One of the new class features in Warlords of Draenor are perks. When you start leveling in Warlords you will get one new perk every level from 91-99. By the time you reach 100 you will have all the perks, but while leveling you will earn them in random order.
Some perks are fairly basic just increasing the damage of certain abilities, while others provide enhancements to utility and will alter the way you play each spec. We complained a lot about the lack of spec differentiation, and perks are one way that Blizzard is attempting to address that problem.
Let’s take a look at the perks for each Hunter spec and how they will influence gameplay.
Here are the list of perks that apply to two or more Hunter specs.
- Enhanced Kill Shot (BM/MM) - Kill Shot can now be used on targets with 35% or less health.
Execute range just came a little sooner for BM and MM Hunters. This just means we’ll be able to use this ability earlier in fights now. It will also be nice for questing as we might actually be able to get a Kill Shot in before the mob dies.
This is just a flat out 20% increase to BM’s and SV’s Focus dump. Remember Arcane Shot is no longer available for Marksman Hunters.
Again a straight forward damage buff. It will be interesting to see if they make this work on the Focusing Shot talent. If this perk makes the damage of Cobra Shot and Focusing Shot at all close, the movement penalty may be enough to avoid taking that talent. I know that Versatility is great talent for Beast Mastery, and Flaming Shots looks good for SV, but Marksman will face a similar dilemma over Steady Shot.
- Enhanced Camouflage (BM/SV/MM) - You heal 5% of your maximum health every 1 sec while Camouflage is active.
A nice self heal. Doesn’t heal the pet, but will heal you and you can use it in Combat. Just be aware that if you do use it in combat you won’t be able to deal damage, and the effect will be broken if you take damage, although you will be untargetable by ranged attacks. Also, the Camo effect only lasts six seconds while in combat.
- Improved Focus Fire – Focus Fire now also grants 2% increase to attack power per Frenzy Stack consumed.
First thing to understand is that Beast Mastery Hunters still have Focus Fire/Frenzy. I know there was some thought in the community that this ability might have been on the chopping block, but as you can see it’s still here, and it’s getting buffed. Frenzy stacks up to five times so this perk is a passive 10% attack power boost.
A simple passive damage buff to Beast Mastery’s signature ability. Not very sexy, but nice nonetheless. The developers did say that some of these perks would resemble the old spell ranks of the past, and that’s sort of what this does.
- Empowered Pets – Increases the damage done by your combat pets by 20%.
A nice damage buff to our DoTs… err faithful companions.
- Improved Beast Cleave - Your pet’s attacks strike nearby enemy targets for an additional 25% of damage done while Beast Cleave is active.
Yet, another passive damage buff. This time to Beast Mastery AoE.
- Enhanced Basic Attacks - Your pet’s basic attacks have a 20% chance to reset the basic attack cooldown and make the next basic attack free.
News flash, pets are important to the Beast Mastery Hunter. Here’s another nice little perk for them.
Impact: Beast Mastery Hunters are all about their pets. Many of the perks buff you, but they also buff the pets. Focus Fire is something you’ll want to watch and use when stacks hit five. You’ll probably want to use it on CD, but may want to delay a second or two if you can stack it with Bestial Wrath.
Simply reduces the cost of Chimera shot from 45 to 35 Focus.
Careful Aim is supposed to be getting a buff in WoD. If it still buffs the critical strike chance of Aimed Shot then early in a fight you should have plenty of Focus to work with.
Speaking of plenty of Focus, Marksman will now have 120 Focus.
Aimed Shot will be the Focus dump for Marksman. This perk makes it hit a little harder.
Like the Improved Cobra Shot, It’ll be interesting to see how it’s damage compares to Focusing Shot, and whether it’s worth sacrificing the benefits of this perk for that talent.
- Enhanced Shots - Add an additional 5 yards range to all your attacks with a baseline 40 yard range.
Combine the effects of this perk with Enhanced Camouflage and you can stay out of your healers’ range and still live.
This is a very nice buff to Marksman AoE. They were the only spec that didn’t have a strong synergistic effect off of Multi-Shot, now they do.
Impact: Marksmanship will have the best range of any spec. They may have some of the best early fight damage with Careful Aim, and they should have plenty of Focus to work with. These perks combined with talent choices like Lone Wolf could make this the ranger spec that people have wanted.
So what this means is that every minute, Survival has a guaranteed 30% self heal, and they won’t have to sacrifice DPS for it, or worry about taking damage.
This buffs Explosive Shot by letting the DoT tick for an additional second. DoTs have been improved so you don’t clip them, which means you can still fire your Explosive Shots back-to-back. Also in WoD there is no more DoT snapshotting so tic damage will update dynamically on the target.
A simple buff to Black Arrow.
Survival Hunters will be able to drop their traps more often. This has applications in both PvE and PvP. This will be helpful in fights with adds that need to be slowed or rooted.
- Enhanced Entrapment - The root effect from your Entrapment requires 100% additional damage to break from taking damage.
A lot of people have asked the question, what if you need to break your target out of CC early? I’m not too sure, but I don’t know how much of an issue that will be. Certainly in PvP this is good thing.
A nice buff to Focus regeneration. As the only spec that doesn’t have 120 Focus, Survival might need this.
Impact: I think Survival got some of the more interesting perks. Certainly there is a Focus on magic damage, DoTs and surviveability. Traps will be more effective for SV and this may end up being the PvP spec in WoD. You’ll certainly be using Camouflage more, and that is a good thing.
Those are the perks for now. I close with the alpha caveat that some of the perks will likely change over the course of testing, but until then, I like what I see.