Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lock and Load Week 2

Lock and Load Week 2

Wow, this raid week was full of enjoyment for me! So quick recap of my preparation for this raid week. I race changed to Orc! Something I knew would be coming for a few awhile now, but had just never made the change. I also switched bows over to the Heroic Crossbow, vs the normal Deathwing bow. If you havn't done this yet, what are you waiting for?! With ranged weapons getting the huge buff that they got, the crossbow is now FAR superior to the normal DW bow. I'd almost make the argument it's better than the H:DW bow, but probably not. Over 400 crit is so fucking sexy compared to the normal DW bow. Last change I made this week was going from Vial of Shadows -> Cataclysmic Gladiator's Insignia of Conquest.

Oh, the Dee Pee Ess

Nobody ran consistent logs this week as we were subbing people in and out constantly throughout the raid night to get everybody a chance to do some raiding. So I guess you can take everything with a grain of salt. But wow, I was so impressed with my DPS on nearly every single fight. Minus Hagara and Zon'ozz my DPS was up over 2k on the fights I played the same spec both weeks. I think the bow has the most to do with this change, but the trinket and race definitely help. No bow from DW again, so officially, I wont get a raid week with full BiS :(. Time to prepare for MoP!

The Pandas are Coming the Pandas are Coming!!

With less than 2 weeks till release it's really time to start hammering down your leveling strategies and exactly how you plan on grinding that rep and professions come the first week. There is a lot to tackle here, so I will start with leveling.

I'm praying they keep cross realm zones away from Pandaria for a few weeks at least, or else dungeon leveling will be the way to go. I plan on holding a few dailies to give me some base experience to start out with. I also plan on hitting dungeons right at release time to grind level 86 as fast as possible and get into the 2nd zone quickly. This will put some separation between myself and the crowd. I'm not going for realm first, but am looking to level rather quickly. This is to optimize my time in getting gear and being ready to go 6/6 Normal that following tuesday.

Professions will be my task along the way. Engineering isn't something I have a ton of control over leveling as it requires mats from mining most likely, and will probably be a huge gold sink for me. That being said, enchanting and fishing are both something I can definitely slowly begin to level as I progress in my leveling. Remember with professions, you don't have to be max level to get the raiding benefits from them, so don't go sinking a ton of gold into something you wont use to make gold.

Gearing will be the final task for myself. Getting everything ready before hand is pretty strong. Knowing which bosses, in which instances drop your pre raid BiS blues, is VERY VERY VERY VERY important. Know which dungeons you need to spend more time in because you have more possible loot, which dungeons you have less loot in. GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND!!! 

I'm very excited for this upcoming expansion as it will be my first time leveling the week of the expansion, and it's something I'm looking forward to experiencing. 

Divine - Peachy Keen (Stormreaver US)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lock and Load 1.5

Lock and Load Week 1.5

Every week I plan on writing a brief blog to explain what I've done since previous to help improve my prior weeks results. This comes with saying, I browse forums every week and check for small hints in that way, but I will lay out what I plan to personally test in this weeks raid, as well as touch on a subject or two I feel needs addressing.

So I finally did it, that long paused thing I've been meaning to do for a few weeks. Became a big, nasty, hairy (although he has less hair) and smelly Orc. After doing some theorycrafting talk with Zedextenr, (Exodus - Cho'gall) and after he blew up some charts in an LFR with me, that I would need to make this race change to be able to compete with the top tier of hunter talent in the US. We also talked about CD's which I discussed in my previous blog, and I'm starting to think, assuming lust isn't on pull, that all CD's being throw at 0:00 in a fight is the best, followed by a readiness at :06. I think this for a few reasons. All your CD's will alight better later in the fight, Eng Tinker and Blood Fury to be exact. Instead of waiting 15-25 seconds to later in the fight, you only have them down for ~6 seconds. A lot more needs to be tested with this, but it's looking more and more convincing as I do more testing. The next bit of knowledge I threw on him was this PvP trinket that seems to be 2nd BiS over Heroic Vial of Shadows at this point.

