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.
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.
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.
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.
Blood(s), sweat and tears
1 hour ago