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Scattered Shots: Catching up with the Patch 3.3 PTR, Part 1

Welcome back to the
Scattered Shots, the weekly Hunter class column. This week we review all of the changes in Patch 3.3. and see what effect they'll have on the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie Carrington, Brigwyn from The Hunting Lodge, as we explore what's in store for us hunters.

We've been living with Patch 3.3 on the PTR for a few of weeks now. During that time we've been able to see first hand that the Blizzard development team has been busy working on ways to improve World of Warcraft. Not only have they introduced new 5-man instances and the new Ice Crown Citadel raid, they're even showing us some hints at what might be in store us Hunters in the hopefully near future.

I'm sure if you were like me and when the initial changes for Patch 3.3 were announced we all kinda knew that there was more in the works. But I'll have to admit, I'm shocked at the amount of stuff that has been released so far on the PTR.

We have everything from reducing cooldowns on Call Stabled Pet and buffing Deterrence for the hunter, to buffing and changing our pet's talents by removing Avoidance and making Resilience work on both hunter and pet. Heck, they even found a nifty way to fix the nasty Cower bug that was still cropping up. (I'll be honest, I had just come to expect it was always going to be there. You know like that creepy cousin at every family get together?)

Blizzard has even been working on the Tier-10 set bonuses and actually made them look, well, different? Yeah, that's it, different. There's so much to discuss, it's probably better to just get on with it and discuss all of the changes.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Catching up with the Patch 3.3 PTR, Part 2

Cower: Redesigned. This ability no longer affects threat, and instead reduces damage taken by the pet by 40% for 6 seconds with a 45-second cooldown. While cowering, the pet's movement speed is 50% of normal speed. Cower now only has a single rank and is available at pet level 20.
Here's an interesting fix to the Cower bug we've been complaining about forever. Instead of just making Cower turn off, let's make it a damage reducing ability. Sure why not. This way it can default to autocast and we probably won't really care as much. But really, why add a speed reduction?
Improved Cower: Redesigned. This ability now reduces the movement penalty of Cower by 50%/100%.
Well what do you know, Blizzard already thought of that and is now going to make us rethink were we spend our pet's talent points. This seems to apply more to PvP than PvE but it's nice to know that there is an ability to reduce the movement penalty associated with the new Cower.
Demoralizing Screech: The attack power reduction from this ability has been increased by 40%, equaling the maximum possible attack power reduction from the abilities of other classes.
All I can say is, it's about time Blizzard figured out that there needs to be equal love spread among all of the hunter pets. Seeing the maximum Attack Power reduction increased from 410 to about 574 is nice.
Pet Leveling: Hunter pets now need only 5% of the experience a player needs to level, down from 10%
Now back in my day, we had to level our pets barefoot in the snow, up-hill with a 50 pound pack on our back. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but believe me, it was pretty bad. Nowadays having the pet automatically jump within 5 levels is a huge relief compared to when we had to train some pets like The Rake from level 10 all the way to 60.

Now by halving the required experience requirement, it should be a lot less painful. Of course I still don't understand why warlocks get their pets earlier and they're at the same level all the time, but I digress.
Venom Web Spray: Range increased from 20 yards to 30 yards. & Web: Range increased from 20 yards to 30 yards.
Nice, with Web Spray and Web having their ranged increased to 30 yards it now can be used in both PvE and PvP attacks without having to be right in on the fight. Add either of these abilities in a macro and we might now see Silithids or Spiders as pets of choice in non-pet friendly encounters.

Of course that's just one use. I'm sure the arena hunters will find all kinds of nifty uses for these changes. It could be a way to keep a Ret Pally stuck in one place while firing off a Silencing Shot? Maybe even used as another trap in Arenas and tying up 2 targets?
Wolverine Bite: This talent is now enabled when the pet lands a critical strike rather than from the target dodging the pet's attacks. In addition, this talent no longer has a prerequisite.
I can see cunning pets becoming more and more useful. Especially when you think about Wolverine Bite giving you pet level * 5 + 5 (eg. 80*5+5=405) points of unavoidable damage when your pet lands a critical strike. Couple this with a Silithid or Spider for the changes to Venom Web Spray and Web and you really have a nasty little surprise for any druid or shaman trying to hide behind those pillars.

