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!

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! :)

Getting back into the raiding groove

After only a few short weeks, I’m back into end-game content, running through Heroics and dabbling a little in Highmaul. The road to get there is more challenging than it has ever been in the past, from what I can remember. Getting there was a good refresher on playing as a hunter, and it helped me in getting back on my feet after my long hiatus from WoW. Raiding has always been my favorite aspect of the game, and I really am glad to be getting back into that aspect so quickly.

Now, if you are running with a premade group, a lot of this will not apply, but from a LFG perspective it will provide what you can expect to have to do before being able to run into heroics, and ultimately into the end-game raids that are currently available.

First off, your primary objective should be getting to level 100 so you have your final abilities, level 100 talent, and everything available to you class-wise. It’s worthwhile to run dungeons and instances while leveling up, but know that the gear you get will quickly be replaced by quest gear or crafted gear.

There is something to be said about knowing the boss fights before you hit 100 and start doing heroics, so you might consider searching for some instance guides or checking out some YouTube videos so that you can familiarize yourself with the fight mechanics.

If you take a look at the LFG panel, you can see what the Gear Score requirement is for Heroics. With a modest 610 requirement, it feels like it’s in the right place, though 615 or 620 might have been better for pacing in the long run, and would have given folks more reason to run the non-heroic dungeons first. Keep in mind that your gear score is based on what you are wearing AND what you have in your inventory. While I don’t feel this makes a lot of sense, it allows you to do things to get around the requirement without actually being geared appropriately.

As it stands, I was able to reach 608 personally by crafting my engineering Gun and Helm, and including what I had acquired via quests.

epic_wow_engineering_goggles_wod
epic_wow_engineering_gun_wod

Finally, with the completion of the first part of the Legendary quest to get my iLVL 640 ring, I was able to push it over 610 and unlock the heroics. That being said, I did run normal Skyreach before hopping into heroics in order to finish the quest.

So having finally reached the gear requirement, I went to hop into a heroic and get the fun started, only I still wasn’t able to queue for them. So I rechecked everything, and went back to the LFG panel and noticed that there were still locks on the Heroic dungeons. Much to my chagrin, there was yet another requirement to get into Heroics. I had to complete one of the silver proving grounds tests.

In an interesting twist from Blizzard, they actually expect you to go through something that might make you a better player at your class! ;)

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