I've been at level 80 for a few weeks now, and in that time I've been getting my gear upgraded by questing in Wintergrasp (or WG, as it is often known as) to accumulate the three forms of currency that can be had there and spent with a vendor in the fort as well as in the capital city of Ogrimmar. It's from my earnings that I've been gearing up to purple level gear for the best non-dungeon stuff that can be had for hunters. For those of you not on WoW, the dungeons tend to produce the top items - they just tend to drop infrequently or even very rarely, so you can't depend on it dropping even if you quest there. And even if it did drop, you are also going to be contending with the other members of your group who also want the same item.
It's also in WG that I've learned the difference that being on the right talent tree can make. For most of my hunter's career, she's been a Beast Master (BM), which means that her pet is her tank - that is, it takes the brunt of the damage that the monsters inflict on her while she concentrates on using her ranged weaponry. That is fine for soloing on quests, but for PvP areas such as WG, it's much better to use the Survival (SV) tree. The reason is this: The BM's main weakness is that when her pet dies, then she is vulnerable - basically a glorified "squishy" (slang for a toon with low armor or poor self-defense skills). However, while the SV may not have the kinds of pets that a BM has, she makes up for it by having much cooler arrows. Under a SV talent tree, she has arrows worthy of DC's Green Arrow (but not the boxing glove arrow, doggonit!). :-D
The differences in hunter talent trees is most clearly demonstrated in my duel-outs with other hunters in WG. I am betting that the vast majority of hunters are BMs, because they believe that it's the best talent tree for a hunter to have - and again, that's normally true in other circumstances - but not in this one. I would say that I have won probably a good 85-90% of my duel-outs with hunters because of the difference in talent trees. Here what nearly always happens with my duel-outs with other hunters.
1.) Hunter spots me, and starts shooting me (hunters tend to be sought-out targets because of our annoying ranged weapon talents that allows us to strike targets from far away while keeping ourselves out of harm's way).
2.) Hunter sends beast to attack me. I command my beast to attack their beast.
3.) Hunter responds by commanding their beast to attack my beast.
Now here is the fatal flaw in their reasoning. By taking their pet away from attacking me, they remove the one thing that could help them win their duel-out with me, because their beast is better than mine. All I was doing with my beast attacking their beast is precisely to lure the other hunter into attacking my beast with their beast. It's amazing how often this tactic works.
4.) With the two beasts fighting each other, it is now down to a duel-out between the hunters, and thus here is when the difference between the talent trees is most stark.
5.) As hunters, we can have the same types of armor, so in theory, we are equally "squishy". However, my arrows are better! I have all types of arrows that a BM does not! So while the other hunter is pelting me with run-of-the-mill arrows, I am pelting them with stuff like - oh, explosive arrows that inflict lots of damage upon impact.
6. ) Even though we can shoot at each other equally fast, my arrows still does more damage to them than their arrows do to me. Still, I do take on a lot of damage, but almost always not as much as they take from me.
7.) Other hunter goes down, and I go collect their insignia as a sign of respect to a fellow hunter - and as a way of saying, "I PWNED ya, pal!"
In addition to WG, there is a new area created since the recent WoW patch in the territory of Icecrown that has jousting tournaments. Cool gear can be had there as well. While I think they are pretty cool, I also can't joust worth crap. In fact, if I did joust worth crap, that'd be an improvement! LOL However, it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it - I just can't master it! I can throw the shields, I can joust, and I can melee with the shield - I just can't do all of it well enough and fast enough to have at least some semi-consistency to win once in a while. In fact, if it weren't for the other, non-jousting dailies, I'd still be at the lowbie aspirant level!
The benefit of jousting here is that you can now grind rep with some of the other capital cities, and if I can get my reputation with the Undercity up to Exalted, I can finally get their undead horse mount that I've wanted for forever! I'm not so eager to get the orcs' raptor mount or the tauren's kodo mount, but I might work on those as well - but AFTER I get the undead horse! I GOTTA have it! IwantitIwantitIwantit!
I've been told what works in jousting and some swear that their success rate is close to 100%. It's just that the other guy won't cooperate and die already! LOL All I can say is, I'll keep working on it, and then maybe I'll finally get the hang of what I need to do to win jousts on a consistent basis. Right now, though, I'd settle for winning on a semi-consistent basis. :-P
That's it for now, kiddies! Have a great weekend!