Beta: The New Patch – The Good, Bad, and the Ugly.

Well the new patch has hit the beta servers. I attempted to wait for the servers to come up, but around 3 AM I had to give up for the night due to work in the morning. So anything in this post will still be subject to me doing fact-checking and number verification later.

While it’s still early over at Blizz HQ we haven’t heard anything from Koraa or any other devs regarding the changes yet. And some of them definitely have me scratching my head as to where they have came from. But let’s talk about the new things or obvious buffs we can look at this patch before we talk about the questionable stuff. We’re not dead yet! (“I think I’m getting better” “No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.”)

The Good
Misdirection: The cooldown was dropped to 30 seconds. Feel free to use Misdirection to your heart’s content now. :)

Kill Shot: They upped the damage on this ability and removed the knock-down. And I think that is something we can all appreciate. I am sure it still has it’s cooldown but removing the personal crowd-control will go a long way in making the ability into what it was meant to be . . .  a kill shot.

Freezing Trap: The tooltip was updated to reflect a change that was implemented already, as the trap now can sustain a certain amount of damage before it breaks. And while some folks may consider this “dumbing down” trapping, I think it is definitely a welcome change.

If you combine this with the damage padding on the trap breaking, it could help a bit with preventing folks from getting out of line of sight before they can heal.Freezing Arrow: Unexpected. But it certainly cannot be a bad thing. I imagine this is going to function a lot like Flare, in which we will receive a targeting reticle in which we will “shoot” the trap. I am assuming (read as: “hoping”) the trap from the arrow will function like the normal Freezing Trap. If so, if you combine this with the damage padding on the trap breaking, it could help a bit with preventing folks from getting out of line of sight before they can heal.

But I am also hoping that isn’t one of the Line-of-sight abilities they promised us that haven’t seen the light of day yet.

Trap Mastery: This talent is now implemented. The most interesting part is that dispelling Freezing Trap will actually freeze the dispeller for 6 seconds, similar to how Noxious Stings functions with Wyvern Sting. Definitely seems to make the talent worth taking for PvP.

Lock and Load: Increased back to 2 free Arcane Shots or Explosive Shots, up from 1, still down from 3. Apparently making it have a chance to proc off each tick of a sting was not implemented, or is at least undocumented. Testing required, although I doubt it.

Pets: Apparently pets got a little love that wasn’t documented. It is being said that pet stamina and crit was buffed (unverified by me, just relaying information) as well as numerous abilities being tweaked. Furious Howl is a 45-yard raid buff that specifically states melee and ranged attack power, Poison Spit from Serpent’s is like is an 8-second Curse of Tongues on a 10 second cooldown. In fact, very few class abilities have cooldowns longer than 10 seconds. Exceptions are things like Rhino Stampede, Disarm abilities, etc.

The Bad
Wild Quiver: I didn’t even know this talent was working. It’s been labeled as [NYI] the whole time. But regardless of whether it was working or not, it was nerfed. The damage done was reduced by 10%.

Surefooted: The snare duration reduction was taken from 50% down to 30%. But ti be fair, this seems to be a nerf across all classes, not just Hunters.

Survival Instincts: It now increases the critical strike chance of Arcane Shot, Steady Shot, and Explosive Shot. Sorry, no love for the double-dipping MM Hunters with Chimera. It still has the damage reduction but it seems a lot of AP talents were nerfed.

Master Marksmanship: This was another AP nerf. It has been changed to 5% increased critical strike chance and 5% ranged haste. Haste, haste everywhere but not a drop of Hit. Is this a good change? It’s not necessarily bad. I could have actually put this in a separate category if I wanted called “indifferent.” The only issue, once again, is the over-abundance of haste on our sets that we have seen.

