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Meanwhile… Beast Mastery Gets Buffed

In case you missed it Beast Mastery got buffed this week.

  • Mastery: Master of Beasts’ effects have been increased by 12.5%.

There was also a change to Haste that benefits all classes.

  • The Haste stat is now 11.1% more effective. For example, characters at level 100 now receive a 1% increase per 90 Haste (up from 1% per 100 Haste).

The big boost to Beast Mastery is of course the Mastery change, but the Haste boost doesn’t hurt.

All Hunter specs are in a good place right now, and the buff doesn’t make BM all powerful, although it does it make the best Hunter spec for AoE by far. This is not insignificant as a number of the encounters in Blackrock Foundry require good AoE DPS. Even though it many not be the top single target spec, you’ll probably be utilizing it on many encounters in the next raid.

One other thing to note is this makes Mastery a more powerful stat for Beast Mastery, but I don’t know if it becomes the number one secondary stat, so don’t dump that Multistrike just yet.

We do have a podcast this week, so be sure tune in as we sort all of this out with entire gang and special guest RogerBrown.

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Patch 6.1, RoBro, Highmaul High Jinx

Patch 6.1 is on its way to the PTR. You may have seen a whole list of changes for Hunters that make is sound like we’ll be powerful enough to one-shot Gul’dan on our own. Don’t be fooled, these are just tooltip changes to synch them up with what’s already in game. That awesomeness you’re reading? Yeah, you’re living it today.

The one change that is real is the battle rez update. Currently, when one of your raid member stands in the stupid and dies,  your pet has to be within 20 yards of the corpse to bring them back to life. In 6.1, the battle rez will have a 40 yard range making it infinitely more easy to rez. That’s something I certainly could have used in raid this past week.

Thanks to Artemishowl who brought the need for this change up to Celestalon during Blizzcon. There’s a reason why she was good choice to take over the WHU, and be a host on the podcast. Regarding the podcast, our next episode is scheduled for January 18th, and will feature RogerBrown as our guest.

RoBro has appeared on the podcast many times before, including episode 200, and I look forward to talking to him again. He and Artemishowl can trade stories on what it was like to participate in the Highmaul race for world first.

Finally this week, my Highmaul mission became available. There are four Highmaul missions. On two of the four I’m able to counter all six boss abilities. The other two are at five of six. I got one of the five of six missions this week. hmaulmission My best lineup gave me a 90% chance of success. All three followers have a 654 ilvl, and all three have epic mounts. I’ve heard of people failing these at 96% and higher, so 90% is no guarantee by any means.

The epic mounts reduced the mission time to one hour, so at least I didn’t have to wait long for the bad news. Fortunately things worked out, and not only was the mission a success, but I actually got an item that I needed.

I’m glad my 90% chance worked out, and this follower mini-game is my current obsession. My goal is to get all my Highmaul missions at a 100% success rate. I’ve got six followers that I’m leveling that can counter one of the abilities that other followers cannot. There’s still hope that they’ll pick up the ability to counter one of the other abilities and fill the third slot in those missions. A few of these followers will max level by the time my next Highmaul mission becomes available. Maybe by then it’ll be a Mythic.

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It’s Not Just for AoE Anymore

When I read this post by Delirium espousing the benefits of using Explosive Trap in Survival’s single target rotation, I thought it would be a good topic for Episode 208. I also wanted to hear for myself that Survival Hunters should consider using Explosive Trap for single target DPS.

It seems that every expansion we go through this analysis. If my memory serves me correct, we reached a point in Mists where it was a DPS loss to use the trap as part of the rotation. From a design standpoint I think Blizzard would prefer it this way. In fact, I’m sure most players would prefer that too, but like the IRS trying to squeeze every last penny out of taxpayers, we Hunters like to squeeze every ounce of DPS that our stout dwarven bodies can muster.

With Glaive Toss and Barrage we’re used to using AoE abilities as part of our rotation, but Explosive Trap seems different. Part of the problem is it’s awkward to use. It’s not a shot. We have to pull up the targeting reticle, aim the trap, and then launch it. This is further complicated now that our trap launcher has been redesigned by Azeroth’s “finest” Goblin engineers and is never on when you need it.

Seriously, there was nothing wrong with the way Trap Launcher’s worked in Mists of Pandaria. I don’t know how many episodes of the podcast we recorded during Mists, but I’m pretty sure we neither praised or complained about how Trap Launcher functioned. It was perfect, and didn’t merit any discussion.

Now it toggles off whenever you switch specs, change talents, sneeze, breath, open your inventory, blink, and any number of seemingly random acts.

