All posts by Darkbrew

wodglyphchanges

Glyph Changes in Warlords

I noticed a few glyph changes in this build of Warlords of Draenor. I don’t know if they were just introduced, but it’s a change from Mists.

Some of the major Hunter glyphs are now exclusive with one another. The following glyphs can no longer be used together.

So no more doubling up on glyphs that affect the same spell. This probably has a greater impact for PvP than PvE.

I can’t say I’m too surprised by this, after all, who wasn’t abusing things by stacking Glyph of Pathfinding and Glyph of Lean Pack?

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Savage Spirit Beasts!

Jeremy Feasel let it be known that the Void Wolf will indeed be a Spirit Beast in Warlords of Draenor.

No details on how you’ll be able to tame one, or at what level, or in what zone.

I’d expect it to be some type of taming challenge and not the camping marathons of the Wrath Spirit Beasts.

I’ll be naming mine Haze, and you?

Void Wolf Spirit Beast

Watch this video on YouTube.
huntingclefthooves

More Stable Slots! Stat!

I’m not 100% sure, but I’m beginning to think that someone at Blizzard actually likes Hunters. Who could blame them though?

Jeremy Feasel, aka Muffinus gave us this cryptic tweet earlier this evening.

Hunter Weapon? Legendary maybe? I honestly have no idea what that could mean. I just hope it’s a gun.

Now Clefthooves I understand. Sounds like we’re finally going to be able to tame them in Warlords.  Here’s a look at the updated version from Draenor. I assume that we’ll be able to go to Outland and tame those as well. We’ll have to wait and see if they’ll be their own family, exotic, or perhaps part of an existing family such as Rhinos.

Image Courtesy of MMO-C
Image Courtesy of MMO-C

The discussion didn’t end with Clefthooves but rather segued into Talbuks. Get ready to squee!

That’s right boys and girls, Blizzard is adding a stag family. I can’t wait to roam around Azeroth and see what other models will fall into this category.

But wait there’s more, or is there? Slickrock inquired about Kuchong’s and Sand Reavers. Get ready to, well, pout.

I’m not sure what “not this round” means though. Does it mean not this build? Not this expansion? I suppose we’ll know soon enough, but it sounds like Muffinus is at least open to the idea of us taming them.

Shrugging off that bit of bad news, Slickrock pressed on and asked about Greyworms. Dry your tears and get ready to squee again!

So I think this was a yes. I’m not a 100% sure, but when in doubt the rules state that you should interpret it as a promise.

So where does that leave that leave pets right now in the beta?

Like everything else, a work in progress. We won’t get a final list of what’s tameable until closer to the end of beta. In the meantime we can just roam Azeroth casting Beast Lore and report what is and isn’t.

All in all this is shaping up to be an exciting expansion for pets and we haven’t even heard anything about Spirit Beasts yet.

So now everyone join me in shouting, “MORE STABLE SLOTS! STAT!”

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Follow Your Nose

I’m back from my mini-vacation and now have some time to sink my teeth into the Warlords of Draenor beta.

With level cap increased to 96, and two new zones, I recopied Darkbrew to begin anew.

I ran through the Tanaan Jungle starting area again, and I noticed that it’s full of tameable toucans. It’s possible they were there before and I just missed them, but I doubt it.

I think I saw nearly every color of toucan there as well. It’s not clear if they’re place holders or meant to be there, or meant to be tamed. I did notice some Ravagers that were not tameable.

Also, the void wolves are no longer tameable so it’s entirely possible that these toucans are the real deal.

The starting area is much improved, but is still a work in progress. It’s missing cinematics, and needs voice over and music. Right now it’s too quiet and not dramatic enough to really suck you in.

Given that it’s not complete we’ll have to keep an eye out to see if the toucans here remain tameable. If they do then you’ll want to hit the starting experience with a few empty stable slots.

