More Lone Wolf details, Kill Shot being improved

One of the questions I always had about Lone Wolf is whether or not you’d actually be sacrificing anything by taking it. The damage from your pet is replaced, but you don’t have to worry about your pet derping, so that damage is probably even greater than the damage lost from the pet.

Lone Wolf hunters can also still bring one of the 6 major raid buffs without a pet, so that aspect of pets is covered. Next on the list was our abilities and talents that play off the pet. We weren’t sure if Blizzard was going to retool those for petless hunters or not. Well, it looks like some of those simply aren’t going to work with Lone Wolf.

If Spirit Bond and Master’s Call won’t be reworked to support Lone Wolf, we can assume the same for Intimidation, Blink Strikes, and Exhilaration (though that last one should still work partially). One that is up in the air is Stampede. Thematically, it makes zero sense, but I think it may just end up summoning the 4 guardian pets for Lone Wolf (only 4 because your main pet is not active) so that there is more talent choice besides A Murder of Crows in that tier.

I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m not the biggest fan of Lone Wolf. Hunters, for me, have always been a pet class, but I understand some are excited to be able to play the traditional archer/ranger archetype.  I’m also concerned that it could become a default choice for SV/MM in many raid encounters. If it’s the most DPS, we’re going to talent into it. If we don’t have to worry about our pets target switching, or just derping in general, I can see it being extremely strong.

I’m all for Lone Wolf as long as it doesn’t make survival or marksmanship hunters feel gimped for choosing to play with a pet. The Flaming Shots replacement (it was canned if you missed it) will hopefully be something cool so SV/MM hunters have a decent choice besides going petless or having a movement restriction.

The Focusing Shot bit from the tweet is something we already logically concluded, but I would like to assume it’s a higher chance to proc Master Marksman since you will be casting far less Focusing Shots than you would Steady Shots.

This is an older tweet I missed (for once, MMO-C’s outdated tweet postings were helpful to me!), but it’s a nice quality of life change for Kill Shot. Especially when you’re standing at max range, that delay between Kill Shots can be irksome. Why doesn’t Blizzard just remove the double Kill Shot mechanic and have one strong Kill Shot instead? One word: Burst. Splitting up that damage into two global cooldowns instead of one is an important distinction in PvP.

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21 thoughts on “More Lone Wolf details, Kill Shot being improved”

  1. I’m still very interested in Lone Wolf and REALLY want it to work. I would not use talents that require a pet or Stampede to fit my flavor… just an Archer/Ranger. But if it’s not viable I won’t do it. I would even race change… thing is, Orc racials that increase your pets damage is too good to give up the pet for :[ I like Blood Elves, but their weapons/shoulders are too small for my tastes :p But who knows? Maybe Orc racials will change, or that pet damage being caked into Lone Wolf will still count as pet damage and get the buff? xD

    But I missed it, where did they talk about Lone Wolf still granting raid buffs?

  2. I’m a pet person, that’s one of the reasons I play hunter. BM isn’t my favorite spec though. So I’m interested to see how Lone Wolf turns out for MM/SV once the damage tuning is complete. When I run as Marks (the spec I’m actually the best at), at most, my pet does 20% of my total damage, normally it’s somewhere around 15%-18%. So 30% as it stands now is a decent sized buff.

    And even though I prefer to use a pet, if Lone Wolf comes out to be even 1% better then it’s competitors, I will use it. Won’t want to, but I will.

    It’ll be very difficult for Blizzard to get this right as there a good chance up to half the hunter population ends up upset no matter which way they go. Also reminds me of the Grimoire of Sacrifice problem in the middle of Mists.

  3. Hunters always being associated with pets depends on when you start looking at them. Yeah, that’s how the entered the game in WoW (although initially, low level hunters didn’t get them), but if you look at Warcraft III, you’ve got two antecedents: Rexxar, who’s clearly a pet-using hunter and … the dwarven riflemen units, who predate Rexxar (an expansion character), who don’t.

