Friday, January 31, 2014

Let the Hunter Do It.

I never raided in the burning crusade and that was not the fault of the guild I was in because it was just a leveling guild that did not have a raid team.  It was my own fault because I never hit max level back then.  I really took my time leveling.  I think I spent twice, maybe even three times, as much time exploring the world as I did trying to level.  As such it was not until wrath that I had my first experience raiding.

I had left my leveling guild and joined a raiding guild to sit on the bench hoping that I would get my shot one day, and of course that day did come.  When we approached gluth the raid leader said for me to kite the zombie chow.

I was scared because it was an important job to have and not only had I never done it before, I had never raided before.  The one good thing was that I had looked all the fights up.  I looked them up all the time, watched videos, read guides, all because I wanted to be ready when the day came that I would get my chance and move from bench warmer to raid member.  At least for one day.

So while I had never raided before and you could easily conclude that I had never kited before in that sort of situation I was not exactly what you would call completely unprepared.  You see, that leveling experience that took me leveling 2 hunters in the burning crusade over the course of over a year, one into the 40s when I quit and then another, because I got a new account, all the way to max after, I had a lot of time to get comfortable with the hunter class.

It is part of the reason I often say I support a longer leveling experience.  Because of that, and the harder mobs and quests in the world, I often found myself in situations where I needed to use abilties I did not often use.  I often found myself using my brain as much as my bow.  I often found myself kiting something.  So kiting was not a completely foreign idea to me, not even in the slightest.

I am not saying I did great at it, but I did do well enough that we were able to down the boss that night with me kiting even if I had never done it before.  While my heart was pumping with excitement because it was my first time doing it and a fair deal of nervousness because I knew everyone was counting on me, it wasn't long into the fight when I realized this is what I was meant to do and hot damn I am good at this.  Not good from the get go, but when the boss died some time later I was secure in the fact I could handle this duty, the duty of a hunter.  To do all the little things that no one else wants to do.

During my raiding career I was often called upon by the raid leader to do some sort of special task or another.  It was not long before I was not nervous about it any longer, I was now ready for it, waiting for it, expecting it. 

From early on I started to watch videos not only to learn the fight but to learn what I needed to do, what my special task would be.  If the fight seemed like it would need someone to do some special task I figured that task would be mine to do.  I prepared for it, I got ready for it, and if I was capable of doing so I practiced for it so when we got there and the raid leader said, let the hunter do it this hunter was ready to do it.  Be it head tanking in mimron, getting a stamina set ready and a down ranked arcane shot handy for price tanking in ICC, kiting, you name it, I was always ready for it before we even reached the boss because I noticed very early on if there were some special task that needed to be done it would always come down to let the hunter do it and that hunter is me.

When I became the raid leader I did not pass the buck to someone else, even when we had another hunter in the group that I could have just as easily told to do the job.  In part is falls upon the old saying, the only person you can trust is yourself.  But it was more because I started to become quite fond of doing those little tasks that needed to be done, the ones no one else wanted to do.  I often felt as if I had the toolkit to do those tasks because, by design, that is what hunters were intended to do.

I've run a great deal of raids on my hunter and countless more on other damage dealers, tanks and healers and it seems to be, more often than not, no matter what group I am in when there is some sort of special task to do someone almost always says, let the hunter do it.

I wonder how this makes other hunters feel.  Do you feel as if you are undervalued because you are always put on the tasks that no one else wants to do or do you feel as if you are extremely valuable because you get to do something that is important and it is because you do it well that the fight gets won?

This tier it could be working belts or killing engineers or other little things that need to be done like helping on towers or being counted on to use an ability such as widow venom on thok.  No matter the fight there is usually something that falls on the hunter to do that is more than just pew pew.

There are other classes that could do all those things we do, it is not like we are the only class that can, so why it is that whenever there is something that needs to be done a hunter does it.  And it seems more often than not in a pug it is a hunter that will step up to do it.

Like running flex 4 pugs when the raid leader asks who wants to do belts there are always a few people that offer and you can be sure a hunter will be among them.  The pug leader asks, who wants engineers, and a hunter will raise their hand.  It is not something unique to my own experience, it is something hunters have been doing since the beginning of time in the game.  Taking the point and doing the jobs that need to get done to down the boss, the jobs no one else wants to do or is capable of doing.  It is like self sacrifice, offering yourself up for the greater good.

Bosses die because hunters do the jobs no one else is willing to do and more importantly, we do it well.

Over the course of the years I have sent others on the special duty, some times they are not even hunters.  Like I sent a priest and a druid up on alys, I had a mage kick on tortos, but usually special tasks fall in the capable hands of hunters.  There have been a few hunters however that just hate it.  They make excuses why they can not do it, or complain that they are not enjoying the game doing this and they just want to be the damage dealer and not the utility worker.  Sometimes it makes me want to say if you want to whine roll a mage, if you want to be awesome, stay a hunter and do your job.

I often wonder, being a hunter myself, if these people realize that they are not being a utility worker, they are the reason the boss dies, more so than the people just standing there going pew pew because if they did not do their job, the boss does not die.

The question I would like to ask, and this goes for anyone that has been tasked with special duty, not just hunters even if we do special duty better than anyone else is this.

How do you feel about the "let the hunter do it" mentality in the game?
How do you feel about being on special duty?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What is Your Favorite Mists Addition?

With mists hitting the point where it is the beginning of the end it is safe to say that no new additions to the game will be coming before warlords.  While we might get instant 90s at the shop before warlords, it would be more as a lead up to warlords, so love or hate purchasing things like that from the shop, that is more a topic for the next expansion and what we will take out of it that we loved.

When cataclysm was at its end I shared my opinion on what was the best addition to the game.  Cataclysm really only had three things I would have put up for nomination as a great addition to the game.  Those three things were transmog, reforging and the looking for raid system.  Reforging got my vote for the best thing to come out of cataclysm.  Going into warlords it will be gone from the game.  So much for things I like huh? 

So as far as I am concerned I guess transmog is the best thing remaining in game that came out of cataclysm.  Sure, LFR was good for the game but it was just as bad for the game.  Weighting the positives and the negatives leaves  LFR a net neutral as far as I see it.  At least transmog fits perfectly into what I would consider a great update.  For the people that choose to use it, it is there, for the people that don't choose to use it, it doesn't hurt them because it is in game.  A nice addition, even if I still think reforging was better and that was my favorite addition to come out of cataclysm.

Mists offered us more additions to the game than any expansion I can remember and there are a lot of things I would think are worthy of consideration for the best addition to the game.  Almost too many the more I think about it.  I had three things in mind when I started to write this post and as of this very line I am up to six already.  I am sure I will think of more as I write, mists was just that jam packed with new additions to the game.  I keep noticing the changes made to the game, the additions to the game, that mists has bought to us and there are a lot that deserve recognition even if they do not win your vote for best new addition to the game.

So lets break down some of those additions to the game and, of course, I will share my opinion of that addition.

Pet Battles:

When I started to think about making this post and was going over ideas for which additions I would choose to mention I kept finding myself going back to this one addition.  There is a reason for that.  It is completely inescapable.  Pets battles were so well done that not only were they added to the new expansion, they were added to the original game.  They were added to BC, wrath and cataclysm as well.  No matter what zone you go to, there are pet battles to be found.  From level 5 to level 90 there is something for everyone and it is balanced throughout all levels of game play, not just end game like PvP.  If someone were to start the game they might very well think it has always been there and that alone makes it one hell of a solid addition to the game.

With something that well placed throughout the entirely of warcraft it would be irresponsible for anyone to just ignore it even if they have stopped pet battling, never pet battled or never have any intention to pet battle.  If this was titled what is the best mists addition then pet battles would win hands down and no one could even make an argument that would hold water against that.  But this post is titled what is your favorite mists addition so if you are not a pet battler I am pretty sure, no matter how great of an addition to the game it is, this would not get your vote.

I will leave this section with just one little notation from warcraft by the numbers.  There are more than double the amount of pet battle instances each day than there are dungeon, raid, battleground and arena instances combined.  You can not deny the popularity of pet battling.

Challenge Modes:

While there were not a great deal of them, only enough to match each dungeon on release and nothing was added during the course of the expansion, the addition of challenge modes opens the doors for so much more to come.

Scaled group content, that is what challenge modes added to the game.  A type of content where a group of people will face a task that they can not over gear.  It is completely skill based.  The skills needed include the ability to plan best as well as carry out those plans in an effective, efficient and timely manner.

While not quite reaching the popularity I would have guessed it would, it is a solid addition to the game.  Even more so when you think about what this addition could mean for the future.  If there are ever scaled raids, scaled zones, level scaling for old content, or any type of scaled instanced content, it is all thanks to this addition.


I loved the farm at the beginning of the expansion and even if I have not done it on any characters in many months I still love the farm.  Why do I call this an addition to the game when it is obviously a one hit wonder, something made for this expansion only?  Because garrisons have been announced and if it were not for farms, and their popularity, garrisons would have never been considered.

So while our farms might not be following us into the next expansion and poor old dog will be left alone to tend to the farm, the tech it introduced will be following us in the form of garrisons.  Who knows, this little addition could not only mean garrisons in the next expansion, but it could mean full fledged player housing in the one after.  If any of those things are something you would love then perhaps the farm would get your vote for your favorite mists addition.