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Crazy Like a Fox

The official Warlords of Draenor patch notes were updated to include the long awaited Hunter Raid cooldown – Aspect of the Fox.

Aspect of the Fox: Party and raid members within 40 yards take on the aspects of a fox, allowing them to move while casting all spells for 6 seconds. Only one Aspect can be active at a time. 3 minute cooldown.

You may remember the first iteration of this back in Cataclysm that allowed Hunters to fire their own abilities on the move. This takes that concept and applies it to your entire raid.

This hasn’t been added to beta yet, so I haven’t had a chance to see it in action. Aspects tend to stay active until you remove them, or something causes them to be removed. If it’s treated as an aspect versus an ability then this is how I think it will work.

You cast Aspect of the Fox and your raid has six seconds to cast while moving. The Aspect drops off the Hunter and goes on a three minute cooldown; well the CD starts once it’s cast, you get the idea. Once it comes off cooldown you can cast it again.

I like the fact the raid wide cooldown is an Aspect. Aspects have been part of the Hunter toolkit since the beginning, and it would feel strange not to have them.

If you think about it, the only real issue we had with them is that you were force to sacrifice DPS for utility. With that now gone, Aspects have the potential to be viable, and this opens the door to having more of them in the future.

Now as far as having a bona fide raid cooldown, all I can say is be careful what you wish for. Hunters now have a responsibility to the raid that extends beyond just shooting the boss in the face.

Expect to be relied upon to push that button when the raid leader calls for it. Given the nature of Aspect of the Fox you can expect to want to use it during heavy movement portions of a fight. I know that goes without saying, but I am pointing it out because that isn’t necessarily on the pull, or something coincides with Heroism or general burst phases.

It’s highly situational, and could require coordination if you have more than one Hunter in the group, which is likely to be the case.

Raid sizes are going to be bigger in Warlords. Mythic has a set size of 20, LFR is set at 25, and Normal/Heroic can range from 10-30 players.

Three Hunters working together could turn a 6 seconds of casting on the move into 18 seconds.

I thinks this is a nice change for Hunters. It’s a lot better than the old Aspect of the Wild which provided nature damage reduction and was rarely used.

While still somewhat situational, I expect this to be used every encounter.

I’m eager to see how it plays out.

WoD Beta 18566: Are Two Heads Better Than One?

Sorry for delay in writing about this, but I’ve been out of town since Thursday. I’ll be back home on Wednesday, and will be able to check out the changes first hand then.

Most of the changes focus around Marksmanship and Survival, with Marks perhaps getting the bigger of the two.

Marksmanship

The big news is the change to Chimaera Shot.

    • Chimera Shot has been renamed Chimaera Shot. It is now a two-headed shot that hits two targets, and deals Frost or Nature damage. It no longer heals the Hunter.

I think this is a good start, but there are a couple of things I don’t like about it. I’m not a big fan of rotational abilities doing AoE.

There are very few single target encounters these days, and having a key ability that does AoE that you can’t control is problematic. Bendak has already reported that it breaks CC.

I think of General Nazgrim’s defensive stance where you don’t want to do any DPS to him, but there are adds you need to DPS down. Chimaera shot becomes a liability in that circumstance.

The trash leading up to Garrosh needs to be CC’d. Chimaera Shot will be detrimental in that situation as well.

I know that Glaive Toss is an AoE ability that is part of the main rotation, but at least with that shot you have some control over which targets it hits. Not so with Chimaera.

My other gripe is that it is still just a shot that doesn’t connect with the spec. There’s no synergy between it and the rest of the rotation. It’s something you fire on cooldown because it’s there.

I’d like to see the AoE component removed and have the two heads hit a single target. I’d also like to see it get a chance to proc something like a small haste buff, or put a debuff on the target that enhances other abilities.

One thing that I like is that the Glyph of Chimaera shot is staying in the game, and it still grants the Hunter a self heal. Losing the built in self heal was disappointing, but the fact that it can be retained via a Glyph is a nice option.

