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.

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  1. Solanti says:

    ” except MM can’t hardcast aimed shot while moving”

    See MMO Champion for a Glyph to allow you to do just that.
    http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2980-Patch-5-1-PTR-Build-16173

  2. Kenriith says:

    Grade A Bang Bang. For a patch at least. :) Going to switch on auto run and never switch it off.

  3. Farelf says:

    I am getting tired of seeing people, especially other hunters demanding nerfs to BM Spec.

    Yes, MM is low.. Demand MM get fixed, but stop demanding that Blizzard hurt your brother and Sister Hunters.

    • Kaneli says:

      Pretty sure he meant nerfs to some other dps classes who are easily topping meters right now, not our other specs.

      I could be wrong, but that’s how I saw it.

      • Frostheim says:

        Correct — when I said a nerf to the leaders I meant the other classes that are leading. I think that hunters could use a wee buff.

        Though to be fair, removing aspect of the fox and allowing full dps on the move could be enough to get us higher in the logs.

  4. Khatian says:

    Looks like hunters aren’t in a bad spot single target dps wise, at least if being in the middle of the pack is “good”. Where we’re getting hurt is fact that every other range can multidot. Looking like they can cleave, we can move for free. Elemental also has the smallest amount of cleave, but they also have good mobility.

    Also doesn’t help that our pets don’t get buffed on Heroic Stoneguard.

    • Beergasm says:

      You can do sick AOE damage with SV: explosive trap launcher + serpent-sting, a bunch of free multi-shot procs, lynx rush (for now) + barrage.

      Did 150,000K+ dps on large trash pulls in some of the normal dungeons freshly dinged at level 90 with sub heroic gear, just running some lul runs with not yet level 90 guildies. Takes a lot of mobs and a tank willing to pull large groups, but it’s there.

  5. Tedluck says:

    Okay, so this is all well and good, but no one is seeing the horrible downside here. I just don’t know if it’s worth it.

    Without Aspect of the Fox, we won’t be able to summon a little Fox Kit whenever we change specs with Glyph of Aspects!

  6. Laeleiweyn says:

    I haven’t raided a lot, but in our 10 man with all buffs covered, I’m well ahead on Feng (Patchwerk of the tier). And I’m up there on Stone Guards too. This is with me not being 100% optimised on button pushing etc too. Weapon seems to matter a lot, I was lucky and got the epic 476 on my sixth run of Gate if the Setting Sun.

  7. Sonicross says:

    What about powershot? Will that still be the one cast we must stand still for?

  8. Gummybear says:

    I usually choose to stay in the best spec no matter what, but when it comes to BM I may have to keybind some pedals or grow extra fingers to manage all the buttons.

    • Ril says:

      i’ve seriousely been thinking about pedals too. i’d be using them as modifiers (ie shift&alt) to avoid sore fingers after each raid

  9. Kenriith says:

    @Gummybear:

    Running a Naga and an Ananzi here. Still not enough for BM. :p

    • Kodiakbrujah says:

      I’m with Ken on this. BM has a crazy amount of keybinds needed. A naga is the single greatest thing you can do to improve your game. I’ve had one for over a year and I’ll buy another when this one wears out. Not only is it kickass for BM……if you are a SC2 player its great for that as well.

  10. Rayne says:

    I’m curious to know if the loss of a way to easily break a cast (without an additional keybind or macro) might actually cost hunters some dps? As of now, in Hawk, if I make the slightest move forward or jump, I can break a Cobra shot I just started in favor of my L & L proc or Kill Shot etc… if I’m stuck with actually having to finish the Cobra cast before I can get of another ability, could that affect theoretical max dps? I certainly can’t put a /stopcast in front of my regular Explosive Shot because that would stop the casts I want to finish (keyboard mashing…) Maybe I’m just not looking at this right but it is a question… Can this cause a dps loss or will the mobility more than make up for it?

    • Frostheim says:

      It will have no deleterious effect on our dps. In fact, tossing /stopcast in your instants is going to technically net you better dps than moving forward a twitch to stop your cast.

