Cataclysm Beta Hunter Talent Tree
Cataclysm Beta Hunter Skill Drilldown
Blue Posts about Hunters:
HunterAimed Shot Cast Time / Dead Zone in Cataclysm
It's not a "dead zone." It's a minimum range. I say that because many hunters use "dead zone" to refer to an old design quirk where there was a range at which neither range nor melee attacks would work. We haven't had a dead zone for some time.
If a melee is up in your stuff, you have a couple of choices. Choice one is to use your melee abilities. Choice two, which will probably work out better, is to get away from them and resume using ranged attacks. You have several defensive cooldowns you can use to gain distance or survive long enough to gain distance. Your third choice is to keep shooting even with someone attacking you in melee. By design that is supposed to be quite ineffectual.
In Cataclysm, hunters have some capacity to do damage while moving, but again that's not going to be a super effective way of dealing damage. It's a last resort.
[...] I meant trying to shoot while someone is in melee with you isn't going to work out well. We don't want a model where the hunter goes about his merry way while melee dudes are trying to melee him. (Source)
Looking for Dungeon "Unlock"
The vast majority of our dungeons must now be visited and their entrances explored before you can LFG for that dungeon. A few classic dungeons will always be available that are extremely hard to visit or are low level. Ragefire Chasm, Stormwind Stockade, Deadmines, and Wailing Caverns are automatically unlocked. (Source)
We wanted to share some our intent with some of the hunter changes, which will in turn help you give feedback.
Focus -- We'll be messing with ability costs for some time. Depending on your weapon, autoshot costs can be higher than "focus dump" abilities, which clearly won't work. We're working on a DPCT priority list that makes more sense. As far as regen goes though, we think the current rate is about right. We don't want the rotation to become erratic and we like the gameplay of building focus through shots. In situations where you just can't stand still, such as kiting, you can use the new Aspect of the Fox. We've tied the focus regen for using cast-time shots during Aspect of the Hawk, otherwise there would be no reason to be in anything but Fox. Focus is more of a combo between rage and energy, since you build it and use it up. The skill of playing a hunter involves keeping your focus high enough -- as it is somewhat random due to procs -- but use it before you overflow.
Shots -- Each hunter talent tree has a "signature" focus dump: Survival has Explosive Shot, Marks has Chimera Shot, and Beastmaster has Raccoon Shot... I mean Kill Command. These all have cooldowns, so if you are at 100 focus, use Kill Command and still have focus left over, you can use Arcane Shot next. This is why Explosive and Arcane no longer share cooldowns. Once you figure out which abilities to use for each spec, the number of abilities you need to manage should feel less daunting. For example, Marks would use Serpent Sting, Steady Shot, Arimed Shot, Chimera Shot and Arcane Shot on a boss fight, and Serpent Sting gets refreshed automatically. Think less in terms of shot rotations and more in terms of prioritizations.
Pets -- We haven't done our design pass on them yet. The design is for them to no longer receive raid buff since they get complete scaling from the master (and we don't want them to double dip). Their abilities will be divided into 3 categories: basic focus dumps (e.g. Claw), specials (e.g. web), and exotic abilities for the BM exotic pets. Specials never cost focus and basics have short cooldowns but meaningful damage. All pets will do the same dps. We don't want "wolf or die" in Cataclysm (and before that it was cat). Each pet family will bring a unique raid buff, allowing hunters to be wildcards for when you are lacking something. The ease of swapping pets will facilitate this further.
Cobra Shot -- We're not happy with the damage yet. We want BM to basically not use Steady ever again. Marks may use Cobra in PvP situations where spell damage trumps physical damage.
Kill Command -- We like the Frenzy / Focus Fire mechanic, but are likely to make it it's own clicky and not tied to Kill Command. Kill Command itself will be the signature focus dump for BM. For other specs, it will be more situational, such as dealing damage to a target out of your (but not your pet) LoS. Marks also has the Resistance is Futile talent to give it some more use.
Aimed Shot -- We are returning this ability to be an opener once again, like Ravage or Ambush. In longer fights, Master Marskman can proc instant Aimed Shots, to keep the ability relevant.
AE damage -- The design is that you use Multi-Shot on 2+ targets, and Explosive Trap and Volley on 4+ targets.
Venoms -- The focus cost may be too high. However, don't expect to have to use these on every target. Part of separating Serpent Sting from the Venoms so that they could be more situational. Even Serpent Sting isn't necessary on every target, especially those that will die quickly. Instead 2-3 Steadies with an Arcane or Kill Shot should do the job. Hunters are used to using every ability on every target because there is no real resource cost with mana. Now priority and efficiency become important.
