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.

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  1. Urfeck says:

    It almost feels as though the boys and girls at Blizz have a clearer view of what they want MM to look and feel like, but are still kinda up in the air about Survival and BM. Like:
    “Yeah, and then we’ll add some more damage to MM! And some cool new Mastery stuff! And a free Kill Command!”
    “So, what will we add to Beast Mastery?”
    “They already have Pets!! What more could they want?”
    “And Survival?”
    “Ummm…maybe a new trap? Or something…?”

    Let’s hope the focus improves just a bit :-)

  2. kyeema says:

    pushback reduction thought only casters had push back or do rogues get pushback too
    seems we are getting cooldowns + spell pushback

    does haste effect our “cast” times …please reassure me it will be ok and looks nice

  3. Skarn says:

    I’ve felt the opposite, Urfeck. The Marks tree feels the least polished to me, like Blizzard isn’t yet sure what they want to do with Marks. It seems to me like they have a better idea for BM and Survival. Yay for perception and opinion!

    I’m pleased with the change to Resistance is Futile though. A free Kill Command is a great deal more interesting than an “it might crit” Kill Command. Removing it as a pre-req for Marked for Death is excellent. This talent has dropped out of my “most hated” spot now.

    And yes, I agree that hit chance and pushback resistance are incredibly dull passives.

  4. Frostheim says:

    Yes haste lowers cast times. Yes, we are affected by pushback, both now and in cataclysm. Anything with a cast time (steady shot) is subject to pushback when we’re taking damage. Currently the Focused Aim talent gives us steady pushback reduction.

    I also agree that pushback reduction kinda sucks. It’s better for casters (mostly useful for pvp) because if they’re getting attacked they can still cast. Generally if we’re getting attacked that means someone’s in melee and we can’t shoot anyway.

  5. Corwyn says:

    Has anyone tested a beta hunter with a high lag connection? A hunter with a 1 second global cooldown, and a shot to return resources is going to be pressing a button every second, and any lag is going to be directly to damage (not) done, yes?

    I often have substantial lag (over 500ms), if I am not going to be able to play my hunter, I would like to know, before I shell out for Cataclysm.

  6. Edathren says:

    Regarding that part about a free Kill Command screwing up the MM rotation further… Is Kill Command now on the GCD? If not, then I don’t see a problem. It will be similar to how it is now, except we will only be pushing it on procs, rather than based on the CD.

  7. Jindrax says:

    Obviously the devs didn’t see Arth’s pet tanking Sindragosa.
    I was kinda confused with Resistance is Futile and Marked for Death… Solved.
    I didn’t get it: chimera shot will reset SS’s duration? I thought it would not.

  8. Arthemystia says:

    I’ll be honest and say I’m shocked they’re even thinking about pet tanking. I have no idea if that’s a good thing or not, especially since they seem to have no clear answer for it.

  9. Skarn says:

    Jindrax,
    Chimera Shot will continue to refresh Serpent Sting’s duration just as it does now on live. There has never (to my knowledge) been a time in Cataclysm that Chimera has NOT refreshed Serpent Sting. I’m surprised you thought otherwise. :) Chimera no longer gets a damage boost from Serpent Sting though. That’s not technically a nerf since all hunter damage will be rebalanced around that and all the other things that are changing.

  10. Hawkeye says:

    I didnt like how they answered some pointless questions, like the one about the tophat-monocle thing, but i HUGE amount of questions about wether intimidation was going to stay as BM’s ability, not answered at all.

  11. Deepfriedegg says:

    @Skarn
    I thing absence of Chimera´s Serpent Portion is already “rebalanced” by increasing the basic damage of Chimera from 125% to 190%.

  12. Kyle says:

    @ Corwyn
    Keep in mind that this is, in fact, the beta. If there are latency/lag issues in the beta, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be those same issues upon release. The only way to know for sure on how Cataclysm will affect your computer is to install it and try it out. Sorry if this didn’t really help you with your problems, but this is the only real solution that I see. If someone else sees another option, please, correct me :)

  13. Jae says:

    Still no mention of the Hunter dead zone being removed? How can Blizzard think that having almost the entire dps abilities shut down by moving closer to the dude with the firearm is still good design?

  14. Getoffmynots says:

    We need a point blank shot that we can fire in the dead zone for 125% damage and a 30 sec cooldown. = p

  15. Rambo says:

    I can’t believe some people are still talking about a “dead zone” when it was in fact removed years ago from WoW.

  16. Getoffmynots says:

    It does get annoying when trying to stay close enough to the raid when everyone is up the bosses bum but far enough away to still shoot.

  17. Jae says:

    @Rambo, Sure the true dead zone has been removed, but whenever anyone talks about it nowadays they are referring to the melee zone ie the point at which the hunter puts down his weapon and lose control of all his major dps abilities and starts tickling the mob/enemy.

    Problem is whenever anyone says melee zone, it confuses peeps. So, until someone invents and promotes a more accurate term, dead zone it is.

  18. Frostheim says:

    The proper terminology is “minimum range.” Hunters have a minimum range that screws them over in pvp ;)

  19. raynoth of hakkar says:

    so what about the survival rotation in cata how will it be diffrent since we will no longer be able to use aimed shot

  20. wotfan2 says:

    Unfortunately, I may be totally in the dark about this “dead zone” but I have observed that in some situations the “minimum range” for ranged attack and “maximum range” for melee are not always identical. This occurs mostly in pve content when a mob slips past the tank and starts waylaying on me, i have failed to be able to do a wing clip or mongoose with md up and i could not shoot them either. So, if this is not a “dead zone” what is it?

  21. Eelfyy says:

    Just wondering if this is a bug but while under the effects of BW you can get stunned feared seduced basically being able to be CCD anyone now