Sunday, December 29, 2013

Be Not This Guy

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hunter Arena Nerfs, the HPP, Kheldul and Me

In 5.4.2 Hunters will not be able to dismiss their pets while in arenas.  This is typically done just before a hunter pet is about to die.  It's also done a fair amount in extreme hunter solo'ng.  But in the arena world, it is evidently unfair to dismiss and summon a new pet.

I haven't arena'd at all in MoP, so I can't comment on how overpowered dismiss pet was... but I would have thought that perhaps the long cast time would be enough.  But hey, hunters are top of the charts, right?  No? Oh.

In other news, we're rebuilding our guild raiding group.  We did the first four five bosses on heroic this evening, so that's not too bad.  Especially with a lot of Flex gear in the group.  I got a whole bunch of drops tonight bringing me up to around a 570 item level.

I haven't listened to the most recent two Hunting Party Podcasts.  I did catch the tail end of the Roger Brown show live and got a question in.  I am sad that the podcast is going away, but not surprised.  It takes a lot of work to crank something like that out and people have lives.  I also had some tip-offs.  I really enjoyed guest hosting those times.  I regret never doing it with Arth or Frostheim.  I don't think I could ever do it every week.  I couldn't even make the Live shows, let alone put in the prep work each week that fans deserve.  But it was a blast.

Speaking of having lives, I've made an interesting career choice.  I resigned from my job.  I was there a long long time and the past year was getting old and I wasn't happy.  I'm fine financially, but I'm going to spend some time new-job-shopping.  I have no idea how all-absorbing it may be, but I anticipate it to soak a lot of time.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Latest and Greatest

I haven't been posting much here (though you can check my twitter feed).

I have been following all the pre/live/post-Blizzcon news.  I like the approach of having new talents replace or enhance current abilities so as to not perpetuate the actionbar bloat problem.  I generally think that the particular abilities will change, but feel like the three talent choices align nicely with SV (Bolo AoE), MM (the stand still cast), and BM (super pet). Of course they aren't bound to specializations like that, and accommodations were made for different talent pairings (e.g.- no pet out gives a damage bonus) but it feels like they are aligned to a primary specialization.

In game, we spent three weeks on a large number of very very long attempts on Garrosh.  P3 will get easier and easier the more gear you get.  The week after killing him, we got Heroic Immerseus (basically nine-manning it).  The next week (this week!) we got him again and three new heroic bosses.  We're pretty happy about those kills.  We'll be trying Heroic Iron Juggernaught tonight on our third raid night of the week. 

So far no gear upgrades in the past month...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mount Pet: Hunters as Main Tanks

Hunters should have a main tanking ability.  Hunters should be able to queue as a tank and do it well.  Right now we obviously don't have the ability.  We can do extreme solo'ng and can tank content that we over-gear (e.g.- 5man heroics and lesser tier raids).  We could become tanks.  Here is how.

Mount Pet
Hunters have a non-magical ability which allows them to mount their pets.  MountPet() is both their new travel form and tanking form.  Mount pet has a two second cast time and a three minute cooldown.  Dismounting a pet only requires a global cooldown.

Tanking Abilities
While mounted, hunters lose their normal humanoid abilities, but generally gain improved versions of their pet's abilities.  The hunter and pet fight and operate as a single unit with a single health pool.  That health pool is the pet's, but if a pet dies then the hunter is stunned for five seconds.

Mounting a ferocity or cunning specialized pet is possible, but it is not a good idea to attempt tanking without a tenacity specialized pet.

All mounted pet abilities do more damage and are more effective while mounted than while unmounted.  However only tenacity abilities are improved beyond just numbers:
  • Growl becomes a real taunt.
  • Avoidance and Cower are proactive defensive cooldowns.
  • Basic attacks generate extra [3x tank] threat.
  • Charge (Tenacity) is on a shorter cooldown.
  • Last Stand (Tenacity) is on a much shorter cooldown.
  • Thunderstomp (Tenacity) does more damage and generates more threat.
  • All Tenacity pets will have a new interrupt ability.  Pets with existing interrupt abilities (e.g.- the Special Ability, Pummel) will have two.
  • Special abilities are slightly improved.
  • Bonus abilities are slightly improved.
  • Exotic abilities are slightly improved.
  • Movement speed is greatly improved. 
  • Pet health, armor, and dodge values are recalculated at a higher value than just the normal values inherited from the hunter.  Hunter gear and buffs do apply here, but don't double-dip.
  • Additional abilities may be also available for flavor and variety.  Being able to summon a stampede of the same pet would be a useful cooldown.  Dire-beast might also be useful but have a suicidal taunt effect.
Tanking UI
Abilities on a cast bar are arranged once for tenacity pets, once for cunning pets, and once for ferocity pets.  If a mounted pet does not have an exotic ability or a bonus ability, then that button will be blank.

Items like potions and healthstones may be plausible.  But generally all hunter abilities are not usable.

When the hunter dismounts, the pet's stats, abilities, and most notably health are brought back to normal levels.  Dismounting only costs a global cooldown.  The new pet current health should be established as a percentage basis from it's while-mounted health percentage.  After dismounting, threat toward the pet is not immediately removed, but fades like normal threat fades.  As the pet is much weaker this can be detrimental.  If a hunter accidentally dismounts, they may also have a problem with the three minute cooldown on the Mount Pet ability -- and if that isn't an issue -- they may have a problem with the two second cast time of Mount Pet.

New Talents and New Glyphs
These would be far too speculative an area to discuss.  But suffice it to say these would be quite fun to dream up.  All new talents should be useful whether you're tanking or not -- but certainly more useful when you are.  Many new talents could enhance Survivability.  Many new talents could enhance Beastmastery.

New Specialization?
EDITED TO ADD: I wrote this yesterday in one sitting.  Thinking about it a bit more, the model Blizzard uses to determine roles is not one of choice and assignment.  It is based on Specialization.  So it would seem that hunters would need to have one specialization which is specifically oriented around tanking.  This would not be easy to just fold under BM.  I find the word "Huntard" horrid, but it makes me think that an entirely new Specialization would be more suitable than pushing all BM hunters into a tanking role.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Durendil is Still At It

He got up to level 39 in TANK for the Endless Proving Grounds.  Click through for his comments.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Siegecrafter Blackfuse Conveyor Belt Work

[One of my guildmates swears in this video.]

TIPS: If you're assigned to the assembly line your overall damage will be low, but your assembly line damage better be good. Save DPS CDs for it. You'll end up being up there every other one. If you're having trouble, then you're either not blowing CDs and/or pots or you should have someone come up with you so you finish twice as quick. When on the assembly line hunters can DPS just as well as melee. If you jump then you briefly lose the force pushing you down the line. You can jump all the way back to the start if you want. Jumping into the Mario tube (or walking into the other one) to get off the conveyor belt isn't hard, but disengaging over to the main platform will save you time.

Our Second Thok Kill

A question of burst came up on Twitter about BM burst and how it drops like a rock afterward. I'm thinking it's quite fine.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Awesomesauce Tanking

Durendil did it two days ago.  He, a hunter, got the Gold Tanking achievement in the proving grounds.  What's awesome about this is the proving grounds make it so you can not overgear the content.  Previously all the pet-tanking and "extreme soloing" we've done, we've done it while having killer gear -- at the minimum a tier above the content being solo'd.

