Cataclysm Hunter Class Preview

Here’s the official list of Cataclysm hunter class changes that Blizz posted today. Below some of the announcements I’ve included a few notes of my own. In a little bit, I’ll bust out a follow-up post to this one with some additional comments.

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!

Here we go… *holds breath*

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.

I like it. I’m guessing it has a cast timer though..? It’d be nice if it were instant, but still a nice addition.

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.

This is great. This ability will have a lot of uses, both in PvE and PvP.

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).

Simply put… awesome. Nothing is mentioned about movement speed though. Will we be able to travel at full speed while under this effect? That would be too good to be true I’d imagine.

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.

Wow, finally! Players have been waiting a long time for this one. Also, looks like I’ll have to craft a few Dragonscale Ammo Pouches, as I’m sure many hunters will be after the 28 slot bag it will be turning into once this change goes live. 🙂

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.

Woo Hoo!!!

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).

Hooray for Wind Serpents! After sitting out the entire expansion, they’ll finally be making a return in Cataclysm. It looks as if they’ll be among the top pet choices for SV hunters. Ravagers look to be excellent choice for MM.

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.

Wow… it looks like we’ll be keeping our T9 set bonus effect indefinitely! 😉

Even though it’s somewhat trivial anyway, leveling from 1-10 is now only going to take about 20mins. Ranged abilities and a pet at level 1!

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
  • Haste
  • Pet 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.


  • Ranged Damage
  • Armor Penetration
  • Double Shot

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

Free Zod’s effect for MM. Woot!


  • Ranged Damage
  • Ranged Critical Damage
  • Elemental 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.

So there ya have it. The long anticipated list of hunter changes coming in Cataclysm. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy with this information. 🙂

I’ll have a follow-up post in a little bit with some additional thoughts and such.

9 thoughts on “Cataclysm Hunter Class Preview”

  1. i think it will be both a good thing and a bad thing that hunters will now have focus instead of mana becuase the regeneration of focus can be slow but it wont require hunters to buy drinks and aspect of the viper will do nothing unless they change it to x amount of focus per secon

    • Aspect of the Viper is being done away with altogether, so focus management will likely be controlled via the priority, namely Steady and Cobra Shots.

      I’m excited. Should be interesting!

  2. Thank you, Blizzard! I didn’t really mean it all the times I said I hate you. Maybe now I can play BM in peace ( without having other players point out to me how I’m “specced all wrong”, and that a wolf is so much better than a hyena.) I think I see the “Hunter’s are OP” mantra coming back into our future.

  3. As a BM hunter, I LOVE these changes. Although perhaps not geared towards increasing the hurt when smashing face, the FUN factor seems like it will go through the roof! I read a GC reply where he said when we are in Camo we will not be invisible but have more of a PREDATOR STYLE effect!!!! How friggin’ AWESOME is that gonna be?!?!?! That’s right….Pretty Damn!

    • Are we going to get a shoulder mounted phaser cannon with laser sighting..?! I hope so. 😀

      I also want a new emote that allows me to tear the spines from my enemies after they’ve fallen.

      Seriously though, I like this Predator effect idea. That’s going to be hot stuff.

      • Yeah GC’s statement was that they were so please with their new shimmer effect for water that they want to try and have it look something like the Predator. Good times.

        I really hope that the Cata heroics require some CC and kill order on trash, though. They can make heroics take less time without having to turn them into AOE fests. Have fewer trash pulls but make the ones you put in there require some THOUGHT AND COORDINATION to take down, not just AOE threat from the tank, AOE damage from the DPS and AOE heals from the healer.

        I ran HHOR the other day on my tank. I had 2 hunters, a shadow priest and a druid healer. It was so refreshing to have chaotic coordination of CC. The priest would shackle, freezing arrows were flying everywhere and we MOWED the waves down one mob at a time. It was nice, as the tank, to have hunters that thought like me in there vs. the ones I usually get who just say “No traps. Just hide in the corner and I’ll volley.”

        I am pumped that I will now be able to keep all my spirit beasts AND a tame whatever other pets I want for whatever purpose I want. Chimera for PvP? Check. Core Hound for PvP? Check. Bear or turtle for soloing? Check. Wolf for DPS? Check. So much sweet huntery goodness.

        I feel sorry for the hunters who can’t see past the top spot on Recount and, therefore, see little in these changes for their enjoyment.

        • Lawman, you’re a guy who gets it. I like you.

          “I feel sorry for the hunters who can’t see past the top spot on Recount and, therefore, see little in these changes for their enjoyment.”

          I don’t understand all these nancies who are up in arms crying over all this news. Sheesh… it’s a game FFS. If you’re not happy… move along and shut up.

          I for one think a lot of these announcements are fun and exciting. I also welcome the challenge of relearning to play the class.


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