The good news is that while using Explosive Trap can be a DPS gain, it certainly isn’t mandatory to mix it into your rotation, and if you’re not efficient with launching it, you could cost yourself some GCD’s and negate the DPS gains of using it.

The best tip I heard for using it was to pull up the reticle while you’re casting Cobra/Focusing Shot and then launch the trap as soon as the cast is over.

I’m not sure how much I’ll mix this in, but I’m definitely playing more Survival now than I was before.

If you do mix Explosive Trap into your rotation, let me know how it goes. Perhaps I can just live vicariously through you on this one.

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Episode 208: Happy New Year

DarkbrewDeliriumBendak and Alisaunder ring in 2015 with episode 208. This week we discuss Survival’s continued rise in popularity. We tell you whether or not it’s advantageous to use Explosive Trap in single target situations. We also give you some tips on how ensure success on those lucrative Highmaul follower missions.

Artemishowl and Solarflair were out this week, but we’ll try and get the entire gang back for Episode 209 on January 18th.
Happy New Year!

The show is broadcast live on Twitch TV. In addition to the live show you can find it at,

Episode 207: Spec Parity

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Happy New Year!

I feel like I say this at the end of every year, but it’s hard to believe that another one has come to a close. I’d like to thank you for your continued support of this blog and the Hunting Party Podcast.

Overall 2014 was a good year. January began with the end of the Hunting Party Podcast. It was a bittersweet moment to be sure. I really didn’t want to give it up, but the timing was right. There was a big void in the Hunter community that needed to be filled, and until that happened I didn’t think the show could continue on and be successful.

As the year progressed that void started to fill. In February, Bendak launched Eyes of the Beast and immediately started producing some of the highest quality content I’ve read in some time. His Warlords alpha/beta coverage was incredible, and his guide on how to tame Gara does everything but tame the damn thing for you.

In March Solarflair started a new Hunter podcast called Cloak and Quiver. It was a one-man show and a worthy successor to the Hunting Party Podcast. I was considering doing something similar, but the quality of Cloak and Quiver was so good it made more sense to sit back and let it take off.

In April another new Hunter blog exploded onto the scene when Delirium started Thrill of the Wild. Focused on theorycrafting and spreadsheets, Delirium offered a unique perspective of the Hunter class that wasn’t found elsewhere. New pets are great, but what is the best pet for the DPS in Warlords? Delirium was the man with answers.

The Summer months were all focused on the Warlords of Draenor alpha/beta, and as we headed into Fall there was a seasonal shift in the Hunter community. Zeherah bid farewell and the Warcraft Hunter’s Union made a triumphant return with Artemishowl taking the helm.

The Hunter community was back and better than ever, so it only made sense that the Hunting Party Podcast return to its former glory as well. On September 28th, myself, Bendak, Artemishowl, Solarflair and Delirium banded together to bring you the return of the Hunting Party Podcast.

I predict 2015 will be a great year for the show. Now that things have settled with the expansion, we should have more time to focus on the show. I’ve been very pleased with how it’s gone thus far, and it should only get better in the coming months.

We will have a podcast this Sunday at the usual 10:00 AM Eastern time, and we should have a full house of hosts. I still don’t know what we’ll be discussing this week, but I’m hoping Artemishowl will talk about what it was like to be part of the race for world first in Highmaul. She’s left Blood Legion and is now raiding for an Alliance guild. I’m trying not to hold it against her for going Worgen instead of Dwarf, but it’s not easy.

Again, thank you for your support and I wish you happy and healthy 2015.

Good Hunting!

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Happy Holidays!

Another year is coming to a close, and I wanted to thank all of you who come here each and everyday (even when I don’t have anything new), and listen to the podcast every other week; especially to those of you who brave the early morning to listen to it live. Without you there’d be no point to doing any of it.

Of all the things that transpired for Hunters and World of Warcraft it’s the podcast that I was most excited to see come back. I’m really happy with the new lineup, and I hope you are too. 2015 should be an exciting year. We’ll should have all of the hosts back for the next episode, and we’re looking to bring more guests onto the show as the year progresses.

I’m still having fun playing Warlords, but the bloom is definitely starting to fade. While some have said that information about 6.1 has come too soon, I find myself in the opposite camp, craving not only information, but looking forward to a playable PTR.

I’ve settled into raiding mode, and am finding less need to logon other than raid nights. There’s stuff to do, but not much that I care to do right now. Most of my time is spent managing my Garrison. I continue to fine tune it, and I’m pleased with my current configuration.

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Other than playing the the follower mini-game it’s mostly about raiding right now. Our team should kick it into high Highmaul mode after the New Year. Now that the specs are on more even footing, I’ll be giving Survival a serious look. If I like it, then I might go with Marksmanship and Survival as my two specs. It’ll be the first time in quite a while where I didn’t carry around a Beast Mastery spec.

You can add Tri-spec to my top Winter Veil list.

Happy Holidays!

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Episode 207: Spec Parity

This week Darkbrew, Solarflair and Delirium discuss the latest round of Marksmanship, Beast Mastery, and Survival changes. We’ll tell you how the specs stack up against one another, as well as cover their strengths and weakness. We also talk talents and secondary stats.

Also this week, Solarfliar soloed both Galleon and Oondasta. We talk about that, and for those interested in hunting the Mists of Pandari mount bosses, you can check out Solar’s Hunter Handbook to Mists of Pandaria: Solo Guide for Mounts at the Warcraft Hunters Union.

Our next show is schedule for January 4th, 2015. See you next year, and thanks for listening!

The show is broadcast live on Twitch TV. In addition to the live show you can find it at,

Episode 207: Spec Parity

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Episode 206: Hunting Highmaul

The Highmaul raid opened this week, and Darkbrew, Solarflair, Bendak and Delirium have you covered with Hunter tips for each encounter in Normal and Heroic.

We also look at how the different specs are faring, and discuss the plight of Hunters who don’t wish to play the Marksmanship spec.

Our next show is scheduled for Sunday, December 21st. If you’re good, Greatfather Winter might just let Artemishowl come out and play.

The show is broadcast live on Twitch TV. In addition to the live show you can find it at,

Thanks for listening!

Episode 206: Hunting Highmaul

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High Marks for Highmaul

Despite the technical glitches that plagued Azeroth last night, my guild was able to organize two groups and begin our assault on Highmaul. Both attempted the normal mode difficulty. Group one defeated Kargath and the Butcher, and group two defeated Kargath and then got the Butcher within 10% on multiple attempts.

Kargath is a fun fight. I love that we get to fight a warlord right from the start. I’m not going to get into too many encounter specifics here, but if you’re not part of the group that gets thrown up into the stands then this becomes a very low movement fight for Hunters, and you get to watch the awesome animation of Kargath hurling you compadres to and fro.

image courtesy of wowhead.

image courtesy of wowhead.

The second fight, the Butcher, is touted as a “Patchwerk” style fight, but my role had me running around quite a bit. For comparison, I had 99% uptime on Sniper Training for Kargath versus 70-85% percent uptime on the Butcher. Yes, I ran as Marksmanship with Lone Wolf.

When you start an encounter and you’re trinkets have popped, you’re potion is cooking, and you’ve got Rapid Fire and Heroism you’ll forget everything bad you ever thought about Celestalon, Watcherdev or anyone at Blizzard. The guy that still owes you $20.00? You’ll wish you had lent him $40.00.

LIFE IS GOOD!

Nothing lasts forever though, and even the Hulk has to go back to being Bruce Banner at some point. As potions wear off, Focus becomes low, and cast times long, you begin to feel naked and alone as you struggle to keep your oversized purple pants from dropping to your ankles.

This is where the hard part begins, and where skill comes into play. Marksmanship is all about managing your Focus so you can hit key abilities on cooldown while fitting in as many Aimed Shots as you can. It’s also about standing still and keeping Sniper Training active as long as possible.

It’s a hard hitting spec, and can feel very rewarding, but by the same token it can feel punishing if you move around too much or find yourself Focus starved; all of which can happen if you’re not careful.

I’m using a pretty standard Marksmanship setup with,

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera
  • Binding Shot
  • Iron Hawk
  • Thrill of the Hunt
  • A Murder of Crows
  • Glaive Toss
  • Lone Wolf

I carry a full stable of pets with a combat rez, heroism and buffs that I think the group might be lacking. This allows me to take Focusing Shot, or even switch to Beast Mastery.

For my opener I’m following what Azortharion recommends in his guide on MMO-C. Effectively its,

  1. Precast Glaive Toss
  2. On-uses + Chimaera Shot
  3. Crows
  4. RF + Aimed Shot
  5. Proceed

The only difference is I’m not pre-casting Glaive Toss because our tanks are new and not always fast on the pull. Once we establish a better rapport I’ll do that.

After that it’s all about hitting Chimaera, Crows and Glaive Toss on cooldown while overcoming the temptation to fire Aimed Shot just because I have enough Focus to do so.

Trust me I’ve tried that, and found myself delaying those other shots by quite a large margin, because I was Focus starved. It’s a big balancing act. As you learn to play Marksmanship, you’re better off erring on the side of caution and tossing in more Steady Shots so you have the Focus for the others when you need it.

For the most part I find that I have the most trouble fitting in Glaive Toss. It’s Focus cost is low, which is nice, but it feels like a second thumb on your hand. It’s something extra that I wish I didn’t have to account for, and I feel like the rotation would be a lot smoother if it were gone; not like my pet though, which I wish wasn’t gone.

I’m learning to like Marksmanship, it’s long cast times and hard hitting shots. No matter how much DPS it does, I’ll never like playing without a pet though. I don’t feel like a complete Hunter without the pet. As I get more comfortable with the spec, I may sacrifice a little DPS in favor of Focusing Shot. I like that ability, and it can help make up for Focus mistakes that you make. On the surface it looks like it’s made to go hand in hand with Steady Focus. I’ve tried that and it works well most of the time but not always.

With Thrill of the Hunt there’s a good chance it will proc during the opener which means more Aimed Shots in that critical period. If you have Steady Focus, you’re almost guaranteed to have to toss in Focusing Shot while under Rapid Fire, which is not ideal.

If you’re like me and love having a pet, I encourage you to at least give Focusing Shot a try and see how you fare.

All in all High Marks for Highmaul, and I can wait to go further.

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106 Miles to Highmaul

I’m hopping into Highmaul when it opens tomorrow. I have to say that I felt more prepared of Moshu’gan Vaults than I do for Highmaul. I don’t know the exact timing on everything, but I’m pretty sure I had another week of preparation under my belt when we started MoP raiding, and I’m sure if I waited another week, I’d be better off. That said in MoP we started with what was the equivalent of today’s heroic difficulty. This time the starting difficulty bar is a bit lower. So me and my 633 ilvl are going in.

Neck and trinkets are my biggest gap right now. I’m working towards getting a Skull of War, but I’m hesitant to pay for one. In fact I’m hesitant to pay for anything right now because the prices on many things are extremely high. As such, I’ve been pushing myself to be self sufficient via alts. and their Garrisons. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of work orders.

Looking at my AH, prices on basic enchants are falling into the realm of reasonableness. These are all the “Breath of…” enchants. The prices on the “Gift of…” enchants are still through the roof. Unless you’re doing high-end progression, have lots of gold or are fanatical about squeezing every ounce of DPS out of your Hunter, there’s no point on picking up the “Gift of…” enchants and using them on disposable gear. I’ll make what basic ones I can, purchase the others and start out with a full set of enchanted gear.

Flasks and potions are affordable, but over the long haul it will be hard not lose gold just buying them alone. I’ll probably bite the bullet and purchase what I need for this week giving my Garrison operation a chance to get up to speed. Right now I’m trying to manage four Garrisons. One is level three and the others are level two. I have all the professions I need covered – Inscription, Alchemy, Enchanting, Jewelcrafting, Engineering, Leatherworking, Herbalism, and Skinning.

I have one level three mine, three level two mines, and three level two herb gardens. Yeah, I’ve been busy.

Three of the Garrisons have an Enchanting building, and I’m giving serious thought to putting one in Dark’s Garrison. This would mean getting rid of my Engineering or Leatherworking building. I’m considering crafting legs for Dark, so I still need the building for mats. Scopes are sell for pretty high prices, so that’s a good reason to keep the Engineering building. I’ve already crafted a cloak as my first piece of gear, and the Skull of War will be my third.

My thinking behind the crafted pieces is I wanted to focus on items I thought would take longer to replace. If the Engineering gun had started out at ilvl 640 I would’ve made that, but upgrading it to 640 was more effort than I was willing to put in.

I don’t have any gear with gem slots, but Jewelcrafting is a train wreck right now. Prices for the the basic gems vary wildly, and the higher level gems are absurdly expensive. They’re absurdly expensive to make by the way.

Seals of Tempted Fate become available from the quest vendor, and they too will be expensive to acquire. No more stockpiling a six-month supply of coins. Now they cost gold, honor, Apexis Crystals or Garrison Resources. The free one from a level three Dwarven Bunker didn’t seem like that big a deal, but it kind of is. I’m low on Garrison Resources so my first seals will come from gold, honor and crystals. My Bunker is still level two. In the future I just might have to the spend some time in Ashran doing PvP, as honor is the least valuable currency for me.

It’s 106 miles to Highmaul, I’ve got a full tank of gas, half a six-pack of Darkbrew Lager, it’s dark, and I’m wearing sunglasses, well goggles – hit it!