Patch 6.1 is on the PTR, and there are changes for Hunters. Mostly the good the kind. I have to say, I don’t recall seeing this much class iteration during an expansion. Usually there is the big nerf shortly after release, and then things stabilize until there is a tier change. Even then it’s just a small turning of the knob to adjust for stat changes.
This time we’re getting changes that affect which talents we choose, alter our rotations, and even change which spec we think we should play. The focus thus far in Patch 6.1 are talents. Take a look.
- Barrage damage has been increased by 21%.
- Exhilaration now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%).
- Glaive Toss damage has been increased by 25%.
- Powershot damage has been increased by 62%.
- Stampede now lasts 40 seconds (up from 20 seconds).
The two that are garnering the most attention are Powershot and Stampede. When it comes to PvE Powershot has long been an after thought. A non contender. The damage was never bad, but it was also never as good a Glaive Toss or Barrage. The knock back effect (immune on bosses) was also another reason never to bother with it in PvE.
The damage boost is clearly an attempt to make that tier looks as if it has three competitive choices. Given that Barrage and Glaive toss were also buffed, I’m not sure that we’ll want to take Powershot for raids. Blackrock Foundry (BRF) has enough AoE situations that Barrage will probably be the mainstay for all three specs. Yes, despite the Focus cost, I think Survival will benefit from taking this talent over Glaive Toss.
The buff to Stampede is significant, and we should see it make an appearance in BRF. It will benefit Beast Mastery more than others, but with a 40 second duration I’m sure we’ll find situations where this is the go to talent over A Murder of Crows.
I haven’t researched the encounters in BRF enough to provide you any guidance on where you might use it. Consider that homework for the podcast this week. And by homework, I mean something I’ll ask everyone else :p
- Trap Mastery no longer reduces the cooldown of all traps and Black Arrow by 6 seconds.
- Black Arrow now has a cooldown of 24 seconds (down from 30 seconds).
- Enhanced Traps now reduces the cooldown on all traps by 33% (down from 50%).
Survival has been everyone’s darling in recent weeks, and it’s the only spec that’s undergoing direct changes. Traps are getting nerfed.
The big PvE impact is Explosive Trap, and while you may wish to toss one out during a boss fight, you’ll be able to do it less often. Black Arrow’s cooldown is getting adjusted to compensate, but traps in general are getting a little less useful.
- Basilisks now have a pet family ability. Stone Scales reduces damage taken by the pet. Previously, Basilisks did not have a pet family ability.
- Hydra pets should no longer be excessively large.
- Spirit Beast’s Spirit Beast Blessing now also provides a 5% increase to critical strike chance. Does not stack with other critical strike chance buffs. Previously, other exotic pet families provided buffs to 2 stats while Spirit Beasts provided only 1.
Finally there are a few adjustments to Hunter pets. If you use Basilisks or Spirit Beasts then hooray. If you use Hydras then boo.