Dire Beast non-solution

It is an absolutely crappy day in my corner of Virginia today. The weather has reached that perfect pinnacle of miserableness: about 37 degrees, cold driving rain, and constant breeze. In my soldier days it was the kind of weather I most hated. We had gear for snow and extreme cold, and we even had ways to lessen the effects of extreme heat, but no amount of rain gear could help for this kind of day. You were always wet, you were always cold, there was always mud everywhere, you were mentally exhausted from constantly forcing your brain to keep thinking about the mission and not wander off to thoughts of cozy fires and hot meals. Miserable.

Maybe having to do with the weather, maybe having to do with general mental laziness, I find myself unable to come up with a reasonable WoW topic today, so this will be a pretty short post. Mainly I am recommending to my hunter readers an excellent piece by Bendak on the beastmastery legendary Mantle of Command. He gives some excellent pointers on how to employ that legendary if you are lucky enough to have it, but more importantly he gives some history on the struggle to force Blizz to do something about the horrible clunky BM rotation.

I am frustrated by what I see as a pattern of Blizz implementing terrible design mechanics for hunters, then eventually “fixing” them via RNG-based loot drops. In WoD they did this with MM hunters, making the spec only truly playable as a hunter style by getting the 4-pc tier set. They are doing a similar thing in Legion with this legendary for BM. Skilled hunters for months pointed out to Blizz the need for an additional charge to Dire Beast. As Bendak describes:

Adding a second charge to Dire Beast was one of the most consistent pieces of feedback given to the devs during the Legion beta. Several Hunters, including myself were giving this feedback at least 6 months prior to Legion launch, maybe even sooner.

As usual, Blizz completely ignored this feedback. When it became clear there would be some class changes in 7.1.5, these same top level hunters pushed for a second Dire Beast charge to be made baseline for BM hunters, arguing that it was a terrible “solution” to put this near-critical ability in a random-drop legendary.

We see how much attention Blizz paid to that feedback as well.

It’s not that Blizz thought the idea was a bad one — they clearly recognize the need for a second DB charge. They were just to0 effing lazy to do anything but add a piece of gear to fix it. Oh, and of course they had to add in the Hazzikostas-licensed fun™ factor of making it a rare drop RNG legendary.

I don’t have the legendary shoulders, and honestly I do not expect to get them any time soon if at all in this expansion. It frustrates me no end to think that this one piece of random gear could make a significant difference in my entire play style, that it could actually make BM a reasonably fun spec to play at last. Blizz could have provided this kind of fix to all BM hunters , and they could have done it long before Legion went live. But they just did not — and do not — give a damn.

So Blizz, in keeping with the weather today, here is a big wet cold raspberry to you: *phbbbbttttttttttttt*

Meanwhile, I am going to have another cup of tea, put some beef stew to simmer in the slow cooker, and start my weekend.

3 thoughts on “Dire Beast non-solution

  1. They did this in MoP as well with Assurance of Consequence trinket. Maybe I’m remembering the name wrong. But it reduced all major cooldowns by 20%-45% (LFR to Heroic[now mythic]). With that trinket, everything just accelerated in use, actively weaving in stampede (5 min down to 2.5min), Rapid fire 2 min down to 1 min-ish, etc. It drastically affected the way the game placed, the pace and activity of the everything.

    While this example does show a tendency to want to have a stick that makes things SUPER COOL! it isn’t solving fundamental spec problems like the 4 piece in WoD MM did, and this legendary shoulder for BM in Legion.

    I think in their zeal to have that stick, that drop, that item that just brings it all together and WHAMMO! its super fun now, imho they’ve taken the lazy way out. Rather than build a complete functional fun spec like BM in MoP and then design an item to enhance the game play; they have designed a flaw, a problem, a hole in the spec, and put the solution in item form. It completes things SO wonderfully, the player can’t help but feel the BAM! the designers were developing. Problem is that, we are nerds. We analyze things and think about things. We don’t just mindlessly play. We can see the hole you put in the spec. We can feel the disjointed mess caused by that hole. And when you get it, its bittersweet: Yay I have it! Damn, I should have had this from the start!

