Tag Archives: Hunters

WoW Classic and the Hunter’s Path

I am in no hurry to get through things in WoW Classic.  As tends to be my approach, I want to cover a lot of ground without wearing myself out.  And wandering every side path has already paid off.  This was the era of random quest givers stuck in the middle of nowhere.

The exception so far has been with my hunter.

The hunter was probably the most distinctive class of early WoW; strange, complicated, and always pressed for inventory space, both because hunters lose a bag slot to hold ammo and because you have to carry food for your pet.

But a hunter without a pet is practically no hunter at all… and all the more so where your still running around with the 1 dps newbie hand axe because you haven’t gotten a fortunate drop yet.  Three gun upgrades, but no melee,  and without a pet every encounter gets resolved at knife range… or axe range, as the case may be.

So I was in a bit of a hurry to get to level 10 with Tistann so he could get a pet going.

I was out in grinding that last bit of experience by taking down leper gnomes past Brewnall Village, itself a quest destination.  I had already done the Operation Recombobulation quest there… another one of those quests you might miss if you don’t wander in the right building… but leper gnomes were good exp and drop coins, cloth, and the occasional green quality item.  I finally got my axe upgraded hitting them.

Battling a leper gnome, just a few xp to go

That got me to level 10, at which point I started to trot on back to Kharanos where the hunter trainer with the class quest hangs out.  I had forgotten that class quests were a thing really, except for hunters.  But SynCaine reminded me that they are there for everybody and do require a bit of class knowledge.

I passed through Brewnall Village to sell some drops and saw that I had a quest waiting for me there.  And it wasn’t just any quest, but the lead-in quest for the hunter class quest.

Hunter quest for you

This wasn’t the best assumption on the part of Blizzard I suppose.  I had already finished up the quests in the area by the time I was into level 9, and this quest only goes live when you hit level 10.  I could have easily left the area, hit level 10, and never have seen it.  I don’t think it blocks you from getting the actual level 10 hunter class quest, but I would have missed out all the same.  These days a quest just appears for you in the UI to keep you from missing such things.  But back in the day some game designer just assumed that of course all dwarven hunters would be passing through Brewnall Village after hitting level 10.

I took the quest and kept on trucking to the hunter trainer, where I got a little extra xp for having the lead-in quests I suppose.  And then it was on to the real deal.

The Hunter’s Path

The Hunter’s Path is in a few stages.  You run out and tame a crag boar, a snow leopard, and an ice claw bear as samples of the pets you can tame.

Taming the bear

You have to spend ten minutes with them, which I used to go hunt some more skinnable animals.  I had picked up skinning and leather working with Tistann.  And while the auction house was saturated with light leather (and we’re all too poor to buy anything still anyway) I was quite active in skinning everything I could find, so those stacks of light leather could be sold to a vendor for 3 silver each if I was short of coin.

After the three runs, you are given the ability to tame a pet of your own, as the three each disappear as you finish up each quest.  Then the next step is to run up to Ironforge and find the pet trainer… the trainer with skills for your pets.  You also get some of the follow-on skills, like pet feeding, dismissing, calling, and reviving.  I had to sell a couple of those stacks of light leather to load up on everything.

And then it was time to go out and find a pet of my own.  My gut said I should get a bear, and not just any bear, but a bear from Elwyn Forest in the human starter area.  There was a reason to get that particular bear, but I couldn’t recall why.  I just knew I did that back in the day for a reason, and my hunter on WoW live still has that pet from way back in the day, even though any advantage has long since been ironed out by changes to the game.

Fortunately Petopia, the long standing hunter pet reference site, had opened up a Petopia Classic page for those of us playing WoW Classic.

That brought me back up to speed on bears as pets.  Some of it I knew, like the fact that bears are good tanks.  I had forgotten they were pretty omnivorous, which is handy since you have to keep pets fed to keep them happy.  And the bears in Elwyn Forest come with a rank 2 version of the Claw skill, which other bears don’t get until later.

So I took the tram from Ironforge to Stormwind then ran down the hill to find a bear.  I was able to tame a nice level 9 specimen.  Level is kind of important, both for what skills they can learn and because your pets level up independently of you, capped only by your own level.  I was nearly level 11 at that point, so wanted a pet that wasn’t too far behind.

