5.4 PTR Hunter Patch Notes

Posted: by Arth

5.4 PTR is well underway, and hunters have a few small but important changes. Keep in mind, the PTR is always subject to change, and we likely haven’t see everything yet (and they may tweak the abilities listed below).


  • Arcane Shot had its damage and focus cost increased by 50%.



  • Binding Shot is no longer a Marksman Hunter ability and is once again a talent.

Notes and Thoughts:

  • Arcane Shot is going to be the most discussed, because the recent hotfix to Arcane means that it’s dangerously close to being as good as our signature shots. Add that to the upcoming set bonuses, and the gap is even smaller. As I said yesterday, Blizzard has historically wanted us using our full rotation. If hunters suddenly switch to a Serpent/Arcane/Cobra or Steady rotation, changes will likely be swift.
  • All the recent Arcane Shot changes may make Thrill of the Hunt a much better talent. Stay tuned as we learn more about that.
  • The switch of Binding and Silencing is a nerf to PvP. I guess the silver lining is, hunters were quite good in PvP, so they needed nerfed. The bad news is, the nerfs are coming. I know it’s tough guys, but let’s hold out hope that hunters are still in a good place in PvP post-5.4.
  • Aspect of the Iron Hawk isn’t a hunter-only nerf. Rather, it is, but lots of other classes are having their best damage mitigation talents nerfed as well. Iron Hawk was the consensus “best” for most hunters in both PvE and PvP, so it likely need to be brought in line with our other talents. More than anything, this seems to be a general balancing issue, but isn’t hitting us any harder than many classes.
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  1. Saberos says:

    I’m fine with PvP nerfs, like Stampede for example. Sure, it makes the ability a lot more boring, but we’re not really losing anything essential. However, I do not agree with the Silencing Shot change. In a lot of cases having a silence is important. Take for example scenarios, the brawlers guild or rares. There are plenty of examples where a silence is required. I find it weird that these cases will now have us forced to take MM or a gorilla.

    As I understand it there are two reason for the change. First the obvious, it is too strong for PvP. The second reason is that also in PvE it is basically a must have. The second reason, in my eyes, suggests it should be baseline however, not made unavailable to the most popular specs.

    I’d much rather see a solution where Silencing Shot becomes baseline and a different talent takes its place, and it is nerfed somehow. Possible solutions are reducing (or removing) the silence component (not important for PvE), or making it a magic school silence instead of a full silence. This should make it less powerful for PvP, but leaving it’s utility in PvE in tact.

    I really hope they don’t go through with it and it gets changed before it goes live.

    • Nenia says:

      Exactly my thoughts. I would rather see a nerf to Silencing Shot in PvP than to have it removed entirely from my chosen spec. Since Mists, the amount of solo content requiring an interrupt (Brawler’s Guild, world rares, etc.) has increased dramatically. It’s really no surprise that Silencing Shot is taken over the other talents, especially for non-group content.

      How, for instance, are BM hunters supposed to counter Hutia’s self-heal?

  2. Kheldul says:

    I feel these changes are not acceptable. I get what they are trying to do but they’re doing it very poorly. The outcome will be wrong. We all can see this.

    This can’t be GC at the helm of these changes. They seem PvP-centric but will kill PvE and change the class. We need to get Frost to unpack his internet and send GC a tweet on this crap.

    (More discussion over at http://tinyurl.com/m6wyobx FWIW.)

    • Arth says:

      I can’t disagree with any of your points individually, I just tend to side against the doomsayers yelling that the sky is falling in the upcoming patch (and they’ve been around since before I was playing). My enjoyment of the class has never been tied to percentages on abilities, however skewed they may be.

      • Kheldul says:

        Oh, I don’t think we’ll be necessarily losing any dps. I would deeply mourn the loss of utility and distinction between Hunter specializations if we lose our interrupt and the need to do specialization/signature shots. Mind you that we’re all complaining that our damage will be going UP on an ability! I think that must be a sign of something wrong.

  3. Lirithiel says:

    I just can’t see non-MM hunters being effective at all in pvp in 5.4 if the Silencing Shot change goes live. How on earth are we supposed to prevent healers from casting now? At least with Silencing Shot we stood a chance but now the healers will be virtually god-like against BM and SV hunters.

    The fact that the two alternatives to Silencing Shot in the tier are so underwhelming is nobody but Blizz’s fault. Just because it was the obvious choice despite not working against so many bosses we have to pay for it. Not to mention the rare pets we can no longer tame in any spec other than MM due to them hogging Silencing Shot all for themselves. I remember taming both Skarr and Karkin as BM without SilS but I only pulled it off with the insane haste buff that was available in Molten Front. I can’t see Hutia being successfully tamed now without a reliable interrupt.

    • Arth says:

      The taming thing is a good point. But we still have some utility shots, traps (not for healers, but general cc), and Intimidate + Readiness. If it’s absolutely essential, some pets have interrupts as well. It stinks, but there are alternatives.

      • garfurion says:

        pet interrupts are less reliable and their cool-downs are too long. In some cases you also need a real silence instead of just an interrupt or the mob just resumes casting.

        Blizzard should decide what they want: give all hunters a silence or change pve so we don’t need it for content like scenario’s, taming, brawler’s guild and soloing.

  4. Blackspiral says:

    I don’t know about the PvP side of things but we’re really already in a pretty bad spot in PvE. We really do not need them screwing with us in a negative way because of PvP.

  5. Dargonis says:

    i know alot of people see the upcoming boost to arcane shot but one thing im not sure of if its really a 50% increase in dmg considering the current model (tooltip) of arcanse shot says it does 110% weapon dmg.

    seems to me like this 5.4 arcane shot is only adding 40% more weapon dmg.

  6. Christ says:

    Arcane shot now does 165% weapon damage plus 3,000 something on the PTR.

    There’s also a change to the glyph of no escape. It now increases our critical strike chance by 100% instead of 20%.

  7. f0nZi3 says:

    I’m also against the doomsayers because we are not getting smashed completely. But I really, really, really cannot see why Blizzard cannot program abilities to behave one way in BG’s and Arena’s (or even against player targets) and differently in PvE and the world environment.

    There are so many examples of abilities from various classes and specs that are either non-functional in PvP or act differently in BG’s or arena’s or even act differently if the target is another player, that I really cannot grasp why they feel the need to make these changes (changes that are in the name of “balancing” PvP) effect everything, everywhere.

    The way I see it, it’s just out and out pure laziness on the part of Blizzard.

  8. Hua says:

    I’ll just go back to not interrupting things.

  9. WookieeBH says:

    Isn’t the Silencing Shot move just a continuation of what they were trying when they pulled Intimidation from BM and made it a talent? I forget what the trade-off was when they did that? (Was there a trade-off?) but it seems the net overall equation has been intimidation -> talent, binding shot -> talent, silencing shot -> MM. Am I missing anything there? I’ll guess I’ll finally have that back in 5.4.

  10. Hua says:

    the trade off at 5.3 was all that intmidation replaced binding shot as a talent. all specs can choose intimidation, only MM gets binding shot. Now it seems the powers that be want MM to be the pvp spec and gave MM silencing shot, so binding shot reverts back to a talent.

  11. Rayne says:

    I understand the need to adjust abilities… reduce the damage here, increase the CD there etc. But, this trend of removing/moving utility abilities is getting old and it can have a significant impact on play depending on what it is you enjoy doing in the game. It seems they don’t know what to do with our level 30 talent choices and it all appears to be related to PvP.

    If these types of abilities are such an issue for Blizzard to address, then they should just give everyone a buff to prevent any and all movement, loss of control, silence etc effect for 20 seconds after they’ve been affected by one. All players and classes would then be on even ground in that regard. I’m sure that would never happen of course… the outcries from the cyclone spamming druids, the chain fearing locs and priests, chain polymorphing mages, (the list could go on) would be heard throughout all of Azeroth. Sure, those abilities do have some diminishing returns but can still be cast back to back effectively. In arena, any comp without effective and reliable silences will lose and the recent PTR offerings can potentially bury hunters for the rest of the expansion if they go live.

  12. hillbillyhatifield says:

    Why doesn’t bliz just make a dang pvp tree. Or make them act different from pvp/pve. I’m tired of the interrupt being taken away from and switched around, more than damage flux. Rares, senarios, and brawlers guild. I need some, unless bliz will give me a mini warrior to run defense for me on heals, and AoE, it’s like running a lv 20 hunter. I would even take a pet ability, if it actually worked against bosses. My ape gets the immune half the time. Besides it is too long of a cool down.
    I get I can not solo some stuff anymore, even when I see 3 other classes doing it. I get we are middle of the road of everyone. Just quit giving us the tug of war stuff. Make a decision and stick with it.

  13. Onslaught says:

    Why are they buffing arcane shot when its the reason all specs are the same?
    Spell should be removed; or should change at 10 to a spec-specific focus dump that stacks a debuff on the mob (fire dot SV, bleed MM, and BM should have frenzy as an active stack instead of passive)

    This would fit the flavour of each spec and make the class interesting again instead of BW and Arcane spam. Please mass-harass the blues if you like this idea.

    • Garfurion says:

      Ironically GC tweeted on june 5th (before the nerf to stampede and buffing Cobra/Steady and Arcane):

      “Yup. Hunter and rogue specs play too similarly in our opinions. (Don’t expect massive overhauls.)”

      Maybe their solution to different specs playing too similar is to make them all play the same (steady/cobra+arcane spamming) so they can then just remove specs completely from hunters.

      • Ril says:

        let’s just merge rogues and hunters to one class!

        j/k, i don’t thik we’ve seen more than a little fraction of all changes to our class just yet.

  14. Kaitain says:

    If they manage to balance the Arcane Shot damage, then these are all good changes.

    Regarding PvP:

    – I never saw a hunter take Iron Hawk over Exhilaration. Exhilaration wins from dealing with burst better, 2x use with readiness, saving your pet’s life.

    – The Silencing shot nerf is only a nerf to BM and Survival, and as both MM and BM are very viable at the moment, with BM probably too strong (at lower skill levels), so it’s probably fine. Survival is currently the hardest PvP spec to work with in Arenas, but the substantial buff to arcane shot will benefit Survival the most so we’ll see.

  15. Garfurion says:

    Looks like we can look forward to more Hunter nerfs in 5.4:

    Holinka (the PvP dev) tweeted yesterday:

    “We moved silencing shot to MM only and we’re considering changes to Readiness”


    “BM hunters just got all the tools of the other specs this expac and now it’s a problem.”

  16. Zetora says:

    Tbh I’d be happy with readiness not being for all specs.

    Make them more unique overall, MM had this when it had readiness all to itself.

    The problems were that SV had no major burst and felt a bit dry in terms of game play.

    To be fair I love each spec and as long as I can be a death dealer, I’m happy. Silencing shot being just for one spec isn’t ideal, not too sure why we shouldn’t have an interupt on each spec like most classes.

    • Jax says:

      Well thats not what they did to readiness… They nerfed it into the ground on the PTR.
      Readiness now finishes the cooldowns on Rapid Fire, Feign Death, Deterrence, Disengage, and Camouflage when activated (was all Hunter abilities with a base cooldown of less than 5 minutes).

      Thats right boys and girls… no double BW, no back to back KC during opener, no double GT, no double ES, no double BA… this is a hell of a nerf for a class that was lower third in 25 man progression all ready.
      The only logical thing I can think of is the buff to Arcane and this nerf will mean they buff signature shots by 30 to 50% or its bye bye hunters.

      • Garfurion says:

        Yeah, Holinka tweeded:

        “we didn’t like what readiness did for any spec in PvP or PvE”

        I wonder what suddenly made them change theiir mind after it working like this for (MM) hunters since Cataclysm.

  17. Garfurion says:

    Oops, I forgot. Readiness has been working like it did for MM since WotLK…that makes it even stranger.

  18. Aadyn says:

    Everyone is talking about silencing shot and no one is bringing up Arcane shot and what this does to Thrill of the hunt. If the focus cost is upped from 20 to 30 then Thrill of the hunt will no longer proc free arcane shots. I would imagine that each arcane shot costs 10 focus. If this is true I am not going to like that one bit. I used arcane shots as a filler instead of cobra shot for those two seconds while i was focus starved to regen focus back for my next explosive shot. That will take away a huge advantage I once had with Thrill of the Hunt.

    I haven’t been in the ptr.. Does anyone know if arcane shot has a focus cost while under Thrill of the Hunt?

  19. Aadyn says:

    Let me predict the future of Thrill of the Hunt. First this buff to arcane shot makes TotH a valued talent for all pvp since 30% of time you can proc more TotH by using your current procs. So the nerf bat comes along and wacks TotH.

  20. somehunter says:

    Lol all the noob bm hunters are worried

  21. Pandahunter says:

    SS is the big worry here for solo / small group play, so many mobs needs to silenced to stop them healing (traps take too long to arm and they just heal again after scatter), mobs in dailies, rare spawns, brawlers, heroic scenarios and there is a spirit porcupine for BMs that spam full heals itself if not silenced

    This is made worse by the removal of all burst damage …

  22. Huntyoudown says:

    All I can say about any change based on PVP Arenas…

    Blizz has proven they can Blanket Effect the trinkets and now Stampede, I say Blanket all these changes to suite PVP for Arenas and BG’s as that is what it is all about since Arenas and BG’s came into WOW. Blanket your Deterrance and Disengage in Arena and BG’s if you will… leave it there and leave the silence shot change there too.

    The old saying You cannot please all the people all the time, BS… PVPer’s can enjoy their world and PVE, and all types of hunters from casual to Raiders can enjoy their Hunters even More… *Blanket Effect* our new word for the remainder of WOW.

    The utter cry of balance can be maintained in Arena and Battlegrounds easily… but balance between PVP and PVE is not so easy as anyone can see. There is not a feasible balance to let anyone that is not PVPing in Arena have abilities they need to go about every day Hunter life. Hense, continual change in buff, nerf, buff, nerf, making hunter a useless class if not in PVP… or possibly useless there too.

    Now, speaking about Rogues and their throwing stunns from afar… make my Ice trap last as long as their stun lock and only breakable by trinkets, Make my snakes spit out poisons to stunn and blind and give me a pet that can spread its wings and make me invisible in the middle of a fight, now we are talking!

  23. MMHunter says:

    I’m glad I play an MM hunter. I could never get into the BM rotation. People keep saying it’s really easy to play, but I manage 15k higher dps as MM. BM never worked for me. I’m eager to try out Thrill of the Hunt with the new Arcane Shot changes.

  24. Quenepo says:

    As of today, we take another blow, to arcane shot, which will now deal 125% damage instead of 165%, while still keeping the 30 focus cost.

  25. Krotix says:

    No one mentioned the 15% increase in Kill Command damage, even though arcane shot costs 10 more focus for 15% more damage, you’ll be forced to go Thrill of the Hunt for peak damage. I don’t mind these changes too much and without SilS maybe 2s will actually be a bit more challenging!

  26. Angelass says:

    Shadow priests and in guessing other casting classes will be having their magical resistances nurfed. Arcadian shot damage will be increasing and ice trap to 100/ crit chance. For Pvp this will give gravely more advantage than one silencing shot.

  27. Shay says:

    I am reading through these and other places about the changes in PTR 5.4. I understand the concerns greatly and honestly I understand the great need for using silence shot. Silence shot seems to be what most people are really upset about. I really understand that, because its an important feature to hunters under everything they do.

    There are not enough spell interruptions for hunters, and I been playing hunters since Burning. This the greatest example to the importance of silent shot, running Shadow Fang keep under heroics. Well if your doing it in a small group of people in 90s with just hunters from your killed your pretty much screwed. We just attempted it today for our guild. With the lack of silence shot there was no way to stop the first boss or kill him when he would throw out spells the heal him self and keep the fight going for hours. I know there are other great examples and Blizzards reply to why they took away silence shot was because it gave hunters a unfair advantage. However they gave nothing to replace it by leveling out the playing field against PvP or PvE.

    Honestly everyone thats unhappy with the changes to hunters need to speak up to Blizzard about it. I seen enough unhappy people that been nerfed by the changes to all the classes for Blizzard to change things and make it fair again. Because now they put hunters in an unfair spot.