Woo! AOE bear!

Thunderstomp: Coming to a bear/boar/crab/croc/rhino/scorpid/turtle/warp stalker/worm near you! (And the gorilla still can has too.)

I have stubbornly held on to Hadrian, my bear, as my tenacity pet. Combined with the remote stable spell, I'm probably going to switch back to the bear for solo play once this goes in.

The idea of pet talents and individual pet family skills was, if I recall correctly, that more than just three pet families would get used. The gorilla becoming Gorilladin sucked a lot of people in, with their superb AOE farming ability.

There will soon be most awesome irony when I go farming for Chilled Meat in Sholazar. /cackle

Yeah, totally not a MM thing, other than that no pet holds aggro for me right now (outside groups, as weird as that is - Hadrian tanked Headless Horseman with just Misdirects and his taunt), and this might actually change that. MM farming may stop being a combination of kiting and standing there taking hits with the un-interruptable Volley.


3.1 Patch Notes

The 3.1 PTR is up, although I'm not over there, and I've been hearing conflicting information about what's actually on the PTR so far as changes to Survival, vs. what's in the patch notes. But, I'm a Marksman hunter, so other than academic curiosity, I don't care what they do to the deep Survival talents. :P

From the patch notes:
  • Disengage: Cooldown increased by 5 sec.
  • Frost Trap: If the target who triggers Frost Trap is immune to its effect, the Frost Trap area effect will no longer be triggered.
  • Talents
    • Beast Mastery
      • Improved Aspect of the Hawk now has a new spell effect.
      • Improved Wing Clip: This talent has been removed.
    • Marksmanship
      • Piercing Shots re-designed: Your critical Aimed, Steady and Chimera Shots cause the target to bleed for 10/20/30% of the damage dealt over 8 sec.
      • Ranged Weapon Specialization: Points reduced from 5 to 3, 1/3/5%.
      • Wild Quiver: Chance increased to 4/8/12%, up from 4/7/10%. Damage increased from 50% of an auto shot, to 80%.
    • Survival
      • Hunting Party: This talent has been reduced to 3-points, and now increases your total Agility by an additional 1/2/3%.
      • Lock and Load re-designed: You now have a 33/66/100% chance when you trap a target with Freezing Trap, Freezing Arrow or Frost Trap and a 2/4/6% chance when you deal periodic damage with your Immolation Trap or Black Arrow to cause your next 2 Arcane Shot or Explosive Shot spells to trigger no cooldown, cost no mana and consume no ammo. This now has a new spell effect and sound.
      • New Talent: Trap Launcher: When activated, your next Trap will be launched instantly at the enemy target. 1 minute cooldown.
      • T.N.T. re-designed: Increases the damage done by your Explosive Shot, Explosive Trap and Immolation Trap by 2/4/6%.
      • Trap Mastery: This talent has been moved up to tier-2, up from tier-9.
      • Wyvern Sting duration increased from 12 sec to 30 sec. PvP duration reduced from 10 sec to 6 sec.
    • Pets
      • Roar of Sacrifice can be used on the hunter only.
      • Stampede (rhino) only affects 1 target, but adds a 25% bleed damage debuff (that does not stack with Mangle etc.) in addition to its knockback.
None of that seems particularly awful; we already got our nerf. The Disengage change is minor, and tweaking the CD back up a little after having it reduced previously isn't huge - especially since one of the undocumented changes is the removal of a minimum range on Kill Shot. You don't have to back up to pick someone off. (Side note: Something about the synergy of raid buffs last night in Naxx had me Kill Shot critting for 10k. We didn't even have a warrior or a druid. 2 prot pallies, 1 frost DK, 3 shamans (one of each flavor), 2 holy priests, a warlock, and me. I don't know what was going on, but it was sweet.)

The Frost Trap change is a small nerf, if I'm reading it correctly; it means that if the person/mob who triggers the trap resists or is immune, the trap just fizzles, instead of them just ignoring the effect.

Improved Aspect of the Hawk apparently looks different now - I'm guessing something along the lines of the cobra animation for one of the deeper BM talents, but we'll see. I'm not sure why the Improved Wing Clip mention fell under the BM notes - that's a Survival thing, and one of the few things I wish I still had from my 2-day Survival experiment.

The Piercing Shots change was announced a while back, and I will be shuffling points (or using dual specs for a raiding spec) to pick it up. The reduction of the points for Ranged Weapon Specialization means I may also pick it up for a raiding spec, but I'll see how many loose points I have to play with. Wild Quiver... meh, still probably won't bother.

