Saturday, September 24, 2011

Entering the Patch Cycle Holding Pattern

Well, I have to say that the nerfs this past week kind of put a few loads of grapeshot through my sails. We even extended our lockout the week before to take a last shot at a pre-nerf kill (however much some may giggle at having to try for a pre-nerf non-heroic kill), but some things happened in the real world that cut our raid time from our usual six hours per week down to probably a little under three. I suppose it wasn't meant to be. Especially with Civilization 5 going on sale for twelve bucks on Steam, I just kind of dropped out of WoW for a bit. I feel a little bad about this - I've clearly neglected the blog, and I've also neglected the guild that I've put so much time into. On the other hand, I think everyone needs a bit of a break from time to time, so perhaps this is just my time for one.

As these things go, it's a pretty decent time. It's not like I need VP for anything, and especially with the nerfs to the content, raid time needn't really be about maximizing our limited window of time to try to Kill New Bosses. We can just kind of come in and casually clear stuff up. We of course killed Rag this week, so maybe next week we can try out some of the also-nerfed heroic modes and step into T13 with some 391 gear. Sure, why not? It'll be nice having some 384 weapons and a bunch of people with some 391 stuff when we step into the Dragon Soul.

Actually looking at some of the information coming out about the new raid is what's done some good to renew my flagged enthusiasm. It does actually look quite exciting and neat and good - it seems to have that hard to capture sense of grandeur that tiers 7, 9, 11, and 12 have lacked. I mean sure they're neat or whatever, but with Firelands for example the main attraction for me was "new challenges". With Ulduar, the attraction was storming Ulduar. Even the vehicle-based opening, for all its flaws, did a great job of making the raid feel like it was kind of a big deal. You know, I don't necessarily want another Flame Lev style encounter, but I always had fun with it, and especially with the opening push through all the dwarves and what have you.

Sorry, I'm wandering off, as I tend to. The point here is that although I was a little bit gut-punched by the nerfs, the expansion's terminal raid seems like it could be good enough to kind of rescue things for me. We'll see.

I responded to the hunter version of the class survey thread posted in the official forum. I sort of feel like anything I might have to say would inevitably be lost in the tsunami of craziness a thread like that will inevitably turn into, but Blizzard is a big company that makes buckets of money. It could very well be that they have a rigorous system for extracting usable information from the wreckage left after the wave ebbs.

The two questions in the survey I found the most interesting were essentially "what is fun about your class?" and "what is not fun about your class?"

This may or may not be surprising to anyone, but I actually had to pause for quite a while to answer those. The fundamental reason I first chose the class is, as I have said before, that I like bows. I want to use a bow to shoot arrows into the mans. So as long as I'm doing that, I'm in a pretty decent spot. Some people (dwarves) like guns, and it has not been a very good expansion for them in terms of having that, so I'm a little worried that the T13 ranged weapon of choice is going to be a gun, but hey! Now we have transmogrification, so that's fine.

It's much harder to articulate a game-mechanical thing that I like or dislike. I guess I don't really like the way Marks plays at the moment - it sort of feels like I'm trying to build something out of a mix of Duplos and Legos. Focus regen, the Chimera Shot cooldown, and the Improved Steady Shot buff duration just don't line up in nice ways if you're not using glyphed Arcane Shot and the 13% haste point. So that doesn't feel great.

I do like using disengage. I like the sparkle from Post Haste, I like being able to pick times when I want to be somewhere Right Now, and I like being able to negate or re-purpose a boss's knockback effects. That's all fun. It's also sort of a strange thing to highlight, since it has nothing to do with shooting arrows into mans or having a pet or anything.

All that said, I haven't really seen any signs that they're planning much in the way of hunter changes for 4.3. There might be a couple minor tweaks, but I'm pretty sure the class is going to remain as-is for the remainder of this expansion.

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