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The best pet for the DPS

Like most people know, the short answer is “It depends on your raid composition” – which is true enough but lets look at it in a little bit more detail.

Before I go on, I just want to point out that his is only going to be from an Marksman and Survival hunter’s perspective, I haven’t done any analysis on the Beast Mastery tree as, quite frankly, I don’t like BM.

Pet Overivew

There are 3 trees of hunter pets; Ferocity, Cunning and Tenacity. Within each tree there are various special abilities, which can provide the raid various buffs, that can help the raid in a multitude of ways as well as increasing the most important of things: your DPS.

Testing Methodology

The outcome I am trying to achieve is to be able to rank the pets in order of DPS, so when you are presented with the situation of multiple buffs missing, you can make an informed pet selection.

As buff stacking can impact the results in different ways (e.g. Bleed Damage & Crit % due to Piercing Shots) I’m going to ignore all stacking and start from a base where there are no buffs present outside of Hunters Mark. I’ll then look at the differences between the family trees and then the abilities, for both MM and SV.

Also bear in mind that these tests (using Female Dwarf) are based on my hunter’s current gear, so you may get some difference if you tested these out. I’m not aiming for 100% accuracy though, just some broad guidance to help with pet selection.

Pet Family Trees

(Not the kind of pet family tree I am talking about)

The 3 trees available are Ferocity, Cunning and Tenacity. To take a “neutral” view on the DPS of each tree (excluding pet buffs/debuffs) I’ve selected 3 pets that offer no such buff (Monkey, Carrion Bird & Turtle) to get a view.

From the above you can see that Cunning and Ferocity are very close in damage, with MM slightly preferring a Cunning Pet and SV preferring a Ferocity pet. Tenacity, as expected, is a distant 3rd, with a dps loss of 617 (vs. Cunning for MM) – 1141 (vs. Feroicty for SV).

Abilities

In terms of DPS buffs, there are 6 abilities available from our pets that can increase our DPS:

  • 8% Magic Damage – Magic Damage is a significant propotion of our damage these days, even as MM. Chimera Shot & Serpent Sting are magic damage and as SV you’ll have even more with Explosive Shot, Serpent Sting, Black Arrow & Cobra Shot.
  • 4% Physical Damage – Similar to the above, this damage debuff benefits both MM and SV but this time in the favour of MM, with Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, Auto Shot, Kill Shot & Pet Attacks. SV will have Autoshot & Kill Shot benefiting.
  • 20% Armour Reduction – Very similar to the physical damage debuff, this will benefit all physical damage abilities (which are reduced by armour).
  • + 549 Agi / Strength – A cat here can buff your Agility, which is the primary stat of all hunter specs. Lovely Jubbly.
  • +5% Crit – All of our abilities can crit, so this is a buff to all specs. With Piercing Shots in the MM tree, this is a nicer buff to MM.
  • +30% Bleed Damage – No benefit here to SV as they have no bleeds, this buff will solely benefit MM hunters through the piercing shot ability.
So the above all sound nice but how do they compare? Is less armour better than more physical damage? Let’s run some numbers.

Ability Analysis

The table below show is in 4 sections. The first is the pet family/tree used, the 2nd is the resulting DPS, the 3rd is the benefit you’ve gained from the buff/debuff (the difference between the total DPS and the “neutral” abilities detailed in the pet tree section) and finally the relative ranking that pet has for the MM & SV.
Conclusions

(The cat was surprised to find out they came out on top)

For both MM and SV, the clear winner is the + 540 Agi buff provided by a cat. However, this doesn’t stack with the other classes who provide this buff, which is quite likely as it can come from any type of DK or a Shaman using a Strenght of Earth Totem or a Warrior’s battle shout. For my raids, we always have a DK and a Shaman, so I dont really use this pet – however in a 5 man or when soloing, it may well be more useful.

