Out with the Old: Stings

I have been playing WoW (off and on) since its release in November 2004. Hunters have seen a lot of changes to their playstyle, and have had many of their core mechanics changed or completely removed along the way. One of these unique features that has been changed are Hunter stings.

Stings are a type of shot that puts an effect on the target, in order to help the Hunter in combat or hinder the opponent in some way. The one sting that has stuck around through every change, and the one I’ll talk about first is Serpent Sting. Serpent sting puts a damage over time (DOT) effect on the enemy which causes nature damage. It used to be a separate ability that you would cast on the target, and would contribute to the Hunter’s overall DPS. In its current form, it is linked to Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot and only usable by Survival Spec hunters as a secondary effect when you use Arcane or Multi on your target.

Serpent sting used to be vital to the raiding Marksman Hunter’s DPS, and you can read more about it in an article I posted many moons ago here. If you take a second to read that dusty old post, you can see it was very intricate and there were a lot of things you had to take into consideration to maximize it, and be effective with it.

The second sting I will mention is Scorpid Sting. Scorpid sting lowered the targets strength and agility, and was great for PvP mostly, but was effective on certain boss fights where tank survival was more important than putting out as much DPS as you could. It was later changed to reduce the chance to be hit by attacks from the target, which made it slightly better but not by much, and you would still use it mostly in PvP. The only exception to this is that Scorpid Sting was used to fight one of the four demon mobs involved in the Hunter Epic bow Questline to get Rhok’delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers.

The third sting we acquired through progression and leveling was Viper Sting. Oh man, this sting was so good against healers and casters in PvP (if you enjoy that sort of thing), especially when a lot of fights came down to who ran out of mana first. In its first iteration, it simply drained the opponents mana. Later it was changed to not only drain mana, but silence the target as well, and regenerate the Hunter’s mana all at once. Talk about your value ability!

Another sting was added about a year after WoW came out in order to buff up survival, and it replaced their useless 31 point talent Lacerate. Wyvern sting caused the target to fall asleep, essentially acting as another silence and cc to the survival arsenal. It now exists as a talent, rather than a spec-specific ability.

The downside to stings was that you could only have one on a target at any time, so you couldn’t stack them. Secondly, in the early days of raiding we weren’t even allowed to use stings on bosses because they took up one of the debuff slots that could be on the boss (originally a boss could only be affected by 8 debuffs at one time). It almost seems like now they are an afterthought for the developers, and I won’t be surprised if they go by the wayside completely. For me though, they were something that was at the core of the Hunter abilities, much like traps. It’s sad that they are so limited now, and not even available to every spec.

Another thing to keep in mind is that stings count as a poison, so anything that can dispel poisons will dispel them.

Nostalgia is starting to set in now. Blizzard, if you are reading this, bring stings back to the core arsenal of Hunter abilities!

What do you all think, should stings return to being more of a prominent aspect of every Hunter’s shot rotation and become a core ability once again, rather than an afterthought?

The Switch

Join the Army, they said. See the world, they said! I’d rather be sailing!

So my faithful guildies convinced me to learn a second specialization this week. Up until now I have been Marks for 95% of my Wow experience. I tinkered with BM during the BRK era for a while, but then they made Chimera/Serpent Sting the god mode, and I went back to Marksmanship. That was until 2 days ago when we were discussing the Ko’ragh fight in Highmaul. As a guild we don’t have a lot of magic DPS who like to join us in raids, which leads us to a few alternatives. We can PUG in folks which is always a crapshoot. We can level alts, which personally isn’t too fun for me, although my DK is getting there:). Lastly, we can actually look at our other specs and see what benefits they have…

Lo and behold, Survival is pretty much exclusively magic damage. It does all elements to boot. Additionally, the Mastery increases all magic damage you deal. So I did what any good member of the guild does for other members of his guild. I switched, and by switch, I mean learned a second spec.

Up until now I only ever had one spec. Even when they first introduced dual specialization, I didn’t even bother. Marks has always been really appealing to me, and I’ve never been super min/max. I make sure to learn and research gear, rotations, talents, glyphs, etc… but switch just for a bit of extra DPS? Pfft. That’s all well and good until we can’t progress as a guild because we don’t have the necessary tools. So I don’t mind stepping out of my comfort zone in this case.

So I decided to spend the whole raid as survival last night to get used to it, work out my rotations, and get used to pressing a few more hot keys throughout the fight. Survival does have a few extra abilities it uses over Marks. The first fight I didn’t really feel like I was doing a whole lot more since I pulled less DPS than I was used to. We had a clean easy fight though and moved on to fight 2: The Butcher. I was admittedly a bit more comfortable during this fight and there was less movement, but I ended up pulling almost 19K DPS, which was 3K over the first fight.

For the rest of the night there was a significant spike in my overall DPS (21.5K on Ko’ragh), and needless to say, we downed Ko’ragh for the first time (with a little help from some PUGs). He also dropped me some new pants as well.

Ko'ragh Down

I’ll likely still use Marks for a lot of my personal PvE content since it has more healing and has higher damage output on trash, but for raiding I may stick to Survival for awhile. Until Marksmanship gets some love, at which time I’m switching back!

UI update coming soon

I promise.

Hopefully those of you still using my UI comp have been able to keep the addons updated and things running smoothly, but for those of you waiting on me to update things so you can try it out, I’m getting close to uploading it. There were some annoyances I needed to smooth out, addons to replace, etc…but I feel this configuration is pretty usable and stable now.

This screenshot doesn’t reveal much, but I’ve kept things very minimalist, yet I’ve added some extra stuff in this latest iteration. I also included an old school touch to the UI by incorporating some Blizzard textures. After fussing with ElvUI for a few days, I did this in revolt to the absurdly minimalist displays that some of the UI replacement packages leave you with. I’m all about having a large uncluttered world view, with things positioned where I want them, but this is World of Warcraft, and not some techie sci-fi romp. I actually like the feel of the traditional artwork and textures, and how they add to the ambiance of the game.

Gar UI in WoD 6.0.3

This design compliments the default look of the game’s UI while having all of the advantages and goodness that a custom UI provides. Some players go out of their way to strip every single bit of Blizzard artwork from their gaming experience. This time around I’ve decided to embrace it.

In my opinion, this is the best version of my UI I’ve done. I’m anxious to see how you guys like. :)

/stops dangling carrot

My New Work Clothes

Apart from my vanilla PvP set (which is essentially an instant mog makeover), I haven’t ever farmed a transmog set for Garwulf…until now.

Anyway, see what you think of my current raidwear…

Black Dragonscale Hunter Transmog

Those of you who are like…wtf…why are you posting this transmog fluff and not talking about huntering in WoD..?! Truth is…I’ve been enjoying the expansion all too much. ;) Not since TBC have I enjoyed the game this much.

I’ve got a few topics I’d like to discuss, so I’ll try to be back soon. In the meantime…I’m still active, I’m working on some updates, and I shall return! :)