Tag Archives: WOW

Legion Marksmanship Hunter – Doing Poor Well

Despite always feeling that, “this time I am leaving WoW for good,” I find myself subbed again and getting ready for Legion.  What brought me back?  I still have a larger group of online friends in WoW than any other game.  That, and I wanted to see what was going on with all of these Hunter changes!

Well, not quite all.  Never been a big fan of BM, although I have played it from time to time when the situation called for it (like all of TBC and the first few months of Wrath).  Other than those dark days, I have mostly trended towards MM and Survival.  Survival has had its moments of greatness (Wrath trap-dancing, come on!), but MM usually was the better option from a pure kill-the-thing quickly perspective.

With that history, I did a little reading up on the current state of the specs and decided that I would try out MM and Surv in the Broken Shores scenario and Legion invasions and try to figure out which spec suited me for Legion.  My plan for Legion was questing, dungeons, and maybe some light raiding, so I don’t need to be the greatest DPS  of all time.  That being said, I like seeing my name at or near the top of the Recount list, because I am a bit of a narcissist.  So, I went to Icy Veins, figured out the ideal DPS setups and went out to test them in the real virtual world.

After some hiccups, I decided that I loved the feel of Survival and its new, rather complex rotation.  It had some nice synergies and big numbers.  After a little while, I even started getting use to being in melee range.  The one thing, however, that I could not get past was that Disengage was gone.  In its place was Harpoon, a 30 sec. CD ability that pulls you to your target.  On paper, this sounds like a great idea, since you need to be on your target to be doing damage now.  In practice, not having Disengage frankly sucks.

Back in the day, I went to the Frostheim school of Jump-Disengage.  It provides amazing mobility, particularly when you can use it out of combat.  On top of that, the Posthaste talent gives you +60% move speed for 8 seconds after disengaging.  People are complaining about the change to Aspect of the Cheetah (short speed boost on a 3 minute CD), but Disengage+Posthaste makes Aspect of the Cheetah almost irrelevant.  Moreover, it always brought me great joy flinging myself all over the place, even when completely unnecessary or somewhat annoying to others in the group.  By contrast, Harpoon only works in combat, and the speed boost of Posthaste seems very situational.

So, the lack of Disengage ruined Survival for me, and I turned to MM instead.  Actually, I turned to MM earlier, but I didn’t like it.  The optimal DPS setup of Sidewinders (replaces Arcane Shot and Multi Shot, has a cooldown, but applies Vulnerable) plus Patient Sniper (Vulnerable debuff does not stack, is much shorter, and Marked Shot and Aimed Shot do quite a bit more damage) almost roots you in place for several Aimed Shots and can be quite boring.

Realizing this might get a little technical for non-MM people out there, the core of the spec revolves around applying and utilizing,  eh, screw it.  Just read the first two paragraphs of what Wowhead says here, and you will get the gist.  Okay then, the optimal DPS build replaces Arcane Shot and Multi Shot and changes around the stacking nature of Vulnerable to make it more powerful and of shorter duration.  That basically reduces the rotation for MM to Barrage (when available)>Sidewinders>Marked Shot>Aimed Shot*2.  There is a little nuance, but I said “basically.”  I dislike.

After abandoning Survival, I tried MM again.  Still, ick!  So, I played around and came up with what is likely to be a sub-optimal build, but I like it.  Hopefully, I will not get laughed at too much.  There also is not a ton of guidance out there on MM builds that do not use Sidewinders/Patient Sniper.  So here it is, my help to getting your MM Hunter to the middle (or bottom) of the pack.

This is my talent setup:

MM Build

And here is a link to my Non-Optimal Marksman Talent Build.  I am only going to talk about a few talents and then focus on the spastic, movement-friendly rotation.

First, is Lone Wolf.  The other talents kind of suck, but I do like my pocket tank, I mean pet.  When questing, I will probably take Steady Focus and keep my pet with me.  When I have a tank, all signs point to Lone Wolf being head-and-shoulders better than the other talents.  Alternatively, Black Arrow, with its taunting shadow fiend, is a decent choice for questing if you really hate pets but want something to keep the hate off you.

