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Scattered Shots: Mists of Pandaria raid buff changes and hunters

Brian Wood

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+.

In the continuing news lead up to the big Mists of Pandaria press tour, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has recently revealed the current plan for the raid buffs in MoP. The overall design is continuing the trend of consolidating the raid buffs and debuffs that every raid is assumed to have, making it easier to get all of the buffs in 10-man raids.

This consolidation of buffs affects hunters along with everyone else, though Ghostcrawler revealed that the plan is still to have hunter pets bring many of the raid buffs so that we can fill in whatever holes may exist, as well as having a handful of buffs available only to exotic pets and therefore BM hunters.

Let's take a look at exactly what's changing on the raid buff front -- the buffs that we're gaining and losing, plus what role hunters will fill in the changed raid buff ecosystem.

As always, this is the current plan for MoP design, and it could change at any time as we move into and through the beta process. Also, this discussion is specifically oriented toward the raid buffs and debuffs, not buffs and debuffs that are usually considered specific to PvP such as roots and CC, etc. If a PvP buff is missing from this discussion, that doesn't mean it's going away.

The new raid buffs

One of the changes in design philosophy with the raid buffs is that for us pure DPS classes, buffs will be assigned to our class rather than to just one spec. That doesn't necessarily mean that we'll be able to provide every buff at once; some may work like paladin blessings, where they can only have one active at a time. But no longer will you have to be in a specific spec just to provide a needed raid buff.

Ghostcrawler laid out the entire list of new raid buffs and debuffs in his post. The list includes most but not all of the existing buffs, as well as a new buff that will provide +5 mastery (which is, of course, different from mastery rating). Here is the full list:

  • Stats +5% strength, agility, and intellect
  • Stamina +10% stamina
  • Attack power +10% melee and ranged attack power (which will be the same value again) *hunter
  • Spellpower +10% spellpower (there will no longer be a 6% version)
  • Haste +10% melee and ranged haste
  • Spell haste +5% spell haste
  • Critical strike +5% ranged, melee, and spell critical chance *hunter
  • Mastery +5 mastery
  • Weakened Armor -12% armor
  • Physical Vulnerability +4% physical damage taken
  • Magic Vulnerability +8% spell damage taken
  • Weakened Blows -10% physical damage done
  • Slow Casting -30% casting speed
  • Mortal Wounds -25% healing received *hunter
The hunter buffs

With this master list, hunters will now be providing the 10% AP buff, which MM hunters currently provide via Trueshot Aura; the 5% crit buff, which hunters had to use a pet to provide before; and the -25% healing, which we currently provide via Widow Venom.

Hunters are losing the haste buff that SV currently provides via Hunting Party. The 3% damage buff that BM currently provides via Ferocious Inspiration is going away entirely and will no longer be provided by anyone.

As I mentioned before, we're still going to be bringing plenty of over buffs via our pets. In fact, we're going to end up with a bunch of pets whose buffs are going away or being made irrelevant by our gaining the 5% crit buff. Likely those pets will pick up other buffs, such as the new +5 mastery buff and the haste buff that SV hunters currently bring.

The role of hunter buffs in MoP

One thing that consolidation of buffs means for the hunter in MoP is less need for our pet buffs to fill missing holes. Right now, any hunter in a 25-man raid already experiences that, where every raid buff and debuff are brought by classes.

But just because another player brings the buff doesn't mean they don't need our pet buffs!

Some buffs are like Trueshot Aura and are always active, but other buffs like the warrior's Demoralizing Shout take an action to apply and have a cost associated with them. What tank wouldn't love to have the hunter take over that buff for them, freeing up their rage to do more damage? (And yes, even tank damage matters -- it all adds up, every little bit.)

At BlizzCon 2011, Ghostcrawler told us that in MoP, we'll most likely get to tame any pet we want and just choose what tree that pet is associated with. If this goes through, that will mean that we can grab our bear pet for Demoralizing Roar but make the bear a ferocity pet so that it does just as much damage as a cat. We'll no longer have to sacrifice pet DPS to bring certain buffs, which gives us a much wider ability to step in to let other players off the hook while we handle the buffs.

And it gives healers that much more incentive to help keep our pets alive!

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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