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.

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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.

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Apr 032014
 

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A breath of fresh words. That’s what we got last night when Blizzard announced that friends and family alpha was starting for Warlords of Draenor. Along with that announcement Blizzard released some of the most comprehensive patch notes they’ve ever written. It wasn’t just a long list of bulleted items, it was complete with explanations of why they made the changes that they did. You can read them in their entirety here.

So without further ado, let me boil their thoughtful explanations into a series of bulleted lists.

Stat Changes

  • Hit and Expertise have been removed.
  • Agility no longer provides and increased chance to critically strike with melee and ranged attacks or abilities.
  • The base chance to critically strike is now 5% for all classes. There are no longer different chances to critically strike with melee, ranged, and spells.
  • There is a new passive, named Critical Strikes, which increases chance to critically strike by 10%.
    • It is learned by all Rogues, all Hunters, Feral and Guardian Druids, Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks, and Enhancement Shamans.
  • 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 20%.
  • 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.

Basic Hunter Changes

  • Aspect of the Pack no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
  • Aspect of the Cheetah no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
  • 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.
  • Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah: No longer triggers any cooldown on Aspects.
  • Dismiss Pet now ignores line of sight.
  • Hunter Pets now have a 1 second global cooldown.
  • Explosive Trap now places a periodic-damage effect on each target within the radius of the explosion, rather than a persistent effect on the ground.

Ability Pruning

Blizzard said they were going to address button bloat in WoD, and the following abilities are gone.

  • Aspect of the Hawk has been removed.
  • Cower has been removed as a pet ability.
  • Distracting Shot has been removed.
  • Hunter’s Mark has been removed.
  • Lynx Rush has been removed.
  • Rabid has been removed as a pet ability.
  • Rapid Fire has been removed.
  • Rapid Recuperation has been removed.
  • Widow Venom has been removed.
  • Scatter Shot has been removed.
  • Silencing Shot has been removed.

A couple of other important things to note here.

  • Arcane Shot is now BM and SV only, and Thrill of the Hunt will affect Aimed Shot.
  • Lock and Load is being baked into Black Arrow and is guaranteed to proc at least once per Black Arrow application.
  • Serpent Sting is being removed, and Serpent Spread is staying SV only, but will be called Serpent Sting, and can be applied by Multi-Shot and Arcane Shot.
  • Kill Shot is now BM and MM only.
  • Revive Pet and Mend Pet now share one button, which toggles based on whether you have a live pet.

Crowd Control

  • Hunter pets no longer have crowd-control abilities.
    • Basilisk: Petrifying Gaze; Bat: Sonic Blast; Bird of Prey: Snatch; Crab: Pin; Crane: Lullaby; Crocolisk: Ankle Crack; Dog: Lock Jaw; Gorilla: Pummel; Monkey: Bad Manners; Moth: Serenity Dust; Nether Ray: Nether Shock; Porcupine: Paralyzing Quill; Rhino: Horn Toss; Scorpid: Clench; Shale Spider: Web Wrap; Silithid: Venom Web Spray; Spider: Web; and Wasp: Sting have been removed as pet abilities.
  • Entrapment’s Root effect now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Root effects.
  • Traps and trap launchers no longer have an arming time and can instantly trigger.
  • Traps can no longer be disarmed.
  • Scare Beast now has a 6 sec duration in PvP (down from 8 sec).

Pet Changes

In addition to pets losing CC abilities, there are also changes to buff and debuffs.

The following debuffs and abilities have been removed.

  • Weakened Armor: Tallstrider: Dust Cloud, Raptor: Tear Armor
  • Weakened Blows: Bear: Demoralizing Roar; Carrion Bird: Demoralizing Screech
  • Cast Speed Slows: Core Hound: Lava Breath; Fox: Tailspin; Goat: Trample; Sporebat: Spore Cloud

Spell Haste and Attack Speed are being merged into Haste and will benefit everyone.

  • Hunter Pet (Sporebat): Energizing Spores (now provide Haste).
  • Hyena: Cackling Howl; Serpent: Serpent’s Swiftness (these are now removed).

Glyphs

The following glyphs will automatically be learned when you level.

