Warcraft Hunters Union A gathering place for WoW hunters who have paid their dues 2017-09-17T17:50:03Z http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Arth <![CDATA[World of Warcraft Hunter Resource List]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=12568 2017-09-17T17:50:03Z 2017-01-17T23:33:27Z

Hello, and welcome to the Warcraft Hunter’s Union (WHU)!  This site is no longer being updated (the site was being sporadically updated by friends of the WHU, but they have since stopped posting). You can read Frostheim retirement post and Arth’s retirement post. You can still join the WHU Facebook Group, or follow Frostheim on Twitter or on Google+, and the WHU Guild is still active and kicking.

If you’re a long-time reader of the WHU, this is the final article that will appear on the site. The website will continue to exist indefinitely, though, and I’d encourage you to explore the History of the WHU, and to use the resources below to continue to be an excellent, dues-paying hunter.

What follows is a list of alternate hunter resources where you can get current hunter info.

Great Hunter Blogs

  • The Brewhall – Darkbrew is a longtime blogger and podcaster whose site is both informative and entertaining. You can also follow him on Twitter.
  • Hunter DPS – Kheldul is a knowledgeable and intelligent raiding hunter whose opinions and advice are sure to improve your game.
  • Eyes of the Beast – A new hunter blog by Bendak, the most recent Scattered Shots columnist. He has a slick site look and informative writing style.
  • Hunters Rhok – A solid, long-running blog (it began in 2008) by hunter Phyllixia.
  • Thrill of the Wild – A new, frequently-updated blog by hunter Delirium.
  • The Grumpy Elf – I haven’t followed this blog personally, but it comes recommended by BigRedKitty, the “Godfather” of hunter bloggers.
  • Scattered Shots – This is the Hunter column over on WoW Insider. Currently it is vacant due to some cutbacks at WoW Insider. But this blog has had a long line of accomplished hunters write under the “Scattered Shots” banner, including the creator of the WHU, Frostheim.

Other Hunter Resources

  • Female Dwarf – Zeherah is a staple of the hunter community and an amazing theorycrafter. Her online spreadsheet for maximizing your character’s dps is an incredible tool.
  • Ask Mr. Robot – Similar to Female Dwarf, but slightly larger in scope to include other classes, Ask Mr. Robot helps you maximize your character’s dps by managing spec, gear, gems, and other minutia that goes into your character.
  • Petopia – THE place to go for all things pet-related, Petopia will help to track down rare tames, view animal skins, and generally anything you’d ever want to know about pets in WoW.
  • WoW Biology 101 – A decidedly different and cool approach to pets in WoW, in-game hunter Banya is a real-life zoologist, and uses her knowledge to provide an unparalleled glimpse into WoW through the eyes of a pet-lover. Here you can learn about WoW animals, their real-life counterparts, enriching both your understanding and appreciation of the game and the world around you. It should also be noted that Banya runs a site called Art and Rhinos that has all sorts of fun stuff on it!
  • Elitist Jerks Forums – A small but dedicated community of hunter trying to get the most out of their class. I often visit this site to check in on the latest achievements in hunter soloing and tanking, or to dig into the details of our dps and PvP viability.
  • Warcraft Hunter’s Union Facebook Group – With about 700 members, this remains a great hunter-specific place to chat and ask questions. It’s a closed group, so you’ll have to request admittance (this is to deter advertisement spammers)
  • WHU Guild – An all-dwarven-hunter guild on the Icecrown server, though the website that spawned it is no longer being updated, the guild remains open and active.

Updated Hunter Guides

Podcasts

Since the Hunting Party Podcast has ended, there’s a new hunter podcast on the block called Cloak & Quiver. Run by hunter @SolarFlair, it has had a promising start. You can download it on iTunes, add it to your RSS Feed, or follow his Youtube channel for weekly installments.

Outside of that, I don’t have a particular favorite podcast, but below is a small list of several prominent WoW podcasts. If you’d like to expand your search, WoW Wiki has a massive list of every WoW podcast under the sun to choose from.

Individual Hunters

  • RogerBrown – A hunter in the guild Method, a guild that boasts several world-first PvE kills. Roger is an excellent source of information about the highest levels of raiding. You can follow him via his live raiding video feed, or through Method’s website.
  • Durendil – A soloing hunter with a TON of world-first kills under his belt, Durendil is a great place to start when researching the world of hunter soloing challenges. He also seems to post regularly on Elitist Jerks, chronicling his endeavors, and has a blog that compiles his kills.
  • Michele Morrow – Michele is a longtime friend of the WHU, and a raid leader and hunter. But she’s also an accomplished actress, blogger, podcaster, and gamer. There are several ways to follow her. The easiest is probably her Twitter account and Facebook page. She is also currently the host for BiteSize TV’s new nerd variety show on Hollywood Blvd called “Chaotic Awesome,” writer for Hello Giggles and the newest addition to SyFy’s hit series “Heroes of Cosplay”. She’s also currently producing a wonderful WoW documentary with Nerdist Industries and Legendary Pictures.

 

General WoW Information

  • MMO Champion – A frequently-updated news site, this is probably one of the most frequented WoW websites on the internet.
  • Wowhead – The most comprehensive catalog of in-game items, quests, NPCs, maps, and other information.
  • Icy Veins – Also a general news site with a lot of other resources, but Icy Veins is also known for its excellent boss guides for PvE hunters.
  • World of Wargraphs – This site collects meta-data on player trends in both PvE and PvP, as well as other aspects of the game like professions, races, and levels. An excellent source of information to gauge general trends in the player base.
  • Warcraft Logs – This is one of the most popular log sites on the web currently. Using this tool, you can analyze your own dps, the dps of others, or track large amounts of data to see which classes are performing well on specific encounters.
  • WoW Insider – Also useful for news and views, WoW Insider boasts an excellent collection of ongoing blogs for each class.
  • FatbossTV – In Mists of Pandaria, this became my go-to place for video strategies on bosses (along with Icy Veins for written strats). In the past I’ve used Tankspot, but their updates were much less timely. That may have changed since I last checked.

Comprehensive as this is in its coverage, I’m sure there’s some great stuff that I missed. Feel free to recommend blogs, sites, or individuals that I should add. Otherwise, best of luck to you in WoW!

 

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Frostheim https://plus.google.com/103371099107225542390 <![CDATA[How to Start a WoW Blog 4: Monetizing Your Blog]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13464 2017-01-17T23:31:46Z 2017-01-17T23:21:18Z How to start a WoW blog

This series of posts was published on WoW Hunters Hall back in 2011. I’m transferring them over here since WHH no longer exists. Information may be dated!

Okay, we’ve talked about the technical details of starting your WoW blog, we’ve given some advice on how to keep up with it and make sure it doesn’t suck, and last time we went over the various ways to promote your blog to get readers. Now we’re going to talk about how to monetize your blog.

The theory here is that you spend hours every week slaving over your blog, doing research and presenting useful information and responding to comments and emails and helping thousands of players improve their game, or at the very least entertaining them for a portion of their day. It is perfectly reasonable to want to get something in exchange for all of that work.

Unfortunately, you won’t.

You Will Not Make Much Money Blogging About WoW

The crappy truth is that there is not much money to be made blogging about WoW. You will not be able to quit your day job. You will not be able to pay your rent. You will not be able to buy a new computer. If your blog becomes popular you can, however, make about enough to pay your hosting bill and pay for your WoW subscription.

Certainly there are exceptions, but those exceptions aren’t some guy writing a WoW blog — they are entire businesses. WoW Insider makes enough from ad revenue to have a staff of paid writers, for example (and even then, none of those writers are doing this as their day job, it’s just a side gig for people who love WoW). MMO-Champion and Wowhead are positively rolling in the dough. But I’m not aware of any single WoW blog that makes significant money, unless that blog is a part of a much larger business.

