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Roxanne Flowers

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

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

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

Come at me bro' ...

/beckon

 

Disclaimers:

I played World of Warcraft in the 2005-2007 time frame before moving on to other games, so I do have experience with playing all 8 Alliance classes to Level 50 or so a decade ago. I played on a PvE server then and I'm playing on Darrowshire now, since PvP does not interest me.

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 melee Hunter spec to be played for FUN as a soloist and in 5 man groups in PvE content.

I have been lurking these forums for weeks already, and 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, 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 show (enough) interest in (yet) to post an actual build for. 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 Master or deep Marksman spec? And what Pet should you be using (and why)?

 

Warning: WALL OF TEXT CRITS YOU!!!

 

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 Masters and Marksmen. 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 strategies shows how seriously the fundamentals of playing as a melee Hunter inverts the Conventional Wisdom™ of 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.

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!

 

There's 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
Parry
Critical Hit Chance
Agility
Pet Choice (you want Screech ... more on this after talents)

The first 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. 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.

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) and Auto Attack. If you're doing melee damage in support of your Pet, you've probably dropped at least half 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 unsurprising 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. That's because Savage Strikes gives you +10% critical hit chance per talent point (max 2). This means that for a mere 2 talent points you can make your Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite spells virtual crit monster melee attacks ... and that's before even adding in Killer Instinct in tier 5 (more critical hit chance) and Lightning Reflexes in tier 6 (+3% Agility per talent point) of the Survival tree which combine to make your melee critical hits absolutely DEVASTATING and FREQUENT.

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.

So taking 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)

http://db.vanillagaming.org/?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. 5 minute cooldown.

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.

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. Needles 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.

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 and 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. 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.

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 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 enhancing 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 a "CQB Hunter" 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) and Screech is the debuff (which apparently hardly anyone has ever heard of ... ba-dump ching).

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. That might be good if you're buffing 40 people (or better yet, 40 Hunters/Warlocks and their 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. Yeah ... like THAT.

THIS is your tank support debuff. Screech makes 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 put yourself into.

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, or is an "alpha strike" one use sort of surprise attack with a movement component (Charge, Dash, Dive, Prowl) to be used as an opener. 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 thus far is that Pets on Darrowshire seem to be regaining Focus at a rate that is faster than Rogues, which is to say at 24 per tick every 1 second (tested using a Wind Serpent's Lightning Breath). This means that you can give your Pet other Focus using skills and not worry about Screech draining Focus down to nothing all by itself.

 

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 considering taking 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. However, given that as a melee Hunter you'll be wanting to keep aggro on yourself rather than letting your Pet "steal" aggro from you, I'd recommend AGAINST investing in Growl for your Pet in a melee Hunter build strategy.

 

Once you've selected your Screech Pet that you're going to want to use 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 of 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). 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 while you melee.

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

Speaking from personal experience on Darrowshire, this works even better than I had hoped when using an Owl and with my Hunter only being Level 17. 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, to the point where I'm seriously considering whether or not to add Claw into the mix, even though Claw is a Focus dump skill that your Pet will spam as often as possible when it is set on auto attack since Claw has no cooldown.

I would anticipate 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.

Conversely, I would expect a combination of Claw (25 Focus, no cooldown), Cower (15 Focus, 5 second cooldown), Dive (20 Focus, 15 second duration) and Screech (20 Focus, 4 second duration) to "crater" Focus down to zero and have Cower and Screech become beholden to the rate of Focus recovery (24 per tick every 1 second, base) which could result in possible "intermittent" perma-chaincasting of the Screech debuff due to Focus starvation thanks to Claw. This would also cause your Pet to inflict some additional melee damage "fast enough" to potentially make holding aggro yourself dependent upon your Pet using Cower to shed aggro in your direction. At this time, I have not explored the dynamics of where throwing Claw into the mix will alter the balance, behaviorally speaking, so I can't yet confirm that this would be a particularly wise choice. Caveat emptor.

 

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 3 out of 4 available Focus Skills while keeping Screech and Cower and wanting to maximize (all) Resistances, you could do something like this:

Pet Level: 60
Pet Loyalty: 6
Points Available: 300
Cower - rank 6 (18pts)
Dive - rank 3 (25pts)
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. Note that this configuration leaves one Focus skill slot open just in case you want to get Growl (which costs zero talent points to train).

If you want to go with 4 out of the 4 available Focus Skills and not include Growl, you might want to do something like this instead:

Pet Level: 60
Pet Loyalty: 6
Points Available: 300
Bite - rank 8 (25pts)
Cower - rank 6 (18pts)
Dive - rank 3 (25pts)
Screech - rank 4 (25pts)
Great Stamina - rank 6 (75pts)
Natural Armor - rank 6 (50pts)
Arcane Resist - rank 2 (15pts)
Fire Resist - rank 2 (15pts)
Frost Resist - rank 2 (15pts)
Nature Resist - rank 2 (15pts)
Shadow Resist - rank 2 (15pts)
Total spent: 293
Points Left: 7

Again, Bite 8, Claw 8 and Dive 3 are all effectively swappable for each other since they each cost 25 points.

Of the two, my personal preference is for Cower/Dive/Screech for Focus Skills with all five Resists at rank 3 for 90 Resist (since Resists can't be increased by Hunter talents) and dispensing with the Bite and/or Claw option. 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.

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
Parry
Critical Hit Chance
Agility
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). 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. 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, 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 get with it will be AMAZING.

 

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 be satisfied with the build and engagement strategy.

 

And that's it.

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

Come at me bro' ...

/beckon

Edited by Roxanne Flowers
Added mentions of cooldown times for Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite, Counterattack and Deterrence. Updated Focus regeneration based on testing.

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Back on Kronos, the Ravager was great for hunter AoE, possibly even BiS. With explosive trap / engi bomb damage on top of bladestorms, you could do crazy burst AoE damage. I topped DPS over other hunters - even those with Ashjre'thul - on Core Hound packs before Magmadar in Molten Core with the thing. It's absolutely inferior for sustained single-target DPS, though the AoE works.

It don't work the same way here on Anathema, but perhaps you'll find this humorous or interesting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e70dtOAUPfc

I disagree with some of your talent choices. Feign Death works 100% of the time on Anathema, so you don't need Improved Feign Death. Survivalist, eh, I guess it can help if you tank stuff often but I didn't use it while tanking Sunken Temple back on Kronos. Wyvern Sting I doubt would be very effective in this spec; you can use it to keep one mob off you for about twelve seconds, but I'd say you'd lack the damage to capitalize on the CC.

Here are some other ideas:
http://db.vanillagaming.org/?talent#cVV00xxoZZIxbbRhux

http://db.vanillagaming.org/?talent#cVV0zxgoZZIxbiRhz

The latter is more tanky than the former.

All in all pretty interesting thread you got here. Lot of thought about this. I hope to see a demonstration of potency at some point in the future.

 

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44 minutes ago, Raziya said:

Back on Kronos, the Ravager was great for hunter AoE, possibly even BiS. With explosive trap / engi bomb damage on top of bladestorms, you could do crazy burst AoE damage. I topped DPS over other hunters - even those with Ashjre'thul - on Core Hound packs before Magmadar in Molten Core with the thing. It's absolutely inferior for sustained single-target DPS, though the AoE works.

It don't work the same way here on Anathema, but perhaps you'll find this humorous or interesting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e70dtOAUPfc

Indeed. Very humorous. Definitely something I would have never thought of, not being aware of the item at all. For me, it brings to mind the "washing machine Warriors" of Diablo II days (minus the travel while spinning).  Still, that's a case where a weapon choice can turn you into a Death Dervish.

Funny thing is that at first, I thought you were referring to a Ravager Pet as opposed to a specific type of Weapon.

44 minutes ago, Raziya said:

I disagree with some of your talent choices. Feign Death works 100% of the time on Anathema, so you don't need Improved Feign Death. Survivalist, eh, I guess it can help if you tank stuff often but I didn't use it while tanking Sunken Temple back on Kronos. Wyvern Sting I doubt would be very effective in this spec; you can use it to keep one mob off you for about twelve seconds, but I'd say you'd lack the damage to capitalize on the CC.

Even if Feign Death "works" every time on Anathema, I wouldn't necessarily expect that to remain the case forever (since that sounds like a bug) owing to the fact that there's a vanilla Talent to reduce resistance to it.  What I can say is that in my experience a decade ago, there were times when Feign Death would be Resisted and I'd need to make a corpse run because of it.  So even if it is "pretty reliable" in the current core we're using, I'm going edge towards caution in this case and go ahead and invest in Feign Death myself.  However, as you say, others might consider that suboptimal and therefore those 2 talent points could be redirected elsewhere.

As mentioned, Survivalist is probably the "least pressing" priority (aside from Improved Feign Death), hence my recommendation to invest in it last.

Wyvern sting, while admittedly "not great" (or at least, not overwhelming to the point of game changing) did in my past experience offer a measure of "safety" which otherwise would have been lacking when considering taking on groups of 3 (or 4) at once.  I always wound up using it more for it's utility, particularly when wanting to do "staggered" pulls where I didn't want to try and tank everything all at once.  It can also be a mid-combat surprise if used after Feign Death before resuming combat, which might be a bit esoteric but I like to keep my options open.

1 hour ago, Raziya said:

All in all pretty interesting thread you got here. Lot of thought about this. I hope to see a demonstration of potency at some point in the future.

Very kind of you to say so.  As should be plenty obvious already, I am quite the "amateur" when it comes to this sort of thing, but one of my personal interests is looking around for combinations and synergies that other people may have overlooked or discarded in their rush to use the cookie cutters.  Melee Hunters have always been "the odd breed" that never really took off in vanilla or in Blood Crusade, so it's just fun for me to noodle around and consider the possibilities of "what if?" like this.

And yeah, it took me a couple of days (and a few revisions) before settling on the text you see posted above. Nice to know all that effort wasn't wasted (or worse yet, unwanted).

As for a demonstration ... it's going to take me a while before I can get to a Level where I can provide such a demonstration myself, mainly because I'm still under 20 on 8 characters that I'm playing in parallel through all three Alliance campaigns concurrently.

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21 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

Indeed. Very humorous. Definitely something I would have never thought of, not being aware of the item at all. For me, it brings to mind the "washing machine Warriors" of Diablo II days (minus the travel while spinning).  Still, that's a case where a weapon choice can turn you into a Death Dervish.

Funny thing is that at first, I thought you were referring to a Ravager Pet as opposed to a specific type of Weapon.

Heh. Everyone seems to think of the BC pet when I bring this thing up :p

If you care to give it a try on Anathema, or whichever server you're on, here are some new general rules for it:
1. Using abilities will interrupt Bladestorm. You need a macro that prevents rank 1 Wing Clip from going off if Bladestorm is active, otherwise spamming it will instantly cancel Bladestorm. Note that because Deterrence has the same icon, it will also prevent Wing Clip from being used if Deterrence is popped, but that's okay because you cannot dodge or parry during Bladestorm on Anathema. Here's a macro for it:

/run local i,x=1,0 while UnitBuff("player",i) do if UnitBuff("player",i)=="Interface\\Icons\\Ability_Whirlwind" then x=1 end i=i+1 end if x==0 then CastSpellByName("Wing Clip(rank 1)") else end

2. Bladestorm will be cancelled if the target you procced it on dies. You must target whatever has the highest health.

Its proc rate seems to be less and while it can tick three times, it sometimes ticks two anyway. I don't know the cause of that yet, though I've been experimenting here or there to figure it out. It's still effective, but it's no longer capable of being a tanking weapon like it was on Kronos, and if you use it for DPS, you should try and get a feel for when's a good time to hop out of melee and resume ranged damage given its on-death cancel idiosyncrasy.

Real pity about the Ravager. Tanking Sunken Temple with constant AoE and simultaneous avoidance was a lot of fun.

21 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

Even if Feign Death "works" every time on Anathema, I wouldn't necessarily expect that to remain the case forever (since that sounds like a bug) owing to the fact that there's a vanilla Talent to reduce resistance to it.  What I can say is that in my experience a decade ago, there were times when Feign Death would be Resisted and I'd need to make a corpse run because of it.  So even if it is "pretty reliable" in the current core we're using, I'm going edge towards caution in this case and go ahead and invest in Feign Death myself.  However, as you say, others might consider that suboptimal and therefore those 2 talent points could be redirected elsewhere.

It's been a thing since Nostalrius 1.0. You have a fair point that it's unintended and could be fixed, but it hasn't in literally years. So, y'know, I doubt it. I think to edge out the most damage possible, more talents need to be put towards Beast Mastery for pet crit and damage, though the late Survival talents are quite important.

21 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

As mentioned, Survivalist is probably the "least pressing" priority (aside from Improved Feign Death), hence my recommendation to invest in it last.

Well, if you're going for tanking, it can be helpful for your health pool. I see Survivalist as either more of a PvP confrontation talent (I play hit-and-run, so I usually don't take it) or a raiding talent, where you have a little more room for error while massive raid damage is going out. For taking direct damage all the time in PvE, it's just more HP before you have to eat, or more HP that has to be healed up. Health pool's important, but I see armor as more valuable for tanking the common direct physical damage in dungeons and the world. At least we have extra dodge and parry talents to use for avoidance.

21 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

Wyvern sting, while admittedly "not great" (or at least, not overwhelming to the point of game changing) did in my past experience offer a measure of "safety" which otherwise would have been lacking when considering taking on groups of 3 (or 4) at once.  I always wound up using it more for it's utility, particularly when wanting to do "staggered" pulls where I didn't want to try and tank everything all at once.  It can also be a mid-combat surprise if used after Feign Death before resuming combat, which might be a bit esoteric but I like to keep my options open.

Actually, I think Wyvern Sting is rather underappreciated. It can be used to incredible effect, and I've personally sealed the deaths of one or several opponents with clever use of the sting, but I don't think it's particularly useful for this specialization. Indeed, it can be used for staggered pulls, but I doubt it's as effective as, say, the stun or aggro of Intimidation. Your pet can tank and damage one mob in a multi-mob pull, and keep aggro very easily with Intimidation, or if you absolutely must get a strike off, Intimidation will prevent your target from dodging or parrying your next attack. You can still miss, but, you know, there's that.

21 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

Very kind of you to say so.  As should be plenty obvious already, I am quite the "amateur" when it comes to this sort of thing, but one of my personal interests is looking around for combinations and synergies that other people may have overlooked or discarded in their rush to use the cookie cutters.  Melee Hunters have always been "the odd breed" that never really took off in vanilla or in Blood Crusade, so it's just fun for me to noodle around and consider the possibilities of "what if?" like this.