Ultimately, we think these changes will solve some of the problems the hunter class has had as well as making them more fun to play, or we wouldn't be going through so much re-design.
Cataclysm Class Preview: Hunter
New Hunter Abilities
Cobra Shot (level 81): A new shot that deals Nature damage instead of Physical damage. This ability will share a cooldown with Steady Shot. This will give hunters an alternative to Steady Shot on heavily-armored targets, and we will have talent incentives in the Beast Mastery tree to make this a signature shot.
Trap Launcher (level 83): When used, the next trap can be shot to a location within 40 yards. This provides the current Freezing Arrow treatment to all traps and, as a result, we will be removing the current ability Freezing Arrow. 1-minute cooldown. No global cooldown.
Camouflage (level 85): The hunter enters an obscured state that prevents him or her from taking ranged damage. The character would still be subject to melee or area-of-effect attacks, and dealing or taking damage will break the Camouflage effect. The hunter can move and set traps when under Camouflage, and will receive a damage bonus when attacking while under Camouflage (which will then break the effect).
Resource Mechanic Change
Here we come to the meat of the upcoming hunter changes.
- Hunters will no longer use mana; instead the class will use Focus. Focus generates much like Energy, by building up. It will not be affected by Intellect at all. Haste will improve its generation. Hunters will generate roughly 6 Focus per second, slightly less than rogues' Energy generation rate of around 10 Energy per second. Below, we have listed some examples of how we intend Focus costs to operate:
- Steady Shot/Cobra Shot: No cost. Generates 9 Focus per shot (or 12 per second instead of 6).
- Arcane Shot/Chimera Shot /Explosive Shot: 45 Focus.
- Aimed Shot/Multi-Shot: 60 Focus.
- Concussive Shot/Tranquilizing Shot: 35 Focus.
- Rapid Fire/Master’s Call/Disengage: 30 Focus.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
In addition to the resource change and new abilities listed above, we intend to make adjustments to some of the other abilities and mechanics you already know well. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we’re going for with each spec.
- A major change coming for the hunter is the removal of ammunition. Guns, bows, and crossbows will now do damage without consuming ammunition at all. There will be no more ammo slot on the hunter’s character display. Any ammunition that a hunter has at the time of the change will become gray sellable items. Existing quivers will be converted into large bags -- though each hunter can only have one and non-hunters will not benefit from this change -- and we will not be making any additional quivers.
- Pet management will also change. Hunters will now have two types of attainable pets: active pets and stored pets. Hunters will be able to have up to three active pets (perhaps five for Beast Mastery specialized players) and will have the ability to switch among these pets any time they are out of combat, without going to town. They will also be able to have a large number of pets in storage at the stables. In order to swap a pet from active to passive, a hunter will still need to visit their local Stable Master. However, this should afford ample storage for the many Spirit Beasts wandering the lands of Azeroth.
- Additionally, hunters will now start with a race-appropriate pet at level 1 and will be able to tame a different pet at level 10. We are also changing many pet family abilities to provide important buffs and debuffs. The intention is to allow the hunter to be able to swap pets and fill a position if a certain role is missing from the group. The goal is to have all pets provide a damage increase that is very similar and no greater than any other pet. Some examples of the changes we are making to the pet families are listed below:
- Wind Serpents: Will provide a debuff that increases the amount of spell damage taken by an enemy (similar to a weaker version of the warlock ability Curse of Elements).
- Ravagers: Will provide a debuff that will increase an enemy's Physical damage vulnerability (similar to a weaker version of the warrior ability Rampage).
- Hyenas: Will provide bleed damage (similar to a weaker version of the druid ability Mangle).
- Stings and other periodic effects will now benefit from haste and critical strike ratings. Hasted damage-over-time abilities do not lose duration, but instead add additional damage ticks.
- Viper Sting will now restore 9 Focus every 3 seconds.
- We are reinforcing hunters as a ranged class. To this end, the class will now start with ranged abilities at level 1, and we will be removing some melee abilities, such as Mongoose Bite.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Beast Mastery hunters will have a new talent called Careful Aim, which increases the damage of the next Steady Shot or Cobra Shot, but also increases the cast time of these abilities. The intention is to make the combination of spells into a decent damage opener, especially in conjunction with the new ability Camouflage.
