Scattered Shots: Beta nerfs to hunter self-heals

Brian Wood
B. Wood|05.24.12

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Scattered Shots: Beta nerfs to hunter self-heals
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast 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.

The Mists of Pandaria beta giveth, and the Mists of Pandaria beta taketh away. The latest beta patch did a little bit of both, giving MM hunters some love while cutting back on some of the presents we saw early in the beta.

It's probably also worth noting that we saw the new minor Glyph of Fetch, which commands your pet to fetch loot from a nearby corpse. This way the hunters of the world can focus full-time on killing while our loyal companion dash around picking the pockets of the fallen and bringing in the spoils of war.

The big news this patch is the overall reduction of the new and boosted hunter self-heals that Mists of Pandaria is bringing hunters. At the same time, MM is receiving a substantial focus regen boost.

Self-healing as it is now

One of the complaints from the hunter community in the class feedback was the lack of meaningful self-heals for our class. Currently in Cataclysm hunters have two self-heal possibilities:
  1. Spirit Bond up at the top of the BM tree is technically available to all hunter specs but in practice is really only practical for BM to take. Spirit Bond heals 2% of total health every 10 seconds.
  2. Chimera Shot for MM only heals MM hunters for 5% of total health. With the Glyph of Chimera Shot, it can be fired every 9 seconds.
If we assume for the sake of round numbers a hunter with 150,00 health, then Cataclysm Spirit Bond will heal 3,000 health every 10 seconds, or 18,000 health every minute. Chimera Shot, on the other hand, is healing 7,500 every 9 seconds when used as often as possible, or about 50,000 health a minute.

Self-healing in Mists

Mists of Pandaria brought two big boosts to hunter self-heals. The first was a crazy, juiced-up Spirit Bond, and the second was a new talent option, Exhilaration, that heals the hunter when we Disengage. Both of these abilities were nerfed in the last beta build.
  1. Spirit Bond now regenerates 1% of total health every 2 seconds, down from the original Mists level of 3% every 2 seconds.
  2. Exhilaration now regenerates 5% of total health when you Disengage, down from 15%.
These are both substantial nerfs from where we were in the beta (the video above was from the higher initial healing levels), but we also have to keep in mind that it's still a chunk ahead of where we are now. Taking the same 150k health hunter for comparison purposes, Spirit Bond will now heal 1,500 health every 2 seconds, or 45,000 health a minute. Exhilaration is providing 7,500 healing every 25 seconds (the talent to reduce the Disengage cooldown is in the same tier as Exhilaration, so you can't take both), which is about 18,000 health per minute.

Let's take a look at the numbers for all iterations, looking at it in terms of the percentage of total health that is healed each minute.

Cataclysm MoP Initial MoP Current
Chimera Shot 33% / minute 33% / minute 33% / minute
Spirit Bond 12% / minute 90% / minute 30% / minute
Exhilaration na 36% / minute 12% / minute
The current numbers for hunter self-healing aren't really terribly great, though they're undoubtedly an improvement over the current situation. However, the recent nerfs have lowered the numbers to a level that may likely make them not worth taking when compared to the alternative talents in their respective tiers. It's worth noting that BM hunters do have access to Spirit Mend from spirit beasts as well.

I suspect (hope?) that we're going to end up seeing the self-heal numbers brought back up to an area in between where they were and where they are: a 2%/2 seconds for Spirit Bond and a 10% for Disengage.

Certainly, however, the difficult thing about balancing the self-heals is the possibility of stacking them all. A MM hunter with Spirit Bond and Exhilaration would have had very substantial self-healing under the old model (and to be fair, Spirit Bond was pretty awesome at 3%). If it came down to it, however, I'd rather see MM lose the self-heal component to Chimera Shot than see the other two specs suffer from worse self-healing.

As a final note on balance, a burstier self-heal like Exhilaration is better than a smaller, steady self-heal like Spirit Bond.

MM focus boost

Leaving the topics of nerf behind, the final hunter change that we saw in the last beta patch was a really substantial boost to MM focus regeneration. Specifically the focus regeneration of Steady Shot has been increased from 9 focus per shot to 14 focus per shot.

In Mists of Pandaria, only MM hunters have access to Steady Shot, so this is a MM-specific boost, and a crazily huge one at that. Keep in mind that Improved Steady Shot is being replaced with Steady Focus, which not only extends the duration of the buff, but regenerates an extra 3 focus per Steady Shot. If left unchanged, that means that MM's Steady Shot will regen a whopping 17 focus per shot.

This number is a lot higher than non-set bonus baseline in Cataclysm and we don't know if it's going to stick -- Blizzard tends to test by turning nobs up and down to extremes. But for the time being, MM focus regen is pretty fantastic.

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From leveling your hunter to learning the DPS value of skill, we've got you covered. If you're stuck in one of the nine support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?
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