And yeah, it took me a couple of days (and a few revisions) before settling on the text you see posted above. Nice to know all that effort wasn't wasted (or worse yet, unwanted).

Innovation is never unwanted. Even if it doesn't pan out, the act of exploration can increase one's understanding of their class.

21 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

As for a demonstration ... it's going to take me a while before I can get to a Level where I can provide such a demonstration myself, mainly because I'm still under 20 on 8 characters that I'm playing in parallel through all three Alliance campaigns concurrently.

Wha... wait, really? How in the heck do you plan to manage leveling up eight characters in Vanilla WoW? Gee. That's some dedication right there. lol

But, uhh, yeah. Take your time, fam. I guess. :p

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2 hours ago, Raziya said:

Heh. Everyone seems to think of the BC pet when I bring this thing up :p

http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=7717

2 hours ago, Raziya said:

Its proc rate seems to be less and while it can tick three times, it sometimes ticks two anyway. I don't know the cause of that yet, though I've been experimenting here or there to figure it out.

I figure that's probably a network to servers latency issue, where the game client desyncs "just enough" to fail to show what has actually happened on the server in a timely fashion.  I see the same sort of performance out of Starshards and Arcane Missiles relatively frequently, where the "timing" of when their damage appears to tick on my screen seems to have a relatively wide latitude with a decidedly inconsistent tempo.

2 hours ago, Raziya said:

It's been a thing since Nostalrius 1.0. You have a fair point that it's unintended and could be fixed, but it hasn't in literally years. So, y'know, I doubt it.

If (decade old) memory serves ... the design for Feign Death was that it has a 95% success rate against an even level Foe and that the talent should then push that up to the spell cap of a 99% success rate.

http://db.vanillagaming.org/?spell=5384

http://wow.gamepedia.com/Feign_Death
 

Quote

Chance to resist
+0 Level: 4%
+1 Level: 5%
+2 Level: 6%
+3 Level: 37%
+4 Level: 48%
+5 Level: 59%
+6 Level: 70%

And so on (+11% for each additional level). Basically this means that against higher level mobs, feign death was more likely to fail in the past. If there is a high level mob when you feign death, there is a better chance that the feign death will be resisted.

Looks like I was close but off by one Level.  Point being that Improved Feign Death dramatically improves your chances of successfully dropping aggro/combat against anything up to +2 Levels above you, which is an important safety margin while leveling up to 60.  Once you reach Level 60, the "range band" of PvE mobs you have to face becomes a LOT more predictable (and the whole gameplay environment changes with 40 man raiding, so there you go).

I can certainly see why a 96% success rate would FEEL like it's 100% though, even if it actually isn't.

2 hours ago, Raziya said:

Well, if you're going for tanking, it can be helpful for your health pool. I see Survivalist as either more of a PvP confrontation talent (I play hit-and-run, so I usually don't take it) or a raiding talent, where you have a little more room for error while massive raid damage is going out. For taking direct damage all the time in PvE, it's just more HP before you have to eat, or more HP that has to be healed up. Health pool's important, but I see armor as more valuable for tanking the common direct physical damage in dungeons and the world. At least we have extra dodge and parry talents to use for avoidance.

Yes, it's all of those things, but I think of it in a slightly different way.  I think of the size of my Health pool (remaining) in terms of "margin" before emergency measures are needed.  So yeah, 10% more room for error is the approach I take to it, because, let's face it ... stuff happens (thanks RNGesus!).  The other way to think of it is ... yeah ... you need to refill more Health in the bar than you otherwise would if you wind up tanking for longer, but if you get all the way down into that +10% Health offered by the talent, well ... the alternative if you didn't have it would be a corpse run, which rarely takes less time than simply sitting down (while still alive) and eating.

And as far as armor value for tanking being more important, I certainly agree with you on the principle of that, hence my advocacy towards picking up a Pet with Screech, which can drive down the melee attack power of mobs that can hurt you, which in turn net benefits you in a way similar to adding extra armor.  "It's all connected, man..."

2 hours ago, Raziya said:

Actually, I think Wyvern Sting is rather underappreciated. It can be used to incredible effect, and I've personally sealed the deaths of one or several opponents with clever use of the sting, but I don't think it's particularly useful for this specialization. Indeed, it can be used for staggered pulls, but I doubt it's as effective as, say, the stun or aggro of Intimidation. Your pet can tank and damage one mob in a multi-mob pull, and keep aggro very easily with Intimidation, or if you absolutely must get a strike off, Intimidation will prevent your target from dodging or parrying your next attack. You can still miss, but, you know, there's that.

It probably is rather widely underappreciated, mainly because it lies at the "end" of a talent tree that remarkably few Players feel is worth investing themselves into fully enough to get there.  And you're right, Wyvern Sting makes for a poor fit once you're in melee combat (since it's a ranged attack), but it makes for a useful opening salvo and there are some other "utility" options and trickery you can get up to with it which aren't immediately obvious at first glance.  The thing is, in order to use Wyvern Sting most effectively, you need to KNOW not only your own class and capabilities, but also those of everyone else around you (including your Pet).  This means that you need to have (as a Player) a superior sense of situational awareness, which isn't exactly something the (sadly) stereotypical "Huntard" has in abundance.  A lot of players will default to something that can be easily termed "Lazy Mode" where you don't need to think several moves ahead (and even if you do, the path is well worn and written up in a guide somewhere).  As a result, the benefits of Wyvern Sting will often go unreported/underappreciated/unrealized, since the best way to use it is to be CLEVER with it, and that isn't something that everyone wants to take the time (and effort) to LEARN how to do.

But this feels like preaching to the choir at this point, so I'll stop on this thought.  I think of Wyvern Sting as being another "arrow in the quiver" to give myself OPTIONS in terms of how I want to engage with a particular pack of hostile mobs.  It helps break up the cookie-cutter-ism of HOW to engage and defeat a group of Foes by increasing the matrix of possible engagement methods, tactics and positions.  It offers another means to Control The Flow Of Battle so as to Choose Your Ground WISELY rather than just rushing in foolishly and suffering the consequences.  It can also be used in a 1-2 combo with a variety of Traps to engage groups of Foes on your own terms, rather than on theirs, and contributes to the "break 'em up into kindling" approach to solo tanking when outnumbered.

So, long story short, I'm of the opinion that spending 1 talent point on Wyvern Sting is worth the investment.  ^_~

2 hours ago, Raziya said:

Innovation is never unwanted. Even if it doesn't pan out, the act of exploration can increase one's understanding of their class.

Well ... I wouldn't be too sure that innovation is NEVER unwanted.  There never seems to be a shortage of people who want to keep doing things the way they always have been simply because they've been doing it that way for a long time (so, tradition) and/or because it's "easier" (and therefore less work) or what have you.  The simple fact of the matter is that a melee Hunter spec is woefully under-explored simply because a lot of people will take one look at it and think "I can't use this for raiding" and just dismiss everything (out of hand) on that basis, as if the 1-60 game doesn't "matter" one bit (probably because they try to zoom past it at maximum speed and thus attach minimal value to the content and experience gained during that time).

