Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Plight of the Marksman Hunter

I find that the best thing for me to do when I feel overwhelmed is to go farm some Clefthoof leather or some Cobra Scales. Farming is mindless for me: Target prey, send in pet, Arcane Shot, Multishot, Auto Shot, loot, skin, rinse and repeat. It gives me time to sort out my thoughts while doing something productive (course, productive in the video game sense is different from productive in the Real Life sense, but let's not go into that, plzkthx).

Occasionally epiphanies will come to me, either game or Real Life related. Today, I was relaxing while farming some Clefthoof, and it dawned on me how to fix my shot rotation. I tested it out on Dr. Boom, found it successful, and was quite pleased with myself. Ever since I got Supremus' 2.9 crossbow and respecced out of Imp. Pet Rez and into Imp. Arcane Shot, my shot rotation has been wonky, and it was evident in my DPS.

Things like this make me think of Howitzer, who was well-known as THE Marksman hunter. I first knew I was thinking in the right way as a MM hunter when I noticed that my spec was the same as his. Then when I found his thread in Elitist Jerks (courtesy of Rilgon's blog), I was happy to notice that everything I was doing was Howi-recommended. It was wonderful reinforcement for my out-of-vogue spec.

Howitzer quit the game last week, and he can't be blamed. When you experience it all for four+ years, you get bored. But the MM hunters miss him and his voice in the hunter community. I don't know why I go to the Official Hunter forums anymore, but I do on occasion only to find myself more depressed by the MM bashing and little remaining MM support. There are individuals like Rilgon and Mirshalak of course, but their voices are mere whispers compared to the presence of Howi, and that is understandable. People are impressed by the Illidian gear, not the Kara gear. They will listen to what someone has to say when they are sporting the Betrayer's bow when 90% of the hunter population haven't even downed Kael. Howi gave us hope that our sub-par DPS will be only barely sub-par with better gear, which really is how every DPS should be.

That is what I really despise about the Beast Master spec. It takes no gear, no skill to have great damage. It really clicked when a hunter in SSC/TK/Arena gear came in and placed 5th on the charts below me, with a third MH/BT gear, at 4th. I worked so hard as a raider to get where I am, and this scrub BM hunter comes so close to beating me, and can beat me on an appropriate fight. You talent into the best hunter damage, and that's it, you top the damage meters, no matter your gear.

The plight is, of course, how much is my choice hurting my raid. I can't remember how many times the raid has wiped at 1% on a new boss. That 1% would be gone if I were BM instead of MM. But then again, it's new content - DPS is not likely to be as high in a learning situation than it would be in a comfortable situation. If you're wiping at 1% on farmed content, then something else is wrong. My group buff is pathetic and received the worst level scaling ever. But I'm a Leatherworker! I have drums; there's no class that those don't benefit! My one support I can give is (on average) awesome Misdirects. When my first three shots crit, that's an automatic 10k worth of aggro on the main tank. ('Course, we all have those shitty MDs, too, with a lovely 2k worth of aggro.) But when you rock 3k ranged attack power and nearly 40% chance to land a critical, those MDs are going to outperform those of a haste-dependent BM hunter every time.

(Sadly, hunters are the easiest class to replace in a raid. Even when we were actively recruiting a new hunter, a main concern was the lack of MD presence. But let's not go into that.)

And so here we are, stubbornly clinging to our spec which is bashed without mercy by better hunters than I. People like Ippon I cannot respect; Alu I believe is a wonderful person, but I'm not sure if I totally agree with him on some matters. Mirshalak is correct in that so many players do not know their class, and that they follow and flame others like the happy little sheep they are. But we cannot give up hope. I'll just keep my head low for awhile (as it has been for some time, I've noticed) and hope that Blizzard will one day breathe new life into my misbegotten spec.


kevin said...

There is hope! If you are still playing in wotlk, 3.1 will make marksman the new raiding spec. No more face-rolling bm/explosive shot dps. Of course, since nothing clips auto shots anymore, I don't think the rotation will even be hard :(. But still, hunters can be marksman again :)

Negathle said...

I find it curious that this post still gets a lot of hits despite its dated content.

A bit late, but thanks for the comment ;)