I’ve decided to take a break from crunching numbers in the beta and do a little bit of leveling. But of course I hate questing, even when the quests aren’t buggy, so I decided I’d head out and do some grinding. This also has the advantage of getting a better feel for the leveling feel of the specs. I have to say that, at least from the perspective of leveling, I have never had so much fun grinding mobs as a hunter.
I currently have BM and MM set up and was switching off between them. Both are basically just about equally good at the AoE grinding game, but I’m having huge fun with BM and for the way I’m playing, BM has a slight advantage.
The first and hugest aspect of AoE grinding is that Spirit Bond is amazing. It went from being a pointless talent to being a truly meaningful chunk of self-healing. I combine this with A Murder of Crows on mobs under 20% health to have a flock of crows around me at all times and then the occasional multi-shot to trigger my pet’s Beast Cleave and we are an AoE machine.
In order to really benefit from A Murder of Crows I have to pretty much fight in melee range. If I’m off at normal hunter range the crows kill their almost dead target (I trigger it only when a mob is under 20% health so that the cooldown resets) the crows come back to me. They seem to only join in the fight if I’m almost in melee of the new target (or if crows are still appearing — those ones seem to be more aggressive in picking targets). Thus the process goes something like this:
- Find areas with high mob concentrations
- Repeatedly shoot all mobs in range so that they all come in to attack me
- Drop the newly badass Snake Trap and an Explosive Trap
- Hit Mend Pet for safety sake
- During this time most of the mobs are attacking me
- Multi-Shot to activate Beast Cleave
- Tap a mob down to 20% and hit A Murder of Crows
- Cobra Shot to restore focus
- More Murder of Crows
- Look at all the pretty numbers flowing past
- Find more mobs
The delightful thing about this practice is that more often than not mobs are attacking me left and right. Eventually my beast cleaving pet picks up most of them. But due to the power of Spirit Bond I am being constantly healed up and never have to worry about health. If I happen to get more than 5 mobs hitting me for a while, my health might go below 75% health, in which case I can always Disengage for a quick extra heal with Exhilaration.
It’s huge fun.
Don’t get me wrong, questing is typically the most efficient way to level and you don’t need to do this kind of grinding that often, but it’s awesome fun to be able to do so. The extra self-heals will also be hugely beneficial when you have those pesky group quests that, being a hunter, you’re going to want to just solo yourself anyway.
I have to imagine that SV with Serpent Spread is likely to be even more effective at this, though with more AoE from Serpent Spread rather than Beast Cleave, you’ll have more mobs attacking you, which means you might need to Disengage every now and then for the Exhilaration heal.
Here’s a video of me playing around with masses of mobs: