These are not all of the changes we are working on for hunters, but those changes we feel are ready for testing. We hope to get these changes up on the PTR so players will have a chance to test them out and respond before they go live.
1) Steady Shot – now only gains 10% of attack power as damage (down from 20%).
EDIT: The “only” on Serpent’s Swiftness meant 10% pet attack speed instead of 20%. The hunter bonus is unchanged.
This is the biggest news hunters have had in a long time. Some of these changes are huge, especially for beastmasters. Not all of them are nerfs, and not all of them may end up on the live realms (they will be tested and adjusted on the PTRs), but it is clear that as WOW insider puts it, ‘The Great Hunter Nerf of 2008′ will soon be upon us (although it is possible this will creep into 2009 by the time the have tested it all).
I think most of us will admit our class is very powerful in PVE. I soloed through much of the content to 80 and duoed the rest, including all the group quests and elites we came across along the way. I only died once or twice, and then when soloing non-pet friendly quests where I had to melee an elite, or some such. My gear at 80 is OK but nothing special. I have a Nessingway 4000 gun, but I am mostly dressed in level 78 LW crafted blues (the swiftarrow pieces) – nice starter pvp gear but not top end dps kit. Yet in the couple of instances I have participated in so far (Lightning Halls and Heroic Nexus), with a group of similarly or slightly better geared people (mage, enhance shammie, pally dps), I have being putting out around 40% of the damage and clocking around 1800dps to their 1100. Better geared (and probably played hunters) are talking of dps numbers of 3.5k and 4.5k on a regular basis in raids and instances. In solo pve, my gorilla and I can regularly top 3k dps on a group of mobs with volley and have recorded 5,0000+ dps on a group of lower level mobs at the top end. So I am OK with the fact that hunters, and especially maybe beastmaster hunters need toning down a bit in pve. I don’t like it of course, but I think it’s fair. What I hope they will do though, is bring it to a sensible level and not nerf us to the ground. Hunters are a pure dps class. We should be at the top of the dps charts. We should be vying for that position with other pure dpsers like mages and rogues. We should be out-dpsing hybrid classes who bring a wider range of buffs and utility to the party than a hunter, and who now mostly have cc too. If our dps drops below that of shaman, ret pallies, and others, Blizz have done something wrong.
Overall, I hope the nerf to steady shot will be adjusted somewhat. This affects all hunters, not just BM. It’s their bread and butter shot. According to Drotara, over on Less QQ, More Pew Pew, this looks like a 25% nerf to something that accounts for 51% of his damage (i.e. a 13-15% nerf to his overall damage), taking him below the top 10 dpsers in his raid. And this is just one of the nerfs. I hope this is not where Blizzard want us to be.
Once the changes have been finalized, and the theorycrafting over on elitist jerks and elsewhere has settled, this will change how we play. Most of the nerfs are aimed at BM hunters. It maybe that marksman will become the premier raiding spec to maximise dps. Cats are getting nerfed, but not so devilsaurs (and the elusive spirit beast is getting a buff), so devilsaurs and perhaps spirit beasts should overtake cats as king of the dps jungle. Readiness not effecting beastial wrath (along with the cat nerf) removes the temptation for a BM hunter spec like 50/21 – it looks like a 51 spec will be more effective if you stay BM.
There are also a few buffs in here. Improved growl will help tanking hunters, and those with high crits hold aggro with their pets. Improved tracking over in the survival tree, sounds as if it will give a straight 5% damage buff as long as you are tracking something on the list, and not herbs or the stablemaster. Looks like abilities such as Intimidation are not going to disrupt your shot rotations anymore, which is nice. And the new deterrence, sounds like a hunter bubble for pve and BGs :) It says you can’t fight for those 5 secs, but presumably you can drink a potion or bandage? It would be nice it if were a complete bubble to give you time to do this, without interruption and also give you immunity to stuns (otherwise this is useless again rogues, warriors, pallies, etc, who would just stun you for the period. May also need to consider giving you temporary immunity to any DOTs you have on you, which is not how it reads at the moment (otherwise bandaging will get interrupted). However, it is unclear how useful this will be in arenas. Do you really want to standby invulnerable for 5 secs, while the other team kills your healer?
All in all this has come at a bad time for me in WOW. Don’t get me wrong, I think some of the stuff in the expansion is great, but somehow I am not am as obsessed with WOW as I was even a few weeks ago. I can now go a whole two days without wanting to play!
So over to you guys? What do you think of the prospective changes? Constructive clean comments only please (this is a family show). - Ha ha – I have just re-read this article – it’s very balanced given my first reaction to the news :)
Elitist jerks post on the changes – here
Adam Holsky at WOWInsider – here
” Now let’s move on to getting some freaking help in arenas, shall we? And the Survivalist tree is still honked up. Heart of the Phoenix, one of the best reasons for getting the Beast Mastery talent, isn’t working properly. There aren’t enough level 80 pets to tame. Why can’t we tame Mammoth?
And fix Cower, for Elune’s sake! COWER, people!”
Less QQ, More Pew Pew is QQing - here
I think it will be okay.
If we have to work harder for BM DPS now, then that makes it all the more fun and exciting. Not as easy to top DPS now? So be it– maybe we can finally shake the huntard stigma.
Hang in there everyone! /group hug”
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