Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a good christmas (or whatever holiday you observe).

My wonderful girlfriend gets to stay with me for winters break between her grueling semesters at college. She is taking the architecture program at Cornell University. And she got me a Wii! She's the best! :)

Oh, and if you haven't seen the new movie "I Am Legend" yet, don't bother. It was pretty horrible.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The most EPIC movie ever created.

Holy shit. I have seen a lot of in-game movies in my day. Some are funny (zinrath), some are educational and inspirational for playing a class (Nerf sap series), and then you have something like this.

This is, by far, THE BEST in-game movie I have EVER seen in my life. The editing and production levels are of the highest quality possible. The music choices are superb, the voice acting is excellent in places (although a little weak or corny in some), and the sound effects are absolutely top notch.

But best of all, the story is just outstanding. I recommend this movie to ANYONE who's interested in fantasy-based stories, whether you enjoy world of warcraft or not.

This has my absolute highest recommendation.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hawk vs Viper, Aimed shot

So I've been leading quite a few Kara/ZA raids lately, and I've been experimenting heavily on when to use each aspect. I still prefer keeping up viper, as it forces me to drink less during near constant trash pulls.

However, for boss fights, I've started using only hawk while chugging mana pots to see if I could tell a noticeable difference in DPS. Wow.. I had a couple people in the raid ask me what I did differently on some boss fight attempts (Prince Malchazar and Hex Lord Malacrass come to mind), when I did the first couple attempts using viper, and the next with hawk because the damage difference was very, very noticeable.

So this makes me wonder... if hawk + chugging mana pots every chance we can get, using a 1:1.5 marks shot rotation is our best way to do DPS, and never weave viper aspect into our method... what's the point of it (viper)? Strictly PvP? I can't use hawk in PvP really, cause mana issues are much, much more constrained and more important that typically trying to burst someone down.

Also, unless I'm grouped with a shadowpriest, it's still very difficult not to go oom using a 1:1.5 marks shot rotation while chugging mana pots using hawk 100% of the time.

It just doesn't feel right at all.

You know what I want? Combat Experience: This talent grants the hunter X MP/5 mana regen for every Y points of RAP the hunter has.

Yes, every build relies on using hawk for max raid DPS, but marks is the tree that focuses mostly on RAP: Careful Aim, Master Marksmen, Trueshot Aura...

I guess the intention was that Careful Aim would sort of let my mana regen scale as my int does, but we currently get crap for int on our gear, and not nearly enough MP/5. BM spec has less mana issues than marks, since you really only use steady/auto 99% of the time.

I just think it makes sense to change combat experience (which is a SORELY lacking talent as is) to focus more on mana regen that scales with the most prominent and focused stat in the tree: RAP.

On another somewhat related note: I've found that aimed shot is more BM friendly than MM, which is odd considering it resides in the MM tree. It's cast time is shorter due to serpents swiftness, whereas no additional bonus is provided for it in the MM tree. I'm still not sure how I feel about this, although I do feel some additional improvements to the talent could be implemented to make it better. It is MUCH harder to get on a desired target in the arena in some situations (not all, obviously), due to it having a cast time and people loving to LoS hunters than mortal strike. Taking this into consideration, it's not always reliable to get off on the target you want to, when you want to. This means that I sometimes feel pressured or forced into dpsing the target I can get it on, to actually make the MS effect useful (in that I'd be forcing them to dump healing mana to keep the perceived focus target alive).

That being said, I think adding aimed shot into the improved barrage talent would be a start, but possible dropping the bonus of imp barrage down to 4/7/10% increased crit chance.

I find myself really questioning myself as to whether I should bother taking imp barrage anymore, since the "burst" of multishot isn't really what wins games, but consistent, constant damage is. With my current gear, and specced to silencing shot, each point into Careful Aim nets me about 39 RAP, or 117RAP for 3 points. That's a pretty significant increase, almost the difference of using viper vs aspect of the hawk, and it's constant.

I just feel that imp barrage is actually a pretty weak arena talent in its current form, and that if you added aimed shot, but possibly toned down the bonus chance a tad to compensate, this would be a much more attractive talent.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wish List:

1) An ability to remotely deploy a trap from range. Having to stop dps on my target, run 30 yards back to the pillar that my priest is running around, dropping a trap, and running back out to optimal DPS range, really sucks. I would kill for the ability to stay where I am, deploy a frost trap (for example) at a location or target of my choice, and go back to DPSing my target. Traps have enough limitations as is. Forcing me to cut DPS until I can run around the map and drop the trap where it's needed most is it's biggest limitation.

2) High rating-required ammo.

3) Remove the mana cost from aspects, or at least the mana cost to go back into viper.

4) Make deterrence not suck. It's highly situational, doesn't last very long, and the classes I need it most against typically stunlock me or chain mace stun me anyways. The cooldown is WAY too long for what little/brief benefit it gives you, even though it's only 1 talent point.

5) Concussive barrage needs to not suck. It, at the very least, needs to be able to proc off of steady shots in addition to auto shots. That way, you won't have a chance for your mobile shots to proc daze, and you will have to be using stationary shots to utilize it. Would also make sense, considering steady shot has a damage bonus vs dazed targets, yet hardly anyone inflicts daze (lol destro locks or Blade twisting rogues), and if they do, it's far, far, FAR from reliable. This way you'd at least maybe be able to take advantage of the daze proc, and the damage bonus a few times during the fight.

