It’s official, patch 4.2 is going live and bringing with it a new tier of raid content, new gear, the new hunter t12 set, and basic hunter changes. The WHU SV Build, BM Build and MM Build guides have been updated to reflect 4.2 changes (and a couple of overdue tweaks while I was at it) as have a handful of the other guides.
Here is the roundup of everything going on for hunters in patch 4.2.
Hunter 4.2 Patch Notes
- Multi-shot damage has been reduced. It now deals 120% weapon damage at level 80 or higher, down from 137%.
- Traps now scale with hunter stats such as hit, expertise, spell penetration and attack power as intended.
- Careful Aim now grants additional critical strike chance against targets over 90% health, up from 80% health.
- Black Arrow damage done has been increased by roughly 40%.
- 10 new rare tamable beasts have been added, each of which provides a unique taming challenge. Will you be the first hunter to tame Deth’tilac, the rarest and most powerful of them all? Players will need to progress through the Hyjal Regrowth and Molten Front daily questing areas in order to unlock access to the full gamut of taming challenges.
- Intervene (Pet Tenacity) has been redesigned. The pet runs at high speed toward a group member, reducing the damage done by the next melee or ranged attack made against them equal to 50% of the pet’s total health.
- The Aggressive pet stance has been removed and replaced with the Assist stance. This stance will cause the player’s pet to attack the player’s target. The pet will not change targets unless the master attacks a new target for a few seconds.
- Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: Hibernate, Entangling Roots, Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap, Polymorph, Repentance, Shackle Undead, Blind, Hex, Bind Elemental, Banish, Seduction.
- Hunter pets will stay out and run along side their master when the hunter is mounted on a ground mount.
- In battlegrounds, hunter aspects persist through death.
We have a couple of fairly significant changes here, and a handful of minor ones. The Multi-Shot nerf is an adjustment after the recent buff — clearly Blizzard feels they overbuffed Multi-Shot and tweaked it back down. Overall this is still a big gain to Multi-Shot from what it was before, and hunter aoe will remain strong.
The trap scaling is a bit confusing for one reason: expertise. Expertise is not a hunter stat, though our pets to gain expertise along with our hit rating. Our traps shouldn’t be able to be blocked or parried anyway (maybe our snakes can?) so it’s an odd statement. My hunch here is that they just fixed traps to get all stats from hunters, and when updating the tooltip they included expertise even though that’s not actually something that’s going to come into play.
The Careful Aim nerf is very substantial for MM hunters, and also nicks SV hunters a bit. For MM hunters the Careful Aim nerf could be as much as a 5% dps loss; however, this is going to push MM back down to the BM dps range, which is a good thing for class balance. MM will continue to use the Careful Aim talent, but SV will not be interested in it at all anymore.
The Black Arrow buff is a much needed buff for SV, and compensates for the Careful Aim dps loss and then some, bringing’s SV’s single target dps up a couple percent to bring them more in line with BM as well — in addition this makes Black Arrow clearly better than trap launching an Explosive Trap to proc your Lock & Loads.
We are also seeing 10 new pets added to the game, and all of these pets include very specific taming challenges. Rather than just walking up, dropping a trap, and pressing the tame button, each of these pets will require special techniques to survive the taming process. The pets include several new spirit beasts and five lava spiders — most of them are reused skins with just a change in color, alas, but the mercury crab and obsidian cat are cool. You can read about how and where to tame the new pets in the patch 4.2 pet roundup.
Patch 4.2 Hunter Tier 12 Set: Flamewaker’s Battlegear
Patch 4.2 of course brings us our brand spanking new t12 set, along with the new t12 set bonuses. The new t12 hunter set is the Flamewaker’s Battlegear, and it’s definitely a step up in badassedness from our Murloc Stalker set from t11. Personally, I’m not sure about the horns, but I did armor that’s on fire. Now when we’re hunting something, they’ll never find us! (’cause, you know, we’ll be hunting amongst the flames of the firelands).
Hunter t12 set bonuses:
- Hunter T12 two-piece Your Steady Shot and Cobra Shot have a 10% chance to trigger a Flaming Arrow, dealing 80% instant weapon damage as fire.
- Hunter T12 four-piece You have a 10% chance from your Auto Shots to make your next shot or Kill Command cost no focus.
The hunter t12 set is a definite step up from t11 in damage-dealing potential. In particular the 2-piece set bonus is really, really good (as opposed to our t11 set bonus which sucked). Figure your average hunter will be getting well over 300 dps from the t12 2-piece set bonus. SV benefits the most from this set bonus, of course, since their mastery amplified all magical damage dealt — including the fire damage of the 2-piece proc.