After the cat, our 2nd best choice is quite different depending on whether you’re MM or SV. MM will want to pick up the 5% crit bonus, while a SV hunter will want the magic damage buff. Both of these are a little more rare, so it is definitely worth having one of these ready for action.
(Not everyone was expecting the Sunder Face ability)

3rd choice is a close call between a Ravager or Serpent for MM but already the benefit of these pets are starting to decline. 3rd for SV is still a nice DPS buff and is the same as a MM’s 2nd choice – a wolf.
Beyond the above, the next best choices for SV are ones that reduce armour/increase physical damage (Raptor then Ravager) for a modest +200 dps, while a MM hunter will be wanting the +30% Bleed Damage, which has no benefit to SV.

Think of others

The above numbers are only looking at your personal DPS – but you are only 1 of 10/25 and other choices could gain a bigger total DPS increase or provide the raid with a vital buff that is missing! For a list of all the pet abilities, I would check out Petopia. From the above abilities, our best choice, the +Agi/Str will benefit all non-caster DPS classes and will be of limited benefit to tanks. If you compare that to the +5% crit, this will benefit all classes in the raid, even the healers – so could potentially be worth bearing in mind.
A lot of the above can be categorised into Physical Damage / Bleed / Magic Damage buffs, which you might want to consider picking based on what other classes you have around you. If one has a +50 dps advantage over the other for you, you might find another choice might buff the raid by +1000 dps!

My raids don’t usually include Ferals, Warriors or Sublety rogues but we do have a Blood DK, Unholy DK and 1-2 Shamans, so there is no need for our top pet (cat) and I rock out with my fave pet, a wolf named “Toggle”. 😀


The New “Which Pet” Flow Chart

There is another one floating about on the interwebs but this one is a little more specific for MM / SV hunters.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Pet Notes

 

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4.2 Hunter Raid Gear

You’ll undoubtedly see lots of Best-in-Slot lists around and listings of which boss drops what but I find mapping the drops into a table as below works best for me.

I’ve only included raid ilv gear (ilv 378) with the exception of Ragnaros loot, which is a tad higher (384). These are “normal” difficulty drops, the “heroic” all drops from the same place, so you can still use the table above.

Bosses

Lord Rhyolith looks to be a Hunter loot pinata in the Firelands. I’ve not had a proper try at him yet (will do on thurs) but as he can drop 3 hunter items, the chances are good.

The best 2 bosses are Majordomo Staghelm and Ragnaros. Each can drop 4 hunter items and Majordomo drops the tier shoulders and Ragnaros the tier Helm – similar to Cho’gal and Nefarian, these are the only places you can get these and will need at least one if you want that 4 set bonus

Lets not forget the trash either – probably the easiest way to get a ranged weapon, 2H Polearm and Wrists (which are all BoE) – if you’re lucky/rich enough.

Ranged Weapon.

The Best in Slot here will be Arathar, the eye of flame, which drops from Ragnaros. With a higher iLv than the other drops, it’s a clear winner but it probably the most difficult to get. It is also superior to the lower-level Conquest Point ranged weapon you can get, so if you can manage Ragnaros, there’s no point in farming for conquest just for a weapon to use in PvE.

Lord Rhyolith’s Crossbow offers Crit/Mastery while the trash drop crossbow offers Crit/Haste, which puts it in 2nd place (depending on your haste levels)

It’s questionable whether it’s worth buying the BoE crossbow from the auction house as it’s not best-in-slot but it is 2nd best and if you’re unlikely to kill Ragnaros it might not be a bad investment.

2H weapon

It’s a fact that 2H weapons are better for hunters than 2x 1H and similarly to the ranged weapon situation, the trash drop 2H polearm is Crit/Haste while the Majordomo Staff is Crit/Mastery.

This means if you can get/afford the BoE staff from the AH, it is worth buying as it’s best-in-slot.

Helm

The Tier helm is superior to the one Shannox drop but as Shannox is the first boss, it’s not a bad stop gap at all. As the tier helm drops from Ragnaros, it might be some time until you can get it anyway (I still don’t have the one from Nefarian).

Neck

The best neck is the higher iLv one which drops from Ragnaros but it offers haste/mastery – no crit, so you’ll be wanting to reforge this one. The alternative is fairly easy to get hold of, at a cost of 1,250 Valour points, so I expect to see a lot of us walking around with these for the next few months!

