Friday, January 31, 2014

Let the Hunter Do It.

I never raided in the burning crusade and that was not the fault of the guild I was in because it was just a leveling guild that did not have a raid team.  It was my own fault because I never hit max level back then.  I really took my time leveling.  I think I spent twice, maybe even three times, as much time exploring the world as I did trying to level.  As such it was not until wrath that I had my first experience raiding.

I had left my leveling guild and joined a raiding guild to sit on the bench hoping that I would get my shot one day, and of course that day did come.  When we approached gluth the raid leader said for me to kite the zombie chow.

I was scared because it was an important job to have and not only had I never done it before, I had never raided before.  The one good thing was that I had looked all the fights up.  I looked them up all the time, watched videos, read guides, all because I wanted to be ready when the day came that I would get my chance and move from bench warmer to raid member.  At least for one day.

So while I had never raided before and you could easily conclude that I had never kited before in that sort of situation I was not exactly what you would call completely unprepared.  You see, that leveling experience that took me leveling 2 hunters in the burning crusade over the course of over a year, one into the 40s when I quit and then another, because I got a new account, all the way to max after, I had a lot of time to get comfortable with the hunter class.

It is part of the reason I often say I support a longer leveling experience.  Because of that, and the harder mobs and quests in the world, I often found myself in situations where I needed to use abilties I did not often use.  I often found myself using my brain as much as my bow.  I often found myself kiting something.  So kiting was not a completely foreign idea to me, not even in the slightest.

I am not saying I did great at it, but I did do well enough that we were able to down the boss that night with me kiting even if I had never done it before.  While my heart was pumping with excitement because it was my first time doing it and a fair deal of nervousness because I knew everyone was counting on me, it wasn't long into the fight when I realized this is what I was meant to do and hot damn I am good at this.  Not good from the get go, but when the boss died some time later I was secure in the fact I could handle this duty, the duty of a hunter.  To do all the little things that no one else wants to do.

During my raiding career I was often called upon by the raid leader to do some sort of special task or another.  It was not long before I was not nervous about it any longer, I was now ready for it, waiting for it, expecting it. 

From early on I started to watch videos not only to learn the fight but to learn what I needed to do, what my special task would be.  If the fight seemed like it would need someone to do some special task I figured that task would be mine to do.  I prepared for it, I got ready for it, and if I was capable of doing so I practiced for it so when we got there and the raid leader said, let the hunter do it this hunter was ready to do it.  Be it head tanking in mimron, getting a stamina set ready and a down ranked arcane shot handy for price tanking in ICC, kiting, you name it, I was always ready for it before we even reached the boss because I noticed very early on if there were some special task that needed to be done it would always come down to let the hunter do it and that hunter is me.

When I became the raid leader I did not pass the buck to someone else, even when we had another hunter in the group that I could have just as easily told to do the job.  In part is falls upon the old saying, the only person you can trust is yourself.  But it was more because I started to become quite fond of doing those little tasks that needed to be done, the ones no one else wanted to do.  I often felt as if I had the toolkit to do those tasks because, by design, that is what hunters were intended to do.

I've run a great deal of raids on my hunter and countless more on other damage dealers, tanks and healers and it seems to be, more often than not, no matter what group I am in when there is some sort of special task to do someone almost always says, let the hunter do it.

I wonder how this makes other hunters feel.  Do you feel as if you are undervalued because you are always put on the tasks that no one else wants to do or do you feel as if you are extremely valuable because you get to do something that is important and it is because you do it well that the fight gets won?

This tier it could be working belts or killing engineers or other little things that need to be done like helping on towers or being counted on to use an ability such as widow venom on thok.  No matter the fight there is usually something that falls on the hunter to do that is more than just pew pew.

There are other classes that could do all those things we do, it is not like we are the only class that can, so why it is that whenever there is something that needs to be done a hunter does it.  And it seems more often than not in a pug it is a hunter that will step up to do it.

Like running flex 4 pugs when the raid leader asks who wants to do belts there are always a few people that offer and you can be sure a hunter will be among them.  The pug leader asks, who wants engineers, and a hunter will raise their hand.  It is not something unique to my own experience, it is something hunters have been doing since the beginning of time in the game.  Taking the point and doing the jobs that need to get done to down the boss, the jobs no one else wants to do or is capable of doing.  It is like self sacrifice, offering yourself up for the greater good.