The legendary design was changed this expansion from the old collect stuff in a raid, the real one, for a weapon for one person at a time to a collect something in any version of the raid for an item everyone can use.

This is a hot button topic no doubt but it is a change in philosophy for the game and a change in balance.  No more will one class with the chosen legendary be over powered for that tier because of it, each class can get it.

As it seems, this addition to the legendary process will be following us into the next expansion and probably every one to follow.  For some that might have never had the chance to get a legendary because of their play style, as in they are not regular raiders, or because of their class, as in they are a hunter who would never see one again, this could very well be their favorite addition to mists.  The addition that every class and every type of player is treated equally, in terms of ability to get a legendary if they are willing to put the time and effort into it.


While I have heard no news if we will have them in the next expansion I am going to go out on a limb and say we will.  Quick little instanced content that does not require the holy trinity was a big hit when the game first came out but lack of decent rewards in either baggie or valor meant it lost steam pretty quickly.

Blizzard did not give up however, they stuck with this addition to the game with the release of heroic scenarios later in the expansion with slightly better baggie rewards and much better valor rewards.  For many players just looking to cap their valor quickly these became the best thing since sliced bread.  I have all too often taken advantage of them to cap valor in less than an hour, who would not like that.

The design of these scenarios was different from dungeons not only in the fact they did not require the holy trinity but they used existing landscapes and put us in a small battle that took place there.  Those things that you would have remembered as the end of the line elite quest that you needed help for back in the day where now scenarios.

If I would have one gripe with them it would be that the arena of annihilation should have been an open world quest before you reached level cap just like its predecessors, the ring of blood, the amphitheater of anguish and the crucible of carnage.  Otherwise, they were a solid addition to the game and perhaps to people that like using them to cap valor in less than an hour they might be considered the best addition to the game.

Bonus Rolls:

Okay, lets get this out of the way, they hate me.  There, I said it.  The addition of charms we could collect and a weekly quest we could do to get special coins that allowed us extra rolls in raid content was a great addition to the mists raiding package.  For all of those that always had bad luck we could have bad luck twice as much, or speed up that bad streak so instead of not getting something for 20 weeks before it finally drops, we could not get it only for 10 weeks before it finally drops, in theory anyway.

In my opinion they best thing they did with this addition to the game is the implementation of it.  At least after they made it a currency instead of items that stacked in your bag.  Oh dear those early weeks when my already bursting at the seams bags and bank were filled with stacks of lesser coins was not fun, not at all.

They allowed you to collect as many lesser coins as you wanted, but you could only spend 50 (was 90) per week to get 3 coins.  The addition of the bonus rolls not only gets a vote for allowing us to roll twice, but it gets a vote for showing blizzard there is another way to limit people without actually limiting people.

I often said this design introduced in mists for the coins should have been carried over to valor.  Allowing as person to collect as much valor as they would like but limiting them to how much they could spend each week instead.  It would really help those players that can not play every day so they could collect 1500 valor this week and none next week, and not feel as if they missed out on something by not being online.  Perhaps blizzard will expand on this design and that alone makes this a good addition to the game, the design of it, even if you did not consider how great having extra rolls could be.

Be it the rolls themselves or the design they introduced there are some people that might consider this their favorite addition to the game.  I am guessing those that do consider it their favorite addition to the game have won often with their rolls and for that, I hate you.  Just kidding of course.  Or am I?

Flexible Raids:

Flexible raids are what normal mode raiding should have been from the get go.  A type of raid where a group of friends spanning from the skilled player, to the semi skilled player, to the average player, to the under skilled player could get together and down some bosses with not much opposition if they are willing to put in a little bit of time to learn the fight.

Adding to that the fact that you could assemble your group with friends from other servers and that it was not just content that you could randomly queue up for meaning you could pick and choose your groups made for an old timey feel in a much better way with a higher chance of success.

Flexible raids had bought back the feeling of the ending days of wrath where there were pugs going 24/7 but now on a much larger scale.  Sure there are still a lot of failures, there are a lot of bad groups with obnoxious players, but you have more control and could leave, or remove them if it was your group. 

With the larger, much larger, pool of players to choose from instead of just those from your server, it gave you options for alts, or mains if this was the only way you had a chance to raid, to get into some raids, have some fun, kill some internet dragons, and maybe collect some loot all while possibly making a few friends.

I know my guild has recruited people from other realms after grabbing a few people and dragging them into our flex runs.  They server transferred to our server shortly after so they could run normals with us.

And there is another beauty of the flexible runs.  It gave guilds the perfect place to test out new players or trials without having to tell one of your mains you need them to sit out for the night to test someone.  Someone could earn their spot in the flex runs.

You could run with 12 or 15 or 18, or anything between 10 and 25 that you wanted.  It meant no more waiting for people to log on for your 25 man.  If there are 19 on at start time, go in with 19, if 3 more log on at the last minute when you are walking up to boss one, add them and do it with 22 and then add people as they come and maybe you will have a full 25 by the time you get to boss 4.  No longer will that one guy who just got a call that his daughter to pick her up have to say he is sorry because he has to leave, because it will not stop you from raiding, and lets face it, never be sorry if real life pops up.  But now it does not effect other people adversely.

It also gives you the chance to test out some strategy in a slightly easier version, to practice a different spec, to gear up an alt, to play a class you never played before, to bring that one guy that always wants to come but you would never consider bringing on a normal run even if everyone in the guild likes him because he really is a great guy but a horrible player.

Flex just opened up so many doors all while closing none, which often happens when doors are opened, but not with this addition.  Flex could very well be the favorite addition for a lot of people, and it would be hard to see any reason why it couldn't be.

One hit wonders:  These following additions we do not know if we will ever see again, but they are additions to mists and as such can be your favorite mists additions.  I would also like to ask, do you think we should see more of these additions or should they remain one hit wonders?

Black Market Auction House:

The black market auction house gave the ability to those with lots of gold in game to buy items they might not be able to get other wise.  Like mounts that were removed from the game or old tier gear that is no longer attainable or heroic gear for the non heroic raider that spends their time making gold.

There is also the downside that this is not only an addition to the game for those that have lots of gold in the game but lots of cash in real life to buy the gold in the game from our friendly neighborhood gold farmers.

There are a lot of opinions on this one, good and bad, but it is easy to see how someone could consider this the best addition to mists like someone in my guild that has managed to snag four hard to get mounts and two removed from the game mounts from unmarked containers thus far all for under 30K each.  I am sure she might consider this the best addition to the game.  Do you think we should see more of this in next expansion and each one to follow?

Valor Upgrades:

For all we know valor might not even be in the game next expansion.  But for this expansion valor upgrades were added for non raid patches as a way to keep getting upgrade.  Do not be fooled either, upgrading a full set of 553 items to a full set of 561 item is a considerable upgrade in your characters potential.

So even if we do not know if the feature will make it to the next expansion, we do know it has had an impact on how we play this expansion and was a huge addition to the gearing up processes for so many, even those that did not raid.  Do you think we should see more of this in the next expansion and each one to follow?

Brawlers Guild:

I was torn on where to put this one, in the pure additions section or the one hit wonders section, but being we do not know if they will be adding new bosses during the next expansion or not, for now I will leave it here.  If you were to ask me I would guess they will add more to it because it would not be difficult to do so and it is not tied to mists in any way, shape or form as it takes place in each factions main city.  So I am going to go with we will see more of this.

As my brawler title and my spiffy mushan mount will tell you I have enjoyed some time at the brawlers guild.  While I did hate how when it was released we had three hour wait times to never even get into a fight, now that it has been out for quite a while and there are usually no more than 10 people there at a time, it has become a nice little feature to waste a little time and kill stuff and I do so like to kill stuff.

This addition to mists is not really just about the addition of the brawlers guild but the addition of solo content that can be challenging.  Any thing that might come in the future that would allow you to face a challenge on your own, as it if were a solo dungeon or solo raid, it would owe its existence to the brawlers guild and its addition in mists.  Do you think we should see more of this in the next expansion and each one to follow?

Proving Grounds:

Using a bit of the scaling tech from challenge modes and the challenging solo encounter design that also exists in the brawlers guild comes the proving grounds.  But unlike challenge modes you do this one alone, and unlike the brawlers guild there is no over gearing this one. The challenge is for you alone to do it in a set level of gear.

For many like myself we got our golds and never returned but for some that like to see how far they can go there is an endless mode.  Be it for bragging rights or for the personal challenge you can keep going until you can't go any more and then start over again and see if you can get further next time.

For some people that like extreme solo challenges it does not get better than this.  The fact you can not add gear to it to get further the only thing you can add to it is time and skill.  By learning the round and how you need to handle each and every one of them you can press forward until it gets to the point it is just not possible to go further.  That is the challenge because each wall you hit, each time you say I do not think I can make it further, you can press and press and press until you do.

The reason I put this in the mists only portion is because while they did say they would consider adding more proving grounds, in the end each one will be the same.  You against a set item level based challenge.  So even if they add more, it will be more of the same.  So even if the proving grounds follows us to new expansion with more places to prove ourselves, at different levels meaning different skills available, it was added it mists and each new phase of it is just a different setting of what mists added.  For those people that topped the ranks or those people that loved the solo item level locked challenge, this might be their favorite addition.