Pet tamed, then fed until he was happy, I used my hearthstone to get back to Ironforge.  Fortunately I remember to set it at the inn there.  So my hunter now has his first pet.  I ran around and killed some mobs with him, which got both of us a level.

A bear named Barstow

I just have to keep him fed.  A fed pet is a happy pet.

Happy Barstow

I’ve never had a pet run away on me, though it has been said that an unhappy pet can lose enough loyalty that they will take off.  Now my hunter can get on with actually being a hunter… though I need some more silver so I can stable Barstow at some point, because to learn some skills you have to tame a an animal that has the skill, the work with them until you learn it.  Then you abandon them, unstable your own pet, then hunt with them until they pick up the skill.

Being a hunter can be a job at times, but there are few classes so fun and flexible… in WoW Classic at least.

A Memory of Hunters

That question took me all of about two seconds to answer.  The hunter class in World of Warcraft.

From a sheer overall enjoyment, most involved, most fun ever, the hunter wins out for me.

There are some other classes that I have quite enjoyed.  I liked my berserkers and swashbucklers in EverQuest II.  I had a soft spot for shadow knights and paladins and all their hybrid woes back in EverQuest.  In Lord of the Rings Online, the rune keeper may have some of the best spell effects ever.  You always know one is around because of those lightning flashes, and that wave of fire spell is a joy to behold.  And if you have never played a dwarf guardian in Middle-earth, then you have missed out on the most enthusiastic warriors ever.

Oddly, Rift holds no spot in my favored class list despite… or because of… the famed flexibility of the soul system that lets you mix and match and create your own flavor of a given class.  I think I just come from an age where a class had a role and a few skills and you made do with what you got and suffered when you couldn’t.

And when it came to making do with what you got, the hunter class had that in spades.  Well, the old hunter class did, the way the class played back when I started WoW in 2005.

Hunters were primarily a ranged weapon class.  You likely went with a gun if you were a dwarf or a tauren, or a bow if you were a night elf or an orc, since that was what they handed you at the outset.  Maybe you opted in for a crossbow later on, if you found a good one and wanted to buy and train up the skill.

But ranged weapons required ammunition, which came in stacks of 200 rounds and which took up space in your inventory.  And you wanted an ammo pouch or quiver because of the speed bonus it gave you, so essentially you ended up forfeiting an entire inventory slot.  This in the limited bag space hell of early WoW.

So you were hauling around stacks of ammo and had to make sure that your ammo pouch was full up before you set off on any prolonged adventure, with maybe a couple extra stacks in your bag, just in case.  And then you would level up and the ammo you wanted would change.

Ammo had a damage value that was rolled into the total damage done with each shot, and as you leveled up, you better ammo became available.  And then there was crafted ammo, which boosted damage a bit more.

And you still had to keep an up to date melee weapon or two around as well.  Ranged weapons had a minimum range, and when things went wrong, you might find yourself fighting toe-to-toe with a hostile mob.   It was nice that hunters could dual wield, and the saying was always “every weapon is a hunter weapon!”  I just hope you were keeping your melee weapon skills up to date as you leveled.  It could be embarrassing to be reminded that you were way behind on a skill in a tight situation.

But it was all worth it once you got your pet, which back in the day required you to get to level 10.  At that point you could run the pet starter quests, learn the skills, and the run off to tame your first pet.

Stella!

Love at first sight

But what kind of pet should you tame, and what skills would it come with?  You were given a special skill to tell if pets were tameable, which also showed what skills they knew and at what level.

And the level part was important.  You pet might come with all the skills it could learn, but as it leveled up, it would become eligible for a  new tier of its skills.  A couple of basic skills were available from the hunter trainer, but for the rest… you had to hunt.

You had to stable your pet… and your pet was a major part of your ability to fight and survive in the wild… to go find another animal that knew the skill you were looking for.  You had to tame that animal and then go off and kill mobs with it for a while until your close contact with the animal lead to the skill being rubbed off onto you, thus entering your knowledge.

Then, once you had acquired that knowledge, you could dismiss the pet you just tamed and then run back to town, get your own pet out of storage and train him in the new skill.

And then there was the whole food aspect to things.  Once you tamed a pet, you had to feed him to improve his attitude towards you.  A hostile pet would fight badly and might flee.  And each possible pet would only eat certain kinds of food, which you had to keep on had, using up more inventory space, in order to keep your pet a maximum happiness.

And then there was the matter of leveling up your pet.  It had levels and needed experience to advance.  And if the pet you really wanted was lower level than you, then you had to take your new catch out and level him up.

And for all that effort, you would just assume that it would be a sought after class for raids and instances, right?  Not at all.  While the hunter had its uses in groups, it was generally considered to be poor on the damage side relative to just about any alternative, while pets were not really up to the whole boss level tanking aspect of such play.  Besides which, what self-respecting hunter would choose any talent path other than Beast Mastery, the path least likely to make you attractive to a group?

No, your big compensation for choosing such an odd-duck class was the skill “Spirit of the Cheetah” which improved your run speed, which was actually a kind of a big deal back when you had to wait until level 40 to get a mount (and use chain armor).  You just did not want to forget an leave Cheetah running, as having it up meant getting stunned every time you were hit by a mob.

No, it was the class itself, which at the time was done better than any pet class I had ever played, that was the draw.  Warts and all, it has always been a popular class in Azeroth.  And getting the right pet has always been part of the allure.  Back when storage was limited, and strict leveling was in place, you really had to pick and focus on one or two companions.  My daughter and I traveled all over Azeroth to tame special pets.

Flare the Dragonhawk

Flare the Dragonhawk

My daughter would scan the site Petopia looking for new and interesting animals to consider taming.

Things have changed since the early days.  Skills are easy now.  Pets jump to your level on being tamed.  Feeding is no longer about attitude, just about healing.  Keeping pets with you or stabling them has changed dramatically.  And there is a whole tier of exotic pets.

None of which is bad I suppose.  The class has evolved with the game and has become more viable over time while remaining popular.

But there is something in me that misses the early days of hunters in Azeroth.

Swimming to Silvermoon

[Graveyard locations for Day of the Dead can be found here.  Google seems to be sending a lot of those queries to this post.]

My daughter had been browsing the web site Petopia, looking at all the different pets a hunter can tame in World of Warcraft.  Petopia is one of my favorite WoW sites.  It gives a great overview of the hunter class and has pictures and locations for all the pets you can tame in Azeroth and the Outlands.

My daughter decided that she wanted a dragonhawk pet.  While most dragonhawks are in the 60-70 level range in the Outlands, one version you can tame is low level and lives in the blood elf starting area.

I told my daughter, “No problem, we’ll go find one this weekend.”

Friday night rolled around and my daughter wanted to play a bit before bed time.  She wanted to start working on getting her new pet.  I told her it was a long trip to get to Eversong Woods, the Blood Elf starter area, but that we could make a start on the trip.  We flew out to the Wetlands then ran up to Refuge Point, picked up the flight path, then made our was west to South Shore.  We picked up the flight path there then camped at the inn and called it a night.

After she went to bed, I started thinking about getting to Eversong Woods.  I had been there with my level 73 paladin before to get the exploration achievement for there and the Ghostlands, but I had never tried to make the trip in with a low level alliance character.  While running through the Eastern Plaguelands was no big deal for my pally, a pair of level 26 night elves (hunter and druid) were likely going to be dead meat.

I needed a plan.

Looking at the map of the Eastern Kingdoms, it appears that you can go up the coastline from Trisfal Glades and come up on the beach in Eversong Woods.

So that was my plan.  Swim.

Saturday afternoon, after soccer and lunch, my daughter and I logged in for our trip.  We took the road west through Hillsbrad, up past Shadowfang Keep, and back east into Tirisfal Glades.  There we headed north to the coast and began our swim.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

We swam and swam and swam.

We found some interesting little sites, like a lone tower along the coast, accessible only via swimming.

Lone Coastal Tower

Lone Coastal Tower

But we never got to a point where we could get inland.  Since I have a blood elf of my own, I know that the west coast of their starting area has a number of accessible, if murloc infested, beaches.

