BlizzCon 2017: Hunter changes, Battle for Azeroth and WoW Classic thoughts

I kinda had a feeling after seeing the BlizzCon mounts that this expansion would go back to the faction war. My initial impressions of Battle for Azeroth are basically, “cool!” I’m not going out of my mind over this. It looks like more WoW. More WoW is good. Thus far nothing has stood out to me as an expansion defining feature on the same level as Legion’s artifacts and the class orders. I’m not sure if the island scenarios and warfronts are the same sort of thing. The Heart of Azeroth is basically a variant of the Netherlight Crucible except on armor pieces instead of relics. Cool, but not mind-blowing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the faction war. What I’ve seen so far has gotten me pretty pumped up to fight for my faction. Burning down Teldrassil? As a long time Alliance player, that genuinely pisses me off and I’ll gladly slay Horde by the thousands for that. I liked how the cinematic gave cool moments for both factions, but Sylvanas screaming “for the horde” is the only part that gave me goosebumps (even though I don’t really play Horde).


Update: If you’re looking for more recent Battle for Azeroth info, go here. This post is from BlizzCon 2017


But if the entire expansion is just faction war without a big ultimate threat affecting everyone, I get the feeling that Battle for Azeroth is going to be somewhat of a filler expansion. I don’t mean filler in a bad way. I mean it in a “OK, let’s fight each other for a while until the next big threat appears since we have nothing else to do” type of way. The next Scourge, the next Legion, something else on that level that requires our immediate attention. Maybe detour is a better word than filler.

However, we have no idea what will transpire in future patches for BfA, or how far they’re going to take the idea of Azeroth herself being injured and bleeding out this Azerite everywhere. Maybe something or someone will take advantage of the situation while we’re all busy fighting each other? The expansion does need a final boss after all. I have a feeling that final boss will be more of an introduction to the next expansion, sort of like Archimonde in WoD.

We’re obviously missing a lot of info, but those are my first impressions on the overall premise. I’m already feeling the faction pride, but I was still expecting a new big enemy on the same level as the Scourge/Legion. Maybe the whole point is that we’re the enemy? If that’s the case, there better be some big twists in the content patches.

The allied races feature does sound cool. I’m going to have to think about switching Bendak to a Dark Iron dwarf. I guess it’ll partially depend on the racials and how the final characters end up looking.

I think a lot of Alliance players will be happy to see the Void Elves since they can use the blood elf model. As for Horde, you know Highmountain tauren are badass, but Zandalari trolls might be my favorite from Horde though. I hope a future orc sub-race also gives the option to not be permanently hunchbacked (for male characters). Update: You’ll be able to make any orc stand up straight if you want!

Undead dino pets??? Maybe…

Hunter changes so far

Remember it’s still very early and we don’t have all the info yet, but this is what we’ve learned from people who’ve played the demos on the floor.

  • Aspect of the Pack is back. It is now a passive raid buff that seems to be active all the time (and with no daze effect). It increases the movement speed of everyone in your raid by 15%. People have to be within 40 yards of the Hunter to have this speed increase.  Other classes get stat buffs and other buffs back. No word yet if our pets will get stat buffs back again. I kind of hope they do, since we still have so many families with no special abilities.
  • Tranquilizing Shot is back. Like before it dispels 1 magic effect and removes 1 enrage effect. It’s good to see them bring back some of the stuff that should have never been removed in the first place. This is nice utility, for both PvE and PvP.
  • Dire Frenzy is now baseline. Dire Beast is now a level 15 talent.
  • Cobra Shot now reduces the cooldown of Kill Command by 1 sec. This is baseline apparently.
  • Stomp is moved to talent row 6 (competes with Stampede and Barrage) and now works with both Dire Beast and Dire Frenzy. When using Dire Frenzy, your main pet stomps instead.
  • New Level 60 Talent: Thrill of the Hunt – Gain 3% crit on Dire Frenzy for 8 sec, stacking up to 3 times.
  • New Level 60 Talent: Venomous Bite – Cobra Shot reduces the cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 1 second.
  • A Murder of Crows moved to level 100 tier. Competes with Killer Cobra and Aspect of the Beast.
  • Binding Shot is now an AoE root instead of an AoE stun. RIP.
  • Check out preliminary talent calc on Wowhead.
  • No word yet on any MM or SV changes. SV is still melee.