Shoulders

This is an one of the 2 slots I have which is less than 359 (it’s a ZA/ZG 353) so an upgrade here would be lovely! Unfortunately it is also one of the hardest slots to get this tier. The problem is that there is only 1 set of shoulders that drop and they are the tier ones from Majordomo. This doesn’t give us much choice over shoulders, so I would expect us to be in our 353/359s for some time yet!

Chest

We’ll want to be getting that 4 set bonus and given how relatively hard it is to get the chest/helm, we should be buying the tier chest/legs/hands (or by getting lucky in Baradin Hold). The Chest doesn’t drop in Baradin hold so I would recommend buying this with 2200 valour points first.

The alternative is from Lord Rhyolith, which offers hit/crit, so isn’t a terrible option if you’re short on Valour or prefer to upgrade another slot with valour instead.

Wrists

Not very exciting here, it’s either a BoE Trash drop or a 1250 BoE Valour point purchase. The Trash Drop is Hit/Haste while the VP item is Crit/Mastery, so I guess it partly depends on if you need the hit.

Both are BoE so could appear on the AH to buy with gold, or if you’re cunning you could farm the VP on an alt and give it to your hunter 😉 There wasn’t many wrist options in the 4.0 raids, so all options will be a nice upgrade if you have a 353 item like me!

Hands

As with the chest I would recommend the tier hands. These are available with a Valour Point Purchase (1650 VPs) but the 2 alternatives that could be worth considering while you’re gearing up are the LW Crafted ones (Crit/Mastery) or the gloves from Majordomo (Haste/Mastery). Don’t spend too much on the crafted ones as the VP item is superior!

Rings

Not too many options here, 2 slots, 3 rings.The best available is the one from Avengers of Hyjal Rep. You’ll need to be exhalted but it will offer you an iLv 391 ring!

The other two are either a 1250 VP purchase (Crit/Mastery) or a drop from Beth’tilac.(Haste/Mastery). The better of the two, after reforging some mastery, will depend on your haste levels. I’m edging for the VP ring.

Legs

You’ll want the tier item here (2200 VPs or BH drop), the alternative being a drop from Alysrazor.

Belt

Only 1 option here and it costs gold, so it’s an easy one! You’ll just need to be honoured with the Avengers of Hyjal to buy this Haste/Mastery belt.

Feet

2 options here, the BoE LW feet (Crit/Mastery) or a drop from Baleroc (Hit/Crit). Depending on if you need the hit, one will be better than the other, so out of the 2 LW purchases available to us, I would say this is a better purchase.

Cloak

First of all you should get the free iLv 365 cloak from completing the Thrall Q line (which you probably have already done). Beyond that there is a drop from Lord Rhyolith (Hit/mastery) or a Rep purchase (hit/crit) once friendly with the Avengers of Hyjal. At first glance the rep reward sounds better but the Boss drop has 2 red sockets (compared to 0 on the rep reward) and an +20 Agi socket bonus, so I would imagine this would be superior for most of us with 2 fat red gems in it.

Still, the alternative is just a gold purchase so a good stop gap 🙂

Trinkets

There is a very good post on the WHU about trinkets, so I would direct you there.

Essentially there are 4 (i’m including a new iLv365 here), 2 from vendors, 2 from bosses to pick between. It sounds like the best option will be to get the easier vendor items first: Rickets Magnetic Fireball & Ancient Petrified Seed until you get lucky enough to get a Majordomo or Ragnaros drop!

Final Tips!

  • As with everything, any drop you get, make sure you run it through www.femaledwarf.com and apply some common sense before blindly equipping it. Some items I might have mentioned as superior for me may not be for you, given any difference in spec or gear.
  • For Valour Points I would recommend buying the tier gear first – starting with the chest just in case you get lucky in Baradin Hold (I’ve got nothing from there yet QQ).
  • In terms of BoE purchases, I would consider buying the Crossbow (would rather farm conquest points for 5 weeks), I would recommend buying the Polearm, pass on the wrists (especially if you have an alt), pass on the LW hands and buy the LW feet. If you’re filthy rich you could just buy it all and give yourself a nice head start!
Hopefully you’ll find this of some use, I know researching the info has enlightened me a little.
On a side note, we killed Beth’tilac on Sunday (no loot QQ) so expect my next post to be an update on the encounter!
And as always, have a nice day! (Qudos to anyone who gets that quote)
 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in 4.2, Gear, Patch Notes, Uncategorized

 

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Firelands Raid first impressions & Hunting Shannox

So far we’ve spent 1 Sunday and 1 Thursday in the Firelands raid and have successfully killed the 1st boss, Shannox, twice. Before I go into that, lets talk about the new raid instance.