There was a change to one of Marksmanship’s perks. Improved Shots is now Improved Multi-Shot.

    • Multi-Shot costs 5 less Focus and deals 20% increased damage.

Marksmanship needed help with AoE and this is a step in the right direction. The loss of the additional range is disappointing, but it should be noted that we will recoup some of that with Sniper Training.

Survival

Survival also got a baseline 10% increased chance to Multistrike. This of course will increase the chance of Lock and Load proc’ing at lower gear levels and make Survival more viable as you level to 100.

When patch 6.0 drops there won’t be any Multistrike on gear. If you want to play Survival you really need some version of Harom’s Talisman and one of the following pets that will give you the Multistrike buff.

    • Basilisk
    • Dragonhawk
    • Fox
    • Wind Serpent

The Survival perk Improved Viper Venom was changed to Improved Serpent Sting.

    • Serpent Sting deals 20% increased damage.

Lock and Load’s duration was increased to 30 seconds which will make pooling charges much easier.

Thrill of the Hunt got a visual indicator. Previously the only indication was a highlight of affected abilities on your toolbar. The new visual is now centered on your character allowing you to track the charges without needing to stare at your toolbar. I like this change.

Here is an image of the new visual taken by Bendak from this post at Eyes of the Beast.

Image courtesy of Eyes of the Beast
Image courtesy of Eyes of the Beast

That about covers the changes for this beta build. Remember this is an iterative process, and that Hunters are still being worked on.

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SSN: All Hunters All The Time

It’s Saturday and that means it’s time for another Saturday Show Notes. I won’t be turning this one into a beta report. I’d love to, but I’m out of town visiting my outlaws so I don’t have the time.

Anyway, onto to this week’s news.

Beta Build 18537

There were a couple of beta builds this week, but the only one of significance was 18537. I don’t know about you, but I think of these build numbers like lottery numbers, and each time I see a new one, I hope we hit the Hunter jackpot. This time we sort of did.

There was an update to the PvE Tier 17 set bonuses. I covered it here, but here’s a recap of the changes.

Beast Mastery

  • T17 2 piece – Kill Command has a 25% chance to reset the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.
  • T17 4 piece (not changed) – While Bestial Wrath is active, one additional pet is summoned to fight with you.

Marksmanship

  • T17 2 piece – Aimed Shot critical strikes restore 10 additional Focus.
  • T17 4 piece – While Rapid Fire is active, your critical strike damage is increased by 5% per second.

Survival

  • T17 2 piece – Black Arrow deals damage 33% more often.
  • T17 4 piece – When you hit a target with Explosive Shot, your multistrike damage is increased by 25% for 3 sec.

Pretty awesome right? Well just like winning the actually lottery, the taxman tends to take a pretty big bite when you collect that lump sum, and thus these aren’t the final numbers.

A one in four chance to reset Bestial Wrath every six seconds was probably too much to hope for. Still very nice bonuses though.

Celestalon on Marksmanship and Survival

There have been concerns that Survival might not have enough Multistrike to make the spec worth while at lower gear levels. Blizzard is taking steps to fix that.

Survival is shaping up to be one of the more interesting specs in that there will be some decision making whether to hold on to Lock and Load procs or fire them as you get them. Expect there to be lots of discussions on this in the future.

Celestalon gave us a hint at how the design should play out.

There have also been concerns about Chimera Shot and the fact that it doesn’t do much of anything. Celestalon agrees and changes are on the way.

My feeling is that signature shots should be like the computer from the second season of Lost. Failing to push the button when the timer is up should result in catastrophic things happening to your DPS.

All Hunter Raid Tackles Heroic Throne of Thunder 

Credit to Bendak for posting about this one. The all Hunter raid organized by ArtemisHowl from Blood Legion will tackle heroic Throne of Thunder on July 19th at 8:30 PM Eastern.

