Someone at Blizzard needs to meet the business end of a shotgun. I would never advocate violence to a person in real life over a video game but the sentiment of that is how I feel about whomever is making the hunter design choices.
I could just picture a dwarf hunter with some developer pinned to the wall, a shotgun in his face and fluffy growling near the developers crotch just one bite away from making the family jewels disappear forever saying, "change it back".
I'll start with the recent hunter nerfs and extend to the advanced changes we see coming for 5.4.
Then: It was supposed to be our big move of the expansion. An ability with a long cooldown, a fun visual, and holding multiple purposes.
Now: Dire beast with no focus regeneration on a massively long cooldown.
Using stampede as the universal buff machine? No more. Using stampede as a healing cooldown with all spirit beasts? No more. Using stampede as a defensive cooldown with all pets growling? No more. So many uses for stampede, all gone.
Why where these changes made? For PvP. And PvPers wonder why PvE players complain about PvP. A new ability that was extremely useful for PvE in many ways has been neutered because people in PvP did not know how to counter it. Well guess what? Get better or deal with it. There was no reason to change stampede. And even less reason to change it for PvP. If it was really that much of an issue in arena because of bad players crying because they could not figure out how deal with it blizzard should have told them to man up and learn to play or just removed the ability to use stampede in arena. Simple solutions. Appropriate solutions. There was no need to change it.
What makes matters worse is that blizzard tried to mask the fact they nerfed stampede and blink strikes by giving hunters a 10% buff to arcane, steady and cobra. And it worked. Yesterday someone came on vent and all excitedly said, did you hear hunters finally got a buff. All he noticed was that 10% increase to those abilities. I almost felt bad telling him that it was a nerf, not a buff, that hunters got.
I even explained that in a perfect situation, patchwork type fight, the nerf will outweigh the buff to the tune of as much as a 2% DPS loss. Now that was under ideal conditions. Once I explained what that really means in action I thought I broke the guys heart. In action it will actually will be more along the lines of a 5% nerf and could be a 10% or more loss for lesser skilled hunters.
See, in battle, when moving and thinking on the fly we all are bound to make mistakes. Even the most perfect players will miss an arcane here and there or a steady/cobra once in a while. Each time they miss one of those they are losing that 10% extra the buff gave them. Whereas stampede was a 5 minute cooldown you would only get in once or twice a fight at most usually. You will use arcane and steady/cobra 100s of times possibly and each one you miss is a little bit you lost that used to be something you did not need to worry about because it was damage from stampede before.
If you miss a stampede by three seconds you are still getting the full effect out of it as long as it runs its entire life. Heck, delaying it a few seconds, or even minutes if you know you will not get another in anyway, is sometimes a good idea. But delaying a arcane or steady/cobra even a fraction of a second is a DPS loss. So where you hit stampede and lost nothing, now you have 100s of chances to lose that DPS during the fight because of missed or delayed, even by a fraction of a second, arcane shots and steady/cobra shots.
So the nerf is not a flat out 2% nerf like it might seem like on paper when working on a patchwork fight, it is a 5% nerf for most and perhaps a 10% or more nerf for others that were not very good.
All thanks to PvPers crying because they are bad players that do not know how to deal with the other characters abilities. PvE should never take the short end of the stick for a mini game. Next hunters will get nerfs because of pet battles. And then hunters will get nerfs because of the farm. Nerfing PvE for PvP reasons is just as stupid as nerfing PvE for pet battle reasons. It should never happen. They are two separate things and should always be treated as such.
Hunters were not exactly in great shape to begin with on the charts. We didn't need a nerf. We needed a buff. But thanks to PvP we get nerfed. Again. Just because I top the charts doesn't mean hunters are doing good. It just means the people I pug with on my server suck, it is because people in the LFR suck, it is not because hunters are good. Hunters are not in a good place now and we did not deserve to be nerfed for such a stupid reason.
Now coming in 5.4. More nerfs. Oh joy.
Arcane shot has had its damage and focus cost increased by 50%.
Excuse me? Focus is in a nice place now. It spends fast and it regens fast. Unless you spam arcane for no reason you won't run out but now just hitting arcane could force you to run out. So it will mean I need to relearn my rotation, no big deal, it is not like I have not had to do that and much more every patch since, well, forever. But increasing the focus cost makes no sense.
Increasing the damage portion actually makes perfect sense. As I mentioned hunters are near the bottom. Buffing a shot that is used in all three specs with a damage boost is welcome. It could put us in line with the other classes as it should be. There was no need to mess with the focus and that could very well end up being another DPS loss. Have to see how it works on paper, but reading it, it sure seems like it will be a DPS loss to me.
