Category Archives: Hunter

I was not prepared?

image

As is customary in my WoW life, every two months or so I poke my nose back into Classic, continuing the epic adventures of a Dwarven BM hunter and friends as they advance through the ranks. My experiences thus far have been mixed – I like the game mechanics better, but also you can’t futz around – or you’ll find out.  Classic WoW is a lot more dangerous than Retail.

I haven’t been on since before TBC rolled out to Classic, and when I last left my guy, he was struggling through a bunch of Elite quests and areas in the high 30s to low 40s.   Pretty much everything green was Elite, and everything that wasn’t Elite was pretty much yellow, orange, and red.  With the limited toolset of the Classic hunter, there was a lot of struggling.  Not impossible, but I worked for every bit of it.

So I was nowhere near max level anyway (or even 58, when the cheaters head to Hellfire) so regardless of when TBCC rolled out, I wasn’t too concerned. And that was pretty much how I was thinking about the transition from Classic to TBCC. Probably have to reset talents, but no big deal, ya know?

In my defense I did not recall a lot of the differences between Vanila and TBC – I quested to around 54 on my highest toon in Vanilla, then quit, and didn’t return until just before the TBC launch, where I started all over again (we didn’t have character restores back then).

So I was not prepared for the complete night-and-day contrast between Classic and TBC Classic.

Hunter pets are more resilient. They hold aggro far better. Shot rotations are far less cumbersome. Hell, even mounts are cheaper! Those elite quests? Far more in line with what I expect for a BM hunter (i.e.: no sweat). Yellas, pretty much same thing.

Also, remember this gal? Wonder what she’s up to these days?

imageAlso, I’m very annoyed that Disco priest is so unpopular that the more popular strategy sites (looking at YOU, Icy Veins) don’t even HAVE a Disco guide.

That’s all right, I’ve been doing Disco longer than Icy Veins have been around. They can suck it.

 

Somebody I Used to Know

Really not sure how many famous Hunters there are out there, but I can count the ones I know on  one hand.  There’s Sylvanas, who now works for the opposition party, there’s her sister Alleria, missing in action, there’s Rexxar, who we’ve met recently on Draenor, there’s Flintlocke, who’s more associated with the engineering arm of the world these days.  I’m sure there are others, but when reading the annals of our history, it’s those priests and paladins and mages that hog all the glory, apparently.

You might say the Lodge of the Hidden Path was well-named.

That being said, we’re tasked with filling our ranks with famous members of our chosen profession, which means a Hunter Road Trip or two.

rexxar-selfie

Well, Rexxar wasn’t actually that far away.  Just over the hill from the Lodge, in fact.  I’m not saying that he was being obvious or anything, but if your goal is to go Native and live off the land, camping out in you’re parent’s back yard is hardly “roughing it”.  I’m sure the Lodge just nodded and smiled so as to humor him.

hilaire-selfie

Hilaire, on the other hand, is one of those outright obscure cases that really did get a bit off the beaten path. I guess someone thinks she’s famous, but that someone is probably from The Broken Isles.  Not much about her ever made it down Dun Morough way.

I can’t say I am surprised. You really can’t hold a high standard up to an organization that is putting me in charge of things.  It has the tangy scent of desperation about it.

There’s a bear out there!

Grimm_full_resolution

Shortly after logging in to the pre-patch content, I noticed something very disturbing about my favorite pet, Bumbles the Polar Bear.  He looked … kinda scruffy, compared to his prior appearance.

2 bears

Do you even comb bro?

I was not pleased.

As always, Petopia to the rescue!  At the bottom of the  linked page, they list bears using the old models, which, they note, there is now only one of each of the colors.  And, as you can see, there is a white one – Bjarn, in Dun Morogh.

Now, I’m pretty sure that Bumbles the First was in fact Bjarn when first tamed, but I am hardly going to quibble over such an easy to find and tame creature.  Well, easy for me to find. Your mileage may vary.

I digress …. bears are of course not the only pet family afflicted with new-look-itis, I’m sure, but our good friends at Petopia have an answer for just about any one of them. So, if you don’t like your new pet’s look, go have a look! You may find a pleasant surprise.

At any rate, all is once again well between Bumbles and I. In this particular case, anyway.

Grimm and Bumbles (all is well)

All is well.

Legionary Hunters

Grimm

Blizz has spelled out that it plans on revamping all of the classes in WoW because they feel that the different specs are not distinctive enough, in many cases (agreed!) and to “improve the Class Fantasy” (whatevs.).  One of the first we heard of was the Hunter revamp which is kinda my thang.

On Sunday, 2015-11-08, they published a rundown of the Hunter class, which you can read here.

Let’s start with the basics

First of all, the three specs for Hunter remain, but have been significantly altered.

  • Beast Mastery now focuses less on the damage that the hunter does, and more on the damage that the beast(s) do. This is welcome news for me, as I have long resented that crack from Ghostcrawler about reducing the role of the pet in Hunter DPS.
  • Marksman now focuses on weapon damage, and in fact does not even have a pet, formalizing the Lone Wolf talent we now have as core to the MM spec. More or a Ranger than Hunter spec, if you get the reference.
  • Survival gets the most significant change in that it is now a melee spec, though it retains the pet as part of its mechanic, as well as traps.  Several talents / abilities that have long been gone are resurfacing as part of this spec.

Each spec has its own minor peculiarities, as well. For example, BM only gains focus through its pets, not as a passive resource accumulation or via abilities such as our current incarnation of Cobra Shot. In fact, Cobra Shot is more or less replacing Arcane Shot as BMs focus dump.

And therein lies the rub.

Differentiation by any other name

A VERY brief review of the Blizz blog post seems to imply that, while the abilities are totally named differently, they are functionally the same thing., For example, Arcane Shot and Cobra Shot basically do the same thing for two different specs.  It’s hard to see the point of naming them differently just of the sake of claiming “spec fantasy”. I mean, aside from the fact that the name “Cobra Shot” has ZERO resonance with the BM spec.  It’s been around, but I’ve always felt like it was an unwelcome house guest than part of my spec.  Like a Survival ability that had run out of places to go.

With this in mind, I am looking forward to see the entire ability spread for BM / MM / SV so I can see if everything lines up perfectly.  Because if that’s the case, they’ve failed to do anything for “class fantasy” other than the name.

There’s no point in claiming this is the case, yet, though, as we don’t have comprehensive data on this, just a blog post that hit just the high points and didn’t provide any real details, just a lot of 10,000-foot level overview.

Further Research

Unlike WoD, I’m actually hoping I get in the beta this time around. I’ll never be a pro providing detailed data on raiding strats or such, but when it comes to something as superfluous as “class fantasy”, I’m a friggin’ encyclopedia. I’m very excited about these changes, but am wary of market-speak taking over the spec designs to the point that identical abilities are simply not acknowledged as what they are.  I’ll be pretty aggressive on that if I get in.

Legionary

logo Welp, Gamescon is a week gone and we have the name and quite a few details about the next expansion of WoW. Missing the most vital answer, of course – when’s it releasing? – but I sure didn’t expect to hear that quite yet.

The Legion

A lot of people are unhappy with the subject of this expansion, and I suppose they have some cause.  But from a lore perspective, the Legion IS IT.  I mean, that’s our Big Bad. Sargeras may be the final boss, but his army is The Burning Legion.  This entire franchise has been about The Burning Legion.  Even Wrath (The Lich King was a construct of The Legion).  Even Cataclysm (Deathwing was created as a byproduct of the Legion’s first invasion). The only part of this franchise that was not about The Legion was the parts about the Old Gods and Pandaria, and I’m not entirely sure we can’t pin at least a couple of those on Demons in some way.

Point being, the Legion is a loose end that hasn’t been tied off yet, and we’ll need to tie it off or we’ll keep coming back to it. Just like people are complaining about. Though in this case, we never finished it.

The (Iron) Horde

Part of the original storyline was how the Horde got sent our way thanks to the demonic influences of Mannaroth, who we’ve now seen killed three times canonically (and many more times on WoWLogs.com and their ilk). Warlords was a revisit of that, and, when it comes down to it, appeared more of a conspicuously gratuitous effort to placate the metalheads in the artists shop than a real story.  It had no place in he canon, and introduced more questions than it answered.  Legion, at least, connects that crazy train and the jumble of moments that pass for canon before and during Warlords. How we get to the third Legion invasion is now revealed.

Learning to Stop Worrying and Loving the Plot

(or at least put up with it, because ye cats, these guys are pretty ham-fisted and, as my company commander used to say, as obvious as a five-dollar hooker.)

Okay, so from within the framework of the appropriateness of the setting, how it connects with the past, how it connects with the present (we’re told that this is ‘present day’ Azeroth), harmony with the lore (Pandas didn’t), and so forth; I’m personally pretty good with this theme.

(By the way, I have one prediction, and it isn’t about this expansion: when, inevitably, we revisit the Scourge, I suspect that those complaining about retreaded content will be extremely welcoming to the concept. See if they don’t.)

