“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic dwarf. Darkbrew will be that dwarf. We can make him better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.”
So Blizzard delivered the pre-patch this week. You know, the one where all of the classes are horribly imbalanced, amazingly overpowered, and we can all walk into heroic ICC 25 and fly out on our Invincible horsies; that pre-patch. And while some of the class programmers got the memo, it looks as if the Hunter guy might have been out that day.
Thanks to some time spent on beta and the ptr I was ready to hit the ground running, and avoid the six million gold gouging that was happening on the auction houses across Azeroth. What I wasn’t fully prepared for was raiding and 5-mans. It’s the one thing I didn’t get a chance to do on the ptr. Luckily my guild mates were quick to get set up and eager to raid, so we made our way into ICC 25 for some good times.
“I can’t hold her; she’s breaking up! She’s breaking –”
To be honest I thought the overall raid dps was higher than before. As for my dps, it felt like the bionics had been left out in the cold and weren’t performing up to speed. I think the good Dr. Wells needs to get in there and adjust some of the wiring and turn up the juice on these new abilities. Here are some random thoughts.
- Multi-shot as our AoE is definitely not as good as Volley. Maybe it’s okay for soloing packs of mobs, but for raid and dungeon trash it’s blech. It costs too much focus and it requires you to be targeting something, and is subject to our minimum range. For ICC trash I’d get a couple of them off and then have to regen focus with Steady Shot until I could fire it again. Five mans are worse because stuff dies so darn fast, and you don’t always start each pull with a full focus bar.
- The Trap Launcher is a step down from Freezing Arrow. Yes you can launch any kind of trap, but you can’t effectively macro this thing so it takes two keybinds to launch a trap whereas Freezing Arrow required one. It’s just clunky right now.
- BM dps is probably higher than it was and all three specs are reportedly close in dps. Overall hunter dps seems to be down.
- My dps seemed slightly lower than where it had been, and compared to other classed in our raid it was very mediocre. I found myself in the middle of the meter rather than closer to the top. It should be noted that on our second night of raiding things improved because some of the classes got hit with the nerf bat.
- I raided as BM going with a 31/2/3 build. I like my choices for the BM tree and feel good about two points in GftT. It’s the other three points that I’m playing around with. For now I’m dumping one point into Pathing and two into Improved Stings. This is just for level 80 raiding. You can see my glyph choices in the build link.
- For this week I raided in EZ-mode and macroed Focus Fire and Bestial Wrath to my shots. As I get more comfortable with things I’ll play around with taking them out of my macros and firing them manually.
The Bionic BM
As I stated BM definitely got beefed up from where it was in Patch 3.3. For BM I used the following rotation/priority.
- Kill Shot
- Serpent Sting (when needed)
- Kill Command
- Arcane Shot
- Steady Shot
If you fire Bestial Wrath with a full focus bar you can go gangbusters with your rotation and just fire Kill Command and Arcane Shot. During this time I’m usually able to get two Kill Commands before focus becomes an issue. Also I like to use fervor early on to fill up the bar and extend things a little longer, making sure I have enough focus to reapply Serpent Sting.
Until we get Cobra Shot at level 81 we will have to watch Serpent Sting and apply it whenever it drops off. Several months playing MM makes this more challenging then you’d think.
A couple of things about Kill Command. It’s a pet ability and requires your pet to be attacking something. Furthermore it does damage to whatever target your pet is attacking. That means you can’t fire it if your pet is not on a target (i.e., it’s hard to lead off with this ability), and you need to be aware of what your pet is attacking. Under the old Kill Command it didn’t much matter, but it’s changed now and a key part of the BM arsenal.
Earlier I mentioned playing BM in EZ-mode where I macroed Focus Fire and Bestial Wrath to all my shots, thus ensuring I use them whenever they are off cooldown. Focus Fire has a 15 second cool down and grants 3% haste for each stack of frenzy your pet has. Your pet can have up to five stacks of Frenzy.
By automating Focus Fire you’ll get anywhere from 3-15% haste for 15 seconds each use. Chances are the very first time Focus Fire goes off you’ll be on the low end of that spectrum. After that it just depends on how many stacks your pet can generate in the next 15 seconds before it fires again.
A more precise playing of BM involves micro-managing all of your abilities. The goal is to use Focus Fire when Frenzy stacks reach five while still firing the maximum number of Focus Fires the encounter will allow. You should also make sure Kill Command is available for every Bestial Wrath; possibly lining it up with Killing Streak.
I definitely need some more practice before I truly open things up, but hey even Steve Austin needed to walk before he could run 60 mph.
Finally, one of the new addOns I’m trying is called Hunter Focus Bar. It’s a great big movable focus bar that also displays key Hunter procs like Frenzy. In the image below you can see the stacks of frenzy, time left on Focus Fire and time left on Killing Streak. It works for all hunter specs. This one might be a keeper folks.
PS – The bionic sound effect has to be one of the toughest things to represent phonetically. Any suggestions you have to do it better, stronger, faster are welcome (I may use it again in the future ).