I watched the first Tier 14 raid via Ricket’s Twitch stream. I anticipate that she’ll continue to stream so be sure to check it out. It’s great fun to watch.

Good Reads

If you haven’t checked out some of the other Hunter blogs this week, here are some good articles you might have missed.

Thrill of the Wild wrote about Explosive Shot vs. Kill shot and what your priority should be. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

The Grumpy Elf shared his thoughts on secondary stat attunements. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t like them. I don’t dislike them as much as he does, but I am concerned about needing to have multiple gear sets and the loss of reforging in Warlords.

Eyes of the Beast had a guest article from Jademcian on the current state of Hunter specs in Warlords of Draenor.

Bendak also wrote about one of the new Rylak pets found in Frostfire Ridge. It’s got an amazing animation, that is likely a bug, but you never know. I’ve posted his video below.

WoD Beta: Hunter Rylak Pet

Watch this video on YouTube.
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Analyzing Performance With Logs

Now that I’m running heroics I’ve been spending some time using Warcraft Logs to analyze and improve my overall raid performance. Note, I said overall performance, and not just DPS. DPS is a big part of it, but it’s hardly the only thing that I look at.

That said, I’m going to begin by talking about DPS, because it’s what most Hunters tend to care about the most.

There are three major contributors that negatively impact your DPS. First is dying. Not much to say there, other than to remind you of the old adage, a dead player does no dps.

The second factor, and realistically the biggest factor, is not maximizing global cooldowns. During the heat of battle it can be hard to notice that you aren’t firing your signature shot as soon as it comes off cooldown, but you’ll be surprised at how challenging that can be, especially if you’re just learning an encounter.

Here is a look at damage done for a Thok 10-man normal I did recently. I love this parse, because it provides me with a fantastic baseline with which to compare all my other encounters.

Our strategy was to separate the raid into three groups and strategically place them around Thok. We then proceeded to DPS him without forcing a second phase.

I got to stand in one spot and just DPS the boss without having to do anything else. This was more of a Patchwerk style fight, than Patchwerk itself.

Here’s an overall look at the damage done for this fight. As you can see, even with my mighty Sporebat Kitteh at my side, we were destroyed by, as BigRedKitty would say, a cockroach Pally.

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Thok 10-man Normal Damage Done

What I like to pay attention to when looking at overall damage is,

  • Active – This is the percentage of the fight I spent actively casting abilities and DPS’ing the boss. You want this to be as high as possible. 98.98% is not bad. What this tells me is that I was probably a little slow out of the gate starting my DPS.
  • DPS(a) vs DPS(e) – DPS(a) is an average of your active DPS, while DPS(e) is your effective DPS. You want these to be close, but the more important number is the DPS(e).

So nothing too alarming here, other than I could have been a wee more active. Nothing a shot of espresso before the pull can’t fix.

That’s just a high level look. To truly evaluate things you have dive into the details. Here’s a look at all of the abilities I cast during the fight, and how many times.

thok_abilitiescast
Thok 10-man Normal Abilities Cast

As I said, one of the major reasons DPS suffers is poor GCD management. Let’s see how I did.

Kill Command is Beast Mastery’s signature shot. It does more damage than anything else, so it’s important to cast as many as the fight will allow.

This fight lasted 3 minutes and 21 seconds, or 201 seconds. Kill Command has a six second cooldown which means you can cast 10 per minute.

Over a 201 second period I could have gotten off 33 Kill Commands. Since this was literally a stand still fight where I had nothing to do but focus on rotation, getting off 33 Kill Commands was entirely possible.

As you can see I cast 31 Kill Commands during this fight, So I missed a couple. The horror. What could have possibly gone wrong? Was it an unruly pet? Ooh, I know, it was a boating accident! Let’s see if the logs corroborate either.

Here is a look at my Kill Command cast intervals.

Thok 10-man Normal Kill Command Casts
Thok 10-man Normal Kill Command Casts

I’ve highlighted three gaps where I waited longer than six seconds to cast Kill Command. Not the pets fault, and not a boating accident.

What you’re seeing here is some of the decision making that goes into rotations. In this case it was fire Kill Command and delay Bestial Wrath which was coming off cooldown, or delay Kill Command in order to line it up with Bestial Wrath. In this fight I chose the latter.

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Thok 10-man Normal Bestial Wrath Casts

My Bestial Wrath is on a 40 second cooldown. Five was the maximum I could have used this fight, but I probably had room to delay it a bit in order to squeeze in those two Kill Commands. Something for me to think about as I try to get better.

Another thing I like to look at is Serpent Sting. I check to see how many times I cast it, and what was the uptime.

Now there are times when you want to recast the Sting to really maximize output. I don’t always do that, but I know that there are occasions when when it’s beneficial to do this.

Thok 10-man Normal Serpent Sting
Thok 10-man Normal Serpent Sting

Looking at this fight, for whatever reason, I did not cast it until almost 11 seconds into the fight. Definitely not recommended behavior.

Because it was a standstill fight it never fell of, but this was a missed opportunity for sure.

A couple of other things I’ve learned from my logs is that once upon a time my Bestial Wrath had a one minute cooldown. This was perfectly aligned with my Engineering Synapse Springs. To keep things efficient I use a macro that casts Synapse Springs with Bestial Wrath.

I forgot to change that once I got Assurance of Consequence, and thus I’ve short changed myself out one or two of these in certain fights.

The other thing I need to do is take control of Rabid. Auto-cast is not a good way to go with this ability, and in this particular fight, I ended up missing one.

So as you can see even under ideal circumstance it can be difficult to execute a rotation with 100% perfection. All in all this was a pretty good parse. Let’s a take look at what happens when you’re still learning a fight.

Here’s a look at my Kill Command distribution from Heroic Malkorok. This was a 4 minute and 20 second fight, or 260 seconds. It was wipe, and, while I died after it was a wipe, the fight continued for 10 seconds while I took a dirt nap.

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Malkorok 10-man Heroic Kill Commands

You can see that I cast a total of 27 Kill Commands. Even if you subtract the ten seconds that I was dead that still leaves room for a total of 41 Kill Commands. So I’m still short 14.

It should be noted that I finished second on the meters, not that it means much. I say that merely to point out that I wasn’t dragging the bottom here, and yet lots of room for improvement.

Reasons for the missed Kill Commands have to do with a focus on surviving. I’m dodging orbs, running to stand in Implosions, running to safe spots, and soaking orbs with Deterrence.

Lots of room for improvement, and the logs help me focus on specific areas where I can do better.

Now as I said in the beginning evaluating logs isn’t just about DPS. Many fights have adds that are a priority, so it’s important to see if I’m being carried or carrying my weight here.

Sticking with the Heroic Malkorok encounters, here is the overall damage done to the Living Corruption adds.

hmalk_livingcorruption
Malkorok 10-man Heroic Living Corruption

I’m not the worst, but I’m not the best either. We had two corruptions spawn and killed after I died. I obviously did no damage to those.

What’s great about Warcraft Logs is you can look at your damage on each individual add.

By doing that I discovered that my DPS on the adds is hit or miss. I either recognize the add is up and crush it, or fail to see it entirely. Not a lot of middle ground here.

Next time we face this boss, I’m going to super emphasize the add in my boss mods, as I clearly need that.

Adds are just one mechanic that you can measure in fights, but as I continue to say it’s not just about DPS.

Here’s a look at Sha of Pride heroic. One of the things you have to do in this encounter is run around and close rifts. When you close a rift, you get a debuff that prevents you from closing another one for one minute.

sha_rifts
Sha of Pride 10-man Heroic Rifts

I closed four rifts during this encounter, but probably could’ve gotten five.

What stands out to me is the late start I got in attempting to close the rifts. I started out slow, but then got into a rhythm, but I need to try a bit harder next time.