  2. Yes — another great spec-enhancing piece of gear I never got…

    I don’t know if Blizz intentionally designs for clumsy play in some classes (not mages, though, never mages) or not, but I do know that making the “fix” dependent on winning the Powerball Lottery just stinks. There are players who will never win the gear, and there are players who even if they eventually do win the special piece, are so bitter and worn out by the time the get it, they are just numbly relieved. They will have spent weeks or months watching other players of their class sail through fights with Porsche gear, while they continue to drive their beat up old stick shift they have to push to get started. Fun™ never ever enters into it. To continue to call it fun™ is to insist we all subscribe to an alternative fact universe, or as some people used to refer to it, “lie”.

    It is, as you say, pure laziness on Blizz’s part to use lottery gear to fix fundamental problems with class mechanics. They paint themselves into a corner when they undertake massive class restructuring in a new expansion without committing the staggering resources necessary to make it all work seamlessly. Then, having done a half-assed job of it, when they realize parts of it are seriously flawed — after some of their development resources have been siphoned off to work on the next expansion — it dawns on them that it is too complicated to fix without breaking a lot of other things. They put it in the “too hard” column. The seductive “solution” at that point is a piece of gear to plug the holes. What confounds me is that they believe only the lucky deserve such gear, unlucky schmucks can just pound sand. If the problem is significant enough to deserve a fix — even using gear — why should players have to throw the dice to get it, why isn’t it made available to all?

    1. It occurred to me while reading your reply, “Wow, I can’t imagine what it would have been like had I not gotten that trinket.” Part of what I enjoyed so much about MoP huntering was that I was ALWAYS doing something. I had this frenetic play style to both SV and BM where, there was always something to do and never any downtime. This was an engaging style of play that kept me 100% invested in the moment while playing (unlike the roughly 25% of the time where I’m waiting for something to happen or reach a certain point in Legion).

      With any repetitive activity, we eventually learn how to perform more efficiently and execute more consistently as we play (practice). So while playing I could see my focus make decisions on what shots to use to best use my accrued focus and manage my cooldowns. Soon the calculations for which shot I ought to choose given a current state (what cds are up, how much focus do I have, etc) were on autopilot. This is the natural tailend of a cycle. You learn, adapt, apply until it becomes rote.

      Then I got my Assurance of Consequence which reduced the cd of all major abilities (cd’s with 2min cds or more) by 25-45% (depending on the ilvl of the trinket). Suddenly, my major cd’s were popping up much sooner and soon enough as my autopilot engaged, that my mental algorithm for which ability to use was off! The trinket accelerated the play of the class even further. By this point, I had mastered the gameplay and the accelerated gameplay added a new freshness and zeal to what I previously thought was frenetic. Now it was all I could do keep up with the raw output of abilities and still make good decisions.

      I say all this to put in context this next statement: I can’t imagine my MoP hunter experience without the assurance of consequence. I can’t imagine hitting the wall pre Siege of Orgrimmar and then sitting there throughout the endless SoO wait for WoD without those changes. Without that increase in ability use, without having access to major cds at much quicker rate, without being able to apply my abilities woven into a fight to coincide with specific sequences in a boss fight.

      Same goes for the 4 piece for MM in WoD. It was an ok spec, but once I got that four piece, it all fit together. Suddenly I wasn’t waiting for a shot to finish, I could hammer away at my keyboard and manage my focus with variety of anticipating use of my focus. It felt fast, active, and engaging.

      One of the things about MoP that I loved was the legendary system. You could get it if you did the work. You weren’t reliant on RNG to get it. You weren’t completely reliant on the cape dropping. You were reliant on your investment, doing the work and you get the reward that was a huge part of the expansion (and SoO tuning). They made a cape in MoP and a ring in WoD integral to the experience and something achievable by every last person that wanted to get the legendary.

      You can’t do that in Legion. No matter how much you want it. You cant guarantee you’ll get that piece that is integral to reaching the full gameplay aspirations of the class for that expansion. I’ll never understand the thinking that lead to this. Its ok for some non-zero percentage of players to be locked out from important experience defining gameplay because of bad luck. Blizzards explanation that every can get it, just keep playing doesn’t change the fact, that there are no guarantees in the system and not everyone can play 20+hrs/week. So you are effectively saying, those with less time don’t deserve the same chance at experiencing the heights that their class has to offer. Bad bad bad design. Its amazing how focused they are on that moment of Excitement when some loot drops, and turn it into a grueling marathon of artificially inflating your hopes and constantly tapping down your frustration and disappointment. Don’t they realize that eventually they aren’t feel good moments. They are a long series of feel bad moments punctuated by one moment of relief that the player doesn’t have to feel bad anymore. (which is a far cry from feeling good).

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