It's sheer pandamonium (get it?). I know /groan, but that's apparently what a lot of folks did when they heard the next expansion was all about pandas.

When I first heard the announcement that the next expansion was indeed going to be Mists of Pandaria (MoP) I had a real Charleton Heston, Planet of Apes, moment. I thought -

"...We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

But then a couple of beers later I settled in and starting absorbing the massive amounts of information Blizzard was providing on this expansion.

I love the idea of the Asian themed continent. For once we may get to experience zones that aren't all torn up, covered in green haze or littered with walking skeletons. I think Pandaria is going to be beautiful, and we'll appreciate that more than we know right now.

About the only thing I'm not sold on just yet are the Pandas. I'm willing to give them a try, and the fact that they can be hunters means they can't be all that bad. Speaking of Hunters, I think it's safe to say that the second big theme of Blizzcon, after MoP, was Hunters.

Hunter Changes
  • Goodbye minimum range - This is the change we've all been waiting for. Raise a glass an celebrate.
  • Goodbye stat sticks - Hunters are losing their melee slot and won't even be able to equip melee weapons. To compensate for the loss of stats Blizzard stated they'll be buffing our guns, bows and crossbows. Also, Hunters will be the only class that can equip ranged weapons. So suck on that Rogue who got Thorid'al the Star's Fury back in Burning Crusade!
  • Pet families will no longer be associated with a specific pet type (i.e., Tenacity, Cunning, Ferocity). The hunter will be able to choose which of those roles they'd like for their pets. Euripides can finally realize his dream of a tenacity seagull for extreme soloing. This unfortunately may mean the end of the pet talent trees - for now.

Talent Changes
Even if pet talents may go the way of the dodo, Hunter talents are getting a complete overhaul. Instead of having three talent trees, there is going to be one set of talents for the entire class. Our specs aren't going away so at level 10 you'll still choose between BM, MM and SV. Abilities specific to those specs will be gotten through the trainer and not via talents.

Now the talents are going to be a tiered system where we can choose one, and only one talent from each tier. Blizzard did say that we will be able to swap talents as easily as we do glyphs.

The good folks over at Wowhead already have a talent calculator that you can use.

Arena Tournament
Despite Hunter woes in PvP the winning arena team OMG, featured a hunter. They were only team to feature a hunter. While this is exciting, I can't help but wonder if this will be counter productive for our class. According to Frostheim, even Ghostcrawler was acknowledging that Hunters need help in PvP. We'll see if that assessment still stands.

Overall I think Blizzard gave us a lot to be excited about, and they gave us lots of incentives to keep rolling via the Annual Pass (more on that later).

I know I plan to visit Pandaria, although it won't be on behalf the Alliance and their silly war with the Horde. Nope, my mission is to impart Dwarven Wisdom to the Pandarens and ensure that every one of Chen's Empty Kegs is filled with Darkbrew Lager, and not that swill Chen's been pushing these thousands of years.

See you in Pandaria!

BM and SV Got Buffed

Blizzard just updated the 4.3 patch notes with two nice buffs for SV and BM.

Talent Specializations
  • Beast Mastery
    • Animal Handler now increases Attack Power by 30%, up from 25%.
  • Survival
    • Explosive Shot damage has been increased by 15%.

As we've seen with the recent articles on the state of DPS, both BM and SV were in need of a buff. I have to say that on the surface the buff to BM seems rather small. 

Will this be enough for SV and BM to catch up with Marksman as the top DPS spec? Probably not, but it certainly closes the gap.

Episode 102

This week, we welcome Serallios from to talk about the state of hunter DPS by spec. It's an interesting tool, and well worth checking out. You can see how well you do against the rest of the world here.

Here’s the site where we host our shows live.

As always, here is the iTunes store linkthe Hunting Party Podcast feed, and thedirect XML feed. If you email us comments or questions, we’ll read them on the next show. Send an email to Also, we love iTunes reviews. So please drop by iTunes and mention what you thought of the show.

If you don’t do syndicated podcasts, and just want to download this week’s MP3 and play it on your player of choice, click here.