The general message I’ve seen in dev interviews so far is not to expect any big revamps for any specs, just tweaks.

WoW Classic announced

This was a huge surprise to me. I didn’t expect Blizzard to devote the resources to pulling this off, but they are. They are assembling an entire team just to deal with classic WoW. So the current WoW team is not affected by this, they can still focus fully on the real WoW.

There’s no details yet. This is simply an announcement that they’re working on it. They have an internal build running and it works, but there’s still a lot to do before it’s ready. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a year or more away from release.

The one thing they did say is they aim to make it like the true vanilla experience. That means no conveniences added from future expansions. For those who never played before Wrath, I don’t think they have any idea how inconvenient classic WoW was. The game wasn’t hard (in hind sight), it was just time consuming. My first character took like 25 days /played to level from 1-60. Why so long? Because I wasn’t rushed. Back then it wasn’t a race to max level. I spent a lot of time just having fun in world PVP and running all the dungeons. You weren’t irrelevant if you were level 46 because there were so many others at that same level with you. Also, a really good level 46 player could actually kill a less skilled level 60 player in 1v1 PvP.

Oldest surviving WoW screenshot of Bendak (2005 world pvp)

Making gold required a LOT of farming. Getting your first mount at level 40 was expensive, and don’t even get me started about an epic mount at level 60. There are no mount or pet collections. No achievements. No transmog. No queuing for dungeons. No group finder. Most raids require 39 other people and dozens of hours of farming for consumables and special resist gear. My point is, I don’t think this is going to be for everyone. In Legion, you could probably level a character from scratch to 110 and get them to 930 equipped about as fast as just leveling to 60 in classic. Not everyone is going to see that as a good or fun use of their time, but I expect classic WoW to have a small but rabid community.

Then there will be people like me who play it on the side for fun with no intention of doing the end-game seriously. It’ll be cool to see the pre-Cataclysm Azeroth again. I look forward to enjoying some world PVP — even at a lower level — with all the fun little tools that Hunters had back then. It’ll be the perfect thing to play at the end of a patch when you’re kinda bored, or during the downtime between expansions.

Also, Eyes of the Beast will be there.  😎

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43 thoughts on “BlizzCon 2017: Hunter changes, Battle for Azeroth and WoW Classic thoughts”

  1. So far it seemed to be an eye opener for the staff from the WoW demo area when I’ve explained them how the Legion mechanic encourages MM to exploit the game mechanic by suppressing their auto shots in order to gain control over how and when their vulnerability RPPM happens.
    At least it gives me hope that this way someone in charge may end up rethinking the entire process of tying the resource generation into a rng vulnerability dps mechanic – if they haven’t already

  2. I just want to see Auberdine in game once again. It is my hunters home town. Now I’m losing teldrassil too.. assholes

  3. btw based on the demo booths the speed boost from aspect of the cheetah doesn’t stack with other classes runspeed mechanics. So the value seemed to be the lowest of all class buffs … again

      1. I really really hope Hati comes along with us. I don’t trust any towns in Azeroth to have a decent family who can adopted poor Hati if we leave him alone 🙁

  4. I saw an interview yesterday with one of the devs (can’t remember which one) and they said ‘straight’ up orcs are coming soon. You’ll be able to select ‘straight’ or ‘hunched’ at the character screen and toggle it at the barber shop.

