Hunter changes in patch 6.1: Talent buffs and more

Blizzard finally put out the official 6.1 notes and we got some buffs in the talent department. Check these out.

Originally Posted by Blizzard
Talent Balance

Developer Commentary: A primary focus for class changes in Patch 6.1 is improving overall talent balance. Not every talent needs to be useful in every situation; and in fact it’s often better if they have strengths and weaknesses. But we do try to have each talent be useful in some situations, and make them close enough in value that if you really enjoy the gameplay of a talent you don’t feel like you’re dragging your group down by using it.

For these changes we focused primarily on tuning (tweaking numbers), and nearly all changes are buffs to underperforming talents. The goal is to reach more variety of viable builds, without bringing down the existing popular choices.

  • Barrage damage has been increased by 21%.
  • Exhilaration now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%).
  • Glaive Toss damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Powershot damage has been increased by 62%.
  • Stampede now lasts 40 seconds (up from 20 seconds).

Here is the main thing I take away from this: Blizzard desperately wants us to use Powershot.  😆  If it’s as good as it sounds, Powershot may become the new single target DPS talent of choice because it’s not like it was that far behind before this. This is all good news though, because in some cases (like with Survival) there was almost no benefit from using a level 90 talent for single target damage. This will obviously change now, and Barrage just got 21% more awesome for AoE if that was even possible.

The more shocking one is that Stampede now lasts for 40 seconds (whoa!). Yes, A Murder of Crows was that good to justify this. I feel like this could push Stampede to be the best on many single target fights, especially when the cooldowns line up nicely with fight duration (i.e. Stampede would kill it on a 6 minute fight). AMoC still has the benefit of being able to reset the cooldown if used smartly on multi-target fights. I love the sound of it as a BM hunter, so I’m hoping it’s as good as it sounds and that there’s no strings attached (like reduced damage on the Stampede pets).

The Exhilaration buff was desperately needed. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

None of these changes except the Barrage buff appear to be live on the PTR yet so I can’t test much. I’m sure Simulation Craft will be updated within the next day or two and then I can start playing around with that at least.

I’m still holding out hope for a Kill Command buff to give a small kick to BM single target DPS.

Rockin' the jukebox
Rockin’ the jukebox

Trap and pet changes

Datamining already revealed the trap changes, but I believe the rest of this is new.

Originally Posted by Blizzard


  • Trap Mastery no longer reduces the cooldown of all traps and Black Arrow by 6 seconds.
  • Black Arrow now has a cooldown of 24 seconds (down from 30 seconds).
  • Enhanced Traps now reduces the cooldown on all traps by 33% (down from 50%).

Hunter Pets

  • Basilisks now have a pet family ability. Stone Scales reduces damage taken by the pet. Previously, Basilisks did not have a pet family ability.
  • Hydra pets should no longer be excessively large.
  • Spirit Beast’s Spirit Beast Blessing now also provides a 5% increase to critical strike chance. Does not stack with other critical strike chance buffs. Previously, other exotic pet families provided buffs to 2 stats while Spirit Beasts provided only 1.

We talked about these trap changes on the last Hunting Party Podcast with RogerBrown from Method, but the gist is that they wanted to tone down the OP 12-second cooldown on Survival traps (mainly for PvP reasons). The end result is Survival now has 20-second cooldown traps (versus 30 seconds for the other specs).  Black Arrow had its cooldown adjusted to account for it being removed from Trap Mastery. It’s the same as it was before.

Poor Basilisks finally have a special ability. Originally it was supposed to be Multistrike, but this new one sounds like a variant of Shell Shield.

The Hydra change isn’t in yet, but I never really considered them to be obnoxiously big.

I’m loving the Spirit Beast buff, but they’re wrong about all other exotics providing buffs to 2 stats. Core Hounds, Chimaera, Quilen, and Devilsaurs all provide 1 buff to stats. They do have extra abilities, of course, so perhaps that is what the notes were meant to convey. Cats also have stealth so it makes sense that it doesn’t count for one of the Spirit Beast’s 3 specials.