When it comes down to it, mists offered more additions to the game than any expansion before it and it is hard to think any expansion after it could add as much as mists did.  I did not even list them all, I know there have to be some I forgot when I first thought of it.  Maybe one of the additions I did not mention is your favorite addition to mists or maybe it is one of the ones I mentioned.

For my vote, it is a tie. 

I can not make a decision between pet battles and flexible raiding.  Even if I do not pet battle any longer, or do so very rarely, having once been top 100 in the world with it and really enjoying it when I did, knowing that I can always go back to it with no pressure, like you might find in raiding, because there is no such thing as end game for pet battles makes me still love it.  I'd probably lean toward flex on this one however, but I would still like to see how that works out long term.

What is your favorite addition in mists?

And as a bonus question, what is the best addition in mists?

They can be two different things, like I said, even if I am leaning toward flex as my favorite addition to mists, pet battles is the best addition in mists in my opinion.  It was so well done I can't see anything else even coming close to it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Would You Welcome Another Legendary Quest Line?

Having completed the legendary quest line as it came out and now that it has been streamlined so it is faster and having done it on multiple characters encompassing all roles be it melee, ranged, healer and soon tank as well as, of course, multiple hunters, it makes me wonder how others feel about the quest line.

I can see how some people hate it and some people love it.  I even feel a little of both myself about it.  Some of my hate comes from the time when I went 6 straight weeks without getting a runestone before they changed it to guarantee at least one a week and some of that love is because I was able to get it on alts I have not really raided with in this expansion so they are ready to raid if and when the time comes.

I am sure all people will think of it differently but in my mind I believe if you want to raid, at least raid as part of a regular raid team, the legendary is mandatory.  Even more so for a damage dealer.  Is it needed?  That would depend on who you ask.  I could easily kill garrosh without it, at least on normal, but I would do so while preforming much better with it.  That is not up for debate.  Putting out more numbers as a damage dealer is always good.

The issue is with the word mandatory.  It has been thrown around a lot this expansion and while the fact might hold true that nothing in actually mandatory it is the person playing and how they feel that makes it so.  So even if something is not really mandatory if someone feels it is, for them, then it is mandatory.

When I get a new character leveled that I intend to play often and get into raids I make an effort to at least start work on the cloak.  Even if it is only in a part time sort of way.

I like the model, I like that they made a nice catch up mechanic.  Lets face it, if the quest items still only dropped from the bosses they were intended to drop from and it still took 6 weeks to collect 6000 valor instead of 3 weeks to collect 3000 valor I most likely would have never gotten it on any character other than my main.  That long trip is fine when you are doing it as it comes out, but when you have to go back for it, that is another story all together.

Even if some like to call it a welfare legendary, the ignorant ones at least, getting it takes a lot of time and effort as well as enduring what is probably the worst part of the game.  Random raid content.  It could make a nun curse like a truck driver, that is how bad it is.  If ever there was something that took a lot of work to get, it is the legendary and therefore it is not welfare, not in the slightest.

However, even if I do believe it was a lot of work I can understand what the people that call it a welfare legendary mean even if I do not agree with the terminology used.

Having just completed the quest line again, with its faster catch up mechanics on a new 90 makes me feel as if it was a lack luster experience.  Just like anything else in game, it always feels better to do it when it is new, when it is current, when it requires more time, more work and some might even say more skill.  Lets face it, doing the solo scenarios was surely harder with a 510 item level than it was with a 540 item level right?

I liked the quest line but I am not exactly sure if I liked the catch up mechanics.  Just like when the expansion began.  I did not mind doing all those dailies because I was going to do them anyway on my main because I like getting everyone to exalted.  When it came to alts however, it felt mandatory.  Yes, there is that word again.  Any thing you do that you want to do feels fine, any thing you do because you feel you have to do it does not feel fine.

That is my one issue with the legendary quest line.  For me at least, a character does not feel complete without it.  As I always say, if there is something within my reach that I can get alone I should get it to be raid ready and that is why I feel that I should have the legendary on my alts that I intend to use in a raid setting, sooner or later.

But I am torn.  Like I said, the quest line was exciting and felt good but when doing it on alts it lost a little bit of its punch because killing the solo scenarios with a much higher item level loses something.

Would I welcome another legendary quest line?  Yes, I believe I would.

Do I think that there is a lot blizzard could learn from this one?  Absolutely.

They can learn that the community will make something like this mandatory.  Like all the guilds recruiting on my server.  They ask that anyone that wants to join their raid team have the legendary cloak.  Many guilds, talking ones that are not even half way through normal yet, will not even entertain someone joining without the cloak.

And lets not forget pugs.  When pugs for flex runs require a legendary you know it is mandatory for many even if people try to shy away from the word and blizzard and their defenders will be glad to tell you over and over that nothing in mandatory.  If you are a player and you want to play, guess what, for many things it is.

Blizzard can really learn something from that.  The legendary for all is nice, it gives every one that is willing to put in the time, work and effort the ability to get it.  But when it is as powerful as it is, more so for damage dealers, it becomes mandatory.  I went from doing 200-220 on my newest alt to doing 260-280 just by getting the cape.  With a boost that huge I do not care what anyone says, it is mandatory.  Blizzard can learn from that.  If you make something too good it becomes mandatory.

Then there is the whole process of getting the cloak and the changes made as time went on.  I am sure there is something to be learned for there as well.  But honestly, I don't know what it is.  I lean both ways on this one.  Sorry for not being able to take a side but I believe both sides hold merit.  So what can blizzard learn from it?  Maybe you know.

There are two schools of thought here.  Keep the legendary quest line as it should be, do not add catch up mechanics.  Do not increase drop rates.  Do not make it faster.  Do not let quest items drop from additional places.  Let everyone have the same experience with the quest line even if that includes going 6 weeks without getting a runestone and waiting 6 weeks while you collect valor.

And then there is the other school of thought, the alt school of thought.  I've already done this and I should not need to do this all again.  If you have the legendary on one character you should be allowed to buy it on all of them.

One way might over value the legendary as it would increase the time investment needed to get it and make people that are late comers or people that switched mains have a much harder time playing catch up and the other way would almost completely devalue the effort of getting it if you only needed to go through the motions on one character to get it on all.

So maybe blizzard did find the right mix, with just a speed up system.  Perhaps when I make my post about my recent journey from 90 to legendary where I recorded every boss, every drop, from the moment I hit 90 until I collected my legendary cloak it will bring it into a little more perspective how fast it is to get the cloak now.  In the end however, it took me less time from 90 to legendary on my newest character than it took me to collect runestones on my main.  Perhaps that is where people get their welfare mentality, even if that is the wrong word to use.  It does suck to see someone (even if it is myself) getting everything done faster than it took you to do one small part of a huge and life suckingly long  quest line.

Being I play a hunter main and the idea of hunters getting a legendary again in the old style is all but impossible because the game likes to add legendary weapons that can be used by multiple classes and only hunters use ranged weapons so we will never see a legendary again if it were not for the legendary for all design.  It is why I welcome the legendary for all mentality.  I would not have a new legendary without a legendary for all design.  Of course as a hunter I like it.  It's hunter loot.

But would you welcome another legendary quest line?  And do you think there should be a system like now with a faster catch up or keep it the same throughout the expansion, or make it faster for alts?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

One Hunters Worries About the Ability Bloat Issue

I seriously doubt I am the only hunter out there that has some worries about how blizzard is going to handle the ability bloat issue.  And it is not just a hunter issue, it is an all class issue.  But of course I have a special interest in the hunter angle of it.  Not only because my main character is a hunter but because hunters are the poster boys and girls for the ability bloat issue.

Having played all classes I can say with absolute certainty that no other class of no other spec has had to deal with the ability bloat issues that hunters have had to deal with.  Ability bloat might, just might, mean something entirely different to them however.  For hunters it does not mean we have too many buttons.  Not at all.  It means our abilities all seem the same, at least the damage dealing ones.  That is why it seems like bloat.  Why have three different abilties that all hit for roughly the same thing?  Three abilties that hit for the same amount is bloat.  You could easily just have one ability you hit three times instead of having to hit three different ones.  That is what hunter bloat is about.

And that is where this one hunter is worried about the ability bloat issue because it seems blizzard is more concerned about the number of buttons we have and not as concerned about what those buttons actually do.

Back in the mists beta blizzard decided that it was time to trim down some of the bloat, before bloat was even an issue, and if we can learn anything from recent history it is that blizzard does not understand where the issue of bloat is with hunters based on what they removed and tried to remove.

They attempted to remove abilities like eyes of the beast, immolation trap and concussive shot.  As it turns out eyes of the beast was lost and has been greatly missed by some hunters.  Immolation trap is gone and few if any hunters even notice its absence.  And concussive shot faced a great amount of pressure from the community to not see it removed. 

Many players, myself included as I believe I was first to post about it when I found it on the beta, fought against its removal.  I even made a post as a heartfelt goodbye to one of the true signatures of being a hunter, the concussive shot.  As I said then I will say again, the expression "if you can kite it, you can kill it" only holds true because of concussive shot and kiting is a signature of being a hunter because any good hunter should be able to do it. 

