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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Mar 172014
 

uth_stampede_border

If you’ve played a Hunter deck in Hearthstone, you’ve probably run across the Unleash the Hounds card. It’s low cost, extremely powerful, and you can mimic it in WoW.

To do this, grab a Mastiff, use Glyph of Stampede and create a macro where you /yell UNLEASH THE HOUNDS as you cast Stampede.

It’s great fun, except that dogs are not the best pet family out there. Their special ability is Lock Jaw which roots the target for four seconds. Not useful in PvE, and it breaks on damage, so it’s not great for PvP either.

If you do ten man raiding then chances are you’re bringing a buff of some kind and don’t have the opportunity run with a dog.

I put out a formal request to change Stampede to Unleash the Hounds, and @TheSlickrock suggested that this would make a great glyph. I could not agree more.

I encourage to give Hearthstone a try and look for opportunities to Unleash the Hounds!uth_gold

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Mar 142014
 

Happy Friday, and a few short topics for you today.

The Brew Hall Empire

The Brew Hall empire has expanded. You can now find me in more places than ever on the internet. In addition to my Twitter account, I’ve now set up the Brew Hall on Facebook, Tumblr and Google +. I’m also considering doing some streaming on either Twitch TV or Hitbox. If you guys have used either of those services and have a recommendation, let me know.

Here’s how this works, whenever I publish something here, it will automatically get posted to the other sites. The brewhall.com will always be the source of information, although I do actively tweet. I’m not likely to post original content on the other sites. That doesn’t mean I won’t join in the conversations there. No matter where you happen to be you can always find me.

Level 90 Boost

I pre-ordered Warlords of Draenor and received my free level 90 boost. I haven’t used it yet. I don’t have any free character slots on Drenden and I don’t have a character I want to delete. Drenden and Arathor are supposed to be connected soon, so I’ll probably wait until that happens and then create a character on that realm. I also don’t know which class I want to boost. Top contenders are,

  • Priest
  • Monk
  • Death Knight
  • Warlock
  • Hunter

I have a 34 Mage with full heirloom gear so I don’t want to waste the boost on him. I have high level versions of Shaman, Druid and Paladin, and I’m not interested in Rogue or Warrior. I’m half tempted to use the boost on a character that is over level 60 so I can get the profession boosts to 600. Anyone know if I have a level 60+ character and pick-up two fresh professions and then use the boost if it will level up those professions?

If that’s that case then getting two max level professions I don’t have might be a good choice.

Hearthstone

I pretty much ignored Hearthstone until it went to open beta, and then I got hooked. If you played at all during the beta, then you got to keep your stuff. This made getting the Hearthsteed a little easier as I had the makings for a decent Hunter deck. It’s an awesome mount, and I’m now torn between using it and the Kork’ron War Wolf for my ground travel, and I’m torn between using this, the Iron Sky Reaver, the Sky Golem and Spawn of Galakras for my air travel. Good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.

hearthsteed

Back to Hearthstone, if you haven’t tried it you should. It’s fun. I was afraid to go up against other players, but it’s not bad at all. You’ll win some and you’ll lose some. The game hinges on good strategy and luck of the draw. If you play a Hunter and can get a Starving Buzzard, a Scavenging Hyena, and Unleash the Hounds on the board at the right time, you can really cause some havoc.

hearthstone_hyena

Beta

There’s still no sign of beta. Like many of you I thought we’d be a few  weeks into the process already. Warlords of Draenor seems to be on a similar development track as Mists of Pandaria and given that the final patch was released in September it would stand to reason that beta would’ve started in January or February. Mists of Pandaria beta began in late March 2012.

For Mists I was guaranteed a spot, but Warlords is uncertain. I’m hopefull that I’ll get in right away, but I have no expectations that will happen. My fingers, toes and everything else are crossed though.

I remain hopeful that we’ll see the beta start before the end of March.

Release

While the release of beta remains uncertain, there is a window for the production release of Warlords of Draenor. When the pre-order went live a fall release was mentioned, as well as date of 12/20/2014. I interpret this to mean we’ll see the expansion no later than 12/20, but realistically Blizzard is likely shooting for September.

If it is released in September then that means we should see pre-expansion changes sometime in August. For the moment though, it looks like any new major content for WoW is off in the distant horizon.

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Mar 122014
 

fallen_prot

One of the tenets of doing great dps is the ABC rule; Always be casting. There are times, though, when it is to your benefit to stop casting.

I’m not talking about halting what you’re doing to move out of the stupid. I’m referring to clearing the way so that you can do important things like casting interrupts without your other abilities getting in the way.

I’m part of an interrupt rotation on Embodied Gloom on heroic protectors. If Gloom gets off a Corruption Shock it’s bad news for your raid. Letting one get through won’t wipe you, but there’s no reason you can’t get them all.

