May 31, 2016 2 Comments
It is getting down to crunch time. Which alts will I level first in Legion? And, even more anxiety-inducing, will my hunter still be my main? These are not questions I have felt I had to answer in the run-up to other expansions, but they seem important — almost key — to me as we approach Legion.
First, the question of main. I have always had a hunter as my main. In fact, by the end of Mists and all through WoD, I had two hunters as what you might call dual mains. (The reason is a long story not worth going into here, but it had to do with my guild-switching as my guild of many years was disintegrating.) Currently I have one adequately-geared MM hunter as my “main main” and a somewhat lesser geared BM hunter as my “off main”. The question I am dealing with is, will I maintain this hunter configuration in Legion?
I am not all that happy — and honestly not all that skilled — with the MM spec. Try as I might, I just can’t love it in its current incarnation. I usually run it with Lone Wolf for the undeniable DPS boost. But it feels clunky and slow to me, from the need to be mindful of how often I am moving, to the puny burst capability. Even the 4-piece tier set seems to provide only marginal improvement — it is terrific fun in those rare instances when Careful Aim is active and Thrill of the Hunt has procc’ed, but other than that the 50-focus cost of Aimed Shot really limits its use except for being able to work maybe one more in during a regular rotation, possibly two more during a TotH when Careful Aim does not apply.
As for BM, it has never really been my favorite. I have usually had a BM off spec for my hunters just to be able to tame rare pets and spirit beasts, and it is a terrific spec to level with. But it is frustrating to raid with, especially in any fight that requires a lot of target-switching. (And it seems like nearly all of the final tier raids in both Mists and WoD were this type of fight.) The DPS hit taken when your pet has to continually run to other targets is quite significant, and leaving the pet on a main target (by having it in passive mode) while you yourself switch is similarly unsatisfying, again because of the DPS hit you take when you remove that hunter-pet damage synergy.
This is why I loved SV before Blizz obliterated it — it really hit the sweet spot between the other two specs.
But back to my question of a main in Legion. With nothing to go on in terms of how each spec might feel to play, much less the raid environment they will have to deal with, it all becomes kind of a complicated coin toss.
All of this is complicated by two additional factors: professions and artifact weapons. Which leads me to my second question, which alts should I level first? Let’s leave artifact weapons aside — I have written about their game play complications previously — and focus on professions.
We are told that in Legion professions will all have their own quest lines, and that recipes will be learned as quest rewards and will also drop from various sources. I try to read everything I can about Legion, but the information on professions is extremely sparse. I don’t know if this is because Blizz has yet to implement most of the profession structure, if it is because the people who did the alpha had zero interest in professions, or if the people now in beta who are interested in professions are not interested in sharing their experiences with the rest of us. The Legion profession forums are sparse, and while there are a couple of bloggers writing very comprehensively about one or two professions, there just is not much information out there. I wish there was more, because it might help me decide which alts I should be gearing up most now so as to be able to level them efficiently in Legion.
My current lineup of characters/professions is:
(As you can see, Alchemy, Herbalism, and Inscription are duplicate professions.) All are level 100, with varying gear levels roughly in descending order. All but the mage either have the legendary ring or in the case of the druid and the rogue will have it within a couple of weeks.
With that rather long introduction, here is my current plan.
- Leave the decision as to whether or not to main a hunter until the pre-patch, when I can get an idea of the play style for MM and BM. At that point I will decide first if I want to have a hunter as my main at all, and second, do I want to continue with the “dual mains” route I am on now or just have one main and a bunch of alts of which my other hunter is just one.
- Within a week, decide which of my alts would be a candidate for main if hunter does not work for me in Legion. Right now the strongest candidate, given all that I can scrape up about Legion, seems to be my Druid. (I would love for it to be my Warlock, as I really love playing that alt, but I really don’t know how it will feel to play one in Legion.)
- Also within a week, figure out the order in which I will level my alts in Legion. Some of this will depend on which is my main, of course, but I will go with a Plan A hunter main and a Plan B Druid main for planning purposes. The order of alts leveling will largely depend on which professions look to be either most lucrative or most useful to me. Right now Inscription looks to be a safe bet at least early on, mainly for the gizmos that allow for talent switching away from cities and inns. Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess, but possibly my LW will be useful for transmog items, and of course and enchanter is always useful for DE purposes if nothing else.
- Last, decide within the next few days if I need to switch out some duplicate professions in favor of ones where duplicates will be more useful.
As I said above, this is not really a decision matrix I have faced before. But the twin factors of artifact weapons and what appear to be drawn-out profession leveling processes in Legion mean that it is now something to be dealt with.
Blizz really owes us a better picture of these Legion mechanisms — they are giving the beta selectees a huge advantage right now over all other players.