Bosses die because hunters do the jobs no one else is willing to do and more importantly, we do it well.

Over the course of the years I have sent others on the special duty, some times they are not even hunters.  Like I sent a priest and a druid up on alys, I had a mage kick on tortos, but usually special tasks fall in the capable hands of hunters.  There have been a few hunters however that just hate it.  They make excuses why they can not do it, or complain that they are not enjoying the game doing this and they just want to be the damage dealer and not the utility worker.  Sometimes it makes me want to say if you want to whine roll a mage, if you want to be awesome, stay a hunter and do your job.

I often wonder, being a hunter myself, if these people realize that they are not being a utility worker, they are the reason the boss dies, more so than the people just standing there going pew pew because if they did not do their job, the boss does not die.

The question I would like to ask, and this goes for anyone that has been tasked with special duty, not just hunters even if we do special duty better than anyone else is this.

How do you feel about the "let the hunter do it" mentality in the game?
How do you feel about being on special duty?


  1. I don't assign hunters because no-one else wants to do, I assign hunters because they are the best at it. I know hunters used to at least have a bad rap, but the hunters in my guild are our top dps, and good in other ways too. If I want something to die, then I ask one of our hunters because I know it will get done.

    Occasionally they moan, especially on the engineer for Garrosh as it lowers their dps stats, they don't get in on the aoe fest of the adds. However, I checked to make sure it wasn't really a problem and they were just joking. They were completely fine with it, and even without that aoe boost they often come out near top. Nothing can touch the elemental shaman but hunters climb over the rest of the raid to be #2.

    Sometimes I think that if I could a) play range and b) play dps. Rather than tank or nothing, I would play a hunter. I see my job as the tank to be very much the utility player.

    Are we struggling either individually or collectively to survive? I have to ensure that I live first and foremost. However, I cleanse whatever I can cleanse so the healers can save their mana. I watch their healthbars and put Lay of Hands on them, or throw an Eternal Flame, put down my Lights Hammer, use my Hand of Protection of Sacrifice. If at all possible I tell the healers to ignore me and just blow my cds and keep myself alive, so the healers can concentrate on everyone else.

    Are we just missing the enrage time? Are adds getting out of control and killing us? I look at whether it's single target or aoe and alter my talents accordingly to max my dps. I change flasks and food to strength, I pop potions. If I don't need them for survival I pop my on demand cds like Holy Avenger for a boost in dps at a particular moment. On add fights like Sha of Pride, if I'm not tanking I go round and kill all the adds, interrupting whenever I can as every little bit helps. If I dps them a bit then the dps can focus more on the boss. On Garrosh if he mind controls people in melee then it's my job to interrupt/stun them, and dps them out of it, even if I'm on the boss. Both tanks swap to them and it's enough, meaning the dps can concentrate on ranged mind control or just stay dpsing. If it is a ranged mind control then I move and stun, I throw my shield for a ranged interrupt.

    I might be a tank, but my job isn't just to get hit in the face and survive. I view tanks as utility players, healer, dps and threat magnet all in one. I wouldn't have it any other way. If I have a tool in my toolkit then I need to use it.

    So yeah if I could play dps, I think I would play a hunter. As the utility aspect, the working for the good of the team, that really appeals to me. Plus I do love the hunters anyway. I think I mentioned in your recent post how picky I am about my pet names, and how I have sentimental attachment to a couple. However, I am useless at range, my raid awareness takes a nosedive. I'm a melee player. Plus I couldn't take the pressure of the dps meters. If I do my absolute level best and the boss dies then that should be enough. However, someone has to be last and I would hate for that to be me, I would feel like I hadn't done enough, but when you've done your best that's all you can do.

    Hunters are cool though :)

    1. Funny how you say engineers lower their DPS yet for some reason on the garrosh fight I am always tops (behind a beastly feral druid that is just insane) and I do engineers. I was going to say they have to be pulling your leg some or need to get better at their rotation while moving but it seems you noticed that. Being hunters can shoot while moving it effects us least of any class. I also have noticed I have the highest up time besides the tank doing engineers as well. We only get 2 anyway, so it is not a big deal.

      I am the exact opposite of you when it comes to the ranged vs melee thing. You say you can't go to ranged because your raid awareness goes down, I say the same about melee. I just am not as good avoiding things on top of me as I am avoiding things from far away.

