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Scattered Shots: A deeper look into the Patch 3.2 Hunter changes

Welcome to Scattered Shots. I am Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from The Hunting Lodge and I'll be your tour guide each Thursday as we explore what makes our Hunters tick and how we can make them better.

Man, this has been a busy week for us Hunters or what? With each passing day it is becoming more and more evident that Patch 3.2 is on its way. Of course we have to remember that "on its way" to Blizzard could mean anything tomorrow to a few months. With that in mind, it is probably a good idea to take another deeper look at the proposed Patch 3.2 Hunter changes and see how they might impact both the PvE and PvP game.

General changes

Resilience has changed from reducing the amount of damage done from DOTs to a more standardized reduction of the damage done by all players. This doesn't really do much for the PvE game, but it is intended to help the survivability of players like Hunters in the PvP games.

Replenishment was changed and will directly affect how Hunters will use Hunting Party. Before 3.2 Hunting Party would grant 0.25% of the Party or Raids Maximum Mana for 15 seconds (3.75% total mana returned). Now compare that to the proposed change where Hunting Party will grant 1% for over 5 seconds (3% total mana returned) . This seems like it will allow us to return about 1.5% .75% less Mana more than before.

(edit: seemed I misread the notes, thanks to everyone for catching this)

The last general change was adding a 3 second interrupt effect on NPC mobs to Silencing Shot. Personally, this is always one of my favorite shots in the game since it helps pull caster mobs and allows you to either trap them or bring them within range of the tank. Now for PvP players, this change won't really help you much.

Hunter specific changes

Now we get to the more controversial changes. I'll be honest and say looking at these I feel for the Baker's Chocolate dilemma. On first glance I was distracted by how shiny they were and how tasty they really seemed. Then I decided to take a bite and put my teeth into them. Boy, are they bitter! But as bitter as they seem, I still think they have some great potential.

The Aspect of the Cheetah change is a nice response to the lower level requirements for mounts. And personally, I will be looking forward to being able to make those long quest runs around Darkshore a little bit quicker.

Adding a new shiny like spell effects are always a nice little touch. So the new spell effect to Deterrence will be appreciated even if it really doesn't add much to the game.

We heard from Ghostcrawler a couple of weeks ago that they wanted to make traps "scary" again. I'm not sure if these changes accomplish that for the mob or for the Hunter.

For example, the first change to traps reduces the time traps remained armed to 30 seconds. I saw some comments and blog posts from people that seem to think this might be the final nail in the coffin for chain trapping. I'm taking the minority position on this one as I still think it will still be possible to chain trap.

Not only will traps have a 30 second arming timer, they now have separate 30 second cooldowns. For the solo player this will be awesome. We can pull a caster mob with Silencing Shot into a Freezing Trap. Run over to our pet tanking a mob of 3-4 NPCs and lay down a Snake and Explosive trap, then sit back and pew pew away. In the mean time, lay down another Freeze Trap keeping that pesky caster under control. Take this similar strategy to the PvP game and I'm sure it can be used for all kinds of wicked fun.

Talent changes

Here is where many Hunters start to really scratch their heads and wonder what Blizzard is thinking. For example, take the change to Catlike Reflexes and how it reduces the cooldown on Kill Command from 60 seconds to possibly 30 seconds. Now many people think that this is a wasted talent for PvE. And if I was looking at Beast Mastery as a primary DPS raiding spec, I would agree. But what if you use Beast Mastery as your leveling or farming spec? Now it has some greater possibilities.

See, while leveling and farming your pet is your tank. Giving your pet an additional 9% chance to Dodge will allow you to use Mend Pet less and spend that time on downing mobs. From my perspective, add to that the ability to cast Kill Command more often, means faster farming and leveling.

Pet talents got a change as well. Roar of Sacrifice is being redesigned. I could give you my opinion on what I think Blizzard is trying to do, but luckily for us Ghostcrawler decided to speak out saying, "The 3.2 change is intended to restore RoS to the PvP functionality it had before, which is something a lot of hunters said they liked since they could use it on team-members and not just themselves. The cooldown is something we could iterate on, though we needed to start fairly conservatively with it to avoid having to nerf it right away."

This opens up the whole Blizzard is only making this change to help out the PvP players and doesn't really care about the PvE Players. I disagree with this argument. Yes, Blizzard does make changes to help balance out the PvP game. Yes, it is unfortunate that PvP changes impact the PvE game or vice versa. We even hear from Ghostcrawler how Blizzard is aware of this, but because WoW has to support both PvE and PvP play, there really isn't much they can do to fix it.

Speaking of having to support both the PvE and PvP game, some are wondering if the Patch 3.2 changes to Survival might fall into this same category.

Take the change to Entrapment and how it now doesn't work with Immolation or Explosive traps. To many this seems directly targeting those PvP Hunters that love to burn up the completion. But to me, this is just one of those changes that seem to be tied to similar "rooting" related changes (e.g. the Death Knight Chains of Ice change).
Probably the most controversial change is to Lock and Load. Right now Lock and Load doesn't have a set cooldown. This gives the Survival Hunter a feast or famine approach to how many Lock and Loads one can get in a fight. But at least if you were able to trap a mob in a Freeze trap you had a 100% proc rate on top of the 6% rate using Black Arrow or Immolation trap.

I'm sure to be in the minority again on this one. So if you hated me for my opinions on the trap changes, just add this one to your list of reasons for me being the worst thing to Hunters ever. I like the possibilities of this change. I see this as Blizzard's way of trying to stabilize and make Lock and Load more consistent. If nothing else, this seems to be an attempt to remove Survival Hunters from being such a slave to the Random Number Generator.

See, by putting in things like hard cooldowns and stable proc percentages, Blizzard can easily modify this during testing. If the cooldown is too long, then they can lower it to a 10 second or 5 second cooldown. If the cooldown seems to be okay, but it's the proc rate, then Blizzard can increase the proc percentage. See, the elegance in the change now? No it's not perfect, but short of a complete redesign, this gives the developers a way to make incremental changes without breaking the whole spell.

User Interface

Hunters really only have a single User Interface change heading our way. It seems the developers don't like how we use targeting macros to zap down totems by name. So come Patch 3.2 we'll have to find another way to target and down these bad boys. I really don't see this as being that bad of a thing. I'm sure some macro guru out there will have a fix in a few days now that the PTR is available.

There are a host of profession related changes and some bug fixes also that I didn't cover. However, I think I've gone over most of the major ones that will have the biggest impact on us Hunters. Any ways, maybe all these changes really aren't a Bakers' Chocolate dilemma. I won't go as far and say that these changes are as satisfying as Banana Pancakes. But we can't help but admit, Blizzard knows how to keep us on our toes by giving us a new challenge with each major patch.

Now tell me, what do you think? Has Blizzard missed an opportunity? Are they just toying with us Hunters? Or do you think that they're working towards something bigger and better down the road? Let's hear it. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

So you want to be a Hunter, eh? Well then you came to the right place. Scattered Shots is the one column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a Hunter. Each week Scattered Shots will cover topics to help you Fix Your DPS, Choosing the Right Spec, Gear Selection, Macros and Pet Selection and Management.

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