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Aspect of the (Dragon)Hawk and Its Consequences

Ding 74.

You have learned a new spell: Aspect of the Dragonhawk (Rank 1).

Wait, what? Did my attack power bonus seriously just go up by 75 from Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 8)?

This new spell essentially make Aspect of the Hawk obsolete beginning level 74. Any enhancement to this spell will apply to Aspect of the Dragonhawk.

To better display this boost in attack power bonus, I’ve provided this graphical analysis:


You will notice the linear increase during each expansion, but with each expansion, the linear progression increases by more than two-fold. This has been somewhat reflective of the combat rating system when you take a look at the stats for Wrath of the Lich King. (296 is the new hit cap? What!)

But what’s the impact of this?

At level 73, I am upwards of more than 2800 RAP when Aspect of the Hawk and Trueshot Aura are on. Now, at level 74, I’m reaching that 3000 mark. I honestly will not be surprised if end-game hunters in Wrath can see 4000 RAP fully buffed.

This kind of progression can become detrimental. As the curve becomes steeper and steeper, the combat rating system becomes too cumbersome to maintain. It becomes a true inflation, and gear in future expansions will provide ungodly high numbers for Agility, Stamina, etc. The statistical gap between levels, say, 89 and 90 will be so large that players may not be able to keep up.

Leveling actually becomes more difficult because the difference in future ranks of the Aspect matters, and the wait to train the new rank will be a hindrance.

So what’s the takeaway of this?

Aspect of the Dragonhawk and its 230/300 attack power bonus are surely something to see, but if you’re ever caught without it on, the penalty to your DPS output can be very high. Players will have to be more aware of what Aspect they have active (Dragonhawk or Viper).


6 responses

  1. Hmmm….

    I wonder if this is something that Blizz is aware of. Thats a huge climb in relationship to level and one not consistent as you have shown. I wonder if this is relation to something that is upcoming that is far more difficult that what currently is present or if there is going to be a change in the near future. There’s apart of me that wonders if this will be nerfed in an upcoming patch.

    I really curious to see what the overall impact is. I know that there are guilds that have already cleared all the existing raid content for Northrend and that the dev’s are watching to see if this is more in keeping with what they wanted to see or if this is pushing past what they intended. Keep us posted and I’ll start playing when I hit 74 as well.


    30 November 2008 at 21:00

  2. Excellent post. I was noticing the gaps myself – there is 0 room for error even in five-mans. This makes MM very fast-paced and exciting (I’ve redone my rotation to include Aimed now that it scales with talents) and there is simply no reaching your best if you’re not on the ball 100% of the time. No more macro spams and auto-pets.

    On your main topic – many people mistake Viper as being “half” of your damage, but as you said, if you think about it, it is even less, as it halves from your stats WITHOUT that massive bonus from Dragonhawk. So summary is – pay attention, and you’ll do well. Forget once or twice, and you’ll be disgracefully knocked on your butt by the other DPS.

    2 December 2008 at 11:24

  3. You also have to remember that you have to balance between RAP and crit chance. Also, with my current gear my crit chance has gone from 29% down to i think im about 22 or 24% chance, yet, my RAP is higher than ever. Remember, as you level higher, blizzard’s systems scales your stats down by whatever number.

    They implemented this i think a couple months Pre-TBC. So, yes you’ll maybe see hunters in the 4k RAP range, but im willing to bet their crit won’t be high, and if your Marks, a LOT of your damage comes from those big huge nasty crits. Im willing to say the new “goals” will be a lil over 3k RAP with something along 26% crit chance. I believe that is where the new ‘standard’ will be as Pre-Wrath i was at around 2300RAP with 29% crit chance and around 12500 hp ( give or take ) Thats in Brutal/Vengeful gear.

    What’s actually surprised me is, now, at im 15k hp unbuffed!! Granted i have 4 pts in Survivalist but dayuum that is a lot of hp, tanks double that !! So in Summary, i believe the new “average standard” to be:

    3kRAP/26% Crit/13kHp.

    Now the extremes would probably go higher in RAP or crit depending on what you do:

    If you PvP more often, your crit will most likely be higher than 26% as well as your HP.

    If you PvE more often you will have less HP and crit, but more RAP and mana efficiency.

    If your like me, i PvP/PvE, you will get a healthy balance from the above…and if the raid spec hunters don’t bring their “A” game, you will outdps them :)

    2 December 2008 at 13:17

  4. @Zuluki — The last I heard, Blizzard thinks the instances are at their desired difficulties at the moment. Unless they see that something isn’t right with hunters’ performance during raiding, they might not do anything with this for now.

    @Nassira — You are correct. And this will bring up the point of how long should you keep Viper up to regenerate mana? I’ll bet this will be a big point of contention when discussions of optimizing level 80 hunter raiding begin.

    @Keldorei — See, that’s the interesting thing though. Why scale down crits when everything else scales up? I understand that at level 80, everything seems normalized and you wouldn’t eventually want to reach 100% crit, but I was mainly focusing on the process of reaching that level cap that poses a problem. I was at 30%+ crit in Patch 3.0.2. After Wrath and as I level, I’m going down to the mid 20s already. And if I don’t have the second rank of Dragonhawk yet, I lose the full potential that I could have had at my level if they broke up Dragonhawk more.

    2 December 2008 at 16:50

  5. I see what you mean by the full potential of having Dragonhawk.

    But as for the scaling down of crit and scaling up of other stats, its so that you are forced to balance your stats out is all, if not we would have hit over 35% crit in TBC.

    Blizzard saw that and decided to normalize our stats at 80 and to scale down crit as you level. It was a simple and smart fix. By controlling crit chance, you can have the rest of your stats scale up, but at the end, you are going to have to ‘balance’ out your key stats with crit chance. It works the same for all classes too. Since crit chance is where the damage is, you have to balance between “i want 4k RAP” and “i want 30% crit chance”. So instead of having 4kRAP AND 35% crit chance, blizzard scales down crit as you level so you have to say ” i have 4k RAP but wait, only 20% chance to crit..”

    I hope that makes sense lol. Anyhow, i totally understand what you are saying about Dragonhawk, they should have made it more gradual. As for crit, yes im hurting too /cry

    3 December 2008 at 10:17

  6. Pingback: Revisiting Aspect of the Hawk « 35 Yards Out

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