Many Hunter changes came with with Warlords of Draenor (which launched Nov 13, 2014.) This post covers those changes as well as the patch 6.1 tweaks.
Blizzard decided to do some cleanup on abilities and “button bloat” (too many buttons to reasonably use.) So they’re doing a little hacking and chopping and trimming and tweaking and… well, you get the idea.
They’re not revising the talent system this time around, or changing mana into focus, or anything that major. Generally it’s cleanup, reducing that button bloat, and so on. You’ll still be nearly the same hunter as before, hopefully just a little more streamlined.
WoD Changes for All Hunters
These are the changes that affect Hunters in general. Changes that affect only one spec are in the sections below.
Changes to Your Pets
See below for more pet changes, there are just a few here.
- Rabid has been removed as a pet ability.
- Cower has been removed as a pet ability.
- Dismiss Pet now ignores line of sight.
- Growl now has a 30-yard range.
- Hunter Pets now have a 1-second global cooldown.
- Revive Pet and Mend Pet now share the same button and changes based on whether the Hunter has a dead or live pet.
- Several raid buffs provided by pets have been changed into auras that are automatically applied to the Hunter’s party or raid.
Hunter Abilities That Have Been Removed
- Scare Beast has been removed.
- Scatter Shot has been removed.
- Aspect of the Hawk has been removed and Bliz baked in its benefit to various other abilities.
- Hunter’s Mark has been removed. Seems like a strange change…
- Widow Venom has been removed.
- Serpent Sting has been changed to Survival only, but the level 100 Exotic Munitions talent can replace that ability for BM and MM.
Changes to Trapping
- Traps and trap launchers no longer have an arming time and can instantly trigger.
- Traps can no longer be disarmed (No more pesky Rogues destroying your traps. )
- Explosive Trap now places a periodic-damage effect on each target within the radius of the explosion, rather than a persistent effect on the ground. The Glyph is unchanged and still removes damage and knocks targets back.
Other Hunter Changes
- Aspect of the Fox is a new ability for all Hunters: Party and raid members within 40 yards take on the aspects of a fox, allowing them to move while casting all spells for 6 seconds. Only one Aspect can be active at a time. 3 minute cooldown.
- Stampede is now a level-75 talent. Lynx Rush, the talent it replaces, is now dead.
- Rapid Fire is now available only to Marksmanship Hunters.
- Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack now share a 10-second cooldown and no longer appear on the stance bar.
- The talent Aspect of the Iron Hawk has been renamed to Iron Hawk, and now passively provides 10% damage reduction and no AP boost.
- Aspect of the Pack no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
- Aspect of the Cheetah no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
- Glyph of Aspect of the Beast: The ability taught by this Glyph no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
- Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah: No longer triggers any cooldown on Aspects.
Regarding the Specs being too Similar:
Hunters have lacked a strong distinction between the different specializations. What we mean by that is that the Hunter specializations all had rotations that felt similar, with Marksmanship and Survival having the most blurred identities (Beast Mastery felt well rooted in the pet.) Hunters were also some of the most afflicted by button bloat. To address these problems, we opted to make changes to each specialization’s rotation, primarily through removing abilities, and making some of them unique to each spec. This means things like Aimed Shot being the primary Focus dump for Marksmanship, instead of Arcane Shot or Serpent Sting being available only to Survival. Hunters also had a large number of cooldown abilities, which we’ve also cut down (some of which we moved to the talent tree, competing with other active buttons.) For a full list of what was removed, please see Ability Pruning and Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns.
The goals is to deal with the “way too many buttons” issue and to have a more distinct flavor for each Hunter spec.
Burst Damage Cooldowns
Each specialization received a revision to the burst damage cooldowns that they have access to.
Beast Mastery Hunters retain Bestial Wrath. Rapid Fire is a good fit for Marksmanship, and we improved it. Survival opts to focus on sustained damage without burst cooldowns. However, if the situation calls for a burst-damage-cooldown, there are a few available via talents.
[Tweet “The Hunter changes in Warlords of Draenor 6.0 & 6.1.”]