Class Changes

It’s obvious from early information that Blizz is looking to shake up the classes to a great extent. The most amazing news so far is the change to the Hunter class.  We’re headed for:

  • Beast Mastery – Ranged DPS with pet (Artifact = Gun)
  • Marksman – Ranged DPS without pet (Artifact = Bow)
  • Survival – Melee DPS with Pet (Artifact = Spear)

Did you catch that?  This is exciting! BM is basically becoming the One True Hunter Class by virtue of serving the original concept, but I have to say that Marks without a Pet is basically the fulfillment of many a Forum Poster wet dream.  And the return of the Melee Hunter is unexpected.  Unbelievably, I have been granted a win in the ultimate discussion of the destiny of the Hunter class, and I am for once not appalled at my victory. This is amazing!

Aside from the Demon Hunter specs (Two specs only! Wuuuuut?!), we’ve heard precious little about other class changes. Well, we’ve heard that they plan to make Warlock’s Demonology spec more Demoney and less Metaphorphos-ey. If it follows the same pattern as the Hunter class, I approve.  Well, actually, anything that diminishes the role of Meta is good in my book.

I’m not sure what I mean by that, but I promise to take full credit for whatever it ends up being. Unless it sucks. In which case, Ghostcrawler did it.  Ooo look, is that a baby wolf!?  /scurry

Artifacts

The other really big thing, for many, was the announcement that there will be no weapon drops in this expansion. Instead, each spec picks up a unique artifact weapon that they continuously upgrade during the expansion. For hunters it’s bow for MM, Gun for BM, and Spear for SV (which was our first clue about the melee spec).  I am constantly amused at my joke predictions for character weaponry in comparison. What I said in jest, is almost exactly what they’re doing for real.

There are many unanswered questions about this, most pointedly, what happens when switching specs? And where do current Survival Hunters get starter weapons to bridge the gap? This is gonna make the gear grind kinda weird.

Professions

They have said diddly about professions, but we can infer a few things from peripheral facts.

First peripheral fact: well, rumor, really. Word is that the professions team has swole hugely, with one source claiming more than 2x increase in seats. This implies that there are major changes inbound, but we’re not yet informed what they are.

Second peripheral fact: the Garrison concept is not coming forward with LegionPraise Mammon for that! I cannot go into how many ways that Garrisons failed us without violating some secret blogger’s creed restricting article size to one gigabyte per page, so I’ll just say it’s a pretty sad story and leave it at that. Most people I know will be happy to see it go.

But there’s a problem with that for professions, since professions got tied to garrisons so tightly. All professions are going to have to progress without Garrisons to support them. Some, such as the lumberyard, are probably not going to make it into Legion at all.  Well, at least, I hope not.

Ultimately we’re either headed back to pre-Warlord crafting (hardly something we need a huge Professions team for) or something new is coming down the pike.  Honestly, as far as professions go, going back to the Vanilla / BC style of crafting is just fine with me.

The only thing I will say that I like in WoD’s crafting is how crafted armor / weapons fit in.  You can basically meet or exceed the quality level of normal Hellfire Citadel with crafted items. This is, as far as I can remember, something we haven’t seen since Vanilla, and maybe not even then. Sure, Heroic and Mythic raiders  will get better stuff, and I’m extremely good with that. They’ve earned it.  But the fact that you can make crafted gear that is actually relevant is pretty unusual, and I’m hoping we keep that in some way in Legion.

Final peripheral fact: PvP is being totally revamped, which will shake up the talent trees for everyone, and this will likely revamp the spec tiers completely, as well as glyphing. As a result, expect to see Inscription getting a lot of changes, at the very least, to support these changes.

By the way … a week after Gamescon, and glyphs are flying off the shelf. The inscription market is extremly brisk at the moment.  The prices ain’t tremendous, but quantity is making up for it. Illume is burning through mats like there’s no tomorrow. 10,000 a day is the norm. Tell me the game is dying. Please. I need a laugh now that Jon Stewart is gone.

larry no

Pieces of Silver

It is not a requirement of Heroic dungeons in WoD, but if you prefer to just teleport in or use LFD rather than run up to the instance entrance as in Days of Yore, then you need to have completed the Proving Grounds at Silver level.

Here, in no useful order, are a few useful bits of information for those of you that haven’t gotten there yet (and I suspect the number of people ahead of me far outnumber the people behind me on this, so let this be considered a gift to my fellow bottom-feeders).

  • Proving Ground Silver is per character and possibly per spec.
  • If you got it at 90, you will need to re-run it at 100.
  • You won’t take any damage. So gear and glyph and talent accordingly.  Glass Cannon Mode is appropriate here.
  • Same for your pet. You want the pet with the highest damage and the highest damage spec you can muster.  AoE abilities are good, too.
  • This is a no-shitter endeavor, so bring your best buff foods and flasks.
  • This is a timed event. By definition, actual DPS is the primary concern, once certain tactical concerns are addressed.