This is what I would like to touch on this week. In my opinion, a PvP trinket having this much throughput for PvE just seems completely and totally broken. Do I mind having to go grind a few arenas to get the conquest to buy this trinket the first couple of weeks of MoP? Not at all. But the fact that this trinket may be best in slot through heroic content disturbs me a bit. PvE needs to remain PvE and PvP needs to remain PvP. Unfortunately, I'm not sure exactly what Blizzard plans to do with these trinkets, but the 55 sec ICD just makes it unbelievably good. A PvE trinket with this similar style of proc usually has a 90-105 sec ICD. These trinkets also give MORE proced/on use agility than the PvE counter parts. A simple solution to this would have these trinkets no longer proc agi/str/int but proc straight PvP Power. I really hope something is done with these. 

Questions for Tuesday 9/11/12
Was my money worth the race change? Can't go back now 
Will be noting the readiness usage on every fight, and how the results turn back!
How good is this PvP Trinket? Another Variable in this weeks twist. 

If everything above is a DPS increase as I suspect all will be, I should have much better results this week! Pray for my bow! (Hey I'd like to have at least 1 lockout with it!)

GLHF in your raid this week!!

Divine (Peachy Keen - Stormreaver US)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thoughts on New Hunter Talents

I wasn't going to blog today, but there has been a big stir around the hunter community with all these tests of the new abilities floating around. A blog was posted over at The Grumpy Elf today highlighting these tests and laying a lot of numbers on the ground. The blog was an interesting read, and I would recommend you take a look at it before continuing with my thoughts on it.

So here it is, we were given about 4 new abilities at any given time, depending on the talents you take, and how you approach using them. The blog breaks it down that these new talents give you about 10% of your total DPS in a given encounter. I can't argue the numbers as I haven't done the testing for myself, but I can definitely see where these numbers come into play. All of our 'new' talents are fairly unattractive, and don't provide us with any new utility we didn't have before. We were basically given all of our original spells and shots, with the addition of 2 new dots, 3 new instant damaging spells, and 2 casted/channeled abilities. When you break down the shots in this manner they become less 'gross' in my opinion.

2 New Dots: Dire Beast and Murder of Crows, both spells that don't add much damage, and have CD's that must be managed throughout the fight. These are no different than dots a warlock, spriest, or Fire Mage must manage throughout their rotation.

What makes these dots so bad for a hunter as compared to these other classes? Focus. It's a pretty simple mechanic that really judges how we play the class. Even with DB costing no focus at all, it's on the GCD and every GCD has to be judged as a hunter. The hunter class is like no other, if anything it's more similar to a a melee class than any other. When a mage misjudges a GCD, they can make up for it immediately with their next. If a hunter misjudges his/her focus KC/Exp/Chim are off CD and we can't cast it, further hurting our DPS output.

My response to this blog is this. Hunters play very uniquely, and each person plays their hunter uniquely. Maybe you are having trouble with all the new things, maybe it does hinder your dps in some way. Yes, you can take actions out of rotation to simplify it, and maybe you can produce on the same level as others who are having trouble. To the casual hunter, I'd say, you don't care about your numbers anyways, click the new spells all you want, how you want, and when you want. To the hunter dedicating time to get better at the class, start small, maybe use one of these macros where you bind Dire Beast in with Arcane Shot till you get use to when the spell is coming of CD and you can push into using a separate bind for it. Use the new abilities off CD, don't worry about lining them up to execute the 100% best strategy. Just use them, as often as you can. Play your hunter, as often as you can. Don't worry about your dps, paint your picture, get use to the feel of the new spells, then worry about lining them to maximize the numbers.

-Divine (Peachy Keen - US Stormreaver)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lock and Load Week 1

Lock and Load Week 1

So Here We Go! (Raid 1 5.0.4)
This is how the normal blog week to week will look, just had some extended thoughts on my testing!

Tuesday came up quick this week with Labor Day being on Monday for all the US folk, and after a weekend of Cheetos and soda, I was ready to see what it was going to be like to finally get some raiding in. I have a couple of goals with these last 3 raids here before MoP.

1. Take everything as a learning experience for these new talents, focus less on meters, and more on execution.
2. Pay attention to certain mechanics and how your new spells interact with them.
3. Get acquainted with Beast Mastery, and how it currently feels, although it will feel much different come MoP, I think learning is the most important part of these raids.
4.Personal goal of mine, get acquainted with the new guild, would hate to go into a new raid tier being the new quiet guy.

Everything you need to know pertaining to current boss fights in Dragon Soul is already out there, google your issue, I’m not going to cover boss by boss fights.

What I wanted to cover this week is CD usage, and how we can get the most out of them. From any testing I do, it seems with the amount of cooldowns currently in play for Horde Hunters is pretty crazy. From shortest to longest: Kill Command, Dire Beast, Beastial Wrath, Rabid, Lynx Rush, Blood Fury (Orcs), Rapid Fire/Berserking (Trolls), Readiness, and Blood Lust/Heroism/Time Warp. With all of these cooldowns how do we make the most out of them? What is the right time to use x y or z? Should I want on a till c is off cooldown? A lot of these questions still havn’t been answered and a lot of the answers, in my opinion, lie on how your raid is using their blood lust for the given fight. There are 3 potential ways for blood lust to be used. 1. On the pull of the fight (Ultraxion) 2. At some random point in the fight (Yor’sahj) 3. At a specific point in the fight (Morchok, Zonozz)

1.      Lust/Hero/Warp on the Pull of the Fight
So, your pre pot is up, lust is up what do you do next, well obviously waiting on any CD at the beginning of the fight can turn into a loss, and everything outside of haste effect CD’s should be used immediately. BW, Rabid, Lynx, DB, and Blood Fury (For Orcs) all up as quickly as the globals allow you. KC off CD of course, while keeping serpent up with the occasional CS’s. Once lust falls you would then want to get RF and for trolls berserking up as quickly as possible. BW is up once RF falls and you go for BW2 at the 1 minute mark. Normal priority through here keeping SS up at all times. At 90 seconds you get Lynx 2 + Rabid 2 off CD IMMEDIATELY. At 120 Seconds you get BW 3. This is where it gets fun. At 180 Seconds if everything has been hit off CD like it’s suppose to be hit. Lynx 3, Rabid 3, and BW 4 will all line up at that moment. All off CD when they are up together with your 2nd potion,  followed by readiness and all again once BW drops. All of this combined with Kill Shots, combine for some oh so sweet burst to finish a fight.

2.      At Some Random Point in the Fight
So this is something you can’t really predict, and at the point where you should be doing the most DPS you are getting an external haste CD (Lust) so treat it as if you were hitting a target dummy, you don’t have control over when this lust may happen, when the right combination occurs for the raid can be completely random. Aim to get that 180 second mark mentioned above, where you can hit a huge set of CD’s all in a small window late in the fight.

3.      At a Specific Point in the Fight
So you know the rough time frame you have before and after the time where your blood lust is going to be used for the raid. This can be tricky as to how CD’s are managed. If Lust will not be within the first minute of the fight, getting your readiness on CD as quickly as possible seems to be the best way to get the most out of it. I need to do more testing to really see the best way to go about this.
My questions with this are:
What CD’s need to be popped immediately, only BW+lynx and DB, for the sake of Readiness, should BW+Lynx+DB+RF all be put onto CD as quickly as possible? Then separated afterwards?
How do things line up late in the fight if I use all at the same time? If I don’t?

Everything said above is my initial CD findings, and always subject to change in the future J

Logs from this week:

Yes, it’s a lot to take in. But, let’s be honest fellow hunters, we are willing to put up with more bullshit talents, that are pretty unattractive and have a lot of randomness to them, because it’s what we have done all of cataclysm. We put up the bullshit Blizzard hands us and we turn it into flowers. I don't claim to be the best, or put up world class rankings, but I work hard at this art. The art of our rotation can be more complex, because when we figure it out, every fight will be like painting a picture with your mouse and keyboard and it’s what I love about this class and this game.

