The latest alpha build (geez, it’s still alpha after 5 months?) is the start of class number tuning. Beast Mastery Hunters saw some fairly big numbers changes on both abilities and talents, a lot of them for the better. Survival and Marksmanship saw fewer adjustments. Here’s what Celestalon had to say about this build:
The last sentence is the big one. Class mechanics are now “firm” but it looks like they’re not opposed to future changes. There has been a lot of feedback requesting changes to some aspects of the class, but Blizzard has stuck to their guns so far. At this point I wouldn’t expect any major changes to core mechanics, such as getting a traditional Focus generator back for BM.
- Cobra Shot damage buffed to 190% weapon damage (up from 125%)
- Kill Command damage buffed by approximately 50%.
Both buffs were sorely needed. BM was really lacking big hits outside of Chimaera Shot. Cobra Shot is still incredibly mediocre and in a lot of cases using it has a greater chance to harm your DPS than to help it. I’m fairly sure that allowing yourself to briefly Focus cap is going to be better than using Cobra Shot in some situations. There’s just too many opportunities for Cobra Shot (and the longer 1.5s GCD) to mess up using your more powerful stuff on cooldown. At least it’s a bit better now.
I think the Focus costs for Kill Command and Cobra Shot should be reversed though. Make Kill Command 40 and Cobra Shot 30. Anything to make Cobra Shot feel less punishing to use.
- Chimaera Shot damage massively nerfed from 660% to 265% weapon damage.
- Dire Frenzy buffed in two areas: The haste buff now lasts 8 seconds (up from 6) and it now generates 25 Focus (up from 15).
- Stomp damage buffed by approximately 50%.
- Volley damage buffed by approximately 50%.
- Way of the Cobra now increases Cobra Shot damage by 20% per active beast (up from 5%).
I wish I could say I was surprised about the huge Chimaera Shot nerf, but I’m not. I just wish Blizzard had done the obvious nerf sooner so I didn’t get so used to how overpowered it was! It was a nerf that needed to happen. Not only was it several times more powerful than Kill Command, but it generates Focus, and it made the two competing talents garbage by association.
Blizzard also buffed the two talents competing with Chimaera Shot. The new Dire Frenzy buff is quite nice. Now it’s not just a Dire Beast replacement, but it gives you some additional benefits. The haste buff granted to your pet lasts an extra 2 seconds (more opportunities to stack it) and it now generates 25 Focus instead of 15. Dire Frenzy is going to be especially nice for AoE situations because that increased attack speed is going to buff the hell out of Beast Cleave. Stomp was further buffed, which gives you an opportunity to make your Dire Beasts significantly more powerful and deal some AoE damage. This talent tier is looking quite nice now, but I still suspect I will favor Chimaera Shot simply because of how it fills in the rotation. I will definitely be giving the other two a fair shake though!
Volley received a buff but I’m not sure if it’s going to work out so well for Beast Mastery. The reason the damage is drastically lower than Barrage is because it has a 6-second cooldown and no channel time. Theoretically, that could be quite nice for sustained AoE situations because you don’t have to wait for the 20 second cooldown on Barrage. However, it conflicts with BM because we’re already spending tons of Focus on Multi-Shot to keep Beast Cleave active. Beast Cleave is likely going to result in more damage per Focus. Honestly? I’d love to see something like the old Lynx Rush here for BM, and leave Volley for MM only.
Way of the Cobra was buffed massively. For every pet or guardian active, your Cobra Shot deals 20% increased damage. That’s 40% extra damage from your main pet and Hati alone. Then another 20% for every Dire Beast. So most of the time Cobra Shot will be buffed by 60%. This talent definitely warrants another look, especially since Dire Stable really isn’t that much more Focus.
- Marked Shot no longer slows the target by 15%.
Marksmanship already saw some numbers adjustments a few builds ago which probably explains not much happening here. I guess Blizzard felt the snare was no longer necessary since Marksmanship has a pet baseline and they don’t need the extra protection. Though a 15% snare isn’t that much anyway, so not really a big deal.
- Lock and Load’s chance to proc buffed to 50% (up from 5%).
- True Aim nerfed to a maximum of 10 stacks (down from 20 stacks). Marked Shot no longer adds stacks.
- Volley damage buffed by approximately 50%.
Lock and Load went from nearly useless to amazing by adding a ‘0’ to the proc chance. I played around with this a bit and it is indeed as crazy as it sounds. Aimed Shot was pretty much always free and instant. Perhaps I am underestimating the value of Sidewinders and Head Shot, but I sincerely doubt it’s going to stay at 50% chance.
The True Aim nerf isn’t too surprising. This is probably an effort to make Lone Wolf more attractive for single target DPS. I think they still want Lone Wolf to be strong in most situations since it was the original intention when the spec was designed for Legion.
I already spoke about the Volley buff in the BM section, but I am curious how the numbers pan out for this. I think there will be situations where it could be preferable over Barrage simply because you can use it every 6 seconds instead of 20, and also continue to cast while it is happening (no channel time like Barrage). I imagine it would pair quite nicely with Sidewinders. I’m just not sure if this buff is enough to make it worthwhile over Barrage in mass AoE situations. One thing that will be nice about Volley is not worrying about pulling extra trash packs in a dungeon. Just set and forget!
- Flanking Strike’s pet damage buffed by approx 50%. Range reduced to 5 yards (down from 8).
- Mongoose Bite damage nerfed by approx 10%.
Not much to talk about here. Flanking Strike received the same buff as Kill Command. They are pretty similar attacks, only the Survival version has the Hunter attack at the same time.
New Artifact Traits
- Bird of Prey: Raptor Strike heals you for 3% of damage dealt (goes up to 20% at rank 6).
- Embrace of the Aspects: Reduces the cooldown of your Aspects by 20%.
Both are pretty nice traits, especially that aspect one. That means less cooldown on Aspect of the Cheetah, Aspect of the Turtle, and Aspect of the Eagle. If this stacks with the legendary that also reduces Aspect cooldowns, it’s going to be insane.