Agility, Crit, and Attack Power Changes
No, Hunters won’t need to worry about wanting Int or anything. Bliz is just making a few changes to how your stats affect things.
- Your Agility no longer provides an increased chance to critically strike with melee and ranged attacks or abilities. It’s now just for damage and some dodge. This will slightly lessen the value of Agility, but it should still be your #1 stat.
- The base chance to critically strike is now 5% for all classes. There are no longer different chances to critically strike with melee, ranged, and spells. This will simplify things.
- There is a new passive, named Critical Strikes, which increases chance to critically strike by 10%. It is learned by all Hunters (and all other classes that use Agility as a primary stat.)
- Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2.) All other sources of Attack Power, such as trinkets, now grant half as much as before.
- Weapon Damage values on all weapons have been reduced by 50%, but see the next item. Weapon DPS was the #1 stats for Hunters and this should have the effect of making the other stats more valuable when compared to basic weapon DPS.
- Attack Power now increases Weapon Damage at a rate of 1 DPS per 3.5 Attack Power (up from 1 DPS per 14 Attack Power.) As an example 1,400 AP now gives you +400 DPS instead of +100.
Stats Removed and Added
- Hit and Expertise have been removed. All players now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance to glance, when fighting creatures up to 3 levels higher (bosses included.) This should make the game of “finding the perfect stats” a little easier.
- In addition to removing Hit and Exp., Reforging is dead and the NPCs have been removed. Serious min/max types will have to hunt up that perfect piece of gear from now on, instead of reforging it.
- PvP Power and Resilience have been removed for WoD level gear. Both still remain on lower level gear.
- One of the new stats is Multistrike, which grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times (once in PvP,) at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing.)
- Versatility is the other new stat. It adds to all of your damage and any healing you might do. It also adds, at half value, to your damage reduction. Think of it as consolidating PvP Power and Resilience into a single stat that’s also usable in PvE.
These are the stats that Bliz feels will most increase your “throughput.” They may or may not be “the best” stats, depending on what you’re doing. The attunement gives you +5% in that stat, from all sources. These are all passive abilities.
- Beast Mastery: Mastery – via your level 90 Animal Handler ability.
- Marksmanship: Critical Strike – via your Lethal Shots ability.
- Survival: Multistrike – via Lightning Reflexes
Beast Mastery Changes
Beastmastry is getting hit with the same number of changes as the other specs, but there are a few of interest. One of the big ones, of course, is the change to your pet’s abilities, with CC being removed.
- Frenzy has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Focus Fire.
- Go for the Throat has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Invigoration. Invigoration now also grants 15 Focus to the Hunter’s pet from auto-shot Critical Strikes.
- The Beast Within has been removed, but Bestial Wrath now naturally includes the effects of The Beast Within.
- Focus Fire now naturally grants the Hunter’s pet the ability to gain Frenzy.
- Kill Shot now heals the Hunter for 15% of maximum health if it kills the target.
- Cobra Strikes now has a 20% chance to trigger (up from a 15% chance), but now only grants 1 charge each time it triggers (down from 2 charges.)
To further the concept of differentiating the Hunter spec from each other Bliz is reintroducing a new mastery: Sniper Training. This is intended to add some depth to the “moment by moment” gameplay.
- Mastery: Wild Quiver has been removed. It is being replaced with Sniper Training, the new Mastery for Marksmanship Hunters. Sniper Training activates when the Hunter stands still for 3 seconds, giving them the Sniper Training effect for 6 seconds, increasing damage, shot range, and critical strike damage by 4% (increased by higher levels of Mastery.)
Various MM abilities have been removed or changed.
- Bombardment now reduces the cost of Multi-Shot by 25 Focus (up from a 20 Focus reduction to cost.)
- Steady Focus has been removed.
- Rapid Recuperation has been removed.
- Silencing Shot has been removed.
- Concussive Barrage has been removed.
- Master Marksman has been removed.
- Piercing Shots has been removed.
- Arcane Shot is no longer available to Marksmanship Hunters.
- Kill Shot now heals the Hunter for 15% of maximum health if it kills the target.
- Chimera Shot no longer heals the Hunter and it’s now a “two headed shot” that deals nature or frost damage to each target.
