Another beta patch has landed, bringing with it a host of hunter changes, including the anticipated changes to Stampede. We are continuing to see the evolution of the Mists hunter experience, including some surprisingly big changes for this late in the beta process.
Leading the changes in this beta patch is the predicted change to Stampede, making it less bursty and generally worse for PvE but available in Arenas and generally better suited for PvP.
But Stampede is by no means the only change in this beta patch; we got a brand spanking new hunter talent and changes to a bunch of core hunter abilities. Join me after the cut for a full rundown of the latest changes and their ramifications.
Stampede: Longer, softer, and PvPier
Stampede has had its cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, making it available for Arenas (though a change to Readiness means Stampede is still not affected by it). The duration of Stampede has been doubled to 20 seconds, the cast time is now instant instead of 3 seconds, and to compensate for these, the damage done by Stampede pets has been reduced to 25% of what it was.
This means that every time you hit the Stampede button, the ability will do half the damage over twice as much time. In a boss fight that lasts over 5 minutes and less than 10, you will effectively get the exact same damage from Stampede as before the change, just with far less burst. In a boss fight that lasts 5 minutes or less, you get half the damage the ability used to do, also with less burst.
The obvious compensation for this is that Stampede is now usable in Arenas. Furthermore, having the ability last 20 seconds instead of 10 seconds means that the pets are more likely to survive AoE rooting or slows and still do some damage.
As predicted, the change is a clear win for PvP and a nerf for PvE.
Readiness: All hunters more ready less often
Readiness is no longer a level 60 hunter talent option. Instead, it is now a baseline hunter ability. The cooldown has been changed from 3 minutes up to 5 minutes, and it now resets the cooldown of any ability with a cooldown less than 5 minutes -- thus, to a point where it still won't reset Stampede.
While this is certainly a nerf to Readiness, it is a net buff to hunters. After all, we no longer have to choose between Readiness and other DPS talents. Instead we get a weaker version of Readiness and we get to take another DPS talent (probably Fervor).
New Hunter Ability: Blink Strike
Readiness is no longer a talent, and so we need a new talent. Blink Strike is that talent, which causes your pet to instantly teleport behind an enemy target and inflicts 200% normal damage. It's instant-cast with a 20-second cooldown.
The actual DPS increase of doing double pet damage every 20 seconds isn't huge, but the teleportation can be nice. It has obvious PvP advantages, but for PvE it can also be great for BM hunters. When target switching, BM has to wait for their pet to reach the new target before Kill Command can land. The awesome Mists Kill Command changes make this much easier, but having your pet teleporting over to the new target is better still.
Blink Strike is a level 75 talent, and with the talent shuffling, that puts it on the same tier as Murder of Crows and Lynx Rush. With the recent nerfs to A Murder of Crows, this makes the DPS advantages of all talents in the tier somewhat limited, so Blink Strike may be a viable choice.
While we're on the topic of talents moving around, in addition to Readiness leaving and Blink Strike being added, we also had Dire Beast move up to the level 60 tier, where it competes with Fervor. Here's what the new hunter talent tree looks like:
Wyvern Sting has had the DoT component on expiration removed. This means that Wyvern Sting is no longer a huge pain in the ass for CC -- without the DoT, it no longer makes targets effectively CC-immune after Wyvern Sting.
Aaand the rest
- Glyph of No Escape was buffed so that it increases the crit chance of your attacks on targets affected by Freezing Trap by 20%, up from 6%.
- Thrill of the Hunt has been interestingly changed. It used to cause your next shot (or Kill Command) that cost focus to refund the focus cost. Now it just makes your next Arcane Shot or Multi-Shot to be free. On the one hand, a free shot is better than refunding focus, but on the other hand, a free signature shot is way better than a free Arcane Shot.
Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From leveling your hunter and choosing the best patch 4.2 gear to learning the DPS value of skill, we've got you covered. If you're stuck in one of the nine support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?