WoD Beta: SV and MM Changes

A new build was pushed to the Beta last night and it included some nice changes for Marksman and Survival. The specs are beginning to take shape now, and are moving closer to their final forms. If I had to wager, I’d say that Beast Mastery and Survival are done, and Marksman is close now. Let’s start with Survival.

Lock and Load has been completely redesigned.

    • Lock and Load – Fires a Black Arrow at the target, dealing (141.6% of Attack power) damage over 18 sec. When your Black Arrow multistrikes, you gain 1 stack of Lock and Load. Lock and Load causes your next Explosive Shot to trigger no cooldown. Max 5 stacks.

A couple of takeaways here,

    • Lock and Load is back to being a separate proc, meaning Blizzard could allow other abilities or items to proc it. Maybe a future set bonus?
    • It no longer resets the cooldown on Explosive Shot, and Explosive Shot is not free.

Explosive Shot has had its Focus cost reduced to 15 to compensate for the Lock and Load changes.

I did a little testing on the beta and Lock and Load feels different now. It can proc when the Explosive Shot is on cooldown, and at lower multistrike levels you don’t necessarily accumulate stacks rapidly. I wasn’t getting the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Explosive Shots that I get on live. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen with proper itemization.

On live when Lock and Load procs I’m very used to firing those three Explosive Shots one after the other, and that’s not the case now as you might not have three to fire.

Overall I like this change, and Survival should be fun to play in Warlords. It’s still somewhat RNG dependent, but the emphasis on steady consistent damage will hopefully offset any bad luck streaks you encounter.

Now onto Marksmanship.

In Mists, mobility is one of the hallmarks for Hunters, and it’s true of all three specs. In Warlords Beast Mastery and Survival will retain their mobility, while Marksmanship will practically be required to take a foothold and shoot.

Wild Quiver is gone and has been replaced by Sniper Training. Many will remember this as the old Survival talent, and it behaves much the same way.

    • Sniper Training – When you stand still for 3 sec, you gain Sniper Training for 6 sec, which increases your damage, shot range, and critical strike damage by 4%.

A little clarification on how this works. Once you have the buff it will stay on permanently as long as you don’t move. Once you move the six second removal timer kicks in. Stand still for three seconds and buff is reapplied.

In addition to increasing damage and critical damage, Sniper Training will also increase the range of shots.

This will be interesting to manage as you’ll want to pay attention if you’re beyond the maximum 45-yard range. If you are and Sniper Training falls off, you’ll have to stand still to reapply it or move closer in. Probably not a huge deal, but certainly an indication of the skill that will be required to play Marksmanship in Warlords.

The need to stand still makes Focusing Shot an even more desirable talent for Marksmanship as it meshes well with Sniper Training.

That said, don’t discount Lone Wolf as an option. If the increased range means your pet despawning, this talent has some appeal.

Currently in the beta maintaining Sniper Training is a little tight. As I mentioned earlier the six second countdown to remove the buff doesn’t begin until you move, but six seconds feels a little too short.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this adjusted to maybe ten seconds. Players should have to work to maintain 100% uptime, but it shouldn’t be a frustrating experience.

How easy or difficult it is to maintain all comes down to how much movement will be required in dungeon and raid encounters. File that under remains to be seen.

I think Blizzard is on the right track with the specs. Let’s just hope they do comparable damage. I would hate to see all this work go into differentiating the specs go to waste because one was superior to all the others.

One final note. The header image has nothing to do with the update other than the fact that there’s a beta server that lets you create level 100 premades and the gave those characters ALL the mounts. I’m shown here riding Invincible.


  1. I’m super excited about both major changes. I don’t know exactly how LnL will end up, but at least it gives some opportunity to improve your play. You can fire them all immediately as soon as you get them for pretty good damage, or you can save some up and try to line up with procs or phases that need bursty damage for better DPS. For what was the simplest spec hunters have, I really like the direction they’re going.

    As for MM, regardless of the other amazing parts of this, I’m mostly just incredibly excited they’re making a spec that night elves aren’t allowed to play. 😛

  2. I’m pretty sure we won’t be able to maintain a 100% up-time of Sniper Training and as for skill required to play it: If Blizzard rewarded skill MM would have been the top DPS spec for hunters since Classic. Instead we have had 1-button BM spec in TBC and a completely uncompetitive MM in MoP.

    MM will be useless for PvP and Soloing/Levelling.

    As it looks now I’ll be forcedto play BM+SV for another expansion. If i’d wanted to play like a mage and stand stil while looking at cast timers I’d have rolled one already.

    1. I agree with you that this will be a significant blow for pvp, but levelling should be about the same. We don’t get mastery until 80 anyhow, and we’ll still have that big ol’ auto crit aimed shot.

      1. Yeah but who is going to choose a spec with shots that take 2-3 secs to cast and punishes you for moving if you can run around freely with instant casts, a big red pet or serpent stinging everything around you.

        How many people are going to level to 100 as BM/SV and then decide to try out MM ?

        Sniper Training looks nice from a lore perspective and it may make the specs feel more different but I think that if it was a optional talent less than 10% off all hunters would take it.

  3. It will be very interesting to see how the three spec compare DPS wise when Warlords goes live. One usually rises above the others, but Blizzard has been pretty good about keeping them close.

    Marks could be one of those that does top theoretical DPS, but only if you play it right. Some folks might really like that.

    I’m not sure which of the three I’ll want to favor. I certainly prefer instants over casted abilities.

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