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.