All posts by bendak

First look at Hunter changes from Battle for Azeroth alpha datamining

The Battle for Azeroth alpha is up on the test servers, and datamining is in full swing. I’ve poured over every bit of Hunter info I could find. I have some opinions on what I’ve seen, but it’s hard to say anything definitively until I can play myself. Streamers and influencers will probably have access to play this any day now, and then hopefully I’ll find a way in during the next waves.

My initial reaction to BM is pretty disappointing, but I don’t think they’ve put much work into it yet. A lot of it looks the same as it did 3 months ago at BlizzCon, and there’s obviously some placeholder stuff still there (like having Way of the Cobra as a talent when we only have 1 pet now). Nothing jumps out at me as exciting so far, but there are some pet things to discuss.

My initial reaction to the MM changes is pretty positive. Marking Targets RNG is gone, Vulnerable is gone, Steady Shot is back, and the whole talent tree is full of new stuff to explore. Also, it appears that Lone Wolf is a permanent passive now. No pets for MM, period. But I’m hoping Blizzard can come up with a compromise there without locking out a whole talent row for it (as it is today). I have some suggestions there.

Survival looks like it has many more ranged abilities, and to me it feels like it’s becoming disturbingly similar to Beast Mastery. In fact, one could almost argue it has more hunter/pet interplay than BM does at this point. I don’t want to say Survival is “stealing” abilities or talents that would be better suited to BM (or even MM), but I do question this direction. They’re adding so much ranged capability that I wonder if there’s even a point of keeping the spec as “melee” for the sake of appearances.

Continue reading First look at Hunter changes from Battle for Azeroth alpha datamining

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If I could change Beast Mastery in 8.0, I’d probably do something like this

Beast Mastery had a rough start in Legion, but I think Blizzard managed to get it in a decent place considering where it started. Giving 2 charges to Dire Beast as baseline was huge. One of my other favorite patch changes was increasing the range of Kill Command and Dire Frenzy to 40 yards, as it almost eliminated BM’s target switching issues. I think gear has a part to play here as well, because the spec isn’t nearly as fun to play with low levels of critical strike for example. In terms of engagement and fun, I thought BM was a 3/10 at the start of Legion, and now it’s more like a 7/10. There’s still room for improvement.

I think Beast Mastery’s weak points are talents (lack of choice, some dead talents) and an overall lack of identity. When I say identity, I don’t mean class fantasy. I mean as in what is BM supposed to be good at? Single target? AoE? Cleave? Dungeons? I’ve always thought we were supposed to be the best at high movement fights, but the evidence says that our freedom of movement hasn’t really done us any favors on those fights. I don’t ever feel like there’s that one boss in a raid that’s “the BM boss.” I think this lack of direction or clarity is at least partially responsible for our current performance.

Anyway, on to the point of this post before I stray too much into balance, which isn’t the point. How can BM improve in Battle for Azeroth? Will Blizzard make any serious changes or are we just getting tweaks? I’m under the impression it will be the latter, so that’s why my proposed ideas don’t change the fundamentals too much. But I do get a little more crazy with the talent suggestions since I think BM needs a lot of improvement there.

Continue reading If I could change Beast Mastery in 8.0, I’d probably do something like this

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Winter Veil wish list for Beast Mastery

Dear Greatfather Winter (Blizzard),

I think there’s a lot that can be done to improve Beast Mastery in Battle for Azeroth, but that’s a post and discussion for another time. We’ve still got another 8+ months of Legion and Beast Mastery is simply not in the best state right now. I honestly thought there would have been some more tuning at this point after seeing how poorly BM is doing (especially in Mythic). To be fair, overall rankings are kind of misleading since BM is so weak on any kind of multi-target fight (Antoran High Command is the most heinous example) which does plummet our overall rank. In single target, we are pretty close to the middle, which is hard to complain about.

The problem for me is that we have no true strengths. We have decent single target, and what is essentially the worst AoE in the game. Some of this boils down to BM’s lack of upgrades in Antorus. While other classes are seeing their DPS shoot up, BM is only seeing small incremental upgrades because we still have to juggle old tier sets.

Continue reading Winter Veil wish list for Beast Mastery

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First night in Antorus

I enjoyed Antorus quite a bit. It reminded me a lot of Ulduar — not any specific bosses, but just the big epic areas and general style. It was just normal mode so most of it was one-shotted (including Argus), but we were overgeared so I wouldn’t read too much into that. Though from what I hear, Heroic is also a little easier than ToS Heroic was (I won’t be doing that til later in the week). Hopefully that translates into Mythic as well, because I did feel like ToS (especially Mythic) was too hard in general. I thought Nighthold was a lot better in terms of overall difficulty.

My favorite boss was definitely Argus — it’s a visual feast and has really cool mechanics. One of my favorites ever. Plus it felt cool that I was briefly rank 1 of all Hunters on that fight (I had to screenshot such an occasion). Ah, the perks of raiding on day one before the EU and Koreans get in there.¬† ūüėõ

My least favorite boss was Varimathras. The entire fight seems like it’s on the tanks, and everyone else is doing patchwerk. I actually like having a patchwerk fight once per raid, but this one just wasn’t fun. A fun patchwerk fight to me is something like Krosus from Nighthold.

The dumbest boss was the Portal Keeper because hunter pets are completely bugged on it. Here’s a tip: Don’t take the portals to the platform because Blizzard forgot to implement pet pathing up there. It’s a complete mess. Tell your raid leader you need to stay down.

