Monday, August 16, 2010

Out of ammo in Cataclysm

Never again. You’ll never see the dreaded “Ammo needs to be in the paper doll ammo slot before it can be fired” message again when Cataclysm comes out.

I have to say I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I welcome the fact that we will no longer be caught off-guard, either in an instance or while questing. It has happened to even the best hunter out there. Of course that it can get serious if happens in an instance and some people even state that it’s one of the ways of finding out if someone is a hunter or a huntard. I usually take extra caution when I know I’m going to do an instance and it’s like the very first 3 items I confirm on my mental checklist. Ammo, ammo, ammo, water… And that’s pretty much it. Running out of ammo is bad. And it’s the only “bad” point.

On the other hand there are a few small things that we will lose with the removal of ammo.

First of all I liked the fact that we use ammo and the fact that we use different ammo for bows/crossbows and guns. RPGs are a lot about building your character (your in-game character, not your actual character) and getting ammo for your weapon added to it. Going to the ammo vendor, or getting ammo from an engineer. Sometimes even getting it made for me gave me the feeling of developing my hunter, improving it. Even more when I got my ammo from the said engineer. I was doing stuff for my character.
Now, the other thing that I will miss is the special ammo. The fact that there are special, crafted ammo (the one that engineers do) that increased my damage. You can use the regular vendor ammo or get some special one from the AH or from an engineer. You got some small extra boost that helped your damage. Not much, but enough that, added shot after shot, added up to some thousands of points of damage on the long run. And it feels good.

I wish that Blizzard could come up with some sort of commitment here. Ok drop the actual bullet-count (or arrow count) but it would be nice to still have the ammo slot and just add some sort of artifact that increases damage done by bullets. Kind like a trinket, but for the ammo.  Make some regular ones sold by vendors and then some really cool ones dropped by mobs in instances and crafted by engineers. Therefore you’d remove the infamous “no ammo” messages and still have the nice, warm, fuzzy feeling of fine-tuning your hunter.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hunter Changes

Ghostcrawler brought out some news about changes in hunter design. Quite interesting stuff too.

"Focus -- We think we're in a much better spot for focus regen now. Our goal has been for focus to be a resource you spend on your higher damage shots, which is regenerated passively at a rate lower than energy regen, but faster than energy if you are using Steady / Cobra (which can only be done while stationary). At the lower regen rates, we found it felt bad if you couldn't Steady / Cobra rather than Steady / Cobra feeling like a bonus. We think we're closer to the sweet spot now, but please let us know (preferably after you've actually tried it rather than prophesizing doom).

Aspects -- We're not happy with the way the Hawk vs. Fox choice is playing out. We think that ultimately either damage or focus regen is going to win out and the other aspect won't get much use. For now, we are going back to Hawk being used for damage and regen. We'll discuss other potential uses for Fox. Changing Aspects will not affect focus regen.

Mobile damage -- This is always a touchy subject. In our testing, we found that it wasn't fun with the current implementation when hunters had to move around a lot, especially in PvP. This is why we are giving up on the current Aspect of the Fox design. We also significantly reduced the focus cost per damage of Arcane Shot, so that it is usable under almost all circumstances. We've also removed the focus costs on several utility abilities (e.g. Concussive Shot, Intimidation, Bestial Wrath, Scatter Shot, etc.) One potential use for Aspect of the Fox is to generate additional focus when you take damage, but we don't want to get back into a world where you are "aspect twisting" when someone comes into melee with you in PvP.

Survival -- We're still iterating a lot on this tree in particular. We agree it's probably the least polished of the hunter trees so far. The reason is that we just have it in for Survival hunters.

Pets -- As I posted in another thread recently, a pet scaling pass is underway. We still plan to do passes on the hunter pet talents and abilities as well. With the design that allows you to swap pets often in the field, we want to make sure that there are some interesting choices in which pet you use for a given situation. Provided they are all crabs.

In case I need to say it, the last two sentences of the last two paragraphs are not meant to be taken seriously. :)"

And also: "We're going to take the damage off of Silencing Shot. It's supposed to be a situational utility ability, not something you macro into every shot."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ding 83! What now?

And there we go. Level 83 is the maximum we can reach at the current state of the Cataclysm beta.

I have only played on 2 areas: Mount Hyjal, where I still lack one quest that is bugged and did quite a few quests at Deepholm (if I would have to guess I'd say most of them by now).

So now it's time to either copy the same level 80 character to try do the whole Abyssal Depths or try one of the new races.

