Hunters Are Just Awesome – Boom De Yada

Kind of says it all doesn’t it? Frostheim from the WHU, Hunting Party Podcast, and WoW Insider put forth a little collaborative effort in the hunter community to produce the next Hunter song…

Hunters Are Just Awesome – Boom De Yada
Hunter community song with music & sound design by Balthazar, and singing by prominent members of the hunter community.

You can head to the official WHU You Tube Channel to find past musical and video endeavors.

Also, I know I haven’t been here much lately. Work and RL has been murder. I haven’t been raiding/playing WoW regularly to be quite honest with limited time to log in. Things should clear up after the Holiday season!

‘Til then, Happy Hunting folks!



Patch time…mmm, yummy buffs!

With today’s patch we have some Hunter specific changes that will boost all 3 specs DPS to hopefully be more in line with the Legendary toting DPS classes numbers (in line: meaning closer gap…but we won’t be overtaking them any time soon). Additionally some of these buffs will specifically help Survival Hunters out…

Here they are for the Hunter class…

  1. Aspect of the Hawk now grants roughly 35% more attack power.
  2. Deterrence now also reduces damage taken by 30% while active.
  3. Black Arrow now ticks every 2 seconds for 20 seconds, as opposed to every 3 seconds for 15 seconds.  The total damage dealt by the ability is unchanged.
  4. Lock and Load no longer benefits Arcane Shot, nor is it consumed by Arcane Shot.

So #2 gives us a nice damage mitigation for those things not already blocked (which feels an awful lot like everything most days). #1 certainly aids all three specs in raw dps. But numbers 3 and 4 are SV specific.

The Black arrow change will increase proc chance on LnL…nice change. The LnL adjustment will allow for more delicious Arcane Shots as well as Explosive Shots. No more accidental Explosive Shot consumptions on the LnL proc by an accidental Arcane Shot cast and allows us to weave Arcanes in with LnL to bleed focus. If you were not already glyphed for Improved Arcane Shots, you definitely should now.

I’m curious to know why there aren’t buffs specific to Beastmastery & Marksmanship. One could argue the LnL changes are merely quality of life changes to fix an unintended affect, and that the proc rate/format for Black Arrow is also a correction to unexpected behavior (using traps vs BA to proc LnL). So truly its all about a flat dps boost for all 3 specs.

Is this what the devs were thinking? Are they trying to specifically shepherd us to SV as the primary Hunter dps spec? Thoughts to ponder.

Full patch notes.

Thoughts on Survival Rotation & Hunterstalker from World of Lae

I really love this list that Laeleiweyn of World of Lae has put together with Hunterstalker. I have to say this is eerily similar to my Armory App’s bookmark list on my iPhone. I have always kept a close watch on other hunters from my own guild/raid team, as well as competing ones on my servers to see what they are doing to tweak their own gear for their play style.

Its also very important to see the items other hunters have around the entire WoW community to benchmark yourself. Word of caution….there will be times in viewing someone on the armory you may see odd combinations of reforging, gemming, enchants, and gear selection. Some hunters may have been in the middle of testing things and did not migrate back to a more standard build or set up. *queue segue*



I personally having had my curiosity majorly peaked by this Blue Post and follow up regarding Survival and the maximization of our shot rotation…


I passed this along to Xelnath, as he’s the one who made the statement you’re referring to. Here’s what he has to say:

I’ll own up to this one. Our players are incredibly creative, dedicated and focused on maximizing their classes’ effectiveness. That said, I’ve seen some incredibly talented Subtlety rogues pull off damage nobody thought was possible. Sometimes the truth is hidden out there – when a majority of players are drawn to the current theorycrafted max-dps spec – there’s fewer eyes to find the tricks to maximize the effectiveness of another spec.

I don’t know how to play your class – you guys are the masters there. Sometimes an “underpowered” spec is actually just underloved.

Thanks for the passionate discussion.

Follow up…

So….which is it? We don’t know how to play our specs or we do?”

When looking at the big picture of class design and performance, the answer is kind of both. I think the point is that specs not played nearly as often as others aren’t necessarily underpowered. Our data may show a much smaller percentage of players using certain specs, though a good amount of the people who do use them competitively tend to do very well.

