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The Art of War(craft): Must-have PvP talents for hunters in 4.0.1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Art of War(craft), covering battlegrounds and world PvP, and Blood Sport, with the inside line for arena enthusiasts. Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Battlemaster Zach Yonzon, old-world PvP grinder and casual battleground habitué, rambles on about anything and everything PvP.

We don't have much time before Cataclysm hits, so let's get down to business. We've talked about some optimal talents for death knights and druids for PvP, so now we turn our attention to hunters. Hunters have always had a tough time in arenas, not necessarily because the class was broken but because the format simply wasn't conducive to the hunter playstyle. It got so bad, in fact, that Blizzard designed an arena -- the Ring of Valor -- specifically to benefit hunters. On the other hand, hunters have always lorded it over in the open expanse of the battlegrounds.

The good news is that battlegrounds will be cool again. Well, they've always been cool in my book, but soon they'll be rewarding cool gear, too. That means hunters will once again feel like PvP gods (without needing the help of an enhancement shaman). There's one big change to hunters in Patch 4.0.1 and that's the change in resource from mana to focus. The difference with the way focus behaves is that rather than a resource well that pays for spells and abilities (mana), hunters have abilities that generate focus in combat such as Steady Shot and Cobra Shot, and then a whole load of focus dumps. In a way it's like death knight runic power or warrior rage without the decay. This means you'll always want to have nearly full focus but never gain focus that will simply slough off because you're over your maximum. It's a careful balance of gaining and spending, although focus regenerates at a steady rate.

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Filed under: Hunter, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Scattered Shots: Suggestion Box


Scattered Shots is here for you. As long as you're a hunter, you get to tell us what to write about, and we get to ignore you do whatever you say.

I love these months just before the next expansion is released. There's such a sense of anticipation, where the whole game, including your own class, is in fluid motion, constantly changing. This is the time when the developers actually want you to give them your feedback, to tell them what they're doing wrong; and -- strange as it may seem -- there is actually a chance they will listen to you, take your advice, and actually implement whatever change you suggest!

That's why the last few days I've had my eye on the beta hunter forums, looking for the latest ideas about my favorite class. Lots of the player suggestions they have there are really neat, but unfortunately there's also some of what we call "QQ" (which stands for whining because it looks like two little eyes with tears coming down). It's hard to get good suggestions on the forums without also getting bad QQ. Sometimes when forum-goers clash, they get into an annoying argument and the whole thing devolves into boring name-calling.

So let's weed out all the muck and jumble, shall we? Let's just cut to the prime-rib-beef of what really good ideas are out there and skip all the blah blah blah about who's stupid, who's an idiot, and who's just dumb.

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Filed under: Hunter, Humor, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Hunter Glyphs found in Wrath Beta build 8820

http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=13480.0With the newest Beta build that hit live servers last night, MMO Champion found yet another round of inscription glyphs in the build. In particular, I'd like to talk about the Hunter glyphs. They still seem half-finished, with some values that are most definitely placeholder, and a good portion of them are firmly in the PvP camp.

Still, most of them are complete enough that they're worth analyzing, if only to know how to advise Blizzard to change them in future Beta builds. Not to say there aren't some good ones, but there's also some that no sane Hunter will use. Let's check them all out after the break.

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

Scattered Shots: Leveling 20-30


Scattered Shots = hunter stuff

Two weeks ago we covered some of the new abilities you get from levels 10 to 20 while you progress as a hunter, as well as how to use them to keep your skills sharp. The journey from 20 to 30 is a bit less topsy-turvy. At level 20, of course, you get to start playing with Aspect of the Cheetah and Freezing Trap, which can be a lot of fun, but other than that the new skills you get don't totally change the way you play until you get to level 30 and learn Feign Death. Nonetheless, they deserve a mention.

If you're following the Beast Mastery talent path I laid out last week, then reaching level 20 doesn't give you any super-exciting new abilities either. Your pet will be able to run a bit faster, and will start doing more damage. Once you get the hang of using your Freezing Trap for crowd control, it's pretty much just a straight shot till you reach 30. It may feel a little boring sometimes, but it's really better than a lot of classes have it -- often many classes feel that the 20s are the levels at which the going seems roughest and the class seems weakest because it still lacks a major portion of its abilities. For hunters, it's just more of the same stuff we've been doing up till now.

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Filed under: Hunter, PvP, Leveling, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

An "insightful and thoughtful" look at Hunter DPS from the forums

Despite the fact that my level 70 Hunter isn't technically my main, she's probably my favorite character. A lot of people will tell you that a Hunter is an overly easy class: sic your pet, turn on Auto Shot, and you're done. While having a built-in tank that you can even heal a bit gives you a pretty strong advantage when going it alone, I'd have to say they oversimplify things a bit.

The largest area where the complexity of the Hunter class shows is in end-game DPS. If you want to be the most effective DPSer possible, it takes quite a bit of work. The way that you must weave shots in between your auto shots is a complicated dance that requires split second timing that can mean vast differences in DPS totals between Hunters. Cheeky of the Khadgar-US server (author of the famous Cheeky's Spreadsheet) posted a very concise and well-stated summary of some of the problems with Hunter DPS on the official US forums here a few months back. The post was originally written by Lactose of the Talnivarr-EU Server, who posted it on the EU forms here, where it got some blue love today a while back.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Raiding, Talents, Forums

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