Seriously? Changes on the way for talents and Lock and Load

I could have changed a few things in the large feedback post I published just a couple of hours ago if I would have known this was coming, but Celestalon and his impeccable timing posted this update for hunters about an hour afterwards. Thanks, Celestalon!

At least my post wasn’t all for naught. These announced changes are definite improvements in several areas but still leaves a lot of the marksmanship problems unanswered. Here we go…

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Forums)

Hey all. Please focus on continuing to give good feedback, not the style/amount of our responses to said feedback. We’re just extremely busy, not ignoring or spiteing you.

Now then… Yes, the Marksmanship and Survival rotations are simpler than they were before. The goal is to have a simpler baseline rotation, and have meaningful choices that allow you to layer more depth onto that in talents, if you choose.

Hunters have a ton of talents which grant rotational or short CD abilities, to support this design. However, they were lacking in rotational depth. The gameplay of most of them boiled down to “use on cooldown”. No need to think about preparing for when you’re going to use it, or how it interacts with your rotation, etc. So, we’re going to make some tweaks to try to add some rotational depth to several of the talent choices.

  • Barrage is being changed to make it more rotational, with Focus-pooling gameplay required to min/max its benefit. You’ll want to pool 60 Focus in anticipation of it coming off cooldown.
    • Barrage now has a 20sec CD (down from 30sec), costs 60 Focus (up from 30 Focus), and deals 100% additional damage.
  • Murder of Crows had a cooldown-shortening effect that hardly mattered in practice; either the fight would likely be over within 1min if used on a low-healh boss, or you’d likely waste most of the damage of the crows if used on a low-health add. Instead, we’re changing that mechanic, so that it’s primarily useful on those low-health adds. You’ll want to time it well to finish off low health targets, while still being as Focus-efficient as possible.
    • Murder of Crows has been changed. Its duration, cost, and cooldown have been reduced by 50%. It no longer has a shorter cooldown when used on low health targets. Instead, its cooldown is reset if the target dies.
  • The gameplay of Fervor and Dire Beast were extremely similar, so we opted to replace Fervor completely. It’s rather late in the development process to be doing that, so went with something tried and true: Steady Focus. This iteration of Steady Focus purely increases Focus regeneration, and has a duration short enough to add depth.
    • Fervor has been replaced with Steady Focus: Using Cobra Shot or Steady Shot twice in a row, or using Focusing Shot, increases your Focus Regeneration by 50% for 10 sec.

We think that these changes will allow Hunters of all types to customize their gameplay to their liking.

Interesting how they focused on talents instead of the actual specs. It’s hard to comment on them until I try it out for myself, but the AMoC change sounds very promising.

And Barrage? Possibly a new competitor for Glaive Toss emerges? We’ll have to see.

The new Steady Focus still has some unanswered questions. Mainly, does it only affect passive regeneration or the regeneration of Cobra/Steady as well? That should hopefully be clarified soon. I know some folks were really big fans of Fervor though (Rogerbrown for one), so I’m not sure everyone will be happy about that loss. But if I personally had to choose one to remove, it would have been that. Dire Beast is too integral for BM, and Thrill is MM’s lifeblood right now.

Celestalon also posted this bit about Lock and Load:

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Forums)
Oh, completely forgot that another relevant change hasn’t made it into one of your builds yet. Apologies.

Lock and Load is returning to the previous version of it, and Multistrikes will simply do more damage for Survival instead.

It’s changing to… 20% chance on Black Arrow tick (not multistrikes, and guaranteed to get at least 1 proc per Black Arrow cast). Effect is to reset ExS’s cooldown, and cause the next two ExSs to cost no focus and trigger no cooldown.

This isn’t quite the live version of LnL you’re used to. It’s another version that briefly existed in early beta. You can read more about how that works here.

As for survival doing more damage with multistrikes, I’m not sure how that’s going to work. It’s possible that survival’s innate 10% multistrike chance will be changed to increased multistrike damage instead? Just speculating.

Many of the points brought up in my earlier post weren’t addressed, but this is progress. I look forward to testing these changes. Celestalon also had this to say when asked about MM’s issues:

Originally Posted by Celestalon (Official Forums)
We don’t view specs by their baseline untalented rotations, because their baseline untalented rotations never matter. What matters is the complete package. The complete package includes some baseline abilities, some talent on rows where all affect your rotation, and some optional rotation-affecting talents to complicate things further. It makes it very customizable. Most of you are quite experienced and will enjoy significant added rotational complexity, which is available to you.

