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  1. #1

    Evolution of Hunters (PvE:Raiding; WoLK thru MoP)

    Evolution of Hunters (PvE:Raiding; WoLK thru MoP)


    WoW is an ever changing game. Class mechanics come and go, spells get buffed or nerfed, changing what we do and how we do things. In the last 6 years of my Hunter being my Main and only main raiding character I’ve seen the ups and downs. Most have actually been ups in the sense of playing the class, but at the same time these “ups” to me have been letdowns.

    What I show with this post: What was once a ‘harder’(purely in the context of hunters from past to present; this does not deal with comparisons to other classes) class, has now become a more watered down version of the past.

    Since I only started playing at the beginning of Wrath, I’m only going to talk from that point on. If anyone has more information on BC and Vanilla, please reply with a similar analysis on it and I’ll edit the main post to add it.

    Note: When I mention ‘Skill Cap’ I’m not talking about “good vs bad” players; but more in the sense in depth micro-managing.



    WoLK

    Aspects and Mana:
    The two main aspects where Dragonhawk( DPS ) and Viper ( Mana Regen ). Yes, we used to be one of those ‘nub’ classes that used mana, until we learned how to focus . To maximize DPS it was best to be in Dragonhawk 100% of the time, especially when the target is below 20% HP, in range of Kill Shot, knowing the fight length, what time in the fight DPS was more important than others, like having to burn down a new or specific Add. One of the downsides to mana was that it was also majorly dependent on your raid group’s composition. If you had enough SPriests, RDruids, RShamans and were in a 25man, you’d almost never have the need to use Viper. If you were in 10man or weren’t in an optimized raid group, you’d be in Viper about 10-20% of the fight. A RDruid HoT used to give back resources to players, but I’ve been known to ask for Innervates before, lol.

    Skill Cap: Switching to Viper at the right time. Begging for Innervates


    Auto Shot:
    As a Hunter our Auto Shots made up a good portion of our DPS. However, if we were moving we weren’t able to AutoShoot. To avoid losing DPS a technique called stutter-stepping came about. Either you watched your character to see Auto Shot fire or used an addon that showed you your swing timer. You’d then only move after your Auto Shot went off, and then you’d stop moving before the swing timer was finished so you wouldn’t lose that precious millisecond which, in a 10 minute fight, would add up to loss of DPS.

    Skill Cap: Stutter-Stepping


    Steady Shot:
    Steady Shot was our filler. Whenever our other abilities were on CD we’d use Steady Shot. This was also our primary shot we’d want to use during Aspect of the Viper as it wouldn't hurt our DPS as much. It was our only cast ability(*multishot had an invisible .5s cast; but was instant*). As being a cast ability we weren’t able to use it while moving. This would keep us planted to a spot as our other shots were generally used in such a way that we’d have to cast Steady Shot 3-4 times before an Instant shot was available. Stutter-stepping also worked here, as the GCD was a bit longer than the steady shot cast. Right after steady going off and if auto shot swing timer allowed we’d be able to move a few steps before having to stop. If our instant shots came available this was the prime time to move as we’d only have worry about the swing timer.

    Skill Cap: Stutter-Stepping fractions of a second.


    Pets:
    If you didn’t have a Cat at the beginning of WoLK you were doing it wrong. If you didn’t have a Wolf near the end of the expansion, you were doing it wrong. Pets didn’t all do the same amount of damage, so to be doing the maximum DPS you were forced to use those pets.

    Skill Cap: None. Bring that damn Cat/Wolf!


    Talents:
    Hello Cookie-Cutter! This is something that hasn’t changed from expansion to expansion. In WoLK we had way more talents to choose from. If you didn’t use simulators or read guides to tell you what to pick, chances are you would pick 2 or 3 non-optimal talents. Like not picking up Aimed Shot because you didn’t want the button bloat, was a HUGE DPS loss at the end of WoLK where Armor Pen stacking was the correct thing to do.


    Rotation:
    Rotation hasn’t changed much from expansion to expansion. When Armor Pen became the thing, we just dropped Arcane Shot from our rotation.


    Dead Zone:
    Between 0-8 Yards of the target we’d get afraid of the Dragon and weren’t able to shoot. Only conclusion I can come up with as to why.



