Friday, August 15, 2008

WotLK Forecast: Melee Hunter Spec

The Survival tree has undergone some big changes. Survival Instincts has jumped up to a Tier 2 talent, and the new talents "T.N.T." and "Hunter vs. Wild" have been added. Wowhead doesn't have entries for the new talents yet, so I'll list them here:
Rank: 3/3
Requires 5 points in Survival Talents
Your Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap, and Explosive Shot have a 15% chance to stun targets for 2 sec when they deal damage, and increases the critical strike chance of your Explosive Shot and Explosive Trap by 15%.

Hunter vs. Wild
Rank: 3/3
Requires 5 points in Survivalist
Requires 20 points in Survival Talents
Increases you and your pet's attack power and ranged attack power equal to 30% of your total Stamina.

That's some pretty neat stuff, especially Hunter vs. Wild. I'm a little wary of the stun proc on T.N.T. in PvE, but I'll just have to be careful about when I lay down traps.

Speaking of traps, Trap Mastery has been reduced to a single-point talent, with a description that reads "Design not implemented (do not report)." Presumably this will provide a 10% decrease in chance for enemies to resist trap effects, as the old Trap Mastery(Rank 2) did. I've passed on this talent, given how infrequently mobs in PvE resist traps anyway. I've also passed on Deflection and Counterattack, given their limited usefulness in a dps raiding role.

Over in the BM tree, Spirit Bond has been changed to increase healing to you and your pet by 5/10%, in addition to the old effect of 1/2% health regen per 10 sec. I admit, I've always been a fan of Spirit Bond. In PvE, I consider one point in Improved Mend Pet sufficient, to enable the cleanse effect, and the passive healing from Spirit Bond useful for both hunter and pet. With the improved heal effect, I'm that much happier to spec into Spirit Bond.

Bigger news: the +hit effect on Animal Handler has, blessedly, been rendered obsolete in PvE. There is no excuse for a dedicated player to fall short of the hit cap. That said, class designer Koraa has said that the plan now is for pets to be given the master's +hit%. This is true of both warlocks and hunters. Since I must be hit capped, it follows that my pet will also inevitably be hit capped. This means that Animal Handler is now primarily a PvP talent, where it can be used for the reduced cooldown on the base ability Master's Call.

For now, I've passed on the mana-efficiency talents Resourcefulness and the new Invigoration (When your pet scores a critical hit with a special ability, you instantly regain 1/2% mana.) Until I have a reason to think otherwise, I'm assuming that my own mana pool will remain obscenely large for my attack rotation's limited scope. That leaves me free to put 5/5 into both Lightning Reflexes and Serpent's Swiftness, resulting in this build.

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