Right after BlizzCon, Jeremy “Muffinus” Feasel tweeted that there were hints “somewhere on the internet” about a new Hunter pet family revealed at BlizzCon. Many Hunters, including myself, looked for this hint but couldn’t find anything. I was pretty sure I had watched all of the BlizzCon interviews and read most of the articles, but I was wrong. Cernunnos over at Petopia finally found it. It was buried away in a video interview done by BlizzPro that hasn’t had many views up until now.
We’ve gotten a few exciting Hunter tidbits at BlizzCon 2016 so far. Ion Hazzikostas revealed a boatload of new content coming in patches 7.1.5 and 7.2. Hunter stuff aside, there is an insane amount of stuff coming in these patches. I don’t even know where to start, but Wowhead has a good summary. Patch 7.1.5 is coming very soon (on the PTR right after BlizzCon) and promises some big class changes. The only specific Hunter change that was confirmed was a pretty big one…
In patch 7.1, Alcaz Island in Dustwallow Marsh has turned into some kind of crazy robot island filled with deadly security bots, turrets, land mines, plus all of the evil gnomes who seemingly put them there. The place is a literal death trap. It begins with getting knocked off your flying mount with anti-aircraft fire as you approach the island, meaning you can only traverse this place on foot. The robots are easy enough to deal with (well, the non-elites anyway), but the turrets and hidden landmines will kill you in seconds.
Hidden deeper on the island are 4 new Mechanical Hunter pets. Remember that you’ll either need to be a gnome or goblin to tame these. If you’re not, you can get a Mecha-Bond Imprint Matrix from an Engineer or the AH:
In addition, there are new Hunter items that can drop from the robots on the island:
- Machine Fluid: Coats your pets (including Hati) in oil. It is consumed on use and disappears on death, but they are extremely easy to farm and stack to 200. Why this item? I think it’s a little bit of a throwback to the Oil-Stained Wolf (an old glitch tame pet). The effect isn’t identical, but it’s close, and you can use it on any pet. They can be sold and traded.
- Drudge Fluid: Similar to the oil, but yellow color instead. I believe this may only drop from Doctor Weavil, so it will be rarer.
- Electrified Key: Enables the activation of Arachnodrones so you can tame them. Has a chance to drop off Doctor Weavil. Actual chance isn’t known yet, but I’d estimate about 25% from my own experience.
Alright, I knew Survival would be the unpopular Hunter spec going into Legion, but I didn’t think the disparity would be quite this severe. After a week of Emerald Nightmare, the numbers are in and it’s not pretty for Survival. As I write this, there are ~48,000 Hunter parses in Heroic Emerald Nightmare on Warcraft Logs thus far. Only ~660 of those are from Survival Hunters, along with ~36,000 Marksmanship and ~11,000 Beast Mastery. Those Survival numbers are pretty appalling.
First of all, yes, not all guilds upload their combat logs (or even keep any) but I think in the first week the vast majority of them doing Heroic content will be doing so, and these numbers should be fairly representative of what’s going on. When you add anecdotal evidence about seemingly never seeing Survival Hunters in the wild, it becomes pretty clear: Hardly anyone seems to be playing Survival.
Hunters can regain some of the functionality of old glyphs by heading out to Sholazar Basin and visiting Mardan Thunderhoof at the Nesingwary Base Camp. Originally I thought these items were only available in the class hall, but it turns out I was wrong!
Here is what this vendor sells. All four items cost 50 gold each.
- Pet Training Manual: Fetch — Teaches you the Fetch ability. Use this to have your pet loot nearby corpses for you.
- Pet Training Manual: Play Dead — Teaches you both the Play Dead and Wake Up abilities. This is actually better than the old glyph because you can have your pet feign death without you. If you want to replicate the functionality of the old glyph, you can macro both Play Dead and Feign Death together.
- The Art of Concealment — Teaches you the Aspect of the Chameleon ability, which makes you untrackable for 1 minute. This is similar to the old Aspect of the Beast.
- Hunter’s Call — A toy that summons a small beast to follow you around for 15 seconds on a 30 second cooldown.
As for glyphs, we are lacking them in the pre-patch (only Lesser Proportion is available) so you’ll have to wait until Legion. I previously covered the new glyphs here.
