Hunters are losing a dozen or so abilities in Warlords of Draenor. Depending on what hunter you ask, you’ll get a different answer to this question. I understand the reasoning behind most of these decisions, but there’s just some abilities I’m really going to miss.
Abilities I’ll miss
1. Distracting Shot
I’ll admit this is not a button I used on a regular basis, but the number of awesome plays I’ve pulled off thanks to Distracting Shot will make me miss its utility. It could be as simple as saving a healer in a dungeon, or it could be something like taunting a Warshaman who got too close to General Nazgrim during the final burn, or preventing a Minion of Y’Shaarj from exploding inside a pack of other minions.
The Glyph of Distracting Shot let you do pretty interesting things as well, like positioning your pet far away so you could ping-pong a difficult enemy back and forth, avoiding a lot of damage.
Distracting Shot will be missed, but I’ll get over it.
@Celestalon Distracting shot
— Bendak (@BendakWoW) January 26, 2014
2. Stampede and Rapid Fire
OK, so I cheated on this one, but I have good reason for combining these two abilities into one point.
First of all, Stampede isn’t completely removed. It has been turned into a talent in the level 75 tier. In my opinion, it makes that talent tier pretty boring.
If you’re beast mastery, you will usually take Blink Strikes for the pet mobility, increased Beast Cleave damage, and overall pet damage which scales with your mastery and perks. Stampede makes the most sense for BM, but it seems like you would rarely even use it as BM.
If you don’t want Blink Strikes, you run a simulation to see what gives more DPS: A Murder of Crows or Stampede. They’re basically the same thing — extra damage to a single target on a long cooldown. Boring, boring, and more boring.
I think a better solution would be to have Rapid Fire replace Stampede as a talent. It would give a non-pet talent for the other specs, and would make the level 75 tier more interesting in my opinion.
I like Stampede as a baseline cooldown, but I do not like it as a talent in its current form. If anything, it makes sense as a beast mastery exclusive. Also, how weird is it going to be for a Lone Wolf hunter to bust out their Stampede? I don’t know… it just doesn’t feel right.
Update: About an hour after making this post (that timing), Celestalon tweeted that Rapid Fire is making a comeback, but this time as a marksmanship-only cooldown.
3. Scatter Shot
I understand why Scatter Shot is being removed, but it doesn’t mean I can’t miss it. I think that — aside from traps — it’s the most iconic hunter crowd control ability. The now-retired Scattered Shots column at WoW Insider was even named after it. I guess naming a column or site after a retired hunter ability isn’t anything new though… *cough*
In the end, downgrading crowd control is going to be better for the game. This is just one of the things we hunters have to give up. 🙁
Abilities I won’t miss
1. Serpent Sting (the old version)
Keeping Serpent Sting up has always felt like more of a chore than a fun gameplay mechanic to me. I think removing it from beast mastery and marksmanship was a good move as that DPS can just be transferred into other shots. Survival hunters get to keep it, but it’s just auto-applied by Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot which means it will always be up on your targets.
I think the only reason it’s staying for survival as a passive is it’s a big part of their kit — elemental damage, DoTs, and sustained DPS instead of burst DPS.
2. Widow Venom
As someone who primarily plays the PvE game, Widow Venom was the very definition of button bloat for me. I couldn’t care less about it. If I truly need the Mortal Wounds debuff in a certain situation, I’ll just pull out my Devilsaur or Riverbeast and be done with it.
3. Aspect of the Band-aid (Hawk)
Aspect of the Hawk has become somewhat of a joke in Mists of Pandaria. It started out as a 10% boost to attack power. In 5.2 it was buffed to 15%. In 5.3 it was buffed to 25%, and then later in 5.4 it was buffed to 35%.
This puts way too much passive damage into a toggle button and I’m so glad to see it go. It means all of that damage is going to be baked directly into our active abilities instead. Theoretically, this will reward better play. Two thumbs up.
I’m less thrilled about hunter aspect system being abandoned entirely. I think Blizzard could have made it into a fun utility system once all the damage-increasing aspects were taken away, but I digress.
Here’s the full list of removed abilities for those who may have missed it in the alpha patch notes.
- Aspect of the Hawk
- Cower (pet ability)
- Rabid (pet ability)
- Hunter’s Mark
- Lock and Load (baked directly into Explosive Shot now, no longer triggers from traps)
- Lynx Rush (talent), being replaced with Stampede
- Rapid Fire
- Rapid Recuperation
- Serpent Sting and Improved Serpent Sting (survival keeps as passive)
- Widow Venom
- Distracting Shot
- Scatter Shot
- Silencing Shot (marksmanship will now get Counter Shot)
I’ve seen a few people suggest Hunter’s Mark gets turned into a minor glyph, just for the visual. I agree wholeheartedly with this. I think our minor glyphs are pretty lacking anyway.
We’re still very early in this expansion’s development. If you’re particularly upset by the removal or a certain ability, Blizzard is definitely listening to constructive feedback. Make yourself heard.