I took a stab at it and realized I needed a fully new bar with full new macros keyed-off of specific pet tanking talents and glyphs.  Threat from chain-MDs isn't quite enough.  Not having a taunt, you have to pick up the adds immediately.  There's only one thing that he did that I was thinking of doing different.  I was going to use the Distracting Shot glyph.  But I guess that might take away from other more important glyphs.

I've been checking the lists for a week or so.  Warlocks can do it.  They have a decent tank and can fear bomb +DoT.  Durendil is the first hunter.

Congrats! Here's a link to the video.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Stat Weights and Judgement Calls

I'll have to check things out again, but currently AskMrRobot is showing me the following for stat weights. This means you should always choose the best DPS weapon, followed by agility, followed in secondary stat preference of crit, haste, and then mastery.  I'm not sure if this is cached in browsers or if they just updated their weights in the last few days.  I'll have to look at it more.

One of my personal reforging issues has been that I'm swimming in +hit.  And I got a new and better weapon that has +hit while my old one does not.  I checked FemaleDwarf and she told me even if I'm swimming in extra (and useless) hit rating it is an upgrade for overall DPS.  That's cool.

So when I look at what AskMrRobot suggests I go through the differences of what I have.  Yep, it suggests I remove the two +80agil/+160hit gems in my shoulders and replace them with +160agil gems.  Even with the set bonus loss of +120agil, I'm ahead of the game.

But it's worth stopping to consider another option.

Using the stat weights we see that 320 agil should be multiplied to 4.36.  We also see that any stamina value should be multiplied to zero.

The stat weight of stamina really isn't zero.  It is zero for the purposes of damage dealing.  Obviously all our gear comes with some and we don't reforge it off, but there is some value to surviving a two-shot combo boss mechanic.  Hypothetically, you or someone you raid with has done something wrong if you get two-shot.  Or you are very undergeared for the instance you're in.  It isn't "RNG".  But having some cushion can help, because accidents happen.

Part of me is tempted to put in agil/stam gems and wind up with 280agil/240stam instead of 320agil.  Maybe it's just the pet-tank-wanna-be in me though.  Trading 40 agility for 240 stamina isn't quite enough stamina to make me do it.  I'd probably give up even more stamina for agility.  But that price is pretty close to my break-point.  A little more stamina, or a little less agility and I'd go for a little more survivability.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nice Immediate Changes for SV and MM

Hot off the presses!  Some very nice immediate changes for MM and SV.
  • Hunter
    • Marksmanship
      • Chimera Shot's damage has been increased by 50%.
    • Survival
      • Explosive Shot's damage has been increased by 10%.
SV has been considerably lower for me.  Including "AoE fights" (e.g.- Galakras and Dark Shaman).   You'd think with the slimes that an unlimited AoE SV multishot would rule the charts.  It's not bad, but it's not like Tortos bats.  The ExS change is probably not enough to change things until we get into 4pc T16 set bonuses.  I may flip my second Specialization to a pet-tank setup just for the bars and what-not for a bit.

The Marksmanship change has been LONG overdue.  Again they probably need more but it's great to see attention there.  It's also very nice to see it in the right ability.

It's a great way to close out the second week of Siege.  Well in related news, our guild killed three new bosses tonight.  That brings us to 9/14 in normal.  We weren't planning on doing the last boss, Malkorok, but we cleared trash (there's a lot!) while one person watched a video.  I believe we got him on our second try, so I'd call him pretty damn easy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tweeting Wow Characters

If you didn't notice the dinky little twitter widget I have on the bottom of the pages, I am tweeting a lot of stuff that I might have previously placed in my blog.  What happened on a raid.  How drops are doing.  Links to good stories elsewhere.  It's all stuff I would have put in this blog, but I'm stashing over tweets.  I still am blogging, but I'm putting larger pieces here.  (Now that I've said that, my next piece may be just 141 characters or something...)  I made a twitter account just for Kheldul/wow stuff.  I do still leaf through my blogroll, but I find twitter pretty interesting for this stuff too, as you can immediately message people back, or to engage the developers and other community.  Head on over and follow me

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hunters are a Fun Class

Good stuff over at MMO Champion.  They looked at all level 85 characters and determined how many of them were leveled up to 90 during MoP.  They found that only 27.44% of Hunters made the effort.  In previous expansions numbers were similar but a little bit lower.  It appears that many people either stop playing or switch mains or don't bring all their ups up.

Interestingly, that 27.44% number is larger than during Cataclysm.  More interestingly, that 27.44% is larger than every other class in wow.  I suppose that's not entirely true though; Monks are infinitely more leveled than during Cataclysm...

in any case, this can be interpreted in a different ways.  I choose to think that it means that Hunters are easy to level, fun to play, and a desirable class.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hunter Ammunition - An Idea for Wow 6.0

Hunter Ammunition
Hunter ammunition used to be much more involved.  We had ammo pouches and quivers for "shot" and "arrows".  There were leatherworking plans for pouches and quivers.  There were epic quests for them and extremely rare mobs with rare drops.   We carried stacks and stacks of ammo in these bags (and in normal bags).  When we ran out of the ammo our abilities would go red.  We'd experience a WTF? moment and then realize we were idiots and hadn't stocked up.  We bought ammo from vendors.  We got special stuff as drops.  We crafted it.  We paid good money to engineers with good ammo plans to craft stacks and stacks of it.  You see, if you didn't use the best ammo then you didn't do the best damage.

Then one day we didn't need ammo.  It comes free with the weapon and the damage is baked in. It is a Good Thing.  But with all forms of simplification, we lost some flavor.

Hunter Aspects
Hunter aspects in the past had some variations and utility while in combat. Aspects in early 5.x had Fox, but that was thankfully redesigned.  The current state of hunter aspects is poor.  A couple weeks ago I suggested how to make Hunter aspects great again.  I put plenty of disadvantages to counter-balance the advantages of using a particular aspect.   But I wrote it in one sitting so it isn't a work of perfection.  I do still absolutely love some of the ideas.  The post also has a lot of the background and history of hunter aspects.

This current post takes the concept of aspects and morphs it into a totally different direction.  Here's the thinking:  "Hunters don't have stances.  Hunters don't have forms.  Hunters don't have magical aspects.  Hunters have different types of ammunition that they can use in different situations."

Cooldown Concept
Manual selection is required.  A hunter should be able to flip to a different type of ammo, but there should be a three second cooldown on being able to do that.  They shouldn't want to macro it into shots because math says this type of attack should this type of ammo.  It takes time to make that swap.  "Twisting" should be discouraged.

Specialization Concept
Each hunter specialization should open up a different type of ammunition that is only usable by that specialization. 

Ammunition Use
Not all hunter abilities use ammunition.  Many abilities and talents do not.  All abilities which use ammunition require a primary target, including normal hunter AoE abilities.  Ammunition is available in all projectile forms: arrows, crossbow bolts, and rifle shot.  Each type of ammunition becomes available at different hunter experience levels.  Ammunition does not exist as a object to loot, craft, or purchase, but it is selected as if it is an aspect.

Ammunition Type Examples
Below are examples of ammunition with example damage values.  Each ability which does use ammunition has a normal damage component and a special ammunition damage/effect component based on the ammunition type in use.  For instance, Arcane Shot currently is "an instant shot that causes 125% weapon damage plus 2306 as Arcane damage".  In the new world, Arcane Shot would be "an instant shot that causes 100% weapon damage plus...".

