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Marksmanship Talent Speculations for WotLK

With paladins and hunters as the only two classes without released talent trees for Wrath of the Lich King, there’s a lot of speculation as to what changes and additions we may see. There are reports that the alpha phase of the new expansion is now over, but there are no indications of when beta will start.

Blizzard has already mentioned that they are trying to make some changes to paladins in order to improve their gameplay. Perhaps they are trying to tweak hunters more thoroughly as well. We already know that the mechanics of Trueshot Aura will not change in Wrath. It will remain as a static buff to the party. But now the question is, what will we see in the changes that increases our position against Beast Masters and Survivalists?

The Spanish-language blogs La Marca del Cazador (The Hunter’s Mark) and Con O Sin Semilia (With or Without Semilia) believe that following the general notion of marksmanship, Blizzard will add more talents for us to improve Critical Strike Rating and Hit Rating and possibly Haste. They also speculate the possibility of a shot that would reduce an enemy’s armor temporarily and a shot that is essentially like Scatter Shot but with increased duration and has the effects of Silencing Shot as well.

Although they talk about having more Hit and Haste talents, I don’t believe that Blizzard has this in mind when they built the Marksmanship tree. Improved Aspect of the Hawk and Serpent’s Swiftness were placed in Beast Mastery to distinguish the attack speeds of beast masters and marksmen. Surefooted was made a Survival talent and one of the distinguishing reasons why survivalists can be viable even in early raids.

So what kind of talent would be worth 51 points in a Marksmanship tree?

What we are missing is a more useful party buff. Semilia’s speculation of a party buff for Hit Rating, as opposed to Surefooted’s self-buff effect, is a tempting one, but Blizzard has seem to gear marksmen towards damage and special shots that other talent trees do not have. This is why the armor penetration shot may be a talent that will appear. I would also like to see a talent that will scale with our attack power. Given that we have an advantage in this over the other trees, it should be made use of for a good talent.

If we follow the trend of Blizzard returning with skills from Warcraft III to add to the Northrend theme, we may get skills that the Dark Ranger hero in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne possessed. This hero has origins in Quel’thalas and has ties to the Forsaken, a faction likely to have a prominent role in the expansion. Black Arrow and Charm are undead-related skills that are possibly useful in fighting the Scourge in Northrend.

But all the speculations are just those: speculations. All we can do is wait until Blizzard decides to give hunters a peek at what they have planned.

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