[Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Roxanneflowers
Posts: 167

[Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Roxanneflowers » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:51 pm

The myth.
The legend.
The (horribly misunderstood?) ... Beast o' Melee Hunter.

Come at me bro' ...

/beckon



Disclaimers:

This is not intended to be a bleeding edge DPS optimized raiding Hunter spec that will put everything else to shame. If anything, it is intended to be a viable (as opposed to optimal) melee Hunter spec to be played for FUN as a soloist and in 5 man groups in PvE content.

I am well aware of the "BM for leveling!" exhortations that have been made repeatedly for leveling builds, particularly for those who are interested in speeding through to 60. I am not interested in speed running to 60 and will be taking my time to enjoy the game (meaning hardcore mode here on Turtle WoW), therefore I have no problem with "being slower" than alternative build strategies in terms of XP per hour. I'm here to have fun!

The primary purpose of this build is to explore the possibility of a potential off-meta spec which I have not seen anyone else show enough interest in yet to post an actual build for, before or since I first posted this in the Elysium Forums and then later on the Symmetry Forums (which are now defunct). This post is basically an answer to a question of mine ... which is that if you're going to play a melee Hunter, how should you go about supporting such a build choice? In what direction do the advantages and strategies lie? What counter-intuitive things do you need to know/unlearn in order to play "efficiently" with a deep Survival spec, as opposed to a deep Beast Mastery or deep Marksman spec? Also, what Pet should you be using (and why)?



Warning: WALL OF TEXT CRITS YOU!!!

You have been warned!
No, seriously … I mean it.



Probably the first misconception that Players have about being a melee oriented Hunter is the most common ... that you're "doing it wrong" by not using your Pet to tank for you. That's mainly because the Conventional Wisdom™ has hardened around the notion that as a (solo) Hunter you're supposed to be using your Pet as an aggro magnet so that you can plink stuff from a distance using your ranged weapon ... and this is essentially true for both Beast Mastery and Marksmanship. The thing is, this isn't the ONLY way the combination of Hunter and Pet ought to be performing.

The basic strategies for how to "use" your Pet essentially boil down to the following three options depending on which talent tree you invest heavily in:
  • Beast Master: Pet tanks (at range), buff the Pet.
  • Marksman: Pet tanks (at range), buff the Hunter.
  • Survival: Hunter tanks (in melee!), Pet offers close support(!).


As you can obviously see, even just that brief description of basic foundational strategies shows how seriously the fundamentals of playing as a melee Hunter inverts a LOT of the Conventional Wisdom™ around how you're "supposed" to play the class. For a lot of people, the entire notion of playing as a melee Hunter is so bass-ackwards as to result in an assumption of You're Doing It Wrong by default.

So if we can get past the "Do not back up, severe tire damage" warning sign that has been posted in front of the entire IDEA of playing as a melee Hunter, what are the necessary building blocks that we need to be optimally aware of in order to make a melee Hunter "work" as well as such a build can?

Well I'm glad you asked! happy_turtle



There's (quite) a few factors that inter(re)act and synergize with each other that as a melee Hunter you're going to want to optimize for (in no especially particular order).
  • Raptor Strike (6 second cooldown)
  • Mongoose Bite (requires you to Dodge) (5 second cooldown)
  • Counterattack (requires you to Parry) (5 second cooldown)
  • Dodge Chance
  • Parry Chance
  • Critical Hit Chance
  • Agility
  • Pet Choice (you want Screech ... more on this after talents)




The first thing you need to know is that in order to get the most out of your Survival talents for melee, you actually need to be IN melee, rather than the Easy Option of staying at range all the time. This is both obvious (it's hard to melee from a distance) and counterintuitive to many of the basic assumptions for the Hunter class. The main reason for this is the Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite spells that you can use, both of which require melee weapons, but there's also Counterattack, which lies at tier 5 in the Survival tree. These three attacks are going to be your bread 'n' butter as a melee attacking Hunter.

Raptor Strike has a cooldown on it, so you can't exactly spam it consecutively in combat. Mongoose Bite requires that you Dodge an incoming attack, which for all intents and purposes means you need to be holding aggro at melee range in order to make this option available to you. Counterattack requires that you Parry an incoming attack, which for all intents and purposes ALSO means you need to be holding aggro at melee range in order to make this option available to you.

So the key point here is that if your Pet has aggro, you aren't going to be Dodging and Parrying incoming attacks and you'll be limited to using only Raptor Strike and Wing Clip (and Wing Clip does such pathetically minimal damage it's not even worth talking about if you've got Counterattack) along with Auto Attack. If you're doing melee damage in support of your Pet, you've probably dropped at least 1/4 to 1/3 of your damage output potential, if not more, as a melee Hunter. Given that most people assume the Pet is supposed to be tanking for you, rather than you tanking for your Pet, it's not at all surprising that this dynamic would be somewhat poorly understood (let alone accepted).

So to be a "good" Survival (melee) Hunter you need to be tanking in melee, rather than letting your Pet tank for you, and you want to maximize your Dodge and Parry chances in order to make Mongoose Bite and Counterattack available to you as often as possible ... and the reason for that can be found in tier 2 of Survival in the Savage Strikes talent. Add up Savage Strikes (+20% critical hit for Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite), and Killer Instinct (+3% critical hit) and you're already looking at an easy +23% critical hit chance ON TOP OF whatever your melee critical hit chance is based on Agility … which incidentally you'll get getting +15% more (Agility) for from Lightning Reflexes. This can easily push your critical hit chances for Raptor Strikes and Mongoose Bite attacks in excess of 50% (if not more). All of these factors combine to make your melee critical hits absolutely DEVASTATING and FREQUENT(!), because melee critical hits do +100% damage baseline … not +50% damage (base) like you'd see on ranged and spell critical hits. Oh and Monster Slaying and Humanoid Slaying will increase that output even further!

But the key is that you have to have (and hold) aggro on yourself in order to make this work. If you don't have aggro, you lose Mongoose Bite which is your heavy hitter. Think of it as being comparable to using Aimed Shot in melee range if it helps, with a major critical hit chance bonus, and a fast cooldown, and it's an Instant cast. Yeah ... kinda like that … only more satisfying, because you can use it more often than Aimed Shot when you've got aggro on your Hunter.

However, there is a bit of sneakiness that you can engage in to reliably produce a situation that I call Tandem Tanking which makes the combination of yourself and your Pet able to withstand WAY MORE incoming aggro than you'd expect to be able to handle, but since that's a Player Skill involving tactics and positioning, rather than being something inherently build related, the explanation for that bit of trickery will have to wait for a follow up post.



So taking all of those factors into consideration, here's how I would invest my talent points when angling for a melee Hunter build.



Level 60 Beast o' Melee Hunter ( 13 / 0 / 38 )
https://classicdb.ch/?talent#cVVhZZIxbiRGut
  • Beast Mastery (13 points)
    • Endurance Training - Rank 5/5
      Increases the Health of your pets by 15%.
    • Improved Aspect of the Monkey - Rank 5/5
      Increases the Dodge bonus of your Aspect of the Monkey by 5%.
    • Thick Hide - Rank 3/3
      Increases the Armor rating of your pets by 30%.
  • Marksmanship (0 points)
    • None
  • Survival (38 points)
    • Monster Slaying - Rank 3/3
      Increases all damage caused against Beasts, Giants and Dragonkin targets by 3% and increases critical damage caused against Beasts, Giants and Dragonkin targets by an additional 3%.
    • Humanoid Slaying - Rank 3/3
      Increases all damage caused against Humanoid targets by 3% and increases critical damage caused against Humanoid targets by an additional 3%.
    • Deflection - Rank 5/5
      Increases your Parry chance by 5%.
    • Savage Strikes - Rank 2/2
      Increases the critical strike chance of Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite by 20%.
    • Clever Traps - Rank 2/2
      Increases the duration of Freezing and Frost trap effects by 30% and the damage of Immolation and Explosive trap effects by 30%.
    • Survivalist - Rank 5/5
      Increases total health by 10%.
    • Deterrence - Rank 1/1
      When activated, increases your Dodge and Parry chance by 25% for 10 sec.
    • Trap Mastery - Rank 2/2
      Decreases the chance enemies will resist trap effects by 10%.
    • Surefooted - Rank 3/3
      Increases hit chance by 3% and increases the chance movement impairing effects will be resisted by an additional 15%.
    • Improved Feign Death - Rank 2/2
      Reduces the chance your Feign Death ability will be resisted by 4%.
    • Killer Instinct - Rank 3/3
      Increases your critical strike chance with all attacks by 3%.
    • Counterattack - Rank 1/1
      A strike that becomes active after parrying an opponent's attack. This attack deals 40 damage and immobilizes the target for 5 sec. Counterattack cannot be blocked, dodged, or parried.
    • Lightning Reflexes - Rank 5/5
      Increases your Agility by 15%.
    • Wyvern Sting - Rank 1/1
      A stinging shot that puts the target to sleep for 12 sec. Any damage will cancel the effect. When the target wakes up, the Sting causes 0 Nature damage over 12 sec. Only usable out of combat. Only one Sting per Hunter can be active on the target at a time.





Here's how this all comes together.

As I mentioned above, Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack, plus (melee) Auto Attack of course, combine to serve as your bread 'n' butter for inflicting maximum melee damage. Savage Strikes and Killer Instinct combine to enhance your critical hit chance by +23%(!) before including Agility, which is enhanced +15% by Lightning Reflexes, and that's even before including any mods on your gear, to your Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite. Needless to say, this makes you want to use Raptor Strike (6 second cooldown) and Mongoose Bite (5 second cooldown) as often as you possibly can!

Surefooted offers 3% hit chance and 15% resistance to movement impairing effects. Monster Slaying and Humanoid Slaying combine to give you +3% damage to Beasts, Dragonkin, Giants and Humanoids as well as an additional +3% critical hit damage bonus.

Deflection adds +5% Parry, which allows you to use Counterattack more often. Counterattack (5 second cooldown) is what you use instead of Wing Clip because you want to prevent runners rather than open up range to resume kiting. Counterattack also hits just as hard as Mongoose Bite, although it doesn't benefit from the increased critical hit chance that Savage Strikes offers Mongoose Bite.

