According to WoW Insider's analytics department, 83.7% of you have now downloaded the giant patch 5.0.4, reforged yourself for hit and expertise, been momentarily dismayed at your DPS until you realized the target dummy changed, and then gone out to explore the post-patch world.
You may have noticed that there are still some bugs to be worked out -- like how the improved Kill Command is broken on Ultraxion and Madness, or how Snake Trap is a bit fussy about when to attack, or that Spirit Bond isn't working in combat. You may have noticed things you thought were bugs but weren't, like the target dummies or Explosive Shot ticks clipping on Lock and Load. You almost certainly noticed impressively huge DPS in 5-mans.
Today we're going to suggest five new awesomely fun things that you can do with your post-5.0.4 hunter. Regardless of what you think about the new mechanics, this list should get you excited about the changes.
1. Shoot an elf in the face.
You can't talk about the awesomeness of patch 5.0.4 without mentioning the fact that minimum range has been removed. In the past, removing elf blood from the gene pool was like some kind of old-time duel, where you had to walk 10 paces before turning around to shoot.
Now you can just walk up to an elf and shoot them in the face. This mechanic also works on non-elves, though it loses some of its magic on other targets.
2. Get the new pet tames.
What? You thought the new pets weren't coming until Mists of Pandaria? Most of them, yes -- but two of the new MoP pet families already exist in the current game, and with patch 5.0.4, we can now tame them!
Hunters can now tame basilisks, which have the Petrifying Gaze ability to freeze a target for three seconds but make it immune to damage while frozen. (Alas, it doesn't work on friendlies, something I think would have made it a far more interesting ability.)
More exciting, in my opinion, is the new exotic pet family, the water strider. Those sweet-looking fen striders in Zangarmarsh are now tameable hunter pets. They have the Still Water ability to provide the crit and spell power raid buff and the totally sweet exotic ability Surface Trot. Surface Trot lets you (and the pet) walk on water. This is going on my list of must-have pets just for the sheer utility of the ability. Big fun, plus I still remember first seeing these guys back in BC days and thinking what fascinating pets they'd make, only to be disappointed by the Cannot Be Tamed.
Finally, hunters are back in the knockback party days of rhino bowling fame! Hop into a battleground and spend the entire time creeping around in Camouflage and tossing dirty Hordies off of bridges (or, if you swing that way, knocking off squeaky clean Alliancies ... -ers? ... Dude, you guys need a better name to call us).
4. Experience the heals.
The hunter healing box has never been as sweet as it is in patch 5.0.4! Gone are the days of virtually zero self-healing. Now we have a really badass Spirit Bond (which is even better when it works in combat, but fix pending) or Exhilaration and a host of additional options to boost healing for us and our pets, like:
Seriously, go out and see just how powerful hunter and pet heals are -- even with the loss of tenacity Silverback pet heals. With any luck, Spirit Bond will be fixed by the time you read this. Now is the perfect time to try some extreme soloing, since lack of hunter self-heals was one of the biggest obstacles. Just grab a turtle, spec it tenacity, stack stamina and see what it's capable of.
One word of warning on this one: While hunters have indeed seen a massive boost in self-heals, other classes have also seen big boosts, so we haven't really closed the self-heal gap between us and other pure DPS guys in PvP.
5. Join the final hunter in-game event.
Most of you are probably aware of the WHU all-dwarven hunter guild. This is the group that does all the crazy-fun events with hundreds of hunters swarming the countryside and also the group that has been doing 25-man all-hunter Cataclysm raids. The final giant WHU hunter event of Cataclysm is happening on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. server time.
You can see full details of the event on the WHU guild page, including how to join, server location and other info. This event is going to be a long one. Oh, and the Glyph of Explosive Trap is required.