Hunter basics: Kiting (thoughts)

This is a post examining how Blizzard could really re-work the early hunter levels to stop some bad habits from forming, and why this is only necessary for the hunter class. I'm also going to be posting a little guide on early level, basic kiting for anyone who might be making a new hunter...such as, oh, many people in SAN? :D

Recently I talked about making a baby dwarf hunter as part of SAN. Leveling those first 10 levels without a pet has been interesting, and has really reminded me how tough it is to not fall into LOL MELEE HUNTARD habits. It's also made me ponder the melee hunter, and how poorly designed the early levels are for teaching hunters how to play their class properly.

Hunters are a special case. Every other class can only get away with noob play habits for so long. You're a mage wanding everything? Sooner or later monsters will just murder you and you will have to adapt or die. Warrior just autoattacking? Same deal, sooner or later you'll have to start using your abilities.

But a hunter who melees because hey, that's how he leveled from 1-10...CAN work. The reason, of course, is our pet. Our lovely beast is a double-edged sword, and is the main reason we see so many blissfully ignorant hunters later on, gleefully smashing away next to the tank.

One of my real-life friends who played for a short time loved his Tauren hunter because he could dual-wield daggers and stab things ferociously. And the worst part was, despite me trying to teach him the errors of his ways...there was no need for him to change, because his way WORKED. His pet held aggro, he merrily stabbed away and things died. There was no reason to follow my advice or change his playstyle.

There's a number of ways Blizzard could fix this. The best method would be to give hunters pets immediately (like how rogues get dual wield automatically now), and a few class-specific quests where we learn about pet controls and aggro. It might be a little complicated for beginners though - a tough dilemma. They could also even make the starting pet a unique race-specific skin, a little reward for a hunter who sticks with his pet his whole career. Of course, this would then lead into "X race is better because it starts with X pet" - so why not have it be like Pokemon, where you choose one of three options? Only instead of Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle you choose a Cunning, Ferocity or Tenacity pet. For example, orcs could choose between a Serpent, Raptor and Scorpid.

Blizzard could also discourage hunters from meleeing and really emphasize how we should be shooting things from a distance. Make us take double damage in melee. Don't give us a sword or an axe. Give us Disengage early to help us escape melee and get back to shooting, so that meleeing becomes a last resort.

Or, Blizzard could teach us a skill that will be invaluable for the rest of the game - kiting. Kiting is not a skill naturally developed. Most people only learn how to kite after seeing others do it, being shown personally in-game, or by reading blogs/guides (and let's face it, most new players aren't reading WoW blogs yet.)

Blizzard should implement a mentor NPC who we follow around to teach us how to kite. A few minutes of watching them kite boars around should be enough that a new hunter would pick up the basics of how kiting works. Even if they aren't proficient enough with the controls to actually do it yet, they would understand the concept and why it works.

Anyways, enough babble. Onto the kiting guide!

(edit: What was I thinking? This is a freaking book! It was way too long...I've split this post into two sections, the above thoughts on kiting/hunter bad habits, and the actual kiting guide which I'll post in a new post tomorrow.)

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    Oh, I don't know, Rades. Was it THAT long? Really? I think you have more brevity than I do, because one of my posts is probably four times as long as this.

    I look forward to the kiting guide! I may sometime roll a hunter again, and when I do I'll need guidance.

    March 29, 2010 at 5:28 PM

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    Haha, yeah in retrospect it wasn't *that* long (not like some of the thesis papers Tam writes) but it was way longer than I had anticipated!

    I figured I'd split them into two parts anyways since they're essentially two completely different analyzing early hunter levels - which probably only other hunters would care about ;) - and some actual, hopefully-helpful advice for new hunters. :D

    March 29, 2010 at 6:41 PM

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    I was levelling a lowbie hunter the other day in Mulgore and ended up grouping with a druid who had similar quests. He kept complaining that I was "running away like a little girl" rather than meleeing the mobs directly.

    Now he seemed to have played the game a few times before (he knew where all the quest mobs were), but when I explained kiting to him, he had no idea what I was talking about. I really don't think he'd come across the concept.

    March 30, 2010 at 2:33 AM