If you spend a lot of time on the popular forums, like the class specific ones at the Blizzard site or the class specific ones on arenajunkies.com, you will notice a lot of doom ‘n’ gloom posts about 3.2 not being too great for hunters, despite many people’s opinion, including Ghostcrawler’s, that season 6 was not good for hunters at all. Well, they’re partly right and partly wrong about 3.2. Most of the time, the patch notes reflect changes that can be construed in one of two ways: “Oh, sweet buff,” or “Shit, why are they nerfing that.”
The fairly anemic hunter notes this time around are changes that aren’t clearly good or bad. They’re changes in the true sense of the word, in that they change the way we will play our class. What was good and bad before no longer really applies. For instance, snake trap was bad before, but now its usefulness is irrelevant, because we can use it on the cooldown without locking us out of frost traps. Without further ado, the official hunter patch 3.2 notes:
* Aspect of the Cheetah: Can now be learned at level 16.
* Deterrence: This ability now allows the hunter to parry spells and attacks from behind as well as in front. Now has a new visual spell effect.
* The time that traps will exist in the world after being put down has been reduced to 30 seconds, down from 1 minute.
* Frost Trap: Will no longer “fizzle” on targets immune to snare effects, however Lock and Load will not succeed when using Frost Trap if the target is immune to snare effects.
* Snake Trap: The Mind-numbing Poison effect has been reduced to a 30% increase in casting time, down from 50% to match similar effects.
* Traps now have separate 30-second cooldown categories: Fire (Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap and Black Arrow), Frost (Freezing Trap, Frost Trap) and Nature (Snake Trap). A hunter can have one trap of each category placed at one time.
o Beast Mastery
+ Catlike Reflexes now also reduces the cooldown of your Kill Command ability by 10/20/30 seconds.
+ Entrapment: This talent no longer works with Immolation Trap or Explosive Trap.
+ Lock and Load: Now has a 22-second cooldown. The Lock and Load effect cannot be obtained on targets immune to snare effects when Frost Trap is used.
+ Roar of Sacrifice: Redesigned. This ability can now be used on any friendly target to make that target immune to critical strikes, but the hunter pet takes 20% of all damage taken by that friendly target. Cooldown is now 1 minute, up from 30 seconds.
The deterrence change is one of the few unambiguously helpful changes. It does not, however, mean that deterrence will now protect us from ranged attacks or Chaos Bolt. (Aside: you may have noticed that Paladin judgments are now all considered melee attacks. They will still not be affected by deterrence, however, because they are un-dodge/block/parry-able.) Traps will now fade after 30 seconds instead of 60, but that’s no big deal for arena PvP. Frost trap no longer fizzling is the best news ever, and the fact that lock and load doesn’t proc anymore if the victim was immune to snares should be a non-issue, because we no longer have to save our cooldown until freedom or anti-magic shell or whatever fades, and we can still proc LnL from Black Arrow if we’re lucky. In the case of all the trap changes, I feel comfortable declaring that the pros far outweigh the cons.
I’ll make one point about Lock and Load and then move on to the Roar of Sacrifice changes. I heard a rumor on the test realm that snake trap was proccing LnL. Based on these notes, I think it’s safe to say that that change was a bug and if it hasn’t been fixed for the patch then it probably will be soon. The bottom line is that we will now get LnL procs at least as frequently in pvp as we could before, with the potential to get more procs (unless we’re really careless with our traps and debuffs).
Now for Roar of Sacrifice. The change may seem like a buff at first glance, because hey, we can use it on party members again, right? Not so fast. It seems to be a reworking more than a buff. In the Nightmare That Wouldn’t End season 6, I used Roar of Sacrifice to mitigate all of the formidable burst damage that players in WOTLK can bring to bear on me during a hard switch. In those crucial few seconds before my healers could swap to me and begin shield/hotting/healing me, Roar of Sacrifice was my shield. It made it so easy in fact, that I have been able to get away with wearing very little resilience (500 to 600 usually, sometimes even less), because RoS provided such a huge buffer. Now, however, I can’t just blindly RoS myself on the cooldown, because when I use it it will be gone for one minute, and my party members are outta luck if our opponents perform another switch. Not only is our survivability hurt by this change, but the effect of resilience has been nerfed in that you now require 15% more resilience to mitigate x% of incoming damage, relative to last season. So we’re taking a hit to our damage on two fronts (resilience now mitigates all incoming damage, not just dots and crits, and we can’t afford to use as much PvE gear). Now I hope you see why people are so unenthusiastic about these notes.
I hate to say it, but these changes mix a lot of fixes that should have been implemented a long time ago (pets gaining resilience, etc.) with changes that seem solely designed to help us level out the playing field in arenas. What do I mean by that? Well, Blizzard noticed that cleave teams and Priest Mage Rogue (PMRs) are pretty much the most popular 3v3 comps these days (and 3v3 is all they care about at this point, let’s not kid ourselves). So now we can drop a frost trap on the cooldown and it will go off guaranteed, and it will behave like an elemental shaman’s earthbind totem and root everyone in range?! Cool! Except frost trap’s tooltip said that’s what it did for an entire season, when it did nothing of the sort. I guess it just wasn’t a big priority before the rebirth of Cleave. So we can deal with those pesky melee teams better, and we can shut down any mage’s shatter combo with RoS. You heard it here first, folks, we’re the PMR killers! Not really, but RoS really seems like it was changed for the sole purpose of hindering mages and rogues (incidentally, the only two classes that can crit reliably these days).
How do I feel about being Blizzard’s tool? Well, I wish the responsibility came with a few more perks, like a trainable version of counterattack or a shorter cd on master’s call, and I wish some of the changes didn’t skew so heavily in favor of the one tree which is, sadly, the least fun of our two viable trees to play. But hey, if it means another hunter winning an arena tournament, I guess I can deal.