Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Change is Gonna Come

Nonetheless, it is also true today that Marks can beat Survival, and yet there are a lot of Survival hunters raiding. Our hope is that in 3.3.3 that there will be as many BM hunters as Survival raiding, which would be a really nice bump for BM. Maybe the estimates (ours and those I've read) about the boost BM is getting are overly optimistic. We'll see. (Source)
As you all know, Hunters are my first love. When I read this post by Ghostcrawler I cheered a little inside.

I really enjoy playing my secondary BM hunter. I'm well aware he's NEVER going to make the numbers my MM Main does, and I'm also aware that's as much about the Best in Slot gear that the both have currently available to them. For a while I've found myself trying to muster the imputice to take BM Hunter to the trainer, buy Dual Specs, and simply add a MM spec. This is what happened with the Mage, after all. Frost just wasn't bringing the numbers, and if I wanted to play with anyone else I needed to make the concession. When all is said and done, if you don't do the dps, you're not worth bringing.

I am reading in several places that Frost too may be about to undergo a similar rennaisance. 1000g would be a small cost to bear if this ends up to be true, but for BM it's something even more basic. A Hunter's very existance, like it or not, is tied to their pet. The fact that every Hunter in the known Universe uses a Wolf these days I find rather sad, because it makes for very little diversity. I used to love the days of many and varied exotic pets, of people picking a pet for looks as well as their abilities. The days of Min/Maxxing have reduced all this to a precise and depressing set of variables.

It also makes for some fairly extreme snobbery, which is why I mention the Mage here. I got dissed very publically in a VoA 25 yesterday for having crit gems in my gear, after all 'any retard should know Arcane means gemming for haste' As we were the only two mages in the group at the time I'm betting this wasn't done in a whisper to show that clearly I'm unable to play my class if I'm not capable of doing the legwork. The fact remains I've not done the theorycraft on the mage for a good reason: I don't raid them, so it's not an issue. If I'd been in a Guild run with Mr Mage then he'd have a point. This started me thinking, as did Ghostcrawler's comments above: since when did it end up being ALL about the best damage, and less about a cosmetic  feeling of comfort with the class you play?

So much of what is 'right' and 'wrong' now with classes is wrapped up in this issue of spec balance. Of course, if BM overnight became the #1 dps spec I suspect we'd see all the MM hunters go get DS (who don't already have it so they can tame spirit beasts) and try it, but as so much of what MM is about is wrapped up in Armour Penetration, which is on most mail items anyway, would it even work? One fact is certain though, they wouldn't try it in their Raids to see. They'd be expected to still turn up and do x bazillion dps with the old spec until someone came up with an acceptable Theorycrafted alternative which the entire community would then adopt en mass. That's how it goes. What of course would be better were if we could have all three specs DOING THE SAME OR CLOSE DPS, which then gave us all a bit more variety. This must be what they're aiming for in Cataclysm. I have to believe that's the way it will go for Rogues, and Mages, and Locks and Hunters. More variety, less '1 Spec to Rule them All'

What cheers me about GC's comments is that clearly they're trying to do that. Then it comes down to us, and us trying to see if we can make it work practically and not simply on the PTR's. Perhaps as we head towards Cataclysm, Blizzard can also spare a thought for pets for Hunters (more abilities, bigger returns, more potions) and for trying to beat the Min/Max Mentality out of people who believe that's the only way to play.

We need some changes to the way people think.


Jonathan said...

/nod to all of this.

The problem is, everyone's become fixated on the numbers. Including the designers; whole fights are based on putting out x DPS which means you can't have anyone putting out less than about 95%* of their class' maximum. There's no room for manoeuvre - let alone not being at your best - and heaven help you if the spec you like playing can only put out 80% of the other talent trees.

All of which has buggered me; I love playing a Fire Mage, and it saddens me quite how many mages have defected to Arcane because it brings the highest DPS numbers to the log, not because they prefer to play Arcane. I refuse to change my preferred play style on principle, so I've had to contend with being mostly mediocre in comparison to the rest of the DPS in a raid - in league table terms, where I used to be a Man Utd or an Arsenal I'm now an Aston Villa at best, maybe a Fulham on an off day. Still, could be worse, I could be Portsmouth. :-)

Jonathan said...

Ooh, I forgot to finish the post. Referring back to the * in my:

"you can't have anyone putting out less than about 95%* of their class' maximum"

...the post should have ended:

*Did you know that 80% of statistics are made up? :-)