Cataclysm: Hunter talents in the Beta MkII

In which I look at the new 31-point talent trees in Cataclysm Beta Build 12479.

EDIT: This is a little outdated. Please see a more recent appraisal of the talent system here.

For my current 4.0.1 Talent Build, please see here. (Clicky!)

Yeah, the last time I wrote about this Blizzard instantly obliterated the talent trees and rebuilt them around a 31-point tree. This is not going to stop me writing about the new, just released 31 point trees :P

The good news is that most of the key abilities I spoke about in the last post are still in, it’s all the other ‘filler’ abilities that have gone.

That’s not to say that we haven’t lost a few things though: Beast Mastery has lost Improve Revive Pet which is going to put us on the same long, long, long, long cast timer as the other specs. If you’re a marksman or survivor and you lose your pet, you don’t both reviving him. I’m a Beastmaster. If I lose my pet, I have to stop DPSing (on a boss fight) for TEN SECONDS and burn 35% of my Mana. The effect of losing a pet on a raid boss is already crippling for Beast Masters – in Cataclysm, if you lose your pet you may as well run in front of the dragon because you’re done being useful in this fight. And PvP? Have you any idea how squishy pets are in PvP? All your Beast Mastery cooldowns and intimidation are tied to your pet…

With that said, I’m not entirely sure where the points would come from right now to put into Imp. Revive if it was still there. Skipping Imp. Mend, Spirit Bond and Envenomation I’ve still run over on points in the BM tree – 35/6/0. The tree clearly isn’t finished yet – there is no place to pull points from to put into the survivability talents (apart from Marks and I’m not running with a 41/0/0 spec).

Random Strangeness:

  • Currently, you can pick up The Beast Within before Bestial Wrath. Negative, this was a wowtal error.
  • Level 10 hunters now get a signature ability upon choosing their spec – this we knew. For Beast Masters it’s Intimidation (yay!). Survivors get Explosive Shot (Whoa! At level 10!). Marksmen get Aimed Shot. Which deals 300% weapon damage + a lot. Because… level ten hunters are proficient in managing aggro. Also means that non-marksmen won’t be getting Aimed Shot any more.
  • I missed this in the previous post, but Lock and Load – a key Survival talent currently – only procs on targets trapped by Freezing or Frost traps, which bosses are immune to. To restore its current functionality, you must also put three points in TNT, a rare example of players having to spend more points on something in the 31 point trees than in the current 51 point trees.
  • One with Nature now improves Hawk only by 15% (25% before) and Fox by 6% (10%) – they’ve obviously just taken the previous five-point talent and reduced it to three points without rebalancing it. I suspect that’ll change.
  • Sniper Training improves the damage of aimed shot – it is currently impossible for any non-marksmanship hunter to pick up Aimed Shot.
  • Similarly, readiness still specifies that it doesn’t affect Bestial Wrath despite being deeeep in the MM tree and well beyond the reach of any BM hunter.

What’s Likely to Change:
This is a very rough preview of our talent trees of the future. While interesting, these trees actually don’t meet the specified objective of the developers – there is no choice here. If these specs went live, there would be a very rigid cookie-cutter spec lacking even the one or two floating points present in current guideline specs. There are a LOT of rough edges here, too. Just look at the list of random strangeness above!

A certain degree of combining / moving around of talents is sure to occur in all three trees. Example: Tier 3 in Beast Mastery has Envenomation (useful), Fervor (amazing), Focus Fire (amazing) and Cobra Strikes (just as good as it is today). The same tier in Marksmanship has Silencing Shot (situational), Concussive Barrage (situational; useless on most boss fights) and Dazzled Prey (situational; useless on most boss fights). Over in Survival we have Point of No Escape (situational; doesn’t work on bosses), Counterattack (it’s melee), Lock and Load (the version that does nothing to bosses) and Survival Tactics (useful for surviving, not so much for killing). Granted, if you’re working on a PvP spec the MM and SV talents will look pretty nice to you, but for raiding? Eargh.

These talent trees are basically broken in their current form. As a Beastmaster I don’t have nearly enough points to pick up all the stuff I want, as the tree is absurdly crammed full of good talents. Marksmen and Survivors on the other hand cannot build a raiding spec without wasting a number of points on skills that are essentially useless to them.

What is not likely to change:
It’s unlikely that the length of the trees will change now Blizzard has set their minds on this – not unless the shortened versions don’t allow them to achieve their goals. The 31-point talents will probably remain the same unless they give Chimaera shot to level 10 marksmanship hunters, which is a possibility.

Conclusion / What is the point of this post existing foolish dwarf:
These talent trees will change. They will probably change quite a bit, since the only thing Blizzard has done currently is cull talents they see as less useful and reduce the number of points you put into certain talents. They haven’t even scaled the talents for the lower number of points yet! These trees are very, very, very preliminary and it shows. Why did I write about it?

  1. Because I can’t resist writing up my thoughts on this stuff.
  2. It’s documentary – soon we will have a hunter talent tree which actually works to some extent, and I’ll be able to look back and say “Ah. Here’s how it’s changed.”

Wowtal – MMO Champion: Beta Hunter Talent Calculator Build 12479 Patch Notes
Wowhead talent calculator: Updated and working more correctly than wowtal.

EDIT: Added Wowhead’s talent calculator, which shows levels and calculates prerequisite talents properly.


2 thoughts on “Cataclysm: Hunter talents in the Beta MkII

  1. furnurgler 15/07/2010 / 02:31

    I had a bit of a play with the Surv tree and when I got to 31……I felt like i needed at leat another 5 points to put in there and then pick up some MM love. Feels a little bloated with talents at the moment.


  2. Durkonkell 15/07/2010 / 02:48

    Oh, the talent trees in their current form are almost comically broken. It amazes me that Imp. Revive Pet and Imp. Hunter’s Mark got the axe but Counterattack gets to stay in! And Pathfinding!

    Perhaps BM will get quicker pet revives and MM will get better Hunter’s Marks as baseline and they’re just NYI? Who can tell. Looking forward to the next build!

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