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  1. #1

    Sniper Training - A Flawed Concept and How to Improve It

    Well, to everyone's surprise - even those like me who were expecting Masksmanship Mastery to change - we MM Hunters are now planned to have Sniper Training as our new Mastery. For those who are not following the news:

    Sniper Training: If you don't move for 3s, you gain a buff that provides 4% (improved by Mastery) increase to damage, range and critical strike damage of your attacks. This buffs endures while you stand still and for 6s once you move.

    At first glance, this new ability is amazing: it fits thematically, it's quite powerful and is a lot more interesting and fun than the old "Wild Quiver" Mastery.

    With the new combat model focusing less on movement during fights, MM Hunters would have no trouble maintaing this buff over the entirety (or at least majority) of a fight.

    But this new ability has a terrible flaw. While perfect for raiding, most group PvE content or while pet-tanking, it's terrible for anything else, specially PvP. In a PvP fight, or if you decide to go Lone Wolf, or if you are in a situation where your pet can't hold aggro, it may be impossible to stand still. It also has terrible synergy with Hunters defenses. You moved away from melee? Disengaged? Well, I hope you now have 3s to stop and breath, or you lose it.

    Having a situational ability like that would be fine if it were a spec passive. If it gave a flat 5% bonus, I would not be complaining: it would be great for when you can use it, and useless otherwise. The real problem is that it's linked to Mastery, and Mastery provides no benefit whatsoever if you are not under the Sniper Training bonus.

    Consider this imaginary setup. You have gear that provide you with 75 Crit, 75 Haste and 75 Mastery. Under Sniper Training bonus, your gear has full effectiveness. But once you lose the bonus, you effectivelly has 75 Crit, 75 Haste and no Mastery. In practice, you just got your ilvl downgraded.

    Now put that in situations like PvP. Every single piece of gear that has Mastery automatically becomes a terrible choice. "Just avoide Mastery gear"? It's not that simple. It's one thing when a stat has less value for a spec; it's another when a stat has the potential to have zero value.

    Compare current MM (MoP). Mastery is our least useful stat, but even if we avoid it like the plague, it still adds value to our gear. It is still useful. Having 50 Mastery is still better than having 30 Mastery, because there's a increasing benefit, even if it's a small benefit. Sniper Training would be different: once you lose the bonus, having 25 Mastery is the same as having 1500 Mastery, because you essentially gains nothing out of it.

    Now think about this: no Reforge anymore, and PvP Gear has a lot less variety than PvE gear. Can we avoid having any Mastery at all? And what about all those times we get a new piece of gear that should be better than our current gear, but it has Mastery, and thus its value is reduced?

    But how to fix it? My point is that Blizzard should do one of the following options:


    Solution 1: Untie Sniper Training from Mastery

    Basically, Sniper Training becomes a MM Passive with a flat bonus and we get a different Mastery. Sniper Training will still be useful in PvE and almost useless in PvP/Soloing as Lone Wolf, but at least it won't downgrade our effective ilvl.


    Solution 2: Add an always active partial benefit to Sniper Training

    Example: Sniper Training provides a constant 2% (increased by Mastery) bonus to damage, range and crit damage. When you stand still for 3s, that bonus is doubled, essentially working as the current design of Sniper Training.

    That way, Mastery still has value at all times, even if that value is diminished. Having 75 Mastery will be better than having 25 Mastery, even when moving, instead of becoming worthless.

    IMO, this is the best solution: in raiding, you'll still need skill to do full DPS. In other situations, Mastery still has some value attached to it at all times.


    Solution 3: Add an Alternate benefit for when the Hunter moves

    This is like the previous solution, but instead of a partial benefit, MM Mastery also adds something that is active regardless of the Sniper Training bonus.

    This could be a defensive benefit for PvP, like "Increases Movement Speed and chance to Dodge attacks". It could be something else. The point is for Mastery to still provide us with something when we are forced to move.

    What are your thoughts?

    TLDR: Sniper Training is a very cool ability, but it must not invalidate all Mastery stat in your gear when you are forced to move. In its current iteration, Sniper Training is a flawed idea that's awesome for PvE group content, but incredibly gimped for anything else.
    Last edited by DeicideUH; 2014-07-04 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Sniper Training will actually be horrible in Challenge Modes and stuff where constant running around is a necessity.

