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WoD Beta: SV and MM Changes

A new build was pushed to the Beta last night and it included some nice changes for Marksman and Survival. The specs are beginning to take shape now, and are moving closer to their final forms. If I had to wager, I’d say that Beast Mastery and Survival are done, and Marksman is close now. Let’s start with Survival.

Lock and Load has been completely redesigned.

    • Lock and Load – Fires a Black Arrow at the target, dealing (141.6% of Attack power) damage over 18 sec. When your Black Arrow multistrikes, you gain 1 stack of Lock and Load. Lock and Load causes your next Explosive Shot to trigger no cooldown. Max 5 stacks.

A couple of takeaways here,

    • Lock and Load is back to being a separate proc, meaning Blizzard could allow other abilities or items to proc it. Maybe a future set bonus?
    • It no longer resets the cooldown on Explosive Shot, and Explosive Shot is not free.

Explosive Shot has had its Focus cost reduced to 15 to compensate for the Lock and Load changes.

I did a little testing on the beta and Lock and Load feels different now. It can proc when the Explosive Shot is on cooldown, and at lower multistrike levels you don’t necessarily accumulate stacks rapidly. I wasn’t getting the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Explosive Shots that I get on live. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen with proper itemization.

On live when Lock and Load procs I’m very used to firing those three Explosive Shots one after the other, and that’s not the case now as you might not have three to fire.

Overall I like this change, and Survival should be fun to play in Warlords. It’s still somewhat RNG dependent, but the emphasis on steady consistent damage will hopefully offset any bad luck streaks you encounter.

Now onto Marksmanship.

In Mists, mobility is one of the hallmarks for Hunters, and it’s true of all three specs. In Warlords Beast Mastery and Survival will retain their mobility, while Marksmanship will practically be required to take a foothold and shoot.

Wild Quiver is gone and has been replaced by Sniper Training. Many will remember this as the old Survival talent, and it behaves much the same way.

    • Sniper Training - When you stand still for 3 sec, you gain Sniper Training for 6 sec, which increases your damage, shot range, and critical strike damage by 4%.

A little clarification on how this works. Once you have the buff it will stay on permanently as long as you don’t move. Once you move the six second removal timer kicks in. Stand still for three seconds and buff is reapplied.

In addition to increasing damage and critical damage, Sniper Training will also increase the range of shots.

This will be interesting to manage as you’ll want to pay attention if you’re beyond the maximum 45-yard range. If you are and Sniper Training falls off, you’ll have to stand still to reapply it or move closer in. Probably not a huge deal, but certainly an indication of the skill that will be required to play Marksmanship in Warlords.

The need to stand still makes Focusing Shot an even more desirable talent for Marksmanship as it meshes well with Sniper Training.

That said, don’t discount Lone Wolf as an option. If the increased range means your pet despawning, this talent has some appeal.

Currently in the beta maintaining Sniper Training is a little tight. As I mentioned earlier the six second countdown to remove the buff doesn’t begin until you move, but six seconds feels a little too short.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this adjusted to maybe ten seconds. Players should have to work to maintain 100% uptime, but it shouldn’t be a frustrating experience.

How easy or difficult it is to maintain all comes down to how much movement will be required in dungeon and raid encounters. File that under remains to be seen.

I think Blizzard is on the right track with the specs. Let’s just hope they do comparable damage. I would hate to see all this work go into differentiating the specs go to waste because one was superior to all the others.

One final note. The header image has nothing to do with the update other than the fact that there’s a beta server that lets you create level 100 premades and the gave those characters ALL the mounts. I’m shown here riding Invincible.

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WoD Beta: Ranged Weapons Sounds

Prophet Velen isn’t the only that’s “new and improved” in Warlords of Draenor.

Blizzard updated the weapon sounds for guns, crossbows and bows. I think they’re a major improvement over what exists now.

Here’s a video I put together showing all three weapon types in action.

WoD Ranged Weapon Sounds

Watch this video on YouTube.
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About that Void Wolf

The other day I asked Muffinus on Twitter if the Void Wolves were meant to be tamed. He was kind enough to reply with this.

So it sounds like Hunters will have a chance to grab one of these beauties, just not five minutes into the new expansion.

I’m okay with this. Thoughts?

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Beta Bits

I finally got in some beta time on Sunday. Here are a few impressions.

  • Prophet Velen is all powerful now, and he’s using that power to troll everyone.
  • His words inspire, but they also cause massive lag and disconnects, and he won’t shut up.
  • This bug really needs to be fixed. It doesn’t just affect Shadow Moon Valley. It affects all of Draenor.
  • City portals now pulsate. They grow and shrink. I find it distracting and annoying, and unnecessary. If you really want to change portals, how about making it harder for Mages to troll the party?
  • Pets are a little buggy right now. My wolf “wandered off” at one point and I had to quest without a pet for a while. I couldn’t dismiss, revive, heal, or call. Nothing would work.
  • Things die very quickly while questing, so even without a pet it’s pretty easy.
  • I forgot to copy Darkbrew over with the Garrosh bow and I can’t mail it to him from another character. I get an error.
  • I’m curious to see how the Garrosh bow scales up each level and how it compares to my heroic, err… Mythic weapon. I have the flex, err… Heroic heirloom.
  • We really have been squished. It’s weird seeing such small stat numbers on gear now. We’re still powerful, but it looks weird.
  • Hit and Expertise are indeed gone and they’ve been replaced with Crit and Haste on gems and gear.
  • If you’re a new 90 you will get some nice starter gear from the intro. event.
  • I’ve read War Crimes and now done the intro event. It’s still not clear what Garrosh has been up to. I guess that will be unveiled as we level up and play this expansion.
  • The intro event was fun and it’s where I tamed my void wolf, Haze.
  • Void wolves look amazing. I’m afraid to get attached as it’s not clear if they’re intended to be tameable or not. I’ve reach out to Muffinus for clarification.

  • Shadow Moon Valley may be the prettiest zone ever created in WoW. I hope the other zones are equally impressive.
  • The new character models are incredible. It’s not just players that are updated, it’s all the NPCs. This is good because I spend the majority of time looking at my character from behind.
  • Blizzard really needs to give players a free customization when the expansion launches.
  • Addons are currently disabled in the beta.
  • You don’t realize how dependent you become on them until you don’t have them.
  • One of the addons I rely on is OminiCC. I’ve used it for years. It’s functionality is now built into the game and is an option you can turn on. Another addon bites the dust.
  • I mostly miss not having my action bar, unit frames and bag addons. If I could have those, I’d be very happy right now.
  • Garrisons are shaping up to be a great feature. I’m intrigued.
  • Then end of this expansion is a long way off, but I suspect I’ll be sad to leave my Garrison in the next expansion.
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Getting Started in Beta

I’m finally at a point where I can sink my teeth into the Warlords beta.  Like every expansion there is a certain amount of housekeeping that needs to happen before you begin your epic journey.

Some things such as keybinds and macros are specific to beta since addons are not yet enabled. Addon authors have gotten pretty good at getting their addons ready for patch days. When the pre-patch goes live I suspect a good many will be ready to go.

Since they’re disabled in beta I’m once again shackled with the default UI, so I had to spend some time configuring it.

The other thing I had to spend time on was cleaning up my bags and bank. This went pretty close as to how I imagine it will go on live, and the space savings was substantial.

On live I have about 13 open bag slots and zero empty bank slots. After taking the time to clean things up, I had 92 open bag slots and 46 open bank slots.

This was pretty good considering I didn’t have any reagents to stick in the reagents tab. My savings came mostly from the Toy Box, the extra void storage and deleting Mists related items like bags of seeds and Timeless Isle buffs and the like.

I filled up the extra void storage in no time and still have transmog items taking up bank space. I may have to think long and hard about what I really want to keep.

Regarding the Toy Box, items aren’t automatically added to it, so I had to spend time finding all the toys and right-clicking on each one. They’re easy enough to identify as they’re labeled ‘Toy’ in the tooltip.

There are a lot of things not considered toys that should be. The Toy Trains set is not a toy? Really? It’s still early, so expect changes.

One other feature I wanted to point out was this new outline feature.  It puts a colored outline around players, npcs and objects that you can interact with. I find it distracting and immersion breaking.

If you go to the interface display options you can set it to “Only Quests and Tracking”. The default is All(variation 1).

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Here’s what it looks like.
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With the housekeeping out of the way, I now need to do some real-life housekeeping and then I’m off to the Tanaan Jungle.

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Blizzard is Spying on Me

On Wednesday night Euripides contacted me and we had a nice little chat.

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As you can see I was ready to jump in and give Wildstar a try, but then late this evening, this happened.

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When I came home from work on Thursday I did the usual checks.

  • Do I have an Alpha invitation in my email? NO.
  • Can I post in the Alpha forums? NO.
  • Is the Alpha in my Battlenet? NO.
  • Is the Alpha active under my game subscriptions? NO.

I went and did some raiding and when I checked my Battlenet app afterwards, there was the Alpha.

I checked my e-mail and nothing. I checked to see if I could post on the forums and I could not. I checked my account and saw the Alpha was active. I then launched the game as soon as I had downloaded enough to click play.

