Another Developer Twitter chat just came out — and I have to say it really seemed like they dodged a lot of questions, which I don’t really understand. Of the no doubt thousands of questions they get, why pick one to “answer” and then not answer it, or only partially answer it?
Anyhow, here is the hunter-related news:
Q. What is the design choice behind the focus recharge in Aspect of Fox, is it meant to replace Viper?
A. Aspect of the Fox is intended to be used for mobile damage or kiting. There is still some tuning to be done on Focus and this aspect, but that is the design goal.
Q. Will Hunters be able to pet-tank through cata (even if just beast masters)?
A. What, you didn’t see that video where some guy tanked Marowgar with his Gorilla? [Wiff! Dodge! Total avoidance!]
Q. How are you trying to separate the play styles of the hunter specializations? What makes Cobra Shot feel different from Steady Shot?
A. Cobra Shot is ideal for Beast Mastery and Survival hunters because they don’t really have any other way of keeping Serpent Sting up (Cobra Shot extends Serpent Sting’s duration), and also for Survival because it is “Elemental” damage. It’s also useful in PvP or in some other niche situations, say, when a creature is immune to physical damage. Now you have a solution.
Q. Concerning Marksmanship hunters, why is the PvP talent Resistance is Futile a prerequisite for PvE talent Marked for Death?
A. In an upcoming build it won’t be a prerequisite, and we want to change it to proc a free Kill Command instead of an instant critical.
Some other more general questions that still relate to us hunters were:
Q. Will the ability to run while shooting effect PvP or PvE battles more? What was the initial intention of the new ability?
A. With how encounters are today, damage-dealing while on the move is increasingly becoming important. You’ll see in a lot of classes we specifically are giving new ways for players to still do damage while on the move. That said, your damage while standing still casting or on a target in melee range should always be optimal. [I'm calling this a glancing blow... since they're generally nerfing our ability to shoot on the run, despite the auto-shot thing.]
Q. How do the mastery bonuses work now that they don’t show up on the talent interface anymore?
A. The mastery bonuses will be trainable passive bonuses somewhere around level 75. Each talent specialization will have a different Mastery available on the trainer with a base potency with 0 Mastery Rating. The character sheet interface will have additional information on the additional potency gained from Mastery Rating. [Ka-ching! Parry!]
Q: Are we going to be able to view the Mastery talent previews for Cataclysm soon as we can currently?
A. With the talent tree redesign, all the Masteries need to be re-implemented, and, in some cases, redesigned. This will require at least a couple of weeks before they will be available on beta. [Ah, there's the answer, and the next has more.]
Q: Can you provide some clarity on the 3rd Mastery that is affected item stats?
A. We recognized the earlier implementation of Mastery in the beta was confusing. Mastery is no longer directly associated with a talent tree, but is instead a passive effect learned from a trainer at a later level. That passive effect will now grant the third Mastery bonus you formerly saw in the talent tree pane. The passive effect will have a base value, and then Mastery rating will increase that effect further. The other two Mastery bonuses previously listed at the top of the talent tree pane have been removed, but, in some cases, have been reimplemented as passive specialization bonuses. Currently, in the beta, you cannot see any of the Masteries, as they need to be reimplemented after the talent tree redesign.
Q: How will pets scale with Mastery their masters’ Mastery?
A. The talent specializations that rely heavily on pets (Beast Mastery and Demonology, for example) have a Mastery that makes Mastery rating also increase pet damage. Other specializations that have pets, but whose pets do not benefit from Mastery, will have their Masteries balanced accordingly, taking into account that pets will not benefit from them.
Q: Will there be a “hard cap” for Mastery rating (to avoid having 101% chance of getting a critical block, for example)?
A, In the course of finalizing all of the Masteries for the various talent specializations, we will make sure that, in the expected gear a player can acquire from the final Cataclysm raid tiers, the player will not crash into a “hard cap” unless they go out of their way to stack Mastery more than is reasonable. This may require redesigning some of the Masteries as the rest of the class designs are finalized. [Answer: mebbe]
Okay, so the big thing that I’m seeing here is some clarification on what happened to mastery. It seems to me on first reading that they are ditching the old mastery system, and the 3 mastery bonuses. Now instead of the first 2 bonuses, you have your “specialization” abilities for choosing your talent tree. The third will still be via mastery, but may be something entirely different.
This leaves me thinking that our 2nd specialization, the whole “increased hit chance and pushback reduction” thing must be temporary. At least I hope so, ’cause it’s not too exciting. MM needs to have the armor pen — but perhaps they’ll lose Double Shot, which wasn’t remotely exciting anyway. Will SV still have both crit increase and elemental damage? BM surely must have pet damage as their third that scales with mastery.
I’m annoyed that they chose to take the pet tanking question and then not answer it, instead just referring to a Wrath pet tank. It’s also interesting to see that MM will end up proccing a free Kill Command (in which case we’ll actually use it). That’s yet another free proc for MM, which will further complicate their rotation, but hey, they’ll take it. Maybe. We’ll see how pet damage ends up after the pet design pass.
I was glad to see some answers to mastery stuff, but overall not a whole ton of insight in this developer chat for us hunters.