Effect: +30% shot damage ("white damage")

Scorpid Poison
Effect: +15% shot damage as poison and applies one poison effect to the targeted creature with 2% shot damage as poison every two seconds for six seconds.  Can stack to five.  Only affects creatures subject to poison.

Effect: and 20% shot damage to additional creatures within 10 yards of the targeted creature.

Flechette Quill
Effect: +30% shot damage and a 10% bleed over six seconds, but is 50% less effective against armor.  The bleed can stack to five.
Requirement: Beastmaster Hunter

Armor Penetration
Effect: +25% shot damage that avoids half of all armor.
Requirement: Marksman Hunter

Effect: and 15% fire damage to all targets within 15 yards of the targeted creature over 10 seconds.
Requirement: Survival Hunter

Examples of Ammunition That Don't Work
It is worth mentioning what I do not think should be used as a type of ammunition.

Viper rounds
Effect: drain mana on every shot
Why: We had this as a spell in-game long ago.  It is more appropriate as a single spell ability.  It would be overpowered in PvP.

Scorpid rounds
Effect: reduce a target's ability to hit
Why: We had this as a spell in-game long ago.  It is more appropriate as a single spell ability.  It would might be overpowered in PvP.

Concussion rounds
Effect: do little damage but slow with every shot
Why: Shooting bean bags isn't great against monsters.  And we have Concussion Shot as a single spell ability already.  And it would not be appropriate in PvP.

Toxin rounds
Effect: damage and apply a mortal strike with every shot
Why: This would be overpowered in PvP.

Bolo rounds
Effect: damage in an AoE effect or apply a trap on a single target
Why: These would be a lot of fun, but difficult to explain.  They do exist in the real world for crossbows and shotguns.

Dragonfire rounds
Effect: apply a conical dragon fire effect up to your target and it expodes.
Why: We're hunters not fire mages.  And yes, some crazy people have these in the real world.

Examples of Ammunition Glyphs
Major Glyph of Speed Load
Effect: 30% Haste effect but approximately 30% less damaging shots.
Why: Some situations require a fast hunter.

Minor Glyph of Tracer Shots
Effect: Every fifth shot has a trailing tracer; a bright burning tail following the projectile toward its target.
Why: Style and commanding main assist visual surpassing the tame Hunter's Mark.  As in real life these can be applied to any form of ammunition.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kheldul and I

[Stream of consciousness inc.]

Before Wow
The first character I made in a modern MMO was Kheldul.  I had played and programmed in pre-MMO MUDs.  But this was my first MMO.  It was Nov 2004.

You see, I ran a pretty popular MUD ("Multi User Dungeon") with 300+ players back in the early 90s.  It was coded in C and was pretty amazing.  It was a glorified text adventure system with global world-movement, tactical movement, object manipulation, and classes and spells.  My good friend even strapped in a Spell Description Language that players would code in.  (It was an extension language based on Scheme.)  It's also important to know that most players could freely create objects, rooms, containers, etc. within the world for a world currency.  A lot of different people were running MUDs back then and I got an API to bridge people between MUDs where they used the same client.  Anyway... it's a long story.   It was a lot of code written on the fly.  It was a lot of fun in the pre-dawn Internet era before HTTP.  I also had a history of playing D&D.  And I hung out on Steve Jackson's BBS in the pre-ethernet age.  I had heard a lot about other MMOs.  So suffice it to say, I was eager to take in this MMO experience.

I think I was hooked before I played.

Throughout my computer gaming and pen and paper gaming life I've most often gravitated toward a ranger archetype.  The thought of being able to use rifles in the game and have a large pet really hooked me on the hunter and specifically a Dwarf Hunter.   The most recent character I had played in D&D had been Grantil Obergraff, a Dwarf Fighter/Cleric who was part of an Ursine Cavalry.  Kheldul was not only the first character I played; Kheldul was the first wow character I created.

Except for vacations and normal life, I haven't stopped playing and I haven't stopped playing Kheldul.  This means semi-daily play and raiding three nights a week.  A year or so I typed, "/played" and it was scary.  I haven't done it since.  It's also worth noting that I don't stand in town or do auction sales on Kheldul.  /played is scary and I can't easily dismiss it.  It does make me think.

In addition to time played, I've spent countless hours on guild forums, community posts, blogging, and now twitter.  This is my 560th blog post here.  It's almost all about Hunters.  I've started to do most of my trivial posts to twitter.  Kheldul and I have crazy amount of time invested in a thing that does not have a physical form.

Alts Never Mains
In the early years when I rolled Kheldul, I had other characters.  But most didn't get past level 20.  In early Cataclysm I started a few more again.  This time I happened to pick "Khel" as a prefix to their names.  I have Khelark, a pretty good i508 Resto Shaman and part-time Auctioneer.  I'm quite comfortable healing with her, but I don't like Elemental DPS and can't see building up a full Enhancement set again.  I farmed and farmed a nice Scarlet Crusader set for her before MoP retired that gear.  I have Khelarghast, a new i490 mage who I leveled from 20ish to 90 in what felt like record speed.  I could be good with Khelarghast if I bothered to apply myself, learn the ins and outs and fix up my UI a bit better for him.  I have Khelune, a level 86 (but ilevel 415) Guardian/Feral Druid.  I have a Worgen Prot Warrior who is level 85.  I have really nice transmog sets for all of them.  The one exception being my 85 Blood DK, Khelduwath.   I am tired of him completely and haven't even bothered to spec him since MoP began.  Kheldul, i539 is my main.

Beloved Pets
Kheldul is a pretty bad-ass dwarf hunter, but he's really a softie - most especially with his pets.  Over the years, he's had many favorites.  Before the modern stable changes, he had to let three of them go back to the wild at different times.  His first loved pet was Mokral, a temperamental brown bear.  His second was an ornery boar named Bacon.  Third was a the briefly loved Chipotle the red scorpid.  Fourth was his silverback great ape with green eyes, Jason.  Then came his albino T-Rex, named Chuckles. Lately he's been using many different pets based on the need, but this year when running as BM, he will default to his spirit beast porcupine pet, FITE, who comes in three different colors depending on the mood.

Be a Groover
I love the current hunter game-play.  On farm fights, I often have Kheldul hop and move unnecessarily while DPS'ng.  This isn't to say that I don't always give it my full effort.  I'm usually on the top of the damage chart, and normally have the highest "active time". I move and hop because it is so enjoyable.  I do spinning jump shots for no practical reason except that they feel awesome.

Better to Look Good Than Feel Good
Kheldul enjoys the transmog scene and often changes things up.  He's had green suits, blue suits, black suits, and red suits.  He's had gear sets for pet-tanking that look like shining white plate armor, one that looks like a two legged turtle, and lately one that looks like a red samurai.  He even has a full set of red shaman gear from the Dark Moon Fair vendor.  Each set has a matching tabard and gun.

And finally, what more do you need to know about Kheldul, other than he still has every nice looking gun he's ever owned. (With one exception, and with some re-acquired after the fact).  He keeps them safely secured in his gun locker within his bank vault.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Less on Haste - More on New Trinkets

In 5.4 haste is not necessarily going to be your friend.  Our stat weights will change.  In 5.4 items are being redesigned.  Currently, haste is great because it increases your opportunities for procs to occur.  And if a proc causes even more haste, then it's even more great.  If it causes our main stat to buff, then it's great as well because along with the haste you're doing a rolling and growing snow-ball of damage as your gear improves.

