What follows isn’t going to written like one of my normal blog posts. It’s a copy/paste of a feedback post I made in the Warlords beta forums intended for the developers. I thought some of you may be interested in reading it anyway. I’ve added a few pictures to help with the “wall of text crits you for 9000” factor.
WoD beta build 18505 just hit the servers and with it comes some pretty substantial changes for marksmanship and survival hunters.
- Marksmanship’s mastery is no longer Wild Quiver, and is now Sniper Training.
- When you stand still for 3 seconds, you gain Sniper Training for 6 sec, which increases your damage, shot range, and critical strike damage by 4%.
It seems like Blizzard is really pushing for marksmanship to be the turret spec. The synergy here with Focusing Shot has enormous potential if this style of play is something you’re interested in. The 4% value is the base mastery, it will be higher with mastery gear. On the beta I got it up to 10% with gear and buffs. Some of you may remember the old Sniper Training talent from back in the day, but that one was just increased damage. This new version adds critical hit damage and shot range. The shot range bit is pretty interesting. 50 yard shots? Very, very cool. I’ve done a quick bit of testing on the beta and it appears that it takes 3 seconds to activate. It doesn’t start counting down from 6 seconds until you begin moving.
The real question is if we’ll be able to give up our bunny-hopping, DPS-on-the-move freedom and revert back to turret style. What do you think?
After testing this for a bit on the beta, one thing it REALLY needs is some kind of visual to let you know you have it. Otherwise, it’s basically a “WeakAuras required” thing to get the most out of it.
The vast majority of hunter changes in this build are tooltip changes for clearer wording, or to merge two abilities into one to reduce spellbook clutter. Piercing Shots is still listed in this build even though it’s supposedly getting removed, but I would wager that it’s just an oversight. The Enhanced Piercing Shots perk for marksmanship, which would have added Piercing Shots to Multi-Shot, has been changed to Improved Chimera Shot. Before we get started, keep in mind that some of these set bonuses could still change.
Beast Mastery T17 Set Bonuses
- 2-piece: Kill Command has a 25% chance to increase the size and damage of your pet by 10% for 8 seconds.
- 4-piece: While Bestial Wrath is active, one additional pet is summoned to fight with you.
These are much nicer than the old temporary ones. The 2-piece bonus lasts just long enough so you can apply its bonus to your next Kill Command.
The 4-piece sounds like it might just be an extra Dire Beast summon that pops during Bestial Wrath, which means probably only melee attacks and no specials. I hope I’m wrong and it pulls another one of your active pets with all its abilities intact (or at least claw/bite/smack). That would be very nice.
I’ve spent some time with all 3 specs recently. Ran the dungeon at least twice with each, and did a little bit of testing (what little I could without a damage meter). Yesterday, I shared some more general impressions of the alpha as a whole. Today, I’m keeping it short and to the point. I’m sure opinions will change as I play it more, but for now this is what stood out to me after my extremely limited experience in a single zone and a single dungeon over the course of a couple of days.
- Hardly anything has changed vs. BM on live servers apart from the lack of Serpent Sting. I don’t miss Serpent Sting for BM at all.
- Kill Shot is nice. It hits harder and the cooldown reset when it doesn’t kill the target is much faster. Oh, and the 15% heal ain’t bad either.
- Pet damage is a little low at the moment, but a numbers tuning pass hasn’t been done yet.
- Blink Strikes is too mandatory to give up. Seems weird I’ll seemingly never have a desire to use Stampede as a beast mastery hunter.
- This applies to all specs, but I like that pet buffs are permanent auras now.
Updated: If you read this post earlier, there were some more hunter changes added to the notes. Updates are in red.
Blizzard just updated the alpha patch notes with a handful of hunter changes and an explanation of their philosophy on adding the new secondary stat attunements which were discovered in the previous build.
Lone Wolf is a new level 100 talent for survival and marksmanship hunters. It’s kind of a big deal. It lets you play a pet class without a pet. Whoa. It’s pretty simple: Dismiss your pet and get a 30% damage buff. Lone Wolf is undoubtedly the result of player demand. Demand from all of the players who want to play an archer class without having to maintain a roster of pets. Even more demand from raiders who were sick of their pet doing silly things like getting stuck in random places and not doing any DPS.
I’m not currently in the alpha, so most of what follows is just speculation. I’m just going by what I can see on paper and the limited amount of info I’ve been able to gleam from the handful of hunter streamers in alpha.
The following talents and abilities will simply not function if you spec into Lone Wolf:
- Spirit Bond
- Blink Strikes
- Master’s Call
- Roar of Sacrifice (obvious since it’s a pet ability, but worth noting)
Spirit Bond is something I’d have trouble living without, though the new self-heals from Kill Shot and Survivalist will help somewhat. The loss of Master’s Call is probably a deal breaker for a lot of PvP hunters.
Tired of beast mastery and survival? Ricket has posted a great video guide to marksmanship DPS in 5.4 on her YouTube channel. She discusses stat priorities, arcane vs. aimed shot focus dumps, the opener, and more. She’s currently ranked #1 for marksmanship on Malkorok 25H on worldoflogs, so it’s a safe bet you can take these tips to the bank.
With the possibility of marksmanship being a stronger spec in Warlords, you may want to get a head start and try it out now if you haven’t yet. Just remember that Aimed Shot will be the exclusive focus dump in the future, so don’t get too attached to Arcane Shot while playing MM! You can see a summary of marksmanship changes in Warlords revealed thus far here on Eyes of the Beast.
Update 8/22: This article is still mostly accurate but is slightly depreciated. It will give you a good overview of the overall changes but you may want to view more recent posts under the Marksmanship tag for more info and recent opinions.
If you missed it earlier, Blizzard released the first version of patch notes for the Warlords of Draenor alpha. I’ve summed up all the relevant hunter info in this post if you want to catch up.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be looking at some of the individual changes in separate posts such as this one — my opinions on them, and what I think they mean for hunters. Previously, I discussed the survival changes, and today I’m going to look at marksmanship. A new focus dump, farther attack range, and potentially “fixed” AoE? Say it ain’t so.
I don’t think you’ll believe where I found out this little tidbit of news, but it was in the Twitch chat for tonight’s Legendary show. While the hosts were talking about the hunter crowd control changes, Lore and Celestalon — who were both in the chat — chimed in with this news about hunter focus dumps:
So, to clarify, survival and beast mastery will continue to use Arcane Shot as their primary focus dump, but now marksmanship will dump their focus solely with Aimed Shot. And yes, Aimed Shot is still a casted ability. This is going to make marksmanship feel a lot different from the other specs. I for one am excited!
I do hope they make the Glyph of Aimed Shot baseline though (unless their plan is to remove the glyph entirely). Note that you can play the spec like this today, so you may want to give it a shot because you’ll have to get used to not having Arcane Shot as a marksmanship hunter. Earlier this week, while looking closely at the video here, I noticed that Aimed Shot’s focus cost was reduced by 20 during Thrill of the Hunt. It all makes sense now. 🙂 Reminder: This is all subject to change.