6) Silencing shot _can_ be a bitch to use sometimes. Not only is it on the GCD (unlike spell lock or counter spell), but it also has a travel time. Combined with latency, and distance from target, these factors can make getting silencing shot tricky to land exactly when needed sometimes. Ideally, I'd like it to be off the GCD. I realize that kick and pummel are not, but you don't exactly have to spec 41 points to get them, either. However, I'd also settle for an instant travel time (if possible).

In addition: It would also be wonderful if this shot actually was usable and reliable in pve. Most mobs other than trash are typically immune to silence, but not to school lockout. (Shade of aran, romulo and juliet, etc). Giving it a lockout for the same duration as the silence wouldn't break any pvp balance at all, and would actually make it useful in pve.

7) Wyvern sting. Neat talent, except for a few things.
  • A) Every trinket in the game can remove it (which is fine, except that this particular CC is on a TWO MINUTE COOLDOWN, in addition to being a 31 point talent.... in addition to having to give up silencing shot to get it, which has a 20s cooldown). Also, 2 racials (stone form and WotF) can break out of it.
  • B) The DoT poison afterwards makes it impossible to chain another cc after the sting other than fear or cyclone. Great, but, why is that a problem? Think about the horrible synergy this breaks between wyvern sting and readiness. Planning on sleeping that target twice in a row? Nevermind that it would suffer from DR and the second sleep would only last 5 seconds, but you can't do it anyways, due to the sting causing damage after the effect wears off.
Great. So what could fix it? Lower the cooldown drastically: 1 minute tops, possibly lower.
If you're going to put a crappy dot at the end of the duration, make it worthwhile to have on. Have the dot drain both health and mana from the target away, but do not let it stack with viper sting, as that would possibly be imba. This way, though, you could viper one target, and wyvern another.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mana issues revisited. Best Arrows. Ranged weapons display.

Ok, so I'm 70 now with near full epic gear. Yeah, I know I don't have even close to the best, but it's definitely beyond your trashy quest gear now... and I have 3 major gripes atm:

1) Mana/Aspect Issues

Essentially, when I'm using Aspect of the Hawk, I have damn near ZERO mana regen it seems.
I can never seem to justify using Hawk for many situations at all. With viper on, my mana regen is pretty good (although It's still easy to run OOM without chugging pots or asking for a judgement of wisdom).

So basically I end up asking for a judgement of wisdom buff to be kept up on the target, and never take off viper. Why?

A) It's more fun to keep up a constant shot rotation without slacking off on DPS due to mana issues, and
B) It's far less bothersome.

I really can't seem to justify the use of aspect of the hawk when the dps difference between hawk and viper doesn't really seem that huge, while the mana regen issue between the two is VASTLY different, and using hawk will run you OOM in no time. I guess I could see myself using hawk down to 50% mana, then asking for a judge wisdom + switch to viper, but the fact that I go to 50% mana in 30 seconds or less as is, just seems meh..

As far as pvp is concerned:
I have roughly 6500 mana right now, and I don't see that number inflating a whole lot with my pvp gear upgrades. Do you know how long it takes for a team to mana burn me if they get a good opportunity? About 8 seconds. Granted, I typically focus priests and warlocks first a lot, and I'm viper stinging either one that isn't pillar-fagging me (usually the priest, though). However, if I catch a CC out in the open such as fear, it just takes about 4 mana burns and I'm completely OOM. And let me tell you how effective of a team player a hunter is that's oom.

Even with viper on, it takes forever to get enough mana back to do anything meaningful, and once you do start wing clipping/viper stinging/trapping/flaring/etc... your OOC mana regen goes right back to suck. And once you DO get that low, FORGET about ever changing aspects into something else. Want to put on monkey to help tank that rogue? Sure, go ahead, just don't expect to be able to throw down new traps or switch back to viper, cause you're stuck in it until you drink (which isn't happening, cause melee is on you, remember?). Need a quick cheetah to get away? Hope you have the mana to switch back to viper so you A) don't get dazed, and B) Can get start getting mana back once you get into a better position.

2) The best arrows require honored mount hyjal faction.

Now normally, I wouldn't care about this. People dump a lot of time and wow gold into progressing for PVE. That's fine. What I DO care about, however, is the fact that good pvpers who have access to these will have a step up above any non-raider. Technically, this is a blatant imbalance that needs to be resolved. The difference between the Karazhan arrows and the timeless arrows are a big enough difference to equate to about 9 or 10 BT-quality gems vs the standard blue quality gems in terms of raw DPS stats. There needs to be specific rating-required arena ammo that can be purchased, as long as you meet a specific rating (team and personal) requirement.

Once all other areas of gear are maxed out, the difference in damage between 2 hunters using karazhan arrows vs hyjal arrows can be enough to decide a game. This obviously needs to be addressed, hopefully at least for season 4, if not sooner.

3) Why does my ranged weapon not show up on my back?