What can proc in the revised Real-Procs-Per-Minute (RPPM) model? Lots of stuff and the same stuff as now, most notably: Trinkets, tier bonuses, and legendary meta gems.  When 5.4 lands in two weeks, we'll want to change a few things.  One thing we'll really want to do is tend to our revised and redesigned trinkets.

I am using two trinkets now.  I have the upgraded form of the Heroic Renataki Soul Charm and the upgraded form of Bad Juju (Gnomes!).  Well these are turning into Renatakai Soul Charm (PTR) and Bad Juju (PTR).

You can see one difference if you look closely.  The duration of the effect is 20 seconds now for both, which is a nice size duration and makes the soul charm quite good.  But the PTR forms are coming in at half that duration; They have 10 second durations.  The soul charm still gets up to the same buff.  It gets better every second instead of every two seconds, but it will have less output and be more difficult to get a couple large shots in or anything big at its peak.

There are a few things that isn't listed in tooltips.  First, the Real Procs Per Minute have a "may the odds be ever in your favor" unlucky-streak balancer.  If you haven't gotten a proc in a certain time it buffs and buffs your chances until you're guaranteed to.  Overall, this works out to be a 9% bonus to your chance to proc.  The second is, that on a boss pull, they're putting you high up in that chance so you'll get a proc early in a boss pull.  The third is that most of the chances for procs are nearly doubling.  The Soul Charm currently will have on average 0.62 RPPMs which is becoming 1.21.  And my Voodoo Gnome Generator is going from 0.55 RPPMs to 1.10 RPPMs.

These are just two common RPPM examples.

All this means is that if you had been following along and stacking Haste as you got more RPPM items then you will not see as much benefit from that Haste as you do now.  The trinkets are half as good and double as good and a little juiced.  If you hadn't been stacking Haste before then you probably will notice nothing at all.  If you had been then you'll notice a DPS decline.

For more on the RPPM changes check out Lore's posts in this thread.

What can you do?  Get one of the new crop of 5.4 trinkets ASAP.  They are mind-blowingly good.  They seem to go counter to everything we've seen from Blizzard.  They give cleave opportunities from non cleave shots.  They act as partial readiness abilities.  They are generally amazing.  Here is our list:

Hunter Damage Tweaks

Arcane Shot
This tweak to Arcane Shot looks a little better.  Previously they increased the damage and focus cost.  Then when people complained that the shot would compete against the signature shots they dropped the damage buff down, such that it was a nerf when represented as damage/cost.  I'd like to see them drop the focus cost a bit too.  It's totally selfish I suppose, but the focus change will screw up everyone's rhythm.

Arcane Shot additional damage increased by 21%.

Lynx Rush
This is very good news for this forgotten talent.  aMoCs was buffed for loss of readiness.  Blink Strikes was already powerful.  Lynx Rush was already the poor choice and hadn't received any increase from the loss of readiness.  AP scaling and damage increase sounds like a nice buff.

Lynx Rush damage and AP scaling increased by 30%.

Signature Shots
And then we have some nice to finally see signature shot buffs.  KC looks decent.  Aimed Shot looks weak.  Explosive Shot seems behind KC by a lot even if LnL was frequent.

Kill Command base damage increased by 33% and AP scaling increased by 16%.
Aimed Shot weapon damage increased by 12.5% and additional damage reduced by 2%.
Explosive Shot damage and RAP scaling increased by 8%.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

How Deterrence in 5.4 will be a Minute Longer CD

The way charges work with Deterrence, the cooldown seems very similar to 5.3 until you try to use Deterrence a fourth time.  Then each time you want it, it's an extra minute or two.  There wont be Readiness to finesse through the issue.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Glyphs on the PTR

I loaded up the latest PTR last night.  Unfortunately, it took a while to download so I didn't have much time to play with things.

Kheldul couldn't find either of the new major hunter glyphs.  On the PTR there is a vendor in Throne of the Four Winds that sells glyphs. He had some shaman things but neither of the new hunter glyphs.  I've been checking the AH but no love there of course.  I also created a new level 90 hunter, thinking that he might have the new glyphs.  Interestingly he had all the glyphs learned except the two new ones, so that makes me suspicious.  Maybe they were ripped out because they realized how badly designed they are.

I did some playing around with the new amp'd-up Mend Pet.  The redesigned major glyph is much better than they had it when I tried it a month ago.  Originally, it was broken and of no value.  (It healed 25% in just 5 seconds.)  Anyway, it now heals the pet for 50% of the pet health over 10sec, instead of the normal 25% of its health over 10secs.  The way it works is the HoT ticks every second for 5% health.  Unglyphed it ticks for 5% health every two seconds.  The Glyph of Mending will be in every Pet-Tanker's list of must-haves.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

PTR Gold Proving Grounds

This isn't hard, but the mechanics aren't too forgiving.
Play with your sound on.  You're given instructions.
All your gear gets scaled down.  Waaaay down.
The mobs don't damage you at all, but you can't stand idle.
CC is useful.
I want to try the tanking one as a hunter, but I imagine it will be tough.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What We Lack in 5.4 from a Loss of Readiness

There have been a whole slew of changes to hunters for 5.4.

Readiness is gone.

We got a new Stampede in PvE as a dps cooldown.  And some shots got a buff.  So our overall damage may be the same or up or down.  It's still TBD.

But our defensive bonuses that could be helped with Readiness are a bit hosed.  We get a lot less Deterrences even though there's a charge (our CD will be a full minute longer).  We have a lower CD on Disengage which is great, but can't chain them.

There are many offensive bonuses from Readiness.  Murder of Crows is getting buffed +40% damage, but you can't readiness with it.  (Really the CD and focus cost should just be reduced.)  Overall MoCs looks like a wash.  (Some call it a nerf but it really depends on how long the fight is and how long the boss is at less than 20%.)  That said, Lynx Rush is at the same talent choice level as MoCs and it didn't get any damage buff.  It was already behind, so I don't see it ever being taken without some sort of change to it.

Back to back Rapid Fires need to be balanced in the add-extra-damage review. I had expected them to add to the duration and/or cut from the cooldown.  But there was no change there.

There are other short-falls from removing Readiness.  There are many 15 and 30 second cooldown abilities that you could hit, readiness, and recycle through immediately for burst.

Another loss is Exhilaration.  It needs a buff right now, but without Readiness it can't be used twice.

Master's Call isn't reset-able.  And of course one of the biggest losses for PvP is no more Bestial Wrath.

I don't miss Readiness.  But I do think many of these other abilities should be adjusted with charges, longer durations, and/or shorter cooldowns.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

5.4 Trailer

New Glyphs Make Me Nuts

I really wish I knew what these major glyphs are supposed to do.  Their descriptions make them seem completely worthless, but yet they shouldn't be since they are our new major glyphs.

Glyph of Enduring Deceit.  While we're camouflaged, we take 10% less spell damage.  That might be nice, and I might not grasp the finer points here.  But.  But... don't we fall out of camouflage when we take damage... and can we enter camo while in combat?  I honestly don't recall since it is far less a PvE ability.  But if we can't, then it would mean we'd never get advantage from it in PvE and in PvP it would help with one AoE spell (since we can't be directly targeted) and really it would just be one tick of AoE which would be quite light anyway.  So... uh.  What is this major glyph supposed to do for us?