With the new Windfury Totem/Improved Icy Talons and your quiver, getting your cast time to match the GCD will not be difficult.Haste is going to have diminishing returns in terms of effectiveness. Once our Steady Shot cast time is brought down to 1.5 seconds to match the gobal cooldown, the only thing any other haste will affect is Auto Shot. Depending on your spec the actual percentage of your total damage attributed to Auto Shot will vary but I usually find it in the 3rd place spot. And with a nerf to Wild Quiver, which was an argument for the haste, the effectiveness is reduced again. Remember, with the new Windfury Totem/Improved Icy Talons and your quiver, getting your cast time to match the GCD will not be difficult.

Combat Experience: Reduced from 6% to 4%. Why? No friggin’ clue.
  
The Ugly
Mortal Shots: Every spec takes this. Not taking this automatically makes your spec inferior to every other spec with it, regardless of what you take in place of it. It seems every class has an increased critical strike damage talent somewhere. Mortal Shots is ours. But now it doesn’t affect our Auto Shots. And given the previous statement of after a certain point haste only affects Auto Shots, the effectivness of haste is reduced even more. Our Auto Shot crits no longer gain that bonus. And that makes me sad. It is a huge hit to our DPS.

Hunting Party: Once again, to be fair, this is a game-wide change, not Hunter-specific. Apparently healers were complaining that they weren’t running out of mana. So they mana regen from battery effects was cut in half. And that’s beside the fact that with a 25% chance to crit you could most likely keep Hunting Party up 100% with only 2 points in it in a PvE situation.

Steady Shot: First, the mana cost was increased from 4% of our base mana to 5% of our base mana. Given we are already plagued with mana efficiency issues, increasing the cost of the shot which we fire more than any other shot seems silly. And then the damage was reduced in conjunction with that as well.

An Aspect of the Viper like this version, without any passive regen, hurts competitive PvP Hunters.Aspect of the Viper: This now returns mana equal to double your base weapon speed. 3 second bow? 6% mana return. If you take the 50% damage reduction. At first glance this looks OK. 6% is a nice chunk, right? But there are too many situations where this won’t work. One, obviously is competitive Arena. With such an emphasis placed on PvP and PvE, both have to be considered when balancing abilities like this. If you played Arena, especially in 2v2 or 3v3, you know that fights can last a long time. Many of them are games of attrition. And very rarely do you ever get to stand still and have a shot rotation. An Aspect of the Viper like this version, without any passive regen, hurts competitive PvP Hunters. And while we may not all like Arena, I don’t like the idea of us being the bottom of the barrel in viability.

My modified attack speed as BM currently is 1.96, meaning that Auto Shot will take 35 seconds to refill my mana.It makes us very susceptible to mana drain, as pillar humping can ultimately prevent us from ever getting our mana back. And if melee is on us, we are not shooting someone, we are trying to open a gap. My bow has an attack speed of 2.8, as do many Hunters with the badge bow. That will take a total of 18 Auto Shots to go from completely bone-dry to completely full using the new Aspect of the Viper. My modified attack speed as BM currently is 1.96, meaning that Auto Shot will take 35 seconds to refill my mana.

Let’s use my previous testing for numbers sake. Assuming all my stats are exactly the same as when I ran my Survival and Marksmanship testing, I should now be gaining 582 mana per hit, as base weapon speed was giving me 291. So we just doubled that. And if my math is right, if I was specced MM with Efficiency again, Steady Shot should cost me 225 mana with it’s adjusted cost.

So if that number is right:

  • I gain 357 mana per Steady Shot
  • I still lose 219 mana every Chimera Shot
  • I gain 220 mana per Multi-Shot on a single target, 802 against 2 targets, and 1384 against 3 targets

The numbers are less “flattering” if you don’t take 5/5 Efficiency. And if your target is behind a pillar, you gain nothing unless they have Serpent Sting on them and it didn’t get dispelled, or you lit them on fire with Immolation Trap.

So yeah . . .  more testing needs to be done. This work day needs to end so I can do it. We’re not dead yet. We just need more fixin’. And I hope we get it.

Thoughts, comments, concerns. Post ‘em!

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.