First, a couple minor changes to pet talents. Roar of Sacrifice is now a Hunter-only buff, giving us a bit more survivability. Sure, that's tough luck for our raid or party members, but Roar of Sacrifice wasn't exactly a clutch ability for raiding and your healers should easily be able to pick up the slack. The change simply means that our healers will have to spend even less time worrying about us than they did before. The Rhino's Stampede ability is also on the chopping block this time around. This ability will now only affect one target, but will add a bleed effect (which will, unfortunately, not stack with Mangle) in addition to the original knockback effect.
To go along with dual specs, hunters will be getting a new ability in patch 3.1: Call Stabled Pet. This ability will allow us to call a pet from our stables no matter where we are in the world and replace the pet we currently have summoned. This ability will be instant, but cannot be used in combat and will have a 30 minute cooldown. The bad news for our lowbie brethren is that this new ability will require Level 80 to train and use. The benefits to this change are obvious – how many times have we all lamented having to make a trip to the stables to swap pets? Now we'll be able to swap pets without seeking out a stable master every 30 minutes if we choose which is especially handy if you're using the new dual spec feature to swap out of Beast Mastery.
In addition to this new ability, we're going to see some changes to Kill Shot. Kill Shot will no longer have a minimum range, meaning it will be effective within melee range of your target. This change will be particularly great for PvP hunters trying to finish off an opponent you're having trouble kiting, and PvE hunters will also appreciate the increased flexibility. Also, the cooldown on Disengage is getting a minor increase, from 25 seconds to 30 seconds.
First, lets start with some new glyphs that will be available to us come patch day.
Glyph of Chimera Shot will reduce the cooldown of Chimera Shot by 1 second. This glyph will be nothing earth-shattering, so you can probably overlook it especially if you have Glyph of Serpent Sting to increase your sting's duration (meaning you won't need Chimera Shot so soon to refresh it). Glyph of Explosive Shot increases the critical strike chance of Explosive Shot by 4%. With the changes to T.N.T., this glyph will be a must-have for Survival hunters. Glyph of Kill Shot will reduce the cooldown of Kill Shot by 6 seconds. This new glyph will probably not be all that helpful to PvP hunters, but PvE hunters whittling away at a boss will find it helpful to get in an extra Kill Shot or two before its time to collect loot.
Glyph of Scatter Shot will increase the range of Scatter Shot by 3 yards, giving PvP hunters a bit more flexibility. Glyph of Explosive Trap will give your Explosive Trap damage the ability to critically hit; however, this trap is so seldom used in practical game play that the usefulness of this glyph is questionable. Depending on what level it will be available at, perhaps hunters still working their way through the leveling process will find some use for it. The final new glyph, Glyph of Raptor Strike, will be good news for PvP hunters. For 5 seconds after using your Raptor Strike ability, you'll take 20% less damage, which will help make the get-away process that much easier when you're stuck toe-to-toe with melee classes.
In addition to these new glyphs, there are going to be some changes to the glyphs we already know and love. Glyph of Aimed Shot is getting a facelift – instead of reducing the mana cost of Aimed Shot, this glyph will now reduce the cooldown of Aimed Shot by 2 seconds. A change from 10 seconds to 8 seconds isn't all that significant and frankly, I would've preferred they keep the mana cost reduction on this glyph. The increased movement speed provided by Glyph of Aspect of the Monkey can now only occur every 20 seconds, meaning a minor nerf for you PvP hunters out there. Glyph of Wyvern Sting is also getting a minor tweak; this glyph now simply decreases the cooldown of Wyvern Sting by 6 seconds (instead of 10 seconds with a damage nerf). Glyph of Snake Trap now increases your snakes' survivability, rather than giving you two additional snakes, making this a bit more viable but only slightly so. And finally, Glyph of Aspect of the Hawk was renamed to Glyph of the Hawk.
There's a ton of information to digest here, but by and large it seems like Hunters have been spared a severe beating with the nerf bat this time around and most of the news coming down the pipe has been relatively good. At the moment, that's all the information on hunters currently available from the PTRs on patch 3.1. More information will, of course, be posted as it becomes available and tips from readers like you are always welcome!
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.