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Grandpappy Frostheim on Why Burning Crusade Sucked

Grandpappy Frostheim on Why BC Sucks THURSDAY
Scattered Shots is brought to you by Grandpappy Frostheim, who spends his evenings in an Ironforge tavern telling young hunters how much harder things were in his day, when they had to kite mobs uphill, both ways ... back when men were men, and women were men too, and pets were next to useless -- but they were also men. You can ask him questions on Google+.

There is a small vocal group of WoW players who feel that Burning Crusade was the pinnacle of the WoW experience, an unparallelled beauty of game design, and that life has gotten progressively worse ever since. Those players are starting to piss me off.

The reason they like BC so much is the same reason most players like an expansion more than all the rest: because that's when they started playing. Vanilla players like to talk about how hard yet awesome life was in our day and Wrath newbies (who, appallingly, are old timers themselves now) like to talk about how the game has only gone downhill since their time.

All of us old timers have one thing in common: we look at our glory days of exploring WoW for the very first time through rose-tinted glasses, remembering all the great stuff and glossing over just how bad the bad stuff was. But these BC lovers have crossed the line into being just plain daft, and trying to claim the exact opposite of how things really were.

Because really, BC sucked.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Hunters have too many buttons

Scattered Shots Hunters have too many buttons THURSDAY

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

There will always be some hunters who disagree with anything (believe it or not I recently read a hunter who thinks removing minimum range made the game no longer playable) but most hunters these days agree that we hunters have too damn many buttons. And it's not just us: in a recent tweet Ghostcrawler said so too:
Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot that can be done in the middle of an expansion -- frankly what needs to happen is a bunch of these abilities just need to go. But remove anything (even minimum range) and you'll hear complaints, not to mention making hunters learn new rotations mid-expansion is bad design move. But I think there are some things that can be done to mitigate the situation.

But first lets get into why too many buttons is a bad thing, because there are actually two important reasons.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Hunter buffs in patch 5.1

Scattered Shots Hunter buffs in patch 51 THURSDAY

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

Patch 5.1 landed on Tuesday and while there were no ground shaking changes that force every hunter to change everything about their playstyle, we definitely felt some nice quality of life improvements and some important DPS buffs and burst nerfs. It was a quiet kind of awesome, but still pretty awesome.

Blizzard is definitely handling these changes with very delicate taps of the turning fork. Very gentle buffs, very gentle nerfs, moving different areas of hunter play just a little bit in one direction or another. Certainly part of this lines up with Blizzard's assertion that "More players quit because of constant class changes than quit because of balance concerns." But a good chunk of it is probably also that hunters weren't in a very bad place, and small changes might be enough to get us where we want to be (as well as changes to certain other classes whose crazy DPS is fueled by their burning underpants).

So lets take a closer look at the changes we got and what the impact of those change is looking like.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Pet buffs and the best hunter pet

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

Throughout Cataclysm I spent a lot of time explaining to hunters that the pet paradigm had changed and there was no longer one right answer to "What is the best pet?" Instead of being able to answer cat, or wolf, or whatever the pet of the moment was, the answer was: it depends.

Well, with the changes to hunter pets in Mists of Pandaria the answer is now that it depends even more.

The best pet to bring to your raid or heroic is going to change based on your group composition -- and in fact can even change based on the skill of your team members. Let's first take a look at which pets bring which raid buffs, then get down to how to select your pet.

But fair warning in advance: choosing the right pet isn't a matter of following a flowchart or plugging in an addon. You have to use your brain (in your head).

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

State of DPS in Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Raid DPS Analysis
Mists of Pandaria is well under way, and with patch 5.1 on the horizon. We've now had enough guilds do enough raid clears that we can begin to take a look at the DPS numbers that the classes are putting out and see just where they stand. It might also shed some insight into buffs and nerfs coming on the PTR.

As always, we draw our data for the analysis from the wonderful Raidbots.com, which in turn pulls its data from World of Logs, where raiders upload parses of their actual raids. This gives us the absolute best data source that we have access to. These numbers are exactly what thousands and thousands of real raiders are actually capable of putting out in the actual raids, averaged over all of the bosses available.

If you'll recall, the DPS spread in Dragon Soul, while not perfect, was actually the closest to balanced we had seen in WoW history. So did Mists of Pandaria improve upon this balance? Or did we end up with boss mechanics and new abilities that widened the gap? The only way to find out is to sort through all the data, and then make pretty graphs out of them.