    CATA

    Aspects and Focus:
    Goodbye Viper, Goodbye Mana. Hello Fox, Hello Focus!
    Hunters finally evolved and learned that mana had its limits. We no longer have to worry about having a perfect raid composition, no more need to lose DPS to regen our resources. We naturally replenish our focus by doing our ‘optimal’ rotation. Aspect of the Fox provided us with the ability to still be able to cast Steady Shot/Cobra Shot while on the move. We wouldn’t have the extra damage bonus from DragonHawk, but being able to still use our fillers while on the move provided us with a bigger benefit overall. While in the past if a puddle/void zone appeared under you, you had to IMMEDIATELY move causing you to lose DPS as you weren’t able to stutter-step correctly. Fox being off the GCD, meant you could instantly switch to it and start moving immediately out of the puddle/voidzone.

    Skill Cap: Instant attention/reaction to switching to Fox before ever moving.


    Auto Shot:
    With the new arrival of Aspect of the Fox allowing us to cast steady/cobra on the move, they removed the restriction of not being able to move for auto shot. We now could cast Auto Shot while moving. This was a HUGE DPS gain for players who hadn’t been using the stutter-step technique.

    Skill Cap: Removed stutter-step. Auto Shot is now just a passive damage output. If it wasn’t for DPS meters, I don’t think I’d even miss if they removed Auto Shot from the game.


    Steady/Cobra Shot:
    Still our filler, not able to cast on the move unless we switched to Aspect of the Fox. This is our focus regen ability, which is part of our optimal rotation.

    Skill Cap: Instant attention/reaction to switching to Fox before ever moving.


    Pets:
    Our pets got turned into Buffs. Yup, at this point other raiders stop considering them as pets and more of, “Drairon we need 4% Physical Debuff”. If you were in a 25man raid this wasn’t that big of a deal and you would bring any pet you liked. But raiding in a 10man I had to purposely nerf my damage by using a non-ferocity pet to provide the 4% Physical Debuff. My pet ravager Feffy was my raiding companion ALL thru Cata.

    Skill Cap: Knowing which buff/debuff was missing.


    Talents:
    Hello Cookie-Cutter! This is something that hasn’t changed from expansion to expansion. In CATA we lost most of our talents to choose from, we still had to use simulators or read guides that told you what to pick, chances are you would pick 1 or 2 non-optimal talents.


    Rotation:
    Rotation hasn’t changed much from expansion to expansion. The only major change in rotation affected MM. If you got your haste high enough, you could drop Arcane Shot from your rotation and just use Aimed Shot as your focus dump. Haste provided almost the same effect as Armor Pen did back in WoLK.



    MoP

    Aspect and Focus:
    HELLO ADD/ADHD! Goodbye Fox! We still have our focus regen thru Cobra/Steady. All our cast abilities (except the powershot talent) can be cast while on the move (and Aimed Shot if glyphed). I spend my time now in raids taunting healers and other casters that are planted to a spot. I’ve been known to hit Auto-Run at the start of a fight, and either run around in circles around the Boss all fight; or do figure-eights around caster classes out of sheer boredom.

    Skill Cap: None - Hit Auto Run and have fun.


    Auto Shot:
    Stutter-Step was removed in Cata. Hit Auto Run and have fun.

    Skill Cap: None


    Steady/Cobra Shot:
    Still our filler; follow optimal rotation. Hit Auto Run and have fun.

    Skill Cap: None


    Pets:
    Still the Buff/Debuff Bots of the raid group. 10man pick what is missing. 25man, sorry bring that Tallstrider!!(only AoE Sunder)

    Skill Cap: Knowing which buff/debuff is missing.


    Talents:
    Hello Cookie-Cutter! This is something that still hasn’t changed from expansion to expansion. In MoP we only have 6 talents to choose from, we still have to use simulators or read guides that tell you what to pick. Only the last 3 talent tiers affect DPS, and with the exception of the 6th tier the other 2 change from patch to patch.


    Rotation:
    Rotation hasn’t changed much from expansion to expansion. Depending your choices on the last 3 tiers of the talent tree, just replace the corresponding ones with whatever the new best is after a patch.


    Dead Zone:
    We finally lost our Dead Zone. We’re officially not afraid of that Dragon and are able to stand under it and shoot him!
    --------------------------------------------------------


    All the tricks and micro managing of your character that were used at the beginning of WoLK were removed. Called “QoL” changes. While these changes have changed Hunters for the better; Hunters have evolved to require less of a Skill Cap to be played correctly.

    What currently makes one Hunter better than another?
    - Did we both read EJ, WHU?
    - Does one of us have more/less lag than the other?
    - One of us not following proper rotation?
    - One of us not following proper reforge?