Improved Aspect of the Monkey adds another +5% Dodge, on top of the base +8% Dodge, yielding a +13% chance to Dodge (and Night Elves get another +1% Dodge as a racial bonus) which then creates the necessary opportunities to use Mongoose Bite. Long story short, you're going to be using Aspect of the Monkey (with or without talent boosting) while you're in melee to help you Dodge tank so as to respond with Mongoose Bite which then has a very high chance of scoring a critical hit.

Deterrence at tier 3 in Survival is required for Counterattack, but it makes for a decent "Uh oh..." response (5 minute cooldown though) to pulling too much aggro, since it adds 25% chance to Dodge AND Parry for 10 seconds, which can let you tank for a short time against too many adds while also maximizing your burst damage potential from use of Mongoose Bite and Counterattack. Even before adding in your gear and attribute modifiers, if you've got Deflection and Improved Aspect of the Monkey running, that's 25+8+5=38% chance to Dodge bonus (39% if Night Elf!) and 25+5=30% chance to Parry bonus for a combined total of 68-69% chance to NOT TAKE DAMAGE from melee for 10 seconds ... before you add in modifiers from gear and Defense and your attributes. That's 10 seconds of "U Can't Touch This" against anything making to hit checks for melee attacks. So for those 10 seconds you are a Dodge/Parry tank. Use this as soon as you get 3 mobs beating on you so you can kill the first one (with Mongoose Bite and Counterattack and Raptor Strike) before the Deterrence buff expires (or shortly thereafter), at which point you only have 2 mobs trying to hurt you instead of 3 and can manage.

Clever Traps increases the duration of your cold based Traps (to 13/19.5/26 seconds for Freezing depending on rank along with 39 seconds for Frost) and increases the damage of your fire based Traps (Immolation and Explosive) by 30% each. Trap Mastery reduces the chance that your Traps will be Resisted by 10%, making them relatively "reliable" when used. Amusing side note, this means that you can Tame new Pets with near impunity, so long as they don't Resist (either the Trap or the Tame itself) while taking NO DAMAGE in the process when Taming with use of Freezing Trap at rank 2+. This makes it a LOT easier to Tame Rares and Elites.

Other amusing side note ... your Immolation (mainly) and your Explosive (situationally) traps help contribute to what I call a 4h weapon style, using the following for damage production (more on how this fits together later):
  • Main Hand
  • Off Hand
  • Pet
  • Trap


Improved Feign Death needs no additional explanation beyond making Feign Death less often Resisted and thus more reliable (because when you use it, you WANT it to work!). Wyvern Sting gives you an opportunity to "stagger" incoming aggro by temporarily neutralizing a member of a mob group so as to let you melee tank more in a serial fashion, rather than in parallel, which is a lot less risky since you'll have (more) time to react and make decisions when taking on individuals staggered over time rather than all at once. With Wyvern Sting and either Frost or Freezing Trap and Deterrence, you can handle up to 5 mobs in a single aggro pull, so long as you get to pick your ground and initiate the engagement on your own terms. More on the tactics for THAT later.

Finally, since the whole point of this build is for your Hunter to be tanking rather than your Pet, Survivalist at tier 3 in Survival seems to be a prudent choice since it increases your total health (from ALL sources!) by an extra +10%. However, if you want to "pirate" any talent points for other priorities, I would rank Survivalist as the prime choice to "harvest" from to pay for something else, such as Unleashed Fury in the Beast Mastery tree if that's your preference. For this reason, I'd actually advocate leaving investment in Survivalist "for last" at Levels 56-60 if everything else in this build is working for you just fine.



Over in Beast Mastery, I've selected Endurance Training to get past tier 1 and Thick Hide as well as Improved Aspect of the Monkey as already alluded to in tier 2. The reason why I stop here rather than going deeper into the Beast Mastery tree is because most of the talents involved in going deeper into the tree increase Pet damage output, which can present a Threat balance challenge for a melee Hunter with no access to a Taunt of any kind. Furthermore, increasing your Pet's Stamina and Armor through Pet Training can become expensive in a hurry, crowding out other opportunities for investment, such as attack skills (more on that in a moment) as well as Resistances, which can't be obtained through Beast Mastery tree talents. So Endurance Training and Thick Hide represent the most "efficient" places to bolster your Pet's defensive protection(s) and enhance their survival in a way that won't interfere with your desire to hold aggro yourself.



And that's the reasoning and rationale behind the selection of Hunter talents ... which then brings us to the OTHER HALF of the melee Hunter build ... your choice of Pet!



When I played as what I liked to call a "CQB Hunter" over a decade ago in a Survival build similar to this one, I billed myself as a Close Quarters Battle specialist, meaning I had no problem bringing the full power of my potential to bear in tight interior twisty passage spaces because I fought in melee. I remember a number of pickup groups being surprised at meeting a Hunter who wasn't Marksman specced and therefore largely useless when fighting indoors in tight spaces, such as the ruins of Stromgarde Keep with its short twisting passages and tight staircases with lousy lines of sight that limited range. At that time, I was using a Ghost Saber as my Pet (for Prowl) and it was pretty decent, if not exactly optimal for a melee Hunter. Naturally, I didn't know what I was doing back then, but I was able to make it work.

This time around, I decided to "do my homework" and not just reach for the Ghost Saber again on the off chance there might be something better. So the first stop was the ancient archive of Petopia ...

Looking through the Big List of Pet Skills, what I was really after (besides damage, obviously) was either a buff or a debuff that can affect/benefit my Hunter, as opposed to something that just benefits my Pet. As far as I can tell, there's only 1 buff and only 1 debuff Pet Skill.

Furious Howl is the buff (that almost everyone knows about) … while Screech is the debuff (which apparently hardly anyone has ever heard of ... ba-dump ching) … although the chatter in channels here at Turtle WoW indicates that more people know about Screech at least than did on either Darrowshire (Elysium) or Symmetry (yay Turtle WoW community!).

So as I'm sure plenty of people already know, Furious Howl will add extra damage to the next physical attack of every party member within 15 yards every 10 seconds. At rank 1, this is essentially a +1 DPS boost when averaged out, and at rank 4 it's a +5 DPS boost when averaged out, per recipient of the buff (which when soloing will be 1 or 2). That might be good if you're buffing 40 people (or better yet, 40 Hunters/Warlocks and their melee Pets!), but when you're soloing with your Pet that isn't exactly anything to write a guide about. Picking a Pet for +2 to +10 DPS from a Pet Skill (because you and your Pet should be benefiting, so +2 to +10 DPS instead of +1 to +5 DPS) is a little ... meh ... and it isn't exactly going to help you a great deal with tanking mobs yourself all that much. For this reason, Furious Howl qualifies as better than nothing for a (soloing) melee Hunter build, but not by a great deal. By way of contrast, Bite does about +1 DPS when averaged out too at rank 1, but adds +9 DPS on average at rank 8 and is therefore roughly comparable to Furious Howl in terms of DPS for a lot less Focus cost (35 vs 60 Focus) and similar cooldowns (10 seconds each).



The other option is, as I've already mentioned, Screech ... and this one is ... interesting ...

Screech does +2 DPS at rank 1 and +9 DPS at rank 4 when averaging things out, so it's broadly comparable to Furious Howl and Bite in terms of damage production, but it also applies a debuff. Although the damage done is to a single target, the debuff effect applies to every enemy within melee range (of the Pet) ... and this is the key point. Screech will debuff the melee attack power of all enemies in melee range by -25 melee Attack Power per rank (so by -25 at rank 1 and -100 at rank 4). Think of it as being akin to a Druid's Demoralizing Roar or a Warrior's Demoralizing Shout, with an area of effect of melee range (so small radius), but which can be chain cast every 4 seconds(!) for "perma" uptime and which doesn't need Rage to cast (because it uses your Pet's Focus instead). Yeah ... like THAT.

THIS is your tank support debuff.
Many players do not realize that NPCs use different Attack Power scales than PCs.




While players gain +1 DPS per 14 Attack Power at all levels, NPCs do not.
Level 60 elites have been tested to gain about +1 DPS per 2 Attack Power.

Think about that.

Although Attack Power scaling for NPCs starts around parity with PCs at Level 1, it scales differently as Levels increase. That means that as Levels go up, Attack Power debuffs become increasingly effective at lowering NPC DPS output, because NPCs are affected much more strongly by changes (in this case, debuffing) to their Attack Power. For stronger encounters (such as raid bosses), the testing indicates that they have a similar amount of Attack Power, but their damage scales up significantly faster! When you consider many bosses have attacks that deal a multiple of their normal damage, then the stacking effect of Attack Power, and its debuffing, becomes very apparent.

For example:
  • Magmadar
    • Normal: 1867 - 2476 damage.
    • With demo: 1512 - 2121 damage. (-16.3%)
  • Maexxna
    • Normal: 5491 - 7281 damage.
    • With demo: 4448 - 6238 damage. (-16.3%)

For most Level 60 encounters, the observed Attack Power value appears to be ~300. Also, the damage contribution from that Attack Power is ~30% of the NPC's total melee damage. This implies that reducing the NPC's Attack Power to zero will reduce their melee damage by ~30%. So on those encounters, you should apply Demoralizing Shout and Screech, to fully debuff the target's Attack Power to cut your healers some slack on the demand for their mana.

Point being that Attack Power debuffs like Screech make it possible for you to take a lot less damage while tanking yourself in melee range, with your Pet supporting you. Broadly speaking, this is almost like having your Pet cast a Curse of Weakness on anything you're fighting, so long as your Pet fights right beside you ... and the less damage you take, the longer you can tank. Needless to say, this is where a combination of Screech and the Survivalist talent in tier 3 Survival synergize together to put you more in control of the melee situations you actually want to get yourself into.

Which then brings up the question ... can Screech from different Hunter Pets be stacked? And if it can, are you only able to stack different ranks of Screech, or does each Pet get their "own" Screech debuff regardless of rank? Would the damage avoided due to Screech be superior (in any way) to the damage buffing of Furious Howl in parties and raids, since the former is a near "perma" debuff while the latter is a "1 attack every 10 seconds" buff?

