The Diablo III announcement wasn’t the only news to come out of Blizzard’s World Wide Invitational today in Paris. Indeed, there is plenty of news about the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King — and plenty of that is about hunters.
First, the less interesting (to me) news: Steady Shot is being changed so that it will not clip our Auto Shots. Right now, Steady Shot can clip (interrupt) the regular auto-attack, which reduces our overall DPS — which is why so many people spend so much time optimizing a shot rotation macro. But apparently in WotLK we’ll just be able to smash the Steady Shot button and the shot will go off when it can without messing up the whole rhythm of shooting.
I know this is big news for many hunters, although it doesn’t much affects me. (I already button-smash Steady Shot, more or less randomly when I notice it on my bar.) But I will be pretty happy if this means that I have to admit to fewer people that I haven’t a clue when they ask me for shot rotation advice. *grin*
New Pets, Etc.
During a Q&A session, one attendee asked about new pets. The answer: there will definitely be new pets. Of course, that’s not very surprising — we’d be pretty shocked if there were no new pets at all.
Unfortunately it’s not clear if there will be new pet families. I’m still trolling the net looking for clarification on that. In addition, although the same person also asked about ‘pet slots’ (by which I assume they meant stable space), Blizzard didn’t say anything about that in their answer, leaving me for the moment to assume an unwelcome, “No.”
Pet Skills and … Talents?!
The biggest news by far for hunters is that the pet skill system is getting a complete rewrite in Wrath of the Lich King. There will be no more pet Training Points.
I think I’ll repeat that: No more pet Training Points!
Although so far as I can see if didn’t come up at the WWI, that implies that there will be no more pet loyalty. And if that’s true, let me be the first to say, “Yahoo!” Testing pet loyalty is a bitch. (It might not be true, though: I could see them keeping loyalty for other purposes. We’ll just have to wait and see.)
Anyway, if pets don’t buy skills with training points then how do they get skills? A talent tree, of course! Apparently each pet will be able to talent up in one of three specs: DPS, Tank, or Utility.
(I have no idea what might be in the Utility tree and I’m somewhat hesitant about how useful the Tank tree will be outside of rather specific situations, but … I’m still very excited to see how this plays out.)
A specific talent ability that was mentioned was Cornered. With the Cornered talent, your pet gains a 20% increase in damage when they are below 20% health.
In addition, it sounds like each tree will be unique for each pet family, containing at least some unique family skills. That means 23 (or more) talent trees with three specs each, which is a daunting prospect!
Then again, we have no idea how deep or wide these trees may be. Character talent trees are currently nine tiers deep and contain 20+ talents, but a pet tree may only be two or three tiers deep and contain only a handful of talents. Again, I guess we’ll just have to wait for more info.
Anything About Beta?
I can’t wait to get my hands on all these changes! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet heard anything about when the beta might start or how to get into it.
Worse, the leaked info we’ve heard coming out of the WotLK alpha doesn’t seem to bear much resemblance to this WWI info — which to me implies that the implementation of the hunter changes (and probably therefore the start of beta) is still some time off.