Glyph of the Lean Pack.  Umm.  We have a personal-only pack and a large pack.  And we can glyph it to make it larger, via a minor glyph.  What purpose is this major glyph? If it really is incredibly situational, what's the situation?  The best people can come up with is for PvP when you want to move a small group fast but not stun others.  But there are a whole bunch of actually good major PvP glyphs that would make this absurd to use.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Making Hunter Aspects Great in WoW 6.0

Current State
The current state of Hunter aspects is meager.  There is not a clear need for them.  We have our Hawk/Iron hawk attack aspect and we have travel aspects that are not normally of any use during PvE or PvP encounters.  We also have an aspect we can glyph for: Aspect of the Beast.  It would be a fairly simple matter to get rid of aspects; Hawk could be our default baked-in state and the remaining travel "aspects" could just be spells.  There isn't a need to toggle off Hawk while in a travel state.  This makes me sad.

In the past, we had other aspects which made choosing an aspect meaningful.  We had Aspect of the Fox.  We had Aspect of the Wild.  And long ago, we had Aspect of the Monkey.  Aspect of the Wild provided a large amount of Nature resistance as an aura and had a PvE use in about 1/5th of boss encounters.  Aspect of the Fox was short-lived.  It allowed for casting many cast time spells on the move and provided greater focus regen.  Aspect of the Fox wasn't successful as a design because people macro'd it into Steady Shot or Cobra Shot and then macro'd in a switch to Aspect of the Hawk before signature shots.  This was a predictable automated form of "aspect twisting" and not in any way desirable, so it was retired and SS/CS were redesigned.  Aspect of the Monkey was an early defensive CD hunters got long ago.  You could flip to Monkey mode and it greatly increased your Dodge percentage.

General Principles
I believe hunter aspects are an interesting part of being a hunter, but they should be meaningful again.  I believe aspects should allow a hunter to make a choice in their gameplay that doesn't require a re-spec or re-glyph, and which can be chosen while in combat.  I believe aspects shouldn't be something that is switched to often and should be a manual effort, such that they don't make sense to do within any form of rotation or regular activity.  Generally, I believe hunters should want to be in their normal Hawk aspect because when they are not, they should not be able to do as much damage.  Each hunter specialization should provide access to one unique aspect to increase specialization identity.  Glyphs affecting aspects should be changed.  Level 45 talents should be tailored to improve a particular aspect.  Only one aspect can be active at any time.  And finally to reduce aspect twisting, there should be a minimum three second cooldown on changing aspects.

Kheldul's New Hunter Aspect Dream Lineup
Hunter aspects can be great.  Below, I start with the basics and work my way up to the specialization-specific aspects.  Your comments and ideas are definitely welcome.

Aspect of the Pack
Party and raid members within 40 yards take on the aspects of a pack of cheetahs, increasing movement speed by 30%. (No daze effect exists anymore.)  Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Cheetah
Removed.  (A personal travel aspect is no longer required.)

Aspect of the Hawk
The hunter takes on the aspects of a hawk, increasing ranged attack power by 35%.  (Not being in this aspect will greatly diminish your damage output.) Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Prowl
The hunter takes on the aspects of a stealthy cat and becomes untrackable.  (Previously known as the rarely used Aspect of the Beast.)  Movement speed is reduced by 40%.  If the hunter is under the effects of Camouflage, their movement is in stealth. (Folds a Glyph-for-only ability into a situational ability.)  Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Spirit
The hunter takes on the aspects of the natural interdependent web of life, increasing his and his pet's health regeneration by an additional 2% every 2 seconds.  Imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Protector
Party and raid members within 15 yards of the hunter take on the protective aspects of the turtle, reducing damage taken by 20% but also reducing movement speed by 40%. This aspect may be used until canceled, but has an activation cooldown of two minutes and imposes a 3 second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Monkey
Available only to Survival hunters.  The hunter takes on the aspects of a monkey, reducing the cooldown of Counter Shot by 12 seconds, increasing agility by 10%, and increasing dodge by a total of 10%. (The agility increase should always be worse than the Aspect of the Hawk RAP increase, including when under most proc effects.)  Imposes a ten second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Beast
Available only to Beast Mastery hunters.  The hunter loses themselves in their pet acting as one, taking on all aspects of the current pet, improving all forms of pet damage by 40%, and increasing run speed by 30%.  If the pet dies, the hunter is stunned for five seconds. (The hunter mounts the pet like a vehicle and controls all pet abilities similar to the old spell Eyes of the Beast.  Tenacity pet abilities like Taunt should work on bosses.) Imposes a ten second aspect-wide cooldown.

Aspect of the Eagle
Available only to Marksmanship hunters. The hunter takes on the aspects of an eagle, increasing ranged attack power by 50% but increasing all damage taken by 10%. (A glass cannon that will irritate theory-crafters.) Imposes a ten second aspect-wide cooldown.

Comments and ideas welcome!

Friday, August 9, 2013

RPPM Changes Will Change Our Stat Priority

I haven't gone through all the changes and how items are being "re-balanced".  (I'm still catching up on things since my vacation.) This affects the performance of my RPPM gear, the value of prepotting, and all the gems, reforging, and some enchants.  In a nutshell, this is a rather huge change.  Haste will not be as good.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
There are some further changes to the RPPM system in development that we'd like to share with you. As you know, RPPM is something we've been doing a lot of iteration on, and we have another iteration that should be hitting the PTR soon:

As you may know, RPPM proc rates typically scale with haste. This was done because historically, attacking faster meant you had more chances to proc something, so got more procs, and we wanted to preserve that effect. However, most procs before RPPM were such that either their effect didn't also scale with haste, or their proc rate was predominantly limited by an ICD. Many of our RPPM effects thus far have had neither of these limitations, such that they effectively 'double-dipped' on haste, benefiting twice from it. In some extreme cases, the proc was designed such that they actually triple-dipped.

As RPPM effects have become more wide-spread and more impactful, this has caused a variety of problems. Primarily, it has skewed stat balances toward haste rather significantly. It's also a compounding problem where many of these procs stack multiplicatively with each other, causing insane burst when all of these procs go off together. That can be fun, but also raises the skill cap on your performance, and makes gearing choices more restricted to ones which stack together optimally.

For 5.4 we're going to change both new and existing RPPM procs to not double-dip on haste. Benefiting once from haste is fine and expected, but not twice. For example, suppose you have two hypothetical procs, Flamekissed and Villainy:
Flamekissed's proc rate scales with haste, and its effect says "Chance on hit: Deal 500 additional fire damage". This is fine, because only the proc rate scales with haste; the effect doesn't.
Villainy's proc rate also scales with haste, and its effect says "Chance on hit: +5000 Agility for 20sec." This is not fine, because both the proc rate and the proc effect scale with haste. The more haste you have, the more attacks you do in that 20sec period which benefit from the increased Agility.

If both the rate and effect of a proc scale with haste, we're going to remove the haste scaling from its proc rate. In these cases, we'll compensate for an expected amount of haste by increasing the base proc rate. For any procs whose effect does not scale with haste, their proc rate will continue to scale with haste as before. However, we're also revisiting the proc rate tuning on all existing procs that were made overbudget due to the addition of Unlucky Streak Prevention (which ends up increasing effective proc rate by 9%). These changes should bring RPPM procs back to being on-budget and tied with traditional ICD procs in value.