Have we been missing a forest for the trees when it comes to the debuff versus buff side of possibilities?

Might there be "room" in raid formats for Warriors, Bear Druids and Screech Pets to synergize together for Attack Power debuffing in a way that reduces demand for healing and thus "shifts" the dynamics of the optimal mix of who to bring? Well, it depends on the debuff cap limit (which tends to be "filled" extremely fast), so maybe not ... but it might be fun to try and find out if there's any potential there since it would appear to be a poorly explored realm of opportunity.

Note that in the context of this question concerning Screech, the talent spec of the Hunter matters very little, while the selection of Pet to deliver the Screech debuff becomes much more important. In that respect, the Beast o' Melee spec I've posted here is essentially irrelevant to the Screech question now being posed about the potential of Attack Power debuffing, since the use of Screech is in many ways "spec agnostic" because the debuff isn't enhanced by either Racial Traits or by Beast Mastery talents (aside from the Stamina and Armor ones to make your Pet able to withstand more punishment).

No other Pet Skill offers the ... synergy ... that Screech does for a melee Hunter. Every other skill your Pet can get and have is either oriented around defeating a target faster by doing (more) damage to it, or is oriented around protecting the Pet more (Shell Shield), or is an "alpha strike" one use sort of surprise attack used as an opener (Charge, Prowl) and/or a movement buff (Dash, Dive). Screech however costs very little Focus (20), has a 4 second duration on the debuff, and when assigned to auto attack your Pet will only use Screech again when the debuff expires, not before. In practice, this means that your Pet will automatically use Screech every 4 seconds (or so) and not "stack" the debuff foolishly. The skill doesn't have a cooldown, but if the debuff is already on your Pet's target, it won't Screech again until the debuff expires, meaning that your Pet isn't "wasting" Focus on Screech and that the skill is NOT a Focus dump akin to Claw.

This has some rather interesting implications. For one, it means that if Screech is the only active skill you give your Pet, it'll Screech and drop from 100 Focus to 80 Focus ... and then 2 seconds later be back up to a full 100 Focus. My experience was that Pets on Symmetry seemed to be regaining Focus at a rate that is faster than Rogues, which is to say at 24 per tick every 2 seconds (still waiting to see what the Focus recovery rate is here on Turtle WoW). Point being though that your Pet can sustain casting Screech plus Growl indefinitely.


So ... if Screech is so "good" at supporting a melee Hunter build style, which Pets can Screech?
  • Bat (Offensive)

    • HP: Medium (+0%)
    • Armor: Low (+0%)
    • DPS: High (+7%)

    • Learns: Bite, Cower, Dive, Growl, Screech

    • Diet: Fruit, Fungus
  • Carrion Bird (General)
    • HP: Medium (+0%)
    • Armor: Medium (+5%)
    • DPS: Medium (+0%)

    • Learns: Bite, Claw, Cower, Dive, Growl, Screech

    • Diet: Fish, Meat
  • Owl (Offensive)

    • HP: Medium (+0%)
    • Armor: Low (+0%)
    • DPS: High (+7%)

    • Learns: Claw, Cower, Dive, Growl, Screech

    • Diet: Meat


Bats are easy to acquire for the Horde in Tirisfal Glades, but their Diet may be annoying to supply over the long haul since they will only eat Fruit and Fungus. I would recommend that anyone in the Alliance not even bother with trying to acquire a Bat as a Pet before planning to go to either Shadowfang Keep or Razorfen Kraul since every Bat before then is to be found in Tirisfal Glades with extremely low Levels.

Carrion Birds are easy to acquire for the Horde in Mulgore and for the Alliance to acquire in Westfall, and their Diet will be the easiest to supply since you only need to go Fishing or feed them Meat, either of which are readily available.

Owls are easy for Night Elves to acquire, difficult for Dwarves to acquire (the Wetlands run to Menethil Harbor), and are definitely "hard mode" Achievement: UNLOCKED! for Horde to acquire prior to Level 48 when anyone can get one in Felwood since before then ALL of the Owls are on top of Teldrassil (and the Horde are NOT WELCOMED there!) and getting through Darnassus can be a chore for them (enjoy the corpse runs!). Owls have the most restricted Diet of all the Screech Pets since they will only eat Meat.

Bats and Owls do additional damage with their melee auto attacks, while Carrion Birds have better native armor. All three have access to Cower, Dive, Growl and Screech (of course), but Bats and Carrion Birds can use Bite while by contrast Carrion Birds and Owls can use Claw.

Curious side note here. I've played this build with Claw on an Owl up through Level 24 on Symmetry (before they imploded). Claw is a very effective Focus dump skill, as it essentially drains your Pet of Focus due to the lack of a cooldown on Claw. Your Pet will just Claw (with Claw on auto attack) until there isn't enough Focus to keep using it. This kind of Focus starvation (by design) can potentially interfere with your Pet using Screech, in that your Pet won't always have enough Focus remaining to Screech every 4 seconds. The counterpoint to this is that your fights will typically be shorter, simply due to the added damage coming from Claw. Ideally speaking, if you're going to put Claw on your Pet, you'd want to (re)write your melee attack macros to use Claw "manually on command" when casting Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and/or Counterattack so as to not put Claw on Auto Attack causing the skill to spam away Focus faster than it can be recovered.



Once you've selected your Screech Pet, the one that you're going to want to use for the long haul, comes the bad news. Screech rank 1 only appears on Greater Fleshrippers (16-17) in Westfall, which might be hard for some Horde Hunters to get to without a corpse run (or few/several) ... and Screech rank 2 doesn't show up until you meet the Salt Flat Vultures (32-34) at the southern end of Thousand Needles.

After that comes the decision of what (if any) other Pet Skills do you want to train into your Pet that use Focus aside from Screech? Well ... I'm going to suggest the ultimate heresy here. You should also train your Pet to Cower.


Wait ... WHAT?!? Cower??! NOBODY uses Cower! EVER!


Well ... yes ... but hear me out.

The reason why "nobody" uses Cower is because it doesn't DO anything useful for Hunters who want to play at range, shooting, while their Pet tanks for them at a distance. Remember what I said earlier about the basic strategies for the three talent trees?
  • Beast Master: Pet tanks (at range), buff the Pet.
  • Marksman: Pet tanks (at range), buff the Hunter.
  • Survival: Hunter tanks (in melee!), Pet offers close support(!).


As a melee Hunter, you want your Pet to SHED aggro ONTO YOU so that you can maximize your Dodge/Parry procs to use Mongoose Bite for magnificent critical hits and Counterattack to prevent escapes (oh and use Raptor Strike when it's not on cooldown). Now if you're wanting your Pet to HOLD aggro, you obviously want it to have Growl, but if you're wanting your Pet to PASS aggro to you, you're going to want it to have Cower so as to ensure that you, as the Hunter, have aggro (and keep it) and not your Pet.

The net effect of this is that when mobs transfer aggro from your Pet to You they'll often (not always, but often) come running in your direction to melee you ... with your Pet following them the whole way. This then creates a circumstance in which your Pet will have a decided preference of fighting BESIDE you, rather than off in the distance, which then means that your Pet will be debuffing the melee attack power of most (if not all) of the mobs you'll be in melee with, and they'll use Screech every time the debuff expires (so every 4 seconds if you don't have Claw on Auto Attack). This then promotes a behavioral dynamic in which mobs will tend to fight you in melee and your Pet will "want" to stay at your side where their Screech debuff is doing the most to promote your personal survival (and theirs, in case of AoE attacks like Cleave) while you melee.

Which sounds about as bass-ackwards as you can imagine ... except that it works ... brilliantly.

Speaking from personal experience on Darrowshire and Symmetry, this works even better than I had hoped when using an Owl at all levels all the way on up into the mid-40s (when Darrowshire "died" for me). The damage reduction/avoidance produced by Screech, particularly when pulling "too much aggro" is one of those things where you have to be on the receiving end of it in order to believe it. It really is comparable to a Demoralizing Roar/Shout level of debuffing, and the margin of error/action that it affords is decidedly non-negligible. It transforms my Hunter from a "mediocre" damage magnet wearing Leather Armor into a "decent" damage soaker (albeit one without a Taunt or threat multiplier), while at the same time supercharging my offensive potential. It does require completely inverting the Conventional Wisdom to achieve, but it works (in PvE).

Now, one thing that I have been able to confirm is that the combination of Screech and Cower is not sufficient to drain Focus from your Pet faster than they can recover it. Putting both Screech and Cower on auto attack, my Owl keeps getting back up to 100 Focus without any trouble. I would anticipate though that a combination of Bite (35 Focus, 10 second cooldown), Cower (15 Focus, 5 second cooldown), Dive (20 Focus, 15 second duration) and Screech (20 Focus, 4 second duration) should have no problem getting back up to 100 Focus, even in sustained combat.

Claw however will disrupt that dynamic of always having plenty of Focus for any/all Pet skills at any time if Claw is put on Auto Attack. This means that there will be "gaps" in the uptime coverage for casting Cower and Screech if you put Claw on your Pet, due to the more intense usage of Focus. However, if that's not a problem for you, you can certainly go ahead and do it. I've now tested use of Claw on a Screech Pet (an Owl, specifically) and found the disruption of the castings to be less noticeable than I had originally feared. That said, I would recommend developing Hunter melee attack macros that invoke use of Claw "manually" when casting Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and/or Counterattack so that you don't wind up with Claw on auto attack draining away all Focus leaving your Pet starved for Focus when it comes time to recast Screech.



So once you've selected your (Screech) Pet and decided on your Hunter talents, it's time to decide where you're going to to spend your Pet's talent points on Skills.

Now as a solo Hunter leveling towards 60, I'm thinking that picking up Resistances (all of them) so as to have a good "all rounder" Pet who can support me in melee regardless of what I'm fighting would be the wisest course of action while soloing my way to 60. Your mileage may vary, of course.

In that respect, Resistances cost 15 talent points for rank 2 with 60 Resistance, or 45 talent points for rank 3 with 90 Resistance. With only 300 talent points to spend at Level 60, paying 45 points for 5 resistances winds up being pretty steep (225 out of 300 points). That leaves just 75 points for everything else. Naturally all of this changes when dealing with raiding at Level 60, where you really only need to protect against a single Resistance type that you can predict with ease.

So if going with 4 out of 4 available Skills while keeping Screech and Cower and wanting to maximize (all) Resistances, I myself do something like this with my Owl:



Pet Level: 60
Pet Loyalty: 6
Points Available: 300
  • Cower - rank 6 (18pts)
  • Dive - rank 3 (25pts)
  • Growl - rank 7 (0pts)
  • Screech - rank 4 (25pts)
  • Great Stamina - rank 1 (5pts)
  • Natural Armor - rank 1 (1pts)
  • Arcane Resist - rank 3 (45pts)
  • Fire Resist - rank 3 (45pts)
  • Frost Resist - rank 3 (45pts)
  • Nature Resist - rank 3 (45pts)
  • Shadow Resist - rank 3 (45pts)

Total spent: 299
Points Left: 1

If Dive 3 isn't something you want, you can easily substitute either Bite 8 or Claw 8 for the same 25 talent points.

Having played this build into the mid-40s on Darrowshire (Elysium), I found that even with having a /cast Dive built into multiple macros, my Pet rarely (if ever) made use of, or even really needed, to have the Dive skill. That was simply a function of the fact that my Pet rarely left my side. We fought as a team, side by side, rather than apart from each other, and under those circumstances, the demand/need for a high speed movement skill is dramatically reduced. I would occasionally see Dive getting cast, but it was RARE (like maybe 1-3% of engagements, if not even less). So Dive sat on my Owl's skill bar, barely ever getting used, largely because of the engagement strategy I was using at the time.

Since then, however, I devised a new "opening gambit" engagement strategy while playing on Symmetry (before that server folded too) which would make use of Dive more often, so it would spend less time wasting space on my Owl's skill bar. Once I can learn Dive at Level 31 (from a Young Mesa Buzzard in the Arathi Highlands) and train it to my Owl, I switch out Claw for Dive on my Pet. This is purely a matter of HOW you use your Pet, tactically, in terms of positioning and so on, as to whether or not Dive will be of any use to you at all beyond mere novelty factor. I'll have more to say on this specific point later.

Now I'm sure that some sharp eyed readers (who haven't fallen asleep scrolling through this wall of text) will notice that I've included Growl in my Pet's list of skills to learn, even though I've also got Cower(!). That's because there are going to be times when I want my Pet to PULL aggro onto themselves (to tank for me), and there are going to be other times when I want my Pet to SHED aggro onto my Hunter. I've set up a simple macro which I'll detail later which allows me to switch between use of Cower on auto attack, or use of Growl on auto attack, so as to be able to ping pong, at need, how much threat my Pet will build up, relative to my Hunter.

The above skills choices are just my personal preferences for an all-rounder leveling Pet set of skills. Since skills are the only place you can get Resistances for a Pet, that's what I invest in most heavily here. For Armor and Health, I rely on the Beast Mastery talents of Endurance Training and Thick Hide to more effectively boost those attributes. A side effect of this personal preference is that it makes the difference between choices of Bat, Carrion Bird and Owl essentially one of aesthetics (how "pretty" the Pet avatar is) and choice of Diet. My personal preference on this point is honestly that I prefer the Strigid Screecher Owl (Level 7-8) from atop Teldrassil to all other options, including the White Owls found in Felwood, Alterac Valley and Winterspring, but that's just my own sense of aesthetics. Part of the reason for my preference is because the Strigid Screecher Owl does not natively have any Pet Skills that I would need to spend to respec out of, so they are Tamed as a "clean slate" Pet from the start.



As far as attack speeds go ... the Level 60 Bloodseeker Bat in Zul'Gurub DOES have a 1.00 attack speed, just like Broken Tooth, in case anyone wants to inflict lots of interrupt/pushback on spellcasters with their Pet while playing as a melee Hunter (wait, what?).

There's also a Level 52 (rare!) Spiteflayer Carrion Bird in the Blasted Lands with a 1.20 attack speed for those who would prefer this class of Pet.

All of the other Bats, Carrion Birds and Owls all have a 2.00 attack speed.



So that's the overall "story" of how I'm answering the question of ... if you want to play a melee Hunter, how would you build for it? As you can see, there's a lot of moving parts and pieces to it, but it all functionally comes down to the following synergies:
  • Survival: Hunter tanks (in melee!), Pet offers close support(!).
  • Raptor Strike (6 second cooldown)
  • Mongoose Bite (requires you to Dodge) (5 second cooldown)
  • Counterattack (requires you to Parry) (5 second cooldown)
  • Dodge Chance
  • Parry Chance
  • Critical Hit Chance
  • Agility (lots and lots!)
  • Pet Choice (you want Screech and Cower to assist your melee tanking)




The only remaining choice you'll need to make is ... melee weapon(s). Here at least, there's a lot of flexibility to choose from.

Some people suggest using the biggest and slowest 2h melee weapons so as to maximize critical hit damage from Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite. But the truth is that Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack all merely ADD damage rather than multiply it (it's the crits that multiply the damage output). This means that the damage increase (before critical) will be exactly the same for a fast Dagger as a slow 2h weapon with any of these attacks. In that respect, a melee Hunter build is somewhat "weapon type/speed" agnostic in terms of what you "should" be using (per se), but as always, if all you're really interested in is seeing BIG NUMBERS, go ahead and equip a big slow 2h weapon if that's your preference, since the crits you'll get with it will be AMAZING. The downside to using a big slow 2h weapon is WAITING for your next swing to land.

One thing that I will recommend with respect to weapon speeds though is that if you equip a weapon with a speed of 3.0 or higher you won't be quite as "perfect" with the timing of your Raptor Strikes as you might like, because Raptor Strike modifies your NEXT weapon swing (kind of like Heroic Strike for Warriors). This means that ideally speaking you want to have a Main Hand (or 2h) weapon with a weapon speed that integer multiplies "neatly" into 6.0 ( or very close to) so as to not delay your Raptor Strikes unnecessarily. So best synchronization with Raptor Strike cooldown will be on weapon speeds of 3.00, 2.00, 1.50 (and if there were any such weapons, 1.20, but in a pinch 1.30 is adequate). Point being you don't want to have to wait extra long beyond the 6s cooldown time of Raptor Strike before making your next weapon swing if you don't have to … so choose your weapons wisely on that score.


And finally, there are times when playing as a melee Hunter will feel like this and when it happens it's totally worth it ... but you have to BELIEVE that you'll succeed with it before you can bring yourself to risk(!) being satisfied with a build and engagement strategy that is simply so far off the well worn and beaten track that almost NO ONE ELSE goes where this build will be able to take you.



And that's it for the build side of things.

The myth.
The legend.
The (horribly misunderstood?) ... Beast o' Melee Hunter.

Come at me bro' ...

/beckon



Next up ... macros and engagement strategies ...

Roxanneflowers
Posts: 167

Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Roxanneflowers » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:51 pm

For ease of reference for everything that follows in the macro scripting below, this is NOW (as a result of writing up this posting which resulted in a lot of general housekeeping on top of everything else) what my Pet Skills Bar will look like in-game by default when using a Screech Pet with Dive.

Image

For anyone new to playing a Hunter, these slots from left to right are:
  1. Attack
  2. Follow
  3. Stay
  4. Cower (toggled ON while Growl is OFF)
  5. Screech (toggled on)
  6. Dive (toggled off)
  7. Growl (toggled OFF while Cower is ON)
  8. Aggressive
  9. Defensive
  10. Passive

Screech is toggled on at all times because if my Pet is attacking I want it to be Screeching. Dive is toggled off because I really only want Dive to be invoked when there is distance to target for my Pet to travel. No point in using Dive while in melee range of a target, since that's just a waste of Focus.

Cower and Growl "oppose" each other in their toggle states, such that when one is on the other is off (until they both switch). Because of this, and to avoid "Mode Confusion" I've moved Cower and Growl to be as far apart from each other as is possible within slots 4 to 7, thereby placing Cower in slot 4 and Growl in slot 7. This then makes it very easy to tell at a glance which "mode" my Pet is in with respect to either autocasting Cower or autocasting Growl.



First up, the melee attack macros. All three of these, coincidentally enough, use 163/255 characters each for casting Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack respectively.

Code: Select all

/cast Raptor Strike
/run CastPetAction(2);
/run CastPetAction(10);
/run PetAttack(target);
/run if not CheckInteractDistance("target", 3) then CastPetAction(6) end

Code: Select all

/cast Mongoose Bite
/run CastPetAction(2);
/run CastPetAction(10);
/run PetAttack(target);
/run if not CheckInteractDistance("target", 3) then CastPetAction(6) end

Code: Select all

/cast Counterattack
/run CastPetAction(2);
/run CastPetAction(10);
/run PetAttack(target);
/run if not CheckInteractDistance("target", 3) then CastPetAction(6) end
The last line with the CastPetAction(6) can be deleted (in all of these macros, not just these 3 macros) if you aren't using Dive in the 6th slot, and have either Bite or Claw there instead (left on auto attack). All this line does is check to see if the Pet is more than 10 yards away from the designated target, and if the Pet is more than 10 yards away they will cast Dive to close that 10 yards of distance as rapidly as possible.

All three of these macros are designed to make use of Raziya's formulation of Pet Attack macros for lines 2-4, although I'm using /run instead of /script in order to save on character counts just in case I ever want to add even more functions to these macros later on. Beyond that, I'm simply pairing those functions (Pet Follow in line 2, Pet Passive in line 3, attack my target in line 4) with using either Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite or Counterattack in line 1. The last line of code determines if the target is 10+ yards away from my Hunter, and if the target is 10+ yards away to have my Pet use their slot 6 Skill, which I've standardized on being either Dash or Dive ... but if the target is less than 10 yards away from my Hunter then Dash/Dive does not need to be cast by my Pet, which will often be the case when my Pet is fighting beside me while my Hunter melee tanks. This makes these macros functionally "Pet agnostic" with respect to use of Dash or Dive so long as I reserve slot 6 for either of those Skills, which I was planning to do anyway. Note also that this particular formulation automatically gives me the proper tooltips and cooldown graphics for Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack icon on my action hotbar.



Technically, my Disengage macro is part of the melee group of macros, since all of the skills it references are melee range skills (both for my Hunter and my Pet) but it can also be used at range and without a target selected simply to flip the toggles on Cower and Growl. This macro weighs in at a hefty 245/255 characters used, so not much leeway to do much more with this one.

Code: Select all

/run if UnitIsEnemy("player", "targettarget") then CastSpellByName("Disengage") end
/run CastPetAction(10);
/run TogglePetAutocast(4);
/run TogglePetAutocast(7);
/run if UnitIsEnemy("player", "target") then PetAttack(target) CastPetAction(6) end
At first I was using UnitIsUnit for this one, but then I noticed in the Vanilla APIs that Raziya was so kind to link to that there is a UnitIsEnemy function, which when parsed right with "target" as the second parameter will return a nil value if there is no target selected. For my purposes, this basically does the job of UnitIsUnit for checking to determine targeting matches AND limiting the valid matches to enemies only. This means that if I have an ally or nothing targeted then the dependency prevents spells/skills from being cast. This then guards against an edge case of two allied Players targeting each other (for whatever reason) and getting a complaint that I can't use Disengage on that target, or using the macro while targeting an allied NPC and getting a complaint that I can't attack that target (even though it would be the Pet attacking). I can do this because both Disengage and PetAttack are fundamentally "enemy only" uses of abilities that are not germane to use on allies.

So line 1 determines both if my target is targeting me AND if my target is hostile or friendly ... and if my target is targeting me and hostile will cast Disengage (if my Hunter is in melee range of my target, otherwise Disengage will fail to cast due to range) ... else nothing happens. Because line 1 contains Disengage in it, that then determines the tooltip and cooldown appearance of the hotbar icon.
Line 2 puts my Pet into Passive stance.
Lines 3 and 4 toggle switch Cower and Growl on my Pet.
Line 5 is a "sanity check" for whether or not my Hunter has an enemy target selected, and if so send my Pet to attack that enemy using Dash or Dive regardless of tactical positioning or distance. If I'm switching aggro between my Hunter and my Pet, I want my Pet getting into melee range with my target to potentially Growl as fast as possible.

Incidentally, I was mildly surprised that the PetAttack(target) CastPetAction(6) combination appears to work just fine, and I suspect that there are no issues simply because commanding your Pet to attack your target does not invoke any global cooldowns, making it possible to "fall through" directly to the next call for an executable (in this case, slot 6 holding either Dash or Dive). I tested this macro on a hostile Ashenvale Wolf at beyond Bow range to see if my Pet would attack and use Dive correctly, which they did, so this functionality is tested and working at this point.

The purpose of the Disengage macro is to "change postures" on my Pet between Cower and Growl, with use of Disengage thrown in conditionally(!) to help facilitate transfer of aggro from my Hunter to my Pet (when my Hunter would be the target of my target) but to NOT use Disengage when trying to transfer aggro from my Pet to my Hunter. The utility of this macro is that it allows my Hunter to switch from melee tanking to ranged spanking (and back again) whenever circumstances warrant it. This should make my melee tanking (Cower ON/Growl OFF) much more successful and versatile, since I'll be able to shed aggro onto my Pet (Disengage+Cower OFF/Growl ON), Bandage and then after I'm done bandaging (if nothing else is hitting me), switch back into melee tanking (Cower ON/Growl OFF) using a single macro.

Additionally, this macro can even be used while at range as a sort of (poor man's) "Kill Command" for my Pet to go into fast pursuit of a runner, or to attack from either a preset Stay position away from my Hunter or from Following at my side, regardless of range to target (due to the distance conditionals I've implemented on my Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack macros to prevent use of Dash or Dive while within 10 yards of my target) with the intent of keeping the aggro on my Pet through use of Growl, instead of on my Hunter through use of Cower. This then lets me One Button Switch from being a Melee Hunter to being a (in my case) Bow Hunter with ease in situations where I don't necessarily want to Face Pull hostiles myself or need to keep distance between myself and my Pet.



I use Raziya's Follow and Stay macros for what amounts to secondary Pet controls, usually to prevent my Pet from "going rogue" to attack something I wasn't intending for them to attack. In both cases I substitute /run for /script again to keep the character count down, saving 3 characters per line and simply reserve slot 6 on the Pet Skills Bar for either Dash or Dive. These two macros are 107/255 and 207/255 characters respectively.

Code: Select all

/run CastPetAction(10);
/run CastPetAction(2);
/run if UnitAffectingCombat("pet") then CastPetAction(6) end
Line 1 commands my Pet to go into Passive mode, so stop whatever you're doing Pet.
Line 2 commands my Pet to Follow my Hunter without needing to edit in my Hunter's name.
Line 3 tests to see if my Pet is in Combat or not, and if so, to have my Pet cast Dash or Dive (in slot 6 of the Pet Skills Bar) to return to my Hunter at best possible speed. If my Pet is not in combat, then Dash/Dive is basically never needed (and if it is, I can always activate Dash/Dive manually).

Code: Select all

/run if not UnitAffectingCombat("pet") then CastPetAction(3) end
/run if UnitIsUnit("target", "pet") then CastPetAction(3) elseif UnitAffectingCombat("pet") then CastPetAction(6) end
/run CastPetAction(10)
This is basically Raziya's Stay macro for Pets, which will tell them to Stay. If your Pet is not in combat, it tells your Pet to Stay where they are. If your Hunter is targeting your Pet, it tells them to Stay where they are also, allowing you to "park" your Pet in a particular spot, even in combat. But if you're NOT targeting your Pet and your Pet is in combat, then it will have them Dash/Dive in Passive mode back to the point you originally had them Stay at as a sort of Retreat From Combat to a preset location. The only meaningful change from Raziya's macro is that I'm assigning a specific Pet Skills slot to either Dash or Dive, in this case slot 6, so that I can tighten up the macro scripting by calling for a Skill slot instead of calling for a specific named pair of abilities from the Pet Spellbook.



Additionally, this also means that my Pet(s) have 3 of their 4 Skill slots taken up with Cower (4), Dash/Dive (6) and Growl (7) ... leaving only a single Skill slot open (5) for that particular Pet type's "signature" Skill. Since the vanilla Stable is extremely small, where you're never going have more than 2-3 Pets under any circumstances, this isn't really a problem, since a broad diversity of Pets isn't much of an issue. At the present time, I've still got my original Owl from atop Teldrassil, gained at Level 10, which is my mainline "all around" combat Pet for leveling ... but on previous servers I've also managed to find and Tame none other than Lupos. Both Owls and Wolves can Dash/Dive, so "reserving" a slot for these skills on "all" of the Pets I have isn't exactly an issue. I'm sure that once I reach Level 60 and have learned all of the Pet Skills and don't need to Tame anything else in vanilla, I'll almost certainly pick up a 3rd Pet which can also Dash or Dive, so again ... non-issue for me to reserve a Skill slot for this particular class of skill on all Pets. You can see all of this on the image of my Pet Skill Bar.

Image



I use this macro for Scare Beast, and it weighs in at 63/255 characters, which by the standards of what I've been writing about until now is positively petite.

Code: Select all

/run CastPetAction(10);
/run CastPetAction(2);
/cast Scare Beast
Pretty straightforward here action here really.

Line 1 puts my Pet into Passive mode.
Line 2 commands my Pet to Follow my Hunter.
Line 3 has my Hunter cast Scare Beast.
This then coordinates my Pet such that they don't keep attacking any Beasts that I've Scared so as to protect against edge cases of having my Pet "accidentally" do damage to my target and break the Fear effect of Scare Beast prematurely.

As a side note, I duplicate this macro onto my hotbar near where I put my Tame Beast skill, so that in case of a Resist to either the Taming or the Freezing Trap I can escape from combat (to drop aggro), reset, and try to Tame again. Having Feign Death available at Levels 30+ gives me even more escape options should a Tame attempt get Resisted.



Last but certainly not least is everyone's favorites ... Feign Death and Ice Trap, which really pair together in too many ways. Rather than combine these two into a single macro, I've simply made separate macros for each and then cleverly put them "functionally adjacent" to each other in terms of keybind locations on my hotbars so that I can easily invoke one or the other or both very simply/reliably. This Feign Death macro uses 77/255 characters.

Code: Select all

/run if UnitAffectingCombat("player") then CastSpellByName("Feign Death") end
Line 1 determines if my Hunter is in Combat, and only if I'm in combat will Feign Death be used. This helps prevent "accidental" use of Feign Death out of combat when it shouldn't have been used, wasting the cooldown (and generally being a DERP move). If I really need to Feign Death while out of combat (for like a roleplay or something?) I'll just open my spellbook and cast it from the spellbook "manually" and very deliberately.



This is the macro I use for Freezing Trap, modified from Raziya's Freezing Trap macro to remove the proximity distance conditional, and it costs 116/255 characters.

Code: Select all

/run if UnitExists("pettarget") and UnitIsUnit("target", "pettarget") then CastPetAction(10) end
/cast Freezing Trap
Line 1 checks to determine if my Pet has a target at all, and if my Pet and my Hunter are sharing the same target. If my Pet and my Hunter share the same target then my Pet is put into Passive mode.
Line 2 casts Freezing Trap after making sure that my Pet won't (keep) attack(ing) the target my Hunter has selected and break the Freezing Trap effect prematurely on the target I've got selected.
This formulation then allows for a "directing traffic" situation where if my Pet is attacking something other than what I'm intending to Freeze, my Pet can keep right on attacking that target. This means that I need to have selected the target that I do want to Freeze in order to keep my Pet from attacking THAT target specifically. I agree with Raziya that it's by no means a perfect solution, but it's certainly better than nothing.



