Woohoo and Holy Moly!

There is only one possible topic for today’s post, and I’m certain you all know what it is: The Blue post BM hunters have been waiting for ever since, well, the early days of Legion alpha testing:

Hi Beast Masters. We’ve been reading your feedback and trying different sets of changes for Beast Mastery Hunters internally and on PTR.

To start, we are reverting all 7.2.5 changes we’ve made so far to how Wild Call triggers. Instead, Dire Beast and Dire Frenzy will have 2 charges baseline. The Mantle of Command (legendary shoulders that currently add +1 charge to Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy) will be changed to instead further increase the proc chance of Wild Call.

Overall, this will result in more Focus for all Beast Mastery Hunters, resulting in a more active rotation. Additionally, this gives all Beast Mastery Hunters access to a Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy with 2 charges playstyle that is more engaging and fun, allowing you to make decisions on when to use the buttons, instead of feeling like you should most often simply push them on cooldown.

We’ve been trying other iterations of changes surrounding Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy and Wild Call, including increasing Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy Focus generation or versions that avoided changing the legendary shoulders drastically, but ultimately reached the conclusion that giving 2 charges to the abilities baseline, which many of you have asked for, was the best change for the spec at the current time. We appreciate your patience while we try different iterations on PTR.

We are also making a few other less major changes to the spec in the next PTR patch, including: 

  • Aspect of the Wild will reduce the global cooldowns of your damaging abilities by 0.2 seconds, allowing you to more reliably spend the Focus you’re generating while it’s active, especially with Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy going off.
  • Kill Command and Dire Frenzy will cause your pet/Hati to charge up to 40 yds (up from 25 yds) to the target, matching the max range of your ranged abilities.
  • When your pet casts Dash, Hati will also gain Dash for the same duration.

Halla

Freaking

Looyah

This was the best news Beast Mastery hunters have had in — literally — years. When it was first posted, I actually had to read it several times for it to sink in. The announcement came as a total surprise to me, and I suspect to most hunters, because the few mutterings we had had thus far from Blizz on any hunter changes in 7.2.5 were pretty underwhelming. I am not going to enumerate them, but basically they were depressing because they echoed the same pattern we have seen in BM hunter rotations since the beginning of Legion: next to zero player control, relegating the hunter to the role of dropping all the leashes at the start of a fight and periodically hollering “Sic ’em!” So, after a couple of desultory comments thus far about continuing this trend in 7.2.5, to suddenly get what amounts to the two most major changes we have been pleading for throughout Legion is just jaw-dropping.

For those of you who have not played BM hunters in Legion, it’s hard to convey the enormity of this announced change. It restores some real options and player control to the spec, and I think most of all it restores some excitement and fun to the rotation. The two most major complaints about BM in Legion have been the clunky, mash-the-buttons-on-cooldown nature of the rotation; and the frustration with having what is supposed to be an awesome all-powerful weapon wedded to the spirit beast Hati, only to have him take his own sweet time ambling about in a fight, much like That Guy in LFR. There have been hundreds of pages and thousands of comments on these two shortfalls, and frankly most BM hunters finally just gave up on ever seeing any significant improvement.

It was puzzling to many BM hunters that, when Blizz did finally seem to respond, it was to create the legendary shoulders, a move that only served to further frustrate those who were not lucky enough to have them drop. My feeling before I got them was that Blizz had taken the RNG concept far beyond the pale by making it the deciding factor as to a spec being playable and fun. When I finally did get the shoulders a couple of weeks ago and first tried them, it was a “Holy Moly!” moment. I actually laughed out loud with delight when I was trying them out in front of the target dummies. Two charges for Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy absolutely should be baseline, not dependent on good luck.

The Blue post called the other 7.2.5 changes “less major”, but they are nonetheless huge in my opinion. For one thing, reducing the global cooldowns while Aspect of the Wild is active should lessen the chance of capping on focus, which in turn will increase damage. But of greater impact, I think, are the changes to pet behavior. Making Hati actually dash instead of ambling will certainly cut down on player frustration, but it should also make a noticeable change in damage numbers. And extending the range of pets to match that of other ranged abilities should, among other benefits, eliminate that maddening situation when you think you are starting a fight and both your pet and Hati just stand there looking cute but dumb. (I am intrigued by the possibilities of the range extension if the range is measured not from the hunter’s position but from the pet’s.)

I am sure there will be tweaks and adjustments to the 7.2.5 BM changes, because I think the net result as announced is likely to make the spec much more powerful than Blizz intends or is good for the game’s class structure. So we should all expect some “nerfs”. But to me, the huge significance of the changes lies not so much in the numbers but rather in what looks to be a philosophical change in the basic BM design — away from the idea that hunters are passive onlookers, and towards the idea that we are indeed masters of our beasts, that we actually control their behavior and that our decisions influence outcomes.

It took too long for Blizz to recognize the harm they did to BM hunters in Legion, but I am ecstatic that they did finally come around to understanding and — hopefully — fixing some of the baseline play style problems.

Finally, some good news for hunters.

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.

9 Responses to Woohoo and Holy Moly!

  1. Thorbartin says:

    Good for all you BM hunters. Now if they would do something about MM.

  2. Garfurion says:

    It looks like the Devs finally and reluctantly admitted the players were right all along. If they know that 2 charges of direbeast/frenzy makes the spec more engaging and fun then why didn’t they do it from the start. Shouldn’t a fun and engaging playstyle be the no.1 requirement when (re)-designing a spec.

    I wonder what/who changed in the Dev team to make this possible.

    Unfortunately, the announcement mentions that they think it’s the best change at the moment which means it will probably be removed in a future patch/expansion.

