Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pet Control

I struggle with pet control.  It's hard for me to keep out of the fire, maintain my rotation, and control an NPC all at once.  I'm getting better, and it is due in part to the pet control series at Hunters Rhok.  The series has been updated for Cataclysim and I consider it a must-read, especially if you've been out of the hunter game for a while.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pet Happiness is Going Away

Patch 4.1 is really bringing the love to stable management.  In addition to pets gaining our level when we tame them (you might not want to tame anything until it drops), pet happiness is going away.

I love this change.  While there is a cool RP aspect to "training" these animals we get from the wild, happiness can be a pain in the ass.  It's not as bad now that we have the glyph, but I'm still compelled to carry around pet food to avoid spamming heal on a pet with full hit points.

Prediction:  The replacement glyph will be the most hated minor glyph in WoW.  At least outside of the hunter community.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heroics These Days

Last night after work I hopped into the Dungeon Finder.  After the always awesome 35 minute DPS wait (thank God for daily quests), I was put into Grim Batol.  To sum the run up, we wiped at least 10 times, had to kick a Warlock who loves to break CC, had a Warrior quit because someone gave him advice, and I personally went through 8-10 Fish Feasts.  It was the most fun I've had playing WoW in years.

"Say what, JC?  That was fun?  You must be some kind of masochist.  I would have left that run after wipe 2."

I'm sure this is what many people would say.  Especially players who entered Azeroth during Lich King.  I'm gonna let you guys in on what has become a secret:  Heroics are supposed to be challenging.  It's true!  Look-up the word heroic if you don't believe me.  Contrary to what we did in 2009, you're not supposed run through an entire dungeon with your pet on agressive and spamming Volley while watching Hulu in another window.  You remember Volley, right?  Dungeons, especially heroic ones, are intended to be a challenge.  You're supposed to-gasp-have to talk to the other party members!  You might need to make a plan!  You definately have to work together (Warlock).  Boss mechanics are supposed to matter.

And here's the real secret:  It's fun.

I have been slow out of the gate with Cataclysm.  I can't raid with my guild right now due to work.  I have been doing 5-mans, but not every day.  Up until last night my reasoning has been that they are the only dungeons we have for the next couple of years ( Along with the few that will be added-ZG is back!) so no need to burn-out on them in the first month.  After the run I had last night I realize there was more going on than that.  The second half of Wrath made heroics into a grind.  They wern't hard or interesting, but we had to keep running them for emblems.  Total grind.  I used to force myself to knock-out my daily random on two characters, even though I wasn't at all excited about doing it.  That feeling carried-over to Cata.  Until last night.

At the risk of offending the hardcores, last night's run felt like a raid to me.  We had to communicate and learn from each wipe.  We had to eliminate mistakes.  I was peeling mobs off the healer, trapping, healing myself at times to make-up for my own bad positioning, and  Disengaging out of the fire.  It was as close to a raid as I have gotten to do since ICC.  It felt the same anyway.  The final boss was particularly fun.  Get to the swirly spot.  As soon as it was gone I was flinging a Frost Trap down the hall and hitting one of the adds with Concussive Shot.  So fun!  SO much MORE fun than just melting faces.  It wasn't just me.  We were all forced into using our entire toolboxes as opposed to a boring AoE monsoon.  I wish I could remember the other guys' servers and names.  I'd love to give a shout-out.

I can't wait to run another one tonight.  And I hope it's just as hard.  I hope the general population never outgears these dungeons.  If we do, Blizz better keep making new ones that are just as challenging.  They did an amazing job with design and philosophy this time around.  You have to protect yourself, use all your abilities, and understand the fight.  Heroics are finally what they were intended to be:  A decent substitute for people like me who can't raid regularly.  If you like a challenge, today's heroics are as entertaining as 5-mans have ever been in the history of World of Warcraft. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What to do with Counterattack

Conventional wisdom these days says that Counterattack will be going away, at least as a talent.  Fine.  I havn't had a point there since vanilla.  As I've been thinking about this I've been asking, "But then what?"  WIll there just be a blank space there in our SV tree?  That idea doesn't make much sense to me for a few reasons.  For starters, that isn't much of a change.  It's basically an empty space now, with an icon.  It doesn't keep PvE hunters from getting a useful talent, nor is it a prerequisite for one.  Simply taking Counterattack out would essentially be Blizzard spending money and other development resources to not improve WoW in any way.
So that leaves changing it.  I've given this some thought and have come up with two ideas that I like.

The first is to make it a useful counterattack.  Maybe something closer to a spell reflect for physical damage or melee attacks.  Put it on a long cooldown or whatever.  I don't really PvP, but I never feel like I have quite enough tools to deal with other classes that get within the minimum range.  It would be great if other classes had to think about running up to us all the time.  " his Counterattack on cooldown?"  To paraphrase Frostheim, right now there is always a right answer for dealing with hunters (get close to us) in PvP and that is wrong.  If Blizz wants Counterattack to be an SV PvP talent, it should attempt to deal with this situation in some way.  The ultimate way to do this would be to have it temporarily remove our minimum range for a short time, but I imagine that would be borderline impossible from a programming standpoint.
As a PvE player, my preference for Counterattack is a little different.  Make it an interrupt.

How many times have you been in a 5 or 10 man and needed another interrupt?  By all accounts, that is only going to happen more as we progress through Cataclysm.  I mean, it's bad enough that we can hit a boss in the face with an EXPLOSION and she doesn't even blink.  At least give us a non-damaging interrupt!  As it stands, hunters have to spec MM to get one.  To me, that goes against Blizzard's goal of allowing players choice in class and spec.  How much of a shame would it be to have all three specs raid viable from a DPS standpoint, only to then have BM and SV players turned away due to a lack of an interrupt?  Before the flames begin, Pummel doesn't count.  While I'm on a roll asking for stuff, it should also be made a second-tier talent.  Switch it's position with any of them, I don't care which.  That way, our BM bretheren also have access to it if they so choose.  This way, every hunter with two specs can bring an interrupt to the table if they want to.
It would be prett amazing if Blizz did anything close to these ideas for Counterattack.  It would be foolish for them to simply remove it.  What do you think?  I'm adding a poll to see what everyone thinks about Counterattack.