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Cataclysm Hunter Previews!
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With the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm many game elements will be changing, and each class will be receiving a number of tweaks. Here, we will explore the changes that are being made to the gun-wielding, pet-training hunter. The information you’re about to read is certainly not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview of some of the exciting new things to come. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the new hunter abilities!

New Hunter Abilities

Cobra Shot (level 81): A new shot that deals Nature damage instead of Physical damage. This ability will share a cooldown with Steady Shot. This will give hunters an alternative to Steady Shot on heavily-armored targets, and we will have talent incentives in the Beast Mastery tree to make this a signature shot.

Trap Launcher (level 83): When used, the next trap can be shot to a location within 40 yards. This provides the current Freezing Arrow treatment to all traps and, as a result, we will be removing the current ability Freezing Arrow. 1-minute cooldown. No global cooldown.

Camouflage (level 85): The hunter enters an obscured state that prevents him or her from taking ranged damage. The character would still be subject to melee or area-of-effect attacks, and dealing or taking damage will break the Camouflage effect. The hunter can move and set traps when under Camouflage, and will receive a damage bonus when attacking while under Camouflage (which will then break the effect).

Resource Mechanic Change

Here we come to the meat of the upcoming hunter changes.

Hunters will no longer use mana; instead the class will use Focus. Focus generates much like Energy, by building up. It will not be affected by Intellect at all. Haste will improve its generation. Hunters will generate roughly 6 Focus per second, slightly less than rogues' Energy generation rate of around 10 Energy per second. Below, we have listed some examples of how we intend Focus costs to operate:

Steady Shot/Cobra Shot: No cost. Generates 9 Focus per shot (or 12 per second instead of 6).

Arcane Shot/Chimera Shot /Explosive Shot: 45 Focus.

Aimed Shot/Multi-Shot: 60 Focus.

Concussive Shot/Tranquilizing Shot: 35 Focus.

Rapid Fire/Master’s Call/Disengage: 30 Focus.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to the resource change and new abilities listed above, we intend to make adjustments to some of the other abilities and mechanics you already know well. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we’re going for with each spec.

A major change coming for the hunter is the removal of ammunition. Guns, bows, and crossbows will now do damage without consuming ammunition at all. There will be no more ammo slot on the hunter’s character display. Any ammunition that a hunter has at the time of the change will become gray sellable items. Existing quivers will be converted into large bags -- though each hunter can only have one and non-hunters will not benefit from this change -- and we will not be making any additional quivers.

Pet management will also change. Hunters will now have two types of attainable pets: active pets and stored pets. Hunters will be able to have up to three active pets (perhaps five for Beast Mastery specialized players) and will have the ability to switch among these pets any time they are out of combat, without going to town. They will also be able to have a large number of pets in storage at the stables. In order to swap a pet from active to passive, a hunter will still need to visit their local Stable Master. However, this should afford ample storage for the many Spirit Beasts wandering the lands of Azeroth.

Additionally, hunters will now start with a race-appropriate pet at level 1 and will be able to tame a different pet at level 10. We are also changing many pet family abilities to provide important buffs and debuffs. The intention is to allow the hunter to be able to swap pets and fill a position if a certain role is missing from the group. The goal is to have all pets provide a damage increase that is very similar and no greater than any other pet. Some examples of the changes we are making to the pet families are listed below:

Wind Serpents: Will provide a debuff that increases the amount of spell damage taken by an enemy (similar to a weaker version of the warlock ability Curse of Elements).

Ravagers: Will provide a debuff that will increase an enemy's Physical damage vulnerability (similar to a weaker version of the warrior ability Rampage).

Hyenas: Will provide bleed damage (similar to a weaker version of the druid ability Mangle).

Stings and other periodic effects will now benefit from haste and critical strike ratings. Hasted damage-over-time abilities do not lose duration, but instead add additional damage ticks.

Viper Sting will now restore 9 Focus every 3 seconds.

We are reinforcing hunters as a ranged class. To this end, the class will now start with ranged abilities at level 1, and we will be removing some melee abilities, such as Mongoose Bite.

New Talents and Talent Changes

Beast Mastery hunters will have a new talent called Careful Aim, which increases the damage of the next Steady Shot or Cobra Shot, but also increases the cast time of these abilities. The intention is to make the combination of spells into a decent damage opener, especially in conjunction with the new ability Camouflage.

Beast Mastery hunters will also have talents that make Cobra Shot superior to Steady Shot, such as Longevity reducing the cast time of Cobra Shot to 1.5 seconds.

Rapid Recuperation will cause Rapid Fire to give 20/40/60 Focus immediately and will cause Rapid Killing to generate 3 Focus per second.

Efficiency will reduce the Focus cost of Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot.

Thrill of the Hunt grants Focus when you land a critical strike.

Hunter vs. Wild increases the hunter’s Focus generation when his or her pet is snared, stunned, or rooted.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Beast Mastery
Ranged Damage
Pet Damage

Ranged Damage
Armor Penetration
Double Shot

Ranged Damage
Ranged Critical Damage
Elemental Damage

Pet Damage: Many of the passive benefits to pet damage will no longer be available in the Beast Mastery talent tree. However, these will be provided through the new Mastery mechanic.

Double Shot: The hunter will have a chance to launch a free attack off of the global cooldown for 50% damage.

Elemental Damage: Hunter abilities such as traps, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot will do elemental damage of the following types: Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature, and Shadow.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.

- - -

(Phoronid Note: Gonna be like learning a whole new class!)
Wow, might as well throw combo points and "finishing shots" in the mix too....
It really does look more like "ranged rogue" as opposed to current "physical dealing warlock", eh?

I like the pet changes to give us the new shiny to counter warlocks, and the perma-pets for other classes.

I am worried about the total and complete re-learning of shooting order and timing, but that should be interesting at least. I *love* the increased pet slots, with three "active" and a zoo in the stables. It means I can stop making tough pet decisions about who to toss for the new shiny or the new playstyle choices.

(Tank pet soloing, tank pet extreme soloing, DPS pet... character RP pet. 1 slot for "something shiny"... I want to go collect more shinies and try out more pets! *twitch*)
Oh, and I am quite glad I have Jeeves, MOLL-E, Parachutes, Hopefully soon 310% flying machines, and other Engineering toys that will still make the profession awesome, in regards to no longer being able/needing to make/sell ammunition.

Though I guess I can stop whining over getting my other engineer to honored to get the epic bullets cuz... *shrug*

Jeeves and MOLL-E still = win.

(Honestly, I was hoping for ammunition that didn't need to be stacked, but had various cool effects depending on what was equipped, like different damage types, weird abilities, even toys and oddities like tracer rounds...)
Mirounga Wrote:(Honestly, I was hoping for ammunition that didn't need to be stacked, but had various cool effects depending on what was equipped, like different damage types, weird abilities, even toys and oddities like tracer rounds...)

Same here, but they could still conceivably accomplish the same basic thing by expanding on the concept of scopes, which are basically just ranged weapon enchants. So you could have an "enchant" called [Sniper Scope] that adds crit damage, or say an enchant called [Incendiary Rounds] that adds a fire effect. That would be less situational than having specific different kinds of ammo, but would add similar flavor.
[Image: IST_Noodle2_sm.jpg]
I'm not sure if I'm still going to have fun playing my hunter in Cata, but then again, I'm not really playing him now.

I've tried playing a rogue, and it was the concept of sneaking and ambushing everything that I just couldn't get. So much preperation and finesse that I just didn't have, or want to learn out of necessity.

I've been desperately trying not to think of it like 'ranged rogue' and trying to pin it as a warrior/rogue mix, but really, that's just silly. However, it does make me wonder if they'd add in a new mechanic, like the runes that set Death Knights apart from warriors, to set hunters apart from rogues. The lack of combo points is already a step away from them, right?
This is actually one of the exctiting things for me. A "re-imagining" of the hunter class. Though, I will miss the days of levelling as meelee....Mongoose Bite, I will miss you!
Hunter 4.01 Changes - A nice guide.

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