-Divine (Peachy Keen US Stormreaver)

Lock and Load Week 0

Lock and Load Week 0 9/5/2012
With Mists of Pandaria fast approaching everybody is in a rush to figure out all of these new talents, glyphs, and spells blizzard has so kindly provided to us hunters. Lock and Load is a weekly blog by myself, Divine of Peachy Keen (US Stormreaver), covering my findings and thoughts on raid instances and the current state of hunters in general. I was unable to do heroic testing week 1 of the pre-patch so week 2 will start this blog off, as week 1.

Wow, Explosive Shot is Fucking Terrible (Survival Testing)
So we can start from last week, where I really started crunching numbers, and really trying to see what all these new shiny buttons did. I grabbed up some Cheetos and soda, reforged nearly every piece of gear I had to expertise (fuck you Blizzard), and sat down in front of my computer for a long weekend to really push down all the possibilities of the new talents and glyphs (or lack of). Survival, my favorite hunter spec would be the first to go through hours of training, so I threw on what I knew best and went from there. Knowing ahead of time Dire Beast(DB) and A Murder of Crows(AMoC) were the best 2 single target from beta testing, I started from the beginning. Thrill of the hunt and AMoC it was to begin. Well that lasted a whole 5 minutes before I realized how overly broken our 2 piece was with the new rate of focus regen. So, back to DB and AMoC for SV testing where I would remain for the remainder of the 2-3 hours of SV testing I did. The spec played very spammy, watching CD’s waiting for Lock n Loads all while spamming arcane shot, because you simply have too much focus right now. After some testing, I was confident in the spec, it seemed good, nothing special, just a few new CD’s into the mix.

Current questions for SV:
Why is our premier shot in this spec our third worse spell?
Crit or Mastery? Hard to tell with current lack of Expertise, early testing shows mastery, but time will tell.
How important is Serpent Sting now? With the loss of the noxious sting talent, where does this sit in the current priority? How long does it need to tick before the global is wasted?

Positives from SV:
AoE is still substantially stronger with SV.
Lock and Loads can be spammed 1 2 3, without placing  a global between 2-3 or 1-2.
Arcane Shot hits like a truck.

Spirit Beasts are pretty cool (Beast Mastery Testing)
So here is where most of my testing time has gone into. Beast Mastery, I havn’t played it all too much to this point, I was familiar with the talents, how the class played, but had never done a ton of theory crafting with the spec to really push out extra numbers. Wow, the skill ceiling on this spec is unbelievably high right now. Now, I know a lot of people have made posts on how completely and totally ridiculous the amount of skills BM has to follow right now, and it’s true. But I’m in love with it. At any point in time the right shot to cast is 1 of 8 different shots. This doesn’t include CD’s such as Bestial Wrath, Rapid Fire, Berserking (Troll Racial), Synapse Springs (Engineering Tinker), or Rabid (Pet CD). But the possibilities are so endless to how you can make use of all these cooldowns. Every fight will be different in the way you shape your CD rotation. With this being said, BM feels the same as SV right now, very spammy, and unpredictable. You spam a lot of Arcane shots, while Kill Commanding, and hitting those 30 sec, 60 sec, and 90 sec, CD’s at the right time.

Questions for BM
How good is Beast Cleave for AoE?
Same question with Serpent Sting for BM, where does it fit in priority, how long does something need to be alive for it to be worth the global?
Again, Crit, or Mastery? Mastery seems good hear from early testing, but subject to change.

Positives for BM
If you havn’t made one yet..1 Shot Macro.
/cast Bestial Wrath
/cast Rabid
/use 13
/use 14
/use 10
/cast Lynx Rush

Pets, lots of useful pets, including a battle rez! For MoP of course.

Are You Ready? (Readiness Use)
Also with all hunter specs with have baseline, Readiness. Readiness being baseline for hunters is such an important feature right now, and it’s something I still need a ton of work with. Using Readiness to it’s full potential is tricky for BM and SV as both have several CD’s that are effected by readiness. Optimizing the effectiveness of this CD is going to be extremely important in pushing out top notch numbers on the meters, and the use of it should not be nonchalant. It’s going to have a precise moment in every single fight that it can be used for the most potential, and this theory crafting is something that will have to be saved for another blog.