- Aimed Shot no longer interrupts Auto Attacks, and can be cast while moving.
- Thrill of the Hunt now has a 6% chance to trigger for every 10 Focus spent (instead of a flat 30% chance.)
- Careful Aim now also provides its effect against all targets when Rapid Fire is active, and increases critical strike chance by 60% (down from 75%.)
Regarding your Lock and Load ability, Bliz says “We changed how Lock and Load is triggered to increase the value of Multistrike, provide gameplay depth, and the ability to pool damage more.”
- Lock and Load’s effects have been incorporated into Black Arrow. Your Black Arrow periodic damage has a 20% chance to trigger the Lock and Load effect, causing your next two Explosive Shots to cost no Focus and trigger no cooldown.
- Black Arrow‘s cooldown is reset if it’s dispelled.
- Survivalist is a new passive ability learned by Survival Hunters at level 10: After killing a target, the Hunter gains 15% health over 10 seconds. Your Multistrike damage is increased by 20%.
- Explosive Shot now costs 15 Focus (down from 25 Focus.)
Other Survival Changes
- Explosive Shot now costs 15 Focus (down from 25 Focus.)
- Serpent Sting has been redesigned based on Serpent Spread and is now available only to Survival Hunters.
- Improved Serpent Sting and its effects have been incorporated into a redesigned Serpent Sting.
- Viper Venom has also been removed and its effects have been incorporated into a redesigned Serpent Sting.
- Serpent Spread has been renamed Serpent Sting, and remains as a passive ability for Survival Hunters. It causes Multi-Shot and Arcane Shot to also apply the Serpent Sting poison, which does instant and periodic damage.
- Cobra Shot no longer extends Serpent Sting.
- Kill Shot is no longer available to Survival Hunters.
- Entrapment’s Root effect now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Root effects.
The New Hunter Talents for WoD
Pet Crowd Control abilities have been removed, but it looks like they might be keeping talents that allow your pet to have CC abilities. IN addition to the new talents, and other changes listed here, there are likely to be other changes. Especially with the Big Squish. Damage numbers will certainly change.
Level 30 Talents:
- Wyvern Sting now has a 1.5 second cast time.
Level 45 Talents:
- Exhilaration heals you for 22% (30% in 6.1,) but your pet is healed 100%.
- Aspect of the Iron Hawk has been renamed to Iron Hawk, and now passively provides 10% damage reduction and no longer boosts Attack Power.
Level 60 Talents:
- Fervor has been replaced with a new passive ability, Steady Focus, which increases Focus Regeneration by 50% for 10 seconds after using Cobra Shot or Steady Shot twice in a row.
- Dire Beast now restores 2 Focus per hit (down from 5 Focus per hit.)
Level 75 Talents:
- Murder of Crows has been changed. Its duration, cost, and cooldown have been reduced by 50%. It no longer has a shorter cooldown when used on low health targets. Instead, its cooldown is reset if the target dies.
- Stampede is now a level-75 talent, replacing Lynx Rush. In 6.1 it lasts 40 seconds, up from 20.
- Lynx Rush is now dead.
Level 90 talents:
- Barrage now has a 20 second cooldown (down from 30 seconds), costs 60 Focus (up from 30 Focus), and its damage has been increased by 100%.
- In 6.1: Glaive Toss damage has been increased by 25%.
- In 6.1: Powershot damage has been increased by 62%.
- in 6.1: Barrage damage has been increased by 21%.
Level 100 Talents:
- The column 1 talent, for all specs, is: Exotic Munitions. You can change ammo types, each change lasts an hour.
- Column 2, for all specs, is: Focusing Shot – allows you to carefully line up your perfect shot for 175% wpn damage and generates 50 focus. It also replaces Steady Shot and Cobra Shot.
- The 3rd talent varies by spec:
- Beast Mastery gets Adaptation: Your pet gets increased damage and also gets several abilities, regardless of its active spec: Spiked Collar, Roar of Sacrifice, Cornered, Last Stand, Blood of the Rhino, Great Stamina, Cornered, Boar’s Speed.
