I have been playing WoW (off and on) since its release in November 2004. Hunters have seen a lot of changes to their playstyle, and have had many of their core mechanics changed or completely removed along the way. One of these unique features that has been changed are Hunter stings.
Stings are a type of shot that puts an effect on the target, in order to help the Hunter in combat or hinder the opponent in some way. The one sting that has stuck around through every change, and the one I’ll talk about first is Serpent Sting. Serpent sting puts a damage over time (DOT) effect on the enemy which causes nature damage. It used to be a separate ability that you would cast on the target, and would contribute to the Hunter’s overall DPS. In its current form, it is linked to Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot and only usable by Survival Spec hunters as a secondary effect when you use Arcane or Multi on your target.
Serpent sting used to be vital to the raiding Marksman Hunter’s DPS, and you can read more about it in an article I posted many moons ago here. If you take a second to read that dusty old post, you can see it was very intricate and there were a lot of things you had to take into consideration to maximize it, and be effective with it.
The second sting I will mention is Scorpid Sting. Scorpid sting lowered the targets strength and agility, and was great for PvP mostly, but was effective on certain boss fights where tank survival was more important than putting out as much DPS as you could. It was later changed to reduce the chance to be hit by attacks from the target, which made it slightly better but not by much, and you would still use it mostly in PvP. The only exception to this is that Scorpid Sting was used to fight one of the four demon mobs involved in the Hunter Epic bow Questline to get Rhok’delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers.
The third sting we acquired through progression and leveling was Viper Sting. Oh man, this sting was so good against healers and casters in PvP (if you enjoy that sort of thing), especially when a lot of fights came down to who ran out of mana first. In its first iteration, it simply drained the opponents mana. Later it was changed to not only drain mana, but silence the target as well, and regenerate the Hunter’s mana all at once. Talk about your value ability!
Another sting was added about a year after WoW came out in order to buff up survival, and it replaced their useless 31 point talent Lacerate. Wyvern sting caused the target to fall asleep, essentially acting as another silence and cc to the survival arsenal. It now exists as a talent, rather than a spec-specific ability.
The downside to stings was that you could only have one on a target at any time, so you couldn’t stack them. Secondly, in the early days of raiding we weren’t even allowed to use stings on bosses because they took up one of the debuff slots that could be on the boss (originally a boss could only be affected by 8 debuffs at one time). It almost seems like now they are an afterthought for the developers, and I won’t be surprised if they go by the wayside completely. For me though, they were something that was at the core of the Hunter abilities, much like traps. It’s sad that they are so limited now, and not even available to every spec.
Another thing to keep in mind is that stings count as a poison, so anything that can dispel poisons will dispel them.
Nostalgia is starting to set in now. Blizzard, if you are reading this, bring stings back to the core arsenal of Hunter abilities!
What do you all think, should stings return to being more of a prominent aspect of every Hunter’s shot rotation and become a core ability once again, rather than an afterthought?