Hunter class changes in WoW Shadowlands
World of Warcraft Shadowlands is bringing about a huge revamp to all classes, and Hunters are no exception. The philosophy — and especially for the Hunter — is that the specializations within the class shouldn’t be so separate from each other. They shouldn’t feel like different classes. Blizzard wants the class to feel unified as a whole, with each specialization powering up a specific part of the class’s kit.
With that idea in mind, here’s what you can expect for the Hunter class in the Shadowlands expansion. Keep in mind that we’re still in the earliest of alpha phases, and anything can change.
Hunters of all specializations will once again have access to the following abilities from the past: Arcane Shot, Eyes of the Beast, Hunter’ Mark, Kill Shot, Scare Beast, and Tranquilizing Shot.
The most significant to note here is Eyes of the Beast. While not usable in combat — at least not in its previous version — this ability was removed with the start of Cataclysm. It allows a Hunter to take control of their pet, to move as if they played as the pet. This is great for scouting areas, pulling mobs in difficult areas — or to sneak into Old Ironforge. Fans have been asking for this to be returned since its removal.
Besides the abilities that are class-wide, there are changes specific to each specialization.
Beast Mastery Hunters
The Scent of Blood talent is being changed. It is now passive and coincides with Bestial Wrath. This grants charges of Barbed Shot. This confirms that the Barbed Shot and Frenzy stack play style of Beast Mastery will continue into Shadowlands.
Another change is Bloodshed, which states, “a new Talent that Beast Mastery Hunters can teach their companions, commanding the beast to tear into their target.” This appears to indicate pets will have talent trees again — something to keep an eye out for as alpha progresses.
A talent is being added called Dead Eye, which lets the Hunter store two charges of Kill Shot, and makes Aimed Shot recharge faster when Kill Shot is used. This will be great for end of fight execute windows.
Binding Shackles is a passive talent, where enemies who break out of their Binding Shot will deal less damage to the Hunter.
Most importantly, MM Hunters will see a return of Volley as a large Area of Effect on-use attack. This was the original purpose of Volley, but it has seen a lot of changes over the years. Currently it exists as a passive that deals extra damage.
Nothing new to report so far, aside from the universal additions to Hunters — some damage increases for various abilities, and a Focus cost reduction for Chakrams. This appears to be a general buff to Survival Hunters without changing the play style.
In addition to the above changes, the size of the stable will also increase. There are a lot of new pets to tame in Shadowlands, we need the room to store them!
Hunter Covenant abilities in Shadowlands
These are the abilities you get when you pledge to one of the four Covenants present in Shadowlands. You’ll only be able to have one power active at once, and swapping which Covenant you’re pledged to sounds like it’s going to be a long and involved process.
- Kyrian: Resonating Arrow — Fire a resonating arrow to the target location and fill the area with echoing anima. The effect causes your attacks to ignore line of sight to enemies in the area, and you have an increased critical strike chance against them.
- Venthyr: Flayed Shot — Fire a shot at your enemy, causing them to bleed Shadow damage over a period of time. Each time Flayed Shot deals damage, you have a chance to gain Flayer’s Mark, causing your next Kill Shot to be usable on any target, regardless of their current health.
- Necrolord: Death Chakram — Throw a deadly chakram at your current target which will rapidly deal additional Shadow damage. Each time the chakram damages a different target, its damage is increased, and you generate additional Focus.
- Night Fae: Coming Soon™
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