- Marksmanship and Survival get Lone Wolf: All of your damage is increased by 30% when you don’t have a pet active and you can provide one of several benefits to your party or raid. You’ll become more of a Ranger than a Hunter and no longer have to concern yourself with pet issues.
The Glyph Changes
As with all of the above, Glyph info is subject to change. Maybe even more than the above.
All of the changes refer to the Major glyphs, there seem to be no changes to the minor glyphs.
Automatic Learning of Glyphs
Bliz has decided to make glyphing your character a bit easier. As of WoD you will learn several glyphs automatically as you level, just as you do with talents and abilities. You will still have to add them to your glyph slots and will probably require some reagent to change, them, as before, but you won’t have to buy them. Any additional glyphs that you want you will have to buy, either off the Auction House or from a Scribe. These are major glyphs only, no minors are automatically learned. I assume that this means that minor glyphs will continue to be cosmetic, as they are in Mists.
- At level 25, the following Glyphs are automatically learned by all Hunters: Glyph of Liberation, Glyph of Pathfinding
- At level 50 you get: Glyph of Mending, Glyph of Chimera Shot, Glyph of Black Ice
- At level 75 you will learn: Glyph of Misdirection? Patch notes say it’s here, WoWhead doesn’t have it in the WoD stuff.
Dead and Changed Glyphs
All of these glyphs are no longer available for sale and cannot be created by scribes. You will learn them automatically as you level: Glyph of Liberation, Glyph of Pathfinding, Glyph of Black Ice, Glyph of Chimera Shot, Glyph of Mending, and Glyph of Misdirection?.
These glyphs seem to be dead:
- Glyph of Aimed Shot? Not sure about this one. WoWhead has it in one place and not in another. I’m going with the idea that it’s dead and WoWhead hasn’t updated completely to the WoD info.
- Glyph of Animal Bond? Ditto.
- Glyph of Scatter Shot? Ditto.
Instead of New Abilities Hunters get Perks
Since one of the ideas behind ability pruning and ability shifting is to remove the excessive number of buttons that can be pressed Bliz decided that, instead of adding abilities as it always has, it would instead assign “Perks” to every spec of every class. Perks are simplay enhancements to existing abilities, such as “adds 20% damage.”
There are nine perks for each spec, but you learn them randomly from level 91 on. This means that two level 95 MM Hunters might have entirely different perks. Once both of those Hunters hit level 100 though, they will both have the same perks.
Note that a few perks will be the same between two, or maybe even all three, specs. All perk effects are passive, so no new buttons to press.
The Pet Changes
We did a comprehensive pass on Hunter pet abilities. As mentioned above all full crowd-control abilities have been removed from Hunter pets and replaced those with new abilities, including spreading some that were previously restricted to exotic pets. Additionally, Hunters can now tame beasts from new pet families.
Hunter pets no longer have crowd-control abilities. All of the following pet abilities have been removed:
New Pet Families
Hunters may now tame beasts from 3 new pet families.
- Hook Wasp (Exotic)
In the theme of “cleaning things up,” abilities unique to each hunter pet family have been revised to provide a standard buff, debuff, or ability. Do not take these as final abilities. Changes are very likely.
- Combat Resurrection ability: Crane, Moth, Quilen (example: Dust of Life)
- Mortal Wounds debuff: Carrion Bird, Devilsaur, Riverbeast, Scorpid (example: Bloody Screech)
- Increased Spell Power buff: Serpent, Silithid, Water Strider (example: Serpent’s Cunning)
- Increased Strength/Agility/Intellect buff: Dog, Gorilla, Shale Spider, Worm (example: Bark of the Wild)
- Increased Critical Strike Chance buff: Devilsaur, Quilen, Raptor, Shale Spider, Water Strider, Wolf (example: Strength of the Pack)
- Temporary Haste buff (Bloodlust:) Core Hound, Nether Ray (example: Ancient Hysteria)
- Increased Haste buff: Hook Wasp, Hyena, Sporebat, Wasp (example: Cracking Howl)
- Increased Mastery buff: Cat, Hydra, Spirit Beast, Tallstrider (example: Roar of Courage)
- Increased Stamina buff: Bear, Goat, Hook Wasp, Silithid (example: Invigorating Roar)
- Increased Multistrike buff: Basilisk, Chimaera, Core Hound, Dragonhawk, Fox, Rhino, Wind Serpent
- Increased Versatility buff: Bird of Prey, Boar, Porcupine, Ravager, Rhino, Worm
- An ability that increases dodge chance of the pet by 30% for 10 seconds: Bat, Monkey (example: Primal Agility)
- An ability that reduces damage taken by the pet by 50% for 12 seconds: Beetle, Crab, Quilen, Rhino, Shale Spider, Turtle (example: Shell Shield)
- The following pet families provide an ability that puts the pet in stealth mode slowing its movement speed by 50%. The first attack from stealth receives a 20% bonus to damage: Cat, Spirit Beast (example: Prowl)
The following pet families provide an additional ability.