The meat (or lack thereof) in this build is Sentinel and Piercing Shot.  These are, in no way, a DPS increase over the other, preferred talents.  They do, however, allow you to apply Vulnerable in a less stressful, easier to manage way, and deliver a huge amount of damage every 30 seconds with Piercing Shot.

Here is the general idea of the rotation for a single target.  For multiples, just replace Arcane Shot with Multi Shot:

  1. Fire Piercing Shot on CD, when your Focus is 100+.  The damage scales from a lot to a whole bunch depending on how much Focus you have, so you may want to Arcane Shot your focus up if it is about to come off CD.  It is also a great Misdirect opener!
  2. Next, fire Barrage.  If you just used Piercing Shots, you will likely need to weave in an Arcane Shot to build focus.  Also, neither Piercing Shots nor Barrage benefit from Vulnerable, so fire these firsts.
  3. Next, get your three stacks of Vulnerable up on the main target.  You can do this either through natural procs of Marking Targets, or force the situation with your two charges of Sentinel.  Between those two charges and natural procs, you should be up to 3 stacks in no time.
  4. Any time Marking Targets comes up, fire Arcane Shot to trigger Hunter’s Mark, then fire Marked Shot.
  5. When Marking Targets is not up and your other shots are on CD, fire Aimed Shot to dump focus and Arcane Shot to build it up.

You also have Lock and Load procs (2 free, instant cast Aimed Shots) to account for.  Aimed Shot does less damage than Marked Shot, so in the priority list, I would place these free shots below Piercing Shot, Barrage, and Marked Shot, but above an Arcane Shot with Marking Targets (or any other Arcane Shot).  If Piercing Shot is coming off CD, however, I might go with the Aimed Shot proc to build some focus over Barrage or Marked.  In addition, if I have less than three stacks of Vulnerable and the ability to apply more (Sentinel, Marked Shot, or a Marking Targets buff), I would get the stacks up first.  I have nothing to back either of these point up other than general feel.

The only other major issue to account for is your DPS cooldown, Trueshot.  Trueshot makes every Arcane/Multi Shot apply Hunter’s Mark, meaning you can sit there and fire Arcane Shot>Marked Shot repeatedly during the life of the buff.  This is a great way to reach three stacks of Vulnerable without using Sentinel, which can then be saved for times when you want to get off another Marked Shot.  In addition, Trueshot increases haste, lowering the cast time of Aimed Shot.  I’m still not sure whether a long burst of Arcane Shot>Marked Shot beats using hasted Aimed Shot.

Since this build does not use Sidewinders, Arcane Shot is always available for focus regen and applying Hunter’s Mark.  Along with Sentinel, in my limited experience, you will be using Marked Shot in this build much more than in the optimal build.  Piercing Shot also gives you another massive damage dealer on a medium cooldown.  The combined result is less of a reliance up Aimed Shot than the optimal build, which means more mobility.  In addition, no CD on Arcane Shot means small mistakes (like firing off both charges of Sidewinders right before Marking Targets procs) shouldn’t hurt as bad.

More important that all of that is that I like this build better than others and see myself enjoying it.  I hope that it is somewhat competitive with the optimal build, so that I am not gimping myself or my group when rolling it.  It is tough to sit at a dummy and compare different MM builds because it is very RNG dependent.  In my limited testing, however, this build did appear to come in only about 5% lower than optimal.

Good luck with whatever you choose!


Making WoW Timeless

As my three regular readers know, I spent several years playing and raiding in WoW.  My heyday was from mid-BC to mid-Cata, what most consider to be the golden age of WoW, based upon both the sub numbers and the quality of the content.  Like many others, my love of WoW has waned, and I have not played with any regularity for about two years.  I still, however, follow the community and read several blogs out there that either focus exclusively on WoW or hit on it with some regularity.