Episode 100 Extravaganza

It's here folks! The ginormous 100th episode of the Hunting Party Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure.

For this milestone event Darkbrew and Euripides headed to the great North where we invaded Frostheim's famous "Geek House".

For those of you who didn't listen to the live show, this isn't our normal run-of-the-mill episode. We ditched the abacus and slide rule and replaced them with a bottle of god-awful Canadian Hunter Whiskey.

Michele Morrow helped co-host the show, until she mysteriously disappeared. We were joined by fabulous guests such as Zeherah, Dawn Moore, and BigRedKitty.

We drank, reminisced about the show and it's origins, and lapsed into total absurdity as the day wore on. It was truly awesome to get to finally meet Euripides and Frost.

Oh and in addition to the main show, we're going to make the post-show available for listening as well. This will be un-cut and virtually un-edited.

And don't worry, this isn't our permanent format, in episode 101 we jump back into the heady Hunter discussions you've grown to love.

T13 Set Bonus Speculation

Greeting folks. Today I'm blogging from 30,000 feet as I fly home from the big 100th episode extravaganza. I'll post about that tomorrow, but suffice it to say a great time was had by all, although Minnesota was a little too cold for my tastes (yes, even at this time of year).

Today I wanted to briefly talk about the the T13 set bonuses that Blizzard announced yesterday.

  • 2P -- Steady Shot and Cobra Shot generate double the amount of focus.
  • 4P -- Your Arcane Shot ability has a chance to grant 25% haste to you and your pet for 10 sec.

No math or science here, this is just me "eye balling" it. I like that fact that the two bonuses compliment each other, and I think Beast Mastery and Survival will benefit greatly from them.

Think about it, more focus regen from Cobra Shot, means fewer Cobra Shots in our rotation. Fewer Cobra Shots means more Arcane Shots. More Arcane Shots means more haste, which in turn means faster Cobra Shots. As I said, this is very nice for BM and SV, but what about Marksman?

I think these bonuses will be less than ideal for Marksman. The problem is they will still need to cast Steady Shot in pairs to get the ISS buff. It may be harder for MM to reduce Steady Shots from their rotation, which means they may quickly find themselves focus capped more often than not.

Not only that, but they'll need to fire Arcane Shot for the haste buff, which could reduce the number of Aimed Shots and make it harder to use Aimed Shot for their focus dump. We'll know more once we start testing.

Anywho, this is all sleep deprived, sub-standard coffee, sitting in a cramped airplane speculation on my part. Be sure to tune into the Hunting Party Podcast episode 101 this week to get the full set bonus scoop.

Oh and if you find yourself traveling on a plane that offers wi-fi, just pony-up and pay for it. It's so worth it.

Good Hunting!

A Really Big Shoe

That's right folks episode 100 of the Hunting Party Podcast is upon us and trust me when I say "it's going to be a really big shoe!" 
First Euripides and I will be flying to Minneapolis and will broadcast the show with Frost at the famous "Geek House". We'll start at the same bat-time, but the show will be an epic two hours.
It won't just be us though. We'll be joined by some of our favorite guests. The lineup includes,

  • Michele Morrow - She'll be here for the entire episode and will once again dual Frost in the revised Hunting Party Drinking game. We'll all be playing, but I have to admit that I'm getting too old for that sort of thing, and I have to fly home the next morning.
  • Zeherah - She was our first ever guest and she'll join us early on to answer your Q&A.
  • Dawn Moore - We'll see if Frost's taming skills have improved, and we'll see if Dawn's pet healing skills have improved.
  • BigRedKitty - He is the reason we got into this business in the first place. We'll find out what he's been up to, and see if he's got a hangover recipe in that cookbook of his.

I'm really looking forward to this show, especially meeting Euripides and Frostheim for the first time. As always the show will begin 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern / 11 am Pacific.

See you tomorrow!

Call for Feedback

Over on the official forums Blizzard posted a request for feedback on all of the classes. I encourage you to head over to the Hunter thread (US), or Hunter thread (EU) and participate.

Keep in mind that this feedback isn't necessarily for changes that they'll implement in patch 4.3. They are collecting information for the long-term, i.e., the next expansion.