    However, that doesn't mean that the idea is flawed. If one of the specs is subpar in PVP; that's not (by itself) a huge problem. The issue is that SV is also looking to be bad in PVP due to how easily removable Black Arrow is and due to Kill Shot getting axed. If BM ends up being the only viable PVP spec people are going to flip out hard.

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by PuppetShowJustice View Post
    Sniper Training will actually be horrible in Challenge Modes and stuff where constant running around is a necessity.

    However, that doesn't mean that the idea is flawed. If one of the specs is subpar in PVP; that's not (by itself) a huge problem. The issue is that SV is also looking to be bad in PVP due to how easily removable Black Arrow is and due to Kill Shot getting axed. If BM ends up being the only viable PVP spec people are going to flip out hard.
    A spec must be viable for PvP. There's a thin area between "the best" and "horrible" where MM can be.

    But the problems is not how good a spec is for something. It's about designing a feature that essentially negates a stat under certain circunstances. Imagine if rogues could only crit while stealthed, for instance. The point is that Mastery rating must always have value, even if it's not the best stat.

  4. #4
    Honestly?

    Game is going to be less about movement, so having a more turret-like spec for hunters fits if the damage is there. Makes them great for fights with low movement (which hopefully will be on the rise now that they've axed everyone else's ability to move and do reasonable dps.) if they do more damage than BM/Surv in those scenarios.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DeicideUH View Post
    If you don't move for 3s, you gain a buff that provides 4% (improved by Mastery) increase to damage, range and critical strike damage of your attacks. This buffs endures while you stand still and for 6s once you move.
    I agree with you regarding pvp. Well, as a pve hunter I really like the concept. I see a problem though, as far as I know most (all?) mastery stats of all classes scale linearly (only increasing one offensive stat / ability / ..). This one increases damage and crit damage. Especially at higher ilvl i can see this stat scaling way too strong.

  6. #6
    Elemental Lord Chickat's Avatar
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    I like it. You have 2-3 second movement windows where you can move freely and then you have to stand still for 2-3 seconds again. Might not be optimal for pvp but its fine for pve tbh. Perhaps it should be a talent and not the mastery though.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by blackblade View Post
    Honestly?

    Game is going to be less about movement, so having a more turret-like spec for hunters fits if the damage is there. Makes them great for fights with low movement (which hopefully will be on the rise now that they've axed everyone else's ability to move and do reasonable dps.) if they do more damage than BM/Surv in those scenarios.
    Have you even read the thread? You seen to be considering only raiding, which I said very clearly is one of the cases in which the new Mastery is awesome.

    But now try it in PvP. Can a stat be almost worthless in PvP? Will be need to discard 1/5 of the available gear because they give Mastery, and Mastery will give us nothing while using any of our defensive abilities?

    You may point that Warlocks, Mages and SPriests are turrets. Well, they are, but their defenses are build around them being turrets. And their Mastery does not disappear completely when they need to Blink, Disperse or teleport.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chickat View Post
    I like it. You have 2-3 second movement windows where you can move freely and then you have to stand still for 2-3 seconds again. Might not be optimal for pvp but its fine for pve tbh. Perhaps it should be a talent and not the mastery though.
    Yet another who didn't read.

    Once again: Sniper Training is awesome for Group PvE content. I like it. But it has flaws. I'm not campaigning for Sniper Training removal; I'm campaigning for it being improved so Mastery has some use in those cases where Sniper Training becomes horrid (like PvP, or when using Lone Wolf for solo content).

  8. #8
    Dreadlord Cinnamohn's Avatar
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    If all stats are intended to be equal, you could simply avoid gear with mastery on it in order to do what you wish. It'll still be useful in certain scenarios.

    In saying that though, the PvP set will likely only have one option for stats and there's nothing you can do about it without reforging, so I don't even know. :|

  9. #9
    Mechagnome
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    I wonder what other classes would think about this mastery in PVP when they get killshotted from 50+ yards. It rewards smart play on both pve/pvp, and punishes bad play on both, but a lot more on PVP. Don't see a problem with that, that's how it should be, imho.

