Sunday, November 21, 2010

Handicapped Hunters

I've been doing some 10 man raiding this week and I must say I feel a little handicapped. While my DPS is still top 3 on a minimal movement fight, it is pathetic on a heavy movement dependent fight, or one requiring a lot of target switching. The problem comes down to just one thing - we can't regenerate focus fast enough without Steady Shot to keep our DPS up. To often did I find myself in a situation where I had to move for whatever reason, I wouldn't be able to regenerate my focus with Steady Shot meaning Serpent Sting would drop off and my DPS would just collapse. And then of course the same thing would happen when doing boss fights that need a lot of target switching such as Dreamwalker Valithria, as mobs would die before Steady Shot would finish casting.

The thing is, I'm not sure that Aspect of the Fox will fix this problem. You see as it stands Aspect of the Fox will allow the casting of Steady Shot and Cobra shot whilst moving, and regenerate 2 Focus everytime we are hit by melee attacks. That’s it! I can see it as being useful for PvP but for raiding it is extremely weak. You see to cast Steady Shot we will need to be facing our target. In a lot of the movement fights we will actually be forced to run away from targets, not facing them and consider ICC fights - the idea is not to get hit by melee attacks.

The more I play my hunter I feel like our Arcane Shot and Steady Shot should be switched i.e. Arcane Shot should have a cast-timer and Steady Shot should not. I think it would be a fair trade-off; our high-DPS focus dump shot would have the cast timer and the low-DPS focus regenerate would be instant and could, for balancing purposes, be on a cooldown if need be (although I doubt the DPS would be all too different). Of course this would render Aspect of the Fox effectively useless (although its not far off as it is), so this change would be very unlikely.

But to be honest I feel the Marksman hunter in general feels a little clunky and not very well thought through. I keep wondering if Blizzard rushed their hunter designs a little. Aimed Shot is fail, Camouflage is going to be a waste of a skill, Aspect of the Fox had potential, but with every iteration it got worse and worse. And is it just me or does Chimera Shot seem a little weak? The old Chimera Shot was a skill to be proud of but this? and to top it all off, AoE is just a bad joke. I couldn't see the problem with Volley. I didn't for one second think it felt un-hunter-like. Hell, it think a better solution would have been to get rid of Multi-shot and rename Volley multi-shot. As it stands we appear to be the only class that can only AoE when something is targeted. But even should we have the opportunity to target something , our AoE is limited by range inbetween the mobs and general lack of damage, meaning we are well behind every other DPS class.

Of course I haven't tried any of the other specs yet and don't know how things will play out once we are raiding at lvl 85, but I'm a Marksman hunter at heart and would be extremely disappointed if my favorite spec had any major flaws causing it to be less effective then other specs. I am a little concerned to say the least.

Anyway, what have you guys noticed about current hunters? How do the other specs feel when playing? Do you disagree with my findings? Let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Keep on hunting,



  1. I agree MM does feel clunky, I have been trying Survival, at least the explosive shot damage is noticeable. Might have to wait and see how it pans out at 85, (no Beta) and hopefully regen will be easier then.

  2. As a hunter I can feel your need for Aspect of the Viper. But I can see the use of it in Cataclysm too.

    If you take a look at a fight like Halion, you will see an example of movement we will see a lot more in Cataclysm. Especially the Twilight realm phase. You are always on the move.
    With Aspect of the Viper we can regenerate our focus while doing dps. And then dump our focus when movement is not required.

  3. Hi Serebihm,

    I tried posting this response on your blog but there was no way to enter the verification code. It shows up but there’s no entry box (I use the latest Firefox release).

    I pretty much concur with your findings Serebihm. And while I do find MM a bit clunky, I find it far smoother than either BM or SV right now. Those two specs will be much improved once Cobra Shot is in the rotation however.

    For Marks single target DPS is fine, it could use a bump up however and I believe this is coming. But target switching, yes, that utterly tanks our DPS and on heavy movement phases we're nearly useless. Fox will not fix that, it's purely a PvP utility. For raiding, we should not be getting hit with melee attacks and it'd be a hugely irresponsible tactic to try to get hit by melee on movement heavy fights/phases just so we can regen more Focus.

    Right now I find SV extremely Focus-starved as there are too many Focus-consuming abilities to keep up (Explosive, Arcane, Black Arrow, Serpent Sting). It seems that with that spec all one does is manage DoTs and procs. It doesn't feel Hunter-like at all.

    BM is a little more reasonable but still it really needs Cobra Shot to refresh Serpent Sting.

    Both SV and BM are built around needing Cobra just as Marks is built around needing Chimera. A shot that refreshes Serpent Sting is pretty core to Hunter DPS maintenance and without that tool, the shot cycle is extremely awkward and expensive.

    I think Focus was the right way to go but I'm not sold on how it was implemented.

    PS: This was posted to me by email. Don't know why posting isn't working. If anyone else is having issues posting please email me to let me know.