Sigh... Decisions, decisions, decisions... Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cataclysm Changes on Pet Leveling

99.9% of all World of Warcraft hunters agree: leveling pets has always been a huge pain in the rear end. Right? Right.

Yes, Blizzard has helped us quite a lot when they added pet auto-leveling, where any pet that you tamed would automatically increase its level (if it was lower) to our current level minus 5. Imagine that you are level 80 and you tame a level 60 pet. In the good(?) old days you would have to level the pet from 60 to 80. When patch 3.3.0 came out, the pet automatically levels to 75 (80 - 5 -- see how good I am with math?) and, all of the sudden, we just needed to bring our beloved companion through 5 levels. With 3.3.0, pets also only need 5% of the hunter’s XP to level. Yeah!

And this is how it goes right now.

In Cataclysm, as of now, your pet still needs only 5% the XP we need to level BUT the small difference is that whenever you level a new pet, it will be 3 levels below you and not 5. Of course this is all due to change but, nonetheless, this is great news for us, since it will allow us to actually use the whole bunch of nice, cute, fluffy, deadly pets we’re going to collect, thanks to the new stable (more on that on a future post).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Focusing on Cataclysm

One of the big changes for us hunters in Cataclysm is the removal of Mana, which will be replaced with Focus.

Focus will work much like Energy does for Rogues. It goes from 0 to 100 and using different shots spends some of our Focus, which replenishes itself at a rate of 5 Focus per second. Steady Shots help too, recovering 1 Focus per shot. But numbers are numbers and while some are looking for them, right now I think the important question is: how does it feel like?
Well I like it. I like it for 2 reasons: first of all, we are Hunters. We use our guns or our bows or our crossbows or whatever throws bullets or arrows to mobs and other players. We use traps. We have pets. We rock. We’re not casters, we don’t use magic. Mana is a magic thing and it should be used by caster for their castering things. We, hunters have no business on using Mana for our huntering. Cataclysm brings Focus. And I’m happy that it did. It’s OUR resource. To shoot stuff. Yeah!

Now for the second reason...

Hunters have been using Mana since… Well… Ever? Now Blizzard throws is this whole new resource. Hunter gear had Intellect on it and we relied on huge Mana pools to get us going and going. And whenever something went wrong or we were forced to fight long battles -- such as Boss fights, we could pop Aspect of the Viper and there we go again. On regular fights you didn’t have to worry that much about Mana management. Hunters usually had huge amounts of Mana that could support them for a few fights before having to replenish somehow. Resource management has been quite dead for us hunters. Realistically, how much do we really worry about our Mana management when compared to Shaman or Priests or Warlocks or whatever other class that uses Mana? Yes we keep an eye on it but do we really have to do some real management? No, we don’t. Most of us at least.

Now, with Focus… That’s a whole different game. We don’t have a Focus pool of a gazillion points and shots that spend 5-10% of our pool. We have 100 points and our abilities spend 25, 30, 50 focus. That’s right. 25%, 30% or even 50% of our pool. Throw a couple of Aimed Shots and poof: there goes all your Focus. Four Arcane Shots? Ditto. Right now you could shoot 20 Steady Shots or Arcane Shots before running out of Mana (a bit more actually due to the casting time or cooldown). Quite a difference, heh?
Focus brings more fun to our class. We now have to manage our resource. We have to be on top of it, get ways of replenishing it and use it the best way while still maximizing our DPS and this, for us, highly increases the fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Maelstrom and Deepholm

The final quest at Mount Hyjal is bugged so we moved on to Deepholm, through the Maelstrom.

We haven't done a single quest there, but here are some shots:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cataclysm in a nutshell - no spoilers

So, how's Cataclysm, you may be asking?

Well, in a nutshell, Cataclysm rocks. So far we have only tried a couple of quests in Abyssal Depths until we decided to move to Mount Hyjal and start from scratch there where we got halfway through level 81.

The quests are fun to play. Drop rates are decent and you don't have to kill a gazillion creatures to finish your quests. The quest rewards are quite decent and you'll replace your T10 in a snap.

Moving around the map is pretty straightforward. You are always sent on to the next quest hub once you reach the last couple of quests on the hub you're at the moment.

Phasing works well with NPC appearing and disappearing accordingly to what you are doing. And we haven't even got to the big phasing parts.

There are a few non-regular quests too which makes it more fun since it helps you getting away from the normal grinding routine.

All in all, so far, and speaking strictly on a 80+ experience, Cataclysm is great. Once all bugs are removed and everything gets fixed we'll have quite an impressive expansion.

Stay tuned!