    There is still a good chance that to punish the players for getting what they wanted BM’s DPS will be gutted so no one will play it. So far in Legion the Devs have done everything they can to force their intended playstyle on the players by making talents like LoneWolf mandatory.

    I hope BM hunters are not celebrating to early because based on past experience WoW Devs always demand a high price to be paid for giving in to player demands.

    • Fiannor says:

      It is unfortunate that Blizz’s history does in fact lead one to suspect that the players, having been handed a victory, should now be on guard for the retribution phase. As you indicate, we have been down this road many times. Remember when they actually fixed SV hunter in the first patch of WoD, only to deliberately make the spec unplayable in the second patch and for the remainder of the expansion? (Some would say, forever after, given the current state of SV.)

      I am for the moment quite ecstatic about the announced changes, but I think as you do — and as I wrote above — that BM hunters will be hit with a big numbers nerf bat either before or immediately after 7.2.5 goes live. And while I said that it’s not about the numbers, that was a slight exaggeration, because at some point it is about the numbers if they plunge drastically. Hunters are, after all, a pure damage class, and I still believe that non-hybrid damage classes should have a slight advantage in output over hybrid classes, because we have none of the group role utility they do. If BM hunters end up near the bottom of the charts in 7.2.5, as we were at the beginning of Legion, that will be very hard to take.

      The other thing is that I am not especially inclined to go all gushy with thank-you’s to Blizz for doing something they should have done long ago, compounded by the insult of months of not even admitting there was a problem. I think what finally convinced them to do it is that the contortions they were having to go through to NOT do it were becoming too complex to deal with, resulting in domino-type consequences requiring more and more resources to untangle. In other words, they tried their best to continue to ignore the obvious player-supported solution but finally had to admit it really was the best and simplest one in this case. Sometimes it is just easier to eat your green beans than to devise elaborate schemes to feed them to the dog or sneak them into the trash and not get caught.

  3. Yay! Let’s see the patch now arrive. That feeling of class neglect has been stewing and percolating way too long.

  4. Grumsta says:

    I’ve been levelling my Hunter as BM for the last couple of weeks. I’m only at 109 but it’s clear these changes were needed – it’s a very strange “rotation” currently.

    Really chuffed for you 🙂

  5. And the other shoe….From Bendaks blog – http://eyesofthebeast.com/2017/05/paying-the-price-patch-7-2-5-tuning-to-compensate-for-the-extra-dire-beast-charge/

    Yes, we’re all excited about the changes coming next patch… but you didn’t think it would come without a price, did you? The first round of tuning is in, and Blizzard maybe overestimated how much 2 Dire Beast charges is worth in terms of DPS. They also nerfed the T20 bonuses to the point where you’ll want to wear T19 instead.

    Trait nerfs

    Pack Leader now gives 3% Kill Command damage per point instead of 5%. So if you currently have 4 points, it’s been nerfed from 20% to 12% Kill Command damage.

    Jaws of Thunder now has an 8% chance per point (down from 10%). So if you had 4 points, it’s been nerfed from 40% to 32%.

    I think these nerfs are a bit strong, but there is some silver lining: It will make more relic drops viable. These traits will probably still be the best, but not to the point where you’d take a massive ilevel nerf to use them. I’ve trashed or passed on way too many relics because of this.

    • Fiannor says:

      Yes, I saw Bendak’s post almost as soon as it went up. I am hoping it is too soon to panic, but the nerf to the T20 set is extremely troublesome to me. There just should never be a situation where the previous tier gear is better than the current/new tier. That is piss poor design and perpetuates the impression (at least it is my impression) that Blizz does not really give a hoot in hell about hunters, we remain the experimental throwaway class to them, not worth anything beyond minimal effort.

  6. Pingback: Wait, what? | Misdirections

  7. ScryersHecubus says:

    I wouldn’t underestimate the increase in DPS all of the changes will give us before being too worried about nerfs.

    Blizzard seems to balance/limit melee dps around the periodic need to not stand in bad stuff and the occasional target switch. Ranged has it a bit easier in the target switch front/stand in bad stuff front BUT are limited by having cast times on most spells or juggling a buff/debuff. So if our DPS isn’t limited by melee “standing in stuff” considerations and we don’t lose much damage when we move due to having instant cast abilities, the next biggest limitation to having optimal dps is target switching… So having kill command/dire frenzy with a 40 yard charge is a huge change that will make target switching much more forgiving for our dps. Given that our DPS was balanced around Hati ambling about, actually having Hati on target for most fights will be a big benefit.

    I’m also pretty happy with the decreased global cooldown on Aspect of the Wild. I prefer using dire stable even though i do focus cap during the initial part of the fight as having the extra focus is really useful anytime after that. it will make Killer Cobra even more fun during the initial burst and during timewarp/heroism/bloodlust.

    It’ll also be neat to see what other options open up for us on a Legendary front. I’d like to use something other then the belt and shoulders. The bracers were fun pre-nerf and I love the uber pet you get from the ring. It would be good to have some builds where the best 2 legendaries weren’t so much further ahead then the rest.

    The T20 set bonuses were underwhelming to begin with and certainly nerfing them won’t help. But if something is going to get nerfed, I’d rather see them nerfed then another hit to some of the fun Legendaries. I’m even okay with the kill command relic traits taking a bit of a hit. It will be better that we’ve got more options on the relic front. The idea that they make all of these relics but there’s only 2 traits that we want and anything else is only good IF it’s a huge ilevel upgrade feels bad. I really dislike simming all of my gear to see what’s an upgrade and what isn’t.