Hunter “balance” — part deux


After the expected nerfs to MM hunters and the inexplicable-though-slight nerf to BM hunters on December 3, Blizz added in a couple of enhancements to BM and SV hunters with the December 15 round of hotfixes. This is welcome news, and seems to bear out my optimism that eventually hunter specs will get properly balanced, although the process is likely to be pretty painful.

So before I go further, thanks to Blizz for continuing to work on fixing the horrible hunter mistakes that they allowed to go live in this expansion. Today’s buff to BM’s Improved Focus Fire makes me kind of excited to raid tonight on both of my BM hunters, just to see if there is a noticeable difference. And even though I gave up on SV at the beginning of WoD, increasing Serpent Sting damage by 60% might make me reconsider the spec for AoE-heavy fights. (“Might” I said. Still concerned about SV’s lack of burst capability.)

By the way, as a side note, I did spend some time working with MM/Lone Wolf on one of my hunters. Switched to that spec and talent, rearranged a couple of glyphs, spent a some time on the target dummies. Then I ran a couple of heroics using the spec. Of course, this does not make me even close to an expert on it, but I just could not make it work for me. I did do significantly higher DPS in the rare instances where I could stand still and hammer away, but any time there was normal movement required, my DPS was terrible. Clearly much of this is due to my unfamiliarity with the movement patterns MM must adopt. But not all of it, I think. At least in the couple of heroics I ran, many boss mechanics seemed to require more constant movement than can reasonably be sustained for MM. I just was not comfortable with it, and I don’t see myself becoming so.

And as a side note to my side note: WTF??? Target dummies can now kill you???? Why? What lunatic reasoning drove this change? You go to a target dummy to work out rotations in a controlled environment, not to get killed BY AN INANIMATE DUMMY! (Not to mention the embarrassment factor.) This just has to be another brilliant innovation from the Screw With The Players Department at Blizz. After I almost died while testing out my MM rotation, I did a little research, and I think what was happening was that my Chimaera Shot cleave effect was hitting the tanking dummy, and it is in fact the tanking dummy that does the damage. So, OK, Blizz, I am going to give you, free of charge, a high-tech solution to this, something my consulting clients would have to pay a lot of money for: MOVE THE DAMN TANKING DUMMY!

Alright, on to the point of this particular post, and I assure you I do have one. There was a recent tweet from a Blizz dev in response to a hunter asking about the initial December 3 nerf to BM. (Remember, this was before the Dec 15 changes.) I quote it here from the Blue Posts of MMO Champion, just so you know I am not making it up (not that you can make this stuff up):

Why on earth would you nerf BM when it was already terrible? Or is it an oversight that it got collateral nerfed by MM?
.That Kill Shot change has an extremely trivial (<1%) impact on Beast Mastery. With MM nerfed, BM should get some play now. (Celestalon)
Problem is BM was already low.
.It’s difficult to say anything conclusive (UP or not) about a spec that only 1-3% of hunters play in raids. (Celestalon)

So this is a good news – bad news thing, right? On the one hand, it’s good that Blizz deigned to explain the reasoning behind one of their most bizarre recent changes. On the other hand, the reasoning is, well, most charitably described as “obscure”. It’s like when you are potty training your toddler, working constantly to get her to understand the purpose and use of that room with all the porcelain, then one day you take her along to the hardware store, look away for a moment, then gasp when you see she has made a beeline for the plumbing department and is following your instructions exactly. Of course you can’t punish her for it, or even make her feel bad, the best you can do is pay for the damage and slink out, but still ….

So Blizz, I congratulate you on trying to explain yourselves, but ummm we need to have a discussion on the finer points of modern plumbing systems logic and reasoning. Really, the reason you nerfed BM was because MM needed nerfing, so now that you nerfed both of them elite hunters should start flocking back to BM???? *head slap*

Again — free of charge — a suggestion for a better answer: “Collateral. Making add’l changes soon to BM and SV to make them more viable as raid specs.” See, truthful and logical, acknowledges the current situation, even fits into a tweet. How hard is that?