Two thoughts on the new Alpha build

Today there was a ton (at least compared to the info vacuum of late) of info released on Legion alpha changes. I am hoping those with access to alpha really dig into it in the next couple of days and give us all some valuable feedback on how the theories actually feel to play, but meanwhile here are my initial takes on two items of note.

Secondary stat scaling. Celestalon posted an admirably transparent discussion of Legion changes to secondary stat scaling, which included the dev reasoning behind the changes. I will rely on others to really dig into the math involved in it, but I think the overall effect will be a good one. Basically, as I understand the change, the importance and raw power effects of secondary stats will be slightly less in Legion, especially at higher gear levels. But primary stats will still scale exponentially — as they do now — with gear level.

Celestalon claims this will mean, for example, that blue gear will be more effective at the start of Legion than it was at the start of WoD, and that the change will give more chance to less-than-hardcore raid teams to attain decent progress through raid tiers.

He also says it means that the point at which a raw ilevel increase outweighs favorable secondary stats will be slightly lower than it is now. If you keep your great secondary-stat piece of gear now until you get something with bad secondary stats that is maybe 15-20 ilevels higher, in Legion that balance point may be 10-12 ilevels higher. (I think his numbers were a little different, but you get the idea.)

*Rant alert*

Here’s the thing I find most interesting about this change. One of my and others’ major complaints about WoD gear has been that secondary stats are extremely important for gear, that they vary not only by class but by spec, and that the only way to get better stats for your spec is by rolling the dice again and again. This ends up being a “compound interest” crap shoot, because even just geting gear is random; even if you get gear, whether or not you can use it is random; and even if you can technically use it, whether or not it has the best secondary stats for your spec is random.

So how does Blizz propose to “fix” this frustrating situation? Maybe bring back a mechanism like reforging, so that when you finally land a piece of gear you can make sure it has spec-appropriate secondary stats? Nope. Make it so that secondary stats figure in when you select your “gear spec” in dungeons and raids? Nope. Make the whole gear process less RNG-dependent and maybe give an alternate badge/token path to getting it? Nope.

No, their answer is to make secondary stats slightly less important, I guess because they think that way we’ll feel much better when we go months or even entire expansions without getting that “ideal” gear.

As I said earlier, I don’t think the announced change is necessarily a bad one, but damn, Blizz, do you have anyone there who can analyze the real scope of some of the problems your players find most frustrating? Do you have anyone who can see solutions beyond cheap band-aid ones?

MM hunter tweaks. One of the MM tweaks announced was a change to Black Arrow (emphasis mine):

Black Arrow. Fires a Black Arrow at the target, dealing 0 damage over 0, stacking 3 times. 3 charges [ 4 + 40% of AP ] Shadow damage over 8 sec and summoning a skeletal minion to taunt it for the duration. Black Arrow’s cooldown is reset when you kill an enemy. Marksmanship Hunter – Level 15 Talent. 40 Focus. 40 yd range. Instant.15 sec cooldown.

I can only hope this is an early drawing-board stage of this talent. Really, it is bad enough that Blizz is going to strip MM hunters of the pets some have spent years finding and taming, but now they add insult to injury by creating this abomination of a talent, this perversion of what was once a decent signature shot, this mockery of the entire hunter-pet bond??

Without the mandatory “skeletal minion” this could be a powerful shot and a reasonable Level 15 talent. But to add in an uncontrolled warlock-or-DK-type “pet” that always taunts? I want some of what they must be smoking back in Blizz Devland. What are they thinking?

This is clearly meant to (badly) compensate MM hunters for the years they have spent learning to level and solo with their pet. (It is obviously only a leveling/soloing talent choice, because I have yet to meet that tank that loves to remind all the hunters in the group, “Please put all pets on taunt! It makes my job so much easier!”)

Here is another example of Blizz not understanding the depth of some players’ frustration with MM changes. It’s not about a play style that involves a pet, it’s about a play style that involves your pet. There is no reason in the world that Blizz could not offer a “reverse Lone Wolf” MM talent choice to play with a real hunter pet. But no. Instead they apply a cheap band-aid “fix” that is an insult to many long-time hunters. (Well it is to me, anyway.)

I continue to look forward to looking back on Legion.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

7 Responses to Two thoughts on the new Alpha build

  1. Bodhi Rana says:

    I really believe that Lone Wolf in WoD is pretty good for MM. The 100% pet-less (yet not really pet-less) Lone Wolf in Legion is just completely wrong. I really hope they get their collective heads out of of their asses before launch.

