I was promised a pony!

... and I got like 36 gazillion.  My tauren (not the paladin, and obviously not the warlock) now has access to:
  • Argent Warhorse
  • Black Skeletal Horse
  • Blue Skeletal Horse
  • Brown Skeletal Horse
  • Celestial Steed
  • Fiery Warhorse
  • Forsaken Warhorse
  • Green Skeletal Warhorse
  • Headless Horseman's Mount
  • Hearthsteed
  • Ochre Skeletal Warhorse
  • Purple Skeletal Warhorse
  • Red Skeletal Horse
  • Red Skeletal Warhorse
  • Swift Zhevra
  • Tyrael's Charger
  • White Skeletal Warhorse
Yes, ten of those are technically undead forsaken ponies, but they're still ponies.  That still leaves me seven pony models on a tauren.  Back when WoW first launched, all she could use was kodos and wolves, and for the PVP mounts she could also use the raptor (which I ground for for ages so I could buy it the day it went live).

Not counted:
  • Camels
  • Hippogryphs ("hippo" being for horse... even if they gave them deer features)
  • Talbuks (their horns and skeletal warhorses' horns were confusing me)
  • Windsteed (because... um... I'm really not sure what it is, taxonomically)
  • All the Alliance pony mounts my night elf has access too
There are still ponies I don't have - Invincible, Rivendare's - but I don't think I'm hurting too badly for pony options.


Timeless Armor

The Timeless Isle was an interesting addition to the Siege of Orgrimmar raid patch - non-raid content (mostly) that included parts of the legendary cloak quest, some world bosses with current tier for both PVE and PVP, and a reputation grind for another Pandarian dragon mount.

It also brought us Timeless armor tokens, account-bound tokens that we could use to gear up alts and fill in gaps until we got something better.  Lots and lots of Timeless armor tokens.

And you know what?  That's okay.  Timeless armor tokens have some uses beyond just vendoring once you've kitted out your alts.

New character on a new server?  No cash?  Send them a couple tokens!  Five gold a pop.

Short on sha crystals?  Send your extra tokens of the appropriate armor type to your enchanter, make a piece of gear, crush.

Now I'm working on the Bigger Bag achievement, so I'm getting tokens more again.  I should be able to restock my sha crystals, and I can gear up my death knight when she finally hits 90.  It's going to take a while - I got Huolon's mount on the wrong character.


6.0 Alpha Patch Notes!!

Rather than just repeat everything that's been said already, I'm just gonna link you the patch notes (in case you somehow haven't seen them), and then link you over to all of WoWhead's stuff (and their talent/perks calculator), because Carpnado. There's a lot of cool stuff popping up in the datamining (Glyph of Play Dead!), but since it's thus far contextless, I'm going to look mostly at the patch notes stuff right now.

Since these are alpha patch notes, all of this is subject to (and likely to in some way) change, but here's what affects Marksmanship out of that (gloriously long) patch notes post:

Removed abilities:
  • Aspect of the Hawk
  • Distracting Shot
  • Hunter’s Mark
  • Lynx Rush
  • Rapid Fire
  • Rapid Recuperation
  • Serpent Sting and Improved Serpent Sting
  • Widow Venom
  • Scatter Shot
  • Silencing Shot (but not Counter Shot)
Removed for Marksmanship:
  • Arcane Shot
Moved to talents:
  • Stampede (replaces Lynx Rush)
Changed abilities/talents:
  • Thrill of the Hunt affects Aimed Shot
  • Aspect of the Iron Hawk will just reduce damage (not increase attack power)
  • Revive Pet and Mend Pet are one button and switch function based on whether you have a live pet (basically replacing my revive/mend macro)
  • Traps won't need to arm - they can go off as soon as you drop them
  • Traps won't be disarmable (they're taking Disarm Traps away from rogues, anyway)
  • Scare Beast PVP duration will be 6 seconds
  • The aspect bar is being removed and the remaining aspects will be toggles on the GCD:
    • Aspect of the Pack
    • Aspect of the Cheetah
    • Glyph of Aspect of the Beast
    • Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah won't trigger cooldowns on aspects
  • Aimed Shot damage is being buffed and will once again not interrupt Autoshot
  • Dismiss Pet won't need line-of-site
  • Pets will have a 1 second GCD
  • Explosive Trap will put a DOT on anything in range when it goes off, rather than be a fire puddle
Pet abilities removed:
  • Cower
  • Rabid
  • Specific pet abilities:
    • Basilisk: Petrifying Gaze; Bat: Sonic Blast; Bear: Demoralizing Roar; Bird of Prey: Snatch; Carrion Bird: Demoralizing Screech; Core Hound: Lava Breath; Crab: Pin; Crane: Lullaby; Crocolisk: Ankle Crack; Dog: Lock Jaw; Fox: Tailspin; Goat: Trample; Gorilla: Pummel; Hyena: Cackling Howl; Monkey: Bad Manners; Moth: Serenity Dust; Nether Ray: Nether Shock; Porcupine: Paralyzing Quill; Raptor: Tear Armor; Rhino:  Horn Toss; Scorpid: Clench; Serpent: Serpent's Swiftness; Shale Spider: Web Wrap; Silithid: Venom Web Spray; Spider: Web; Sporebat: Spore Cloud; Tallstrider: Dust  Cloud; Wasp: Sting
Changed pet abilities:
  • Sporebat: Energizing Spores now affects both melee and spell haste
Draenor Perks:
  • Enhanced Kill Shot: Bigger Kill Shot window
  • Enhanced Camouflage: Heal while camouflaged
  • Enhanced Chimera Shot: Costs less focus
  • Enhanced Aimed Shot: Crits generate focus
  • Improved Focus: Larger focus pool
  • Improved Aimed Shot: Increased damage
  • Improved Steady Shot: Increased damage
  • Enhanced Shots: Increased range
  • Enhanced Piercing Shots: Multishot crits apply bleeds
Level 100 Talents:
  • Flaming Shots: Autoshot BURNINATES
  • Focusing Shot: Replace Steady Shot with one longer shot that generates focus, but can't be used on the move
  • Lone Wolf: Play without a pet

Okay, so that's the consolidated bits of the infodump that directly affect Marksman specifically (rather than all of us players as a whole, like the stat squishes and whatnot).  What does all of this mean thus far?

Well, I can get rid of my Mend Pet/Revive Pet macro that I've had since... I dunno, 2005?

Toolbar changes (not shown: Hunter's Mark, Widow Venom)

I'm looking at the level 100 talents and thinking, well, I want to play with my pet.  I don't mind pet management, and I like the added flavor and variety.   There may be fights where it's worth it to swap into it, though.  Between Flaming Shots and Focusing Shot, I have a feeling I may change that one frequently for soloing and trash versus boss fights.  Stuff tends to die fast enough on trash and while soloing that a 3-second cast to regenerate focus for Aimed, Chimera, and Multi may be prohibitive.

The Draenor Perks are also a nice addition; they further define the specialization and INCREASED SHOT RANGE I'VE MISSED YOU.  Ahem.  I used to consistently specialize into it when it was in the old talent trees.  Healing while Camouflaged will give us a nice alternative to eating that may not be possible if stuck in combat or if in an area where the odds of getting attacked again are high.

Since the Aspect bar is down to three buttons, and losing one, I'm not going to miss it.  Once upon a time we got as high as what, six buttons?  Aspects are a neat idea, but one that apparently hasn't worked out for the hunter class the way they once thought they would.  This will also move the pet bar back over on top of my active bars and make it faster for me to call my pet off, since it will be less distance for the mouse to travel.

With Murder of Crows and Stampede moving into the same row of talents, they may become situational: Crows for single-target fights since they're a DOT; Stampede for multi-target fights since they can move around.  I'm likely to favor Crows, though, despite the joys of the Army of Sporebats.  I just really enjoy swarming someone with a flock of birds.

I'm expecting haste is still going to be a fairly desirable stat for Marksman, to bring down both the Aimed Shot cast time and that of whichever focus-generator you're using at the time.  Right now Focusing Shot looks like it will generate about double the focus of a pair of Steady Shots, and it might work better for an expensive-shot rotation like Aimed and Chimera.

All in all this just makes me more impatient to be able to get in and play around with all the new stuff!


5 Favorite Engineering Gadgets

I've been an engineer since I made my second hunter - the first is a leatherworker, and by the time I got to the second I knew I wanted to be able to make my own ammunition.  Ammunition is, of course, gone now, but that's still left me with a wealth of interesting gadgets.