- Chimaera – Froststorm Breath: Causes Froststorm damage to all targets in front of the Chimaera over 8 seconds.
- Core Hound – Molten Hide: Causes Fire damage to attackers.
- Devilsaur – Feast: The devilsaur feasts on a nearby Humanoid or Beast corpse within 5 yards, healing it for 20% of its maximum health and restoring 20 Focus over 5 seconds.
- Direhorn – Reflective Armor Plating: Deflects all spells cast in front of the Direhorn for 6 seconds.
- Hook Wasp – Flutter: Slows the fall speed of both itself and the hunter for 30 seconds. (This beast and it’s power are not yet in game? Or removed?)
- Spirit Beast – Spirit Mend: Heals the target ally instantly, and additional healing over 10 seconds.
- Water Strider – Surface Trot: Allows the Hunter and the Water Strider to walk across water.
- Worm – Burrow Attack: Deals Nature damage to nearby enemies over 8 seconds.
The Patch 6.1 Hunter Updates to WoD
Level 45: Exhilaration now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%.)
Level 75: Stampede now lasts 40 seconds (up from 20 seconds.)
- Glaive Toss damage has been increased by 25%.
- Powershot damage has been increased by 62%.
- Barrage damage has been increased by 21%.
- Trap Mastery no longer reduces the cooldown of all traps and Black Arrow by 6 seconds.
- Black Arrow now has a cooldown of 24 seconds (down from 30 seconds.)
- Enhanced Traps now reduces the cooldown on all traps by 33% (down from 50%.)
- Basilisks now have a pet family ability. Stone Scales reduces damage taken by the pet. Previously, Basilisks did not have a pet family ability.
- Hydra pets should no longer be excessively large.
- Spirit Beast’s Spirit Beast Blessing now also provides a 5% increase to critical strike chance. Does not stack with other critical strike chance buffs. Previously, other exotic pet families provided buffs to 2 stats while Spirit Beasts provided only 1.
The Fastest Hunter Leveling Guide
Why buy a leveling guide instead of just buying a 90 and saving the time? Well, if you have $60 each for new characters then go for it. You’ll still have to do those last ten levels. Starting from 1, with a guide, will take longer, obviously, but you’ll learn your character well, gain a lot more gold than otherwise, gain rep (if you’re interested,) and so on. And then you’ll still blast from 90 to 100 as quickly as possible. .
Why bother? WoW’s in game quest helper is a nifty gadget, showing you where to go and giving you some idea of what to do. What it doesn’t show you is the most efficient path to take among all the bazillion quests and it misses by quite a bit in the “where to go and what to do” department.
Zygor’s guides misses nothing and show you the best path to take, whether Horde or Alliance, at all times, and even displays an arrow showing the right way to go. It doesn’t matter if you stop your questing to gain a few levels in PvP or the dungeons, you’re brand new to the game or you’re decked head to toe in heirlooms.
Come back to the quests and Zygor will figure out where you should be, based on your new level, and update the guide accordingly. It’ll even let you zap your obsolete quests.
You’re not even locked into any particular build for best results. Zygor’s guide has a talent adviser which will recommend talents for either Marksman, Beastmastery, or Survival, depending on what you like. About the only way to get to 90 faster is to buy that level 90 for $60. Then comes the grind to 100.