PTR Patch 4.0.6

January 8, 2011 - 11:23 am No Comments

The public test realm has been patched with the first round of class balancing and bug fixes that will make up the first major patch since Cataclysm dropped. There have been lots of hotfixes, of course, that have graced us since December, but 4.0.6 marks the first class balancing patch since Wrath. Some classes are relatively unchanged while some are seeing some significant balancing.

Hunters are the only class that are seeing balancing done across all specs. Survival is (so far) getting a slight nerf. Marksman and Beast Masters are both getting significant buffs. This was to be expected as SV was a bit overpowered on single targets while both MM and BM were far behind SV in total DPS. Follow after the cut to see the hunter notes and analysis of what this means.

Hunters

  • Aimed Shot! weapon damage has been increased to 200%.
  • Aspect of the Wild, Aspect of the Hawk, and Aspect of the Fox can now be cast while mounted.
  • Deterrence now provides 100% chance for melee attacks to miss instead of 100% parry chance. This means that attacks that cannot be parried, notably some rogue abilities, can now be prevented by Deterrence, and the hunter will gain the benefit of Deterrence even if disarmed.
  • Dust Cloud’s cooldown and duration have been modified to make it closer aligned with Tailspin (same effect, different pet).
  • Kill Command’s damage has been increased by 20%.
  • Kill Shot’s attack power scaling has been increased by 50%.
  • Master’s Call now has a 35-second cooldown, down from 1 minute. In addition, the visual effect is more obvious.

Marksmanship

  • Chimera Shot’s attack power scaling has been increased by 20%.

Survival

  • Into the Wilderness (passive) has been reduced to a 10% Agility increase, down from 15%.

Pets

  • Pets now have 70% of the master’s armor, rather than a different value based on which type of pet they are.
  • Shale Spiders now correctly have a special ability (Web Wrap).\
  • Bad Manner (monkey) now properly breaks from damage.

Let’s start with the nerf to survival. Our base passive talent, Into the Wilderness, has been reduced by 5%. This is exactly the type of nerf that was expected (especially by Frostheim) as it is a blanket reduction of dps that affects survival only. Thankfully, this is a very minor nerf and should keep survival at the top of most dps charts. Additionally, the buffs to our other specs should have little to no affect on SV’s DPS (aside from the very rare kill command), meaning further nerfs to SV should be unnecessary unless the 5% reduction isn’t enough. The one thing not addressed is SV aoe, which Ghostcrawler mentioned may be too high. Perhaps it isn’t – or perhaps it’s so just irrelevant it’s not worth addressing.

Beast Masters should be quite happy with the changes, although they might be too little. Kill command’s upgrade, along with more uptime from Master’s Call should be a handy increase in BM dps. The problem with this change is that BM will still be very low on target switching encounters, as they have to wait for the pet to get from one target to another much like melee dps classes. While an increase in damage to arcane shot or a change to a talent deep in the BM tree to boost ranged damage, or even a boost to Animal Handler would likely be better a option, Blizzard’s intention for BM may just be to give the hunter a “melee-centric” combat style, where the damage focus comes from melee range while the ranged attacks are merely a supplemental damage source. After all, pets take very little damage in melee range yet crank out incredible dps – it is only fair that they would suffer the same dps loss other melee classes suffer when changing targets.

Finally, marksman. We all know how much animosity I have for MM, but I’m glad to see they got some love – but I’m not sure it will really matter. Aimed shot was primarily designed to be an opener, yet it is not used very often at all. Aimed shot is only used when the Master Marksman talent stacks to 5 and makes the aimed shot instant and focus free. While 200% bonus to the shot will certainly make for a dps increase, I’m getting the feeling another buff to a signature MM ability, perhaps more to chimera, will be in order. Increasing the percentage of Master Marksman to 75% would be a good option, I think. It would be nice to get MM’s dps to a point where it is high enough for people to want to have a SV and a MM hunter on each raid to get the benefit of both SV’s Hunting Party and MM’s Trueshot Aura.

Overall, the balancing of the hunter specs in this first pass looks positive. There is nothing that dramatically changes any spec in terms of play style or damage output. There are several quality of life improvements (aspect dancing while mounted, deterrence upgrade) and pets got an armor balancing that makes tenacity’s talent tree the difference between a tank pet and a dps pet (I’m sure those pvp’ers will be happy with this one). Hopefully the balancing pans out and survival hunters retain their top spot – either way, you know I will always be championing the survival hunter!

Oh, one more thing:

Meta gems with the Chaotic and Relentless prefixes now have a requirement of 3 red gems.

… yay!

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