I guess there's some sort of coding conflict with capes vs ranged weapons? We should at least get an option. Hopefully Blizzard will be able to resolve this issue and allow the display of your cape and ranged weapon, in addition to your melee weapons when not in use. Also, I find it disappointing that people can't see my quiver on my back. Only I can, and that's kind of lame. :(

Friday, December 7, 2007

So I hit level 70 on Dec 1st...

And I've been very busy gearing the toon out ever since.

I've managed to scrap up enough decent gear to not die instantly in the arena's lately, so I started recording some 3v3 clips last night. I put a post on the official hunter forums about this, too.

Overall, I love the new hunter changes for the arena so far. Aimed shot, when used properly, puts SERIOUS pressure on the enemy healer(s) to keep the focused member up. Hunters left alone can be a clothies/rogues worst nightmare now. The aimed shot change FORCES the hunters DPS to simply not be ignored anymore. Viper sting is amazing when used in conjunction with a scorpid, especially if you can fear dispeller. Teaming with a warlock and priest in 3s is very strong. Priests are probably the strongest 3v3 healer atm. And warlocks, well, everyone knows they are OP! :)

Anyways, I made a video of our games. I hope you can give me some pointers as I'm still learning.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Looking deeper into the pet resilience scaling/SR stacking/Paladin problems.

I'm going to go ahead and link to this post here, as there's already a good discussion going on it.

If you can't see the wow forums for whatever reason, here is the quoted post:

Q u o t e:
2.4 is planned for before years end.

As far as penetration, my belief is that there's no reason it shouldn't be 100% scaling. The reason behind this line of thought is that demon abilities are considered to be part of the warlock class; things like Spell Lock, Devour, Seduce, etc are all taken into account when you consider the whole 'warlock equation'.

Having them not scale at the same degree of the warlock itself is akin to adding "more susceptible to resistance" to the tooltip of Counterspell.

I'm inclined to agree. I think we're seeing 3 problems here.

A) Paladins are too easy as is to CC and stop from healing their teammates. They don't really have any meaningful instant heals or oh-@!!@ heals. This problem leads to:
B) Paladins stacking things such as: This problem leads to:
C) Warlocks then needing to stack massive amounts of spell penetration to negate shadesteel or other similar SR gear pieces as best as they can. This does not help pets, however.

So the REAL underlying issue isn't necessarily pet scaling with spell pen or the lack thereof. The REAL issue is the fact that paladins feel required to do whatever they can to make up for the fact that a warlock can CC them into oblivion without even trying. I will be the first to say that it is, currently, much too easy to completely shut down a paladin for most of a match, and at any given critical moment at will, minus when he's bubbled for a trivial amount of time.

So rather than sticking a bandaid on top of a bandaid (ad nauseam), Blizzard is currently trying to first see if they can find a better solution to the actual REAL problem, if that makes sense

I hope that clears some things up for you."

Class Thoughts at the End of Season 2

Holy crap discipline priests are ridiculous now. I also cannot step 3 feet without tripping over an AR/Prep rogue. Frost mages will soon be even more powerful than they currently are with icy veins. Seeing a pattern here? Our 3v3 team that we've been finishing up the season with has had more problems with Rogue/Mage/Priest (RMP) teams lately than anything. It was also by far the most common class matrix we fought against around the 22-2300 rating range. We came just shy of qualifying for gladiator last night by about 30 rating. Nuts. The competition for gladiator for 3v3, and other brackets I'd imagine, is absolutely fierce on BG9. Every fight seemed very intense, with the exception of the rare encounter with teams sold to scrubs who are losing their 10 games before the night is over.


It's my firm belief that discipline priests are the new "warlocks" of healers. They have nearly all the mobility that druids do, with more offensive tools in the way of dispel and mass dispel. In addition, power infusion is pretty nuts to slap on a mage or warlock, and the new pain suppression is basically an 85% undispelable (as most priests take silent resolve) divine shield to anyone on their team or themselves. It also appears that in catering to the whines about how absolutely critical blessed resilience was to any healing priest build, that Blizzard caved into giving them a very similar talent with Focused Will. The downside to all this tremendous power? I guess their healing efficiency is down maybe 10% from the old 28/33 disc/holy build, but their overall utility has skyrocketed. Oh, and any other warlock will tell you how much BS prayer of mending is as well. That crap needs to at least heal for less after each jump. It's pretty sad that one single heal on a relatively short cooldown, can effectively protect 3 people from being completely dotted up. No opportunities for spell locking a big heal like you can on a paladin (which is their biggest weakness). Nope. Priests will always be the thorn in my warlocks side.


It's pretty telling when you almost never run into another group that uses a paladin unless it's paired with another healer + warrior. Their ability to be shut down and chain CCd is a pretty big problem, more so than any other class imo. Other than their craptastic holy shock which is on a 15s cooldown, Paladins really have NO way to save a teammate without winding up a cast-time heal at all. They are, by far, the easiest healer to shut down pretty much on command. The 10s bubble trick might work against scrubs that can't push past the 1500 mark, but that one tricky pony is a sitting duck for CC anytime outside of that window (which is a very, very small window at that). I think paladins need some help in this department. On the scale of difficulty from 1-10, 10 being difficult: Keeping a paladin from healing people reliably as a warlock is about a -2. It's that ridiculously easy. Unless they stack 250+ shadow resist, of course (but I'll get to that).


