Happy New Year everyone! I wish you nothing but great adventures as you continue your journey through Pandaria, and make preparations to go to Draenor. This was quite a year for World of Warcraft, Hunters, and the Hunter community. Let’s take a look back, shall we?
January – February
When the new year began, Mists of Pandaria was in full swing. We were still raiding Moshugan Vaults, Heart of Fear, and Terrace of the Endless Spring, but the next chapter of the story had begun, and the campaigns of the Alliance and Dirty Horde were rocking.
Patch 5.1 introduced a new story area, and the continuation of the legendary cloak questline. Blizzard also announced dates for Blizzcon 2013.
March – April
Patch 5.2 was released. It introduced the Throne of the Thunder King raid and a new tier of gear, and a new questing area. Horridon proved to be a tough challenge for a lot of guilds and partially led to downfall of my own raid group.
Hunters saw a few buffs to MM and SV, but BM still remained the top DPS spec. We got a new pet class in Direhorns and we got three new Spirit Beasts! The Spirit Beasts were all porcupines and each had a unique taming challenge. My favorite was Degu whose challenge paid homage to the old Hunter dead-zone.
Also in March, the Brew Hall turned four. Time really flies.
May – June
Patch 5.3 was released. No raid tier, but the expansion’s story was advanced, and the legendary cloak quest chain was moved forward. Hunter stable slots were increased from 20 to a whopping 50. Even I’m having trouble filling it all up. There were a few other changes including buffs to MM and BM AoE. Blink Strikes was introduced as a passive talent, and a good one at that. Binding Shot was made an MM ability, and was replaced with Intimidation.
In Hunter community news, Tabana announced her retirement from WoW and the WoW Hunter’s Hall. She did an incredible job curating the site, and it never did recover after she left.
July – August
The Summer doldrums kicked in and not much changed with the game. Patch 5.4 hit the PTR, but would not release until September. It was also the beginning of the Apocalypse as Frostheim announced his retirement from the WHU and Hunting Party Podcast. His final broadcast was episode 181.
September – October
Patch 5.4 was released. This was the final patch of Mists of Pandaria. It introduced flex raiding, the legendary cloak, the Timeless Isle, Proving Grounds and more. For Hunters we saw significant changes. Readiness was removed, Stampede buffed. All three specs are now very close, but many Hunters still prefer BM and SV over MM.
I finally got back to playing more WoW and got my legendary cloak in late October. I mention it because I was very much behind on the quest when the patch was released and didn’t think I had much hope of getting it. Silly me.
Euripides announced his retirement from WoW and the Hunting Party Podcast. His final episode was 186 where he proudly showed off his “legendary” friendship bracelet he received from Frostheim.
Yo, we hear you like WoW news, so we got some WoW news to go with your WoW news. Blizzcon 2013 hit and Warlords of Draenor was announced. I won’t rehash all the details, but this expansion shows a lot of promise.
The excitement of the expansion news was diminished somewhat as Ghostcrawler announced that he was leaving Blizzard for a new opportunity. I personally liked him and thought he was good for the game. He will be missed.
During this month I found a new raid team and began doing normal mode content for the first time in many months. Progress is good and we’re now working on Garrosh with an eye to doing heroics after that. I also got the leveling bug and created a Horde Hunter and got him to 90. He’s a Tauren named Madcow.
Looking ahead to Warlords of Draenor I decided that it would be fun to have an Orc and Draenei Hunter. I created one of each and my Draenei is level 87 and the Orc is 34. Don’t know if I’ll have it in me to get the Orc to 90, but there’s a lot of time between now and when WoD will be released. For those counting, I’m up to six Hunters now.
We also announced the end of the Hunting Party Podcast. Episode 200 will be our final show. We still don’t have a date yet, but January 11th is looking like a good candidate. Certainly a bittersweet moment for me.
So that’s my little year in review. Lots of ups and downs, but overall Hunters are in good place in-game, and I have no doubt the Hunter community will rebound and continue to thrive in 2014.
Happy New Year!