Now to see where I can find some more tunes for my jukebox.

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21 thoughts on “Hunter changes in patch 6.1: Talent buffs and more”

  1. heres to hoping that they seperate ice trap and frost trap, since that would up our cc capabilities a lot without making us save frost trap for most situations

    1. As near as I can tell, Blizzard’s solution to needing to use an aoe snare and also an incapacitate is to have hunters use glyph of snake trap (replaces frost trap with snake trap, so you can use that without incurring CD on ice trap). I can’t imagine they would just separate those given that 1) the glyph would be borderline useless and 2) the last thing they want to do is add more CC without some kind of tradeoff.

  2. I feel like blink strikes is now going to be severely underrated… I find my pet does a lot of travel time without it. I don’t want it to be “AMoC or Stampede” as BM hunter. Blink strikes should be weighed heavily, and it doesn’t feel as if that is the case. Also, hydra size nerf will make me sad. They seemed just the right size. Any smaller, and they look ridiculous.

    Aside from that, patch notes look nice.

      1. i do wish it was just base line though for bm, its a boring talent but its very effective and not a choice when it comes to aoe

        1. Actually with the most recent buff to Mastery I found that when stacking Mastery versus Multistrike – Blink Strikes is VERY valuable. The only thing I would suggest Blink Strikes needs – is to serve as a buff for Kill Command for Beast Mastery.

          For example
          Blink Strikes – Increases basic attack damage by 50% and can be done from 30 yards away. Kill Command now teleports pet to the target increasing damage of attack by 10%.

  3. I am sad about the way Stampede has been buffed… 2+ minutes CD are sooooo boring! (cf BW vs old RF)
    Why not put a 2.5 mins CD instead of 40 sec duration?!

  4. I’ve never used Powershot because there is a knock back involved and I assumed it was a pvp thing.
    I wish, in my hunter heart, that BM single target would be much stronger!
    Finally, a question: Roger Brown is using Focusing Shot instead of Lone Wolf — I’m assuming he’s getting more out of the focus than the 30% damage buff. How does he manage it?

    1. The pet does something like 7.5% of my total damage, and focusing shot allows me to use a lot more instant cast shots, whereas with lone wolf in survival, you always seem to run out of focus and end up using too many cobra shots.

    2. My guess would be that if you keep an eye on those talents they will change regularly, and sometimes even fight by fight. The danger is assuming that Lone Wolf always = 30% damage boost. It’s all about matching your talents to the encounter during progression and if focus regen is limiting your ability to use more efficient shots then Lone Wolf might result in a net loss in damage.

  5. Interesting changes. I wonder how far they are willing tot buff powershot tot make people use it. Single target it can be interesting but I can imagine it might give hunters a bad name in random heroics/LFR. I think more people would use it if they reduced the cast-time.

    40 sec stampede is nice but I wonder if that doesn’t cause problems in PvP. A 100% damage increase or reducing the cool down by 50% would have been more interesting.

    1. Hunters have always been 3-tiered. Pet driven, aim and power driven, or dot and maneuver driven. Over time Blizz has actually made all 3 specs a lot more maneuverable, while adding pet and power into the other specs.

  6. My only concern is that Powershot needs a minor glyph to remove the knockback, like every other knockback effect in the game (Typhoon, Thunderstorm, etc).

    I likely won’t be using it without such a glyph, as tanks will hate me for messing with their positioning.

    1. I was about to post that exact sentiment! Power Shot looks good and all but man… that knock back! It’s gonna PISS off the tanks!! I really never have considered Power Shot for PvE simply for that reason. It’s always been a PvP talent IMO and will remain so if they don’t give us the option to glyph out the knock back. Or, better yet, take the knock back out entirely and make minor glyph to include the knock back for PvPers that want it.

  7. I’m glad they’re buffing the spirit beast’s ability, cos’ their heals are pathetic and given that they only buff master, I find myself running with a cat.

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