The New Look For Hunters

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK, the preview came out today, some good, some meh, and some very good so lets take a look and see what we can see.

With the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm many game elements will be changing, and each class will be receiving a number of tweaks. Here, we will explore the changes that are being made to the gun-wielding, pet-training hunter. The information you’re about to read is certainly not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview of some of the exciting new things to come. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the new hunter abilities!

New Hunter Abilities

Cobra Shot (level 81): A new shot that deals Nature damage instead of Physical damage. This ability will share a cooldown with Steady Shot. This will give hunters an alternative to Steady Shot on heavily-armored targets, and we will have talent incentives in the Beast Mastery tree to make this a signature shot.

Hrmmm…a new shot….and BM gets talents to better it and make it our version of explosive and chimera shots.

Trap Launcher (level 83): When used, the next trap can be shot to a location within 40 yards. This provides the current Freezing Arrow treatment to all traps and, as a result, we will be removing the current ability Freezing Arrow. 1-minute cooldown. No global cooldown.

Well this will make getting traps into place during combat easier. Heh I just had a vision flash through my head of flying snakes, and Samuel L. Jackson…

Camouflage (level 85): The hunter enters an obscured state that prevents him or her from taking ranged damage. The character would still be subject to melee or area-of-effect attacks, and dealing or taking damage will break the Camouflage effect. The hunter can move and set traps when under Camouflage, and will receive a damage bonus when attacking while under Camouflage (which will then break the effect).

Ummm… vanish 2.0? So we can still be smacked around in melee, and it drops the minute we stub our toe…

Resource Mechanic Change

Here we come to the meat of the upcoming hunter changes.

Hunters will no longer use mana; instead the class will use Focus. Focus generates much like Energy, by building up. It will not be affected by Intellect at all. Haste will improve its generation. Hunters will generate roughly 6 Focus per second, slightly less than rogues’ Energy generation rate of around 10 Energy per second. Below, we have listed some examples of how we intend Focus costs to operate:
Steady Shot/Cobra Shot: No cost. Generates 9 Focus per shot (or 12 per second instead of 6).
Arcane Shot/Chimera Shot /Explosive Shot: 45 Focus.
Aimed Shot/Multi-Shot: 60 Focus.
Concussive Shot/Tranquilizing Shot: 35 Focus.
Rapid Fire/Master’s Call/Disengage: 30 Focus.


Hrmmm…. Luckily these values aren’t set in stone yet. Oh, and since when is 6 slightly less than 10? 9 is slightly less, 8 is still slightly less. Hell even 7 would barely be considered slightly less. 6 is almost half the amount of focus that rogues regen.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to the resource change and new abilities listed above, we intend to make adjustments to some of the other abilities and mechanics you already know well. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we’re going for with each spec.

A major change coming for the hunter is the removal of ammunition. Guns, bows, and crossbows will now do damage without consuming ammunition at all. There will be no more ammo slot on the hunter’s character display. Any ammunition that a hunter has at the time of the change will become gray sellable items. Existing quivers will be converted into large bags — though each hunter can only have one and non-hunters will not benefit from this change — and we will not be making any additional quivers.


Sweet no more ammo! now to buy the biggest quiver I can get my hands on for a cheap quiver…

Pet management will also change. Hunters will now have two types of attainable pets: active pets and stored pets. Hunters will be able to have up to three active pets (perhaps five for Beast Mastery specialized players) and will have the ability to switch among these pets any time they are out of combat, without going to town. They will also be able to have a large number of pets in storage at the stables. In order to swap a pet from active to passive, a hunter will still need to visit their local Stable Master. However, this should afford ample storage for the many Spirit Beasts wandering the lands of Azeroth.


Pets…Pets…Pets…More pets… LOTS AND LOTS OF PETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This means I’ll be able to go hunt down the rest of the spirit beasts, get a worm, a chimera, a cat, a raptor, birds out the wazzu….I can use a different pet every day of the week…. MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Additionally, hunters will now start with a race-appropriate pet at level 1 and will be able to tame a different pet at level 10. We are also changing many pet family abilities to provide important buffs and debuffs. The intention is to allow the hunter to be able to swap pets and fill a position if a certain role is missing from the group. The goal is to have all pets provide a damage increase that is very similar and no greater than any other pet. Some examples of the changes we are making to the pet families are listed below:
Wind Serpents: Will provide a debuff that increases the amount of spell damage taken by an enemy (similar to a weaker version of the warlock ability Curse of Elements).
Ravagers: Will provide a debuff that will increase an enemy’s Physical damage vulnerability (similar to a weaker version of the warrior ability Rampage).
Hyenas: Will provide bleed damage (similar to a weaker version of the druid ability Mangle).


Hmmm race specific pets at level 1 interesting, not that it took that long to get to level 10 to get your pet before that… While I like the fact that Blizz wants our pets to be able to fill in the blank until we get a better version in the group/raid, I wonder how much weaker it will be than the class version.

Stings and other periodic effects will now benefit from haste and critical strike ratings. Hasted damage-over-time abilities do not lose duration, but instead add additional damage ticks.
Viper Sting will now restore 9 Focus every 3 seconds.


So all of our stings will get the 2piece T9 bonus nice… Viper sting only worked on targets with a mana bar, so will the new version work on all targets, or just those with focus bars or mana bars?

We are reinforcing hunters as a ranged class. To this end, the class will now start with ranged abilities at level 1, and we will be removing some melee abilities, such as Mongoose Bite.


Great now new hunters will be forced to learn how to shoot first and melee later.

New Talents and Talent Changes

Beast Mastery hunters will have a new talent called Careful Aim, which increases the damage of the next Steady Shot or Cobra Shot, but also increases the cast time of these abilities. The intention is to make the combination of spells into a decent damage opener, especially in conjunction with the new ability Camouflage.


So we’ll get talents that will increase our haste bringing our cobra and steady shots closer to the GCD, and get talents that increase their casting times… Ow my head…. kinda backasswards I think.

Beast Mastery hunters will also have talents that make Cobra Shot superior to Steady Shot, such as Longevity reducing the cast time of Cobra Shot to 1.5 seconds.
Rapid Recuperation will cause Rapid Fire to give 20/40/60 Focus immediately and will cause Rapid Killing to generate 3 Focus per second.
Efficiency will reduce the Focus cost of Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot.
Thrill of the Hunt grants Focus when you land a critical strike.
Hunter vs… Wild increases the hunter’s Focus generation when his or her pet is snared, stunned, or rooted.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Beast Mastery

Ranged Damage
Haste
Pet Damage

Pet Damage: Many of the passive benefits to pet damage will no longer be available in the Beast Mastery talent tree. However, these will be provided through the new Mastery mechanic.

Ummm I though GC said that they didn’t want our pets to do more than 30-40% of our damage. So if our BM mastery is going to boost our pets damage even higher, isn’t that counter-intuitive to their own philosophy?

Marksmanship

Ranged Damage
Armor Penetration
Double Shot

Double Shot: The hunter will have a chance to launch a free attack off of the global cooldown for 50% damage.

Survival

Ranged Damage
Ranged Critical Damage
Elemental Damage

Elemental Damage: Hunter abilities such as traps, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot will do elemental damage of the following types: Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature, and Shadow.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.


So it looks like BM is FINALLY getting some big time lovin from Blizz. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Now if they play their cards right, it would seem that they are finally bring all 3 specs in line for damage. So until next time don’t forget to reload, so you don’t run out of ammo.

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