In a slump

Last night we ran through Heroic Antorus, clearing it in under 3 hours. It’s fair to say we now have it on farm, although I am not sure what anyone is really farming for any more. Before we finished Argus, the RL mentioned maybe if we had time we might take a run at Mythic Garothi. That, of course, was the signal for several people to immediately drop group and log off the minute we finished Argus. It is true we are not a mythic raiding guild, but we are certainly capable of finishing off a couple of the earlier bosses on that level every tier. I find it challenging and fun, because there really is no pressure to do any sort of heavy progression — we get as far as we can get, and when it gets too punishing we stop. Unfortunately, we do not have 19 other people who feel the same way, so even though we had 22 finish last night’s raid with an hour left in our usual raid time, at least 10 bailed immediately.

About the only thing I am still interested in getting from the raid are my final two tokens to finish upgrading my hunter Pantheon trinket. We have had only one legendary version drop from Argus, in what amounts to maybe 300 kills (20 people average, maybe total of 15 normal/heroic kills), and honestly I don’t see it as much of an improvement for me once I get mine to ilevel 1000. I am not even sure how useful the raid-wide proc is for us, as some people who have the specialized trinket for healing or dps or whatnot do not wear theirs during raid because their other trinkets sim higher for them. So I guess we could be getting more frequent procs if more people wore theirs, but that doesn’t happen.

Overall, I think the whole Pantheon trinket mechanism is poorly conceived. It seems like it was designed solely for high end raiding guilds, and even then the fact that there is zero control over the proc just blows. If a team really works to get their raiders the trinkets and upgrades, they should absolutely be able to control when to trigger the buff. Then again, possibly Blizz knew that this raid tier was going to be pretty mediocre, and doling out trinket upgrades was all they could think of to keep a few guilds going back.

My own performance in our raids seems to be regressing, and I am in kind of a funk about it. I don’t run a damage meter during actual raids, but I do look at my logs afterwards to see where I can improve. Everyone can have an off night, of course, but I have been having an off night now for about 3 weeks. My damage numbers (both totals and dps) are just not improving.

I am not so self-serving as to put it off on gear. I have a relatively high ilevel (around 962 equipped). I really cannot use that as an excuse. However, I am struggling with secondary stats — just cannot get seem to amass the crit I need for my zoo build. I have equipped the highest-crit items I have, and I gem and enchant for it, but it remains pretty pitiful. Meanwhile, my mastery soars to well over 100%, and I end up with what seems like far too much versatility. With so much mastery, I tried a Dire Frenzy build for a while, but there was little improvement that I could see, and it was a dead boring rotation, so I switched back.

The insanely high impact secondary stats have on each spec, combined with the randomness of their presence in gear, is in my opinion one of the worst things Blizz has foisted on us. (And don’t even get me started on gear specialized for a certain spec, such as tier gear, having large amounts of what is arguably the worst possible stat for that spec.) I almost hate getting new gear these days, because it is impossible to tell at a glance whether or not it will be an upgrade, or if it might become an upgrade with a different talent build or different legendaries or different sets of tier gear.

Still, I can’t chalk up my poor performance to gear. That is a cop out.

One thing, I think, is that BM hunters, with our mobility, do  well early in a new raid tier. But as the tier goes on, other damage dealers — melee, casters, and even MM hunters — learn the fights and learn where they can stand and when to move to optimize their performance. But other than mashing buttons more efficiently, BM hunters have nothing really to optimize, so even if we don’t actually get worse, everyone else is getting better.

It is true that excellent BM hunters can compete with the best damage dealers. We have one in our guild, and I am in awe of her amazing performance in nearly every fight. (Even so, she is rarely if ever the top damage dealer.) I, however, am only slightly above average even on my best days, and I think that average BM hunters fare rather badly in Legion. Worse than, say, average affliction warlocks or average almost any other class/spec.

(However, none of that is an excuse for doing things like accidentally disengaging off the Kin’garoth platform during a fight. Twice. Or for getting trapped in fire on the far side of the Aggramar platform. That was just inattention and stupidity last night, and I am embarrassed about it.)

Legion is the first expansion where I have not gotten better as the expansion went on. Better gear, higher proficiency with my rotation, more familiarity with the boss fights, more attention to mechanics — no matter how hard I work on those things, and I do work on them — I am losing ground. It is demoralizing.

So, yeah, I am in a definite slump. Whether it is strictly a personal one or one engineered by Blizz’s inability to scale and balance BM hunters, it just feels bad.

7 thoughts on “In a slump

  1. I feel bad for BM hunters. As either MM and SV, I might not be the best at anything, but there are definitely fights where I can (when i’m on top of my game and with a little luck) top the meters. I’m never going to go a whole raid at the top, but I’ll at least have my time to shine, if I’m at my best. There’s just nowhere for BM hunters to really shine this tier, though. Hell, I don’t even need a fight where I’m at the top of the meters, I’d settle for a fight like Siegecrafter where only hunters (and maybe rogues, i forget) could disengage up from the pipes to do the belt every time. Our numbers may have looked terrible on that fight, but it made me feel important, like I mattered to the raid, rather than just being another warm body.

