Hunter Beta: Upcoming changes and what we know so far.

While it was an uneventful weekend in the world of Northrend for me this weekend, I was able to plug along in my questing, striving for 77. Hopefully before the Hunter patch hits, as I would like to be able to focus on testing out the new things we are getting and not worry about leveling until they raise the level cap. So I kind of want to recap what we can expect from the patch of awesomeness.

  • Camouflage – We know we are getting this ability in some sort of implementation. Koraa stated it will be “limited stealth capabilities,” but will allow us to trap without it breaking. At this point that is the extent of our knowledge but it is definitely something to be excited about.
  •  Trap Mastery – Trap Mastery is going to be a one-point talent that combines all of our existing trap specializations into a single point. One key thing I think a lot of people missed (including myself when I first read it) was the statement that said “root the dispeller of your Freezing Trap.” That is huge I think, for PvP purposes. Whether this applies to people who use their PvP trinket remains to be seen, but it might give Priests pause before they Mass Dispell it, or whoever can get rid of it in the expansion.
  • Freezing Trap -Freezing Trap is also getting re-worked to the extent that Bear Trap is going to be removed from the game. Freezing Trap will no longer break on damage, but will hold up until a certain damage point is reached. This number is not know yet, but Koraa stated that it is not intended to function as a stun so the number is going to be carefully tuned. But it is suppose to be able to take a hit from things like Cleave or what not without breaking.
  • Deterrence -This skill is going to become a base ability that will be trainable, with the aforementioned Trap Mastery taking its spot in the talent trees. Coupled with the increased chance to resist spells in addition to it’s existing functionality will be a huge boon to Hunter survivability in both PvE and PvP.
  • Master’s Call – This ability was not implemented on live servers yet and was an 11-point talent in the Beast Mastery tree. Your pet would help you out by removing all stun and movement impairing effects from a target and making them immune for 4 seconds. This also is becoming a trainable ability and is now replaced by the now-refined Aspect Mastery.
  • Spirit Bond – This talent is finally worthwhile. Whether or not raiding BM Hunters will fit this into their spec remains to be seen, but it’s utility goes up a whole lot as it increases healing received by you and your pet by 10%. It could go a long way with Hunter pets being viable off-tanks (and in rare occassions and main tank) for 5-man instances.
  • Aspect Mastery – Originally a 5-point talent sitting near the bottom of the tree, right before the ability to tame exotic pets, most people found the talent was not worth the investment, especially with Careful Aim so easy to pick-up in the Marksmanship tree. It has been changed to a single-point talent, replacing Master’s Call at the 11-point spot and now a very worthwhile investment.
  • Separation Anxiety – Coming in to replace the old Aspect Mastery is this talent with an interesting design. When you are farther than 20 yards away from your pet or not in line of sight, your pet’s damage is increased by 10%. Alternatively, when you are within 20 yards, you and your pet’s movement speed is increased by 10%.
  • Trueshot Aura – Ah, Trueshot Aura. Less useful to a party than Ferocious Inspiration. A flat value made 225 AP at Rank 6 still not attractive. But wait! How about 225 Attack Power for the whole raid? Now it’s worth it. This will be a raid-wide buff which completely changes this abilities usefulness and viability.
  • Survival Tactics – This is filling for Improved Feign Death. And boy do we like it. In addition to the reduced chance for Feign Death to be resisted, it also reduces the cooldown of Disengage by 4 seconds. Disengage? What?
  • Disengage – “What it will do is cause the Hunter to jump back instantly 10-15ish yards to gain distance. 30 second cooldown.” Words from Koraa. And boy is it awesome. One of the msot crucial abilities a Hunter needed for PvP viability. Note that this is a trainable ability, so this will be added to Deterrence and Master’s Call in our list of “Holy crap get me out of melee range” abilities. This maynot make it into the next build.
  • Noxious Stings - This is a talent most people will probably not take, but its effect is worth noting. Basically if someone dispells Wyvern Sting, they are put to sleep under the effect of Wyvern Sting for 16% of the remaining duration when they dispelled it. Effective? Eh, maybe, maybe not. Interesting? Yes.
  • Hunting Party – I am excited about the adjustment to this talent. Currently it procs of all ranged critical strikes but has an 8 second cooldown. It is being adjusted to work on Explosive Shot, Steady Shot, and Arcane Shot only but the cooldown is being removed. Who love’s Survival Hunters? We all do! Stick me with that Feral Druid dang it!
  • Explosive Shot – The damage on this is getting nerfed and the AoE damage is only going to be a percentage of the damage instead of the full amount. Honestly the change makes me sad because it hardly seemed overpowered considering it was a 51-point talent, locking us out of 21 point talents. Once this change goes live, my Survival builds may be leaving out this talent and picking up something else. Who knows, it is a single talent point . . .
  • Chimera Shot – This now refreshes your sting on a target but still yields its 10 second cooldown. The idea of chain refreshing Viper Sting on a target won’t happen since it only last 8 seconds. But hey, you can do it once. With Trueshot Aura becoming raid wide, you could see MM Hunters making their way back into raid slots, especially with Silencing Shot having a proper interrupt effect being attached to it, making it useful for PvE encounters (I’m looking at you Reliquary of Souls Phase 2).

These are exciting changes for the Hunter class, addressing a lot of the issues that we are having in Arenas currently, as well as addressing things that have been useless for quite sometime *cough*Disengage*cough*. Koraa has also hinted at something to help us deal with line of sight problems but no details have been released yet. With the announcement of these changes, you might expect Hunters to become the next flavor of the months. linked to my Dalaran Sewers video the other day and the number of views it has gotten really shows how many viewers they actually get over there. It’s crazy! It is now sitting at 38613 views as I type this. It was sitting on Viddler’s top 5 most viewed videos yesterday and has surpassed most of the videos they have on there but is just sitting on their top-viewed page rather than their top 5. The funny thing is, if you are reading this, you know that wasn’t even the best video in terms of quality. But people were excited to see it.

But to keep up with my trend, I did record another video, although probably not as exciting as the sewers (Wait, what?) :) Here we have myself “chumming” with the intent to hunt down a big shark. I thought it was a funny quest so I hit the record button. It’s not a difficult quest, but it was funny. You can’t make it out in the video, but the shark’s name is Tu’u'gwar, which in the native langauge means “He Who Plays With Food.” Enjoy!

There are a bunch of new screenshots over in the gallery for you to enjoy. These include the gun you can receive from the new Nessingwary quests, new ammo for folks who aren’t using Timeless ones (or want to save money), a gigantic turtle, and a screenshot of the Icier Barbed Spear.

I raided for the first time in a couple weeks last night, as I have moved myself over to a guild called BOB. I don’t know if I will get a full-time raid spot with them and I had to respec to BM (which included regemming everything :/ ) and my performance last night was decent but not where I wanted it. I would be lying if I didn’t say the place I wanted it was at the top. Check out my WWS here if you are interested.

A couple interesting thing of note:
#2 behind the Destro Lock on Mother
#6 on Illidari Council even after being dead for 15% (Poison, Poison, Holy Fire makes me sad)
#4 on Illidan after being dead for 12% (Stupid blue flames!)

Thoughts, comments, etc. Post ‘em here!

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.