Big changes for Hunters in patch 3.1

Daniel Whitcomb
D. Whitcomb|02.06.09

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Big changes for Hunters in patch 3.1
Not quite as unique as it was before.No more quivers, no more pouches, no more bullets to make us slouches. Ok, so I'm terrible at poetry, but you get the picture. This has been on a lot of Hunters' wish lists for a long time, but it's finally here. No more ammo.

Or rather, ammo will be an item more like a relic or a wand that modifies our ranged weapon damage without being consumed. Engineers, that means you better make hay while the sun shines. Soon, we'll be buying our last crate of Mammoth Cutters ever.

This is far from the only changed announced tonight -- or this morning, depending on where you are. Let's look at them all one by one.Consumable ammunition has been removed from the game. Arrows and bullets no longer stack, but are not consumed. Ranged attack speed bonus gained from quivers and ammo bags will be preserved in a different capacity.

So this is the big one, no question about it. Finally, we get a whole new bag slot (I forsee a lot of Onyxia soloing by Hunters in the near future), bigger bank accounts, and no more running back to Dalaran or Shattrath to replenish Ammo unless we really want to. Overall, this is a massive boon. The big question is where the quiver haste will come from. The easiest way would be to transfer it to the ammo, but then it would also buff the ranged attack speed of Warriors and Rogues, which is probably why we also shouldn't expect to see relic-like bonuses on ammo, unless they're very specific to Hunter skills only.

A new tier of hunter pet talents have been added. In particular, this allows Beastmaster hunters to improve their damage per second (DPS) with their 51 point talent.

This is probably the safest way to buff Beastmastery without accidentally buffing Survival and Marksmanship. By making an extra set of pet skills and putting them at the bottom of the tree, where it will be difficult for anyone but a Beastmaster to scrape together the points for them, they're not only buffing Beastmasters alone, but encouraging the use of the 51 point talent instead of the 50/21 hybrid builds that got Beastmasters in trouble in the first place.

It is interesting to note here that Ghostcrawler implied that we'd be getting Beastmastery buffs before 3.1, so whether they're holding off until 3.1 now or are adding this in addition to other tweaks remains to be seen.

Hunting Party – this talent has been reduced to 3 ranks and also grants a passive bonus to the hunter.

Replenishment has been getting a lot of press lately, what with Ghostcrawlers declaration that it is mandatory and will likely be more so once the mana regen changes make it live, so it's not too surprising that they're making it easier and more compelling to take all at once for Survival Hunters. It may also be part of their work to "equalize" various buff varieties between classes.

Piercing Shots – this talent has been changed. Your Aimed, Steady and Chimera Shots cause the target to bleed for 10/20/30% of damage dealt for 8 sec.

Adding a bleed that ignores armor is a very nice sizable buff over the 6% quasi armor penetration on Steady and Aimed Shots the current version brings. It also provides some nice synergy with Feral Druids and Hunger for Blood Rogues.

Sniper Training – this talent has been changed. After standing still for 6 sec, you gain a 2/4/6% damage bonus to Steady, Aimed and Explosive Shot.

Well, I suppose it'll be nice for Patchwerk. This may be meant to be a slight PvP nerf, but even in PvE, what with so many raid-level fights needing movement, it may end up being an additional nerf. Of course, it may be more useful in 5-mans, allowing you to stand closer in tight areas or to avoid patrols and still gain the talent's benefits. Overall, I think the jury's still out on exactly where this change stands.

We are also looking to add additional trap functionality to Survival.

This will probably come mostly in the long promised revamp for Trap Mastery, and to make up for possible further nerfs to TnT and Explosive Shot. It's something we've been expecting for ages, but it's nice to at least see they haven't forgotten.

They may still have more up their sleeve for Hunters, of course. The Ammo is a major change, and may be what Ghostcrawler meant when he talked about those earth-shaking changes, but it felt like he meant something bigger still. We may hear about it as we get closer to 3.1, or they may have quietly discarded it. Either way, I'm at least expecting some Beastmastery hot fixes and perhaps another Survival Explosive Shot nerf besides the stealth one they threw in a few days ago. Stay Tuned to WoW Insider. We'll let you know what goes down.

Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
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