Well, whaddya think?

Whew! Patch 7.0.3 rolled out yesterday, with surprisingly few glitches, and honestly my main impression so far is: this is a helluva lot of work! Yes, work. I am sure I have never before labored so hard as I have done for the past two days, just to make a game playable. And my most optimistic estimate is that this will go on for at least another three or four days. Maybe longer.

The drudgery started Monday night, when I realized that all those garrison resources I had capped out on for most of my characters would be virtually worthless come the patch. Even using a couple of macros, it took me over two hours just to trade in all my resources for sacks of gold. True, I cleared close to 30k gold doing it, but it was tedious. And not exactly wild fun.

Then I tackled all the salvage crates I had saved up for the past month or so. I think I only had about 500 or so total in my account — not nearly as many as some of my guildies had — but that was just painful. Open them up, sell the follower gear and gray items, bank the mats, and sort out where to send which type of gear, using mailboxes as a temporary banking system. Ugh. The only saving grace for me was that I had pretty much been doing this for the last year. I would open crates maybe once a week for everyone, then check each item to see if it was most suitable for transmog for someone, or for AH sales, for DE, or for vendoring. Then about a month ago my banks began to fill up with transmog gear that would not fit in void storage, so I just kept the crates because they at least stacked.

The other thing I am glad I did was that whenever I would send some transmog gear to a character over the past year, I made sure to equip it and make it soulbound. I became very thankful for this foresight last night as I was busily equipping all the BoE gear I had sent around Monday night, so that I could sell it after making sure the appearance made it into my transmog tab. Still, it was tedious even with the relatively few BoE pieces I had to deal with. I got my two hunters sorted out for transmogs and cleaned out all the accumulated gear in their banks and void storage areas. It took several hours, and the process was made more complex by the fact that the main storage addon I use, Ark Inventory, had some major glitches. They eventually got more or less fixed, kind of, but it was a real mess.

While I am on the subject, though, I have to give some major kudos to all the addon authors. At least for the major addons I use, these folks were on top of the situation. They had done the prior work to make their addons mostly 7.0.3 ready, and most of them were issuing updates every few minutes yesterday as bug reports came in. Sure, I know they have had a long time to do this while they were in the alpha and beta tests, but most of them do this for no direct money, and I am pretty sure even what revenue they may derive from forum and blog sites and whatnot is not exactly vast riches (the addons themselves are free, and they may not ask for donations or anything on compendium sites like Curse).

Next I tackled changes with my main hunter. I have been MM since patch 6.2 — 13 months — and decided that I would at least start Legion as BM. Honestly, it is kind of a Hobson’s choice. Some of the very early comparisons seem to point to MM/LW being “THE” raiding spec for Legion — as it has been for most of WoD — but it really is too early to know for sure. But I have never been comfortable with MM in WoD, never really liked the limits on movement, never got used to not having a pet by my side. My current plan is to make my main hunter BM and my almost-main hunter MM to start Legion. This is a pretty stupid decision on my part, because right now they are the opposite, which means I will have to switch both of them. But my “main” main has a lot more cooler pets … It just seems right to make her the BM hunter.

Setting up new action bars and keybinds is not a trivial chore. Not to mention, I rely on Weakauras as the major part of my UI, and all of my auras had to be redone, many deleted, new ones added, and so forth. As to gear, I made some minor changes in light of Multistrike going away, Crit becoming pretty “meh” for BM, and trinkets getting nerfed, but for the most part I am not going to get overly concerned about secondary stats for the remaining few weeks of WoD. I will change out some gems on my BM hunter to stack some haste, but if I have a lot of Mastery instead of the slightly-better Versatility, I am not going to worry about it. Secondary stats are pretty meaningless anyway, as they will shortly be overshadowed by artifact weapons. And Blizz is still tinkering with them for many specs. Bottom line for my BM hunter — keep most of my gear, change out a trinket, stack Haste when convenient, move on.

