With the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm many game elements will be changing, and each class will be receiving a number of tweaks. Here, we will explore the changes that are being made to the gun-wielding, pet-training hunter. The information you’re about to read is certainly not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview of some of the exciting new things to come. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the new hunter abilities!
New Hunter Abilities
[Cobra Shot] (level 81): A new shot that deals Nature damage instead of Physical damage. This ability will share a cooldown with [Steady Shot]. This will give hunters an alternative to Steady Shot on heavily-armored targets, and we will have talent incentives in the Beast Mastery tree to make this a signature shot.
[Trap Launcher] (level 83): When used, the next trap can be shot to a location within 40 yards. This provides the current [Freezing Arrow] treatment to all traps and, as a result, we will be removing the current ability Freezing Arrow. 1-minute cooldown. No global cooldown.
[Camouflage] (level 85): The hunter enters an obscured state that prevents him or her from taking ranged damage. The character would still be subject to melee or area-of-effect attacks, and dealing or taking damage will break the Camouflage effect. The hunter can move and set traps when under Camouflage, and will receive a damage bonus when attacking while under Camouflage (which will then break the effect).
Resource Mechanic Change
Here we come to the meat of the upcoming hunter changes.
- Hunters will no longer use mana; instead the class will use Focus. Focus generates much like Energy, by building up. It will not be affected by Intellect at all. Haste will improve its generation. Hunters will generate roughly 6 Focus per second, slightly less than rogues' Energy generation rate of around 10 Energy per second. Below, we have listed some examples of how we intend Focus costs to operate:
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
In addition to the resource change and new abilities listed above, we intend to make adjustments to some of the other abilities and mechanics you already know well. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we’re going for with each spec.
- A major change coming for the hunter is the removal of ammunition. Guns, bows, and crossbows will now do damage without consuming ammunition at all. There will be no more ammo slot on the hunter’s character display. Any ammunition that a hunter has at the time of the change will become gray sellable items. Existing quivers will be converted into large bags -- though each hunter can only have one and non-hunters will not benefit from this change -- and we will not be making any additional quivers.
- Pet management will also change. Hunters will now have two types of attainable pets: active pets and stored pets. Hunters will be able to have up to three active pets (perhaps five for Beast Mastery specialized players) and will have the ability to switch among these pets any time they are out of combat, without going to town. They will also be able to have a large number of pets in storage at the stables. In order to swap a pet from active to passive, a hunter will still need to visit their local Stable Master. However, this should afford ample storage for the many Spirit Beasts wandering the lands of Azeroth.
- Additionally, hunters will now start with a race-appropriate pet at level 1 and will be able to tame a different pet at level 10. We are also changing many pet family abilities to provide important buffs and debuffs. The intention is to allow the hunter to be able to swap pets and fill a position if a certain role is missing from the group. The goal is to have all pets provide a damage increase that is very similar and no greater than any other pet. Some examples of the changes we are making to the pet families are listed below:
- Wind Serpents: Will provide a debuff that increases the amount of spell damage taken by an enemy (similar to a weaker version of the warlock ability [Curse of Elements]).
- Ravagers: Will provide a debuff that will increase an enemy's Physical damage vulnerability (similar to a weaker version of the warrior ability [Blood Frenzy]).
- Hyenas: Will provide bleed damage (similar to a weaker version of the druid ability [Mangle]}).
- Stings and other periodic effects will now benefit from haste and critical strike ratings. Hasted damage-over-time abilities do not lose duration, but instead add additional damage ticks.
- [Viper Sting] will now restore 9 Focus every 3 seconds.
- We are reinforcing hunters as a ranged class. To this end, the class will now start with ranged abilities at level 1, and we will be removing some melee abilities, such as [Mongoose Bite].
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Beast Mastery hunters will have a new talent called [Careful Aim], which increases the damage of the next Steady Shot or Cobra Shot, but also increases the cast time of these abilities. The intention is to make the combination of spells into a decent damage opener, especially in conjunction with the new ability Camouflage.
- Beast Mastery hunters will also have talents that make Cobra Shot superior to Steady Shot, such as [Longevity] reducing the cast time of Cobra Shot to 1.5 seconds.
- [Rapid Recuperation] will cause Rapid Fire to give 20/40/60 Focus immediately and will cause Rapid Killing to generate 3 Focus per second.
- [Efficiency] will reduce the Focus cost of Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot.
- [Thrill of the Hunt] grants Focus when you land a critical strike.
- [Hunter vs. Wild] increases the hunter’s Focus generation when his or her pet is snared, stunned, or rooted.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
- Beast Mastery
- Ranged Damage
- Pet Damage: Many of the passive benefits to pet damage will no longer be available in the Beast Mastery talent tree. However, these will be provided through the new Mastery mechanic.
- Ranged Damage
- Armor Penetration
- Double Shot: The hunter will have a chance to launch a free attack off of the global cooldown for 50% damage.
- Ranged Damage
- Ranged Critical Damage
- Elemental Damage: Hunter abilities such as traps, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot will do elemental damage of the following types: Improves the Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature or Shadow damage of abilities like traps, Black Arrow and Explosive Shot.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.