As you can see, an awful lot of the character count "crushing" on these macros has come from "standardizing" what Pet Skills I want to have on any (and every?) Pet that I Tame for use in combat, and where those skills will appear on the Pet Skills Bar. That then allows me to, in effect, be more flexible on casting spells by name at the expense of needing to cast spells by skill bar slot. Still, when you've got macros running over 200+ characters long, staying under 255/255 while being able to shoehorn in as much functionality as you need in a single macro can sometimes push you to make compromises outside the macro text itself. In this case I've opted for a "structural" response to the challenge of not having enough room to "name (spell) names" in my macros to fit them under the 255 character limit otherwise. This in turn means that you don't need to load any "special" addons to extend your functionality for the features these macros provide (although Super Macro is still recommended for the extra quantity of macros that addon enables).

Roxanneflowers
Posts: 167

Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Roxanneflowers » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:52 pm

And now we come to the topic that everyone's been waiting for ... Dirty Melee Hunter Tricks!



Step Zero ... engage Aspect of the Monkey for extra Dodge chance.
NOW you're ready to be a Beast o' Melee Hunter!



The first habit I needed to break as a Melee Hunter was the urge to just rush in and attack stuff in melee like a Warrior, Paladin, Feral Druid or Rogue might be inclined to do. By closing into melee range yourself, you'd be giving up the opportunity to lay down a Trap, since Traps can only be deployed while out of combat. As I mentioned earlier, when playing a Melee Hunter, my personal preference is to use a "4h weapon" combat style which incorporates:
  • Main Hand
  • Off Hand
  • Pet
  • Trap

So in order to lay down a Trap, you need to NOT be in combat YET ... meaning you want to slow down and assess the situation in front of you prior to just charging in blindly/stupidly/recklessly. This means that it is best to stop approaching outside of your (preferably lone) target's aggro radius. Given enough practice, you'll develop a "feel" for How Close Is Too Close to a variety of targets when it comes to staying outside of aggro radius in order to lay down a Trap.

So the key here is something that I'm often telling Tanks in the dungeon groups I join. Far better to fight on your own ground, away from other enemies, than it is to fight on the enemy's ground, where other adds are nearby and can come join the fight. This means that the very first thing you need to do as a Melee Hunter before every engagement is to CHOOSE YOUR GROUND (wisely!) where you're going to fight.

Once you have chosen where you want to fight, lay down a Trap.
After that it's a matter of luring ... pulling ... your target to your Trap, where you'll be waiting for them. What you're doing is setting up an ambush, on ground that favors you and your Pet (as unfairly as possible … hint, hint).



In most situations, Immolation Trap is the go to standard Trap that I'll lay down, BECAUSE it will hit only a single target, and that single target will be the first (and often only) mob to arrive at my location. Furthermore, the damage from the Trap (along with my melee attacks) will be sufficient to raise my threat well above that of my Pet and keep that mob focused on my Hunter. So the "bog standard" setup is to close to somewhere (safe) which is NEAR to, but still outside the aggro radius of the mob I want to kill, drop an Immolation Trap, and then choose how I want to attract attention. Surprisingly enough, there's a variety of methods you can use for this.



The easiest option is to just shoot your target to get them to start bumrushing towards you (if they don't have a ranged attack of some kind). For this you can use Serpent Sting, Concussion Shot, Arcane Shot (and of course, Auto Shoot) while your target closes in on you ... but that gets mana expensive in a hurry, so I prefer only to use this option when dealing with something that needs to be whittled down a bit before I allow it to get into melee range with my Hunter. Alternatively, you can just Hunter's Mark and then use Auto Shoot and let your target run right up to you and step on your Trap, at which point you launch into your standard Raptor Strike macro which commands your Pet (that you've kept right beside you on Passive the whole time) to attack your target with you. I rarely use this opening myself, mainly because I'm a cheapskate when it comes to ammo (and the need to restock it). However, using your ranged weapon to pull with will at least keep your weapon skill with your equipped ranged weapon of choice from lying fallow for too long and not adding skill points to it.

Note that in this scenario, since your Pet doesn't leave your side, Dash/Dive is very much a superfluous skill to give to your Pet, except as an option for fast retreats.



The second option is almost the same, in that it involves making very small incremental movements forward so as to step into aggro range in order to do a Face Pull. Just like with the first option, this puts the initial aggro on your Hunter and will typically prompt a bumrush towards your location if the mob doesn't have a ranged attack. Once you've attracted attention (onto yourself), all you need to do is simply back up until you reach your Trap and let your target step on it. Once they're burning, use your Raptor Strike macro to command your Pet (right beside you on Passive the whole time) to attack your target with you. I got really good and practiced at using this option for an opening gambit, simply so I wouldn't have to waste ammo in the effort to draw attention. The downside to this strategy is that if there's more than one mob to pull, they'll ALL be aggroed onto your Hunter, which doesn't work out all that well for Tandem Tanking, which is the secret weapon you have as a Melee Hunter for being able to tank way more than you ought to be able to.

Note that, again, because your Pet (still) doesn't leave your side, Dash/Dive is very much a superfluous skill to give to your Pet in this scenario as well.



The third option is perhaps the safest/best since it sets you up for using a strategy that I call Tandem Tanking, in which your PET draws initial aggro(!) from whatever you're attacking. The important point of letting your Pet grab aggro first is that any and all adds will be aggroed onto your Pet rather than onto your Hunter ... and you can cast Mend Pet to heal your Pet, but you don't have any spells that can heal your Hunter (aside from Potions and Bandages).

The way that I'll set this up is by commanding my Pet to attack my target (usually by just using my Raptor Strike or Mongoose Bite macros, which include commanding my Pet to attack the target I currently have selected) which will then cause my Pet to close distance on that target. Once my Pet has attracted attention, I will use the Follow macro to command them to return to my Hunter, who will be standing behind the Trap that I've laid down ... pulling the target mob along behind them (if they don't have a ranged attack, and sometimes even then).

If you've pulled a solo mob, you can just let the mob run up to you, FWOOSH! on the Trap (drawing aggro onto your Hunter), and then start mashing melee attack macros to uncork your melee prowess onto them while your Hunter and your Pet attack together, 4h weapon style.

Note that THIS opening strategy will make use of Dash/Dive on every Face Pull By Pet that you do, so this is where Dive can start becoming useful to a Screech Pet in a Melee Hunter build strategy. Use of Dive instead of Claw then reserves all of your Pet's Focus for use by Screech (4 sec cooldown) and either Cower or Growl (5 sec cooldown).



However ...

If you've pulled 2+ mobs, it really is best to use your Pet for a Face Pull lure, rather than your Hunter, because that means that all the initial aggro will be on your Pet. That means that with an Immolation Trap, all of the (extra) adds will be focused on your Pet ... EXCEPT ... for the one target that was "first in line" for the Immolation Trap and who is attacking your Hunter while being attacked by your Hunter+Pet. The result is a sort of Disassembly Line™, where your Pet takes the beating for you from all the adds (in parallel) while your Hunter and Pet kill each INDIVIDUAL mob together. This means that your Hunter only needs to withstand the incoming damage from a SINGLE hostile target, while your Pet "holds" the deferred aggro of all the adds until you're ready to take them on one by one ... and you can use Mend Pet to help your Pet survive the extended pummeling (or even die protecting you) while you whittle down the pile of adds sequentially.

The net result is that between your Pet and your Hunter, the two of you have a MUCH larger pool of (combined) Health to deplete, especially with Mend Pet in the mix to heal your Pet, while the two of you carve up your opponents in greater safety. It basically works like this, where your Hunter+Pet keep killing the Hunter's target and then pull a fresh target "off the stack" trying to kill your Pet:

5 mobs = 1 @ Hunter + 4 @ Pet
4 mobs = 1 @ Hunter + 3 @ Pet
3 mobs = 1 @ Hunter + 2 @ Pet
2 mobs = 1 @ Hunter + 1 @ Pet
1 mob = 1 @ Hunter + 0 @ Pet
0 mobs = combat over

With the macros I've given above, you can pull this off quite easily, while solo, even without use of Growl(!) ... so long as you let your Pet grab aggro first to start the engagement. The other adds will need to be damaged before they'll turn away from your Pet, if your Pet grabbed aggro first, and all of your Hunter's and Pet's damaging attacks will be single target. BUT ... Screech will debuff the Attack Power of all mobs in melee range, reducing the amount of damage that both your Hunter AND your Pet will be taking, making both of you better able to soak the incoming damage, while at the same time keeping them all "interested" in your Pet until your Hunter damages them.



This Tandem Tanking of adds is where spending talent points on Endurance Training and Thick Hide along with training points on the Resistances skills for your Pet will start to pay off, when your Pet is "beefy" enough to soak SOME of the aggro you can get from adds beyond single pulls. The two of you together tank in parallel, but you still rack up your kills sequentially by allowing only a single mob to focus their aggro on your Hunter at any given time. As soon as you kill one mob, your Hunter pulls the next one off the "aggro stack" that's beating on your Pet and promptly starts tearing that ONE opponent a new one with your Pet's support.

By ... deferring aggro ... from groups of enemies in this way, it becomes safe(r) to take on larger groups that would usually give other character classes pause for being too risky. You can use your Pet as a meatshield so as to kill your enemies wholesale, rather than retail, sequentially one at a time, rather than needing to absorb all of their damage yourself onto your Hunter in parallel.

But before you get Wyvern Sting at Level 40, another big benefit of the strategy of "using the Pet to Face Pull and retreat" back to your (trapped) poisition is that it gives you additional options for being able to escape a bad situation, even before you get Feign Death at Level 30.



Even more importantly, you can use your Pet to Face Pull like this AROUND CORNERS and terrain when dealing with casters! Indeed, this can be a remarkably successful strategy, even against non-casters in locations with lots of twisty/turn-y passages with lots of really bad blind spots all around (Stromgarde Keep comes to mind) with lots of adds just waiting to come and rip your face off. Even better, you can use this against Stealthed(!) mobs to clear them without pulling them all onto your Hunter (to start with). But the real crowning jewel achievement for this kind of trickery is use of Eyes of the Beast so as to take DIRECT control of your Pet and be able to maneuver them EXACTLY how you want to in order to Face Pull ONLY the mobs that you want lure back to your ambush point/kill zone ... safely away from any adds that any runners might be inclined to go collect.