But then again, I'm the sort of Player who will look at a niche spell like Starshards and try to build an entire spec around an efficient DPM spec for Priests using a spell that only Night Elves can use.  Not "because it's there" per se, but because "nobody's explored this possibility yet" and there might be something hidden in the unique configuration of factors involved that hasn't been discovered yet.  In that respect, I try to look at the game ... holistically ... and search for the seams and unrealized patterns of how disparate things can be brought together to generate as yet unrealized potential and possibilities.

Or you could just say that I'm a "tryhard" and leave it at that ...

2 hours ago, Raziya said:

Wha... wait, really? How in the heck do you plan to manage leveling up eight characters in Vanilla WoW? Gee. That's some dedication right there. lol

But, uhh, yeah. Take your time, fam. I guess. :p

Really.

One at a time, without letting any one character get too far out in front of the others, meaning I don't have a "main" per se, but rather a "stable" of characters.

As for dedication, it's more like Selfish-Sufficiency since it means that I can cover EVERY Profession, including all three Leatherworking specializations, both Gnomish and Goblin Engineering, as well as Armorsmithing and Weaponsmithing on down the line (although I'll have to pick one of the 3 Weaponsmithing specializations eventually).  I've also got 2 Skinners, 1 Herbalist, 1 Alchemist, 1 Enchanter, 1 Miner and 3 Tailors, so I've got EVERYTHING covered as far as gathering and production is concerned.  Everyone can craft their own gear for Bind on Pickup items.  So that's 16 primary Professions spread across 8 characters.  If I "need" something, I can just "assign" one of my characters to go procure it and "ship it" through the mail.  I don't have to rely on the Auction House to acquire my materials (except for the absurdly low drop rate stuff).

By keeping all 8 of my characters in essentially the same "band" of quests and locations, I can ensure I'm not "missing" out on any content, I can "learn" almost everything there is to know about various locations (and where the resources are to be found), and best of all I can LEARN each of the classes and "cross-polinate" that knowledge into understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each of the other classes I play AND know in detail what to expect from anyone I party up with (since I will have done it myself too).  By rotating through all of my characters, who get logged out at Inns and in capital cities, I never run short of Rest XP, and by leveling them up in parallel I can ensure that I'm utilizing the most efficient balance of Supply & Demand for materials and production for and from my collective "conglomerate" of Professions without "outpacing" what I need or what I can produce.  So the whole effort "load balances" rather nicely, although it doesn't advance too terribly quickly.

And the basic notion of running all 3 campaigns in parallel?  Faction rep.  Already by Level 19-20, my characters are halfway through Honored with Darnassus and Stormwind while being one quarter of the way through Honored with Gnomeregan and Ironforge, meaning I can go anywhere and buy any service or vendor item for 10% off.  Heck, just doing the starter areas (Teldrassil, Dun Morogh, Elwynn Forest) for each faction from start to finish will put you within striking distance of being Honored with the respective Faction, and they're not that difficult to do.  A side effect of this effort is that it means I'm just about always fighting greens and greys and always needing to juggle which Quests to do that are either already grey or about to turn grey, and as a result I'm doing a fair bit of "circulating" between the different areas and the game just doesn't get boring.  But Faction gain is something that's difficult to earn if you skipped over it early on ... so this time, I'm not skipping it ... and it's been kind of fun.

One side effect benefit of being a "world traveler" like this is that it makes it a LOT easier for my Hunter to fulfill an ambition of learning ALL of the tamed Pet Skills in the entire world, from rank 1 on up, rather than just those that show up in the one campaign setting that I happen to play through.  A decade ago, I just wanted to level up and because of that I missed a lot of stuff (didn't even HAVE a Gnome or a Dwarf and thus missed the entire Gnomeregan/Ironforge storyline entirely) and so this time I don't want to make the same mistake or suffer the same regret for skipping over that content.  As I said in my Disclaimers, I'm playing to have FUN rather than racing as fast as possible from 1-60.

The OTHER side effect of doing this is that I rarely, if ever, have cash flow problems.  Once you get into the teen Levels and start earning silver for completing Quests, a lot of your cash flow issues dry up and blow away.  I've got multiple character under 20 right now sitting 1g or more even as I advance their Professions, including Cooking and First Aid as quickly as I can with the resources that they all gather up, and my Rogue is my "moneybags" (of course) since she can Pickpocket and just rob everything blind with remarkably little effort and so typically has 3-4x the amount of cash on hand as anyone else I'm playing (and is therefore my "cash bank" for any large expenses, like respecs, that might come up).  Which means, quite simply, I'm not exactly "starving" for resources like I would be if I was playing a single character and "rushing" them, and them alone, up to 60.

Then again, I get the feeling that I'm a bit more patient than your average World of Warcraft player for whom instant gratification can't come fast enough.  But then, I've always been something of an "odd duck" that way.

Edited by Roxanne Flowers

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Looks like I forgot to mention a few cooldowns that are somewhat relevant.

Raptor Strike (6 second cooldown)
Mongoose Bite (5 second cooldown)
Counterattack (5 second cooldown)
Deterrence (5 minute cooldown)

I've updated the original post to reflect this info.

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Great work. I am disappointed that you are not interested in pvp because I would love to see you surprise other melee classes with this. Pvp is the most real application for this build. 

Thank you for this post. 

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I'll have to take your word for it on that point, but I sincerely doubt that the build would be terribly effective in PvP against anyone who "knew" how it works and what to expect from it.  On a first encounter it might result in some ... rude surprises ... simply because it inverts so many assumptions (you don't want to kite, you want to flypaper, and so on), but then after that it really would boil down to being just another melee fighter with more ranged attack options than most.

Still, if the build inspires you to try something out yourself, I will consider my efforts that went into posting this well rewarded.

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This got bumped over on the Warrior Forums, and I'm kicking myself for not realizing sooner the documented implications for my build strategy here.

On 3/2/2017 at 4:26 PM, Malga said:

Hello !

Could you tell me if this assumption is correct on the Elysium server :

Quote

Many players do not realize that NPCs use different AP scales than players. While players gain 1 DPS per 14 AP at all levels, NPCs do not. Lv60 elites have been tested to gain about 1 DPS per 2 AP; this means NPCs are affected much more strongly by changes to their AP. For stronger encounters (such as raid bosses), the testing indicates that they have a similar amount of AP, 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 AP 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 AP value appears to be ~300 AP. Also, the damage contribution from that AP 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 AP

Me and my friend are not totally convinced by that.
Specifically, do you confirm that the AP does not scale the same way between a Player, a NPC and a Boss.

If somebody could confirm this please, it could be very helpful for my guild :)

Thanks.

Notice the and Screech part of the point about it being profitable to debuff Attack Power in PvE.

Well, somebody showed up with confirmation just now ...

1 hour ago, Obsid said:

Yes it is indeed true. Mobs gain more dps per AP than a player does. So inversely, if you use Imp demo shout, you will be dropping that mobs dps by a substantial amount. 

I have tested and does work. My current warrior is leveling 2h fury and I find the 5 points in Imp demo shout and Imp battle shout too good to pass up while leveling. In a group/raid environment only a select few will need to spec into these so all receive the benefit. 

This makes me wonder if we've (collectively, as a community) been overlooking the potential of Attack Power debuffing for extending the Time To Die of anyone in a Tanking and DPS role who could be taking damage, both in raiding settings but also when soloing.

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" since the debuff isn't enhanced by either Racial Traits or by Beast Mastery traits (aside from the Stamina and Armor ones to make your Pet able to withstand more punishment).

