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Cataclysm Hunter Changes

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With the upcoming changes being announced keep the following guidelines in mind when posting. This is the place to discuss these changes only.

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  • Do remember that these are proposed changes and subject to fine tuning and/or complete overhaul.

With the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm many game elements will be changing, and each class will be receiving a number of tweaks. Here, we will explore the changes that are being made to the gun-wielding, pet-training hunter. The information you’re about to read is certainly not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview of some of the exciting new things to come. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the new hunter abilities!

New Hunter Abilities

Cobra Shot (level 81): A new shot that deals Nature damage instead of Physical damage. This ability will share a cooldown with Steady Shot. This will give hunters an alternative to Steady Shot on heavily-armored targets, and we will have talent incentives in the Beast Mastery tree to make this a signature shot.

Trap Launcher (level 83): When used, the next trap can be shot to a location within 40 yards. This provides the current Freezing Arrow treatment to all traps and, as a result, we will be removing the current ability Freezing Arrow. 1-minute cooldown. No global cooldown.

Camouflage (level 85): The hunter enters an obscured state that prevents him or her from taking ranged damage. The character would still be subject to melee or area-of-effect attacks, and dealing or taking damage will break the Camouflage effect. The hunter can move and set traps when under Camouflage, and will receive a damage bonus when attacking while under Camouflage (which will then break the effect).

Resource Mechanic Change

Here we come to the meat of the upcoming hunter changes.

Hunters will no longer use mana; instead the class will use Focus. Focus generates much like Energy, by building up. It will not be affected by Intellect at all. Haste will improve its generation. Hunters will generate roughly 6 Focus per second, slightly less than rogues' Energy generation rate of around 10 Energy per second. Below, we have listed some examples of how we intend Focus costs to operate:

Steady Shot/Cobra Shot: No cost. Generates 9 Focus per shot (or 12 per second instead of 6).

Arcane Shot/Chimera Shot /Explosive Shot: 45 Focus.

Aimed Shot/Multi-Shot: 60 Focus.

Concussive Shot/Tranquilizing Shot: 35 Focus.

Rapid Fire/Master’s Call/Disengage: 30 Focus.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to the resource change and new abilities listed above, we intend to make adjustments to some of the other abilities and mechanics you already know well. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we’re going for with each spec.

A major change coming for the hunter is the removal of ammunition. Guns, bows, and crossbows will now do damage without consuming ammunition at all. There will be no more ammo slot on the hunter’s character display. Any ammunition that a hunter has at the time of the change will become gray sellable items. Existing quivers will be converted into large bags -- though each hunter can only have one and non-hunters will not benefit from this change -- and we will not be making any additional quivers.

Pet management will also change. Hunters will now have two types of attainable pets: active pets and stored pets. Hunters will be able to have up to three active pets (perhaps five for Beast Mastery specialized players) and will have the ability to switch among these pets any time they are out of combat, without going to town. They will also be able to have a large number of pets in storage at the stables. In order to swap a pet from active to passive, a hunter will still need to visit their local Stable Master. However, this should afford ample storage for the many Spirit Beasts wandering the lands of Azeroth.

Additionally, hunters will now start with a race-appropriate pet at level 1 and will be able to tame a different pet at level 10. We are also changing many pet family abilities to provide important buffs and debuffs. The intention is to allow the hunter to be able to swap pets and fill a position if a certain role is missing from the group. The goal is to have all pets provide a damage increase that is very similar and no greater than any other pet. Some examples of the changes we are making to the pet families are listed below:

Wind Serpents: Will provide a debuff that increases the amount of spell damage taken by an enemy (similar to a weaker version of the warlock ability Curse of Elements).

Ravagers: Will provide a debuff that will increase an enemy's Physical damage vulnerability (similar to a weaker version of the warrior ability Rampage).

Hyenas: Will provide bleed damage (similar to a weaker version of the druid ability Mangle).