Mages are a class that takes a lot of great twitch skill to be good at, and I have a lot of respect for good mages. They are essentially the key to many good 3v3 makeups. The skill of the mage will make or break the teams ability to progress more than any other member of the team imo. They have the job of shutting down healers at the right time, or shutting down CC'ers while they make the final burst and don't want to be interrupted. They have a big job of controlling enemy melee as much as they can, or slowing down mounted targets/runners so their melee can get to the target. They have the job of protecting their healer with poly/nova against those pesky warriors, and they have the job of knowing when to use their many "outs" such as ice block to keep themselves from getting CCd or outright killed at the right times. The icy veins and trainable ice block, in addition to multiple charge mana-gems is going to go a long way at making this class even more appealing for many teams.


I firmly believe that with the rise of rogue prominent teams, excellent hunters will become more and more sought after to counter them. Hunters have a plethora of excellent anti-rogue abilities that can make any rogue cry with frustration. Their dozen ways of snaring a target, be it through wing clips, concussive shots, or frost traps, in addition to being able to flare both defensively and offensively makes rogues really blow a ton of cooldowns just to get to their target. I would also like to point out that while Cloak of Shadows does indeed remove hunters mark and serpent sting, I've found that it will NOT prevent serpent sting from being reapplied with a 90% resist rate, yet rogue poisons do suffer from the resist check during cloak. Keep that in mind. In addition, I think once hunter pets become more survivable via pet resilience (and possibly other changes if deemed necessary), that hunter pets will become an invaluable tool to keep pushback pressure on some key targets such as warlocks and priests. Also, priests have no way to get rid of viper sting. The new arcane shot and lack of deadzone are definitely the nicest changes hunters got recently. This jury is still out on aimed shot providing an MS effect being that great in the arena or not. From what I've heard (and predicted), it hasn't made a difference for many hunter 2v2s at all. I'm guessing that it will be at least helpful and more viable in 5s. Not sure about 3s, though.


Rogues received countless nice buffs recently: The improvements to dirty deeds and hemo probably being the most notable. They have some pretty amazing survivability these days, and the amount of damage an AR/Prep rogue can dish out is quite noticeable. Double AR with a nasty new hemo and new dirty deeds means targets feel substantially squishier. That's the good news. The bad news is, even after the shadow step love, it's still missing something to make it a competitive spec. The main problem with shadow step is, if you're trying to use it on a fleeing target, the target can often still slip away from you. It's still not as good as intercept, but Blizzard doesn't want to homogenize the class skills to make them all the same. Shadow step is never going to automatically stun the target. My recommendation for a solution for this issue was simple: Make shadow step award a combo point, thus at the very least giving the rogue the option to deadly throw and snare the fleeing target. This idea was extremely well received, and I believe it should be making its way onto PTR very soon before 2.3.2 goes live. The other issue shadow step didn't solve, was that a nova'd or snared rogue is still nova'd or snared after using the ability. However, Blizzard believes (and I tend to agree) that if SS removed snares and/or roots basically every 30 seconds, it might be OP.


I don't have too many complaints about this class, really. The main issue I was having lately were SR gear stacking opponents. There were a few days that we ran into SEVERAL of these teams, and it really felt pretty shitty to be "outplayed" by craftable BT gear. I finally had to drop most of my gems in my gear, and went with FIVE 10 spell pen gems to bring me up to 80 spell pen, and I was STILL getting resisted quite a bit by these teams. Warlocks and Shadow Priests suffer greatly from this cheesy strat, more so than anyone really. I realize that lots of spell pen gear is coming in s3, but we may require more than what's currently planned, or think about adding spell pen to the spriest and warlock sets. It really can be that bad. I'm also noticing a huge drop in effectiveness with drain mana since the soul siphon nerf. It just seemed like by the time I could get anyone drained, the battle had already been decided in many of the games last night. I once thought that drain mana was too OP for many of the classes that it worked so well on, but now I'm thinking that since other classes got buffed, they can do much more with the same amount of mana in less time, that the mana drain nerf probably hurt more than what was intended. I realize that drain mana's effectiveness stems from the fact that it can be chain cast from a class with (relatively) never ending mana, but it's not going to do you any good if the throughput is too slow to be of any real use when facing the massive amounts of burst some teams now possess.


Druids are definitely a solid small format healer, no doubt about it. They also bring an extensive amount of anti-melee CC (and especially anti-rogue, as abolish poison is fantastic), and have superb mobility. Still, we seemed to have little trouble blowing up druids with the combination of mortal strike + stacks of dots + spell lock and deathcoil. They really require the rest of their team to do an excellent job at keeping would-be attackers off of them. If they are able to outlast your initial barrage of cooldowns, you can be in a world of hurt. They seem to be a very balanced healer in 3s.


