Some thoughts on the Cataclysm hunter class preview

Now that I’ve had a chance to read through and digest all of the Cataclysm hunter class changes, here are some of my thoughts…


There are a lot of negative nellies out there really poo-poo’ing this change. I really don’t think you can come to an accurate conclusion on this new mechanic just yet. For one, we have no way of knowing how other factors will play into our focus regen and management.

All we know is the base cost of shots, along with the base focus regen rate. Given those two things, it looks as if we’re going to be reduced to stationary focus-starved ranged DPS’ers. However, what we don’t know is how talents, abilities, stats and various buffs will play into the equation.

Once talented, there’s no doubt that all of the shots will have their base focus costs reduced. Also, it’s very possible that focus regeneration rates will be much higher than the base 6/sec. once talents, gear and buffs are taken into account.

Hunters are one of the most popular classes in WoW, so it’s highly doubtful that Blizzard would intentionally “destroy” the class. Give this new mechanic some time to develop, and for all you downer donnas out there… FFS, quit yer bitchin’!

My only real concern is that the defensive abilities end up costing too much. They’ve mentioned the possibility of having their focus costs reduced or even done away with, so at least it’s on their minds. I’d hate to have to wait 3-5 seconds to pop Deterrence just because I’m focus starved. 😕

Cobra Shot

I like this idea. It’s basically an alternative to Steady Shot for use on higher armored targets, plus it looks to play well with other nature damage enhancing buffs. My guess is that MM will be the most reliant upon Steady Shot, with SV leaning more towards Cobra Shot due to the elemental damage mastery, and BM using it exclusively.

They’ve stated that Cobra Shot will be buffed within the BM tree, thus making it a signature shot of Beast Mastery. I think that’s nice, however I wish BM’s signature shot would have come in the form of an additional ability, as opposed to a replacement. I’m betting there will be more spice added to the Beast Mastery tree in the coming months though.


Hunter camoflaugeThis sounds pretty awesome, as it has both offensive and defensive uses. Just how cool it is will probably depend on a few things:

  • The cooldown
  • The duration
  • The damage bonus on the opening attack

This is an ability that could undergo some radical changes before Cataclysm, so who knows… I hope it sticks though.

On a side note: In response to Brig’s post about having any pet you wanted, my answer would be Muttley. The image above is a dramatization of that scenario in Cataclysm. 😉

Trap Launcher

My first take on this is that it sounds great for use against multiple mobs when used with Explosive Trap. MD > Toss in a box of dynamite > Volley > profit. Similar to how we have it now, but this will eliminate the need to Disengage in and out.

Apart from that, I don’t like the fact that it puts a 1 min cooldown on my thrown Freezing Trap. What will be nice though for PvP, is the ability to throw a Frost Trap from 40yds away. That could really provide for some nice Pew-Pew when combined with Entrapment and Point of No Escape (provided those talents are still around).

No Need for Ammo

Ammo will no longer have an item slot on our character screen, which means it’ll be history. Aaaahhh… one less thing to worry about, take up space in our bags, deplete our gold reserves, and grind recipes for. Fantastic!

Additionally, it sounds like hunters will receive an added bonus for their years of sacrificing bag space. Existing quivers will be transformed into large bags. Hunters will only be able to equip one of these and it remains to be seen how many slots will be in this “large bag”. Perhaps they’ll only be as large as upcoming craftable ones, but at least they’ll be free. 🙂

Active and Stored Pets

Translation… MORE STABLE SLOTS!!! 😀

Hunters will be able to keep an extensive stable of pets, but will only have access to 3 on demand. In other words, a hunter will be able to maintain a remote stable of three pets that they can swap out at the drop of a hat, but their actual stable can be much larger. To change the selection of “on-demand” pets, all a hunter will need to do is visit a stable master in a town. How bitchin’ is that..?!

Pets will have a status of active or passive, with the active ones being the ones accessible via Call Stabled Pet. This means that prior to a raid, BG, arena, whatever… a hunter can choose up to three pets they can select from.

How many pets we will be allowed to have is unkown, but I’m guessing it will be a lot.

This is an awesome change.

Misc Pet Changes

Newbie hunters will now begin the game with a pet at level 1. Not a huge bonus, but will nonetheless make the journey from 1 to 10 even easier.

Pet specials will be overhauled. It looks like Ravagers and Wind Serpents will be making a return to raid groups. Ravagers will provide buffs to physical damage, while Wind Serpents will buff elemental damage.

