Everybody knows how awesome Hunters are1. But nobody’s actually put it to song, as far as I know.
Archive for the “Hunter” Category
Dec 07 2012
Everybody knows how awesome Hunters are1. But nobody’s actually put it to song, as far as I know.
Aug 27 2012
When Navi came over to say hi, I was working on my transmog "set", if "set" it be. I had replaced the shoulder pieces, but the rest of my outfit was all Tier-thirteeny. It wasn’t pretty, but I did appreciate having the ability to look to the right and left once again. Those T13 shoulders should really come with mirrors or something.
My snark on the T13 shoulders is indicative of what I think about Hunter armor appearance in general. I don’t even GET the concept of mail-wearing Hunters. Forest leathers are a much more appropriate outfit for us outdoorsy types, but game mechanics (i.e. Mail Specialization) require mail, and you can’t mog mail to look like leather. It might confuse the PvPers1.
Deadly Bio-optic Killshades are crafted3. Tablet-Bearer’s Pauldrons, Far-a-day Mesh, Fastfuse Gloves, and Bael’dun Chain Leggings all seem to come from a coherent set. I would have loved for this "set" to come in a jade-green theme4, as that would seem more natural for Hunters. But the overall theme here is simplicity of design. No fiddly bits, curly-cues, flying buttresses, flashing lights, glaring eyeballs, or other ridiculous crap5.
Paxton’s Belt and the Talonrend Stompers contrast the blue-silver theme for a couple of reasons. First of all, belts and boots are generally made of leather. Second of all, even though they’re mail, they look like nice, sensible leather accessories. Third of all, although there are boots that match the armor, I’d run the risk of looking like this:
Um, no thanks.
The final piece is the gun.
The Tribute Gun was my second choice. My first choice was the Flawless Arcanite Rifle, which has a scope as part of the model6. The Arcanite rifle is also an engineering crafted item, but the schematic only drops from one particular mob, and apparently nobody’s seen that drop since they were downgraded about ten levels in Cata.
I asked a kind GM about this – Trelladon, who also offered conciliatory waffles – if it had been dropped from the game, and s/he indicated that there is a bug report in about this very thing, so at the moment there just isn’t any clear idea in Customer Support if the schematic is supposed to drop or not.
Well, once the black market is live, maybe one or the other will drop. But for now, this will have to do.
The main thing that drew me was the feathers. I know it’s silly, but that’s such a Wildhammer-ish thing.
So there you go. My look, going into MoP, unless they come out with something new in MoP that I like the looks of better7.
While I haven’t really been inclined to get my wookie on and swing a lightsaber, I do follow some aspects of STWOR if for no other reason to have some inkling about what people are getting uptight about. Usually I end up nodding and saying something like "Some things never change."
One recent controversy did raise my eyebrows, though. There was rumblings about enrage timers, but then a more interesting twist emerged: no damage meters, no combat log. As so many experience DPSers will tell you, this is pretty stupid. Here’s one now:
If you think I’m shallow enough to link to this to say I-told-you-so, you’d be completely accurate.
Smug mode: engage.
I’m sure Bioware or whoever will address this to everyone’s satisfaction at some point. I’m not sure if WoW came with a working addon API out of the box, but given how late it was announced for STROW I’d venture that it was an afterthought and still has some work to go. I’d advise patience, but that’s not particularly the hallmark of your average STWOR player1. So, good luck with that, I guess.
That’s not actually what this article is about. Well, peripherally, it is, but only in that damage meters and combat logs are involved and it deals with DPS. Namely, mine.
A couple of patches ago, we got changes to the Beast Master Hunter spec that promised near-parity with other specs. Then the guild got gutted of over half its overall raiding roster and it became more difficult to judge my performance against those of my fellows. Then there were more adjustments in the last patch, including some buffs to both SV and BM. Then we started inviting some people from another guild to raid with us regularly, which included a SV spec hunter.
I saw that BM wasn’t doing that great at all. He was topping the meters, I was bringing up the rear. My best choice at that point was to focus on utility. I’ve had to do this before, many times, as far back as Kara. Hoping that being useful (rather than deadly) would keep me in the rotation.
Or, I could change specs. Give it a go.
Looking at gear and gems and reforges and enchants, I realized I only had to change one enchant – agi to mastery – to optimize my armor for SV. Stat-wise, there was virtually no difference. So, I left myself geared for BM and greased into SV mode.
After looking at the meters, after looking at the combat logs, in all respects, my performance improved. On average, a 3K difference in output, and I’m not really used to the rotation yet.
So here we are at the end of the expansion and I’m having deja vu all over again. Because this is exactly where I ended up as I started crawling the passageways of Icecrown in the final patch of WotLK. Survival. BM was the red-headed stepchild of the team; people like me ran it if we had to, but otherwise we used one of the other specs because they delivered what our class is expected to: ranged damage, and lots of it.
So that’s the upshot of my weekend: I guess I’m shifting to SV and swapping my BM pets for a stock of SV. Alas. BM is, by far, my favorite hunter spec, because it’s so darned fun. But sometimes you gotta give up some funsies to get that boss down. And that’s a sad thing. Of all the issues about talents and specs, that is the greatest one of all – that one cannot just play the spec that one enjoys the most and still expect to perform the same as others. Maybe you get lucky and it works out. Maybe you don’t.
In my case, not so much.
Here’s an update on the whole Beast Master experiment.
When last I talked about this, I had done all the theory stuff I was going to be able to do, and done as much as I could with target dummies to optimize my rotation and pet selection. This is all a part of my plan.
The Plan looks a lot like this.
So right now I’ve completed step 7, and am suitably impressed at the difference it makes. This was a Troll Heroic, with guildies, but of course not raid buffed. The difference between Survival and BM using my current gear is on the order of 3-4K DPS.
Step 8 – raiding – may add another 1-2K.
So, yeah. This is looking very good for single-target fights.
The next question will be, if it looks good in raids, what will it look like when I gem, gear3, and re-forge again to maximize my damage output?
And the final question will be, will my SV build be viable in that situation (aside from gear, which can be swapped out).
The final question is a big one. I want to be able to keep SV viable as an AoE spec for fights like Magmaw and Cho and whatever 4.2 brings with it. If I have to gimp it too badly to maximize BM, I have to decide if I should gimp BM just enough to make a difference for SV.
So, sometime after our next raid, I’ll have enough data to make a solid decision. Until then, the plan is to keep practicing this spec daily until I am comfortable with all of my shots and cool-downs.
Further bulletins as events warrant.
As we’ve been exhorted to improve our DPS in order to more properly pwn the faces of one Mister Cho, I’ve been exploring a number of things that might help, excluding the obvious of HUNDARD HARDERER, because, Light, I am huntarding as harderer as I can.
The plan was a two-pronged attack. Step one was to get on the sims and optimize my gear. Mission accomplished, and our farm night did seem to show some improvements. So: big red gems, a couple of easy upgrades, and reforginating righterer all contributed.
Prong #2: not so easy. Let me essplain.
Completely against my better judgement, I started out with this guild as Survival because the dummies showed that it had a 1-2K edge over other specs. I now realize that the main reason is probably because I was less confused with its rotation, but that’s for later. The upshot is that I, despite past statements to the contrary, have become used to – comfy with, even – the Survival spec.
Last night some random hunter in Stormwind complimented my gear. And all I could think was "then how does Yngwe mop the floor with me every time?" Yngwe being our other raiding hunter, and quite the beast.
Well, part of the answer is that he is master of the Marksman spec, and on single-target fights, MM has some amazing procs and abilities. True enough, evaluation of past logs shows that Survival (me) fares much better on add-heavy fights than MM (he) does.
There is a fly in the ointment, though. The problem is that MM is like looking at a whole different class when compared to Survival. The rotation is almost backwards of Survival’s, it’s heavy on the nose, in driving terms, the steering wheel’s on the wrong side, and so’s the stick shift.
But anyone that’s a real gearhead watches Top Gear, and knows that real gearheads like them learn how to drive both sides of the road with proficiency. Likewise, a good hunter masters at least two specs, no matter how different they are.
So, prong number two. Learn another spec for single-target bosses.
My initial intention was to load up MM and start playing it exclusively until I was used to it and could do my rotation without staring at my keybinds. And MM was already in slot number 2. But then I realized my spec was all screwed up, so I needed to wipe it. And after I did that, this small, still voice in the back of my head whispered to me.
Hey, buddy. What about Beastmaster?
You have to respec anyway. Why not go home again?
You know you want it.
And we got it.
And, I thought to myself; well, why not?
So here I am, with my Beastmaster on, and my wolf, Rowlf, at my side (I didn’t want to muddle things up too much at first, so keeping the same pet seemed best). And my first reaction to my shiny new spec was kinda like this.
I mean, seriously. BM was previously the faceroller spec. You had very little to do outside of weaving a couple of shots together, and it generated BIG DEEPS, yarrr. But this shiny new BM spec is just scary.
Oh, my stars and garters.
So, I took some time to get it down. On a dummy, you don’t get Kill Shot, so that’s not part of the rotation. Also, since I didn’t take Careful Aim1, I don’t have to worry about the top 20% of heath skewing things. So basically, I open with Serpent Sting (and the pet goes in), follow with Bestial Wrath and Kill command, then settle into a dance between Cobra, Focus Fire, Kill Command, and Arcane Shot. When any of the cooldowns pop, I trigger them. And that’s that. I generally follow each Kill Command with two Arcanes, to keep the focus down, and try to stay away from any awkward pauses.
Last thing to talk about is gear.
My first passes were not great, but after reforging I saw an improvement to nearly-if-not-equal with Survival performance. Unfortunately, WHU and Mr Robot disagree strongly on gemming. The upshot is that I am going to have to go in and tweak reforges by hand until I am happy with it, and then retweak until I have something that works equally well for both BM and Survival. I’m not regemming. I’m not sure how viable that will be, but, long-term, there is no easy route to take.
The good news is that I can bring out my fave pet – my Stompasaurus – and not lose the buff that my wolf brings to the game. In fact, he brings *two* buffs to the game. Yay!
The coming weeks will be interesting.
The 4.1 patch is upon us and we have many, many changes to the Hunters’ life. Most of these are reason for great joy and celebration.
The complete removal of the pet happiness system does not qualify for that description in casa de Grimmtooth, however.
No, I’m not being contrary to be contrary. I have long appreciated the little nuances, the "flavor text", if you will, of being a Hunter. The complex and involved pet training regimen. The agonizing decision as to what pet to bring out of the stables. The constant care and affection required to keep your pet happy.
All of these, of course, are gone.
Pet training has been revamped, and, at least, is relatively interesting in that you now get a talent tree instead of a list of things to train. Still, for each pet tree there is one, and only one, "correct" talent template (two counting the extra talent points that BM hunters get) – at least according to the usual suspects.
Stables have evolved. Addition of the remote stable started the journey towards thoughtlessness, but the current "five pets in mah pocket" changes for 4.0 pretty much made it a non-issue. Plus, it’s kinda ridiculous. We’re hunters, not mages.
Now, the pet happiness system has been scrapped. A lot of people have used the mindless rubric, "well, the glyph pretty much made it pointless", but that statement makes a dangerous, and totally invalid, assumption. I never said that I though that the changes to happiness in 4.03 were good. Quite the contrary. I’ve been silent on the topic because I didn’t have anything nice to say. And I still wouldn’t have said anything except some relatively vocal supporters of the 4.1 changes have continuously trotted out this flimsy excuse. I’ll say it now, loud and clear. I thought it was a bad idea then, and I think it’s a bad idea now. For no other reason than to give Hunters a little bit of flavor, to set the bar at a minimalistic third-grade reading level, and illustrate the difference between a casual huntard, and a real pro huntard.
Obviously, my opinion changes nothing. Our pets went from being meaningful to portable buff machines in 4.0.3. In 4.1, it’s moreso, but now you don’t have to maintain them, either.
I find it interesting that Frostheim’s description of the Hydra family focused on the buff first, is all I’m saying.
In many ways, it seems, hunter pets are lesser than Warlock demons in terms of how interesting they are, now.
And, all due respect to my Warlocky friends, that is an extremely sad state of affairs.
There may come a day soon in which you buy your pet from a store, rather than use the Tame ability. On that day, Hunters and rice cakes will have something in common.
This is a recurring theme in WoW. Things that are moderately difficult, get removed. Remember night? We used to have it. Where’s the weather? Used to be, you had to be level appropriate to fish from specific areas, much less pools. 310% flight speed was earned, not bought. And so forth.
I feel it diminishes us all, in one way or another. There are obviously people that disagree, and Blizz wants their money.
A meme is running around WoW blogs about "what’s your favorite thing about your favorite class?"
Lately, this is somewhat of a daunting question. I do have a favorite class, and I have many things I like about it, but the question brings out some other questions that are vexing at the moment.
What’s to like?
There are a zillion things I like about my main’s class. Huntering is my most favorite thing in the whole world of Azeroth. It’s fun. It’s an amazing class that has unique interactions with the game.
What’s not to like?
The little screw ups that make me feel bad – sending my pet off on the wrong target, pet charging off unexpectedly (happens to Warlocks, too, I’ve noticed). The badly placed trap. The unintended crit that broke aggro. Forgetting to turn off AotP. Huntard-induced wipes.
But my least favorite things? The cracks from people about my class that clearly have no understanding as to how to play it properly. A joke is a joke, but when it’s in earnest, it really hurts. These usually come from people that have hunter alts that are still running with the Kaz Modan bear that has no "wild" talents upgraded, or don’t even have a pet, or prefer to do melee instead of ranged, or any number of other ignorant things that separate the real hunters from the wannabees.
I hate taking digs from people like this, that aspire to the height of mediocrity in the class I’ve chosen for my main, and yet have the nerve to comment on something that they don’t understand.
It grates on me, and it takes away from my enjoyment of the game.
Every role in this game has its challenges. That’s why I play one of each, so I know what the strengths and weaknesses of each are. I want to understand so that no matter what role I am in, I can work with and around the strengths and weaknesses of my fellows. And that means that I don’t go around talking trash about something I don’t understand, either. I learn. I know better.
I mean, come on, people, Blizz has spent 3 years or more balancing all the different classes. I think that if you feel one class or the other has it harder than the others, it might not be the class. It just might not be.
Anyone can play a class and get mediocre results and claim that class is easy. It’s in the finer points of the class where the player has the real opportunity to shine or fail. If all you do is sit back and hit autofire on a hunter alt, then you fail at this particular criteria. If all you ever do with your Warlock is DoT or Shadowbolt (depending on how you lean) then you will either have a hard time soloing or a hard time instancing. If all your priest does is bubble then whack with a mace, then … well, you get the idea.
Failure to excel on your alts, let alone your main, is your failing, not the class’. Every class has its "easy mode" that is based off of level 10 criteria. Beyond that point is what separates those willing to learn from the rest of the pack.