The sad part of it is that this is specific to the MMO industry. If you blogged about gardening, or computers, or cooking you would make ten to one hundred times as much for the same level of popularity. So if you’re in it for the money, or expect to make money blogging, find a different topic fast.

I am absolutely trying to crush your expectations as harshly as possible. I am doing this because I’m right.

Warcraft Hunters Union is probably the most popular single class blog in WoW, and if not it’s certainly in the top few. It pays for WoW and its hosting and a nice chunk on the side, but it doesn’t pay my rent. You would need to have 10 times the traffic of the WHU at least before you’re starting to pay the bills with your blog.

Monetization Options

Now that our expectations are at a reasonable level, let’s discuss what you can do to try to squeeze out those dozens of dollars that you can make. I’m going to briefly go over the standard ways to monetize a blog with some comments on which work best. I’m going to do my best to write this from a moral vacuum — I’m just going to lay out the blog monetization options and let you decide which you feel ethically comfortable with.

  • Ads: putting ads on the side or top of your blog is probably the easiest way to monetize it. You do this by signing up for Google Adsense. Google puts the ads in and does a pretty good job of targeting the best ads for your audience. The more traffic your blog gets, the better the ads it gets. The downside is that you will end up with gold selling ads, and there’s nothing effective you can do to block them. Google ads are actually one of the most effective routes of monetization that I’ve found — be sure to use one of their recommended most popular ad sizes to ensure that you get better ads. Also don’t go crazy with the ads. If you have more than 3 on your site, Google will punish you. But even 3 looks really spammy. Personally I’d put the ad ceiling at two ads on a page max.
  • Donate Button: a classic in the WoW world is the donate button, which you can set up through PayPal. Believe it or not, relying on your loyal readers to chip in ten bucks now and then to keep the content coming is the single worst monetization I’ve seen. Incredibly few people will donate; in general your readers will hold you to an incredibly high standard, always want more, and expect it all for free. I’m not saying this is bad, it’s just the way it is in the MMO world. It’s worth noting that the donation model works better if you have periodic campaigns (I’m raising XX dollars for a new computer). You have to ride a fine line of reminding people to donate, but not doing it so often that you sound like your constantly begging.
  • Affiliates: the concept behind an affiliate is that you’re promoting someone else’s product. You get a special link code so that whenever anyone goes to that site, it flags you as the one who sent them. Then if they buy something, you get a percentage of the sale. Affiliate commissions for real products range somewhere around 5%. Affiliate commissions for PDF / video downloads tend to range from 30% to 50%. Unlike ads, you only get paid for sales, not for traffic. The danger with affiliates is that most of the affiliate content through places like Clickbank are total garbage or rehashed content that is already available for free. These are typically in the form of guides on making gold or playing the AH or leveling guides. If you find one that you feel comfortable putting your name behind, go for it. But the moment you’re an affiliate your recommendation is suddenly suspicious to even the most loyal readers. The common method of pushing WoW-related affiliate stuff is by doing a review, often coupled with some kind of “promotion” or discount. You can make good money after pushing a new affiliate product, though it comes mostly as an upfront burst. Gold sellers have affiliate programs too, I’m pretty sure, if you’re really into selling your soul. [So much for writing from a moral vaccuum!]
  • Sponsors: in theory you can get some money by having a sponsor. The idea here is that you get some company to “sponsor” you for a monthly fee in exchange for you talking about that company positively, and including a banner of some sort on your site. I can’t say how profitable this is — I’ve had a few companies try to get this kind of arrangement with the WHU, and they always offer far less than the Google ads bring in. The Hunting Party Podcast has a sponsor, but I don’t know if we even get any money from that at all. But if you have an in with some giant company willing to put up some actual cash, go for it and let me know how it works!
  • Direct Advertising: similar to Google Ads, but here a company approaches you directly about paying a monthly fee for an ad on your site. In general, they all pay far less than Google Ads and I’ve never found it worth it. After all, those advertisers can target your site through Google Ads anyway — it’s only worth going direct to you if they can pay less for doing it that way. It’s worth noting that if you get at all popular, gold sellers will approach you about this fairly often — I’ve never actually asked what they pay, so I can’t say if that’s a good deal or not.
  • Blackhat Whore: I’m not really sure what else to call this. In the world of SEO, sites can rank better if they have a lot of links pointing to them. Some agencies act as brokers, paying you to put links on your blogroll to their client sites. This technique of buying & selling links is part of  Blackhat SEO and is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and could theoretically get your site banned (though the odds of that are small). The sites that are most likely to want to pay for a blogroll from you are online gambling sites, though any highly competitive niche could be interested. They’ll pay you a chunk of cash — $100 to $250 — for putting the link on your blogroll for a year. A couple of these links could easily net you far more than any other monetization methods combined. You can look for these agencies, or if your blog becomes popular they could find you. In general your site needs to be at least pagerank 3 or 4 before they’ll be interested. I figure whenever I hang up my blogging hat I’ll quickly sell out and get as many of these up as I can. [Update: clearly I could not bring myself to do this]
  • Subscription Model: one of the most profitable models for monetizing a blog is the subscription model. In this model you have your blog divided into a front-end promotional free content section, where you update regularly and give away occasional useful bits of information. Then you have a members area that’s available to people for a small monthly membership fee. This members area usually has a forum where users get personal attention from you, and has a bunch more information that isn’t available to the public, often including PDF downloads. While this is a profitable model in the wider world of the internet, I highly doubt it would work for a WoW blog — there’s just too much information available for free out there, there’s no reason to pay you for your time. Not to mention gamers are inherently cheap when it comes to game knowledge, as we’ve discussed earlier.
How to Start a WoW Blog Series
Part 1: Nuts & Bolts Part 2: Blogging Advice Part 3: Promoting Your Blog Part 4: Monetizing Your Blog
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Frostheim https://plus.google.com/103371099107225542390 <![CDATA[How to Start a WoW Blog 3: Promoting Your Blog]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13462 2017-01-17T23:32:53Z 2017-01-17T23:21:16Z How to start a WoW blog

This series of posts was published on WoW Hunters Hall back in 2011. I’m transferring them over here since WHH no longer exists. Information may be dated!

Now that we’ve covered the nuts and bolts about how to set up a blog, and Frostheim’s advice on how to make a blog that doesn’t suck, we’ll get into promoting your blog.

After all, what good is spending all that time and work writing regularly if there’s no one to read it?

Step 1: Blog

I need to stress that the very first thing you need to do is blog. I know this sounds obvious, but about half the emails I get from people asking for a link to their blog have published only one or two posts total. Don’t be that person.

You need to build up at least a small backlog of posts before you go trying to recruit readers. When a new reader comes to your blog, they need to be able to poke around a little bit and see what else you’ve written and get a feel for your blog. Not to mention that the backlog demonstrates that this isn’t your first day on the job — after all, most blogs never get past those first few posts.

I recommend having at least a dozen posts under your belt and live on your site before you start trying to promote your blog. Try to make sure that you have a good representation of articles up too — if you have a dozen tiny posts about how you’re starting a WoW blog and why… well, people won’t care. But that doesn’t mean that every one of your posts has to be some massive manifesto on mechanics either. The idea here is to have a sampling of all the kinds of things that you’re going to talk about. This way visitors are more likely to see something that they’ll like, and they’ll have a better idea of what your blog is about.

If people follow a link to a blog and see that there’s almost no content there, they’re less likely to come back, and more likely to ignore links to that site in the future.

Leverage Friends

One of the first things that you can do, even during that first dozen post period, is to tell your friends and guildmates about your blog. Encourage them to check it out and blatantly ask them to comment on the posts. Some will, most won’t, and just keep badgering them about it.

Having even just a few comments on your posts helps make your blog feel lived in, and makes it a little more likely that other people will comment.

