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Change Is in the Air

While the United States is draped with a message of change and hope on this day, change also appears to be coming to the hunter community. Announcement of an extended maintenance has led many to believe that today is indeed the day for Patch 3.0.8.

In what has been called the “Great Hunter Nerf of 2008″, playing a hunter will no longer be the same should the patch hit the servers. Here are a few highlights of the most updated patch notes:

Steady Shot: Now gains 10% of attack power as damage instead of 20%.
Arcane Shot: Mana cost lowered to match the cost of Steady Shot.
Ferocious Inspiration: This talent now also increase the damage the Hunter does with Arcane Shot by 3/6/9%.

This sequence of changes is part of the core changes designed to balance the three talent trees a bit more. By reducing the damage bonus of Steady Shot, which is the core of a Beast Mastery rotation, it makes Arcane Shot slightly more attractive due to the reduced mana cost. Although it remains to be seen how much this will impact how shot rotations are designed, it certainly is something worth further studies.

Lock and Load: Now has a 30 second cooldown.

This is an interesting change. Because Lock and Load currently triggers from the periodic damage of Serpent Sting, Blizzard implemented the cooldown to make the talent conform more with the cooldown period of traps. (See Lienna’s thoughts of the periodic damage proc.) What I’m interested on finding out is if bonuses such as one from the Beast Lord Armor could (or should) reduce the cooldown on this talent as well. With this change, I see this talent more useful for long boss fights rather than for regular battles.

Rake: This hunter pet ability has had its damage adjusted to prevent unreasonable scaling with attack power.
Scorpid Poison: No longer stacks. The damage has been adjusted to prevent unreasonable scaling with attack power.

An unfortunate change for Marksmanship hunters, cats and scorpids were still considered two of the top pet choices after the entire pet skill system was redesigned. By adjusting the attack power scaling of these two pets, Marksmanship hunters no longer gain a great advantage from using them in fights. Somehow this change reminds me of Znodis’ old prognostication that “[s]ome new mechanic will cause one and only one pet ability to be overpowered”, except in this case it is two pet abilities.

All Silence spells now have diminishing returns. This includes: Arcane Torrent, Garrote silence effect, Improved Counterspell effect, Improved Kick effect, Silence, Gag Order, Silencing Shot, Spell Lock, and Strangulate.

Unfortunately, this change will make the ability a bit more lackluster than before. It will slowly lose appeal before finally deemed unnecessary in a Marksmanship talent build. When it comes to that day, it will be a sad and quiet end for the old 41-point talent.

Although the changes we see in the horizon may not be at all positive, we hunters have always adapted and excelled. It is what makes us that much better because we are under constant attack, yet we continue to shine despite everything that has been thrown at us. There is still hope for us yet.

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9 responses

  1. Bomb change = god damned win.

    That is all.

    20 January 2009 at 08:21

  2. It seems like the BM nerf isnt as bad as some thought it would be. From the tests I have done and recently seen other do there is about a 10% loss in dps from the Hunter. I didnt get to test this out raid buffed and for long periods of time but hopefully it is just a minor cut. I was using Imp Steady Shot Glyph, Serpent Sting, Arcane Shot, and Steady Shot.

    20 January 2009 at 11:03

  3. Let’s not forget about Explosive shot become a fire version of arcane shot. Also, it is quite interesting that with all it takes to be a top DPS hunter, they still feel the need to strangle our caspabilities.

    20 January 2009 at 11:57

  4. I need to get my hand son this patch, if what I’ve seen is right the live patch isn’t “up to date” on the current PTR, but I don’ get the patch till tomorrow *grumble*

    On BM hunters, if its all going according to plan then they should have good dps still, it was too high before, though I suspect that was due mostly to pet scaling being as odd as a fairy-cake named Georgina who is the mayoress of cactus-town in the north pole.

    Well maybe only scorpids and cats were *that* odd…

    20 January 2009 at 11:59

  5. Well said Loronar. We will persevere.

    Why?

    But because the Nerf bat was made of foam. It wasn’t really that hard. In addition, it was necessary.

    Silences will still be necessary for interrupting in Arena’s and such. I don’t think silencing shot will ever be a bad shot, and will still be used for it’s interrupting ability.

    20 January 2009 at 13:28

  6. The thing that you missed in the round-up, is the buff to Explosive shot, which, by all reports, is sufficient to almost double its dps. This brings a much needed buff to Survival, and as such is very welcome. Now, if only they’d buff MM a bit more, then we’d have 3 almost viable trees!

    You’re right about the durability of long term hunters, adapt and survive has ever been the way.

    21 January 2009 at 03:49

  7. Chimera shot is drastically affected as well. Let me explain how:

    Chimera shot refunds 60% of mana drained from Viper Sting.

    Viper Sting/Mana drains in general got nerfed.

    This in turn nerfs Chimera Shot.

    In PvE it’s not so bad, as you can sit there and wait for the last second of Vstings tick before hitting Chimera Shot.

    In PvP this is devasting….your thought?

    21 January 2009 at 15:54

  8. @Keldorei — It just seems like Blizzard is changing every skill into a scaling effect. Perhaps it was a problem that the gap of mana drain between level 66 and 76 was too large. I will revisit this issue next week.

    22 January 2009 at 00:21

  9. Sheri

    The nerf was a tad frustrating for me as a BM hunter for life. I’ve been working for weeks to gear up in heroics as well as the 10 and 25 man Naxx/OS (and yes, enjoying the battle for top dps with those dual-wielding frost death knights). I’ve been trying to keep up with the mechanics, get the best glyphs, farm the saronite for the best arrows… and then after weeks of being on his alt, a friend hops into our raid post-nerf on his newly respecced survival hunter in blues and kicks my dps/dmg in the teeth. It’s a rude awakening and one that has still left me dazed and confused.

    25 January 2009 at 15:44

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