In order to guarantee that I get my interrupt off when I need it, I use the following stopcasting macro.

#showtooltip Counter Shot
/stopcasting
/stopcasting
/cast Counter Shot

This macro stops whatever I’m doing and ensures that I’ll fire Counter Shot without delay. Why the two stopcasting lines? One is to cancel any spell in progress such as Cobra Shot, and the other is to stop my auto shot that might be going off.

Use this and you’ll never again be a victim to your own over activity.

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Mar 112014
 

There’s been a lot of speculation about things coming out of the some of the recent Hunter game play videos from the overseas press events. Lots of questions and little oddities that make the Hunter situation in Warlords of Draenor clear as mud.

My suggestion is to grab the salt shaker from dinner table and toss it over your shoulder. Nothing in these videos can be certain, and once the beta begins much of it will likely change.

Take a look at this early version of the Hunter talents from Mists of Pandaria. There are at least seven talents that didn’t make it to production.

HunterMoPCalc

That doesn’t mean the early glimpses are worthless. You have to take the 30,000 foot view approach and look at what’s there in terms of the design philosophy that Blizzard is trying to achieve.

Interesting choices, eliminating ability bloat, and spec differentiation. These videos gives us and indication of the game moving in that direction, but clearly at the beginning of the journey and not the end; it’s an iterative process.

While it’s nice to get an early look, the real work will begin once the beta starts. At this early stage the question we should be asking isn’t whether or not BM has Steady or Cobra Shot, it’s whether or not ‘ole Porkchop Jr. here going to be tameable.

porkchopjr_785

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Mar 102014
 

Blizzard game designer Jeremy Feasel a.k.a @Muffinus wants to hear from you on what you thought about the rare tames in Mists of Pandaria and what you would like to see in Warlords of Draenor. I strongly encourage you to hop on Twitter and let him know what you think.

I recently wrote about how I would change taming. That was a fun exercise in outlining some unrealistic but cool ways to change taming in general. This time I want to look at some more practical things that could happen to make rare tames more engaging in Warlords of Draenor, and maybe indulge in one more wacky idea.

The taming challenges in Cataclysm were a great success. Some were easier than others, but the feedback on them was generally positive.

In Mists of Pandaria we were given some great challenges in the Spirit Beasts, and a new tactic in tracking pets via following their footprints. While that was cool, it was a bit too easy, and once you figured it out, they were easy to track and tame. Direhorns introduced another mechanic where we had to loot a tome before we could tame one. With all this in mind what could happen in Warlords of Draenor?

One thing I think all Hunters agree on is that rare pets should be Hunter only. The tracking mechanic was great because only Hunters could see and find them. There was no chance of griefing from other players.

Another thing that has to happen is the rare pets need to look unique. Loque’Nahak and Sambas are perfect examples of how a rare pet should look. Both have unique skins, stand out and are easily recognizable. There’s no blue, or purple versions of them running around. If there is an alternate version of the skin, then it too should come from a rare pet. Gondria and Magria are examples of this done right, whereas Patrannache is an example of a rare pet done wrong.

Patrannache was one of the MoP tames. He was the hardest of the tracking ones to find because he had the smallest footprints and the longest patrol path. You felt good after finding him; that was until the Timeless Isle introduced the Brilliant Windfeathers. They have the same pink look, are level 90, and easy to tame. Boo.

Rare pets also need to be rare. The standard way to achieve rarity in pets is to give them long spawn timers and force players to either get lucky or resort to camping a spawn point. I think Blizzard is likely done with this type of mechanic for pets as it’s not fun or compelling and can lead to bad player collision.

Assuming that we’re done seeing the Loque’Nahak type mechanics how else could this be achieved? One option is to have us actually kill a pet and then loot an egg. We put the egg in the stable and in a couple of days it becomes our pet. That pet could have a couple of looks, one which is extremely rare.

They could also do something similar to Alani who drops the Reins of the Thundering Ruby Cloudserpent. Hunters would have to spend days or perhaps months, collecting rare drops to combine into a special bait needed to tame the beast. I don’t think this would be particularly fun, but it could help to keep something rare.

One other idea that would be cool is to give Hunters and epic quest chain to tame a beast. Something along the lines of the Warlock Green Fire quest. Perhaps it could start by looting a journal that you had to return to its rightful owner. The owner of course would be Hemet Nesingwary.

From there Hunters would embark on a neat adventure to tame one of Draenor’s most exotic and elusive beats. While this could be loads of fun, every Hunter would likely complete it, and I don’t know how rare that pet would be.

Bendak at Eyes of the Beast wrote some good ideas for what he’d like to see. I encourage you to check that out and respond to @Muffinus.

Good Hunting!

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