Patch 4.0.6 hit this week and the hunter community is abuzz discussing all the new changes to the hunter class. Survival was nerfed (or was it, at times it doesn't feel that way), and BM and MM received considerable buffs. Some profession changes have also had a major impact on hunter dps for all specs, and have forced me to a make a profession change.
But first things first. For a while the hunter community was speculating on how balanced the 3 specs would be with the introduction of 4.0.6. And all I can say is, from what I have seen so far in raid environments, they are as close as they've ever been since I have started playing. We have 3 hunters in my new guild, the first decided to try BM, the second remained as MM and I stayed Survival. for most of the raid night we would occupy 3rd, 4th and 5th on the meters, changing positions only amongst ourselves from fight to fight, but each hunter was able to showcase the strengths of their spec depending on the boss fight. BM excelled on movement heavy fights such as Valiona and Theralion but struggled on switch heavy fights such as Omnotron Defense system. MM showcased its single-target firepower on Maloriak and Pit Lord Argaloth and proved it could hold its own on switch-heavy and movement heavy fights. Survival showed its worth as an allrounder, being competitive on all kinds of fights. What was surprising however, was how close BM and MM had gotten to Survival in AoE damage. On Magmaw, where I was used to running away on the meters I was surprised to see both BM and MM hunters able to keep pace, which is good news for both specs.
In profession changes, hunters have a new Metagem and a new wrist enchant. The Agile Shadowspirit Diamond is the new metagem of choice and the pattern is a World drop BoE. The same goes for the Enchant Bracers: Mighty Agility pattern. This change in particular was a deciding factor in me dropping Leatherworking and picking up Engineering instead.
I had thought long and hard about making the change but in the end I felt I would gain more from engineering than from Leatherworking. Leatherworking used to provide a straight 130 Agility gain (over non LW hunters), but with the introduction of this new wrist enchant that gain has been cut to just 80. Engineering's newly changed Synapse Springs provides 480 Agility for 10 secs with a 1min cooldown, which I guess could be considered a flat average increase of 80 Agility. What pushed Engineering over the edge was access to an epic headpiece with tailored stats. In a normal raiding environment with DKP and EPGP, i consider it a waste to spend it on anything not best in slot. Plus moving into an already established raid guild meant I would be well behind the other 2 hunters (not to mention the Warriors and Shamans for the tier head) in DKP should either of the headpieces drop. With engineering I don't have to worry about this. I now have a headpiece with better stats than any blue helm in game and only a socket short of the two epic helms .
Overall I'm very happy with how hunters have turned out post 4.0.6. Hunters all around the world will now be able to raid and be competitive in any of the 3 specs. We've gained a new metagem and previous dps metagems have had their requirements fixed. We have a new wrist enchant which makes Leatherworking less clear-cut as best DPS improving profession. Blizzard may finally have understood the meaning of balance.
keep on hunting,