Thursday, August 30, 2012

The New Hunter Abilities

All classes got the same treatment with the spec changes.  Everyone is cookie cutter spec now and we are given a chance to choose a few flavor abilities or passives.  While I can go into explaining why I don't think some of this is a fix all, you will notice what I am getting at when I go through what I think of all our new abilities.

We will start at the end.

Level 60, 75 and 90.

There is nothing that needs to be said here.  These are DPS abilities that we choose from.  Just like when we used to make specs there was a right choice and a wrong choice.  These 3 tiers will always fall directly into that category.  There will be a right choice and a wrong choice.  I am rolling with dire beast and a murder of crows now.  Not because I like them but because they are the right choice.

It is the other tiers that things get interesting, things get fun, to some extent at least.  This is where the flavor is.  An argument can be made that there are also best choices in those but the impact of those best choices is not usually as big as the above mentioned best choices from the DPS abilities.  The other tiers are the fun ones, the ones were we will be making our real choices and the ones I can see us changing often.  So lets get to the real meat of our new talents, the ones that are truly choices.

Level 15:

Posthase: Your disengage removes you from all movement impairing effects and increases your speed by 60% for 8 seconds.

Narrow Escape: When you disengage, you also activate a web trap that encases all targets within 8 yards in sticky webs, preventing movement for 8 seconds.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera: Reduces the cooldown of disengage by 10 seconds, and the cooldown of deterrence by 60 seconds.

For the PvE hunter, while raiding at least, I am sure that no one would choose anything but CT,HC.  It is the best raid ability of these three but unlike the DPS talents there is a much bigger case to be made where the other two could be used for PvE and that is where our choices come from.

If you are on kiting duty posthase or narrow escape could be very useful in PvE and being we can now change things on the fly we will be more likely to do it when needed even if just for one fight.  This, in my opinion, is how all these new tier skills should have been designed, to be a choice.  Sure there will be a best one to have on most of the time but the others are still viable for their situations.

So while all raiding hunters will have CT,HC as their default they will be switching.  For PvP even more so as post haste can be a super ability in PvP in various situations like when you need a little speed boost.  Anyone that had mastered the jump/spin/disengage/spin move will tell you that we have been using disengage to move forward forever, now we can use it to move forward and get a speed boost while getting out of any movement impairing effects.  Not bad if you are the flag carrier.  So masters call and this and we can get out of two things.  Boy oh boy will people be pissed wasting all those spells on us for nothing.

Narrow escape, besides having some serious PvP uses and some situational PvE ones in raiding it has a fantastic ability for soloing and taking advantage of the new AoE looting.  Run around a lot of low level mobs, web them up, go gather some more, when they catch up hopefully you are off cooldown, web two groups up, go get some more, you get the picture.  One multi shot later and 100s of sparkles.

Not only could it be used for that but for soloing in general it can be nice, even against non-trivial targets like in the previous example.  Webbing a few mobs can be really helpful.  Why concussive just one when you can web all four.

This tier offers some choices for both PvE and PvP as well as for soloing and questing and I can see everyone using all of them.

Level 30:

Silencing Shot: A shot that silences target and interrupts spell casting for 3 seconds.

Wyvern Sting: A stinging shot that puts a target to sleep for 30 seconds.

Binding Shot: You fire a magic projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 5 yards of the landing arrow for 11 seconds.  If the target moves 5 yards from the arrow they will be stunned for 5 seconds (3 in PvP) and will be immune to the effects of blinding shot for 10 seconds.

Another tier where all the abilities have their place.

A silence is always a good thing and is a solid choice in most PvE cases when doing dungeons.  In a raid setting there will usually be someone with a better interrupt option but you could take it for that as well to be a back up, which is never a bad thing.  Silencing shot also has PvP uses and can sometimes be a huge part of it when timed correctly.  While questing it could be useful at times, but might be the least exciting option for the quester, except for the rare quest mob that might actually live long enough to hurt you with magic.  For soloing, it could be make or break against some bosses to be able to interrupt something.

The sting is a situational thing that will probably see more use while soloing or questing but once again it can be used in the dungeon, raid or PvP scene.  Remember folks, while wyvern sting is not an interrupt it can act like one on any mob that is not immune to it.  If the mob you are attacking is about to cast a spell you can sting it which will put it to sleep for a split second before you hit it again but being you put it to sleep you interrupted the spell.  Oddly enough, many people did not now that it could be used as an interrupt as well on some targets.  In the dungeon or raid setting there will be better CC options and in PvP its longer cooldown and shorter duration make it a little lackluster but still useful.  That is why it will shine mostly while soloing or questing.  Being able to effectively CC 2 mobs makes a hunter capable of taking some packs of mobs other classes might take the long walk around.  That is the true power of wyvern sting and where it shines.

Binding shot screams out that it is a PvP ability and it sure is.  Everyone gathered at the flag in eye, keep them there.  Flag carrier getting away, slow that baby down and catch up.  This might very well be the best choice for the battelground hunter hands down.  The possible uses are endless.  Keep someone from catching an ally.  Keep them from getting away.  It is just one of those abilities that has PvP written all over it.