As it turned out I was not the only one to feel that way and in the weeks that followed my post was linked around and other hunters put pressure where it was needed and low and behold concussive shot was added back in.  But not after blizzard tried to keep it gone, gone for good, by making it a glyph that turned arcane shot into concussive as well.  It just would not be the same and the hunter community, this great hunter community, would not and could not stand for it.  With enough pressure blizzard finally realized that they were wrong and in a later beta patch they added concussive shot back to the great joy of many, myself included.

This was all blizzards attempt to deal with ability bloat before it actually became an issue.  They might be a little slow sometimes and somewhat off base, but it seemed someone there at the offices noticed there were just too many buttons floating around, more so for hunters.

The problem was that they were focusing on removing the wrong abilities.  Them addressing the ability bloat issue again means there is a great chance that they will once again focus on removing the wrong abilities.

While eyes of the beast was an extra button, it was not part of ability bloat.  Lets face it, how often did you use it during a fight?  How about never.  Maybe you used it to pull back in the day but the times of using it in BRD to do some pulls many many years ago no one had used it for that in a ages.  It was just a fun thing to do once in a while and it was not really what anyone would call ability bloat.  Yet for some unexplained reason blizzard thought it was a bloat issue and removed it.

Immolate trap could have very well been considered ability bloat.  It was a damaging ability and as such it could very easily be considered something, by some players, that they needed to use.  In the end however it was one of those things you rarely used outside of setting it in place during the pull or during a moment of down time when there was nothing else you could do because it was not a DPS increase to have it as part of your rotation.  Because of its useful only during downtime purpose it is one of those abilities that did not see many, or any, hunters fighting its removal.

Concussive shot, as I mentioned, was a staple of the hunter tool kit.  The community fought for it and blizzard realized that it is something that should not be removed or turned into a glyph.  Chalk one up for the good guys.

But seeing what was targeted during the mists beta leaves me worried about what could be targeted during the warlords beta.  Will blizzard once again go after abilities that are not part of the problem like they did with eyes of the beast, immolate trap and concussive shot?

There are a few abilities I can see being put on the block right off the bat that I would not really like to see go.

Snake Trap:  Lets face it, with the exception of a short time during the mists beta where snake trap was a huge DPS increase to use it has been a mostly useless trap.  Used more for PvP to get people to accidentally target a snake when they tab, maybe, more than for their damage, snake trap like immolate before it only filled the role of a trap a hunter would throw when there was down time.  However, it has some uses, even if most hunters would not even notice it.  I don't think, check that, I know, I would have never been able to solo bloodlord mandokir without it when I first did.

See, that is the perfect ability to fit into the tool kit.  An ability that has occasional and rare uses but it is not part of the standard rotation.  It is not part of the bloat problem. While you can argue that its extremely limited use means it can be removed I can also argue that because of its extremely limited use it is not part of the problem and should be left alone.

Scare Beast:  With the exception of the occasional druid in PvP that I surprise by casting a fear on them and get them wondering how the hell a hunter feared them the uses for scare beast are few and far between.  I can only recall one use I have had for it over the past 3 or so years and that was at the beginning of cataclysm.  Before the nerfs that changed beauty to only have two pups on heroic and cc no longer pulling that fight could be brutal on a group that did not have cc.  In one run I was in someone said, "hunter, cc the dogs".  I said okay and trapped one, wyvern stun another and cast scare beast on the third one only too hear someone in the group say, "you've got to be kidding me".  Outside of the humor factor of it I doubt there were many hunters in the game that would have ever even thought of doing what I did.  Scare beast is not exactly on the hunter priority list and I would not be surprised of 50% or more even knew about it.

That too falls into the category of a great tool kit ability.  It is something we will rarely, very rarely, use but it has its purpose even if we do not have many places we can use it.  So as I said before while you can argue that its extremely limited use means it can be removed I can also argue that because of its extremely limited use it is not part of the problem and should be left alone.

Distraction Shot:  Any hunter that has ever soloed, raided, or just flat out played and used his/her brain once in a while has found a use for this ability.  Blizzard might just look at it as why would a hunter need a taunt, they are not a tank.  I disagree.  Even if this is one of those abilities I keep bound in my PvE set, unlike snake trap and scare beast, it is not exactly like it is something I use often.  But I do have a use for it.

This is one of those abilities that has a lot of uses, it really does, and maybe because of that blizzard might consider it part of the ability bloat issue just like they did with concussive shot but it is not a part of the problem.  Just because I waste a key bind on it doesn't mean it is part of the bloat issue. It is just a rarely used utility in the hunter toolkit and should not be taken away.

Master's Call: This is one of those abilities that I believe every single hunter should have bound and if they are like me have a macro for it to cast it on your mouse over.  I have had various fights this very expansion where I found a use for this ability either it be on myself or on others.  So being I might, or could, use it in as many as 10% of the fights it might be considered something that is part of the bloat.  Part of those abilties I need to use during a fight.  It is not, it is utility.  I could wait for a healer to dispel me instead of removing a slow or root myself.  But why add the pressure on them to handle something I can handle myself.

This is an extremely useful ability and I fear, like concussive the beta before it, that this ability might be on the chopping block during the warlords beta because blizzard seems to love to cut out anything that they think might be part of the problem and if they see hunters using this occasionally, might as well remove it, so it is one less ability they need to use occasionally.  No thank you, the time we use it, we need it, it is part of our tool kit, leave it be.

Those are just a few examples of things that could very well be targeted by blizzard.  Those are things that should not be removed.  And even more importantly, those are things that are not part of the ability bloat issue.

Blizzard just does not understand the ability bloat issue, at least not as far as it pertains to hunters.  We like our tool kit.  We do not mind having 60 buttons we might use once each raid tier, or even once each expansion, outside of PvP that is.  What we have an issue with are the rotational buttons, the ones we need to use each and every single fight, or at least most of them.

Not saying the hunter rotation is hard.  It is not really what anyone would call close to feral druid advanced rotation hard, but what is?  If a hunter is always hitting something they will do okay.

Let me repeat that for emphasis, if a hunter is always hitting something they will do okay.

That is where the problem is.  The fact it feels as if we have 30 buttons we need to hit is not the problem, because it just feels like that, there really aren't 30 buttons to hit.  The fact that all the abilties seem to hit for the same amount.  That is the problem.

When you can just spam buttons hitting anything that is available and do okay you know there is a problem.  The problem is not ability bloat, the problem is ability balance.  Hitting the right buttons in the right order at the right time does not seem to be a large enough boost to see a marked difference between someone that just hits anything.

Sure, it would be nice if we had a rotation like rogues or elemental shaman or shadow priests where we have very few buttons and very few mistakes we could make with them but when we hit them in the right order at the right time we can see a marked increase over just hitting them in any order.

Blizzard scares me talking about ability bloat, it makes me think what abilties do I love having as a hunter that they might take away in the name of bloat.  I don't want anything taken away, nothing needs to be taken away.  The rotation just needs to be redesigned to matter once more.

In the end, this is one hunters worrying, it is me worrying we will end up losing a bunch of buttons, ones we might use only once a year, but things we like to have, and we will be left in the same place we are now, with a rotation that does not reward execution as well as it should when that is where the bloat problem is, not in our utility.  I just hope blizzard realizes that masters call is not the problem, the damaging abilities are.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Random Thoughts

- Another monday so you know what time it is.

- Time to complain about the LFR.

- It almost seems like a habit.

- I would think that says something about the LFR.

- My new hunter should, unless he is extremely unlucky, finish collecting runestones this week.

- My monk, who was tied with him in stones last week only managed to get 2 this week.

- And that is what I want to complain about, not the people in the LFR like usual.

- Once my monk finishes it I will have done the ranged quest line, the melee quest line, the healer quest line and the tank quest line.

- It is exactly what I wanted to do, I wanted to do all of them.

- I wonder how many poeple can say they have all the cloaks, and I don't mean just "bought" them all but actually did them all on different characters.

- Did one on a ranged character, one on a melee character, one on a healer and one on a tank.

- Would be an interesting stat to see.

- So to my poor monks bad LFR luck this week.

- I logged on to my monk and queued up for the last 2 ToT and the first 2 SoO.

- SoO 1 pops, last boss.

- SoO 2 pops, second to last boss.

- ToT 3 pops, last boss.

- ToT 4 pops, last boss.

- You know, if I were just looking for valor that would have been awesome.

- Being I was looking for runestones, that means I have to start them all over again.

- I don't need any gear from them.

- I don't need the valor from them.

- I just need to kill those bosses.

- So while I "could" queue up again it is a complete waste of my time to do that.

- As it is an alt I have not been using a lot I really do not mind.

- But the idea is when I want a full run it loves to give me partial runs.

- But when I want a quick run it seems to always give me a fresh run.

- There needs to be an option or two added where you can put which you would rather.

- A check box for "I am willing to wait for a full run."

- A check box for "I am willing to take a partial run."

- Not checking either means you will take anything that comes.

- I actually think I have the ultimate solution for the partial runs.

- One that would not mean queuing up again and being forced to wait again.

- If you come in on a later boss, when you finish the run, you get any loot from the bosses you missed, even if it is just gold, and are allow to coin from those previous bosses as well.

- So joining an already in progress group does not feel like a penalty that makes you have to wait all over again, but a bonus for helping them finish because you still get loot (or gold) from all bosses.

- This would be the best solution in my mind.

- I want to tell a tale of bad queuing.

