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2.4 leaves hunters low on mana

Amanda Miller

Since patch 2.4, hunters have been having some problems. Aside from the outrage over the fact that our traps are now announced, we seem to be having issues with mana.

On the forums, hunters are not seeing much love from the non-hunter crowd, but I suppose that is to be expected. It is important to note however, that our mana efficiency is an intended attribute of our class. We are useful, not solely, but arguably primarily, because we can provide sustainable, long-term DPS. No, we don't crit like mages. In a boss fight though, we can keep going after mages short out.

Why are hunters all of a sudden having issues with mana? There are a few theories floating around, but we have yet to be graced with a blue response. Take the jump to learn more about why this might be happening.

When I first popped into game after I installed patch 2.4, I was pretty excited, as I had not explored the content in the PTRs. It wasn't long before I wondered why I could only kill one or two mobs before I needed a very serious drink. That just shouldn't happen to a hunter, especially not at 70.

Even my Aspect of the Viper, which I almost always wear, wasn't helping the issue much. So I hit the forums. It seems that I was not the only hunter affected.

At present, the likely suspect is this change, intended to help casters.

Spirit-Based Mana Regeneration: This system has been adjusted so that as your intellect rises, you will regenerate more mana per point of spirit.

That sounds fine, right? It should help the casters and even though hunters don't stack spirit, it just means we won't get the extra boost of regen. That's probably what Blizzard thought too.

The current estimation is that any hunter with less than 300 intellect is being negatively affected by the change. Despite some claims that only lowbie hunters will be affected, many 70s are being hard-hit.

Why are we upset that we might have to start choosing intellect enchants rather than focusing on other stats? A few simple reasons.

  1. Yes, we are a mana class. It was not always this way, and perhaps it should not be this way. We are much more like rogues and warriors than mages or warlocks. Paladins use mana because they are hybrids; melee casters with holy powers. Regardless, if we stack intellect with high priority, we lose a ton of damage. Casters don't.
  2. "So just slap on Aspect of the Viper." Well let's take a closer look at that talent, shall we?
    1. The hunter takes on the aspects of a viper, regenerating mana equal to up to 55% of <his/her> Intellect every 5 sec. The lower the hunter's current mana, the more mana will be regenerated. Only one Aspect can be active at a time.
    2. The beauty of this talent is twofold. First of all, it ensures that indeed, we do not need to stack intellect to have better regen. This is great because we ought not to be stacking too much of it anyway.
    3. The second benefit is that we don't need to have it up all or most of the time. Hunters are were built to be fairly mana-efficient. Under special circumstances though, Viper can be a great asset.
    4. "So why not just wear it all the time now?" For one, it does not even remotely counteract the impact from this change. Secondly, we don't want to render every other aspect inferior. Aspect of the Hawk, which grants us +155 attack power, not counting Improved Aspect of the Hawk. For non-Beast Masters especially, the Hawk is a very important part of hunter gameplay.
    1. Intellect is one of the stats that does not buff our pets, unless you have a caster pet, which is not always advisable, partly because of the impact of intellect, and partly because of the pet's use of intellect. As BRK says:
      1. Hunter stats buff pet stats. A hunter's armor buffs his pet's armor. A hunter's ranged attack power contributes to his pet's Spell Damage bonus. A hunter's stamina contributes to his pet's stamina. A hunter's magical resistances buff his pet's magical resistances. Hunters and their pets enjoy a symbiotic relationship and all hunters need to be aware of this.
      2. So if we enjoy a symbiotic relationship, then while stacking stats that don't buff our pets, especially as Beast Masters, we are looking at trouble. All hunters collect intellect, but it is fourth or fifth on the docket. Agility, attack power, and stamina, in varying orders based on your spec and playstyle, most definitely come first, and by times, so do resistances. Our upper-end hunter gear often has intellect on it, but to a very reduced capacity. Why? Because otherwise we'd be over-stacking it.
    How badly is this going to gimp us, you ask? At this point, the main reason why I am important in instances has dwindled significantly. Sorry guys, I can't really DPS for ten minutes. Alternatively, I can scrounge around so I can, but it won't be quality damage. This also slows us down while soloing, and lowers our survivability. We are also looking at having to change up gear, re-purchase enchants, and redefine our roles to some degree.

    Unfortunately, this new change seems to be positive for everyone but hunters, rendering the likelihood that it will be remedied slim, or the nature creative. Although there are rumors that this will affect all caster lowbies, it will take time to see if other lowbie stats, like higher intellect and spirit relative to level and needs, will counterbalance it.

    Blizzard is unlikely to reverse the change, but they might try to buff our mana regen in other ways. They could change Viper Sting to cost less mana, and funnel some of the mana into our own stores. They could buff Aspect of the Viper, although again, this would render all other aspects inferior.

    Hopefully we will see a follow-up patch addressing some of the issues and bugs that are being experienced since patch 2.4 dropped, and with any luck, there will be a resolution for hunters. I'm not holding my breath though; we might get a "fix" that doesn't really fix much.

    For further reading, check out the following threads:

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