So, not only can you use your Pet to "scout" around corners using Eyes of the Beast, you can also use them to Face Pull casters around corners (and right into your Trap you had waiting for them). I've always known this practice as "Corner Pulling" so as to relocate a ranged attacker onto ground of YOUR choosing, rather than fighting them on THEIRS. This is the ideal way to lure a caster mob into a Trap that they would otherwise never get near to (until they ran out of mana). Just be aware that whenever you cancel Eyes of the Beast your Pet will automatically be set to return to your Hunter (think Follow), even if they were commanded to Stay before you used Eyes of the Beast on them.



And speaking of runners ...
Something that every Tank, including Melee Hunters, should be aware of is ... runners will always run AWAY from whoever they were aggroed onto. If that's your Hunter, they'll run away from your Hunter, but if they're aggroed onto your Pet, they'll run away from your Pet, not from your Hunter.

Simply draw a line from whatever the mob is aggroed onto THROUGH the mob and out the other side of the mob in a straight line ... and that's the direction they'll run (if they get the chance to). Once I learned about this particular little simple trick, I've been able to "point" any and all runners AWAY from their friends, so as to minimize the opportunity for them to go and get a pile of adds to keep beating on me.

Trust me ... being able to CONTROL which directions Murlocs will run away in? Absolutely invaluable! My favorite thing to do is to point them at a wall/impassable terrain, so they don't get very far while I (and my Pet) carve them up a treat.

Aggro magnets who aren't thinking ahead to control/direct which way runners will run away from the aggro magnet ... are bad at being an aggro magnet.



But that's not all.

There's even a FOURTH option for engaging massed groups of enemies, involving Wyvern Sting at tier 7 out of Survival, although this is something that feels the most like a dirty trick for a Melee Hunter. The sequence of steps, which can get pretty complicated to manage, are essentially these:
  1. Stop outside of aggro radius as normal.
  2. Deploy a Freezing Trap to "hold" 1 mob from the pile.
  3. Toggle Cower OFF and Growl ON, using the Disengage macro with no target selected. This is so that your Pet will be able to draw aggro onto itself.
  4. Hunter's Mark the target you want to kill first (target 1).
  5. Select a DIFFERENT target from the group (target 2).
  6. Use Wyvern Sting on your target to put them to sleep (target 2), so they'll join the fray late.
  7. Switch targets back to your Marked target and use Concussion Shot on them to slow their arrival as well (target 1).
  8. Any and all additional mobs will be charging forwards, but the first one in line (target 3) will hit your Freeze Trap and take themselves out of the fight for some 26 seconds or so.
  9. Move backwards enough to keep the frozen mob (target 3) out of Screech range.
  10. Once the slowed mob (target 1) arrives, use the Raptor Strike macro to command your Pet to attack, prompting your Pet to Screech and Growl to attract all aggro onto your Pet who has stayed beside you the entire time.
  11. Use the Disengage macro to turn Growl OFF and Cower back ON once your Pet has aggro from all adds.
  12. Kill your Hunter's Mark target (target 1) since they've already been damaged while your Pet holds aggro from all adds.
  13. Select new target (target 4+), kill them.
  14. By now, Wyvern's Sting will have worn off, so kill that mob (target 2).
  15. Kill remaining targets (target 5+) that your Pet has been holding the aggro of for you.
  16. Once all other mobs have been killed, or the Freezing Trap duration has expired, kill that mob as well (target 3).
  17. Exit combat with a pile of corpses at your feet.
  18. Cast Mend Pet if needed.


As you can see, this is a pretty complicated set of things you can do to stagger out which mobs from a group of them hit you when, so that you can take them on in a more sequential fashion, rather than trying to deal with them all at once in parallel. It buys you TIME to both act and react so that you don't get overwhelmed in a single instant. Using this method, you can take on groups of 4-5 (or more) mobs in relative safety, as a Melee Hunter.



Once you've got a mob within melee range and you're unloading your melee macros into them, it's important for you to "keep them interested" in staying put. This is where Counterattack and Wing Clip come into play. Counterattack will outright immobilize your target for 5 seconds, while Wing Clip will slow them. In the case of runners, it's important that you use Wing Clip BEFORE they run, not after they start running, since the movement debuff seems to only be effective then. For some reason, if I use Wing Clip on a runner AFTER they run, it seems to have no (noticeable) effect ... but if used, for the slow effect, BEFORE they run, it not only works but it also makes them run away slower, so they can't get as far.



The last thing I'll want to mention is that the Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack macros will all (obviously) command your Pet to attack your target, but there are a couple peculiar edge cases that can occur when dealing with multiple attacking mobs. Mongoose Bite and Counterattack will only cast against your current target if your current target was the one whose attack you Dodged or Parried (respectively). When you have more than one mob beating on your Hunter, it's possible to Dodge or Parry the attack of some mob other than your current target ... in which case the hotbar icons for Mongoose Bite or Counterattack will light up, indicating they're ready for use because of a Dodge or Parry proc, but you won't be able to cast them because you Dodged/Parried the "wrong" hostile's attack, since it wasn't an attack that came from your current target. It's a tad bit confusing when it happens, but once you know how it happens (and why) you can work around it, because as a human (player) you're smarter than the computer (sometimes...).

The other oddity is that when you switch targets while in combat, using the macros I've provided, you'll need to successfully cast a melee attack in order to prompt Auto Attack to kick in on your new target. You can use the Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack macros to command your Pet to attack your (new) target, since that function is baked into the macros ... but if Mongoose Bite and/or Counterattack are not procced and "ready" for use, you may need to wait for Raptor Strike to cooldown before you can use it (6 second cooldown). What this means is that absent another (melee) attack of some sort, you may have to wait up to 6 seconds before you can attack your new target and engage Auto Attack yourself.

The solution to this latter problem is easily solved by simply using Wing Clip (once) against your target, which will then automatically engage Auto Attack on that target for you.



So there you go ... these are the "dirty tricks" toolset that you've got at your disposal when playing as a Melee Hunter, which pretty much no other class in the game has access to (not even Warlocks, per se, although Void Walkers and Succubii can "fake it" kinda sorta with their skills) because of your Pet's capabilities (and the macros I've provided to help you control them). With a Screech Pet, both your Pet and your Melee Hunter are best served fighting side by side as much as possible, so much so that ideally speaking you want your Pet to lure aggro back to your Hunter, so as to ask the all important question ... Will It Blend?

Answer ... YES!
happy_turtle

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Yutilk
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Yutilk » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:00 pm

nice to see a fellow melee hunter. People are most of the time misinformed about melee hunters. They can produce really good dps, they just require more effort than what is traditional therefore most don't want to do it.
Shaman Raid Tank, Priest Tank, Rogue Tank, Support Warrior, etc... I'm Livestreaming!

Roxanneflowers
Posts: 167

Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Roxanneflowers » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:40 pm

Yutilk wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:00 pm
nice to see a fellow melee hunter. People are most of the time misinformed about melee hunters. They can produce really good dps, they just require more effort than what is traditional therefore most don't want to do it.
Agreed. Playing a (Beast o') Melee Hunter means upsetting a lot of apple carts (as I've described above, perhaps too exhaustively?) and overturning so much Conventional Wisdom™ that it can sometimes seem scary (hoo! scary!!) to people who have no experience with the possibilities and potential.

I actually had a fun direct comparison experience of this, which I related in another thread on these forums but which I'll repeat here for ease of reference ...
Roxanneflowers wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:21 am
Needless to say, the Hunter alt that I've started here on Turtle WoW will ultimately wind up getting leveled as a Beast o' Melee Hunter build that I'll be posting, which is something that I was actually able to level into the low 40s on Darrowshire (Elysium) before that server fell to corruption.

Interestingly enough, I actually wound up doing Gnomeregan with my melee Hunter in a group with a Marksman Hunter and the other Hunter had a damage meter that they could run (so they did, starting once we entered the instance) so as to cross-check the performance of our two respective builds during a dive through Gnomeregan all the way to the final boss (who we defeated, naturally). There was, of course, as always, the good natured ribbing at the start about how I shouldn't feel bad that the party would have to "carry" my melee Hunter through the dungeon because I was playing a melee Hunter (which everyone "knew" was worthless, yaddee yaddah ... you know the drill).

However, after we downed the sub-bosses in each area, the Marksman would check his damage meters and was having a hard time believing what he was seeing ... because the two of us were really kind of neck and neck on damage production, except that my melee Hunter was slightly ahead of his Marksman overall (probably because I was Off Tanking for the group and disposing of adds). I was also getting to use my Traps for damage output, while the Marksman was limited to using his only for Freezing Trap (in case of loose mobs).

At the end, the damage our two Hunters had produced during the run was really comparable (although mine was a smidgeon higher) and the Marksman had seen the radically different way that I was fighting enough (I call it Tandem Tanking) to be interested enough to ask questions about my build. They weren't going to change out of being Marksman spec, but they'd seen enough to know from firsthand experience of watching me play that I was making the melee spec WORK and that it could do some things that his Marksman spec couldn't (which, to be fair, is only to be expected).
So ... that happened, on a different pserver ... and it was really interesting to see because it was about as direct a cross-comparison as you could have since the location was Gnomeregan inside the dungeon instance, and the dungeon environment didn't really favor either of us all that much in layout or mob types (per se). And yet, there I was, holding my own against a Marksman on the same team, fighting on the front line with the main tank as an off-tank protecting the second line from leakers that got scraped off the main tank so the main tank could focus on doing their part with maximal efficiency and not have to worry about the rest of us (as much). Even our medic was kind of surprised how much easier it was for them to keep the party topped up on HP since my Owl was debuffing the incoming damage enough to make a difference to the demand for healing services, so it was definitely "all gravy" for everyone on that team, despite the fact that we had 2 Hunters in the group so as to be able to run Gnomeregan with a full team of 5. happy_turtle

Warrians
Posts: 21

Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Warrians » Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:21 pm

Claps. Best read i had in this forum since i joined. You literally got my hunter blades burning and all of his cobwebs melted. Your build is a bit more on the dps aspect while my old build is a bit more tankish/utility, but i am now dying to try your style, especially since i never played a hunter of any kind with full manual pet and macros (other than when i was really* manually swap-tanking wotlk, but thats another story for another time.) Off to level !!

