Tag Archives: hunters

seriously, burn the stables already

Back in the lead-up to Wrath, I’d suggested that one of the Hunter class’s biggest problems was the stable system. In my experiences over the last few days with Al, I hold this opinion more firmly than ever.

Every class has the option of carrying a second set of equipment around for different circumstances in instances. A cat druid might carry healing eq for certain boss fights where the extra hot is needed, any warrior worth two beans is going to have a shield somewhere on his person, etc…

Hunters and warlocks are both already heavily penalized in the inventory department, though to be fair they really don’t have much need to switch gear between fights. Hunters permanently sacrifice a bag slot to ammunition, and warlocks need to carry lots of shards – for which they can optionally choose to employ custom bags.

After spending only 17 points in demonology, a warlock can cycle through 3 different pets in ~6 seconds. They can adapt for different fights as necessary. To them, changing pets is roughly as difficult as changing weapons. A warlock’s pet (or often their lack thereof) is simply a buff like that granted by another class’s stances and auras.

If a hunter wants to switch pets, they have to run to the nearest town. No switching gear or rebuffing between fights for them.

Aspects aren’t big enough to warrant this discrepancy. They are essentially:

  1. I am shooting things
  2. I am out of mana because I was shooting things
  3. I am corpse running after my group just wiped
  4. I am fighting a boss that does nature damage
  5. I am not running out of melee range for some bizarre reason

So in normal practice, a hunter has two states – killing and in-combat downtime. Aspect of the viper is a complete joke since 3.0. Requiring players to alternate between the two is a big design flaw, IMO.

So if aspects aren’t a hunter’s “stances”, pets are the big candidate for the role.

Just like a paladin can strap on his shield to tank or put on a dress to heal, a hunter can use a gorilla to tank or a chimera to crowd control or a dinosaur to eat things… as long as he returns to town first.

Please, Blizzard. Just put hunter pets in the spellbook already.

Of course, my nefarious reasoning behind ALL of this is just so I can carry a set of 5 pets into a boss fight and resummon a new one when the old ones melt under his AoE aura – allowing me to actually have a pet out for the entire fight and waiting until after the fight to rez them 😉

wrath of the hunter king

Well, it’s about that time again. WoW’s second expansion is in beta, and will be bringing with it an absolutely staggering number of changes. So far, I am very pleased with the way things are going.

Today, I am going to try to confine my ramblings to the subject of the hunter talent tree upgrades. Pet changes, new spells, and upgrades to old spells will have to wait until a future post or two. And of course, I’ve also got to write about the priest changes. Hmm… And I’m trying to get my warlock to 70 before the expansion as well… Anyway. Hunters. Talents. Go.

Beast Mastery Talents – 53 points

  • Improved Aspect of the Hawk – rank 5/5
  • Endurance Training – rank 3/5
  • Focused Fire – rank 2/2
  • Aspect Mastery – rank 1/1
  • Unleashed Fury – rank 5/5
  • Ferocity – rank 5/5
  • Spirit Bond – rank 2/2
  • Intimidation – rank 1/1
  • Bestial Discipline – rank 2/2
  • Frenzy – rank 5/5
  • Ferocious Inspiration – rank 3/3
  • Bestial Wrath – rank 1/1
  • Catlike Reflexes – rank 3/3
  • Invigoration – rank 2/2
  • Serpent’s Swiftness – rank 5/5
  • Longevity – rank 3/3
  • The Beast Within – rank 1/1
  • Cobra Strikes – rank 3/3
  • Beast Mastery – rank 1/1

Marksmanship Talents – 5 points

  • Lethal Shots – rank 5/5

Survival Talents – 3 points

  • Hawk Eye – rank 3/3

Beastier Mastery

At present, my hunter is a pretty heavy beast mastery spec. If things remain largely unchanged, he will likely become even heavier beast spec immediately upon getting the expansion. Of course… there is so much goodness in the pending changes that I might not actually stick with beast spec much past 70, but this is my current plan for day one in Northrend.

First, let’s discuss what I’m planning on giving up (initially). In order to get 53 points in beast mastery, I will have to give up 11 points from marksmanship and survival. The talents that are going byebye:

  • Humanoid Slaying (3 points, T1 survival) – No real pain here. This reduces my damage & crit damage caused to Humanoids by +3% each. Of course… this talent is gone in the expansion anyway. It’s being replaced by the 5 point Improved Tracking ability which gives you +5% base damage to whatever you’re tracking. It’s nominally an upgrade, but it’s not worth the points.
  • Improved Hunter’s Mark (5 points, T2 marks) – Shrug. This talent causes my mark’s +AP bonus to apply to melee damage as well (ie, my pet’s). That means -110 AP that my pet would normally enjoy against a target I’ve marked. That’s roughly 8 dps + whatever specials might gain from AP. In the expansion… the talent gets a major buff. Cost is reduced to 3 points and it also gains +30% to resist dispel. I like the improvement, but it’s still not earthshaking.
  • Go for the Throat (2 points, T3 marks) – This one makes me cry. Go for the Throat causes my pet to regenerate 50 focus every time I score a ranged critical hit. Getting this talent back will probably be my first major focus – with the planned build, I’ll be able to get this back at level 77.
  • Aimed Shot (1 point, T3 marks) – This one also makes me cry. I refuse to explain aimed shot. Anyone who’s read this far knows exactly what it does. I might pick this back up, but it will take some careful juggling.

But oh… oh what am I going to get in exchange 🙂 It’s gonna rock.

Aspect Mastery is a new T3 beast talent. For one point, it buffs your 3 basic aspects. Viper gets +10% to its mana regen rate. Monkey gets 10% damage reduction – that’s right, flat out absorption when the dodge fails. This also means monkey now helps when you’re getting hit by spells. Hawk gets +50% to its AP bonus. At level 70, hawk is worth +155 AP, so this talent is worth +77 AP. At level 80, hawk will be worth +300 AP… 😉

While I’m going this deep in the tree (and since I don’t need the point for Aimed Shot any more), I’ll also be picking up a 3rd point in Catlike Reflexes for an additional +1% to my dodge and +3% to my pet’s dodge.

Invigoration is a new T8 beast talent that for two points causes you to instantly regenerate 2% of your mana every time your pet scores a crit with a special. My pre-existing talents already give my pet +10% crit chance and double focus regen. I’m losing the focus regen from Go for the Throat but am also picking up both of the new T9 talents…

Longevity costs 3 points at T9 beast and reduces cooldowns on Bestial Wrath, Intimidation, and all pet special abilities by 30%. Intimidate’s cooldown goes down from 60 seconds to 40; Bestial Wrath is down from 120 seconds to 84. These cooldowns were already short enough that I have macros that ensure I am able to burn them almost every time they’re up. The buff makes me giddy.

Reducing the cooldown on pet specials by 30% means I don’t have to rely on my pet’s focus dump ability any more. 30% more frequent crits from specials means 30% more frequent procs of Invigoration and happy joyful mana regeneration.

Cobra Strikes costs 3 points at T9 beast and gives me a 60% chance when I crit with Arcane, Steady, or Kill shot to cause my pet’s next 3 specials to crit… In conjunction with Invigoration, this effectively reduces the mana cost for my Steady shots into the realm of the microscopic.