From reading those blogs, I have a good sense of where the game is and where people want to see it heading.  A couple of posts from The Godmother, Green Armadillo, and Lonomonkey got me thinking – the way for WoW to move forward is to look back.    On what will soon be the 10th anniversary of WoW, two of its greatest strengths and weaknesses are: (1) its extreme wealth of group content; and (2) nostalgia.  So how could Blizzard take advantage of this, and what the hell am I talking about?  First, my thesis.  Then, I will answer those questions.

I believe that Blizzard, which is no stranger to recycling content, should make every existing raid tuned to and available for max-level characters in the next expansion.  There, I said it.

The Good and the Bad of Nostalgia

I am a textbook example of why nostalgia helps and hurts WoW.  I often look back on my time spent in WoW, with the friends I made, and the battles we won and lost together, and it makes me smile.  In fact, I often wish for those days.  The last couple of times that I have come back to the game, I find that it does not live up to the image in my mind.  Friends have moved on, mechanics are different, I am not as invested in the storyline as I once was.  That is the double-edged sword of nostalgia that Blizzard has to deal with when trying to attract a player like me back to the game.  Given the trend in subscriber numbers, there are probably millions out there like me.  Well, at least thousands.

The same goes for content.  WoW now has hundreds (I think) of beautifully constructed raid encounters.  The problem is that only a few dozen, at most, are actively being raided because they are the only ones that are current, are challenging, and are rewarding, outside of maybe getting a transmog piece.  Good luck getting  a group together for Gruul, because no one needs anything from him anymore.  Even if you do get the group together, he would likely be trivial.  So WoW has all of these great assets, but there is no way for players to easily take advantage of them.

Well, I have given it some thought.  By mashing together a hodgepodge of ideas from the WoW of today and yesterday, as well as stealing from a few other games, I think a system like this could be implemented.

Crawling Before Walking

Right out of the gate, let’s move past the basic issue of “can it be done.”  Blizzard has shown no lack of willingness to recycle and update old raid content – Naxxramas, Onyxia, Ragnaros.  Moreover, every Heroic dungeon has to be tuned for leveling and endgame, so the know how is there.  If Blizzard wants to undertake a project like this, it can do it.  The harder part is making it accessible to players and providing the proper motivations to get people to use it.  I have some ideas how to do that, but of course, they will not be perfect.

Making it Work

If Blizzard implemented this system, I think it would need to go on the LFR with the standard 25-man raid team.  There would be a ton of balancing issues and loot ilevel issues, and having LFR, Flex, Regular, and Heroic, 10s and 25s, might spin this project out of control.

So, each raid is accessible through LFR in the 25-man variety.  Larger raids, like ICC are split up into wings.  Loot rules are the same as LFR, but any class can get any drop.  Taking a page from the Timeless Isle, the drops are BOA, so any of your alts can use them.  I would also like to see some, if not all of the drops be of the heirloom variety, so that your alts can start using them right away.

But why, you ask, would a progression raider ever set foot in one of these raids?  First, at max level, make the equipment that drops in one of these raids equal to loot drops in Heroic 5-mans (a step below current progression LFR) so that it helps you gear up for the current progression cycle.  Throw on top of that a drop from the final boss of a raid (“Rune of Amplification”) that can be applied to any piece of gear obtained through one of these “Classic Raids” that would raise the ilevel of the piece to that of the current content LFR.  Doing this, however, binds that piece of gear to the character.  You might also require different numbers of runes for different slots.

How, you say, will you have people running 30 different raids without severely dumbing them down?  Well, some mechanics will need to be simplified, that is for sure.  Let’s also take a page out of FFXIV’s book here – in the early “learning” instances, helps pops up on the screen to tell you exactly what you should be doing in an encounter.  For these Classic Raids, the first time a deadly boss mechanic is used, a brief message can pop up saying “When this happens, this is what you should do.”  Of course, it should only pop up once so people have to learn something.

Finally, with so many raids, how will your queue ever pop?  Let’s steal a page from late-Wrath here – the weekly raid quest.  Each week, you get a mission to do a different Classic Raid.  The rewards are something that is relevant to the current level of gearing.  In the first tier of the expansion, it could be more Runes of Amplification, it could be Justice or Valor.  Whatever motivates players to run it.

Why Should Blizzard do it?

A system like this will capitalize on the two points mentioned earlier – it stokes people’s nostalgia while also making largely irrelevant content relevant again.  Many guilds will organize Classic Raid nights like they already do, but there will be a greater incentive to do them.  In addition, having a weekly raid quest that sends you to a different raid each week means that you are not running the same thing over and over and over again for months.  In any given week, you may get to run a raid you have not set foot in for years or maybe one you have not set foot in at all.


What’s in a Name?

After trying to explain to a new group of potential guildmates how to pronounce my character’s name for, I don’t know…maybe the 12th time, I started to think about why I chose and continue to stick with such an annoying in-game moniker.  In the end, I guess it’s the same reason that many others in this genre of games have stuck with their names – recognition by friends and consistency across multiple games.  So, where did it all go wrong?  Why did it all go so wrong?

It started in 2006 or 2007 with my relatively (for me) long career in WoW.  I had played City of Heroes as my first MMO for maybe six months or so, and those commercials for TBC were so tempting.  My character in CoH was a blaster (ranged DPS) named Green Wind.  His bio said something clever like “Named for the malodorous gust of wind from which he received his powers.”  Looking back on it, this was the high-water mark for character names.

Coming from playing ranged DPS in City of Heroes, I decided to pick up a similar role in WoW.  I settled in on the idea of a Night Elf Hunter, not knowing the stigma that would attach to such a choice for the rest of my WoW playing career.  I started thinking that Yngwe would be a good name for a NElf Hunter, patterned after Yngwie Malmsteen, the speed metal guitar virtuoso.  Not that I am a fan of his, I just thought the name sounded right.  And this is where things started to fall apart.

First, as you may be able to tell from the previous paragraph, I spelled the name wrong.  Noob.  Second, the way I pronounced it in my head, and the way i told guildmates to pronounce it when I was first introduced to Vent was wrong.  I heard it in my head as “Ying-way,” and that is how I told people to pronounce it, and it is what I am known as to this day.  In reality, “Yngwie” is pronounced “Ing-vay.”  Double-noob.

So now, I am branded with a nearly unrecognizable and unpronounceable name.  Even those who recognize it and know how to pronounce it are mystified by my version of it.

My WoW-playing is pretty firmly in the past.  The Firelands turned me off pretty strongly, and nothing I have seen since has been tempting enough to seriously return to the game.  I made a couple of half-hearted tries since then, but none took for more than a couple of weeks.  After WoW, I spent a few months back in City of Heroes, and landed with some old guildmates in SWTOR for over a year.  I dabbled a little in GW2 and currently, I am running in the Marvel Heroes beta and Neverwinter.  I have yet to make a clean break with the Yngwe moniker, yet you may find me in various games under a different name.

My strongest effort at breaking the Yngwe mold has been branding myself as “Skerik.”  That name also derives from a musician, this guy.  He has a crazy persona, and I am fond of the name.  At some point, it became my name of choice for tankier characters, and as my playstyle shifted in that direction, it became my name of choice in games like TOR and Neverwinter.  Thankfully, people seem to have an easier time pronouncing Skerik than Yngwe.

Coming full-circle, however, I have run into numerous games where I have tried to select both “Yngwe” and “Skerik,” yet neither name is available.  In GW2, people simply took both names.  In other games, like Neverwinter and Marvel Heroes, I was previously registered under the name Yngwe, and had to create a new account for one reason or another.  So, what name did I choose?  “Ingvai” – the phonetic spelling of “Yngwie.”  The bitter irony of it all is that people seem to have just as much difficulty pronouncing “Ingvai” as they do pronouncing “Yngwe.”

I think the lesson I have learned through it all is that talking is highly overrated.