Ready, Set, Go – WoD Alpha Patch Notes!

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A breath of fresh words. That’s what we got last night when Blizzard announced that friends and family alpha was starting for Warlords of Draenor. Along with that announcement Blizzard released some of the most comprehensive patch notes they’ve ever written. It wasn’t just a long list of bulleted items, it was complete with explanations of why they made the changes that they did. You can read them in their entirety here.

So without further ado, let me boil their thoughtful explanations into a series of bulleted lists.

Stat Changes

  • Hit and Expertise have been removed.
  • Agility no longer provides and increased chance to critically strike with melee and ranged attacks or abilities.
  • The base chance to critically strike is now 5% for all classes. There are no longer different chances to critically strike with melee, ranged, and spells.
  • There is a new passive, named Critical Strikes, which increases chance to critically strike by 10%.
    • It is learned by all Rogues, all Hunters, Feral and Guardian Druids, Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks, and Enhancement Shamans.
  • Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2). All other sources of Attack Power now grant half as much as before.
  • Weapon Damage values on all weapons have been reduced by 20%.
  • Attack Power now increases Weapon Damage at a rate of 1 DPS per 3.5 Attack Power (up from 1 DPS per 14 Attack Power).
  • Attack Power, Spell Power, or Weapon Damage now affect the entire healing or damage throughput of player spells.

Basic Hunter Changes

  • Aspect of the Pack no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
  • Aspect of the Cheetah no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
  • Glyph of Aspect of the Beast: The ability taught by this Glyph no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
  • Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah: No longer triggers any cooldown on Aspects.
  • Dismiss Pet now ignores line of sight.
  • Hunter Pets now have a 1 second global cooldown.
  • Explosive Trap now places a periodic-damage effect on each target within the radius of the explosion, rather than a persistent effect on the ground.

Ability Pruning

Blizzard said they were going to address button bloat in WoD, and the following abilities are gone.

  • Aspect of the Hawk has been removed.
  • Cower has been removed as a pet ability.
  • Distracting Shot has been removed.
  • Hunter’s Mark has been removed.
  • Lynx Rush has been removed.
  • Rabid has been removed as a pet ability.
  • Rapid Fire has been removed.
  • Rapid Recuperation has been removed.
  • Widow Venom has been removed.
  • Scatter Shot has been removed.
  • Silencing Shot has been removed.

A couple of other important things to note here.

  • Arcane Shot is now BM and SV only, and Thrill of the Hunt will affect Aimed Shot.
  • Lock and Load is being baked into Black Arrow and is guaranteed to proc at least once per Black Arrow application.
  • Serpent Sting is being removed, and Serpent Spread is staying SV only, but will be called Serpent Sting, and can be applied by Multi-Shot and Arcane Shot.
  • Kill Shot is now BM and MM only.
  • Revive Pet and Mend Pet now share one button, which toggles based on whether you have a live pet.

Crowd Control

  • Hunter pets no longer have crowd-control abilities.
    • Basilisk: Petrifying Gaze; Bat: Sonic Blast; Bird of Prey: Snatch; Crab: Pin; Crane: Lullaby; Crocolisk: Ankle Crack; Dog: Lock Jaw; Gorilla: Pummel; Monkey: Bad Manners; Moth: Serenity Dust; Nether Ray: Nether Shock; Porcupine: Paralyzing Quill; Rhino: Horn Toss; Scorpid: Clench; Shale Spider: Web Wrap; Silithid: Venom Web Spray; Spider: Web; and Wasp: Sting have been removed as pet abilities.
  • Entrapment’s Root effect now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Root effects.
  • Traps and trap launchers no longer have an arming time and can instantly trigger.
  • Traps can no longer be disarmed.
  • Scare Beast now has a 6 sec duration in PvP (down from 8 sec).

Pet Changes

In addition to pets losing CC abilities, there are also changes to buff and debuffs.

The following debuffs and abilities have been removed.

  • Weakened Armor: Tallstrider: Dust Cloud, Raptor: Tear Armor
  • Weakened Blows: Bear: Demoralizing Roar; Carrion Bird: Demoralizing Screech
  • Cast Speed Slows: Core Hound: Lava Breath; Fox: Tailspin; Goat: Trample; Sporebat: Spore Cloud

Spell Haste and Attack Speed are being merged into Haste and will benefit everyone.

  • Hunter Pet (Sporebat): Energizing Spores (now provide Haste).
  • Hyena: Cackling Howl; Serpent: Serpent’s Swiftness (these are now removed).

Glyphs

The following glyphs will automatically be learned when you level.