So ... anyone else think this sort of thing of using Screech might be worth a look-see?

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Whats the use of Mongoose bite though? 

If I remember correctly, it does something like the same damage as Wing Clip?

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Mongoose Bite (5 second cooldown, requires you to have Dodged an attack)
Rank 1
Rank 2
Rank 3
Rank 4

It's a melee range strike, so it gets +100% damage on critical hits, and you've got the Savage Strikes talent to add +20% critical hit chance at 2/2 as well as the Killer Instinct talent to add +3% critical hit chance at 3/3 even before adding gear and bonuses from Agility and so on.  It's also a Physical attack (that requires a Main Hand weapon), so it probably adds your Melee Attack Power(?) to the hit and as Raziya said ... pretty soon you're doing Real Damage™ using an Instant cast attack, which isn't bad for only costing 65 mana at rank 4.

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Funny story about that, actually. I had that polearm from Blackrock Spire, the one with the proc. Think it's called Blackhand's Doomsaw. One time a mage blinked in too close, and after dodging my Wing Clip somehow, my Raptor Strike crit, Mongoose Bite crit, and the proc procced, and crit. He flopped over dead.

Not an indicator of typical performance, but humorous nonetheless.

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8 hours ago, Raziya said:

One time a mage blinked in too close, and after dodging my Wing Clip somehow, my Raptor Strike crit, Mongoose Bite crit, and the proc procced, and crit. He flopped over dead.

Mongoose Bite only becomes use-able after you dodge an attack from your opponent, not the other way around. Seems unlikely that a mage was meleeing you :p

But yeah, regardless of how much truth there is to that "story"; when using a 2 hander and you use the Raptor Strike + Mongoose Bite combo - it's some pretty nasty burst damage indeed ^^

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Oh, yeah. I think he may have had me right-clicked or something when he came in. I got my stuff mixed up :p

Either way the thing went off. lol

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Wow, I can hardly believe I started this thread over 6 months ago.  Guess it's time for an update.

Still leveling 8 Alliance characters in parallel and playing all 3 Alliance campaigns (Human, Dwarf/Gnome, Night Elf) and I've gotten all of my characters up to Level 28-29 by now.  It's been a heck of a lot of fun to replay the game this way.  As a side effect of having every single Profession in my stable (army?) of characters, I've been able to level up all of my Professions rather nicely to keep them all current with the content that I'm playing through.  Fishing tends to be my second lowest skill on everyone, simply because I only do it while waiting dockside for boats to arrive. My absolute lowest skill on everyone is First Aid, in the 100-115 range (I need so much Wool Cloth!).  My highest skills at the moment are things like Mining, Blacksmithing (x2), Engineering (x2), Herbalism and Enchanting, mainly since I've got the resource gathering flow needed to advance all of those skills.

Surprisingly enough, the big moneymakers for me (on Darrowshire) have turned out to be Enchanting (of all things) from taking a pile of low level green junk weapons, disenchanting them and making Wands to sell to vendors, Herbalism creating a surplus to sell (my Druid can never go anywhere in a straight line!), Mining + Blacksmithing from either selling off raw ore I don't intend to use or crafting Mail pieces that are cheap in resources to make and then vendor, and of course ... Pickpocketing every Humanoid/Undead in sight (my Rogue "finances" anyone who falls short on cash).  At this point, at Level 28-29 on 8 characters, I figure I've got about 100+ gold spread across my 8 characters.  Some of them are always in poverty, since their only income is quest rewards and vendor trash, while others are (by comparison) "rolling in it" and are already on their way to saving up enough cash to buy mounts at Level 40.  I figure I should have no problem financing 5-6 mounts at Level 40 (Paladin and Warlock won't be "buying" mounts in the usual sense).

 

Anyway, that's neither here nor there for the topic of playing a Beast o' Melee Hunter ... which I have been doing on my Night Elf Hunter.  It's been ... interesting.

At Level 25, I of course switched over to Razor Arrows and bought 5 stacks of them (for 1000 arrows).  Prior to this I'd been using a SINGLE stack of 200 Sharp Arrows since Level 10 and was running low when I finally dinged Level 25 and switched over to Razor Arrows.  That's right, I used less than 200 Arrows during 15 Levels from 10-25, including running through Deadmines.  Instead, I just spend a handful of copper on repairing my gear whenever I get back to town.  Between Levels 25 and now 28, I've used about maybe some 40 or so Arrows.  My Hunting Quiver is only half full of ammo, and it STAYS that way ... because I'm playing through the game as a Melee Hunter.  I just don't spend a whole lot of time shooting things.

There are have been some close calls on occasion, but it's kind of fascinating to see just how capable a Survival Hunter build can be.  When taking on multiple opponents or a single elite, I've always got the option of sending in my Pet first to soak up aggro while I stand back and plink away with my Bow until drawing aggro myself and then proceeding to melee.  I try not to need to Split Tank between my Hunter and my Pet all that much, but when I have needed to, it's worked pretty well (especially in Loch Modan on Trogg Island when caught by respawns).

Most of the time the standard tactic is to "get close but not too close" to the mob I want to take down.  I plunk down an Immolation Trap for them (still don't have Explosive Trap yet) before entering combat.  I then "nudge" forward to draw aggro and then fall back to stand at my trap.  I let my target charge at me, get burned, and then open up with Raptor Strike and start watching for Mongoose Bite procs on my hotbar.  Meanwhile, my Owl is Screeching and attacking right alongside me and is doing almost as much damage as I am and the trap is.  The whole thing feels like something of a buzzsaw because of how fast it piles on the damage from 3 different sources, instead of just 1 (Trap, Pet, Hunter).  The Screech debuff makes a pretty big difference in tanking effectiveness, since it reduces the amount of damage the mobs can generate, yielding a Damage Avoided/Reduced scenario that synergizes really well with tanking yourself as a Melee Hunter.  I well and truly believe that THIS is the essential Design Intended behavior pattern for a Melee Hunter build strategy ... the Three-on-One combination of damage sources.

I hardly ever have to feed my Owl by this point, after getting my Pet to Loyalty 6 Best Friend, in part because my Pet is hardly ever taking any damage in combat (which can lower their Happiness).  Thanks to this, I just feed my Owl any Meat that drops which otherwise would have simply been vendor bait to keep my Pet happy and well fed.

As far as weapons go, I'm using a Bow that dropped for me back in the teens (and probably ought to be replaced by now), but since I use it so rarely it hasn't been a big issue for me.  It's there, but it's not my go to weapon.  I tried using a 2H Axe for a while, to get those satisfying melee crits from Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite, but it was really unhappy camper time if my attack(s) Missed and I then had to wait for the next swing to arrive.  I then switched to dual wielding a pair of Axes for a while, which was kinda cool, but I didn't have any good stat modifiers available to me on the weapons themselves, so they were just straight damage weapons.  Then my Blacksmith(s) reached a Level where they could craft Pearl-handled Daggers and later Deadly Bronze Poniards which I could of course equip 2 of, for stat bumps.  It may seem strange to equip a Hunter like you would a Rogue, with dual Daggers, but they turn out to be surprisingly effective.  Since Daggers are so fast, if you Miss an attack there isn't a long lag time before you make another swing at your target and in the overall scheme of things you didn't lose a whole lot of damage throughput.  Also, because they're fast, you don't have to wait all that long for Raptor Strike to be used after hitting it on your hotbar.  The entire build feels very quick and responsive when using dual Daggers, and in combination with Immolation Trap and a 2.00 attack speed Pet can produce a melee range caster pushback performance broadly similar to using Broken Tooth, simply because of how FAST the damage is landing from four(!) different sources (Trap, Pet, Dagger+Dagger).