I began to think we weren’t going to find any of those beaches, especially since the map showed us swimming through land after a while.

The Map is a Lie

The Map is a Lie

A little bit of logic applied to the problem clinched it for me.  Since only people with the Burning Crusade expansion are supposed to get there, I figured that the ocean route was bogus and that the portal in the Eastern Plaguelands might be the only way in.

Still, we had swam a long way and I did not want to swim back, so I thought I would see if we could tele-mort into Eversong Woods.  As we swam along the coast we showed as being in Quel’Thalas, which is where Eversong Woods is located.  So, in the name of science and scouting ahead, I drowned myself hoping to come up in a graveyard close to our destination.

Instead I ended up as a wisp in the Eastern Plaguelands.

Crap.

I thought that, since I was there already, I might as well scout around as a wisp.  So I started looking around to see if there was a way we might sneak past the level 50-ish mobs and get to the portal to the Ghostlands, the low level zone between the Eastern Plaguelands and Eversong Woods.

As I scouted around in wisp form, I happened past another graveyard and realized that I could see the spirit healer there.  I went up to it and was offered a resurrection when I clicked on it.  I did not know this was possible, but it got me to formulate another plan.

I had my daughter drown her character as well, then we joined up in wisp form.  We then flew to the portal to the Ghostlands.  The portal let us through in wisp form, something I was not sure it would allow.

Wisps in the Ghostlands

Wisps in the Ghostlands

Then we just headed north into Eversong Woods, found a spirit healer, and revived.

We sat around for the 10 minutes of resurrection sickness, since I was being cautious at that point.  We were so close to our goal.

Dancing Away Ressurection Sickness

Dancing Away Resurrection Sickness

After that we found some dragonhawks, one of which my daughter tamed.

She named it Flare, since it breathes fire like a solar flare.  Mission accomplished!

Flare the Dragonhawk

Flare the Dragonhawk

We used our hearthstones to get back home and that was that.

Later on I read that if you resurrect at a graveyard other than the one you were sent to when you died, you are supposed to be sent back to that initial graveyard.  But for some reason that did not happen to us.  I do not know if it was because of the detached nature of the blood elf starting area, the fact that it is a starter zone, or if the resurrection mechanism is just broken, but we ended up where we needed to be.

And so my daughter has her pet, and a pretty rare pet indeed for an alliance player at her level.

And then my mom showed up with a tiger from Durotar and my daughter had to have one of those.

Kids.

Raptor Love

While my daughter was interested in druids because they can turn into animals, the only real class choice for her was a hunter.  She loves to have pets, and the ability to run out and tame your own pet was a super bonus.

So she has had various owls, bears, wolves, cats, birds, spiders, and even a crocolisk since she gained the ability to tame pets at level 10.  Her biggest problem is that she can only stable two pets at a time.  (I wouldn’t cough up 50 gold for the third stable slot.)  And so there are hard decisions to be made.

Some pets come and go on a whim.  Some take more work to part with.  And when she accidentally dismissed the little white bear she found and tamed in Dun Morogh there was nearly an hour’s worth of tears.  She had to draw a picture of the bear, named Icicle, and put it on the wall in her room to remember him.

Of course, once the tears were gone, it was off for another pet.

Then, when we were out in the Wetlands she saw raptors.

She knew about raptors.  She had seen people with raptor pets.  But these raptors were nearly in her level range, wild, and ready to be tamed!

Nearly in her level range was the sticking point.  She was level 19, the raptors out there seem to be level 23-25.

Raptor fever was upon her though, so I ended up having to lead an expedition out to The Barrens so she could find a raptor she could tame… you know… now!  And so she tamed Stella.

Stella!

Stella!

The name Stella actually came later, after my mother tamed a blue raptor from the Wetlands and named it Stanley.

Of course I laughed when I heard this and exclaimed, “STELLA!” in my best Brando imitation then told my daughter to say, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  That just got a look of confusion out of her.

So I had to try to explain “Streetcar Named Desire” to her, which went about as well as you might imagine.  There isn’t a lot of Tennessee Williams on Nickelodeon, though I bet I could find some on PBS Kids.

We have the Simpsons version (Streetcar!) on DVD, I think we’ll just watch that.