Apr 182014
 

The Warcraft Hunters Union, OutDPS, The Hunting Party Podcast, Ghostcrawler. All are gone. Eyes of the Beast, Cloak and Quiver, Shots Fired, Thrill of the wild, RogerBrown, Muffinus, Celestalon. All have risen to take their place. Understand? No? Here’s one more hint.

Tameable HYDRAS!

Cut off one head and two shall take it’s place. That’s the Hunter motto. It should also be the deathrattle of a Hunter Hearthstone card, but I digress.

The Hunter community is alive and well, and is always on the lookout for new members. There’s a new podcast and a few new blogs out there. What resources are you going to for Hunter news, information, and entertainment? Let me know. It can be anything, blogs, youtube channles, twitch streams. Anything.

Hail Hunters!

chimaeron

Apr 172014
 

Blizzard released it’s first update patch to the alpha last night, and yes, there were Hunter changes.

  • Improved Cobra Shot now increases damage done by Cobra Shot, rather than Kill Command.
  • Enhanced Camouflage now heals 3% of your maximum health every 1 sec while Camouflage is active, down from 5%.
  • The worm’s burrow ability also applies the physical damage debuff.

The Cobra Shot perk is just a tooltip update. It always affected Cobra Shot, but the tooltip said Kill Command.

Enhanced Camouflage is an adjustment in the negative direction. I won’t call it a nerf for two reasons. First, it’s alpha so things are going to change. Second, I had some reservations about the Camo perks and wondered if they were two strong.

I wrote about that earlier this week. I think it’s fairly safe to say that the change was in the pipeline before I wrote anything about it. Also, I’m pretty sure no one from Blizzard reads this blog.

That said, Frostheim used similar arguments when he tried to convince us all that he was not responsible for the big Survival nerf. Let me state for the record, I podcasted with Frostheim. I knew Frostheim. Frostheim was a friend of mine. I am no Frostheim.

Feel free to blame him for any and all nerfs though, even small ones like this.

Oh, and this build also gave us a look at one of the early agility trinkets. It has the Readiness stat, which is the effect we current get from Assurance of Consequence. Note I’ve linked to the WoD version of AoC for comparison.

wod_agi_trinket

Apr 162014
 

Camouflage was introduced as the level 85 ability in Cataclysm. It has one of the coolest visuals in the game, better than stealth, but it is one of the more underused abilities. Warlords of Draenor is introducing perks that “buff” the ability such that it will have real applications in PvP and PvE.

Based on some comments and conversations there seems to be concerns over whether this ability will be overpowered. I alluded to this yesterday, although my worries centered around Survival and the possibility that combining it with other healing effects like Exhilaration would make it too good. More on that in a minute, but first let’s take a look at the Camouflage ability and how it will work in Warlords of Draenor.

Camouflage

You blend into your surroundings, causing you and your pet to be untargetable by ranged attacks. Also reduces the range at which enemy creatures can detect you, and provides stealth while stationary.

You can lay traps while camouflaged, but any damage done by you or your pet will cancel the effect. If cast while in combat, lasts for 6 sec. Otherwise, lasts for 1 min.

The important thing to note is the in-combat versus out-of-combat duration, there’s a big difference here. Out of combat the duration is one minute, but during combat it’s six seconds. The effect is also breaks when the Hunter does damage or if the Hunter takes damage. The risk of taking damage is mitigated by being untargetable by ranged attacks, although the Hunter is still susceptible to damage from melee attacks.

This is how Camo works now, and it’s not changing for 6.0. It will benefit from the new perks, and that will change how Hunters use this ability in Warlords.

The two perks that affect Camo are Enhanced Camouflage and Improved Camouflage. Enhanced is available to all specs, while Improved is for Survival only.

What this means is you’ll definitely want a keybind for Camo and be prepared to use it when you need some healing. Survival Hunters really benefit from this as they can continue do damage, as well as get healed while taking damage. Remember too, that if you stay stationary you will be stealthed which is nice for PvP.

In combat the most that Hunter will heal himself for is 30%, because the duration is only six seconds. Out of combat the Hunter will heal a lot more, so it has potential as nice way to heal up after a fight.

Camo isn’t just affected by perks though. The cooldown can be reduced by Readiness (the new stat) making it usable more frequently. It can be used with Deterrence, and it can be used with Disengage and the Glyph of Liberation and Exhilaration for additional healing. The Glyph of Camouflage also allows you to be in stealth while moving.

It’s not clear what combination of abilities will be best to use with Camo, but there are many options. The big question is, are these healing combinations overpowered?