Here’s a follow-up from Celestalon:

Unholy and Survival are definitely underpowered in 4.2, and are getting buffed to compensate in 4.3. However, the point that Xelnath was trying to make, I think, is that they’re not as far behind as people think they are. With just a couple minor buffs, these specs are able to be competitive, in at least some encounters. Subtlety is a good example of this already: Subtlety is a very difficult rotation to play, and suffers quite a lot of drawbacks. But in some encounters, those drawbacks can be mitigated, such that it becomes the optimal spec. For example, the top Subtlety rogues are beating the top Combat and Assassination rogues on Baleroc, since that fight plays to Subtlety’s strengths. Will Subtlety win on every fight? No, probably not. But they’re not nearly as far behind as most players think, and sometimes can even be better. We’re hoping the changes to Survival and Unholy (and Destruction, and Beast Mastery) in 4.3 will help push those specs into a similar situation. We really hope people give these specs a chance.

As I have been leveling a Worgen hunter I have been toying with non standard rotations to see what kind of DPS I can garner; mainly since I do not at level 66 have all the required abilities and talents for a standard raid dps rotation. Its been interesting to see the results of ignoring things like Explosive Shot unless its an LnL proc and substituting Arcane in its stead. I’ve gone and done some major rebuilds on my raiding Orc hunter and spent a few hours at a target dummy testing. Nothing conclusive as of yet, but for some reason I still feel Mastery should be working out better than it does. GUH! I HATE math! Seriously…as an artist & designer I do need simple math from time to time…but otherwise…I hate it.

The DPS Cold War

So I read a lot of various articles and post around the interwebs about the state of dps for Hunters. I hold to this thought process: When faced with trying to solve a crime, always determine who has the most to benefit from the crime (yes, I am indeed Batman. Its been noted over and over again by those that truly know me).

Is the “State of DPS and where Hunter’s fit in” a crime? No, but that’s not what we are all really trying to determine is it. The crime here is success vs failure. Who is responsible, and that is meant both ways. Who is “carrying” the raid team’s dps to a kill, and who is lagging and causing the wipe. That is the answer we really are trying to ask.

As a “pure” DPS class (I mean that as in it is all we are asked to do, though I  maintain we are more than our DPS), we want to justify our value. We want to express as a community that we are not the problem. Other DPS classes will say the same and cast the shadow of blame or doubt to another DPS class.

It’s a Cold War here folks. This isn’t outright aggression. It’s a subtle war of attrition in which at varying points within game progression classes jockey for position as kings of their particular trade within raiding.

Last night a great example of why I think we don’t need this war…

ZA run. On Halazzi, 3 minutes left on the bear run timer. DK tank, Disc Priest heals, Feral Druid, MM Hunter, SV Hunter (guess who). We are all equally geared and skilled. We’re on the same raid roster. No one is categorically out geared to anyone else. As level a playing field as you could get. Its Halazzi…forget moving around or quirky mechanics. We ignored the lightning totem and lynx (many groups do now). We had less than 3 min to get our priesty buddy (Ohai Ati!!!) a nice bear mount for herself. So. All things are equal…max dps is the goal for all…crunch time.

Results? All 3 of us were above 25k, and within 100 dps of one another. Lynx boss dead. Bear mount in Ati’s tiny goblin hands.

What does this mean?! Well, to me it means as a simple view into the minds of a developer, that the methodology works! As a developer, Blizzard cannot possibly account for every variable that alters and affects the desired outcome of a player’s dps. Now, sure you could say the MM Hunter was super distracted and didn’t use any cool-downs. The feral druid actually just did white damage. Maybe the SV hunter was in Fox the whole time! No. NO NO NO. We were fine. It was a perfect scenario to use as a point in time. Every thing was as equal and level as could possibly be expected. The results were clear. We were in a dead heat. It was spectacular!

So I will be honest, as a player/raid leader/officer/guild leader/casual/hard core/raider/pvper/leveler/soloer whatever hat you want to throw on my head during a given moment within the game; I have one primary goal…success. I want the mob or boss dead. I want to see sparklies. I want someone to get a piece of gear or some gold. I want to kill internet dragons dead, dead, DEAD.