Side comment: In their official Pre-Patch Notes from two days ago, Blizz claimed that this patch would allow us to equip more than 3 crafted items, but I was not able to do so last night. ??? And in searching just now for the actual quote, I find that in fact the notes have been changed since that particular tidbit was put out. They said it, they announced it, then they unsaid it. No explanations, no apologies, just a selective edit and memory erasure. What, hmmmm? No, we never claimed that….. Poor dear *pat pat* you must be working too hard….

Anyway, back to my hunter. After I finally got things more or less squared away last night, I stepped into a couple of LFRs with her. Grim. Of course, no one ever does any cc in LFR, but I felt completely useless in that area. No traps is a huge deal, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And no, Wyvern Sting is in no way even close as a substitute. I also really felt the loss of specialty shots like Tranq and Distracting Shot. True, I never used them all that often, but I liked knowing they were there if the situation called for them. The new Aspect of the Cheetah, with its timer and cooldown just really sucks. This just seems to be a mean-spirited change, driven only by some sort of hunter envy. And no camouflage will hurt a lot when it comes time to level, I am sure.

I am probably one of the few hunters who actually enjoyed doing lots of little extra raid chores. Now, we have almost no utility for those things. We are just another damage dealer in a crowd. As for actual damage numbers, it is a bit hard to tell. No one was doing anywhere close to what we were seeing before the patch, but whether that is mainly due to spec changes or to everyone having to relearn rotations is not clear. BM will always stink at rapid target switching, and much of HFC involves that. I had not selected an AoE-heavy talent build, but I still did respectable damage with lots of targets if they were all bunched up. Volley is a pretty cool talent, very similar to the rogue’s Blade Flurry. Stampede just blows, at least in any situation where the tank keeps moving adds or the boss — it is completely dependent on your own directional orientation, has absolutely nothing to do with targets.

I will point out that Blizz needs to cut back on some of the audio effects for hunters, though. The constant Dire Beast whistle gets very annoying very fast, and the Bestial Wrath scream is just nerve-grating.

The thing with BM is that most of your damage is based on your pets, and you lose a ton of damage if you miss even one Kill Command or Dire Beast when they either proc because of spell interactions or just come off their rather short cooldowns. I had also taken Chimaera Shot as a talent, and that, too, requires very close monitoring. What I found myself doing was tunnel visioning my hot bars (or my Weakauras), and I lost a lot of raid awareness as a result. Since there are a lot of dynamic cooldown and focus regen changes, it does not seem possible to get into a second-sense rhythm of when things are about to become available. I am somewhat dubious that it will ever be possible to do so. Of course, it was my first real group effort with the new BM, so it is still early in the process.

Anyway, I have gone on far longer than I intended to for this post. Bottom line is that so far I have found the pre-patch to be a lot of drudgery, I think the new transmog system is a welcome improvement, and BM hunters still stink.

I would be very interested in your early impressions.

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.

10 Responses to Well, whaddya think?

  1. ScryersHecubus says:

    I’ve enjoyed the patch so far. Kazzak the loot pinata now drops i-level 720 items. I think the chipped soul prism is close to best in slot now. So worth making the attempt on him weekly.

    I went into LFR SoO to tame Thok on both my hunters. It was easier then I thought it would be. Stomp and dire beasts made short work out of most of the trash. I ran a heroic dungeon to practice the rotation. My damage was close to what it was pre-patch. I really need to get used to hitting beastial wrath when it’s up and learn the proper set up for stampede.

    My pet seemed pretty sturdy when I was in Tanaan Jungle. The pet assist not working was a bit irritating but mostly solved with macroing petattack into kill command and multi-shot. The lack of constant misdirects when soloing takes some getting used to. But between kiting mobs with concussion shot, good pet agro from kill commands/beast cleave, and feign death it felt good to me. I’m really enjoying beast mastery so far! I’ll be looking out for a weakaura string for beast mastery though. I did wind up tunneling a certain looking at my keyboard.

    I did decide to change my Shaman to Enhancement (leaving my monk, priest, and paladin as the only alts whose classes I won’t be changing over). Fortunately, there’s with the timewalking event happening, it’ll be easy to get some gear for them.