A note on comments: it’s worth noting that a teeny tiny fraction of your readers will comment on your posts. The WHU, for reference, gets around 20,000 visits on an average day, and posts average around 30 comments. In fact, the number of comments on blogs across the internet is in steep decline. It used to be that commenting was a common way of interacting with information and authors; however, these days social media (facbook Likes, Twitter tweets) is the more common way of interacting with information. This is also why having those social icons at the bottom of your posts is so vital.

The Alpha Gamer

When I worked in the table-top game industry, there was a lot of talk (and great market research, believe it or not) about the Alpha Gamer. These are the small number of uber gamers who tend to proselytize about the stuff they like, and they are disproportionately responsible for directing people to your product (or in this case, your site).

The idea is that you need to promote your site so that people can find it in the first place. But the vast majority of the people who find it will read it, enjoy it, and perhaps come back to read more. But the Alpha Gamers will read it, enjoy it, and feel the desire to share it with others. They’ll put up a link on their guild forums; they’ll Tweet about it; they’ll discuss it on other WoW forums; they’ll recommend it to other WoW players in-game. They may even comment!

Each of them may be responsible for a handful more people visiting, or even dozens more. But in the end the impact of the Alpha Gamers is far greater than any other kind of promotion: and of course the only way to get the Alpha Gamers to promote your stuff is to write good stuff that captures their interest.

You still need to promote your site so that more and more Alpha Gamers can find it, but keep in mind that a huge amount of a successful site’s traffic really comes from recommendations from these Alpha Gamers.

In a way, your promotion efforts are really targeted at the Alpha Gamer — or at creating more Alpha Gamers.

Hunters Only: WHH

[Update: of course WHH no longer exists, which is why this article is living over here now.]

If you’re a hunter and writing a hunter WoW blog, then you’re life is easy. Just submit your site to the WoW Hunters Hall and get your hunter-related articles highlighted here. You have instant access to thousands of hunters who check here on a daily basis for hunter-related news.

This instantly plugs you in to the hunter community and gets you eyes on your content and the jump-start you need. From there it’s up to you to write stuff that enough hunters care about to share.

You can still pursue other the other ways to promote your blog that we’ll discuss below, and by doing so you’ll increase the visibility of your blog; however, with the WHH alone you are going to get far more visibility than over 90% of the WoW blogs out there. It’s good to be a hunter.

Beg for Links

The standard method of promoting a WoW blog is begging for links. In this method you email other sites and ask them to include a link to your blog. I think this is a very viable and useful way to spread awareness of your site, though I never did this for the WHU. On the other hand I did beg for WHH links.

A couple key tips here is to write a short, polite request. Don’t use a standard form, be sure to demonstrate that you’re actually familiar with their site (beyond just knowing the name). Write intelligibly. I can’t tell you how many requests I get that go like this: “Hi ur blog is graet im a big fan i just started my own blog and could u link to it?”

I can tell you when I read that, my first thought is that the blog must be godawful. Don’t be that person. Here are the standard ways to beg for links:

  • Ask for a Blogroll Link: You see a site that has a blogroll — a list of other WoW sites — and you email and politely ask to be included in that list. General do this only when you’re site is logically connected to that site — such as you’re writing about the same class. Just search for blogs for your topic (and I hope you already know of a bunch if you’re blogging yourself) and then look at their blogrolls for a bunch more ideas.
  • Promote Content: you write an article that you think is really good an would be very interesting to readers of that blog (and doesn’t step on their toes — don’t send your SV rotation article to a site that already has their own). Instead of asking for a blogroll, you’re asking them to mention this awesome article that you wrote. Note that 99.99% of articles you write are not that awesome. Really try to have either something incredibly funny or groundbreaking research/theorycrafting, or some insights that are considerably unique.
  • WoW Insider: WoW Insider occasionally posts roundups of interesting content across the web. Again, for those stellar pieces submitting to WoW Insider can get you a metric crapton of traffic, and honestly the standards are a bit lower here than for getting another similar blog to highlight your content (after all, no matter how big you are, you are not competition to them). You can email the suggestion to WoW Insider Here, and they have a post on how to submit a post to them here. [Update: of course WoW Insider no longer exists…]
  • WoW Fansite: World of Warcraft has an official fansite program. Your blog will not make the list. No chance. I’m not kidding, they do not add sites to their fansite program.

Guest Appearances

A standard method for promoting sites across the web is guest blogging. This is where you contact another blog and offer to write a guest article. Some bloggers will never want another voice on their blog. Others will love having a day off from blogging. It never hurts to ask.

If you do guest blog, be sure you pitch the idea that you’ll blog about — don’t just ask to guest blog, instead say “Hey, I’d like write an article about this for you as a guest blog.” Be sure when you’re asking that it’s clear that you’ll get a link back to your blog (typically in the form of a byline “This is a guest post by XXX who writes for www.blah.com”). Also note that you will not be able to post this article on your site — if you’re writing an article for someone else, it’s for them, not you. You can of course mention on your blog that you have a guest blog and quote the intro paragraph or two.

Within the WoW world we also have podcast opportunities in addition to guest blogging. Don’t be afraid to contact your favorite podcasts and ask to be a guest on the podcast. Note that you’ll need to explain exactly why you’d be a good guest, and “I started a blog last week” is usually not a good enough reason.

Be Active in the Community

Another key way to promote any blog is to be active in the online community about which you are blogging. This means posting meaningful comments on other blogs, and contributing to forum discussions. Include your blog link in your forum signature.

It’s worth stressing that this does not mean going to forums and promoting your site “Hey check out my blog!” Rather, contribute and participate in discussions happening and just leave that link in your signature. Some people will check it out.

Note also that if you’re an asshat or a troll, that will reflect poorly on your blog. As a blogger you have to be about twenty times more grown up than the rest of the internet. Don’t feed the trolls — don’t get sucked into those discussions. Don’t rant and rave. Just be helpful and contribute like a grown up.

Also worth noting that this is not something that I’ve ever done for the WHU, but it does help. I just don’t got the time.

Videos

Google is the largest search engine in the world. The second largest, however, is not Yahoo and it’s not Bing. The second largest search engine by search volume is YouTube. It’s crazy, but it’s true.

Videos are a great way to promote your site, as long as you put them on YouTube. The number of people who are looking for WoW information and go to YouTube to search is staggering. Make video guides. Make funny videos. Just be sure that every video includes a link back to your site in the description — at the beginning of the description. The very first thing should be a link to your site.

Also, don’t make the description just one sentence. Go for at least three paragraphs, which will make it more likely to be found. Note as well that you need at least three videos in your channel before YouTube will show them in the first page of video search results.

Linkbait

Another great way to promote your blog is to create linkbait: some kind of content that is deliberately created to be the kind of thing that people are like to share, email on. Stuff that makes people say “OMG have you seen this!?”

On the WHU I had a handful of videos that got spread around a lot — videos make great linkbait — including of course the more recent Best Pet video. Another example would be 50 Reasons Hunters Are Better Than Every Other Class, or on the more serious side, the ICC DPS Analysis (you would not believe how many people shared that — for months afterward it was a hugely trafficked article, for the rest of the expansion in fact).

These things typically take a lot more work to create, but they can bring a lot of attention to your blog. And of course there is a side benefit is it’s forcing you to create the kind of content that everyone wants to see… which of course is that it makes your blog better. After all, writing the kinds of things people want to read is what you should be doing.

SEO

If you’re really interested in promoting your blog, SEO, or search engine optimization, is one way to go. The idea here is that you write useful guides with information that your readers are likely to look for on search engines. Then you optimize your titles and text slightly to increase the chances that your site ranks well in the search engines for that search phrase.

The idea here is that you’re trying to get your site listed for a lot of different common search phrases, and (assuming your guide is good) a lot of people will come and read your guide. Most of them will then leave, but some will then poke around the rest of your site. If they like what they see, they might just bookmark it or add your feed to their reader.

And the more often then end up coming to your site from various searches, the more likely they are to remember your site and look around and convert into readers.

