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World of Warcraft – Part 20 – Hunter, DPS, Healer, Tank…

There is some debate about “which class is the easiest”, especially when it comes to first time players. I’ve had a lot of experience with most of the classes in World of Warcraft, though my opinion is by no means definitive. Death Knights, for example, have a lot of survivability, Blood DKs do hella damage, are tanks in nature and have some kick ass self heals. Death Knight it’s an option though until you have another character at level 60. They also have some pretty complex rotations, so they aren’t really all that newbie friendly.

A lot of people suggest Warrior is easy. As a Warrior main, I can’t agree with this. I’m not trying to make what I do sound hard or anything but a lot of the Warrior’s usefulness comes from managing the Rage pool to dump it at the right times for maximum DPS. Warrior also don’t have any sort of self healing ability that is worth a crap, so without a Healer, the Warrior will eventually be overwhelmed by any heavy hitting mobs.

My recent experience playing Mage puts the right out. they do decent ranged DPS but they get the title “Glass Cannon” for a reason. Mages die like nobody’s business, which can be a pain when leveling. Rolling a Mage means learning a crazy dance of stuns and teleports to keep the enemy out of hitting range while you pummel them with spells. You can get a pet depending on your spec but the pet isn’t a tank at all and falls more quickly than the Mage does.

Rogues are fairly simple to play, though they are pretty slow since you spend a lot of time in stealth creeping around and it’s tricky to toggle between targets since your combo points are target specific (WoD is changing this mechanic so Rogues will get easier).

Shaman are actually pretty simple in my experience. Run up and throw down some damage and healing totems then dance around a bit to kill the enemies. The cooldown on the totems isn’t super long so they can easily be redeployed. Monsters don’t often chase down the totems anyway.

I have not played any Warlock but I get the impression they play a lot like Mages. I also have barely played Druid or Paladin, though both of those classes seem to be similar and both seem about on par with DKs or Shamans for overall versatility.

Then there is Hunter. My personal thought is that Hunter is definitely the easiest class for any new player. Partially for the same reason that I gave up on my Hunter early on, you get a mini tank that follows you around in the form of your pet. The Pet makes all the difference in Hunter play and makes it crazy easy. Gameplay for a Hunter involves letting your pet aggro and pull enemies while the Hunter lays down volleys of arrows and occasionally heals his life companion. The pets in general are pretty smart at avoiding enemy attacks and AOE (Area of Effect) attacks while being pretty good at absorbing damage.

Hunters can only legitimately play as DPS during dungeons, generally for good reason since a Hunter Pet can’t effectively survive against bosses and by extension, the Hunter can’t survive against bosses. Still, the Hunter pet package acts as a mini version of the “Holy Trinity” of DPS, Tank, Healer. The pet acts as a tank. The Hunter acts as a healer to the pet, if all else the Hunter can just spam healing while the pet deals with monsters. Chances are the Hunter will have some opportunity to lay down some decent DPS in between heals though.

The Hunter also has some advantages over other stronger DPS classes (Warriors, DKs, Paladins), in that the Hunter is ranged. A lot of enemies, bosses especially drop area damaging attacks right at their feet. This is a pain when playing a melee DPS (ie Warrior) since it means you have to keep an eye on how much life you have any pull back if it gets too heavy. Or at least hope the Tank is paying attention enough to pull the boss away to a clear area so all of the Melee DPS can stop standing in the damage afflicting space (Don’t stand in the Poo). Hunters, get to watch the fight from afar. You can see everything happening with easy since you’re standing back, this means your view isn’t covered in spell effects and damage effects of an entire raid or dungeon group. You also aren’t fighting to see what is happening among a stack of 10 monsters.

You also can see most attacks coming a mile away. There is often an obvious “pre effect” for any ranged attacks the bosses or enemies are about to lay down, so you can easily roll out of the way before even taking a hit. If you’re alone or the tank falls, you can pull up your pet’s growl and let the pet take the flack, or spam concussion shots to slow the enemy’s approach while DPSing them down to death.

The Hunter is extremely versatile at avoiding direct damage, and it’s done in a way that is a lot easier than say, a mage. Also, unlike a Mage, the Hunter can take a beating before falling. The whole Hunter rotation is simple and easy as well. You get a set amount of Focus to spend and each move costs Focus. It’s a smaller pool than a caster’s mana, but it replenishes fairly quickly. Unlike a Warrior’s Rage meter, it increases over time instead of decreasing. A Hunter standing around between fights becomes more useful, a Warrior standing around between fights is just getting more rage build up in the offline player as his rage meter in game drops. Most of the rotation involves spamming Focus Shot to build Focus faster and spamming Arcane shot to deal heavier damage. Occasionally you have some damage over time abilities to drop when they proc or on bosses.

My close out case and point is a recent run on the Shadowpan Monastery Dungeon. Just after the first boss, the Tank and one of our DPS drop out (the healer was doing a pretty crap job so they probably got frustrated and left. Waiting for a new Tank and DPS was taking a while, as it often does, so the remaining crew, myself as Hunter, the Healer, and a rogue DPS, proceeded on. We easily pushed through the trash mobs to the next boss, then after waiting another 5-10 minutes, we decided to push on through the boss or drop out and leave. With nothing to lose we pushed on. Phase one of the boss fight involves fighting off a few dozen Shadowpan trainees, which are effeftively trash mobs. Phase two involves fighting a pair of harder trainees, tough, but not too bad. Eventually we made it to the big baddie at the end of the phase. We pushed right on in. Our poor rogue died almost immediately. Fortunately, 30 tedious minute later, the Priest and I managed to down the boss. It honestly wasn’t all that hard, just reall, really, long, since I was effectively the only person doing damage to a multi million HP boss, 10-20k damage at a time. It felt pretty good in the end, but we all opted not to continue on to the final boss. The whole dungeon should have taken less than 30 minutes, I was not up to another 30 minute boss fight.

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