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.


  1. You're extremely under-estimating what we bring as de-buffs to the boss.

    Your entire post's perspective is coming from either a 25-man or (as you said) a well-balanced 10-man.

    First of all, 25-man raids are dwindling at a frightening rate (even Blizzard admits this). Don't take my word for it, simply take a look at Jin'rokh via WoL (Normal Mode).
    - 25 man kills: 6,389
    - 10 man kills: 50,641

    That's right at a 75% increase over 25s.

    OpenRaid, see PuG Raiding, has exploded; so the perspective of the "well-balanced" 10-man raid is an incredibly narrow view.

    This weekend I ran a PuG OR Heroic HoF, going 5/6 on Sat. with about 4 pulls of Emp that night, and a 2-shot Emp kill on Sunday. One hunter brought Stam, the other brought Spell Haste, and I brought CoE.

    Our ability to buff AND debuff the target is crucial (if not terribly sexy) to a raid's success.

    Do we have raid wide cooldowns? Newp.

    Have we ever had raid-wide cooldowns? Newp.

    That's not what Hunters are, we are a utility class and (from my own perspective and experience) we are the definitive and absolutely best the game has to offer.

    "We want an ability so that we can be justified in getting a raid spot based on skill"

    Do we need to have raid-wide cooldowns to be considered "justifiably picked" to raid? Newp.

    I can assure you that the the tanking paladins, the mage, the healers and the entire raid benefited greatly from what the three hunters brought to the table this weekend.

  2. I agree with DevilsAdvocate. Getting a "well balanced" 10 man raid team is near impossible for my guild. I currently bring the crit buff and occasionally need to battle rez (which has greatly improved in function recently). I do not care that the person does not come back to life with full resources,I do not even use the glyph on my druid for that anymore.

    I'm perfectly happy with my damage and my utility in my raid, we are no where near the top guild on our server but we are pleased with our steady progression.

  3. Thanks for your comments. I'll respond to the two main points I think you're making.

    CLAIM: 25man raids are fading away so our joker style buffs are utility.

    I agree they are more rare than just dividing numbers by 2.5 (10/25) And there are a lot of 10man progression raids. To get a feel for 10 vs 25 progression raiding, I would not look at Normal mode Jin'rokh. I think there is a world of difference between a pick up group and a progression raiding group. In a pug or very casual raid you will not get sat just because you don't bring a raid cooldown. Doing decent DPS and standing where you should is the make or break decision.

    My 10man raid is semi-casual and we have people changing classes and gearing up NOW before 5.4 so we have better class balance, token distribution, buff coverage, and raid cooldowns.

    Heroic HoF, Terrace or Normal mode Jin'rokh are not progression raiding for the typical progressive raiding group. I don't think those numbers say much. To take it to the other side, if we look at WoL for Heroic Lei Shen it's 2265 for 10M and 1583 for 25M. Given the 2.5 multiplier of overall population that's heavily in favor of 25mans being more progression focused. All the other harder heroic modes are similar.

    In 25mans there is no buff, debuff, heroism or brez that we need to bring. The same applies for well-balanced 10mans.

    This is why I claim our pet wildcard isn't particularly valuable for progressive raids. Sure we'll use it when we need to, but it is nothing compared with raid cooldowns.

    Claim: we've never had raid cooldowns and don't need them because we're exceptionally good looking.

    We have personal utility, but we don't help anyone else out in a raid. Other classes didn't always have this. many of these raid cooldowns started popping up in 4.x and more came in 5.x. Does a rogue need a smoke bomb that also reduces damage? Do DPS warriors and DPS shaman need all that new stuff? The list is pretty long. Each is a reason for a progression raid to take someone other than a hunter.

  4. Completely, absolutely, agreed! Well stated...