Patch 5.4 will likely be hitting live servers either the last week of August or the first week of September, bringing with it some notable changes to the hunter class.
Readiness will be gone, which is the most significant hunter change in this patch. While the knee-jerk reaction to removing such a huge ability might be something like, “BOOOOO…!”, Blizz has made a few adjustments that will help to even out the loss of this spell, such as:
Overall DPS has been buffed
Blizzard is claiming that Hunter DPS should be a bit higher in 5.4 than it is now, although that’s obviously pertaining to PvE DPS. PvP burst will undoubtedly see a reduction after the removal of Readiness.
Anyhow…here are some of the changes arriving in Patch 5.4 — some good, some not so good. This is not a complete list, but rather a brief overview of the changes I’ve found noteworthy.
Some signature shots and abilities have been buffed, including:
- Kill Command had its damage increased by 15%.
- Aimed Shot has also been buffed by nearly 15% (400% weapon damage, up from 350%).
- Explosive Shot has been buffed by 18%.
- Arcane Shot hits 25% harder, but it now costs 30 focus instead of 20. A 50% focus increase is pretty substantial, so I dunno how great this change will turn out to be.
- Stampede has been buffed. I’m not sure as to how much exactly, but PvE damage for Stampede is going to see a healthy increase.
- Murder of Crows damage has been buffed by 40%, making it a good choice at that tier.
In addition, there are a few indirect buffs to DPS…
- Hunter pets will no longer have to spend Focus on Dash, Dive or Charge. Nothing radical here, but a nice little bonus nonetheless.
- Explosive Trap no longer shares a cooldown with Black Arrow, so Survival hunters will be able to use both abilities simultaneously if a situation calls for it; however, Explosive Trap did have its damage reduced by 30% and it no longer procs Lock ‘n’ Load. On a side note…while not a DPS buff, being able to use Black Arrow + Explosive Trap w/ the knockback glyph will be nice for certain situations – especially in PvP.
- Beast Cleave range has been increased from 8 yards to 10, which can potentially buff BM AoE damage just a tippy tap.
Since removing Readiness also jacks with our ability to defend ourselves, a few changes have been made here as well…
- Deterrence got a nerfbuff. It now has a 3 minute cooldown, up from 2, but the ability now has 2 charges. What this means is that you can still pop a back-to-back Deterrence – if needed – but each charge has its own separate 3 minute cooldown.
- Disengage had its base cooldown lowered by 5 seconds (20 seconds, down from 25), which is awesome. This will give PvP hunters a possible 40% uptime on Posthaste, so I’m liking this.
A few other miscellaneous buffs…
- Spirit Bond has received a fairly substantial buff, going to a 3% heal every 2 seconds (up from 2%).
- The Glyph of Mending now heals pets for 50% health (up from 40% glyphed) over 10 seconds, plus the effect ticks every second instead of every 2, allowing for a steady heal. The new and improved Spirit Bond + the 5.4 Glyph of Mending will provide a nice boost for extreme soloing.
- The Glyph of No Escape has been buffed to a 100% crit chance against targets snared in a Freezing Trap (up from 20%).
An interesting new glyph…
- Glyph of the Lean Pack is a new major glyph that reduces the range of Aspect of the Pack by 7 yards. Right off the top of my head, the only place I can see this being useful is while escorting a flag carrier, which for that, it would be handy.
In addition to all of this, a few talent changes have gone down…
The Marksmanship Tree called and wanted Silencing Shot back, so Blizzard has decided to return it and add a new watered down baseline version of it (for BM and SV — MM gets Silencing Shot instead) called Counter Shot, which unlocks at level 22. Counter Shot functions as an interrupt, but it will only lock out spells from one school, as opposed to a complete shut-down like Silencing Shot. I’m not too bummed about this since now I’ll be able to grab Intimidation again and still have another interrupt.
In its place, Binding Shot has been removed from the MM tree and added back as a talent.
Narrow Escape has been changed from a physical spell to a nature spell, making it vulnerable to dispels in 5.4. I don’t spec it so that’s not a concern of mine, but it’s worth mentioning.
Anyway, I didn’t cover all of the changes coming in the patch – only the huntery stuff that was of note to me. If you want to see the complete list of hunter changes in 5.4, check out Takaas’ post in the forum.
There’s a lot of other stuff coming in the patch which I find particularly exciting, but I’ll save that for another post!
Alright, so what do you think about Patch 5.4 and the changes it’s bringing to our class?