It looks like 4.3.2 will hold a nice change for SV according to MMO-Champion: Lock and Load will no longer consume Arcane Shots. Kaivax embellished on this change and Blizzard’s thoughts on hunters in general in an informative post:
Lock and Load not being caused by Arcane Shot is an intentional change. As many players have pointed out, there is just no need for it any longer.
We also intend to make sure Black Arrow is used over Explosive Trap, probably by buffing Black Arrow slightly.
We are looking a lot at hunter DPS right now. We think it is in a good place when compared to other ranged DPS specs (in equivalent gear), but falls short when compared to ranged DPS with Dragonwrath. The guilds currently posting heroic combat logs have a lot of Dragonwraths, and unfortunately, hunters are the only ranged DPS who don’t have access to a legendary weapon. When more hunters have Deathwing weapons, their DPS will go up compared to the Dragonwrath users who won’t be upgrading their weapons, and we’ll see what hunter performance looks like.
It’s likely that future legendaries won’t be usable by so many classes and specs. For the present situation, one option is to just buff hunters to make up for their inability to have legendary weapons, but when you look at DPS casters who have no legendary, it’s a tough option to take. We’re not sure yet of the future of the attack power buff in Mists of Pandaria, but in the short term we want to make sure that there are some situations where melee can do really high DPS rather than routinely coming in below ranged DPS (which is how we felt about the last two raid tiers).
If we buff hunters, it will more likely be through other avenues.
So, the takeaways are these:
- Blizzard is monitoring the state of hunter DPS “a lot” but big changes are unlikely. They are aware of the DPS disparity of hunters with other ranged, but view it as a problem with their design of the legendary staff rather than a problem they need to fix with hunters.
- A buff to Black Arrow to put it ahead of Explosive Trap is likely.
- Adding hunters into the melee AP buff is unlikely.
Also, Kaivax confirmed that Vial of Shadows only using melee AP is indeed a bug. Zeherah found that this bug caused her dps to decrease (with her gear) by 363, so if Blizzard fixes the trinket it should make for a decent gain for the hunters who have it.