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Scattered Shots: Patch 3.3 - What's on the horizon for hunters


Welcome back to the Scattered Shots. Instead of continuing the So You Want to be a Hunter series, this week I thought it would be good to take a break and review the changes in Patch 3.3. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of what's instore for us hunters.

Patch 3.3 is on the PTR and as we download the patch we've been busily reviewing the patch notes along with the unofficial information from posted up over on MMO-Champion. Without giving everything away in the first paragraph, let's just say that this is looking to be one awesome patch. Without going on about how good it is, let's take a look at what's being said.

From the PTR Patch notes we got to see some insight where Blizzard's development team is taking our class.

  • Misdirection: Redesigned. Instead of having finite charges, it now begins a 4-second timer when the hunter using Misdirection performs a threat-generating attack, during which all threat generated by the hunter goes to the friendly target. In addition, multiple hunters can now misdirect threat to the same friendly target simultaneously.
Now I'll admit when I first saw this change I was a bit hesitant. Changing one of core abilities is always disconcerting. But then I started thinking about it a bit more.

Giving some thought to Misdirection being on a timer instead of being 3 shots, we won't lose one or possibly more of our shots to Auto Shot. So this means you can fire off 3 of our instant shots (Black Arrow, Explosive Shot, Arcane or Multi-Shot) to generate threat towards the tank.

Another possible use for Misdirect now will be using traps like Explosive Trap or the recently buffed Volley to generate threat on either a single or multiple targets. Laying down a trap, pulling the mob over it and then letting loose a Volley attack could give 4 seconds of constant damage while helping a single tank maintain threat on multiple targets.

(A note for new hunters, don't make a mistake and use Distracting Shot with Misdirect. Distracting Shot has a taunt that will automatically increase your threat and won't work with Misdirect.)

That's not all of the official changes though. Beast Mastery and Pets are getting some more love this patch.


Beast Mastery
  • Intimidation: If the hunter's pet is in melee range of its target, the stun from Intimidation will now be applied immediately instead of on the pet's next swing or attack.
  • Avoidance: Now reduces the damage your pet takes from area-of-effect damage by 30/60/90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
With Intimidation applying a stun effect at the time our pet attacks instead of the next attack this will help PvP as well as PvE. Instead of having to wait for the second attack, our pet now has the opportunity to immediately stun a mob as well as generate threat allowing the hunter to remain at range.

The change to Avoidance is an interesting one also, its a definite buff to PvE and a nerf to PvP. Applying only to NPC mobs it will allow the pet to avoid 30/60/90% (up from 25/50/75%) of the damage from area-of-effect attacks by mobs. It is nice, but it won't necessarily mean our pets will survive every area-of-effect attack. It should mean less healing will be needed which will help increase our DPS numbers, but we'll still need to cast a Mend Pet every now and again.

The downside is it no longer applies to attacks caused by other players, so this probably means even more of a blow to those hunters on Arena teams.

Now that's all the official news. However that's not to say that's everything coming down the pike. We've heard from Boubouille over on MMO Champion of even more good things.

It seems that along with some of the other changes to help speed up and improve the leveling experience for lower levels, Mend Pet and Scare Beast both look to have their mana cost reduced at the lower ranks. Now I'm not a huge fan of Scare Beast unless I'm trying to get a pesky feral druid off my back, but anything to help Mend Pet is a plus in my book.

The Marksmanship tree looks to be getting some attention also. First we see a lower levels mana cost reduction for Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot, Multi-Shot, Serpent Sting, Volley and Hunter's Mark. This will benefit pretty much every hunter and not just Marks since we use most of these as we're leveling.

Also, Silencing Shot's tooltip is being modified stating that NPCs will be affected by a 3 second interrupt, but not players.

And just when you think that the developers have made enough changes, we see our Survival brethren getting some developer love also.

First, Wyvern Sting, Mongoose Bite, Raptor Strike, Counterattack, Freezing Trap, Explosive Shot will have their mana cost reduced at lower levels also.

Earlier, I mentioned how Explosive trap might be a good tool for Misdirect. Lay the trap, fire Misdirect with a follow-up shot and you'll see threat being increased while you pew pew away. If Blizzard goes through with the suspected change to Explosive Trap by increasing its damage to all enemies to be Ranged Attack Power + 900 Fire damage over 20 seconds, those first 4 seconds of damage could build up a lot of threat for your tank. I'm thinking this is a strategy we might seriously need to be considering as we move into Icecrown and the new instances and raids.

Also, Point of No Escape will now increase the critical strike chance of all our attacks on targets affected by Frost damage. This is technically a nerf because before it increased the critical strike chance of all our attacks. Time will tell as we run through the Icecrown just how big of a nerf this is.

I remember when Patch 3.2 was announced and everyone was up in arms over Lock and Load getting a cooldown. My argument then was if the number of procs didn't match what Blizzard was estimating, we would probably see the cooldown reduced. Unofficially, it looks like Lock and Load's cooldown will be reduced from 30 to 22 seconds. I'm sure that will be a welcome change to all.

Besides all of the skill and talent changes, some information has also been released on some new Leatherworking patterns that can be used for hunters. Unlike before where a hunter might decide to sacrifice Armor for increased Crit Rating, the new patterns all have the same stats making it advantageous to select Mail instead. For example if we compare the items below from MMO-Champion we can see that it just doesn't make sense to make that choice any longer.

Blessed Cenarion Boots and Footpads of Impending Death

Earthsoul Boots and Rock-steady Treads

An odd observation that many including myself have noticed is the distinct lack of Intellect on these new items. This is leaving some to speculate we might be seeing Focus added to the game sooner rather than later. Considering that this change hasn't been reflected on the PTR and I haven't seen any blue posts responding to this, I can only say it remains idle speculation at this point.

One thing I can say with confidence, Patch 3.3 is one patch that is showing Beast Master hunters some real love as well as setting us up for more fun to be had in Icecrown and then Cataclysm.

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, Pet Specs and Management.

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