Bendak from Eyes of the Beast replied with some good arguments to allay those fears.

Camouflage needed a change, and Blizzard has found a way to keep it as it is, but make it better by building in synergy with talents, perks, glyphs and other abilities. The utility of Camouflage in Warlords in Draenor is tremendous, and is one of the nicer changes coming in Warlords.

Apr 152014
 

We’re very early in the testing phase of Warlords of Draenor. There are many positive changes to the Hunter class, and some that haven’t been that well received. We have a tendency to view changes as if they were final, but history tells us that isn’t the case, and the final picture of Hunters in Warlords may look very different that what we see now.

I’ve touched on this before, but it’s worth doing again. Take a look at the Hunter talents from an early version of Mists of Pandaria. They’re barely recognizable to what we have today.

HunterMoPCalc

Talents weren’t all that changed during that beta. Black Arrow was modified such that it had no cooldown and could affect multiple targets similar to how Glaive Toss works. It didn’t work out and was reverted.

As Warlords of Draenor begins to evolve I can’t help but wonder what changes will be altered before WoD goes live. Here are five things that I believe will change during beta.

Distracting Shot’s Triumphant Return

If there’s one ability that Hunters hated to see go, it’s Distracting Shot. It doesn’t impact rotations or contribute to button bloat. It’s utility and purpose were clear. Although it isn’t used often, it’s benefit is powerful when called upon. I think this will be added back before all is said and done.

Flaming Shots, We Hardly Knew You

This is one of the more lackluster talents in the game, nevermind for Hunters. It fits well with Survival, but it’s just plain boring, and will go largely unnoticed when playing.

Bola Shot, which did fire AoE and replaced Arcane Shot was a much better talent than this. I suspect that Bola Shot was cut when they decided to removed Arcane Shot from Marksmanship, thus making this talent unavailable to that spec.

Whether Bola Shot makes a return, I don’t know, but I think Flaming Shots has to go.

Glyph of Hunter’s Mark

The bouncing red arrow was one of the most iconic Hunter symbols in the game, and it was there from day one of WoW. Now it’s gone, and players aren’t too happy. Most people agree with the removal of the combat effect, but the visual is just too cool.

I think we’ll see this come back as a cosmetic minor glyph.

Stampede, What to Do…

Players seem on the fence about this one. On the one hand it’s a good source of burst DPS that is sorely lacking for Hunters. There’s a risk that it could become a mandatory talent, although BM may prefer Blink Strikes.

Having it as a talent helps reduce button bloat, so there is something to be said for keeping it as it is. Then there is the fact that when used in a raid, its visual is unnoticeable by everyone except the tanks and melee.

I’m fond of it for personal reasons, but it needs more pizazz. I have no idea what could be done with this one, but I don’t think it will remain like it is.

Improved Camouflage

Improved Camouflage is the Survival perk that makes Camouflage awesome for them. Perhaps too awesome? This is a wait and see. I hope it remains as is, because I think this is one of the better perks that gives Survival some real survivabilty.

Keep an eye on this one, because if it sounds too good, it will probably be nerfed.

I’m sure they’ll be other changes. Those are mine, what are yours?

Apr 142014
 

It was another busy week of Alpha news for Warlords of Draenor. Here are some happenings that you might want to check out. It sounds like the alpha/beta is going to be a slow process.

Beta Client and Access

The alpha/beta client is available for anyone to download from the Battlenet site. It requires about 24GB of space and you can’t play it. You can stare longingly at the logon screen listening to some WoD music in hopes that one day you might be able to step through that portal.

During PAX East, Blizzard handed out beta keys for a future phase of testing. If you’re really jonesing to get into beta you can check out eBay. Apparently all the Wildstar fans have put their keys up for sale.

How much would you pay for a beta invite?

Ranged Weapon Sounds

Eyes of the Beast previewed the new ranged weapon sounds coming in WoD. They’re very muted, and I like them, especially the gun sounds. I don’t know what does and does not violate the TOS for WoW, but there are addons out there that let you replace current ranged weapons sounds on your client. Not sayin’, but I’m kind of sayin’.

Blizz List Alpha

If you’re looking for resources and information on Warlords of Draenor, check out Blizz List’s Alpha Resources Guide. It has links to all things WoD, including some stuff you’ve read here at The Brew Hall.

Icy Veins – Roger Brown Interview

Roger Brown did an interview for Icy Veins in which he gave his analysis of the Alpha patch notes. He shares his thoughts on the loss of Rapid Fire and Distracting Shot. He comments on Stampede as a talent, and much more. It’s good a read from a good guy.

Wowhead PAX East Interview 

Finally, Wowhead did an interview with Blizzard at PAX East. No Hunter news, but good information on Garrisons, inventory/storage and more.

Apr 102014
 

One of the bigger topics floating around for Hunters is the lack of burst DPS in Warlords of Draenor. With Rapid Fire going away and Stampede now a talent, many Hunters are wondering where that big burst of DPS might come from. For Marksmanship Hunters that salvation may come in the form of Careful Aim.

There have been rumors that Careful Aim is getting buffed in Warlords. Some folks have heard that it may become a talent or an active CD. Cloak and Quiver host, Solar reached out to Celestalon and got some clarification on how it’s changing, or in this case staying the same.

 

First, let’s take a look at what Careful Aim actually does in Warlords of Draenor.

Increases the critical strike chance of your Steady Shot and Aimed Shot by 75% on targets who are above 80% health. 

Pretty straightforward, for the first 20% of the mob’s life you’re likely to critically hit when using Aimed Shot and Steady Shot.

This is precisely how Careful Aim works now, so that isn’t changing. If it’s not changing, then how will it be improved in WoD?

Here are the perks that affect Careful Aim.

So for that first 20%, you’re likely to regen 30 Focus with each Aimed Shot , effectively reducing the cost of Aimed Shot  from 50 to 20 Focus.

Steady Shot will have same critical strike chance, so there’s less of a penalty for using it that during this period and you’ll generate three more Focus per critical hit. Marksman will also benefit from having 120 Focus to start.

You’ll want to cast Steady Shot back-to-back to get the Steady Focus buff, which will reduce the cast time of Aimed Shot , allowing you to fire more of them during Careful Aim.

Remember too that Steady Shot has a chance to proc Master Marksman, giving you a free Aimed Shot , although that is something that will occur naturally at some point, and not something where you should try to force a proc.

For the most part I’d expect the Careful Aim rotation to be similar to what it is now.

From there it’s really about getting in as many Aimed Shots as possible while maintaining the Steady Focus buff and firing Chimera Shot off of CD.

It’s possible that shots like Glaive Toss could be ignored during this time, but if you have Stampede or A Murder of Crows you’ll want to pop those.

The one question I have is where will Focusing Shot fit into all of this. I posted that question to Celestalon, and he confirmed that it will benefit from Careful Aim.

So it looks like Marksman Hunter stand a chance of tearing things up early in a fight. As for the other specs? I say the solution is to just let them carry around the Fudgehammer. That ought to do it.

[EDIT: Post updated with response from Celestalon regarding Focusing Shot]

Apr 092014
 

One of the new class features in Warlords of Draenor are perks. When you start leveling in Warlords you will get one new perk every level from 91-99. By the time you reach 100 you will have all the perks, but while leveling you will earn them in random order.

Some perks are fairly basic just increasing the damage of certain abilities, while others provide enhancements to utility and will alter the way you play each spec. We complained a lot about the lack of spec differentiation, and perks are one way that Blizzard is attempting to address that problem.

Let’s take a look at the perks for each Hunter spec and how they will  influence gameplay.

Shared Perks

Here are the list of perks that apply to two or more Hunter specs.

Execute range just came a little sooner for BM and MM Hunters. This just means we’ll be able to use this ability earlier in fights now. It will also be nice for questing as we might actually be able to get a Kill Shot in before the mob dies.

This is just a flat out 20% increase to BM’s and SV’s Focus dump. Remember Arcane Shot is no longer available for Marksman Hunters.

Again a straight  forward damage buff. It will be interesting to see if they make this work on the Focusing Shot talent. If this perk makes the damage of Cobra Shot and Focusing Shot at all close, the movement penalty may be enough to avoid taking that talent. I know that Versatility is great talent for Beast Mastery, and Flaming Shots looks good for SV, but Marksman will face a similar dilemma over Steady Shot.

  •  Enhanced Camouflage (BM/SV/MM) - You heal 5% of your maximum health every 1 sec while Camouflage is active.

A nice self heal. Doesn’t heal the pet, but will heal you and you can use it in Combat. Just be aware that if you do use it in combat you won’t be able to deal damage, and the effect will be broken if you take damage, although you will be untargetable by ranged attacks. Also, the Camo effect only lasts six seconds while in combat.

Beast Mastery

  • Improved Focus Fire – Focus Fire now also grants 2% increase to attack power per Frenzy Stack consumed.

First thing to understand is that Beast Mastery Hunters still have Focus Fire/Frenzy. I know there was some thought in the community that this ability might have been on the chopping block, but as you can see it’s still here, and it’s getting buffed. Frenzy stacks up to five times so this perk is a passive 10% attack power boost.

A simple passive damage buff to Beast Mastery’s signature ability. Not very sexy, but nice nonetheless. The developers did say that some of these perks would resemble the old spell ranks of the past, and that’s sort of what this does.

  • Empowered Pets – Increases the damage done by your combat pets by 20%.

A nice damage buff to our DoTs… err faithful companions.

  • Improved Beast Cleave - Your pet’s attacks strike nearby enemy targets for an additional 25% of damage done while Beast Cleave is active.

Yet, another passive damage buff. This time to Beast Mastery AoE.

  • Enhanced Basic Attacks - Your pet’s basic attacks have a 20% chance to reset the basic attack cooldown and make the next basic attack free.

News flash, pets are important to the Beast Mastery Hunter. Here’s another nice little perk for them.

Impact: Beast Mastery Hunters are all about their pets. Many of the perks buff you, but they also buff the pets. Focus Fire is something you’ll want to watch and use when stacks hit five. You’ll probably want to use it on CD, but may want to delay a second or two if you can stack it with Bestial Wrath.

Marksman

Simply reduces the cost of Chimera shot from 45 to 35 Focus.

Careful Aim is supposed to be getting a buff in WoD. If it still buffs the critical strike chance of Aimed Shot then early in a fight you should have plenty of Focus to work with.

Speaking of plenty of Focus, Marksman will now have 120 Focus.

Aimed Shot will be the Focus dump for Marksman. This perk makes it hit a little harder.

Like the Improved Cobra Shot, It’ll be interesting to see how it’s damage compares to Focusing Shot, and whether it’s worth sacrificing the benefits of this perk for that talent.

  • Enhanced Shots - Add an additional 5 yards range to all your attacks with a baseline 40 yard range.

Combine the effects of this perk with Enhanced Camouflage and you can stay out of your healers’ range and still live.

This is a very nice buff to Marksman AoE. They were the only spec that didn’t have a strong synergistic effect off of Multi-Shot, now they do.

Impact: Marksmanship will have the best range of any spec. They may have some of the best early fight damage with Careful Aim, and they should have plenty of Focus to work with. These perks combined with talent choices like Lone Wolf could make this the ranger spec that people have wanted.

Survival

So what this means is that every minute, Survival has a guaranteed 30% self heal, and they won’t have to sacrifice DPS for it, or worry about taking damage.

This buffs Explosive Shot by letting the DoT tick for an additional second. DoTs have been improved so you don’t clip them, which means you can still fire your Explosive Shots back-to-back. Also in WoD there is no more DoT snapshotting so tic damage will update dynamically on the target.

A simple buff to Black Arrow.

Survival Hunters will be able to drop their traps more often. This has applications in both PvE and PvP. This will be helpful in fights with adds that need to be slowed or rooted.

  • Enhanced Entrapment - The root effect from your Entrapment requires 100% additional damage to break from taking damage.

A lot of people have asked the question, what if you need to break your target out of CC early? I’m not too sure, but I don’t know how much of an issue that will be. Certainly in PvP this is good thing.

A nice buff to Focus regeneration. As the only spec that doesn’t have 120 Focus, Survival might need this.

Impact: I think Survival got some of the more interesting perks. Certainly there is a Focus on magic damage, DoTs and surviveability. Traps will be more effective for SV and this may end up being the PvP spec in WoD. You’ll certainly be using Camouflage more, and that is a good thing.

Those are the perks for now. I close with the alpha caveat that some of the perks will likely change over the course of testing, but until then, I like what I see.

Apr 072014
 

Between the comprehensive patch notes, the data mining, and developer interviews and responses on Twitter, it was quite a weekend for those starving for information on Warlords of Draenor. We learned a lot about the expansion in general, and we learned a lot about Hunters. I’m generally excited about what I read, and here a five things for you to get excited about for Hunters in WoD.

Misdirection

During the interview on Fat Boss TV, Celestalon revealed that when you put Misdirection up on a target it will last for one hour. That’s great for raids, that’s great for questing and solo tanking, and it’s probably great for other nefarious reasons.

Glyph of Play Dead

This new minor glyph will cause your pet to play dead when you Feign Death. The ability for you and the your pet to do a full aggro dump and escape combat is huge. The fact that this is a minor glyph makes it all the better. Whether it’s trying to stay alive during a wipe or trying to get out of combat because you pulled too much stuff, this glyph will make living much easier.

Camouflage

I was always disappointed that I could never find much use for this in PvE. Now thanks to the new Hunter perks, Camouflage just got a whole lot more interesting. All Hunters will get Enhanced Camouflage and Survival Hunters will also get Improved Camouflage.

For MM and SV this is mostly an out of combat self heal. BM/MM could likely use it in combat if they pair it with Deterrence. Survival on the other hand don’t have to worry about it’s effect breaking, so it’s a 30% self heal every minute. If Readiness affects it like Assurance of Consequence does, then that CD can be reduced further.

It looks like we’ll be in Predator mode a lot in Warlords of Draenor.

Pet Buff/Debuffs

We learned that in Warlords of Draenor every buff/debuff and raid utility will be available to all specs. This includes battle rez and heroism. Exotic pets will still have the advantage of having 2-3 abilities, but Hunters will be able to bring whatever the raid needs without having to worry about their spec. A very nice quality of life change.

New Pet Families

Hunters are getting some cool new pet families including Hydras, River Beasts (i.e., Hippos), Dragonflys, and new skins of some old favorites likes wolves and boars, and the might sporebat. MMO-Champion posted some of the new looks on their site. Is it too soon to ask for more stable slots?

giantboar2 hippo4 (1) sporebat1

Apr 052014
 

artwork-31-full

[EDIT: after writing this, we got confirmation from @Celestalon that there are non-exotic pet versions of ALL the buffs and debuffs. Nether rays will be bringing Heroism/Bloodlust]

Now that the alpha is out and the dataminers have cracked the code of the new CASC file format we’re getting all kinds of great information about Warlords of Draenor that were not in the patch notes.

We know from the patch notes that a number of buffs and debuffs were changed or removed. This means that many of our beloved companions have lost some of their abilities. Not permanently of course, but replacement abilities were not listed in the notes. They have been datamined, and the petopia community has been hard at work filling in the gaps.

Special thank to @cgjthoma (Christian Thoma) who compiled a list of WoD changes on the Petopia forums. His information is the basis for much of this post.

Here are the new pet abilities that have been datamined thus far.

Additionally CM Lore has confirmed that moths and cranes both have a battle rez. This means any spec can bring a battle rez in Warlords of Draenor.

In addition to what I’ve listed above it looks like,

  • Shale Spiders will have a damage reduction ability similar to crabs, turtles and beetles.
  • Quillen will also have the damage reduction/HoT ability similar to the Rhino’s.
  • Foxes will be able to increase their dodge chance by 30%.

It should be noted that the tooltip for the Thick Hide does not reference the healing aspect, but it makes sense, otherwise it’s a weaker version of the general 50% damage reduction ability that crabs, turtles, beetles and shale spiders have.

Additionally new pet families that are being reported include,

  • Dragonfly (exotic) – Stamina and Haste buffs.
  • Riverbeasts – Mortal Wounds
  • Hydra – Mastery

Note, that Hydras are not listed as exotic pets, which I hope is the case.

Finally here is a list of the buffs and debuffs and the pet families that provide them. It looks like the only ability that is exotic only now is Ancient Hysteria.

I’d say there is also room to more evenly spread the buffs and debuffs around, but maybe Blizzard likes it this way to lock us into some harder choices.

wod_petbuffs

It appears that we’ll have a more flexibility with regard to what pets we can bring, and it’s unlikely that we’ll be locked into playing Beast Mastery in a raid.

Apr 042014
 

The dust is beginning to settle from the huge info. dump we received last night. I’ll be preparing additional posts on each spec and more during the coming days. From what I’ve seen thus far, reactions are very mixed.

Many of you were sad to see Distracting Shot go. Not sure this will come back, as apparently some thought went into removing it.

Hunter’s Mark is another one that folks will miss. I tend to agree on this one. The floating red arrow is one of the more iconic Hunter features. Maybe a minor glyph for cosmetic purposes?

There are also concerns that Hunters have a lost a lot of burst DPS, and that Stampede may end up being a mandatory talent. I have to say I’m partial to Stampede, but I also like Blink Strikes very much.

Hunter perks are generating a lot of excitement, and are something I’m looking forward to.

 

Of course for everyone who wants one thing changed or brought back, there are those out there ready to embrace the changes and move on.

Whatever you feel about the changes, it’s import to know that this is an iterative process that is just getting started. Talents, abilities and perks are all likely to change in the coming months leading up to release.

I like a lot of what I see so far, and if they can get each spec balanced, Hunters may get some nice game play choice in Warlords of Draenor.