Yesterday over on WoW Insider, Frostheim posted an article about the current state (and beta state) of hunters signature shots. He explains why you should be using them instead of Arcane-spamming, which became popular after 4.0.1 was released. I’ve talked about this a bit before and I wholeheartedly agree with Frostheim on this, because numbers do not lie. You will definitely do more dps while using your signature shots than if you just ignore them. And yes, it’s a bit harder, but come on – It’s not rocket science! Dpsing to the maximum of your ability should be challenging for all classes and specs and Blizzard are hard at work trying to make this happen and I love it.
However, while these signature shots are better to use in your rotation than just Arcane Shot, they do not feel as awesome as you’d want them to be. Currently when we look in the log after some dummy target practice we find all of our shots doing close to the same damage. For me most shots are hitting for about 8-9k. This isn’t how it used to be (pre-4.0.1) and this isn’t how it should be.
The signature shots with long cooldown should do significant amount of more damage than the other shots. Significant amount more damage, as in twice as much at least, not 20-30% more. These shots is what makes our spec and what makes our class. We want to be in the middle of a rotation, firing of shots in an organized fashion, waiting for that long-cooldown-shot to go KAPOW! right in the enemy’s face. We want to be able to feel the extra damage from these shots and when you got floating combat text on you’re not getting this impression at all. Instead it’s a steady stream of about the same amount of damage each time. That isn’t fun, at all.
My dream world
If I could be Ghostcrawler for a day, I’d change some things around for hunters. First of all, Kill Shot. Oh, Kill Shot, how I miss thy awesomeness. This is an ability that used to be an extremly hard-hitter, landing for roughly 4x the damage of a regular shot. Now it does about the same as all other shots. I’d change this ability to do at least 3x the damage of a regular shot so you feel like you could actually kill something with kill shot. To counter the damage boost of the shot, you could increase the cooldown of it.
Same goes for Aimed Shot, this is an ability that used to do a lot of damage during the beginning of beta, so much that you most of the time oneshot mobs with it. This is a bit silly of course and I’m not suggesting that the ability should be changed back to that. I would like to see it hitting for a lot more than Arcane Shot though, something like twice as much at least. So that when you’re leveling as a marksman hunter, you will actually use this ability instead of just not putting it on your action bar at all. And remember, you get this ability at lvl10, it should be part of your leveling experience. Currently, there’s no incentive for using it while leveling, it costs more than twice the focus of Arcane shot, it does about the same damage and has a 2.5s cast time.
And then during raiding you only get to use this shot after you’ve stacked up Master Marksman 5 times, which will happen a few times during every encounter but not very often. Since you’ll be using it so rarely and since it’s marksmans “big procc” it would make more sense to have it hit for more.
Chimera Shot doesn’t need a lot more damage than what it has on beta right now, as long as it makes sense to keep it in our rotation it’s fine. This is because it does so many other things already that it doesn’t need to feel like that “big shot” in our rotation. This shot heals us and keeps our dot refreshed. This is plenty. For marksman Aimed Shot should feel like the big sexy hard-hitting ability.
Kill Command on it’s own doesn’t feel that much like a big hard-hitting ability like the signature shots of survival and marksman since it doesn’t really work the same way and it’s cooldown is way shorter than the other signature shots. Combined with Bestial Wrath and Killing Streak it can be a lot more fun however.
I think Kill Command could be kicked up a notch though, a big notch even. I say increase the cooldown of it and up the damage. This might alter the Beast Master playstyle so much that it doesn’t feel like the “machine-gun spec” anymore, which might not be desirable.
There’s one inherit problem with buffing Kill Command as Frostheim points out on WoW Insider:
“[...] Kill Command is not specific to BM but can be used by all specs. The result is that Kill Command itself can’t be buffed too high, because then the other specs would want to use it instead of Arcane Shot as their focus dump.”
I think the solution to this is to simply put an increased damage modifier somewhere in the Beast Mastery tree that couldn’t be reached by the other specs, like for example Killing Streak (or simply buffing that talent).
Explosive shot is apparently doing really good already so I won’t comment on that, also I don’t really dabble in survival… at all. Which would make my comments less than insightful.
Can you tell I’m mostly focused on marksman? Hehe.