    For me, I fell in love with Warcraft’s dwarves playing through Reign of Chaos, and many ill-fated dwarf-dominated forces in War3 games as a result. When WoW was announced, I knew I wanted to play a dwarven rifleman of some sort (and am still pained that I can’t transmog into the mountaineer gear I assembled, since it’s a mix of cloth, leather and mail). For me, using my Dun Murogh-born bear while soloing will still be my go-to, but the option of playing a true dwarven rifleman in groups and raids will be great.

    I do think it should be only equal, at best, to using a pet in raids. Pets take more work, and highly skilled players able (and interested) in pet management during group play should be rewarded for it.

    1. My thoughts exactly. You should be rewarded for properly managing your pet. I think it would be harmful to the spirit of the class for Lone Wolf to result in more DPS by default. As an option? Great. As a required talent to maximize your DPS or make up for buggy pet mechanics? Not so great.

      Oh, and that’s a shame about your mountaineer gear.

      1. I disagree. Take it from the opposite side. I hate pets. And I should not be punished because you like pets. Also one of the reasons I dont like pets is the management, bugs and pet “stealing” damage that could otherwise be done by me. If you want pets, you want the bugs aswell .. its part of it and always was. I dont want any part of it so I should not be crippled because you like to be crippled.

        1. I don’t think you should be punished. You just have to look at it like this: Hunters have been a pet class for 10 years. When you rolled a hunter, you went in knowing pets were a part of it. For many people, it was the reason they rolled the class in the first place. Now, if you tell that person they will be doing less damage for using a pet with their pet class, there’s something seriously wrong with that picture.

          That is my only concern here — that the optimal way to play a hunter will be playing it… well, not as a traditional WoW hunter. I’m all for the choice of pet vs. no pet, as long as it’s not a better choice for performance (just an EQUAL choice).

          I’m not even close to worried yet… just something that’s on my radar because it sounds almost too good to be true.

        2. There have to be downsides to Lone Wolf since you don’t have to manage your pet anymore or loose dps if your pet is dead or unable to attack a boss. Bassically, choosing Lone Wolf is easier to play than playing with a pet and somehow the effort of playing with a pet should be rewarded. Blizzard can either do that by making Lone Wolf do less DPS than other talents or make LW hunters loose utility/survivability.

          My guess is that it will be combination. Lone Wolf will make playing a petless hunter viable, not optimal.

          We saw the same with Warlocks who could sacrifice their demon in MoP.

          Stampede will be interesting, since if it summons your pet, you would loose the LW buff.

  4. From the way the tweet is worded, it sounds like Focusing Shot will trigger Master Marksman each time it’s cast. The character limit on tweets makes this debatable, but given the balancing issue, that would make sense.

  5. There’s another skill cap that will come along with lone wolf, that I’m wondering if many are ignoring. Taking this talent will mean that performing your rotation incorrectly will be a larger %dps loss than when performing your rotation incorrectly with your pet. That is to say, when you have your pet doing 25% of your damage, maybe that’s 75k dps over a boss fight, you get that damage no matter what (unless there’s a bug, of course); no amount of messing up your rotation will decrease that 75k dps.

    With lone wolf, however, your signature shots will be increasing significantly more than your your steady/cobra. Using NPCRicket’s MM parse from 25h iron jugg (because I happened to be looking at it before this), she’s averaging 367,800.4 damage per chim shot, and a measly 47,354.26 damage per Steady Shot. So with those numbers (disregarding the stat squish), if you’re hitting steady shots because you don’t have enough focus to hit your chim shot you’re hurting your total damage by an additional 110,340; where as before you were delaying a 367,800 damage shot, now you’re delaying a 478,140 shot.

    That all is to say, the rotation will be more punishing with lone wolf. The percentages might stay the same, but you’ll be losing significantly more dps for every wrong shot.