Warriors are still a pretty solid class. With the correct support (and gear), they can be absolutely devastating. I definitely feel the slight nerf to mace spec, as it isn't quite as annoying as it was before. I've seen a lot of situations where warriors are CC'd into oblivion by mages and druids and basically kept out of the fight until the match is over, and I've also seen times when the lone warrior that was left managed to take out the remaining weakened 3 people on the opposing team. I think warriors are actually a pretty well-balanced class at the moment, and not the complete destroyer of rogues that they once were due to the many rogue improvements with gear/talents/itemization since TBC came out.


I don't really have a lot to say about Shamans, other than they need some help. I think the only ones we ever ran into over the past week or two were enhancement or maybe elemental shamans. Resto shamans are a rare breed. I honestly can't remember the last time we fought against one. Enhancement shamans just seemed like a joke and felt out of place on every team they were on, and elemental shaman DPS is so easily shut down by just focusing them, or slapping a tongues + pet on them. I think their lack of spell push-back protection is whats hurting elemental more than anything. I just find it much too easy to shut them down as is.

Edit: A friend of mine (Escabar) just made a suggestion to me that possibly adding some sort of lightning bolt push-back protection on lightning shield might be a good way to go for ele shamans. It's dispelable, but could prove to be a valuable tool in certain situations. This wouldn't do much with tongues + felhunter on you as it would probably just get autodevoured, but it would help in situatios beyond that for sure.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I don't get it.

A steady shot that causes base weapon damage plus [RAP * 0.2 + 150]. Causes an additional 175 against Dazed targets.

I don't get it. Concussive costs a GCD, and more mana than another steady shot. (About the same as an arcane shot, which is instant, does damage, and dispels).

You don't open up a damage sequence on a target with concussive first, so arguing that doing concussive > steady is a moot point for extra "burst", if you call it that. The damage bonus is negligible at best as it is. I'd be better off just using another steady or multi or arcane between steady and auto shots.

You save concussive for targets running away, or to slow down chasers, which means you are typically moving away or toward them. Since steady shot requires you to be stationary, this "synergy" just seems broken.

The only real use I could see out of this would be if you were in a raid and other classes were dazing the mobs that actually aren't immune to daze (which seemed rare when I had aftermath procced), and you were BM spec doing your standard steady/auto 1:1 shot rotation.

In PvP, I find this extra feature far, far, FAR too situational to ever use or take advantage of. I really think there could have been a better bonus system for this new shot. I just find it far too counter-productive to try and take advantage of the daze damage bonus. (Giving up other potential shot damage to work in a tiny damage bonus on my steady shot).

Am I missing something here?


The 1s off the multishot cooldown is OK.
I find it odd, though, that our best DPS/burst ability is also the most prone to breaking CC. I can't really see myself taking advantage of using multishot every 9s (especially with its pretty high mana cost) in the same way that a warrior can always take advantage of 5s off his 20s intercept cooldown (a 25% increase, mind you). Yeah I know intercept is 30s base, but let's be realistic. Any PvP warrior is going to have 20s intercept via talents, just as any pvp warlock is going to have instacast corruption. You just have to take that into consideration.

I understand you can't add a reduction to aimed shot cast time, since I've never seen a armor bonus that was talent specific on pvp gear. I'm assuming there's some sort of policy against talent-specific set bonuses on pvp gear so that you guys won't get flamed for ignoring the 2% of warriors who pvp as fury or prot (lol) for example.

Still, a 1s off arcane and 1s off of multi would be better. At least then we'd be able to at least benefit from the 4pc bonus 100% of the time, vs 50% of the time as of currently.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hunter Pet Problems Continued (And other issues)

Current bugs:

I'd say a good 20% of the time I send a /pet attack command to my pet, it will make the "attack" feedback noise that pets do when you issue the command, and he'll face the target, but he won't actually go. He'll just sit there and not attack anything.

I think it might have something to do with telling pets to attack targets that are standing near objects. Pillars, houses, logs of wood, mining nodes, trees, etc. It seems a lot of environment objects are causing all sorts of pet pathing issues now.

It might be because it sees no way to get behind the target maybe, since pets try to do that all the time now. I'm not sure what exactly is causing it, but it's beyond annoying.

Also, my pet and its target are constantly re-ranging each other in melee combat. I think it has a lot to do with hit box size as well as the pet trying to get behind the target. My pet will move closer to the target, and the target will back up, and my pet will readjust to the targets new position, and the target will readjust to that, over and over and over. It happens every single fight now.

Pet leveling system:

Pet leveling, as bad as it was before, is just horrible now. I'm out-leveling my pet as is with the recent XP changes to the player level grind. It's my understanding that pet level requirements have dropped 15% as well, but i'm also collecting a retarded amount of quest EXP since 2.3. My pet just can't keep up.

Please, please, please, just do away with the role-playing crap of going out and finding a companion that you train and level. Just make the pets match your level when you train them, as long as they are at or below your level, and allow them to ding when you do. Also, going back and leveling a new pet type (boar for grinding, scorpid for arena, ravager for raiding, turtles for off-tanking, etc) is not only incredibly frustrating, but horribly time consuming. For what? Lore and RP reasons? Is it really necessary? It's already frustrating enough to have to go to a stable master and pull the right pet out for whatever you will be doing. Hunters don't have the ability to switch pets on the fly as warlocks do. Why punish them further by forcing upon them yet another leveling treadmill so that they can better fill their required role? It just seems silly.