The 4-piece set bonus isn’t the giant step up that we usually expect. In fact, in most cases the 4-piece set bonus will be pretty similar in dps gain to the 2-piece. MM benefits significantly more from the 4-piece bonus with the ability to use the proc for Aimed Shot hardcasts.
For a full rundown of the details of the set bonus numbers, including when to switch to the t12 set, see the Hunter t12 Set Bonus DPS Numbers article.
Valor and Justice Point Changes
As soon as patch 4.2 drops, all of your valor points will turn into the lesser justice points — and everything that currently costs valor points will now cost justice points. The new gear will require spending valor points that you’ll get from doing the t12 raids, and of course the heroic & Zandalari dailies. The old t11 raid bosses will now grant justice points instead of valor points.
Additionally, the maximum number of valor points you can gain in a week has been lowered to 980 (down from 1,250). In theory this maximum number will be available from heroics and Zandalari heroics alone, without even stepping foot into a raid.
PvP Ranged Weapon Harder to Get
There will of course be new pvp gear, including new pvp ranged weapons. Unfortunately the pvp weapons (see: guns) will be much harder to acquire for pve hunters and take a vastly longer amount of time — around 2 months of capping your weekly PvP points — because before you can buy season 10 conquest weapons you’ll have to have a acquired a minimum sum of conquest points that is vastly more than the price of the item (the example given was a melee weapon that cost 3,400 but required at least 11,650 total points gained to unlock it).
DMC: Hurricane Nerfed
Darkmoon Card: Hurricane was substantially nerfed:
Darkmoon Card: Hurricane damage done when triggered has been increased by 40%, however, it can no longer deal critical strikes and no longer receives any modifiers to its damage from the equipping player.”
In other words: it’s damage is lower and it’s no longer affected by SV’s mastery. Sorry everyone who shelled out a ton of cash for it. It’s not exactly bad or anything, just no longer a contender for top 3 or 4 trinkets.
Tier 12 Upgrades
A new system is in place to upgrade tier 12 gear — Crystallized Firestone will drop from Firelands bosses in heroic mode, and can be exchanged at a vendor outside the Firelands raid instance to upgrade some of your tier 12 gear. The fascinating thing about this system is you can actually use it to upgrade items that are purchased with valor points — which traditionally have not had any upgrade/heroic option.
New Craftable Gear
- Dragonfire Gloves are the new leatherworking craftable gloves. They are not as good as raid drop equivalents.
- Extreme-Impact Hole Puncher is the new engineering craftable gun, and sadly the only new gun available in patch 4.2. It is a new heroic-equivalent gun, and will not be competitive with the ranged weapons that drop from raids.
- Flinklocke’s Woodchucker is the totally awesome new scope that will be engineering craftable, and will likely be the new scope of choice for hunters. Reports suggest that it will take nearly a month of daily grinding before engineers are able to get the schematic, however. Available from Damek Bloombeard after completing Additional Armaments.
- Earthen Scale Sabatons are a new leatherworking craftable boots — thus far I haven’t seen a raid equivalent, though I assume there will be one, and these will likely be as good or better with the red socket and agility socket bonus.
New Valor Point Vendor Gear
As usual, the vendor gear for valor points is quite good, and often our best choice for raiding gear.
- Bracer’s of Forked Lightning for 1,250 valor points. Note that there is a raid alternative with hit rating, that may be preferable to many hunters.
- Necklace of Smoke Signals for 1,250 valor points
- Splintered Brimstone Seal for 1,250 valor points
We do have some new gear available through reputation, which are all available from the new Avengers of Hyjal faction. These include:
- Sleek Flamewrath Cloak available when you’re friendly with the new Avengers of Hyjal faction, is sadly worse than the raiding equivalent cloak.
- Firearrow Belt is available at honored
- Ancient Petrified Seed required revered with the Avengers of Hyjal. The trinket could be worth using for a time, though Fluid Death is still better than the seed.
- Viridian Signet of the Avengers, a ring available through exalted rep with Avengers of Hyjal (well, that and 500 gold).
For a full rundown on all of the new raid gear coming available for hunters in patch 4.2, including which pieces are better, you can see my Patch 4.2 Hunter Gear article over on WoW Insider — this also includes the rep and craftable gear.
Hunter Spec Balance in 4.2
A lot of hunters are asking which spec is going to be on top in patch 4.2 — will the MM hunters still be leading, or will the Careful Aim nerf give rise to a new spec? The short answer is, unfortunately, that we don’t know for certain yet. On the surface, it looks like the MM nerf is just taking them down to about the theoretical level of the other specs, so all three should be more balanced than ever.
In practice, the answer is going to have a lot to do with the specific mechanics of the boss fights, and whether we hunters figure out some new trick that lets one spec squeeze ahead. But right now the balance looks great, with BM leading on movement single-target fights, and SV leading on most aoe fights.