  • Level 25 – Pathfinding
  • Level 50 – Mending, Chimera Shot, Black Ice
  • Level 75 – Misdirection

Talents

Most of the Hunter talents are remaining intact. The big change is Lynx Rush has been replace by Stampede as a level 75 talent. It now competes with Blink Strikes and a Murder of Crows. Also, Aspect of the Iron Hawk is now Iron Hawk and provides the passive damage reduction.

The new level 100 talents are as follows,

  • Flaming Shots – You light your basic auto shots on fire. They now deal 80% weapon damage as Fire damage (Passive).
  • Focusing Shot – Carefully line up a shot at the target that deals 100% weapon damage and generates 50 focus. Cannot be cast while moving. Replaces Steady Shot and Cobra Shot. Also triggers Steady Focus for Marksmanship Hunters.
  • Versatility (Beast Mastery) – Increases the effect of your pet’s combat experience to 70% increased damage. Your pet now gains the following abilities, regardless of its active spec: Spiked Collar, Roar of Sacrifice, Cornered, Boar’s Speed, Last Stand, Blood of the Rhino, Great Stamina.
  • Lone Wolf (SV and MM) – Increases all damage dealt by 30% when you don’t have a pet active.

WoD Perks

In WoD you will receive a random, spec specific perk each level from 91-99. Here they are for each spec.

All

  • Enhanced Camouflage – You heal 5% of your maximum health every 1 sec while Camouflage is active.

Beast Mastery

  • Improved Focus Fire – Focus Fire now also grants 2% increase to attack power per Frenzy stack consumed.
  • Improved Kill Command – Increases damage done by Kill Command by 20%.
  • Empowered Pets – Increases all damage done by your combat pets by 20%.
  • Improved Beast Cleave – Your pet’s attacks strike nearby enemy targets for an additional 25% of damage done while Beast Cleave is active.
  • 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.
  • Enhanced Kill Shot – Kill Shot can now be used on targets with 35% or less health.
  • Improved Arcane Shot – Increases damage done by Arcane Shot by 20%.
  • Improved Cobra Shot – Increases damage done by Cobra Shot by 20%.  Note Wowhead and MMO-C notes say increases the damage done by Kill Command. I’m assuming it’s supposed to be Cobra Shot.

Marksmanship

  • Enhanced Kill Shot – Kill Shot can now be used on targets with 35% or less health.
  • Enhanced Chimera Shot – Reduces the Focus cost of Chimera Shot by 10.
  • Enhanced Aimed Shot – Your Aimed Shot critical strikes grant you 20 Focus.
  • Improved Focus – Increases your maximum Focus by 20.
  • Improved Aimed Shot – Increases damage done by Aimed Shot by 20%.
  • Improved Steady Shot – Increases damage done by Steady Shot by 20%.
  • Enhanced Shots – Add an additonal 5 yards range to all your attacks with a baseline 40 yard range.
  • Enhanced Piercing Shots – Critical strikes with Multi-Shot now also trigger your Piercing Shots ability.

Survival

  • Improved Arcane Shot – Increases damage done by Arcane Shot by 20%.
  • Improved Cobra Shot – Increases damage done by Kill Command by 20%.
  • Empowered Explosive Shot – Increases the duration of Explosive Shot by 1 sec.
  • Improved Black Arrow – Increases damage done by Black Arrow by 20%.
  • Enhanced Traps – Reduces the cooldown on all your traps by 50%.
  • Enhanced Entrapment – The root effect from your Entrapment requires 100% additional damage to break from taking damage.
  • Improved Camouflage – Camouflage no longer breaks from dealing or taking damage.
  • Improved Viper Venom – Your Viper Venom restores an additional 3 Focus.

