Big Changes for Hunters?

I’m getting ready to start day two of my first Blizzcon experience. Plenty of recaps of all the Blizzcon action can be found on MMO-Champion and other places.

I find that it’s much easier to cover Blizzcon when you’re sitting at home with the Virtual Ticket than it is to do so while you’re here. Much of that has to do with the fact that when you’re here, you’re running to get from place-to-place, or grab a bite to eat or running into imaginary friends who are now real.

I did want to pass on a few thoughts on Hunters. Nothing has been officially revealed. It could happen at the game systems panel, and I believe that class blogs will be coming on Sunday.

In talking with people, it sounds like Hunters are in a for a major overhaul in Legion. I’m talking all three Hunter specs and not just Survival here.

When I played the Legion demo, I rolled a level one Dwarf Hunter. I noticed that there was an awesome new Bear model and that Cobra Shot was instant and no longer generated Focus. It sounds like that’s is just the tip of the iceberg for changes.

Nothing I’ve been told is ready for prime-time, but I hope it gets revealed soon. All I can say is that it’s feeling like Hunters will be changing on a scale of Cataclysm this time around in Legion. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen.

The State of My Game


Everyone. lookee now. we have a “post.” Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about Hunters and World of Warcraft, but I wanted to weigh in on the state of my game.

Ladies and gentle dwarves? The state of my game is good.

This is due to the fact that the two things I enjoy most about the game are in a good place right now. Can you guess what they are?

Hunters and Raiding.

Both are better off than they’ve been in any expansion to date. Neither are perfect, but when you hold things this close to the vest you will undoubtedly notice every little imperfection.

Flexible raiding has been an absolute godsend. We always have more than ten and fewer than 25 players each raid, and the number is seldom the same. We have yet to call a raid, and we have yet to bench anybody that didn’t want to come along.

In any other expansion, we would be benching people. We would have drama and people would be leaving the guild to find a permanent raid spot elsewhere.

Then there are Hunters. Yes, there are some issues, but there are always issues. Survival in 6.2 is dead. Exotic ammunitions is an underpowered talent. Marksmanship AoE is an abomination.

Beyond those flaws, Hunters have been amazing this expansion. At one time or another I have used all three specs. I’ve run with pets and without. I’ve brought pets to raid because their utility was needed and I’ve brought pets to raids because I wanted a specific companion by my side for the night.

Hunter DPS is competitive, and Hunter’s mobility has qualified them to take on all of the gimmicky tasks required to defeat the Warlords’ bosses.

In short, the state of the Hunter class is good, if not great.

As for the rest of Warlords of Draenor, I feel a little bit like Coren Direbrew when you defeat him in Hearthstone, “Whoa! What’s ha…? I don’t like it, but it’s happening anyway!”

Are Hunters and raiding all I want out of World of Warcraft? No. Are they all I need to keep on keepin’ on? For now, yes.

WHU Tonight, HPP Tomorrow


It’s the eve of the return of the Hunting Party Podcast. Yes, folks it really is happening. At the risk of Jinxing us all to Hell, everything looks to be in place.

The show notes are ready, the hosts are ready, are you ready?

Before we relaunch the podcast, the WHU is organizing an all Hunter event. It’s the level one dwarf Hunter raid of Hogger. It’s happening 9/27 at 9:30pm Central on Icecrown. I’ll be there as will many of the WHU staff and HPP cast.

Now in case you’re wondering, Hogger is still a level 11 elite, which means he should still pose a threat to a level one toon. Maybe not twenty or 200, but we’ll see.

So there you have it two exciting events. Hogger raid tonight, and the Hunting Party Podcast tomorrow at 10am Eastern, at

Stay thirsty and remember to drink your Darkbrew Lager!

The Hunting Party Podcast Returns

Hail Hunters!

The Warcraft Hunters Union, OutDPS, The Hunting Party Podcast, Ghostcrawler. All are gone. Eyes of the Beast, Cloak and Quiver, Shots Fired, Thrill of the wild, RogerBrown, Muffinus, Celestalon. All have risen to take their place. Understand? No? Here’s one more hint.

Tameable HYDRAS!

