The continuing uproar about SV has got me thinking and recently I've been reevaluating the direction this class is going and how it is continuing to be balanced around extremely imbalanced abilities. How can a class be balanced when some of its abilities are extremely powerful and extremely weak at the same time? I have no idea. I'm going to try to talk about some aspects of the class that are going to continue to leave us in an imbalanced state and also aspects of the class that are pushing us away from our role as a pure DPS MS class.
In a previous blog I discussed the Viper Sting ability and how it's imbalances are playing into hunters continuing to be a broken arena class in this game. For anyone interested in the read it can be found here:
I'm going to reference that imbalance and other problems with hunters including nerfing/fixing wyvern sting in an effort to get this class back on track and let it continue to evolve more closely to match its intended role in the arena.
Right now hunters are kind of an abomination of abilities that leave us w/o a defined role while also creating imbalances to the point where we can completely utterly counter the fuck out of some teams while being equally decimated by others.
SV is currently the most effective arena build and the aspects of the class that are the primary sources of it's strength are:
Instant poison CC
Competitive largely armor ignoring damage
Those don't really sound like the qualities of the traditional healing de-buff classes and they aren't .
Why were hunters put into the role of a physical healing de-buff class but then not fully developed into that role during the wotlk beta? I don't know. Did blizzard not want to change the class too much? I for one don't want to be stuck in the continuing up and down cycle the hunter class rides due to it's wacky undefined jack of some trades master of this and that trade compilation of wildly imbalanced abilities.
I'm going to try to break down this hunter transformation in phases in this blog to hopefully better illustrate how certain abilities need removed and certain abilities need added to mold the hunter class into it's role as a heal de-buff physical dps class.
Phase 1 - The culling of imbalanced abilities
Remove Viper sting and Wyvern Sting from the game
The same reasons why viper sting is and will always be broken and imbalanced are shared by wyvern sting and you can find those reasons in the aforementioned viper sting blog.
In short these abilities are strong and are poisons that combination will continue to make them insanely powerful vs some and extremely weak vs others. How can you have a balanced DPS class when they ride on imbalanced abilities?
The phase 1 changes would obviously require some talent/ability retooling and that is ok because it frees up spots for the next phases of changes to move in.
Phase 2 - Adding balanced abilities
Make silence shot and intimidation base line abilities... cast time on freezing arrow(shot)
How can you have a primary dps class with out a primary on target cast interruption? For those who don't know the detail that’s a 20 second CD 3 second silence and a 1 minute 3 second pet reliant stun.(This might need to come down to 30/45seconds) Unlike viper sting and wyvern sting silence shot and intimidation have the exact same effect on everyone they're used against there is no imbalance here.
Freezing arrow changed to freezing shot (shares CD with ONLY Freezing Trap) 1.5 sec cast freezes the target in a block of ice. This would make it so the hunter now has no instant ranged CC but still has a ranged but it requires a cast time. It would be physical cast (which means no kick/pummel) but would be considered a spell meaning it could be grounded, reflected, immuned (clos/spell shield) etc.
Phase 3 - F poisons seriously
Poisons out & bleeds in
Rogues and warriors both have bleeds as part of their arsenal and bleeds are the DOT effect hunters should also have. The only class in the game that has ever utilized poisons to a fairly balanced effect have them on a high proc rate on their weapons that don't (in most cases) require GCD use to apply. (Hint: Rogues).
I think blizzard started to realize this when they talked about some of the MM changes to add bleeds to our shots. They just didn't really roll that idea in with the overhaul the class actually needs. Hunters are kind of like a quilt with different color patches that are sewn in and until we get those colored lined up the quilt will be ugly.
-Serpent Sting is now a bleed effect
-Scorpid Sting is now a bleed(see physical) effect
-Improved Stings is now improved bleeds
-Chimera shot adapted to have heightened effects on targets depending on the hunter bleed applied
-Noxious Stings changed to improved net throw (details in the next phase)
Phase 4 - Filling in the holes
BM 21, MM 41, SV 31 pt talent locations
In this phase we will attempt to fill in holes left by the removal of some abilities and the change of other abilities to base while keeping the new abilities in line with the trees they exist in.
BM 21 - Terrifying Roar(activated): Your pet roars at it's target inducing a fear lasting for 6 seconds 1minute CD this is a physical fear just like a warriors intimidating shout, shares DR with other player fears same damage breaking rules as warlock fear.
