My name is Lehyton, and I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to my favorite go-to place for Hunter info. Garwulf has seen something in my WoW background and experience that might be useful to a few of you, and I just hope that he is correct about that!
First, a little about me. I am a raid leader for the Alliance daytime raiding guild, VoG on the Muradin server (a medium population PvE realm). I have been playing WoW for around 2 years, and did not start raiding until a short while after WotLK had been released. I now have a number of 80s, all Alliance and all on the Muradin server, including a Prot/Ret Paladin, a Resto/Feral Druid, and a Frost DK.
My hunter, Lehyton, was my first 80 and is my favored DPS class, though I have recently classified my Pally as my “main” and am tanking more and more. I also have a Warrior and a Shaman in the 70s and, when I am devoid of anything else to do (which is a rare occurrence), I spend a bit of time leveling them.
My guild, VoG, is a niche guild catering to those raiders who can’t make evening raid times. Many of our members are night-shift workers, are in the military, or live in Europe – and as such we have an interesting and varied group of players, classes and experience. Our focus is endgame (or close to endgame) PvE content during the US daytime (raids begin at 12pm CST).
As a raid leader, I often have the challenge of creating balanced, successful raid groups whilst at the same time giving as many people as possible a shot at completing content and obtaining loot. Patience, temperance and a thick skin are the best stats to stack in this case.
I confess to being a sucker for PvE play (the intimacy of 10-man raids in particular), and rarely step foot into a BG. It isn’t that I suck at it (though I am hardly a PvP sensation, as the saying goes) – it is more that I just don’t get the same buzz from PvP as I do from PvE. Perhaps it is an acquired taste – but I find more than enough challenge and satisfaction in endgame PvE play.
As mentioned, I have raiding experience on all of my toons, with the exception of the DK (who has been discarded as a tank in favor of the Pally). I have tanked, healed, and dps’ed (both from range and up close) a lot of endgame content and feel that this, together with my knowledge of the Hunter class, might provide me with some small words of wisdom that I might share with you to help you all on your way.
I look forward to getting to know you all better over time, and wish you all the very best in whatever direction you choose to direct your pewpew!
A Fallen Hunter – Why my Pally is now my main
Is that a violin I hear playing in the background? Well in fact, it is not such a sad story as much as it is one of realization. Where to begin? Perhaps at the beginning?
Nearly two years ago, I started playing World of Warcraft. After installation, the character creation screen comes up. Hmm, what should I choose?
Warrior sounds tough…
Priest? Ha! I don’t think so.
Wait a sec – perhaps I should do a search before taking the plunge?
A Google search for “best WoW class” (or something to that effect – I can’t remember) yields a wealth of information – but I do recall two points that came from that search:
- Druids were considered to be the most versatile class in the game, capable of tanking, melee DPS, ranged DPS and healing.
- Hunters were considered to be the easiest and fastest class to level.
True or not, this is what I was confronted with. I rolled two toons, a NE Druid and a NE Hunter, and started my experience as a noobish presence in Teldrassil.
After laboriously leveling both to around level 10 or 12 (with no add-on assistance from QuestHelper, Lightheaded, Carbonite, etc – what’s an addon?), it became clear that the Hunter was far easier to play. Hunter + pet at level 10 was much more deadly than Druid – even with bear form. The Hunter became my main and so began the grind to 70 (and later, 80, as I did not reach 70 before WotLK was released).
Like many of us, I look back in horror at my noobishness while leveling.
I remember discovering that I should stand back from the mobs and kill them from a distance. Soon after that is when I also realized that I should be stacking Agility and Attack Power, and not Strength and Spirit. After much learning, I made 80 and was ready to have some fun.
My early raiding experience was a hoot – with the good fortune of a patient and experienced raid leader who happened to know hunters well, I learned to control my threat and use my tools, and in time started pulling respectable DPS. I discovered a target dummy and worked hard to get the best out of my gear and spec. In time I was loving WoW more than at any time during my leveling grind.