I have to say, that although the 2H Weapon strategy looks really good from a BIG Numbers perspective when getting crits from Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite, that's more of an RNG "spike damage" strategy and is something which has an "intermittent" performance profile.  Sometimes you will, sometimes you won't (crit) ... and when you don't, it's a long wait until the next chance to land a big crit, and that's not even counting what happens when you Miss with your big 2H Weapon (or get your attack Dodged or Parried).  Very much an All Eggs In One Basket sort of deal, which is fine ... so long as the basket works.  When it doesn't ... it hurts.  So sometimes you'll kill faster and sometimes you won't, and it's really all up to the RNG to decide your fate (hit/miss/dodge/parry and crit chance).  That sort of lottery chance may be fine for some people, but in my personal opinion it's really not worth it at the Levels I'm playing at.

By contrast, using dual Daggers feels more like a "DoT pressure" strategy, where any one Miss doesn't hurt you all that badly (although getting 3-4 in a row do!).  This is more of a "chuck LOTS of dice as fast as you can" strategy, which smooths out the edge cases better to yield a more consistent performance over time, even though the RNG is still a factor.  Getting to 3/3 Surefooted in tier 4 Survival really makes a big difference here, since it's adding +3% chance to hit both to your Main Hand and Offhand weapons, which effectively lets you "double dip" on making your dual weapons that much more effective at damage generation.  Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite are Main Hand Only spells, so the Dual Wield to hit penalty doesn't affect those attacks, so once again 3/3 Surefooted is really working for you to improve your melee throughput.

As I mentioned before in previous posts, Raptor Strike merely ADDS Damage to an attack, much like Heroic Strike for a Warrior or Maul for a Bear Druid, rather than being a damage MULTIPLIER on the spell itself.  The damage multiplication for Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite is a function of scoring critical hits with those attacks, and in order to do that you have to be in melee range, and to use Mongoose Bite your Hunter needs to have and be holding aggro (so you can Dodge and respond with a Mongoose Bite).  Having tried it both ways, 2H versus Dual Daggers, I have to say that at the levels I'm playing in I definitely prefer the Fast DoT over the Slow Spike performance, mainly because the Fast DoT doesn't rely on the necessity of big hits to finish stuff off quickly.  I'd have to say that on balance, the Daggers would routinely kill targets faster than using a 2H would, simply because they'd be "whittling away" quickly at targets rather than waiting for the "big swing" to take stuff down by bunches all at once.  The Daggers were therefore also less prone to wasting potential on Overkill, yielding a quicker Time To Kill performance profile on average when soloing, which then meant less time needed to recover back to full after defeating a mob and a quicker overall "cruising speed" through the mobs I needed to defeat.

Oh, one other thing to mention about playing a Melee Hunter ... mana management.  When blasting away with your Marksman spells on a continuous rotation, mana consumption, and its recovery, can potentially become something of an issue.  With the Melee Hunter build I've been playing, mana consumption and recovery just isn't that much of an issue at all.  Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite are VERY forgiving on the mana costs, which then leaves most of my mana available for doing things like Mend Pet (on the rare occasions that I Split Tank and need to do so).  This also improves "cruising speed" of working through content when doing the Trap, Pull, Strike routine.  In many cases I'm more concerned about recovering Health after a fight than I am about recovering Mana ... and oh, hey, look, I just so happen to have some Food here in my bags that my Owl hasn't eaten yet (if it comes down to needing to recover Health fast after a fight).

So having played my Beast o' Melee spec from 10-28, I have to say that I'm extremely pleased with how it has turned out in actual gameplay thus far.  The 13/0/38 build strategy seems to be working out quite well, even if at this point I've only gotten 0/0/19 deep into the build thus far.  Between use of Immolation Trap, Owl for Screech and the buzzsaw of dual Daggers for Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite, the performance is definitely in the Melt Faces™ category.  I'm already looking forward to reaching Levels 31 (Dive 1) and 32 (Screech 2) and 36 (Cower 4) as well as Level 30 (bump up all Resistances) to start really supercharging my Owl's performance profile for even better melee tanking by my Hunter.

Oh ... and one last thing ... special hat tip to Raziya for a couple of macros I've been using.

Quote

/cast Raptor Strike
/script CastPetAction(2);
/script CastPetAction(10);
/script PetAttack(target)
/cast Dash
/cast Dive

/cast Mongoose Bite
/script CastPetAction(2);
/script CastPetAction(10);
/script PetAttack(target)
/cast Dash
/cast Dive

The purpose of these macros is to keep my Owl in combat beside me, rather than letting it range freely.  Action 2 is Follow and Action 10 is Passive modes.  These actions keep my Pet beside me.  I'm using separate macros for Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite so that I can see the cooldowns and readiness status on the icons on my hotbar.  I don't have Dive yet for my Pet, but once I do, it'll automatically just Dive to attack.  The key here is that Dive isn't kept on Auto but is instead only used under the correct conditionals (to swoop in and attack).

The way this works is that since as a Melee Hunter I want the aggro to be on ME and not on my Pet, I keep my Pet in Passive mode at all times, meaning it is only going to attack because I tell it to attack, and using either Raptor Strike or Mongoose Bite are the conditions under which I want my Owl to engage and start Screeching while it's beside me.  Once I pick up Counterattack at Level 30, I'll be making yet another macro for that skill.  This kind of automated Pet control works VERY NICELY on a Melee Hunter build, since it keeps your Pet from doing a lot of otherwise silly things on its own (just be mindful of your clicks!).  The whole idea behind the Melee Hunter + Screech Pet combo is that the two of you fight your opponent(s) side-by-side, rather than far apart from each other.  Since I don't advocate the inclusion of the Focus dump skill Claw for Melee Hunter builds, there shouldn't be any problem with being able to pay the focus cost of Dive.

These also work quite nicely for commanding my Pet to attack if I'm still at range from my target.  I'll get the "It's too far away" announcement when doing so, but my Owl will fly off to attack anyway.  Pairing these actions together like this just streamlines and simplifies a whole lot of stuff for playing a Melee Hunter.  I'm keeping the /cast Dash in these macros just in case I ever decide to play with a Pet other than a Bat/Carrion Bird/Owl so I don't have to rewrite the macro depending on which Pet I'm using.

Raziya, if you're still around, I saw your most recent (April) Pet Tutorial video about Dash/Dive only working when moving to attack but not when returning.  So here's another place for people to see these macros.

Quote

/script PetFollow("Hunter's Name Here")
/script CastPetAction(10);
/script if UnitAffectingCombat("pet") then CastSpellByName("Dash"); else end
/script if UnitAffectingCombat("pet") then CastSpellByName("Dive"); else end

As Raziya explained (around 28 minutes into the video), this is a Dash/Dive to Follow Hunter macro, which will command your Pet to follow your Hunter while also going to Passive mode (and thus not get distracted) and if your Pet is in Combat to activate the Dash/Dive skill to return to your Hunter at best possible speed.  This is, of course, useful for getting your Pet out of trouble that you can see coming, or to pull a target mob into a Trap (such as the Ice Trap that he demonstrated).  Since my engagement pattern as a Melee Hunter doesn't (often) involve being at a distance from my Owl Pet, I haven't really needed to make use of such a macro yet, but there will probably come a time when this becomes important for tactical positioning reasons later on.