I think Blizz has done their job and it’s in our heads, chips fall where they may. I think they have tested their code and algorithms to ensure all things being equal the final results will be within tolerance. I think we spend far too much time nit -picking details, or compiling massive sample sets to try to ultimately find reason for our failures or proof of our awesomeness.

The phrase less QQ, more Pew Pew applies. Just play dammit. JUST PLAY! Freaking enjoy such a wonderful and awesome game that honestly, can’t be perfect! Stop trying to make it so. Do I like to top the charts…yes, love to. Do I like being on the bottom, hate it. Do I like to see our class well represented, you bet I do! Do I like to see certain dpsing feral druids and shadow priests BELOW my name on the chart…HELL TO THE YEAH 😉

Point here is…its all in good friendly fun. We all should want the same thing in the end…sparklies.

Hunter Class Feedback, Who to the what?!?

So, there is really only two ways to look at this:

  1. It’s a desperate bid on Blizzards part to feign some interest in what we the player base think.
  2. They (i.e. Blizzard) actually DO care what we think!

For our purposes, let’s be optimistic here. Honestly, I do think they care what we the players think of this game and our time within the worlds of Azeroth & beyond. Our play time provides a great and varied amount of practical experience that Blizzard can use to improve this product as well as future ones (Project Titan I’m looking at you!). I think it only makes sense to do such an exercise, and its truly simple for them to filter the results. I suspect someone is compiling all the responses into a simple database in Excel or otherwise and will filter out various responses by key words. *Run search for NOOB, delete all records*

So what does this mean for us really? Well, I would gather not much in the short term; however, if my thought process is on target (and folks, it usually is) they will use this info to target the last round of tweaks and fixes prior to the final expansion for this game. Button up the top list of bugs and priorities as defined by the user base, and then call it a day. The product then goes into a maintenance only mode for them to merely fix any issues that crop up, and no longer support any ongoing upgrades.

Speculation on my part, let me say that again…SPECULATION on my part, but normally I am right on such things. This is the pattern we follow at my employer for our Financial Services products, I don’t think that Blizzard is doing it any differently.

The below list is the questions posed to us as players. I have also compiled the links to various hunter blogs that speak to opinions and such on this subject (one stop shopping is always a nice thing!).

My comments on the questions posed will close us out…ON TO THE QUESTIONS!!!

  1. What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both]
  2. If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]
  3. If PvP, what type of PvP? [Arenas, BGs, Rated BGs]
  4. What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.
  5. What makes playing your class more fun?
  6. What makes playing your class less fun?
  7. How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)
  8. What’s on your wish list for your class?
  9. What spells do you use the least?

So a couple snarky points here. You can’t focus on two things. By definition FOCUS means concentration on one thing. So you have to pick! Let’s be honest while PvP is great and many people play heavily in it, the majority of the player base FOCUSES on PvE. It’s really a matter of volume. What spells do you use least is a silly question. They have a tagged database and compile the numbers. They know this info already. Additionally, look at the class and its mechanics. Auto shot, Aimed, Explosive, Cobra, etc etc ANY DAMAGE inducing ability is at the top end, and any quirky, off beat spell is at the bottom. Most people will answer things like Eagle Eye for instance. So, having been a nit picky jerk for a moment, lets get more serious.

PvE play is the primary driver for most players. We level, we raid, we dungeon run, we extreme solo, we sit in trade chat and troll (yes, this is PvE too!). Dungeons are easily the most widely played form of PvE, there are dungeons for all levels. I would almost qualify any pre-Wrath raid zones as dungeons as well to this point. They are easily soloable by many classes, as well as being farm content for a small group of 80+ players (think 3-6 players).

When it comes to PvP I am willing to bet the player base is split fairly equally between Arena & BGs. Rated BGs are probably the minority, but again it’s a hunch no data or anything. They have data already on this, so asking folks this question is a bit silly in my book, but there it is regardless.

