Welcome to Scattered Shots, written by Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the Hunting Party Podcast. Each week, Frostheim uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Got hunter questions? Feel free to email Frostheim.
With Cataclysm, all of our huntering skills finally progress to the next level. The apprentice surpasses the master, and we even get the new mastery ability and mastery stat on our gear to prove it. Mastery gives us a bonus that is unique to each spec, scales with our gear and provides a convenient knob for the designers to use to tweak our DPS as needed to help keep all specs in line with each other.
At least, that's the plan. Currently, our masteries, which haven't been touched since the re-implementation after the 31-point talent trees, range from nearly useless to "Holy bajeezus, Batman!" More alarmingly, if unchanged, there is a danger that they could represent scaling issues that would make it impossible to balance the hunter specs across raid tiers.
Join me after the cut for an analysis of the current state hunter masteries. If discussing the potential balance issues of in-development stuff is dull and pointless to you, give today's column a pass and hop back on Thursday for something different.