  2. Fiannor says:

    @ScryersHecubus Check out http://amiyuy.com/wow/2016/05/weakauras-2-exports-for-hunters-legion-and-7/ if you want to import a few BM hunter auras to try. Also, if you haven’t already discovered it, WA now has a pretty complete templates section for nearly every spec, updated for Legion — painless baseline auras you can copy and amend as you want for the spec’s spells, cooldowns, buffs, etc.

  3. My first impression was that it was good to have my pet back.
    But, I was slow — walking, running, anything seemed like it took forever. I began wondering about speed potions.

  4. Casually Odd says:

    I don’t have many yet, but here’s mine:

    The transmog change was what I was looking forward to most and I am mostly very happy with that. I haven’t deleted/sold anything that is soulbound yet, I just want to make sure there was stability on the first day – but overall, I’m very excited to reclaim some bag space. I’ll have so much I won’t know what to do with myself.

    It also made me think about buying the yak with the transmog person on it. And it made me think more about trying old raids/dungeons more frequently for gear I missed. So by adding something, Blizzard increased my buy-in and gave me more to do, which means I might keep my subscription longer.

    But…

    While I knew it was coming, the removal of gold missions from garrisons completely killed pretty much any interest I had in doing them. I was kind of fascinating, really. As soon as I noticed it, the desire to just never come back to my garrison was pretty overwhelming. Not out of a sense of anger or anything like that. Just, oh, I guess I’m done.

    I was never a big fan of the garrisons anyways, but this really underlined how I was basically using it for gold generation. Some might say it’s good that they removed that “crutch” from me, but it is more likely to highlight how few and far between my reasons for staying are.

    I purposefully chose to avoid most information about the patch, although I did know about the gold nerf to the follower item upgrades, so I was able to sell/use all of those before Tuesday. However I wasn’t aware of the huge change to glyphs/inscription. I found that pretty disappointing. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it’s just another area (professions overall) that is kind of withering and dying. I always liked that part of WoW. It added some limited depth to the game. Not in terms of gameplay but in terms of details…kind of fleshing it out to make it a little more real.

    To the actually gameplay changes…not much I can say yet. I really feel like I my mage has almost no attacks. They seem to be enough to get the job done, but really, it just feels 4,4,4,4,4,2,3,4,4,4,4,4,2,3… To be fair, my druid cat forms seems to have a fair number of attacks.

    I don’t know. Very excited about transmog. Very nervous about hunters (I really hate losing Spirit of the Wild, in addition to many of the other changes). If I were honest, the excitement of the transmog change kind of overshadowed the rest of the patch. Right now I’m kind of neutral with smatterings of happiness and disappointment. Take out the transmog change – straight disappointment with some minor spots of optimism.

    • Fiannor says:

      As much of a tightwad as I am, I also am thinking of buying the Grand Expedition Yak, it now seems to have a slight benefit. I’ll have to think about it. (*keeps tight grip on wallet, pinches gold desperately, gets nervous when thinking about spending any of it*)

      It really is too early to make any huge decisions on Legion, I think. Everyone is excited about the transmog changes now, but that will wear thin pretty soon. I am still doing a few missions — on one character trying to get the final shipyard achieve for 1000 missions, not sure if I will have time or not, have like 75 to go. Also, I will probably do some of the missions that still give the currency for the trader that you can now buy felblight from.

      Class perceptions of power will change a lot once everyone gets into Legion and gets their artifact weapons.

  5. Xzandr says:

    The first thing I did was go to the target dummy. I was in beta this whole time, and knew all the changes that were coming, but I needed to see it all on live to make sure it was real – sounds dramatic, but there it is. I went to several LFRs just to see how things felt, and then ran some dungeons with guildies.

    My main fear was that Sidewinders was going to be pulling entire rooms at a time, but it did not. I stayed max distance and angled my character carefully and my numbers were very strong. What really snapped me out of worrying about being a bad hunter was how much my guildies were struggling. They were pretty overwhelmed by how clunky the gameplay felt and how low their numbers were. As annoying as Marks is to play now, at least I can feel like I am doing well for my guild when we raid, my friends however are all in the same boat I was in before – unsure and annoyed that Blizz seems out of touch with the gameplay of their own classes.

