I’ve spent some time with all 3 specs recently. Ran the dungeon at least twice with each, and did a little bit of testing (what little I could without a damage meter). Yesterday, I shared some more general impressions of the alpha as a whole. Today, I’m keeping it short and to the point. I’m sure opinions will change as I play it more, but for now this is what stood out to me after my extremely limited experience in a single zone and a single dungeon over the course of a couple of days.
- Hardly anything has changed vs. BM on live servers apart from the lack of Serpent Sting. I don’t miss Serpent Sting for BM at all.
- Kill Shot is nice. It hits harder and the cooldown reset when it doesn’t kill the target is much faster. Oh, and the 15% heal ain’t bad either.
- Pet damage is a little low at the moment, but a numbers tuning pass hasn’t been done yet.
- Blink Strikes is too mandatory to give up. Seems weird I’ll seemingly never have a desire to use Stampede as a beast mastery hunter.
- This applies to all specs, but I like that pet buffs are permanent auras now.
- Survivalist is really nice, especially when my pet can’t hold AoE aggro at all since Glyph of Misdirection isn’t in the build right now (I think this is just an oversight on Blizzard’s part… I hope).
- The new Serpent Sting still has similar functionality to the now-removed Improved Serpent Sting. Whenever the sting is applied, it instantly deals the damage of a single tick and refreshes it. For example, in the image below you can see 4 identical ticks in a 3 second window (that is a single dummy target). Survival AoE actually feels pretty good, and multidotting with Arcane Shot has potential.
- Things die slightly slower than BM out in the world, but considering survival has no baseline cooldown or execute, it’s pretty darn close. I need a damage meter to compare sustained damage. It sounds like we’re getting some fancy target dummies in the next build which should help evaluate this.
- The lack of an execute may be OK in raids (a flat damage curve instead of hills and valleys), but you sure do feel it when soloing. I miss my “You! Die now please!” button.
- Improved Camo is OP right now, but I think that’s due to a bug. If you cast it before entering combat, it doesn’t break! I believe it’s supposed to get reduced to 6 seconds as soon as you deal or take damage.
- The lack of a baseline DPS cooldown doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I spent most of the time with Stampede and it helped fill the void.
- The spec could improve markedly if the Black Arrow multistrike changes work out (assuming you enjoy RNG procs).
- I’m so used to spamming my abilities with BM and SV, that it was strange waiting for so many things to cast.
- Of course, MM AoE is the complete opposite of how it feels in single target. That is pure Multi-Shot spam. It still doesn’t feel as good as Beast Cleave or Serpent Sting
- Single target, marksmanship can down things just as fast as BM.
- Rapid Fire + Careful Aim is the bomb.
- I’m torn between Fervor and Thrill of the Hunt, but leaning towards ToTH because it seems to be up a lot for 30 focus Aimed Shots, and Multi-Shots usually end up being completely free.
- I am absolutely NOT going to miss Steady Focus, as long as that cast time benefit is baked straight into Aimed Shot (or compensated in some other way). Dealing with high focus cost shots and juggling your focus pool perfectly is the gameplay of MM right now. Steady Focus is an annoyance when you have to go out of your way to refresh it (in my opinion).
- Piercing Shots is more about making crit valuable than adding gameplay, and Blizz says they’ll be compensating MM in the crit value department. I’ll be the first to admit I overreacted slightly to that latest round of MM ability pruning, tossing out words like “gutted.” It’s not going to be that bad.
- The only thing I’ll miss is the instant Aimed Shot proc (Master Marksman). That’s the one I can’t understand because it’s just a fun proc. You don’t fish for it, you just get happy for your free Aimed Shot when it happens. Why you take away the happy, Blizz?
- Chimera Shot needs to be reworked. It’s pretty mediocre for a signature spell, especially once they take out the self heal. Unlike Kill Command or Explosive Shot, it doesn’t make me happy when I press the button. Therefore, I can only conclude something’s wrong with it! 🙂
That’s all for now. I hope to get my hands on those level 100 talents soon.