Pet Agro Issues:

My pet can't hold agro off me for #!!@ as is, unless I limit myself to autoshot spam and maybe a serpent sting. Having my pet be constantly 4 levels below me doesn't help anything either. Growl threat needs to scale more than it does. I'm specced BM and used a cat for most of my leveling. I end up dumping a bunch of mana on feign death, or blow an intimidation (1min cooldown, but I need it basically every mob), or I'll try to use disengage (bad ability btw. I'll get to that)*.

Also, if I get agro while mounting along somewhere, and FD, they all go for my pet that appears as I dismount instead of deagroing. I don't remember them doing this. I thought as long as my pet stayed out of combat, mobs that agroed me would not go for the pet when I drop combat. This is no longer the case. Now I just get to sit there and watch my pet get slaughtered, get up, res it, feed it, heal it, drink up, and go.

Pet Feeding Issues:

Speaking of feeding the pet, why can I not do this in combat? I know many hunters are complaining about this issue during raids (especially BM spec) as they have to res their pets sometimes multiple times throughout the fight. The happiness system sucks. My pet is basically penalized for being in combat for long periods of time. His damage goes down over a long period of time (as he loses happiness), whereas my felguard goes up after a short period of time. And to top it off, I can't even feed him mid-combat to solve the situation. I don't like this mechanic at all. It's not fun, and rather frustrating.


As far as this ability is concerned, I hate it. Feign death, for the most part, is great at deagroing in combat. Disengage sucks. What's the point of this ability? Assuming my melee weapon skill is maxed (and it never is while leveling, but I'll leave that argument out since I have a problem with the core design of this ability by itself), this is not something you will use preemptively such as rogue feint as it's a melee ability. That being said, you generally only use this after you have pulled agro, and only while feign death is down. Why use feign death? Because disengage can be parried/blocked/dodged or just plain miss. Not only that, but the tiny amount of threat reduction that disengage provides is even more of an excuse to use feign over this bad ability, especially considering its mana cost vs feign death (205 vs 80). It also does absolutely nothing in PvP, which I guess is fair since feint does nothing, but when disengage misses (and it does, a LOT) and I'm still snared (and feign is down), I'm still boned.

So to recap on disengage:

A) It's melee and should never be something to be used preemptively because of that.
B) Its mana cost is too high vs feign death
C) It's only needed when a melee char is ON the hunter, meaning it's going to be dodged/blocked/parried or just plain miss
D) Feign death is better in every situation. Total agro wipe vs small agro wipe for less than half the mana cost and can be used preemptively at range
E) Does nothing in PvP

No more feign + drink? Probably for the best. Why?

In all honesty this is probably a good thing; better than you probably realize right now. The truth is, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

The Problem:

The fact of the matter is, on many long encounters, hunters have lots of mana and OOM problems. This is mostly because aspect of the viper is terrible as it doesn't provide enough mana regen, and you have to give up hawk to use it. This problem is compounded by the fact that hawk is the by far the best raid aspect to use since the best raid DPS build relies on the imp hawk talent.

This doesn't do BM hunters any good if they're forced into Viper aspect just to have mediocre mana regen (which is still far short of where it needs to be to stay competitively DPSing with a mana-intensive shot rotation).

The Old Fix:

The way around this before was to FD/Drink back up to full, and resume using a mana-intensive shot rotation. This way hunters could at least stay somewhat competitive in raid DPS.

Now that the unintentional band-aid of FD/Drink to regen mana during boss fights (which is just a bad mechanic as is anyways) has been lifted and the underlying problem revealed, it will probably become readily apparent to Blizzard in the near-future as to:
A) How much hunters were relying on this poor mans mechanic of mana regen (in addition to mana pots)
B) The fact that hunters in general need better ways of mana conservation and/or regeneration.

This also hurts marks builds more than BM, since marks shot rotations are much more mana-intensive than BM shot rotations, which consist mostly of steady-auto.

The Solution:

This is really up to Blizzard. There have already been countless threads and great discussions on the mana issues that hunters have. Part of the problem lies in aspects, another part of the problem is in the talents, and this even extends into bad itemization, unfortunately. Hunters have to pay a higher ilvl tax than rogues do, even though rogues have near the exact same stat point distribution on items.

Hunters have to sacrifice other stats on their gear for INT, yet for only a few points of INT. In addition, INT does not help hunters as much as it should, with as much as they rely on it, in addition to how little INT they receive due to itemization. This ties directly into talent problems, as INT needs to be scaled more into AP or some other statistical equivalent so that it holds more weight when stat point distribution comes into play.

In addition, Aspect of the Viper still does not provide enough of a mana regeneration component to warrant use of it over hawk (again, especially for BM raid builds which are again, the highest Raid DPS spec). This also ties back directly into itemization, as AotV depends heavily on how much INT you have.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hunter Pets Suck.

So I was thinking about the hunter pet issue more, and I've come to realize something: Hunter pets aren't very fleshed out at all.
Warlock pets have clearly defined roles. They all serve their purpose wonderfully, and have fantastic unique abilities that are always useful.