And of course, then there’s Beast Mastery, the new T11 talent. This will allow me to tame exotic pets (devilsaur, chimera, silithid, etc…) and effectively gives all of my pets +20 levels worth of talent points.

The only new beast talents that I’m not actually picking up with this build are:

  • Animal Handler (T6, 2 points), which gives my pet +4% to hit (that’s never been a problem) and reduces the cooldown on the new Master’s Call ability by 10 seconds (from 60 to 50). I don’t think I’ll be using Master’s Call much. I’ve already got 84 second Bestial Wrath.
  • Separation Anxiety (T10, 5 points), which is quite probably very cool, really. Fully trained, it gives your pet +10% movement speed when <=20 yards from you and then turns the speed bonus into +10% dps once it gets 20 yards away. This makes interception time even faster and generally translates into an almost permanent +10% pet damage (since 20+ yards is a quite normal range for hunters to shoot from).

I’m vaguely torn by Separation Anxiety. Insert pun here. To pick it up immediately upon WotLK launch would mean foregoing +5% crit chance, and my crits already give my pet huge bonuses that I wouldn’t want to go without.

Of course… the other two talent trees have gotten an even bigger upgrade. Beast was already terribly overpowered, so it is only fair. If it weren’t for the lure of exotic pets, I’d be all over the other trees. As it is, I’m having a hard time deciding what I want out of their first 3 tiers.

Marksmanship

The changes to the marks tree mean major improvements to hunter shots, reliable improvements to baseline DPS, and absolute gobs of bonus mana efficiency.

One of my longstanding gripes has been Improved Concussive Shot. In BC, it was a 5 point talent that gave the dubious benefit of a 20% chance of proccing a 3 second stun in addition to the daze effect. There are numerous problems with this that I really don’t want to get into since the bad talent is finally going away. In return, we get a sleek new 2 point talent that increases the duration of the daze by 2 seconds. This is pure awesome. If I were leveling a newbie hunter, this would be my first talent, hands down.

T1 marks also gets the 3 point Focused Aim talent, which gives hunters the same sort of 70% interruption resistance (while charging Aimed & Steady) that other mana-using classes have traditionally been able to buy for low tier talents. I find this to be of questionable usefulness, however – especially since it’s a T1 talent that buffs abilities that aren’t available at level 10. Aimed shot is a T3 talent, so it is first available at level 20. Steady shot rank 1 is level 62…

T2 marks gets some amazing changes, I’ve already mentioned the buff to Improved Mark.

Careful Aim makes an appearance at T2. All the way down from T7. Yup. They moved a tier seven talent down to tier two. And then they buffed it 3x. In stead of a puny +45% of your int converted into RAP, it now gives a full +100%. Epic win.

They have also switched the locations of Mortal Shots (+crit damage) and Efficiency (-mana cost). Mortal Shots is now T2 and becomes Aimed Shot’s pre-req (in stead of the other way around). Efficiency wasn’t very important at low levels, so moving it up to T4 makes more sense (when it’s saving you more than 1 or 2 mana per spell).

In stead of Careful Aim at T7, marks hunters now get Piercing Shots for 3 points. This gives Steady and Aimed shots the ability to ignore 6% of target armour. Very unshabby.

Rapid Recuperation is a new 3 point T8 ability that helps mana efficiency. While using Rapid Fire, both the hunter’s and pet’s abilities are 60% cheaper. This makes for a lot of focus dump happiness for your pet. Additionally, Rapid Killing (which already reduces Rapid Fire’s cooldown) is improved by giving you a mana regen tick that heals you for 150% of the damage dealt by the +20% damage shot you fire to use the Rapid Killing charge. This is quite probably enough to keep high level hunters at full mana forever, so long as things keep dying.

Wild Quiver is a new T9 (3 point) talent that gives you a 10% chance to fire an additional auto shot at 60% damage. Combine this with the fact that heavy marks hunters will likely be using Improved Hawk in stead of Viper (since the marks tree is really taking care of the hunter’s mana needs without it now)… and you have a LOT of extra arrows flying.

T9 also gets Improved Steady Shot (3 points). This gives your steady shots 15% chance to increase the damage of your next aimed/arcane/kill shot by 15% while reducing its mana cost by 40%. See? I told you. Mana efficiency.

The new T10 marks talent is Marked for Death (5 points). It gives your already improved hunter’s mark an additional +10% damage dealt by the hunter & pet and increases your critical strike damage bonus of all shot spells by a further 10%. This really encourages the hunter to mark their targets but I wonder how it plays out with multiple hunters firing on the same target. Do they all get the bonus, or does only the hunter who placed the mark?

And Chimera Shot is the new T11 talent. It’s a 10 second cooldown shot for 125% damage that refreshes your current sting and procs an additional bonus depending on which sting was active. Serpent deals 40% of the sting’s normal damage instantly. Viper heals you for 60% of the amount it drains (mana efficiency). Scorpid procs a 10 second disarm attempt that can only occur once a minute. All told, way cool.

Survival

The big change at T1 for the survival tree is that the former pair of 3 point talents Monster Slaying and Humanoid Slaying have been replaced with the 5 point Improved Tracking. I’ve already discussed this above, but just to reiterate:

  • Only costs 5 talent points in stead of 6.
  • +5% damage in stead of +3% damage and +3% crit damage.
  • Works on whatever you’re tracking in stead of just 4 different creature types.

T2 gets a new talent called T.N.T.. Hehe. This gives your fire traps 15% chance to deal a 2 second stun when they do damage (I assume this means 15% each time the dot procs…). It also increases the crit chance of your explosive trap by 15%. And… the talent also extends these bonuses to your Explosive Shot (which is the new T11 talent that effectively acts as a ranged explosive trap). I could live with this.

Tier 2 also gets Survival Instincts. Yup, another high tier talent moving down into cherry picking range. They didn’t even nerf it in the process (but they didn’t buff it like they did Careful Aim). This formerly 5th tier talent gives you a whopping 4% damage reduction and 4% AP for 2 points.

T3 sees an upgraded version of Deflection. This talent previously cost 5 T2 points for +5% parry bonus. Now it costs 3 T4 points for +6% bonus. Deflection also becomes Counterattack’s new pre-req (since the old pre-req, Deterrence is becoming a baseline ability now). Win.

T3 also gets Trap Mastery, which is currently unimplemented. But I believe it is supposed to be a combination of the previous T3 Clever Traps talent and the previous T4 Trap Mastery talent.

And… T3 also gets an improved version of the formerly T4 Improved Feign Death. Survival Tactics (2 points) is Improved Feign Death (+4% to difficulty to resist feign) plus a 4 second reduction to Disengage’s cooldown.

At T4, Surefooted is slightly changed to cut the duration of snares in half. Previously it supposedly gave you a +15% chance to resist them, but I’m not the only one who’s noticed that a lot of CC/snare/etc… type effects are, well, simply irresistible. So this is a nice improvement. They’re actually doing this sort of thing all across the board (changing chance to resist effects that weren’t ever actually resistible to a reduction in that effect’s duration).

