Sunday, April 15, 2012

More coherent thoughts on the beta

Update: I hadn't originally read the current beta tooltip for Aspect of the Iron Hawk correctly, and the fact that it's a flat 15% DR changes my conclusions. Thank you to Jackbelucky and Pathemeous in the comments for pointing out my mistake.

I've done some more playing around with the beta so far, and I think I've got some more coherent thoughts on it.

First: as they currently stand in the beta, hunters are mostly the same.

Every spec has a their big nuke, and that nuke is hard-limited by a cooldown. Every spec uses a 2-second cast time focus generating shot and dumps excess focus using 1 or 2 abilities that don't have a cooldown. The differences between the specs, as I see them, are:
  • BM managing Focus Fire and Bestial Wrath.
  • MM maintaining their 15% haste buff.
  • SV managing an additional cooldown (Black Arrow) and Lock and Load procs.
Second: I do think that some of the talents look pretty close to mandatory, for PvE anyway. If you're a raiding hunter and you're not taking both Exhilaration (large heal when you Disengage) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera (reduced cooldowns on Disengage and Deterrence) Aspect of the Iron Hawk (flat 15% damage reduction while in Aspect of the Hawk), you're probably making a mistake.

In fact, I'll go ahead and say that if the current Aspect of the Iron Hawk goes live as it is on beta and you don't take it, you're wrong. A flat 15% damage reduction that's on almost all the time renders the other choices nothing but traps. That will be the talent we'll look at to instantly dismiss hunters as being clueless or being worth a further look.

Obviously it's beta and that may change. Obviously I haven't used those abilities in a raid environment. Nevertheless, I find it hard to see any counter-arguments against them as of yet.

Third: glyph choices have some fun tradeoffs, but I think there are going to end up being standard PvE glyphs as well. They've turned the Cataclysm MM talent Marked for Death into a glyph, and I think it's probable that most raiding hunters are going to take that glyph.

I'm also pretty sure that not taking the glyph that adds another 20% damage reduction on to Deterrence would also be a mistake.

The third major glyph spot seems more up for grabs. I'm currently using the glyph that strips DoTs from anything that hits a freezing trap. It's not super useful in the beta at the moment - no one uses CC in the one dungeon that's available - but it may be a good choice for heroic trash mobs.

Or it may not. We'll have to see how the release heroics are tuned when Pandaria goes live.

Miscellaneous thoughts: I can't get a good feel for the Call Beast talent right now, because it's bugged and has no cooldown and no cost.

Lynx Rush felt great as a BM hunter on the Sha of Doubt - it ate really significant chunks of health off of all the adds in a hurry.

Binding Shot also feels pretty good. It's instant with no travel time, and I think it's going to be a near-universal choice for hunters in PvP. Take the following with a grain of salt because I am not a PvP hunter, but: the class is looking very strong to me with the current toolkit. Lots of survivability, lots of control, lots of utility, no minimum range. I wouldn't be surprised to see hunters considered a dominant class in the first season of Pandaria's arenas and RBGs.

Unrelated to hunters: I love the animations for female Pandaren monk healing. Love. Love love love them. And their animations for fighting, for that matter. I am almost certainly going to roll one when the pandatimes strike. Who knows if I'll level cap her or anything, but they really do look absolutely amazing. I can not give the art and animation teams enough accolades on this one.

I've been taking some screenshots, but of course they're on my desktop at home. I'll comb through them and see if any are worth posting tomorrow.

I have to say folks, I'm actually really optimistic and excited for this expansion. How's everyone else feeling?


  1. I'm really excited as well. :-)

  2. Binding Shot and SilS can be taken at the same time in the current beta build =)

    And yeah, I've seen that on wowhead - the current in-game tooltip reads direct damage only. Of course, tooltips on live are sometimes inaccurate, so who knows what's actually happening in the beta with it right now. I may try to find someone to test with later!

    Glyph of aspects is fun, except for your little guys fall over dead when you swap aspects again! I'd much prefer if they just faded out.

    And yeah, I definitely agree that certain encounters will call for changing out glyphs and sometimes talents. Even then, I find it hard to imagine a time when you're not going to want a 50% DR cooldown instead of a 30%. =O

  3. Yay!

    I'm almost surprised, when they first announced it I was kind of like "...really?" because a lot of the lore that the game inherited from the RTS series has been chewed through.

