Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Hunter Pass on the PTR

The first, or what I hope is the first of more to come, class adjustment patches has come out on the PTR and it is time to look at where hunters stand.  When looking at these numbers I try to keep two things in mind.  It is still only the PTR and more changes could come and where will our compensation for the loss of readiness come from.

I was hoping that we would at least see something that showed some sort of replacement in the damage department from the loss of readiness.  It seems I was hoping for nothing as it did not happen.  Lets take a look at what did happen.

Hunter (Forums, Talent Calculator)

  • Arcane Shot now does 125% weapon damage, down from 165% weapon damage. Additional damage reduced by 43%.
Beast Mastery
  • Aimed Shot now does 400% ranged weapon damage, up from 350%. Additional damage increased by 31%.
The above was taken from the front page at MMO-C.  Being they are on top of things we will take this to mean that these are the only changes that were made during the recent numbers pass.  Now lets look at them for a moment and see what they might mean to us.

Completely ignoring the arcane shot part of a moment, the numbers look good for hunters.  Two of the three specs are seeing their signature shot (BM - Kill command, SV - Explosive shot) boosted up a little which is a nice adjustment.  Our signature shots need need a little more life to them as they seemed rather lackluster previously.  Perhaps these boosts will help them feel more powerful when using them instead of them feeling like just another shot in the abyss of a million shots that all hit for what seems like the same damage.  Don't get my wrong, the signature shots were in no real danger of ever being ignored, they did more than enough damage to make sure we hit them on every cooldown, but they did not feel powerful.

I do have one question however, why did they completely ignore the marksman signature shot in favor of aimed shot.  Marksman is already the spec that is dead last of the three and in some cases dead last or near it when compared to all damage dealing classes.  Is blizzard trying to shift things to be that aimed shot is the marksman signature shot now?  If so it would be nice for them to remove the careful aim part.

Aimed shot is the secondary shot for marksman, a powerful ability that should be used at the right time.  It is the marksman version of bestial wrath or black arrow, a great power ability that supports its specs signature shot.  BW makes KC more powerful and black arrow procs explosive shots whereas aimed shot does nothing for chimera.  Yes, marksman needs a lot of work and perhaps the best way to start that work is to clue blizzard in to the fact that chimera is their signature shot, not aimed.  They have let the spec rot for so long I think they forgot how the spec plays.

I think this numbers pass shows that blizzard has no intention of doing anything with marksman, so while I held hope earlier in the expansion for something to be done with it, we should all chalk it up to not happening this time around.  Cheers marksman, see you next expansion, maybe.

Now back to the pass and looking at the arcane change.  They had previously buffed arcane shot a fair deal and with so many bonuses, like those from the set, coming from arcane shot being fired it made it that blizzard had to do something to make those signature shots more appealing.  They were teetering dreadfully close to arcane getting to the point were it could very possibly pass the signature shots and hunters would just turn into a cobra/arcane machine guns.  So the buff to signature shots was huge, it placed them back in the position where they should always be valued over arcane even as we start getting gear next patch.

So why did they nerf the previous arcane buff if buffing the signatures assured they would still be the best choice?  Good question.  I might not know the reasoning behind it completely but I am going to play the guessing game here.  They nerfed it because they still felt they would pass the signature shots in high levels of gear.

What we ended up with in the numbers patch, as I see it, is that some damage was removed from arcane shot and relocated to kill command, explosive shot and aimed shot.  The only spec that really lost in the long run there is marksman.  The other two specs should be in the exact same place they were before damage wise.  Based on some early napkin math from what I have been reading, it might even be a buff, albeit a small one, of roughly 2% give or take.

In the end however it does nothing for hunter concerns.  It does nothing to replace the loss of readiness.  And it leaves us with a more costly arcane shot that is not quite as sexy as it looked before it was nerfed.  But on the bring side, they finally took a step in the right direction of giving what are supposed to be our power shots a little more power.

I will hold out hope that hunters have yet to be compensated for the loss of readiness and that is still to come, but with the patch coming out two weeks from now I would not hold my breath.  Mages, locks and rogues are all gravitating toward the top of the meters while hunters will remain middle of the pack, a very sad place to be when you are a pure DPS class with no real utility.  Lets all hope that something is done to help out with that soon, as in less than 2 weeks, otherwise the rest of this expansion will be very long for hunters as we start to collectively hold our breath waiting for the next expansion.

Let me touch on a few of the previous PTR changes before I finish my post.

Stampede was boosted to more reasonable numbers in a previous PTR cycle and some will claim that this is part of the compensation for readiness.  I will respectfully disagree.  It is compensation for them nerfing it multiple time during the expansion for no real PvE reason what so ever.  All they did was return it, somewhat, to what it was before it was nerfed because it should have never been nerfed to begin with.  The stampede buff was them fixing a mistake they made previously, it was not reimbursement for the loss of readiness.