Lock and Load is a new 3 point T4 survival talent that gives you a crazy weird clearcasting type effect that procs whenever you trap a target or 15% of the time you sting something. The proc is that your next 3 arcane and explosive shots are free to cast and have no cooldown (they normally both have a 6 second cooldown). I really wonder if successive explosive shot dots stack… because explosive trap + 3x explosive shot = actual big boy aoe dps. This would actually make hunters vaguely useful in situations where previously only mages & warlocks would do.

Hunter vs Wild is a new T5 talent for 3 points that increases you and your pet’s AP by 30% of your total stamina. 5 points in Survivalist are the nominal pre-req, but when considering taking a talent like this, who’d pass up a +10% stamina bonus anyway?

Noxious Stings is new at T8 and has Wyvern as a pre-req and gives your wyvern sting a backlash effect that hits the dispeller for 50% of the remaining sting duration. In addition, it also increases all damage dealt to victims of your serpent sting by 3%. This really improves the usefulness of wyvern in pvp and makes serpent a nice addition to an improved mark in group situations. I don’t think this should be a T8 talent with a pre-req… but there really isn’t room to put it anywhere else 😉

Point of No Escape is a new T9 survival talent that costs 3 points and increases the crit chance of all attacks on victims of your ice traps (and possibly bear trap, but I think they’re doing away with that one). This is very nice for frost trap and potentially very very fun with the rumored changes to freeze trap (it won’t break on any old damage now). This means you might get to cycle off two big crit shots into something when breaking its freeze now.

Sniper Training is another new T9 talent (3 points). This increases the damage dealt by steady, aimed, and explosive shots by 6% when you are >30 yards away from the target. It also (possibly more importantly) improves your chance to crit by 15% when executing with Kill Shot. It’s kind of a shame this is so mutually exclusive with Separation Anxiety (+pet dps at long range).

The new T10 survival talent is Hunting Party (5 points) and serves as an awesome hunter version of Vampiric Touch (shadow priest spell that dots an enemy and turns the damage into mana for the party). Hunting Party has Thrill of the Hunt as a pre-req (regen 40% of shot costs when you crit) and heals your whole party’s mana/energy/rage/runic power slightly whenever you crit with an arcane/explosive/steady shot. Hehehe. Oh, and remember, TNT gives explosive shots +15% to crit while Lock and Load makes them subject to chain clearcasting 🙂

And of course then there’s Explosive Shot at T11. We’ve already seen numerous other talents that improve it, but what is it? It’s a ranged explosive trap on a 6 second cooldown. It hits the primary target for a good chunk of fire damage and then splashes everything within 5 yards with a dot for half of the base damage again over 2 seconds.

And so… with so many wonderful options, I am really starting to wish for the first time that they will let us dual spec somehow. It would mean I can keep my insanely heavy beast spec for soloing and take something from marks and/or survival for groups/pvp. Mmm. Happy ideas.

Anyhow, I’ve spent entirely too long on this, and now I’m less sure than ever of what I’ll be doing with my 10 shiny new lvl 71-80 talent points. Oh well. Respecs aren’t really that expensive after all.

burn down the stables (or: the bland pet conundrum)

Two and a half months ago, I started writing a post on the topic of WoW hunter pets. In their present incarnation, they are boring and unbalanced. They’re difficult to learn how to use effectively and make tremendous time sinks.

In the time since I started this post WotLK has gone into beta and a lot of things have changed. They seem to be making similar choices to those I was guessing at, only much cooler 😉

However, since I hate to waste a good rant, I’m going to dust this thing off before it goes entirely stale. Let’s see what I can salvage.

<original-post>
Lately, there seems to have been a lot of discussion on the topic of hunter pets – especially in the wake of recent patches that have broken longstanding aggro mechanics.

Znodis seems to think that sweeping normalization of pets is inevitable – ie, all pets will eventually have identical stats and have access to the exact same set of skills. Mania agrees in part, but is hoping for a middle ground solution – where all pets become viable not by giving all pets access to all abilities, but by guaranteeing that all pets have access to at least one ability of a given variety.

I think that any sort of large scale normalization that negates Blizzard’s (now long-standing) trend of slowly releasing unique abilities for individual races of pets… would be a mistake.

The core of the argument seems to be thus:

  1. Some pets are useless.
  2. Because of this, people tend to gravitate toward 2 or 3 distinct sets of pets – even though there are some 20+ varieties available.

You don’t see warlocks rioting in the streets because they have never had even the illusion of choice in their pets. Warlocks get a handful of pets, each of which is completely identical to any other comparably leveled and specced warlock’s version of the pet. They have a few novelty pets that come out for parties… but they generally stick to 2 or 3 different pets for 99% of all situations.

Hunters at least have a choice. They can use monkeys and flamingos and crabs if they want to. Not that there is any compelling reason to do so, other than the fact that staring at an endless array of cats, bears, pigs, and birds over the course of one’s entire hunter career gets a bit boring.

This is apparently a bad thing.

I think the only bad thing here is that Blizzard is wasting effort releasing pets that almost nobody uses. Why bother making spore bats tamable in the first place? No hunter big enough to tame one is going to waste his limited pet slots on… well, a complete waste of a slot. Not when there are pets out there that can hold aggro and eat conveniently available food and maybe do some damage while they’re at it…

The proposals I’ve seen from other hunters:

  1. Do away with useless pets forever.
  2. Make all pets the same.
  3. Make all pets mostly the same.
  4. Take the time to balance each pet type and encourage people to use them.

Nobody’ll bite the first option. They’re in game, it doesn’t do any real harm to leave them in.

Two and three are really the same thing. Turn pets into pretty skins around an otherwise identical blob of function. We’re already frighteningly close to this. Different attack speeds were done away with. Different travel speeds were done away with. Large pools of shared trainable abilities were added to allow hunters to respec around a pet’s natural deficiencies.

And nobody thinks that option 4 will fly either – nobody seems to think that Blizzard cares enough to dedicate the resources. And while I’m loathe to agree… I’d like to think that a compromise will be made. Blizzard clearly wants us to use different pets, they just don’t want to make them very interesting.

I’d like to suggest my own wacky solution.

burn down the stables

Stables are a pain, and they’re an unnecessary restriction on the class. Who else has to run back to an inn (or even more inconvenient location in some towns) to change their equipment? I mean, if a feral druid knows they might need to switch into a healing role for part of an instance run, they can always just carry a change of clothes.

This restriction becomes even more arbitrary feeling in the face of Death Knights possibly being able to perform little ‘mini-respecs’ in the field. Warlocks can cycle through pets during combat – they can even spec to improve this process, why does a hunter have to run all the way to the back corner of Orgrimmar to trade their bear in for an owl?

But even worse than the arbitrariness of the stable system is the simple fact that it’s had a glaring bug since beta that nobody’s bothered fixing. Non-hunters can buy stable slots. They can’t use them for anything. So unlike a mage portal trainer who refuses to talk to non-mages, the stable master is more than happy to talk to and steal money from non-hunters.

And the stables don’t even always work. I’ve had pets get stuck in the stable and require GM assistance to extricate. And then there’s the elusive virtual pet slot that sometimes exists and sometimes doesn’t, depending on how you juggle things…

The system was clearly a rushed job that hasn’t had an ounce of polish in over three years. I say get rid of it, and replace it with something that works.

so now what?