- Lets say you are just trying one LFR for an item and only want the last boss.

- Lets pretend you are hunter looking for the tier helm that never seems to drop from thok in flex or normal for you.

- I've been there so this story holds true, for me at least.

- You queue up for SoO 3 and get into a fresh run.

- After one hour and 24 minutes that is.

- You wipe 5 times on the first boss, which is amazing being it is probably the easiest boss in the entire raid.

- You get to the next boss and sit and wait for 45 minutes while they try to get some other tanks.

- Then you wait another 10 minutes while they work on making groups.

- Then you wipe less than 30 seconds after the fight starts because they put all the healers on the same side.

- Over all you spend another hour and a half on this fight while waiting for tanks, assembling groups, or wiping.

- Then you get to boss three and see your raid starts in 20 minutes because you have been trying to get this damn thing done for almost 5 hours.

- Please god let them get lucky and one shot this.

- They don't.

- You have to drop for your raid.

- Day two you queue up and get in on the first boss again.

- After another hour and a half waiting that is.

- Why can't you get in on the last boss this time being it is the only one you need.

- You had 4 hours before raid time, so you figured you would get it done today.

- This group can not be as bad as the one from yesterday.

- You are wrong.

- When raid time approaches, you still have not downed spoils.

- You drop group.

- Attempt 3, nearly 2 hour wait this time, it gets worse as the week goes on.

- You get a fresh run again.

- Hello, last boss please, I've already done this guy twice.

- After hours spent in there, hundreds spent in gold, you are forced to drop once again.

- Day 4, first boss again, two hours and ten minutes in queue this time.

- Fuck my life.

- You never make it past spoils again.

- Day 5, have to love weekend groups right?

- At least you got in faster, only an hour and ten minutes spent waiting this time.

- First boss, you begin to cry.

- You one shot first boss.

- OMG a weekend group and you one shot a boss a reset group could not.

- Usually groups right after reset are the best ones, maybe today is your lucky day.

- Spoils still takes a year and a day just to assemble groups for each side after each wipe.

- And there are plenty of wipes.

- A surprising amount of wipes.

- Each one taking lots and lots of time between them to get more tanks and work on grouping.

- When you finally down it you see a light at the end of the tunnel.

- It is the weekend, you have all the time in the world, now you just need to kill a dino and collect your helm token, you earned it more than anyone has ever earned anything in this game with what you have had to put up with.

- You wipe and wipe and wipe on thok.

- You just want him to die to use that shiny coin that has been burning a hole in your pocket.

- You want that four piece set.

- When it finally dies, approaching nearly 5 hours from queue to kill, you get gold.

- You roll the coin and wish for the best only to get another 18 gold.

- And there my friends is everything that is wrong with the LFR in one story.

- Bad groups.

- Bad people with bad attitudes.

- Wasted time.

- Queue times.

- Feelings of being let down after going through all that difficulty.

- Dealing with assholes, half wits, and people that have no business being there.

- Oh, and did I mention the nearly 24 hours, one full damn day, it took to complete one wing of the LFR?

- And this is supposed to be for the people that do not have time to raid?

- Who the fuck does blizzard think they are kidding.

- I have never in my entire life spent 24 hours raiding in an entire week even when I was raiding in 4 different raid groups and 2 different servers over the course of 7 days a week.

- This was one freaking wing of the LFR.

- So I started to gear up my paladin, being it was my only current 90 under item level 500.

- Got it up to 505, not having much luck with burdens on the island.

- The one I did have I used one a helm.

- It had one stat on it.

- Ever have that feeling like someone just kicked your dog?

- Yeah, that is what using the only burden your character has ever had on a piece and it having one stat.

- One bad stat too.

- No luck with celestial bosses each week either.

- I have not done ordos with it because I won't join a group.

- I am embarrassed by the item level, I'd rather just hit from outside.

- And ordos groups on my server are few and far between after tuesday.

- And as a low down the line alt it never seems to make its way up there on a tuesday.

- I should just go ret and do crappy DPS.

- Better than being a crappy geared tank.

- Funny part is my crappy geared tank, ungemmed and unenchanted had more life that most tanks I see in the LFR.

- I need a weapon, a shield, and some trinkets.

- I made a timeless trinket, purchased the shield and weapon off the timeless vendor this week, but still those are crappy and I could use a second trinket better than 437.

- Do you know how much work it was to save up enough for the timeless weapon and shield?

- On a paladin, in tank spec, with crappy gear?

- It took me what seemed like years to kill anything with my huge 22K DPS.

- At least I was rarely in danger of dying.

- It just took forever to kill stuff.

- Playing a little here and a little there, I finally got enough to get those things.

- Only because I refuse to spend 28K for a 502 weapon on the auction house.

- 502 people, try 6K and you would have had a sale.

- A friend said I should buy the shado pan trinket.

- I said, I refuse to spend full valor for a 489 trinket.

- He said, they reduced valor.

- Nope, only on shado-pan assault ones.

- He said, buy the shado-pan assault one.

- You need rep to buy that and even if blizzard loves to say there are choices this expansion there are none because I need to raid ToT to get that rep.

- He said, so tank ToT 1, with my skill even in crappy gear I would be better than 90% of the tanks in LFR.

- I said, you have a better chance of winning the lottery without buying a ticket than me tanking the LFR.

- Hey, at least the timeless weapon and shield are being upgraded to 489 soon, hopefully.

- Retroactively too.

- Which for those that do not understand what that means, it means if you already own it when they make the change it is upgraded automatically, you do not need to buy another one.

- That is the item level they should have been to start off with.

- Got to love blizzard and how fast they are to fix these things.

- It is only been how many months?

- They should have changed it week 1 once people complained about it.

- But no, they had more important thing to worry about, like selling us level 90s, instead of fixing their game.

- They are also changing the drops from the celestial bosses to drop 540 and 550 PvP gear.

- Oh joy, more people getting gear to get into the LFRs and flex runs that have no business being there.

- The PvP gear makes for a nice catch up mechanic for people that know how to play and I love it, don't get me wrong.

- But it also puts it in the hands of people that do not know how to play.

- So every good thing has a bad side.

- Soon you will be seeing people asking for 560+ for flex one, to try and weed out people that are in all 540 and 550 celestial gear.

- Sure, they might be able to play, but they might not, so better to weed them out completely most say.

- Sometimes I can't help but agree even if I think 560+ for flex one would be ridiculous.

- 510 with people that know how to play and you would have no problem at all, for flex one or two.

- PvP gear should not be better gear than you get in flex.

- People can just skip flex now too, item level wise.

- Not the brightest of moves blizzard, but I've learned to expect nothing less than doing the wrong things from you.

- As I love to say, give blizzard two options and you can be certain they will usually choose the wrong one.

- Tried to level one of my DKs this weekend.

- Did not go well.

- Picked up a few quests in zangermarsh and went to go do them.

- There was a level ?? camping the spawn point of the one water strider I needed to kill.

- He was killing it over and over the second it spawned.

- There is no doubt he was doing this to grief players trying to quest.

- I sometimes wonder how exactly some people find this fun.

- So that one is not going to happen.

- I passed by that one escort quest, figure it is always a good one to do, I get that quest done and kill the mobs while moving along that I need to kill for another quest anyway.

- I love killing two birds with one stone.

- Someone is already doing it and it seems there is a line of people hanging out there waiting for their turn.

- So that one is not going to happen.

- Go to kill the one big guy up at the top of the hut, because I know he is the one that will take time to respawn, before I go to kill the rest I need.

- If I can get him, I will do the rest of the quest mob kills but if I can not get him I am not going to waste my time killing the others when I won't be able to turn in the quest without him.

- There are 8 people standing there waiting for him.

- So that one is not going to happen.

- Screw this.

- I flew back and logged out, no leveling my DK for me today.

- CRZ was the absolute worst addition to the game ever.

- There is something I have not been my grumpy self about lately.

- When they added that piece of crap addition to the game the least they could have done is upped the spawn rate on things.

- BC zones are the worst, the absolute worst, and most serious offenders of this problem.

- Expect blizzard to handle this in their usual quick way to keep players happy.

- So in roughly 3 years the spawn rate will be increased to a more appropriate level to accommodate CRZ.

- I decided to pop on to a rogue on one server, after noticing a lot of my characters have lock boxes that need opening, so I need to level him up so I can open them.

- Don't know why but ever since worgen were added to the game I can not make a rogue that is not a male worgen.

- Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?

- That is all I can think about when I play him.

- I was 26 and ready to go to stranglethorn.

- How I LOVE the nessingwary quest lines on a skinner.

- I leveled until rested wore out at 29 and managed to gather enough leather to catch up my leather working almost to where it should be.

- As far behind as I was, that is quite an accomplishment.

- I then decided to pop around on that server and see what else I could do, profession wise.

- Worked on my DKs enchanting, 70 on that server.

- Maxed out my priest on that server, 35, in both tailoring and enchanting.

- Managed to have so much extra linen cloth to get all the others characters on that server at least up to 50 in first aid, so there is another quest they can do at darkmoon each month.

- Bought my monk to their daily quest again and have the buff up to 12 hours now should I ever decide to play it again.

- I noticed, I have a hell of a lot of fun micro managing an army and sending materials back and forth so they can get all their professions up.