Quote

/script if not UnitAffectingCombat("pet") then CastPetAction(3); end
/script if UnitIsUnit("target", "pet") then CastPetAction(3) elseif UnitAffectingCombat("pet") then CastSpellByName("Dash"); end
/script CastPetAction(10);

And then there's Raziya's Stay macro here, which I'm not entirely sure I can manage to get my head around the tactical permutations of (since there are many when it comes to Pull/Fallback/Ambush tactics), since as you say you can use it to make a Pet retreat from an engagement back to a pre-set (Stay) location, presumably one with a Trap placed at it as you demonstrated in your video.  This sounds like something that would be very nearly ideal for use with Eyes of the Beast and Corner Pulling, but I just tested it on Darrowshire and after you stop channeling Eyes of the Beast, your Pet will return to Follow your Hunter, even if the Stay mode is still on ... so that's out (boo...).  Still, being able to get your Pet to retreat to a Stay point could be useful when working in tandem at a distance.  This could then be an additional enhancement for picking apart mob groups of 3+ to safely handle them sequentially via Wyvern Sting and Ice Trap in combination with strategic placement before starting the engagement (so proper time for a proper setup is required).  Still, being able to Split Tank like that from the beginning to take things on sequentially rather than in parallel would seem to offer a wealth of possibilities in PvE, and in the hands of a properly skilled Hunter, a large bag of tricks for use in PvP too (if you have the luxury of setup time to attack from different directions).

Putting all of this together does, of course, require a lot of practice and (learned) skill in how to use all of these disparate parts and pieces most effectively.  Suffice it to say that I've enjoyed the process of learning just how DIFFERENTLY a Melee Hunter plays from the stock'n'standard Tank & Spank (from a distance) playstyle employed by Marksmen and Beast Masters.  Remember, the different talent trees call for different strategies for how to succeed ...

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(!).

Suffice it to say, that playing as a Beast o' Melee Hunter has been quite the ride all the way up to Level 28 so far ... and there's still more fun to come!  *^_^*

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16 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

stuff

Video tutorial pls :D

Hehe. Not that I didn't read what you said! This all sounds really interesting. :) It would be quite helpful if you were to put this visually, I say.

Also, umm... I use that stay macro all the time for bosses with melee-out spots. On Chromaggus, just around the corner from the tank spot... Firemaw, in the melee spot, which is closer than the ranged spot... Ragnaros, the melee spot for knockbacks right next to him... Eyes of the Beast always puts your pet on follow, but there's no need to use that. Just set your pet to stay at one location, send pet in on mobs, hit stay when mobs are aggro'd. I use this all the time for pulling Vekniss Guardian packs with my wind serpent in AQ40 ^^

I plan to make a raid tutorial at some point going over the three best raiding pets, among other things. When I start making vids again...

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4 hours ago, Raziya said:

Video tutorial pls :D

Hehe. Not that I didn't read what you said! This all sounds really interesting. :) It would be quite helpful if you were to put this visually, I say.

I'm sitting here laughing, not because of the request, but because I've never made a video of gameplay before and have honestly never had an inclination to make one.  Also, at the moment, because of my insistence on playing all 3 campaigns on each of my characters (for rep and cash/item rewards) I've gotten somewhat overleveled for the content that I'm playing, so a lot of stuff is green/grey to me right now in Stonetalon Peaks and out in The Wetlands.  That of course changes when fighting against Elites.  The gear I'm using on all my characters is (relatively speaking) weak crap that either drops, is a quest reward, or is something I've crafted.  So it's all totally leveling gear/experience/play for me right now.

I've still got BFD and the Stockades to do once I finish up with Stonetalon and The Wetlands.

But yeah, I can definitely understand the desire for visual/gameplay evidence of the differences that bringing all of these disparate elements to bear can bring.  It is one of those things where you need to SEE it in action to really begin to understand and grasp the potentials.  It's also easy to argue that playing as a Melee Hunter is a good bit more ... complex ... than playing a Ranged Hunter who simply goes through a rotation of Shots.  There's a slightly different emphasis on choosing where to fight and how to fight what you're up against, and how much prep work you want to invest before starting an engagement.  Until you SEE it in action, it's all theoretical.

The true CORE talents of a proper Melee Hunter build are, I would argue, are composed of a 10/0/30 talent mix with a Screech Pet, with the remaining 11 points being free to fill out the build with whatever floats your boat.  In this context, 11 talent points "leftover" makes for a pretty decent mix of opportunities for personalization.  You could spend those points in Beast Mastery to really buff up your Pet with Unleashed Fury and Ferocity (putting 5/5 into each) and still have 1 point left over for either Bestial Swiftness (outdoor pursuit speed) or Intimidation (3 second stun plus Pet Threat) or Wyvern Sting.  If you absolutely must have Aimed Shot (in a melee oriented build?), you've got the 11 talent points you'd need available to you to get that deep into the Marksman tree.  Or you can do what I did/will do and spend 5 points on Survival, 2 on Feign Death, 1 on Wyvern Sting and 3 on Thick Hide.  Point being, there's a goodly bit of Nice To Have™ rather than Absolutely Necessary™ "leftover" talent points at the end of things, so arguably the build ought to be "filled" by Level 50, with the last 10 Levels simply being augmenting/refining the core of it.

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Hellow there :)

When I saw the post above me, it was "a minute ago". Now it is more than an hour LOL

So yes, I've read all those (neat) walls of text and found them really interesting. Thanks for the dedication and the explanations here.

I once thought about making myself a "Beast o' Melee™" but never really tried it. With this post, I now should be able to start one a day, for sure ^^

Here are few questions :

- Can you confirm that you got no mana issue while leveling ? What is a classic rotation (hunter and pet) ?

- You have a full coverage of the professions between your characters, but what are the ones of the Hunter ? Is Engineer require for this build ?

- Have you try the chest enchant "Lesser Absorption" on him ? I've read that the proc could reduce multiple sources of attacks at the same time, so with "Screech" it should be really nice :p

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11 hours ago, j0ker said:

When I saw the post above me, it was "a minute ago". Now it is more than an hour LOL

So yes, I've read all those (neat) walls of text and found them really interesting. Thanks for the dedication and the explanations here.

Don't feel bad, the same thing happens to me too ... both when writing and reading those walls of text.  Fortunately, there's useful info in them, so I don't consider it to be time wasted.

11 hours ago, j0ker said:

H once thought about making myself a "Beast o' Melee™" but never really tried it. With this post, I now should be able to start one a day, for sure ^^

It's definitely a Horse Of A Different Colour (hat tip to our British friends) way to play as a Hunter, that's for sure.  Since I'm concurrently playing a Rogue through the exact same content as my Hunter (just not at the same time) I can definitely say that playing a Melee Hunter is actually easier and less nerve wracking than playing a Rogue.  The reason for that is simple.  Hunter+Pet+Trap brings more offense than Rogue alone when it comes to a straight up fight.  The only times when it's easier to be a Rogue is when you can One Shot Kill a target with an Ambush crit from Stealth.  Just think of your Pet as a "third hand weapon" that does damage middling between your Main Hand and Offhand weapons and it'll start making more sense to you, since you want to be fighting beside your Pet rather than far away from them.