Stings and other periodic effects will now benefit from haste and critical strike ratings. Hasted damage-over-time abilities do not lose duration, but instead add additional damage ticks.

Viper Sting will now restore 9 Focus every 3 seconds.

We are reinforcing hunters as a ranged class. To this end, the class will now start with ranged abilities at level 1, and we will be removing some melee abilities, such as Mongoose Bite.

New Talents and Talent Changes

Beast Mastery hunters will have a new talent called Careful Aim, which increases the damage of the next Steady Shot or Cobra Shot, but also increases the cast time of these abilities. The intention is to make the combination of spells into a decent damage opener, especially in conjunction with the new ability Camouflage.

Beast Mastery hunters will also have talents that make Cobra Shot superior to Steady Shot, such as Longevity reducing the cast time of Cobra Shot to 1.5 seconds.

Rapid Recuperation will cause Rapid Fire to give 20/40/60 Focus immediately and will cause Rapid Killing to generate 3 Focus per second.

Efficiency will reduce the Focus cost of Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot.

Thrill of the Hunt grants Focus when you land a critical strike.

Hunter vs. Wild increases the hunter’s Focus generation when his or her pet is snared, stunned, or rooted.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Beast Mastery

Ranged Damage

Haste

Pet Damage

Pet Damage: Many of the passive benefits to pet damage will no longer be available in the Beast Mastery talent tree. However, these will be provided through the new Mastery mechanic.

Marksmanship

Ranged Damage

Armor Penetration

Double Shot

Double Shot: The hunter will have a chance to launch a free attack off of the global cooldown for 50% damage.

Survival

Ranged Damage

Ranged Critical Damage

Elemental Damage

Elemental Damage: Hunter abilities such as traps, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot will do elemental damage of the following types: Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature, and Shadow.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.

Hunter Pet Changes:

Utility Abilities

(Pets with a - E are exotic pets tameable only by Beast Mastery Hunters)

Bloodlust / Heroism

* Ancient Hysteria (Core Hound - E) - Increases melee, ranged, and spell casting speed by 30% for all party and raid members. Lasts 40 sec.

Allies receiving this effect will become Sated and be unable to benefit from Bloodlust or Time Warp again for 10 min. / Instant, 6 min cooldown

Healing

* Spirit Mend (Spirit Beast - E) - The Spirit Beast heals the currently friendly target for {1237.75+((RAP*0.35)*0.5)} plus an additional {475.97+((RAP*0.35)*0.335)} over 10 sec. / 25 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

Stat Boost (BoK)

* Embrace of the Shale Spider - Fills all friendly party and raid members with the Shale Spider's embrace, increasing Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by %. / Instant

Stamina Buff

* Qiraji Fortitude (Silithid - E) - Increases party and raid members' Stamina by 584.76. / Instant

Critical Strike Buff

* Furious Howl (Wolf / Dog) - The wolf lets out a furious howl, increasing the critical strike chance of all party and raid members by 5%. / Instant, 45 sec cooldown

* Terrifying Roar (Devilsaur - E) - The devilsaur lets out a terrifying roar, increasing the critical strike chance of all party and raid members by 5%. / Instant, 45 sec cooldown

Casting Speed Reduction

* Lava Breath (Core Hound - E) - Your pet breathes a double gout of molten lava at the target, reducing the target's casting speed by 25% for 10 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown (No longer deals damage)

* Spore Cloud (Sporebat) - Dusts nearby enemies with spores, reducing all enemy targets within 6 yards casting speed by 25% for 9 sec. / 6 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown

Attack Speed Reduction

* Dust Cloud (Tallstrider) - Your tallstrider kicks up an obscuring cloud of dust, causing all enemies within 10 yards to have their melee and ranged attack speed reduced by 20% for 8 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

* Tailspin - Your fox twirls its tail around, kicking up an obscuring cloud of dust, causing all enemies within 10 yards to have their melee and ranged attack speed reduced by 20% for 8 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