- I enjoy building things, and building a team capable of doing everything is kind of fun.

- I played my hunter on that server and got it to northrend now.

- It should pass my DK soon being it is 69 and the DK 70 and of course I enjoy playing the hunter more.

- I am going to lock that hunter at 80, for a short time anyway, to get the herald achievement.

- I have this odd feeling that the achievement will be gone next expansion, which means so will the title.

- No proof of that, but better off getting it now.

- So what do I think of the 90s being for sale when the next patch comes out?

- Not sure if it will be active next patch, but I hate it, and I like it.

- Yes, I can take both sides of the argument, because there are solid points from both sides.

- One reason I hate it is I would be tempted to use it being I do have some disposable cash.

- I love leveling, but I do use what I can to make it faster sometimes.

- So adding that, if I am tempted to buy it, basically removes the part of the game I like the most, the quiet relaxing questing to level part.

- The building a character part.

- The actual feeling of advancing part.

- Instead of the end game where you bang your head against the wall all day every day trying to get little upgrades that never seem to drop.

- Or spending over 20 hours to finish one LFR.

- Or killing the same boss each week on flex and normal for months on end not seeing a drop.

- It is so much more satisfying to go ding from 38 to 39 because you can see our progress, feel your progress, know you are getting something done.

- Killing a boss 20 times and using a coin each time and still not getting a piece does not exactly feel like you are seeing your progress, feeling our progress, getting something done.

- It feels like you are wasting your time, plus wasting the time it takes to get the coins.

- Leveling is so much more rewarding than end game.

- And offering a instant 90 means people get into the instant feeling of never moving forward that the end game offers.

- And I would be tempted to buy 90s and skip the best part of the game.

- I don't like that.

- I know, personal issue, have to have some self control, but trust me, I am not alone with that feeling, I assure you.

- However, I do like that if I wanted to the option is there.

- If my friend needs a healer on his server I can just buy one and get it up to snuff to help him out.

- But can you imagine the gold sellers with all those instant 90s?

- Can someone say profession whoring?

- Buy 11 characters on one server, buy max alchemy on all of them, make them all trasnmute masters, collect gold hand over fist at the beginning of an expansion.

- Yeah, that is another huge bad of it.

- I think there should be some restrictions to the instant level 90 characters.

- One, you need to have a character of the same class at level 90 before you can buy a level 90 of that class.

- Seems fair enough, and for someone like me, not restrictive at all, I have every class at 90.

- Two, you can only purchase one 90 every month.

- No person be buying the game and having all 11 classes at 90 15 seconds after they put it on their computer.

- Lets get real here blizzard, people fell in love with the game while leveling.

- Letting new people skip leveling means they get into the LFR before the fall in love with the game.

- And would any of us still be playing this game if the first experience we ever had with it was an LFR group?

- I know I would have not lasted one day if that was my first experience in game.

- It would be good for some players that quit that want to come back but don't really feel like leveling up and feel as if it would be too much work, as they might remember it taking a long time.

- It is good to maybe get some new players into the game because lets face it from the outside looking in 90 seems like a daunting task and soon 100 seems even worse.

- So even if there are some good things and I can understand them and even relate to them I think I would still lean toward the end of disliking it.

- If they wanted to sell stuff, micro transaction like, then sell experience potions.

- 100%, 200%, 500% experience.

- It would allow people to catch up faster without allowing them to skip everything.

- Selling catch ups is fine, selling skip everything is not.

- This is also a slap in the face to the player base that got screwed out of content because they wasted so many resources redesigning the old world for cataclysm.

- They wasted resources on something no one will ever see now?

- Yeah, sounds about right for blizzard.

- And I really feel strange calling anything blizzard offers as a micro transaction.

- There is nothing micro about the prices blizzard charges.

- And buying professions?

- Please blizzard do not tell me you are really thinking of selling professions.

- How much did the gold sellers pay you to add this to make their lives easier?

- Don't, just don't.

- There is no need for discussion, selling professions should not even be a consideration.

- If people really want professions I've got an idea for them.

- Level them.

- Wow, that was hard.

- How dare I suggest people do something that hard.

- I am a bad bad elf for suggesting that, I shall go to my corner now.

- Have a great day.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Is The Game Easier?

That question is a pretty loaded question that can cause a great deal of debate.  Is the game easier?  In the name of convenience and accessibility there have been a great many changes to the game over its nearly 10 years in existence.  Some might argue those changes have made the game easier while others might not.  If reading the forums are any indicator it would be easy to pick out what the posting masses believe and that is the game has been dumbed down.  I don't actually agree, even if in some sort of a way I do on some of the smaller points.

I recently decided to work on the legendary quest line on my druid a little bit.  When we finished the first tier of raiding I was 2 sigils away from moving on.  While I did tank a fair deal in ToT it did not drop sigils as it does now and being my druid is a tank and I would not tank the LFR even if you offered to pay me one hundred dollars for each one I tanked, my druid never moved forward.

So I decided I would go with a feral spec and use my bear gear to do it.  With bear enchants, bear reforges, bear gemming, and bear trinkets, which isn't as bad as it seems being I have some DPS trinkets even as bear.

I worked on the dummy for a while practicing my rotation before I went in and was doing what could be considered okay at best.  It was then, after trying to track all the stuff feral needed to track, I decided to go back to a one button marco I had played around with early on in the expansion.

I entered a flex run, as a tank, and managed to get my last two sigils.  So now it was off to either A, find a pug for ToES or B, head to the LFR with my one button kitty macro.

I was not in the mood to pug so I switched specs and went prancing around the timeless island clawing rares to death as a cat to get some practical experience in the world while I waited in queue so I could get the quest item I needed.  When I entered the raid I found myself as #1 on the first boss in damage done, #1 on the second boss in damage done, #2 on the third boss in damage done, and finally #1 on the last boss in damage done as I looted my quest item.

This story is not about my bear however and how a one button marco was capable of beating people in a lower tier LFR even if a few had gear better than mine.  It is about if the game has gotten easier.

Would me being able to do top damage with a one button macro with what is arguably the hardest rotation in the game be proof that the game has gotten easier?

I could very well see how someone could argue that and even be on solid footing to do so.  If someone can top the meters using one button for the hardest rotation in the game it is surely proof how easy the game is, right?

I came away from that experience thinking something different however.  It made me realize that the game is actually harder than it has ever been.  I could easily make a series of posts just on this one topic and the reasons I believe that but right now I just want to touch on some of the changes that people call the dumbing down of the game.

Was it difficult to carry around symbol of kings, or candles, or arcane powder?  Was it difficult to buff each character one at a time?  Was it difficult to take longer to level?  Was it hard to level your weapon skill?  No, no, no and no.  It just required remembering to pick up your regents, or took more time to buff each person one at a time, or prolonged the length of the game play for you to keep you in the lower levels longer, or made you find something you could beat on for hours on end waiting for that 1 skill point you needed.

Changing those things did not make the game easier.  It made it more convenient.  Yet I still see people argue about it on the forums all the time that changing things like those made the game easier.  I am sorry, but I do not see it.

I think back to my hunter way back when and all the things I needed to do when I first played and I did not even play when you needed to tame pets to teach your pets abilities, that was more work, much more work.  I did however play when you could chain drink potions, when your pet had happiness, when you needed to level your pet, when you needed to carry ammo, when there was best in slot ammo, when you needed to carry food for your pet too so it would not leave you and later buff food specifically for your pet.

I complain about the lack of bag space now but back then it was really a hot commodity.  I really do not even know how I managed to have space with those smaller bags and all the crap I needed to carry around.  I guess I just had fewer toys back then.

I would have almost a full bag of the best arrows I could find, usually had a few slots filled with cheap arrows for when I was questing, before I started to make decent gold so I just used the good ones all the time to save bag space.  I always had a few slots filled with bullets too just in case I had won a gun while on a raid that was an upgrade so I could switch instantly.  Lets not even talk about all that time I spent leveling my gun skill with a crap gun just so I could use it if I got it.  Or the fact I had to go all around the world to even learn the skill to use a gun.  I still remember it taking my hours, literally hours, to figure out where I could train the gun skill.  I had to carry food for me, food for my pet, flasks and more potions than you could shake a stick at because I could, and would, chain chug them sometimes.  Bag space was at an amazing premium.

When ammo was removed, when feeding pets was removed, when chain drinking potions was removed, when having pet buff food was removed, when all these things were removed, all it did was save me a butt load of bag space.  It did not make the game any easier for me.  It just made it more continent for me and more accessible for new players just starting.

The fact I needed to carry all that stuff did not make me a better hunter, it did not make the game harder, it was just filler, it was time wasting, it was bag wasting, and while it did add a great deal of immersion to the game, none of that made me a better hunter, not even close.

We might often joke that you could tell who was a good hunter, he is the one that did not run out of ammo in the middle of the raid.  It was a joke, it didn't actually mean he was a better hunter.  It just meant he had more ammo on him.

One quality of life change, and only one I can think of at the moment, could be argued as dumbing down of the game for hunters.  That is the swing timer and our need to monitor it if we did not want to clip our auto shots.  That was a quality of life change that did in fact make the game easier.  Some could argue being able to shoot on the move as a step in the easier direction and they might have a point.  Stutter stepping was a skill, one I practiced a lot just to get good at it, but I believe the change was not to make it easier on hunters, it was just a design change for the class as a whole because they wanted a mobile ranged class.

