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…
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.
Reaching wave 30 on Endless mode in Proving Grounds to get “the Proven Assailant” title has always been a bit of a pain in the ass, but that has changed for Hunters in patch 7.0. I’d go as far to say as it’s now been kind of trivialized for Marksmanship. You still need to pay attention, but it’s way easier than it used to be.
Marksmanship is absolutely ridiculous for spread AoE damage if you take the right talents, and it’s just as good for single target to boot. These are the main talents you care about:
Sidewinders allows you to mark many things at once, and Patient Sniper adds a huge damage buff without having to build up 3 stacks (takes too long for these 1 minute waves). Combine that with Barrage when Marked Shot isn’t available and you have a deadly combination for Proving Grounds. Here is a good build to start with.
Patch 7.0 is upon us and Hunters are… well, kind of different. The reaction I’ve seen to the new Hunter specs has been mixed to say the least. It’s probably more shocking if you didn’t put in any serious play time on the beta or PTR. These are new specs, and it’s pretty much a new class. So take a deep breath and give it at least a week. 😛
I’m not saying negative reactions are unwarranted because I had many of them myself. The difference is I’ve had about 6 months to adjust! Accepting these changes didn’t happen overnight for me. Don’t think I’m totally happy with everything either — far from it — but I also realize that at this point nothing serious is going to change. So I’m done with complaining about changes and giving feedback. It’s time to move forward.
If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend trying out all 3 specs. If you want an easy low-stress place to do that, just do some Timewalking dungeons. It will give you some perspective on where the whole class stands. Maybe you’ve always been a BM Hunter, but you’ll try Survival and love it? Who knows?
Personally, I’ve warmed up to the new BM. It’s not perfect, but I have fun playing it. And it’s even better (IMO) once you get Hati and are able to have two custom pets. Marksmanship feels kind of disjointed to me unless I am using the Sidewinders talent. Survival is mostly a curiosity. I’ve never been a fan of melee combat in WoW, but Harpooning around with your pet is pretty damn fun.
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.
This post is brought to you by Warcraft, in theaters this June!
Seriously though, check out that dwarf! Lothar can’t believe that someone called him a Huntard to his face like that. Clearly they didn’t see that this dwarf was packing. Let’s pretend he is a Marksmanship Hunter so that it’s relevant to this post.
The big news came in yesterday: Marksmanship’s pet is returning in Legion! Lone Wolf is coming back as a talent, only now it will be available at level 15. Here it is, straight from the sparkly dragon’s mouth:
Finally! Beast Mastery is unlocked on the Legion alpha. The current build has been unstable thus far so it’s difficult to get any serious testing done, but I did manage to complete the Titanstrike artifact quest line and complete a level. Having now played through all three Hunter artifact scenarios, I definitely think the one for Titanstrike is the most fun.
I’m not saying the other artifact scenarios are bad, but they have a disadvantage: They don’t take you back to Ulduar and have you interact with Mimiron and Thorim! That was definitely the coolest part of getting Titanstrike. It’s a mixture of killing things and completing simple environment puzzles (more like avoiding various forms of fire on the ground). Most of the talking is done by Mimiron and a new dwarf character that Mimiron hilariously keeps confusing with Brann Bronzebeard. There is an explanation for why Hati specifically is tied to the gun. Hati is a permanent second pet that you get whenever Titanstrike is equipped. So far it looks like the appearance is limited to the lightning wolf (like Skoll), but the color may change when you change Titanstrike’s color.
We’ll start with BM impressions then talk about other Hunter stuff from this build.
I need some Beast Mastery in my life. I’m just not feeling much of an attachment to SV or MM yet. I hate to say it, but Blizzard may have changed them too much for my liking. Normally I am receptive to change and try to see the positive side to this sort of thing, but I still haven’t been able to warm up to these new specs yet. I’ve tried. Trust me.
To be fair, it’s still incredibly early in the process. The Legion alpha/beta feels like it’s progressing slower than Warlords ever did (that may be because of the holiday break). There’s still a lot not there yet. Not just entire zones, but entire specs, entire abilities, and entire talents. Once SV and MM are polished experiences, I could feel very differently.