Amber Weavers

  • Amber Weavers project a small globe that follows you.  Any creature they come in contact with (except apparently your pet) will cause it to explode and freeze the creature in place. While the creature is frozen in place, it takes 50% more damage. Ergo it is your goal to kite the globules into the enemy.  This is crucial.
  • Because of kiting, speed is your friend.  Glyph for haste. Enchant Gift of Haste
  • Go with Aspect of the Cheetah during this fight.  You won’t be taking any damage.
  • Between the enchants and gems and Aspect, I found that kiting the Amber globes was trivial.
  • Finally, it should be your goal to bring down all the other mobs before you bring down the Amber Weavers. They are your unwitting allies. Exploit that.

Mystics

  • Mystics heal other mobs.  If none of the other mobs are taking damage, they heal themselves when they take damage. But, they are largely selfless, so as long as someone else is taking damage, they will heal the others but not themselves.
  • I think you see where we’re going with this.  Some guides recommend interrupting (or in our case, trapping) Mystics and taking down the other mobs first, but then you have to deal with the self-heal.  Instead, use the other mobs as a diversion and burn down the healers.  It works for PvP, it’ll work here.
  • As far as I’m concerned, Mystics are your priority target, but keep a DoT or something up on someone else so that they pop the healjuice somewhere else.

Guardians

  • Guardians pop a directional shield that looks a lot like the ones that mobs used on the Timeless Isle, but are actually 2000-gazillion% less effective than those. If you have appropriate levels of DPS, these guys are chumps.

Slayers and Varmints

  • These guys are basically training dummies. They have no offensive capability and burn down quickly.

Finding Gara

I haven’t engaged on a good Rare Pet journey since I tamed Gondria all those years ago in Zul’Drak. I made a few half-assed attempts in Firelands and was always looking out for the Flaming Turtle in Hyjal, but I never really tried.  Gara, however, is another matter.  This beastie was put there for nobody but Beast Master Hunters. How could I not?

Gara Of course, since I’m not a mighty theorycrafter, beta baron, or suffering from delusions of adequacy, I relied on this guide, which Tome reminded me about long after I had forgotten it.

Ironically, the most difficult part of this was the newbie area … Frostfire Ridge. WoWHead to the rescue once again, explaining the seemingly single route into that place from friendlier lands. Oddly, once I got in there, it was somewhat easier than Shadowmoon to navigate.

The final battle didn’t even require me to dismiss my pet, so I was able to beat Xan into a pulp, then dismiss my attack!kitty, and tame me up a nice pet.

Catastrophe As you are no doubt aware, I am a deeply abiding fan of InfosecTaylorSwift, so I named my new friend in honor of her most recent videyo character.  Maybe I’ll continue the streak by naming my fire turtle Arsyn.  Whaddya think?

Elemental Hunter Rotations

Ease off, Shamani. I’m not edging into your territory.

Reading the final 6.0.2 patch notes, we find the sales pitch for ability changes for Hunters.

Hunters have lacked a strong distinction between the different specializations. What we mean by that is that the Hunter specializations all had rotations that felt similar, with Marksmanship and Survival having the most blurred identities (Beast Mastery felt well rooted in the pet). Hunters were also some of the most afflicted by button bloat. To address these problems, we opted to make changes to each specialization’s rotation, primarily through removing abilities, and making some of them unique to each spec. This means things like Aimed Shot being the primary Focus dump for Marksmanship, instead of Arcane Shot or Serpent Sting being available only to Survival. Hunters also had a large number of cooldown abilities, which we’ve also cut down (some of which we moved to the talent tree, competing with other active buttons).

Well, first of all, “tell me about it.”  I’ve been whining about this for a while.  Blizz may make this come across as a MoP issue, but I’ve seen the same interchangeability between the three specs since Cata, and its roots in the changes that took place in WotLK ((While MM has always been the most alien of the three, it still shares a lot in common between the other two specs. And in Cata / MoP, shifting between Surv and BM was a trivial move.)) . 

Sure, doubt me. But I’m a systems guy, and the ability to spot the similarities between different systems is more or less a survival instinct in my field. We may not be able to prove that A = B, but we can prove that A+C = E, and B+C = E, therefore A must be hella lot like B. And we might not have an A but we have a B.

And what I’ve noticed for a long time is … well, it’s best illustrated by a little sketch.

Hunter RotationNot to scale, of course.

