I Won’t Miss You – a tribute to Frostheim

Frostheim, co-creator of Warcraft Hunters Union (and all that that site has done for us hunters), progenitor of WoW Hunters Hall, long-time Scattered Shots (WoW Insider) columnist, long-time member (and poet laureate) of the Hunting Party Podcast, writer of several amazing odes to hunters, staunch defender of facts and math and balance, advocate for cool new stuff for hunters, recoverer of his own cloak, and generally fun and awesome guy, announced last Saturday on the Hunting Party Podcast – and later that day on WHU – that he is retiring.

Given his recent stretches of absence from the WHU and the HPP, to say that I didn’t see this coming would be incorrect. And he is not quitting the game, but is shutting down his personal commitments to his blogging / podcasting activities in order to devote his time to other ventures. He’s also apparently going to put away his white-quality weapons and lessen the amount of time he spends shooting at target dummies as if they’re trying to invade his city, and actually devote more of his WoW time to playing the game! This is a good thing.

Personally, though – and I know I speak for untold numbers of players out there – I Will Miss You, Frost.

I’m A Hunter

I wasn’t always a hunter. But one of my earliest toons was a hunter back when I started playing shortly after the release of Burning Crusade, although since I was a terrible player (and that’s all the info anyone needs) back then, I failed to get him to level 70.

During the spring of 2010, when the Lich King was dead and we were in the midst of the longest stretch of meaningful-content-less boredom in the history of the game, I started listening to the Hunting Party Podcast. I forget how it happened; the best I can remember is that, as a reader of WoW Insider, I liked Frostheim’s Scattered Shots posts more than just about anything else on the site.

(I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was probably ready for a change at that point… but anyway, to continue…)

Of course, the header on each of his posts mentioned that he was from Warcraft Hunters Union and the Hunting Party Podcast, and so I checked them out. And let me say, when someone charismatic like Frostheim is available to be both read and listened to, it can be a powerful combination. I wasn’t much of a podcast-listener in those days – my only constant at the time was the WoW Insider Show, which I haven’t listened to in almost a year now, and I had tried out several others that either didn’t grab me or didn’t stick around. So when I found Darkbrew, Euripides, and Frostheim, I was hooked. I downloaded and listened to every single episode that was available on iTunes, and they were my companions that summer and fall as we inched our way toward the launch of Cataclysm.

Meanwhile, I started a few hunters. Mushan stuck, and the rest is history (which I’ve laid out in previous posts). Playing the hunter that summer and fall, leveling the hunter, doing dungeons on the hunter, was every bit as fun as I had imagined it would be while listening to the HPP. As a player who now had some general skill, I didn’t have any of the problems I had had in 2008 with my long-deleted original. I was topping meters, learning to use my utility abilities, enjoying playing the movement/Auto Shot game, and seriously thinking about making Mushan my main. Which eventually happened.

I was “Ana” back in the day, but now I’m “Mushan,” and that is indescribably largely due to the influence of one Frostheim.

Things lately have been quieter on the Mushan/HPP front. I often work on Saturdays, so I don’t get to listen in live when the show is recorded anymore. And the shows have often taken weeks to come out on iTunes, and so over the past several months I’ve only listened a handful of times, and I expect that to continue.

But I’ve always enjoyed listening to Frostheim, and I’m going to miss that. He has given so much to the hunter community at this point that it’s almost a cliche to say so, but I don’t care. Why?

Because without Frostheim, it’s almost certain that there would be no Mushan. And that’s of some importance, at least to me. He literally rejuvenated my WoW experience by unknowingly reintroducing me to the hunter class. He changed the game for me. Without Frostheim, I might not have switched over to a hunter. Without Frostheim, I might not even be playing the game anymore. At the very least, without Frostheim, this blog would certainly not exist in this form.

The first paragraph of this post probably makes me sound like a bit of a fan-boy. Am I a fan-boy of Frostheim? Hell yes! I think my previous paragraph does a pretty good job explaining why.

And so, to Frostheim, Thank You for all you’ve done for hunters. You’ve been a gift to us these past several years, and I’ll never forget it. I’ll be following whatever you do in the future – stay in touch!

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

Focused Grimness

My desire to play WoW is down even more than usual lately.

I’ve written about being burned out occasionally over the past couple of months, and that doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Since almost nothing has happened recently, there hasn’t been anything substantial to write about; nothing, at least, that has inspired me to write.

There’s one thing that I’m not feeling burned out about, and that’s playing Mushan. I still look forward to the weekends, when we raid, and I still feel at home when I’m playing him.

