I join the growing chorus

Anacrusa stops by the Herb Garden of her garrison for a photo while preparing to leave AU Draenor for Azeroth, July 18th, 2016 [Photo by Mushan, Petty Mirror Images]

Anacrusa stops by the Herb Garden of her garrison for a photo while preparing to leave AU Draenor for Azeroth, the evening of July 18th, 2016. [Photo by Mushan, Petty Mirror Images]

There comes a point in the lives of certain bloggers – people like me, who name their blogs after their main characters in World of Warcraft – when you start to wonder what you’re going to do about the name of your blog.

As of right now, I have no concrete plans to change anything with respect to that. This is Mushan, Etc. I will very likely play Mushan, the toon, the hunter, in Legion. To some extent.

On the other hand, I will definitely play my druid, Anacrusa – last my main four expansions ago – in Legion.


The news

In an announcement that is months in the making, I’m writing today to tell you that, barring ‘Cataclysmic’ changes – to MM hunters, cat druids, or both – between now and Legion’s launch, Anacrusa will be my main at the start of Legion.

(I've even changed her back to being my main on the character screen!)

(I’ve even changed her back to being my main on the character screen!) *[yes I know, I haven’t used my boosts yet…]

Believe it or not, this is actually a positive thing!

Wait, what? (You scratch your head, puzzled…)

Well, it’s been a while, so let me briefly paint you a picture of the last few months.

WoD was not fun for me. This was caused by both real life circumstances – my work volume since mid-2014 has made it nearly impossible to participate in group content – and by… well, the expansion itself was not that much fun for me.

With Legion’s announcement, I felt minor pangs of anticipation, but the slow creep of development seemed to have finally bested me this time. By February, I was contemplating the heretofore unthinkable: that I would keep playing WoW for free (thanks, Tokens, for saving me $180/year!), but that I would deliberately not purchase an expansion for the first time in 10 years.

I was somewhere around… here:

“I don’t have time to play consistently, but at least I will still be able to get on from time to time to chat with the few friends I have left who still play the game. And I can revisit some of that nostalgic old content that I enjoy, delve a bit more into lore occasionally, and not worry about anything further…”

A not-insignificant subset of my reasons for potentially going this route included the fact that certain people that I am close to decided that I would love to hear about certain beloved lore characters who are going to die in Legion.

Yeah. I shut that faucet off quickly.

When I found out about who I found about about, it ruined my day, and I began to think it was time to admit to myself that Blizz has indeed jumped the shark, and that it was time for me to get out while I was ahead.

For several weeks, I ruminated on this premise.


The hunter

Survival as I know it is dead, and its memory is being partially forced into Marksmanship, and partially split off into a different hunter fantasy: the melee hunter. As such, Mushan – a long-time SV/MM hunter – doesn’t know whether he knows everything now, or, alternatively, nothing anymore (“Me forget how Survival, but me also learn some old Survival stuff as Marks?” . . ah, fuck it. ‘Gameplay trumps lore/fantasy,’ blah blah, but that shit – continuity – is important to me).

Subsequently – and I apologize, but I can’t articulate it like other hunter bloggers have – I feel sick about my hunter. What’s happening to the class in Legion doesn’t seem right. The way the class is being changed, I wasn’t going to be interested in taking Mushan into Legion, without roleplaying part of my own class fantasy away from what it is turning into and isolating myself from others in the game.* At least, that’s where my mind was headed.

*Apologies, I know that is vague. It’s hard to describe feelings sometimes, as well as the personal way that one plays this game. I spent enough time feeling like crap about my hunter that I’m trying not to dwell on the minutia.


The druid

And then, one Sunday, I happened to dig a bit into the Legion beta feral druid. And something amazing happened: for the first time in years, I felt a love for the feral spec that had long been elusive. Something long-dormant welled up in my chest, and sparked my mind, and it stayed there – and it’s still there: druid-related excitement that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I’ve been playing her for several weeks now, almost exclusively. She is now my highest (modestly) geared toon, and she’s starting to feel powerful like she used to in WotLK… back when she was last my main.

The cat druid doesn’t seem like it will be THE perfect spec – that’s not what I’m interested in. However, I’m thinking of it as a spec I will enjoy both for PvP and, possibly, if I have the opportunity to get back into raiding again this fall.


The wrap up

This was rambly, but what I’ve tried to say, in short, is that, if it hadn’t been for falling back in love with my druid, I might not have purchased Legion. As such, it’s a good thing that I’ve switched mains.

I’ve tried to cut a lot of the negative hunter stuff out of this post. Why? Well, the truth is that, unlike a couple of months ago, I am excited for Legion, and it starts with my druid. It continues with certain artifact weapon quests that the lore nerd in me is excited about (along with other nerdy lore stuff that I love), and culminates with the possibility that I might be able to begin raiding again in the fall if the stars, both IRL and in game, align. More on those things to come.


Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.

Gearing down for Warlords

The new Mushan?

The new Mushan?

Yes, I wrote that correctly…

In the wake of the Warlords of Draenor announcement at Blizzcon 2013, I wrote a few posts about my desire to approach the leveling process differently. One of them described my desire to self-nerf: to gear down, as opposed to “gearing up” for the expansion.

There was some discussion about the subject here at the time, and then I put it on the back burner. My preparation for Warlords over the past year – gear-wise –  has basically consisted of keeping a reserve of Timeless Isle tokens on an alt so that, at the least, I could slap that gear on and be done with it.

At the time, Quelys suggested going in with T14 gear, but I got rid of those pieces as I replaced them, for the most part (basically, I kept Fang Kung, Tao’ren, and the DMC). I was thinking I would probably just go with Timeless Isle gear, as I didn’t see myself putting too much effort into it. However, with Patch 6.0 drawing near, over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself soloing MoP heroics, painstakingly assembling a dungeon set. Of course, being the behavior-driven nerd that I am, I found myself upgrading that gear once I discovered that I was Justice-capped. This, in turn, set up a nice cycle for me, where I drove myself to get both the gear that I wanted and the JP to upgrade it.