    1. For SV there’s going to be another problem. You know all of us hunters who like to just spam Arcane? Right now you can sort of get away with it. Well that’ll be equally punishing for SV with lone wolf. On another top SV parse I was looking at, the hunter averaged 404,988.7 damage per Explosive Shot, and averaged 157,907.6 per Arcane. So each time you using arcane where you should have been using ES is a 247k damage loss, with the lone wolf buff (again, disregarding the stat squish) it’ll be a 321k damage loss (that’s not exactly true, because it’s a delay, not a loss, but we don’t have to get into that in the comments of your blog).

      And at the same time, you’re missing your pet’s “guaranteed” dps, so each time you mess that up, it’s a larger portion of your DPS you’re messing up.

      1. That’s a good point. it sort of helps balance out not having to manage the pet (pets aren’t totally passive unless we’re talking about single target).

        I’m hoping that the Flaming Shots replacement is something cool so that hunters who don’t want movement restrictions or no pets have a decent option.

        1. Of course, if you’re a really top end raider, it’s not going to matter. You’re going to do your rotation right, and the only question will be whether or not the 30% damage buff – pet damage will be more than focusing shot or whatever else they put in. I’m mostly worried about the super casual hunters who will be thinking they’re going to get this great buff and get to act like a ranger, and will end up doing less damage than before.

          I’ve been working on some new calculations to try to make a guestimate re: lone wolf and AoE. If I were to make a prediction now, given blizzard’s history and how they’ve been describing the talents, I’d say Lone Wolf will be mandatory for MM and SV AoE, but focusing shot will have a higher potential for damage in single target. I’ll be really impressed if they actually figure out how to balance this tier for both AoE and single target.

          1. For the sake of simplicity, if you were to say the pet was always doing 30% damage, then yeah Lone Wolf is essentially an AoE talent. You’d make up for the pet loss on single target, but get a 30% AoE boost. Like I said, I hope Flaming Shots’ replacement is something cool! Maybe something that benefits both single target and multi-target, but to a lesser degree.

          2. Lone Wolf may make the hunter’s dps more dependent on performing a perfect rotation, but I think that is even more the case with Focusing Shot (especially for SV due to focus capping).

            As for balancing AoE vs single target I actually think Blizzard won’t really balance them, but expect hunters to switch talents based on the fight if they want to do optimal DPS.

    2. makes sense, i really hope they can get it to work to be a viable choice but not mandatory. with this kind of downsize it makes perfect sense to me.

      manage your pet better or have a solid rotation, either way if you are good with your hunter you should be doing equivalent dps whatever you choose.

  6. I don’t see any way to balance this. For an average hunter LW will be a dos boost primarily because it takes “yet another thing to track” off the the table. Pet management is not as common as it should be. A huge majority of hunters treat them essentially as a fire and forget dot. I’m seeing LW as a precursor to removing pets from raid encounters all together because the designers don’t want to have to design with them in mind.

  7. Lone Wolf has been something that’s intrigued me since we first heard about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my primary pet, Whisper. He’s a moonstalker that I tamed in Darkshore wayyyyyy back when I was but a newbie, levelling through the zone, and he’s been at my side forever. But the idea of not having to worry about whether or not my pet is in the right place, whether or not he’s despawned, whether or not he’s hitting the boss sounds great.

    While I’ve primarily raided as a holy paladin since Burning Crusade, I’ve done some more laid-back runs on my hunter and having to worry about my pet on Sindragosa was a pain, for example. Even now on the slugs in Siege of Orgrimmar, losing the pet is annoying. While I agree that good pet management is important, there have certainly been instances where having reliance on a pet is just a liability. I think there’s a fine line that needs to be drawn between rewarding “good pet management” and “oops, your pet has died *yet again*” so that Lone Wolf doesn’t feel so powerful, even aside from the 30% damage boost.

    That said, they’ve done some great things for pets over the years — the reduction of damage taken from AOE, the jumping down with you from a ledge (most of the time and usually not aggroing things if they take the long way ’round)… It’s hard to complain too much when one remembers how easily they died way back when.

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