BigRedKitty: It's hunter-pinata time, part III

Daniel Howell
D. Howell|12.10.08

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Daniel Howell
December 10, 2008 2:00 PM

1) Steady Shot – now only gains 10% of attack power as damage (down from 20%).

Since the primary part of BM-hunter DPS is Steady Shot, it makes sense to downgrade the RAP-bonus to see how its affected. If 20% is too much, it'll be bumped back up. But it's much better to test at 20 and move it up to 15, then start at 10 and move it down a second time to 15, don't you think? Blizzard does too.

2) Volley – reduced the damage by about 30% for all ranks. Note that AE damage from many classes is very high right now and we are looking at all of them. Volley in particular had reached the point where some hunters were using it to the exclusion of most other attacks.

Hunters were never meant to be an AoE class. Right now, we are an AoE class. Heck, we were a pioneer in the Gorilladin Offensive that combined an AoE pet with an constant AoE attack. Volley should be useful, but not mage-powerful, c'mon. 30% sounds heavy, we admit, but you'll still be able to grind away the days with your gorilla. But we won't be making mages wonder if perhaps a reroll as a tank might guarantee them a more secure spot in raids.

3) Readiness – no longer affects the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.

How many spells really benefit from Readiness? Silencing Shot, Wyvern Sting, Kill Shot, Scatter Shot, Counterattack, and Bestial Wrath. (Hope we didn't forget one. Apologies if we did.) All of these, save Bestial Wrath, are primarily PvP-oriented. Is there a reason BM isn't a surprisingly effective arena-spec? Yes, because the primary power of the BM tree comes from getting out of melee range while attempting to stand still and Auto/Steady stuff to death. Readiness + Bestial Wrath = much more effective BM hunter in PvP! Changing this is precisely the opposite of what hunters need; more options for PvP, not fewer! If Blizz wants to remove Bestial Wrath from the effects of Readiness, perhaps they should just admit that the Readiness talent belongs at the 41st point in the Survival tree and chunk it back where it belongs.

4) Deterrence – has been completely overhauled. It now allows you to deflect 100% of incoming melee or spell damage for 5 seconds, but prevents you from attacking while active. You still must be facing the attacker to deflect the damage (this is a limitation we are trying and might end up removing). 60 sec cooldown.

Now we only did arena for one season; we achieved a state of anger much too quickly when we lost, so we abandoned this portion of the game. But it's our initial impression that if a hunter pops Deterrence and becomes basically invulnerable, but also becomes impotent, then the other team is just going to switch targets and focus-fire someone else, like the healer. This could be a fine tactic for one-on-one fights, allowing the hunter to quaff a healing potion or something, but this doesn't seem to address any of our critical class-issues in PvP. Hooray for new toys, boo for not fixing that which needs fixing.

5) Kill Shot – cooldown reduced to 15 sec (from 35 sec).

Sounds great, but what's a huge buff doing in a list of hunter-nerfs? /suspicious

Finally a PvP-oriented fix we've been asking for! Just don't pop Deterrence...

6) Kindred Spirits – now only grants 3/6/9/12/15% pet damage.

This is a reduction from 20% to 15%, and if this is a "major" reduction, we'll live with it. Pet-DPS has been outstanding in WotLK, and if Blizz needs this adjustment to make them happy, even we, BRK, will bless it. But if pet-DPS needs to come down, then pet-Health needs to come up, and pet-Resilience needs to be introduced. When feral druids are running amok with 40k health and our Spirit Beast has 10k, something's amiss. When our pet can be two-shot by a mage because Hobbes has zero resilience and the mage can go crit-berserk on his furry butt, somethings blatantly wrong. Pet-DPS too high? Fix it. Pet-Survivability too low? Fix. It!

7) Serpent's Swiftness – now only grants 2/4/6/8/10% bonus attack speed to pet.

Pet attack speed is the place from where all hunter-goodness begins. Faster pet attacks means more pet crits, which mean more Ferocious Inspiration procs, which means more DPS for the hunter's entire raid. But here's the kicker: if we get fewer FI-procs, our entire raid's DPS goes down! This isn't just a decrease to hunter-DPS, but to total raid-DPS! This isn't nerfing BM hunters, it's nerfing the desire of the raid leader to bring a BM hunter to raids.

OK, that's a little overboard. We would guess that no hunter would be uninvited to a raid because his pet is going to FI-proc less frequently. But the main point remains sound: this is a raid-DPS nerf, not a hunter-DPS nerf. It doesn't fix the supposed problem.

8) All hunter pet abilities with a cooldown longer than 30 sec have been moved off the global cooldown.

The big one for us is Heart of the Phoenix. No longer will we have to wait for the global cooldown before we can insta-rez our dead pet. Of course, HotP is terrible borked already: it won't insta-cast, one has to use a macro manually; and many times a HotP-rez'd pet will be "grayed-out", unable to perform any actions whatsoever. Frankly, instead of this "buff" to pet abilities, we'd like the Cower/Growl/Prowl bugs fixed so they don't keep changing auto-cast states. Fix the broken stuff before "fixing" stuff that seems to work adequately, that's all we're saying.

9) Growl- threat generation increased by 20% (same for Voidwalker Torment).

Although pet-threat isn't a problem, when we put #7 into effect, pet-threat will be decreased as well. A buff to Growl would prevent the decreased attack speed from making our pets less-able to hold threat while soloing, so at least Blizz is looking ahead and trying to anticipate the effects of their DPS-changes.

10) Call of the Wild – now benefits only the hunter and his or her pet.

Call of the Wild currently affects all party members. Making it only benefit the hunter and his pet is a net-increase to hunters, as compared to the other classes! If we remove the benefit to party members, their DPS is going to decrease. But it'll still buff the hunter, so his DPS will remain the same. This change flies in the face of the concept that hunter DPS is too high and makes no sense whatsoever. If we want to decrease hunter DPS as compared to other classes in raids, this buff's benefits should be made raid-wide, so everybody is buffed up, not down.

11) Rake and Scorpid Poison – slightly nerfed to bring them into line with other pet abilities.

Cats and Scorpids have been doing more DPS than any pet but Devilsaurs, and sometimes even more than them. The concept is that exotic pets are supposed to do a little more DPS -- we've read 10% -- than non-exotic pets. This isn't so much a nerf as it is putting these pets back in their proper place. Hobbes, our beloved Winterspring Frostsaber Pridewatcher, will still sit Shiv'ah, though.

12) Spirit Strike – reduced the period on the dot so it will work better with Longevity.

This is a personal grudge we have with Blizz over the Spirit Beast. We begged them to let us tame one in the beta so we could analyze its performance. No dice, they said. Find one yourself, you'll get no help from us. Well guess what, the pet came out of beta borked. Longevity does cooldown the cooldown of Spirit Strike, but does not cooldown the delayed damage debuff the spell puts on its target. So it sounds like they're going to make the dot have a seven second cooldown, so Longevity will "play nice". If we'd been allowed to play with a Spirit Beast in the beta, perhaps we could've made some noise about this issue. /still hurt

13) Improved Tracking – now benefits damage to all included creature types as long as you are tracking one of them. You don't have to swap around what you are tracking as much.

Alright, we'll accept that this is an entry-level talent and making it a basic "Increases damage by 1/2/3%" talent doesn't bother us too much. We're always tracking something, right? But it sure makes Ranged Weapon Specialization look really dumb, doing almost exactly the same thing as Improved Tracking, as a 26th point talent. Marksmen hunters should have a "ranged weapon specialization" obviously; they're marksman! Swap RWS with
something like Focused Aim, and we'll make the change to Improved Tracking without further comment.

14) Aspect of the Wild – now raid-wide.


Now when was the last time we needed nature-protection raid-wide... Hydross the Unstable? No, that was just one of the two tanks, right? Perhaps Blizz is telling us something about a future raid, or maybe this was just forgotten in the huge list of spells that were to be raid-wide once WotLK arrived. Who knows. It's a buff, thanks, but... OK, thanks.

So if we look at all this, what concerns us the most is... none of them. Really, if BM hunter DPS is tamped-down by the nerf to Steady Shot, let's accept that with grace, dignity, and poise, and move on. A small decrease to pet attack speed isn't something we'd wish for, but at least we're not going back to all running with Ravagers.

Now let's move on to getting some freaking help in arenas, shall we? And the Survivalist tree is still honked up. Heart of the Phoenix, one of the best reasons for getting the Beast Mastery talent, isn't working properly. There aren't enough level 80 pets to tame. Why can't we tame Mammoths!

And fix Cower, for Elune's sake! COWER, people!
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