    • Fiannor says:

      LW in WoD is in fact very good for MM. Unfortunately, I believe that is what caused this horrible Legion shift to a petless MM — Blizz basically made LW so overpowered that most MM hunters had little choice but to select it for a talent, then they used that shift as justification for no MM pets in Legion, “See, hunters love having no pet, just look at the number who choose LW as a talent!”

      I definitely share your hope, but honestly I am not optimistic though I would love to be proven wrong.

      • gnomecore says:

        I love being petless. As soon as I turned 100 and browsed this tier talents, a petless choice was my immediate choice. I never care about numbers and effectiveness, it’s the gameplay feeling. Even if some other talent proved to bring me +15% dps, it would be lone wolf all the same.

        Black Arrow is obviously a nod in Sylvanas’ direction. We will have the Windrunner family relic for a weapon (even if I would prefer a gun), we have an Undead ranger, and skeleton is an obvious extension of this fantasy.

        The problem is: not a single hunter, especially in PuGs, will change this talent for dungeons and raids. It’s a great tool to make hunters even more annoying (they can’t even manage Aspects, Barrage and all which doesn’t require any Tomes), and I think Blizzard will do something about it.

      • Fiannor says:

        @gnomecore, yeah, I have no problem with MM having a petless choice like we do now, and there are some hunters like yourself that prefer it just for the play style (although I think you may be in the minority). Still, I am all in favor of player choice, which is what I am arguing for in Legion MM.

        But it was at best sloppy and at worst disingenuous of Blizz to stack the deck as they did with LW in WoD then go on to claim how wildly popular it was, thus there should be no pet option in Legion. By making the LW talent so OP, they just poisoned any logical basis they may have had for the Legion change. Even if every MM hunter who plays LW does so because, as you do, they love it, Blizz has no way to tell because the talent is so demonstrably better than any other in that tier for MM.

      • No one is arguing for the removal of Lone Wolf. They’re asking for MM to have a pet option that is comparable in damage. I cannot and will not play the Legion version of BM, but I’d grudgingly switch to MM if I could have MY pet. Just give players options.

  2. Grumsta says:

    The main gear badly affected by RNG in WoD is T2 stuff, as it’s totally random and there’s nothing you can do other than sell it if it’s the wrong stats. Crafted gear can at least be re-rolled (I wasted 45 re-rolls on a neck piece for my Mage last night as Spirit is included). My, that is such fun(tm).

    Raiding gear isn’t random for primary and secondary stats, it’s just a case of being lucky enough for the loot to drop fromthe boss and then be awarded it. Each piece will always have the same secondary stats for that fight. That’s true in WoD and previous xpacs anyway, and I don’t see why that would change in Legion.

    Both Multistrike and Spirit are going in Legion so there will be fewer “wrong” choices too.

    This secondary stat gearing change is the best game mechanics news I’ve heard in a long while. Having had to abandon Fire Mage because it’s so reliant on Crit to do anything more severe than a Chinese Burn at lower ilevels, and see Fury Warriors struggle until they are heavily geared up (and then do silly dps) it is a most welcome change. Hopefully Blizz get their numbers right this time.

    It should be much easier to look a piece of gear in Legion and know whether it’s better for you or not. That’s got to be a good thing. The downside is of course that each piece will be “right” for more people, so there will be more competition for each piece. It should make gearing up a raid team much easier and quicker overall, and lead to fewer pieces being disenchanted because no-one wants them. The gap between BiS and better should be narrower. Hoo-flippin-ray!

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, excellent point on the raid gear stats, they are indeed fixed. My murkily-stated point about raid gear should have been that, with secondary stats so important in WoD, gear should have matched the ideal secondary stats for your spec. Blizz could have done this by making secondaries “float” according to your spec, the same way for example that they make primaries “float” according to your class — the way that you get either int or agi.

      The T2 stuff is ridiculous, more than 90% of it useless, like a cheap ill-fitting suit that cannot be altered. Across my alts I have over 200 pieces (both SB and BoA) I haven’t clicked yet, just lying around in banks. My intent is to spend an evening clicking on them all, and keep track of how many of them actually “fit” the alt.

      And the crafted gear re-roll mechanism can only be described as horrible. As you say, “Such fun™” 😉

      I agree, the Legion changes to secondary stats can only be an improvement. The whole WoD approach to gear just seems like it was designed by a Congressional committee.