Trap Dance

I realise my last few posts have sounded a bit maudlin, but lest you think that I'm feeling entirely disillusioned with Classic BC, I'd like to talk about something that's been exactly as much fun as I remembered, if not more so: doing heroics as a hunter.

At the time of writing this I've unlocked access to heroics for three of the five dungeon factions and completed five heroic runs so far: Ramparts times two, and one each of Slave Pens, Shattered Halls and Black Morass. All of them have been successful and all of them have been highly enjoyable.

I'm not someone who needs everything to be challenging for it to be fun, but Burning Crusade heroics did offer a challenge that I used to find very enjoyable back in the day. It's very simple really: Everything hits so hard that you can't just tank everything, you have to use some sort of crowd control, at least at this stage in the game (it'll probably be different once everyone's kitted out in tier six gear). And I love being one of the people to provide it.

Hunter traps were never the most popular form of CC in Classic, and for good reason. They are very versatile in the sense that unlike things like sheep, shackle etc. they aren't limited to a specific mob type, but also unlike any other form of CC, they can't just be cast on the target from range - instead you need to manoeuvre the enemy into the trap, which can be challenging with ranged attackers in particular. Traps also have a medium-length cooldown that is longer than the actual trap duration, meaning that you can't just keep re-applying them seamlessly. In OG Classic, traps could also only be placed out of combat, which meant that if you wanted to re-trap a mob after combat had started, you needed to feign death, hope it wasn't resisted and be really quick with laying down that new trap (or have a macro). It was definitely awkward.

In Burning Crusade however, traps can now be placed in combat as well, making chain-trapping much easier, and Marksmanship spec has also been given the talented ability Silencing Shot, which makes it possible to move caster mobs around even when there isn't a convenient corner around which to break line of sight. I decided to defy the Beast Mastery meta in order to have access to this utility as well as to keep my beloved Scatter Shot, and in short, I've been having a blast!

I just enjoy that feeling of being able to handle a dangerous mob by myself, controlling and perhaps even slowly killing it without ever letting it touch me. I don't think it's really difficult given the amount of tools available to me, but there's still some skill involved when it comes to knowing when and where to place your traps to make sure the cooldown is up again at the right time and you don't end up with the wrong mob accidentally triggering the trap, or with a whack to the face if the trap gets resisted or breaks early. Even with the small number of heroics that I've done, I've had several people express admiration for the ease and confidence with which I keep my CC target under control for however long is required.

But even when I'm not being asked to CC anything, I find useful things to do, such as looking after my healer. It's something a hunter friend made me appreciate back in Vanilla when I was the one doing the healing and which I've since always strived to emulate when playing a hunter myself. Being a ranged dps, it's natural for you to hang back with the healer, and it means that you can serve as the first line of defense if a mob breaks loose and gets attracted by healing aggro. A quick Scatter Shot or trap dropped in front of the healer (even if you weren't meant to CC that mob) can buy valuable seconds to give the tank time to get the situation back under control and makes your healer feel loved and cared for. (Plus it could make the difference between survival and a wipe!) It's just something I really enjoy.

Finally, let's not forget that Burning Crusade also gave hunters Misdirection, aka the ability to transfer the threat of three attacks to someone else every two minutes, which is a great way of helping the tank establish a threat lead on a boss, or when combined with multi-shot on trash, can help non-paladin tanks with initial AoE aggro.

Basically hunters don't just do good dps in BC, but they are a great utility class in dungeons, particularly heroics, and I'm finding that to be even more fun than I remembered. Now if only I can get those last two attunements done...

1 comment:

  1. I really feel that BC was where old-school Hunters shined the brightest. Trapping was one of those things, as was using pets as auxiliary tanks.

    Maybe you remember one of the old blogs, "Big Red Kitty". Daniel (the blogger) was really inspiring, posting at one point how he used his tiger (Hobbes) to off-tank in the Moroes fight. That right there inspired me, and set the bar for my Kara huntering days. I'm proud to say that I, too, was able to off-tank one of the adds in the Moroes fight.

    Though I have to admit that I also managed to pull the whole room, but we'll leave that buried in the back yard with the snails :D

    But, yeah, it was a great time to be a BM hunter. We could offer, if we played our cards right, a lot of utility to the team, and it felt great to be more useful than just another DPS.