    I didn’t mention Skill Cap for Rotation; but this is where the BIGGEST difference comes from nowadays. We have a few more random Procs to pay attention that will vary our rotation. As SV, if we get a Lock and Load but hit Cobra Shot instead of dumping our LNL Explosive Shots. As BM if Focus Fire stacks reach 5 and we accidently hit it during Bestial Wrath. As MM getting a trinket haste proc causing our Aimed Shot to have a low enough cast time to use over Arcane. A small delay in reaction time to procs would cause you to use the wrong ability at the wrong time. Another thing would be reacting to ‘Bad’ while still following proper rotation. The ability to not panic when a void zone appears under you.

    So the question now turns to you: Do you like the changes Blizzard has implemented over the last few expansions? And the reduced skill cap for hunters? Or do you think that the watering down of the class has taken away some of the challenge and fun of playing hunters?
    Last edited by Drairon; 2013-09-01 at 09:33 AM.

  2. #2
    i feel like i read this entire thread it its tldr form in a post by dracodraco literally two days ago

  3. #3
    Warchief Meteoria's Avatar
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    Tldr; Hunters have became mechanically more simple (I think all of them have apart from Feral Droods) and more reliance is placed on the players ability to react to a given situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by simsumre View Post
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  4. #4
    Pit Lord
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    morelike devolution , from fun and challenging to boring and dull...

  5. #5
    dead zone was removed in MoP, wasn't it?

    Edit: yeah it definitely was, remembering back to T12 where I had issues on Baleroc attempting to soak
    Last edited by Trape; 2013-08-31 at 09:05 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Drairon View Post
    Skill Cap


    all these changes were just removing clunky mechanics, no skill was involved in performing them.
    you just had to know that they existed, how to react to them and that was it...

    Please don't respond to posts by using meme images or other reaction images.
    Last edited by Daetur; 2013-08-31 at 09:40 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Flaim View Post


    all these changes were just removing clunky mechanics, no skill was involved in performing them.
    you just had to know that they existed, how to react to them and that was it...
    You're a pathetic creature that can only entertain himself by uttering complete bullshit just to annoy other people. Perhaps that's the only thing that makes you feel significant, that makes you feel that you actually exist and can impact other people; as you fail in everything else. I hear people like you end up killing themselves; definitely not a waste; so when you have these thoughts, don't hesitate; you'll be doing the right thing and you'll earn everyone's respect: sacrificing your life for the sake of greater good.

    Please do not flame/insult other users. Post more constructively in the future. Thanks!
    Last edited by Daetur; 2013-08-31 at 09:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by i9erek View Post
    [...]
    have your jimmies been rustled by someone showing you that those things you thought were "skillful" turned out not being as hard as you imagined them to be?


    edit:
    yeah, definitely. your posting history proves my thesis.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Flaim View Post


    all these changes were just removing clunky mechanics, no skill was involved in performing them.
    you just had to know that they existed, how to react to them and that was it...

    Please don't respond to posts by using meme images or other reaction images.
    na stutter-stepping was an actual thing that would separate the bad hunters vs the good hunters

    the rest of the things in the post are whatever

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Flaim View Post

    all these changes were just removing clunky mechanics, no skill was involved in performing them.
    you just had to know that they existed, how to react to them and that was it...

    Please don't respond to posts by using meme images or other reaction images.

    Uhm. You are, of course, aware that this is the entire point of something "skill"-based? You have to understand something, and how to react to it. If you do it well, you have mastered that "skill". Don't for a second try to tell me that there is no difference between now and back when you had to stutter step to get auto shots off. That is the entire concept of "skill" - something that you can optimise and become better at, in order to increase your output.
    In any case - mind to elaborate what in your mind constitutes "skill", if the above things did not?

    Out of interest, OP, you do not mention Arcane Shot munching. Why? Were we really so few hunters that used a tick-timer for BA+LnL ICD to avoid throwing away lock and load charges on Arcane Shot (Basicly - twist your rotation/focus usage around never using an Arcane shot right as BA ticks when LnL ICD is ready) that it is not common knowledge that we used to do this as Survival, untill the mid-DS patch removed Arcane shot from LnL? Does explain why other surv hunters had such a hard time keeping up pre-buff =P.
    Last edited by Dracodraco; 2013-08-31 at 10:44 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by i9erek View Post
    I hear people like you end up killing themselves; definitely not a waste; so when you have these thoughts, don't hesitate; you'll be doing the right thing and you'll earn everyone's respect: sacrificing your life for the sake of greater good.

    Please do not flame/insult other users. Post more constructively in the future. Thanks!
    And all he gets is a "don't insult people"????

    Personally, I would like to see this guy never post on MMO-Champ again.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Dracodraco View Post
    mind to elaborate what in your mind constitutes "skill"
    for me it is to perform something that isn't easily executed. those things were like "meh...gotta stop for 0.5s and then keep running. gg, moar dps".
    executing your rotation (yeah, i know. priority-list) PERFECTLY is something, because it's dependent on your planning and reaction speed while multi-tasking.

    from the listed things i'd say nothing besides mana (and now focus) -management was even worth mentioning.


    offtopic:
    does anyone else think we need casted spells that aren't castable on the move, but provide higher dmg than the current set of spells?
    something like arcane shot while on the move and aimed shot while standing still - just as a general direction.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Flaim View Post
    for me it is to perform something that isn't easily executed. those things were like "meh...gotta stop for 0.5s and then keep running. gg, moar dps".
    executing your rotation (yeah, i know. priority-list) PERFECTLY is something, because it's dependent on your planning and reaction speed while multi-tasking.

    from the listed things i'd say nothing besides mana (and now focus) -management was even worth mentioning.


    offtopic:
    does anyone else think we need casted spells that aren't castable on the move, but provide higher dmg than the current set of spells?
    something like arcane shot while on the move and aimed shot while standing still - just as a general direction.

    By that logic, there is really no class that requires any form of "skill" to play. Sure, a DK has to manage runes, but its all about pushing a button when you can, without letting anything cap - waiting for your swing timer to force KM procs for Obliterate as frost without wasting resources is "easy" and not a part of being "skilled" at playing. Except that might be the difference between playing at 90% and 100% of your capabilities.
    I have SP/Boomkin alts, neither of them has a resource management in any way like a hunter - what part of their combat system requires a form of skill? I'd say managing movement+multidotting, personally, but it sounds like to you those wouldn't fall under the category.

    Not to mention that managing mana was literally toggling viper and hawk depending on "do I have enough mana to cast shit?" - I don't see how it had any thought process involved, *at all*. Even if you were min-maxing and only switching to aspect of the viper on steady shots and back to hawk for the harder hitting shots (and mind, I'm not even sure if this was a gain - it's been so long) its... Extremely simple, and could be accomplished automatically with the same macro PvP'ers used for Fox in Cata.

  14. #14
    Mechagnome Krunsh's Avatar
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    Would love if this is expanded to classic as well.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Dracodraco View Post
    By that logic, there is really no class that requires any form of "skill" to play.
    exactly!
    there are just differences in effort to achieve the same performance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dracodraco View Post
    Except that might be the difference between playing at 90% and 100% of your capabilities.
    and this.

    i really don't want to derive this thread into a pvp vs pve thread so read the following part if you can control yourself.
    the only 2 parts in wow where by my definition "skill" applies are pvp and pet battles, the latter in a tactical sense - like chess.

  16. #16
    The Lightbringer Tehterokkar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaim View Post
    exactly!
    there are just differences in effort to achieve the same performance.


    and this.

    i really don't want to derive this thread into a pvp vs pve thread so read the following part if you can control yourself.
    the only 2 parts in wow where by my definition "skill" applies are pvp and pet battles, the latter in a tactical sense - like chess.
    Hunter Skill cap is the same as Melee DPS skill cap. Smash buttons faster = Higher DPS. That's where the biggest DPS difference between a good and an average Hunter lies.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Flaim View Post
    exactly!
    there are just differences in effort to achieve the same performance.


    and this.

    i really don't want to derive this thread into a pvp vs pve thread so read the following part if you can control yourself.
    the only 2 parts in wow where by my definition "skill" applies are pvp and pet battles, the latter in a tactical sense - like chess.
    Yet I am willing to bet that if you put me up against one of the more "famous" PvP hunters that people recognise as skilled, I would be able to outperform them in a PvE enviroment. And he would ceartainly be able to beat me in a PvP enviroment.
    But the fact that I am a houndred percent sure that I can outperform them in PvE, would then suggest that there is a difference, and a different skill set neccessary - a skill cap, so to say :P.

