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Posts with tag ranged

Mobility and disparity

We know that change is coming to cast on the move. Let's talk about it, and why I think it's necessary.

Casters want melee mobility reduced in PvP so that they can turret down melee. Melee want caster mobility in PvP reduced so they can avoid being kited. Ranged want cast on the move mechanics to remain in PvE because without them, they have to stop casting when fights force movement. Melee want those mechanics gone because they're part of why ranged are brought to raids over melee - melee can't DPS on the move nearly as effectively, between having to stay in range of bosses and having a positional requirement ranged don't have. If the boss drops fire on himself, the ranged don't care, but the melee have to either stop DPS or die.

We know some or all of these things are going to be addressed in Warlords. The perennial fight between ranged and melee in PvP (ranged want to stay the heck out of melee range, melee desperately need to get into that range) and the constant tug of war that is raiding (where balancing between ranged and melee tends to always favor ramged - most raids bring twice as many ranged players if at all possible) will be affected by the expansion's sweeping changes. To quote CM Lore's twitter feed:

So let's look at one proposed change and discuss how it will affect the game, namely, the trimming down of cast on the move mechanics.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Guest Post: Confessions of a noob death knight

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

Here's the thing: I've been a mage from day one, when I first started playing WoW a good two years ago. I always liked being a mage in Dungeons & Dragons, so I figured I would like being a mage in WoW. I was right. In fact, I love being a glass cannon. (OK, I don't love the glass part so much, but I really dig the cannon part.) I'm not a great mage; age and fingers that were broken by judo or baseball have slowed me some. Still, I am a good mage. I hold my own, doing anywhere from 7-12k DPS depending on buffs and what I am watching on TV.

The thing is, as much as I love being a mage, making my own food and teleporting all around, I hate taking forever to queue. I also started thinking, "Hey, there must be more to simulated life than just standing back and blasting things." I decided to try a new character. Not having the patience to level a character from 1 to 80, I figured I'd go the death knight route. After all, DKs are mage-killers; they are the anti-mage. So after two years of being nothing but a ranged DPS machine, I rolled a DK.

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Filed under: Mage, Death Knight, Guest Posts

Ghostcrawler on DKs: "It is a melee class"

No, it's not just a case of the obvious being stated. In a discussion of DK design in arenas, Dr. Street comments to clarify the intended role of death knights in arena and other factors. He also makes a good point about the forums in general that bears repeating for emphasis.
"We don't intend for these forums to be the primary way the team communicates our vision for the game and upcoming changes to the community. You'll get a little of that on a few select subjects through the forums and sadly that's all you're ever going to get. It's not that we don't care. It's that forums are not a great medium for that kind of mass communication. I wish sometimes you guys could be satisfied with the fact that we used to not communicate at all and now are able to communicate a little."
Moving on to the specific issue at hand in this thread, the discussion is the old shadow/frost spec that turned the death knight into a much more ranged caster, generating runic power quickly and then converting that runic power into Death Coils at range. It wasn't intended for the class. They have no problem with Death Coil itself being a popular attack, as long as the death knight has to put an effort into staying in melee with its attendant disadvantages to do so.
"The DK that runs around and does nothing but Icy Touch or Howling Blast or Death Coil feels like a rogue who forgoes combo points and openers and everything just to spam Fan of Knives and nothing else."
It's interesting to see players managing to find ways to bend the class out of the original design intent and how Blizzard responds to that: specs like shadow/frost or diseaseless blood DPS were adjusted quickly to put the class back to where Blizzard intended it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Death Knight

Death Knight's Death Grip as crowd control

I haven't played a Death Knight on the live realms yet (I leveled one through the starting experience during the beta, and am only 79 so far on my main), but I have grouped with quite a few of them now, and the ability that real stands out to me and others seems to be Death Grip. A lot of the other Death Knight abilities are just new versions of other classes' spells, but Death Grip is a pretty new mechanic -- instead of charging or jumping away from a mob, you're bringing the mob to you. And with all new mechanics, players have found new ways to play with them. As you can see in the video above, Death Grip, when chained by a few Death Knights, can even be used as crowd control.

I've seen it used in a few other wild ways, too -- it works great as an interrupt, and when combined with a Hunter trap, it's finally a reliable way to trap ranged attackers and casters. And most of the Death Knights I've seen use it for pulling -- they suck the caster in from a group, and the rest of the mobs come with, and group right up for AoE. And I haven't even been to any PvP matches with Death Knights yet -- I imagine the uses there are even more hilarious, not to mention that I'd be yelling "Get over here!" every time I hit it. Very fun mechanic for the new Hero class.

Thanks, Michael!

Filed under: Fan stuff, PvP, Humor, Raiding, Classes, Buffs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

GC on the Deterrence change and the future of Hunter melee

When the Hunter changes dropped earlier this week, I understood the Volley change, and I even got the Kill Shot cooldown drop, but the one I really didn't understand was the Deterrence change. Like BRK said, it seemed pretty useless: sure, becoming immune to damage for five seconds helps survivability in the Arenas, but what's to stop people from just continuing the kill after that. And the directional effect was just perplexing as well.

Now, Ghostcrawler has provided some background on the change, and while it still doesn't make much sense, at least we have an idea of where Blizzard is coming from. First things last, the directional ability is still being tested and may not make it to the live game. But the ability itself is designed specifically for Arena, as we'd guessed. And even more strangely, he says the reason they wanted to change the spell was to make it different visually -- letting the Hunter see themselves parrying every single attack while their backup helps them out. That argument may not find much ground in the numbers-driven Arena crowd, but GC says lots of times, a strong visual can give what seems like a useless spell a lot of use. Interesting look into Blizzard's design philosophy -- they don't program the numbers, they program how it plays.

Finally, he says that Hunter melee damage is being looked at -- they are primarily a ranged class, but the problem now is that it's all or nothing. Either you're in a Hunter's barrage or you've closed to melee and they're not a threat. If they can put the sting back in melee, GC says (within a few patches -- this is long term), then they'll give them more viability "to flee or stand and fight." We'll have to see what Hunter's think about that one when we get more specifics.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Taunt and Growl to be increased to 20 yards

Warriors, Druids, and Death Knights are going to be creating their own version of a very happy dance soon. The range on Taunt, Growl, and Dark Command will be increased to 20 yards.

This is a big change. Now the other tanking classes will have equal ability to ranged taunt mobs off other players, pulling the mob to them. Often times warriors and druids have to either Intervene or Charge around in order to taunt a mob, and that can lead to a whole kaboodle of mobs following the tank. It often is not the ideal situation, especially if the mobs cleave or otherwise do AoE damage.

Now the whole process is simplified immensely and made much more efficient. Quite an awesome change, and one that has put a smile on my face today.

Filed under: Druid, Warrior, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: Weapon choices

(Apologies for the late posting of Scattered Shots. Next week we'll be back on our Thursday schedule.)

Last week I covered crowd control using traps. This week, filling in for David, I'll discuss the options available to hunters for weapon choice: ranged and melee alike. Hunters have a wide variety of weapons we can train, but our main concern is usually going to be ranged weapons: the bow, crossbow, and gun. Secondary to the ranged weapon of course is what we carry at our sides. Hunters can train in every weapon style except for maces (one and two hand) and wands. It's not technically a weapon, but for the sake of this discussion it's important to note that hunters cannot train in the use of shields. What this means is that there's a lot of weapons we can use, while not all of them are weapons that we should.

Adding to the decision is the fact that we hunters can learn to dual wield one handed weapons at level twenty. With one weapon, you tend to get more punch close up, but with two weapons you might lose some damage in melee, but gain an extra weapon's worth of stat bonuses, enchantments, and other augmentations. Each weapon you have equipped contributes its individual bonuses, if any, so it's a good idea to weigh the options, even for melee weapons which you might hardly ever use.

Earlier in the column, I recommended a low level hunter train in a two handed weapon early, since the first ten levels involve a greater percentage of melee combat, prior to getting a pet to handle your aggro. I'll talk about where to train what weapons, what augmentations you can add to weapons, and which ranged weapons are the best, after the jump!

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Filed under: Hunter, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Phat Loot Phriday: The Decapitator

After a short hiatus last week (due to the Friday evening patch 2.4 mayhem), the phat loot is back, this time with an axe that not only has one of the best names in the game, but can give you a little ranged help as well.

