Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Who's the noob?

One of my frustrations as a hunter is that we are always assumed to be dumb and stupid even when they don't think we're dumb and stupid. Let me say that again, they think we are dumb and stupid even when they say they think we aren't dumb and stupid. How do they do that?

By ignoring the fact that our traps can do lots of lovely, useful things.

A paladin tank that Sküld and I once regularly quested with, for instance, does not respect hunter trapping at all as a means of crowd control until we basically forced him not to ignore it. He would pull 4 or 5 mobs onto himself and severly tax Sküld's healing prowess instead of at least trapping one. Between an experienced trapper and a newly dinged level 70 mage, for instance, he will insist that the only crowd control allowable is the polymorph.

Sometimes, I'd purposely multi-shot, pulling the mobs toward me and one on to a trap, swoon, and let the others go back to the tank... and try to chain trap that mob away from the little dwarf who does all in his power to break it. He says that CC means Constant Consecration and that's it. Sküld eventually learned to despise him when he became a follower of Leeroy Jenkins.

But what took the cake for me was an ignorant elemental shaman we used to regularly quest with also. We once found ourselves deep in the bowels of the Steamvault of Coilfang Reservoir. My younger druid sister Dwarrowdelf was the healer, one paladin of the protection order, and then the shaman, another hunter and I as the main damage dealers. This group was already composed of veterans, and our armor and weapons were those won from the more dangerous places in Outland or bestowed by G'eras the Naaru, and we assumed that this little quest for Zhareem will be a case of getting in, doing our jobs, and getting out.

Except that the shaman was, on principle, opposed to us using any traps whatsoever. "Trapping are for the undergeared," he quipped. We had two hunters who can trap and a druid with the power to envelop antagonists in a whildwind—we need not have feared wandering squads of 5 mobs. The hunters that we had, furthermore, was a marksman and the other talented in survival. Therefore we collectively had better traps that lasted longer, and a way to pull spellcasters onto these traps.

Instead, he insisted that the best way to do this is for him to "tank" the spellcasters from afar while we just concentrated on killing the ones we've marked. Lucky for us that Alliance had captured the Twin Spire Ruins that day, because "caster tanking" was not working—he would fall too quickly, leaving the spellcaster free to snipe at Dwarrow. Grudgingly, he allowed us to trap, implying that if we are so unskilled as to need traps, he's just going to let us do it.

Unfortunately, he was one of those temperamental people who makes sure that, if his plan didn't work, he'd make sure our "plan" didn't succeed either. I saw him purposely break the frozen spellcasters out of their traps several times, leaving even more loose with our traps still not properly cooled down to be laid a consecutive time. Purposely, I maintain, because (as any hunter worth her salt knows) we were pulling away from where the main action was happening and they were still getting hit. He would then go on to say "See, we're worse off. Let's just do it my way now. I'm doing more damage than any of you..." (true) "... and yet you don't trust me!"

We eventually went back to his way, but still laying our traps around for just in case we "accidentally" become too threatening, and make sure we chain-trap the melee fighters behind his back while he was engaging in a spellcaster duel (his vaunted "caster tanking"). As soon as we killed the Warlord, he immediately left our fellowship and triggered his hearthstone. I have not seen him since. To this day, I think, he believes that if we weren't stubborn and eschewed trapping altogether, then we wouldn't have been haunted by the Spirit Healer so much.

I can't blame them, really. That is, I can't blame them all the time. Because even if we can do lots of useful things with our traps (not just crowd-control) since we are not called to use it often when we party up to tackle a dungeon we have no practice. When I was levelling up in my late 30's, I watched a vision of a hunter kiting one mob from a group of 3 by using the mechanics of a freezing trap. That day I learned that traps were not mere gimmicks but important tools, and I quested all the way to the 58th level with that skill, mostly when I was questing solo.

But without much practice after that, or not much practice in group situations, the one or two times we are asked to trap (usually to freeze a mob) it doesn't go as smoothly as a mage who already has their polymorphing technique already rehearsed to boredom. But, really, when some people are more than happy to see a hunter fail, and actively try to make them fail, how can one fight that? And just to maintain the huntard stereotype they cherish in their heads, too?

Because of that, I made it a point to practice chain-trapping and theorycrafting the various situations when my other traps are useful. I don't want to give them the satisfaction of saying "See, hunter traps are for noobs."