WoD Beta: Long Weekends Focused on Fears

Yesterday I got to play with the latest WoD Beta build. However, since Blizzard "announced" the newest build features before the long weekend (for those of you not in the United States, for some inexplicable reason we celebrate a "labor day" in September instead of on the first of May like every other country) I've been spending too much time thinking about some of the hunter changes they've made, and it's got me a bit worried about some of the over-all changes coming in Warlords of Draenor.

To be specific, the change that comes to mind is the Lock and Load mechanic.  Unlike the majority of hunters out there (at least those I've talked to about it) I didn't hate the new (now old) LnL function, the one based on Black Arrow Multistrikes.  After playing the spec for quite a while on the beta, yeah, it was a bit clunky, but it wasn't terrible, and it was a little bit interesting, thinking about how it would change throughout the x-pac (a recurring problem for hunters over the years has been stat scaling, so this would have at the very least helped in that regard).  With that stated, there were obviously lots of problems with implementing that mechanic, and they ultimately decided it wasn't worth it.  So now, the problems with the MS based Lock and Load make me wonder if there's really a lot of hope for all of the new stats.

The last time Blizzard created a new stat for WoW, we had a fairly interesting stat in Mastery.  Sure, it needed several iterations to become interesting for all classes, and even now isn't the most interesting for every spec, but still, it represented what I would think of as an interesting new stat.  One of the reasons I think it fit into the game is even for the specs that have Mastery as their most important stat, the class isn't unplayable without it. Even now while leveling, Mastery represents something new and interesting when you get to the point that it exists.

This, however, is not the case with the new stats in Warlords.  In trying to make them interesting, they made the stats interact with game mechanics, and by doing that, they made the stats necessary before level 90. This is exemplified by the Lock and Load mechanic being based on multistrike: it's a fun idea, but it doesn't work holistically, when that means there is no LnL until end-game.  It would mean SV wouldn't be a whole spec until the mid-nineties, when you can start getting multiple pieces with MS on them.

Introducing several new stats, and trying to make them all interesting and a fluid part of game play is simply a  bigger task than Blizzard is up to right now. It's one of the problems with having a ten year old game and trying to keep it relevant. I really had high hopes for these new stats when they first displayed them in 5.4, and when they first really showed them off at Blizzcon last year. But at some point they've got to cut their losses, realize that they took on more than they can handle.

I'd like to think of myself as pretty open to change, I try not to freak out too much over every change, at least not without really giving it a try first. I would love to see Blizzard update the game and keep it relevant; I am not at all excited about recommending they take away anything that's even a little interesting. I just don't understand how they can think these hastily thrown together stats and mechanics are going to keep subscribers (not to mention bring in new subscribers).  They need to either implement them into the entire game, so they're important while levelling, doing end game PvE, and doing PvP, or they need to just cut their losses and drop the new stats, just like they did with Readiness.

/end rant

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