Legion Beta: Some Thoughts on the Marks Artifact Weapon

Thas'dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners

A proud heirloom of the Windrunner family, Thas'dorah was carved from a bough of the mother tree of Eversong Woods shortly after the elven kingdom of Quel'Thalas was founded. Handed down to the eldest of each generation, the bow was last wielded by the high elf Ranger Captain Alleria Windrunner. It disappeared along with its owner following the destruction of the orcs' homeworld, Draenor, and the subsequent formation of Outland.

  • Deadly Aim - Critical Strike damage increased by 10%, that is, critical strikes do 210% the damage of a normal hit. 
  • Precision - Focus Cost of Aimed Shot is reduced from 50 to 44.
  • Marked for Death - For 10 Seconds after casting Marked Shot, Aimed Shot has a 15% greater chance to crit.
  • Legacy of the Windrunners (on equip ability) - When you cast Aimed Shot, there is a chance for 6 extra Wind Arrows to coalesce and also shoot at your target.
  • Quick Shot - Trueshot's cooldown is reduced from 3 minutes to 2 minutes 30 seconds.
  • Rapid Killing - While Trueshot is active, your crit damage is increased by 50%, so that crits will do 250% the damage of a regular hit (260% for Aimed Shot).  
  • Whispers of the Past - While Trueshot is active, any target marked with Hunter's Mark will be hit by a passive ability (called Whispers of the Past in logs, or Wind Arrows in tooltips) that are currently doing roughly 2/3 weapon damage every 3 seconds.
  • Call of the Hunter - Marked Shot has a chance (currently unknown) to summon a regiment of fallen hunters that will shoot arrows at your targets (damage currently unknown).
  • Windrunner's Guidance - Marked Shot overall damage is increased by 10%.  
  • Marked for Death - For 10 Seconds after casting Marked Shot, Aimed Shot has a 15% greater chance to crit.
  • Critical Focus - Arcane Shot critical strikes generate 10 focus (double the amount from a normal hit).
  • Call the Targets - Multi-shot damage is increased by 10%, to 65.05% of weapon damage per target.
  • Mark of the Windrunner - Hunter's Mark can now apply to one additional target.
Bursting Shot: 
  • Gust of Wind - Reduces the focus cost of Bursting Shot by 10, from 50 to 40. 
Damage Reduction and Healing:
  • Healing Shell - While AotT is active, you heal for 24% of your max health over 8 seconds.
  • Survival of the Fittest - All damage taken is reduced by 10% (a la Iron Hawk).
New Abilities:
  • Bullseye - Special Attacks against a target below 20% HP give a stacking 3% crit buff for 6 seconds.
  • Windburst - a 3 sec. cast shot that deals relatively weak damage, but costs no focus.  

A Few Thoughts:

Having tried a few different iterations of the artifact weapon talents that are currently unlocked on Alpha, the first thing that really jumps out about the artifact talents is that none of them really change your rotation.  There are a couple that I'll make some notes on, though.

Windburst - 

This ability doesn't have a place in your rotation.  The only exception to that might be pre-casting on the pull, if the added speed can be helpful to melee running toward the boss. As it is, Windburst isn't doing the 500% weapon damage that it's tool tip claims it should be doing; instead, it's doing about 300% weapon damage, which is significantly less than an Aimed Shot, even with no stacks of Vulnerability. If, after tuning passes, Headshot is a very powerful ability that benefits significantly from use at full focus, we may end up pre-casting Windburst (which has no focus cost), followed immediately by a Headshot, so that we've used up all our focus and can then cast a lot of Arcane Shots in order to proc Hunter's Mark, without fear of focus capping (at least not for a few GCDs).

Bullseye - 

This is currently not an ability we can test on the Legion Alpha, as Artifact Weapons are capped at 10 talents.  So (as with everything I'm talking about here, 'cause alpha), it's possible none of this will be the least bit applicable by the time Legion goes live.  However, it's still fun to think about.

On first glance, Bullseye doesn't look too interesting: 3% crit for 6 seconds is fairly insignificant.  But what gets really interesting, to me at least, is that this doesn't include a cap for stacks.  On bosses with large health pools, where we're perhaps staying under 20% HP for a significant portion of the fight, we should be able to see 100% crit for a while.  What makes this potentially insane is the number of critical strike damage increases we now have: our mastery, Sniper Training; Deadly Aim, a 10% increase to Aimed Shot critical damage; and Rapid Killing, a  50% increase to all critical damage during Trueshot.  Lining up Trueshot with the end of a fight should be a recipe for some crazy damage spikes.

There is one question still up in the air, that will have a huge effect on how we play the game, and that is if Bullseye will be a debuff on our targets, or a buff to the hunter. Most MM hunter's are currently familiar with a practice called Kill Shot Sniping, where you pick off targets that are below 35% health, to cast your kill shots on while the boss is still out of the execute range. If Bullseye is a buff for the hunter, instead of a debuff for our targets, then it may be a way to gain some small crit buffs throughout the course of a fight.

Legacy of the Windrunners - 

Maybe it's just me, but it seems odd to me that we have these artifact weapons with big long talent trees on them, but each one also has an on-equip ability.  For BM hunters, you get to summon Hati (Skoll's brother), which is a fairly huge part of the spec in Legion.  For MM and SV both, we get these weird passive abilities that seem like afterthoughts.

For MM hunters, we get this proc of 6 shots, that seem to do about 100% weapon damage.  This happens about ever minute and a half, and not in a way you can rely on in the slightest.  The other part about this that bothers me, is you don't actually notice it.  In MoP, our legendaries had that big Xuen symbol that appeared and a spray of projectiles coming out from us.  In WoD, the ring made you get really big and then explode.  In Legion, you get a few extra auto-shots, and not very often.


The biggest complaint I have about the artifact weapons isn't about any of the abilities or mechanics being introduced, but is instead with the game design in general: our artifact weapon isn't making us more powerful. Instead, Blizzard is making everything less powerful to begin the expansion, then slowly giving us our power back as we level.  Of course, as with any game, increases in power are always an illusion, as the more powerful you get, the more powerful the bosses get. The goal then of the game designers should be to create a convincing illusion, so bosses are still hard and interesting, but we feel like we're getting more powerful.  In this respect, for Marksmanship, at least, the artifact weapon is a failure. I'm not saying they're aren't a some interesting abilities, and some fun interactions with the spec, but I don't feel like I'm using a powerful artifact; I feel like I've been nerfed, and am slowly regaining the power that I should have had as a baseline.  

No comments:

Post a Comment