Silencing shot was removed from talents in a previous PTR cycle and given baseline to marksman only.  I understand this line of reasoning, partly, because silencing shot was just too good for its talent tier.  It was the only real choice in most every situation.  After some pushing blizzard added a new ability, baseline, for survival and beast mastery called counter shot.  It will interrupt a cast but will not having the silencing component.  That is better than nothing I guess.  I still think it fits neatly into the category of why waste time on something like that by adding a new ability.  They should have just made silencing shot baseline and been done with it.

Dash, dive and charge, the hunter pet abilities, will be free now.  This is actually a small DPS increase as pets were occasionally using energy to cast these abilities on certain fights.  It will not be something we will really take notice of damage wise, but it is a good change for us and it does help on some fights.

Over all, the hunter pass is still looking for a hunter pass.  For other classes this was a pass, for hunters this was a rebalancing.  Moving some damage from arcane over to other abilities.  We are still waiting for our pass, we are still waiting for our boost, we are still waiting to be compensated for the loss of readiness.

I could not find the tweet after a quick look but ghostcrawler said recently that hunters would receive a good boost.  I say we hold him to it, leave him a message on twitter, be civil about it, and say, thank you for adjusting our signature shots so they feel more powerful, but where is that boost to damage over all you promised.

Maybe, just maybe, they might throw us a bone for 5.4.  Moving the damage from arcane to other shots is not the boost we wanted, it was more balancing.  Fine.  Now lets have that boost please.  You did promise us ghostcrawler.


I just tried my hunter over at female dwarf using the PTR changes and my hunters damage went down, but thanks to stampede doing  4 times more than it is currently doing I saw a massive increase in DPS of 274.08 DPS.  Yes, a whole 274 more DPS.  Woot, buffs baby! /sarcasm


  1. Not surprised at all since they did seem to forget hunters in the Legendary Cloak fight against Wraith,Since most of the comments I have seen developers make seem to be out of touch with Hunter realities.I keep seeing comments that Hunters are overpowered but I see Mages and other classes pulling far ahead. In reality Hunters have good numbers because we have an insane amount of buttons to push we have no real Raid utility other than we can move and cast which can be useful in some fights.As for Stampede don't get me started I'm glad we have some damage back but it should have never been touched to begin with.When it comes to the Hunter class I think they are sticking ideas in a hat and blindly pulling them out.

    1. I agree, as I said in the post, the stampede thing should have never been nerfed to begin with in the name of PvP. The fix they settled on now, just making it do less in BGs, RBGs and arena is how is should have been handled originally.

      I said it, other bloggers said it, tons of forum posters said it, top end hunters said it, even PvP hunters said it, but not blizzard nerfed away since the beginning of the expansion and then finally decided to go with what everyone else in the game said from the start.

      If there were just one bit to show how they were clueless that would be a good one. The legendary cloak as you mentioned would be another. We could go on and on.

      I think you nailed it however what it "appears" hunters are in a good place. As odd as it sounds, all those buttons mean the impact of hitting the wrong one are not as brutal as say a warlock hitting the wrong one.

      If you hit an arcane when you should hit a glaive toss each time toss is up during the course of the fight the difference is minimal (as in less that 5%), enough to be worth hitting it in the right order but still minimal. However as a lock if you hit a incinerate when you should have hit a chaos bolt over the course of a fight it will be a huge impact to the tune of 20% of more.

      The large number of buttons does lessen the impact each button has on the rotation. But that too is also a complaint I have been making since the get go. When everything is important, they all start to lose the individuality.

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    3. They increased the damage for arcane, then lowered it. So it will be more than it is now in its current state in the live game but less than we were expecting.

      Try the glyph that makes mend pet heal for 60% over 10 seconds. I find that to be very useful when soloing certain mobs. It can be a life saver.

      While only a few will get to that gear level they continue to design around the top end players in PvP and PvE. If the top end PvPers are doing great they nerf hunters in PvP even if all the other hunters still suck. If the top end PvEers will get to powerful of an arcane shot with BiS gear they nerf arcane even if everyone else will never see that points.

      That is why. They do not design the game to be balanced around the average player, only the elite player.

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    5. A lot has to do with gear as well. The more gear you get the more stamina is on the gear the more life your pets gets because of it and the larger that 60% heal is.

      I solo a lot and I can say for sure that even one piece of gear makes a huge issue. When soloing the dinos it has hard and I needed to pay close attention yet as soon as I got the legendary cloak it became no problem. All thanks to the stamina on it being a huge boost for me.

  2. Oddly, my simulated DPS dropped by 3k... After the PTR stampede buff, I had a nice 4k or so increase, but it's weird that it simulates so much lower now.

    Anyway, Blizzard's "goal" is to bump hunters up a little higher than they are on live and drop locks and mages down some. We'll see what really happens though. They claim that they want everyone within 5% but that never really happens.

    1. It would be really hard to get everyone within 5% but I would love t see if they could.