Hunter pets... for the most part, are typically the same, save for a few stat point differences in the armor here, HP there, and damage here.

Here is a basic outline of my opinions:

Yes, they get some different abilities, but in the grand scheme of things, most of them are pretty worthless. Let's look a little closer:

  • Scorpid: Obviously at the top of my list for PvP concerns. Scorpid poison + viper sting = great poison protection. Enough said. This is currently the only real viable PvP pet.
  • Ravager/Boar: Anything with gore = good for raid/PVE dps. Why not cats? Because gore is like claw, but better.
  • Cats: Claw used to be handy for extra spell push back vs casters. Now the only real pvp that matters is Arena, and in the arena you bring a hunter for viper sting, which means you bring a scorpid to protect that ability. Cats = phased out.
  • Turtles: Extra armor for PVE off-tanking in non-heroic 5mans? (prime example of why I would never spend a week leveling a turtle up for this purpose)
  • Bears: Rawr?
  • Wind serpents: Good PVP Dps pet against heavy armor targets as their lightning breath ignores armor. End-game usefulness in arena/raids = low
  • Warpstalkers: Their warp ability is not even on gimmick status anymore (boar charge was better due to the 1s immobilization). Now hunter pets automatically get behind the target anyways, removing half of the already mediocre usefulness of their only cool ability.
  • Bats: Like Wind Serpents, but worse.

Can't more be done to help make these pets, I don't know, a little more fun? Or unique? Or Ultmately useful?

All things said, it feels like warlocks are the true pet class of WoW, as when a warlock pet dies, it's really felt. It MEANS something to lose a warlock pet. No more soul link if specced for it. No more paranoia. No more MD buffs. No more devour magic, or spell lock, or intercept, or extra CC with seduce, or blood pact for your party, or sacrifice shield, etc etc.

Hunter pet dies? You lose some dps (which you also lose with the lock), albeit not that much unless BM specced, and maybe some caster pushback or viper protection. That's about it.

There could be some really cool abilities that would make these pets more unique and, I don't know, desirable to keep around.
  • If vampire bats had a mana leech ability that gave a small % of damage done back to hunter/party as mana.
  • Or if turtles had an ability that would reduce damage taken by a significant amount, similar to shield wall for a short duration.
  • Or if cats had a bleed ability that they could stick on rogues to prevent them from using CloS + Vanish, or even if the bleed effect made all physical dpsers attacking that target do 1% more damage. Something!
  • Or if Wind Serpents had a small AOE/single target silence on a cooldown.
  • If Bears had a roar that decreased enemies' crit chance/damage for a duration.
  • If the wolves' furious howl ability actually scaled, and made party members do a %increase more damage for a duration on their next attacks, instead of a small, fixed amount. Or perhaps a % increase in crit chance for a short duration. You know, something actually useful.

You get the idea..

Monday, November 12, 2007

Working for Assholes

We all do it from time to time. Working at a crappy job that you're only doing because you need the money, or because you couldn't get the one you really wanted so you're stuck working for some douche that you could give two shits about.

I don't need to explain to any of you just how incredibly frustrating it can be to work for someone who never appreciates the hard work you do or the overtime you selflessly put in. You can save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars by doing everything right 99% of the time, but fuck up just once.... Or if you forget one small trivial task because you were, oh I don't know, keeping the servers that host millions of dollars worth of business from going down, then you still get yelled at. Yep. Working for assholes seems to be a very common problem with the common man these days. On the other hand, I also don't need to explain just how incredibly satisfying it is when your boss fucks up, big time, right in front of everyone.

So before I get into today's fine example of such fuck ups, let me give you a little background on the situation.

I work as an IT contractor (not full time with them) at a payday loan company. This company, and others like it, exist solely to suck whatever life it can out of your low-income individuals who desperately need money to make it through the week for whatever reason. It's a very profitable industry, but many don't agree with it for obvious reasons. I'll let me own opinions slide for now, as they don't really matter either way.

I work on an IT team with 3 other individuals. I won't name their real names for privacy reasons, but let's just call them Bob, Stacey, and Josh. Josh is our helpdesk guy. He's your typical nerdy and quirky individual who's a very hard worker but can often be annoying, due to his over eccentric personality. Stacey is our programmer, and she's quite the normal character and happens to be going on vacation tomorrow. Bob is our boss, and he's a difficult man to work for (read: asshole).

Stacey as I said is going out of town, so she set up a rule in outlook that will auto-forward anything that has to do with her programming system to the IT team containing certain specific text in the subject line.

Josh, who is not familiar with outlook rules, inquired in a reply to all as to how exactly the rules were setup and wanted to know if everything that was going to Stacey was getting forwarded to us all or not.

Bob, who isn't a very likable individual, decided to forward his reply about Josh's ignorance in general (because he's an asshole) to Stacey as sort of a private "haha" joke. Well as it turns out, Bob sent an email to Stacey containing the very same key words in the subject line that triggered Stacey's auto-forward rule (since, afterall, this is a continuous email chain), his snide little email just so happened to make its way to the whole IT group before he could realize what happened. And happen it did.

Here's his exact words: "Did his mom drop him on his head when he was young (or not so young) or what?"