Now those are all of the official changes. We're seeing some bug fixes as well.
Now that we've talked about all of the official changes to our class, how about we take a look at our snazzy new Tier 10 gear? Okay, maybe it isn't really snazzy, you can't fault the graphic designers for not coming up with something unique. Then again, when you look at it in HD (thanks to our friends at MMO Champion) the detail on the male and female versions look pretty sweet in my opinion. (At least better than what we've been having.)

The 2 piece Tier 10 bonus will give our Auto Shots a 5% chance to cause both us and our pets to deal 15% additional damage for a yet to be determined set of time or until canceled.

That's a ton of damage for even a short period of time. True 5% is pretty small chance, but still I'll take it so I can have the chance to deal out an additional 15% damage.

The 4 piece Tier 10 bonus gives you a 5% chance to gain 20% attack power for 10 seconds when your Viper Sting, Serpent Sting, and Wyvern Sting abilities deal damage.

Do you get the feeling that Blizzard is falling in love with the Random Number Generator? I admit that at the 2 piece level we can live with a chance at increasing damage. But if we're going to spend the time and effort to get all 4 pieces don't you think we'd be deserving of at least a guaranteed damage modifier? Yes, I know, what's the chances that Viper, Serpent or Wyvern sting won't deal damage.

Think of it more like hitting a single number in roulette? You think it's bound to happen, but really you start out even with each spin of the wheel. The same happens with each attack. The chance of the RNG giving you the 20% AP bonus starts over with each attack, it doesn't increase just because you do more attacks. Oh well, it could be worse right?

All I know is with all this Hunter love going on, I'm really worried about Blizzard to dropping the nerf hammer after Patch 3.3 is finally released. Let's just hope that somehow they don't notice how awesome all of this is and let it go through until the major class redesign of Cataclysm. It would really be nice to see Beast Mastery and the other pet families become raid viable again.

So, what do you guys think? Does this make you as excited to be a hunter as it does me? Or do you think that there's something waiting in the wings that's just biding its time and will jump out and say, "Gotcha!" at the last minute? Let's hear it, really what's your take on all of these changes?

You want to be a Hunter, eh? Well then you came to the right place. Scattered Shots is the one column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a Hunter. Each week Scattered Shots will cover topics to help you Fix Your DPS, Choosing the Right Spec, Gear Selection, Macros and Pet Selection, Pet Specs and Management.

Scattered Shots: Patch 3.3 - What's on the horizon for hunters

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots. Instead of continuing the So You Want to be a Hunter series, this week I thought it would be good to take a break and review the changes in Patch 3.3. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of what's instore for us hunters.

Patch 3.3 is on the PTR and as we download the patch we've been busily reviewing the patch notes along with the unofficial information from posted up over on MMO-Champion. Without giving everything away in the first paragraph, let's just say that this is looking to be one awesome patch. Without going on about how good it is, let's take a look at what's being said.

From the PTR Patch notes we got to see some insight where Blizzard's development team is taking our class.

  • Misdirection: Redesigned. Instead of having finite charges, it now begins a 4-second timer when the hunter using Misdirection performs a threat-generating attack, during which all threat generated by the hunter goes to the friendly target. In addition, multiple hunters can now misdirect threat to the same friendly target simultaneously.
Now I'll admit when I first saw this change I was a bit hesitant. Changing one of core abilities is always disconcerting. But then I started thinking about it a bit more.

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Filed under: Hunter, Leatherworking, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Rumors, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: So you want to be a Hunter - Part 5 Levels 31-40

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots, So you want to be a Hunter series. This guide is intended to help new Hunters better understand how to play the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of how to be a Hunter.