It’s been nearly 13 months since the last major WoW patch. Can we never have that happen again, Blizzard? Please? Alright then… so what’s there for a Hunter to do on patch day? Well, I can tell you what I’ll be doing.
First I’ll login to every character to collect their transmogs, then vendor most of that gear away (I have a feeling the enchanting market will be flooded). Then I will tame some new pets, probably starting with Thok. Then I’ll go learn all of the items that have become toys in 7.0. Collecting toys is kind of my thing (I even made a damn spreadsheet in preparation). I think I’ll have about ~270 of them on patch day, so getting to the 300 toy achievement in Legion should be easy (you get a recolored Sky Golem mount as the reward).
Then at some point I’ll begin the laborious process of opening thousands of Salvage Crates. From the gear in there, I will learn the appearances I don’t know and probably auction the rest to other transmog collectors. This is the part where it sucks to have only played Hunters for most of your WoW career. I do have some reasonably high level plate and cloth toons to send BoEs to for unlocking (and I think I will need to for the achievements, there’s only so much mail armor).
After that there won’t be much for me to do until the pre-expansion content starts unlocking (demon invasions). I am looking forward to that stuff. I imagine there will be a little more for you to explore if you weren’t on the beta or didn’t spend much time on the PTR.
If you’re interested in playing Survival when patch 7.0 drops, you may be wondering what the heck you’re supposed to use for a weapon since you probably only own ranged weapons at the moment. Sure, you will be getting your Talonclaw on day one of Legion, but for the 4-5 weeks in the interim you will need something to poke demons with. Thankfully, Blizzard will be sending you a melee weapon to get started with. If that’s not enough, there are several other options to tide you over until Legion.
Option 1: Blizzard’s Weapon Insurance
All Hunters who login to patch 7.0 will receive an in-game mail from Blizzard informing them of the weapon change for Survival. Attached to the message is a Survivalist’s Hunting Spear polearm. Its item level will be different depending on your raiding progress in Hellfire Citadel:
- No raid experience, or only LFR experience: ilvl 655
- Normal HFC raid experience: ilvl 690
- Heroic HFC raid experience: ilvl 705
- Mythic HFC raid experience: ilvl 720
I am not sure what the threshold is for Blizzard thinking that you have the experience, but if I had to guess it would be something similar to how the raid caches from the ship yard work. So if you’re currently getting heroic raid caches from the ship yard, you can probably expect an ilvl 705 polearm. This is just an educated guess, they may have different requirements.
Today’s beta build brought a few interesting changes (along with some nerfs) that are worth talking about.
- Kill Command damage buffed by 20%.
- Chimaera Shot now deals 180% weapon damage per target, down from 265%.
- Dire Stable now generates an additional 12 Focus, up from 8.
- Killer Cobra now has a 100% chance to reset the cooldown of Kill Command.
- One With The Pack now increases the chance for Wild Call procs by 15%, up from 10%.
- Hati’s death cooldown is now 30 seconds, down from 2 minutes.
Buffs all around for Beast Mastery with the exception of Chimaera Shot. It seems like they really don’t want it to be the default choice. I think they already succeeded in that with previous buffs to Stomp and Dire Frenzy, so I’m not sure this nerf was necessary. I felt like all 3 were pretty powerful in their own ways and relatively balanced.
The most interesting change here for me is the one to Killer Cobra. A couple of months ago, one of the builds actually had Killer Cobra function like this and it was pretty nice. It felt more powerful, as a level 100 talent should be. I think this could make it a much better competitor with Stampede. It makes Bestial Wraths a whole lot of fun. Tons of Kill Commands! The One With the Pack buff is nice but I still doubt it’s enough. Not while the majority of Wild Call procs are mostly wasted.
The buff to Hati’s death cooldown is a very welcome one. I’d still rather have control over resurrecting Hati myself immediately with Revive Pet, but at least it’s no longer a full 2 minute wait to get Hati back.
The glyph system in Legion is changing in several ways. First, there are no more major glyphs, only cosmetic minor glyphs. Second, glyphs are now applied to the affected ability directly and are consumable. You can no longer permanently learn a glyph. For example, when you right-click one of the Dire Beast glyphs it will open up your spellbook and highlight Dire Beast, which you then click to apply.
Hunters have a few cool glyphs and a few that could still use some work. I’ll explain them all below, but you can also watch this video to see them in action.
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.