This is second in a series of posts about the new level 100 hunter talents as they currently exist on beta. The first post was all about Exotic Munitions. Today, it’s about Lone Wolf and Adaptation. This talent changes based on your current spec: Lone Wolf for marksmanship and survival, Adaptation for beast mastery.
These talents couldn’t be more opposite if they tried. One removes your pet, the other turns your pet into a superhero pet. If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll know I am not really down with the whole Lone Wolf thing. I play hunters because of the pets. I still think it’s cool they’re giving the option to those who want to play a pure archer, but the BM version of this talent appeals to me more.
While you don’t have a pet active, your damage dealt with Auto Shot, Steady Shot [Cobra Shot], Aimed Shot [Arcane Shot], Chimera Shot [Explosive Shot], and Kill Shot [Black Arrow] is increased by 30% and you are able to provide one of several beneficial effects to your party and raid.
If there’s one place I could seriously see myself using this talent, it would be in future challenge modes. When I did my challenge modes, I did them as survival and always felt like my pet was a bit of a liability. I was overly cautious with it so I wouldn’t inadvertently pull anything extra, and there were other times I had to stop and dismiss it before doing something. 3 seconds is a long time in challenge modes.
One thing to note about this talent is how much it favors AoE damage vs. single target damage. Let’s say your pet is doing about 10-15% of your DPS as MM/SV. Taking Lone Wolf more than makes up for that loss (as it should, being a level 100 talent and all), but pet damage is not factored into AoE for these specs. So it’s actually a full 30% boost to AoE output. Can Incendiary Ammo compete with that? Maybe, but I’m not sure yet.
Update 7/24: Lone Wolf has been changed to only affect each spec’s core single-target damage abilities. It will no longer increase AoE damage at all.
Buffs as a Lone Wolf
You can still bring all of the primary raid buffs without your pet, but none of the special ones like Ancient Hysteria or a battle resurrection. These buffs have no cooldown and can be swapped whenever you want.
- Lone Wolf: Ferocity of the Raptor (5% crit)
- Lone Wolf: Grace of the Cat (Mastery)
- Lone Wolf: Wisdom of the Serpent (10% Spell Power)
- Lone Wolf: Power of the Primates (5% stats)
- Lone Wolf: Fortitude of the Bear (10% stamina)
- Lone Wolf: Haste of the Hyena (5% haste)
- Lone Wolf will also be able to bring Multistrike and Versatility buffs (not in build yet).
The following talents and abilities will simply not function if you spec into Lone Wolf. You can talent into them, but they’ll do nothing.
Spirit Bond is something I’d have trouble living without, though the new self-heals from Kill Shot and Survivalist will help somewhat. The loss of Master’s Call is probably a deal breaker for a lot of PvP hunters.
More Details and Observations
- If you use the Stampede talent with Lone Wolf, it summons your first 4 pets (not all 5). An extra 4 pets is the same benefit it gives you when you are using a primary pet. Stampede doesn’t remove the Lone Wolf buff and does not benefit from the 30% damage buff.
- Dire Beast doesn’t remove the Lone Wolf buff and does not benefit from the 30% damage buff.
- No talents at all (including Glaive Toss and Barrage) benefit from the damage buff.
- Multi-Shot (and Serpent Sting for survival) are unaffected by this talent.
A Murder of Crows does benefit from the 30% damage buff.
- Lone Wolf checks if you have a pet every 5 seconds. If the check passes, it removes the buff. If you timed it right, you could theoretically pull out your pet and still have Lone Wolf benefits for 5 seconds.
- The buff is multiplicative with other damage increasing buffs. For example, if you currently have 10% increased damage from Sniper Training (110% on the paper doll), adding Lone Wolf takes it up to 143%.
Increases the effect of your pet’s Combat Experience to 85% increased damage. Your pet now gains the following abilities, regardless of its active spec: Spiked Collar, Roar of Sacrifice, Cornered, Boar’s Speed, Last Stand, Blood of the Rhino, Great Stamina
This talent used to be called Versatility for those of you who are confused. It was originally named this before they had introduced the versatility secondary stat.
A common misconception about this talent is that it’s going to boost your pet’s damage by 85%. It’s actually a 35% boost (Combat Experience already exists as a 50% boost without this talent). It’s still a decent boost, especially once it’s all stacked with Master of Beasts, Empowered Pets, Improved Kill Command, etc.
Regardless of its spec, your pet is going to gain almost every single pet ability and passive from all 3 pet specs. The only differentiation that remains is Dash for Ferocity and Cunning vs. Charge for Tenacity, and each spec will retain one exclusive ability.
- Ferocious Adaptation: Heart of the Phoenix (instant pet rez) and Dash
- Cunning Adaptation: Bullheaded (pet CC removal trinket) and Dash
- Tenacious Adaptation: Thunderstomp (AoE threat generator) and Charge
- All 3 specs:
No matter what pet spec you choose, they’ll be doing the damage of a ferocity pet, have the survivability of a tenacity pet, and most of the extra utility from a cunning pet. Translation: Super Pet 9000.
Pet roles probably won’t change much. You’ll probably still want to use Ferocity in a raid, or Cunning in PvP. The difference is you aren’t really sacrificing much except for that one signature ability each spec has.
Great Stamina + Last Stand + Blood of the Rhino are massive survivability increases, and now you can have them without sacrificing pet DPS. Boar’s Speed will also help with pet DPS uptime when Dash or Blink Strikes is on cooldown.
More Details and Observations
- For my money, this talent plus a Shale Spider is going to be the ultimate soloing combo. The Shale Spider brings 5% crit, 5% stats, and Solid Shell. Now all we need is some cooler looking shale spiders (they never really appealed to me) or maybe Gyreworms can be added to their family as a “shale beast.”
- I’d prefer it if Thunderstomp did 0 damage and cost 0 focus, and all it did was generate threat (or maybe make it an AoE Growl). As it stands now, why would you ever want to spend 20 focus on a Thunderstomp vs. a 25 focus beast-cleaved basic attack? Thunderstomp may generate additional threat, but it does hardly any damage and the extra damage from a beast cleave would probably generate just as much threat anyway.
- You’re probably going to run short of pet bar space with this talent, and since you can’t drag pet abilities to your normal action bars, you’ll have to create macros for them. Not a huge deal, but I put in a suggestion to just let us put pet abilities on our normal bars anyway. That is probably where I’d want to keep stuff like Last Stand and Roar of Sacrifice, with autocast toggled abilities on the pet bar itself.
- I have trouble believing I’d ever use another level 100 talent as beast mastery. Maybe Exotic Munitions for AoE, but that would still need to compete against the extra Beast Cleave damage, so I’m skeptical. In current testing, the two talents are very close damage wise, but the upside to this talent is the extra pet utility and survivability.
Next on the list for these previews is Focusing Shot, so stay tuned for that.
The artwork of the orc hunter in the header image is by Dmitriy Prozorov.