Monday, January 11, 2010

Taming The Beast

Early last month patch 3.3 hit, and with it came the latest spirit beast Arcturis. Since Worba, Khitsune and Dougal all had a spirit beast, I set up my two remaining high level hunters Bofors and Velocity with dual spec and sent them down to Grizzly Hills to camp the latest ghostly critter; this took just about every last copper on their respective servers, but as with the previous spirit beasts I didn't want to pass on the opportunity only to stumble across the thing when I was unprepared (e.g. forced to choose between abandoning a valued pet or taking the risk of popping over to the stables and back only to find another hunter taming it, or of discovering it on a non-hunter, etc etc - a lot of my decisions are motivated more by what I'm afraid of missing out on that by what I'm most keenly interested in accomplishing...).

As it happened, Velocity saw him first, and happily returned to her Storm Peaks dailies with her new pet druid... which left Bofors with dual SV/BM spec, but no beastmastery pets to show for it - something had to be done. Even though I'd originally done it this way just to maximize my odds, that second spec was burning a hole in my pocket... so I sat down and gave it some thought.

Hmm, what exotic pet A) do I not yet have on any toon, and B) would look good standing next to a red themed dwarf... and I realized nothing made so much sense as a red core hound. On any other race, the core hound is shorter than its master and loses the full impact of its original looming perspective... but on a dwarf, now that's another matter!

That being decided I started researching how the heck I was going to get one of these bad boys - I already knew they were found only in dungeons, but that was about it; some time later I determined they could be found in 1) Molten Core, an old world raid instance and 2) UBRS as a dungeon boss. The green version of course was super easy to obtain out in Shadowmoon Valley, but I just wasn't able to get that interested in the green look, when the red one would go with Bofors so much better... same deal with the fluffy white "Omen" version.

Having already spent a good chunk of time aimlessly wandering around the various Blackrock instances picking up vanity pets, doing odd achievements and quests, I was already pretty familiar with the area, and at level 75 was able to solo it without any trouble - and best of all I didn't need to be grouped with anyone to get in, like I did for MC (of course, it takes about 30-40m to get to The Beast in UBRS, whereas the core hounds in MC can be reached in perhaps a couple minutes from the videos I've seen, but for me being able to do it totally solo is preferable).

Now began about two weeks of fumbling, stumbling and armor repairs as I repeatedly tried and failed - I quickly discovered that solo killing The Beast with a placeholder pet is quite a lot different than trying to make it all the way through a 15-20 second tame (uninterrupted) with him. I knew to keep my back to a wall so as to avoid the big knockbacks, and I knew to hop the line of bonfires if my FD got resisted, and I only ever saw him cast fear once... but no matter what I did, I couldn't seem to get more than halfway through the tame before being interrupted.

At one point in sheer desperation, I got a paladin to help me with heals... unfortunately that did more harm than good - his heals would aggro the monster and break the tame as surely as a knockdown... and for some reason crossing the bonfire line did not pry it off my unfortunate helper either... I paid the fellow 50 gold for his time and armor repairs, and decided to take a break from the tame attempts. I realized that building up aggro first with a placeholder pet would have enabled me to hold aggro through a few heals, but the larger problem of how to make it through the full tame cast without interruption remained, and I didn't want to make another person wait while I tried to figure it out with trial and error.

A few days later after making lvl 76, I decided to have another try - but this time I had an idea. From reading Krush tame posts I saw it was possible to use The Beast Within to fend off interrupts during a tame, and I was itchin' to try it in UBRS. I knew it required careful macro setup, and would still be no piece of cake - The Beast seems to have 2 different attacks with knockback effects, each (seemingly) on its own 10 sec CD... and with Bestial Wrath/TBW now on a 10 second duration instead of the old 15 second, the margin for error would be nill, but still - better than nothing. I am nothing if not persistent...

I loaded up once more on Imperial Manta Steak, scrolls of Stamina, speed potions and all the +haste/+sta gear in my bank (one of the rare times it pays to be a packrat!), a stack of crystal restores from Ye Olde Ungoro Crator, and headed out. I had a little over 15k health, and about 10-11% haste, both of which were a little below recommended minimums on Thottbot/Wowhead/etc, but were the best I could do after nearly bankrupting myself on that dual spec...

Finally, the day before Christmas, with The Better Half angrily waiting for me to finish my gift wrapping and head out for the evening church service, I made my way back to the The Beast's lair with my placeholder pet... fail. FD'd, ran back out, tamed a scorpid, back in before the instance timer reset and tried again... closer but was still fumbling with the new macro, and failed again - my new approach was to wait for a knockdown, and then trigger my macro - with haste gear, buffs, potion and trinket I had my total tame cast down to about 15 seconds, which meant I had to time it so that those last 5 seconds after TBW ended, fell somewhere between The Beast's knockbacks.

Ran outside, grabbed a red worg, back in and tried one more time... pulled with scorpid sting... waited for the first knockdown... slammed down my macro button, and crossed my fingers... at about second 8 he tried the next knockdown, but that sweet, sweet talent kept my channel bar going even though poor Bofors was being smacked around like a well loved chewtoy... TBW ended and now the home stretch... never has 5 seconds seemed so long... finally, with my HP bar all but empty and my toon lit up with fire DoTs like a BBQ chicken leg sauteed in cheap vodka and the next knockback probably 1 second away, came that wonderful blue flash of completion - SUCCESS!

Never having tried King Krush, this was the only tame that I really had to work for - in the past, the only difficulty I encountered during tames was self inflicted e.g. not bothering to clear nearby trash before blindly attempting to tame some rare spawn... and now that I've got him, I have to say I value Magma even above my spirit beasts. It's without a doubt one of my biggest solo achievements - nice to know that some rewards still require major effort!

When Cataclysm comes out, I'm sure red core hounds will become available out in the wild, to every level 60 Tom, Dick and Harry... but for now at least, Bofors has one very cool "trophy" pet to take into battle... and even when Cataclysm hits, how many red core hounds will display "(BOSS)/skull" on mouseover? :)


saudh00018297 said...

Grats on the tame, the pet is a really nice trophy!

Scott Morgan said...

Thanks - it was quite an experience!

Anonymous said...

Bit old but do you perchance still have the macro you used? I'm interested in trying this myself :D.

Scott Morgan said...

Here you go; obviously you'll want to tinker with this a bit to factor in your own gear, consumables, racial abilities and etc

/tar The
/cast Bestial Wrath
/cast Deterrence
/cast Stoneform
/use Foresight's Anticipation
/use Potion of Speed
/use [target=player] Crystal Restore
/run PetAbandon()