This will obviously have a noticeable effect on most players performance; don't panic. We're going to be adjusting damage/healing/tanking performance with these changes in mind.

These RPPM changes should make it to PTR soon, and you'll be able to find the exact changes to each such effect there. We now show RPPM proc rates in the tooltip of the effect, which should make it easy to find.


However, we recognize that not everyone likes the RPPM gameplay, and are going to greater lengths to provide alternative options in Siege of Orgrimmar. In addition to RPPM-based trinkets, there will be trinkets that use the older internal cooldown (ICD) method, as well as a few on-use trinkets if you'd prefer to have an even greater degree of control over when your trinkets are active. There's even a couple trinkets with completely passive effects.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interesting Weapons in 5.4

There is a BoA raid weapon drop with the horde graphic which drops off of Garrosh Hellscream.  Yeah, BoA.  MMO Champion has some indication that it may scale to character level 100.

Then there are new "warforged" items and "flexible" items.  Flexible corresponds to the new Flex Raid type.  Warforged is the new label for Thunderforged.   This one looks tasty... especially when upgraded to i580.

Nice To Hear

From Lore:
Long-term (ie: not for 5.4), we will be making some bigger changes to the Hunter class. It may not be a full class revamp (like the Warlock revamp in 5.0), but we do want to give the class a full once-over and make sure that the specs feel different and unique. We are not planning any further, class-wide mechanical changes for 5.4.

We have not yet balanced DPS for Hunters (or anyone) for 5.4. When we do, we'll make sure that as much of that balancing as possible is done via signature shots.

By that, I meant that signature shots are going to be the primary target for any buffs to bring Hunter damage up, but there's only so much we could buff them depending on how much actually needs to be done. We wouldn't, say, allow Explosive Shot to tick for 500k just to bring Survival PvE DPS up. Instead, we'd bring up Explosive Shot as much as we comfortably could, and then make minor tweaks elsewhere if further balancing was necessary.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'm Back

I was traveling in England and Scotland the past two weeks.  I put 950 miles on my rental car and my ability to drive on the left is pretty decent now.  We were in various places in the Yorkshire region, Glasgow area, Inverness, and Edinburgh.  I saw countless castles, pubs, abby ruins, gardens, Hadrian's Wall, tons of armor, melee weapons, and lots of ornate guns.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gearing Up Pet Tanking Sets

I re-did the video with much better audio this time.  Click thru for HD and better proportions.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What the Mend Pet Change Means

Over on the PTR a new change was made to the Glyph of Mending.  I haven't heard any reasons or hypothetical reasons for the change.  But here it is:

Glyph of Mending now speeds up the periodic effect of Mend Pet to restore health to the pet every 1 second.
To be honest, I couldn't recall what this meant, so I headed to to get briefed.  Unfortunately, and mmo-champion both have an out-dated definition of Mend Pet:

This isn't the actual in-game tooltip. We haven't channelled our pet heal in several major releases. It is a HOT (Heal Over Time) and has been since Burning Crusade.  The rest is right though.  Here's the real current in-game tooltip:

Specifically what this does is give your pet a HOT that heals 5% of the pet health every two seconds for ten seconds.  So five ticks.

The current in-game Glyph of Mending is quite nice for solo stuff that your pet needs to tank or for say, an all-hunter Flex Raid.  The +60% is multiplicative.  This means that the pet is not healed for 85% of it's life (25% + 60%).  It improves Mend Pet by a factor of 1.6.  Or taken another way, 60% of 25% is 15% so it increases the 25% by 15%, which is 40%.   So we end up with this as a tooltip if we take that glyph of mending:

When we hit Mend Pet while glyphed, the HOT is an 8% health heal every two seconds for ten seconds.  And it's five ticks in total.

Now, let's take a minor detour.  The Glyph of Mend Pet removes curses.  Don't get confused with that one.  It's totally separate.  And if I recall correctly, it's going to be a 100% chance.

The other thing to keep in mind is that all healing is affected by the Glyph of Animal Bond.  It's nice.  But again, not central to the change here.

Now back to the basics.  The blue PTR notes may tell the whole story.  Yes, the new PTR "Glyph of Mending now speeds up the periodic effect of Mend Pet to restore health to the pet every 1 second."  But there is fine print in the tooltip.

"Your Mend Pet now ticks every 1 sec, but the duration is reduced by 5 sec and it gains a 10 sec cooldown."

That sounds like it should be the same heal but it will come in five seconds and we wont be able to hit Mend Pet for another five seconds after that.  So no real change, right?  But wait a second.  Where is our current +60% to the mend pet?  Is it gone?  It's no longer in the tooltip.

I'm currently downloading the latest PTR client but it will be a very long time until it's done.  I suspect that this is just a tooltip error.  Because the spell logic, while very terse seems to imply the +60% is still in there.  (See: ptr vs live spell logic)  If anyone who is on the PTR can check and see if the total healing is still improved by 60%, that would be very re-assuring to the hunter pet-tankers.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kheldul on The Full Hunting Party Podcast #177

It was quite fun to geek out.  I'm the big eye-ball guy. ;-)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

DPS Raid Cooldowns Make Hunters Look Bad

Hunters Are Not Great

I love hunters.  I love the current 5.3 mechanics and feel.  It's the best feel in the past eight years.  But we need to face it; Hunters are a stingy lot.  We don't give back to the raid.  We just take.  I was on the Hunting Party Podcast yesterday and brought it up.  I don't think I adequately or perhaps eloquently stated how I saw things.  So this is my second shot in long form.

Healers and tanks are self-less.  We know this.  Sometimes it goes to their head and they become premadanas.  But there wouldn't be a raid without them though.  They have boat-loads of many nice raid cooldowns and personal cooldowns.

The other not-so-lesser DPSers also have very nice raid utility.  They can either do very important things that you need for a raid to work or can even change the nature of a boss encounter or make a particular phase much much easier.  They generally have one or two raid cooldowns, bring buffs, and may also do something special.

Given that we're stingy, self-centered, and non-generous I want to make sure we're not ignorant as well. Let's get educated so we know that a raid leader of a progressive guild is only taking us for our good looks ... and not what we bring to the raid.

Defining Raid Cooldowns

A raid cooldown is something that an individual uses which helps not just them, but directly helps others in the raid.  It might be a defensive cooldown to help others take less damage.  It might be offensive to help them do more damage.  It might restore mana.  It might help them move fast.  Or it might simply be something that is not easy to pigeonhole but greatly helps the raid.

Buffing the Raid

In advance of a raid, or as part of an aura, all classes bring a buff or two.  Hunters are neat here in that they can bring any buff.  If they are willing to run as BM.  What should be recognized is that most all 25man raids have every buff they need (and boss debuff and special ability) without asking a hunter to bring a particular pet.  This is also the case with well-balanced 10mans.  If the raid is skewed and doesn't have a Warlock or Priest or Warrior for fortitude, then a BM hunter can bring a fortitude pet, or the raid can use some scrolls and get almost the same thing.  For these reasons, I don't give pet buffs more than a footnote-mention when discussing raid utility.

If you aren't convinced, play with this buff/debuff tool over at wowhead.  Take pets out of it, and three different classes generally bring a buff.  The special ones are supplied by two different classes.  As far as debuffs go, it's between two and five different classes bring a debuff.  Now quite often it's in a certain role.  But as debuffs go, if you have two tanks of different classes then you usually have all debuffs covered and they're already doing them.

