Focus -- We'll be messing with ability costs for some time. Depending on your weapon, autoshot costs can be higher than "focus dump" abilities, which clearly won't work. We're working on a DPCT priority list that makes more sense. As far as regen goes though, we think the current rate is about right. We don't want the rotation to become erratic and we like the gameplay of building focus through shots. In situations where you just can't stand still, such as kiting, you can use the new Aspect of the Fox. We've tied the focus regen for using cast-time shots during Aspect of the Hawk, otherwise there would be no reason to be in anything but Fox. Focus is more of a combo between rage and energy, since you build it and use it up. The skill of playing a hunter involves keeping your focus high enough -- as it is somewhat random due to procs -- but use it before you overflow.
This will delay the number crunching quite a bit. I wonder what "some time" means. Will we be a nice and settled by the time the xpac goes gold? It does sound like they expect us to do far more aspect twisting than we are doing now. I smell new mods!
Shots -- Each hunter talent tree has a "signature" focus dump: Survival has Explosive Shot, Marks has Chimera Shot, and Beastmaster has Raccoon Shot... I mean Kill Command. These all have cooldowns, so if you are at 100 focus, use Kill Command and still have focus left over, you can use Arcane Shot next. This is why Explosive and Arcane no longer share cooldowns. Once you figure out which abilities to use for each spec, the number of abilities you need to manage should feel less daunting. For example, Marks would use Serpent Sting, Steady Shot, Arimed Shot, Chimera Shot and Arcane Shot on a boss fight, and Serpent Sting gets refreshed automatically. Think less in terms of shot rotations and more in terms of prioritizations.
Well we're not going to change too much, we'll still have a priority list and not a strict rotation. It should keep the faceroll DPS far below anyone putting in an effort. Its also nice to see BM getting some love. Its been the red headed step child for most of WOTLK and it looks like they are trying to make all 3 trees viable for raiding.
Pets -- We haven't done our design pass on them yet. The design is for them to no longer receive raid buff since they get complete scaling from the master (and we don't want them to double dip). Their abilities will be divided into 3 categories: basic focus dumps (e.g. Claw), specials (e.g. web), and exotic abilities for the BM exotic pets. Specials never cost focus and basics have short cooldowns but meaningful damage. All pets will do the same dps. We don't want "wolf or die" in Cataclysm (and before that it was cat). Each pet family will bring a unique raid buff, allowing hunters to be wildcards for when you are lacking something. The ease of swapping pets will facilitate this further.
Another unfinished hunter item. Makes me a little nervous but I'm hopeful we'll be able to get enough testing in before release. I say we in the hopes that the gaming gods send me a beta invite.
Pets sharing buffs with the Hunter means I no longer have to whine for kings on my pet. I will no longer have to ask for a rebuff on my pet. It sounds like my pet will no longer need its own food (hooray!)
The unique specials sounds interesting. Means maybe I can break my cat back out sometimes. The extra slots are going to come in handy for all of this. Some pets may be more beneficial to certain encounters than others. I'm very curious to see how it will all fall out (gaming gods, beta invite)
Cobra Shot -- We're not happy with the damage yet. We want BM to basically not use Steady ever again. Marks may use Cobra in PvP situations where spell damage trumps physical damage.
Its nice to see MM get a decent spell based shot for PvP. All the other kids laugh at us when we use Arcane Shot.
Kill Command -- We like the Frenzy / Focus Fire mechanic, but are likely to make it it's own clicky and not tied to Kill Command. Kill Command itself will be the signature focus dump for BM. For other specs, it will be more situational, such as dealing damage to a target out of your (but not your pet) LoS. Marks also has the Resistance is Futile talent to give it some more use.
Just admit it, you're jealous that we have a talent called Resistance is Futile.
- Resistance is Futile: When your marked target attempts to run, flee or move, you have a [10%/20%/30%] chance to cause your next Steady Shot or Cobra Shot within 8 sec to critically hit on them.
Aimed Shot -- We are returning this ability to be an opener once again, like Ravage or Ambush. In longer fights, Master Marskman can proc instant Aimed Shots, to keep the ability relevant.
AE damage -- The design is that you use Multi-Shot on 2+ targets, and Explosive Trap and Volley on 4+ targets.
Venoms -- The focus cost may be too high. However, don't expect to have to use these on every target. Part of separating Serpent Sting from the Venoms so that they could be more situational. Even Serpent Sting isn't necessary on every target, especially those that will die quickly. Instead 2-3 Steadies with an Arcane or Kill Shot should do the job. Hunters are used to using every ability on every target because there is no real resource cost with mana. Now priority and efficiency become important.
Ultimately, we think these changes will solve some of the problems the hunter class has had as well as making them more fun to play, or we wouldn't be going through so much re-design. :)
Venoms and stings sound interesting. It will give hunters a bit more utility while not having a massive DPS loss.
I'm just glad to see them come out so quickly after the hunter info was made public to explain what's going on. Gives me more hope that the class will be something amazing come Cataclysm.