But I don’t feel like doing dailies or otherwise earning Valor*. I don’t feel like stepping into LFR**. While I don’t mind doing heroic dungeons, I’m not particularly motivated to do them. Killing rares has gotten very old, very fast. PvP? not feeling it at all right now. Soloing old stuff? same. Archaeology? Pet battles? RP? Scenarios? Achievements? Aggressive Auction House jockeying? Yeah… no thanks.

*I did pick up my Valor belt after reaching Revered with the SPA this week, so I’m done using Valor Points for anything until 5.3 arrives – I figure that if I’m capped by the end of next week, I’ll be fine to start item-upgrading whenever that becomes available.

**That being said, I have done three wings of ToT LFR this week. Primordius has some very nice gloves that I’d like to get my hands on… er, into. Although he hasn’t been generous about it so far.

And that’s on the hunter – the familiar toon; the well-oiled machine; the toon I love. The other toons? forget it. I have no desire to tank anything right now on the warrior. No desire to play the mage. No desire to get the final 27 bars on my paladin. To play my lil’ project hunter. To level my DK, who’s in Grizzly Hills at the moment.

Additionally, I feel somewhat disconnected from the community right now, which is sort of weird, because I have more people consistently reading my blog now than I’ve ever had before. I’m generally disappointed with Twitter as well – without getting into specifics – so I’ve been avoiding it for the past couple of weeks, aside from a couple of random posts here and there.

I’m just in a different place right now, I suppose. 

On the whole, though, there’s almost nothing going on that I’m really enjoying unless I’m raiding.

Raiding went well last weekend, considering we were down a healer. We had a friend bring his mage, and we patiently worked our way through the first three bosses of ToT again, with two healers/six DPS instead of three and five.

We spent a long time on Sunday working on Tortos, which is a fight that I’m worried about because I’m one of only two ranged DPS, so downing the Whirl Turtles is proving to be somewhat challenging. Everything I read about hunters on that fight seems to say – and I paraphrase – “Go SV, you’ll do shit-tons of AoE damage on the bats on that fight…” And that totally doesn’t seem appropriate for our raid composition. Because of the makeup of our guild/team, we’re faced with the challenge of getting bosses down with what we have. We don’t have a bench, swap out players based on role, and so on. For the most part, it’s a 10-person, 10-toon team, and we adjust based on the limited versatility of those players’ classes – and that’s it.

While topping the charts is fun – and I can certainly top the charts on Tortos in LFR, which is inherently more forgiving and doesn’t mind if you just pick what you want to do and then do it – I will not be doing so as we make progress on our Tortos attempts. I will not be ‘spreading serpent’ all over those god-forsaken bats like it’s my m—– f—— birthday. I have an assignment, and it’s Whirl Turtles, and it’s a responsibility and challenge that I will rise to with determined grimness.

Of course, there’s no hunter spec that’s great for that role. Other than being able to cast on the move, my ability to consistently burst stuff down is still kind of anemic (see upcoming hunter buffs in 5.3). And with a somewhat melee-heavy 10-man group, there is little room for error or weakness in that situation. I’ve made my gear set – my greatest asset – about as strong as it can be, given the circumstances. So I’ll bring that, along with some grim focus, and we’ll see what happens.

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One bright spot for me, personally, was that I successfully switched to Beast Mastery on Sunday for the Council of Elders encounter. BM is a spec that I have never used in a raid before, and I don’t enjoy it. But I practiced the crap out of it during the week, and ultimately I did enjoy not killing myself when Kazra’jin was empowered. My overall “DPS” went down a tick or two, with the reduced AoE damage. However, I was satisfied with the situationally focused damage I was able to do, particularly as we burned down Sul during the first portion of the fight.

Unless it becomes totally stupid for me not to, I will continue to use SV on single target progression fights (like Jin’rokh, although he’s certainly not progression), because it fits me like a glove; and, because I am not a great player, I have that problem where I play better with the spec I enjoy the most (rather than playing the “best spec for the DPS”). I can move better as SV, because I have many hundreds of hours of doing so under my belt, and that can be very important at times. BM feels like I am slapping the buttons, while SV is smooth, allowing me to have better raid awareness. But in the case of Kazra’jin, BM works for me, giving me the freedom to go all-out on something that would otherwise kill me if I did so as SV.

At any rate, it’s a game, and if I can do some sick damage and play well as SV, and it allows me to enjoy the only part of the game I’m having any fun with right now, then I’m going to do so whenever I can.

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!