I got to the character creation screen, but the performance was terrible. because I didn’t have enough of it downloaded.

So here I am at 1:30 am writing this post. I have to get up at 7:00 am to go to work. I won’t hit the Alpha until tomorrow evening, and then I’m out of town all day Saturday. Go figure.

I’m thrilled to be testing the Alpha and will have much more to say once I have a good night’s rest, and come up with a good excuse to ditch work tomorrow.

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Throwback Thursday: Favorite MoP Encounters

For today’s TBT I’m not going to travel into the distant WoW archives, but rather will share some memories from Mists of Pandaria.

I don’t know if the Grumpy Elf intended for this to be a shared blog topic, but that’s what it’s become. I’m one of several Hunters who have chosen to write about their favorite raid encounters in Mists.

Be sure to check out what Grumpy, Delirium and Mushan had to say about this topic. In the meantime, here my top five raid encounters from Mists.

Sha of Pride

There are three reasons I liked this fight, the first being Assurance of Consequence. This is one of the best Hunter trinkets to come along since Deathbringer’s Will, and Sha of Pride dropped it.

It was rotation changing, and not having it was almost worse than not having the legendary cloak. You didn’t need spreadsheets and theorycrafting to tell you that this was the best to trinket to have.

Reason number two is the voice acting on Sha. As Mushan pointed out, he has one of the great boss intro’s in the game, and his voice is very reminiscent of how Benedict Cumberbatch voices Smaug in the Hobbit.

Every time I hear it, I wonder how much Blizzard would’ve had to shell out to go the extra mile and get him to do Sha. Listen for yourself.

Sha of Pride

Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug

The final reason Sha was great was Pac-Man! In heroic mode a random raid member would be banished to a realm where you played Pac-Man! You were in a maze being chased by ghosts, and there were dots to consume, and if the ghosts hit you, you were dead. See? Pac-man.

Oh yeah, this fight was good for Hunters. We could deterrence through the bad, disengage across the room for prisons and to close rifts in heroic. We could barrage our way through adds, and much more.

Norushen

This is on my list for one and only one reason. Norushen was voice by Matt Mercer, who did the voice of Rexxar in Hearthstone, and was a guest on the final episode of the Hunting Party Podcast.

I think of that every time I do this fight.

Siegecrafter Blackfuse

This fight was crazy. It had crawling mines, giant robots, frickin’ lasers, fire, sawblades, and magnets. Cluster doesn’t even begin to describe all the action happening on the floor.

Luckily for us Hunters, we got to miss most of that because we’re so darn good at belt duty. You could even gimmick it such that you could handle every belt, although our group never did that.

Even going on every other belt made this fight cake. Belts were easy. You had one job and that was to kill one thing. And the best part? Nobody cared about your DPS because you were doing belts.

I know a lot of people don’t always appreciate getting special jobs in raids, but this in one encounter where I was glad to have it.

Fallen Protectors

I hated the Golden Lotus dailies and I don’t even know who these guys were, but I like this fight in heroic mode.

It’s not that different that normal mode, but Hunters can be quite useful. We’re good enough to be part of the interrupt rotation on Embodied Gloom, and we can deterrence and handle the Mark of Anguish for ten seconds. The downside to that is we can’t dps the Mark during that time, but useful nonetheless.

Hunters have strong AoE for the add phase, and when the bosses are grouped up, Beast Cleave is quite beastly.

Protectors are the second boss in the raid and they drop a ranged weapon, allowing you to get a nice DPS upgrade early on.

Thok

Thok is on a lot of Hunter’s lists for a couple of reasons. One, he’s a cool looking dinosaur that we all have dreams of one day taming.

Second we get to play hero and use Widow Venom to negate the healing Thok receives by chomping on adds.

You might want to make a macro that shouts out to the world that you’re using Widow Venom. Using an ability like this is like dropping a dollar in the tip jar. If nobody sees you do it, it’s like it never happened.

We can also Feign Death out of his fixate, although that’s not a great idea. Still if you’re feeling lazy it’s an option.

These are five encounters I very much enjoyed. They’re all from Siege of Orgrimmar, which is not surprising as I hated Throne of Thunder, and Heart of Fear. Even Mogu’shan Vaults and Terrace paled in comparison to Siege.

Site Changes

As you can see I’ve one again changed the look of the site. I liked the previous look, and the theme I was using was extremely customizable, which was the problem. I had to jump through too many hoops to do some very basic things.

Like a lot of bloggers I’ve switched to WordPress’ new default theme. I’m sure you recognize it from Eyes of the Beast and now Cloak and Quiver. I’ve also been using on my nearly defunct SWTOR blog, The Cantina.

