Blizzard just posted some new class tuning hotfixes which should go live soon. Even though most of this is nerfs, I have to say these are reasonable changes based on where we stood after the last round of buffs we received. Combined with the changes to other classes, we were doing quite well at level 100 (at least Beast Mastery and Marksmanship).
• Adaptation now increases Combat Experience’s damage increase to 70% (down from 85%).
• Chimaera Shot’s damage has been reduced by 13%.
• Focusing Shot now has a 2.5 second cast time (down from 3 seconds), and its damage has been increased by 25%.
• Kill Command’s damage has been increased by 20%.
I can’t help but feel like these Focusing Shot changes are Blizzard’s somewhat desperate attempt to get people to actually take the talent. I’m sure there’s some hunters out there chomping at the bit for it. However, the problem for me (and many other hunters) is that it’s just not worth the hassle. It can definitely do competitive DPS with the other level 100 talents, but it comes with a severe handicap. These changes certainly help, but it’s still not something I’m really interested in. The extra damage is miniscule in the grand scheme of things, although the faster cast time is nice. For me, Focusing Shot looked really good on paper, but in practice it just flunked out.
The Adaptation change is also not surprising when you factor in the massive pet attack power scaling increase from the last round of buffs (from 33% to 60% of the hunter’s AP), and this new 20% buff to Kill Command. I prefer the signature ability to do more damage because then its more rewarding when you play well (maximizing the number of Kill Commands rather than the extra passive pet damage).
Update: It appears the previous pet scaling buff does NOT apply to pet basic attacks, only melee attacks. What this means is that the Adaptation nerf hurts more than we originally thought. It’s now looking more and more like BM will be close to survival’s DPS.
Chimaera Shot‘s change is also not surprising. It hits like a Mack truck and also cleaves for full damage. This nerf essentially is just reverting the last buff.
Update: Recent revelations on Blizzard’s extremely confusing pet scaling (i.e. different scaling for basic attacks and melee attacks) has called all this into question. BM’s DPS may now be close to survival’s DPS. So if you don’t want to play MM, you’re probably not hurting yourself taking SV over BM.
That leaves Survival hunters with no love. I think it’s clear at this point that Blizzard wants to have Survival spec be the lowest potential DPS for hunters. “Potential” is the key word there. Someone inexperienced with the hunter class will very likely pull off the same or even more DPS than they would with BM or MM. In Warlords, Survival simply has a lower skill cap compared to the other specs. This means it’s easier to take the spec to its maximum potential. It doesn’t mean you’re bad if you choose to play as Survival, it just means Blizzard has decided to make it the new player friendly spec. It’s also probably a good spec for those who have trouble multi-tasking their rotation with difficult boss mechanics. If they tuned Survival’s “patchwerk” numbers to be as good as BM and MM, then it would always win out in the real world simply because it’s more forgiving.
I’ve been complaining about Survival throughout beta, and recently have started to accept that it’s not going to change. It’s going to stay simple, and the numbers are going to stay below BM and MM. It’s why Blizzard’s official “crash course” videos focus on Survival. It’s the easiest to get into. The sad thing for me is I’ve always been a Survival fan, and now I just don’t see myself playing it.
And Blizzard, just because I can be reasonable about these nerfs doesn’t mean I’ll agree with any future ones! 😆