Running in place

If you have a busy day today, you might want to skip reading this post. I guarantee you there is nothing of substance in it, I am writing it as a placeholder, a way to keep my writing rhythm going when there really seems to be absolutely nothing to write about.  Oh, I will natter on about a couple of unrelated subjects, but the truth is, there really is very little to discuss these last few days before the pre-expansion patch goes live.

Which I hope will be next Tuesday, and it probably will be next Tuesday, but that is not a sure thing. All we know is that Tuesday marks the end of the current PvP season, and Blizz has told us that “the Legion pre-expansion patch is nearly here.” Now, I know that in the past the end of the PvP season has coincided with patches going live, and I have no reason to think that will not be the case this time. But Blizz has not told us officially that the patch will go live on Tuesday the 19th.

You would think if they were certain of the status, that they would actually tell us, but either they are continuing their tradition of being saccharinely coy about it, or perhaps they are not absolutely sure it will in fact go live then. Legion itself will launch August 30, so that would be about 6 weeks after a July 19th pre-patch. I don’t have the numbers handy, but 6 weeks seems like a bit longer lead time than we have had in the past (it may not be, may be just my perception), and I can’t help but wonder if Blizz is hedging their bets, frantically finishing up all the worst bugs in 7.0.3 with an ideal target date of Tuesday but a worst case launch of the 26th. Nevertheless, I am planning on next Tuesday.

A couple of nights ago I played around with a Demon Hunter in the beta. I didn’t get too involved with it, just did a few of the intro quests to get it to level 99, then the server crashed. I had fun with it, and I will probably roll one as soon as we are able on live, but I doubt if I will ever do much with one as an alt. I’m sure those of you really interested in them have already devoured some of the more detailed reporting available, so I won’t go into much on specific mechanics. (Plus, I was just kind of passing time so I did not keep much n the way of notes on my experience.)

The class seems lively and engaging, and the visuals are great, like the sprouting of wings when you double jump. Even with only a couple of spells at 98, it seemed a tad OP in the starting area — knowing zero about the class, I had no trouble taking on 4-5 mobs at a time, never getting below about 80% health in the process. Still, it is a melee class, and I am just not all that excited about playing melee in a raid or group setting. Too chaotic in terms of visuals, small movements of the boss require you to reposition yourself constantly, large movements of the boss cause you to lose a ton of damage while you are running after him, etc. It is just not my thing. I expect it will be like the DK I rolled when it became available — it was new and intriguing but ultimately not something I enjoyed playing over the long haul.

The OP factor I noticed made me wonder if Blizz is purposely doing that in order to make the new class more attractive to players. Not that I think it will be necessary — there will be about a jillion Demon Hunters running around all over Azeroth as soon as they become available. Some players will love them and make them their mains, becoming very skilled, and others like me will pick them up and quickly lose interest in them.

The other thought I had as I played it was that Demon Hunters make the whole idea of melee Survival Hunters even more puzzling. I admit I have not rolled a SV hunter (and Hell will freeze over before I do so), so I cannot compare the two specs from personal experience, but everything I read about the two tells me they are similar in play style. SV has a pet, DH does not. SV has traps, DH as far as I took it does not. But other than that, both are quite rogue-like in their play style, at least from a rank amateur’s point of view.

I wonder if down the road Blizz has plans to make SV hunter the third DH spec, maybe giving real hunters a new tanking spec. Even better, what if the reason they included “hunter” in the name for DH is that they plan to remove MM as a spec in the next expansion and merge BM in with the DH class, thereby completing what seems to be the goal of destroying the hunter class as we have known it since the beginning of WoW? All it would take is a shift in the races available for DH, make up some ridiculous lore to explain it, and voila! Yeah, I know that is a really stupid and far out theory, but hey I got nothing better to do these days…

Some day I would love to hear the real reason Blizz reconfigured hunters as they did. Because their insipid “class fantasy” explanations just don’t cut it. It will be interesting to see how the two melee specs fall out for numbers of players, inclusion in top level raid teams, etc. It seems to me that if you want to play a new melee spec, DH has it all over SV in terms of fun and cool effects

As I said at the beginning, I really have nothing much else to write about. I have been spending most of my game time the last few days with housekeeping chores, and I expect come Tuesday (if indeed we have the pre-patch then), the admin grind will start in earnest. I will have to go through a ton of salvage crates and then spend a few hours either vendoring or DE-ing the literally hundreds of pieces of transmog gear I have stashed in void storage and banks. I fully expect that chore to last two days at least. Then I will have to take a full day for each of my characters and set up new action bars, keybinds, talents, glyphs (whatever ones we have remaining), and auras for Weakauras, then run through a few sessions on the target dummies and venture into a random dungeon or two. Yeah, minimum one day per character, maybe longer.

OK, see, I told you. Nothing to see here today. Move along.

PS. Happy Bastille Day.

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