Blizz’s goal apparently is to have hunters swap pets depending upon what vacant role needs to be filled, ie: a missing buff. I like this approach, as I think it’ll be nice to see some variety in terms of pet choices. I’m also happy to see Wind Serpents become viable again. I’ll have to go back to Feralas and reunite with TROGDOR. 😉

Stings and DoTs to get Buffed

Stings and periodic damage effects will be enhanced by haste and crit. This is exciting news. Instead of shortening the effect, haste will add to the frequency of the ticks during the set duration. Couple that with a chance of those ticks being crits, and what we have is something beautiful.

In essence, this effect will function much the same way as the T9 2pc set bonus does now, but only much better as it will translate to all stings and DoTs, not just serpent. This mechanic will also no doubt help buff focus regen in PvP, as I’m sure Viper Sting will be affected as well. If Viper Sting ticks are critting, then focus regen while on the move shouldn’t (hopefully) be too much of a problem.

Talent Masteries

The talent mastery idea seems pretty cool. I like that it eliminates the need for passive buffs within the trees, allowing for more exciting talents.

In Summary…

Overall I’m quite pleased with these announcements. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and changes that will take place, but all in all, I’m looking forward to playing a hunter in Cataclysm.

Based upon this initial look, it seems as if Beast Mastery may be in really good shape for the expansion. Being that the tree offers passive buffs to haste and buffs to one of our haste regenerating shots, I’d say BM is poised to make a comeback. 🙂

11 thoughts on “Some thoughts on the Cataclysm hunter class preview”

  1. Cata expansion will be like warping back to WoW 1.0 or so. Too many talents/abilities changes, in my opinion. This new stuff will make balancing just impossible, even with a massive beta testing phase. Players will need to adapt to nerfs and buffs for a very long time. This isn’t anything new of course… but speaking of a “final” expansion I would expect to keep our feets on the ground and focus on new content and better balancing.

    Revamping the classes after 5 years sounds a bit “meh” in my opinion. I agree with above players who like the focus idea but… why now? Why after 5 long years?

    It’s too early anyway. Keep in mind that “no more ammo!” was something to be added in 3.0 back in time (like 2 years ago…) and never implemented due to technical problems.

  2. NOT COOL, GAR! I sat down to read this when I got to work (before actually starting work) and the picture of Predator Gar with Muttley made my Sprite come out my nose I laughed so hard (that s#!t STINGS man!). I can best sum up my reaction to the Cata changes as follows:

    With the possible exception of focus (as we will need to see how it actually plays first), all I see in the changes is stuff to make playing a hunter more FUN! And who the hell doesn’t like more fun?!

    Blizz should just cut to the chase and let us tame our own mounts! You KNOW they wanna let us do it…..they just don’t want to deal with all the others bit@#!ng about “how cool” hunters are and how much “my class sux”…you know, like more than it does already. =P

  3. I know it’s very early, but my biggest concern so far is not just in my hunter class, but the new abilities the other classes have gotten so far and their pvp implications. And how they all seem to work against my necessity to stay at a distance due to a deadzone. So far it seems like it’s going to be even easier for Rogues and Warriors and maybe even DK’s to get into and keep us in melee range. We don’t know anything about Ret yet. Yet none of the new hunter abilities seem terribly useful in pvp and appear to be a bit more aimed at PvE variety. The Disengage cost only makes matters worse. The change to focus and apparent reliability on a 1.5 second cast gives the impression that I’ll have the ability to get off two shots then run around doing nothing, praying I can out-run that melee class, while waiting for slow focus to regen, because I’ll never get the chance to stand there and pump steady shots into a Warrior. Of course it’s too early to tell how things are going to work, but if I can only dump two shots into a target, then can’t even disengage, steady shot isn’t going to do anything for me. I’d almost like to see a system where defensive cooldowns such as Disengage, Master’s Call, Deterrence, Wing Clip, and even Concussive Shot shot may be better served costing no Focus, or just a very very small amount of Focus and be put on cooldown. I also have questions on Hunter’s Mark and Misdirect. It’s going to be really hard to ask hunters to cast Misdirect if it’s costing us valuable focus in a system where Focus already feels like it’s going to be at premium.