      Also, as ranged, you can almost completely avoid damage. I have a bet with someone in guild (that will most likely never happen as it requires RNG) that I can do the sha of pride fight taking zero damage as long as the debuff does not get put on me and I do not get imprisoned. I know I can avoid all other damage as ranged but I don't think I could do that as melee, even if I did not get those things, I would get hit by something, it is inevitable in melee. At least for me.

      I always loved add tanking. Other tanks avoided it like the plague but I loved add tanking. Not sure why, but I think it is because it feels so active compared to standard tanking. And someone needs to do it, might as well be someone that enjoys it.

      I wonder if it is something about a persons real life personality dictates how they react to doing the special duty.

  2. Awesome post ! I can say that I really enjoy when the raid leader gives me a special task and for me the experience from the raid is much greater. I like the nervous feeling when you have to do something different and important for the whole party. I also don't understand people who just want to do damage...

    Again nice post..and I think that every true hunter wants to do it :)

    1. It really is a hunter thing most of the time, or feels like it at least. I too get a great feeling from doing it and doing it as well as I can. Glad you liked the post.

  3. I don't mind being on special duty but generally don't seek it out. That's independent of class, though, I'm no more likely to do it on my hunter... some people want to do the special things, some just want to be a body in the pack, some fall in between... I'm a 'tweener, I think.

    In terms of you taking on special roles yourself, I'm wondering how much that contributes to your earlier comments that anytime you aren't available your run either doesn't or it falters... you should really consider spreading those tasks out amongst the raiders so the responsibility isn't so highly concentrated on one person. :)

    1. I do tend to let others do it when I am on an alt, so they get some experience in it. And I am using flex as a way to train other people for it. Like when we do flex 4 now I always put people from the weekend group on it so they can get some practice. They are only on thok, but will be there soon, and I feel it will help them if they already have people that can do it and not need me to play sub on an alt just because I know how.

      Things have changed as I have more groups running now and I am not in all of them. I've added a few people to work as "helpers" and they have really stepped it up. But I would not be surprised if that could have been part of the reason some runs would not get off the ground without me. I was doing all the little things and no one else wanted to try them, just maybe.

      I think it takes a special type of person to be able to handle special duty. I've seen some quality players crumble under the pressure of special duty. They just could not do it. Even had one person quit the game after I asked him to do something. Not kidding. He logged out and quit, never came back.

  4. I honestly think that at the basic level, "let the hunter do it" is a very poor strategy for leading a raid, or at least for progression/difficult content. I've always found for these types of jobs it's MUCH more important to assign your best player(s), with class usually as a distant secondary factor. Obviously it depends on how important/difficult the job is, and how much of an impact having someone of a different class doing it will have on your chance for success, but the very nature of these assignments means they are usually important and difficult (or at least tricky to learn in some way).

    All things being equal sure, you will usually want a hunter doing these assignments because as you say, they generally have the tools to perform them and often are the least penalized in terms of damage output. But 10 times out of 10 I would assign someone of another class over a hunter if I am more confident in their ability to execute the task correctly and consistently, even if it would be harder or more costly for their class to do it compared to the hunter.

    What I would be curious to know is whether players who are good at jobs like these tend to gravitate toward classes that are good at handling them. Interestingly, I believe hunter is the most played class over all, which means the inverse probably isn't true (i.e., people who AREN'T good at jobs like these tend to AVOID classes that are good at them). I've been doing these jobs since TBC (though back then it was as a warlock), and I can say it has been the case for me.

    1. I am not saying it is a strategy for leading a raid, I am saying that hunters in general have been pidgin holed into that role over the course of the years because they have routinely been the best suited for the task, such as kiting.

      In the end you want the person with the right tools and skills to do the job, and in my experience, that usually turns out to be the hunter.

      I have a belief why hunters are the most played class. Because most experienced players have one as they are excellent gathers so make for excellent profession mules. And they are easy to level thanks to the pet. This makes them popular suggestions for first classes, classes you would invite your gf/bf to play with you on, or just something fun to fart around on. Add that to the fact, at least in the three times I have done a fresh install, the class it offers me to start with is always a hunter.

      I did not play a hunter just to do such jobs. I was a total noob when I started. I rolled a hunter because I liked the archer idea, didn't even want a pet really. I grew to love the class and my pet. In a way, the fact I can do all those things is one of the reasons I ended up falling in love with the class.