Yeah. "Ha ha" Good buddy. The joke's on you. Maybe next time before you talk down someones ignorance of a certain functionality of an office product, you should actually do it in a way that A) Doesn't make you look like a moron for not understanding the very system that you're gloating to be so much better at using, and B) Won't advertise it to the entire department.

Kind of makes me wonder if he's ever said anything about myself, or others like that to his other joke-buddy employees.

What an ass.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hunters Suck (to play)

This is from the EU armory, but I'm assuming the results are quite similar to a scan of the US armory. Pretty much explains why I grin every time I see a hunter team as my opposition on my warlock in the arena.

From a warlocks perspective, hunters are an absolute joke. They are very easy to los, very susceptible to CC, extremely easy to mana drain (Small mana pool, takes very little time, and they're pretty much worthless without mana), and the pet is very very easy to kill. If they have no priest or paladin, then they are ridiculously easy to just dot and hide around the corner while they rot.

I can do 8000+ damage to them with instacasts, and they have to just take it, or hope for dispels, while I run back behind a pillar.. They can't really chase me around the corner, because close range fighting is not their forté. And if they stay at range, they are ridiculously easy to LoS. You can't send the pet in, because he'll just get killed behind the pillar.

Combining those factors, hunter usefulness is extremely limited, especially in 2v2/3v3.

In addition, the shots and abilities hunters have carry a rather hefty mana cost considering their relatively small mana pool. They also have basically no period where they are getting the 5s rule of mana regen, either. Flares, traps, aspects, hunter marks, shots, stings, melee abilities. They all require mana. If you aren't shooting someone in ranged combat, you're kiting them and changing aspects/wingclipping/trapping, and if you aren't kiting, you're doing a shot rotation. In fact, the only time you REALLY get time to regen mana outside the 5s rule is during a stand-still shot rotation, which is also when you want to be doing the most damage possible, so it's not an option there either.

This holds true in pvp and I've noticed it while leveling as well. I really only get time to regen mana during a fight while standing and shooting a mob. If you're doing damage on the move, you're using something that costs mana, whether its changing aspects, wingclipping, concussive shot, etc.

I know I've played a warlock for quite a well, but I've also played a lot of other classes in this game. And I'm telling you this: Hunter mana issues are SEVERE. Their mana consumption is bad, and is rivaled only by their horrid mana regeneration.

They are the absolute worst in efficiency in the game IMO. Aspect of the viper is not enough. They need a lot of their skills revisited with mana costs. Some skills need to have mana cost just flat out removed. Feign death, aspects, hunters mark, flare (reagent cost instead IMO) possibly even traps.

It needs help. It really, really does.

Also, the aspects and how they work are a pretty big problem.

Aspect of the cheetah is pretty risky to use. Right now it's really only great for chasing down runners when you can't afford to mount, and you're sure you won't be hit. To be honest, it's times when I'm kiting without fear of being caught, or chasing someone down that I wish my mana regen was going up. However, just switching to cheetah costs me mana, and mana regen. Also, stance-dancing as needed on a hunter isn't a lot of fun for several reasons. A) It hurts my mana/regen B) It costs a GCD, which means I might not get that critical shot/ability in in time. Stance-dancing on the hunter sucks, but it's very fun and useful on a warrior. My mana bar is basically penalized for me reacting to the situation and instantly picking the right aspect to be in. It was a great feeling on the warrior when I learned how to bind my stances to keys and react instantly depending on the context of the fight. You know exactly what I mean on this. Hunters trying to accomplish this same play style just don't feel right. It feels sloppy and and unnatural. The mana cost and GCD need to be removed.

Another idea that I was actually tossing around with cham a year ago on this issue was requiring certain shots to be used in certain aspects. You'd have to be in hawk for aimed shot, stings would require viper, etc. But then we thought that would require way too much reworking of a lot of spells/levels, so we figured a bonus would be better instead of requirement, or just a changing of aspects all together.

I.e. Hawk = 10% increased ranged damage, but 5% increase damage taken.
Viper = Double mana regeneration, stings cost no mana.
Monkey = Increased dodge/parry, reduced ranged damage
Beast = Decrease damage taken, pet does additional damage, increase melee damage done. (For when you can't escape melee)
Cheetah = Reduce movement speed bonus to 20%, and remove daze effect when struck. Increase mana regeneration (including in combat).

Keep in mind, these aspects would cost no mana and no GCD to "shift" into. This gives the hunter much more flexibility to the situation.

Flexibility is the key issue here. Warriors have it. Warlocks have it. Priests have it. That's why those classes do so well. It's not necessarily damage done, or amount of shadow bolt damage. It's the bevy of class options that allows them to react to a multitude of situations.

I honestly think something that drastic is needed to save this class, especially in smaller formats. A lot of the basic mechanics that are currently existing for this class are too limiting and don't allow for enough adaptive options for the player to take advantage of that other classes have. Their flexibility isn't very good. It's basically kite until you can spam shots on a snared/immobile target until you're OOM, and until something pretty big changes, that's the way it's going to be, MS shot or not (which would only really help in 5v5, not 3v3/2v2, assuming that the shots current limitations stay as is).