I’m a fairly laid back hunter blogger, and as such, I tend to see things through a rose-colored monocle. It was not needed today- the Cataclysm hunter changes were 100% good ones, in my opinion.
I’ll complain if I feel the results need tweaking, but as all we’re seeing now is a design philosophy, I have to say that it looks like they’ve nailed down a bunch of gripes we’ve had for a long time. Assuming they can balance it so we’re ahead of feral druids when we all hit 85, I’ll be a happy camper!
So the very first thing that struck me with I read this was that BM seems to be getting a lot of love here. I approve. I hate that one of the most attractive and popular ways of playing a hunter has undergone so much pain and derision from elitists since they were nerfed back at the beginning of this expansion.
I am extremely excited that they are allowing pets to provide desirable raid buffs and debuffs. I’ve long held that this was the answer to making BM more accepted in raids, and while it seems like they’re not keeping these pet specials BM only, I’d wager that the BM version of the debuffs will be less inferior.
I have no idea whether BM will start off as above or below the other specs when we all hit 85 and start raiding again, of course.
Of course, the big change is that we’re not going to use mana any more. Focus will replace this, which is a welcome change for me. I’m tired of having my regen buffed and nerfed according to the needs for balancing healers.
I’ve fielded this question a few times, so I’m putting the answer here now: your current raid gear will be changed when the Cataclysm changes launch, and all the int will be reworked into another stat that is useful for us.
Steady shot and cobra shot will be our new focus regen shots. Haste, viper sting, and presumably aspect of the viper will increase our focus regen too. They didn’t mention aspect of the viper, though, so they may be taking that out.
Like all other classes, it seems that damage over time spells (stings and explosive shot, notably) will get more ticks from haste. This might make it so that there’s points where more haste will be considerably more valuable than other stats (like when it brings the number of ticks from explosive shot up by one). Haste seems like it’s going to be one of the more important stats for us going forward- it has its hands everywhere: out stings, our dots, our focus regen, our steady shot cast time, and of course, our auto-shots.
I love all the pet changes- whether you’re BM or not, you’ll have access to a lot of pets, you will find use for more of them more often, and when you roll a hunter to try out the new race, you’ll start off with a pet!
This is a big one. This ability is just freakin’ awesome. You will be able to use it in PvE to avoid ranged damage and do more damage. If you pull aggro while your feign is on cooldown and you need to buy yourself a few seconds for the tank to taunt back off you, this will rock. It will also probably end up in our normal rotations because of the damage bonus.
I like their choices for the mastery bonuses. BM getting more pet damage is a no-brainer, however this does reverse their general trend of wanting to avoid buffing pet damage too much. Mastery is what I imagine scaling the most with gear in high end raiding, and for BM hunters, this might mean a shift away from personal DPS and toward pet DPS.
Survival and Marks seem to be a little blended, though. They’re both personal DPS specs, but it looks like Marks will be a physical focused build and SV will be elemental damage focused. Kinda like it is in today’s end game.
Trap launcher? Awesome. We’ve been asking for this for a long time :)
All in all
I’m very happy with what I saw today. What about you guys? Anything you were hoping for that wasn’t included? I know I wanted to be able to temporarily MC feral druids…