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! ;)

Now if you’ve been playing for a long time, you know that pick up groups (i.e., PUGs) were always one of the real downfalls to the LFG system, and end game dungeon groups. Hopefully with the addition of Proving Grounds, folks might actually come into PUGs with some semblance of knowing what they are doing or what to expect, and not wipe the group all night. I like that the proving grounds gets you moving around, and forces you to use your abilities to their maximum potential (including abilities that might not be in some folks’ Hotbars, like Tranquilizing Shot.

So I completed the bronze and silver proving grounds fairly easily (albeit silver took me two tries, since I did not interrupt the heal in Wave 6 or 7 in time). Finally I was able to get into Heroics, and have since helped the guild complete several guild achievements for running Heroics.

Of course, this is not where the progression fun ends for the solo Hunter who wants to experience the end-game content in WoW… There is a feature which now allows you to queue for the raids like Highmaul and Molten Core, and with only a meager gear score of 615. So much has changed since I’d left, that now you can not only do heroics without a premade group, you can do raids as well.

The difficulty for LFR raids is lower than normal, with the gear being slightly lower in iLVL as well, but this is great news for when no one else in the guild is on. What’s even better is that the LFR lockout is separate from the normal lockout, which means you can run Highmaul more than once per week. From what I hear, the LFR version is very easy and you should have no problem jumping right in once you meet the GS requirement.

Gear Score for LFR

Better hit the auction house…

The LFR has several tiers, with the last requiring a GS of 635, but it’s fantastic that you can operate outside of a guild, especially if your schedule is not conducive to raiding with them. Additionally, for those that don’t like to be part of a guild, they are not stuck at level 100 with nothing to do (I don’t PVP much, so if I couldn’t group or raid, I wouldn’t have much to do outside of daily quests).

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I did do a bit of a respec on my talents and the Lone Wolf talent is going to be fun to be able to contribute whatever buff the party is missing. I dropped Steady Focus to pick up Thrill of the Hunt and I think it maximizes my DPS a bit more, but I haven’t tested the numbers just yet.

Lastly, don’t forget that just because you are able to get into groups for heroics and raids doesn’t mean you can forgo your responsibility to actually contribute to the fight. Get your gear enchanted and socketed, get your flasks made, and be at your maximum potential for the fights.

Even a cheap enchant is better than no enchant at all.

-Drackmire

A Return to Huntering in WoD

Drackmire is a pal and fellow hunter who had been absent from the game for some time, but he’s recently returned to WoW to experience the sensation that is Warlords of Draenor. He’s enjoyed sharing his experience and wisdom in the past, so I thought it’d be fun to have him write a post about what it was like returning to WoW after a long huntering hiatus. If you’ve recently come back to WoW, or are thinking of coming back, and you’ve been away for 3 to 4 years or more, then you’ll probably relate to Drack’s post. Enjoy! -Gar

As a Hunter who started playing WoW since vanilla, back in November 2004, I have many fond memories of the game. I have made numerous online friends, who I still keep in touch with. I have seen the game progress and get better, and worse, and better again, etc… Despite all the changes, nerfs, buffs, and other miscellaneous intricacies of WoW, I still get a deep sense of enjoyment when I play the game.

That being said, I have not played WoW the entire 10 years it has been out. In fact, I just started playing again in Warlords of Draenor. I stopped playing shortly after the release of Cataclysm, and did not play at all during Mists of Pandaria. This was purely for personal reasons, and had nothing to do with the direction of the game. Real life just took its toll, and sometimes you have to put down your hobbies for awhile. However, through much peer pressure (looks at Garwulf), and finding a time in my life where I feel I can take on the time required to play it again, I decided to go ahead and upgrade my subscription (digital deluxe version of course) and dive right back in.

Talk about a giant belly flop. The first thing I encountered was a free character boost for any character I had, to get them directly to level 90. I didn’t want to spend time in the Mists of Pandaria content right away, so I just put it on my hunter (who was already 85), though in hindsight I probably should have used it with another much lower character.

Anyway, I selected my hunter, and I was presented with a verification, followed by asking me to select a specialization…

Come on Blizzard, don’t you know I’ve been Marksman for like 90% of my WoW time (I’m fond of Marksman, in case you didn’t know…)?! Anyway, I selected Marksman and then logged in to the game.

When I logged in, I was in front of the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands with 2 abilities on my hot bar, and 3 items in my inventory; wait what?! I had my Hearthstone, some food, and a random quest item from Northrend.

I had all my gold, but wondered where my items had gone… Now, chances are nothing in my inventory was worth anything at this point, but I did have several engineering items I didn’t want to have to craft again.

First things first, let’s find my abilities and get my hot bars loaded so I can start shooting stuff…except I don’t have any abilities!? Not one to be easily dismayed, I started opening all the panels I could – looking for abilities and found out that the specializations now only have 4 core abilities each. Marksman now has Aimed Shot, Chimaera Shot (which hits two targets now), Steady Shot, and Kill Shot. I tried dragging abilities from various panels and was not able to add anything to my panels except for pet abilities and my racial ability Stoneform.

marksman_hunter_core_abilities

At this point I was kind of frustrated, so I went to use my Hearthstone, but it was attuned to the Dark Portal… :/ I hopped on a mount and rode along the ground to get to the nearest flight master. That’s right, you heard me, rode along the ground. Turns out you are grounded immediately after logging in from a boost.

