Cataclysm: Hunter talents in the Beta Part Spon

In which I take a look at what’s changed while I’ve been away. This post was written circa Cataclysm Beta build uuuhh…

Author’s Note: I am relying on the Wowhead talent calculator for a lot of this information. It was updated today and unfortunately some of the below is now invalidated. I’ll get round to updating it when it’s later than 0200 and I’ve had some sleep. I love the new BM icon though, even if it is a little unclear at distance…

Author’s Note Note: 4.0.1 is here. I’ve put up a possible BM build over here.

Good grief, the talent trees have changed a bit since we went AFK. I’m actually pretty happy with the Beast Mastery tree as it stands now as I’m able to pick up pretty much everything I want to as a PvE player. I don’t feel like I have to pass over any cool talents in favour of something that’s a straight DPS increase and therefore mandatory. I’m still not sure that Marksmanship and Survival are quite right though.

Disclaimer: I’m not in the Beta and can’t really say how the three specs play in practice. I’ve heard that Beast Mastery is currently crushingly superior in PvE which disappoints me. Yeah, I’m a Beastmaster and I want to no longer be the least of the three hunter specs, but I also want my hunterly friends to be able to play as Marksmen or Survivors if they wish. I certainly do not want them to be compelled to play Beast Mastery against their preference and resent the spec because of it.

Disclaimer disclaimer: Of course spec balancing hasn’t occurred yet. I know this! What concerns me is that the Marksmanship and Survival trees still have quite a few very situational talents and points that must be spent in things which are of limited use in PvE in order to get to the good stuff. I didn’t feel that I had to spend a single point in the Beast Mastery tree in something I didn’t really want.

What’s changed that I can remember and have actually taken note of:

  • One with Nature now provides a 30% boost to Hawk up from the original 25% and the (erroneous) 15%. The boost to Fox is now +3 Focus Restored rather than a percentage (which is good as even 10% was a very small amount extra – less than 1 focus per tick).
  • The spec passive bonuses and masteries have been added. Beast Masters receive Animal Handler, a 25% extra AP and Mastery of Beasts which is a 20% (+2.5% for each point of mastery) boost to pet damage. This means the following sentence is possible: Beast Mastery’s Mastery is Master of Beasts. Meanwhile Marksmen receive Artisan Quiver (uh… sure) which is a 15% boost to auto-shot damage. Their Mastery is Wild Quiver (how many quivers must Marksmen carry nowadays?!) which is a 16% (+2% for every point of mastery) chance for every ranged attack to trigger a second instant attack for 50% damage. How good is this? I have no idea. Survivors receive Into the Wilderness which grants them an extra 15% agility and their mastery is Essence of the Viper, a 20% (+2.5% per point of mastery) boost to all elemental damage. Didn’t the original concept of this grant ALL survival attacks elemental damage? This seems to only improve attacks that already deal elemental damage.
  • What happened to Cobra Shot being a Beast Mastery signature shot? I can’t see any talents that actually improve it any more, Rhumba is gone and there’s nothing in the BM tree Masteries that would improve it. Hmm…
  • Not talent related, but: Camo has been nerfed into near-utter-uselessness since I last looked. Bah. Talent related: Blizzard are still fixed on Beast Within not breaking crowd control. I hope they know what they’re doing. I don’t hear the sounds of the rogue community (the anti-hunters I feel) rubbing their hands together in glee just yet but I suppose I wouldn’t. Stealth, you know. As opposed to fake stealth that can now be broken by AoE and therefore doesn’t even protect us from ranged damage like they said it would.
  • Again, not talent specific but… They took volley out? As if our multi-target damage wasn’t poor enough. I hope that New Multi Shot is good…
  • Alright, so I didn’t make specific enough notes in the last post and can’t remember what the previous build’s talent trees were like. I’ve been away for a while, cut me some slack!

Actually I don’t have that much more to say at this particular point, so have this:

Dear Ghostcrawler, I would like to take this opportunity to feed back to you my thoughts on ikjnmlln oijlnihujnihujbil;uj

Nimitz… Take your giant kitty paw off of my keyboard please.
Mwrmrrrrr!
I know you’re upset about Blizzard not doing your special ability design yet. Just be thankful you’re not losing your ability to break CC.
Rawwrrrrr…
Alright, alright. I’ll ask for you.

Dear Ghostcrawler, my spotted snowsabre wants to know what his special ability will be for Cataclysm. He’s a little nervous that the developers have forgotten or that cats are being removed or something. Now of course I know that this is EAAARGH GOOD LADY DRAGONQUEEN PRESERVE ME!

With a terrific crashing the door beside Durkon collapses inwards causing him to actually type the above exclamation in sheer shock. Through the dust and shattered wood, eyes burn. It is Ryoku the Spirit Beast.
RRRRAAAAAAAAARRRGH!

By Elune’s Light lad! You scared me half to death! What do ye want? And why have ye torn asunder my door?!
The Spirit Beast locks eyes with his person. An image flashes into Durkon’s mind: Ryo pouncing upon a crab and viciously shredding it with tooth and claw.
Ah. This’ll be about your primary Cataclysm special, aye? Right.

Dear Ghostcrawler, I would like to protest in the strongest possible terms the marginalisation and virtual relegation to utter uselessness of the Spirit Beast in Cataclysm. A 3k or so heal every 45 seconds when tanks have in excess of 100k health? Really? What is the meaning of this?! Ryoku, my Spirit Beast may not be raid viable if this change goes in but he still does the same DPS as any other ferocity beast and should this anger him sufficiently I’m afraid that I cannot vouch for the safety of you or your and we would both be very disappointed by this.

This message is never sent as Durkon is distracted by a Nether Drake at the window and returns to find a big spotted sabrecat from Dun Morogh asleep on his keyboard.

I’ll play with this some more when I’m not so sleep deprived, maybe run up some possible builds. I’ve got the BM tree sorted to my satisfaction but I’m not sure where to put the 10 extra points after 31. Marksmanship? Survival? Both? I’m just guessing here since my beta invite is still nowhere to be found, no doubt lost in the Interweb somewhere.

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