Monday, November 25, 2013

Thoughts on Warlords and my Expansion Wishlist

OK, I've been processing all the info from Blizzcon and thinking about my hunter's future. To be clear, I wasn't there nor did I get the Virtual Ticket this time, so my information is just what's out there in the blogosphere and twitterverse. It is not confirmed info and it's all subject to change-we don't even have a beta yet.

The whole Warlords of Dreinor idea sounds cool. I'm glad we're not just going to Outland again, and it's time for some Dreinei attention. The expansion is based on time travel. A lot of people are getting way into it and have a ton of complicated timeline it-then questions. Not me. As opposed to getting myself all worked-up I'm just thinking of it as a new planet to conquer. Nice and simple.

LFR, Normal, and Heroic raids will all flex across servers. The new hardest level, called "Mythic," will be 20-man only and not cross-realm. This is all pure win. Flex rules and I'm happy to see it expanded. Mythic raiders will have the super-hard encounters of old, and the difficulty of filling their roster to brag about.

One of the cooler things Blizzard is doing this expansion is the change to gear. Gear will change it's primary stats based on your spec. This is actually less significant for pure dps classes such as hunters, but it does have an impact. There will no longer be annoying shammy intellect mail drops we can't use. A piece of mail is a piece of mail. If a hunter puts it on the gear gets agility. ALL MAIL IS HUNTER MAIL! Obviously, this is a bigger deal for hybrid classes. My priest will only have to collect one set of PvE gear to play both dps and healer. This huge convenience may mean more of us are compelled to play those hybrid classes. I will almost certainly be playing my priest more because of this, depending on how the various classes develop through beta.

Speaking of gear, hit and expertise are gone. Good fucking riddance. They were never fun or interesting, just something you had to do virtually every time you got a piece of gear. I look forward to hearing what my Dreinei's new racial bonus will be.

I'm reluctant to even bring-up the new tier of talents this early. They weren't even officially announced, but people got to demo WoD so they saw what is there now. They will change over the development cycle. Anybody remember how much Camouflage and Stampede changed? It's the nature of game testing. That said, we can't ignore one of the "current" level 100 talents: With or Without You (I can wait while you dig-up that Joshua Tree cassette). The short version is for Survival and Marksman, this talent makes you a hunter without a pet. Yep, that's right. No pet. I'm not very good at pet management, but for the life of me I can't figure out why someone would roll a hunter if they didn't want to have a pet active. The pet is kind of our thing. Our community even has an amazing web site dedicated to our pets. Beyond flavor, this talent seems highly problematic. Do we lose the use of Master's Call? What about raid buffs? Is one of our 3 choices for top talents going to be dictated by our raid's need for a pet buff? I can live with only ever being able to use a sporebat while raiding, but let's not have our talents dictated to us as well. Worse even, think of all the lower-tier talents that are pet-related, like Blink Strikes. Either they all get reworked, or we have a fairly narrow set of choices for all our talents if we take this one. That sounds a lot like the old "cookie-cutter" builds that this talent system was designed to combat. My prediction is this talent in it's current form never makes it into the live game. My sincere hope is that if it does, the tier is balanced so well that none of us have to use it if we don't want to. If I wanted to be a ranged mail-wearing dps without a pet I'd be an Elemental Shaman.

There is so much more to talk about (I didn't even get into tertiary stats), and there will continue to be for a while as we approach WoD, but I need to get to my hunter wishlist. We actually got a few from my Panda list, and some things I would have put on the list have already been addressed (hit and expertise) so I want to put my ideas for this time around out there early so the heros in Irvine can get coding. Here we go:

  • That octopus pet. I still really want it.
  • Ability to summon the whole stable, not just five pets, from out in the world. Why not? Going back to a city at 15 after raid time just to get the pet buff you need is lame. Even more so since the death of Have Group, Will Travel. And with the new flex format, we may need to change pet buffs during the raid if we add or lose people. Let us have access to all the pets we spent time collecting.
  • Just get rid of aspects. It's time. Easy way to address some button bloat. Hunter's Mark can go as well.
  • I'll settle for a squid pet, but octopus is ideal.
  • Some kind of raid cooldown that doesn't require being BM. Maybe a channelled damage reduction or AoE heal for Survival?
  • A hunter specific mount. An epic quest line where we tame it would be even cooler, but I'll settle for just the mount. At this point every class should have one.
  • A PvP ability to tame feral druids (not my idea).
  • Dual pistols (not my idea). While reworking character models and animations is the perfect time to finally give us this. And make them really, really rare.
  • Bring back Eyes of the Beast. I didn't use it much, but a lot of hunters did.
  • An octopus pet holding a set of pistols.
What have I forgotten? What's on your hunter wish list for Warlords of Dreinor?

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