Mushan's end of MoP dungeon set

Mushan’s end of MoP dungeon set (almost)..

^^Possibly my last screenshot of the old Mushan?

As you can see, as of today, my mission is almost complete. I’m having no luck to-date with respect to pants and helm, but I do have some time before leveling begins. And if worse comes to worse, I’m going with the Golden Lotus JP pants and the 476 PvP crafted helm. The goal is to get down to an overall ilevel of 471 (463 plus upgrades, on average), and I think I can get there with that combination if I can’t come up with those last two pieces.

Some thoughts:

  1. In this set, I’m doing roughly 60k DPS single-target (casually, un-buffed) on a raid dummy. It’s interesting how many times-over the damage multiplies from the beginning heroic dungeons to the end of the expansion. Additionally, I’m sitting at about 55% of my SoO health level.
  2. I’m unclear about how my health level will translate with the stat squish, particularly with respect to mobs on Draenor. However, I’m still confident in my ability to handle them, even though…
  3. I’m planning on leveling as Survival. While part of me wants to try leveling as Marksmanship (and that was my plan previously, because I’d love to try “one-shotting” stuff), it seems to be the new (and only) hotness as far as hunter specs go (thanks Obama Blizz). On the positive side: as gutted as it is, leveling as SV could present me with some challenges, which is something I am definitely interested in. I’m looking for an epic experience, and playing hunter with no Kill Shot and no Multi-Strike… will most likely make killing mobs more challenging, if not epic.
  4. I’m planning on carrying my raid gear with me for dungeon purposes, particularly at the lower levels. I don’t necessarily know that I will run dungeons along the way, but the possibility is definitely there. And if I do run dungeons on occasion while I level, I will not be causing my group any extra anguish brought on by my self-nerfing activities.
  5. I’m still going to level like I have in the past in new expansions with respect to buffs, enchants, gems, etc. I’ll be appropriately specced out, have consumables with me, use drums, etc. I just won’t be starting out grossly overpowered like I used to.

* * *

I mean no offense by this, but I get a chuckle whenever I read about people specifically “gearing up for WoD”… and doing so by raiding. Needing that cloak, needing that heirloom, needing that 4-piece. I fully understand the players who are looking for those items because they’re great to have, but I’ve seen many, many people who are frantically chasing after those pieces for their alts… “for Warlords.” On Twitter. Blogs. WoW Insider.

More power to them, but to me it seems unnecessary.

Think about it this way: I am very, very far from being among the best players in the world… But when I level a new toon, I don’t stop at level 80, get a bunch of raid gear, and then proceed to 85, get some more raid gear, and then proceed to the next endgame; I simply go to the new zone and start tearing it apart. All of my level-90 alts that are between ilvl 510 and 550 are very prepared, gear-wise, to romp through the opening levels of WoD before they start to get some gear… and none of them have either heirloom weapons or legendary cloaks.

It just seems like when we do that, we’re actually “over-preparing to overpower”… like we’re trying to get the biggest hammer possible in order to smash a sandwich with it.

* * *

I’m looking to stretch myself a bit as a player – perhaps for the last time in this game.

I may have mentioned this on Twitter briefly a few weeks back, but I got another promotion in September – my second in the last five months – and, where my free time was limited over the summer, it’s downright precious now. I’ll be very surprised if I raid at all in Warlords, and once I get done playing through Draenor, I don’t know that I will keep going. However, that’s a decision to be made sometime down the road.

As such, I’m looking to have an experience on Draenor. Discovery, story, taking my time and enjoying the scenery. Testing my skills as a hunter. Talking with my friends about it all, here and on Twitter, as time and energy permit. I’m looking forward to it!

* * *

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Follow me on Twitter at @MushanEtc. Comments are welcome!

Assurance of Consequence

The idea for this post came to me several weeks ago, when I first looked through the list of hunter-eligible gear from raids on WoWDB.com. At that time, I made a list of pertinent gear – that is, gear that I have a chance to get, gear that is potentially an upgrade over my own. And I was struck by one particular piece. No, it wasn’t the heirloom weapon…

It was a trinket called Assurance of Consequence.

Assurance of Consequence

Assurance of Consequence

This trinket drops from the Sha of Pride, the final boss in the first wing of Siege of Orgrimmar. Which means it also drops in the first wing of flex, which is named Vale of Eternal Sorrows. This is also the name of the first wing of Siege of Orgrimmar, LFR edition.

The skinny

According to Perculia at WoWhead, the latest news on which abilities have reduced cooldowns is that, as of last week, all six abilities have been named for most, if not all, of the potential specs. Since I play Survival, I’ll list the abilities for that spec (to date):

Black Arrow, Camouflage, Disengage, Feign Death, Rapid Fire, Stampede.

It’s a pretty good list, although for PvE, Camouflage does very little for me. But the 35%-plus cooldown reduction of the other abilities with any and every version of this trinket (the reduction improves as the trinket’s ilevel goes up) makes it very tasty.

Of course, the effect is called Readiness

The drop

When I found out about these trinkets, I knew that I wanted to write this post… but I wanted confirmation on something first, so I put it on the back burner.

That confirmation came this week. The Siege of Orgrimmar raid release schedule was announced. The Normal, LFR, and Heroic mode release schedule is exactly the same as it was in 5.2. Click the link if you haven’t seen it yet.

The aftermath

My best hope, or dream-scenario, is that the flex version of this trinket will drop for me next week, and I will never have to set foot in LFR in hopes of getting it.

