The times they are a-changin’
Here it is, the preview of the “Cataclysmic” hunter changes.
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.
Uh, don’t we already have multiple shots that deal damage other than physical? Grats Beast Master Hunters…I guess.
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.
How do we decide which trap gets placed on the “launcher?” I guess we’ll get a “totem-style” bar to manage along with the our pet bar we already have to manage? Great more buttons!
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).
“It is *not* stealth. Your enemies will never wonder where you are. We’re trying to use the new Cataclysm water effect to put a shimmering PREDATORy visual on you. It’s protection from ranged attacks and it gives you some combat bonuses, but it’s not like Shadowmeld or rogue / druid stealth where players can’t find you.
As most of you know, we tried Camo once before, but because it was true stealth it was very hard to balance, plus it felt like we were just handing out the same cool abilities to every class instead of coming with unique mechanics. Hunters were so overwhelmingly excited about the basic idea that we wanted to try it again, but not as stealth.” – Ghostcrawler
Are you fucking kidding me? How many bosses in the game are they planning on having shoot arrows / toss throwing stars at us? I guess if you are mainly a PVP hunter you don’t have to worry about warriors or rogues killing you from range anymore…oh wait. If, in PVE, it can be used in combat, another button. Great! Seriously, what the fuck kind of ability is this?
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.
So now I’m a ranged rogue with no combo points and no finishers? Why the hell does Master’s Call and Disengage even have focus costs? Sorry PVP hunter’s, looks like if you choose to actually, ya know, deal damage and someone gets in your deadzone your only choice now is to basically run like a little girl while you wait for focus to regen. Good Luck!
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.
I’ll never bitch about not having to spend gold to DPS. Seriously though, in the year or so since it was announced that ammo was going away this is the best you could come up with? If all you’re doing is making sure that ranged weapons will have what used to be “ammo-damage” baked in, why couldn’t you have already done this? Guess I can be happy I don’t have to collect different ammos like some other silly hunters have suggested.
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.
Wait, don’t I already have access to all the pets currently in my stable while out of combat and without having to visit a town in the form of Call Stabled Pet? Is this a fancy way of saying that we’ll get even more stable slots? Bet it will still cost gold to get ’em though huh?
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 Blood Frenzy).
Hyenas: Will provide bleed damage (similar to a weaker version of the druid ability Mangle).
Awesome news for level 1 hunters, really. Pretty neat niche for pets to be more than just an extension of a hunter’s dps as well. Which pet will give the weaker version of Bloodlust / Heroism?
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.
Finally! Thank fucking Christ.
Viper Sting will now restore 9 Focus every 3 seconds.
What about Aspect of the Viper?
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.
Neat coupled with the level 1 pets I guess, even though we already start out with a ranged ability…the ability to auto shoot a fucking bow.
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.
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.
Only time will tell, I guess, how these changes will affect what I think is a lackluster (so far) resource system. Never in a million years did I think I’d be sad to see hunter mana disappear, but so far I am not thrilled about “focus.”
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Ranged Critical 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.
Double Shot: The hunter will have a chance to launch a free attack off of the global cooldown for 50% damage.
Elemental Damage: Hunter abilities such as traps, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot will do elemental damage of the following types: Improves the Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature or Shadow damage of abilities like traps, Black Arrow and Explosive Shot.
Oh neat, they basically are regurgitating the same philosophies we already have. A beastmaster has increased pet damage? No. Fucking. Way. A marksman gets a double shot? Hmm, get the fuck out! Survival hunters..well you’re on your own as a hunter-mage with no mana I guess!
Look, I know it’s just a preview and we’ll only be able to gauge the impact these changes will have on hunters once we get to test them out. But, a few gems aside, these are pretty lackluster. Nothing innovative and some shit that’s been dangled before us before.
I’m not scared of change, really I’m not. And some people think that changes (for better or worse) keep the game “fresh”, and I am ok with learning new things – I’ve had to adjust my thinking with the release of the last 2 expansions. I’m not going to whine and say the sky is falling. I’ll most likely buy the expansion and continue to play a hunter. I’ll give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt because, lets face it they’ve made a pretty fantastic game so far. But, I am not looking forward to relearning the class from scratch. And thats what a lot of this is.
Along with a good deal of fluff, in my opinion.