As for other Hunter news, it has been rather sparse lately. I still can’t tame any new pets, which was one of my favorite things to do during the Warlords beta. There are a few new beasts out there (like that awesome wolf in the header image), but there is still a bug with taming. Once that is fixed I plan on going out hunting and filling up the stable with everything new! I’m also excited to try out mechanical pets once that is sorted out.
One thing that has sprang up is some replacements for minor glyphs, such as Pet Training Manual: Play Dead, Pet Training Manual: Fetch, and The Art of Concealment (Chameleon is simply a rename of Aspect of the Beast). We don’t know how these manuals are acquired yet, but it looks like making your pet feign death could be a separate ability not tied to Feign Death. That may actually be handy for some things.
- My overall opinion on Survival has not changed (read my previous posts on the subject). I still think the pet interaction isn’t quite there yet. That’s not what you want when only two specs can even use pets. I’m going to keep beating this dead horse until it’s truly dead: I think the Survival pet needs to stay beside the Hunter at all times in order for this to work. I will even give up some pet control to have this happen. I’ll leave it at that.
- Mongoose Bite has changed quite a bit. Now the buff lasts 12 seconds instead of 3 seconds, BUT new Mongoose Bites do not extend the duration. In simplest terms, this has simplified the rotation and made it a little more forgiving. Prior to this you were encouraged to weave other abilities in between Mongoose Bites, and now you are encouraged to save up 3 stacks and burn them all in a row (and hope you get more procs before the 12 sec buff wears off). At the risk of sounding like a casual who doesn’t want a complex rotation, I prefer it this way to be honest.
- Disengage has been removed from Survival. I will miss it dearly. The Posthaste talent has been adjusted so it works with Harpoon instead. Demon Hunters are melee and have the ability to quickly move backwards or forwards, but they are special snowflakes.
- Aspect of the Cheetah now has a 3 minute cooldown, up from 1 minute (this applies to all 3 specs). So, we went from a nearly permanent 30% movement speed increase to a 3 minute sprinting cooldown. Not too happy about that, but I think movement enhancing abilities are getting toned down across the board so Demon Hunters can stand out more.
- I really hope we get a Trap Launcher toggle back as I find that 80% of the time I am just dropping the trap at my feet anyway, and the extra click and trap aiming seem unnecessary for a melee spec.
- Fury of the Eagle has a 45 second cooldown now, which makes a lot of sense. It had no cooldown before so you basically spammed it for free damage. Now that the Mongoose Bite buff lasts 12 seconds, you actually have time to fully use it.
- It’s still super early and a lot can change. Some people feel the opposite, so don’t get too discouraged over my general lukewarm reception of Survival thus far. I never went in expecting to love playing in melee.
- I’ve seen some people complain that Marksmanship is too squishy or it’s too hard to play without a pet while soloing/questing, but I think that’s because they are doing a lot of face tanking and expecting to survive. Marksmanship in Legion is all about kiting and slowing down your target, and in my opinion there are tools to do this adequately. You’re not going to be able to solo as well as Beast Mastery, but that is one of BM’s strengths.
- You still take damage from ranged attacks and DoTs though, and the one thing I think Marksmanship does need is some kind of maintenance heal to replace the removed Kill Shot heal. I think every DPS spec in the game needs a maintenance ability like this, and right now all Marksmanship has is a 2-minute Exhilaration.
- The Focus pool has been reduced to 100 from 120. I didn’t even notice until someone told me. With how fast Focus regenerates now, it’s not as bad as it sounds.
- Bursting Shot’s range was doubled to 20 yards (very nice). For reference, this ability gives a small knockback to enemies and confuses them (think Scatter Shot).
- The 5th tier of PvP talents has completely changed. You choose between one of the following:
- T.N.T.: Reduces the cooldown of Bursting Shot by 10 sec.
- Explosive Shot: You fire an explosive charge at the target, stunning the target and dealing Fire damage every sec for 4 sec.
- Freezing Arrow: Fires a Frozen Arrow, incapacitating the target and all nearby enemies within 6 yards of the target for 8 sec. Any damage caused will break the ice.
So, traps aren’t 100% removed from Marksmanship. They can at least have the option for one in PvP!