A group of top US Horde hunters have been tackling Mists of Pandaria raid bosses over the last couple of months with much success. Both tier 14 and tier 15 have been cleared in 10-man and 25-man. They’ve even killed the majority of them in heroic mode (all but a few in Throne of Thunder). This Saturday, August 2 they will make their first all-hunter attempt at Siege of Orgimmar in flexible mode.
I contacted one of the raid leaders of Team Hunter, Artemishowl of Blood Legion, to ask her some questions about what it takes to pull this off. She was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to answer, so let’s get to it. You’ll also find some videos embedded in this post showing off some of their kills.
1. Let’s start with an introduction. How long have you been playing WoW and how long have you been playing a hunter?
Greetings! I’m Artemishowl, one of the raid leaders for the horde all-hunter raid group. I do a lot of the things behind the scenes to ensure we have the players we need to tackle the content we do each week. I also help work closely with Shoot, our other raid leader, with planning the strategies and help crunch numbers on various encounters.
I’ve been playing WoW since vanilla, where I briefly played a hunter but re-rolled druid for a couple of expansions. After a brief WoW break during WotLK, I came back to the game just before Dragon Soul launched and rolled a hunter starting completely fresh again.
2. How long have you been into hardcore raiding, and when did you join up with Blood Legion?
I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore raider until Siege of Orgrimmar, but I started during Dragon Soul times when I retired out of sports and sought a way to be competitive again in a different manner. I joined Blood Legion in May of this year.
3. What prompted or inspired you to start organizing these all-hunter raids?
At first it was just a floating idea on MMO-Champion forums by an EU Alliance hunter, and then after I saw Shoot vaguely saying he was interested in starting something like that on the US horde side of things. I messaged him and after a week or two decided this was a great idea to really start getting into motion. Not long after, we gathered 25 hunters and took down normal mode tier 14 content and decided this was a lot of fun and we had the potential to do more. Weeks later, after tackling Throne of Thunder normal and heroic (most bosses), heroic and normal mode tier 14, it was definitely worth the time and effort putting into these raids each week. The community benefits from it and I hope that these raids inspire something Alliance side to start as it is a GREAT way to meet other hunters, make friends, learn about each other and bring the community closer.
4. What sort of planning goes into one of these raids? Do you just show up and wing it, or does it take a lot of strategizing and number crunching?
Most of our raids take about a week to organize alone. I try to seek out players through social media, word of mouth, forums or other methods to ensure success each week. I organize our roster on spreadsheets and do whatever I can despite real life pressures to make sure something happens that weekend. The one time we did “wing” something was just a bit of a train wreck, which was our tier 14 heroic 25 man raid. I was just too busy and it was apparent when we had to PuG quite a few players. Winging it proved to not be fun for those who show up weekly expecting quality and fun players, and was just more stress for the raid leaders in the end.
We try to pick a day before the raid night and dedicate it to just strategy discussion. Shoot and I discuss what we want to do that week, but that night is open-board for all hunters. Even those not in the group due to EU restrictions or faction problems are allowed to contribute. Some fights need a good discussion session, others we can sort of jump over. One fight that we threw away due to number crunching would be heroic Megaera, and even visiting it in our 10-man heroic group was just a failure. 25-man normal Megaera was already sketchy for us, but thankfully we handled it with our own self heals and keeping it in permanent rampages.
5. Do you designate the various hunters into roles like tanks, healers (with an army of spirit beasts), and pure DPS? Or is surviving everyone’s personal responsibility?
We generally have one core tank, which is Kisstehbaby of WWA. He’s been solid every week and is our only survival hunter due to the nature of getting aggro onto your pet. Fights usually die quick enough where cycling the appropriate tank cooldowns will ensure tanking success.
The only fight I think we have ever designated a full-time healer was heroic Twins, and unfortunately that was my job as well as the battle rezzing that one night. Most of the raid healing comes from the hunter his or herself through Glyph of Liberation, multiple spirit beast cycling and deterrence popping smartly. On other fights, we have designated buffers, designated battle rezzers and designated debuffers. Most other people have the option to help heal others, but that hasn’t been a mandatory thing (yet).
6. Which encounter has proven to be the most difficult so far and how many wipes did it take to down it?
Heroic twins on 10-man. I would love to do it in a 25-man form, but that will be up for discussion in the future. Back on track, heroic Twins was difficult due to the nature of most of the mechanics revolving around RNG, personal responsibility, figuring out when to push the boss down, when to paint and what to paint, as well as being very careful about timing in general. I can’t recall how many wipes, but I feel bad for our raiders because we were there later than we wanted to be that last weekend. The kill? Very much worth it.
7. Were there any fights you thought were going to be difficult but you ended up breezing through with no problems?
There’s a couple of fights that can fit in this category. Bladelord has to be the funniest example where I was just fretting about the difficulty of the fight. We go into the fight, everyone specs into their talent tree to pick up A Murder of Crows, and the boss would get all the crows just before the 20% push. This concluded with the boss dying literally right before the tornadoes would drop us off and have us pursue him. The epic scene of watching the crows chase him down the hall was just too hilarious.
Another fight I thought was going to be difficult was heroic Dark Animus on 25 man, but it ended up being one of our smoothest kills after we wiped to it maybe a couple times max. Pets face tanking the anima golem was too strong!
8. You’ve been building up to Siege of Orgrimmar flex which is scheduled to happen this Saturday, August 2nd. Doing current tier content without any actual tanks and healers, even in flex mode, is kind of a big deal. How successful do you think you’ll be on the first night out? Which bosses look the most difficult at first glance? Are you going to take a full 25 hunters if you can or are you aiming for a smaller, focused raid?
This is too early to tell. On one hand, I see some fights being no challenge for hunters, including Immerseus, which was already soloable by hunters and locks already. Other fights we simply will not put time into due to the nature of the fight, including possibly Thok, Nazgrim and Dark Shamans. It’s not fair to gauge as flex SoO will be a new level of difficulty due to the fights being close to current content. We might go in and be over-estimating these, but I rather be over-prepared and get ready for the worse, than to just under-estimate health pools or mechanics requiring healing. I am taking the best I can get for these raids, which means I’ve been limiting who I ask, asking players first who have shown up weekly and have proved in our logs that they can self-sustain themselves or perform jobs excellently. If I have 20 solid players, I will go with 20 solid players. If I have 25, woohoo! If I even had 10 great players, we will still pursue our goals. I am very excited to show the rest of the WoW community our conquest through SoO as a hunter only raid!
9. I noticed your raids featured on the MMO-Champion front page a couple of times, and you’ve been getting quite a few viewers between all the different streams. This sort of unique raiding is obviously popular. Do you think people crave more challenges like this? Maybe even to the extent where Blizzard starts offering a handful of achievements to encourage it? Kind of like the achievement for getting a silver proving grounds medal in a role you’re not specced into.
I’ve seen other classes do these raids in the past, such as warlock only or death knight only squads. Definitely something other groups and other players enjoy. It’s been wild having our raiders on the front page of MMO Champion and it’s very nice to see feedback from fellow players, be it good or bad, about what we do. I think people enjoy challenges like what we do or other pure DPS classes have done, so maybe a feat of strength for being in a class-only raid group doing this kind of content, but there would need to be restrictions on it like can’t be earned on content older than x y and z kind of stuff. I’m not expecting any reward doing it, but hey I wouldn’t complain! I appreciate and have fun with what we do already, and I certainly hope everyone else is having fun and getting their own kick out of what we’re doing too.
10. Is this something you think you’d do again in the future (WoD)?
Depends on the free time in between cycles of content we get. This has been a tenuous raid cycle unfortunately but we’ve made it worth logging in outside of just raid night to do something worthwhile. Honestly, I’m hoping we don’t see a long raid cycle like this again, but hey, at least there’s challenging things to still get a kick out of during farm!
11. Are you still looking for any more hunters for your raids? If so, where can they sign up and what are the basic requirements?
Our future plans before Warlords drops is still in development. SoO flex will be one of our most challenging runs, and I’m looking for strong hunters with team-based attitudes who will sacrifice their damage for the raid’s greater good. They can sign up on our meta thread here, or direct message me on my twitter. Other requirements are good raiding experience, higher item level and the ability to just play BM. No hate on Survival, our tank is Survival and does it very well, but we require regular DPS to pick BM for spirit beasts and other reasons.
12. What is your favorite and least favorite raid bosses from Mists of Pandaria?
My favorite boss in MoP has got to be Dark Animus. The amount of strategy changes my guild at the time did, the amount of time we spent on it fine tuning what we thought was right or wrong, just all the time and effort we put into the fight, we finally nailed it after 300 attempts! Lei Shen is close behind that, very amazing fight during progression.
Least favorite? Amber Shaper. I was raid leading a (bless their souls) smaller 10 man during that tier and our discipline priest didn’t realize that his talent that absorbs damage at 30% of his health or whatnot was proccing while he was in the suit was just one of the many issues my team had for that fight..
13. What is your favorite hunter pet?
That’s easy. Riverbeasts. They’re too adorable!
14. What are your overall impressions of the WoD beta so far? How do you think hunters are faring?
Still too early to tell how we stand with other classes, but BM seems to be dominant (sigh) again. Marksman feels okay, I do approve of the love it received, however the spec could use some more love with Chimaera Shot. Then there’s the sad brother, Survival, which really needs more love before live. The pooling your signature shot mechanic, lack of its own personal DPS cooldown that the other specs have, lack of an execute, and RNG with the new multistrike stat. It’s also a little frustrating that Lock and Load doesn’t remove the focus cost on Explosive Shots now. The spec feels clunky while BM is basically the same thing and MM got smoothed out.
I feel we’ll do well in mobile fights so far. Too early to gauge!
15. Aspect of the Fox: Yay or nay?
Well, if everyone gets to have a raid CD, then yay! It’s reflective to our niche, which is in WoD is the mobile ranged DPS class, and grants that ability to his or her teammates. Not ridiculously overpowered and can help healers and DPS for a short amount of time.
16. Anything else you want to say or any shout outs you want to give?
I would like to give major shout outs to everyone who continues to show up weekly or try to show up weekly to our hunter raids! This includes Shoot for being a great leader, strategist and motivational player, Cliper who even faction changed his geared alt to play with us, Aldarana for doing amazing mechanic stuff, Dyveriate for being very supportive and also a champion at mechanics, Kisstehbaby for tanking each week, Foxy for easing my stress with her sass, Ricket for being the best lust user ever…
If I could give individual shoutouts I’d be stuck typing for hours, you all are amazing and raids are worth doing each week! A shout out to the hunter community in general for watching us and supporting the raid groups that have been sprouting out of this. I also would like to give a shout out to the Warcraft Hunters Union page on Facebook.
I’d like to thank Artemis for taking the time to answer all my questions and for organizing such cool hunter events. 🙂 You can follow her on Twitter here.
As a reminder, Team Hunter’s next raid will be this Saturday, August 2 at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT. You can follow their progress in the forum thread.
Stream links (all of them might not be streaming or present at this next raid, but you should check them out anyway):
Update: Since this interview was published, Team Hunter has killed Garrosh on flex mode. Very impressive!