Well, now we let hunters switch pets in the field. Just like mini-pets take up a player’s inventory, I’m willing to sacrifice some inventory room for the ability to take 3 or 4 pets adventuring with me.

This could be justified by giving the hunters a number of ‘whistles’ that are associated with new pets as they’re captured. If they abandon a pet, the whistle becomes disassociated.

Allow hunters to capture pets even when they don’t have a free whistle slot (similar to a warlock’s enslave). Pets captured in this way do not gain loyalty and cannot be fed, so they’ll run away after a while. They do not persist through a logout, and they cannot be raised if they die. Since they have no training points and do -25% damage, they’re not useful as permanent pets – but they are useful to learn abilities and as a means of crowd control.
</original-post>

Well, that wasn’t terribly outdated after all. Most of the changes (beta changes, so not entirely guaranteed to go live, of course) that obsolete some of my opinions are:

  1. Mini-pets are going into your spellbook.
  2. The stable might have been increased in size by 2 slots.
  3. All pet races have a unique ability.
  4. Bite has been nerfed to act as simply another name for claw (a focus dump). Every race gets one or the other.
  5. Pets now magically learn new abilities as they level, thus eliminating the need to go out and tame a lvl 63 ravager to teach your level 64 boar rank 9 gore…
  6. Pets automatically level up to a minimum of 5 below their owner when tamed.
  7. Loyalty is quite probably going away, so that’s no longer a concern for the ‘enslaved’ pets I was pondering.
  8. Along with loyalty, the often confusing training point system is gone and has been replaced with a much nicer and more familiar talent system. Each pet family falls into one of 3 trees.

So what does this all mean? It means that Blizzard is normalizing pets in the best possible way. It means that there will finally be a real reason (other than aesthetics) to choose weird pet races. It means that I’m absolutely going to maintain a minimum of 3 pets now, and will have an easier time of doing it.

It also means that we have a slim chance that they will actually burn the stables down (by making pets into spells, just like mini-pets and mounts). I’m guessing that they’ll try to live with the broken stable system for a bit longer (as evidenced by their expanding it to 5 slots from 3), but I’m hoping that this is just a temporary mechanism that will be done away with when the expansion goes final (or in the patch immediately following).

I mean… they’re already getting rid of the pet trainers… and they’ve already written most of the systems we’d need for it… so why not get rid of the stables as well? Here’s to hoping.

Because encouraging us to keep more pets around without similarly increasing our access to said pets is just plain mean 😛

remarksmanship

This post was originally started back on Oct 31, 2006. It has since been rewritten three times.

With the advent of Burning Crusade, I was pretty torn on how to respec my hunter. I’d played up into my 50’s as a heavy marksmanship build before switching to heavy survival. I’d meant to post my build ideas before the expansion landed, but I was otherwise occupied.

Currently, I am back to a very heavy marksmanship build (43 points). I’d planned on spending the remaining 18 in survival, but decided against it when I dinged 61. At present, I have a 1/43/9 build and am planning on spending my remaining points in the recently upgraded low tier beast talents in an attempt to increase my general durability.

== current build – 9/43/9 ==

The general thought behind my current build is reliable damage. I don’t crit nearly as much as I used to, but I hit hard and I hit consistently, and I can continue doing damage even when low on mana.

There’s not a whole lot to say about these talents except that they’re much better than they used to be. Endurance Training and Thick Hide together give me +5% hp and +10% armour from eq and give my pet +10% hp and +20% armour.

The point in Focused Fire is planned as my my lvl 70 talent. It gives +1% damage output and +10% crit to kill command. It might almost be worth getting two points in Focused Fire for the additional +1% damage in exchange for a small loss in defense.

Not a lot to say here. My goal here was to get Silencing Shot. It’s nice. I like it. I wish the cooldown were a bit shorter, but it does still work well as a ranged interrupt (the only reliable ranged spell interrupt in the game, I believe). More importantly, it allows you to pull casters. This has always been a pain, LoS pulls not generally being possible in wide open places 😉

Efficiency is critical. Every build should have it. 10% reduction in mana costs to shots and stings (where 99% of your mana is going in the first place…) are not to be underestimated. Especially for a hybrid class that gets way less mana than full caster types.

Rapid Killing is nice. It’s only two points and it gives you a 20 second buff when you kill something that gives you +20% damage to your next hit. This encourages opening combat with Aimed Shot. In addition, these two points also reduce your Rapid Fire cooldown by 40%.

Rapid Fire is amazing. +40% ranged attack speed for 15 seconds in exchange for 100 mana. So… in stead of firing one arrow every 2.5 seconds, you wind up firing every 1.8 seconds. What that really translates to is an extra 2 shots for 100 mana. The single most mana efficient attack ability hunters ever get.

Concussive Barrage isn’t that impressive initially. Woo hoo. It dazes your opponents. Occasionally. This sort of thing would be nice while kiting… but you’re prolly already using concussive shot and frost traps already… No, what Concussive Barrage is really all about is the new shot that hunters get at lvl 62.

Steady Shot costs 110 mana and can be fired off once a second. It does (RAP * 0.3) + 150 damage and an additional 175 damage to dazed targets. Thus, if you pay attention and spam steady whenever your concussive daze goes off… you can get 3 or 4 hits in on the dazed target for some happy bonus damage.

The nine points in survival go well with any build.

Hawk Eye is absolutely critical, however. With it, hunters have the longest attack range of any class in the game. Without it… shrug.

Monster and Humanoid Slaying give +3% to all damage dealt to beasts, humanoids, dragons, and giants and an additional +3% to crit damage against them. These mobs make up the vast majority of the killable things in the game. You can do a lot worse than to spend points here.

== heavy crit – 0/20/41 ==

The general idea behind this build is to crit hard and to crit often.

Wyvern Sting is great (12 sec crowd control, 2 minute cooldown). Now that you can use it in combat, it’s even better. It’s awesomely fun in PvP, and is one of the only ways I know of to reliably take people down as they fly past you on their epic mounts. If you go anywhere near this deep into Survival, it’d be a crime not to pick up Wyvern.

Killer Instinct is an additional +3% to crit rate on top of the +5% you pick up from Lethal Shots. With the +3% to hit from Surefooted, you will be scoring dramatically more crits with just these few talents alone. Add in +15% agility from Lightning Reflexes, and that crit chance goes up even higher.

Thrill of the Hunt means that any time one of your shots (aimed, arcane, steady) crits, you get 40% of the mana back.

Expose Weakness means that 30% of your crits cause everyone attacking your victim to get a heavy bonus to their attack power for 7 seconds.

Master Tactician means that every time you land a ranged hit, you have a 6% chance of getting a +8% buff to your crit chance for 8 seconds. I’m only grabbing 4 points here because I think the 5th point in Mortal Shots is worth slightly more than it would be here. Ie, that is a +2% to crit chance that is effective for 8 seconds after every 6% of your hits versus +6% to crit damage every time you crit.