RuneWalsh

Roxanneflowers
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Roxanneflowers » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:19 am

Warrians wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:21 pm
Claps.
Best read i had in this forum since i joined.
We make every pretense of competency around here ... ^_~
Warrians wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:21 pm
You literally got my hunter blades burning and all of his cobwebs melted.
Image
Warrians wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:21 pm
Your build is a bit more on the dps aspect while my old build is a bit more tankish/utility, but i am now dying to try your style, especially since i never played a hunter of any kind with full manual pet and macros (other than when i was really* manually swap-tanking wotlk, but thats another story for another time.) Off to level !!
satisfied_turtle



Also, since I mention Raziya's Ravager tutorial video on youtube, here's the LINK.
Ragaver item link.

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Pofjewownewb
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Pofjewownewb » Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:46 pm

This guide has made me rethink about how to play as a hunter.
Might as well try to play melee instead of range.

From what I've read - the type of weapon you use doesn't matter? Because right now I'm fantasizing about a melee axe/sword dualwielding hunter with a vulture as his sidekick.
Braktarmak - Warlock

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Unangwata
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Unangwata » Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:56 pm

Roxanneflowers wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:51 pm
Even before adding in your gear and attribute modifiers, if you've got Deflection and Improved Aspect of the Monkey running, that's 25+8+5=38% chance to Dodge bonus (39% if Night Elf!) and 25+5=30% chance to Parry bonus for a combined total of 68-69% chance to NOT TAKE DAMAGE from melee for 10 seconds ...
Nice post. I think of making melee hunter now, ty. Apropos the math, from what you are saying 50% parry chance and 50% dodge would give you 100% avoidance, right ?

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Mephistopheles
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Mephistopheles » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:59 pm

Love this.

We need more threads of this kind for aspects of the game that aren't used very often.

Great post mate.
"The sky burns red with blood of the fallen."

Kratos

Roxanneflowers
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Roxanneflowers » Tue Nov 03, 2020 6:50 am

Pofjewownewb wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:46 pm
This guide has made me rethink about how to play as a hunter.
Image
Pofjewownewb wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:46 pm
Might as well try to play melee instead of range.
It's a VERY different mindset to play than the "standard" stand back and plink away style of ranged Hunter build and strategy. At first, it's going to really feel like you're Doing It Wrong™ (of course) until you can get Screech for your Pet, and then things start falling into place. My Melee Hunter that I'm playing here on Turtle WoW is up to Level 28 right now and is just so enjoyable to play! Ran through Shadowfang Keep and was laying traps in front of the pull lanes and having a grand old time of it.
Pofjewownewb wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:46 pm
From what I've read - the type of weapon you use doesn't matter? Because right now I'm fantasizing about a melee axe/sword dualwielding hunter with a vulture as his sidekick.
This is true. In my experience, the Melee Hunter is substantially agnostic as to the type of weapon you have equipped. For my playstyle I prefer to use paired Daggers for a steadier and more reliable delivery of damage production that trends towards the mean, rather than using a big slow weapon that yields a "spike-ier" damage output. There have been times in the past where I've fantasized about wielding dual axes and even the Ravager (BLADES OF LIGHT!!! spinspinspinspin), but I keep coming back to Daggers simply because they tend to have Agility modifiers on them rather than Strength (or Stamina).

Because there aren't any Weapon Specialization talents like you'd have on Warrior or Rogue, you can get away with simply equipping whatever suits your fancy and not be overly penalized by choosing the "wrong" weapon type for your build. So while, game mechanically speaking, the build itself is largely weapon agnostic (Dagger, Sword, Axe, Fist, etc.), the weapon type that you naturally gravitate towards for various personal reasons can potentially be something that FEELS character defining.

In other words, explore your options and always be ready to opportunistically switch over to a different weapon type if you find a lucky drop or can craft something new for yourself with Blacksmithing and/or Engineering (if using a Gun).


===

Unangwata wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:56 pm
Nice post. I think of making melee hunter now, ty.
Image
Unangwata wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:56 pm
Apropos the math, from what you are saying 50% parry chance and 50% dodge would give you 100% avoidance, right ?
Theoretically ... yeah.
In practice, Deflection is only +25% each for 10s, so you aren't going to be getting up to that level of "immunity to incoming damage" ... like, um ... Varyian can ...


===

Mephistopheles wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:59 pm
Love this.

We need more threads of this kind for aspects of the game that aren't used very often.
In which case, you might want to peruse any of my other (decidedly) off-meta build posts I put up here in this forum during the summer ...
Mephistopheles wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:59 pm
Great post mate.
Image

Dragunovi
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Dragunovi » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:37 am

Yeah I told him about your other posts, leveled a smite priest to level 52 just because of you guide myself.
Still making items...
Dragunovi - Level 60 Human Tankadin/Ret/Healadin
Dragunir - Level 51 Night Elf Smite/Shadow Priest
Dragun - Level 17 Troll Hunter
Dragunis - Level 53 Human Warlock

Sinphonite
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Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Sinphonite » Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:50 pm

Thanks for this!

I'm for the most part a wow noob, played a month or so of vanilla when it first released but it wasn't really my jam, then a bit around cata.

I was literally just thinking about trying to spec for melee with my hunter here as the server was going down a bit ago. Wasn't certain of the viability at all but wanted to give it a shot anyway.

Nice to see that there is actually something to build towards before just playing with it for a few days and possibly resigning myself to pick the bow back up.

Roxanneflowers
Posts: 167

Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Roxanneflowers » Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:55 am

Dragunovi wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:37 am
Yeah I told him about your other posts, leveled a smite priest to level 52 just because of you guide myself.
Considering that the only Priest build that I've posted is for a Starshards supporting build, which revolves more around use of Holy Fire and Starshards with not much use for Smite (except from Levels 1-19), I'm kind of curious what you might have been able to tease out of that post that would have been of use to you in a different context.

So long as you learn new things, the experience is often valuable ... and can sometimes apply uniquely to other circumstances.


===

Sinphonite wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:50 pm
Thanks for this!
satisfied_turtle
Sinphonite wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:50 pm
I'm for the most part a wow noob, played a month or so of vanilla when it first released but it wasn't really my jam, then a bit around cata.

I was literally just thinking about trying to spec for melee with my hunter here as the server was going down a bit ago. Wasn't certain of the viability at all but wanted to give it a shot anyway.

Nice to see that there is actually something to build towards before just playing with it for a few days and possibly resigning myself to pick the bow back up.
Melee Hunter just takes a completely different mindset on how to play the class, one that is far enough away from the stock 'n' standard that it both looks and FEELS WRONG to a lot of people when they first contemplate/encounter/try out the notion. There are just SO MANY things that essentially invert the Conventional Wisdom™ that it can feel a bit scary to venture beyond or outside the already well worn paths of the Beastmaster and Marksman.

So my first piece of advice, if you want to follow me along the path of the Melee Hunter is that you need to carry the courage of your convictions and not give into despair.

The second bit of advice that I have for you is that it is really easy to get discouraged early on as a young Hunter. At first, the build is going to feel ... WEAK ... and to be fair, pretty much every Hunter build feels that way if you aren't getting hand me downs from higher levels alts and guildmates. But as you progress, particularly after getting Screech for your Pet and raising their Loyalty up to 6 (Best Friend), it starts getting better and better. Leatherworking and Blacksmithing are important sources of gear as you level for armor and weapons which will make you stronger and more capable.

The third bit of advice I have for you is ... MACROS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
When I started playing this build back on Elysium some 4 years ago now, I didn't have any macros I could import to make my life easier. Needless to say, there was a LOT of difficulty trying to coordinate everything adequately, since I needed to control both my Hunter AND my Pet simultaneously. That experience basically "forced" me to learn a little bit about macro scripting to create the macros you see referenced/archived above. It's not an exaggeration to say that the coding and debugging of all of those macros was a project that took a week or more of careful testing and retesting until I was able to evolve them into the forms you see posted above. Without those macros, my Melee Hunter would be an uncoordinated mess. There are a LOT of things you need to streamline to make Pet control something that "just happens" in a predictable way without needing to divert your attention so as to make it happen, and the macros I've written allow that to be done in the most seamless way for how I like to play.

And the last bit of advice is ... tactical positioning is just REALLY IMPORTANT as a Melee Hunter.
Most of the time I'm using my fire traps and using my Pet to pull, rather than my ranged weapon ... rather than using my ice/frost traps and relying on a Pet with Growl to keep aggro away from me. It's a change of mentality to "fight them over here" rather than trying to fight them "over there" at a distance. Of course, that has the side benefit of letting you lure targets to be destroyed into your traps, making your traps an offensive adjunct of the playstyle rather than a defensive countermeasure in the event of aggro leakage. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times, and if you can help it, fight your battles in locations that favor you ... not runners.

If you'd like a demonstration of how I typically solo my Hunter, send me a PM here on the forums and we'll setup a server time when I can meet you and show off how I fight as a Melee Hunter so you can at least witness some of the tactics that make the whole thing come together. happy_turtle

Sinphonite
Posts: 3

Re: [Hunter] Beast o' Melee Hunter (13/0/38)

Post by Sinphonite » Thu Nov 26, 2020 2:34 am

Didn't want to quote the whole thing so I just posted another reply.

I guess where I get lucky is not ever being a huge wow player, so I'm not really internally comparing what I'm doing against a normal hunter.

My main mmo I've spent an eternity on is very grindy and punishing. The relative ease of progression in even vanilla was part of what kept me from getting in to wow. I always like the uphill battle, and have a soft spot for classes/builds/roles that are looked down on and trying to make them work.

I'm getting to where I do absolutely need to get macros made. It was pretty smooth sailing until around 20 (Other than getting my owl and skills to teach) now it's getting a bit choppy and will need some refining to keep progressing.

I appreciate the offer of a display. Unfortunately my schedule and things makes it hard to do things like that. I've just been playing whenever I can find a few hours between things.

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