  5. Next expac:
    Do you have time that would be otherwise wasted on non productive things?
    -> (yes) -> play next expac
    -> (No) -> Now’s the best time to quit and not have to devote your irreplaceable time being a slave to grinding mechanics

  6. Are they still keeping the mechanic of Dire Frenzy/Dire Beast reducing the cooldown of bestial wrath? Just curious because of that new venomous bite mechanic.

  7. I just realized, we are getting rid of our artifacts, but ho would we get rid of Hati? or will Hati be permanently ours?! Because when we drain the power from our artifacts to help our heroes, it would be weird draining the life from Hati.

    1. Why would you even care about Hati, when it’s just a placeholder model that’s the same for everyone else, with absolutely zero unique feel to it? You cannot even change a name on that thing.

  8. Interest that they have way of the cobra, a talent that benefits you when you have more than 1 pet, competing with the talent that will give you more than 1 pet…….

  9. The whole bit where the Horde vs Alliance war is injuring Azeroth so the Azerite leaks out… And then we use the Azerite to help us fight the other faction… Causing more injury… Just doesn’t seem like it’s going to end well.

    The classic wow thing is likely something I’ll check out – I started playing late Cata and I’d like to see what the world was like before. But I like my modern conveniences, tyvm 😉

  10. **SPOLIER** joking you already read it in Emerald Nightmare raid.

    “Malfurion Stormrage yells: I Pray that purging the Nightmare’s corruption buys us enough time to defeat the Legion and catch our breath before the black armies rise up from the depths.”

    Alliance/Horde war is Azertorians catching their breath! IE every thing is back to normal.

  11. bendak could you grab any information on BM pets and their plans for the next xpan?
    It would sort off … feel odd to go back to just 1 pet

    1. I mean we are going to hand Magni our legendary weapon for the amulet … A certain companion is sort of bound to that weapon

  12. I just want to add that it was none other than J. Allen Brack who announced WoW Classic.

    The same guy from “You think you do, but you don’t”.

    I’d say he redeemed himself for that obnoxious remark.

  13. I am kind of glad we are not having yet another world-ending threat as the focus of an expansion. None of those have ever really felt threatening or really all that interesting. These types of expansions, where the focus is more on the factions and their conflicts, are often the most weighted with story and character development.

  14. Can’t wait to walk into the new raid (Antorus) with 2 tier older gear 2x Tier 19 pcs ilvl 890 / 900 STILL equipped because …. for reasons !!

  15. Classic WoW will be fun for a few hours/days and then 99% of the playerbase will abandon it. Why? Because it’s a 10+ years old MMO with an insane amount of “missing” quality-of-life things that came in 10 years. Think about it: no aoe-loot, no shared nodes, auto-dismount in water, weapon skill leveling, pet-leveling, agonizing quest-chains with infinite run from A to B then B to A, no LFG tool (good luck with /trade channel), reputations were agonizing too, … I mean there are hundreds of “little things” that made you waste an entire day to be accomplished.

  16. Wow classic, Now that might be worth quitting for! Hopefully it is only the wow vanilla, pre Burning Crusade. I been looking for an easy exit from the game as I been feeling more and more aged out by the younger adrenaline junkies coming into game. Wow classic, level 60 cap, mouse clicks and key clicks .. tauren mill and south shore pvp and crossroads. I’m falling in love with the game all over again… no simulations…lol… just go and kill, who cares how much dps anyone can make…I’m sold!

    1. Actually, my bad, I forgot, Blizzard has spoiled me too much, I look forward to dieing a lot again. I’m sure that it will be refined with a few things from the current game but just with in the old content and level 60 cap. I’m sure flying is included but might need to get arcane crystals to use or something that rarely dropped. Felcloth azz gaskets for clothies, something like that. You know 3 weeks of farming thorium ore to make one bar type of stuff. Good stuff, I’m going to switch to wow classic for sure. That is what made me the wow enthusiast I am today.