- Beast Mastery hunters will also have talents that make Cobra Shot superior to Steady Shot, such as Longevity reducing the cast time of Cobra Shot to 1.5 seconds.
- Rapid Recuperation will cause Rapid Fire to give 20/40/60 Focus immediately and will cause Rapid Killing to generate 3 Focus per second.
- Efficiency will reduce the Focus cost of Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot.
- Thrill of the Hunt grants Focus when you land a critical strike.
- Hunter vs. Wild increases the hunter’s Focus generation when his or her pet is snared, stunned, or rooted.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
- Ranged Damage
- Pet Damage
Pet Damage: Many of the passive benefits to pet damage will no longer be available in the Beast Mastery talent tree. However, these will be provided through the new Mastery mechanic.
- Ranged Damage
- Armor Penetration
- Double Shot
Double Shot: The hunter will have a chance to launch a free attack off of the global cooldown for 50% damage.
- Ranged Damage
- Ranged Critical Damage
- Elemental Damage
Elemental Damage: Hunter abilities such as traps, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot will do elemental damage of the following types: Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature, and Shadow.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.
A clarification of Camouflage and what becoming obscured actually means:
Camouflage is *not* stealth. Your enemies will never wonder where you are. We're trying to use the new Cataclysm water effect to put a shimmering PREDATORy visual on you. It's protection from ranged attacks and it gives you some combat bonuses, but it's not like Shadowmeld or rogue / druid stealth where players can't find you.
The idea with it is that Hunters are only vulnerable to melee attacks or ranged AEs while they are in the obscured state. If you target a camo hunter or a rogue using Smoke Bomb, you will get an error message saying something like "Target obscured." You can see them and target them, but can't use your attacks. Imagine they are behind a pillar or something. You can try and get off an AE near them or you can move to melee.
As most of you know, we tried Camo once before, but because it was true stealth it was very hard to balance, plus it felt like we were just handing out the same cool abilities to every class instead of coming with unique mechanics. Hunters were so overwhelmingly excited about the basic idea that we wanted to try it again, but not as stealth.
Regarding Cobra Shot sharing cooldown with Steady Shot:
At this point in time it's not actually a cooldown. Cobra Shot has a 2 sec cast time, but Beastmaster has a talent to reduce the cast time to 1.5 sec (as well as a few damage hooks). Both generate focus so there is no reason for BM to ever use Steady again.
Regarding focus and how much of it Hunters will have:
Hunters will get 100 focus
The focus costs mentioned in the preview are just examples, so it is a little too soon for you to try to min / max your rotations just yet. In general, the basic rotations of all three hunters work okay on live today. With focus you might hit moments where you don't need to Steady at all, and you'll never run dry again for long periods of time like you might with mana.
If the costs of some of the defensive cooldowns are too expensive or even need to be free that's certainly the kind of thing we'll consider.
Regarding Ammo in Cataclysm:
There is no ammo slot on your character sheet in Cataclysm. It no longer exists.
Other known information:
Hunter's can be every race in Cataclysm, except Gnome.
Mana to Focus
The shift from mana to focus is a huge change for Hunters. My only experience with an energy system is when I leveled a druid to 70 about two years ago. It seems to work out fine for druids and rogues, so I have optimism that the focus system will work itself out eventually for Hunters, but we might be a bit screwy for awhile after Cataclysm hits (which doesn't sound fun).
The 5 extra talent points mean that we can now attain a 51 point talent and a 21 point talent in another tree. However, right now, Counterattack is the worst 21 point talent in the game, and Intimidation is mediocre at best (remove it from the GCD please). Readiness is our only real solid 21 point talent. I hope that when they redesign the talent trees we get some love in our 21 point area.
Cobra Shot (level 81)
I like that Hunters are getting an elemental shot they can use in place of Steady Shot, that should be very helpful in PvP against high armor targets. The fact that BM gets the best version of it and will most likely use it always in place of Steady Shot is good in some regard since BM really lacks magical damage at the moment. Unfortunately, BM still has the most uninteresting shot rotation and this changes none of that.
Trap Launcher (level 83)
Replacing Freezing Arrow with Trap Launcher and giving it a 60 second cooldown severely nerfs Hunter crowd control. The only trap you would launch in PvP would be freezing trap, which is now only available to launch every 60 seconds instead of every 30 seconds. In PvE this change allows hunters to Trap Launch an Immolation Trap which could be nice.
Camouflage (level 85)
This is a complex ability that could be interesting or pretty stupid. Until more is learned about the bonus damage when exiting this state I just will have to sit on the fence about this ability.