Ghostcrawler speaks – huge hunter nerf incoming

Hunters of all specs, and particularly Beastmaster, are doing too much damage in PvE. 
      We tested this a lot internally in beta and knew hunters were high but we hoped other classes would be able to catch up in a way they have as yet been unable to do. We want to be careful not to hurt hunter dps too much in PvP, so we’re taking most of the damage out of Steady Shot and Volley. Beastmaster hunters are in addition losing some of their pet dps. We still want BMs to have the best pets, but pet dps numbers are a little high at the moment. We are also still concerned about hunter survivability in PvP and taking the opportunity to jazz up Deterrence into something that looks and plays a little more interesting. 

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%). 
2) Volley – reduced the damage by about 30% for all ranks. Note that AE damage from many classes is very high right now and we are looking at all of them. Volley in particular had reached the point where some hunters were using it to the exclusion of most other attacks. 
3) Readiness – no longer affects the cooldown of Bestial Wrath. 
4) Deterrence – has been completely overhauled. It now allows you to deflect 100% of incoming melee or spell damage for 5 seconds, but prevents you from attacking while active. You still must be facing the attacker to deflect the damage (this is a limitation we are trying and might end up removing). 60 sec cooldown. 
5) Kill Shot – cooldown reduced to 15 sec (from 35 sec). 
6) Kindred Spirits – now only grants 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage. 
7) Serpent’s Swiftness – now only grants 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to pet. (
EDIT: Still grants the current bonus to the hunter.) 
8) All hunter pet abilities with a cooldown longer than 30 sec have been moved off the global cooldown. 
9) Growl— threat generation increased by 20% (same for Voidwalker Torment). 
10) Call of the Wild – now benefits only the hunter and his or her pet. 
11) Rake and Scorpid Poison – slightly nerfed to bring them into line with other pet abilities. 
12) Spirit Strike – reduced the period on the dot so it will work better with Longevity. 
Improved Tracking – now benefits damage to all included creature types as long as you are tracking one of them. You don’t have to swap around what you are tracking as much. 
13) Aspect of the Wild – now raid-wide. 

EDIT: The “only” on Serpent’s Swiftness meant 10% pet attack speed instead of 20%. The hunter bonus is unchanged. 
Post edited by Ghostcrawler ]



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 🙂 

External Links:

Elitist jerks post on the changes – here

Adam Holsky at WOWInsider – here

Big Red Kitty at WOW insider – here here and here  – I like BRKs ending to part 3 – couldn’t agree more: 

” 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

And for a little optimism I will leave you with Pike on Aspect of the Hare: “So Blizz has the nerf bat and we’re the battered Big Red Piñata this time.

Stay positive.

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”









3 responses to “Ghostcrawler speaks – huge hunter nerf incoming

  1. Wow i really think blizz is making a mistake with making ss dmg reduced and the pets dmg rake is op but 10% less dmg comon like warriors are getting buffed and warriors give me a run for my money and i know the hunter like the back of my hand u cant get ne better then me ask my 674 guildies =p but nehow like wow rouges with no cd on fan of knifes and they arnt going to fix the hat bug cuss they are trying to find something that is exactly powered like it or even better hunters are gona be no where near the top and if u think about it hunters should be high up there because shooting shit should do more dmg then tickleing it with a dagger….. neways the dps that is already on our ass is getting buffed and we are getting nerfed…. i think nerf the dmg on volley keep the ss attack power incresse and keep the 20% pet attack speed and loose the 10% dmg the attack speed is huge…..Natehihenr is my name on azyurmyst so later

  2. Either way, now that the patch is out I have found that a lot of groups no longer want hunters with them as their dps is now too low compared to the other classes. Who wants to be a hunter anymore when they get nerfed so often and others are now constantly outdoing them in dps. Good one Blizz…….killing off the Hunter class….. smart move.

  3. I don’t think Blizz looking at the big picture here. Did hunters need “A” nerf? Yes, is the short answer. Did hunters deserve the nerf they got? No. As lvl 80 “endgame” raider I’ve done 25 man Naxx, OS, Vault and such. and can tell you from pre-patch experience that when you’re doing THAT content hunters are no more that just another DPSer. I was in a 25 man Naxx with something like 8-9 DKs all of which were doing at least 4-6k DPS while I was doing like 3-4k. The readiness/BW combo needed nerfing Volley needed about a 10%-20% max nerf and that pretty much sums up what needed nerfed.

    I would have to agree w/ Mike that post-patch the only poeple that want me to raid/instance w/ them are my loyal group. As hunters we don’t have anything to bring to the table like say Shamans(Heroism) have, heck we don’t even have the ability to off heal/off tank like hybrid classes, the only thing we have is high dps and off-CC. If you take any of that away why would want a hunter?

    Altough in my honest opinion “nerfing” ANY class as opposed to bringing the others up is a bad plan in a general sense. I can tell you post-patch I have played my hunter(my fav toon) little to none b/c it’s kinda depressing. Do I think some ppl will cancel their accounts b/c of this? Yes, some will.

    Also for the record imo no hybrid class should EVER beat a pure class in dps, because it’s the only thing they do