I’ve finally decided to write my analysis of the new hunter talents for World of Warcraft, coming in WoTLK. I’ve already skimmed over them quickly in a previous post but I want to now take the oppurtunity to go through each talent tree and talk about how each will hold up on their own in PvE, PvP and ofcourse, Arena. The difference between Arena and PvP is subtle but is definately worth mentioning. I’ll also have a go at trying to make a “near-perfect” build of each tree in my point of view. I’ll do a different tree each day over the next couple of days, starting with Beast Mastery.
To me, this looks like a very promising tree. It’s currently the raider’s favourite and I doubt that will change all too much. The first changes to the tree only begin at Tier 3 with a 1 point talent, Master’s Call. At first it seems like a pretty decent talent and as far as I can see, it can be targetted on anyone, not just the hunter or the pet, making this a pretty decent talent for Arena and even PvP. Ofcourse, it will still have it’s usage in PvE content. It also costs 7% of base mana which I think would be about 3% or so of my overall mana, not too shabby for a tier 3 talent.
The next change to the tree isn’t until Tier 8, with the introduction of Invigoration. Now, it’s nice that BM Hunters finally get a nice source of mana regen. However, what doesn’t seem fair is that this talent far outweighs the benefit for the hunter than the other new Survival talent, Hunting Party. With Focused Fire, the Kill Command crit rate is relatively high meaning that you could get this off every 5 seconds. Along with the other special abilities given to pets in WoTLK, I think it’s very likely to get an Invigoration proc every 5 seconds. Hunting Party is definately bounds more beneficial to a party than Invigoration, but to the hunter alone, the 8 second cooldown will drastically have an impact on mana regen. But with Thill of The Hunt also in use for Hunting Party, I’m sure that Surv hunters won’t have too much of an issue.
The next set of new talents come alongside the now end talent at Tier 9. Longevity will reduce the cooldown on Intimidation, Bestial Wrath and pet specials by 30%. This will take BW to 1min 24 (if my math is any good these days) and Intimidation down to 42 seconds. Personally I always felt that Intimidation was always on cooldown for that little bit more than you needed. I’ve found many times in Arena needing it but not quite being able to use it yet. This reduction in cooldown is very much welcomed but is a very nice Tier 9 talent, worthy of the stuff you’d expect to see so far in. The reduction on CD on BW is also going to boost BM dps in raids significantly.
The other new Tier 9 talent is Cobra Strikes. This talent will give your Arcane Shots, Steady Shots and Kill Shots a 60% chance when critted to make your pet’s next 3 specials crit. Again, if my math is correct, if you’re running on about 30% crit, your Steady Shots, Arcane Shots and Kill Shots will have about an 18% chance to proc this, subsequently then proccing Invigoration 3 times. If my math is also correct, with Serpant’s Swiftness, you’ll be getting Steady Shots off every 1.2 seconds. Now let’s just say that you forget about Arcane Shot and Kill Shot and just fire 50 Steady Shots off in a minute. Since they are getting rid of clipping Auto Shots, spamming Steady Shot won’t hinder your dps. If you managed to keep this up that would make 9 critted shots every minute, making a Cobra Strike proc happen every 6.666 seconds. With Go For The Throat, your pet will pretty much be fighting to get rid of its Focus meaning that your pet will definately be able to get 2 or 3 crits off before your next proc. This will eventually make you generate 54% of your mana back every minute with no strings attached. This to me seems incredibly over powered, I’ll definately be wanting to test this out as soon as I hit 80.
Now up to Tier 10, and things are slowing down a little with Aspect Mastery. I’ve always hated talents that don’t scale, and here’s another one right now. This talent gives a flat 50% +ap from your aspect of the hawk. The Rank 10 AoTH gives 300 ap, making this talent boost it to 450. Not shabby, but it’s a shame that it won’t scale to your ap or anything. The bonuses to Aspect of the Viper and Cheetah however are pretty good. This talent will give the hunter 10% of the mana drained from a target via AoTV back to the Hunter. The talent will also reduce damage done to you by 10% whilst using AoTCheetah. Not an amazing talent, but I can see it being useful, especially if you need 5 more talents to get to the Tier 11 talent.
So finally, Beast Mastery, the end talent. I’ve already discussed how the Pet Talent trees are looking good already, but with 5 more Pet Talent Points from this talent make this a worthy end talent. This will allow BM hunters to max their pets out and make them stand out dps-wise hugely. The Exotic Pet idea is also interesting, meaning that BM hunters will also have exceptional pets compared to non-BM hunters. This talent is the sort of thing you’d expect at the end of a tree and will be worth getting for every BM hunter. With the vastness in speccing your pets via their talents, this will be essential to really make it be a fully fledged OT or tank (especially when farming), a balls-to-the-walls dps kitty or even just a nice bit of nuisance in Arena. Either of these three ways are very viable indeed and with the expansion of the Stable to have 2 more slots for your pets, it’s almost as if Blizzard want every hunter to go BM.