Monthly Archives: October 2008

Patch 3.02 – Echoes of Doom

First off, I’m not sure “Echoes of Doom” is the brightest idea for a pre-expansion patch name. If it turns out like crap, it’s gonna bite Blizz in the butt. But anyway, migrating away from Blizzard’s posterior, I have some thoughts on the patch content.

It seems like many of the classes have QQ’d extensively as to perceived nerfs and let-downs this patch is heralding. Personally, I haven’t kept up with the patch notes enough to know to any detailed extent what the heck is going on over on the PTR, but I hear it’s no good news for hunters.

Mainly, it seems the hunter community is worried about the vast array of nerfs lined up for them once the patch loads this morning. I agree to the general sentiment that Blizzard wielded the nerf-bat a bit too wildly in some areas of the hunter’s repertoire of abilities. Aspect of the Viper now seems useless. I will admit to solo grinding with that aspect almost exclusively, as after 2.4 I think it was I just couldn’t keep my mana in the blue. AotV as I understand it now requires you to be actively damaging a target in order to receive any mana regeneration – BUT your damage is halved. I’m not sure what the benefit of speedy mana regen is if you do poop damage to get it. Arcane shot no longer dispels magic effects, but Tranquilizing shot now does. The damage dealt by Steady Shot has been reduced. How will this effect my over-all damage using Autoshot-Steady Shot weaving?

So, yes. Hunters got a few odd nerfs, but I don’t see anything worth throwing in the towel for. Above and beyond a few silly downgrades, hunters have been greatly improved in my opinion. Disengage is now actually useful, and I have heard hunters singing its praises in PvP. Bite and Claw are now the same, with the cool down removed from Bite to make it an effective focus dump. Stable masters now hold five pets, and ALL those stable slots are now useful! Pets now learn talents from talent trees, not from the tireless taming and abandoning of other pets.  Any up-to-date hunter knows they now have access to a bazillion new pets that were unacceptable before due to level (taming a level 15 beast at level 70 is a migraine in pixel form) or because they were previously untamable (wasps!). Many pets that were useless before (sporebats) now have some merit. Enough to tame and keep one? We’ll see. And Beast Mastery hunters get access to “exotic” pets with the 51-point talent. I sense a mass conversion to BM after the patch/expansion, but oh well. The Survival tree seems to have gotten a revival. I don’t play or ever plan to play as Survival, but if you do, rejoice!

That said, I’d like to focus more on pets. It’s the reason I play hunters more than any other class. With the patch downloading in the background as I write this, I am starting (okay, I’ve been fantasizing for ages) to think about which pets I would like to fill up my now vacant stable slots. Here’s my rundown and reasoning as to what and which and how and etc.

  • My first stable slot will always belong to Sombra, my Rip-Blade Ravager from the Blade’s Edge. We’ve had far too many good times together for me to dump her on her spiny little butt.
  • My second stable slot is currently filled by a white owl named Shiraha. I’m hesitant to let her go, as she represents a significant investment of time. Shiraha is Olm the Wise, a rare spawn in Felwood that I camped for days on end. She was also the subject of a Name That Pet segment on Mania’s Arcania. The jury’s still out on this beautiful bird.
  • Ah, my first free pet slot! Number three will go to a serpent, though I haven’t decided which one. I’m leaning towards the Wailing Caverns serpents for their ease of access, but if I can persuade a friend to help me I may venture into Zul’Gurub. First thing I do when the patch is done loading, tame a snake!

These last two stable slots I have decided to “rent” to different pet families to see which I like best. My thoughts are as follows:

  • Wasps! I remember being highly disappointed when my hunter made it to Zangarmarsh only to find these gorgeous insects untamable. She will be heading back very soon to tame Blacksting (most likely) and give this new pet family a test drive. However, their family skill Sting doesn’t do much for me. We’ll see.
  • Tallstriders. Never liked them much, but I’m starting to itch to have one running beside me. Their family skill looks interesting, perhaps situational. I will make a pass for Mazzranache but if he hides effectively I’ll go scout out a Lost Torranche.
  • Spiders. I’m excited for spiders in this patch. My lowbie Tauren hunter has had Webster the spider for ages, and though I loved him dearly their lack of skills made me sad. Being a Cunning pet, it looks like spiders now get Dash, which makes me happy! I’d love to tame Zarakh (she’ll probably be heavily camped) or Naraxis, the rare in Duskwood. Will most likely be replaced by a bone spider in Wrath.
  • Wind Serpents. Never tamed one before. I know already that they’ve been viable pets for some time now, I just never bothered to tame one. I will probably go for Azzere the Skyblade (rare spawn in the Barrens) or one of the Outlands models. I also favor the white ones in Thousand Needles.
  • Dragonhawks. Until recently a majority of them had inferior caster stats so I steered clear. There aren’t many skins to choose from, but I like the Eclipsion one the most.
  • Gorillas. I have heard much by way of the gorilla’s insane tanking ability now that the patch has been on the PTR. I’m eager to test out their AoE and do a bit of testing on their threat generation. I know Uhk’lok will be heavily camped, so I think I will snag a black or red ape to aid me.
  • Moths. Another creature I was saddened to find untamable some time back. Serenity Dust intrigues me as being most useful as a family skill. I will be journeying to Netherstorm to pick up a Shimmerwing.
  • Scorpids. Another pet family I have never had any interest in. I kind of just want to test them to see what the noise is about. Scorpid Poison was nerfed some time ago, I believe. It still seems to be a useful skill. Going for the black and red skin.
  • Nether Rays. I’m in love with their family skill. A silence effect? I must test it! Probably taming a Netherskate for their rich red color. Why not a Sporebat, you wonder? They look like they’re made of Playdough and marshmallows and I cannot in good conscience send them out to be eaten.
  • Boars. Boars have been a staple pet for many hunters since the dawn of WoW. Although I know many hunters disliked the idea of a boar’s charge being available to many other pets through the Tenacity tree, the fact that boars still have charge is good enough for me. I heard that their initial threat generation with a charge/gore combo was nerfed a while back, so I’d like to see if they’re still viable. I favor the armored skins from RFK and also the Plagued Swine from the Plaguelands.
  • Bears. Thalestris’ first pet was a brown bear from Darkshore. Bees was her first love and I was sad to see him go. I think it’s time she tamed another bear, perhaps for tanking. With Swipe, they have the potential to be a multi-target tank pet. I like the white and black bears, though Bees was brown…
  • Wolves. Another creature I know to be a popular and viable pet option, though I have never tamed one myself. Their party buff howl is always welcomed in groups. I will be going after the Vilebranch wolves, an ember worg, or one of the rare blue-white worgs in Azeroth. Will most likely be replaced by the Blighthound or the new worg skin in Wrath.
  • Cats. Last but not least, I feel its time I went back and grabbed a cat. Unlike most hunters, I didn’t level with one and I don’t have one stashed away now. At level 18 I tamed a ghost saber and I let it go in my 30’s. When I get the chance to pop back over that way, I will make the effort to tame it again. If not, the spotted leopard skin or the solid white cats should be fine.

In a perfect world, I will have a pet from each talent tree: Ferocity for DPS in raids and groups, Cunning for soloing and small groups, and a Tenacity pet for tanking and difficult solo quests. But, I know I will probably mess this formula up by becoming attached to the most eclectic group of pets available. Oh well. Hopefully I can find pets that mesh well with my play style. Once I am able to tame exotics (Thal has been and always will be BM) I plan on taking each of the exotic families out for a spin.

So anyway, good luck in your hunting once the patch is up, and dont forget to give a closer look to some of the pets you have previously overlooked. They might just be the next hot thing!