== chainmail tank – 11/27/23 ==

This build is meant for hunters who somehow manage to keep taking damage. It’s not enough to make you tank better than, oh, say… a shaman… But it gives you some incredible survivability when you do wind up getting hit. The goal here is to avoid dying long enough to either kill your enemy or to run away.

4% damage reduction from Survival Instincts is not to be underestimated. That’s four percent of every hit from every source you ever take. This is better than getting +4% max hp. Much, much better.

Deflection is a very nice toy. +25% to both parry and dodge sounds like +50% to avoid getting hit to me. It only lasts 10 seconds, and is on a 5 minute cooldown, but 50% damage avoidance for 10 seconds can make an enormous difference. Throw improved monkey and deflection into the mix and you are now dodging at +39% and parrying at +30%.

Add do this the numbers I’ve already talked about from the other low tier beast talents and +10% more hp from Survivalist… it’s still not always enough.

There’s nothing shameful about running into a corner and playing dead.

Feign rarely fails against stuff of your own level or lower, but it frequently fails vs stuff that’s bigger than you. Improved Feign Death pretty much reduces your chance of failure to zero versus mobs of your own level, and gives you a very good chance against things 1 or 2 levels higher.

Scatter Shot is a great stalling tactic when running away. It works within the dead zone and as an instant cast, you can fire it while jumping around a corner.

Finally, the +15% chance to resist movement impairing effects (snares – daze?) from Surefooted can’t hurt when trying to get out of a crowd of uglies in order to find a safer place to fall over.

== machinegun dps – 7/45/9 ==

With the death of the old 10 second cycle and the improvements to arcane shot, I like the idea of a hunter build that can not only keep up with a rogue for burst dps, but can make the rogue look like a paladin by comparison. This is the closest I’ve come up with. Of course, it makes an OOMkin druid look like a Dark Pact warlock, but shrug 😉

As long as you keep yourself well hydrated, load up on mana regen eq and take advantage of Aspect of the Viper between fights and when low on juice, it can work.

We’ve seen most of these talents before in the other heavy marks builds. But the philosophy behind this build is a bit different.

Improved Arcane Shot means a 16.7% increase in the rate at which you can bombard things with arcane damage. In addition to loading up on mana/5 eq, a healthy smattering of +spell/arcane damage eq would not be entirely wasted either. You’re still doing a mix of physical and arcane damage and should be switching over to Steady Shot whenever you daze an enemy, but the arcane shot damage is pretty impressive when you speed it up.

Rapid Killing is also still important in this build, much more so because of the 2 minute cooldown reduction on Rapid Fire. The extra 2 or 3 shots you get from Rapid Fire are two or three chances for physical damage crits on top of whatever you’re getting with arcane. When you have the Rapid Killing buff in place, consider opening fights with arcane in stead of aimed shots, a crit with magical damage can be a lot more impressive than with physical. And it’s faster.

In addition to spamming Rapid Fire and Arcane Shot, the other important part of this build concept is Improved Hawk. I’ve talked about this talent before (in basically every other post I’ve ever made on hunters), but it bears repeating here in context.

Improved Aspect of the Hawk gives you a 10% chance with every normal ranged attack of getting a +15% attack speed buff for 12 seconds. The 10% chance means that this effect should proc roughly once every 25 seconds of combat if you’ve got a 2.55 normal ranged attack rate (that’s a 3.0 second weapon and a +15% speed quiver). 12 second buffs proccing every 25 seconds = 50% of the time 😉 Plus, of course, there’s also the slightly increased chance while the buff is active that the effect will proc again.

With a +15% speed quiver and a 1.8 speed weapon, you get a normal attack rate of 1.53 seconds. Improved hawk should proc roughly once every 15 seconds in this case, ie, it should be an almost constant effect that gives you an attack speed of closer to 1 second. Throw Rapid Fires off whenever you’re under the influence of the improve hawk effect and … your attack speed number suddenly becomes something closer to 0.36 for 15 seconds. That’s 41 arrows.

War Master Voone drops a lvl 55 green 1.6 speed bow. It’s only 36 dps, but…

== animal trainer – 46/12/3 ==

I am strongly tempted to play with this build, and I’m probably going to at least give it a whirl when I hit 63 and catch myself a warp stalker

The goal is to stand back and let your pet do all of the work. Fire normal shots with a fast bow and concentrate your mana on keeping your furry little assassin friend alive.

This is the only beast spec I’m going to discuss, so pay attention 😉

First off, the things I’m not picking up. I’m not grabbing Efficiency, I’m not grabing Rapid Killing, and I’m not grabbing the Human/Beast Slaying talents. You don’t need these as much here. You’re relying on your pet to do all of the work. Firing your own weapon (ideally something fast) is just a way of scoring crits in order to proc the 50 point focus regen bonus from Go for the Throat.

I’m also ignoring the whole Beast Within chain because I see it as primarily useful in PvP. The goal with this build is not to send a pet charging through fear spells to eat mages, it’s to let the pet eat mobs for you.

Ok, grabbing Improved Revive and Mend should be a no brainer for any beast spec hunter. Keeping your pet alive and getting rid of nasty debuffs is essential… Spirit Bond is also incredibly nice, 2% max hp regen every 10 seconds for both you and the pet equates to +40/5 hp regen if you have 4000 hp. This regen continues during combat.

Unleashed Fury means +20% dps. Ferocity means +10% crit rate. Bestial Discipline means 2x the focus regen (+whatever you’re giving your pet from ranged crits). Animal Handler means +4%. Catlike Reflexes means +9% dodge (on top of the +10% hp and +20% armour already mentioned). Improved Hunter’s Mark means your Mark is suddenly quite useful to your pet (increases their damage).

Serpent’s Swiftness means +20% to attack speed for both you and your pet. More attack speed for you means more frequent crits and more +50 focus heals to your pet means more often your pet can use its own attacks.

+20% attack speed for your pet means a vicious feedback circle of destruction. With Frenzy, your pet gets an additional +30% buff to attack speed that lasts for 8 seconds after every crit the pet lands. By giving your pet +10% to crit from Ferocity… the faster attacks are much more likely to crit, which procs more faster attacks, which are likely to crit and maintain the maniac attack speed…

To top it all off, Ferocious Inspiration gives your entire party (self and pet included) an additional +3% to damage done for 10 seconds after the pet scores a crit. This is phenomenally better than Trueshot Aura’s +100 AP (~7 DPS), especially when you consider you don’t have to actively cast it, and that it improves damage for casters as well as physical types.

update – Feb 4th, 2007

I was sick most of this weekend, so naturally I had to do something silly when not curled up in bed. That something silly was a respec to the beast mastery build above. I’m lvl 63 at this point, and have only purchased the one point in Serpent’s Swiftness (so am missing the 4 points in swiftness and 3 points in Catlike Reflexes). And… the build is useful.

I feel much more durable in general than the other build (I’ve got about 5000 hp and 50/5 hp regen). However, not having Aimed Shot or Wyvern or Silence is weird… In fact, I don’t have any abilities gained from talents. My personal DPS (ie, that achieved by shooting arrows into things) has decreased by about 20-30 since the rebuild. However, my pet’s DPS has increased by 40-50 points. Plus the pet’s inspiration buff is almost always active… for +3% DPS to the entire party.

