Blizzard have published early details of some of the class changes we can expect in 3.1. Lets have a look at what they say about hunters:
- Consumable ammunition has been removed from the game. Arrows and bullets no longer stack, but are not consumed. Ranged attack speed bonus gained from quivers and ammo bags will be preserved in a different capacity.
Hunters have asked for something like this for a long time. I have been particularly annoyed of late that I am at the mercy of ah engineers. I was having to buy my Mammoth Cutters from the ah, at whatever price engineers wanted to charge. There were no vendor or faction bullets remotely comparable for raiding. (Have recently found one of my friend Ent’s many alts can make them so I am saved :>) )
Having an extra bag slot will be welcome too. However, I am worried that this change could disguise a nerf hunters. Whatever they replace the current system with should be able to supply at least the damage of the best bullets/arrows currently available, and at least the 15% haste of the ammo pouches and quivers. Watch the PTR and make sure that, in your excitement for lower cost raiding and an extra loot bag, you don’t lose sight of any nerf that has been slipped in.
- A new tier of hunter pet talents have been added. In particular, this allows Beastmaster hunters to improve their damage per second (DPS) with their 51 point talent.
Speccing into the 51 point BM talents at 80 I found there weren’t enough juicy additional talents for my extra 4 points, especially for my ferocity pets (tenacity pets faired better). This should help. It may also help you differentiate specs for different pets or encounters. Whether it will really make the 51 point talent appealing, will depend on what the talents are. Oh and while you are at it Blizzard, please put some more easily obtainable exotic pets in the game that are not 10ft tall and don’t cause an earthquake as they walk.
- Hunting Party – this talent has been reduced to 3 ranks and also grants a passive bonus to the hunter.
Hunting Party is a mana replenishment talent in the survival tree. Blizzard have said that they are assuming that all 10 man raids have replenishment in their group (coming from shadow priests, ret pallys, or survival hunters). Here they seem to be encouraging survival hunters to take the talents and buff their raid. Blizzard is making changes which will nerf mana regeneration, making replenishment more important in future.
- Piercing Shots – this talent has been changed. Your Aimed, Steady and Chimera Shots cause the target to bleed for 10/20/30% of damage dealt for 8 sec.
Piercing Shots is a talent in the MM tree. At the moment, “your Steady Shot and Aimed Shot abilities ignore 2% of your targets armor”. Currently most raiding builds skip it. The proposed change makes it more like a warriors Deep Wounds bleed effect. There are a lot of questions about how it will be implemented (will it stack from the 3 different shots, will a higher dot replace a lower one? etc.), and testing to be done on the PTR, but for now it looks as if it could add a DPS boost to MM hunters. In addition bleed effects count as magical damage and ignore armor. Bleed effects also stop rogues and others from vanishing, unless they are removed. On the downside, bleed effects are a damage over time DOT and will break CC. This could cause issues when using freeze trap in its present form.
- Sniper Training – this talent has been changed. After standing still for 6 sec, you gain a 2/4/6% damage bonus to Steady, Aimed and Explosive Shot.
This sounds a positive change to Sniper training for the most part. It means you no longer have to be 30 yards away from the mob, which was difficult in many situations, and which sometimes meant you missed out on buffs that required proximity. On the downside it does mean you have to be able to stand still for 6 sec to get the buff, not possible in some fights (Keristraza in Nexus, Heigan in Naxx).
- We are also looking to add additional trap functionality to Survival.
Very vague as yet. Could they finally be sorting out the lack lustre 41 talent? Fired immolation and explosive traps, maybe? Actually, I would like them to improve trapping for all hunters. I would like to see freeze trap a viable form of chain trapping in instances and raids (particularly as they have hinted that CC will become more important again in the future). Now, I can chain trap with no points in trapping (most of the time). But only because I have 2 addons (omni cc and Kharthus’ Hunter Timers) and have had lots of practice. Most hunters I know, who are good at playing their class in other respects, do not trap well. Now I don’t think this is the hunters, I think this is because trapping is badly designed for its purpose.
Remember, it’s early days. All this has to be tested out on the PTR and may change. We will get more details nearer the time. We may also get some details of other changes too. What do you think of the proposed changes so far, and what else would you like to see in patch 3.1 for hunters?