Scattered Shots: Hunter prep for 5.0.4

Brian Wood
B. Wood|08.23.12

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Scattered Shots: Hunter prep for 5.0.4
Scattered Shots Preparing for patch 504 THURSDAY
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.or ask him on Google+.

Patch 5.0.4 is landing on Aug. 28, bringing all of the mechanical changes of Mists of Pandaria to hunters, which we'll get to play with at level 85 for a good month before the expansion hits. The patch is bringing hunters a lot of changes -- everything from the removal of minimum range and melee weapons to expertise being a required stat and aspects going on the global cooldown.

WoW Insider has a good rundown of what to expect from patch 5.0.4. Here, we're going to focus on the hunter-specific stuff. And there's a lot of hunter ground to cover, so let's get started.

New talents and new rotations

Patch 5.0.4 is bringing us the new Mists of Pandaria talent system. Instead of the trees of spec-specific talents, we have now a single set of talents available to all hunter specs. There are a total of six tiers of talents, and there are three talents in each tier. We'll get to choose just one talent per tier.

When the patch hits, we'll have access to the first five tiers of talents. You can see a full list of hunter MoP talents to start making your choices. The first three tiers have no talents that increase DPS, so feel free to grab whatever fits your playstyle the best.

Tiers 4 and 5 have talents that do boost your DPS. At tier 4, Dire Beast is looking like the best DPS talent for all hunter specs. At tier 5, A Murder of Crows is best for MM (and still good for others), but Lynx Rush should be best for BM (though there are currently some mechanical bugs with it).

Both of these talent choices require adding new buttons to your rotation. These should enter your priority rotation below your signature shot in priority -- don't delay the signature shot, even though it's tempting to press the shiny new buttons. MM should use an Arcane Shot rotation and only hard cast Aimed Shot under big haste effects.

It's worth noting that BM is now the best level 85 DPS spec. MM is the worst. But they are still patching frequently, and I've already had to update this between writing the article and its being posted.

Dodge this

Dodging bullets is another new feature of the patch. Hunter shots can be dodged, which means we need expertise to prevent that from happening. In the future, we'll have lots of expertise gear choices, but for the time being, we'll need to reforge into expertise. At the same time, our hit rating to hit conversion is changing and our hit cap is lowering, which should give us some extra hit to reforge to expertise.

The new hit cap and expertise cap is 7.5% against a raid boss or 3% for PvP (though of course, high dodge classes will still dodge shots). Here are the new hit and expertise ratings you'll need for raid capping:

Hit cap 769 hit rating
Expertise cap 769 expertise rating

Draenei hit cap 666 hit rating
Dwarf & troll expertise cap 666 expertise rating

Your pet will inherit hit and expertise from you. If you're at the hit cap and expertise cap, your pet will be too. For full details on expertise mechanics and other caps check out hunter expertise rating.

Rise of the beast master

All of the changes from the patch are of course having an impact on spec DPS. Right now it looks like SV DPS should increase slightly, and MM DPS will actually drop quite a bit. BM DPS is increasing substantially, giving BM a good shot at the top DPS spec.

Right now it looks like both BM and SV are running neck and neck in post-patch DPS, with MM pretty substantially far behind. MM is also currently behind at level 90, so I expect to see some kind of MM buff. If it happens soon, MM could remain viable, but for the time being if you raid as MM, you're going to want to respec.

Bountiful new glyphs

The glyph picture is changing pretty substantially. Prime glyphs are going away entirely, along with any glyph that directly increases your DPS. A lot of what used to be talents have turned into glyphs, and we've gained a whole host of cool new glyphs to boot.

Glyph choice really boils down to what you like best for your playstyle and what kind of encounter you're going to be facing. Glyphs that increase healing and movement are likely to be raid favorites, but anything from the list of MoP hunter glyphs will suit you well.

Be sure to check out the fun new cosmetic minor glyphs.

More flexible pets

Hunter pets are changing to be more flexible and make it easier than ever to bring the pet you want, though of course you'll still want to make choices based on what kind of buff your need.

Post-patch hunter pets won't have any talents. Instead each pet spec (ferocity, cunning, tenacity) will have a set of base abilities. You will be able to choose the spec of any pet -- so you can have ferocity turtles and tenacity cats. You can also change the spec of your pet at any time out of combat.

Pets still have their special abilities and still bring raid buffs, and it's based on those special that you will want to choose your pet.

Turn off Growl, or you are the fail

The pet Growl ability is changing very meaningfully. Rather than just generating some threat like it does now, Growl will now act like a true taunt and force the target to attack the pet. This means that if you leave Growl on your pet in a 5-man or a raid, on every trash pull, your pet will take aggro away from the tank.

And it will be your fault.

And more and more and more changes

Among the host of other hunter changes you can expect to see in patch 5.0.4 are:
  • Minimum range is being removed. You can now shoot freely from point blank range.
  • Melee weapons are no longer hunter weapons. You can equip one if you really want, but then you won't have a ranged weapon. Ranged weapons are getting tons more stats and increased DPS.
  • Your ranged weapons will appear on your back, rather than the melee.
  • Trueshot Aura is becoming a default hunter ability that all specs will have.
  • Readiness is becoming a default hunter ability that all specs will have.
  • Raid buffs are being reduced and refined, and a new mastery buff is being added. You can see the full list of MoP hunter raid buffs.
  • Steady Shot and Cobra Shot will be generating 14 focus, up from 9 focus. When combined with the Wyrmstalker set bonus, this means hunters will have tons of focus after patch 5.0.4.
  • Aspects are going to be on the global cooldown. This universally hated change means that you will lose a full second of DPS every time you change aspects. In PvP, hunters will pretty much want to stay in Aspect of the Fox, and in raids, hunters will want to stay in Aspect of the Hawk. It's probably worth switching to fox if you are absolutely going to have to cast two Cobra Shots while moving -- but never just for one.
  • Shots that are missed or dodged will refund 80% of their focus.
  • Lock and Load can no longer clip Explosive Shots. When L&L procs, you can now fire all your Explosive Shots in a row.

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From leveling your hunter and choosing the best patch 4.2 gear 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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