Movement Speed Reduction

* Ankle Crack (Crocolisk) - Snap at the target's feet, reducing movement speed by 50% for 6 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown (Replaces Bad Attitude)

* Frost Breath (Chimaera - E) - Your pet simultaneously breathes frost and lightning at an enemy target, slowing the target for 5 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown (No longer deals damage)

* Time Warp (Warp Stalker) - Slows time around the enemy, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 6 sec. / 25 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown

Healing Debuff

* Monstrous Bite (Devilsaur - E) - Your devilsaur ferociously bites the enemy, reducing the effectiveness of any healing received by 25% for 8 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown

Root

* Venom Web Spray (Silithid - E) - Sprays toxic webs at the target, preventing movement for 5 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown (Up from 4 sec, no longer deals damage)

* Web (Spider) - Encases the target in sticky webs, preventing movement for 5 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

Silence / Interrupt

* Serenity Dust (Moth) - The moth's wings produce a cloud of dust that interrupts the enemies spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 2 sec. / 25 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown

Armor Reduction (Sunder Armor)

* Tear Armor (Raptor) - Tears at the enemies armor with the raptor's talons, reducing it by 4%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 30 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown

* Corrosive Spit (Serpent) - Spits poison at an enemy, corroding their armor, reducing it by 4%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 30 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown

Increased Bleed Damage

* Gore (Boar) - Your boar gores the enemy, causing it to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 15 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown

* Tendon Rip (Hyena) - Tears at an enemy's legs, increasing damage taken from bleed effects by 30% for 15 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown

Increased Magic Damage

* Fire Breath (Dragonhawk) - Breathes Fire on the target, increasing magic damage taken by 8% for 45 sec. / 40 yd range, Channeled, 30 sec cooldown

* Lightning Breath (Wind Serpent) - Breathes lightning, increasing magic damage taken by 8% for 45 sec. / 40 yd range, Channeled, 30 sec cooldown

Increased Physical Damage

* Acid Spit (Worm - E) - Your worm spits acid, causing the enemy target to take an increased 4% physical damage for 25 sec. / 20 Focus, 30 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown

* Ravage (Ravager) - Violently attacks an enemy, causing the enemy target to take 4% increased physical damage for 25 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown

Stun

* Sonic Blast - Emits a piercing shriek, stunning the target for 2 sec. / 20 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown (No longer deals damage)

* Sting (Wasp) - Your wasp stings the target, stunning them for 2 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 45 sec cooldown

Physical Damage Reduction

* Demoralizing Roar (Bear) - The bear roars, reducing the physical damage caused by all enemies within yards by 10% for 15 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown

Disarm

* Clench (Scorpid) - The scorpid clenches the enemy's weapon with its talons, and disarming their main hand and ranged weapons for 10 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown

DPS Abilities

* Bite - Bite the enemy, causing {187.74+((RAP*0.35)*0.40)} damage. / 25 Focus, 5 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown

* Claw - Claw the enemy, causing {187.74+((RAP*0.35)*0.40)} damage. / 25 Focus, 5 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown

* Smack - Smack the enemy, causing {187.74+((RAP*0.35)*0.40)} damage. / 25 Focus, 5 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown

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What I don't understand is, if Cobra Shot is meant to replace Steady Shot, that won't make the BM rotation any more complex then what it already is and if Blizzard holds true to their current stance, then that means BM will be lowest of the 3 trees on damage again for cata.

Unless of course the talents in BM make it so it also gains a focus cost much similar to Chimera Shot and then BM would go back to using Steady Shot?

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Have they said whether or not the cooldowns on hunter abilities will be removed?

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Have they said whether or not the cooldowns on hunter abilities will be removed?

They have not made a statement either way, as far as I have seen.