The gist is this: hunter rotation, regardless of spec, amounted to a general flow that felt more or less the same no matter what spec you ran. The spec you ran more or less depended on the results of several runs on SimCraft.  It didn’t matter what the periodic nuke was called, it always appeared in the same place of the rotation. It didn’t matter how you replenished Focus, it always occurred at the same spot. A focus dump is a focus dump. Sure, there were flourishes. You had a small array of periodic nukes to fire off, for example, and the main distinction between them was where in an encounter they were deployed.  Didn’t matter. It’s all the same, with different names ((Incidentally: the same rotation works for a Demo lock, excepting that the nuke swaps places with the focus/mana dump, and occasionally a demo lock switches to an alternate rotation that more or less looks the same but has different ability names … but I digress.)).

The only reason I’m bringing this up now is that in this patch, Blizz have more or less made a commitment to giving the different specs a different way of working.  And I’m saying it now: if they end up normalizing on the same general rotation as depicted above, they have done nothing that they haven’t tried before.

The names of the abilities don’t matter. If the rotation is more or less the same with nothing different than the name of the abilities used, or the order in which they are used, then they have failed to deliver on the implicit promise presented in these patch notes.

I’m not saying they haven’t.

I’m saying that this is the yardstick against which they will be measured with regards to the Hunter ability lineups. Maybe not on WHU, but measured nonetheless. If I end up able to shift between the three specs without any trouble at all, they have failed to deliver on that implicit promise.  The DPS purist may not care; the DPS purist is excused from this discussion.

Well, except MM. MM’s always been weird.

A final note: I find it fascinating that my perception of the hunter trichotomy  differs from Blizz’s. They see BM as being “different”.  I see MM as “different”. They feel that the use of pet abilities makes BM different than the other two.  I feel that the odd rotational cadence of MM makes it stick out from the other two. I see pet abilities as simple drop-ins for PC abilities.  They see pet abilities as alien to the rotation.  One of us has a far different view of the Hunter class than the other.  Painfully, it means I will lose this battle.

Drunken Friday Night’s musings

If I’m sober enough to type, I’m sober enough to post.

Ennyhoo.

The latest news on bag management – and especially reagent management – in patch 6.0.2 is exciting and very smexxay. Allowing you to use your reagents bank from any location is a game-changer, no doubt about it.  I hope that cooking mats are included, not that that’s a big deal to me these days ((Raids? I’ve heard of them.)).

Without attributing to any specific incident, let me say that the ladies of WoW are an especially awesome group of people.  I might get worn out trying to keep up with some of them ((And I’ve dropped a few twitterz because of that.)), but the thoughts that they put forth on the topics of gender equality are well worth the time it takes to read and digest. I may not agree 100% ((And I suspect that my XY chromosome arrangement renders my opinions to some of them irrelevant.)) with all that is stated by them, but overall they fight the good fight and I am totally okay with that. Not that it matters, right ladies?

It occurs to me, though, that there are very few male bloggers whose opinions I cherish. A lot of them come from a position of privilege and seem to somehow carry that with them, but others have multiple points of view and therefore bring something interesting to the party. Which I find interesting ((I remembered ‘Rades’ but not the name of his blog. Go figure.)). I’ll always have interest in the various hunter fora  ((BTW, WHU is back, Metzen be praised.)) without actually endorsing them, but it’s the blogs that have opinions on the issues that matter that keep me coming back.

A long time ago I used Amiga computers pretty much exclusively, and participated in a FidoNet “echo” that the current WoW “twitterverse” has a strong resemblance to. Those people – more than any blog, forum, or website – epitomize the goodness to be found in the WoW social universe, in the same way that nothing that mattered on amiga,org seemed to matter in #AmigaGeneral.. Not the pustulant sewers of the WoW fora, and certainly not the reeking crevasses that represent the ‘discourse’ to be found on MMO-C, 4Chan, or Reddit.

Cultivate the proper list of tweeters on Twitter, and your life will be better in every respect.

Ai  swarez.

I’m there for ya

The Godmother of ALT:ernative is cooking up some Hunter goodness, but, alas, she ran into some sort of obstacle and, sadly, was forced to present this on her site:

[Please imagine that there is an AWESUM HUNTER GRAPHIC HERE, which will appear sometime late Saturday when
I get home to scan the drawing I did especially for the occasion…]

Never let it be said that I wasn’t there for my fellow Hunters.  I present to you: a placeholder.

Huntarr Week

I’m no Picasso, but it does come close to capturing a fraction of the awesomeness that is the Hunter class ((I was not drinking when I did this, I promise!)).

Meanwhile, head on over there and give the nice lady your support!