  • Level 25 – Pathfinding
  • Level 50 – Mending, Chimera Shot, Black Ice
  • Level 75 – Misdirection

Talents

Most of the Hunter talents are remaining intact. The big change is Lynx Rush has been replace by Stampede as a level 75 talent. It now competes with Blink Strikes and a Murder of Crows. Also, Aspect of the Iron Hawk is now Iron Hawk and provides the passive damage reduction.

The new level 100 talents are as follows,

  • Flaming Shots – You light your basic auto shots on fire. They now deal 80% weapon damage as Fire damage (Passive).
  • Focusing Shot – Carefully line up a shot at the target that deals 100% weapon damage and generates 50 focus. Cannot be cast while moving. Replaces Steady Shot and Cobra Shot. Also triggers Steady Focus for Marksmanship Hunters.
  • Versatility (Beast Mastery) – Increases the effect of your pet’s combat experience to 70% increased damage. Your pet now gains the following abilities, regardless of its active spec: Spiked Collar, Roar of Sacrifice, Cornered, Boar’s Speed, Last Stand, Blood of the Rhino, Great Stamina.
  • Lone Wolf (SV and MM) – Increases all damage dealt by 30% when you don’t have a pet active.

WoD Perks

In WoD you will receive a random, spec specific perk each level from 91-99. Here they are for each spec.

All

  • Enhanced Camouflage – You heal 5% of your maximum health every 1 sec while Camouflage is active.

Beast Mastery

  • Improved Focus Fire – Focus Fire now also grants 2% increase to attack power per Frenzy stack consumed.
  • Improved Kill Command – Increases damage done by Kill Command by 20%.
  • Empowered Pets – Increases all damage done by your combat pets by 20%.
  • Improved Beast Cleave – Your pet’s attacks strike nearby enemy targets for an additional 25% of damage done while Beast Cleave is active.
  • 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.
  • Enhanced Kill Shot – Kill Shot can now be used on targets with 35% or less health.
  • Improved Arcane Shot – Increases damage done by Arcane Shot by 20%.
  • Improved Cobra Shot – Increases damage done by Cobra Shot by 20%.  Note Wowhead and MMO-C notes say increases the damage done by Kill Command. I’m assuming it’s supposed to be Cobra Shot.

Marksmanship

  • Enhanced Kill Shot – Kill Shot can now be used on targets with 35% or less health.
  • Enhanced Chimera Shot – Reduces the Focus cost of Chimera Shot by 10.
  • Enhanced Aimed Shot – Your Aimed Shot critical strikes grant you 20 Focus.
  • Improved Focus – Increases your maximum Focus by 20.
  • Improved Aimed Shot – Increases damage done by Aimed Shot by 20%.
  • Improved Steady Shot – Increases damage done by Steady Shot by 20%.
  • Enhanced Shots – Add an additonal 5 yards range to all your attacks with a baseline 40 yard range.
  • Enhanced Piercing Shots – Critical strikes with Multi-Shot now also trigger your Piercing Shots ability.

Survival

  • Improved Arcane Shot – Increases damage done by Arcane Shot by 20%.
  • Improved Cobra Shot – Increases damage done by Kill Command by 20%.
  • Empowered Explosive Shot – Increases the duration of Explosive Shot by 1 sec.
  • Improved Black Arrow – Increases damage done by Black Arrow by 20%.
  • Enhanced Traps – Reduces the cooldown on all your traps by 50%.
  • Enhanced Entrapment – The root effect from your Entrapment requires 100% additional damage to break from taking damage.
  • Improved Camouflage – Camouflage no longer breaks from dealing or taking damage.
  • Improved Viper Venom – Your Viper Venom restores an additional 3 Focus.

Quickfire Thoughts

  • Explosive Trap change – Go ahead tank, move the mobs out of the damn AoE. What do I care now?
  • Hunter’s Mark – Understand it’s removal, but it’s classic ability, and I love seeing that red arrow on targets. I’d love to see a minor glyph that just puts the mark on our target even if it’s only cosmetic.
  • Distracting Shot – @Celestalon tweeted that growl is going to get increased range to compensate the loss of this one and the glyph effect.
  • Lone Wolf – I might try it once. As we suspected, it’s still here.
  • Stampede – Still not sold on this as a talent. I’m worried it will be mandatory as a big DPS cooldown.
  • Enhanced Shots – MM Hunters can now shoot their target from anywhere in Azeroth.
  • Enhanced Focus – MM now have 120 Focus. Works well if you take Focusing Shot, which restores 50 Focus. You might actually get to use that for Steady Focus and not get capped. Maybe.
  • Improved Camouflage – What? And it heals too? If I understand this correctly, that means 30% healing for SV while in combat every minute. Combine that with Exhilaration perhaps?
  • I’m thinking SV may be the spec for PvP in WoD.
  • Sporebats became even more awesome than they were. How is that possible!?

That’s all I have in me for now. I’ll think about all of this some more, and will write more about it in the coming days and weeks.

Good Hunting!

5 comments

  1. Initial thoughts:

    Distracting Shot : removing it is a mistake! Why you ask ? Because one of the defining features of Hunters which makes us more awesome than other classes has ALWAYS been threat control. Hunters can take aggro/threat with distracting shot and dump it with Feign Death. Your pet is about to die ? Pull the mob towards you and heal your pet back up, when the mob reaches you, FD and let the mob walk back to the pet. Increasing the range of growl might work in groups but this seriously impacts hunter solo play. Distracting Shot is also so situational that it doesn’t impact the real button bloat problem.

    Hunter’s Mark: I agree that it should stay as a cosmetic effect. It’s just too iconic. Also, I wonder how this will affect taming the pandaria hidden pets and PvP (since serpent sting is no longer baseline to annoy rogues and cats).

    Pet changes: it would be nice if we were told what is going to happen to pet abilities. Sporebats seems to be buffed but most other pet families seem to loose their abilities.

    Looks like hunters will have no more baseline on command burst dps anymore and if you take blink strikes as a talent you probably won’t have any burst dps at all 🙁

    Level 100 talents still don’t really appeal to me. It’s starting to look like flaming shots becomes mandatory for SV, Focusing Shot for MM and Versatility for BM. I they are not choices they should just make them baseline for the different specs.

    I do love the Enhanced Shots perk for MM. Brings back the good old days when MM hunters could stay out of AoE damage range in Molten Core 🙂

    1. According to the Celestalon, the next version of the patch notes will list the pet ability changes. It was just too much to include with what the already had.

      I too am concerned about a lack of burst DPS.

  2. im not too worried atm. remember they want to move away from bust and more to controlled sustained damage.

    the way i think of it is, see how they say healers will be triage healing with some cd’s. I think dps will be the same.
    it will be about maintaining pressure. also remember atm we are the ONLY class that is still totally mobile. now mm will be as well with aimed shot replacing arcane shot. lots of classes are becoming turrents again but we are still mobile.

    i think our dps will be like a graph of gentle hills and valleys, rather than huge peaks of burst and low valleys of waiting to burst again.

    ive started pvping in 5.2 and have learnt its maintain pressure and burst at the right time. i think this is what blizz is aiming for our dps.

    its still early but what will be will be. i will adapt and keep going.

  3. Looks like SV will become the top PvP spec with Improved and Enhanced Camouflage. With Glyph of camouflage we will be able to to move around and dps completely stealthed without anyone able to bring us out of stealth, except perhaps another hunter with a flare. Nowadays, Hunter’s Mark could keep you out of stealth but we won’t even have that problem in WoD.

    of course the support classes may complain about this and get the perks removed from PvP areas (world PvP would still be fun though)

  4. Overall, I like these changes quite a lot. The majority of the things I could complain about would be due to cosmetic reasons, e.g. Hunter’s Mark, iconic as it may be, is an unnecessary ability as it is something you don’t think about apart from applying it before the pull.

    I also personally like that they’re changing Stampede. Assuming they make sure it’s reasonably balanced with Crows and Blink Strikes, it’ll be nice to be able to have the choice of a passive low damage boost, a short CD “medium” damage ability, and a long CD high damage ability depending on the fight.

    The level 100 talents may not be hugely creative, but I don’t really have any major issues with them. Versatility/Lone Wolf will be nice for SV/MM for fights during which you don’t want to rely on your pet (e.g. going on every belt on Siegecrafter this tier), or on single target fights as BM where you can just leave your pet on the boss. Focusing Shot could be decent for single target, low movement fights, although I’d personally prefer if it did something like restore 25 Focus immediately and then 25 over the course of a few seconds, rather than getting it all at once. Flaming Shots could be a nice damage boost for SV due to mastery, but is for sure the least inspired ability of the three.

    Our various Empowered abilities are also quite nice — especially the MM changes. As it stands, it should hopefully mean MM is more on par with SV and BM (woo!).

    I think the biggest problem I have with the proposed changes is the removal of Distracting Shot. It’s situationally useful, sure, but it’s still useful. If they plan to try and change Growl to compensate for the loss of Distracting Shot, my worry would be that it’d be clunky to use.

    But yeah, overall I think the changes look pretty decent so far. They may have gone a little overboard with some of the ability pruning, but some of the other changes they’re making should help somewhat with diversifying SV, BM and MM.

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