    “as some people who have the specialized trinket for healing or dps or whatnot do not wear theirs during raid because their other trinkets sim higher for them.” That just annoys the hell out of me. We had a tank that tried to pull that crap and I nearly lost it. I suppose if you’re purely on farm, then sure, where whatever you feel like. But during progression, if you’re making choices that make your numbers look better, but hurt the rest of the team, then you shouldn’t be playing an MMO.

    1. I loved Siegecrafter, for exactly the reason you stated. I even liked doing the flamethrower on Brackenspore, though that was not such a hunter-specific task. As you point out, there are really no places for BM to shine this tier, and I worry that in the next expansion Blizz will not come through on their “unique utility” promise for all specs. They have said they want to make sure there are places where each spec will be uniquely useful, but they have given short shrift to that notion in Legion, and I am not expecting much better in BfAz, especially since they are embarked on another epic pruning spree. Additionally, I remain skeptical that they will be able to give each spec a uniquely identifiable strength — especially hunters, if the mishmash we have seen so far with the melee-ish, range-ish SV rework is any indication.

      And I am totally with you on the slackers who cannot be bothered to equip their Pantheon trinket. Our RL has not made a big deal out of it, but as you say, someone who puts their own numbers above the good of the raid team does not deserve to be part of that team, no matter how many orange ratings they pile up in the logs.

  2. Gratz on getting HC on Farm. We comfortably have 10/11 on farm but we are still really struggling with Coven and we only have one kill on that fight.Our team is geared around 950 so we’re probably missing out on a chunk of dps and health.

    I think there’s possibly a dozen of our team that would like to try Mythic, but I’m not one of them having tried Mythic progression raiding in NH. Also, I don’t enjoy the ABT raid enough to want to go through it again.

    Like you I only want to get my Trinket to 1000 (and get the elusive Neck off Argus), after that I’ll probably do some casual raiding with my friend’s Horde guild.

    This is the first xpac I’ve got the Curve in every raid and I’m pretty burned out. If I don’t wind down a bit I’ll probably end up quitting the game for a couple of months which would put me behind for BfA opening.

    Time to chill!

    1. I think Legion has been particularly hard on player burnout. I have felt it now pretty much ever since we got Tomb of Sargeras on farm. When we started Antorus, I was already weary, and possibly that helped color my opinion of it as a mediocre — at best — raid. When our GM announced on Tuesday that we would skip our Thursday raid, I felt like jumping for joy, as if I had unexpectedly been let out of school. I know I like our half-hearted attempts at the easier Mythic bosses, but I completely understand why a lot of our raiders are not anxious to jump into it. Though I fully support those attempts, part of me was secretly happy that people bailed on it. (Please don’t tell my RL!)

      In many ways Legion has felt less like a leisure game and more like a second job to me. The relentless chase after legendaries and artifact progression usually meant that all my non-raid time had to be spent on daily grinds, just to be well prepared for raiding. There seemed to be none of the usual down time for relaxing and having fun between raid sessions. I think there is something fundamentally wrong with a game structure that results in burnout even for semi-casual players like myself — that is, in order to participate in structured end game activities like even casual raiding, the player has to spend hours and hours every week just “keeping up”. It takes its toll.

      I am really looking forward to spending my play time just bopping around on alts, leveling a couple of Allied races characters, maybe going back and getting a few old achievements, and running some who-cares fun runs with the guild.

  3. Have you tried using Sephuz’s Secret instead of one of your other legendaries? There are boat loads of crit on it. Even the Prydaz neck has a lot of crit with it and comes with the handy bubble.

    I also discovered that my 2-piece set bonus from ToS and my 2-piece bonus from Antorus sim higher then the 4-piece Antorus (even with the recent buff) on single target. I actually use 2/2/2 tiers 19/20/21 for any AoE fight.

    1. I do use Prydaz fairly often, in fact I had it equipped the first time we did our heroic Argus kill. I have not been a big fan of Sephuz, so have avoided it, but as you point out it is a decent stat stick even if you do not trigger the on-use function much. I have avoided even simming it, but I will give it another look, thanks!

      As to tier gear, I have pretty much given up on it. I, too, tried the 2/2/2 combo for a while but it just complicated every other gear choice too much. If I ran a lot of M+ dungeons I might go back to it for as strong of an AoE build as BM can do these days, but at this point it seems not worth the gear complexity to me. And — possibly because of the very low levels of t19 gear I have and the very mediocre t20 levels compared to my other gear — none of those combos sim higher than my straight t21.

      Good advice, though, Hec, thanks a lot.

      1. You’re welcome 🙂

        One of the good things with Sephuz (apart from the boatload of crit) is that Freezing Trap will proc it, even if mobs don’t have anything that can be interrupted. So you can actually proc it relatively often on fights with adds. I’ve used Sephuz’s for awhile this expansion on my Troll hunter, at least until Parsel’s Tongue started simming higher.

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