My reasonable hope is that it drops for me over the next few weeks in flex or LFR.

My reality is that I will probably be grinding out LFR and flex for the next ten weeks, praying for a drop that never comes like I did with the T14 shoulder token from Lei Shi. I fought her to the bitter end on Mushan, and never saw it. I hope it doesn’t come to that with this thing.


Unfortunately, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This trinket looks so good that it seems like a must-have for the performance improvement it potentially affords. As such, until I have one in my grimy clutches, I will be farming the crap out of it.

I didn’t want it to be this way. I wanted to avoid LFR totally on my hunter this tier, and had already made the decision not to chase tier tokens in SoO LFR. But since Blizzard made no alterations to the release schedule, and that trinket becomes a potential LFR drop only a week after the patch starts, I will at least be running LFR for that one. It’s a no-brainer.

Those skeptical of my logic may ask, what difference does it make? They release LFR on 9/17, or they release it a month or two later: either way, you don’t have to run it! Either way, if you can’t/don’t run it, you have the same gear…

I understand that logic.

But I feel a responsibility to making my team the best that it can be. And if being able to move better and do more damage faster – sooner – means I slog it in LFR against my desires, than so be it. I consider myself a leader on my team, at least on the offensive side of the ball, and as a leader, I try to be my best. And this trinket has both DPS and tactical implications that I want to be able to take advantage of as soon as possible: more Rapid Fires and Black Arrows and Stampedes mean more DPS, more Disengages mean possibly more self-healing and better movement options, more FDs mean better survival. So bringing that better Mushan to the table – to the team – is important to me.

Now, if Blizzard had decided to either hold back the release of LFR or not put potentially game-changing items in LFR, then of course I wouldn’t worry about it. But if a piece of gear can help my team, I’m generally going to chase after it every time. I would have a hard time foregoing the opportunity when it’s there. It feels different going into a 10-man team with a goal of progressing without doing your homework than it does knowing you did everything you could to prepare, in my experience.

I wish the game was a little different. But I understand the reasoning behind / arguments for why it is the way it is.

In reality, I have nothing major to complain about. While I personally would prefer that LFR be moot for my main toon for an entire tier, it’s exciting that there will be things to do again, and fun new gear to acquire. I do enjoy playing my hunter over any other toon, after all!

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

Alt appreciation: Dungeon Week

Droignon has Haze of Hate! Eh, I went with it. :D

Droignon has Haze of Hate! Eh, I went with it. :D

Preface: Laeleiweyn suggested recently that we altoholics could collectively celebrate alts, either on blogs, Twitter, or by starting/playing them in-game, over the course of eleven weeks starting on August 19th, and ending November 3rd. Each week will be themed by class – week one for DKs, week two for druids, week three for hunters, etc. 

It’s a fantastic idea, although I do not have an alt for every class. Furthermore, while I love the idea, I don’t have the interest in playing or doing things in-game with certain alts just because it’s a focus during a certain week. It’s just not how I operate.

Nonetheless, I’m an altoholic, and I have several alts that I play on something of a regular basis. I have 7 90s, for goodness’ sake. So while this week is #HunterWeek – and there are sure to be a ton of great hunter-related things going on in-game and around the interwebs (check out the hashtag all week for the latest news!) – I’m putting my own spin on it this week, because my hunter is my main, and the love of my WoW-life, and he gets appreciated here at Mushan, Etc. so much that he’s developed a bit of a complex at this point!

Therefore, without further ado…

…this week is Dungeon Week in my world.

With Patch 5.4 now just a week away, I’ve been prepping the troops. With goals in mind for some of them – some of which are long-held ideas, while others are newer (*cough* @ the mage) – I’ve been getting ready for 5.4 in several ways.

Goal #1 is to get the toons I’m interested in playing in 5.4 Valor-capped. While Mushan has been capped for weeks, I’ve been working the DK pretty hard, buying him the Shado-pan trinket last week and then capping, with 800 to go to hit 3000 this week. I have three other toons that are close to the cap, and I think I should have no trouble VP-capping them all before the 10th.

Goal #2 is to get as many Justice Points on these toons as possible pre-patch. This includes Mushan, for reasons I will describe below. Disregarding him for the moment, the reason for this is that pre 5.2 Valor gear will be purchasable with JP in 5.4. And while this means less than nothing to Mushan, my alts are each in a position to use some of this gear in some way or another; even my druid and warrior, who won’t sacrifice set bonuses for “Justice” gear, have off-specs that can use that level of gear to fill in OS slots.

With these things in mind, I offer a completely self-interested look at my main/fave toons and their states of preparation, and my plans for them for this week.

Mushan (SV hunter – duh? :P ); ilvl 535; 3000 VP; 543 JP; 3908 HP

Mushan has been a pretty bored archer lately. Not much raidin’ goin’ on, no new gear when he has raided, and so on. However, I recently took him to Stormwind in order to swap as much JP as possible for Honor, because one of the changes coming in 5.4 will be that it takes 500 JP to buy 250 Honor, which is a nerf to JP, I suppose. I haven’t PvP’d much at all since 5.2 dropped, but I don’t want to completely discount the idea that I may actually want to do so in 5.4. So I’ve put myself in the best position possible regarding Honor: I’m almost capped, should be able to pick up 2-3 496 pieces right off the bat after the patch, and then continue to fill out the PvP set from that point on.

Since he’s already Valor-capped, it’s highly likely that he will not work to snag any more JP through dungeons or any other means this week, but I’ve maxed out my conversions at this point anyway, so the rest can come once I actually need more JP for more post-nerf conversions…

Droignon (Prot warrior); ilvl 507 (prot) 477 (fury); 2765 VP; 1808 JP

Droignon hasn’t gotten much love lately. Since playing him is somewhat arthritis-inducing (/nods at Hass for the reference), and I’ve been working on the DK lately, Droig has mainly done his Halfhill stuff and not much else. However, he’s still someone I take seriously – he is a frickin’ huge night elf warrior, after all… I kid, I kid – and so I’ll be making sure he’s VP-capped. Seriously, it’s not going to take much effort. I’ll probably get there solely from Halfhill Ironpaw dailies and tripping over rares on the Isle of Thunder. And the fury spec is a joke, the way I play it, and not of much importance. So he may sit out of dungeons this week, but you never know – I may take him into a couple on the short path to the cap, in order to get a few more JP.

Anacrusa (Resto druid); ilvl 506 (resto) 480 (guardian); 2588 VP; 1186 JP

Like Droig, Ana has been keeping a low profile lately (/glares at Saldrahn…). And my biggest problem with her in 5.4 will not be gear, but rather learning to use Swiftmend as the insta-heal that it will solely be at that point. Nevertheless, I’ve been debating how I will go about actually reaching the cap with this one; this may be hard to believe, but she has healed exactly zero dungeons in MoP. I’ve healed scenarios and Champions of the Thunder King groups with her, but the vast majority of my healing experience has come in Raid Finder this expansion, which is why my JP-fund is so anemic. The Guardian spec, which is my questing spec, is in need of some hole-filling, so JP will still be important to some extent. So I may try to take her into a few dungeons this week, in order to grab some extra JP for that gear set. Because seriously, folks, questing as a guardian sucks extra-hard, and the better the DPS I can pull / the more mobs I can handle at once, the better.

Modhriel (Frost mage); ilvl 486; 2192 VP; 2077 JP

This is where the dungeon-running is going to get extra-serious. This is where Mushan’s Dungeon Week comes into its own.

Modhriel has, with very few exceptions, been sitting at the furthest, loneliest end of the bench since 5.2 happened. For proof, checking his armory shows that he has killed each of the first six bosses in ToT-LFR exactly one time. And that’s it. While I did open up Isle of Thunder with him, I set him down before I had enough VP and rep to buy anything. He has exactly zero pieces of 522 gear on. Poor guy…

With all of the time I spent on my hunters, warrior, druid, and DK during this tier, Modhriel took the back seat, limiting the sum total of his activity beyond April to Halfhill and cloth cooldowns. However, I jumped on him this weekend and ran a few dungeons, and MAN was it fun! He hasn’t gotten any gear in months, but he still absolutely ripped face. And I remember him doing well the couple of times I took him into ToT as well. I realized that I missed him this past weekend, so I think that, with my raiding picture a bit clearer now (since Ghilleadh the Worgen Hunter is done raiding), Modhriel is going to be back in play in 5.4. I’d like to cap his Valor and Justice this week, so that he can be on the road to being eligible for LFR as soon as it launches.

Good times…

Saldrahn (Blood death knight): ilvl 480; 2200 VP; 390 JP

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had a lot of fun with this toon. I’m a death knight fan now. However, this toon is a fun, casual toon, and I’m looking forward to playing him in dungeons in 5.4.

My personality, though, is one which compels me to gear him as fast as possible, even though there is no pressing purpose for doing so. I’m fighting this compulsion with everything I have. The last thing I need is to hit a complete roadblock with yet another toon, held back by LFR and LFR alone. He’s not a raider, and he’s not a sub, and he’s always been for fun, so I’m going to take it easy with him post-patch. However, since there is almost nothing going on right now otherwise, I’ve been working hard recently to get him some gear and get him Valor-capped for 5.4 (I can’t help that!). The JP can come now or later, though. I don’t really care which. So I may do some dungeons if I get bored toward the end of the week. Or I might save him for later. Either way, I win, because it’ll be fun to continue to progress him casually.

Level 90 toons “not pictured:” other hunter (going somewhat dormant); paladin (is always dormant).

Ghilleadh is done with normal-/heroic-mode raiding. I’m back to only raiding on weekends with Mushan and my normal team, and that’s it. So in a 100% anti-#HunterWeek fashion, I’m relegating him – my “other 90 hunter” – back to “make enchants for me, farm turtle meat, and do Fatty Goatsteak dailies”-status. And I’m fine with that. For several reasons – some of which are completely unrelated to him, but others of which are definitely all about him – I haven’t enjoyed him anywhere close to as much as I enjoy Mushan.

And the pally is, as I mentioned above, always dormant. Always there to make flasks and potions and do transmutes for me, but otherwise, yeah… dormant.

I have no qualms about either of those situations.

So the plan for this week is to get three toons VP-capped, picking up some JP along the way. I like heroic dungeons, and queues don’t seem to be long right now even for DPS, so it should be a fun week.

I’ll shut up now. This turned into quite a long post!

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

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!

Things I’m excited about in Patch 5.3

I had a somewhat busier work week last week, so my posting took a hit. I wrote about the one thing I really enjoyed doing, which was a diversion from the norm in some ways, but there wasn’t that much else going on, so I didn’t really have much to write about.

This week, Patch 5.3 “Escalation” goes live, so I’ll now have stuff to do on my hunter – that is, non-raiding, non-Halfhill stuff – if only because I’ll have a place to spend Valor Points again. I was thinking about writing a post about that, but I didn’t feel like writing at any time yesterday.

This morning, while maintenance is percolating, I still didn’t quite know what I wanted to write about until I read the following tweet by Big Bear Butt:

Today is patch day. Not to piss on anyone’s enthusiasm, but I feel no desire to start another grind, the patch does nothing to interest me.

And then, I knew what I wanted to talk about.

Everyone is in his or her different place in this game. Doing his or her own thing. As such, excitement levels may vary.