  4. I think this in someways IS the new MMo form Blizz as it really overhauls Wow so much. Also I understand they orginally wanted focus for Hunters but changed it to Mana very late in the day – better that they do it now and do it right tho ofc it’s going to take some getting used to. Still – maybe “change is as good as a rest”? Being hunters ofc we’ll rise spectactularly to the challenge liek we always do!

    I’m still digesting the changes, def love more pets slots – really hope this is available to levelling char’s too tho as not having Call Stabled pet during levelling is royal pain. Surely that’s when you’re most likely to see a new pet and want to tame it there and then, esp for new players?

    With rated battlegrounds and the really fun looking changes to a lot of PvP abilities I’m thinking I might sway more towards PvP than PvE.

  5. I tend to agree with Don: why so many changes after so many years? I’ve never understood why hunters are semi-casters (using mana) but let’s face it… switching to focus plus overhauled talents will give us tons of troubles, like ***ALWAYS*** happened in the past. Expect the nerf-buff lottery go on for months and months. There are too many class-changes (for everyone) and Cata will be like a semi-new MMO. No way we survive to nerfs/buffs for a long time.

    On the other side, Cata is a good way for old-time players to come back and have a fresh start from scratch. I guess that trying to adapt your level-80 toon from mana to focus will be a bit hard and frustrating for some time, while learning from level 1 will be fun and interesting.

    We will see. So far I am mostly expecting the “real” new MMO from Blizz, I’m very curious 🙂

  6. It’s not that I’m concerned about the focus change, in theory it actually makes a lot more sense than the current mana hunter.

    My problem with it it, is Why now? 5 years into the game and on the final expansion of the series and they decide to change the core fundamentals of the way the class works? It’s just stupid – just put it in the new Blizzard MMO for crying out loud, making such drastic changes at the end of a product’s life is completely retarded. Hunters are guaranteed to be broken for the first few months at least, and with only a few months of playing content to be had with the expansion, it doesn’t seem worth it.

    If I play Cata at all it will be on my resto Shaman. Not at all interested in the Hunter class with what they’ve presented so far, and in general the expansion is looking more and more geared towards the kiddies and the young crowd, which is going to drive players like me away.

    Heck, I would’ve been ecstatic if the only change was “Hunter pets now retain their previous HP values after dismounting as they had prior to mounting” but since Blizz refuses to address this issue Cata is still going to be full of Hunters in BG’s with pets at 30% health for no reason.

  7. Nice overview, thanks Garwulf.

    My initial reaction was that these changes were the most interesting of any announcements so far. The Druid ones in comparison are zzzzzzzzz.

    I agree with you about the Focus fearers – Blizz aren’t going to break a class on purpose. My main was a Rogue for a long time, and focus works just fine there, it’s just a different mechanic: counting up instead of down.

  8. Yeah, I have to agree that the changes look really promising. But with a population of millions, you can’t possibly please everybody. I’ve been reading through all the class changes and honestly, Cataclysm just keeps looking better and better to me. It’s really going to be a whole new game, and it looks like the boys in blue might be learning from the mistakes they’ve made over the past five years.

    I had hoped for specialty ammo, something that gave different effects but never ran out of shots, but mainly because I thought it would be cool. I confess to Hawkeye being my favoritest superhero ever.

    I was concerned for a while that they were going to be “dumbing down” the game with the changes being talked about but now… I think it’s a case of simpler being better.

    Cataclysm is going to really shake things up (har har) but I, for one, am looking forward to it!

  9. I read this hours ago… and I am still giddy over the pet storage change ! 😀 On another note, the other night I happened across Gondria for the 40th time. At least… I thought to myself how bad I missed having this spectral kitty in my stable so I dropped my pet and tamed her once again to have all four of the spirit beasts. (I still have my very old wolf for most everything including raiding) but I am So happy now! Looks like its about time to map out my route for my taming spree! 😉

    The other stuff is great to, the pet at level 1 is long over due imo but heck better late then never! Although I will likely never level another hunter again I think its a decent thing for people who have yet to do so. Focus? not sure yet on this, and won’t comment till I see how it works like Gar mentioned above with defensive moves. And Ammo gone yay! Guess I will go make her one of the biggest ammo bages there is for the bag change lol (still use my lvl 60 hunter quest quiver <3)

    I am totally looking forward to testing these goodies out on beta or when they come live, just hoping for it to come *before* Cataclysm so I can hopefully run out and tame the beasties that might be removed due to changes in the environment.


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