finally, you'll want to combine the addons into a nice looking UI. Check out our special edition of Reader UI of the Week for a look at five complete 3.0.2 compatible UIs.

We're posting this list now, and will continue to update it throughout the day. Begin your addon downloads as quickly as possible to avoid hangups later in the day when download servers become overloaded.

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Filed under: Patches, News items, Add-Ons

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