The Firelands is an outdoor raid (you can mount up), which is at the south of Mount Hyjal and features Ragnaros as the end boss. The area inside actually looks pretty cool, if you’ve been to the new daily Molten Front area, you’ll be quite familiar with the theme.

One thing that immediately stands out is the amount of Mobs. There are a LOT. They don’t pose too much of a challenge though, other than a time sink. In most new raids we usually wipe more times on the trash than the first bosses but in this case I don’t think we’ve wiped even once yet. The only thing to be wary of is pulling more than 1 pack – an increased risk with the level of mobs around.

With this in mind, make sure you have MD up on a Rogue so you can blame any pulls on him! Stupid Rogues.

When you kill enough Mobs the first boss, Shannox is summoned….

Boss 1: Shannox

Shannox is a weird firey naga hunter that comes along with 2 dogs as pets. Unlike us pro hunters, he can trap his own pets! What a noob! He does shout out our MM “Go for the Throat” talent though, which is a bit cooler than us.

I’m still working on perfecting the strategy but I can safely say this isn’t a good hunter fight. Lots of movement and targets getting into/out of your deadzone and in/out of your range. I suspect this might be a better fight for SV over MM as DoTs would help out a lot. This is backed up by the top 10 classes on this boss being Locks, S.Priests or a Boomkin.

Phase 1: Kill Rageface

Rageface, one of Shannox’s pets, is your first target, who you’ll nuke until he dies. Simples?

Things to bear in mind:

  • Blow your CDs here if you’re not being “Face Raged”
  • Don’t stand in traps (they arm after 2 seconds of landing)
  • Don’t stand in the rings of fire (you can stand between the rings)
  • Stand away from everyone else as this will reduce your DPS downtime through targets running into/out of your deadzone.
  • Try and time your movements to when you’re not shooting steady shot (try to keep in range of the target and healer at all times). You’ll probably want to move all the time this happens to maximise your coverage.
  • When the dog runs into a trap, don’t stand there thinking “Hmm, i’m lagging, my shot’s aren’t working” – which I have done a few times – quickly switch targets to the iceblock to break it.
  • When targeted with “Face Rage”, feign death or deterrence. The dog will stick to you until someone hits it with a 30k+ crit. Again, more DPS down time as he is in your deadzone.

Once dead, you’ll move over to dog 2…

Phase 2: Kill Riplimb

Same as before but he won’t “Face Rage”. He will however move around a lot, quite annoyingly, so make sure you’ve kept your distance from everyone else (but in healer range). If Rapid Fire comes back up, save it for P3.

The key to Phase 2 is that Riplimb needs to die when Shannox is at 35% so be prepared to target switch.

Phase 3: Kill Shannox

He will be on 35% and you want to be close to the other DPS so you can benefit from some AoE healing but don’t get in too close as the tanks have a tendency to move the boss around and you don’t want deadzone issues.

You’ll want to use your CDs here but try and use them as soon as heroism ends (if you have it) as it’s likely to be used at the start of P3. I believe there is a greater benefit to not stack these two haste buffs.

As in the previous phases, don’t stand in stuff and it should be job done!

Loot

While Shannox is a hunter, he drops mainly plate, which makes me wonder what he’s up to. He drop a hunter helm, the Scalp of the Bandit Prince. It’s probably best to ignore the socket bonus on this and to reforge the mastery off but for most of us (myself included) it will be a nice upgrade.

He does drop 2 AGI daggers (2? WTF!) but we benefit more from an AGI 2 hander so it’s best to pass on this if someone else needs it. We’ll get our weapon some other time!

So far we’ve done this boss on both visits to Firelands and no helm for me yet 😦

Next up is Beth’tilac, so stay tuned!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2011 in 4.2, Raiding, Shannox

 

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Once more into the fire!

Well 4.2 is here and there’s lots of new stuff to do!

Over at the Warcraft Hunters Union, they have a nice post on all the hunter changes in 4.2. You can read it here: http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/2011/06/hunter-patch-4-2-changes-roundup/

The main ones that stand out are these:

  • Marksman Nerf – An approx 5% nerf, this is through a reduction on the careful aim talent, boosting crit when the target 90%+ HP (used to be 80%+).
  • Superior Set Bonuses – Our new set bonuses are far superior to T11, so there will probably be no “2T9 2T10” like we had in ICC.
  • More Pets – 10 additional “rare” pets are available, each with a unique way of taming it. These are optional though as they provide no DPS benefit.
  • New pet stance – you can now have the pet on “assist” so they will only attack things that you directly attack (This will pretty much be our default stance).
  • CC no longer pulls aggro – remember how when a Rogue Saps, he doesn’t pull but when we trap we do pull? This will happen no longer! It will make CC much easier to use but will completely de-skill it for PvE (Scatter + Trap Launcher + Trap is still the most difficult to pull off in PvP).
We’re hopefully hitting the new Firelands raid on Sunday, so stay tuned for some first impressions!

Glastonbury Festival

I mentioned it in my last post, but over the last weekend I went to Glastonbury Festival and it’s absolutely amazing! I can’t recommend it highly enough, if you’re able to get to the UK (or if you’re already here) and you like festivals, you must give this a go!

I think this sign I saw on the first day was a pretty big hint I was going to love the festival 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in 4.2, Patch Notes, Random Ramblings

 

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Nefarian 10 Man Progression

Nefarian is the final boss of 10 man normal Blackwing Decent and is the hardest boss we’ve come across in cataclysm so far (we haven’t tried Al’Akir yet so I can’t say he is the hardest).

We’ve been trying Nefarian for about 3 nights now (2 hours per night ish) and the best we’ve done is to get him down to 20%. Phase 3 seems to be our problem but we’ve got some fresh ideas to try out tomorrow, which will hopefully be enough to down him!

I’m not 100% sure what the optimal tactics are for this fight but here’s my run down as a hunter:

Phase 1:

Once Onyxia is placed by the tank, open fire! Don’t blow your CDs, just nuke until Nefarian comes down. When Nefarian lands, send your pet in on him (reduced travel time as he is in the middle of the room at this point and your pet won’t pull aggro) and continue nuking Onyxia but be aware of the adds spawning around you.

Depending on your set up, you’ll probably be one of the ones who needs to CC an add. I worked with our priests and between 2 shackles, roots and an Ice Trap, we left only a couple adds free who were kited between the DPS.

As soon as the adds run out of energy (fall down) switch to Nefarian and blow your CDs – nuke him to the ground! You should be able to get a full double rapid fire in here with the use of a readiness. Make sure you’re listening out to your healers / raid leader as you’ll want to make sure you don’t push Nefarian into the next crackle before everyone is healed up.

Other than that, wait for the call that Onyxia is about to die (you might need to help out with killing her) and then get to your appointed pillar to start phase 2.

Phase 2

As the lava comes up, hold space bar so you swim to the surface and then spam it so you jump up onto the platform. I think a reasonable aim is to get up with 3 stacks of the lava debuff and you gain stacks based on how long you are in the lava (more stacks = bigger ticks from the lava debuff). Hopefully you will be topped up on HP before this phase or the following can happen:

As you get up on the pillar, try to interrupt the add’s cast as this is the most likely one to be missed by the melee/tank. If you’re MM you’ll have a 20sec CD on silencing shot, at which point you can interrupt every other cast but SV/BM will have to ignore this. Interrupting isn’t our job here so just make sure the add dies fast and then switch to DPSing Nefarian (and watch the Rogues just stand there wishing they were hunters) but make sure you’re listening to your raid leader to manage Nefarian’s health as you don’t want another uncalled for crackle.

Phase 3

Keep out of the fire and nuke Nefarian. If you used your CDs correctly in P1, they should be off CD now so you can use them again 🙂 I’m not sure about SV/BM but as MM you’ll more than likely get heroism around this point, try not to stack it with your CDs. Hopefully This will kill Nef!

Tip

Remember that other aspect we have, Aspect of the Wild, well on Nefarian it actually comes in use! Make sure you have it activated for all of the Electrocutes, as it will resist 10k+ damage per character that is within 30 yards of you. This doesn’t stack with the Shaman’s Nature resist but there is no guarantee that their will be a shaman or that their totem will be in range. Just make sure you swap back to Aspect of the Dragon Hawk straight after crackle as you don’t want to be losing DPS, no sir!

During Phase 1, if you’re trying to get the attention of an add, be careful what you hit him with. If you hit him with Chimera, Aimed or Steadyshot, you’ll have a chance of putting a DoT on them and making them untrappable. The odds of this happening are raised they will more than likely be above 80% HP and in Careful Aim range. I would recommend just using Arcane Shot and Distracting shot to get this job done – it should be enough if they aren’t being hit by a tank!

When on a pillar in Phase 2, don’t have your pet attack the add, as he’ll stand in the lava to do so (and will die). It’s a DPS loss but with the new manual positioning ability in cataclysm, stick him/her on “passive” and move him to the middle of the platform. You’ll need his DPS more in P3 and you don’t want to wait around casting “raise pet”. If he does die in P2, use the transition to P3 to cast that ability, it might just fit in.

I’ll give an update once we get him down if I can refine the hunter strat anymore (our upcoming new ideas will involve trapping adds on the edge of the arena or in the centre) but until then, wish us luck……hic!

Our best attempt so far (20% wipe)

A 25% wipe on the following day

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Nefarian, Raiding

 

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I spoke too soon! (4.2 hunter update)

One of the dangers of commenting on data-mined patch notes is that they can be incomplete.

Fresh from MMO-Champion are some more patch notes, which still include the careful aim nerf but also includes a buff to Marksman’s mastery. There’s also a buff to Survival Hunters as Black Arrows gets a bit of a buff (as it was overly nerfed before).

So what does this mean? It means Marksmen Hunters will benefit more from Mastery (often our worst secondary stat) than we currently do. I’m not sure how this compares to the nerf to Careful Aim but hopefully it’ll work out at least the same as where we are today. I guess if the buff balances out the nerf, then you could argue it’s better as it will be more useful against things that don’t spend a lot of time over 80%.

*Update* According to WHU this is just an update to the tooltip to a mastery change made in 4.0.6, so unfortunately that means there is no buff to offset MM’s nerf on Careful Aim.

SV got a big nerf to Explosive Shot and Black Arrow a few months ago, this should go some way to fixing that but again, will have to wait and see.

One thing is for sure, the new tier bonuses are a lot better in T12 than T11, so we could see a nice little benefit there too (for those than can get it!)

NN……………….hic!

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in 4.2, Patch Notes

 

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A new home

January 31st, 2010, do you remember that date? No, neither do I…that was the date of my last blog post!

Nearly a year and a half ago,  I took a break from blogging as I didn’t really have time for it but I quite fancy getting back into it a little so I thought why the heck not!

As you can probably tell from the picture, quite a lot has changed, Valilor’s own personal Cataclysm! I’m still the GM of AMOV and DPSing my way through raid boss after raid boss but what’s all this hair I hear you ask? Well, it turns out I’ve forsaken by shoulder-rolling Night Elf form and have become a Worgen! Quite how this has happened I’ll leave it to you guys to make up some Lore (Post below!) but I’m currently enjoying the 1% extra crit and speed boost through Dark Flight more than the….erm….yeah nothing from a Night Elf.

Another big change is this blog itself. I though a fresh start would be good and I’ve moved to Word Press, which appears to be what everyone else is using these days. You can still access my old blog, it’s good to reminisce sometimes 🙂

Stay posted for more blog updates as I try to get my head around this site, I’ll figure it a better place to post this but also feel free to follow me on Twitter @valilor!

Cheers…………hic!

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Random Ramblings

 

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