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Scattered Shots: Hunters and patch 4.1

Brian Wood

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.

Patch 4.1 was a pleasant one for hunters, a relaxing change of pace from the insanity of nerfs and buffs and more nerfs of 4.0.6. The patch brought us a nice wave of quality of life improvements and a very welcome AoE buff.

But in addition to everything listed in the patch notes, there have also been a couple of undocumented hunter changes. Even the undocumented changes are wee hunter improvements. Clearly, Blizzard feels bad about the (admittedly somewhat necessary) trauma we endured in the last patch, and it wants this patch to be a nice, therapeutic massage of tranquil ease for hunters.

Join me after the cut as we go through the patch 4.1 hunter changes -- the official notes, as well as the undocumented things that crept in there.

Hunter patch notes

To start things off, here is the hunter-specific part of the patch notes:

  • Deterrence no longer requires a melee weapon to be equipped.
  • Explosive Trap now has a new spell effect.
  • Master's Call now has a new spell effect.
  • Multi-Shot damage has been increased by 250%.
  • Tame Beast now tames pets to match the hunter's level, rather than 3 levels below.
  • Pets
    • The Feed Pet ability now instantly heals 50% of the pet's health. Cannot be used in combat. Requires diet-appropriate food.
    • The Happiness/Pet Loyalty System has been removed. Hunters will no longer have to manage Happiness for their pets, and the previous damage bonus for pets being happy will now be baseline for all tamed pets.
    • Bloodthirsty no longer generates Happiness.
    • Carrion Feeder no longer restores Happiness.
    • Guard Dog no longer causes Growl to generate additional Happiness.
    • Summoned pets now start with 100 focus, up from 0.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Mend Pet is now Glyph of Lesser Proportion, which decreases the size of the pet slightly.
  • Hunter Bug Fixes
    • Hunters will no longer automatically acquire a new target if the current target dies in the middle of a cast.
    • Aimed Shot and Steady Shot should no longer start casting Auto Shot on a new target when the "Stop Auto Attack" option enabled.
    • Auto Shot now automatically turns off until reactivated once Freezing Trap is cast on an enemy player.
    • Deterrence: The area damage of the paladin ability Hammer of the Righteous will no longer hit hunters with Deterrence active.
    • Distracting Shot and Multi-Shot are now properly 40-yard range.
    • Intervene (Tenacity pet ability) range has been increased so that the pet will properly intercept attacks.
    • Multi-Shot now properly has a 1-second global cooldown.
    • Scatter Shot's disorient effect should no longer sometimes be broken by the hunter's Auto Shot.

To my mind, there are three really noteworthy things here. First, Multi-Shot got a big giant DPS boost, a full 250%. This is great for all hunter specs but certainly helps MM and BM the most and SV the least. MM is able to fire Multi-Shot the most often due to Bombardment's reducing the focus cost by half, and BM gets darned close if using Beast Within during AoE phases to get half-price Multi-Shots as well. Without a Multi-Shot discount, SV just doesn't fire Multi-Shot as often and thus doesn't gain as much from this buff, but that's okay. SV still gets a boost and is still going to be the AoE spec -- though BM's burst AoE potential is now fantastic in the hands of a skilled player.

The second significant change is the total removal of the pet happiness system, which I think is a fantastic and long overdue thing. I've talked about pet happiness before, so I won't go into detail here. But what you need to know is that old Glyph of Mend Pet that you had so that you could ignore the happiness system before has now turned into a glyph that shrinks the size of your pet. So if you don't want your pet around 10% smaller, you'll want to get rid of that glyph.

Finally, our third change of significance is that Deterrence will now work when we're disarmed -- no longer will disarming a hunter completely eliminate our ability to defend ourselves as well as totally removing all ability to DPS (and heck, you can do that latter just by standing next to us).

In addition to this, we got other quality of life improvements and a host of bug fixes. Pets leveling instantly to our level is fantastic, and it's great to see the Steady/Cobra auto-target bug squashed. We still have a handful of hunter bugs out there, most of them involving pets, but hopefully Blizzard will keep picking away at them.

Hydra pet family

One of the undocumented changes was the introduction of the hydra pet family. The hydra is a ferocity pet with the special ability Bellowing Roar, which provides the 5% crit buff. Sadly, to my current knowledge, there are no tamable hydras anywhere in the game.

The Wrath daily quest for the Oracles faction, A Cleansing Song, allowed you to briefly summon a ghost hydra (and a slime), and for a while both of those could be tamed -- and both were members of the crocolisk family.

Blizzard removed the ability to tame them but left them in the stables of hunters who had already tamed them. So those few hunters who had tamed a ghost hydra in that window of time now have a new family for their hydras.

We can only assume, however, that tamable hydras will be put in the game in the very near future.

Sockets added to craftable gear

There was much talk about this happening back before patch 4.0.6, and it never came to pass. But with patch 4.1, we finally got our craftable 359 gear upgraded! The Corded Viper Belt, craftable by leatherworkers, has had a red socket added that comes with a +10 agility socket bonus. This is a fantastic upgrade and makes this craftable item the best in slot for ilvl 359 waist items for hunters.

The Dragonkiller Tunic also got a red gem socket (but just one) with a +10 agility bonus. Alas, this chest piece, with just one socket and haste/mastery secondary stats, will not compete with our other ilvl 359 chest.

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From leveling your hunter through optimizing for heroics, pre-heroic loot and pre-raid loot, then on to choosing the right spec for the right job and how to "aspect dance" to maximize your DPS, we've got you covered.

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