Don't let that fool you however, this ability has many PvE uses too.  Forget raids and dungeons were you might never use it, unless you are soloing them, but couple this ability with narrow escape from before and you can make that massive stack of mobs grow ever more.  These two abilities put together make me want to try to do something I have always wanted to do.  Kite an entire zone.  Every single mob in it.  Yeap, that is how awesome this ability can be if used correctly with the other exceptional kiting abilities the hunters can choose from.

It can be a handy questing tool and a handy soloing tool.  Keeping mobs at a distance is still the best options for any hunter even if we can shoot at melee range now you should try to never do so.  This will keep those pesky mobs at the distance they should be, far away.

Level 45:

Exhilaration: Instantly heals you for 30% and your pet for 100% of total health.

Aspect of the Iron Hawk: The hunter takes on the aspects of the iron hawk increasing ranged attack power by 10% and reducing all damage taken by 15%.

Spirit Bond: While your pet is active you and your pet will heal for 2% of total health every 2 seconds.

This is the healing tier for the hunters and nothing says heal like having a lay on hands for your pet every two minutes.  Exhilaration will surely be the choice of many soloing hunters doing some of the more challenging content.  It might also have some raid uses.  In a fight where there is not much damage going out but there is the occasional hit that will hurt you for a bunch having that 30% heal for yourself can help the healers a lot.  In PvP this ability could also be useful to heal yourself and your pet, but I think it would be a little more situational and it is harder to determine what you will need in PvP until you are already fighting, so I will leave judgement on this one to more serious PvPers, to me it seems like it could be good, but I would not choose it unless I was trying a three DPS arena team and needed that big heal.

Aspect of the iron hawk seems like it will be the default ability for everyone.  Firstly we get to keep our DPS aspect, hawk, and add a 15% damage reduction across the board for everything and you have an ability that can be useful for everything, all the time.  For most raiders, unless there is a situational thing where one of the others might be better, this is the one ability that will be used.  For the dungeon goer this might be it as well and for the PvPer reducing all damage across the board is never a bad thing.  So this one might shine all over leaving the other two to be completely situational.

Spirit bond will find many places to be useful.  Those PvE fights with minor AoE but no other threat to ranged DPS and spirit bonds might make healers love you.  If it is ever enough to keep up with the damage you are receiving, it is actually a better option than iron hawk.  If you are only taking 2% every 2 seconds reducing it by 15% won't mean a thing and this will keep you at 100%.  Same for the large heals of exhilaration.  Why would you need a big heal if a little constant one is enough to keep you at full.  For questing and some easier soloing, this might actually be the choice of the smart player.  For PvP this one seems like it would be the least useful, but once again, I am not a serious PvPer so don't take my word for it but as I see it I doubt this one would see any use in PvP.

So level 15, 30 and 45 we are given real solid choices.  Actual choices, what these new types of specs are supposed to be about.  We will all find out defaults like mine are CT,HC, silencing and iron hawk, but I will be switching around as needed and I now have the freedom to do it on the fly without needing to go back to a trainer to do so.  Now that is what it is meant to be.

Level 60, 75 and 90 seem rather lackluster in that department.  There will be a best and we will use it.  On rare fights there will be a reason to switch, and we will switch.  Over all level 60, 75 and 90 are not choices, there is a right and a wrong and while there might be a right and a wrong with 15, 30 and 45 as well, even the wrong choice in those would be more beneficial than the wrong choice in the others.

So how did blizzard do with our new talent set up, in my opinion?

The first three tiers rock and feel like real choices.  The last three tiers don't feel like choices at all and I think they missed what they were aiming for, allowing people to do what they wanted to do.

As long as there are damage modifiers or damaging abilities to choose from, there will never be a choice in game unless you count it as making the wrong choice is a choice.


  1. Good thinking, Grumpy. For now, I'm choosing Wyvern Sting. I love it that we can choose Wyvern or Silencing shot! While I've been a BM the vast majority of my play time, I've always wanted to be able to silence or sleep a target. ;)

    I alsw went with CT,HT. Anything that lowers a CD is good in my book. I'm not a pvper, so I'm embarrased to say that I've not used these abilities all that often.

    I also went with Spirit Bond. Yes, I see the advantages of the others. I agree that most of us will use Exhileration or Iron Hawk (especially Iron Hawk) during Raiding. I choose Spirit Bond because I'm used to it.

    Really, it is a comfort thing. I've always like SB. It seems so synergistic between the hunter and his companion. Having that little icon up, the little green heals going of on my pet, is like a big old snuggly blanket of good feelings and comfort. So, while I'm exploring the new world of pandas, I want SB on at all times. I'll worry about the other stuff when I get into heroic instances.


    1. I think SB will be the best for questing when you are only getting a little damage here and there and that means for the most part you can use it all the time.

      At the moment however there is a bug with it not working in combat which makes it really lackluster. The fact it works (or should) in combat is the only thing that even make it a viable option in my opinion when compared to the others.