MM 41 - Aim at your Mark(passive) : This ability applies and refreshes your hunters mark ability anytime your target is afflicted with the aimed shot de-buff. This change would allow marked for death to actually be a usable PvP talent w/o forcing the hunter to spam burn globals on casting hunter's mark. Think of this the same as a DKs strike applying a poison.
SV 31 - Net Throw(active) : Hunters have wanted a net ability for A LONG time and this is the opportunity to add one. 25 yard range 6 second physical root instant cast w/travel time 1 minute CD deals no damage. Noxious stings would be changed to improved net throw like mentioned earlier reduces the cast speed of anyone afflicted by your net throw ability by 10/20/30%.
Phase 5 - Pets
How sturdy should our companions be?
With the change to warlock pet health numbers I really don't think it's unrealistic for our pets to at least share our health totals (when speced into the stamina talents) Pets have been given utility that we need to operate at full capacity and a hunter w/o a pet is crippled as much if not more than a warlock w/o a pet. Pet health levels should be tuned so that ferocity pets under us by 2-3k cunning pets near identical to our health and tenacity pets 2-3k above AFTER they train their stamina talents.
Revive Pet - You have to admit that 10 second pet summons are out dated. Revive pet should be a 4 second cast base and continue to be interrupted the same as any spell cast can be interrupted.
Improved Revive pet - Reduces the cast time of your revive pet by .5/1.0 and the mana cost reductions stay the same.
Phase 6 - Loose ends
Roots growing out of ice WTF?
I'll try to address some other things that are out of whack in this section starting with talents/abilities of the BM variety and moving on to MM and SV as you read further.
Pathfinding - Added bonus of increases the hunters base speed by the same amount as meta/boot enchant. Changed to 1 talent point and moved to tier 2. Essentially a lets you use a new meta/boot enchant for a talent point investment while making the transition out of tier 2 easier ( there is usually a "dummy" talent point we have to spend to advance to our 11 point BM talent. To free up the slot in tier 2 thick hide is moved to tier 1.
Spirit Bond - 1/2% health regen every 5 seconds instead of 10
Invigoration - costs 1 talent point instead of 2
Efficiency - Changed from 5 to 3 talent points at 3/6/9% mana reduction
Piercing Shots - Changed to "Gives your steady shot and aimed shot abilities a 5/10/15% chance to ignore all armor." 3/6/9% might be more inline something that would need tested.
Rapid Recuperation - Same effect except the rapid recuperation effect procs on Kill shot and Chimera shot critical strikes instead of on killing blows. This gives the later part of this talent uses in raids and PvP and it will help with MMs extreme mana inefficiency.
Chimera Shot - Remove the Viper sting tool tip as viper sting is no longer a hunter ability. Serpent sting does the same damage and modifiers chimera shot in the same way. Scorpid+Chimera stays the same except the sting is now a bleed.
Savage Strikes - Also increases MELEE auto attack crit chance
Entrapment - No longer has a chance to root the target for 4 seconds instead there is the same chance for a 1.0 second knock down.
TNT - Stun chance removed replaced with daze chance
Counter Attack - Works on dodges and parries but now has a 30/45 second cool down instead of a 5 second.
Trap Mastery - Changed to survival of the fittest(activated) Reduces all incoming damage by 30% for 10 seconds and increases the hunters maximum hit points by 20%. This will reduce those situations where a hunter has multiple frost traps down due to the duration increase the old talent had while providing SV with an actual 41pt talent which blizzard said they were going to add (a long time ago).
Sniper Training - Changed to "Keen Eye" strength of the talent reduced but removes the ranged stipulation. Increased the damage done by your explosive/aimed/steady by 1/2/3% DOWN from 2/4/6% and kill shot crit chance by 3/6/9% DOWN from 5/10/15% but reduces the minimum range by 1 yard per point. Currently kill shot has an 8 yard minimum (basically the old dead zone) and this talent could take it down to 7/6/5yard minimum putting it at the same place is our other ranged shots with a 3point talent investment.
Place the fire type (immolation, explosive, snake) on a separate cool down from the frost traps (frost, freezing)
The changes illustrated in this blog would accomplish these goals:
- Make the hunter play and act move like a true physical DPS class.
- Remove Imbalanced poison abilities such as Wyvern Sting and Viper Sting
- Fix the MM tree's reliance on easily removed abilities like serpent sting and hunters mark
- Fix the MM tree's extreme mana efficiency problems
- Address some outstanding balance/effect/talent issues
- Remove imbalanced instant ranged CC
- Increase a hunters on target lock down ability since we no longer have powerful instant ranged CC
- Address pet hit point/revive issues