We’re finally here, Warlords of Draenor pre-patch! This guide should hopefully prepare any hunter to help them out with their burning questions about what to do soon as the servers come up on patch day. There will be a lot of details and links to guides to other WHU parts too. This is your level 90 one month before launch helping hand, with information relative to the expansion but you’ll see some parts that will not be relative when you ding to 100 in November. Let’s start digging into the goods, shall we?
New character models, toy boxes, quest log improvements and so much more.
Let’s start with the basics. What you’ll be seeing Tuesday are quite a few new changes you may notice off the get-go. You’ll first want to check your talents and make sure nothing was reset. A lot of talents were changed and revamped. Ability pruning may also leave gaps in your bars as a lot of spells were refined or removed.
MM had major changes to its gameplay altogether and is actually doing pretty solid damage-wise at 90 alongside BM. Survival? Well, that’s another story; I recommend not playing Survival until level 100.
There will be a pre-patch event as well, UBRS will be revamped to level 90 and you can tackle the dungeon with the regular dungeon finder; Doing this dungeon will get you chances at 550 item level loot, a title, and a new pet! You may also notice when you queue, that there are new changes to the group-finder system; that has been refined for Warlords to make PuGing, or pick up groups, easier to find and do.
Come Tuesday, you may notice your health drop, your gear missing 0’s, and your DPS looking very…low. Don’t fret! While this may be a weird transition, a stat squish merely happened! In Warlords, the goal is to consolidate damage to a smaller number. Even though there’s fewer 0’s, you are still just as strong as you were when you first hit 580 item level.
Reforging is gone
For all hunters, this is insanely important–reforging is gone. Yes, no more reforging! No more having to tinker with your gear 4 times to make it viable with each other. With reforging removed, all of your gear will be reverted back to its original state.
Hit and Expertise Removed
This means no more fretting about getting your character to those appropriate 7.5% hit and expertise ratings anymore! This also means that any gear with hit or expertise will be converted into critical strike gear. All players now have 0% chance to be dodged and a 3% chance to be parried.
Agility is now just a 1:1 ratio in terms of how it works, now it is just 1 point of Agility = 1 AP. This means you will want to change all of your gemming. Keep reading further in the guide for more information on gemming.
Secondary Stat Changes
Critical Strike no longer comes from Agility. Instead, we Hunters now have a baseline of 15% Crit across the board. Haste has been merged from spell haste, ranged haste, and melee haste into one cluster now, as well. These changes will greatly improve stat quality of life.
While Hit and Expertise are gone; two new secondary stats will step up. Multistrike and Versatility will be seen in Warlords of Draenor. Versatility benefits players who are hybrid classes, more so than pure DPS classes because it increases healing as well as damage done. Multistrike will be very important for Hunters, this is a stat that gives all of your hits, abilities and even pet attacks a chance to roll twice for extra damage. The extra damage is about 30% of the original hit, which has a second chance to crit. Are you a mathematical wizard or just want to really understand more in-depth about how MS works? Please visit Delirium’s guide on Understanding Multistrike.
What happened to synapse springs!? Well, with 6.0, all professions lose their professional combat perks. Nitro boosts will still exist, but you have to either use that ability, or use a DPS potion instead; they now share the same item family. This will open a window for anyone to pick their professions of their choice. For Warlords, you will only be able to wear 3 pieces of crafted gear at a time, not including weapon. This will make Leatherworking and Engineering our top pick for you to choose and we’ll have a guide for Hunters and Garrisons come close to launch with more reasoning behind this. For now, just keep what you have. Gathering professions will have more perks than Crafting professions. Warlords will offer new alternatives to leveling a profession quick.
New abilities are passively added into your spell books that increase a secondary stat in a way. These “attunements” were added for every spec; for Hunters they also will reflect how you will be prioritizing gear at 90 and even 100. Unfortunately for Survival, the lack of any MS gear makes this spec weak at level 90.
Marksmanship: Lethal Shots – You gain 5% more of the Critical Strike stat from all sources.
Beast Mastery: Animal Handling – You gain 5% more of the Mastery stat from all sources.
Survival: Survivalist – Increases the damage of your Multistrikes by 20%. After killing a target, you gain 15% health over 10 sec.
There were a lot of abilities removed in Warlords that will be important to highlight across the board. The most important thing to remember is that there will be no more Aspect of the Hawk. With that gone, the stance bar is removed, thus you will need to put Aspect of the Cheetah and Pack on your bars. Stances also now are on the GCD (Global Cooldown).
For a full list, check out our new and changed ability list here.
Ability pruning and refinement was used in Warlords to completely define the specs apart from each other. For example, with Serpent Sting being for Survival only, it complements the spec to look like the multi-dotting play style out of the three. Marksmanship feels exactly how it should – stand still act sniper-like. Beast Mastery still has its own flavor as a pet-handling specialization with burst. We’ll talk about the changes and briefly touch on rotations for tomorrow’s patch.
Spec Flavor of the Month
For 6.0, you will find either Marksmanship or Beast Mastery to be the strongest spec right now. With the above attributed links and information, we will discuss what talents and scenarios you should be playing either spec with. For Single Target or fights with 2-4 targets, we recommend MM. For fights with 4+ targets consistently, we recommend BM. With Siege, a lot of fights still have heavy cleave, so while Marksmanship will trump in those fields, you’ll still find Beast Mastery strong.
Marksmanship Single/Cleave Talents
Beast Mastery Talents
Remember that level 15 and level 30 can be the talent of your choosing!
For all specs, Barrage has taken over for single target purposes. It’s still a talent, and Glaive Toss is still decent, but Barrage will involve more skill cap as you will now need to Focus pool to 60 Focus every 20 seconds.
- Rapid Fire, Hunter’s Mark, Serpent Sting removed.
- Go for the Throat merged with Invigoration.
- Frenzy merged with Focus Fire.
- The Beast Within merged with Bestial Wrath.
- Beast Cleave now allows pet Multistrikes to cleave as well.
- Kill Shot improved to give back health if it kills the target.
Rotation: Same as usual, minus no more serpent sting. You may notice your opener macro will be more consolidated as a lot of CDs were removed or turned into talents. Hit your racial CD (if applicable), your level 60 talent, Bestial Wrath into Kill Command and into your priority shots. Focus Fire still should be used after BW’s duration or during BW if you are out of focus. Remember to Kill Shot when it’s up. The best thing you can do as a BM Hunter is to always make sure you’re pooling enough focus to hit Kill Command soon as it comes up. A tricky addition to the BM rotation will be pooling around 60 Focus every 20 seconds to get Barrage off. Some sims are suggesting Stampede or AMOC over Blink Strikes, but Blink Strikes is easier to manage as it’s less to worry about and it benefits your pet’s basic attacks as well give it a teleport to its target.
Level 90 Stats/Gems: Crit > Haste > Mastery, Red: Crafty Vermilion Onyx (10+ Haste, 10+ Crit) Yellow: Smooth Sun’s Radiance (20+ Crit) Blue: Rigid River’s Heart (20 Crit)
For more on the Beast Mastery shot priority for single target, and for AoE, visit our BM guide here.
- Rapid Fire, Kill Shot removed.
- Black Arrow resets when dispelled.
- Improved SS is gone, and Cobra Shot no longer refreshes SS. Serpent Sting is applied and refreshed by Arcane Shot.
- Explosive Shot now costs 15 Focus.
- Lock and Load is baked into Black Arrow now. One proc guaranteed per Black Arrow duration.
Rotation: Survival lost its entire set of cool downs, therefore relying on the talent tree to change how the spec plays. We at WHU feel the spec is very weak in design, as Blizzard wants you to focus around Lock and Load, which is fairly weak due to RNG. Here’s how you should be playing Survival single target. Maintain SS up with Arcane Shot, put up Black Arrow, use Explosive Shot, your tier 60/75/90 talents and make sure to prioritize Lock and Load (should it proc) above all else. The rotation is very dull with the changes.
Level 90 Stats/Gems: Crit > Haste > Mastery, Red: Crafty Vermilion Onyx (10+ Haste, 10+ Crit) Yellow: Smooth Sun’s Radiance (20+ Crit) Blue: Rigid River’s Heart (20 Crit).
For more on Survival shot priority for single target, and for AoE, visit our Survival Guide here.
- Rapid Recuperation, Mastery: Wild Quiver, Concussive Barrage, Steady Focus, Mastery Marksman, Piercing Shots – removed
- New Mastery: Sniper Training
- Arcane Shot removed for MM only – Aimed Shot as Focus dump.
- Silencing Shot removed, replaced with Counter Shot
- Rapid Fire now turns Careful Aim on as well.
- Chimaera Shot name change and now hits two targets.
Rotation: Marksman has some major changes to it. The new mastery will require you to plan your steps ahead of time to ensure a good 80-95% uptime on the buff. With that said, you still will want to use Rapid Fire in your opener, as it will still be more useful than waiting till after the target is below 80%. Be careful with burning your CDs; your opener should be using Chimaera Shot and AMOC to try and proc TotH. By then, you can spam Aimed Shot only with TotH up. After 80% is done, you will want to then go into the regular priority list. Kill Shot when it’s up, Chimaera Shot on CD, AMOC, Glaive Toss / Barrage, Aimed Shot as a focus dump and Steady Focus for regen. However, go back to the Careful Aim rotation when you have Rapid Fire up later in the fight.