      • Everyone says:

        Using a seperate stopcast macro for situations where you really really need that instant off NOW instead of your focus regen shot is indeed technically better DPS wise.
        But just to clarify so there is no confusen: In a perfect world with perfect timing /stopcasting every single instant shot would be optimal. But seeing as neither is possible in practice putting a /stopcasting macro into all instants will result ind a massive dps loss. Mainly owing to the fact that you can no longer spam those abilities as your steady or cobra shot nears it’s end.

        The spell queue takes care of most latency related issues, and putting having the stop casting macro would prevent anybody from utilizing that in any way shape or form following anything that has a cast time.

        Just a heads up, so people don’t go and put /stopcasting in front of everything :)

    • I put /stopcasting into my Kill Shot (not Arcane, Explosive, ect., since I want to spam those) as well as /cancelaura deterrence and use Kill Shot to stop casting when I need to. If it’s up, it’s what I want to hit next anyway.

  11. Everyone says:

    “Definitely worried that moving will be too good for hunters, but it was better than Aspect twisting.”

    I strongly disagree with the last statement. (PvE speaking)
    Believe it or not, i enjoy aspect dancing, it adds depth and planning into the hunter rotations. If you could plan for movement, you would be way better off than the guy next to you who didn’t manage to do so. I’m frankly terrified that hunter rotations from hereon in will be terrifyingly boring and monotonous.

    If at all, it is a extremely minor buff, at best, since the ability to move while casting our focus-gen shots has been in the game since Aspect of the Fox (AotF) was implemented. In removing AotF they are just dumbing down our rotations. Which saddens me greatly. Less skill and planning required to play your class optimally does not equate to more fun.. At least not in my books.

    • Mascaron says:

      I very much agree with this statement.

    • Jaromor says:

      Exactly my thoughts.

      I still wonder why they don’t fix aspects macroing by giving them a non-zero cast time. Suddenly you would have to put switching to AoHawk into a /castsequence.
      There must be simple answer to that, I just don’t see it.

  12. Flint says:

    Was tanking an random Heroic the other day on my Pally when a Hunter named Tatiana or something to that effect jumped in. This Hunter did 85K on the boss fight with a lot of movement. I started paying attention to the Hunter. She had some nice aspect dancing going on. IN short I think that taking away aspect dancing is a lot like taking away stutter step; you are taking away some of the skill it takes to play an effective hunter.

    • Tatianah says:

      I’m flattered that you thought so highly of me! Your tanking was pretty good too.

  13. Omogon says:

    I agree with Flint. Stutter stepping or aspect dancing was just a way for a competent hunter to do better. One of my buddies plays a mage because ( he jokes ) “I don’t have to manage any pets and only have one button to push.” I don’t want to be a mage.

    I have mediocre gear and am doing pretty well on most boss fights. I expect that if we can do top dps and still run around the ‘nerf bat’ will be out pretty soon :(

  14. Bluejayy says:

    In all honestly the “NERF HUNTERS” outcry is entirely revolved around pvp and, more specifically, the fact that Blizz has yet to fix the fact that Stampede ignores PvP Resil entirely. Hunters overall need a slight buff, MM slightly more that the rest of the specs.
    As of the past few weeks, I’ve been pretty consistently top 5 dps, top 2 on Feng, Elegon, and Kings. I’m okay with were we are currently on the charts, a little boost would be nice though.
    Looking at the changes comming in 5.1, I am certain I am going to look at my spec again. Lynx doesn’t seem to be such an obvious choice any longer. If they fix Crows to scale with mastery then I might go that route, but BW/Glaive/Blink Strike combo hits pretty hard in PvE and PvP.
    So blame all the PvP kids out there who clearly do not have the skill to make us waste our cds then lock us down.

  15. Kyllea says:

    What i’m noticing in raids is that I have a great burst and then a drop off the longer the fight lasts. I like the new tree’s and changes but there is no strong rotation anymore, it’s more like whack the mole based on cool-downs. WOL has me worried because hunter membership in the top 30 dps for all the fights in Mogu’shan Vaults is pretty slim.

    I’d like to be able to focus more on the fight mechanics and less on the insane number of shot cool-downs. If I could macro Dire Beast, Glaive Toss and Murder with arcane or cobra Like I do Bestial Wrath and Lifeblood it would help quite a bit. When I have to depend on getting those off separately immediately on cool-down to compete with dps it’s pretty tough in mechanic heavy fights.
    I switch between SV & BM based on the fight like most. Same pattern on both.
    js

    • Hywel says:

      “I’d like to be able to focus more on the fight mechanics and less on the insane number of shot cool-downs.”

      It´s my problem too. My bear friend posted on the forum his analysis of the 5.0.1 and I replied that I felt the same as a hunter.

      http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/6471837964#6

      I really want to play the game, not to play octopus on my keyboard. Though I don´t want to be a mage with just one button. For me, our priority shots as SV from cata worked very well. Enought buttons to press, you have to make choices in the middle of the fight but without too much distract of the fight.

  16. Cloudbuster says:

    I feel the same about the cooldowns. I use bartender to put all my shots in priority order and I ran out of space on a single bar. My list of BM priority icons is 13 long, and that doesn’t include any utility shots, Multi-Shot, traps, pet abilities or defensive abilities:

    Focus Fire
    Serpent Sting
    Bestial Wrath
    Rapid Fire
    Stampede
    Kill Shot
    Kill Command
    Glaive Toss
    Lynx rush
    Dire Beast
    Readiness
    Arcane Shot
    Cobra Shot

    Five of those were just added to BM in this release, (and a decreased CD on Rapdid Fire. That’s a pretty big percentage increase in number of required abilities I have to track and prioritize, and it’s not a straight priority, because you’d really like to try to overlap some abilities when possible and not overlap others when possible. And, in addition to juggling priorities, you’re trying to cast Cobra Shot often enough to keep your sting up and generate focus, but not any more often than you have to.

    Rabid, Trinkets, Synapse Springs and the like are pretty much right out as far as conscious optimization — I just macro them into other abilities.

    It can be a little overwhelming.

    • bahzob says:

      Hm. You should try PVP, factor in all the defensive,misc abilities and the need for focus/party targeting and you can easily end up with over 40 binds.

      Until MoP that is. Now just need one key to execute blow all cds macro and watch target die.

      Hunters have gone from hardest class to play well to moron level. Trust Blizzard to continue to fail and screw up balance.

      They seem incapable of designing their game so PVP and PVE don’t conflict with each other.

      Its not even that difficult to do. All that is required is to implement the same idea for DPS/healing abilities as exists for cc (where trap on NPC lasts 60s and player 8)

      Just make each ability have a separate coefficient for NPCs and players. (so a DPS ability will do x damage to in PVE and x/y damage in PVP). It would then be much easier to fine tune balance.

    • Kodiakbrujah says:

      EJ proved leaving rabid on auto is best dps in its current form. Use trinkets….should not be used, we have too many better options, when they are used they usually have a CD that fits close to BW so they should be macro’d to it.

  17. Iridar says:

    I don’t see aspect dancing as a sign of *skill*. More so now, when they decreased aspect gcd to 1 second. It used to be 1.5, so macroing Aspects into all shots could cause problems when you needed to cast something like instant shot – focus shot – instant shot.

    Now one can actually macro aspect of the fox with ZERO downside, so only time you will need to do something with your aspects is to use macro

    /castsequence !Aspect of the Fox, null
    /cast Focus shot

    when you need to cast Focus shot on the move, which isn’t exactly rocket science.
    There is zero skill in Aspects in their current implementation in PVE.

    Something needs to be changed about them.
    I liked idea I saw on a forum once – make Focus shots not castable on the move at all, but give us some weak instant shot which gives a small amount of Focus.

    • Iridar says:

      Err a little typo
      “Now one can actually macro aspect of the fox with ZERO downside”
      i meant “aspect of the hawk”

  18. Mike says:

    Just curious why no one has mentioned that with this change, DPS will improve over aspect dancing, because we will be getting the 10% AP from aspect of the Hawk/Iron Hawk all the time for our Cobras/Steadies, and not losing it when switching to AotFox. Seems like something significant to me. Or, was that what Frost was alluding to indirectly?

    • Iridar says:

      Steady Shot (not sure about cobra though) used to have very very BAD ranged AP scaling. In cata difference between Fox Steady and Hawk Steady was, literally, 20 (TWENTY) damage.

      Not sure about now, though.

      • Iridar says:

        Some napkin math:
        Let’s say hunter has 40 000 Attack Power in Fox.
        Then it’s (+10%) 44 000 AP in Hawk.

        Formulas (according to Zeherah):
        Steady Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * .5 + 997
        Cobra Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * .7

        Let’s say our weapon is Fang Kun, then *avg weapon dmg* = 11125.5

        SS in Fox: 10559.75
        SS in Hawk: 10959.75
        Difference: 400 dmg

        CS in Fox: 13387.85
        CS in Hawk: 13947.85
        Difference: 560 dmg

        As you can see, difference in Focus Shots damage is around 5%, which isn’t much, especially now, when we cast half as much focus shots compared to what we used to.

        Ofcourse, there’s gonna be some side factors, like autoshots and petattacks, that were happening while we were in Fox, but, really, you will not see the difference.

  19. Akkahl says:

    Something else I feel a lot of people are neglecting to realize: Truthfully speaking, a skilled hunter never NEEDS Aspect of the Fox. If you’re doing your job well, you should be planning your movement in such a way that you’re casting your instants when you move, and Cobra/Steady when you have a moment to stand still.

    Granted, there are a few rare occasions where this is just impossible, but in the current raid tier, I can’t think of any fights where you can’t control your movement in this way. This alone makes Aspect Dancing a mostly useless technique (I refuse to call it a skill, because really it’s just a matter of execution. Execution =/= skill, even though people like to think it does.)

    • Iridar says:

      So true. I actually have horrible habit of casting Focus shots in Fox every time I need to move, even if I don’t need the focus.

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel the same. A good hunter shouldn’t have to “aspect dance.” (In pve, PVP is a whole different story.) PVE you should be aware of high movement phases and moments and should be able to prioritize around those.

      I’m glad to see fox go, but not sure of the ramifications we hunters will see from it.

  20. Bowmont says:

    I for one never used Fox and still found a way to move around without using the cast abilities. I usually popped off a few arcane shots as I moved. I think if they just remove the aspect we will be fine.

    • Akkahl says:

      For PvE I would agree with you. PvP is an entirely different story though, and where the biggest need for Fox exists.

  21. deadface says:

    I want aspect of the beast not to be a glyph…

  22. canardo says:

    A lot of my shots have turned into macro’s thanks to the amount of cooldowns we have right now.
    Doesn’t allways work because of the GCD for some abilities but I need to run in for earthquake and barrier, run out with arcane stuff popping out of my body, run right to drop flames, kite pheromones around the room, the list goes on: I don’t have time to watch 30-60 second cooldowns.
    So the 4 shots I use most have all the cooldowns in them, for example:

    #showtooltip Kill Command
    /Cast Auto Shot
    /Cast Kill Command
    /Cast Bestial Wrath
    /Petattack
    /Cast Glaive Toss
    /Cast Dire Beast
    /use 10
    /Cast A Murder of Crows
    /Cast Rapid Fire

    Not the best for optimal dps but at least I can stay alive during the fight and not wipe my fellow raiders.
    (the /use 10 are my engineering gloves, another 60 second cooldown, thank god I managed to get rid of the on use trinkets)

  23. TryJoe says:

    Aspect changing never was difficult, just one spell to bind and one more to switch back (or just one if you use a macro Frost gathered at the start of Cata). The real skill is the predicting of movement requirement like many of you mentioned. Sometimes shit hits the fan therefore you have to move (slacker support classes position themselves wrong, because they are selfish and lazy, therefore you move for the sake of the raid) and fox can be handy. In my opinion aspect dancing (which involves the planing of your movement for me) was really fun and made real, healthy competition in a raid team (I can only speak from a 25man pov) and mostly among hunters, when hawk uptime was the net profit of your skill of reacting faster and planning your moves during the fight.
    Its sad just because tha game is rated 12+ they handle all of their customers as a 12 years old kid (and a silly one).

    Its stated they have other methods to check class dps state than WOL, but the real reliable class balance (or the lack of it) can see there, because all the guilds who care about their performance and would like to improve use that (or similar sites if there is any) plus all the epenis fighters love it, so for example blizz’s own statistics from 5mans and lfrs and normal raids is not the best to compare class balance imo.

    Also they dont like when players macroing lots of things in 1 macro? Mages prolly blinked out from this too again… and why was aspect marcoing bad in pvp when warriors macroed stances and even the changing of weapons and shield too was fine?

    I will never forget the Gatekeeper fights when arcanes activity had 4 lines and one was Timewarp… BUT!! noone, who ever felt the hunter way want to be any other class (but I think its true for all dedicated support classes too) just because of too much abilities. For me there is no thing such as too many abilities, growing up as a hunter thought me to bind spells efficiently, sometimes seems too much but it can be handled with practice and logic in bindings.
    The fact we have some new abilities to press and their CDs to watch shouldnt be harm anyone at all (end especially to anyone who often read this or other hunter sites). If someone did his homework it shouldnt cause troubles to add some other features into the UI (powa and all his cousins can be your best friends -besides your monkey pet named by a guildie mage! :D ) but with the most pure, untuched UI 1 simple OMNICC can make your day if the spells you would want to track aren’t placed very far from each other. I just can’t see why the number of abilities can be scary. I know from my own skin it makes challenging to counter enemies in pvp and to optimize your performance in pve, but for me thats make the game fun else all the raiders and pvpers would be just gathering flowers and ores all they long why they chat in a pretty giant community site. And after someone practiced it and felt its taste I cant believe he/she could go back to the (so highly loved, bah) 1 button macro BC BM stlye or the armor pen will solve it and the rest is autoshots late end LK style.

    This is a game and people pay the same amount for it, but it shouldn’t mean they get the same benefit, because besides monthly fee there is something else we put in our raiding/pvping, like our time (which is the most valuable stat imo), our time to read up, to practice and so on.

    And just a final thougth on class balance: it is an mmo game, and it contains the phrase massively MULTIPLAYER, therefore balancing based on duels or 2s shouldnt be the case, also in a 25man raid (or in 10) the team should be the first and own dps is just a second or third, in an ideal word, but getting a spot while a half blind spriest without hands can do more than a better than average hunter is a bit wrong, and in pvp its fine when a good healer can dance you around the pillar and you cant kill him/her, but when a healer can kill you while keep him/herself topped (if we get out stampade and its bug from the system) is a bit wrong.

    and not to mention the “very need” of improving rogue’s cc….

    Sorry for its length, and I hope I didnt look like a guy who want to be too clever, but had to point out my feelings about it. And if any new hunter can learn and improve a tiny bit from reading it, like all the comments and articles helped me during the years here and on the other sites it wont be useless.

    some designer should try out other classes than warriors, rogues and mages (GC admited it in a watercooler)

    cheers, long live the awesome community of the real ranged class

  24. TryJoe says:

    *…else all the raiders and pvpers would just gathering flowers and ores all day long…*
    sorry, typo

  25. lol says:

    “We might reintroduce Sniper Training if hunters never stop moving, but not for 5.1″
    I really can’t see on what does Ghostcrawler relies when he thinks hunters will actually not move all the time. Marksmans have indeed Aimed Shot to stop for, but BM and SV can move with no restrictions at all since all other spells are instants. If there is nothing to stop us, would be out of the kindness of our heart and respect for the other classes? I doubt it. I would say it is a mistake to wait on introducing Sniper Training.

    Actually, I would go with moving the damage buff from Hunter’s Mark to Sniper Training and I will enumerate few reasons for this:
    1. The buff for staying still must be significant(which Hunter’s Mark is). It must be significant because casting cobra shot on the move worth it(brings extra DPS) even if cobra shot would do zero damage on the move. The focus gain brings us a net DPS amount over no cobra shot at all (or a canceled one)
    2. The buff for staying still must not make hunters overpowered, actually it must not alter the rather well tuned amount o damage we do now. Moving Hunter’s Mark damage form Hunter’s Mark to Sniper Training does just that, leaves our DPS the same (except when moving when we do want significant penalty)
    3. Buffing damage with Hunters Mark makes no sense ourdays when There is a Glyph to always have your target marked. It makes sense to be used against invisibility, but not for extra damage.
    4. Having 1 more glyph as an option is a perfect addition for hunter PvP, where there are so many must have glyps (MirrorBlades, Camouflage, Icy Solace, Disengage, Explosive Trap, Master’s Call) :)

    but must not make hunters overpowered (it doesnt since this buff already exists for hunters)
    We must consider that casting cobra shot on the move is worth even with no damage component because of the focus it returns.