For me, there are two key things in 5.3 that I am immediately interested in with respect to my hunter:

1. Aspect of the (Iron) Hawk will buff Attack Power by 25% instead of 15%. I’ll take an 8.69% base increase in my total Attack Power any day. Am I excited about that? HECK YEAH I’m excited about it!

2. Item level upgrades are back. 500 VP for 8 ilvls per piece. I am capped and so ready to do this now. Doing anything that rewards Valor Points has that much more meaning for my main toon again.

There are other changes. A couple of changes – Blink Strike(s) / Intimidation, more room in the stable, some pet special attack cooldown changes, etc. – mean virtually nothing to me, because they won’t affect my raiding play or my DPS. Binding Shot being gone is sort of crappy, but once again, I rarely use it. So, as far as class changes, I’m really looking forward to raiding as Survival with Mushan in 5.3.

There is a new weekly quest area in the Barrens. That’s fine. It will be nice for alts, since it means 489 gear. However, I don’t imagine it will be much of a grind for raiding mains. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s not quite another Isle of Thunder or Molten Front, grind-wise. I could be wrong though.

There’s also a new part of the legendary quest line. I’ve been ‘behind’ on that thing since the beginning, and am still collecting Secrets of the Empire. From my perspective back here in Behind Land, it’s nice to see that there is more stuff to do down the line. I’m not immediately excited about it, because I’m not there yet, but I am salivating over those ilvl 600 cloaks: the stats on those babies are just mind-boggling!

There are new pets, and pet battle changes. Nice, but don’t really care. New arena and battleground: don’t really care. Mounts, shirts, heirloom changes: don’t care. New/Heroic Scenarios? I’ll probably do them at some point, but I’m not sure, and it doesn’t really affect me either way.

I find the PvP stat changes interesting, but I don’t know how I feel about them. I’ve only done a few dozen BGs this xpac, so it’s not a large part of my game. I do, however, like the Battleground Roles feature. It’s been “time” for that to happen since, well, forever.

One thing I’m feeling… well, not excited about… but I guess “relieved” is a better word for it: the nerf to Pandaria leveling XP requirements. When I finally bring my herbalist pally through the last 30-some bars to 90 and get her her flight license, my journey will be so much easier. 

On the other hand, the new Loot Specialization tab for choosing which spec you want loot for in raids and LFR is going to be great to use on my druid and warrior. I’m definitely excited about that for those toons.

I love the game, but I really live for raid success on my hunter. As such, the Aspect of the Hawk change and the return of Valor upgrades have me excited about raiding with the new-and-improved Mushan. Since this is a non-raid patch, there is understandably not as much for me to be excited about as there was in 5.2 with Throne of Thunder and all of the potential new gear.

Patches like these bring, among other things, quality of life changes, story progression, class changes, more stuff, and so on. As such, they’re less exciting in general than big raid patches like 5.2. Maintenance is still happening as I write this, but I don’t foresee ‘new grind’ being a big feature of this patch. Legendary grinds were a given; stories with some grinds are a given. To me, it’s part of the package.

My girlfriend is excited about the new pets she can farm in old raids. She loves pets, pet battles, mounts, killing rares, and so on – they provide a nice ‘other side of the game’ when she’s not kicking major ass with her raid team. So for her, the patch is a bigger deal than it is for me.

What I mainly care about is that the hunter class is getting some love in the form of the Attack Power boost, and that I have a means to improve my toon in the absence of better raid drops. Because of this, I am excited about the patch.

But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary! :)

MMO-Champion has a nice roundup of Patch 5.3 info – check it out to see all the new features!

Hunters: Tabana has posted a concise summary of the 5.3 hunter changes over at WoW Hunters Hall. Check it out! And thanks, Tabana!

Thanks for reading these musings by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

My issues with Auto Shot

55,688,203 Damage; 10 mins. 7 secs; approximately 91.7K DPS

Skada: 55,688,203 Damage; 10 mins 7 secs; approximately 91.7K DPS

Last week, The Grumpy Elf wrote that he found he could do 38k DPS simply by letting his hunter Auto Shot in LFR. It’s a great post, and was highlighted on last weekend’s Group Quest podcast.

Then, Tuesday, Big Bear Butt wrote a post about how he listened to that podcast on Monday, and their discussion on Grumpy Elf’s post caught his ear, and, in short, he started thinking about how he wishes that all caster DPS specs had an auto attack. His post on the subject, which is also great, goes on to describe how having no auto attack can be problematic for his non-hunter casters – his moonkin in particular.

I definitely recommend checking out both posts, as well as the podcast.

Meanwhile, I’m writing this post, this reaction to the reaction. This is how it goes sometimes. :)

One great thing about these two posts is that they bring up a topic that has been bothering me for a long, long time, and even more lately.

I have issues with Auto Shot.

Both the concept and end results of Auto Shot bother me, and, unlike Bear, I would like to see Blizzard do away with it, or at least marginalize its impact on our overall damage.

What Auto Shot looks like today, Survival Edition

I spent 10 minutes on the dummy today, and the results looked fairly similar – proportionally – to what I would see on a typical single target boss fight (see screenshot at the top of this post).

This is with no buffs (other than my hyena) or food, and no tier gear at all – because I’m currently not using any tier gear – so there’s no 5% extra damage to Explosive Shot, or extra chance to proc LnL. This is just regular non-tier gear with normal stats.

The nice thing to see is that Explosive Shot looks like it’s doing a nice chunk of my damage. There is usually some percent deviation in all of these results, due to various elements of RNG and the fact that there is no boss fight that I simply stand in one spot for (and I’m far from perfect in raids), but usually ES will be on top. The next top four attacks are usually in the top four on bosses, also. In fact, usually I see SrS and Auto in either of the 2-3 positions (you can see they were in a dead heat here), but sometimes my pet attacks sneak in there, or Arcane Shot will sneak in there, particularly if I forget to switch my talent from TotH to Dire Beast.