Cut off one head and two shall take it’s place. That’s the Hunter motto. It should also be the deathrattle of a Hunter Hearthstone card, but I digress.

The Hunter community is alive and well, and is always on the lookout for new members. There’s a new podcast and a few new blogs out there. What resources are you going to for Hunter news, information, and entertainment? Let me know. It can be anything, blogs, youtube channles, twitch streams. Anything.

Hail Hunters!


How’m I Doin’?


Where it all began five years ago.

On March 17th the Brew Hall will turn five. I can’t believe I’ve been at this for five years now, but then again, World of Warcraft is about to turn ten. Who could’ve thunk that? The time has flown by so fast, that in many ways, I feel more like rookie than a veteran of WoW blogging.

The Brew Hall was born while I was on vacation in St. Thomas. I’m once again on vacation in St. Thomas and, in between Margaritas, I’m doing a little reminiscing, and some thinking about the way forward.

Former New York mayor, Ed Koch was famous for standing on street corners and asking passersby, “How’m I doin’?”

So today, I stand before you on this virtual street corner and I ask you, How’m I doin’?

The Brew Hall is and will always be Hunter blog, and I believe you’ve come to appreciate that. I don’t plan on changing that, but are there Hunter topics you would like me to cover? One thing I will say is that I’m not a theorycrafter. I love the work that theorycrafters do, and I’m happy to talk about their work, but it’s just not my arena.

Aside from theorycrafting, are there other areas of WoW that you would like to read about here? Perhaps opinions on Garrisons, the level 90 boost, and so forth?

Do you like the tone of the posts? Am I too nice, too mean, too neutral? In real life I tend to be very non-confrontational, so if my posts read like I’m not trying to piss anybody off, that’s why. But again I ask, would you like me to stir the pot a little?

Are the posts too long, or too short? Do phrases intended to make you laugh, make you laugh? Would you like me to try and be more funny or less funny?

Do you want more images in posts, or do you not care? Are you dying to see a picture of my hairy wrists? Do you want to see more Internet memes, or do you find that they’re overused and you’re sick of them?

Is the site easy to use? Do you have trouble commenting on posts due to captcha? Do you find the posts worth commenting on at all? Perhaps you don’t like to comment on any blog? Do you subscribe to the RSS feed and just read the posts in your reader and avoid coming here at all?

I track a lot of blogs via RSS, and I love hit, however, it also prevents me from going to those sites and commenting.

I don’t need comments, but the goal here it to engage you in discussion, and to get you thinking. So I ask again, what types of posts get your juices flowing and your gears turning?

I started this because I love my Hunter. The goal was to teach, to learn, and to discuss. I still want to do that, so I ask you, how’m I doin’?

The gates are open!

Patch 5.4 – The Big Blue Post

Last night community manager Lore gave us an update on potential changes for Hunters in patch 5.4. You can view the entire post here. The post didn’t offer any solutions for the current issues, but it did tell us what the devs are focusing on, and that our constructive feedback is welcomed. Without further ado, let’s review the pertinent points.


Regarding Stampede: We’re happy with the damage it’s currently putting out in PvP. For PvE, we’re planning to buff its damage pretty heavily, so it becomes a substantially more potent DPS cooldown. We don’t want to give it any more utility than it has now, for reasons we’ve explained at length already.

Stampede is weak right now in PvE, and furthermore it lacks visual appeal in raid encounters. We don’t know how it will be buffed in PvE, just that it will be. There are a couple of ways they can go with this. One is to revert back to the way it was originally. It did a lot of damage, but had a lengthy cooldown, meaning you’d only be able to use it once per encounter. Having the long cooldown certainly aids in the button bloat area, but it also means getting to use it less often.

The other possibility is to lower the damage but give it an extremely short cooldown so we get to use it more often. I like having abilities that hit really, really hard. Stampede involves calling every active pet from your stable, it should hit hard, and it should be a nice form of burst in PvE. Hopefully they’ll give it the damage it needs and keep it on the five minute cooldown so we can use it twice in most encounters. Stay tuned.

Likely Outcome: Stampede’s damage will be buffed in 5.4 and the cooldown will remain as is.