Another thing worth mentioning is that several bosses have an emphasis on CC, which is pretty cool. Tar Trap, Freezing Trap, and Binding Shot will all get a lot of use in this raid.

Continue reading First night in Antorus

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Antorus gear for Beast Mastery: Trinkets, set bonuses, and more

If you haven’t heard, tier sets are going away in Battle for Azeroth. So Antorus (Tier 21) will be the very last tier where we get class set bonuses. It’s also the final tier of the expansion, so that must mean Blizzard is going to give the system a nice send off and give us some truly cool bonuses to enjoy while we wait for BfA, right?

Oh, sweet summer child. No.

Updated Feb 6, 2018: Updated set bonus section for small hotfix buff to T21 4pc. It now reduces the cooldown by 3.0 sec. See the Set Bonus FAQ for discussion on this.

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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).

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

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On this day, 7 years ago, Eyes of the Beast was removed from the game

Patch 4.0.1 was released 7 years ago today, on October 12, 2010. That was the day that Eyes of the Beast was taken from us. Eyes of the Beast was a damn cool ability that let you take control of your pet independently and play through its eyes. It was so cool I named this site after it!

No, it wasn’t used in actual raid combat or anything like that. It was mostly a flavor ability, but it did have some actual uses like pulling Baron Geddon in Molten Core. I enjoyed it mostly for the shenanigans you could get up to, like flagging unsuspecting players for PvP combat, or just going on a PvP server and sending your pet into towns like Gadgetzan to wreak havoc. You could also use it for scouting dangerous areas, or just having some fun while you’re in a battleground queue.

In Wrath, they actually added the Glyph of Possessed Strength¬†which increased your pet’s damage by 50% during Eyes of the Beast, which was even more fun in world PvP. So, why did they remove it? Well, I’ll let Ghostcrawler explain.

Continue reading On this day, 7 years ago, Eyes of the Beast was removed from the game

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Netherlight Crucible and buffs for Beast Mastery

With this week’s maintenance, Beast Mastery is getting a “6%” buff. Cool, right? Well, don’t get too excited. For one, it’s not a true 6% buff since it leaves out some important things like Beast Cleave or any pet auto attacks — it just buffs primary abilities and most of the talents. Secondly, all this buff does is let us keep the status quo. Everyone is getting 15 ilevels on their weapon this week from the Netherlight Crucible, and Beast Mastery scales like crap with weapon damage while other classes and specs get tons of value from the weapon increase.

So this buff really just puts us back where we were, with maybe a tiny 1-2% extra. On top of that, we’re going to fall even more behind in AoE/cleave since that isn’t getting any benefit at all from the Crucible or this buff (except for Stomp, which is included in the buff). We need more than 1-2% relative to other classes!

Anyway, let’s get to the Netherlight Crucible. I updated my Wowhead guide with basic information on how to use the Crucible and determine upgrades and what traits to take. I’ll reproduce some of that here.


Updated Jan 2, 2018:

Modified values of the traits. The damage proc traits from Crucible tier 2 lose some value as our ilevel goes up in Antorus, so they are now more in line with the stat traits. I also removed the Dire Frenzy specific trait list since it’s proven to be an unpopular build, and the trait values are almost identical.

If your overall ilevel is still low (below 940), it’s likely that the damage proc traits are still highest on your list. But if your ilevel is high (approaching 960 equipped), you may find that traits are valued even lower than what’s listed here. As always with BM, you really need to sim yourself.

The general trend is moving towards getting the tier 2 stat traits (they’re all pretty good) instead of the damage proc traits, if you have that option. They’re just more useful at higher ilevels, and they also blow away the damage procs in any kind of multi-target scenario.


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Patch 7.3 for Hunters: New pets, Netherlight Crucible, and more

Patch 7.3 is almost here so it’s time to take a look at what’s going on for Hunters. The answer is… not much. We’ve got some pretty cool new pets available to tame on Argus, but still no new stable slots to make room for them. I don’t know about you, but I’m at the point where every pet I replace isn’t such an easy decision. Either it’s a rare I wouldn’t want to have to hunt for again, or a pet I’ve had for a long time and just don’t want to get rid of. There are a few new pets on Argus that may be worth swapping out for, though.

Continue reading Patch 7.3 for Hunters: New pets, Netherlight Crucible, and more

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BM Update: The Aspect of the Beast build, more legendary talk, a need for buffs, and 7.3 set bonuses

I’ve had a couple people ask me about this “new build” going around so I thought I’d touch on it. Since it was buffed a while back, Aspect of the Beast has always been pretty close to Killer Cobra when using the Stomp build, but up until now it was always enough of a gap to ignore (for me, anyway). Now, as people get upgrades (especially to their weapon ilevel), Aspect of the Beast is emerging as a competitive talent for the Stomp build.

The rest of the talents are the same — Way of the Cobra, Stomp, One with the Pack, AMOC — but Killer Cobra is changed to Aspect of the Beast. A lot of your Kill Command damage gets replaced by Cobra Shot damage, which is viable because of the higher weapon ilevel (Cobra Shot is based on weapon damage). Where this changeover happens depends on your gear, but to me it looks like around 930-940 ilevel for Titanstrike is where Aspect of the Beast can start to pull ahead — barely. It will vary from person to person.

Continue reading BM Update: The Aspect of the Beast build, more legendary talk, a need for buffs, and 7.3 set bonuses

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