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With resources being limited in Cata, removing the cooldown would make sense. I'm fairly certain they said something about adjusting/removing them a ways back (Blizzcon info maybe?).

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They have not made a statement either way, as far as I have seen.

From an outsider's perspective it seems like if they remove the cooldowns, hunter life will be spent spamming steady/cobra shot and filling in with [highest DPS ability X] which sounds really boring (at least to me). If they don't remove the cooldowns, it seems like the class won't really change all the much, you'll just be immune to mana burns.

Disclaimer: This is all rampant, unfounded speculation.

edit: Hmmm, this isn't the BB.

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I'm a bit confused where they're going with the "cobra shot will share a cooldown with steady shot" comment, since it doesn't make much sense for a focus generation show with a cast time to have a cooldown. The clarification on it seems to be that it doesn't have a cooldown at all:

At this point in time it's not actually a cooldown. Cobra Shot has a 2 sec cast time, but Beastmaster has a talent to reduce the cast time to 1.5 sec (as well as a few damage hooks). Both generate focus so there is no reason for BM to ever use Steady again.

Nothing really unexpected in the preview, need to wait and see how focus cost reduction talents work and how damage is distributed between various shots - I imagine the damage profiles will change a fair bit or PvP damage would go down quite a bit due to inability to regen via steady/cobra spam.

Wish they'd clarified whether we get a shorter GCD like the energy classes have.

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Wish they'd clarified whether we get a shorter GCD like the energy classes have.

Haste, it seems, will become a bigger stat for hunters. I would imagine a high enough rating will lower the GCD.

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Wish they'd clarified whether we get a shorter GCD like the energy classes have.

I'm assuming they will since he mentioned that the reason Cobra shot will be better than Steady Shot for BM is because BM will have a toalent to reduce the cast time of CS to 1.5 secs. SS is already sub 1.5 for BM so the GCD needs to be reduced for a base 1.5 CS to be advantageous.

I'm looking forward to see what they do with raid buffs and debuffs from pets.

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And what's about the locked GCD?

any statements about removing ?

If not, haste will fall way behind after softcapping the shots to 1.5secs

Edit: lol ... a bit too slow ^^

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I'm a bit confused where they're going with the "cobra shot will share a cooldown with steady shot" comment, since it doesn't make much sense for a focus generation show with a cast time to have a cooldown. The clarification on it seems to be that it doesn't have a cooldown at all:

I think they only meant to imply you wouldn't be using both in the same scenario, similar to arcane and explosive shot.

One thing that strikes me with the focus system is that the opportunity cost to use utility abilities will be much higher. Since mana is mostly a non-issue on live, the only real cost of using something like tranq shot is one gcd, which is usually just going to be one steady shot worth of damage. With the proposed focus numbers there, using tranq shot would also cost 35 focus, plus an extra 6 focus you would have gotten from steady/cobra shot.

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From an outsider's perspective it seems like if they remove the cooldowns, hunter life will be spent spamming steady/cobra shot and filling in with [highest DPS ability X] which sounds really boring (at least to me). If they don't remove the cooldowns, it seems like the class won't really change all the much, you'll just be immune to mana burns.

Disclaimer: This is all rampant, unfounded speculation.

edit: Hmmm, this isn't the BB.

I agree, if the shots won´t have CDs and there´s not other incentive for us to use different shots I don´t really see a reason to use anything else but steady/cobar and our best dpf shot. I wonder how this will play out.

I think they only meant to imply you wouldn't be using both in the same scenario, similar to arcane and explosive shot.

One thing that strikes me with the focus system is that the opportunity cost to use utility abilities will be much higher. Since mana is mostly a non-issue on live, the only real cost of using something like tranq shot is one gcd, which is usually just going to be one steady shot worth of damage. With the proposed focus numbers there, using tranq shot would also cost 35 focus, plus an extra 6 focus you would have gotten from steady/cobra shot.