Did it really take skill for a paladin to have to buff everyone every five minutes?  No, it was just busy work.  Did it really take skill for a paladin to have to know which classes got which one of the buffs?  Maybe you can argue it took some memory skills but it really was not difficult.  Making it so everyone got the same buff, and the buff lasted longer, and one buff buffed everyone made a mundane task simple, it does not make it easy, even if some will argue that.  It just made it less annoying.

Now lets touch on leveling.  It is something I have argued was better off being slower and will continue to argue that it was something that was better for the game to be slower.  It gave a person more time with their character during the leveling process.  More time to get familiar with their abilities and to learn how each of their abilities worked and interacted with each other.  Was it harder, sometimes yes, with the elite quests and the dangerous world, sure, but was making it faster really making the game easier?  Not really.  It just switched the focus from a true MMO where the entire experience mattered to an end game MMO where only the end game mattered.  I will continue to argue that the leveling experience should be much longer but not because it makes the game harder, it just allows people to get to learn the character they are playing more intimately.  In the end, speeding up leveling was just another quality of life change even if I disagree with it.

For all those changes, the ones you can label as quality of life changes, it made the game more user friendly, faster, less grindy, but it did not really make the game easier.  It did not dumb down the game no matter how many forum posts are made by delusional people.

So lets get out of all those quality of life changes that made the game more assessable and convenient and get back to my bear masquerading as a cat and topping the charts with one button.  Surely a sign how easy the game is right?

Lets look at the fact before we jump to a conclusion like that.  I knew the fights having done them all over 100 times so far this expansion.  I've done them as a tank, as a healer, as a melee, as a ranged.  I knew all the mechanics because I had done them so often.  I knew where I needed to be, what I needed to do, what to avoid and how to do the fights.  That has to account for part of the reason I did so well with one button.

There is also the fact that while I did have a one button macro and call it using one button, it was not really only one button.  The core rotation was in that one button rotation.  I still used cooldowns like beserk and tigers fury on my own, it was not part of the marco.  So even if I call it one button it was not exactly one button.

I had also spent a great deal of time on the dummy playing around with feral both without the macro and with the macro.  I knew the rotation, I knew what buffs should be on me, what debuffs should be on the boss, and know to fix it if something went wrong with the macro needing me to reset it or hit some abilities manually to fill in some spots.  I could have done it without the macro, but I was just being lazy.  I was there for a quest item and not to practice being feral as I have no intention of being feral, so I took the easy way out.

Even if I was walking in there in the wrong spec with a one button macro, I was still walking in there better prepared than everyone there most likely, as well as more geared too, maybe, as I was sitting at 524 when I did so and 524 for ToES LFR is actually quite over leveled.

That is why when all was said and done I did not leave the raid after I looted my item thinking the game has been dumbed down being I can top the charts with one button, but that the game very well might be harder than it had ever been even at its easiest level of doing it in a raid setting because I topped the charts.

I read a blog where a vanilla raider was comparing raids and their mechanics and they said something I had heard so many times before.  Even the LFR is 100 times harder than anything they ever experienced in vanilla raiding.  Add in the lack of communication and you have created something that should not go down, ever, and it is a testament to the people that play this game and their skill level that they can do it, even with 10 stacks of determination.  He was saying players now, even the ones we call bad, are better than even the best raiders back in vanilla.

I would not go as far as he did but I understand that train of thought and I agree with it.  I've noticed it often while joining pugs now and getting to garrsoh with some flex groups.  For as simple of a fight as it is, mechanics wise, it is not very user friendly. 

Players need to be better, really that is what it comes down to.  Players need to be better than they had ever been before to get it done.  They need to be faster to respond to movement.  They need to be better at recognizing their surroundings and reacting to them.  They need to be better at target switching.  They need to be better to realize that they need to do other things like interrupt.  They need to put out more damage, target switching damage.  They need to be better at seeing where they are in reference to others.  They need to be able to split up and focus down adds (this is the part I see flex runs wipe on most tied with MCs).  They just need to be better players.  None of these mechanics are "hard" but they wipe groups over and over because people need to be better.

Not only that but they need to put out number so much closer to what I refer to as the good numbers, as in 80% or more of maximum potential, in a less than normal mode which is something they have never had to do before.

I am not exactly sure I can agree the game being easier.  Perhaps in some aspects it has become a little easier.  In targeted questions you could say it is easier, as it is easier to level, but that is more because they have abandoned the older content and are trying to push everyone to the newer content, and more importantly raiding. 

And that is where the misconception comes in.  In raiding.  If you have been raiding for 2 tiers, 4 tiers, 8 tiers, or more, you are in the position I am in.  Each time I see a new boss it is more of the same.  Doing things I have done 100s of times before with successes in other raids and most likely 1000s of times in wipes in other raids while I learned to deal with them.

Of course things seem easier, because when I go into a fight with 5 mechanics usually only one of them is new, the other 4 I have spent those 1000s of wipes learning them already.  Of course doing something I have done 1000s of times before is easy.  It sure as hell should be.

The game seems easier for the people that have been playing it longer because they have already learned what they needed to learn for the most part.  That is why it seems easier.  For a new player they are facing more obstacles in a raid the first time they step into one, and with LFR and the rush to max level that blizzard is pushing lots of new players are doing it for the first time.  There are more mechanics for them to deal with that we ever had to deal with when we first stepped into a raid.  It is harder for them.  It is also the reason I was able to top the charts with my druid and a one button rotation.  Not because I was doing well but because I was experienced.  Lets face it, it was one button, I stunk up the joint but my experience is why I did will, not the one button.

If I had to give my opinion I would have to say no, the game is not easier than it has ever been, it is harder than it has ever been.  It is also more accessible that it has ever been.  Add those two together, harder and more accessible and you now understand why there are so many bad players in the LFR.  Just because the game is easy for you or me because we have been playing it for years, do not make the mistake to think it is easy.  It really isn't when you look at the bigger picture.  At least in my opinion.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What If: Return of the Buckler

With a new expansion coming there will be new things added to the game.  Oddly enough more often than you would realize many of the new things added to the game are actually old things that were in the game before but were removed or changed into something else.

For example a warriors heroic leap was in the game but there were mechanic issues with it so it was removed.  Hunters original resource was focus but they could not make it work so they switched them to mana.  Things like that, things that were tested and removed but found their way back into the game.

What if some other things that were once in the game found their way back into the game.

The idea that has popped into my mind has to do with the buckler, but there are many other things that were removed that could some day return, perhaps when this what if article is done you could add a few removed things you would like to see returned, but I am going to think about adding the buckler back into the game.

Back in the original game hunters and rogues could use a buckler, which is like a shield.  It was removed from the game and any remaining bucklers in the game were relabeled as shields but both hunters and rogues were able to equip one.

Being there is no longer a ranged weapon slot the idea of a hunter using a buckler is really something we can not roll with.  That along with the fact hunters do not have a melee spec.  But rogues on the other hand use melee and melee weapons so them using a buckler is not exactly out of the question should they return.

What if the buckler returned and gave rogues an option to tank?

Unlike most tank classes that will, as the expansion goes on, eventually move up to the point where they can "cap" some defensive stats or become so high in them that it makes them in game super heroes.  Kind of like how I can solo the celestials on my druid now just for fun or when guild mates finish their legendary line and need to kill all four I will just go and pull with only me and them and not worry if others join in or not.  While I'll be the first to admit that is amazingly fun and exciting to do it really should not happen in a current content, even for something like the cesestials.  A rogue with a buckler can be the first class to reach true balance as a tank to the point they would not be able to do things like that.

The rogue could be left as is, no real need to even redesign the class what so ever.  Just add something to abilities that acts differently while a rogue has a buckler equip.  When a rogue keeps their poisons up, keeps their finishing moves rolling, keeps their buffs up, keeps their debuffs or DoTs rolling, they now also add something passively to the rogues defensive capabilities.

Lets say that with a buckler equip they automatically gain the ability all tanks need to not be able to get crit plus a base amount of dodge and parry.  No block however as bucklers are smaller and should not be able to take a full hit but block could work too I guess, if you feel that strongly about it.

Then when the rogue puts up a buff like slice and dice, while a buckler is equip, it would give 20% dodge and 20% parry.  Keeping it rolling would keep those numbers up.  While poisons are ticking on a target with a buckler equip they gain another 10% dodge and 10% parry.  Then from that point on their finishing moves offer short buffs.  Maybe an envenom with a buckler equip would give 2% dodge per combo point used for 6 seconds or a rupture with a buckler equip would give 2% parry per combo point used for 6 seconds.  Things like that.

It could be designed to work exactly as they intend it too.  If they want rogues to have a maximum of 60% dodge and 60% parry at any given point they could make it so.  If they decided that 60% was too much they could just adjust how things work.  Effectively they could set it up that rogues would have exactly what they want them to have and no more.  Unlike other tanks that get stronger as they get more gear a rogue tank will always be what it is with a buckler equip and excellence of execution.

Now this would not make for a rogue being a great main tank but it would make for a rogue being an exception off tank for those moments when one might be needed.  They could effectively fill a roll in the game there really is no class that can fill right now.  A part time tank and a full time damage dealer, all with the switching of an off hand weapon to a buckler.  While the plate classes can do it to some extent, they are all left at a disadvantage while playing off tank.  A rogue could be designed with the intention of being an off tank while wearing a buckler.  I think it would add something really exciting to the game.