Name: The Decapitator (Wowhead, Thottbot, WowDB)
Type: Epic One-Hand Axe
Damage/Speed: 167-312 / 2.60 (92.1 DPS)
  • Improves crit strike rating by 27
  • Use: Hurls the axe through the air, directly at a target's head (very "vorpal," if you get that reference). Causes 513-567 damage with a 3 minute cooldown.
  • It's a 40-yard range, instant cast, so definitely very nice for pulling. Shows up as a black version of the Paladin's ranged attack.
  • And it was rumored that this was counted not as a melee attack, but as a spell. However, players have apparently confirmed that spell damage does not add to it, although we're still not sure if spell crit helps the percentage. Maybe commenters can shed light on that one-- I don't have this one around for testing.
  • Bosses, as you may expect, are immune to the throw. But it is pretty easy to put together a macro which will let you use the throw ability to pull, and then switch over to your usual tanking weapon.
How to get it: Pretty simple-- drops from Prince in Karazhan. People are downing him with PUGs nowadays (and odds are your guild, if they're raiding at all, has like three groups clearing it every week), so hope for the 13% percent drop chance to kick in, win the roll (tanks and shammies might be rolling on it, but by now, everyone who wants one probably already has it), and it's all yours.

Getting rid of It: Sells to a vendor for 12g 44s 56c, and disenchants into a Void Crystal. That's all I got-- I guess you could destroy it if you want, but this is the kind of item where the proc would probably come in handy at almost any level. Have a good weekend.

Filed under: Shaman, Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday

Hunter deadzone is dead: new minimum range = 5 yards, not 1

It appears that the latest information from the PTR for Patch 2.3 regarding hunters' ranged attacks is incorrect, as are the cries of multitudes who feel that hunters shooting close up would be unfairly overpowered. Drysc says:
There's a tooltip error, it should be "5-35 yards". We want melee and ranged to be kept separate, so that when in melee attack range you should not be able to use a ranged attack. There's some amount of 'give' there, especially in fast paced PvP which can produce some temporary gray area but that's fully known with this change.

Feeding the issue of the tooltip error is a bug currently where you can indeed range attack someone while being meleed, but that's in the process of being resolved as well.
When I first saw the new "1-41" range for hunters (that's with the extended-range talent "Hawk Eye") over on World of Raids, I knew that something was wrong. To let hunters use melee and ranged attacks at the same time means that they would often do better up close to their enemies rather than far away, and would go against a lot of the fundamental concepts around which the class is based. As it is, the mechanic of switching between melee and ranged attacks is one of the exciting things about being a hunter, and, now that the deadzone is dying at last, there won't be that block of frustration getting in the way between the two.

Filed under: Hunter, Patches

Phat Loot Phriday: Black Bow of the Betrayer

You want a bow that will make people sit up and say "whoah?" You want a bow with a neat mana proc? You want a bow that requires a really, really good PvE guild to get? Here you go.

Name: Black Bow of the Betrayer
Type: Epic Ranged Bow (where are the Legendary Ranged weapons, by the way?)
Damage/Speed: 201-374 / 3.00 (95.8 DPS)
  • Increases attack power by 26, always very nice
  • On Equip: Succesful melee or ranged attacks will grant 8 mana and if possible drain 8 mana from the target. That's incredible-- it's basically 40-45 mana per five seconds, which allows any Hunter to keep up their DPS for almost twice as long as normal.
  • And if you want even more mana, there is a set of mail gloves created by Blacksmiths (dropped by Moam in AQ, I believe) called Black Grasp of the Destroyer that have the exact same proc. And while I haven't tried it out in game, I'm told that the effects of both stack. So with both the gloves and the bow, you'll never need mana again!
  • If only Shamans could equip bows...
How to Get It: Such a bow isn't going to be easy to get, and as the name might have already told you, this drops from the Betrayer himself, Illidan Stormrage, at the end of the Black Temple. There is a good argument made that if you're a Hunter able to get to Illidan, you probably aren't going to be worrying about mana problems anymore anyway. But to the victors go the spoils, so kill Illidan, be a Hunter (the mana proc on the weapon makes it just for you animal lovers), and win the roll and the bow is yours. The rest of the world gets to stare in awe at how frighteningly pointy this baby looks.

Getting Rid of It: As far as I can possibly tell, no one has. But maybe there's a guild out there who has Illidan on farm, and just doesn't need it any more. In that case, it's the usual Void Crystal, or 10g 82s 33c if sold to a vendor.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday

Melee Haste and Spell Haste equal on PTR?

A posting on the general forums complains that melee haste has been reduced in effectiveness on the PTR, making it grant the same values per rating as spell haste. The debate rages as to what effect this will have on rogues trying to stay on top of the damage meters in raids, whether it will mean that top raiding guilds have no reason to bring rogues over ranged DPS, whether it also unfairly hurts feral druids, enhancement shamans and other melee DPS classes. Rogues mention that they have a lack of utility in raids and as a result, this is a large blow to their effectiveness.

What are your thoughts? Will this make rogues less or more reliant on haste potions? Does this hurt melee DPS even more in raids or will it have a negligible effect? Is it purely based off of epics and legendaries that most players will never see, like the Warglaive of Azzinoth? Is melee haste still 'better' than spell haste because melee attacks don't cost mana?

Thanks to World of Raids for a concise breakdown of the issue.

Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Classes

Phat Loot Phriday: Timeless Arrow/Shell

For sheer ranged damage (anywhere in the world, not just in Tempest Keep), no other ammunition does it better. This is the only Epic ammunition in the game, and it's pretty clear why.

Name: Timeless Arrow (or Shell, for firearms)
Type: Projectile
Damage/Speed: N/A
  • Adds 53 damage per second. That's like having an increase of over 700 attack power. The next highest ammo, Adamantite Shells, are +43 DPS, so this is far and above the best ammo you can obtain and use anywhere in the game.
How to Get It: And so of course it doesn't come cheap (in either gold or effort). To get these arrows or bullets, all you have to do is buy them-- they're available from Andormu or Nozari in the Caverns of Time. But the first catch is that you've got to be Honored with Scale of the Sands to do it.

Just to get Friendly with Scale of the Sands, you've got to obtain Vials of Eternity, so that means that you've got to beat both Vashj and Kael in SSC and the Eye. Yup, if you just stopped reading right now, I can't say I blame you.

And after that, I believe the only way to gain Scale of the Sands reputation is to run Mount Hyjal and get rep from kills in there. Work your way to Honored, and you'll be able to buy this ammo. And the last catch on this one? Each stack of 200 is a whopping 2g a piece. Unless you're overflowing with money (and then again, if you've made your way to Mount Hyjal, maybe you are), this is strictly raid boss ammo only.

Getting Rid of It: Vendor will give you 25c back for them if you decide you'd rather not pour out DPS like a Hefeweizen at Oktoberfest.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday

Why do hunters have a dead zone?

If you've never played a Hunter, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of a "dead zone." The term is used to describe a certain distance between the Hunter and their target in which the target is too close for the Hunter to fire ranged weapons and yet too far away for the Hunter to use melee attacks. It's an interesting feature of the Hunter class that is shared by none of the other ranged-attack classes: all of the casters, for example, can throw painful spells at you even when you're right in their face.

Many Hunters argue that the dead zone is entirely unnecessary -- and weakens the class by giving it a range in which it's completely helpless. Some Hunters argue that their dead zone should simpy be removed while others suggest the addition of some mid-ranged attacks or allowing regular ranged attacks to work in the dead zone with reduced damage, to at least allow them something. (Though the melee classes are likely to disagree: the melee zone in which they do their best damage is much smaller than the Hunter's ranged zone in which they do their best damage.)

But what do you, Hunters and non-Hunters, think about the issue? Is the dead zone required to keep Hunters balanced? Or is it nothing but a weakening nuisance?

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion

Phat Loot Phriday: Dragonbreath Hand Cannon

Every Friday, we take a nice long look at one of the drool-worthy items floating around the World of Warcraft. Last Friday, we looked at one of the best melee weapons in this game, so this Friday, we'll go HUNTER ITEM! and check out one of the sweetest (and best looking) ranged weapons you can find.

Name: Dragonbreath Hand Cannon
Type: Epic Gun
Damage, Speed: 86-160, 2.80 (43.9 DPS)
  • Probably the coolest looking weapon out there. It opens its mouth when it fires!
  • +14 Agility, +7 Stamina. Why no +Fire damage, Blizzard?
  • Yeah, OK, it's not the best ranged weapon in the game, especially if you want +crit% for PVP. But any hunter would love to have this thing, and the stats aren't bad for a tank's ranged slot either. Plus, just look at it! It's a freakin' dragon!
  • Any race/class that can use guns can use this, but don't forget, Dwarves get a +5 to Gun Skill.
How to Get It: No quests this week-- all you need is a raid group that can get you into Blackwing Lair and down Ebonroc about thirteen times (just over 8% drop rate, so if you're lucky it'll take less-- if not, it'll take more). Oh, and if you're in a guild, you'll probably need the DKP, especially because the tanks in your group are going to be drooling all over themselves to get their mitts on this. Just yell "Hunter item!"-- that justifies everything. (Can you tell I have a hunter main?)

Auction Price: Sorry folks, this one's BOP, too. A vendor will give you 10g, 65s, 74c for it, and as they walk away you'll hear them laughing loudly. At you. For selling them this weapon.

Filed under: Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos

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