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Scattered Shots: New beta build for happy hunters

Brian Wood

Welcome to Scattered Shots, written by Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the Hunting Party Podcast. Each week, Frostheim uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Got hunter questions? Feel free to email Frostheim.

We got a new Cataclysm beta build filled with delightful hunter treats, and that was promptly followed up with some blue posts with more good hunter news. From the hunter point of view, this beta build seemed mostly aimed at refining focus and focus regen -- basically getting our focus into a better spot. For the first time in beta we are able anticipate hunter movement DPS being back to a good place. I shall manfully refrain from saying I told you so to everyone who cried that the world was ending. Our ability to shoot on the move was too drastically low, and Blizzard recognized and is fixing it.

In practice, I should note, most of these new changes are bugged. The result is we can't actually do a lot of testing on what the new rotations feel like in the beta, but I'm certainly very positive on how they'll work out. Heck, MM and SV rotations already had a similar instant to steady ratio as they do on live. With these changes, we'll be using a lot more instants (BM is still bugged and can't be tested well).

Join me after the cut for the list of all important hunter changes in the latest Cataclysm beta build, our blue post on raid buffs, and the latest measure of our new base focus regen rate!

Talent and shot changes

A lot of talents were shuffled around, bumping up a tier, down a couple tiers, etc. Some talents like Bestial Discipline were reduced down in ranks so that we no longer have more than three ranks of any given talent. Here are the noteworthy changes:
The big changes here is the focus cost changes. Concussive Shot really needed that focus removed, I felt. Add to that halving the cost of Arcane Shot and making Serpent Sting much cheaper and we have a very marked improvement of our ability to DPS on the move in Cataclysm.

Unfortunately while the tooltips have all been updated, the actual focus costs have not yet been changed in the beta -- so everything is costing its old cost .. except for Arcane Shot, which is bugged differently for different people, many of us seeing it costing only a few focus so that it can be spammed infinitely.

Once they get it all working as planned, I cannot wait to hit the dummies and see how the new rotations work out. Alas, all manner of BM-related talents that are vital to their rotation still seem not to be working. We'll get there.

Focus regen goes up!

As is my habit with new builds, I removed all gear and headed to the target dummies to retest base focus regen. This time, I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Earlier focus seemed to have a base regen rate of around 3.15 focus/second, which is very low indeed. Now however the base focus regen rate seems to be about 5.25 focus/second. This is an absolutely huge increase in focus regen rate! Not only that, but with a big boost in our base regen we'll see each percent of haste returning more focus as well.

So not only did we get a focus cost reduction in several shots, but we also got a giant boost to our focus regen as well. Things are starting to look much better DPSing on the run in Cataclysm. Again, with the bugged abilities I can't actually test it, but on paper things are looking very good indeed.

New hunter raid buff

Blizzard released a list of raid buffs and debuffs for Cataclysm that raised a lot of eyebrows in the hunter community. They have the "20% melee attack speed" buff listed as something the survival hunter would bring (as well as replenishment). However, there was nothing in the beta that seemed to indicate it.

We quickly got an answer to this question:

Ghostcrawler - Lead Systems Designer
The "20% melee attack speed" is in fact melee and ranged attack speed. That was just developer shorthand on my part.

The effect for Survival will probably get tied into Hunting Party since Replenishment alone doesn't do anything for hunters and longer.

It's sounding as if SV will be the only hunter spec to provide two raid buffs (unless they eventually decide to remove Replenishment). Furthermore hearing that the old haste buff will now affect our ranged attack speed is good news as well. I figure that is probably ammo pouch related.

Originally we hunters got an attack speed boost based on our ammo pouches, up to 15% for the good ones. When Blizzard made ammo stack to 1,000, their intent was to free up our bag space. As part of that, they removed the 15% haste from our ammo pouches and just built it into the hunter class. However, we do not seem to have that native 15% haste in the beta. Presumably this is what now makes us eligible for the attack speed buff that has been denied us for so long.

Scattered Shots is the column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. See the Scattered Shots Resource Guide for a full listing of vital and entertaining hunter guides, including how to improve your heroic DPS, understand the impact of skill vs. gear, get started with Beast Mastery 101 and Marksman 101 and even solo bosses with some extreme soloing.

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