Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
WoW Patch day

EQ2 isn't the only game patching, patch 1.7 of WoW is coming today to the European servers, and has already been installed in the US earlier this week. Blizzard has a much slower approach to balancing things, they only rework one or two classes with every monthly patch, this time it's the hunters. And most of these changes are about the talent trees, with the goal of making all the three branches of every classes talent tree equally attractive. As I don't play a hunter, it is hard for me to judge how good or bad the hunter changes in this patch are, anybody care to comment?

But the major impact of this patch is the added content. One added battleground, Arathi Basin, adding another nail in the coffin of Alterac Valley. And one new raid dungeon Zul'Gurub, for 20-player raid groups, which should be ideal for mid-sized guilds. Also added is some fishing event, but in my opinion they need to completely redo the fishing to be more of a mini-game, right now it is too boring to contemplate.

The only problem I have with these monthly patches is that they are making WoW more resource hungry. I have two computers, an Athlon 2000 with 512 MB RAM and a Radeon 9600 Pro, and an Athlon 3000 with 1 GB RAM and a Radeon 9800 Pro. World of Warcraft used to run equally well on both computers, but since the 1.6 patch the older computer has problems, especially in Orgrimmar. I already did all the sensible stuff, like turning all graphics options down, which slightly improved the framerate. But now data handling and storage seems to become the limit, on the older computer it takes a lot longer to empty your mailbox or search the auction house. These are things where I often thought they were caused by server lag, but as both computers are on the same ADSL router, and one is visibly faster than the other, it must be a client side problem. Main suspect is the memory, although the other components aren't exactly up to date either. I'll have to look into replacing that one.
My guilds hunters are loving the new patch. Alot have stayed marksman spec'd, although one of our main MC hunters when 31 survival 20 marksman, since he can still keep the 41yard range with only 20 in marksman. He got that new sting that sleeps the target at the beginning of the fight. He also got the new agility increasing talent, which he said puts him just a hair shy of 400 agility.

All in all, all the hunters are VERY happy. The pet stat boosting makes them happy too. I guess they've got bears with 4k hp, 50% dmg reduction, or pets with 120fire resists. They love that too, they can really make a pet a raiding pet, a tanking pet, or a dps pet.
I've read alot of complaints about the Hunter changes on the forums, but I'm personally happy with them. Marksman wasn't changed much and, arguably, didn't need much. Survival and Beastmastery are both significantly improved, in my opinion. I think most Hunters are going with Survival, but I think Survival is still the weakest. I went 20/31. My Hunter now does a tiny bit more DPS, which is not big deal. But my Hunter's pets do alot more DPS and tank better.

It's a big improvement from where I sit. In fact, it's such an improvement that I suspect Hunters will feel the nerf bat again in 1.8...
I'm just happy that I can use my pet in instances as it can stealth between fights which stops is getting aggro due to pathing errors. Also it tanks tons better, and my dps has gone up as well.

All in all a good day :D
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