The beast build kills slightly more quickly than my “reliable” build. But it feels VERY different, and takes a very different mindset to play effectively. I am also basically guaranteed to die when my pet dies. I’m planning on trying to stick with this build until 66 or 70, depending on my mood. I suspect that the final 4 points in swiftness will make an enormous difference in my attitude, but I’ll have to wait and see.

burning hunter crusade

So, today’s big news (other than I had royal stomach issues again this morning :P) is that Blizzard finally got around to announcing the new hunter spells and talents. And they’re awesome. In fact, they’re so awesome that they’re putting my brain into meltdown mode. I’m like a kid in a candy store… where everything costs a nickel… and I have a quarter. There are soo many major changes they’re making that… yeah.

Before I launch into a full on discussion of the changes, I’d like to make a few general observations:

  • Feign death just isn’t as important any more – Hunters are becoming a lot simpler to play as a result.
  • Agility is getting a major upgrade and a mid-sized downgrade, and it is possible to build a char that gets +21% agi. Yes. TWENTY ONE.
  • It feels like they really want to to shift people away from using slow ranged weapons back to using fast ones again.
  • All three trees are getting major improvements, but beast is still generally the weakest of the three.

kill command

At level 62, we get the “kill” command. This slightly questionable ability basically allows you to use your mana to fuel an extra attack for your pet. It’s a pretty decent attack, 127 damage for 75 mana (and 198 for 90 at lvl 70), but it’s only usable after you score a crit. Not that lvl 70 hunters will have problems scoring crits… I’m not gonna knock this one until I try it, but I’m not really impressed here.

aspect of the viper

Level 64 gives us a new aspect. This one was leaked a few weeks ago, and it looks like the leak was correct. It gives the hunter mana/5 regen based on their int score. This is great. I currently have 9/5 mana regen from equipment and have 103 int with my current gear. This aspect would give me +25/5 regen for a total of 34/5. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Of course, doing this costs you the benefits of whatever other aspect you might otherwise be using… but it’s great for improving burn duration when you’re in a group that doesn’t want to sit and drink.

steady shot

Level 66 gives a new shot, which Blizzard intends as a replacement for how people are currently using aimed shot. Of course… You can get aimed at lvl 20, and this one doesn’t happen untill 66… so shrug. Hopefully the upgrades to arcane shot will help fill the gap. It fires faster than aimed shot and costs significantly less mana. It has no cooldown.

Steady shot does a base 100 points of damage. Add 175 to that if your target is dazed, and then add “30% of your Ranged Attack Power”. I’m not certain whether they mean 30% of the normal contribution to damage from RAP or if they actually mean 30% of RAP directly converted into damage. I currently run around with just over 1000 RAP. This means that a steady shot on a dazed target does 100+175+333=608 damage? Of course, I’ve only got mediocre eq for my level/age… there are plenty of hunters out there who have 1300-1500 or more RAP.

Aimed shot at lvl 60 does normal arrow + 600 damage. So it still hits harder (my average arrows do 320 or so damage), but it costs 200 more mana and a talent and because of the downgrade can’t be used effectively in the middle of combat any more. Steady shot is looking very very nice. Even if I am gonna have to wait 6 levels to get it.

According to Kalgan (Bliz hunter GM):

Also, since Arcane Shot does a bit more damage than Steady Shot (unless the target is dazed), you’ll generally favor Arcane Shot over Steady Shot when it’s available.

So… I’m not really sure what to make of that one. Arcane does arcane type damage, steady looks like it does physical damage. Why give us something that you think we’re not gonna want? Shrug. Arcane’s cooldown does not affect steady’s… so you can use both for maximum mana burn and hate theft 🙂

snake trap

Level 68 gives the hunter a new trap. This one is in the spirit of the expansion giving every mana-using class the ability to summon temporary pets. What happens when this particular toy is stepped on… is a ton of poisonous critters chewing on random enemies within range. Kalgan gives a good explanation:

  1. Yes, snakes are mobs that can be targeted. There are 6 to 10 snakes that come out of the trap (oh $h1%, we’ve got Snakes on a Trap!) and attack random targets within 10 yards of the trap.
  2. The snakes do physical damage and apply random poisons (ie: mind numbing, crippling, and a deadly poison).
  3. They don’t do a lot of damage individually, but in total the damage is meaningful.
  4. The snakes will chase the same distance mobs normally chase.
  5. The snakes move at normal mob speed (although their victims may be affected by crippling poison).

So… lame joke aside… I quickly see the snakes as a general purpose replacement for both CC and damage traps. They do physical/nature damage, they debuff, they are both AoE and single-target appropriate… Yeah. I’m digging this one. Especially now that traps can be placed normally during combat – w/o the need to feign first. I’ll pretty much only

misdirection

And the level 70 ability that apparently only I can appreciate… is misdirection. I like it. I like it a LOT. Tony isn’t that impressed, and neither are lots of morons on the forums, but shrug – they’re rarely worth listening to (the morons, not Tony :P).

Misdirection allows the hunter to choose where his hate goes. So, in stead of disengage and feign death which simply dissipate the hate… this one is targetted. Which means that in stead of firing a distracting shot at a mob that’s running after my healer to pull them on to me until the warrior can retrieve them… I misdirect some hate back on to the tank, thus saving me from tanking damage, and making the meatshield’s life easier. I like it.

Kalgan:

Misdirection doesn’t change your target, it simply changes who the threat is going to.

So, imagine you’re firing away, you click misdirection (and get the spell glove to target a party/raid member), click on the person you want the threat to go to, and for your next 3 shots all the threat generated by those shots is added to that party/raid member.

kalgan

Since I’m already posting a lot of Kalgan’s comments, I figure I may as well summarize him on a lot of other relevant points. I’m also very intentionally not linking back to the original threads, because Blizzard’s forums are chronically broken and I don’t want to introduce links I know aren’t gonna work…

traps

Traps are now on a 30 sec cooldown, but can be used in combat (you no longer need to feign/trap).

feign death

When feign death is resisted, you are still reduced to 0 threat for any targets that did not resist feign death (although if any creature resists the feign, you won’t be taken completely out of combat, you’ll still be on the creature group’s target list).

base resist chance for equal level enemies is 4%

(I think this means that in general, across all spell-like abilities, the base resist is 4% for equal-level? Does that explain why my +4% to feign from talents never really fails?)

agility

Hunters now get 1 AP per Agility rather than 2. This change helps us provide more interesting stat distributions on hunter items. Previously, Hunters valued Agi significantly above any other stat, such that it was extremely difficult for us to create variety among Hunter items. For example, before this change, we could have spent 1 stat point on an item to give you either 2 AP or 1 Agi (which gave 2 AP along with a small bonus to crit and a small bonus to dodge… clearly the better choice). However, several changes have been made along with this change in order to offset the AP loss.

Hunters now get significantly more crit per point of Agility than before (about 33agi/crit at level 60).

Hunters now get more dodge per point of Agility than before (about 20agi/dodge at lvl 60).

equipment

Ranged weapons have had their damage values significantly increased (and consequently the weapon’s dps)… this also helps make weapon upgrades feel more meaningful for Hunters than it did previously (along with the other changes, this change is retroactive).

Most Hunter equipment has been updated to have a better distribution between +Attack Power bonuses and Agility.

Yes, a handfull of items that were not explicitly hunter-only but were clearly designed as “hunter items” with disproportionately high Agi values are having some of their stats shifted to AP (although they’ll still be agi-heavy in general)

aimed shot

Aimed Shot now resets the Hunter’s shot timer. This talent was always intended to be an “opening” shot, and not something that would be woven between shots. However, since Aimed Shot became such a core element for Hunter DPS, we didn’t want to make this change until we were prepared to make several other changes to increase hunter DPS to offset it. Fortunately, this means that some of the odd side effects of the old Aimed Shot are no longer relevant, such as requiring hunters to use extremely slow weapons to maximize their DPS (weapons slow enough to be able to use Aimed Shot in between auto shots)

Arcane Shot now does substantially more damage than it did before, and scales with AP.

Steady Shot has been introduced as a core ability in the expansion, and provides much the same kind of gameplay as Aimed Shot did in the past (a shot you weave in between your normal shots), but to a much more managable degree (since it’s a 1.5 sec shot, it doesn’t require as slow of a weapon to take advantage of, and doesn’t require to stand still for as long).

Steady Shot does not have a cooldown. The AP scaling on Arcane Shot is 20% of AP.

Also, to answer another question that has come up, Arcane Shot and Aimed Shot no longer share the same cooldown.

wyvern sting

Other note: Wyvern Sting may now be used in combat.

The Talent Calculator will be updated to remove the “out of combat” requirement. However, Wyvern Sting did gain a 1.5 second cast time instead.

talents

They added a lot of goodness all around the talent tree. It looks like I’m going to be dropping a lot of trap-related talents and getting a bunch of marksmanship back. I’m almost disappointed that beast mastery still isn’t viable as a standalone PvE spec. But oh well 😉

beast mastery

The first thing I noticed in the new beast spec is that they’re splitting a lot of the bonuses between the hunter and the pet. So:

  • endurance training – Was +15% pet health. Is now +10% pet health, +5% player health.
  • thick hide – Was +30% pet armour. Is now +21% pet armour, +12% player armour.
  • animal handler – New tier 6 talent. +4% pet hit, +8% player mounted travel speed.
  • catlike reflexes – New tier 7 talent. +9% pet dodge, +3% player dodge.
  • serpent’s swiftness – New tier 8 talent. +20% pet attack speed, +20% player ranged attack speed.

Animal handler is kind of nice. Of course, the travel speed bonus doesn’t stack with spurs or carrots or anything. But that’s really deep in a tree just for the travel bonus – hence the really nice pet bonus.

Catlike reflexes is pretty cool. But it’s way deep in the tree, and kind of pales to the upgrade to improved monkey. Monkey went from 5 points for a +5% to dodge to 3 points for +6%. This leads me to wonder if the base aspect of the monkey dodge bonus is gonna drop from 8% to something less happy? Shrug.

Serpent’s swiftness is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, it’s tier 8 beast spec… which means a lot of points blown in the middle of the tree that aren’t so hot.

They also upgraded/tweaked improved hawk some. So, in stead of 1/2/3/4/5% chance per shot of getting +30% to ranged attack speed for 12 secs, it is now 10% chance per shot of getting +3/6/9/12/15% to speed for 8 secs. It averages out to be about the same amount of speed increase, but it’ll proc way more frequently, and that’ll make people feel better – and make the buff more useful during shorter fights.

Ferocious inspiration is a new 3 point tier 7 ability. Whenever your pet scores a crit, the entire party gets a +3% to damage output for 10 seconds. There’s no cooldown mentioned… so it’s entirely possible that a beast spec hunter’s pet could equate a semi-permanent 3% damage bonus to the party.

And the new tier 9 talent for beast spec hunters is The Beast Within. It extends the bonus for bestial wrath (the big mage killer tier 7 beast spec ability) to affect the hunter as well. So… 18 seconds of +30% damage and immunity to all crowd control type effects.

marksmanship

First off, lots of people will notice that hawk eye (the +attack range ability) has been moved out of the marks tree into survival. Kalgan claims this is because marks was getting too heavy with goodness. I beg to differ, but whatever. If I were really looking to balance the trees, hawk eye would have gone into beast spec – since it’s even got an appropriate name and everything 😛

Go for the Throat is a new tier 3 (2 points) talent that causes your ranged crits to give your pet 50 focus regen. Which is amazing. I’m one of many people who are kind of confused why this one didn’t go into beast spec as well, but whatever. I’m not complaining. I’m getting it.

They also added another tier 3 passive talent (2 points), Rapid Killing. It gives you a +20% to damage from your next aimed/arcane/auto shot after killing a target worth xp/honor. The buff lasts 20 seconds, which gives plenty of time to select and aimed crit a new victim. But wait, there’s more. This talent also decreases the cooldown on your rapid fire ability from 5 minutes to 3. Which means… a lot more remembering to use rapid fire, I think 🙂

They completely removed improved scorpid sting – which is probably a good thing, it was kind of a junk talent. They have just one new tier 4 improved stings talent (where improved serpent used to be) that increases damage from serpent, wyvern, and viper by 30%. So, not great, but much better than it was. This almost makes viper worth using on anything other than a shaman/paladin/hunter in pvp – from 1108 to 1440 mana damage (half of the average lvl 60ish low mana char’s pool).

Scatter shot is now a pre-req for trueshot aura. This doesn’t make much sense, but whatever.

The other big tier five change is the new concussive barrage talent that gives your auto shot a 6% chance of dazing the target for 4 secs. That’s right. It’s free concussive shots. All the more reason for me to hate concussive shot as wasteful garbage 🙂 Add to this the increased damage from arcane shot and hunter kiting becomes just that much happier.

On tier six, they give us the new talent that Tony’s drooling over. Two points in combat experience gives +6% each to agility, stamina, and intellect. It is entirely possible to get both this AND the tier 6 survival lightning reflexes talent for +15% more agility… Which is how he’s going to spec his hunter (0/27/34).

Tier seven gives us careful aim for +45% of int to ranged attack power. Consider this and combat experience and aspect of the viper, and they really want to see hunters with more int than they’ve been packing. Currently, this would only be worth 45 RAP (3.2 dps) for me – which really isn’t worth the trouble of 3 points at tier seven. Adding in combat experience on top of my current gear still only means 109 int for 49 RAP (3.5 dps). Nothing to write home about. Trueshot aura is 100 AP, both ranged and otherwise, for one tier 7 talent point, for the whole party. Of course, they do stack… but shrug.

Nothing to write home about, that is, until you get five points in master marksman, the new tier 8 hunter talent. This gives +10% to ranged attack power. So, if I had 1000 RAP + 100 from trueshot + 49 from careful aim, master marksman turns that in to 1264… which isn’t that bad (it’s an increase of roughly 19 dps for having spent 9 points across all three talents).

I think I’d only consider grabbing these three talents if I was building myself for normal attack power (in stead of my current emphasis on crits). Of course, attack power now applies to a few more abilities than it used to, so that’s not a bad thing. I’m guessing Ben will spec his hunter somewhere along these lines.

And of course, then there is silencing shot, which is pretty self explanatory. It’s an instant cast ranged 3 second silence attack on a 20 second cooldown that also does 75% normal damage. And Kalgan says that even if the target is immune to silencing, the damage will still happen – so it’s not a complete waste like scorpid stings on most bosses (who are immune to stat damage). This gives hunters the longest range spell interrupt in the game now. But 41 points in marksmanship is a lot to pay for it – and it doesn’t look like they’re planning on letting you upgrade it at higher levels.

survival

Aside from the addition of hawk eye as a tier two talent (moved over from marksmanship), nothing changes in survival spec until tier 5 when they add survival instincts which reduces costs of traps and melee abilities by a whopping 40%. It also reduces the cooldown on traps by 4 seconds (so from the new cooldown of 30 to 26 now). Pretty nice for a hunter who’s pretending he’s a melee char 🙂 I think I can stand the 4 second wait on my traps.

Tier six introduces resourcefulness, which for three points, will reduce all damage taken by 6%. Yeah. Overpowered? Probably. Am I complaining? Not really.

It’s already been mentioned that wyvern sting will be usable during combat. This suddenly elevates it from party trick to danged useful. Of course, it’s still on a 2 minute cooldown, but they’re changing it to a base 1.5 sec casting speed in stead of whatever your weapon’s normal rate of fire is… so shrug. We’ll see. I might keep it.

Expose weakness (tier 7, 3 points, requires 5 points in lightning reflexes) gives your ranged crits a 30% chance of increasing attack power of everyone attacking the victim by 25% of your agi, for seven seconds. Thus, my current 315 agi means +94.5 attack power for a few seconds after I crit, which I do a lot. This essentially obsoletes trueshot aura.

And as if tier 7 survival wasn’t getting enough love, they also give us thrill of the hunt, which for three points is a 100% chance to regain 40% of your mana back when you crit any shot.

Tier 8 just gives hunters more ways to score crits with master tactician, 5 points = 6% chance per ranged attack to increase crit chance by 10% for 8 secs. So… yeah.

Then tier 9 gives us readiness, which just flushes all remaining cooldowns. Really, I can’t see any general use for this one, since most hunter cooldowns worth worrying about aren’t that bad. But if it’s the difference between 10 seconds left to feign and avoid a party wipe? It could be worth it. Oh, and it’s only on a 5 minute cooldown, so you can probably abuse it pretty heavily during boss fights and stuff.

hunter efficiency

Earlier today, I had a discussion with Tony about the problems hunters have with mana burnout. They don’t get a lot of mana compared to other ‘caster’ classes and they certainly don’t get a lot of mana regen compared to them.

My general experience is that in instance runs, my hunter would be forced into operating at some sort of really low damage output level because despite mage waters, he’d be perpetually drained of juice. I now have some +regen gear (a whopping +11/5 atm) and am loving it to death – because it’s SOMETHING.

The normal procedure for a hunter in general bombardment mode is to use a big, slow weapon and fire off aimed and multi shots in what some people call the 10 second cycle (even though the cycle actually works out to be much longer than that).

So the question is this. What do I (and most other hunters) do wrong with my mana?

disclaimer

My math here isn’t perfect, in fact, it’s kind of lazy. But, even considering that, the point should be pretty clear and valid.

the ‘experiment’

Supposing 100 spirit on hunter with all the right talents for max damage and efficiency with shots and stings in question and no +regen eq.

Mana regen is 100/5 + 15 = 35 every 2 sec tick. 5 seconds after casting a spell that uses mana, this regen is disabled.

Aimed has a 6 sec cooldown and a casting tim of 3 seconds. Multi has a 10 sec cooldown and replaces your normal auto-shot. Aimed shot fires in addition to auto-shot and does not interrupt the auto-shot cooldown.

We will assume that there is only one target and that there’s no kiting or any other silliness going on, and that the hunter is using a weapon with an approx 3 second rate of fire.

The number in brackets is the approximate timestamp in seconds of the action, the column to the right shows what would happen if multi shot were not used.

So, over a 30 second period, it is reasonable to fire off 4 aimed shots and 2 multi’s for a total of +2745 damage +4 extra normal hits worth of damage (from the aimeds). It cost a total of 1550 mana and the player regenned a total of 140, bringing the cost to 1410 mana.

If multi-shots are removed, the amount of damage inflicted is reduced by 345 and the amount of mana spent is reduced by 434 AND the amount of mana regenerated is increased by 3 more ticks of 35 (105) for a total overall cost of only 766 mana.

verdict

Using multi-shot more than doubles your mana cost over time and if used against a single target, only increases your damage output by the equivalent of one extra normal shot (your normal shots -do- hit for 300-400 damage each, right?).

Just to grind the numbers a bit further… 10+4 shots in 30 seconds for an average of say 350×14 = 4900 damage (barring criticals) + 2745 from the spells gives us a total of 7645 damage (255 dps) for 1410 mana. 5.42 damage per mana.

Removing multi from the mix, we get 7300 damage (243 dps) for 661 mana and a ratio of 9.53 damage per mana.

Figure the average hunter has 4000 mana. Using aimed+multi, he only has enough juice to go for roughly 90 seconds this way (it’s actually a bit less because after the first 30 end, his next shot is a multi, which slows the regen down even more).

Using aimed alone, he can go for 180 seconds of solid bombardment w/o potions or other sources of mana regeneration.

stings

Throwing stings into the mix makes hunter mana efficiency even worse.

Over the 30 second period, assume a hunter fires off two serpent stings (one at 4 and one at 22 seconds). This costs him an extra 450 mana for a maximum of 1221 damage with a few gotchas.

  1. sting damage is nature type, which is subject to resistance.
  2. dots don’t crit, so the 1221 is the absolute max you’ll inflict with a pair.
  3. because sting is a dot, that also means that the mob has to last for the entire duration to take all the damage.

In addition to costing 450 mana in the 30 second period to fire off the two stings, it also eliminates another mana regen tick, effectively costing 35 more
mana.

7645 damage + 40.7x(15+8)=936 from one and a half stings = 8581 damage total in the 30 seconds if the hunter uses sting (286 dps). But it costs 1860 mana to do it, giving us a ratio of 4.61 damage per mana spent and an approximate burn time of only 65 seconds before drained.

+regen/5

As I mentioned earlier, I finally have some +regen/5 eq and I love it. Tony brings up the point that a lot of the endgame hunter gear has this sort of buff on it (not to mention trinkets, etc…).

Most notable among these options would be the new Cryptstalker set (Tier 3 raid gear), almost every piece of which grants +mana/5 (to a total of +26/5). Completion of 6 pieces of the 9 piece set means you get 50 mana back every time you land a crit (which happens a lot since the set has +7% crit in addition to the +283 agi from the entire set for an additional +5.4% crit). Completing 8 pieces of the set reduces the total costs of your aimed and multi shots by 20 mana each…

Of course, I’m never gonna even see a piece of cryptstalker gear, much less ever wear it, much less ever see any of these set bonuses, so why do I care? 🙂