Welcome back to the fifth installment of the So You Want to Be a Hunter leveling guide. This week we'll take a journey from 31 through 40. As you journey through these 10 levels you'll have the opportunity to see many of the great vibrant landscapes that will be changed in Cataclysm. Also, if you want you can quest in Dustwallow Marsh and see brave adventurers tackle the revamped Onyxia courtesy of Patch 3.2.2.

As every week we'll recap what we have covered up to now.

Part 1: We reviewed racials and their impact on the hunter class. Reviewed each of the current races and what the benefits were of each racial.

Part 2: We quickly talked about the first nine levels. We also went on to talk about each of the three hunter talent trees and their basic play style.

Part 3: Last week we discussed what happened from levels 10 through 20. We also went over the quests to learn how to tame your first pet.

Part 4: We covered some of the covered attacks, buffs and spells. We also began looking at how to teach your pet new skills by applying pet talents.

With that out of the way, let's mount up and head on out of here.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Leveling, Guides, Talents, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Patch 3.2.2 sees stealthed Hunter nerfs

I guess it was all just a dream after all. Here I thought that maybe, just maybe we could see the beginning of Cataclysm and somehow see Blizzard sneak worgen hunters into Patch 3.2.2 and give them the ability to tame dwarves. (Just in case my attempt at sarcasm fell flat, you need to know I fully understand we won't see worgen hunters until Cataclysm.)

Although worgen didn't manage to sneak in, we did see some other changes that somehow slipped under the radar. Their is only one downside to these undocumented changes. There's some good news and bad news. Since it's always better to end on a happy note, we'll start off with the bad news.

It seems that what we all noticed on the PTR and hoped beyond all hope actually managed to make it into the recent patch unscathed.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

Patch 3.2.2 Hunters see changes to Bestial Wrath

Ghostcrawler has reached into his mysterious bags of tricks and drew out the Hunter card once again it seems. Last week we discussed the recent change to Armor Penetration. While we all agree that it is a nerf to Marksman Hunters and will reduce their DPS. The jury is still out on whether it is a game mechanics correction (which I tend to believe) or some evil plot to cause Hunters to spend more gold.

Well the changes continued to happen. Last Thursday we heard more from Ghostcrawler regarding a new change that will be hitting Beast Master Hunters in Patch 3.2.2. The interesting thing about this recent change is it is both a buff and a nerf. To help explain what I mean let's take a closer look at how Ghostcrawler explained the change on the Damage Dealing Forums.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Buffs, Forums, Battlegrounds, Arena, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: So you want to be a Hunter - Part 4 Levels 21-30

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots, So you want to be a Hunter series. This guide is intended to help new Hunters better understand how to play the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of how to be a Hunter.

Howdy gang! Glad you decided to come back and join in on another week of So you want to be a Hunter. This week we work our way up to level 30 on our quest to becoming ready to raid the endgame content.

Now that I think about it, there seems to be an ever increasing push to just quickly level and hit the end game content. But really, there's a lot of fun and interesting stuff in the game that we won't get to see any more after the next expansion. Maybe I'm a bit sentimental, but honestly considering that many of the zones all of you will decide to go off and level today either won't exist in Cataclysm or will be radically different than they are today.

Here's a bit of advice for you as you level up. Take some pictures. Get a group together of players at the same level and run through some of the instances like Razorfen Kraul, Stockades, or even the ever hated Gnomeregan. In the meantime, we'll continue onward with Part 4 of So you want to be a Hunter.

Just a quick recap of what we've covered so far:

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Leveling, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Hunter thoughts on the Patch 3.2.2 Armor Penetration nerf

Well folks, we recently heard that Ghostcrawler announced the upcoming nerf to Armor Penetration in Patch 3.2.2.

I'll be honest with you. I'm not sure why this is turning into such a big deal is to everyone. I'm not saying I don't understand the mechanics of the change. And I do see the impact to us Hunters, especially endgame raiding Marksman Hunters. But really, let's take a step back and look at the reasoning behind the change.