Now one other thing I like to look at on this fight is the Mark of Arrogance debuff, because you don’t want to close Rifts when you have it.

markofarrogance

Nothing too out of the ordinary here, other than it took a while to get that last Mark dispelled.

For the most part the healers did a good job here and the debuff likely didn’t hinder my ability to close rifts.

Thus fare most of the analysis has focused and dealing damage. It’s also important to look at damage taken. Here is a look at overall damage taken from our Heroic Nazgrim fight.

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Nazgrim 10-man Heroic Damage Taken

Unless you’re a tank, you always want to be towards the bottom of this list. I did a pretty decent job, but I always like to see what I took damage from. Here you go.

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Nazgrim 10-man Heroic Damage Sources

I did well, but there’s room for improvement. Heroic Shockwave can also avoided. This was a player proximity issue.

Backstab is an Assassin ability, and it only hits you from behind, which is a big no-no in this fight. I’m lucking I didn’t end up dead.

I know what happened though.

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Nazgrim 10-man Heroic Debuffs

I was targeted by Assassins three time, and each time I made a bee line for our Warlock’s Demonic Gateway. One of those times I accidentally turned my back to him.

I think next time I’ll just disengage everywhere.

The final thing I like to look at is healing done. That’s right, healing done. Again, here it is from Heroic Nazgrim.

hnazgrim_healingdone
Nazgrim 10-man Heroic Healing Done

Remember that Backstab I took? At least I had the wherewithal to pop a cookie.

I also gave the Glyph of Liberation a try, which as you can see, I gained no benefit from whatsoever. I also probably didn’t disengage as much as I could have this fight.

The last thing I would suggest if you’re looking to improve your raid performance is to video your encounters. This can be incredibly helpful to diagnose what it is you do wrong.

I like to watch my movement, my use of globals, as well as watch boss mode timers. Having a video gives you the opportunity to replay the encounter with a relaxed and objective frame of mind.

Some things I’ve discovered by watching my videos from Heroic Malkorok are,

  • Not DPS’ing an add because I didn’t know it was up, even though there was a boss timer warning of the add two seconds ahead of time.
  • Not getting out of the way of spawning orbs in time. I thought I had avoided all of them, but that wasn’t the case.
  • Not maximizing globals due to movement.
  • I Need to emphasize certain events in my boss mod so as not to miss them.

I find that logs and videos combine to provide a wealth of feedback that I can use to help increase performance, and if you’re looking to do the same I encourage you to give it a go.

ssvtmill

TBT: Southshore v. Tarren Mill

When people talk about world PvP what they’re referring to do is the epic Southshore versus Tarren Mill battles that occurred during Vanilla. I remember the first time I participated in one.

I was playing WoW one Friday night in December of 2004. My friend Matt whispered me and said “Get to Southshore now. Big battle going on.”

I hopped on a gryphon from Ironforge and made my way there. I landed to find, not a quiet questing hub, but an epic melee between the Alliance and Horde that was in full swing.

Both factions were fighting each other trying to see if they could overrun the other’s town. Back and forth it went with the Alliance pushing towards the Tarren Mill, and then the Horde pushing their way back towards Southshore.

This was not a battleground (they didn’t exist back then), and there were no game driven objectives. This was 100% player made content.

What made the battle great was the spontaneity of it all. It was one of those instances where players discovered something the developers never dreamed of and it was amazing fun.

Eventually Blizzard introduced real battlegrounds into the game and this player made world PvP fizzled out.

Recently on Twitter @AlteracValley discovered this little gem in the then Warlords of Draenor Alpha.

I wouldn’t read too much into this. I’m not sure that Blizzard could capture the epicness of Southshore v. Tarren Mill in a battleground.

I only participated in a handful of these back in the day, but it was extremely memorable. Like most things back then, I had no idea that I was participating in something so special. Something that would be part of the History of Warcraft.