There are volumes of material written on the web about SEO. Don’t get too caught up in it all — you really just need to do the very basics: be sure to use the keywords in your title, and use them in your first couple paragraphs. But if you’re writing about “How to Profit from Vendor Trash” it’s very likely that you’ll be using those words a lot in your article anyway. Just don’t make the common mistake of trying to come up with a clever title like “Gold from Garbage” — that’ll sink your SEO fast. Search engines have pretty much taken clever and engaging titles away from us.

It’s worth noting that for the WHU, this is the only thing I did to promote my blog. It worked out okay.

[Update: I’ve been trying to find time to write a sort of how-to SEO guide over at Doctor McAwesome — there’s a bunch of info there, and a bunch yet to come. You really only need to know the on-page optimization part (SEO kindergarten), which is all written.]

[Update: social media is now a very strong way to promote your blog — which also requires developing a strong social media following]

In Conclusion

That concludes Frostheim’s advice for promoting your blog. In closing it’s definitely worth noting that two things will have more impact on getting you traffic than anything else:

  • Writing good content that people want to read
  • Posting regularly without gaps

I’m not kidding. Get good content and a consistent schedule and you only need to do a little bit of work to get those first eyes on there. The crappier your content, the more work you’ll have to do to get people to read it. The better your content, the more the Alpha Gamers will do that work for you.

Next time on How to Start a WoW Blog we’ll finally get into monetizing your blog, or how to make dozens of dollars from a popular WoW blog! Seriously, don’t do this for money.

How to Start a WoW Blog Series
Part 1: Nuts & Bolts Part 2: Blogging Advice Part 3: Promoting Your Blog Part 4: Monetizing Your Blog
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Frostheim https://plus.google.com/103371099107225542390 <![CDATA[How to Start a WoW Blog 2: Advice]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13459 2017-01-17T23:27:20Z 2017-01-17T23:21:11Z How to start a WoW blog

This series of posts was published on WoW Hunters Hall back in 2011. I’m transferring them over here since WHH no longer exists. Information may be dated!

In the first part of How to Start a WoW Blog, I went over all the nuts and bolts and technical information of hosting, blogging platforms, Wowhead tooltips and addons. Now with that out of the way and my thoughts on how to build a blog that has a chance as success.

A lot of people have a lot of things to say about blogging, so here’s my qualifications for giving you advice on writing your WoW blog: I write for a scary number of blogs, both in my free time as a WoW fan, but also as part of my day job. I write the most popular hunter blog on the web, Warcraft Hunters Union. I also write the second most popular hunter blog, Scattered Shots at WoW Insider. On any given day some 25,000 people are reading my blog posts; on good days that number is well over 100,000.

Blog on a Schedule

The most valuable piece of advice I have to offer is this: blog on a schedule. Decide to blog every Mon/Wed/Fri, or just every Saturday, or every day of the week. Any schedule other than “when I feel like it” is fine, but that schedule should be concrete and non-negotiable.

Setting yourself a schedule accomplishes two important things.

The most important is it makes you blog. It forces you to blog, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’ve got no ideas for what to blog about. Because that absolutely will happen; it’ll happen a lot. Part of being a writer is to suck it up and write even when you’ve got nothing. You learn to dredge the depths and pull something out of nothing.

But if you don’t have that set-in-stone schedule, then you just won’t write. And that not writing will happen more and more often and very, very soon you won’t have a blog at all. True story:

Over at Warcraft Hunters Union I get quite a lot of new hunter bloggers emailing me and asking for a link to their shiny new blog with it’s two posts — one introducing their blog, and one blogging about some topic of relevance. On average I get at least one of these a month. I tell them all the same thing: I don’t link to brand new blogs, but if you’re still blogging regularly in three months, email me again and I’ll put up the link.

To date I have had one single hunter email me back in three months. The rest vanished into the ether.

But blogging on a schedule has a side benefit other than forcing you to actually blog. It allows you to better attract readers — and there’s a difference between traffic and readers. Traffic is a count of the number of people going to your blog. Readers are the number of people who follow your blog regularly and read everything you write.

Readers, as a rule, prefer to know when their blog will be updated. The more often they go to your blog hoping to find a new article and don’t see one, the less often they’ll go to your blog. Some of them will stop checking back (and by the way, the vast majority of people go to your blog manually, and do not subscribe to your feed). By having a schedule you can manage expectations. If you update every Saturday they’ll only check your blog once a week, and every time they check they’ll be rewarded with a new post. Every action on their part is rewarded with positive feedback.

Frostheim’s Topic Ratio

Early on when I was just starting Warcraft Hunters Union, I determined right out of the gate that I’d blog every Monday – Friday, and I had a theory on what kind of topics I would blog about. It was the magical ratio for bringing in new traffic, converting that traffic to readers, and keeping those readers happy. This was my topic ratio:

20% of blog posts must be crunchy guides or useful in-game information
20% of blog posts must be off-topic (but WoW-related) stories or humor

That was it. The idea here was never to go too long without posting the kind of crunchy useful stuff that makes the site an actually valuable game resource, but also never to go too long without posting something that’s actually entertaining and enjoyable to read.

After all, if your site is nothing but crunchy facts, then it’s something that players only need to read when they’re looking at optimizing some aspect of their game play. You only go to a reforging site when you’re wondering about how to reforge new gear, after all. But those random off-topic (but still WoW-related) stories of raid failures and triumphs, funny or entertaining posts — that’s the stuff that people really enjoy reading.

Keep in mind: the vast majority of people reading blogs are reading them from work, because work is boring and they’re looking for a little moment of escape.

A Word on Writing

One of the great things about blogs is that the tone is very conversational, which make them far easier to write quickly. While it would normally go without saying that you should understand the basics of writing, since this is WoW we’re talking about, I fear this section is needed.

Do not write your blogs in leet speak, or lol speak. Do not use WoW abbreviations like lol or ppl or plz. Unless you’re quoting someone or being ironic, that behavior will drive the vast majority of your readers away. I know these are all WoW players also, and many of them write like that too, but it’s just plain hard to read and, frankly, makes you seem stupid. Yes it does.

You don’t have to know what a split infinitive is and it’s fine if you tend to always use them; but you should be able to construct a sentence and follow the basic rules of grammar. You should understand things like punctuation, paragraphs, capitalizing the first word of sentences and I — really basic stuff here. Proper writing makes your blog easier to read, which in turn makes it more likely people will read it.

Formatting

Some general advice on blog formatting. First of all, the general common wisdom of the web says that every blog post should start with a picture of some kind. This is very good advice, and really helps make your posts more interesting to look at. That said, I really don’t follow this rule at all over at Warcraft Hunters Union. I do for other blogs I manage, however.

If you’re writing a long blog post, you must use formatting to break it up. The wall-o-text is daunting and difficult to read and people lose their places. There are four common techniques to break up walls of text in blogs:

  • Break sections into subsections with headers. This helps visually and also organizationally. It may also result in you writing a better post.
  • Use images throughout to help break things up.
  • Use block quotes to adjust the formatting of a section — as I have with the 20% rules, and the “true story” above.
  • Bulleted lists are a standby for breaking up formatting — also people like reading short bulleted lists.

There’s no really good rule of thumb about the length of a blog post — lengths tend to vary a lot by author and audience. The common wisdom is that blog posts should be in the 250 – 500 word range, shooting for the middle, because people have short attention spans and won’t read things longer. I disagree with this wisdom.

Partially I disagree because I’m a wordy guy, but also because it’s hard to convey much useful information in 250 words. In addition, if you accept the theory that a very large portion of your readers are looking for a distraction from work, 250 words isn’t going to provide them much of one. That may be fine for generic Yahoo news articles that are a dime a dozen, but you have a very specific niche blog.

I’d say go for an average of 500 words per post. Having a few short posts is fine. Having a few long posts is fine. But I don’t think of posts as being long until they start to go over 1,000 words. That said, the class columns at WoW Insider are supposed to be about 1,250 words… and I almost always go well over on Scattered Shots. Warcraft Hunters Union is also filled with very long posts.

But remember that this is a blog and not Twitter. Posts of under a couple hundred words really don’t count as your blog post for the day — if it’s that short, you aren’t saying anything very meaningful.

The Critics

If your blog gains any kind of popularity at all, you will have critics. The more successful your blog is, the more haters you’ll have, and the more rabid and less logical they will become. You need to consider them a sign of success.

In particular, my philosophy is that I welcome any logical, fact based disagreement. Discussion is good after all. But you need a solid policy of shutting down the personal attacks and ad hominem arguments. Even if they’re supporting you, nuke those comments in a heartbeat. But beyond that, even the comments disagreeing with you need to stay there. Instead of deleting them, engage them. Ask them for their reasoning, or their research — their proof. Heck, maybe they’ll be right and you’ll have learned something!

But the people calling you names will be there if you’re popular. You just gotta ignore them and keep doing what you’re doing. True story:

When I took over Scattered Shots from the previous hunter blogger, he graciously congratulated me and offered some good advice. In particular he said that a big mistake he made was trying to satisfy everyone in the comments. If he recommended one thing, people would bitch. If he recommended another, different people would bitch. In his effort to satisfy all these trolls and asshats he lost his voice. Rather than saying “Here’s what I recommend” he ended up saying “You could do this, or this, or this, or some people do that.” He stuck to nothing but raw facts. This then hurt the quality of his columns, because he ended not saying anything to offend anyone and as a result didn’t say much at all.

So there’s a fine line between listening to negative feedback and adjusting to it (you can’t ignore everyone who disagrees) and paying too much attention to it (in which case you either won’t write, or won’t write things of meaning).

I have a pretty thick skin, which I also bolster by not reading things like the WoW Forums or ever searching for things written about me. I once wrote something that was blown way out of proportion by a giant anti-fan and got responses, pro and con, across the hunter web… and I didn’t even find out that it happened until over six months later (though, of course, I was aware of all the (mostly positive) comments to the post on my blog — the haters hate to post there though, for some reason).

This made it easier to do the right thing, which is always: don’t feed the trolls.

I’m serious. Don’t engage the trolls — that’s what they’re trying to do, get attention. And they can at times make it really hard, in particular with the troll strategy of posting deliberately misleading or entirely wrong things that they attribute to you. They blatantly lie in hopes of drawing you out to correct them. My policy is if they comment on my blog (or email) in a way that doesn’t violate the commenting policy, I will answer them. If they’re ranting elsewhere on the web, not my problem. If they really wanted a response from me they’d talk to me, rather than ranting across the web, after all. Do your thing; don’t worry about their thing.

But that said, there are actually a lot of WoW bloggers out there who have reached some level of popularity, and then were driven to quit blogging entirely by the trolls and asshats. So thick skin is required.

I say this, but I know all of you reading it think you have thick skin. And so did all those other bloggers who couldn’t take it any more. Seriously, be prepared to HTFU and take it.


Of course all that requires you to achieve some level of popularity to begin with. The first step to that is following several of the points above, which will help you to build a decent blog — but most important is blogging on a schedule. It’s also worth noting that the most popular bloggers tend to be the ones who blog most often. That’s not coincidence.

But we’ll get more into the blog popularity in the next part of this series, where I’ll discuss promoting your blog so that you have an audience reading what you write.

How to Start a WoW Blog Series
Part 1: Nuts & Bolts Part 2: Blogging Advice Part 3: Promoting Your Blog Part 4: Monetizing Your Blog
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Frostheim https://plus.google.com/103371099107225542390 <![CDATA[How to Start a WoW Blog 1: Nuts and Bolts]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13457 2017-01-17T23:24:47Z 2017-01-17T23:19:22Z How to start a WoW blog

This series of posts was published on WoW Hunters Hall back in 2011. I’m transferring them over here since WHH no longer exists. Information may be dated!

I’ve been blogging over at Warcraft Hunters Union for going on three years now, and in that time I’ve gotten thousands of emails. One of the recurring questions I’m asked is about how to start a hunter blog, or a WoW blog in general — or more specific questions about how to promote a hunter blog or tips on improving a blog.

Now that the WoW Hunters Hall is rocking out as a way to support and enhance the hunter community, it seemed like a good place to finally write up a big article on Frostheim’s advice on how to start your WoW blog.

Because there’s a lot to say on the  subject, I figured a good place to start is with the nuts and bolts and technical details of getting your WoW blog up and running. We’ll go over the steps of setting up and customizing a blog, and I’ll tell you what I think is the best and easiest way to do things. In part 2 we’ll start getting into Frostheim’s blogging tips.

Choosing Your Blog Software

The good news is that the blog software, or the CMS, that you’ll be using is completely free. The other good news is that there is once choice that is by far and away better than any other: WordPress. Seriously, don’t even bother with anything else. No, not even Blogger. WordPress is the gold standard, is incredibly easy to use, slaughters the competition, and is also free.

I wouldn’t even consider anything else for your WoW blog these days.

But there’s still a choice to be made. There are two ways you can set up a WordPress blog: you can let them host it for you (at WordPress.com) or you can host it yourself (referred to self-hosted, and your info will then come from WordPress.org). Personally, I am very strongly in favor of going the self-hosted route for your WoW blog — you have far more customization options; however, for self-hosted you have to have a web hosting account somewhere. Web hosting is cheap as dirt these days but it’s still a cost, whereas WordPress.com give you less but also offers free hosting.

Here are the pros and cons of each:

WordPress.com Hosted

Pros

  • Best blog software CMS in the market
  • Totally free
  • Free hosting
  • Set your blog up in minutes

Cons

  • Default URL will be BLOGNAME.wordpress.com
  • You can pay to get an actual domain name
  • Cannot use the thousands of community-created plugins
  • Cannot edit your theme files
  • Cannot use Wowhead tooltips
  • Cannot put ads on your site

Self-Hosted

Pros

  • Best blog software CMS in the market
  • Totally free
  • Have access to thousands of themes
  • Have access to thousands of plugins
  • Include Wowhead tooltips
  • Include ads
  • Customize to the end of time

Cons

  • Must have web hosting

Good web hosting is available for approximately $7 or so a month, and they’ll usually give you your domain name for free when you first sign up. I highly recommend going the self-hosted route, unless you’re truly broke, in which case you can start up with WordPress.com hosted.

Web Hosting & Domain

Skip this step if you’re going with WordPress.com hosting for your WoW blog.

You need to set up web hosting and install WordPress. Don’t worry, this isn’t as scary as it sounds. I’m a big fan of Hostmonster for web hosting. Their support is great and always there — I’ve never even been put on hold to wait for them — and they have a great one-button WordPress installation (something that most good hosts will also have).

It’s worth noting that I also hear good things about Hostgator and Dreamhost.

Whatever you do, do not get hosting with GoDaddy or any of those free web hosting places out there. It is not worth it! Best case scenario you’ll get limited hosting with ads plastered above your site making it look cheap. Worst case, and a serious danger, is you’re considered to be in a “bad neighborhood” on the web and Google decides not to list your site for any searches.

Be aware that while web hosting is super cheap and you can find it for $7 a month or less, they usually require you to sign up for 1 year’s worth of hosting to get that price. If you go month-to-month you’ll pay more plus a setup fee, so it’s not really worth it.

When you sign up for your hosting they’ll usually let you register an available domain for free (and then you can create email addresses using your spiffy new domain name as part of your web hosting — no extra charge for that). Only consider domains that are .com, .net, or your specific country code (but not .us unless you’re trying to be clever like www.monstro.us (warning, I don’t know if that’s really a domain or not, so don’t go there (aw hell, we know that’s only going to encourage some of you))).