Quickfire Thoughts

  • Explosive Trap change – Go ahead tank, move the mobs out of the damn AoE. What do I care now?
  • Hunter’s Mark – Understand it’s removal, but it’s classic ability, and I love seeing that red arrow on targets. I’d love to see a minor glyph that just puts the mark on our target even if it’s only cosmetic.
  • Distracting Shot – @Celestalon tweeted that growl is going to get increased range to compensate the loss of this one and the glyph effect.
  • Lone Wolf – I might try it once. As we suspected, it’s still here.
  • Stampede – Still not sold on this as a talent. I’m worried it will be mandatory as a big DPS cooldown.
  • Enhanced Shots – MM Hunters can now shoot their target from anywhere in Azeroth.
  • Enhanced Focus – MM now have 120 Focus. Works well if you take Focusing Shot, which restores 50 Focus. You might actually get to use that for Steady Focus and not get capped. Maybe.
  • Improved Camouflage – What? And it heals too? If I understand this correctly, that means 30% healing for SV while in combat every minute. Combine that with Exhilaration perhaps?
  • I’m thinking SV may be the spec for PvP in WoD.
  • Sporebats became even more awesome than they were. How is that possible!?

That’s all I have in me for now. I’ll think about all of this some more, and will write more about it in the coming days and weeks.

Good Hunting!

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Apr 032014
 

c_qThe first episode of the Cloak and Quiver was posted to iTunes this week. I encourage you all to listen to this great new podcast focused on Hunters. It’s a one man show hosted by @Solarflair, and he pulls it off well.

In this first episode he talks about Hydras, WoD talents, Marksmanship, and he does something I wish we had thought of for the Hunting Party Podcast – reads listener e-mail!

You can subscribe to the show via iTunes, and you can follow the show’s twitter account – @CloakAndQuiver for updates, as well as to submit questions and comments. The show is also available on Youtube.

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Mar 292014
 

 

There you have it folks, Hydras will be one of the new pet families in Warlords of Draenor. No word on abilities and buffs, and no word on whether Hydras will be exotic. I’m kind of of hoping they’ll be available to all Hunters, although they do look exotic.

I don’t know if new Hydras will be added to Warlords, but there are plenty in the game right now. Check out Petopia’s Hydra page for a full listing.

I’m partial to the grey one pictured Muffinus’ tweet, and of course, that no bracer dropping two-headed jerk, Chimaeron.

chim3d

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Mar 262014
 

Earlier this month @Celestalon asked this question in regards to Snake Trap.

While certainly not an announcement that Snake Trap is being removed, it leads one to believe that Blizzard is considering it.

For me, the primary use of this trap is in Surival spec for Entrapment. Snake Trap, Ice Trap and Binding Shot combine for a triple cocktail of you ain’t going nowhere, as it gives Survival Hunters three stuns. And yes, there are encounters where that has been useful.

In addition to the stun provide by Entrapment, Snake Trap also apply the Crippling Poison debuff on targets, slowing their movement by 50%.

Snake trap is not useless, but it is somewhat redundant, so don’t be surprised if we lose it.

One thing is for certain though, regardless of what traps we have, they will work better than they do now.

Celestalon is confirming this statement made by @Holinka.

So another week, and another chance that we’ll see beta, and perhaps get to put these traps to the test.

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Mar 242014
 

Hunter’s rejoice for soon there will be a new Hunter podcast for us to enjoy. The Cloak and Quiver is set to debut sometime next week. It’s the brainchild of Hunter extraordinaire, Solar. Not a lot of details about it yet, but I encourage you to follow Solar on Twitter on @CloakandQuiver and @Solarflair.

Solar is a high-end raider who raids for the Horde guild Last Word. He has a 579 iLevel and has killed Heroic Garrosh 11 times. Dude can dunk!

As to my involvement in all of this? Devout listener. Although I could be convinced to come on as a guest and butcher an outro or two.

Stay thirsty!

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Mar 232014
 

There’s a lot of discussion going on regarding the length of Mists of Pandaria and the amount of time it takes Blizzard to deliver new content. MMO-Champion posted a couple of charts comparing the patch duration for each expansion in World of Warcraft. Alt:ernative Chat discusses the topic in this post.

Believe it or not, thus far, Mists of Pandaria is the shortest running expansion that Blizzard has put together, and patch 5.4 currently has the shortest duration of any expansion’s final patch. The meter is still ticking, and when patch 6.0 does arrive, MoP may end up being one of the longest running expansions, and patch 5.4 the longest final patch.

Before I dive into this, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here regarding numbers.

  • I’m only looking that the four expansions and not Vanilla.
  • Duration is based on the initial release date of each patch. I’m looking at patches and sub-patches as a whole.
  • Release dates are coming from Wowpedia. They may not be 100% accurate, but they’re dates so it’s pretty darn close.
  • For x.0 patches I’m using the release date of the pre-patch, and not the release of the expansion.
  • I did not factor in Beta releases as I do not consider that new content.
  • I drafted this on March 22, 2014, so predictive dates in this post are based on that starting date.

Let’s look at some numbers. Here are the release dates for each expansion’s patch and the total duration of each expansion in days.

release_dates

Now, here’s a look at the number of days each content patch lasted for each expansion. Patch 3.3 is the longest running patch at a whopping 308 days. Patch 5.4 is the shortest running final patch, but again, the meter is still running, and I’m willing to bet it will surpass 3.3.

20140322075821

What should jump out at you is just how short lived patches 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 were compared to the others. If Blizzard is wondering why were clamoring for content, it’s because they conditioned us to shorter, faster patches, and to their credit they were able to deliver that until now.

Here’s another look that shows the percentage of each expansion that each patch consumed.

20140322075159

One takeaway here is that Blizzard released patch 5.1 much sooner than it needed to be. Patch 5.0′s percentage duration is much shorter than any of it’s predecessors. They could’ve stretched this one out longer. The same could be said for patch 5.2.

The fact that each final patch consumed a greater percentage of content time than other patches should come as no surprise. As of right now patch 5.4 doesn’t seem too out of line, but the expansion is not over and this is just a snapshot of where we are today. Where might we end up?

Let’s assume that 6.0 is released on 8/26/2014. That’s a Tuesday and it’s very close to when 5.0 went live. If we fast forward to that day. This is how the number shake out.

20140322075408Mists of Pandaria’s total duration equals that of Wrath of the Lich King at 728 days. It’s now tied for the longest running expansion in WoW.

Here’s how the percentage durations look.

20140322075501

Patch 5.4 ends up consuming 48% of Mists’ content time and becomes the longest running content patch at 350 days, exceeding 3.3 by 42 days.

20140322075844

For Mists of Pandaria Blizzard wanted to give us new content sooner. Throughout the expansion they were able to deliver on that promise. Where they’ve fallen short is in the transition from Mists to Warlords.

Then end result is that we’ve consumed most of the content in 5.4, and might be faced with the longest wait between the end of one expansion and the start of another.

So as of right now MoP is the shortest expansion on record, however I think it will end up being the longest.

What say you on this?

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Mar 212014
 

Muffinus is at it again with another call to action. This time he wants to know which pets would you like to tame in Warlords of Draenor. The battle boar shown in one of the game play videos is certainly on my list. Some form of talbuk or clefthoof would be nice.

Also, the Iron Sky Reaver mount looks very similar to a chimaera, so that’s on the top of my list.

Ever since the spirit Hydra was tameable in Wrath of the Lich King, many people have wanted to tame those as pets. They’re even listed on Petopia as pet family. Not a promise yet, but promising for sure that we might get our wish.

So take a moment and hop on Twitter and let Muffinus know which pets you’d like to tame in Warlords of Draenor.

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Mar 182014
 

I know I’ve reached the end of an expansion when spreadsheets don’t revolve around rotations and DPS, but rather center on options for using my level 90 boost. The bonus to auto-leveling two professions to 600 has me leaning towards using the boost on a high level character. I hit up Twitter to find out what two professions I should take.

Many of you responded and the recommendations were essentially all of them. A few of you highly recommended Engineering. I have Engineering on Darkbrew, and my goal is to have two max level professions that I don’t have elsewhere.

I don’t have Blacksmithing or Inscription on any toon, so this is the logical choice to make. The caveat is that I don’t feel like leveling anything else right now. I have an 85 Druid with Enchanting and Tailoring. They’re almost to Cataclysm max, so I would need to level him and the professions. I also have an 85 Hunter with Skinning and Leatherworking, so same thing there.

I’m also thinking about using the boost on my Shaman, which means if I took say Tailoring and Enchanting I’d be duplicating what exists elsewhere.

I’ll probably boost the Shammy with Blacksmithing and Inscription and then just level up the other two toons.

This should put in me pretty good shape for the expansion. Three level 90 Alliance Hunters, a Druid and Shaman, and all the professions maxed out. I need to make some gold in WoD. I’m tired of being poor.

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