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Scattered Shots: Mining Celestalon's tweets for hunter information

Scattered Shots: Mining Celestalon's tweets for hunter information
Adam Koebel
Adam Koebel|@bendakwow|December 12, 2013 2:00 PM
Hunter in Draenor
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 new stats and the potential for hunter spec differentiation.

We're still patiently waiting for the Warlords of Draenor beta to get some more concrete information on hunters, but in the meantime we've had Celestalon to poke and prod on Twitter. Celestalon is a Technical Game Designer on WoW and has been very forthcoming with technical information regarding classes and the new gearing system in Warlords. We've learned a few new bits of information such as how new secondary stats will work and some vague plans for their intentions with the hunter class. If you missed the BlizzCon hunter recap post, be sure to check it out before we dive into the newer stuff.

The replacements for hit and expertise

You may have heard how hit and expertise are being removed from the game in Warlords of Draenor. I was very happy when I heard about this, but at the same time wondered if gear was going to get too simple since they're also removing reforging, and having less gems and enchants on gear. The good news is, those two wholly uninteresting stats are being replaced by 3 new ones, and if you've been raiding Siege of Orgrimmar their functionality may already be familiar to you.

My first concern as a hunter was whether or not these new stats would scale with our pets, as historically that has always been a serious problem for us. This even exists today with some of the trinkets such as Haromm's Talisman which will not work on pet attacks, making it less valuable for beast mastery over survival and marksmanship. Thankfully, it looks like this will no longer be the case and all stats (including tertiaries) will scale to our pets.
  • Multistrike: If you've used the Haromm's Talisman trinket you will be familiar with this stat. Multistrike rating will grant all of your attacks (including individual DoT ticks) a chance to proc 30% additional damage. As a matter of fact, there is a chance for two Hunter in terrokar forestmultistrikes to happen with each attack so you will occasionally get a triple hit. Currently, the trinket won't work with pet attacks (including Kill Command) but when this becomes a genuine secondary stat in Warlords, that is all going to change as pets will be able to multistrike just as often as you do.
  • Readiness: If you've used the Assurance of Consequence trinket, you will be familiar with this stat. It will increase the cooldown recovery rate of some of the hunter abilities. You will be able to see a list of the abilities (which will probably change per spec) in your spellbook. I asked Celestalon if Readiness would be affecting the cooldowns of pet abilities, e.g. Rabid, and he said it's a possibility but they aren't releasing specifics yet. He also revealed the list of affected abilities will be different than the current ones affected by the trinket.
  • Amplify: There was no agility version of this type of trinket in Siege of Orgrimmar, but it existed for strength DPS classes in the form of Thok's Tail Tip. This is a very meta stat because it's primary purpose is to increase the value of the rest of your secondary stats directly. Amplify will increase your crit damage multiplier, multistrike damage multiplier, and add X% more haste, mastery, and readiness from gear. Confused yet? Basically this is going to make you crit harder, multistrike harder, and just make you more powerful in general.
Whether or not you agree with the removal of hit and expertise, you've got to admit their replacements sound a lot more fun than juggling hit caps. I was curious if the current Siege of Orgrimmar trinkets would be migrating to the new stat system, so I tweeted Celestalon and and it appears they will be in 6.0. You won't be using Siege trinkets at level 100 for their insane passive bonuses as they will scale down as you level up.

Tertiary stats, not to be confused with secondary stats, are bonus stats which can randomly appear on gear. Think of it as a new dynamic to the warforged system. Out of all the tertiary stats revealed so far, it seems like cleave and movement speed will be the most desired for hunters. Life leech and avoidance will be a nice little bonus for extreme soloing and increasing our raid survivability. Cleave will work similarly to the Sigil of Rampage, but will apply to pet attacks as well.

Now that hit and expertise are disappearing, and reforging will likely be removed in the 6.0 pre-patch, you may want to consider holding on to all of your off set pieces of gear with hit and expertise. Those stats will likely be replaced with something new, and with reforging out of the picture, you may find that certain pieces of gear you aren't currently wearing will end up being more valuable than what you have equipped. However, I would not expect amplify, readiness, or multistrike to appear in lieu of hit and expertise on existing level 90 gear.

What is the definition of an overhaul?

There are definitely more changes coming to the hunter class, but it's hard to guess just how big the changes will be. We first heard from Ghostcrawler, and later Celestalon, that there would be no class overhauls but hunters would be getting some more spec differentiation. In other words, they want each spec to play a little differently. One thing we can rule out for sure is any kind of new resource system.

Changing rotations is a pretty big thing to me. A mini-overhaul perhaps? Right now survival and beast mastery feel remarkably similar to one another. Replace Kill Command with Explosive Shot and they're basically the same thing, with two different buttons in the form of Bestial Wrath and Black Arrow. Beast mastery's skill cap is a tad bit lower (the extra passive pet damage helps make up for any errors), but overall the two specs are about the same DPS-wise when played by a reasonably skilled hunter. Marksmanship is the only outlier, and that's due to Steady Focus and a hardcasted focus dump.

I think marksmanship already had a pretty decent identity, but the only thing it's missing is a viable AoE damage toolkit. Bombardment is not ideal because you have to fully commit to do any sort of decent damage, and even when you fully commit, the damage is mediocre. The simplest change in my eyes is to add a bleed effect to all Multi-Shots. That goes against the goal of further differentiation, so Blizzard may have to come up with something new and interesting to get people playing marksmanship again. It's fine for specs to have weaknesses, but not when they lack any type of strength to make up for it.

Rexxar, the Melee Hunter
Blizzard has to be careful with beast mastery because adding any more raw pet damage is going to lower the skill cap even further and potentially cause more PvP problems. That being said, Beast Cleave is probably my favorite AoE spell in the game. Strong burst AoE is a core component of beast mastery -- its one true strength -- and I hope they keep it that way. Does anyone else miss the old Killing Streak talent? When you had two Kill Command crits in a row, the damage of your next one was increased by 20% and its focus cost was reduced. The proc only had a short window of opportunity (2 seconds of leeway), so it encouraged optimal focus management and cooldown usage. Maybe not that proc specifically, but something to make the rotation more reactive and less monotonous.

Survival has quickly become my favorite overall spec to play in 5.4 once I completed the T16 4-piece bonus. There is something immensely gratifying about getting those lucky Explosive Shot streaks. It's glorious. I definitely wouldn't object if this mechanic was added to Lock and Load permanently or through a talent. It makes the spec feel different and fun, and I will be sad to lose it when I start getting new gear. Overall, I think survival is in the best state right now, and is the least in need of tweaking, but that's just my opinion. What sort of changes are you hoping to see in order to differentiate the specs in Warlords of Draenor?

Side Note: Still looking for more of your cool hunter transmogs for a future article. Post them in the comments or tweet them to me (screenshot and item list).
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 ten support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?
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Scattered Shots: Mining Celestalon's tweets for hunter information