Once you have your hosting, login to the admin area and find out where they have an automatic script installation. For Hostmonster this is called Simple Scripts. Just click that, select WordPress under Blogs, and tell it to install. It will work for about 10 seconds and then you’re blog is ready for you to log in and start customizing. For other hosts this script installer may be called something different, including Fantastico.

Choose a Theme

WordPress offers countless different themes to customize the look of your WoW blog — both the WordPress.com hosted WordPress sites and self-hosted WordPress. For self-hosted you can download the theme and upload it to your site via FTP, or search and install them directly from your site admin via Appearance > Themes.

Go crazy and pick what you like. You can change your theme at any time, and keep all of the information on your WoW blog without having to do any backups (though you should backup regularly, of course). If you are using self-hosted, you can also go into your theme files and change the way things look even further to suit your needs. WordPress.com, I believe, lets you edit the style sheet at least, so you can do some small things.

Install Plugins

WordPress.com hosting has made some plugins available, but for the most part all the thousands of neat plugins you see on WordPress.org are only available for self-hosted blogs. You can add a ton of functionality to your WoW blog via plugins — such as the star voting system on this blog.

Be aware that many plugins eat up resources and having too many can substantially slow the load time of your site. Some plugins are light and invisible, some are clunky as all heck. As a rule of thumb, try to only use plugins that truly add value to your site, and resist the temptation to pack your WoW blog with tons of pointless bells and whistles.

Here are some plugins that I recommend:

  • Wp-Recaptcha: an anti-spam plugin. It stops automated spambots, but not if there’s a person somewhere down the line to fill in the form. Slows but doesn’t stop comment spam.
  • Trackable Social Share Icons: social media is huge these days, whether you like it or not. This plugin puts those Twitter, Facebook, and other icons of your choice below your posts or wherever else you choose. This can significantly increase the reach of your blog.
  • All in One SEO Pack: if you’re into SEO stuff, this will let you do your thing. If not, don’t worry about it.

Get Wowhead Tooltips

Every WoW blog needs Wowhead tooltips. This is what lets users mouse over a link and get the item or quest tooltip, as with Explosive Shot. Wowhead makes this incredibly easy, and you just have to add a tiny line to your header. Of course this is only doable with a self-hosted blog.

This is the line to add to your header:

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://static.wowhead.com/widgets/power.js"></script>

If you don’t know how to do this, it’s a piece of cake and you can do it all within WordPress. Just go into your WordPress admin and on the left menu under Appearance click on Editor. This will take you to a screen where you can edit your WordPress files. Choose “Header” from the list on the right, and the code of your header will appear in the editing window.

Just copy and paste the Wowhead code in above the </head> line. Thereafter any time you link to a Wowhead item or ability or quest, when users scroll over the link they’ll get the popup.

It’s worth noting that this change your making is specific to the theme that you chose. If you change your theme again, you’ll have to do this process again to get the code into the header of your new theme. Ditto for any change you make to the theme files in the Editor.

Get Google Analytics

If you have any interest in knowing how many people go to your site, where they’re coming from, what pages they’re looking at, what keywords they’re searching in the search engines to find you, how long they stay on your site, what countries, or states, or cities they’re from, or anything else, then you want Google Analytics.

I believe there’s a way to install analytics for a WordPress.com hosted blog, but I’m not familiar with how. Here’s all you need to do for self-hosted though:

First you’ll need to sign up for a Google Analytics account (for free, Here). When you sign up Google will give you some code that needs to go in the header of your website. This works just like it did for the Wowhead tooltips — just copy and paste the code before the </head> tag. Then within a few hours you’ll be able to start tracking usage data in Google Analytics.

For most bloggers Google Analytics is nothing more than an interesting curiosity and a way to measure your WoW blog’s growth, but if you’re really trying to maximize your traffic, the data is invaluable.

Deal with Comment Spam

Comment spam is an issue that every blog has to deal with, including WoW blogs. Thousands of wee robots scour the internet looking for places to stuff in random spam and try to get (useless nofollow) links back to their websites. You will have to deal with this spam: ignoring it is not an option.

If you use WordPress.com, they can make commenters subscribe to some kind of thing and confirm via email. It’s annoying as hell to users (and I certainly typically end up just not commenting on those blogs) but effective. For self-hosted WordPress you’ll probably want to use a plugin solution.

Here are your choices:

  • Users have to register to comment. This is the only solution I’ve found that blocks 100% of comment spam. Unfortunately for a new blog, it also really makes people reluctant to post.
  • Use Askimet. Askimet is a heuristic spam detector and blocker that comes with WordPress by default. It’s free for small non-profit sites, but costs money for business sites, or sites with a lot of traffic. If I tried to use this on Warcraft Hunters Union, it would cost me over $500 per month. But for a new blog, it might be a viable solution. It catches most spam.
  • Use a Captcha. Wp-Recaptcha was mentioned above. This gives the little graphic that users have to fill out when they comment. It blocks a lot of the spam, and brings it down to reasonable levels. With the WHU, with thousands of very visible pages, I only have to deal with a handful of spam comments a day using this method.
  • Approved Commenters: once nice option that WordPress gives you is that once you’ve approved a comment from someone, thereafter that person’s comments can go through automatically without needing moderation. This keeps the spam bots out, but lets regular contributors get their voice on the page at once. You will still want to use this in combination with a captcha, to stop the hundreds to thousands of bot posts per day from getting through.
  • Moderation: you can choose to moderate all comments — nothing goes live unless you’ve given it the thumbs up. You’ll still need a captcha to keep the spam to a minimum.

Be aware that you’ll want to set up your spam solution at once. WordPress is so common that the big spam bots deliberately look for WordPress blogs, and the default sample page and welcome post that are automatically put up when you install it — then they spam the heck out of those pages, knowing that you probably don’t have any protection set up yet.

Now You Have a WoW Blog

Okay, there are the very basic nuts and bolts of setting up your very own WoW blog, complete with tooltips. I’m not going to go into any detail about how to actually use WordPress. It’s really intuitive and just by poking around everything should become apparent, but if you have any specific questions, feel free to drop them in the comments here. I’m not a developers, but I’ve used WordPress on a lot of different blogs (and way too many other blogging software options) and if it comes down to how to use it, I can probably help you out.

Next up in part 2, I’ll cover some WoW blogging tips, how to get started, what to avoid, and some basic tips on how to make sure your shiny new blog doesn’t suck.

How to Start a WoW Blog Series
Part 1: Nuts & Bolts Part 2: Blogging Advice Part 3: Promoting Your Blog Part 4: Monetizing Your Blog

 

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Delirium <![CDATA[Legion Hunter Preview]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13443 2015-11-09T05:10:53Z 2015-11-09T02:24:48Z

Blizzcon has ended, and we’re starting to get some info on Hunters in Legion.  Wanted to make sure we had a link to the Hunter Class Preview Blog, in case anyone stops by this site.

Legion Class Preview Series: Hunter

We begin our early look at class and specialization design with the Hunter. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out a foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Hunter in World of Warcraft.

In many ways, Hunter design in Legion embodies our key philosophies for class change. Hunters have a strong “core fantasy”: they’re masters of tracking prey, experts at sniping enemies with bows and guns from a distance, tamers of wild beasts, and trappers of unsuspecting foes. The challenge with the Hunter class in WoW is that, for the most part, while all three specs deliver that basic fantasy, the distinction between them is fairly minimal. In Legion, we’re focused on better differentiating these specializations to deliver more dynamic and varied experiences.

Click here for the full article including spec preview. The developers are looking for feedback on the changes; you can respond via twitter, the battle.net forums or by writing your own blog posts, of course.  Remember to give concrete examples when possible, and try to avoid broad generalizations (though I’m sure any feedback is better than none).

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Foxy <![CDATA[Warcraft Hunters Union Blizzcon 2015 Meet-up Details!]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13435 2015-09-05T22:39:22Z 2015-09-05T21:44:49Z HUNTERS OF BLIZZCON!