With only Aimed and Multi Shot costing more than 45 focus (as far as we know so far) it sounds like we´ll have to aim for trying to keep our focus as full as possible without wasting any regeneration to keep the option for burst or any of those utility abilities. Either way you´re right they certainly became a lot more expansive comparatively which is kind of sad as I really enjoyed smart usage of disengage to increase my dps (or survivability) whereas now it seems like it´ll be almost always detrimental to our dps and thus be used much less frequently.

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The same penalty applies to movement. We lose the steady shot damage we currently lose, but also the 6 focus from steady shot.

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I think they only meant to imply you wouldn't be using both in the same scenario, similar to arcane and explosive shot.

One thing that strikes me with the focus system is that the opportunity cost to use utility abilities will be much higher. Since mana is mostly a non-issue on live, the only real cost of using something like tranq shot is one gcd, which is usually just going to be one steady shot worth of damage. With the proposed focus numbers there, using tranq shot would also cost 35 focus, plus an extra 6 focus you would have gotten from steady/cobra shot.

I wonder how much of these changes were based on taking some of the burst capacity from Hunters from a PvP aspect -- which would explain why the "opportunity cost" like you said has become greater.

These changes will definitely affect our mobile dps capacity, as MM hunters are, at the moment, one of the better mobile ranged classes.

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This looks a bit awkward, in a raiding scenario you need to be able to use tranq/ concussion/ distracting shot and disengage when they need to be used. A hunter who did not conserve his focus, and screwed up to put it bluntly is a dead hunter and a potential raid wipe.

I reckon that they will keep at least chimera and explosive on a cooldown, as we would just fire them whenever they're off cooldown and have enough focus. (Assuming of course, that Chimaera hits harder than Aimed)

I fear more harm for arena players though.

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Well GC mentioned that the focus costs in the preview are examples and will be reduced or removed as necessary. He also mentioned that situationally we might not need to use steady shot at all sometimes, which implies some of your specials may not have cooldowns. That would be rather nice (although a bit warrior like, which they seem to want to move away from), if a focus rich environment allows us to chain nukes for a while.

If they were to remove the cooldowns though, I can't imagine why we'd want to use both of say, Aimed Shot and Chimera shot unless they cost different amounts of focus. If they have the same cost and GCD and no cooldown, we'd always use the one that does more damage (perhaps switching which that is depending on our current amount of ArP Mastery, or target debuffs).

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I agree with above posters about these changes possibly simplifying our rotation a great deal. If they do fully remove the cooldown from Chimera/Explosive, then we'd simply spam that ability every time we have enough focus, using Steady Shots to fill the gaps. That sounds awfully boring to me. Obviously we have no idea if they're going to remove the cooldowns, but I'm a bit worried.

The first thing that really stuck out to me as being awful is the Focus cost of Disengage and similar cooldowns. Those are not abilities you want to be unable to use due to resource starvation.

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The first thing that really stuck out to me as being awful is the Focus cost of Disengage and similar cooldowns. Those are not abilities you want to be unable to use due to resource starvation.

This looks a bit awkward, in a raiding scenario you need to be able to use tranq/ concussion/ distracting shot and disengage when they need to be used. A hunter who did not conserve his focus, and screwed up to put it bluntly is a dead hunter and a potential raid wipe.

I don't see how it's any more awkward than a rogue keeping 25 energy around to Kick a spell. Though I'd agree with Midnight's sentiment that the urge to maximize dps would keep one from having enough focus in an unscripted/emergency scenario where such a cooldown would be beneficial.

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I'm thinking haste is going to be rather important.

Some of this we need numbers for... for example, it looks like viper sting produces 3 focus/second, which is what... a third more than base regen if we need to move? How that balances situationally with serpent sting is something we can't really tell without more numbers.

What can we tell? Well, I'm not sure I'd call what we're getting a "rotation", or even a LK-like priority system. The nature of the focus system we're getting seems to be periodic shots with a filler, especially if we need to maintain a buffer for using utility cooldowns.

