Archive for April, 2009

Frame Rate Frustration

April 27, 2009

Arbalest was unhappy last night.

For the record, Arbalest is my desktop computer, on which I play all my computer games. It is nowhere near top-of-the-line, but it works. Unfortunately, it decided to work a little less than usual last night, as its crankiness was rather annoying.

What it came down to was running Ulduar 25 while pulling about 4.8 frames per second during boss fights. So I was pretty surprised when I checked out the WMO logs for the laggiest fight of the evening, the creepy Deconstructor:

xt-charts4-261

…third? What? I could barely move!

Still, it was nice to see that even when I have no idea what’s going on during the fight, I’m still doing something right. Let’s take a look at the breakdown:

xt-breakdown4-26

No matter what my computer’s doing in the way of framerate, my pet will always be doing her best. Mijikai was a solid 50% of my damage in the fight! This is what it means to be a Beast Mastery hunter – the pet isn’t just additional damage, it’s your partner in pewpew.

Steady Shots were really only fired when I was able to stand still and focus on the target. After XT took its first rest, I was switching around to kill the adds, using Multi Shot more often than Steady. My side of the raid didn’t get as many adds as the other, however, so the difference isn’t as vast as it could have been.

I managed to get my Kill Shot off five times, which hopefully means XT was under 20% for only a little over a minute. Two of the Kill Shots crit, and the highest was at a delicious 12k damage.

Overall, the fight went well, and it was our first time taking down the big, creepy lug – plus we got an achievement! Hunter boots dropped and went to another hunter – I would have lost about 40 hit, and the two AP increase just didn’t seem like a fair trade.

We went on to wipe several times against the Iron Council before getting them down, grabbing yet another achievement. Then we went to go poke at Kologarn, dying a few times before calling it a night.

On Tuesday we start over from scratch.

I really love raiding. 😀

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3.1 Macro Woe

April 23, 2009

When 3.1 hit last week, I spent quite a while updating all my addons. I expected them to break – that’s the nature of the beast, after all. So once everything was in order and I was ready to go, I was invited to go poke at Ulduar.

Where I promptly discovered my Steady Shot macro was not functioning. At all.

Ulduar was quickly abandoned due to trash kicking our butts, and I flew to some nearby mobs to fiddle with my macro. There were so many abilities stuffed into it that it didn’t make sense that none of them seemed to be working. Something was amiss.

#showtooltip
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Kill Command
/cast Kill Shot
/cast Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This macro had always been good at doing the following:

1. Toggle on Auto Shot, without turning it off.
2. Casting Kill Command whenever it was ready, since I forget stuff like that.
3. Cast Kill Shot every time it could be cast, thus maximizing its use.
4. Cast Steady Shot every time it was available.
5. Keep the screen clear of errors.

Unfortunately, all it’s good for now is starting Auto Shot and triggering Kill Command. However, I discovered that removing the Kill Shot line fixed the rest of the macro, allowing Steady Shot to fire.

A fellow hunter in my guild, upon hearing my lamentations for the dead macro, showed me the one she used, swearing up and down that it worked fine. It was one I had seen before, had tried, and had quickly discarded.

#showtooltip
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Kill Shot
/castrandom Steady Shot, Arcane Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

When I tried this macro, months ago, I ran into the issue of not being able to control my shots. If the macro randomly chose Arcane Shot while Arcane was on cooldown, then Steady didn’t fire, and I’d wasted a precious second or two of dps time. I found that I was far happier controlling my shot rotation manually between SS and AS, than leaving it up to the whim of the random number generator.

Research on the intarwebs finally revealed to me the problem. As of 3.1, Kill Shot had been put on the Global Cooldown. Since abilities on the GCD preclude any other abilities on the GCD from being fired, the attempt at firing Kill Shot would halt the casting of both Arcane and Steady Shot. Blizzard had looked at our macros and decided we were getting off too easy, so they fixed it.

What’s odd is that this doesn’t explain how in the world my guildmate was making her macro work. It should have stopped dead in its tracks, as mine did, when it ran into Kill Shot. It shouldn’t have been working at all.

Still, I stand firm when it comes to /castrandom. I’d much rather choose my order by hand, which lets me adapt to situations on the fly and maximize my dps without getting bored during fights. That goes doubly so now that I have to weave Kill Shot in by hand.

So my Steady Shot macro now looks like this:

#showtooltip
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Kill Command
/cast Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

And my ‘pewpew’ button on LunarSphere looks something like this:

Left Click – Arcane Shot (displays 6s cooldown on button after use)
Right Click – Steady Shot macro (used every 1.5s until Arcane is up)
Middle Click – Kill Shot

Combined with the newly-downloaded DoTimer mod, I now never miss a potential Kill Shot. This allows me to maximize my dps, adjust on the fly, and pewpew to my heart’s content!

Into the Wild, Vol. 1

April 20, 2009

Today, I’m going to highlight a real, honest hunter that I saw out in the wild in game. While I took pictures, I cannot share them here in order to protect the, er, fascinating species in its natural habitat. Instead, I shall review its behaviours and attempt to educate other players to stay far, far away from this dangerous beast.

The 0/37/34 Hunter

At first glance: The first thing I notice about this spec is that it lacks direction. The player seems to have gone towards all the damage utility talents while passing up the, well, damage.

While this hunter is probably fine on mana, it’s a bit much for a 25-man raiding situation with near-constant replenishment going. His pet is focus-starved, having forsaken both focus-generating abilities in order to maximize his own damage.

Upon further inspection: He maxed out two talents that buff Black Arrow/Explosive Shot without going far enough to have either of those two abilities. While Survival spec is not my specialty, even I could tell that he wasn’t dropping traps during the raid, leading those points to be effectively wasted.

The hunter also skipped over Aimed Shot, while having the Glyph of Trueshot Aura active – which gives him extra damage on his Aimed Shot. Also, the effectiveness of Hawk Eye is debatable – some love it, some don’t. I don’t.

Taking a look at him on the Armory reveals a bit more. Half of his socketable gear is without gems. His +hit is as 210, with three points in Focused Aim. This puts him at almost 50 points over hit cap. He could definitely knock off at least one point from Focused Aim and put it somewhere – perhaps, maybe Aimed Shot?

To avoid extinction: Our poor hunter is a bit confused. He thinks he’s gotten the best talents for hunter-only damage, but has skipped over some crucial bits. I am all for specs that go against the grain, but the spec needs to have a bit more focus in its direction to get somewhere viable. Have a goal in mind – either SV dps, or MM.

For SV: You don’t have to grab Explosive Shot, but going for Black Arrow won’t be a bad idea. You can take a point from Focused Aim, a few from Efficiency, and three points from Hawk Eye to get there. Thrill of the Hunt will help your mana regen, but remember that you have Aspect of the Viper! Tossing that on at the same time as Rapid Fire brings your mana back on a silver platter.

For MM: This will take a little bit more tweaking. Once you get more out of the SV tree, some of the support talents become less useful. Take a look at some people who know what they’re talking about, like Nassira of Diaries of a Marksman Hunter. Still, the MM method of operation is to maximize solo dps above all else – the glass canon syndrome. You’ll hit big, and get hit for big.

Personal Advice: Understand your difficulties and don’t be ashamed of confronting them head-on. Don’t be afraid to try something new, as long as it’s a playstyle you’ll enjoy. However, dissing the spec that is currently out-damaging you in the raid is generally frowned upon. Saying BM is useless in raids is pretty silly, especially when you just did less damage than the tanks on Patchwerk.

patchwerk4-19

Yeah, he's not on here.

Not just a 70’s fashion trend

April 17, 2009

As has been mentioned before, I am an add-on addict. Someone once commented, after seeing my UI, that it doesn’t even look like the same game anymore. Honestly, I’m alright with that – I’ve made it my game, and it’s a game I very much enjoy. 🙂

So if you’re the sort to trick your UI out, head over to my new Add-ons page and take a look at what the game looks like from my screen!

Also, scroll down to the bottom for an informational blurb regarding the usage and distribution of add-ons. I don’t mind telling you, it was a feat to keep myself from going on a rant regarding a certain mod distributing program. >.<

lolbrain sez ur doin it rong

April 15, 2009

Overall, yesterday went pretty smoothly. Woke up, tried to download the patch, failed to connect, started downloading from a mirror site, went to work. Got home from work, found the download corrupt, started the patch downloading from Blizz, started patching. Went out with friends, came home an hour after the servers came back up.

Smooth.

Logged in.

…ohgodmyaddonsareamess.

You see, I’m an addon addict. I use a good number of them, and I rely on them almost 100%. Playing the game with the default UI scares me now. So as I looked at LunarSphere and saw that it was borked, I almost cried. Perl Classic was also throwing back errors. WIM wasn’t working. And I haven’t even looked at Quest Helper yet.

Yet I hadn’t even spent ten minutes fussing with things in Dalaran before grabbing an invite to Ulduar 10 on their way to the second boss. I hopped in happily, prayed my addons would work enough to get by, struggled a bit with Misdirect (because I seriously never use it to pull), and clicked. And clicked. And clicked some more.

My brain kicked in. Hay. U. Ur not pullin. Apparently my brain is a lolcat.

The tank let me try twice before losing patience and pulling. Then I realized that I could Auto Shot, Arcane Shot, but my Steady macro wasn’t working. Then my guild yelled at me to get the hell away from the flame tornadoes that were hitting me for 4,000 damage apiece.

So tonight we hit up Ulduar 25 for real. I get home at 5:30, raid starts at 8:30. That gives me three hours to quick-fix my addons, smooth out my broken macros (Kill Shot changes make me cry), and get a new bag. Plenty of time, you say?

We’ll see. x.x