Now, this is obviously not a complete sample (and it’s only one, but it’s fairly representative). There are times where Serpent Sting needs to be applied to an add or other boss, via SrS or Serpent Spread. There’s Kill Shot, of course. Sometimes there’s Explosive Trap, Multi Shot, and Improved SrS. It depends on the encounter, of course, and those things can change what a damage breakdown looks like. However, one thing seems to be constant from boss to boss, and that’s the presence of Auto Shot in my top 2-4 damaging abilities.

Now, how do I feel when I look at a table like this? Well, I can tell you right off the bat that I am usually frowning in silent frustration when I look and see that Auto Shot – something I had almost nothing to do with, other than to have something targeted and be using other abilities against it – is about 10% of my total damage, and that it’s one of my top abilities.

Think about that for a minute. It’s one of my top damaging abilities.

Is that fun? And, does that take much skill at all?


In fact, it takes an undefined amount of extra skill to even shoot an Arcane Shot, because it requires pushing a button. Auto Shot is, by definition, automatic. It requires no skill; only that you have a working computer that has internet access, WoW downloaded and patched and subscribed to, a non-broken ranged weapon equipped, and the ability to engage monsters.

Why is Blizzard conceding 10% (or more) of our damage to us just for engaging the target?


I used to play a cat, back in Lich King times. As a melee DPS, staying up on the boss’s ass was critical to maximizing damage.

I started moving away from that toon when they changed the Savage Roar damage buff to only apply to white swings in 4.0. With a subsequent nerf to bleed damage, it became clear that Blizzard wanted more cat damage to come from positioning and uptime. For a while, it became arguably better to stack Haste than Mastery or Crit, because Haste + uptime + that sweet buff to white swings equaled Nice. SR has changed since then, but the damage was done; I leveled a hunter, and that part of my life is long gone now.

Nonetheless, I’m not a big fan of the whole concept of white swings for player characters. One of the things I like about my mage is that everything I do is caused by myself or my pet. I’m not also smacking the boss. Everything is a result of pushing a button.

Anyway, back to hunters.

Button bloat

This is actually something of a misnomer, in this case. It’s actually “ability bloat.” As Frostheim has described the problem of button bloat on the Hunting Party Podcast, the WHU, and in comments elsewhere: the more abilities there are, the smaller the piece of the damage pie each ability can take up.

There’s only 100% of the pie. And there is only one pie. Here’s how I look at it (the pie is “your total damage” and the people are “your damage abilities” in this analogy):

If there are six people over for dinner, there can only be six pieces of pie if everyone has one piece and they collectively eat the whole pie.

If there are eight people over for dinner, then there can only be eight pieces of pie if everyone has one piece and they collectively eat the whole pie.

The pieces can be different sizes, of course, but the pie is gone when everyone has left for the night, and it’s likely that, if more people came to dinner than expected, some of them may not have gotten enough dessert.

What I don’t like about this is that, not only is ten percent of my damage coming from Auto Shot, but it’s also one of my stronger “abilities.” Yes, Black Arrow procs LnL, so there’s a direct damage correlation there. Yes, Dire Beast increases my focus regeneration, so I can shoot more Arcanes and less Cobras. That’s nice and all, but Auto Shot is scoring too highly for my comfort.

And there’s not really anything I can do about this. I can’t minimize the damage Auto Shot does: it’s automatic after all, and it scales with Attack Power and crit chance. Higher Haste means faster attack speed, which means more Auto Shots. One of my Auto Shots on this dummy session hit for 55k! So, while perhaps it’s true that gear levels that are insanely higher than mine could theoretically pull Arcane Shot a marginal distance ahead of Auto Shot due to higher levels of Mastery, the difference wouldn’t be enough to mean that Auto Shot has become much less significant.

Removing or drastically reducing Auto Shot

If Auto Shot takes up roughly 10% of the damage pie, and it were removed** (in, say, Patch 6.0), and classes were re-balanced to be reasonably close in damage output, then it would be like saying, “Well, Bernice doesn’t want any pie, so does anyone want to have a little more?” (Of course someone does – it’s pie, after all.) The pie is eaten, 100% of it is gone.

**or significantly marginalized…

Removing Auto Shot would mean that Blizzard would have the damage that Auto Shot currently does available to redistribute to other abilities. Perhaps a stronger average Black Arrow tick, or increased crit chance on Explosive Shot, or something to that effect. I don’t know where the best place to put it is, but I do know one thing:

It would have the potential to make some or all of the abilities do a higher percentage of the overall damage, because there would be one less ability crowding the others out in that “100% of total damage pie.” It could mean higher burst damage in situations where it’s needed. It could mean that executing the priority system better than someone else would mean more overall damage, as well as a larger gap between those who do so and those who don’t.

It could mean that Grumpy Elf doesn’t finish 10th on the damage meter on a pull in LFR just from auto-attacking and doing 38k DPS, causing him to wonder what the heck people are doing that make them perform even worse than that while he’s tabbed out… (read his post!)

I am possibly the only person who feels this way, and I could be totally wrong.

But it seems that, if there are a lot of abilities now, and if there is yet another ability added in the next expansion, something should go, and Auto Shot seems to me to be the best candidate.

Additionally, then ranged DPS would be slightly more equal, mechanically. Not perfectly equal, of course, but that one distinction / disparity would be gone (or close to gone).

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.

– – –

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.

– – –

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

Soloed: Halion (10H)

Heroic Halion (10) down!

Heroic Halion (10) down!

This past Sunday afternoon, looking to do something challenging yet fun, I decided to give Heroic Halion a shot.

I had never defeated Halion before. I only ever attempted him once toward the end of Wrath with a raid group, and it was one of those things where we’d get to Phase 3 and then start dropping like flies. And I never tried soloing him during Cataclysm, because I assumed that the whole twilight realm portal thing would reset the boss. Maybe I was right, maybe not… but at any rate, it is soloable now, as was brought to my attention by this video from Cinnamohn (props to Cinnamohn for the idea and the strategy!). Check it out for the details!

I soloed him as SV in my questing spec setup (Spirit Bond, Blink Strike, Glyphs of Mending and Misdirection). It took me five attempts to get my head in gear and not stand in the crossfire forever (facepalm!), not get hit by the Twilight Cutter, not out-threat my pet, and so on, and to get him down. Because he heals himself for a sizable chunk every five seconds in Phase 3 (from 50% health till death), the majority of the fight is spent in that phase, doing more damage to him than he can heal through. Like many soloing fights, the trick is basically to execute the mechanics of the encounter while still doing enough damage and keeping the pet alive – while also keeping threat on your pet so that you don’t have to Feign Death, which will reset the boss – and Halion certainly tests that combination of skills and awareness on Heroic mode for modest soloists like myself.

It was pretty cool to attempt and defeat a boss that I’ve never seen before on Heroic, and had never defeated before. Sometime, I’d like to attempt the 25-player version, but I don’t know if I could handle that. Perhaps on normal mode…

– – –

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

Giving up the illusion

Another first kill... while dead.

Another first kill… while dead. In LFR.

There’s something empowering about World of Warcraft. There’s something empowering about being on a 5/8 H Dragon Soul team.

There’s also something empowering about being a small part of the hunter blogging community; and indeed, about playing a hunter. It basically just rocks, which feels great, which makes the game fun for me.

However, I think that being a part of that 5/8 H DS team, and being there as a hunter, fostered false impressions that I have of myself as a player and as a hunter.

Playing a hunter is a unique experience. As a hunter, I can do anything, and handle anything, if I know what I’m doing and approach it with a plan, or at least with proper preparation. But this post isn’t about the hunter class and its greatness.

This post is about me and the illusion of greatness that I have about myself, and about how I’m not really all that great. Nobody else thinks I’m great – I’m sure my guild sees me as a good player, moderately skilled and mostly effective. But not awesome.

And my ideas of awesomeness are severely tempered by massive doses of self-doubt, which are in turn fueled and exacerbated by failure.


However, part of what makes many great games so good is that they make you feel awesome.

I remember when I first played a death knight. They were overpowered when Wrath came out, and I was absolutely crushing stuff when I went to Outland on that toon. Whereas my paladin, my other plate-wearing toon at the time, felt squishy but viable, the DK was AWESOME. “Death Grip, demolish, repeat!” is what I felt like when I played that long-since deleted toon. DKs were soon brought back down to earth, power-wise, and when I went back to try him later on, the overpowered nature had been diminished, and, having tasted that awesomeness, I found myself no longer interested in him. I recently made a new DK, and, being a much better WoW player now than I was two expansions ago, I’m having a lot of fun with him. He doesn’t need to be super OP for me now. But I’ll never forget the awesomeness that was…

At any rate, OP or not, each class is designed to be great. We’re considered heroes to the NPC-folks in game, and over the years we’ve taken care of problems ranging from repelling bandits to finding lost pets, to the destructions of the Lich King and Deathwing. We’re heroes, and we can do things in WoW that are pure fantasy in scope.

The short history of Mushan

When I started Mushan in summer 2010, it had been months since the Lich King fell to the combined might of Tirion Fordring and our old guild team. At the start of Cataclysm, I was a hunter that wanted to raid, but had nowhere to go. I had one or two raiding options that I knew of, guild-wise, but neither option was a pleasant one. So I missed Tier 11, other than a couple of experiences as a pug, in its entirety. I was late coming to Firelands, but managed to join up with Nos Consensio (and several old friends!) in time to get guild first kills on (at least) Alysrazor, Domo, and Ragnaros. That was a lot of fun, and Ragnaros was a particularly enjoyable fight for me as a hunter. However, real-life issues soon trumped WoW life for me, and I took what amounted to about a five month break from raiding, missing out on normal-mode Dragon Soul.

I started raiding again when Nos was 1/8 H DS, and we proceeded to progress through four more bosses over the next couple of months before giving up for the summer, which I believe I’ve documented here at Mushan, Etc. It was the first time that I’d ever really demonstrated that I could play at a heroic mode level while content was current.

But then again, as countless people have commented dismissively elsewhere on the interweb, Dragon Soul was a faceroll, right?


In this, the most “dumbed-down” (right, naysayers?) version of WoW, I am struggling the most; or at least, more than I have since Naxx, which is where I went through my intro to raiding and the ensuing growing pains.

There are several factors that go into those struggles, including team personnel changes and the fact that there haven’t been nerfs on current content, like there were in ICC and Firelands and DS.

And, in truth, I don’t know that our current team is necessarily struggling any more than our old team did in ToC, where I don’t remember killing Juraxxus by the end of the second week. Maybe I’m wrong… maybe I’m not. So it’s not like I’ve never struggled like this in raids before. And Horridon is still not an easy boss for players/teams at my skill level.

But here’s the thing: after the success that was our team in heroic Dragon Soul – even knowing at the time that it was an easy tier relative to most of the previous ones – the success was real enough. I owned it. And I came to expect it, I think; like I had reached the next level of raiding and had nowhere to go but up.

This… despite the warning signs: easy tier would not be repeated, some pretty good people left the team, we are a casual guild, teammates didn’t all race to a raid-ready state at the same pace, etc.