    Moving into (mostly) novel lore territory doesn't have to be a bad thing though, and their approach to game mechanics has been increasingly smart.

  4. Do they really then? The beta must differ from Wowhead a lot in that case: Wowhead states them both in Tier 2 at level 30, along with Wyvern Sting.
    Do they DIE?! Really? Blizz, come on, we're Hunters, dieing animals is the worst thing ever!About the Deterrence, Deterrence still means you can't attack (or am I missing something?), so not always will the DR outweigh the DPS loss, making the use of the glyph outweigh a different glyph's use.

  5. *nod* There are significant differences between the information available on wowhead - and on the Blizz pandaria talent calc, for that matter - and what's actually currently in the beta.

    It is true that you can't attack through deterrence, but you also can't attack while dead.

    On live, I have Deterrence set up in a macro whose first line is "/cancelaura Deterrence". This means I can push the button and deterrence pops up, then I can push it again and it goes away. You can signficantly reduce or entirely eliminate large pulse of predictable damage this way, reducing the demand on healer mana and giving them room and time to heal others and/or yourself.

    These are often the difference between a guild-first kill and the 13th wipe. =)

  6.  Sorry - I didn't actually clearly state the purpose of the macro, which is to get advantage of the 30% DR from Deterrence without giving up more than a GCD or two.

  7. Iron Hawk reduces ALL damage as of a few patches ago.  

  8. "If they changed Aspect of the Iron Hawk away from 15% reduced direct damage taken and turned it into a flat, always-on 15% DR, that would win out over Crouching Tiger for sure. On the other hand, I really really don't see them making that change."
    It would be nice if you gave some reasons why.  
    If you think it's too powerful I beg to differ.  Plenty of classes have passive damage reduction (moonkin form, shadow form, soul link) as well as self heals.  This would only serve to shore up survivability which is one of our glaring problems.  The previous version of Iron Hawk would've been virtually useless in PvE.  It just didn't make any sense.  

  9. I just checked and you're definitely right - in-game beta tooltip is reduces all damage by 15%. In which case, yes, I think it's a bad talent because it's mandatory. If you're a progression raider and you don't take this talent as written right now, you're wrong.

    FWIW, I think the flat DRs on other classes are bad ideas as well.

  10. Created a bnet feedback thread regarding the talent, if you care to contribute:

  11. "Plenty of classes have passive damage reduction (moonkin form, shadow form, soul link) as well as self heals."

    i guess this is a big problem. iron hawk will be a no brainer yet absolutely necessary. there's no skill involved apart from switching in the right aspect at the right time.

    it would be better to simply do away with *all* passive flat damage reduces of all classes. i'm fine with active ones and would be all for a second active damage cooldown for hunters in turn.

  12. Gonna give you a little smack after reading your little article here.

    They way you write this article is very, very, very arrogant and I am disliking you already, just from reading this. You constantly emphasise "wrong" and you don't back up your talent choices with reason. F.eks. Lynx Rush, could be good AoE wise, but it CD is 2 min. vs. Murder of Crows with 1 min. CD + Reset below 20%. Only in extreme AoE cases I'd even consider Lynx Rush, but the fact that it "only" hits 9 times is just not good enough.

    In the 1st tier Posthaste could end up being a reasonable choice for a specific boss,  if healing is not an issue, but speed is.

    You really need to see this from a bigger perspective and think of your wording, cause you come out very arrogant.

    Regards Nemes.

  13. I shall give your perspective all due consideration.

  14. This is exactly my perspective as well. =)

  15. Exactly. I think of it like;

    The game my heart is set on is evolving with us. I think it's in mankind's nature to be sceptical to change; so you often get "the last expansion (whichever that was) was better". While we should instead embrace it, cause it will keep WoW alive! Blizzard building new storylines and new lore can then only be a good thing.

    I read Velen's shortstory today, it was a good read, with lots of implications of what will/may come along the years. Yippi. :)


  16. One of these days I should really read those short stories! Especially if the Velen one was good, he and Lorthemar are kind of the forgotten stepchildren of WoW lore right now. Bearded weirdos like Malfurion are getting all the play instead. =O


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