11 hours ago, j0ker said:

Can you confirm that you got no mana issue while leveling ? What is a classic rotation (hunter and pet) ?

I can't say I've had NO mana issues, because continuous adds, pulls and combat will drain you down, so getting overrun can still be a problem.  That said, I can take down 2-3 at a time without running out of mana, and on Trog Island in Loch Modan I think I went through like about 7 respawns in a row chain aggroing onto me and my Pet by the broken down wagon, at the end of which both my Pet and I were in really bad shape, but we were both still alive.  I didn't even have all of my macros set up yet at that point, so I was "directing traffic" manually while swinging so as to Split Tank with half on my Pet and half on me to divide up the damage between us.  It was a scary fight, but at the end of it I certainly had a feeling of accomplishment.

The "classic" rotation for a Melee Hunter is ... catch as catch can.

Ideally you want to lay a Trap down before you even start.  Since you aren't going to be kiting (much), Frost Trap has very limited value to you when you're soloing if you're going to melee your target(s).  Immolation Trap is your go to 1v1 damage Trap.  Even if stuff dies in under 12 seconds you're still getting damage ticks out of Immolation for that time to hasten the defeat so you take less incoming damage.

Once (or if) you've laid your Trap, it's a good idea to use the Stay macro on your Pet to keep them "parked" beside the Trap.  YOU then advance forward (carefully) until you Attract Attention™ and get your target so start moving in your direction.  You then simply back up until you're beside your Pet where the Trap is.  This then "lures" your target to blunder into the Trap to engage you.  Using Immolation Trap for this is helpful because it establishes Threat on your Hunter, rather than on your Pet.

Once your target has "eaten" your Immolation Trap, proceed to unload Raptor Strike into them.  I have Raptor Strike macroed to automatically order my Owl to attack whatever target I've got selected, so then my Pet gets in on the action because I'm attacking that target.  After that, it's simply just use of Raptor Strike every time it's off cooldown ... and using Mongoose Bite whenever it procs and is not on cooldown, or Counterattack whenever it procs and is not on cooldown.  Don't forget that Counterattack will immobilize targets in place for 5 seconds EVERY TIME and that Counterattack cannot be Dodged, Blocked or Parried (meaning it roots if you don't MISS).

This is why I have no real use for Wing Clip (or even the Improved Wing Clip talent) in a melee oriented Survival build, except maybe as a way to proc something like a Ravager by spamming Wing Clip Rank 1 for "next to nothing" in mana cost (aside from the 5 second rule of mana recovery).  See Raziya's Ravager Video for more information about that particular Melee PBAoE possibility.  Note that the same mentality would seem to hold true for almost any Proc On Hit weapons you might be using, where you spam Wing Clip Rank 1 just to increase the number of attacks you can make with slow weapons (Nightfall anyone?).

Speaking just for myself, of course, I have to now wonder about the possibility of melee tanking as a Hunter with a pair of Julie's Daggers with Lifestealling enchantment on both of them for some respectable life drain/leeching to extend survivability/endurance.  Won't generate the largest damage numbers per hit ... but would definitely fall into the Chuck LOTS Of Dice™ category of strategies.  Trust me, dual wielding 1.30 speed Daggers generates a LOT of hits in a hurry.  As an added bonus, whenever the hit you make crits, any healing/drain through your weapon(s) will ALSO crit for even more healing/drain ... and what does a Survival spec Melee Hunter want to have in a huge abundance?  Agility ... for Dodge ... and ... Crits ... and Armor.  And you did take Savage Strikes to get +20% crit chance on Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite, didn't you?

Anyway, once combat is engaged, there's basically only 4 skills to really worry about ... Auto Attack (duh), Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite and Counterattack ... the latter two of which proc when you Dodge (Mongoose Bite) or Parry (Counterattack).  You're looking at cooldown times of 6, 5 and 5 seconds for those last 3 skills, and you want to be using them every single time you can when fighting in melee combat, particularly Counterattack, which prevents Runners from fleeing you.  Pretty much everything else is incidental or ancillary to those 3 skills, including having your Pet attack the target that you yourself are attacking, use of Mend Pet, Scare Beast, and so on.  That said, you can't just switch off and zone out while fighting, because you still want to remain aware of your surroundings and be mindful of any escape routes you might need to use.  If things start getting too hot for you, go ahead and dump Threat yourself to shed it onto your Pet to give yourself some time to Bandage or Flee.

Speaking of which, I wonder if there's a way to toggle auto-attack on Pet Skills like Cower so as to detoggle Cower whenever your Hunter uses Disengage so as to help transfer Threat more neatly from Hunter to Pet.  Hmmm ... it appears that there is ...

Quote

petautocastoff - Turn off autocast for a pet spell.
petautocaston - Turn on autocast for a pet spell.
petautocasttoggle - Toggle autocast for a pet spell.

This bears further investigation.  Looks like I need to make a macro that will do something like this (will probably require tweaking):

Quote

/cast Disengage
/petautocastoff Cower

That would then cover situations where I want to shift aggro from myself to my Pet while in melee.

Anyway ... moving on ...

11 hours ago, j0ker said:

You have a full coverage of the professions between your characters, but what are the ones of the Hunter ? Is Engineer require for this build?

Since I'm playing as a strictly PvE Hunter, I went with Leatherworking and Skinning, with the intent to specialize in Dragonscale post-40 (which allows you to craft Mail, unlike Tribal and Elemental Leatherworking).  Basic idea is that there are certain BoP crafted items and I wanted to have access to them for my Hunter, and I wanted the "selfish sufficiency" offered by being able to skin what leather I needed without resorting to use of the mailbox or the auction house for mats.  Since I have a Druid, a Hunter and a Rogue, and I put Leatherworking onto each of them (Tribal, Elemental, Dragonscale, respectively is the plan) I basically needed 2 Skinners, and since my Druid is an Herbalist (go figure, eh?) that meant that my Rogue and Hunter wound up being those 2 Skinners feeding mats to 3 Leatherworkers.  Certainly beats having 3 Leatherworkers and only *1* Skinner like I tried to do over a decade ago.

Engineering is by no means "required" for a Melee Hunter, although it would offer certain additional advantages, depending on whether you went with Gnomish or Goblin Engineering.  It really depends on personal preference.  I understand that Engineering is the PvP Profession, so feel free to spec into it if you feel like you need to.

11 hours ago, j0ker said:

Have you try the chest enchant "Lesser Absorption" on him ? I've read that the proc could reduce multiple sources of attacks at the same time, so with "Screech" it should be really nice :p

No, I haven't, although next time I get around to crafting myself some new Leather Armor I'll ship them off to my Enchanter first for an Absorption enchantment before soulbinding them onto my Hunter and Rogue.  That does seem like it will offer a really good synergy, so thanks for mentioning it!

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9 hours ago, Roxanne Flowers said:

Just for the record, the Ravager is much more niche on Anathema. I dunno about Darrowshire or Elysium. Wouldn't recommend trying to tanking with it. It's not like it was on Kronos. There's a comment I placed on the Ravager vid that addresses the differences between Kronos and Anathema.

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Just letting people know the option exists, even though it's not a BiS choice necessarily.  Depending on how people like to play, they might want to pursue the option (like you did, obviously).

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