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Scattered Shots: Catching up with the Patch 3.3 PTR, Part 2

Cower: Redesigned. This ability no longer affects threat, and instead reduces damage taken by the pet by 40% for 6 seconds with a 45-second cooldown. While cowering, the pet's movement speed is 50% of normal speed. Cower now only has a single rank and is available at pet level 20.
Here's an interesting fix to the Cower bug we've been complaining about forever. Instead of just making Cower turn off, let's make it a damage reducing ability. Sure why not. This way it can default to autocast and we probably won't really care as much. But really, why add a speed reduction?
Improved Cower: Redesigned. This ability now reduces the movement penalty of Cower by 50%/100%.
Well what do you know, Blizzard already thought of that and is now going to make us rethink were we spend our pet's talent points. This seems to apply more to PvP than PvE but it's nice to know that there is an ability to reduce the movement penalty associated with the new Cower.
Demoralizing Screech: The attack power reduction from this ability has been increased by 40%, equaling the maximum possible attack power reduction from the abilities of other classes.
All I can say is, it's about time Blizzard figured out that there needs to be equal love spread among all of the hunter pets. Seeing the maximum Attack Power reduction increased from 410 to about 574 is nice.
Pet Leveling: Hunter pets now need only 5% of the experience a player needs to level, down from 10%
Now back in my day, we had to level our pets barefoot in the snow, up-hill with a 50 pound pack on our back. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but believe me, it was pretty bad. Nowadays having the pet automatically jump within 5 levels is a huge relief compared to when we had to train some pets like The Rake from level 10 all the way to 60.

Now by halving the required experience requirement, it should be a lot less painful. Of course I still don't understand why warlocks get their pets earlier and they're at the same level all the time, but I digress.
Venom Web Spray: Range increased from 20 yards to 30 yards. & Web: Range increased from 20 yards to 30 yards.
Nice, with Web Spray and Web having their ranged increased to 30 yards it now can be used in both PvE and PvP attacks without having to be right in on the fight. Add either of these abilities in a macro and we might now see Silithids or Spiders as pets of choice in non-pet friendly encounters.

Of course that's just one use. I'm sure the arena hunters will find all kinds of nifty uses for these changes. It could be a way to keep a Ret Pally stuck in one place while firing off a Silencing Shot? Maybe even used as another trap in Arenas and tying up 2 targets?
Wolverine Bite: This talent is now enabled when the pet lands a critical strike rather than from the target dodging the pet's attacks. In addition, this talent no longer has a prerequisite.
I can see cunning pets becoming more and more useful. Especially when you think about Wolverine Bite giving you pet level * 5 + 5 (eg. 80*5+5=405) points of unavoidable damage when your pet lands a critical strike. Couple this with a Silithid or Spider for the changes to Venom Web Spray and Web and you really have a nasty little surprise for any druid or shaman trying to hide behind those pillars.

Now those are all of the official changes. We're seeing some bug fixes as well.
Now that we've talked about all of the official changes to our class, how about we take a look at our snazzy new Tier 10 gear? Okay, maybe it isn't really snazzy, you can't fault the graphic designers for not coming up with something unique. Then again, when you look at it in HD (thanks to our friends at MMO Champion) the detail on the male and female versions look pretty sweet in my opinion. (At least better than what we've been having.)

The 2 piece Tier 10 bonus will give our Auto Shots a 5% chance to cause both us and our pets to deal 15% additional damage for a yet to be determined set of time or until canceled.

That's a ton of damage for even a short period of time. True 5% is pretty small chance, but still I'll take it so I can have the chance to deal out an additional 15% damage.

The 4 piece Tier 10 bonus gives you a 5% chance to gain 20% attack power for 10 seconds when your Viper Sting, Serpent Sting, and Wyvern Sting abilities deal damage.

Do you get the feeling that Blizzard is falling in love with the Random Number Generator? I admit that at the 2 piece level we can live with a chance at increasing damage. But if we're going to spend the time and effort to get all 4 pieces don't you think we'd be deserving of at least a guaranteed damage modifier? Yes, I know, what's the chances that Viper, Serpent or Wyvern sting won't deal damage.

Think of it more like hitting a single number in roulette? You think it's bound to happen, but really you start out even with each spin of the wheel. The same happens with each attack. The chance of the RNG giving you the 20% AP bonus starts over with each attack, it doesn't increase just because you do more attacks. Oh well, it could be worse right?

All I know is with all this Hunter love going on, I'm really worried about Blizzard to dropping the nerf hammer after Patch 3.3 is finally released. Let's just hope that somehow they don't notice how awesome all of this is and let it go through until the major class redesign of Cataclysm. It would really be nice to see Beast Mastery and the other pet families become raid viable again.

So, what do you guys think? Does this make you as excited to be a hunter as it does me? Or do you think that there's something waiting in the wings that's just biding its time and will jump out and say, "Gotcha!" at the last minute? Let's hear it, really what's your take on all of these changes?

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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