In hunter news it seems marksman goes some skill changes but the one I found the most interesting, and actually made me smile, was the chance to black arrow. While still not what I personally would have wanted I do see it as a step in the right direction.
For marksman black arrow is currently a level 15 talent choice and the way it works now is as follows.
Fires a Black Arrow at the target, dealing [ 4 + 40% of AP ] Shadow damage over 8 sec and summoning a skeletal minion to taunt it for the duration. Black Arrow's cooldown is reset when you kill an enemy.
Marksmanship Hunter - Level 15 Talent. 40 Focus. 40 yd range. Instant.15 sec cooldown.
What made me smile was the recognition, even if they did not come right now and say as much, that hunters "need" pets, it is part of their Warcraft mythos. So they should at least have the option of having one even if it ends not not being the optimal game play. This shows they might, and I stress the might part of this, have noticed that marksman want pets too.
With the pet lasting for the duration of black arrow and the cooldown of black arrow resetting on the death of an enemy that means it is quite possible to have your minion up near 100% of the time in a questing environment, depending on the situation.
While I do want my real pet back, and my stable back, and the pet related abilities like masters call back I do see this as a step in the right direction for marksman that would like to have some sort of pet at their side, even if not all the time.
There are some suggestions I have with this however, if blizzard ever sees this, which I doubt they will. But maybe someone that has the ear of blizzard could whisper a few sweet nothings into it for me.
Note: These suggestions might already be the way it is on the alpha, as I am not on the alpha because blizzard does not love me I do not know. But I hope these things are already how it is.
The skeletal minion must be a beast skeletal.
This is nonnegotiable. This needs to be done if blizzard wants to play the MM spec out this way. I am willing to accept they want to change the entire lore behind the class and take pets away from one spec and move another spec into melee, neither of which make any sense, but if they are going to MM some sort of minion it should at least be a beast.
Make it like dire beast where it is a beast fit to the zone, or make some glyphs to choose which beast is summoned, be it a skeletal nightsaber, a skeletal worg, a skeletal bear, or what have you. Hunters and beasts have a connection, it is why I say MM should not lose their pet, but if they are going to force our hands the least they can do is let that connection exist past the barrier of death. Let the minion that assists us with black arrow be a beast. Let us have some sort of chance to have a real pet again. A hunter calling some random minion or some nondescript minion would make no sense, but calling upon the spirit of the pet you once roamed the world with makes sense. And is pretty damn sad in a way too. (I still just want my pet back thank you)
Back it up with other abilities.
There are already a few skill selections that are designed to work better when you have another talent chosen from a previous row. I'd like to see some black arrow action added to some of the other talents. Increasing the time of the DoT, decreasing the cooldown of the ability, making the pet permanent and only resummoned when it dies.
It would most likely not be optimal, as I mentioned before, but it could be made at least a decent option for those that wish to play with a pet but want to use the MM style of a sharp shooter. We are talking options here. It doesn't need to be the top option, but it sure should be an option nonetheless.
Bottom line is, it seems nice for blizzard to take notice of myself and many other hunters that are greatly upset with the loss of mans best friend and the destruction of the Warcraft hunter mythos in the name of developing classes. Still not exactly sure how you develop a class by removing a key piece of what makes that class the class it is, namely pets, but I will save that for another post. Lets just be happy MM is getting a pet... of some sort. Here is to hoping it is a skeletal beast. Cheers.