    I have played WoW since launch and I know all the changes that come with expansions, but something feels different this time. The “magic” feel of class synergy is really missing – and I know the artifact weapons will help with that, but not as much as people think. It is going to be interesting to see if the devs stay silent about class changes or if they ever explain what they are thinking. It is so odd. I always trusted them to know what they are doing, but my trust is heading the way of raid buffs and steady shot.

    • Fiannor says:

      I definitely have to agree with you that something feels different this time, and I can’t put my finger on it. For several months I have wondered if we were ever going to get a truthful explanation of why all the drastic class changes, and now I think we will not. As you say, “The ‘magic’ of class synergy is missing”. Many of the best players in the game have said that repeatedly in the alpha and beta forums for months now, and the devs just seem to turn a deaf ear to it. I really do not understand.

  6. Crosshair says:

    I completely agree as well, especially being a Hunter for 10+ years and that being the only class I’ve played. My main is a hunter, and my alts are hunters, so I had all the “class fantasy” I needed ;P Now though, it’s just feels like a computer keyboard with missing keys, or a hunter’s rotation with — wait, what rotation? We basically only have three buttons to press if you playing a BM…lol! Hmmm, I’m obviously still in shock, as I too avoided the alpha and beta posts so these changes are a bit overwhelming at the moment. I know that eventually the “feeling” will come back, at least that’s what I’m hoping will eventually happen. It is so weird though. I see my hunter on the screen and really feel a distance that I’ve never felt before. Those of us who have been around for a while are no stranger to hunter changes, but this just feels different. It’s a very odd cognitive dissonance type of vibe. Like Survival hunters with traps – so in the middle of melee you just tell the person you’re fighting to pause while you set a trap? That’s a weird fantasy gameplay for a spec. Or not providing traps to BM, especially since we would have the “fantasy game play” of taming the most pets, which would go with the action of “trapping” an animal and then “taming” it. What I’ve read and what we’ve been presented with just doesn’t add up. Maybe it’s because we just don’t have the end picture, given what will unroll in Legion. Are other classes this shaken up as well?

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, I am hoping that I come to love either BM or MM as a spec. There is no doubt that eveything will improve somewhat as we get into Legion and start filling out our artifact weapon talents. I just don’t know if it will be enough for me. MM is — and will remain — heavily dependent on RNG and it seems to just be an unnatural, clunky type of rotation.

      BM seems to me to be almost completely reactive in nature — be sure to immediately push whichever button just came off cooldown — rather than allowing individual decisions and play styles. Yes, you can choose to delay Dire Beast until Bestial Wrath comes off cooldown, and you can add a button by selecting Chimaera Shot as a talent, but that is about it.

      If anything, BM gets worse with the artifact weapon, in my opinion. True, you get more powerful, but for all practical purposes, the BM artifact IS the spirit beast Hati. You have zero control over this beast, sometimes it operates in conjunction with your regular pet, sometimes it acts independently. Most worryingly, it can die, and you have no way to rez it, there is a 2-minute cooldown before it respawns. So if it dies in the middle of a boss fight, you are effectively weaponless for two minutes. Blizz would never even consider doing this to another class — imagine the response if there was a chance, for example, that a warrior’s sword could be taken from him for two minutes during a fight.

      This goes to what you alluded to about the broken “fantasy” of BM. I have said many times that I do not understand how you can have any concept of a hunter who has no abilities for camouflage or traps. I also do not see how you can tout a spec as a “Master of Beasts”, then allow control over only one of them. True, we still have control over our regular pet (somewhat, there are still a lot of pathing and attack issues). But all the others at your “command” — dire beasts, Hati, stampede beasts — operate purely mechanically, you have zero control over them.

      Other classes, from what I can tell from the forums and comments from my guildies, are pretty shaken up as well, but I do not think any class has been as badly treated as hunters. I may eventually accept and be able to work with the new changes, but I honestly feel Blizz has betrayed the entire class.