  2. Do you feel though that if you aren't min/maxing you still have choices. Can you explain why someone is wrong per say for picking something differnt in the last 3 tiers. Is there really that big of a differnece in DPS?

    1. Yes, I believe that if you do not try to do the best you can when the tools are right there in front of you than you are not even trying. All I ask of people is to try their best and that means it is what I ask from myself. I see nothing wrong with believing that either.

      You would not try to bang a nail in with your cellphone or make a phone call on a hammer would you? You would use the best tool to get the job done. When it comes down to numbers in a game, like this, you use the best ability to get the job done or you might as well be trying to make a phone call on a hammer.

      As for if it is that much of a difference, not really. No more so than me not race changing to a panda which would give me an extra 1200 DPS. Or me keeping alchemy when being a jewel crafter or blacksmith would be a DPS increase. I do not min/max. Never have and never will, I do not raid for realm firsts so no need to.

      However, when it comes to something as super simple as picking the right spell I will always pick the right spell. I might not drop a profession or pay for a race change but I will use the appropriate abilities when the only real effort I have to put into it is clicking on one spell or another. Might as well be the right one, don't you think?

  3. Posthaste is my default Tier 1 choice, as I find movement/speed boost more useful than slightly more frequent Disengages. My reasoning is that you won't have to move large distances that often (so a reduced CD for Disengage will, most of the time, not be needed), but when you do need to move, having that substantial/lengthy speed boost will really help, especially when combined with the movement of Disengage.

    I also really like the Silencing/Wyvern/Binding tier. Great choices, some more useful for PVE dungeons where you need CC, some more useful for raid bosses, some more useful for PVP, but none of them useless. Great balance.

    I actually wish Dire Beast were strictly a focus regen talent so it wouldn't be a "mandatory" DPS talent. When I first read it, I interpreted it as a Shadowfiend-type spell, more useful for the resource regen than any actual damage. But the fact that it's a DPS increase means it becomes a must-have choice, really.

    1. Good point on post haste. I, for now, am keeping mine set up as what I would use for a raid. When not raiding post haste is surely a better options for moving around.

      That tier is the best tier and shows how they should be designed. The choices between silencing, wyvern and binding are actually truly choices 100%. While there are times one will be better than another it is really a choice here in every sense of the word choice.

      Perhaps it would be better if dire beast were not a DPS thing and just a focus thing but if that were the case people would just choose something else.

      Any tier that actively effects DPS will always result in a right option and two wrong options. There are not ifs ands or buts about that unless blizzard can find a way to balance all three abilities to do the exact same thing, which in turn, would make it boring.

    2. Well for example, I meant if Dire Beast were strictly a Focus regen tool, to put it on par with Fervor, and (whatever else), it would be three choices for the same role.

      I'd compare it to DK rune regen tier, which I think is great. You have Blood Tap (active, controllable rune regen), Runic Empowerment (random, but through precision you can regen specific runes), or Runic Corruption (less instant regen, but no work required and balanced regen). There might be one that sims higher, but the core decision is one of playstyle, and that's something I adore.

    3. I see what you mean. So one that is controllable, one that is random and one that is passively on all the time at a low level but in the end they are basically all the same.

      Yes, I would love that and in that case I would take the one that is passive so it is one less button unless for a specific fight I wanted on demands runes (focus).

      Kind of why I did not take desperate prayer on my priest. Great spell, don't get me wrong, but I always forget to use it. So I took the passive that will activate on its own. Perhaps I might change it later but that is one less new thing for me to worry about.

  4. After close to 12 hrs I finally got to enter the game, and welll...

    You are right that, as people predicted, there are still 'right' and 'wrong' choices, looking at my 85's I wonder why they even bothered with certain talents and the revamp in general.

    The real 'horror' starts with lower-cap characters, however, with abilities like Backstab and Voidwalker-Sacrifice apparently removed/shifted to way higher levels again (as if it e.g. wasn't Ambush that was the problematic skill, hell I now got Hemo instead of the situational-Backstab) and a whopping 1 Talent choice on the low-to-mid ones.

    Glyphs are similarly borked, some Minor provide extra abilities or useful buffs (making them 'mandatory') while others don't, which isn't too bad for capped toons but lower levels are stranded. The difference between e.g. WotLK and MoP as far as Glyphs+ talents/skills and early levels are concerned couldn't be bigger.

    And you were right, Titles have lost any and all meaning, I have Explorer on lvl 1 Bag Toons that never left the starting area and Rep Titles on toons that haven't even met the faction they're supposedly Exalted with.

    I should at least clean up my mailboxes but I have trouble staying logged in, the 'Patch Blues' are even worse than with the Shattering (which surprises me, though it's probably because this time around, my beloved characters themselves have been fundamentally altered, the only individuality left are basically their looks )

    1. Hope you get stable and sorted out soon. make sure to turn off all addons while going in and out of characters, that will help some.

      I have a level 1 druid I logged into with all those titles and achievements too. Seems so blah now. :(

      Oh well, the expansion that was supposed to bring more choices is now bringing less. Interesting, lets see what more (or less) they have in store for us.