Listing of DPS Raid Cooldowns

This is the meat.  This is probably not the whole list.  Raid cooldowns give DPSers a chance to help others and possibly save the raid.

Fundamental DPS Raid Cooldowns
Smoke Bomb (Rogues)
Rallying Cry (DPS Warriors)
Demoralizing Banner (DPS Warriors)
Skull Banner (DPS Warriors)
Healing Tide Totem (DPS Shaman)
Ancestral Guidance (DPS Shaman)
Tremor Totem (DPS Shaman)
Windwalk Totem (DPS Shaman)
Stormlash Totem (DPS Shaman)
Zen Meditation (DPS Monks)
Chi Wave (DPS Monks)
Ring of Peace (DPS Monks)
Vampiric Embrace (DPS Priests)
Mass Dispel (DPS Priests)
Hymn of Hope (DPS Priests)
Halo or Cascade or Divine Star (DPS Priests)
Tranquility (DPS Druids)
Nature's Vigil (DPS Druids)
Devotion Aura (DPS Paladins)
Anti-Magic Zone (DPS Death Knights)

Often Even More Valued DPS Raid Cooldowns and Abilities
Stampeding Roar (DPS Druids) - can trivialize parts of encounters
Symbiosis (DPS Druids) - can give someone a vital ability
Healthstones (Warlocks) - often good for two uses in a fight
Demonic Gateway (Warlocks) - can change the nature of some boss fights
Hand of Protection (DPS Paladin) - can make it so you only need one tank when everyone else needs two
Heroism/Bloodlust (DPS Shaman) or Time Warp (Mage) (or yes BM Hunters)

Non-Rare and General Utility Abilities
Battle rezing someone to full health and mana
Fearing, stunning, knocking back, slowing, chilling, rooting, and/or attracting adds.
Interrupting enemies like mad twice as well as hunters.
Cleansing/Dispelling fellow raiders.
Healing fellow raiders as DPS.
Taunting a mini-boss as DPS and taking it for a little trip.

Less Valuable
Tricks of the Trade (Rogues) - MD and buffs a person for +15% damage
Fear Ward (DPS Priests) - could make a comeback but not valuable now
Angelic Feather (DPS Priests) - timely to put out

Not Valuable
Shroud of Concealment (Rogues) - can position a raid better at a pull
Path of Frost (DPS Death Knights) - fails with damage
Aspect of the Pack (Hunters) - fails with damage
Misdirection (Hunters) - not needed with tank range abilities and threat generation

What's So Important?

Hunters bring very little to the table.  Our DPS is mediocre.  If we're not BM with the right pet, our raid cooldowns are non-existent.  Non.Exist.Tent.  But what we can do is not special or usable.  For instance a mage or shaman is fine doing heroism/bloodlust and it can only be done once.  Battle rezes are terrible with pets, often don't work, and when they do the person isn't rezed with full resources.  And that's the list.   This is not close to parity.

Ghostcrawler Hunter Tweet:
We are pretty happy with raid utility for all specs. Every class asks for more to guarantee a raid spot.

This is NOT what we are asking for. We do not want a guaranteed raid spot because of some ability. We want an ability so that we can be justified in getting a raid spot based on skill. We want skill to be looked at as the determining factor when choosing between raiders -- not that other classes have multiple raid cooldowns and hunters have none.

I don't want to bum you hunters out. Hunters will be okay. We just have to realize what the scene is like and how much other classes bring to the table.

You can ask @Ghostcrawler why hunters don't have a raid cooldown. If you don't have a twitter account it takes two minutes. If you don't want to pollute your real twitter account, a new one is easy.

Be polite and well-reasoned and of course concise (under 140 characters). He wants to do right by us. We can help him by telling him what we need.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gearing Up for Pet-Tanking

Last week I started gearing up my pet-tanking set.  This week I filled it in a bit more.  The video shows what I'm doing and a little trick that can surprise people.  Click the bottom for full screen and/or HD.

I guess I really should do something with my YouTube channel...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Raiding This Week

We raid Wed, Thursday, and Mondays.  We one-shot all our farm bosses. I got a new heroic ring and yet-another Thunderforged ranged weapon.  (When it rains it pours!)  I also picked up two more pieces of gear that I'll only use for pet-tanking.  The new ranged weapon is nice because it lets me shed some of my excessive hit rating.  Then we hit Heroic Ji-Kun.  It only took us four pulls.  I was at about 210K dps. We had previously had everyone get practice on nests, but this was far too easy for us IMHO.  So we'll be trying a few other heroic modes.

I'll try and have another pet-tanking post soon.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

They Seem To Have Heard

I don't think they got the whole message and whole picture, but they got some a lot of it.

Alright, I have a few updates, followed by a request. Here’s what the developers are currently thinking about several of the issues brought up in this thread:

Regarding Stampede: We’re happy with the damage it’s currently putting out in PvP. For PvE, we’re planning to buff its damage pretty heavily, so it becomes a substantially more potent DPS cooldown. We don’t want to give it any more utility than it has now, for reasons we’ve explained at length already.

Readiness is still under heavy discussion, and we haven’t made a final decision on what we’re going to do with it in 5.4. At the moment, we’re leaning towards just removing the ability entirely and giving the affected abilities shorter cooldowns or charges to compensate. If we end up taking that route, we will buff Hunter damage (most likely across the board, not just specific abilities), but as I mentioned, we’re still discussing.

Murder of Crows vs Blink strike is also still under heavy discussion. Our goal (with all talents) is that active abilities used properly will outperform passive ones. We haven’t decided yet what adjustments we’ll make to achieve that in 5.4.

Scatter/Silencing Shot: We don’t consider interrupts to be mandatory in PvE. If a Hunter would rather not take the Glyph of Scattered Thoughts, there are plenty of other players in the raid who could take on the responsibility.  We like Silencing Shot as a Marksman perk overall, but we’re still discussing things. We may end up making a baseline Interrupting Shot that gets upgraded to Silencing Shot if you spec Marksman.

Speaking of spec differences, we agree that Hunter rotations feel cooler when your signature shots do a lot more damage than other shots, and we’ll discuss that some more. That’s part of the reasoning behind the Arcane Shot changes – our hope is that saving up more Focus for a bigger hit will feel better than firing off smaller shots more regularly.

As to overall Hunter performance and utility, we don’t think the issues are with the Hunter class specifically. Instead, we think that certain other classes are overperforming (in both) at the moment. Fixing those outliers will, in turn, make a good Hunter more attractive for their raid spot. You may have seen some (but not all) changes along those lines on the PTR already.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to Fix Hunters

Problem: Silencing Shot is too powerful for PvP
Solution: Remove Silencing Shot.  Yeah.  That's right.  Make hunters the only dps class (and practically only class/role) that doesn't have an interrupt.   Instead make it the hunter's own.  Give hunter pets the ability to Skull Bash.  Make it just like the feral druids get.  This is good because it will make PvP opponents deal with the pet with interesting counters and it keeps PvE alive. 

Problem: Level 30 Talents
Solution: That tier is all about CC now and always has been.  Pull Binding Shot out of MM and put it there with Wyvern Sting and Intimidation.  It's simple and it doesn't give MM an extra form of CC.