    Also, if every class required "no skill" to play, it means everyone would be doing pretty much the same dps. This is nowhere near true - which means that there has to be a difference in the "skill cap" between the good players, and the bad.
    This difference, as said in the topic, has been greatly watered down, but it still exists - else every hunter would be doing the same approx damage.

  18. #18
    Mechagnome Arhippa's Avatar
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    I'll start by saying I've been a pretty casual player for pretty much all of MoP until very recently. I don't really know anything about t14 hunters and I don't pretend to know even close to everything about hunters in this tier. As such, I'll just ignore MoP and try to focus on WotLK/Cata more.

    The 5-8 yard dead zone stopped existing long before WotLK already, patch 2.3 in fact. Also, minimum range =/= dead zone. And correct me if I'm wrong here but didn't minimum range get removed in MoP and not Cata? I remember standing inside Yor'sahj but that was mainly due to the complaints hunters made on the PTR about not being able to stack for heals considering all the AoE that boss had. In firelands I definitely remember hating 10man Baleroc because I had to go to melee range and spam raptor strike while soaking a crystal.

    As for rotations, I started somewhat late into TBC so I can't speak for most of it, but when I did reach 70 (during 2.3, I believe) all I had to do was copypaste one macro into my bars and I was good to go in terms of dpsing - all I had to know was which one of the two, the 3:2 or the 1:1 macro. At the start of WotLK until the 3.0.8 patch didn't we just continue on doing what we did for a lot of TBC? Spam that KC macro? Then later on in the same expansion (the ArP phase), my rotation was just chimera-aimed-4x steady with silencing shot macroed into everything.

    I can't remember a lot of hunters in Cata using the hardcast AiS style for heroic progress at least. Most still went with the more traditional arcane shot dump when low on haste, as in outside of rapid fire/bloodlust/possible trinket procs/troll racial/whatever else you might've had, simply because hardcasting wasn't beneficial if you had to cancel or delay several shots which had a pretty good probability of happening if you were progressing heroics. With the careful aim phase and tracking your casting speed levels, I'd say there was quite a bit of microing involved.

    What about explosive trap outperforming our 31-point talent black arrow for survival? Even on single target, assuming the target wasn't going to move out of it. Heavy movement fights + explosive traps, now there's micro for you. Trying to do the math in your head "will the boss stay still long enough for it to be worth it?" as you're going. Also just to add to that, like Draco already mentioned earlier, either using an addon or just counting it in your head when is your LnL ICD up and trying to dodge arcane shots as the BA/trap ticks - although I disagree with the "mid"-DS patch, it was 2 months into it. I remember it well because I'm still bitter about them not listening to the PTR feedback and leaving us so weak for the whole progress phase of DS only to buff us for the farm raids.

    Basically where I'm getting at is that if anything, I think hunters required more in Cata than WotLK. WotLK really only had the stutter stepping going for it, which you could handle pretty easily with a simple addon showing you the timer. It's really late and I'm sick, so I apologize for any confusing sentences or possible mistakes. I'm pretty sure I'm also missing some things from my list but I don't really care at this point.
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  19. #19
    I found stutter stepping, aspect of the fox, etc. all to be annoying. I did them because it was a requirement to maximize dps. I didn't feel skillful doing them, I just thought it was part of the hunter rotation. I much prefer the freedom of movement we have now, and there is still definitely a separation between a good hunter and a bad hunter. You need to utilize every GCD and have good focus management. If that weren't the case I wouldn't be able to beat hunters who outgear me by a significant margin. Every time it happens it's easy to see the difference: the better hunter will have fired many more shots in the same period of time.

    I've played my hunter since early 2005 and I'm enjoying it the most right now. I am nostalgic for armor penetration days but that's the rose tinted goggles talking. There was just something fun about putting together that BiS armor pen set and having like 60% crit (sometimes 80% with certain trinket procs).

    I hear people like you end up killing themselves; definitely not a waste; so when you have these thoughts, don't hesitate; you'll be doing the right thing and you'll earn everyone's respect: sacrificing your life for the sake of greater good.
    Dude, it's a video game. Please chill out. Why wasn't this guy at least suspended if not banned for this kind of talk instead of a friendly pep talk from a mod? Jeezus.

    p.s. congrats on discovering the semicolon
    Last edited by bendak; 2013-09-01 at 04:39 AM.

  20. #20
    Aspects and Mana:

    Skill cap - begging for JoW



    Actually I find the biggest cap to dps now is timing your dps cooldowns for trinket procs. Not getting the trinket proc at the right time can literally cost you tens of thousands of dps.

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