Now, in the second raid tier of MoP, I still have those expectations ingrained in me. I still expect that I’m going to play well, that the team is still going to make significant, palpable progress most weeks. And it’s not happening. Certainly, we’ve had our good weeks, and we’ve had our bad. We finished the last tier 9/16, which is something. It’s not was much as I wanted, but we definitely progressed.

What has disappointed me the most, however, is that I feel that I am not playing at the level I need to play in order to really help the team. This, in spite of the fact that I might possibly be playing at a higher level personally than I ever have.


A few months ago, “too many buttons” was a hot issue in the hunter community. At the time, I chipped in my two cents, which was that I didn’t mind the massive amount of buttons because I liked the “active” playstyle that the hunter required. I felt the same way about my warrior tank, although I began to feel that prot warriors suffered from “button-itis” even more than hunters. However, as time has passed, I’ve begun to see the wisdom of arguments by Grumpy Elf and Frostheim and others a little more clearly: how having too many buttons dilutes the value of our most valuable shots.

I feel less powerful as a hunter right now. As SV, it seems particularly bad, because, while I feel like I’m prioritizing my abilities correctly, I’m not executing them perfectly, and I don’t know if I ever will, and I don’t know if, at my level, it even matters. With the priority system, certain shots don’t line up correctly a lot of the time. I try to optimize Black Arrow so that it’s applied on CD, keep Serpent Sting up, use Glaive Toss and Explosive Shot on CD, utilize my long CDs to give me the largest advantage, and so on.

But fights like Horridon expose some of the weaknesses of the spec that are hidden by the more obvious strengths (traps/kiting, movement, Serpent Spread/AoE, overall “damage-meter-ness,” etc.). In particular, burst-on-demand (along with interrupting) is somewhat difficult, in my opinion. In a fight where the priority is to burn down several different types of adds, with different size health pools and different types of abilities that can harm the raid team, I feel that I am struggling to contribute like I want to.

I know that this is not a problem that hunters alone have, but in some ways it feels like the “take your time to slow-cook a bunch of DPS ingredients into a delicious, high-damage chili” SV recipe isn’t very optimal when your goals switch around rapidly from “burn/interrupt the baselisk” to “burn the wastewalker” to “burn the second wastewalker” to “burn/interrupt the dinomancer” to “burn the rest of the adds, including the remaining 1.5 wastewalkers and two-three baselisks and the other dudes.” If LnL procs, well that’s nice. But a LnL won’t burn down any of those adds, and it’s not always a reliable proc anyway, because the OT is moving the adds away from Sand Traps, so Explosive Trap might be a wasted BA CD, but Black Arrow on the wrong add could be half of a wasted CD if it dies quickly, so I could put it on Horridon, but it would be nice to have BA on your focus target because that’s more damage on that target…

Thrill of the Hunt helps, because if it’s up and LnL procs you can do some decent damage to a target with Explosive Shots and Arcanes (or the occasional Multi-Shot). But if they don’t proc in a particular situation, it’s like a small burst followed by relatively weak DoTs, a Cobra Shot or two, and so on. Even with Ice Trap down and CDs like Rapid Fire and Lynx Rush in use, I feel frustrated by those adds, given the limited time available between spawns.

– – –

So anyway, that’s just an example of one of the frustrating things about playing that I’ve been dealing with. I’m wracking my brain and scouring the internet for ways to improve my contribution on this fight. Kheldul (at Hunter-DPS) has a great post with strategies for hunters on Horridon, and I ate that up late last week (thanks a ton, man!!). Watched a lot of videos for possible raid strategy tweaks. I’ve been pretty aggressive about gearing, given my limited options, in order to give myself the best chance of putting out some heavy damage on this fight.

And we did well as a team last night, improving enough to get to the third door once or twice (whereas last week we almost always died on the first). Definite progress on a tough fight, and I’m proud of my team.

But I am definitely feeling the “Mushan, dude, you are not awesome” feelings. I’m feeling somewhat limited by both my class and my level of skill. I certainly don’t feel like a hero.

Maybe I’m being too closed-minded, and every other class is struggling with my struggles as well, and finding ways to overcome them. If that’s true, then that’s even more evidence that I’m not doing my job correctly.

– – –

Being a small part of the hunter blogging community, as I mentioned before, contributes to this. While empowering on some levels, it also adds a bit to my disappointment because I came to the blogosphere’s (and by that, I mean you, the reader’s) knowledge as a hunter working on heroic content.

Well, I am not at that level, folks. And that makes me feel sheepish, and I hope that none of my readers thinks that I am some awesome hunter, because I’m not. I want to be, but I’m not. And while it was never my intention, if someone thinks I used to be awesome, the truth is that I’ve generally always been a passably good hunter (since I started Mushan), and I continue to improve – and I’m way better than I was in 2011! – but my level of play is not what you may have thought it was.

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To close, I don’t feel awesome about my play right now, and I’m not sure what to do about it except to keep doing the things I do (practice and research) to improve my contribution to the guild’s efforts. This doesn’t by any stretch mean that I am thinking of changing toons – although watching the damage our Frost mage can do to the adds is fun – because there is no class I could play as well as this one. And even if I could, there is no toon that I have that is anywhere close to as geared as Mushan. But that doesn’t matter: I’m a hunter, so class is a non-issue.

It just means that I am struggling with feelings of frustration with my own personal limitations. The illusion of awesomeness within me needs to fade soon, because I’m tired of feeling like I am under-performing and being disappointed with it. The reality is, I am where I am, both self and situation, and, while that doesn’t mean that I can’t/won’t strive to improve, I need to curb my expectations. Yes, we succeeded at easier content. It was easier, pure and simple. This is the real, no-nerf, no-cakewalk WoW world we are dealing with, and I can’t expect to make the same progress that I did at that time.

Hopefully some parts of this post made sense to someone.

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