Problem: Stampede is too powerful for PvP but hits like a wet noodle and has no utility now
Solution: Since a hotfix during 5.3, Stampede no longer allows pets special abilities, buffs, or special attacks to fire in Stampede form.  This is poor for Brawler's Guild, Challenge modes, Arenas, and other small group activities.  The DPS nerf is quite significant as well.  Keep this utility and DPS nerf.  Instead give Hunters a reason to hit the button:  During the thundering confusion of a Stampede, all damage is reduced by 20% within 30 yards of the pack.

Problem: Readiness is too powerful in PvP
Solution: Hunters need a mechanism to burst DPS because that's what hunters are supposed to do.  Readiness also gives hunters a great deal of flexibility to different situations.  Bestial Wrath is already nerfed.  Lynx Rush and Stampede are nerfed.  Leave readiness alone.

Problem: Arcane Shot is becoming way too big a shot
Solution: Do not further buff Arcane Shot.  Soon hunters wont bother using their "signature shots".  Instead, increase the damage of those signature shots!

I've reposted this over in the PTR thread.  Feel free to sign in there and up-arrow if you like it.

Kheldul Raiding Updates

Kheldul got "lucky" on a coin.  I had worked it out with the number of drops, drop rates, boss kills, coin uses, etc. that Kheldul should have had three ranged weapons by now.  But he was still using his upgraded 496 rifle.  He did have one LFR bow, but the upgrade of that over the gun was less than 0.1%.  But he definitely got lucky as it is thunderforged -- and an actual gun.

Khel also got his 12th legendary token this week and did the epic cloak questline.  It's a bummer that the celestial blessings token gives us +10% to our Intelligence...  It would be a bit easier if it was +10% to our Agility.  In any case, the battle against the blindfolded Wrathion is pretty difficult if you battle everything as one would expect.  I did this and got him to about 10% life but then was done for.  The trick is that you DPS him until just before he summons the molten oozes.  Then lay off and dismiss or already pull back your pet to the platform.  Feign Death.  Wait a bit.  Bandage.  Etc.  Wait for Wrathion's mirror images and slimes to go away.  Wrathion will come for you.  Just blast him down and get your goods.

Kheldul also went on the taming excursion and picked up a fortitude pet, two new colored porcupine spirit beast "challenges", a blue Portent, and a bunch of other useful pets.  Portent was Khel's first tracking pet capture and was kinda neat.

Khel also worked on his "pet tanking" set.  He kept around all his side-grades or good-but-downgrade gear.  It is fairly impressive while gemmed and enchanted for pet-tanking.  He's at over 550K health, with two of the items being otherwise unused Thunderforged pieces.

It isn't currently clear if we're going to continue to work on heroic modes or have some of our raiders change classes for better class balance before 5.4.  If it's the latter -- and it looks that way -- we'll spend our time just plowing through stuff and gearing them up.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Preparing for a Hunter Flex Raid: Glyphs

What is a Hunter Flex Raid?

A Hunter Flex Raid is a specialized form of the "flex raid" which is available in 5.4; The raid will be primarily composed of hunters.  I'd like to say that it would be entirely hunters, but there will most likely be some cleansing to be done for some fights.  The WHU had a few of these raids coordinated during the last months of Cataclysm.   I pet-tanked a few and pet-healed a few.  They are a blast.  Generally, we will want to "over-gear" the instance we are raiding so we will not run these as soon as they are available.

These raids do take a fair amount of preparation for all participating raiders for them to work.  The largest demand is put on the pet-tankers and pet-healers.  But DPSers will also need to heavily prepare.  In each article I will be covering gear needs, helpful macros, critical addons/UIs, pet selection, specializations, talent choices, and glyph selection.

Without further ado...

Glyph Summary and Review

As a normal ranged DPS hunter, I generally use the following Glyphs:
Glyph of Animal Bond - a good +10% boost to our limited healing
Glyph of Liberation - disengage and receive a 5% heal
Glyph of Deterrence - increases the damage reduction of deterrence to 50%

Those are quite good defensive glyphs while in a raid that is filled with normal classes for roles.  If the raid roles are primarily being met by hunters, then we want to look at the other options to better keep us and our pet alive:

Glyph of Chimera Shot - +2% health return from Chimera Shots
If you are playing Marksman, then Chimera Shot can be a reasonable source of self-healing.  This glyph makes it a bit better and makes a hunter with limited healing resources a bit better.  MM is of course currently a large DPS loss compared with BM and SV.  And you may need to be playing BM for the exotic pet.  But if you do find yourself playing MM, this is a solid life-preserving choice.

Glyph of Mending -  +60% healing from Mend Pet
This is a priceless glyph that is required for a pet tanker.  If you are tanking or off-tanking, you must take this glyph.  Further, you must keep a Mend Pet rolling all the time.

Glyph of Misdirection - no cooldown for redirecting to your pet
This is great for a mixed group, but not completely necessary for mainly hunters where we can expect them to drop threat before pulling aggro.  And they can MD to your pet themselves.  But if you are having threat problems this can bail you out.  Also of note: Misdirection has no focus cost.  So if you take this glyph, you can macro it into any ability or abilities that you already have a macro for so that you achieve 100% uptime on threat redirection.

Glyph of Mend Pet - good dispels for your pet, but rarely needed
This glyph should only be used situationally -- aka rarely.  This is primarily a PvP glyph and not for PvE.

Glyph of Endless Wrath - makes it so your pet can't die while it is in effect
This is an incredibly bad glyph to take for a pet-tanker.  While in effect, it causes your pet's threat to be dropped to zero.  Do not take this glyph.  Ever.

Glyph of Distracting Shot - distracts the target to your pet instead of you
This is not useful in PvE boss fights.  Distracting Shot doesn't work on bosses and it wont work to Distract Shot them to your pet either.  If you need threat help, take the Glyph of Misdirection.

Glyph Recommendations

Hunter Pet-Tankers

If you are a pet tanker in an all-hunter Flex Raid, I recommend you use a turtle pet and consider taking these glyphs:

Glyph of Animal Bond - a good +10% boost to our limited healing
Glyph of Mending -  +60% healing from Mend Pet
Glyph of Deterrence - increases the damage reduction of deterrence to 50%

Hunter Pet-Healers

If you are a healer in an all-hunter Flex Raid, I recommend you run as BM with a spirit beast (or up to five spirit beasts) and consider taking these glyphs:

Glyph of Animal Bond - a good +10% boost to our limited healing
Glyph of Liberation - disengage and receive a 5% heal
Glyph of Deterrence - increases the damage reduction of deterrence to 50%

Hunter DPSers

If you are a DPS in an all-hunter Flex Raid, I recommend you consider playing MM for frequent prioritized Chimera Shot heals and consider taking the following glyphs:

Glyph of Animal Bond - a good +10% boost to our limited healing
Glyph of Chimera Shot - +2% health return from Chimera Shots
Glyph of Deterrence - increases the damage reduction of deterrence to 50%

Some DPS will be BM for different BM-only pets.  Some DPS may simply play far better as BM.  And it may work out that we want a lot more passive Spirit Mend spells flying around from Spirit Beasts.  In these cases the Glyph of Liberation should be your choice.

Deterrence Caveat

Clearly if a fight does not have any large unavoidable damage events then the Glyph of Deterrence is not as necessary.  To date, Deterrence has uses in every fight.  Avoiding a large amount of damage is a good idea because we have difficulty healing a large amount of damage.  One must have a cancel macro so after the damaging event is complete you can quickly return to your responsibilities.