The Improved Improved Hunter’s Mark
Continuing with our series of research topics on talents that were redesigned with Wrath of the Lich King, today we talk about Improved Hunter’s Mark.
During Burning Crusade, Improved Hunter’s Mark was placed in the same talent tier as Efficiency, and the pros and cons of using either one became a topic of discussion. However, the new expansion has changed the placement of Improved Hunter’s Mark into a lower tier talent and redesigned its function from scratch.
Did you ever notice that before Wrath was released, the last time we received an upgrade for Hunter’s Mark was at level 58? I had even missed this fact myself. Burning Crusade did not have a Hunter’s Mark (Rank 5). It came with Wrath. This is a shame because it could mean that the ability was highly underpowered in the first expansion. But would an extra rank of Hunter’s Mark during Burning Crusade have made the original Improved Hunter’s Mark any more attractive?
Causes 20/40/60/80/100% of your Hunter’s Mark ability’s base attack power to apply to melee attack power as well.
That was the description of the original talent. It was a five-point talent that was competing with Efficiency for utility. The mechanics of this incarnation of the talent was discussed in the link I provided earlier.
Hunter’s Mark Hypotheticals
Unfortunately, there was no way that an extra rank of Hunter’s Mark could be added. The ability was first introduced at level 6 and received upgrades at 22, 40, 58, and finally 76. With the exception of the first, every upgrade had an 18-level gap. Let’s say, hypothetically, the last gap was split into two, and there was another Hunter’s Mark at level 67.
If this hypothetical rank of Hunter’s Mark existed in Burning Crusade, we estimate a Ranged Attack Power bonus of 170. If one were to place talent points into the original Improved Hunter’s Mark with this hypothetical rank of Hunter’s Mark available, it would also have provided more bonus melee attack power. It would also have provided an alternative option to the old Trueshot Aura (+125 AP at level 70) because it would provide 45 more attack power to melee classes. The fact that Improved Hunter’s Mark was a lower-tier talent, Beast Mastery hunters could have easily picked it up so that in a raid it could provide a buff that Marksmanship hunters could give with Trueshot Aura.
Although we can’t say whether this would make the talent more attractive due to the attack power buff, it seemed clear that Blizzard had intended to keep with the original schedule of introducing a new Hunter’s Mark every 18 levels. It is also possible that the poor reception to Improved Hunter’s Mark (due to this flaw) prompted Blizzard to revamp the mechanics of the talent.
Hunter’s Mark Redefined
Increases the bonus attack power granted by your Hunter’s Mark ability by 10/20/30%, and reduces the mana cost of your Hunter’s Mark ability by 33/66/100%.
The new Improved Hunter’s Mark is a three-point talent. However, the description of the talent itself is a redefinition of what Hunter’s Mark is meant for. In Wrath of the Lich King, it was clear that Hunter’s Mark was solely meant for buffing ranged attack power. The sole right to buffing melee attack power would go to Trueshot Aura.
In the old Improved Hunter’s Mark, the primary flaw of the design was that it did nothing to the ranged attack power already given to you. Many saw that the five-point requirement was too valuable to be wasted on buffing melee attack power. In the new design, this was resolved because for any number of points you spend in the new talent, it provides bonus for your ranged attack power.
Questions and Further Notes
What was the intention for the original design of Improved Hunter’s Mark? Could it have been meant for PvP rather than PvE to emphasize the concept of “focus fire”? If this was the case, why was the talent redesigned into a seemingly PvE-centric one?
As with any hunter ability we have previously discussed, both Aspect of the Dragonhawk and Trueshot Aura, the attack power bonus of Improved Hunter’s Mark is useless without Hunter’s Mark itself. To really have any effect, the hunter with this talent must always use his Hunter’s Mark. It should also be noted that Improved Hunter’s Mark will not stack, so assign only one hunter to pick up this talent.
It is also worth noting that the Glyph of Hunter’s Mark will add 20% of the base Hunter’s Mark RAP bonus to the total bonus. When this is used in conjunction with Improved Hunter’s Mark (Rank 3), the total RAP bonus from your Hunter’s Mark becomes 450, which is not something to be ignored. Considering Marksmanship hunters already boast some of the highest RAP values out there, a combination like this can provide us with the big crits we are looking for.