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Scattered Shots: What's wrong with Marksmanship hunters?

Scattered Shots What's wrong with Marksmanship hunters THURSDAY
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

In every expansion there is inevitably one spec that is the red-headed stepchild of DPS and a host of hunters fond of the spec crying into their ale at the unfairness of it all. Right now MM is that spec, and MM-lovers everywhere are sloppy drunk on their own sadness.

Actually, if you look back far enough there was often only one raid viable spec, rather than one bad one. In the memory of Grandpappy Frostheim, it goes something like this:
  • Vanilla: MM is the only raid viable spec.
  • BC: BM is the only raid viable spec.
  • Wrath: BM Briefly on top, then nerfed to the stone age. SV briefly on top, then MM for most of the expansion. After the nerf BM never recovered and held DPS 20% behind the leader.
  • Cataclysm: SV briefly awesome and overpowered, then over-nerfed. MM on top with SV just behind and BM in third. BM wasn't so far behind, but was significantly so. The three specs were closer in DPS potential than any time in history.
Nowadays we have BM back in the lead with MM in last place. And if you look at the logs, MM DPS looks horrible. However, recent comments from Blizzard confirm what hunter DPS simulations show us: MM's dps is in theory very close to BM's.

So what the heck is wrong that we have MM so amazingly low in the logs -- almost always in very last place against every other DPS spec in the game?

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Hunter raid gear in tier 14

Scattered Shots Hunter raid gear in tier 14 THURSDAY
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

We've already discussed the hunter pre-raid gear, so now it's time to start talking epics! Which hunter drops are the absolute best for your DPS? Which are worth a pass? And which four set pieces should you collect?

Here we're going to look at all the loots that drop from raid bosses, including world bosses. I'm also going to include the epics that can be purchased with valor points -- though these are slightly lower ilvl items and never make the top of the lists, sometimes they're only slightly worse than the top tier loot. For the sake of simplicity we'll be looking at the normal difficulty version of gear.

As always, it's worth stressing that the actual DPS difference of items of the same ilvl is very small -- though they certainly add up. And, as always, the actual value of stats changes not just with your spec but also with the rest of your gear. I'll be presenting all of the top gear choices, and then making my recommendations of which is the best, taking reforging options into account.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Don't anger the tank or she will make you cry

Scattered Shots Don't piss of the tank or she will make you cry THURSDAY
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

Mists of Pandaria has brought a lot of awesome stuff to hunters: minimum range finally dead and buried, the awesomeness that is Stampede, improved self-heals, better burst for all specs, and very clever new rare pet tracking challenges. It has also brought us so many flipping buttons to press when DPSing that we need a third hand to keep up with it all.

While the hunter changes in Mists have been overwhelmingly positive, they've also introduced new ways for hunters to make mistakes. And I'm not just talking about mistakes that affect the hunter -- like the tragedy of rolling an elf back when you didn't know any better -- I'm talking about mistakes that hurt your group.

There are also a lot of opportunities for the unwitting hunter to piss off the tank. That may be all good fun and games when you're running in a guild group, but when you're running Dungeon Finder you do not want to piss off the tank: she has all the power. You annoy her enough and she'll initiate a vote kick. No one else wants to be on the tank's bad side so they'll vote to boot your sorry ass. But not until the tank calls you names until you cry like a sissy little elf.

Here's what to look out for in Mists.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: MoP hunter enchants

Scattered Shots MoP hunter enchants THURSDAY
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

Greetings fellow hunters! So far in our quest to optimize our Mists of Pandaria DPS we've discussed the best pre-raid hunter gear and the best gems for your gear. Today we're going to go a step further and get into enchanting all that sparkly new gear.

The first question you have to ask yourself in the early weeks of an expansion is whether it's even worthwhile enchanting your gear. Certainly by the time you set foot in raids you want the best enchant on all your slots to ensure you're contributing as much as you possibly can to your raid's success, but there if frankly not much point in enchanting those non-heroic blues or gear you picked up while questing.

As a general rule of thumb, you only want to enchant gear from heroics (or equivalent gear of ilvl 463 or higher). You just don't need the extra edge of enchants to run 5-mans, especially when that gear is going to get replaced within a few runs. That said, if you've gotten unlucky on a slot or two and are preparing to walk into a raid with some lower level gear, then you should get it enchanted.

Okay, let's get into the best option per slot.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots