Aaaaaand we’re back. Sort of. The Legion alpha is back online and with it comes our first look at Marksmanship! Beast Mastery is still locked out but should hopefully be available soon. Unfortunately a bug in the Marksmanship artifact scenario is preventing progression, but I expect that will be fixed relatively soon. I still managed to play around with the spec a bit, and I have some first impressions.
Datamining has been happening for the past day or so, but it’s not until now that we get to the juicy stuff: spell data. It’s great that Wowhead got it all up so fast, but it’s a huge data dump and not fully contextualized yet. I attempted to filter out the weird and questionable data, and I think I managed to interpret what is a talent and what’s not, but I could definitely be wrong on some of them. Update: Was right about most of it. List is more complete now via Wowhead database.
We’ll talk more about the baseline spec stuff in the future, but I will mention a few interesting things I noticed for each spec before I list the talents. You can read about the non-talent stuff in my previous post.
Hopefully this organized list makes it easier to take in all the talent changes from a better perspective. It really helped me see the bigger picture. Keep in mind a few talents are missing — either I missed them in the wall of text, or they aren’t there yet.
Datamined Spells: They’re fun to look at, but may include ideas that we tried and then decided to cut. FYI! https://t.co/JmIxbCuNlI
— Celestalon (@Celestalon) November 21, 2015
For all we know, some of this stuff is already gone. So feel free to get excited, as long as you go in realizing this fact. If something turns out not to be true, you can’t say Blizz took it away because it was never there in the first place!
Update 11/21: Added new Aspect of the Cheetah/Turtle spells.
Update 11/22: Added the few missing ones now that Wowhead database is live. Happy to say I was right about 95% of this stuff before knowing for sure 😀
Remember during Warlords of Draenor’s development when Blizzard was talking about “spec differentiation?” It almost became a buzz phrase. They sort of delivered, but not in a way that mattered much. At their core, the 3 Hunter specs were still the same. We had a Focus generator, a Focus dump, and a signature ability. The “differentiation” was Marksmanship having a cast time on its Focus dump (and having to stand still) and Survival having DoTs, while Beast Mastery remained relatively untouched.
Well, I think it might be for real now. I can’t say for sure until I get my hands on the beta, but from what I can tell the specs sound almost completely different — not just the core mechanics but their fantasy as well (that’s this expansion’s buzz word, by the way).
You can read the post for yourself here. Blizzard shares their basic philosophy for each spec and shows us some of their core abilities. It’s enough to go on for a first round of feedback (plus it’s the first real Hunter news in months), so let’s get started.
Note I also have some quotes in here from one of the Senior Game Designers, Andrew Chambers. He was kind enough to answer some Hunter questions in a reddit thread. Remember these are candid comments, and nothing is set in stone.
For the most part, Blizzard focused on broader topics rather than specific class information. That doesn’t mean we didn’t learn nothing about Hunters though! I’ve picked up this information from various sources over the course of today. Just a reminder that a lot of this isn’t confirmed and can change.
The Hunter Class Hall
- We got further confirmation that it is located in Highmountain (a new zone in Legion).
- Again, referred to as a “hunting lodge” so you can guess what kind of environment it will be.
- Classes get unique bonuses from their class halls. The Hunter bonus is an exclusive (and presumably faster) flight path network in the Broken Isles. We fly around on eagles. This should be a sweet bonus before we get flying later in the expansion.
- We have this bonus because of a special relationship the Hunters have with the eagles of Highmountain.
- The “hearthstone” to send us back to our class hall is an eagle that swoops down and picks us up. We can then use the same eagle to instantly return to our original location (just like Death Gate).
- Survival: Melee spec that utilizes a pet
- Beast Mastery: Ranged spec that utilizes a pet
- Marksmanship: Ranged spec that has NO pet
This means the Lone Wolf talent should be no more. Blizzard is fully committing this time and giving each spec a clear identity. It’s bound to ruffle some feathers, but my initial thoughts are that it will be good for the class.
My only real concern is balance now. If Survival is the top spec (by the same kind of margin Marksmanship is now in Hellfire Citadel), every hunter will feel forced into completely changing roles after they’ve been playing a ranged class for 10 years. Not good. Blizzard has an obligation to make sure all 3 playstyles are viable.
There was also some updates regarding the artifact weapons:
- Beast Mastery’s artifact is a gun, Marksmanship’s is a bow, Survival’s is a spear.
- There are no weapon drops in Legion. Instead, you will power up your artifact by killing bosses and doing other things in the game (PvP, dungeons, raids, dailies, whatever).
- Your artifact will be obtained very early on.
- Artifacts can be transmogged, so if you’re not happy about your weapon type for your chosen spec, you at least have that. You cannot transmog into another artifact though.
- Still not sure how Survival is going to operate in the weird transition period of 7.0 when they have no melee weapons.
We should have more details soon from the dev panel on Sunday. Shortly after the dev panel, at 1:30pm ET on Sunday, we will be recording the next Hunting Party Podcast on Twitch and talking all about this stuff. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll be posting before we go live. Should be a fun show!
This week Darkbrew, Bendak and Deirium cover a wide array of topics including LFR queue woes for Hunters, the 6.2 hotfix buffs, the legendary ring, and the amazing power of tier 4-piece bonus for Marksmanship.
