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Twisted Nether Blogcast

My interview on the Twisted Nether Blogcast is up. I had the pleasure of appearing on Episode 229 with Fimlys and Hydra.

The interview is more about me and how I got started with gaming, WoW and blogging. I did manage to sneak in a little Hunter talk though.

Thanks to those of you who tuned in for the live show. I had a great time.

 

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No Burst Ability for Survival

The on again/off again relationship between Survival and a burst DPS cooldown is once again off, and probably for good this time.

So what Celestalon is saying if you want burst as Survival you’ll need to take Stampede, and learn the art of holding on to Lock and Load stacks.

Stampede makes sense as the only other options on that tier are A Murder of Crows and Blink Strikes, and Beast Mastery is almost certainly going to favor Blink Strikes.

The big concern is Lock and Load stacking. Delerium tackled that earlier this week in his post The Lock and Load Question.

Right now it’s too soon to tell if it’s worth hanging onto stacks versus firing as soon as you get one. A lot will depend on how much Multistrike you have, and how quickly you generate those stacks.

Once Blizzard starts doing a numbers pass there will probably be some usage guidelines established, and maybe even an addon to tell you what to do, which as Delerium points out, “Blizzard won’t like so they’ll change the mechanic”.

I haven’t played enough Survival to get a good feel for it yet. Between pooling Lock and Load stacks, managing Focus and Serpent Sting, there may be enough complexity to make up for the lack of buttons.

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Aspects in Warlords of Draenor

I recently plunged the depths of the Internet reading various blogs, forum posts, and comments, and there seems to be some misconception on Hunter Aspects in Warlords of Draenor, especially in light of the new Aspect of the Fox. Let’s clear things up shall we?

Aspects are gone… Sort of

Let’s start with the patch notes which talks about the removal of Hunter Aspects in Warlords of Draenor.

 Beta Patch Notes

One of the most difficult abilities to decide to cut was Aspect of the Hawk. It began to feel fairly meaningless, since it was used virtually all of the time in combat, so might as well have just been passive. We decided to cut Aspect of the Hawk, and bake in its benefit to the other abilities. The remaining aspect abilities are all utility only, and are being moved off the stance bar and made toggles.

  • Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack both now share a 10-second cooldown and no longer appears on the stance bar.
  • Glyph of Aspect of the Beast: The ability taught by this Glyph no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
  • Aspect of the Hawk has been removed. Aspect of the Iron Hawk has been renamed to Iron Hawk, and now passively provides a 10% reduction to all damage taken.
  • 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.

 

The key takeaways are there is no more Aspect of the Hawk or Aspect of the Iron Hawk. Iron Hawk is a talent that when taken provides a passive 10% damage reduction. You don’t need to turn it on, and you can’t turn it off.

The damage increase from Aspect of the Hawk has been automagically baked into Hunters.

As the patch notes state, Aspects are now utility only and do not impact Hunter DPS.

You Can’t Dance if You Want to

Okay, so since we still have Aspects that does mean we still have Aspect dancing?

Currently in Mists of Pandaria there is no Aspect Dancing as the only things to toggle between are Hawk, Cheetah and Pack. Not something you’re likely to do in combat.

In Warlords there is no Aspect of the Hawk so the only one you’re really going to activate in combat is the new Aspect of the Fox.

The only other Aspects you could toggle into are Cheetah, Pack and Beast. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you felt like messing around with Glyph of Aspects, and wanted to summon a new animal companion every second. You can’t.

Aspects are now all linked together and they trigger a 10 second cooldown when activated.

There’s no need to Aspect dance in s, and you can’t to boot.

Aspect of the Fox, What’s in it for Me?

One of the complaints about Aspect of the Fox is that it does not benefit the Hunter since we can fire most of our shots while moving.

Blizzard has categorize this as a raid utility, meaning it’s intended to help your raid down bosses.

Raiding is a team effort. If you cast Aspect of the Fox, and it helps your raid defeat the boss, then you’ve just benefited from this ability.

Even if that’s all that was in it for you that would be okay, but as Bendak pointed out in this post, it’s not.  I’ve included his great Aspect of the Fox video at the end of this post, and the featured image of this post is the pinnacle of awesome that he demonstrates with this ability.

What About DPS Scaling?

Traditionally Hunters have suffered from poor secondary stat scaling and Beast Mastery and Survival have benefited less from superior weapons due to key spells not using weapon damage.

Buffing Aspect of the Hawk was a nice band aid fix to adjust Hunter DPS as expansions wore on. It most recently happened in a 5.4 hotfix.

I honestly don’t know how Hunter’s will scale in Warlords, and whether or not having Aspect of the Hawk will hinder Blizzard’s ability to balance Hunter DPS later in the expansion. This is a question for someone like Delirium of Thrill of the Wild to answer.

I think Blizzard has taken some steps to mitigate this in Warlords.

 Beta Patch Notes

We’ve consolidated the way that Attack Power and Spell Power function and scale, to make those values clearer and correct some scaling issues regarding caster weapons relative to physical weapons.

  • Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2). All other sources of Attack Power now grant half as much as before.
  • Weapon Damage values on all weapons have been reduced by 50%.
  • Attack Power now increases Weapon Damage at a rate of 1 DPS per 3.5 Attack Power (up from 1 DPS per 14 Attack Power).
  • Attack Power, Spell Power, or Weapon Damage now affect the entire healing or damage throughput of player spells.

 

I could point you to some articles written about this three and four years ago, but I don’t know how relevant they are anymore. Instead I’ll just leave you with Bendak’s Four Fun Things to do with Aspect of the Fox video.

WoD Beta: 4 fun things to do with Aspect of the Fox

Watch this video on YouTube.
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A Blow to Pet Tanking?

Update: Since posting this, @Ikralla replied to say that he has noticed the changes in live.

WatchDev posted on Twitter this little tidbit about pet tanking.

This revelation came about because a player noticed his pet taking a lot of damage on Staghelm in Firelands. I don’t know if that was in live or on the beta. If it was live then this exists now, otherwise it’s a planned change for Warlords.

Some players have expressed concerns on the impact of older content. Depending on how old that content is it may not be an issue. Once we’re in Warlords gear, I suspect that anything Wrath and below won’t require any tanking to solo.

Even Cataclysm raids will be a lot easier. Perhaps a heroic could pose a challenge. The real test will be with Warlords content and Mists content. So far Hunters are taking this in stride.  

So why the change? Blame Warlocks!

If this is not in live now, then events like the all Hunter raids could be harder to pull off in Warlords. If this is  live then it means that tanking a current tier boss with a pet will be much, much harder.

At the very least you want to really make sure growl is turned off when you raid.

So there you go, pets as real tanks not intended. Thoughts? Concerns? Go!

Hunter Pet Tanks Sindragosa

Watch this video on YouTube.
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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.
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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.