      I get what you mean however. I know quite a few players that only play pure DPS classes because they do not want to be asked to fill the role of a tank or healer. So i can see someone avoiding a hunter if they do not want to be the guy kiting.

  5. It makes a lot of sense that hunters would be well suited for this job. I mean, the idea of being a hunter is sort of just you and your pet, out in the elements. And we were really the first class to make significant strides in soloing. So it makes sense (at least to me) that those of us who are drawn to that aspect of being a hunter, would also gravitate toward that aspect of raiding, as well.

    I really have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I like having a job that I can't blame anyone else for, it's all on me, and if I fail, we wipe. That's a lot of what I love about being a hunter.

    On the other hand, it can be frustrating because you may perform your job perfectly, but still wipe because when you're removed from the group, you then can't make up for others who are slacking in the main group.

    For example, while progressing through heroic Sha; I'm more than happy to not get purified, and spend the whole time focusing on adds, even though it tanks your meters. But then at the end of the fight, when we're pushing against that enrage timer, it can be incredibly frustrating because not having been purified, I can't really make up for other people's lack of dps.

    Or, we're no where near heroic Siegecrafter yet. but one of the other hunters and I have been practicing disengaging onto the belt from the pipes and going up every single time. Which is fun, and it's fun to be relied on like that, and as far as I know, no other class can do it (could you blink or heroic leap up there?). But it's also frustrating because you can't help other people on the ground. And it seems hunters would also be incredibly well suited for being on the ground dodging lasers and saw blades and missiles, and kiting crawlers, all the while destroying the boss.


    1. That is a lot of what I love about being a hunter too. The ability to do things on my own, and in a raid setting, put the weight to get a specific task on my shoulders. I can't blame anyone else if I mess up and I like that.

      I know what you mean. I can't remember the number of times we wiped on something and I said to myself "if I were not kiting we would have had this". So that can really be frustrating. But you have to look at it this way, if you were not doing the job no one else wants to do, you still would have not managed to get it done. Someone needs to do it and that is something that hunters excel at. However I can see locks doing well there too.

      You can blink I believe, or could, I think they fixed it. That jump is stressful and I have fallen so often it is scary. Oops. I find melee are good for up there as well if you want to go that route. I use a warrior and a feral druid sometimes and they just destroy them.

  6. I do all the little things on my Mage because Mages are better kiters than hunters! there I said it! MY main was a hunter until halfway thru WOTLK when I found out I could do everything better on my mage and have portals never looked back ^_- blink plus all the CC from frost is just amazing muahaha Also when I raid lead I took on any job that I could to show that I wouldn't ask them to do anything that I wouldn't do myself.

    1. A skilled mage can kite, they are up there. But kiting as a mage is not something that 99% of the mages out there could do. I've raided with dozens throughout the years and have never met even one that could kite, or even kite poorly, they just can not do it. Congrats to you for doing it well. Hunters just have so many better tools to get the job done and that leaves more room for error making them easier to kite with and better to kite with.

      I too play both classes but would never be able to kite as well as I do on my hunter, not even half as well. But that is more likely a skill issue than speaking toward the classes capability to do so.

      I think that doing it myself might be part of it. I do it all myself as well, at least when we first do it. To show that will not ask someone to do something I am not willing to do myself.

      As for mage duties, the only thing in recent memory I had mages do before anyone else is kick turtles. They lose so much with the movement, might as well lose a little more and kick turtles. It just made sense. Not to mention, the mage I had in my group at the time was a dead shot with it. Perfect from the first try. One thing about being good at something, once you are found out to be good at it, it is now your job.

    2. I disagree mages have way more tools to kite then hunters I think hunters have a nice set don't get me wrong but nothing matches two snares, one at range cone of cold aoe slow frost bomb that also freezes, a stun, ring of frost, blink that can be glyphed for double blink, a talent that gives you an amazing burst of speed, Ice block, frost Armour and ice barrier, I do miss the blizzard being able to freeze enemy's for sure tho. I much prefer kiting on my mage to my hunter so many more tools and I too kited gluth and I also finished my hunter bow quest in vanilla :)

    3. I know they have a bunch of tools to do it and can do it but I am just saying I have never met a mage that could do it.

      Having the tools and being able to do it are two completely different things. I have found, in my experiences at least, that you are more likely to find a competent hunter capable of kiting than a competent mage that can do it. Not a knock against mages, just that most mages do not practice how to whereas most hunters seem to because they are usually the ones that get asked to do it.