 

It’s that time of year again, the 2nd Annual All-hunter Meet-up!

This year, not only do you get to see all of the beautiful faces of the hunter community, but as an added bonus, we will also have freebies including Lanyards and WRISTBANDS!

Donors have been guaranteed PROMISED SWAG! When you donate it enables us to get more items.  The typical donation is about $5 and Yep…PROMISED SWAG comes along with that!  While we’re not trying to swing for donations overall and are NOT required for gifts, we really need the help as this is definitely not something one person can do out of their own pockets, so this will be a good way to ensure you get your promised share of fat loot while have a great time with the rest of the hunters who come.

**Update:  We have reached the goal donation for the SWAG.  I know I have personally sent thank yous to those that have donated, but I want to personally thank the hunter community for showing such camaraderie among all of us!

You can sign up if you’re certain to go as well (and we’re tracking who donates) here: WHU Hunter MeetUp Blizzcon 2015
Donation link to our GoFundMe here: WHU Swag Donations
Hunters of all of Warcraft matter, and we want to make this year even more epic than the last. Having more community participation in where we go will be what makes this party even better.

Hunter Meetup Blizzcon Forum Posts-Go Bump!

Class Forum: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/18716982889#1
General Forum: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/18724763563#1

 

New WHU Hunter T-Shirts for Blizzcon 2015!

After a selection from many great artistic submissions, I am proud to announce and post our 2015 WHU shirt design for Blizzcon!! Our artist @ZoeZazu http://twitter.com/zoezazu) Julie Lail Lanier worked extremely hard in bringing about our vision and I think she did an outstanding job with the feedback from so many different inputs and views. I’d like to personally thank her on behalf of Warcraft Hunter’s Union and ‪#‎TeamHunter‬!

#4Final WHU Shirt wbackgroundPLEASE NOTE: Use of this graphic requires expressed written consent of the artist.

The store for ordering is WHU Blizzcon T-Shirts!!.  Each shirt is fully customize-able, we just ask that everyone please have the design on the front (DUHHH WE HAVE TO SHOW OFF!).  You can change the colors of the shirts as well; I am adding more products as we speak.  If you want a specific type of shirt or item I can add it for you

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Solarflair <![CDATA[The Hunter’s Handbook to Mists of Pandaria: Solo Guide for Mounts]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13317 2014-12-21T16:51:12Z 2014-12-21T16:44:55Z

Hello fellow Hunters! With Warlords well under way now, between the buzz of raiding and constant pruning of my Garrison I’ve found the time to finally sit down with some encounters from the previous expansion and crank out some sought after solos. More specifically the more lucrative ones – mount drops! If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding challenge in your spare time, I highly encourage everyone to try some of these out.

This guide will assume you know the basic soloing practices for more advanced content (if you need to brush up, you can do so here and here) as you’ll find yourself making use of many of those practices while tackling these encounters. Note that you may choose to follow all, some, or none of the strategy to suit your playstyle and/or gear as solos are often dynamic.

I’ve ordered the encounters to, in my opinion, easiest to hardest. Let’s get crackin’.

 

Nalak, the Storm Lord

Relatively straightforward and more or less of a tank and spank, Nalak only has a few abilities you need to pay mind to:

Static Shield – Nalak’s passive debuff, coming too close to him will result in lightning bolts being repeatedly shot at your character. Just maintain a safe distance, roughly 30 yards, and you won’t have to deal with this ability.

– Arc Nova – Nalak’s large, melee knockback. You should never be close enough to Nalak for this to be an issue, but it does present us with a unique scenario. Your pet does get knocked back, and in the event that the positioning for some reason just isn’t right, your pet will get knocked far enough out of range and despawn. This can usually be recovered by a quick Call Pet to Feign Death – but if you want to prevent this altogether, just watch to see which way your pet will go and try to follow (it doesn’t have to be by very much either)

– Lightning Tether and Stormcloud – Two damaging abilities that can be passively healed through with Spirit Bond, these should never be overwhelming unless you find yourself too close to the boss and taking Static Shield hits in addition to these two.

 

 

Elegon

This is a fun one. Elegon has a number of mechanics that will put your solo skills to the test (and also has an incredible looking mount).

Elegon is a multiple phase encounter:

Phase 1: Tank and Spank

Before we get into mechanics I want to note that the floor acts as a buff/debuff zone. While you’re inside the pylon circle, you will deal 50% increased damage, the caveat to this though is that the longer you stay inside the more damage you take over time. Extended stays inside the zone can prove deadly, and it as advised to consider resetting your stacks by running outside (or jumping the sweet spot if you know the trick) at least once. The only danger in this phase is disregarding both mechanics at the same time, but you should have a relatively easy time with them.

Celestial Protectors – Elegon will periodically summon an add that should ideally be tanked by your pet. You can either cleave or single target it down, just note that when it dies it will deal a small amount of  damage to you, in addition to the percentage added by being inside the pylon circle.

– Celestial Breath – Elegon’s frontal cone breath that you’d rather not take, just make sure that on the pull he isn’t facing you and you should be fine for the rest of the fight. He’s a bit transparent, as all Astral Cloud Serpents are I suppose.

Phase 2: Damage Time

At 85 and 50 percent health Elegon goes into a phase where he can take stacking amounts of increased damage. Success in this phase can be determined by how much damage you deal to the summoned adds.

Energy Charges – Bits of Elegon himself, 6 of these are summoned every time Elegon finishes his channeled cast. I advise saving Barrage for this as often as possible. Pro tip: If you are willing to keep the Celestial Protector from the previous phase up, you can easily cleave off of him with Multi-Shots and Beast Cleaves. For every wave of these you defeat, Elegon takes an additional 10% damage.

Once you can no longer keep up with the adds and one connects to a pylon, the phase is over and you will need to move off the platform and onto the floor.

Phase 3: Such Beautiful Lights

Defeat all 6 raised pylons while dodging the sparks and tanking their summoned adds to push Nalak back into his tank and spank and damaging phases again. Once you complete another cycle (of Phases 1 and 2), Elegon will enter his final phase where he will deal increasing damage – this is a burn phase, simply nuke him down and keep an eye on your health if needed.

 

 

Galleon

Rather challenging on beta but accessible now, Galleon is an encounter where you’ll see a bit more damage intake on both you and your pet over the previous bosses.

– Stomp – Galleon stomps the ground dealing a moderate amount of physical damage in addition to a small stun. Can be Deterred.

– Cannon Barrage – Galleon’s frontal attack, just be sure to be positioned at his sides.

– Salyin Warmongers – Passively, atop Galleon’s back these adds will shoot down arrows that deal fire damage to you. Roughly every 45 seconds a pack of them will jump down and will need to be quickly MD’d to your pet and cleaved down, I don’t advise leaving them up for too long.

If the damage intake is too high, you can snipe Kill Shots on the Salyin Warmongers to make use of the 15% HP heal bonus, highly recommended.

 

 

Sha of Anger

Perhaps a confusing one at first glance, Sha is nothing more than bit of movement, minor pet management, and a little bit of patience.

–  Mind Control – The most exhausting mechanic on this fight, it will end up being more a nuisance than a challenge. Sha will mind control you for 30 seconds, where you will turn and attack your pet. Be sure to cast Mend Pet before each MC, just to keep your pet from dipping to dangerous levels while your are incapacitated (and dealing damage) for such a long time. Unfortunately the uptime you’ll have on Sha between MC’s isn’t that long, so be sure to save your cooldowns for these short DPS periods.

– Ire and Bitter Thoughts – Periodically Sha will also summon Ire adds, and where they land forms a Bitter Thought. Standing inside Bitter Thoughts is a complete silence, so be sure to move. Just note that there will be several of these, and can sometimes be hard to see against the desecrated ground. The Ire adds deal moderate physical damage, and should be collected by your pet to be cleaved down. Barrage makes quick work of them.