I'm carrying a 36-slot engineering bag around me for all the ones I'm still toting around with me; after whittling down the list, these are my top five favorite:

5.  MOLL-E:  I looked high and low for a screenshot of my MOLL-E in action, but it's one of the more mundane gadgets I carry, so none immediately jumped out at me.  I'm sure it's in a boss-kill shot somewhere; I just haven't found it yet.  My favorite engineering gadgets fall into one of two categories:  Insanely practical (MOLL-E barely beat out the Thermal Anvil for #5) or randomly deadly.  MOLL-E hasn't killed me... yet.

4.  Zapthrottle Mote Extractor:  The mote extractor was the source of much random glee and obsessive zapping in the Burning Crusade:  it lets you suck elemental motes out of random balls of gas in various zones.  Water (originally life) in Zangarmarsh, mana in Netherstorm, air in Nagrand, shadow in Shadowmoon Valley.  And it puts them on your map now.

3.  Dimensional Ripper - Everlook: This is my favorite of the many transport items available to engineering, because one of the possible mishaps sets you on fire.  I was unprepared the first time this happened and quickly burnt to death; after that I learned to pay attention and eat immediately - percentage-based food was especially helpful.

I... actually have a lot of screenshots very similar to this one.
2.  Parachute Cloak (and its descendant, the Flexweave Underlay):  I love parachuting into places.  It's great now that I can do damage while doing so now - for Galakras I volunteer for the tower groups, and do one of the guns, because I can parachute down and hit stuff en route.  Way back when, I would use this as a shortcut into the Un'Goro Crater from Tanaris.

1. Loot-A-Rang:  This is the gadget I want on all my other toons.  Loot-A-Rang, Fetch, it's all good.  I have both on several hunters.  An excellent follow-up to the Booterang.

So, when I was making this list, I decided to thin out the explosives, since they're not really gadgets, per se, but they were quickly bloating the list.  So here's a bonus list of my favorite explosives:

5.  Explosive Sheep:  Sheep, that explode.  This should not be difficult to understand, especially if you're familiar with Worms Armageddon.

4.  Goblin Mortar (and the Mortar: Reloaded):  Because:

This isn't the only screenshot I have in this approximate position.

3.  Seaforium:  If you ever went through Dire Maul on a tribute run and couldn't get the key to drop...  Also allowed you to bypass that annoying slime tunnel in the Shattered Halls.  And open locked chests.  Handy when rogues are on the decline.  (Or when they hadn't leveled lockpicking, aeons ago.)

2.  Global Thermal Sapper Charge:  Just insert cackling here.  I used to use these in Wintergrasp.  I still have a couple, but the cooldown on them puts all your explosives on a five minute cooldown.

1.  Goblin Rocket Launcher:  We used to use this for the first pull in the Botanica, for the stun.  One of my favorite PVP deaths was getting sheeped by a gnome mage (I was on my priest), and then she follows it up by immediately pulling out this rocket launcher.  It was just awesome.



I've had a database for my alts for a while, mostly because I like numbers, pulled off the spreadsheet I was using to assign mounts.  Because with 200+ mount options and a max of 50 characters, there's no way I'm going to be using all of them.  (That's okay; taurens get striders; gnomes get kodos; it's all good.)

Anywho, @wowcynwise was talking today on Twitter about hours played vs. how competent one feels with one's alts, and it made me wonder how levels:hours compared on my alts.  I had put levels into the database, but not hours, because the latter changes much more frequently than the former.

This is how adding hours in turned out:

Class Count(Class) Sum(tLevel) Sum(Hours)
hunter 12 543 11227
priest 6 270 1887
warrior 5 168 757
death knight 2 143 87
warlock 4 130 460
paladin 2 125 366
shaman 3 96 695
druid 2 95 169
rogue 1 90 1524
mage 5 82 59
monk 2 18 6

For the most part total levels and hours played parallel each other, but there are a few noticeable exceptions.  Death knights get a big level bump from the free 55 levels.  My lone rogue is, yes, 90, but the bulk of her hours played are from vanilla WoW.  My shaman's hours played gets a similar bump from doing her initial leveling in vanilla and the Burning Crusade.

This only includes extant characters, since I keep my Altoholic pruned when I delete alts, but I think the highest level character I've deleted was a level 20 druid, excluding death knights that hadn't yet left their starting zone.  (Prior to getting my Minfernal I had been checking out the low-population PVP servers.  Ahem.)

Regarding how comfortable I feel with the classes versus their time played, the main exception to the order above is paladins.  I haven't really played my paladins since Cataclysm, and some of their mechanics changed significantly since then.

I think it's pretty clear why I named the blog what I did, though.  All of those hunters (well, besides the level 6 one) are marksman.

Top Mail Helm Models

I'm not gonna lie; shaman tend to win the hat/shoulder graphics lottery.  Ten Storms, Earthfury, Olivia's Graceful Gaze...  They get some awesome stuff that just isn't available other than recolors, if you're lucky.  Hunters don't completely miss out, though.  Here are some that I've bothered banking, or wouldn't mind having:

Stylin' Crimson Hat:  This is one of those fun-but-has-stats items that weren't uncommon in the Burning Crusade; my leatherworker was never lucky enough to get any of the patterns.  This is the hunter one; the others have different color combinations.

Foreman's Reinforced Helmet:  I could have sworn I had banked, but apparently not.  It's a great item for an engineer-themed transmog.

Beastmaster's Cap:  I put on the whole set for the picture; this is the upgrade from the Beaststalker set that's no longer available except through the Darkmoon Faire.  I liked the color scheme on this set better.  The shamans get most of the wolf-type helms, but this one is all ours.

Malefactor's Eyepatch:  This is the helm I use with the Blood Knight transmog set I used for most of the end of Cataclysm.  (It matches my ravager.)  The eyepatch is from a quest chain in Blade's Edge and was a good helm for quite a while.

Surestrike Goggles v2.0:  I used these goggles for ages in Wrath.  They dont' have as many bells and whistles as Deadly Retinal Armor, but I think they look better on more races.  It's hard enough finding a helm that works on a tauren.  Most of the Wrath-era goggles use this shape if you want a different color scheme.

Straw Hat:  My current transmog hat, the Straw Hat is from getting to Best Friends with Old Hillpaw.  It's a nice, simple hat; works well with most of the sets I've had this expansion; and it works okay with tauren horns.

I much prefer to have good hats than have to turn off my helm, and I think the Straw Hat is going to be my default at this point if I'm not otherwise trying to match a set.


Tactics #2: Interrupts

Many of the boss fights in WoW play off the mechanics players have available to them to make them challenging or, potentially, easier, if the abilities are used properly.  Fights with interruptible abilities are among these.

Not every ability can be interrupted, and not every interrupt can interrupt every interruptible ability.  Some mobs are immune to some effects.  Generally, if there is a shield icon around the cast bar, your class or specialization can't interrupt that ability.

Players have a variety of abilities that can potentially interrupt a mob, boss, or other player's casting of a spell or ability.  They include:
  • Interrupts:  An interrupt ability interrupts just the spell being cast (and may include locking down the school the spell is in), but doesn't prevent the target from casting spells from other schools.  Example: Pummel (unglyphed)
  • Silences:  A silence will interrupt a spell and prevent any spell from being cast.  (Not all abilities are spells, but most classes have some kind of ability that can be prevented with Silence.  Frequently this includes taunts.)  Boss mobs are frequently immune to silences, but the silencing ability will usually still interrupt a spell if it can be.  Example: Silence
  • Stuns:  Stuns will prevent the target from doing anything, generally for a few seconds at a time.  If a mob can be stunned, doing so will interrupt any spells they were casting, but it may not prevent them from casting it immediately after they come out of the stun.  Boss mobs are frequently immune to stuns.  Example: Kidney Shot
  • Disorients:  A disorient will make the target walk around disoriented in a small area for a short period of time.  Most bosses are immune to disorient abilities, and a disorient ability will not otherwise interrupt their cast, but this works well on non-boss mobs and players.  Example: Blind
  • Fears:  A fear effect will make the target flee, usually in a random direction.  Since it causes loss of control, it will interrupt casts and prevent them for its duration.  Most bosses are immune to fears, and it will probably not otherwise interrupt their casting, but they do generally work on mobs not immune to fears (undead frequently are) or other players.  Example: Fear