However, I did start to ask myself – is this all there is? Standing back and pewpew’ing mobs, hoping the healers can keep us all up and the tanks can hold aggro? I wanted to try tanking and healing, but the hunter could do neither.
I leveled a Draenei DK to 80 and geared her up in crafted tanking gear as best I could. With a frost spec, I tried tanking some Heroics and seemed to do OK, especially after getting some good advice from another tank in the guild. However, the stress almost killed me and I vowed to never try it again. It was also embarrassing to pug and walk in to a heroic with less than 25K hit points in my tank gear…
So I tried healing. After leveling my Druid to 80, I healed a few Naxx runs with the guild but never really got in to it. I kept going back to the Hunter, and with the release of Ulduar, found myself gearing up rapidly and enjoying my ranged pewpew more than ever.
During WotLK, it became clear that Pallys were arguably the strongest tanking class there was, together with having the power of Beacon and spammed Flash of Light at their disposal (making them the strongest MT healers in the game in my opinion). It was also clear to me by that stage that the Retribution spec was massively OP.
I remember running a heroic with a ret Pally almost completely geared in Blues and crafted Epics and watched him pull over 4k DPS for the whole instance, when as a Naxx25 geared hunter, I was struggling to put up much more than 3-3.5k (heroic fights just don’t last long enough to get into a smooth Marksman rotation!).
Add to this that Pallys were (and often still are) the kings of the battlegrounds, with stupidly OP abilities like Hammer of Justice, Judgment of Justice and Seal of Justice, what’s not to like?
A few months after WotLK came out, a friend of mine decided to join me in Azeroth and see what WoW was all about. My friend started a Pally and got him to 80 in around 2 months. Thanks to refer-a-friend (also known as “addict-a-friend”) levels, I was able to roll a Pally and get him to 80 in even less time than that. Once I made it to 80, and perhaps against my better judgment, I decided to try tanking again.
This time, I investigated Elitist Jerks and various other sites to get tips on spec, gear and rotation. I also had at my disposal an awesome guild mate and one of the best Pally tanks on our server, who gave me a heap of tips on how to work the 9 6 9 6 9 Protection Pally rotation. Within a week, I was tanking heroic Trial of the Champion, and within two weeks I was tanking guild runs of 10 man Trial of the Crusader. The gear came flooding in, as most of our tanks were already geared in ToC10/25 gear.
What is more, I found myself seeing encounters from an entirely new perspective. In most encounters, a tank dictates the battle – the nature of the pull, kill order, positioning, crowd control and the like. I also found Pally tanking infinitely easier than tanking with my DK. Perhaps it was the enormous threat generated by Righteous Fury, or the ease of using Consecrate (unlike a DK’s Death and Decay, it does not require targeting), or perhaps the perfect simplicity of the 9 6 9 6 9 rotation.
I also began to realize the fun of having a character with the flexibility to run in two different roles. Many a time it is, as hunters, that we can find ourselves in LFG together with a huge number of other DPS classes, with not a tank or healer to be seen. Many 10 man encounters only require one tank, and can benefit from the added DPS or healing a dual-spec Pally tank can bring.
One thing that surprised me was how relatively easy it has been to form quality healing and DPS gear sets, just by running content and taking drops that nobody else needs. I have chosen Retribution as my off-spec and, with a little research and Ulduar 10/25 quality gear, I am capable of respectable, chart-middling DPS (though nowhere near that which my ToC10/25 geared Marksman hunter can produce).
With time, I have felt my “first inclination to play” moving away from the Hunter and towards the Pally. It is not that I love my hunter any less – I just love playing the Pally, and tanking in particular (I would much prefer to DPS on the hunter than the Pally). It helps when your tanking partner is a good guy too – you form a team of sorts, and also with your healers, that I don’t always feel as a DPS standing in the crowd.
I hope that makes sense to everyone out there. Still, I will always love my hunter buddies and the tools (and uber DPS) they bring to a fight!
Shout out to Pedxing, Tsokkentju, Raiche, Cazm, and my other hunter guildies in VoG. You guys rock!
See you out there, friends!