One of the problems that Blizzard set out to solve for all classes in Warlords of Draenor was button bloat. Hunters suffer from this more so than any other class in the game. The class changes aren’t finalized, but there’s enough in place to ask the question, has Blizzard solved the Hunter class’ button bloat problem in Warlords?
I’m going to skip to the end and tell you that the answer is yes. It varies from spec to spec, but you will see a reduction in the number of abilities you have to use in a PvE encounter.
All specs are losing Stampede as a baseline ability and it now competes with A Murder of Crows. In Mists you can have both, in Warlords you’ll need to choose.
Ding, all specs are down one ability.
All specs will also be adding Camouflage to their repertoire. I put it on par with abilities like Deterrence and Disengage. You’ll to add this to your keybinds and toolbars in Warlords.
Ding, all specs are right where they were in Mists.
Beast Mastery is losing Serpent Sting and Rapid fire. Subtract Stampede and add Camouflage and –
Ding, BM is down two in abilities.
Marksmanship is losing Serpent Sting, Arcane Shot, and Silencing Shot. Silencing Shot is a little iffy as to whether or not it contributes to button bloat, but I’m going to count it. Subtract Stampede and add Camouflage and –
Ding, MM is down three abilities.
Survival is losing Rapid Fire and Kill Shot, and Serpent Sting is becoming passive. Subtract Stampede and add Camouflage and –
Ding, SV is down three abilities with a big old honkin’ asterisk.
Even though MM and SV are down the same number of abilities, Survival’s changes are more significant. Rapid Fire, Kill Shot and Serpent are three abilities lost from the core DPS rotation. Survival is also losing Lock and Load. Black Arrow will proc it’s effect, but Survival will not longer get that from Ice Trap, so it’s DPS utility is effectively gone.
Here is a side by side looks at Mists versus Warlords. Each of the passive talents has an active ability that you could take. Substituting the active talents for the passives, you can see that BM’s maximum number of core abilities is one greater than the minimum number of core abilities in Mists.
In this side by side comparison you can see that in Warlords the maximum number of active abilities equals the minimum number in Mists, although like I said earlier, Silencing Shot’s contribution to button bloat is iffy.
Survival gets the biggest trimming as its maximum number of active abilities equals the minimum number in Mists, and as I mentioned earlier there will be no need to fish for Lock and Load procs via traps.
Warlords of Draenor should curb the button bloat problem for Hunters. Beast Mastery will feel the most similar to what it does now with enough gone to reduce its complexity slightly.
Marksmanship is shaping up to have a nice rotation with great synergy between Rapid Fire, Steady Shot and Aimed Shot.
Survival has room for improvement. The decision to not implement Bear Trap leaves the spec greatly simplified but a little empty. I think there’s more to be done here.
One last thought is that Hunters are supposed to get some type of raid utility, so there may yet be another button to add to the mix.