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23 thoughts on “Seriously? Changes on the way for talents and Lock and Load”

  1. “We don’t view specs by their baseline untalented rotations, because their baseline untalented rotations never matter. What matters is the complete package. The complete package includes some baseline abilities, some talent on rows where all affect your rotation, and some optional rotation-affecting talents to complicate things further. It makes it very customizable. Most of you are quite experienced and will enjoy significant added rotational complexity, which is available to you.”

    Did they seriously write that down??? If they balance specs by taking talents into account, how do they avoid making specs reliant on certain talents? I thought we were supposed to get away from cookie cutter talent builds? Wouldnt that by definition require to reduce talents to supplements?

    By now Im seriously tired of all the garbage Blizz throws at me in this beta…

    1. They design the spec with the recognition that the player is going to take talents. Remember the complaints about too many buttons in Mists? Part of that came from talents. They can’t ignore talents when designing the specs or you won’t have rotation room for talents. It IS logical.

      Now, they may have gone too far with this. That’s reasonable feedback. But totally ignoring talents is bad design.

      1. Nobody is demanding that they ignore the existence of talents, but the specs should have some internal coherence and abilities should be interactive. Its possible for BM, why not for SV and MM?

        1. I agree there needs to be enough base to give the spec good flavor. After all, the talents are identical across specs. (Except Lone Wolf/Adaptability.) But the opening comment seemed offended by the mere IDEA that talents are included in balancing concerns. Perhaps that’s just me misreading something on the Internet, it wouldn’t be the first – or last – time. So I was attempting to point out that talent considerations are reasonable.

          Anyway, these changes make me feel a lot better about Survival, but still worried about Marksman.

      2. Agreed. I think it’s logical for them to balance based on talent options. And I like the way they’ve introduced talents to change play style!

      3. I feel the talents should certainly not be ignored, but should be adding other options to pre-existing abilities/replace them to then add complexity, rather than the talent itself BE the ability so much. That way they can create complexity and identity to each spec, without the worry of the classes core mechanics adding to “Much” down the track. The DK’s level 100 talents do this practically well as an example.

        So let’s say if they had an AOE Row, something like….

        Combustive Trap.
        Replaces your explosive trap with a combustive trap, Increasing its damages by (XYZ%) When a target effected by combustive trap moves, it increases it’s damage by (XYZ%) per second and also spreads to any target within 5yards for (XYZ seconds)

        Converging Shot.
        Replaces your Multi-shot with Converging Shot, a short channeled spell that shoots a large spray dealing small damage in a wide cone, followed by spray dealing medium damage in a medium cone, finished by a single shot, which does high damage. (Very similar to subetai the swifts volley)

        Replaces your Multi-shot with Volley, a long channeled spell that continuously fires a volley of ammo at the target area, causing damage to enemy targets within 10 yards of the target every second. (I still hear people lament over the loss of volley, why not bring it back with some improvements of some sort, make it do magic damage or apply some kind of debuff or something not too OP?)

        (I’m not going to attempt the damage component of anything as they can be adjusted to be balanced)

        That way they can add new interesting talents, that effect game play styles (An AOE for constantly moving targets, one with a more single target focus/cleave, and one for stationary targets)…and all this without adding new “Button Bloat”. They can then effectively work on adding identity to the specs via a full cohesive set of skill/abilities, adding depth and identity and not having reply on talents to make them function.

  2. I assume Steady Focus will only increase passive regen. I don’t think active regen makes sense with Focusing Shot, although Steady Focus and Focusing Shot will probably we mutually exclusive (and should probably have been on the same tier).

    Blizzards message is clear though..they have run out time since they weren’t paying attention to hunter earlier and therefore no real changes will come. Too bad they didn’t run out time before they ruined MM.

    1. Why would Steady Focus and Focusing Shot be mutually exclusive, if only one Focusing Shot is enough to proc Steady Focus, while you need 2 cobras/steadys in a row to proc it? I see it as a nice synergy buff to Focusing Shot, since it was kind of lacking on that talent row.

      1. I’m not sure if after casting Focusing Shot you need the passive focus supplied by Steady Focus. It could be that some of that extra focus regen is lost due to getting focus capped. For example, while casting Aimed Shot.

  3. I really like the direction of hunters… but I think Blizz is falling short on execution for MM.

    I love the idea to convert the range boost from Sniper Training to a perk.