So, after all this I started to worry that maybe there was a serious issue with my account or that I was just missing something. I flew to Ironforge and headed for the class trainer. The class trainer confirmed that I had a specialization and asked if I wanted to unlearn it, and it would cost me 28 gold; preposterous! I paid the gold, and magically I learned all of my skills. Not just my hunter skills, but my riding skills and my professions. So apparently there is a bug with boosting but it’s not a major bug. A little inconvenient to say the least, but all was right in the world. I went ahead and took a look at what I did and did not have, and noticed a few changes.

marksmanship_spec_abilities

We no longer have a variety of stings, and not every specialization has access to them. The only one available to Marksman is Wyvern Sting, which puts your enemies to sleep, and by itself is a worse Freezing Trap. Arcane Shot is now only available to the other specializations.

There are now only three aspects for Marksman hunters. The movement aspects (Cheetah and Pack), and a new one called Aspect of the Fox which is completely useless in solo PVE.

Rapid Fire is now only a Marksman ability, so we still get to keep some of our older core abilities, which is nice. There are also a few new shots I’d noticed, like Binding Shot and Counter Shot, which have been very helpful in PVE, and are sure to be key for raid boss fights down the road.

Another thing that’s completely changed since Cataclysm is the talent system. You can see what I chose initially, and it will probably change down the road, but the new system is very streamlined and provides enough choices without feeling overwhelming. You get one talent point at specific level increments, and you can only learn one talent at each tier, so you have to make your choices wisely, or tailored to your play style. I find Glaive Toss to be particularly awesome!

drackmire_hunter_talents

I have to say that in this case less is more, and it feels less like micromanagement when it comes to talents, which is a good thing. I’m not sure yet how each specialization’s talents differ, but it seems like the talents I am presented with are good general talents and not necessarily Marksman specific.

wod_hunter_paper_doll

If you look at your character paper doll you will notice a few new secondary stats. You have Versatility, Mastery, Leech, and Multistrike. These seem to take the place of older talents, and add a nice touch of flare to the item stats you will see. In particular, Mastery seems really useful, and each specialization has a specific Mastery. Marksmanship Mastery is called Sniper Training which activates after standing still for a few seconds, at which point it increases your damage, shot range, and crit damage. Once it’s active you can still make small movements without losing the buff, so you can dodge AoE effects without losing DPS.

Versatility seems like it would be really nice to have as well, since it is a flat increase to damage you do, and a flat reduction to damage you take.

I’m not sure how well Multistrike will affect hunters, but it seems much better for melee classes who have a lot more on hit effects which benefit more from basic attacks.

hunter_pet_spec_screenshot

Pet specialization works much like the class specialization, where in you pick one of the three, and that locks in what your pet can do. I haven’t looked too much into how pets have changed, but once I hit 100 I will tinker with that a bit more. I’m sure Garwulf will have plenty of advice regarding pets.

On a side note, feeding your pet is no longer required, and the way it works now makes the ability useless, so it won’t see a spot on my hot bars. Reviving your pet brings it back to life with full health. From what I can see so far, the main difference in pets is that each has its own set of abilities, and you will use them based on your situation whether it be PVE, PVP, or raiding. I most likely won’t tame too many pets and will find out which is best for raiding/dungeons and use those exclusively. :)

Professions have not changed, though it seems like the recipes are a bit simpler, with a lot of things only requiring one item. All of my professions were taken up to 600 from blue book drops (except for Fishing and Archaeology, though I assume I’m waiting to find those skill books), so fortunately I didn’t have to grind anything for them and can jump right into the Warlords of Draenor content in that respect.

Fundamentally the game hasn’t changed for hunters. We are still a purely ranged DPS class, and we still have our trusty pets regardless of spec. We no longer have a minimum firing range, and can fire all of our shots on the move. I haven’t yet looked into how much room the stable has now and if there really is any difference depending on what specific pet you are using.

Marksman feels very streamlined for PVE, and maybe a bit boring. I feel very OP with regular mobs, and none of the rare mobs that I have come across have given me any trouble. Our traps haven’t really changed, and trap launcher is now a toggled ability that you have to be careful about. All in all I’m enjoying the newest expansion and am glad to see WoW is still just as much fun now as it was when I played years ago.

There is still a ton more that I can talk about, but so far the changes I see for Hunters all appear to be positive!

I hope this serves as a helpful and fun guide to getting back on your feet in Warlords of Draenor, if you haven’t played since before Mists of Pandaria. Oh, and if you’re wondering where your inventory went…check your mail.:)

-Drackmire

Drackmire, Dwarf MM Hunter

WoD is Exceeding Expectations

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There’s no UI update or new posts around here because I can’t log off long enough to work on the site. Blizzard over-delivered with this expansion, IMHO.

I’ll try to get the UI comp packaged and uploaded with the week, however.

And if any of you haven’t seen this treasure mod yet, please give it a try. It kinda feels like cheating, but it’ll do the job if you’re having difficulty acquiring resources for your Garrison.

You guys enjoying Warlords of Draenor?

Hunter Macros Updated for WoD

I updated the Hunter Macros page so that everything is now current with Warlords. I removed all of the obsolete macros with retired abilities – including one I found in there with Wing Clip o.O – and I even added a few new ones that I’m using.

Next up… Gar UI update for WoD. I had to reconfigure a few things, remove a couple of addons and add a few new ones, but I’m just about ready to load it up to WoWInterface. I’ll try to have the latest version up on Wednesday, right before launch.

In the meantime, here are a couple of updated Hunter Weak Aura strings if you’re interested…

I know I have been very slow in updating the blog, but I am very much around. More to come…