Scattered Shots: Hunters at BlizzCon 2013

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Hunters at BlizzCon 2013
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing level 100 talents and other awesome hunter things from BlizzCon 2013.

This past week has been a blur. Things at WoW Insider have been hectic, and I'm still trying to catch up on everything from BlizzCon (thank you, virtual ticket). The most notable thing relating to hunters to come out of BlizzCon was the level 100 talents. When I first read the original transcriptions that people we're tweeting out from the demo stations, I thought I was being trolled.

I never thought I would see the day of a hunter without a pet. Then again, the mantra of Warlords of Draenor is that nothing is sacred. The brilliant thing about the other two talents is they replace existing abilities, so they won't be contributing to the ability bloat problem. There's a few more tidbits of information besides talents to look at. This week, we'll do a recap of everything we learned about hunters at BlizzCon.

Bola Shot
Level 100 Talent: Bola Shot
Bola Shot
30 Focus, 40 yd range, Instant.
Fires a bola at the target which wraps around them. After 1 sec it explodes, dealing 3000 Fire damage to them. Adds an additional 2000 Fire damage to all enemies within 5 yds.

Replaces Arcane Shot
This ability appears to be borrowed from the Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 who has an identical ability, right down to the name. This is going to be an incredible cleave ability. The numbers are obviously placeholder, but what we can gleam from them is that it will cleave two thirds of its damage to all targets within 5 yards. Combining this with survival's Explosive Shot and Serpent Spread sounds like a pretty fun kit. The coolest thing is that it becomes the focus dump by replacing Arcane Shot. This isn't going to change your single target shot priorities at all, nor contribute to ability bloat. It's just going to make you a cleaving machine. My only question is regarding the single target damage. If it's single target component does no more damage than Arcane Shot, that will just make it a talent only suited for cleave fights. I'm already used to swapping talents on a per fight basis, so I guess that will be nothing new.

Level 100 Talent: Snipe

40 yd range, 2.77 sec cast.
Carefully line up the perfect shot, dealing 150% weapon damage. Generates 60 focus.

Cannot be cast while moving.

Replaces Steady Shot and Cobra Shot.

Beast Mastery and Survival: Also refreshes Serpent Sting.
Marksmanship: Also triggers Steady Focus.

This is a talent I would really need to play with to form a solid opinion. It replaces Cobra Shot and Steady Shot to become the new focus generator. It deals about twice the damage and generates over 4 times the focus of a single Cobra Shot. What is the price for this incredible ability, you ask? You can't use it while moving, and the cast time is almost a second longer. However, you should be able to cast at least 3 or 4 shots for every Snipe you cast. The 60 focus gives you enough for two focus dumps immediately, and the passive focus generation on top of this should allow for your signature ability and potentially a third focus dump. Most of all, this sounds like a great talent for marksmanship hunters with their high focus cost shots.

My problem with it is I am so used to doing everything on the move that I'm worried it just won't feel right. I'll have to wait until beta and try it for myself.

Level 100 Talent: With or Without You

This talent changes based on spec so we'll look at each one individually. Beast mastery hunters will get the following:

Versatility (Beast Mastery)

Increases the effect of your pet's Combat Experience to 70% increased damage.

Your pet now gains the following abilities, regardless of spec: Rabid, Spiked Collar, Thunderstomp, Blood of the Rhino, Great Stamina, Bullheaded, Cornered, Boar's Speed.

This is going to make your pet Warlords of Draenor new wolf modelextremely strong. It is going to get all of the main abilities from all 3 pet specs, and gets a flat 20% damage boost on top of that (Combat Experience is currently 50%). You will obviously want to be running with a ferocity pet so you get Heart of the Phoenix on top of all this. If I could make one request to Blizzard it would be more slots on the default pet bar to easily toggle auto casts of the zillion abilities we'll have now. Extra passive damage is so powerful that it could end up being the default choice for beast mastery hunters. Something like Bola Shot would need to do extraordinary damage in order to compete with 20% higher Kill Commands, 20% higher Beast Cleave AoE damage, and so on.

Marksmanship and survival hunters will get the following when using this talent:

Lone Wolf (Marksmanship and Survival)

Increases all damage dealt by 30% when you don't have a pet active.

What. The. Hell.

Well, hunters, you asked for it and Blizzard delivered. I get why some people want to play a hunter without a pet. Some don't like having to manage a pet, some don't like the annoying bugs like their pet getting randomly stuck in silly places, and some wanted it for RP reasons.

Hunters have always been a pet class to me. Taming your own beast was the original reason why I played this class, and I've had my pet standing by my side for almost 9 years now. I just can't see myself playing a hunter without a pet. The option is fantastic for those who want it though. As long as they remember they won't be able to bring that extra raid buff anymore. I'm assuming Stampede will still work for Lone Wolf hunters, but it seems kind of odd to be using a pet cooldown when you're shunning your pets. Also, unless they change the following talents, they will be of no benefit to Lone Wolf hunters: Intimidation, Spirit Bond, Lynx Rush, and Blink Strikes. It's kind of strange how picking one talent invalidates several others from even functioning, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was more work done with our other talents.

Wowhead has the talents available in calculator form. Also keep in mind these talents are subject to change.

Hunter Quivers
The quiver question

Quivers came up quite a few times at BlizzCon 2013. They're something a lot of hunters miss, and when we all saw them featured rather prominently in the trailer we couldn't help but wonder if they're coming back.

In the open Q&A panel at BlizzCon, Art Director Chris Robinson quipped that he wished someone would ask him about quivers. Unfortunately, no one asked. I am very disappointed in you, BlizzCon hunters. The good news is we have a little bit of information that came out of various channels. In episode 347 of The Instance podcast, Ghostcrawler answered some fan questions and when asked about quivers said that the artists are currently working on them but didn't offer any details beyond that. Later he mentioned the plan is to have them be a cosmetic thing like belt buckles, possibly tied into hunter chest pieces. They may not make it in for patch 6.0, but it looks like we are getting them eventually.

New hunter weapon sounds
You can stop transmogging your gun into a bow because of the sound

In the "Evolving sound of Warcraft" panel, the sound designers revealed the new hunter weapon sounds. If you have the virtual ticket, you can go watch the VOD right now and listen. This applies to not just guns but crossbows and bows as well.

The new gun sound is much more subdued but still has some weight behind it. There are new arrow/bullet impact sounds which give a very satisfying thud when they hit. I think it might be time to bust out my super soaker in celebration.

Goodbye, hit and expertise, you won't be missed

Finally, I can stop cringing every time I get anotherHit caps piece of gear with gobs of hit on it. These weren't fun stats and I am happy to see them go.

I'm less happy about reforging being removed because the only problem I had with reforging was having to use a calculator to optimally reforge around hit and expertise caps, and with those gone reforging could have been a lot more fun. C'est la vie.

It's a little too soon to see what tertiary stats are going to do for hunters, but things like cleave and movement speed definitely sound fun. My biggest question regarding those is will they also scale with our pets like secondary stats do?

Ghostcrawler said not to expect any sweeping class changes aside from the new talents, so I'm not sure what else is in store for us. We're going to have to wait until beta to see any of that. So, hunters, what are your thoughts on the new talents? Are you going to abandon all your pets and become a Lone Wolf?
Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From raiding tips and taming rare pets 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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