A Tier above the rest.

And so ends the most successful tier of my life in World of Warcraft… so far.

So we’re less than a week away at the time of writing from the new raid instance, Aberrus, opening and the whole treadmill starting over again, but before that happens, I’d like to take a look back at the raid that was: Vault of the Incarnates.

So the tier started off slow, with some questionable gearing decisions made by our then raid leader deciding to gear healers above everyone else… Yeah, I know, I didn’t get it either, but it wasn’t my place to question that logic.

Anyhow, a month or so into the year we had a change in raid leader, and this is where things started to really progress. We started to push deeper into Mythic Vault, and the team overall became a fairly tightly-knit unit. We began pushing on the later bosses, and during April we got the final 3 bosses down!

We got Cutting Edge! 😀

It is an ex-parrot.

This is the first time I’ve ever achieved Cutting Edge, and it had honestly been my longest term goal in the game to achieve at least once. This tier was it!

To say I was pleased is a massive understatement, and we were riding that high for a good week or two afterwards 😀

As for my own performance, well it was pretty decent. I ended up as the 180th best BM Hunter in the world on overall damage, and on Boss Damage I was 111th in the world overall!

Overall Damage on Boss & Adds: 180th in the World!
Direct Boss Damage: 111th in the World!

Rankings-wise I was the best player in the guild, which given we’re a double-CE winning guild with two separate raid teams getting Cutting Edge is a fairly nice feeling! 😀

I got a bit of banter and ribbing in guild for that kind of humblebragging, but I’m just so happy with how this tier went overall both personally and for the team. It was a great team performance overall, and definitely proves my theory that my level of play rises to the level of the team I’m playing with. I’ve played with good teams and I’ve played with some poor teams in the past, and my own level of play has generally reflected that.

This was my most successful raiding tier ever, and hopefully one which I can replicate in Season 2 and the new raid, Aberrus.

Changes with Season 2: Aberrus

It’s looking like a fun tier overall, but the sad thing is that BM is now the worst Hunter spec for damage output.

Caveat: Based on Sims!

MM is now currently best in sims, with Survival a few thousand DPS behind it. BM lags SV by another several thousand DPS, and based on those sims with fully Heroic Aberrus geared characters, BM looks to be about 12% behind MM.

Mind you that is again based purely on Sims, and in practice it may be a completely different story, as whilst the fights in Aberrus are predominantly single-target based, there is quite a LOT of movement and boss area-denial mechanics across a great deal of the fights. That would, in theory, place BM as the logical choice for most fights, given it doesn’t care about movement or area denial mechanics like MM and SV do respectively.

However we’ll see. I’ll be sticking with BM for the first few weeks at least to see what the fights are like first-hand. That said, with the changes to MM which see it overtake BM in damage this tier, it’s actually very fun to play right now. MM has become even more an Aimed Shot turret spec, with the general idea to get off as many Aimed Shots as possible as quickly as possible in order to generate Trueshot procs from the Windrunner talents which were buffed, and are the sole cause of the increase in MM’s output.

Not taking the two Windrunner talents (Legacy of the Windrunners and Windrunner’s Guidance) leads to MM being back below BM in damage, and so are taken in all situations, both Single Target and AoE. This leads to Trueshot having close to 50% uptime across fights, or more if RNGesus loves you. Which generally it doesn’t with me 😀

So to say that the damage output of MM is going to be very varied from pull to pull is putting it mildly, and will see wild swings in MM output between attempts. Personally I prefer my damage output to be based on skill rather than RNG, so alone might be a reason for me to stick with BM, with its consistent damage.

Cross Faction Guilds!

Yep, they’re here! 😀

It’s buggy as hell right now, and sees issues trying to get cross-faction character into guilds. For example you can’t invite a cross-faction character into your guild unless they’re on your own friends list, which is unbelievably stupid.

Likewise, characters for example on Alliance cannot see Horde guild listings in the guild-finder to apply and vice versa.

This makes getting your opposite faction characters into your guild somewhat of a pain, but once it’s sorted and you’re in everything works as it should.

Well apart from open world stuff, and instance-queuing which STILL isn’t working cross-faction…

So yes, there are some very egregious oversights that need to be worked on as a matter of urgency for Blizzard, but it’s a start at least.

All of my level 70 characters are now back to Alliance:

  • Hunter: Dwarf from Tauren (purely for Stoneform)
  • Warlock: Gnome from Blood Elf (because Gnome)
  • Paladin: Dwarf from Blood Elf (rather than Human because Stoneform)
  • Rogue: Gnome from Blood Elf (because Gnome)

That’s all the level 70’s I have right now, but the remainder of my characters I’ll level soon are either still Alliance or were faction-changed months ago:

  • Druid: Remained a Nelf
  • Monk: Have one on each faction at 60
  • Priest: Gnome (from Belf a few months back)
  • Warrior: Have one on each faction at 60

I do still have some level 60+ Horde characters:

  • DH: Belf @ 63
  • Evoker: Pointless, faction for these characters is cosmetic
  • Shaman & DK: Both Goblin
  • Mage: Blood Elf

Next to get levelled will probably be either Druid, Shaman or DK, but right now I have no desire to really level anything at all beyond the four I have at 70. Probably after Aberrus progression is done.

Final Words

I’ve really enjoyed this tier of WoW. Not just because it was a super-successful one for me and my team, but also because cross faction finally became a reality.

Two very long-held dreams of mine in the game both finally came to pass within just a few weeks of one another.

And I couldn’t be more satisfied.