Quality of life…now here is some meat & potatoes for us! (Side note: when compiling a questionnaire or survey, you always have the questions you are REALLY asking and fluff around them to distract. This one is actually important to them I am willing to bet) Not having to care/feed our pets is a good quality of life change. No ammo as well can definitely be thrown in here. I personally miss ammo to some extent. I don’t know, something about it was very Huntery and set us apart from other classes. I suspect the change wasn’t about us, and more about the ease of coding ranged weapons for other classes so that THEY didn’t have to have ammo bags for a gun/bow they hardly used, or eventually then having to take up a bag slot with a pile of ammo. These are classes that routinely had multiple armor sets filling precious bag space as it was, so I can understand the complaint on their part. My biggest quality of life item is having as many pet slots as we have now! Taking 5 pets for variability is super awesome compared to the Vanilla days. Also, the sheer size of our stables is quite a wonderful thing. Anyone who played a hunter during Vanilla knows this. Also, the variability in our pet buffs is an awesome quality of life item. It allows us to always be a useful addition to a group, thereby increasing our attractiveness and value. Negatively speaking, we have some bugs concerning our pets that are big pain points. Minimum range is a HUGE one, but that will never go away methinks. I have to say, one item I am annoyed by is the muddy waters between the value of our secondary stats (Crit, Haste, Mastery). Agility is king yes, but the other 3 are so difficult to process at times for a new player. I wish there was some clearer distinction between those 3.

More fun: EVERYTHING! Honestly, playing a hunter is so much fun. All our skills, utility, variability is just full of win!

Less fun: Well, I am going to be brutally honest here: The players themselves. I loathe the players who berate others for any “deviation” from what they feel is the cookie cutter build du jour. There are some base things we all should agree on – example: hit capping is always the right thing to do. Then others, not so much: example: you MUST be Marksman to play here. I don’t think Blizzard could ever change this; but perhaps help facilitate it by balancing things off a bit more from a spec stand point. They are really close now, but there is always room for improvement.

As for my rotation, well I play Survival. So I’m good with it. I do not like the hard cast push of Aimed Shot in MM. It doesn’t feel right to me. SV feels very fluidic. I think this is fluff to be honest.

Spells I use least…ugh, same as most of us. Eagle Eye: nice spell when used, but hardly needed. Counterattack…buh bye! Wyvern Sting is useful but so situational. Why do we have Widow Venom – as useless as Scorpid Sting once was. Please take ALL MY MELEE SKILLS AWAY and just dump minimum range. No min range, we don’t need Raptor Strike or even Wing Clip anymore.

The wish list….I have to admit, I have nothing truly on a wish list! I have some nice to haves, but nothing is a must have any more after nearly 7 years of playing a Hunter.

  • Minimum range removal would be nice, but I don’t expect it to happen.
  • Dual wielding any ranged weapon ala Titan’s Grip would be nice, but not the end of the world if we couldn’t.
  • There are a handful of bugs I definitely want to see fixed still (pet issues being top priority).
  • Being able to better serve as a tank, queue as one, stronger pet tanking abilities: all nice, but not necessarily realistic.

If I could get one thing, a true “wish”….Rhok’Delar. I want another Rhok quest line for Hunters. I would even take it one step further. A ranged weapon, special bag, 2H weapon of some kind…cool; however, I want MORE! I want a special pet, and mount from such a quest. Make it EPIC! NO NO! Make it LEGENDARY! The most LEGENDARY quest line in the game. I don’t care if it takes me a year to complete it…ok, maybe that’s extreme…a few months in total would be fine. But that is my one wish. That’s my MUST HAVE if there is one. Give me a legendary hunter quest. Must be completed solo, open world content, or in dungeons where you can go in alone. The Hunter makes a kill and gets a drop item that starts off the quest. Gather materials of some kind. Then sets off to tame a special beast (Make it a spawn that is only targetable by the quest holder…that way there is no griefing). Takes a special taming process. Now move on to gather more materials to build you weapon. Along the lines you have to do similar Hunter things. Use a specific pet type. Special skills, total debuff of all non-Hunter buffs, etc. After you finally have your bow, xbow, gun (yes let us choose which to build TYVM!) you then get a special present from your faction leader…a special Hunter only mount version of the pet you tamed. Better yet, make it a present from an in game Hunter NPC.

Make it challenging. Make it Legendary. Make it all about being a Hunter.

Please do this Blizz. I beg of you!