After the datamining discovery that hunters would be able to cast Cobra Shot and Steady Shot while moving as a base ability, and Aspect of the Fox is being removed entirely, I was dubious that all was as peachy as it sounded. Given Blizzard’s past statements about ranged DPS while moving, I suspected we weren’t going to just get full movement dps for free. There was another shoe, and it was waiting to drop.
A recent tweet from Ghostcrawler suggests that, at least for the time being, we are in fact getting it all for nothing. When asked on Twitter if there would be any kind of penalty Ghostcrawler replied:
We might reintroduce Sniper Training if hunters never stop moving, but not for 5.1.
In other words, come patch 5.1 hunters can DPS all out standing still or on the move with no down side. Well, except MM can’t hardcast aimed shot while moving, but really, until some buffs come in MM isn’t a seriously represented spec anyway. On the other hand, Ghostcrawler followed up with another related tweet, that tells us that Blizzard is going to be watching this situation closely:
Definitely worried that moving will be too good for hunters, but it was better than Aspect twisting.
For those younin’s out there, Sniper Training was a SV ability that boosted damage while standing still. If Blizzard decides to explore this route at some time in the future, the likely implementation will be to reduce the damage of Cobra/Steady Shot and offer a compensatory buff if the hunter stays still for six or ten seconds. The buff will likely have a brief duration so that you can do a little bit of moving without losing the buff. Basically this would come close to mimicking well-executed aspect dancing without the need for annoying aspect dancing.
But for the time being — patch 5.1 is going to be a pretty awesome time for hunter movement dps. As for overall hunter dps… I really wouldn’t mind seeing a little boost (or perhaps a bit of a nerf to some of the leaders) – and MM definitely needs a dps buff. It’s early yet, but raid data at the moment suggests that our dps is pretty middle of the pack or a bit below middle depending on what you’re looking at, with MM consistently doing horribly.
This is notable different from what some simulations say — putting all hunter dps at the bottom of the pack — and how we’re actually doing in raids is always the only really important thing. But either way, the dps picture that we’re seeing now isn’t a great one. It could be do to encounter mechanics, or to the fact that playing a hunter is so much more complex now, or it could just be a raw balancing thing where we’re just a few percent lower than we should be.