The Survival changes mention Black Arrow, so I'm not sure why they didn't list it in the Survival talent section, but hey, at least you get the inkling that Survival hunters will now be able to do Fire, Nature, Arcane, and Shadow damage, on top of physical damage and two traps counting as Frost. If you ever doubted that hunters were casters, we may be the only ones with all five schools now. Woo. o.O

I'm really not familiar enough with Survival to know how good or bad some of the changes are, but it seems like they're trying to bring down the somewhat crazy numbers that Survival started doing after the 3.0.8 changes. Trap Launcher: a cool idea I've seen tossed out on the Hunter and Suggestion forums occasionally, and I'm a little curious how far down the tree it is. It should make Survival's trap dancing a little easier (to synergize with the undocumented tweak to Sniper Training?), but the idea of throwing a snake trap across the field at someone is just awesome.

The Roar of Sacrifice change - I don't have a Cunning pet right now (long story short: I had 3 pets that turned out to be Ferocity when they added talents, and wanted a bear as my Tenacity pet; I initially picked up a sporebat as my 5th, but switched it to a Hyena, theoretically for PVP). But this was the mana regen talent? I'm guessing it wasn't meant to be used on anyone but the hunter, and they're just fixing it. The rhino nerf disappointed my GM (who, post-3.0 warlock changes, has been a hunter full-time o.O), since he had a ball during the Lunar Festival 'defending' Thunder Bluff's elder from Alliance. (No, our guild wasn't subsequently KoS at the Alliance elders, really.)

Changes mentioned on the official forums that didn't get included in the PTR notes: remote stable use, and the ammuniton changes. I kind of wish remote stable use had been a saleable engineering item, but oh well. (It could have had awesome RP possibilities... /e pulls out her Goblin SAT Phone and issues the command: "Release the hounds!" Ahem.) The ammunition changes apparently aren't coming all in one piece - for now they're just increasing the stack size and removing (?) quivers. Hopefully this means that my Mammoth Cutters won't be useless yet, and that when they do eventually change, Engineering ammunition will just become a relic-like item of some sort, which we can still craft. We make some of the better ammunition in the game, and it would be nice if that didn't disappear completely.

Um, yeah, I've mentioned I'm a Goblin Engineer before, right? >.>

Two gear upgrades last week - both unexpected. A belt off Gothikk, and a sword off the Four Horsemen. My 2h sword skill was at 116 when I got it, heh. I mostly dual-wielded up until the Zulian Stone Axe (with an Agility enchant) from Venoxis in Zul'Gurub, and then mostly had two-handers from there on out, other than a brief switch into dual Stellaris with +Int enchants until I got the S3 axe. One of the things I've always understood about playing MM is that you can't neglect your mana pool; at least the gear reflects that now.



Okay, after having several weeks of weaker Steady Shots, things have somewhat normalized. I'm not pushing quite the same numbers I had been, but I made some adjustments.

I had switched over to the Whale-stick Harpoon, for the +hit, so that I could re-gem for AP/crit. That served me pretty well for a while, but then I got the Lightning Giant Staff, which was, overall, an AP/crit boost, so I've re-gemmed yet again, back to +hit gems.

I picked up the PVP boots initially, but then the Dragon Slayer's Sabatons dropped, and they are, overall, a PVE boost over the epics.

I got the heroic badge neck, which was an upgrade. Getting revered with the Ebon Blade netted me new shoulders. Heroic Azjol-Nerub got me pants and a ring. Grobbulus had another ring. I also have the Bands of Anxiety off Grobbulus, but with my current gear set-up, I don't know that I want to swap out from my Eaglebane Bracers. I get AP from Int, so the Eaglebane have more AP for me, and I would drop under hit-cap with the Bands. That would mean re-gemming something again.

Basically, between re-enchanting, re-gemming, and the new gear, I've added about 700 RAP since pre-3.8. I'm still hit-capped, and still over 30% crit. It's amazing how many people I talk to who are good hunters (seriously, better DPS than I am) who have trouble buffing their crit - I think it's just because I prioritize it until about 30% over AP.

It wasn't cheap, but I'm cleared for all wings of Naxx under our raid guidelines. I'm hoping we hit Malygos this week. >.> Granted, I found Aces High! to be kind of meh, and finding out that phase 3 is basically that quest... well, I want to at least do the fight once, and then I'm okay with never going back.

The macro has ended up mostly unchanged, just shuffled - the cast sequence is now Chimera, Aimed, Arcane, Steady, Steady, Steady. When Hawk procs, I can probably get in another Steady, but that only matters on fights where I can just stand and shoot.

Oh, and I'm now riding an orange raptor full-time for my ground mount. Mmm, raptor.