  17. LOL does the Druid in the picture from the cinematic have 3 fingers and more like a female troll face? I think they used a female troll and recolored it

  18. The announcement saddens me & quite frankly, heralds the further demise of WoW. If the best thing you can do, is dial the game back to a previous version, & call that a “new expansion”….you best hang your heads in shame. Its nothing but a money-grab in the guise of appealing to “true WoW purists”. Most of us who played in the early days remember it fondly…or not so. But that’s where it belongs. The sad reality is that the devs simply have no clue on how to take the game to the next level. So this is their cop-out of an answer. Maybe they should run down leads on all the devs who left just after WotLK climaxed. Most would argue that expansion was the culmination of the game. Back then, the servers were always high volume of players and Bliz’s subs were record breaking numbers. I recently returned after a 10 month hiatus to find every server population is low (aside from maybe 2 where many players have migrated). The other reality is most of them are playing horde. It won’t be much of a faction war when everyone is on the same side. The few that aren’t better start prepping for disappointment & loss now…or start migrating to a server where alliance can have a chance. And did everyone forget the early days of griefing parties? Yes, that was part of the early game experience too. A part many would choose to sweep under the rug, especially the devs, at least while they are trying to entice you into paying for a take-away.
    Luckily there are many other options for players today, whereas in the early days, it was only WoW or DDO (or EQ if you really liked wasting time camping nodes or bosses just to get griefed). Granted many mmo’s lack the rich lore of WoW. I find myself returning year after year, after varying pauses for other games. But unfortunately, this expac looks like it will be one long pause. Luckily there is ESO now.

  19. Yet another superficial Alliance vs Horde story. Crap. Silly and cheap and easy. That dynamic hasn’t worked since before Warcraft was an MMO. I never bought when WoW first came out, I can’t buy it now. There is nothing there that lasts.

    1. I, for one, will be pleased with that. As long as they have the “cosmetic” part of tier sets, I am happy to have NO tier set bonus at all.

      Best example is our own T19 2pc set bonus that is still better even if each piece is 30 ilvls lower than new gear and with titanforge procs, there’s no way to replace unless they nerf the set bonus to the ground.

    2. Given I still have to wear 2t19 pieces over a year into the expansion, I think this is a move in the right direction. Otherwise, I’d likely need to keep using t19s for the whole next expansion, too…

  20. I know this is probably not the perfect place to ask this question, but I assume this thread still gets the most visability -My understanding is that 4pcT20 and 2pcT21 is the optimal setup going forward for Antorus. First, is that correct? Second, if so, coming from someone who is still rocking 2pdT19, at what point do I drop the T19 for the T21? (I know, I know, sim it) and then lastly, is there is preferred set up in terms of which T20 and which T21 pcs to aim for to maximize stats?

    1. Yes, that is likely the best tier setup going forward. At least until you get some really high ilevel t21 pieces to make the crappy 4 piece bonus worth it. The most ideal T21 pieces is really going to depend on the ilevel of your individual T20 stuff. Basically whatever is going to be the biggest upgrade. But all things being equal, gloves and shoulders would be ideal since they’re both crit/haste pieces. Legs are nice too with crit/mastery.

      I’ll be updating my wowhead guide soon, and probably do a post on here as well.

  21. Hunter : Serpentstalker Guise
    Beast Mastery
    4-piece bonus now reduces the cooldown of Aspect of the Wild by 1.5 seconds (was 2.0 seconds).
    I wonder why they nerfed it? I mean 4p bonus is too weak to begin with, hell I won’t even wear 4 pieces of this shit set, so the question arises: why? XD sad face

    1. My guess is, Qa’pla (boots) + Call of the Wild (bracers) + CoF (trinket) combo might end up being very deadly since boots reduce the KC cd by 3 secs and bracers reduce all aspects cd by 35% and then you have trinket that has a chance to reduce AotW cd by 4 secs.

      Maybe we need a proper sims with that setup to see how crazy this combo can get.

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