Level 90 Stats/Gems: Crit > Mastery > Haste, Red: Crafty Vermilion Onyx (10+ Haste, 10+ Crit) Yellow: Smooth Sun’s Radiance (20+ Crit) Blue: Rigid River’s Heart (20 Crit).
For more information on MM, the opener, and AoE, visit our Marksmanship Guide here.
I highly recommend getting used to MM as well. It will be very strong for Warlords, and it will be more challenging than before with being careful of movement, your Rapid Fire, and making sure that during Careful Aim you are doing what you can to utilize your Focus dumps.
New Raid Cooldown
Aspect of the Fox is back, and unlike how it was in Cataclysm, this is a cool down that will affect your entire raid. The ability is a three minute CD that when used, will let the entire raid cast on the move for six seconds! Solarflair will constantly remind players on the Hunting Party Podcast to work with your healers to utilize this cool down the most efficiently for a raid environment.
Traps and CC Changes
Quality of life improvements in the game have removed various abilities, including Scatter Shot, Silencing Shot, Concussive Barrage and Widow Venom. However, traps now can instant arm. In return, it appears traps are flying a little slower out of trap launcher than how they appear to in 5.4. Trap snaring now shares a DR with any other root diminishing return. Pets have lost all of their CC as well; however a couple pets still have 50% slow reductions, including Spiders and Silithids (Exotic).
New Pet Changes
There is a LOT of Hunter changes coming to the pets. For instance, all pets with CC’s have had theirs removed. We have a list of the removed pet CC’s here. In return, however, we now have pets that have a lot more utility, unique spells, and even new pet families sprouting in 6.0.
New Pet Families
New Non-Exotic Abilities
With 6.0, players will no longer need to play BM to have important raid utility pets with them. This allows players to play what they want if their group, or if they themselves, want to have one of the raid perks. It also truly turns Hunters into the Jack of all Trades! There’s also a few new pet-defensive CDs we’ll cover as well.
- Combat Resurrection- Cranes, Moths, (Quillen)
- Bloodlust- (Core Hounds), Nether Ray
- 50% Damage Reduction- (Shale Spider), Crab
- Minor Reduction + Heal- (Quillen), Clefthoof
- Temporary Dodge Increase- Fox, Monkey
New Exotic Abilities
And as usual, Blizzard gave us a couple new BM only abilities that still will give the spec it’s perks.
- Slow Fall– Your Rylak beats its powerful wings, slowing the fall speed of both itself and the hunter for 30 seconds.
- Feast– The Devilsaur feasts on a nearby Humanoid or Beast corpse within 5 yards, healing it for 20% of its maximum health and restoring 20 Focus over 6 seconds. (Devilsaurs)
- Molten Hide– When the Core Hound takes melee attacks, it infuses its hide with molten lava, causing 0 to 2 Fire damage to all further melee attackers for 10 sec. Molten Hide can only activate every 60 sec. (Core Hound)
And for a lovely chart of all the pet changes, please head on over to our pet changes guide here.
There are a lot of glyph changes. Some glyphs can’t interact with each other anymore, radically modifying what you can choose for your three major glyph slots. For example, you can’t use Glyph of Deterrence and Glyph of Mirrored Blades together anymore. I highly recommend giving our new and improved updated glyph guide a visit here. For now, here’s a list of brand new glyphs added in Warlords of Draenor:
- Glyph of Play Dead: Your pet also plays dead when you use Feign Death.
- Glyph of Quick Revival: Your Revive Pet is now instant but costs 80 Focus.
- Glyph of Snake Trap: Your Ice Trap is replaced with Snake Trap. Venomous snakes released by the trap will poison nearby enemies with a Crippling Poison that reduces movement speed by 50% for 12 sec.
- Glyph of Misdirection: When you use Misdirection on your pet, the cool down on your Misdirection is reset.
As usual, until you hit level 100, stick with the glyphs you have for now. Animal Bond, any Disengage glyph and any Deterrence glyph will do the trick. At level 100, if you go with Lone Wolf, replace Animal Bond with another glyph of preference, Marksman will probably favor Chimaera Shot, and Survival can pick any survivability glyph of their choice.
We want to make smaller, individual guides for leveling and more level 100 stuff along the way to 6.0. For now, we really hope the guides we have here at WHU that have been updated, reviewed, and edited by Aldarana, Artemishowl, Azortharion, Delirium, Dyveriate, Foxÿ, Miava, Shoot, and Solarflair are found useful for every Hunter out there. For a full list of guides, please visit the directory here. We’re ready to share what we know with you. If you have any information to share, please email me at email@example.com. Please post any comments, questions, and anything else in the comments below. Let’s go, 6.0!
Outside help and credit: Wowhead.com, wow-petopia.com, eyesofthebeast.com, thebrewhall.com