  10. #10
    the thing with sniper training is that such stuff is nearly impossible to balance for pvp AND pve at the same time.
    you're either op in one or up in the other.
    nevertheleess it's just 4% baseline (we don't know how it scales with mastery yet, do we?), which is kinda negligible in pvp.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by pichuca View Post
    I wonder what other classes would think about this mastery in PVP when they get killshotted from 50+ yards. It rewards smart play on both pve/pvp, and punishes bad play on both, but a lot more on PVP. Don't see a problem with that, that's how it should be, imho.
    If someone is killed by Kill Shot from 50+ yards away, then that someone was already being pounded by someone else. Current Sniper Training may be good for an opening shot, but you won't be able to keep it for more than a few seconds once the fight starts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flaim View Post
    the thing with sniper training is that such stuff is nearly impossible to balance for pvp AND pve at the same time.
    you're either op in one or up in the other.
    nevertheleess it's just 4% baseline (we don't know how it scales with mastery yet, do we?), which is kinda negligible in pvp.
    Even if the bonus is very low, having a "dead" stat that does nothing because you need to keep moving is a very bad design. Getting (for instance) 2% bonus on the move is better than zero.
    Last edited by DeicideUH; 2014-07-04 at 05:54 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by DeicideUH View Post
    A spec must be viable for PvP.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by PuppetShowJustice View Post
    I play Blood DK.
    http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/3...-specs-in-pvp/

  14. #14
    Blizzard acknowledging they have little to no idea how to balance several specs for PVP does little to help this discussion.

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  15. #15
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    I don't agree with your assertion that a spec has to be viable for PvP. SV hasn't been used seriously in anything but BGs. I'm sure there's a few other specs that don't do well in PvP either, the tank specs, boomkin, ele (?), frost dk (?), combat rogues, holy priests, etc, etc.

    It stings a bit more that our traditional PvP spec now seems so unviable (at this moment, in beta) in PvP, but I'm fairly sure Blizzard has said they don't mind if one spec of a class just isn't viable in high-rated stuff.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by PuppetShowJustice View Post
    Blizzard acknowledging they have little to no idea how to balance several specs for PVP does little to help this discussion.
    It does show they are trying to make them viable.

    Quote Originally Posted by eschatological View Post
    I don't agree with your assertion that a spec has to be viable for PvP. SV hasn't been used seriously in anything but BGs. I'm sure there's a few other specs that don't do well in PvP either, the tank specs, boomkin, ele (?), frost dk (?), combat rogues, holy priests, etc, etc.

    It stings a bit more that our traditional PvP spec now seems so unviable (at this moment, in beta) in PvP, but I'm fairly sure Blizzard has said they don't mind if one spec of a class just isn't viable in high-rated stuff.
    All specs listed except tanks are viable. And even tanks are desirable in certain BGs.

    Viable doesn't mean "the best". Viable means you can do PvP with them without being useless. I play Holy Priest in arenas and BGs, and it's viable and fun. Granted, I'm not after rank. But I can have fun with it.

  17. #17
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    In that case, I'm sure MM is viable. You just don't stack mastery, and don't rely on sniper training being up.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by eschatological View Post
    In that case, I'm sure MM is viable. You just don't stack mastery, and don't rely on sniper training being up.
    I was gonna say the same thing.

    On the other hand, I feel sniper training is good for burst moments of a fight, whether pve or pvp. Therefore maybe its deliberate by blizz as they wanted to reduce burst damage overall, particularly in pvp.

    Thoughts?

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by snoopfrogg85 View Post
    I was gonna say the same thing.

    On the other hand, I feel sniper training is good for burst moments of a fight, whether pve or pvp. Therefore maybe its deliberate by blizz as they wanted to reduce burst damage overall, particularly in pvp.

    Thoughts?
    It would play really nicely into the old "BOOM AIMED SHOT" style vanilla marks used to have. get them in your sights and then destroy them with a barrage of pain. Would do better in BG's over Arena, mind you.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by eschatological View Post
    In that case, I'm sure MM is viable. You just don't stack mastery, and don't rely on sniper training being up.
    A stat that is wasted and thus makes my effective ilvl be lower than the actual ilvl is the opposite of viable. It's the definition of gimped. It's like removing Warrior's rage generator skill and say: "Hey, you can still generate Rage from autoattacks! It's viable!"

    Of course it doesn't make the whole class unviable. But it does make it needlessly harder to enjoy, and far less effective than it could be. Changing Mastery as I suggest in OP won't make the class neither "the best" nor overpowered. It will just make it better.
    Last edited by DeicideUH; 2014-07-04 at 07:22 PM.

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