The only deadly combination here is going into the Mind Control with you and the Ire adds attacking your pet. Be sure to clean up before each MC and you should have him down in no time.

 

 

Ji-kun

More of a tank and spank with a few mechanics sprinkled in than anything else, it’s more of a struggle reaching this point in the instance than it is defeating her.

Nests:

For my kill, I stayed full time on the platform. After being admittedly unprepared for the first Down Draft and knocked off, I was still in combat with our avian friend. With this in mind, I believe it possible to do nest duty for a large increase in damage for the rest of the fight.

Simply drop down and kill the first nest only (you know the one), collect a feather and grab the subsequent Feed Young globule to kick things off. Repeat as needed per Feed Young and you should chop a great deal of time off from your kill.

– Down Draft – Wings of majesty flap furiously in the air, pushing you back with gale force winds. Running against it will result in your ejection from the platform (and potentially a good deal of damage if during Quills). I found the easiest way to handle this was a 180-degree disengage in the proper direction. Rocket boosts could work just as well. For added ease, make sure you are on the longest stretch of platform from center to edge.

– Quills – Ji-kun’s big damaging ability, it is mostly passively healed with Spirit Bond. You can opt to use a spirit beast heal here, or minor defensive cooldown. Deterrence might be a bit of an overkill unless later on in the fight when you are approaching a soft enrage.

– Hatchlings – Since no nests, barred from the first one given your chosen strategy, are being killed, hatchlings from the nests will soon grow into juveniles. These will increase as the fight goes on. From high above, they shoot down moderate physical damage. Dealing with these in addition to quills late in the fight may call for more drastic mitigating and healing plays.

 

 

Horridon

“Welcome weaklings, to the rebirth of the Zandalari empire! Now, witness the true might of the Beast Ward. D’akala di’chuka HORRIDON! Kalimaste!” – War-God Jalak

My personal favorite solo on this list, Horridon is longer, more tedious encounter with a mix of mechanics and a great burn phase.

Troll Tribes

The first two gates are easy enough. Position Horridon accordingly for easy add pickup and cleave down as necessary. Adds > Horridon for the most part. Be careful you don’t push Horridon too hard (you’ll see why soon).

Drakarri Champions & Warriors – When you make it to the third gate, the Drakarri tribe of Northrend put up a fair fight. These two lesser adds will apply a nasty Disease on you if you take a melee swing from them. It can stack high if left unattended (17, don’t ask) and will start to pack a punch past the first few applications. Given that it lasts for 5 minutes, you want nothing to do with these guys. Kite/MD accordingly.

– Zandalari Dinomancers – Once you are a ways through each gate, a Dinomancer will drop down from the stands and begin a chanelled heal on Horridon. Interrupt it (or not, at least for a time – see later) and pick up the orb he drops after reaching 50% HP to move onto the next tribal gate.

Once dealing with all four gates, it’s time to engage Horridon directly.

Jalak will enter the fray when Horridon reaches 30% HP. You do not want this to happen while dealing with gates. Jalak + Horridon + troll tribe is a recipe for disaster. If you find yourself reaching this threshold, be a lot more mindful of where your damage is going, or allow a Dinomancer to get a fair bit of his healing cast off

– War-God Jalak – One mean troll, he deals a boatload of physical damage. Have your pet pick up Jalak and be ready to use defensive cooldowns like Last Stand and Shell Shield. By this time, your pet will have high stacks of Horridon’s tank debuff, in addition to dealing with another heavy hitter. Kill Jalak quickly. This will push Horridon into his enrage, on my first kill I had my pet die at this point, just be careful – rez/kite/feign/MD if necessary. From here on out you burn Horridon and keep an eye on your pet.

 

 

Oondasta

King of the Dinosaurs, Oondasta is the ultimate test of self-healing and damage dealing.

– Growing Fury – Even starting off, Oondasta means business. Every 30 seconds he’ll increase all damage done by 10%, stacking. Which just so happens to affect two of his nastiest abilities.

– Spitfire Beam – A frequent, heavy hitting spell that needs to be passively healed through, Spirit Mended, or handled with defensive cooldowns. This will be the primary source of damage on yourself.

Crush – Not only will this deal a fair amount of damage to your pet, this ability also stacks with itself in addition to Growing Fury. To top it all off, it reduces armor by 25%.

 Frill Blast – This will ruin your attempt if it catches you, a fatal blast in a 180-degree radius – just position yourself near Oondasta’s hind legs to avoid it all together.

Cycle necessary defensive cooldowns on your pet. I recommend a spirit beast for this one. Often the Spirit Mend would go on myself or my pet, given the situation. If the damage on yourself becomes too much, engage one of the nearby Zandalari Beastmasters to snipe Kill Shots on for the 15% HP heal as well, there are a few nearby.

 

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Delirium <![CDATA[My Favorite Hunter Zone in Draenor]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13303 2014-12-17T18:12:34Z 2014-12-17T18:12:34Z Dwarf Hunter on Talbuk

 

I’ve been spending too much time on math-centric posts over at the Thrill of the Wild, so while hanging out in Nagrand doing some trapping, I thought it might be fun to cover why exactly, it’s the greatest hunter zone in Draenor.

Getting Around in Style — on Talbuks

The amazing part about Nagrand is it takes the awesomeness of being a hunter, and just multiplies it. Everyone already knows that hunters are the premiere class in World of Warcraft, with the greatest toolkit ever present in the game, but when you add in being able to do all we can do, while mounted, the awesomeness is almost too much to handle. If you don’t have the stables in your Nagrand outpost, worry not; the price just went down, go switch right now.

You know those pesky crags that support classes have to run all the way around?  A common hunter trick has always been to jump-spin-disengage across them, and now we can do so while mounted!

Are there too many mobs between you and that large timber you’re trying to cut down, but you don’t want to waste time killing them all?  We can camo while mounted!  Even the Predator can’t do that.

Ever see a great spot to use a goblin glider, but you don’t bother because you don’t want to have to re-mount afterwards?  Well, now you can this:

Dwarf Gliding Talbuk

 

Kiting on Talbuks

There’s a lot more awesomeness than just getting around in style, though. As the greatest kiting class in the game, you might find yourself thinking “I don’t need some silly talbuk when I can already kite so well”.  Well you’d be wrong.  There’s always room for more awesomeness, and kiting while mounted is just plain awesome.

Accidentally pull a few dozen elite mobs with Barrage?  It’s not a problem.  Stay out of range with ease and just pick them off one at a time.  Or run back and forth through them.  No mob is so elite it can keep up with a mounted hunter kiting it.

Utter Weirdness

WoWScrnShot_121714_114437

This may not have anything to do with being a hunter, but there are some weird sites in Nagrand.  My favorite so far is this guy who apparently drank himself to death.  Lightweights who can’t handle their booze… He must not have been a hunter.  Or, perhaps he was a hunter, trying to dull the pet-less pain from playing too much Lone Wolf.

There’s also a strange box of Murloc on an island just off the coast.  I still have no idea what’s going on there.

Have y’all found any fun hunter tricks while playing in Nagrand?  Any other zone you feel is even better for hunters?  Answer in the comments.  Thanks to Bendak for the great Dwarf Hunter screenshots.

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Foxy <![CDATA[Blizzcon 2014 Hunter Gathering!!!]]> http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/?p=13251 2014-11-19T02:18:51Z 2014-10-31T02:34:18Z #TEAMHUNTER … the meetup was AMAZING.  I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we must do this again!  Next time we can do it bigger and better since we know what to expect.  Please by all means if you have any pictures from the gathering send them to me, I’d like to combine a small album for people to  view.

Please send them to:  WarcraftHuntersUnion@gmail.com .

 

hunters

 

WHU Staff

Blizzcon 2014 All Hunter Meet-up

 

 

Please feel free to contact me via Twitter @MsMoLogan or @Artemishowl should you have any questions!

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