The Panther Hunt
(Or: Questing in Stranglethorn -- the Gnome Way)
09 January 2007
"Hurraayyyy!" Bouncy-bouncy-bounce and happy-happy-joy-joy! Nobody can "celebrate an event" quite the way a gnome can. And it's positively infectious -- you can not be in the company of a gnome who is happy and not feel happy yourself! It's impossible.
And Kixie has reason to be happy -- Sin'Dall lies dead at her feet, her body riddled with stab-and-slash wounds, not to mention a moonfire burn courtesy of yours truly, the Perfect Druid Fighting Machine. Taking down the Mother of All Tigers would have been quite a feat for Kixie alone, but I was in the jungle at the time searching for some damned, sunken Troll City, if you can believe it, so I was happy to take a break and help out when she asked.
Hold up -- the title of this entry says "panther", not "tiger".
I know. You're very smart. Now shuddup.
Mind you, "helping a Gnome on safari" isn't a walk in the park, even for the Perfect Druid Fighting Machine. It's not the "combat" which, given my skill level, is easy for me. And it's not "keeping the Little One alive", which is a snap because of my potent heals and my aggro-pull.
Noooo, the Big Challenge is keeping up with the gnome! How can someone with such short legs move so damned fast?
Well, I figured it out: they don't actually run. In fact, their feet only touch the ground about 7% of the time they're moving. The other 93% is the bounce.
Most of you have been to Stranglethorn Vale, yes? You know how the jungle landscape is laid out, don't you? Not actually flat, is it? Very hilly, lots of ridges and valleys, and thick vegetation, eh? You've got a mental picture of it right now, yes?
OK. Now, to that mental picture, please add one small person who is somewhere ahead of you, happily bounding-bouncing-trouncing up-down-left-right, now-you-see-her-now-you-don't, and you reach the spot where she was just a second ago and then BOING! a flash of a green helmet over there before it again disappears behind another ridge and so you run full-speed that way and DOING! you just see the little tyke in your left peripheral field of view as she goes WHOOSH! into the deep bush and then KA-WHING! how the hell did she get behind me all of a sudden?! and --
-- and the whole damned hunting trip goes like that!
Well, thankfully, we Druids have "cheetah form" for just such an emergency. It's the only way I managed!
Are there actually any "panthers" in this story?
Yes. Now shuddup!
So Sin'Dall is no more. "Anything else you need?" I ask.
"Could we kill some panthers?"
Panthers! 'Bout time!
I said shut UP!
The subject on the table now is ... the panther. But not just any panther. We're talking about the "Shadowmaw Panther of Stranglethorn Vale". Please note the "shadow" bit. And because of that, these buggers are not easy to find. They're only found in a certain area of central Stranglethorn and you don't actually see them -- until they pounce on you.&nbssp; If you're lucky, you can hear them before that happens because they make a distinctive sound when they fade in or out of sight.
And I'm about to launch into this prepared speech for Kixie's benefit, in which I'll share with her my vast knowledge of hunting so that she's got a leg up on dealing with these crafty, invisible, predatory jungle cats. Because I'm the helpful sort, ok? Yes, I'm about to lay out the Perfect Plan for killing the maximum number of Shadowmaw Panthers in the minimum amount of time and I just know that Kixie will be very thankful for having learned these valuable hunting tactics from me, the Perfect Druid Fighting Machine and --
-- boundy-bouncy-hippity-hoppity-boingy-bounce --
-- goes the Gnome into the middle of the jungle without benefit of my Higher Knowledge and before I can say or do anything, I see:
Kixie yells: "Heeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeee, Sneaky Pantherrrrrrrrrrs! ! ! "
I slap my forehead once, then drop into Cheetah and speed after her, and I'm about to say something like, "Kixie, you can't just go running into the middle of the darn jungle, screaming at the top of your lungs for 'sneaky panthers' to just come out of the bush and --"
RRRRRAAAAAAWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! ! !
In only 48 intense, hacky-slashy, blood-spattered, fur-flying, bouncy-wouncy seconds, we manage to bag three "Sneaky Panthers". And two of them even yield the rare "Shadowcat Hide" when I skin them. When I mathematically analyze the kills-per-second result of this hunt, I come to two conclusions:
1. It's by far the most successful hunt I have ever done.
2. This Perfect Druid Fighting Machine doesn't know jack-diddly-squat about "hunting".
Thus endeth today's lesson.