The next episode is scheduled to happen hours after the Gamescom WoW developer panel (where they’ll be talking at the newly announced expansion), so hype levels should be at maximum.
The show is broadcast live on Twitch TV every second Sunday at 1:30 pm ET (17:30 GMT). The next episode is scheduled for Sunday, August 9. In addition to the live show, you can find it at:
- Youtube (embedded below)
- Episode 222 is also available for direct download here.
Last night, after a month of patch 6.2, Blizzard finally threw some table scraps at poor old Survival hunters. Of course we told them how broken it was time and time again on the PTR, but I guess these buffs are better late than never. Beast Mastery also received a smaller buff, which is more beneficial to it in older T17 gear than it is in newer T18 gear (boo).
- Beast Mastery
- Bestial Wrath now lasts 15 seconds (up from 10 seconds).
- Black Arrow, Explosive Shot, and Serpent Sting damage increased by 25%.
I’ve seen a lot of hunters ask if this means Survival and Beast Mastery are “viable” again.
Here’s the short answer: Beast Mastery has always been “viable,” it’s just not been ideal for Hellfire Citadel because of fight mechanics. The fights simply favor Marksmanship. Survival, on the other hand, was not viable. These buffs don’t really change that, but they do make it “less wrong” to play at a non-progression level.
Simulation Craft recently put out an update with the hotfixes so I ran some numbers. Please don’t use these numbers as the sole basis for choosing what to play in HFC. I’m simply using them to illustrate the change these hotfixes have.
Update: The T17 4-piece bonus pet still only lasts 10 seconds even though Bestial Wrath is lasting 15. This will reduce BM’s buff in old T17 gear slightly.
I originally did these simulations for my own amusement, but I thought I’d share them with you guys. Again, like most sims I post on this site they are done with whatever gear I’m wearing at the time (ilvl 672). Whenever you see “official” comparisons between specs on the actual Simulation Craft page, or on some other sites and guides, these are almost always done with best-in-slot gear. That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t have anywhere close to BiS so I don’t really care about those sims. I’d rather see how things look in my own gear. Keep this in mind as you read this, and always remember your results will be slightly different.
The first thing I did was compare the DPS differences between live servers and the 6.1 PTR. I went through all the talent permutations and found the highest simulated talents and used those, so each spec was represented as best as possible. I also swapped gems and enchants for each spec (mastery for BM, crit for MM, and multistrike for SV).
Simulated DPS never tells you the whole story, but I think it’s a good tool for seeing what the impact is from buffs or nerfs. Instead of using screenshots from Simulation Craft, I’m testing out some fancy HTML5 charts. Mousing over (or tapping) each bar should give the actual DPS numbers.
New Post: More information about Beast Mastery in 6.1.
Update Feb 19: Numbers updated again to reflect changes in simulation craft. The pet summoned by BM T17 4-piece does more damage. Also, survival pets inherit multistrike damage bonuses. Both of these changes are now reflected.
Update Feb 15: These numbers are now updated with the latest MM and BM buffs from the patch notes (from Feb 13): Focus Fire now grants 8% attack power per stack, Chimaera Shot damage increased by 30.4%, and Sniper Training effectiveness increased by 25%.
If you’ve been following the patch 6.1 news, I’m sure you saw the change to Stampede: It now lasts 40 seconds, up from 20 seconds. A Murder of Crows was so good that they needed to literally double it to make it competitive. From my initial testing, it seems they were successful.
However, there was a possibly unintended side effect because of an interesting relationship between Stampede and Lone Wolf. Whenever you have your standard pet out and use Stampede, it calls the remaining 4 pets. However, when you’re using Lone Wolf it calls out all 5 pets. One would think it should only be calling out 4 pets so that the talent has the same value regardless of your chosen level 100 talent, but this is not the case for marksmanship and survival. I’d like to think this is a bug or an oversight, but who knows for sure? It’s been around for a while, so maybe it is intended. I don’t understand why. Also see the bottom of this post for an important note on another Lone Wolf/Stampede bug.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the Stampede buff’s effect on all 3 specs.
Jan 14: This article has received some updates due to hotfixes. Updates are in red.
Multistrike is good. Really good. You should probably enchant all of your gear and gem with nothing but multistrike for the time being. The one exception would be if you exclusively play Marksmanship. In that case, I’d probably still stick with crit — at least until your buffed crit is above 40%. After 40% (43% technically) its value starts to diminish because the extra crit is wasted during Careful Aim.
Anyway, back to multistrike. Even if one of your specs is MM, I’d still enchant with multistrike if you equally play another spec along with it because multistrike is no slouch for MM either.
For Beast Mastery, it’s not light years above the other stats. However, it’s usually at the top, or at least tied for the top (will vary slightly based on your gear). Update 1/14: With the recent hotfix to the value of BM Mastery, the Mastery stat is now the top stat for BM. However, Multistrike is still good and not too far behind. As someone who plays both BM and SV, I won’t be switching my enchants away from Multistrike at this time. Multistrike’s true value is unleashed with Survival. With my gear currently, 1 point of multistrike has nearly the same value as 3 points of haste. Wait… what?