The possibilities are there and all it would require is the buckler to make its way back into the game the same way heroic leap did and hunters using focus as a resource did.

What if something you liked that was removed came back?  What would you like to make a return, and what could you see it changing if it did return?

Remember, anything can come back.  Who would have every thought something as huge as a complete change to resources would come back but it did for a hunter so nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How do you Choose Your Pet?

For many hunters out there what pet they use is more so a function of the group they are in or it goes back to the age old "what is the best pet" argument where they will always use whichever pet sims to be the best pet.  Since wrath and the age of the wolf there really has not been a "best pet" but thanks to frost from warcraft hunters union we were able to find the true best pet, for the DPS.  Just watch the video, trust me, you will not regret it.

So now that we know that a sporebat is the best pet in the game and it hits bosses for a billion with its enormous man parts and can make rogues bleed from the anus, and death knights too, we can move on to other reasons you might choose a pet beside the fact that using a sporebat will make you leet.

Do You Pick Your Pet Based on Your Group?

Most of the time, at least while grouped, this is how I choose my pet.  I bring the buff that is needed for the group.  Lucky for me I actually like one of the two pets I need to carry around for my group.  So much so I have been running around with it even when not in a group.  It is one of the two "key" pets I have found.

In my personal guild groups, which include two 10s, a 25, and various flex runs here and there along with pick up groups and LFR runs I have found there are two "key" pets every single hunter should have.  Just in case.

Oddly enough one of them is a sporebat.  As funny as it was to watch the video that made a joke about a sporebat being the best pet because at the time it was effectively the worst and nearly useless the buff it supplies seems to be needed quite often.  Along with the sporebat it seems a hyena is the other "key" pet that is needed.  So I suggest to all hunters to carry a sporebat and a hyena around with them because more often than not those will be two buff you often need to supply.

For me I am lucky when I need to use my hyena, it fits well for what I like to use.  I like the minimalist approach and being it is a small pet it works for me and has recently been the pet I walk around with often in raids and even when solo.  Hey, an attack speed boost is always nice right?

Just because you need to bring a specific buff for your group doesn't mean you have to run around with a pet you really do not like the look of however.  One of the best things about being a hunter are the options we have.  There are so many different skins you can choose from and in many cases they can even look entirely different and not just a color change.  Take a look at Petopia and find the pet that has a look you like.

A good hunter should always know what buffs a pet brings and should have a pet that can supply that buff.  Like I said, in most cases having a sporebat and a hyena can handle it but sometimes you could get a group that is missing a buff you usually take for granted like the crit buff and for that you should have a wolf.  Even if you do not have one on you, you should have one in your stables.  With 55 slots there is no excuse for any decent hunter not having every single buff and debuff in the game at their disposal.  Also, thanks to pet battles, there are stable masters all over the place now.  More than there ever were in the game before.  So there is no excuse for not being near a place where you can access your stable to change your pet and get the one you need.

Instead of listing every buff and debuff your pets can give your group and which pets do so I will refer you over to wowheads MoP buffs and debuffs list.

Do You Pick a Pet For a Task?

Being all pets can work out of any skill tree now meaning any pet can be cunning, tenacity or ferocity more often than not, unless you are doing something pressing, you do not need to switch pets.

If you want to solo some rares around the world and fear your cat might be a little squishy you could either switch to something more tank like or just switch your cats spec to tenacity and let it tank.  It will not have the tank cooldowns a turtle or a beetle might but it should do just fine being a tank cat instead of a claw cat.

While all pets can be all things that does not mean all pets should be all things.  A pet that is intended for tanking like the above mentioned turtle will be a better tank than just changing your cat over to tenacity.  Sure your cat will be able to handle nearly anything you come across in the world but if you plan on soloing heroics your tenacity speced cat might have some issues your turtle will never run into thanks to shield shell.

Same goes for PvP.  Pets meant to be cunning have more PvP utility than pets that were not intended to be cunning.  So my suggestions is, even if your pet can be anything you want it to be and fill the roll of the attacker, the tank or the PvP utility, the pets that are originally intended to fill those roles will always fill them better.

Well, within a certain amount.  Being all pets damage is normalized even a pet that is naturally cunning will do the same DPS in ferocity spec as a natural ferocity pet will.  So if it is just about doing damage and doing damage only, perhaps it does not matter.  But when it comes to a special task you will always rather have a tank pet taking the hits than a ferocity pet in tenacity spec.

Do You Pick Your Pet for Look?

I've already mentioned above that I have grown fond of my hyena recently as it is a small pet and I like the minimalist approach.  We are talking about a hunter here who went out of his way to find armor that did not look like armor just because I hate the bulky look.  Sadly 90% of it is no longer in game or I would farm it on multiple hunters.  I just do not like bulky looks and that means I do not like bulky pets.  Or loud ones.  Can anyone say core hound?  Bulky and loud.  No thank you. 

If it were not for the fact I tamed beast back when beast used to have an extra skill point and was a skull which meant that my pet was a boss and followed boss rules making it harder for it to be hit and having bonus armor which made him the best tank ever even without a defensive cooldown I would not even own a core hound.  I hate them that much.

So the pets I travel with, even if I am choosing them for a task, or choosing them for the raid, always get picked because of how they look.  I like minimalist pets.  I also like clean pets and back in wrath when the wolf was the only pet we were allowed to use, if we wanted to not get laughed at, I went to hellfire and caught myself fluffy, as you can see up top, and he is my favorite.  Has been for a very long time.  He really fits me.  He fits me because of his look.  And for wolves back then we had those scruffy looking things all over northrend, or that nice clean presentable wolf I named fluffy.  Probably because he was anything but fluffy.

Do You Just Take Whatever Works?

I know a lot of people like this.  They don't even name their pets, they have no connection to them, they are just a DoT that follows them around.  They do not care what the pet looks like, they do not even care what the pet does, as long as it attacks.  For these people, tell them they need a sporebat.  It will actually do two things at once doing so.  It will give you an inside laugh because you watched the video above, or should have, and it will give them a pet that might actually bring a buff which seems to be the most needed buff in the game usually.

I can sense these people from a mile away, and it is not only for an unnamed pet.  Actually an unnamed pet could be anyone, I even have a few because I have not found a name that fits them yet, but it is a poorly named pet.  You can tell these are people that just do not care and they will take whatever works.  The only time they will change is if someone tells them too.

They will have pets with names that are spelled wrong, in all lowercase, in all caps, is a series of random letters that look like gibberish.  If you are one of these people, let me break some news to you, you are not a hunter.  You might play a hunter, but you are not a hunter.  A hunter would not mutilate the name of their pet.  Hunters, even ones that would rather be archers, still love their pets even if they are taking them for whatever works.

Do You Match Your Pets With Your Mounts and/or Battle Pets?

When running across water I love to get on my water strider mount from the anglers with a water strider pet and a water strider battle pet.  It's the water strider family.   When I need to use my sporebat in raids because we need it to hit the boss with its enormous man part I always have my tiny sporebat out.

There are so many cool combos you can make with pets, mounts and battle pets.  I think I try to find a match of some sort at least battle pet wise no matter which pet I am using.  I usually stick to my basic mounts however unless it is something like the water strider one and I am in need of it, then might as well bust out the water strider family if I am in BM spec.

Do You Choose Your Pets For The Coolness Factor?

Are you the type that catches all the rare tames.  Have yourself every spirit porcupine, all the old spirit beasts, the rare tames from cataclysm and the rare tames where you had to chase footprints in mists?  Do you have a collection of old raid bosses as pets like beast, buru, or chromaggus?   Who would not love to tame thok?  Really, think about how awesome that would be.  Some people love that stuff, I have never personally gotten into it even if I do have some rares like that.

How about the coolness factor of the slime pet, or maybe you caught the wolf in boren tundra while it was still oil covered, or the wolf in the plague lands with the sword through his head.  I wonder how many people out there still have a worgen in their stables from when there was a brief moment when we could tame them.  I never got one but I don't think they took them away from the people that did.  I have a few of those trick tame ones and rare ones that can no longer be tamed, but I don't think I've used any of them in years.  For me it is just a matter of "cool I got it" and it goes in my stables where it sits forever.

I've never been into pets for the coolness factor myself but I know for a great deal of hunters out there part of the thing they love of being a hunter is the coolness factor.  Can' really blame them because hunters are cool.

Do You Choose Pets That Match What You Wear?

Transmog gave everyone the ability to change how they looked but it gave hunters a little more.  It gave us the ability to match our armor with our pet.  Or is that match our pet with our armor?

For me and my simple non-armor looking armor you can very well say that me choosing basic, simple and smaller pets actually means I am matching my pet with my armor, my basic, simple and smaller armor.  I like that look and even without noticing it my pets have to look right with me to feel comfortable with them even if I do not do it intentionally.  I just choose what I like and it happens to match what I am wearing.

I have a hunter friend that has so many different transmog sets, and he does a bang up job making them look awesome, but he always has pets that go specifically well with them.  So much so that I would have never thought of it myself but once you see it you say, wow, that pet looks awesome with your outfit.

How do you choose your pets?