Shot of the Week: Barrage


Each week we’ll look at the history and utility of some of the greatest abilities in the Hunter’s arsenal

This week’s shot is Barrage. It’s a level 90 talent introduced in Mists of Pandaria. It’s an AoE ability that “rapidly fires a spray of shots forward for 3 sec., dealing a total of 640% weapon damage to the enemy target and an average of 320% weapon damage to each other enemy target in front of you.”

It has a 30 second cooldown and like the tooltip states, it’s a channeled ability, and it can be used while moving. That last part was added when Aspect of the Fox was removed. The ability to use while moving is huge, because prior to that any incidental movement would interrupt the channel and trigger the cooldown.

Remember the targets need to be in front of you, but beware that “in front of you” is a wide range. Don’t be surprised to see a stray shot go off at a sideways angle and pull something you didn’t intend.

One thing to keep in mind with this ability is that it requires a target. I’m not a big fan of AoE abilities that require a target; Multi-shot being another one that does. I miss the old Volley ability. I would love to see this ability be redesigned to work like Volley did. Give us a targeting reticle and let us determine where the AoE will happen. Volley was removed from the game in part because it didn’t look and feel right. They’ve fixed the look and feel with Barrage so giving it the Volley mechanic wouldn’t break anything.

Barrage competes with Power Shot and Glaive Toss. Most raiders, and perhaps PvP players choose Glaive Toss. Power Shot is also a good choice for PvP. Barrage is often saved for AoE situations such as raid trash and boss fights with adds.

It’s one of my favorite abilities that I wish I had more opportunities to use.

Always on the Move

Patch 5.1 testing continues and Blizzard is now starting to release some of the class balance changes that are inevitable once players migrate into end-game raiding and PvP. Hunters are getting a huge buff to their mobility in patch 5.1. According to MMO-C, Steady Shot, Cobra Shot and Barrage will be useable while moving. I’ll say it again, Steady Shot, Cobra Shot and Barrage will be useable WHILE MOVING.

There’s no mention of Aspect of the Fox in the patch notes, but one would assume that it will be redesigned or removed all together. I suspect the the latter myself.

If this is indeed the direction that Blizzard is going with these abilities then it’s a very nice change. The benefit for PvP is that Hunters can now be in Aspect of the Hawk 100% of the time, rather than Fox 100%. For PvE this means no more aspect dancing. Ultimately Hunters gain more from this change in PvP than PvE, but it’s fantastic for both.

It was pretty well known that Blizzard wasn’t happy with Aspect Dancing. During the MoP beta they tried to address it by putting Aspects on the GCD, but this was unpopular and they reverted it.

In Episode 141 of the Hunting Party Podcast we talked to Zumio who had a pretty negative opinion on Hunter aspects in general. He even went so far to suggest that Blizzard change Steady and Cobra to fire on the move. It appears that Blizzard agrees with that assessment – for now.