This isn’t me copying so much as figuring out what they already know. It’s a solid theme that’s easy to work with and has a lot of out-of-the-box features that one would want in a site.

The downside is it practically mandates that every post have a nice lead-in image. Not my specialty by a long shot, but challenge accepted, except for this post.

Thanks for reading and sorry about the mess.

Hunter Tier 17 Updates

There was an Alpha build on Friday, and while there were a plethora of Hunter notes, none are worth discussing. Most were tooltip changes, and the ones that weren’t contradicted things the developers had stated previously indicating that this is still an incomplete look at Hunters. It’s Alpha, there will be more changes, so I’m waiting to see what the next build brings rather than decipher this one. What was noteworthy this time around were updates to the Hunter Tier 17 set bonuses, and we got our first look at the normal and heroic mode armor sets.

Going with the form follows function principle let’s start with the bonuses.

When the original bonuses were announced I immediately chimed in stating that they were boring.

It is because of this criticism that I sit here sans Alpha invite, and resigned to idling my time in Heroic Siege of Orgrimmar collecting silly chachkas such as the Death Lotus Crossbow and Assurance of Consequence. Yes Blizzard, J’Accuse!

Alas, I whine and digress in one swift motion. My apologies. Let the record show that I was correct in my assessment, and Blizzard has completely redone the Hunter set bonuses.

Beast Mastery

I really like both the two and four piece bonuses. I’m curious to see how big the pets will grow, and if they’ll be even bigger when Bestial Wrath is activated. As for the four piece bonus it’s basically an ‘x’ percent increase to Bestial Wrath but done in a creative way. I’m assuming this will function like Dire Beast and not Stampede.

Marksmanship

  • Hunter T17 Marksmanship 2P Bonus: Activating Rapid Fire also grants you Deadly Aim. Deadly Aim increases your critical strike damage by 10%.
  • Hunter T17 Marksmanship 4P Bonus: Aimed Shot critical strikes have a chance to call down an artillery strike on your target, dealing 10 damage. (Approximately 1.50 procs per minute).

Marksmanship’s two piece bonuse mixes well with the critical strike attunement, and this makes Careful Aim a lot more deadly. As for the four piece bonus, I’m not sure what to think. Artillery Strike is such and immersion breaking name for me. I’ll can think of is my Sniper from Star Wars the Old Republic. He has an AoE ability called Orbital Strike.

Here’s a video of it in action.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the four piece bonus is changed.

Survival

The two piece bonus isn’t exciting per se, but extra Focus is always good. What it lacks in style it more than makes up for in function. The four piece bonus is nice and will give Survival random bits of burst to play with.

Overall I like where Blizzard is going with the set bonuses, especially Beast Mastery. Now onto the armor itself.

I like it! I haven’t typically been a hug fan of the tier sets. My favorite is the Tier 9, and my least favorite is the Tier 11. This set look sufficient savage to start the expansion. The images you see below are for the normal and heroic sets. The mythic version has not been revealed yet. Thanks as always to MMO-Champion for getting images so fast.

Remember that in Mists vernacular normal = flex, and heroic = normal. I believe the top set is from normal and the bottom set from heroic. I like the bottom set a little better. The royal blue underneath the armor is a very nice color.

I especially like the shoulders. The helmet is okay, but I’ll transmog out of it. They went with the WWE style belt, but this one looks to be animated. The center looks like it spins and shoots fire. That’s just fine by me. I also like the heavy look of the boots.

I’ve been busting my rear trying to get a transmog set out of Ulduar. I may have to put that one in storage once I’m raiding again in Warlords.

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Tier 14 All Hunter Raid Rhocks!

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Ricket and the all Hunter raid celebrate clearing all the T14 raids.

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, 25 of the best US Horde Hunters banded together and roflstomped their way through all of the tier 14 raids. With item levels ranging from 580 to 587 these guys rolled through Mogu’shan Vaults, Heart of Fear and Terrace of the Endless Spring normal mode.

By their own admission this was too easy and they probably should have done it in heroic mode, but this was impressive nonetheless. Windlord Mel’jarak gave them a little trouble, but other than most fights lasted well under a minute.

Ricket streamed the event on her twitch channel, and let me just say that you haven’t lived until you’ve seen 25 Glaives fly through the air simultaneously or watched 125 pets converge on a boss all at once.

This group will be raiding again, perhaps trying some Siege of Orgrimmar flex or Throne of Thunder.

Great job guys, you made this Hunter proud.

A World of Warcraft blog dedicated to Hunters.