Meet Balista, my new Goblin Hunter. I threatened to roll a Goblin hunter, and here she is. She’s currently all of level 10. She has yet to leave the Lost Isles, but she’s high enough level to pick her spec and tame her first pets. Some things of note about Hunters and Goblin Hunters:
1. One reason I rolled a Goblin hunter was because I wanted to tame some of the cool beasts I’ve seen roaming the Lost Isles. Granted, none of these beasts are unique. I can tame them anywhere in Azeroth. But I like the idea that they’re all in one place. I figured I could wander around taming every beast I saw. Which would have been a great idea, except for one little problem: As far as I can tell, there are no Stable Masters anywhere to be found. Bummer. I hate abandoning pets. And I particularly hate abandoning my starter pet. Goblins start off with a Crab, which, while not particularly special, is still cute enough to hang on to. Also, I consider the starter pet to be special. Hunter’s have plenty of space in the stable to keep the starter pet, so why abandon it? Except that with no Stable Master, abandoning is the only choice if I want to be able to tame anything else. Hopefully Blizzard will rectify this oversight and stick a Stable Master somewhere on the Lost Isles.
2. Since I can’t stable my pets, I’ve decided that my strategy will be to tame as many pets as I can, one at a time, while I’m still on the Lost Isles. As far as I know, once I leave, I can’t go back, so this is my only chance. Might as well make the most of it. My first tamed pet was a raptor. When I tamed it, it was red. I even named it ‘Red’. But when I logged in this morning, before breakfast, I found my red raptor had become a black raptor. After breakfast I logged in again and discovered my black raptor was now purple. Cool. Too bad I couldn’t keep him. When I got to the bit with the turtles, I abandoned my raptor and tamed a turtle. I think this might be my first turtle pet. He’s quite cute. I resisted the urge to name him Bourne. That was Pikestaff‘s clever joke. I’m almost tempted to keep the turtle, but I know i can’t. Not if I want to tame something else. I know there are monkey’s on the island, and I’m keen to tame one of those as well.
3. If you are planning to roll a Hunter, keep in mind the one ironclad rule of Hunters: no melee! Hunters are ranged DPS. Period. Ignore Raptor Strike when you train it. You’ll never use it. Or, at least, you shouldn’t use it (and when the Mists of Pandaria expansion hits, you won’t be able to, because Hunters will no longer be able to use melee weapons). If something’s getting in your face, the first order of business is to get back to range so you can continue attacking with your ranged weapon. Before level 10, it can be a little tricky to stay at range. You don’t have control of your pet. To compensate, you have to use strategies that keep the mobs at a distance until they die. The trick is to open each attack as far away from the mob as possible. Your pet will immediately engage anything you shoot. You may need to back up a bit, or even sidestep, which is faster, in order to keep distance between you and the mob. That gives your pet a chance to engage the mob and grab the aggro away from you. Once that happens, you should be free to wail on the mob with impunity using Arcane Shot and that, together with your pet’s attacks, should kill the mob long before it can ever get to you. To be honest, I didn’t really have a problem opening with Arcane Shot, as long as I was prepared to move backwards as my pet engaged. The pet still managed to get the aggro quickly. Things become decidedly easier when you get Concussive Shot at level 8. Then you can open with Concussive Shot, which buys you a lot of time to kill mobs before they reach you. Actually, I found an even better strategy was to open with Steady Shot, followed quickly by Arcane Shot, and then Concussive Shot. That puts the mob in a serious hole, health-wise, and also starts the Concussive Shot timer after you’ve already done damage.
4. The whole problem with aggro and such described above is completely moot once you ding level 10, because at level 10 you can finally control your pet. What I like to do is create a /petattack macro that I can stick on my action bar. And when I learn Hunter’s Mark (at level 14), I put that in the macro as well. Then I can target a mob and hit the macro to start combat. My pet runs in and once he’s established aggro, I begin my attack.
5. I’m planning to level as Survival, at least in the beginning. Eventually I want to be Beast Master, so that I can tame all possible beasts. But that isn’t really an issue in the early game, so I’m not going to worry about it. I’ve noodled around with Survival on other Hunter’s and I’ve found it to be a surprisingly fun spec.
Those are my notes for now. Time will tell if I continue leveling Balista for any length of time. I’m having fun now, but we’ll have to see how I feel once I get off the Lost Isles.