Cataclysm: Official Hunter Class Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

As revealed at BlizzCon 2009, Hunters won’t use mana or intellect anymore. Instead, Hunters will use 100/100 Focus.

Using Steady Shot and Cobra Shot (a new spell) will generate 9 Focus per shot. Some abilities cost from 30-60 Focus, which means you need to spam Steady Shot or Cobra Shot at least three-to-six times if you are low in Focus. Viper Sting will help you regenerate Focus at a rate of 9 focus every 3 sec.

Generally, Focus is much better than mana because you can generate focus faster. The preview gives an example of how much focus each ability costs.

The Hunter gets three new abilities in the Cataclysm expansion: Cobra Shot (level 81), Trap Launcher (level 83) and Camouflage (level 85).

Bad news and good news. Freezing Arrow is gone, but all traps get a launcher. Basically, hit the trap launcher button and the next trap you choose will be launched anywhere within a range of 40 yards. Good trade off. Specially when dropping the freezing trap during the Saurfang encounter, and now be able to drop fire-damage traps without the risk of getting into cleave, meteor or whirlwind.

Mongoose Bite, arrows, bullets, and quivers are gone in Cataclysm.

More stable room for pets, and the ability to have 3-5 active pets (depending if you are Beast Mastery). At level 1 you will get a racial pet that you can change at level 10. For the past five years, Hunters start with no pet until level 10. This shows Blizzard is working on changing the leveling experience. Not long ago, Rob Pardo revealed 70% of players quit playing WoW in the first 10 levels. Hunters weren’t much of a hunter without a pet.

In addition, the pet family abilities will be changed to provide different buffs and debuffs to allow the Hunter to swap to a suitable pet in response to a missing class in the group. If there’s no shaman to provide bloodlust, the Hunter can swap to a pet that offers an equivalent buff, and so on. The preview gives an example of some debuffs per pet: Wind Serpents, Ravagers, Hyenas.

The preview shows new talents and talent changes you shouldn’t miss. More below:

Blizzard Quote:
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 Blood Frenzy).
    • 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

  • Haste
  • Pet Damage
Marksmanship

  • Ranged Damage

  • Armor Penetration
  • Double Shot
Survival

  • 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: Improves the Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature or Shadow damage of abilities like traps, Black Arrow and Explosive Shot.

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.

Updates

Ghostcrawler: The focus costs are just examples. I wouldn’t obsess too much with trying to min / max your rotations just yet. In general, the basic rotations of all three hunters work okay on live today. With focus you might hit moments where you don’t need to Steady at all, and you’ll never run dry again for long periods of time like you might with mana. If the costs of some of the defensive cooldowns are too expensive or even need to be free that’s certainly the kind of thing we’ll consider.

It says we will become obscured, so does this mean that we will become transparent but still visible? Or is it full on stealth?

Ghostcrawler: It is *not* stealth. Your enemies will never wonder where you are. We’re trying to use the new Cataclysm water effect to put a shimmering PREDATORy visual on you. It’s protection from ranged attacks and it gives you some combat bonuses, but it’s not like Shadowmeld or rogue / druid stealth where players can’t find you.

As most of you know, we tried Camo once before, but because it was true stealth it was very hard to balance, plus it felt like we were just handing out the same cool abilities to every class instead of coming with unique mechanics. Hunters were so overwhelmingly excited about the basic idea that we wanted to try it again, but not as stealth.

Share a cooldown with Steady Shot? So our focus generating attack is going to have a cooldown?

Ghostcrawler: At this point in time it’s not actually a cooldown. Cobra Shot has a 2 sec cast time, but Beastmaster has a talent to reduce the cast time to 1.5 sec (as well as a few damage hooks). Both generate focus so there is no reason for BM to ever use Steady again.

Camouflage just seems frankly weird. So you are prevented from ‘taking ranged damage’ and are obscured. Does this mean you are stealthed? If not, does this mean if a ranged ability is used on you you are simply immune to it, or do they miss?

Ghostcrawler: If you target a camo hunter or a rogue using Smoke Bomb, you will get an error message saying something like “Target obscured.” You can see them and target them, but can’t use your attacks. Imagine they are behind a pillar or something. You can try and get off an AE near them or you can move to melee.

Share your feedback with the Cataclysm developers at the following forum threads: Europe or USA.

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