Readiness is still under heavy discussion, and we haven’t made a final decision on what we’re going to do with it in 5.4. At the moment, we’re leaning towards just removing the ability entirely and giving the affected abilities shorter cooldowns or charges to compensate. If we end up taking that route, we will buff Hunter damage (most likely across the board, not just specific abilities), but as I mentioned, we’re still discussing.

It’s the one ability that other classes want, and it’s been part of the Hunter arsenal from the beginning. It’s sad to see this one go, but if it’s going to be a watered down version of what it once was, it may be for the best. I hope they can make it work, but it seems unlikely that it will be allowed to exist in its current format.

What is interesting here is how they might address the loss of readiness. An across the board damage buff is certainly welcome, and I won’t argue against that. The idea of giving abilities charges is interesting. We see this already with Kill Shot and to some degree Lock ‘N Load. This might be fine in some cases, but could wreak havoc if they did this to all of our abilities. The other option is shorter cooldowns, which also has the downside of making our rotations more hectic.

Another option that they didn’t list would be to buff damage via procs and stacking buffs. For example, Cobra/Steady Shot could give us a temporary stacking buff that increases the damage of Kill Command (or any other shot) by xx% per stack. That kind of change might be too much for 5.4.

Likely Outcome: Readiness will be removed and Hunter damage compensated.

Murder of Crows vs Blink Strike

Murder of Crows vs Blink strike is also still under heavy discussion. Our goal (with all talents) is that active abilities used properly will outperform passive ones. We haven’t decided yet what adjustments we’ll make to achieve that in 5.4.

I agree here. If you push a button you should be rewarded if you’re skilled enough to time it just right. The trick here is to make them close, but not too close, and not so far apart that players ignore the passive ability regardless of their skill level. The devs need to find the “I don’t know, fly casual” solution here.

One option would be to lower the cooldown of MoC, or adjust it so the cooldown is reduced  when the target’s health is say 50% instead of 20%. This might force you to put a little more thought and strategy into when you use that ability.

Likely Outcome: I think MoC will get an adjustment of some kind, and Blink Strikes might not change.


Scatter/Silencing Shot: We don’t consider interrupts to be mandatory in PvE. If a Hunter would rather not take the Glyph of Scattered Thoughts, there are plenty of other players in the raid who could take on the responsibility. We like Silencing Shot as a Marksman perk overall, but we’re still discussing things. We may end up making a baseline Interrupting Shot that gets upgraded to Silencing Shot if you spec Marksman.

I believe that classes should be differentiated by the way that they deliver dps, generate threat and mitigation for tanking, and the way they deliver heals. This is where variety in play styles should come from, and this is where players should seek to find the class they think is the best for them. As we all know, Hunters are the best for everybody, but c’est lav vie.

When it comes to utility I think at a minimum ever class should have a CC, interrupt, stun, knockback and/or closing ability, and a movement freeing ability – all baseline. I’ve seen this work in other MMO’s and I think it could work here without making the classes feel the same.

Heck, in Star Wars: The Old Republic the factions have mirror classes of one another and they could not feel more different when you play them. This can be done.

Likely Outcome: I think Hunters will end up with a baseline interrupt, but I don’t PvP, so who knows.

Spec Differences

Speaking of spec differences, we agree that Hunter rotations feel cooler when your signature shots do a lot more damage than other shots, and we’ll discuss that some more. That’s part of the reasoning behind the Arcane Shot changes – our hope is that saving up more Focus for a bigger hit will feel better than firing off smaller shots more regularly.

Kill Command, Chimera Shot, Explosive Shot, Kill Shot and Stampede should be the big damage, high priority abilities. You could make an argument for Aimed Shot as well, but after that, all other damage abilities should be secondary. Everything should revolve around these and they should be made to stand out above the others.

It seems that devs share this philosophy and will now work towards making that a reality. Given everything else they’re trying to work with here, I’m not sure we’ll see significant changes to enhance our signature abilities. I suspect Hunter DPS will be addressed with an across the board buff the was implied when they discussed compensation for Readiness.

Likely Outcome: Minor changes to signature shot damage.

Hunters Overall

As to overall Hunter performance and utility, we don’t think the issues are with the Hunter class specifically. Instead, we think that certain other classes are overperforming (in both) at the moment. Fixing those outliers will, in turn, make a good Hunter more attractive for their raid spot. You may have seen some (but not all) changes along those lines on the PTR already.

Basically the issues aren’t our own, but we are victims of a cruel game of class balance roulette. Note to the devs – always bet on green, Hunter green.

Likely Outcome: Other classes will get nerfed, but that may not be enough to change Hunters’ positions on the DPS meters. Hunters will still be more fun to play than any other class though!

Final Thoughts

We’re getting buffed! It may not be the big gap closer we want/need, but the goal from Blizzard is to buff our class in patch 5.4. I’m looking forward to the changes that they come up with. Until then, Blizzard is soliciting our feedback, so I encourage everyone to visit the post and contribute your ideas. You can also e-mail your suggestions to and we’ll discuss them on our next show.

Happy Hunting!

The Big Nine-O!

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to Horde and Alliance alike, that Darkbrew the Brewmaster has reached level 90!

At about 10:30 on Saturday evening I turned in a quest and — ding, I hit the big nine-O. And then I just sat there, because I had not clue about what to do next. This list of options and to-dos was instantly overwhelming. Learning to fly, leveling professions, gearing for heroics and raiding, planting a garden, and getting a cloud serpent of my very own.

To the folks in Niuzao Temple, please accept my sincere apologies for leaving you to defend yourselves against whatever horrible creatures were ravaging your beautiful temple. I ask you to please understand that Cloud Serpents are beautiful creatures and they don’t grow up overnight, and every self-respecting hero of the land needs to have one. Don’t worry, I shall return. Maybe.

Knowing that the temple could fall and all of its inhabitants killed, and being okay with this, I immediately opened up the group find to queue for a heroic. In case you were wondering, you need an average ilevel of 440 to queue. This is something I did not know.

The good news is you can get some decent ilevel 450 gear from questing in the Dread Wastes. Guess who turned 90 without having set foot in that zone? If you’re anxious to get into heroics, head to the Dread Wastes at 89 and use this zone to reach 90. I spent a good chunk of the day on Sunday plowing through this zone.

Another thing I recommend at 90 is that you go to Temple of the White Tiger and pick up the quest for the arena scenario. Once you get the quest you can just queue for it. Scenarios are designed for three players of any class and role so you shouldn’t have any issues in a pug.

You should also start queuing for Coren Direbrew at 89. Keep in mind that at current gear levels this is actually a tough fight. Don’t be surprised if you wipe.

Some of the other things I did upon hitting 90 were,

  • Made my way to the new capital city. It has city portals, bank, AH, transmog, reforge and void storage.
  • Trained in flying. The cost was around 2700g. Very reasonable.
  • Leveled up First Aid. You should have more than enough cloth to do this.
  • Leveled up Engineering and made my epic googles. I bought all of the mats and it cost about 10K to level and make the goggles.
  • Reforged my gear to be hit and expertised capped.
  • Made Engineering cogs for the goggles and trinket. I put hit and expertise in both for a total 1200 rating in each. This made reforging other pieces easier.
  • Began doing the crazy amount of dailies to work on rep and earn back the 10K.
  • Ran a couple of heroics. Much easier than Cata heroics, but a bad pug group is still a bad pug group.
  • I’ve been running as BM with a Quilen. Yes I’ve had to use his battle res.
  • I took Glaive Toss at 90. Not that impressed with it, and not sure where to fit this into the rotation.
  • I’m learning to adjust to life without Tier 13. It’s a lot of lost focus regen.
  • I still have Blink Strike but am considering changing to Crows for heroics.
  • I loved Thrill of the Hunt for leveling, but may switch to Dire Beast now.

It’s been less than a week since MoP was released and I’m having an absolute blast. This expansion is some of Blizzard’s finest work, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this takes the mantle of best WoW expansion period.

Have you hit 90 yet, and what sorts of things are you doing?

Mistakes Were Made, Bosses Were Killed

I have two weeks of patch 5.04 Dragon Soul heroics under my belt; most of it as Survival. Mistakes were made, bosses were killed, and so were we.

If I hadn’t been in such shock at the time, I might have had the wherewithal to take a screen shot of our raid tumbling off the back of Deathwing with less than 10% health remaining on the final tendon. The plate rose, the tendon was exposed, everyone was alive, and then epic fail ensued. It was a kill, or at least it should have been.

If ever there was a justification for a nerd rage moment, it was this. Surprisingly everyone remained calm, because we all got it. Even though we didn’t defeat Spine we effectively beat the encounter. There are two lockout lefts, so we’ll be extending ours and hope to finish off Spine and Madness next week.

The break will give me time to evaluate logs and make adjustments to my UI. I’m primarily running as Survival, and while the core rotation remains intact there are a lot more buttons to press and a lot more things to track than ever before.

Raiding right now feels a bit like it did back in ICC when you had Deathbringer’s Will and we’re waiting for the Crit. proc so you could line it up with a Crit. potion, Rapid Fire and other things. There’s a lot of watching and waiting happening with Hunters right now. If you feel like you’re suffering from information overload, rest assured, you’re not alone.

Going in I need to know how long is the encounter going to be. Once the pull the starts I need track if Dire Beast and A Murder of Crows are attacking the target. Am I under the effects of the Rapid Fire buff? How long before Serpent Sting falls off? Has Serpent Sting fallen off? Is the Black Arrow debuff on the target? And then I need to know what’s on CD and for how long.

In short, I need to know what the hell is going on out there, because there’s a hell of lot going on out there. The driving force behind all of this monitoring is Readiness and DoTs. Readiness is on a five minute cooldown so knowing the length of the fight is crucial to determining how many times it will be available to use.

Likewise Readiness will reset the cooldown on most Hunter abilities including Dire Beast and A Murder of Crows. You don’t want to activate these abilities if they’re already up and attacking a target. For example if you cast A Murder of Crows and then pop Readiness, you want to wait until the first set of crows finishes before you use the ability again, and the crows last for 30 seconds. Same for Dire Beast (see comments) and Rapid Fire. You don’t want to pop a second Rapid Fire while you’re under the effects of the first one.

Right now we’re just talking about monitoring some basic things. If you really want to go pro then you should pay attention to other things like you internal CDs, weapon proc CDs, and then try your best to line up as many these as you can.

It’s challenging and there are tools like Kneed to Know and Tell Me When to assist you, but it takes work to master. Those who do of course will be rewarded by big numbers and phat lootz.

So far I’m just trying to keep track of the basics and get DS Heroic cleared without my head exploding. Elune willing it will happen on Tuesday.

Patch 5.04 – Buffs and Debuffs

It’s patch day. If you’re looking for a guide on what to expect, I recommend you listen to our latest podcast filled with all of the information you need to know to survive patch 5.04. In the meantime, I’d like to focus on one specific area of the game that’s changing and will have an impact on our stables – buffs and debuffs.

The good news is the buffs and debuffs have been streamlined for MoP. The even better news is that Hunter pets will continue to bring buffs and debuffs through their special abilities. In fact, the only buff that Hunters cannot provide is Spell Haste.

Just like in Cataclysm, you will need a BM spec if you want the complete arsenal of buffs and debuffs at your disposal. Due the changes to buffs and debuffs you may have to reevaluate your stable and make room for some new additions.

For example, Water Striders are one of the new pet families that will be available for taming in this patch. In addition to the cool water walking ability, they provide the Crit and Spell Power buff, and are on the list of mandatory pets. Water Striders can be found in Zangarmarsh in Outland.

If you wish to have all the raid buffs and debuffs covered then at a minimum you will need the following for your stable (E = exotic pet).

  • Crit Chance – Quilen (E), Devilsaur (E), Water Strider (E) or Wolf
  • Mastery – Cat or Spirit Beast (E)
  • Melee/Ranged Attack Speed – Hyena or Serpent.
  • Raid-Haset Cooldown (i.e., Heroism) – Core Hound (E)
  • Stamina – Silithid (E)
  • Spellpower – Water Strider (E)
  • Stats – Shale Spider (E)
  • Magic Vulnerability – Dragonhawk or Wind Serpent
  • Mortal Wounds – Hunter, Devilsaur (E)
  • Physical Vulnerability – Boar, Ravager, Rhino (E) or Worm (E)
  • Slow Casting Speed – Core Hound (E), Fox, Goat or Sporebat
  • Weakened Armor – Raptor or Tallstrider
  • Weakened Blows – Bear or Carrion Bird
  • Combat Res – Quilen (E)

If you don’t plan on raiding as BM then the list looks like this,

  • Crit Chance – Wolf
  • Mastery – Cat
  • Melee/Ranged Attack Speed – Hyena or Serpent.
  • Magic Vulnerability – Dragonhawk or Wind Serpent
  • Mortal Wounds – Hunter (Widow Venom)
  • Physical Vulnerability – Boar, Ravager
  • Slow Casting Speed – Fox, Goat or Sporebat
  • Weakened Armor – Raptor or Tallstrider
  • Weakened Blows – Bear or Carrion Bird

Non-BM raiders will not be able to bring Spellpower, Stamina, Stats, and Combat Res.

Also, you might want to consider adding a Wolf and Cat to your stable for those times when the Crit and Mastery buff are needed but you aren’t using a BM spec.

For reference, I’ve put together a little chart that shows the buffs and debuffs and which Hunter pets and support classes bring them.

The Nerf Storm Has Arrived

And so it happened. The long awaited nerfs that we were promised, the changes we were told to brace ourselves for have finally arrived. Ghostcrawler raised his mighty nerf-bat to the sky and called forth his storm. This wasn’t thunder and lightning followed a sweeping flood.

No, he summoned a tornado that moved across the Hunter landscape, wreaking destruction with targeted and calculated precision. Signature shots, rotation abilities, talents, pet damage – few were able to escape the path of the destruction. When the skies cleared and the winds died down this is what they found.


  • Arcane Shot – now causes 75% weapon damage plus 1,309 Arcane Damage (was 110% and 2,742).
  • Serpent Sting – now causes 8,100 nature damage (was 10,150).
  • Serpent Sting – now causes 50% weapon damage plus 997 damage (was 70% and 4,013).
  • Aimed Shot – now deals 280% weapon damage plus 19,541 damage (was 400% and 39,880)
  • Kill Command – Cryptic formula changed to was is believed to be a nerf.
  • Explosive Shot – Cryptic formula changed to was is believed to be a nerf.
  • Chimera Shot – now causes 210% weapon damage plus 2,617 damage (was 300% and [73.2% of RAP+5,385].
  • Wild Quiver  – now fires a shot that does 85% weapon damage (was 100%).
  • Black Arrow – AP scaling is now 16% plus 1,990 damage over 20 seconds. (was 20% and 2,490 damage over 20 sec).
  • Bite, Claw, Smack – damage reduced by 20%.
  • Frenzy – proc now grants 8% increased attack speed (down from 10%).

Hunter damage is complicated though and our dps is not just the measure of any single ability, but it is the sum of all things working together. To achieve the proper results one cannot just nerf. Buffs need to happen as well, and there were a smattering of those too.


  • Barrage – focus cost reduced to 30 from 40. Now deals 640% weapon damage to the target and 320% (up from 160%) damage to each enemy in front of you.
  • Blink Strike – now inflicts 600% damage (was 200%).
  • Glaive Toss – focus cost reduced to 15 from 20. Each glaive now deals 872 damage to each enemy struck (up from 436). The primary target will take 4 times as much damage from each strike (down from 8 times).
  • Lynx Rush – Now deals 200% damage to each target (up from 100%).
  • Powershot – focus cost reduced to 20 from 40. Now deals 800% weapon damage to the target and 400% weapon damage to all enemies between you and the target (up from 200%).
  • Thrill of the Hunt – Now has a 30% to reduce the focus cost cost of your next 3 Arcane Shots or Multi-Shots by 20 (was 20%).
  • Beast Cleave – Now does 30% damage, up from (20%).
  • Focus Fire – Now grants 8% ranged haste for each Frenzy stack consumed (was 6%).

So what exactly does this all mean? This mess of math is purview of the theory crafters and they are hard at work sifting through the rubble. This week’s Scattered Shots estimates about a 15% loss in overall Hunter dps. Where this places Hunters relative to the other dps classes remains to be seen, but we shall find out soon enough.

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