    I LOVE sniper training being back… but it needs to be rewarding, right now it feels punishing for moving. there are tons of ways to accomplish this, the suggestion of 50% while moving and 100% after stopping. or it could be increase x while moving and x while stationary.
    I’ve also suggested on the forums, D3 Wizards have a rune that increases damage while stationary after 1.5 second. As soon as you move you loose the buff. This would at least be more clear and easier to maintain.
    Extend the duration with Chimaera Shot.
    Decrease the arm time with Haste.
    Even just decreasing the arm time and extending the buff.
    At least give us a glyph to do something with Sniper Training!

  4. Well, if I could post on the beta forums, I would, but I can’t, so I’ll post here.

    MM needs more dynamic changes in rotation. It isn’t interesting. Slow casts, no procs, no buffs, no reason to think beyond “pop on CD”.

    Here are the old passives, for comparison:
    Piercing Shots – pure passive damage that doesn’t make you do anything different. Not helpful.
    Steady Focus (old) – passive buff for doing something you were going to do anyway. Haste makes the spec feel faster, but not more dynamic. Maybe helpful (But now a talent, and thus unlikely to return as an MM passive).
    Master Marksman – proc effect that changes your rotation. Saves focus, increasing DPS. Instant AS makes the spec feel like it’s building up to a big burst of damage. Very helpful.
    Concussive Barrage – passive Snare, does not affect how you play at all. Not helpful.

    I think that synergy between passives and actives make a spec feel more fluid. MM needs at least one more passive effect (something that actually changes rotation!), and possibly a new active ability.

    With these points in mind, I propose the following changes to MM.

    Chimaera Shot – Removed.

    Deadly Shot – Deals X Physical damage. 35 Focus. Instant Cast. 9 Second cololdown. –(Replaces Chimaera Shot).

    Tracer Shot (new ability) – Deals Y Physical damage. Causes Tracer effect. 25 Focus. Instant cast. 20 second cooldown. –(new active ability, with a new buff to manage)

    Tracer (new passive) – Your critical strikes against the target cause your shots to ignore 5% armor. Stacks up to 3 times. 8 second duration. Tracer can only affect 1 target at a time. –(Tracer Shot a target for direct damage. Crit the same target within 8 seconds for a 5% armor penetration buff, crit the same target again to refresh the buff & debuff and add a stack. If you Tracer Shot a new target, wipe the buff stack.)

    Master Marksman (passive) – restored to MoP live functionality.

    MMM would add a fun proc, nothing revolutionary, just a little extra to the rotation.
    Tracer Shot would add some skillcap to the spec beyond standing still, in that you want to maintain the debuff on the kill target, so that you can maintain the buff on yourself. Single target, its essentially a 15% damage buff that needs to be maintained (which is trivial with ~18% crit, based on 0% haste and a 3.0 speed weapon). AoE-wise, you keep the debuff on the highest health target, and let Bombardment generate MS crits, to keep your ArPen buff up, and do more damage to everything.
    Deadly Shot would just be a change in damage type and name, to accommodate the “heavy physical damage” flavor of the rest of the spec, while synergizing better with the new tracer passive.

    1. A lot of people want the all physical damage and armor penetration flavor for the spec. I’m not sure if they’d do it, it seems like they want to keep at least one ability as magic damage. Always thought Armor pen would be another decent master option for MM though.

      1. I had originally listed “Tracer Shot” as “Frost Shot”, doing frost damage instead of physical, and having the debuff called “Brittle Armor”. Functionally it could work the same, and have the same gameplay, while using a different damage type.

  5. Strange changes this late in Beta, but something is better than nothing I suppose, I do want to note, I am not crazy about ANY Talent or Skill that makes me stand still for ANY period of time, that usually equates to being dead in a relatively short period of time. I play SV and MM, have since BC, nothing against BM mind you, just never played the spec, the whole idea is/was to move AND do damage, thus avoiding a nasty death… Keep the love coming for SV and MM we may yet make it to an XPack with some actual real potential!!!

  6. “Possibly a new competitor for Glaive Toss emerges?”

    I could be totally wrong here, but I recall Barrage having a surprisingly long range, making it difficult to use without aggroing everything in front of (and, in some cases, behind) you. I assume that until they do something about that, Glaive Toss is going to be the preferable one anyway, at least when leveling?

    1. Once you get used to it, Barrage is not that surprisingly scary to use, you end up learning to position yourself before using it. Now… if that’s a good or a bad thing… Is another discussion.

  7. Just to add another thought on the pile – some interaction with explosive trap and LnL/explosive shot – targets affected by your explosive trap (now that it’s on the target not ground) take 100% more damage from explosive shot, and trigger the Lock and Load effect with two charges. A little mini-burst with some skill to take the most advantage of.

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