Ghostcrawler said that they implemented this change after noticing everyone was picking up Armor Pen at the expense of their core stats. Really? And somehow we're surprised that when a secondary stat becomes more important than a class' primary stat and it forced a nerf? It seems more of a correction in my opinion.

If you're a raiding Marks or Survival Hunter you should be focusing on picking up as much Agility (Attack Power if you're a Beast Master) as possible. Hence why in Cataclysm we're seeing things like Armor Penetration removed from the itemization.

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Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: So you want to be a Hunter - Part 3 Levels 10-20

Welcome back to the Scattered Shots, So you want to be a Hunter series. This guide is intended to help new Hunters better understand how to play the best class in the game. So join me, Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge as we explore the ins and out of how to be a Hunter.

Welcome back my Hunter compadres! We've made it to Part 3 of So you want to be a Hunter. I know we have had lot's of things happening of late with BlizzCon and Cataclysm, so it's probably a good time to give a quick recap on what we've done so far.

Part 1: We reviewed racials and their impact on the Hunter class. Going over each of the factions races and what the benefits were of each racial. For now we haven't talked about the new races that will be added to the Hunter class in Cataclysm (Worgen and Goblins). We'll have to address that when the new expansion is released.

Part 2: We discussed each of the Hunter talent trees and their basic playstyle. We talked about Beast Mastery being the partnership between Hunter and pet. We also reviewed the Marksmanship and Survival trees and how they are more about the individual Hunter, their offensive power, utility and flexibility.

We also discussed what stats you will want to consider as you level. Though this might seem a bit out of place, knowing what to expect early on will hopefully help you make better decisions later on. However you shouldn't worry, we'll make sure to give a refresher course later on.
Now we are in Part 3 of our weekly series. We will continue reviewing leveling your Hunter from level 10-20. We'll talk about taming your first pet. We'll also review some of the more interesting pets and where they can be found. Having a unique is one of the perks of being a Hunter.

We'll also talk about placing those first talent points. Building on the lessons we learned last week. We'll be able to make a decision on how to craft a solid leveling talent build. One that will offer us enough power to down mobs, but also enough bonuses to help protect and keep our pet alive as it plays the role of tank.

As a reminder, here's some guidelines for using this guide.
  • So you want to be a Hunter is for the new player and/or a new Hunter.
  • This guide is not a "How-to get to 80 in less than 3 days" leveling guide. It's more of a "What to expect as you level" guide.
  • Except where highlighted, this guide does not take into account Recruit a Friend or heirloom bonuses.
  • Since most players tend to level by themselves, all talent build suggestions will focus on a solo leveling/grinding build.
  • This guide focuses on the leveling the PvE Hunter. We will discuss PvP and raiding in other guides.
One of the joys of being a Hunter is being able to run around with your best friend right by your side. And believe me, your pet is truly your best friend. I can't tell you the number of times that my turtle FatElvis has charged back and rounded up several elite mobs giving me the crucial few moments I needed to survive. The only drawback to having a pet is you can't tame one until level 10. What's up with that Blizzard?

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

BlizzCon 2009: Initial thoughts on the Hunter changes

We have only experienced the first day of BlizzCon and my mind has already been blown. We have heard so many amazing details about Cataclysm and they're promising more for today.

The changes are not just to our old favorite instances or to the zones around Azeroth. Implementing terrain phasing is going to change everything we know about leveling and running around our favorite zones. Also, who doesn't love the idea of Gnomes finally get to be Priests and as Ghostcrawler put it, "Be self-sufficient." (Well, they still don't have Hunters but that's okay.)

We got confirmation from Chilton that it in fact Goblins and Worgens will be added to the game in Cataclysm. We also learned that Goblins and Worgens will both get to play Hunters. But they're not the only new races added to the Hunter ranks. We also got confirmation that Humans and Undead will both be able to play Hunters. So all in all we got some really good additions to the Hunter community.

What about those awesome changes to the Hunter class? Well, how about the removal of Armor Penetration for one? We aren't going to have to worry how Armor Penetration works or when should stack for it...

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Filed under: Human, Gnomes, Undead, Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, BlizzCon, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin