Note: you can see a full updated list of all 5.2 hunter changes here.
Ghostcrawler recently posted a list of additional tuning adjustments for hunters in patch 5.2. These adjustments are in fact major buffs for SV and MM — especially MM — while leaving BM exactly where it is. This is an interesting change from Blizzard’s previous stance that MM was actually much better than it looked from raid representation (an assertion that was mostly backed up by hunter community modeling — though MM was still measurably behind the other two).
Here is the full list:
- Aimed Shot damage: +10%
- Chimera Shot damage: +50%
- Steady Shot damage: +20%
- Black Arrow and Explosive Shot damage: +15%
- Hearing lots of concerns about Power Shot in PvP, so we may need a PvP-specific tweak here.
Now we don’t yet know for certain whether these buffs are buffs to overall shot damage, or just a buff to the coefficients; however, lately Blizzard has been pretty good about listing them as overall buffs. If so, this is a substantial boost to MM damage, with all the MM-specific shots getting a good boost (and this is in addition to Aimed Shot’s duration being reduced).
The SV buffs are a smaller overall damage boost (but then SV was nearly at BM’s DPS level already) but will also do a good job of helping to make Explosive Shot more clearly worth using (it is worth using now, but the difference is small enough that too many hunters just fire Arcane Shots, wrongly thinking it’s higher DPS).
Overall I think that SV will come closer to BM, but will not be clearly better due to these changes — hunters will still be able to play whichever of these specs they prefer. The MM changes are pretty big, however, and I’m a bit concerned that as listed now they could actually push MM ahead of BM. While this is good news for MM hunters, it’s not a design direction Blizzard usually prefers: they try not to change the “top” spec within an expansion, because it essentially forces players to respec and learn a new rotation. This is the rollercoaster effect that apparently is more responsible for player loss than any kind of tuning errors.
But who knows, maybe Blizzard nailed it and brought MM to within a hairs reach of BM without surpassing it.