Blizzard is asking for feedback on class balance in the Mists of Pandaria Beta. This article continues our coverage of hunter-related discussions in the thread. You can read all of Ghostcrawler’s previous posts regarding hunters in MoP in the WHH MoP Hunter Guide.
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Adalia, a hunter, wrote, “I’ve got some concerns about the damage of Arcane Shot versus Cobra Shot. GC has said regarding Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn that it doesn’t feel very good for the builder to do more than the spender, and I think this applies here too. I’m in the vendor pvp gear fully gemmed except the meta and my Arcanes are hitting for 15-20k (so we’ll say an avg 17.5k for calculating purposes) and my Cobras are hitting for 22-27k (24.5k for calculating). I went ahead and reforged for the raid levels of hit and expertise and then crit, leaving me with 5.36% haste, which brings my Cobras to a 1.9 second cast.”
At 1.9 seconds, the ratio isn’t too bad. The damage Arcane would do in that time (if it could hit for a fraction of a second of course) is 17,500*1.9=33,250 versus the 24,500 of the Cobra. A clear winner. But then we need to figure in Focus Fire.
I’m working under the assumption that, just as on live, BM should be keeping up Focus Fire constantly, we’re just going to have a more variable level of haste to bring back the varying shot cycle fun we had during Firelands (as opposed to the set KC-2xCobra-2xArcane rotation 2pc T13 gave us the vast majority of the time). With two stacks of Focus Fire, Cobra is brought down to a 1.64 second cast. 17,500*1.64=28,700. Still a bit better than taking the time to Cobra, especially if movement is involved, but not drastically so. Three stacks of Focus Fire will also be quite common, and that brings me to a 1.53 second cast. 17,500*1.53=26,775 That’s getting a bit close for a class that already suffers from too many keybindings.
Of course, it becomes even worse if my assumption is wrong and BM is intended to sit around until there are five stacks of Frenzy available. At that point, I get a very fast 1.36 second Cobra cast. This is awesome for building focus quickly, but that puts Arcane at 17,500*1.36=23,800 per cast time, a clear disadvantage in dps, so you wouldn’t even /want/ to use Arcane. The same would happen for any of the specs hitting Rapid Fire.
Our haste is so low at this point, I doubt the other specs are seeing the problem except when they hit Rapid Fire, but from my non-expert point of view, it looks like a problem that will get worse as we get better gear and thus shorter cast times on Cobra (or Steady Shot). Regardless, it’s close enough at this point for BM that I think it warrants addressing with a little nudge to one of the affected abilities.
Just as an aside, but Focus Fire is now on the GCD where on live it is not. It honestly feels pretty bad that coupled with the terrible UI (the Frenzy buff disappears from the buff bar frequently, it appears to be related to the number of buffs) makes it difficult to use the ability. I find I’m not even bothering to use it most of the time except on bosses since I don’t know how many stacks I have and stuff dies so fast, it doesn’t seem worth it to see if the buff will show up and then take the GCD to cast it only to get one or two Cobras to benefit from it before what I’m fighting dies. The only reason I can think of for this change is to stop people from macroing it to Cobra Shot as some have done in live. If that’s the case, I think the weird issues they’ll get from not having a lower number of stacks more consistently will be punishment enough, just as those on live are punished with lower dps. I mean, wouldn’t it feel mighty strange if a GCD got activated when Improved Steady Shot triggered? Focus Fire is the equivalent of that, not Rapid Fire.
Ghostcrawler replied, “We agree that Arcane Shot should probably beat a Cobra Shot. It’s something we can adjust as we continue to refine hunter numbers.”
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Bullettime wrote, “Are you able to elaborate on your previous comments about Dire Beast’s tier move and Thrill of the Hunt’s redesign? Like are there any thoughts on this that you would be willing to share? Both potential changes actually have pretty substantial impact on the playstyle of the Beast Mastery Hunter, far more than the other two specs.” [link]
Ghostcrawler replied, “This is sort of like the Soul Reaper problem, where giving a hint of something without you guy being able to dive into all the details and trying it out ends up producing more questions than answering anything. However, for the same reason I mentioned Soul Reaper (we didn’t want DKs to keep spending effort exploring it when we’re potentially going to redesign it), I’ll offer a little.”
At the moment, Dire Beast is on the same tier as Fervor and Thrill of the Hunt. Thrill of the Hunt has been redesigned to make Arcane or Multi-Shots free. Readiness is no longer a talent and we might try it as a core ability in some form. There is a new talent called Blink Strike with Murder of Crows and Lynx Rush. Blink Strike lets your pet teleport behind a target and cause damage on a 20 sec cooldown, somewhat like the old Warp Stalker ability. We are trying to preserve the idea of Murder of Crows in a format that is more performance friendly (as I said before, creating units is surprisingly tough on the client). Try not to make assumptions about the numbers of any of these until you get a chance to try them.
[To compare with the current talent trees in beta see the MoP Hunter Talents Guide]
This is an ongoing discussion. Check back later for more updates to this thread.