Axiom was abandon last Wednesday, but not before I double checked my opinion on soloing for Pike. My owl rarely lost agro, while she had problems with hers. There was a definite possibility that I was throttling back or that I was just not paying attention. So, I went up to the ogres above Shat and killed 5-6 and only lost agro once when 3 of my first 4 shots crit. I also confess that I drew agro from 2 others when they were below 15% and they died before they got halfway to me, which isn’t bad considering they were 71. As long as I don’t get hit, I consider that fine agro management.
Since, all level 70 owls are the same (except for hunter contributions to stats) the question is what am I doing different. Some thoughts as why I don’t generate as much threat and my owl may generate more. First off, I hand time Steady without Quartz. Macros can mean more DPS, but is killing a mob one second faster really that important? Second, lag. I run at about 200-300ms which coupled with hand timing reduces DPS a bit. However, if you’re having problems holding agro, you probably don’t want to be lazy or downgrade your connection though.
So, here’s some stuff you can do.
First the simple stuff. To pull agro, you need to generate 110% of the current tank’s threat if you’re in melee range, but 130% if you’re at ranged. It’s actually a bit fuzzy with the reduced deadzone, so even if you can auto shot get a bit further away if you can. I have personally pulled agro at 110% with Auto-Steady. Just back up. I also have to say don’t start shooting until a growl lands. If it’s resisted, WAIT!
As a last point here (which applies to owls in particular), turn off claw and only use screech. After a growl there’s 85 focus left. Screech generates 47 and you can get 4 off for 188 and that doesn’t include the threat of the debuff. If you just straight use claw you get 3 uses for 65 average or 195 total. Provided the debuff does at least 2 threat per use, it’s going to generate more. If you try to use both claw and screech, you’ll get either 177 (2 claw, 1 screech) or 159 (2 screech, 1 claw) threat. So use one or the other, not both.
An important detail to note before I go on is that growl generates additional rage once you pet gets over 734 AP and then each point of AP gives an additional 5.7 points of threat. Hunter’s Mark is usually a waste while soloing at 70. It basically spending mana for increased chance to pull agro unless you get Improved Hunter’s Mark. Now, almost every recommended build has at least 20 points in MM. The first 5 should always be lethal shots, and for soloing I recommend Improved Hunter’s Mark for the next 5. People think of this as a raiding talent and a waste of mana for soloing, but it is great for getting above 734. My owl had 659 AP and IHM put’s it at 769. That little 35 AP over 734 generates 199.5 additional threat! A 30% increase. Don’t respec without it.
If you’re full MM, TSA just adds to it further, adding both directly to the pet’s AP and an additional percentage from your gain. Similarly, Kibler’s Bits can also be used to push you over 734 if you’re getting close. Of course, in addition to increasing growl’s threat, it increases damage which also generates threat.
I probably should have put this earlier, but I noticed when I tamed my windserpent, Screwtape, that the run animation was broken. It looks like this is also a problem with bats. I didn’t notice it with my owl, but can anyone tell me one way or the other if it’s an issue there?