Welcome to Scattered Shots, the weekly Hunter column which is written by a guy who doesn't generally spec for said talent.
So. I'm here. I'm not completely wrapped up in Wrath, I promise. In fact, just to show how much I am not wrapped up in the here and now, in the long lines for the queues and prospect of getting a beautiful worm pet and all that good stuff, I'm going to predict the future!
Let's look at some of the promises and perils that 3.1 and other future patches will bring for the Hunter.
So as you may recall, Blizzard outright admitted that they didn't have time to finish Trap Mastery before Wrath hit, leaving Survival Hunters with a talent that, while not completely useless, also leaves a lot to be desired for its position in the tree. But when they get back around to it, what could they do with it?
I have to say up front that my favorite option is just adding a complete removal of the arming time on traps. This would help Hunters out immensely in PvP to start with, and make a Survival Hunter with Freezing Shot a strong threat in Arenas. Of course, there's some who argue that trap arming time needs to go altogether, at least on Freezing Shot itself.
It may be that Trap Mastery would work best as a sort of general trap buff, removing most of the weaknesses that plague traps, if not arming time, then resist chances (which it already does), low radius (by buffing the radius), and perhaps even providing a general damage boost. Unlinking Ice-based traps from Fire and Snake traps would also be an incredibly worthy ability. Of course, they could just throw us for a loop and redesign the talent from the ground up with a new name and a new aim, but we'll have to wait and see.
Bear Trap Mechanics
There's probably not much to say here that I haven't already said. They took away the ability to do damage through Freezing Trap because of pet problems. I still say I would have rather kept the mechanics until they found a solution, but here's hoping they find one by 3.1 or so. I liked that ability.
We know dual talent specs should be here in 3.1, but there's probably sense that they're meant mostly for the tanks and healer type classes, the Moonkin and Retribution Paladins and Fury Warriors compelled to take up the healer's gavel or the heavy armor for the good of the raid or the group or what have you.
However, that doesn't mean the thing is completely useless to we pure DPSers. The most obvious use is probably for PvErs who like to do a little PvP on the side. You might be surprised at how swapping out a few pure DPS talents for some survivability and PvP utility talents can help you out. Beyond that, if you've always wanted to try out a new talent spec or a whole new tree, you might be able to take that Survival build and have that Marksmanship safety net a click away.
Finally, if nothing else, we know they want to let us switch glyphs and possibly even Hunter pets when we switch specs, so if you want nothing more than to keep another glyph set ready for specialized situations, you could do that too. Overall, there's plenty of reasons for Hunters to be excited as the next class about dual specs.
With the new pet system revamp, the dev team has not only done a pretty solid job of adding variety and fun to the pet system, they also seem to have set a pretty solid ground for adding new pet skins and types with much less fanfare. Because of this, I like to think we could easily see more pet types coming in in future patches. Maybe not a whole family, but take Spirit Beasts: One whole pet family for one intentionally hard to get pet?
I still think this would be the perfect time to bring back tamable Grimtotem Spirit Guides, for example, and you could easily find a few more spirit beasts to implement. The idea of spirit beasts that are technically of different leads to the idea of creating a pet family specifically for undead beasts as well, perhaps. I'm also still pulling for a Rhino that looks a little bit more like the modern beast. The woolly ones just don't do it for me.
Yes, I still believe these will come. Call me an eternal optimist. Disengage, now that it's nearly free of restrictions, is shaping up to be very useful, but I still believe we'll need a little more help. Traps, of course, could stand to be a lot more usable in PvP. The primary problem remains that between kneeling as a giveaway of when the trap is set and the arm time on the trap, it's far too easy to dodge the things. Trap Mastery might help, but there's a strong argument for removing the arming time altogether so that we have an easier time using traps. If nothing else, consider it a way of giving us some decent utility outside of drain teams.
The other thing we could use is some help against casters. Now, I admit, before 3.0 came along, we were pretty tough on casting classes. Once I got some good armor penetration, I could tear through a mage's robe like it was made of tissue paper. However, these days, armor penetration has been nerfed quite a bit, and changed to a rating, and my arrows feel just a little bit blunter. In the meantime, those fireballs are hitting as hard as ever, and in a firefight, I have a very strong chance of losing. In this case, I think bringing back the magic resistance that was on Deterrence near the beginning of Beta may be just what the doctor ordered, just to give a Hunter a chance to survive a barrage of spells long enough to do some damage, deploy some crowd control, or duck for cover.
Time Keeps On Slipping...
But regardless of where we're going, we should probably get back to the present and start in on the level grind. Luckily, with new pets, no more shot clipping, and a good supply of Mammoth Cutters or Saronite Razorheads, it should be a breeze. Good Hunting, and I'll see you all in the future.