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There is a large difference between a rogue pooling energy to kick because he knows that he will have to interrupt the next spell, usually around 5 seconds away, to a hunter needing to hit disengage because someone placed a swarming shadows poorly. The former, you know is coming, the latter you are reacting to a random event with no knowledge beforehand that it is going to happen. Tranq vs. kick is a better analogy, you can compare disengage to sprint or evasion or cloak for rogues, all of which have no energy cost.

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Well, not all hunters have played a rogue so focus will be quite an experience at first for a number of us. It might look or feel awkward now, but once you get used to it, it might not be a problem after all. The biggest change focus will bring is that we wont mash the keys to hit that perfect timer.

Regarding the rotation - if I recall correctly devs mentioned during/after last years' blizzcon that they don't want to change our rotations much, only our resource system. Plus they did mention smaller cooldowns on abilities, not completely off the CD. If this stays true we might still be keeping the priority list we have now, only with a couple of minor changes. We still fire the hardest hitting shots first and instead of having to spam steady at some point we'll weave it in between when necessary. Yes, this is me speculating much, but it looks like the most probable situation based on the info we have.

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If they were to remove the cooldowns though, I can't imagine why we'd want to use both of say, Aimed Shot and Chimera shot unless they cost different amounts of focus. If they have the same cost and GCD and no cooldown, we'd always use the one that does more damage (perhaps switching which that is depending on our current amount of ArP Mastery, or target debuffs).

I think it could make sense if the cooldowns were removed on some abilities but not all. For instance, imagine Aimed had no cooldown, while Arcane/Chimera/Explosive did more damage but did have a cooldown. You could build up enough focus for aimed while making sure you will have enough focus for Chimera when it comes off cooldown. This is all just speculation, but that playstyle sounds like it might be interesting. If they removed all cooldowns or removed no cooldowns the system sounds boring for the former and broken for the latter.

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Also consider that while casting a single SS or cobra shot we will be getting back 12 focus plus whatever focus regen is cooked into talent trees. Also haste will increase focus regen. So we could be looking at anywhere from 12-20 regen from one shot.

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The first thing that really stuck out to me as being awful is the Focus cost of Disengage and similar cooldowns. Those are not abilities you want to be unable to use due to resource starvation.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the focus costs of abilities just yet. There's still a long way to go for the expansion to go live and plenty of time to tweak the costs. GC confirmed in the preview thread that defensive ability costs will be looked at and possibly made free if deemed necessary.

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I don't see how it's any more awkward than a rogue keeping 25 energy around to Kick a spell. Though I'd agree with Midnight's sentiment that the urge to maximize dps would keep one from having enough focus in an unscripted/emergency scenario where such a cooldown would be beneficial.

As long as the focus cost is tuned well, I don't think there's a big concern with offensive CDs and CCs (Tranq/Conc/Silencing etc) costing focus to apply. However, requiring focus for defensive CDs (Disengage/Master's Call/hopefully not Deterrence as well) seems to be very harsh and unwieldy for the skill itself, even compared to our "energy"-using would-be-cousins.

Take rogue for example, almost none of their defensive CDs : Cloak/Vanish/Sprint/Evasion requires any energy. Same with DK, a large majority of their defensive CDs don't require any rune spending (AMS/DP/Lichborne/IBF). They do require RP to use, but DKs are often times rune-limited rather than RP-limited anyway.

Also, I noticed that the Trap launcher's CD is planned to be 1 min. Is this an indication that trap CD (non-launcher ones) will also be extended to 1 min? I don't think they would make launcher's CD separate from the trap's CD itself, otherwise double or triple-trapping 2 targets is very possible.

I'm also interested on the Arcane part of the "Elemental damage" Survival tree's Mastery bonus. I hope it won't just be as a help for leveling hunters who have yet to get Explosive Shot.

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