About the only thing that hunters have going for them is the fact we are the only class that can put out our rotation 100% while moving. So the casters and melee doing more than us on paper can be compensated for in a raid environment by the hunter being good. This is true. So I guess that means they are going to take that away soon too right? Can't have hunters being happy about something can we? I am surprised we have not had that removed yet. Give it time, they just over looked it. Next time someone gets a bug up their ass and wants to mess with hunters again we will be land locked once more. Most likely because of bad PvPer cried that some hunter kept running away from him while still beating on him. I'll put my money on it being a retribution paladin.
Aspect of the Ironhawk:
Now reduces damage taken by 10% down from 15%.
So blizzard is not content with just lowering our damage output they want to increase the damage we take. Lets not forget that this is not a given ability either. We have to choose it. If we choose it, it should be something we can benefit from. It should be good. In theory anyway right?
Are they trying to make us not choose it? Don't know about you but the other two options really seem to stand out a hell of a lot more now that it will be reduced to 10%. Before it was a choice most of the time. While many would stay in ironhawk by default, the other two options had their place and I would use them often depending on the content I was doing. Now ironhawk is almost completely off my radar. I think I will just stay in spirit bond from now on. If anything, even at 15%, ironhawk was off my radar in many situations. I would never use it while soloing. I would never use it while questing. Now I might never use it in raids.
It should have been increased to 20% if they really felt the need to change it. Not lowered. Hunters have no ability that reduces damage besides deterrence and we can not attack while in deterrence. So a passive damage reduction of 15%, that we had to choose over another useful option, was fine. There was no reason to change it.
An interrupt that works on bosses.
Now this ability is marksman only. Binding shot which was a talent then became marksman only is now a talent choice again. So now we get to choose between Wyvern Shot, Intimidation and Binding Shot. Three abilities that are completely useless against bosses.
Why this change? Because people were choosing silencing shot more than any other ability on that tier. It is changes like this one that prompt me to say that whoever is making these decisions needs to meet the business end of a shot gun. Instead of finding a way to make the other abilities more attractive, just get rid of the one people like. Smart idea there genius.
So because it was a good ability and people liked it and it was useful in all facets of the game you move it to the one spec that is not viable in game? Who the hell is running the ship over there?
If everyone was choosing it that means it was good. So make it base line if you want people to choose something else and make it a real choice. Do not give it to the one spec that no one is playing with now.
And look at that tier for the raiding player now.
Binding Shot. Useless against bosses. Minor rare uses otherwise if there are adds in the fight and there was usually another class that could handle it better or a trap could handle it almost the same.
Wyvern Shot: Useless against bosses.
Intimidation: Useless against bosses.
Okay blizzard, where exactly is my choice here? I get to chose between three abilities that do not work against bosses.
Do you want to know one of the reasons silencing shot was the top choice for players, because it was the only one on that tier that was always useful no matter what you do. Solo? Yeah, it is an interrupt. Questing? Some mobs have abilities that just need to be interrupted. PvP? Of course, it is an interrupt isn't it. PvE? It is the only ability on that tier that works against raid bosses so even if it was not your job to interrupt you took it.
The worst part is that they give the ability to a spec no one plays. Marksman is my favorite spec, always has been. I would love to play marksman. It is just not viable and giving it silencing shot is not going to be enough to get me to play it.
If they want a bit of free advice on how to fix marksman. Change the careful aim time to 60% and it might even it out. Not sure about your raid group but my raid group, when counting in burst, the first 20% of the bosses health doesn't last 30 seconds. So that boost is not enough for marksman because they rarely get to spend any meaningful time in the careful aim rotation.
Better yet, make careful aim an ability. It increases crit chance by 75% for 20% of the targets health. So if I use it when the mob is at 54% I have the bonus until 34%. If it is only going to work for 20% don't make it work during the fastest 20% of the fight. That is one way to fix marksman. In part.
Put silencing shot back as a talent or make it baseline. Do not make it marksman only. And seriously. At least make one of the abilities on the level 30 row useful in raids being you took away the only skill that was useful.
Not sure what is going on over there when it comes to making these decisions. I will blame it on ghostcrawler because even if it is not his fault I am sure he screwed something up recently and needs to be blamed for it. I just can not believe how much hunter hate is going on over at blizzard. They really need to stop it.
In the end none of this is game breaking. We will still do what we do, we will still adapt, and we will still rock the charts even if we seem behind the curve. We are hunters, we rock. But at some point I just get tired of always hearing nerf, nerf, nerf. Just quit it already.