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Things don't look pretty for PvP Hunters in 8926

The best thing you can say about Hunters in Wrath in this Beta build is that we still have the new Disengage, at least for now. In this build, most of our new PvP tools have had much of their new functionality removed or greatly scaled back in this build.

Master's Call has lost its ability to be used while stunned, while Deterrence has lost its ability to resist magic damage. These two abilities that respectively helped us get away from stun-locking Rogues and resist magical focus fire have suddenly lost most of their luster. They were supposedly meant to help us shore up some major weaknesses in PvP, and all of a sudden, most of their most important utility is gone. The Deterrence nerf puts us essentially right back where we were in Anti-caster abilities. Our hope again is to take down the casters before they can take us down. We once again have no real defense against a focused caster barrage.

Kill Shot now deals 200% weapon damage plus [RAP * 0.3 + 400.0] instead of weapon damage plus [RAP * 0.15 + 2500.0]. Most of the use of this Shot in PvP is gone. Without the massive bonus damage, it doesn't have much chance of actually slaying a fleeing target any more than Arcane Shot does, and Arcane Shot has the advantage of ignoring armor and not knocking down the Hunter when he shoots it. In PvP, I may just keep Kill Shot off my bar and deal with Arcane Shot. I have no reason to make myself vulnerable to fire such a relatively weak shot.

Aspect Mastery has been stripped as well. Aspect of the Monkey now reduces the damage done to you while active by 5%, down from 10%, while Aspect of the Hawk only increases the attack power bonus by 30%, down from 50%. This has honestly put this talent right down into no use taking territory for me. Once again, I'd rather use it to grab Aimed Shot or round out a skill like Focused Aim than take miniscule bonuses to a still hopelessly clunky Aspect system.

Aspect of the Viper has a new functionality that has many Hunters asking that it be kept how it is on Live. Now each ranged attack regenerates a percentage of maximum mana equal to base ranged weapon speed, down from 100% of damage done. This technically might not be too bad. Given a 3.0 speed weapon with some decent haste, we could be talking roughly 3% of maximum mana every 2 seconds. Given a mana pool of about 10k, that's 300 mana every 2 seconds.

That said, the aspect still incurs 50% less damage. Without the near instant energy-bar like regeneration of the 100% Aspect of the Viper, I don't think that 50% less damage is justified. The newest AoTV only slightly edges out the live version of Aspect of the Viper for mana regeneration per tick, and has no mana regeneration in downtime or while the Hunter is on the move. To add a 50% damage penalty to this simply will not do. It's far too harsh a penalty for what is only a slight situational upgrade that depends on being able to autoshoot while stationary. This is especially harsh in PvP, where a Hunter is constantly on the move and rarely has time to stand in one place and autoshoot. The new Aspect of the Viper makes it incredibly hard for a PvP Hunter to see much mana regeneration, which will be a severe handicap in any long Arena match.

Just in case you hoped to have talents pick up the slack on that mana regeneration, be warned, those got some nerfs too. For example, Invigoration now only grants 1% of your max mana back.

The early Survival Tree is also looking bad for PvP Hunters as well, as Lock and Load now only works on one shot, and TNT's critical strike bonus have been slashed to a 9% maximum, while the stun chance works only when the trap lands.

If there's one ray of hope, Koraa has come out and said that they will be reversing some of these changes next patch. For example, Lock and Load will be bumped back up to 2 charges and proc off sting ticks. Still, he also said many will stay, which is disconcerting. I'm not as down on the future of Hunters as some are after this patch, but I am discouraged. We went from having a good chance to finally crawl out of the Arena basement, to nearly right back where we were.

Hopefully, this next build will reverse enough of these changes that the optimism comes back again, but for now, I'm not too thrilled. May PvP testing reveal these changes for what they really are, if only so they can be changed quickly before live.

Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

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