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Scattered Shots: Catching up with the Patch 3.3 PTR, Part 1


Welcome back to the
Scattered Shots, the weekly Hunter class column. This week we review all of the changes in Patch 3.3. and see what effect they'll have on the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie Carrington, Brigwyn from The Hunting Lodge, as we explore what's in store for us hunters.

We've been living with Patch 3.3 on the PTR for a few of weeks now. During that time we've been able to see first hand that the Blizzard development team has been busy working on ways to improve World of Warcraft. Not only have they introduced new 5-man instances and the new Ice Crown Citadel raid, they're even showing us some hints at what might be in store us Hunters in the hopefully near future.

I'm sure if you were like me and when the initial changes for Patch 3.3 were announced we all kinda knew that there was more in the works. But I'll have to admit, I'm shocked at the amount of stuff that has been released so far on the PTR.

We have everything from reducing cooldowns on Call Stabled Pet and buffing Deterrence for the hunter, to buffing and changing our pet's talents by removing Avoidance and making Resilience work on both hunter and pet. Heck, they even found a nifty way to fix the nasty Cower bug that was still cropping up. (I'll be honest, I had just come to expect it was always going to be there. You know like that creepy cousin at every family get together?)

Blizzard has even been working on the Tier-10 set bonuses and actually made them look, well, different? Yeah, that's it, different. There's so much to discuss, it's probably better to just get on with it and discuss all of the changes.

Let's start off with discussing the General changes that affected all classes

Pet Resilience: All player pets now get 100% of their master's resilience.
This might seem like a minor thing to some, but not to me. Especially when it's a fulfillment on a promise from a long, long time ago. In Patch 3.3 hunter pets (well, all pets really) are inheriting 100% of our Resilience. This will now mean our ferocity pets won't be glass canons anymore, or at least maybe they'll be plexiglass canons. Also, we might see some more use for the cunning pets as well. We can take them into PvP fights knowing they'll last a little bit longer than they have so far.
Area-of-Effect Damage Caps: We've redesigned the way area damage is capped when hitting many targets. Instead of a hard cap on total damage done, the game now caps the total damage done at a value equal to the damage the spell would do if it hit 10 targets. In other words, if a spell does 1000 damage to each target, it would hit up to 10 targets for 1000 each, but with more than 10 targets, each target would take 1000 damage divided by the number of targets. 20 targets would be hit for 500 damage each in that example.
So basically what this is telling me, Volley will be more consistent in its damage. And considering that we probably won't ever be fighting more than 10 mobs at any given moment this is relatively a minor change. I am curious though if we might see Volley being able to do tremendous single target damage like it did before the "Great Nerf of 3.0.8."
Call Stabled Pet: Cooldown reduced from 30 minutes to 5 minutes
I know some people don't like the idea of switching out pets during raids, but if you think of pets as an extension of your damage, you can now do just that without the mana cost associated with dual specs.

Imagine, using a wolf for those times you need extra attack power, then being able to switch to a wasp for the armor reduction, then being able to switch back to your wolf for the next fight. Opens up a lot of possibilities now, doesn't it?
Deterrence: Now also increases the chance for ranged attacks to miss the hunter by 100% while under its effect.
Before I get too excited here, I'm going to just double check I read this one correctly. Yep, it says "ranged attacks will miss 100%" while we're using Deterrence. Brilliant! We now have our very own version of the infamous bubble that paladin's have been using! No more fear of fan of knives or other ranged attacks from fellow hunters that just happen to be on the other faction.
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.
We talked about this in our first look of the Patch 3.3 changes. Since then, we got some clarification on when Misdirection will actually begin its 4 second timer.

We now know that the timer begins when we do our first damage inflicting attack. So our strategy for multiple mob pulls could potentially be, lay an Explosive or Immolation Trap in front of the tank let the tank pull into it, then stand back and Volley.

Not only does this have great potential of loading up tremendous treat from a single hunter, but now that it stacks we can have all of the hunters lay down Explosive Traps and use Volley. Hmm... maybe we should get t-Shirts with the slogan, "Hunters give more threat!"
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.
This one hasn't changed from a few weeks ago. Since there's nothing new here, let's move along.
Avoidance: This talent has been replaced by Culling the Herd. Hunter pets now innately take 90% less damage from area-of-effect abilities like all other class pets. This does not apply to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
Wait! What? Avoidance is gone? So all that talk from Ghostcrawler saying how they felt Avoidance was clunky and might change came true.

It's nice to see that our pets will receive 90% less damage from PvE area-of-effect attacks, but I still wish we would see something that would help the PvP hunters as well.
Culling the Herd: This pet talent has replaced the Avoidance talent in the pet trees (Hunter pets now gain that benefit automatically without expenditure of talent points). Culling the Herd increases pet and hunter damage by 1/2/3% for 10 seconds each time the pet deals a critical strike with Claw, Bite, or Smack.
So this is what's replaced Avoidance, eh? A 1/2/3% damage buff for 10 seconds if our pet's Claw, Bite or Smack crits. Now if this doesn't apply directly to Beast Master Hunter's ability to help increase their pet's critical strike rate with Focused Fire, Ferocity, Cobra Strikes, mixed with Serpent's Swiftness for more attacks I don't know what is.

I know it's early, but I'm really thinking we might be seeing the return of Beast Master Hunters to joining raids once again.

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