WoW Class Updates: Hunter, Druid, Mage

on April 13, 2010 9:00 AM

WoW Class Updates: Hunter, Druid, Mage

Here we go, we’re finally into some of my favorite classes, along with my main WoW class – the druid. Tauren druid, that is. Cows rule, Night Elves drool. These are the last set of class updates to come out of Blizzard last week. Unfortunately, if you play a paladin, you will have to wait until Friday April 16th to get the scoop on your new class abilities and updates. Here’s the rundown of mage, druid and hunter new abilities.

HUNTER

Cobra Shot (level 81)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “A new shot that deals Nature damage instead of Physical damage. This ability will share a cooldown with Steady Shot. This will give hunters an alternative to Steady Shot on heavily-armored targets, and we will have talent incentives in the Beast Mastery tree to make this a signature shot.”

Chad: Meh. Meh. Meh. I could be wrong, but unless the incentives are very good, would this even be worth adding to a rotation, even against “heavily-armored targets”? Will anyone even bother?

Trap Launcher (level 83)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “When used, the next trap can be shot to a location within 40 yards. This provides the current Freezing Arrow treatment to all traps and, as a result, we will be removing the current ability Freezing Arrow. 1-minute cooldown. No global cooldown.”

Chad: This is pretty cool. I haven’t played my hunter in quite some time, so am not familiar with Freezing Arrow, but this Trap Launcher idea seems to have its strategic uses, most notably in PvP. Although, it would be an interesting crowd control mechanic in PvE situations, too.

Camouflage (level 85)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “The hunter enters an obscured state that prevents him or her from taking ranged damage. The character would still be subject to melee or area-of-effect attacks, and dealing or taking damage will break the Camouflage effect. The hunter can move and set traps when under Camouflage, and will receive a damage bonus when attacking while under Camouflage (which will then break the effect).”

Chad: I fear for the usefulness of Camouflage in heavy, group-oriented PvP, simply because it is cancelled when you fall prey to an AOE attack, which often times hits you when you don’t see it coming. You catch the edge of a Blizzard or accidently run too close to a Whirlwind. Although, if you can keep yourself camouflaged until a time of your choosing, you can hold off both ranged and melee attackers, with both the innate mechanics of this ability and with traps. Then, you can get in the perfect position to let lose a barrage onto a chosen target for extra damage. Seems to be one of those abilities that only really works if you manage to pull it off correctly, though.

What is also of interest here for hunters are three huge mechanics changes: 1) the change from being a mana-based class to using focus, 2) the removing of an ammo requirement for all ranged weapons and 3) a large change to the way pets work and how they are available to the hunter.

  • “Hunters will no longer use mana; instead the class with use Focus. Focus generates much like Energy, by building up. It will not be affected by Intellect at all. Haste will improve its generation. Hunters will generate roughly 6 Focus per second, slightly less than rogues’ Energy generation rate of around 10 Energy per second.
  • Guns, bows, and crossbows will now do damage without consuming ammunition at all. There will be no more ammo slot on the hunter’s character display. Any ammunition that a hunter has at the time of the change will become gray sellable items. Existing quivers will be converted into large bags – though each hunter can only have one and non-hunters will not benefit from this change – and we will not be making any additional quivers.
  • Pet management will also change. Hunters will now have two types of attainable pets: active pets and stored pets. Hunters will be able to have up to three active pets (perhaps five for Beast Mastery specialized players) and will have the ability to switch among these pets any time they are out of combat, without going to town. They will also be able to have a large number of pets in storage at the stables. In order to swap a pet from active to passive, a hunter will still need to visit their local Stable Master. However, this should afford ample storage for the many Spirit Beasts wandering the lands of Azeroth.”

Chad: Beyond those new 80+ abilities, I’m actually most interested in these three major changes to the way hunters work. Hunters were my first love, and I kind of fell away from playing the class for various reasons. Some of those reasons are rectified here. Pet organization was a huge issue back when I played, as was finding the right balance of equipment, since we were a mana-based class that thrives on agility. Those two didn’t really work together. I’m glad to see these changes, and the move to a no-ammo system is very welcome, indeed. Makes me want to dust off my hunter and grind away to level 80 before the expansion hits.

Head on over to the WoW forums to check out the other changes coming to the hunter class.

DRUID

Thrash (level 81)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Thrash deals damage and causes all targets within 10 yards to bleed every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. The intent here is to give bears another button to hit while tanking. Talents will affect the bleed, such as causing Swipe to deal more damage to bleeding targets. 5-second cooldown. 25 Rage.”

Chad: Giving bear tanks another AOE agro-building ability is definitely welcome, as long as it isn’t the bleeding that builds the threat but, instead, the ability itself, thus allowing it to still “work” on targets immune to bleed effects.

Stampeding Roar (level 83)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost.”

Chad: Um…and this is helpful because…? I mean, I can see the benefits, but all it is is an 8-second movement buff. That is kind of underwhelming, if you think about it. Nice that it can be used in both cat and bear forms though.

Wild Mushroom (level 85)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast.”

Chad: I always knew druids were on some heavy ‘shrooms, this just proves it. “Magical mushrooms” indeed. Could be helpful at certain points, especially the “detonate ahead of time” ability. Also, can it or can’t it be targeted by the enemy and disposed of within that 4-second “growing” window? If so, well, poo.

For more druid mechanics and talent changes, head on over the the official WoW druid forums for some hearty discussion that will be right up your alley.

MAGE

[Once again, my friend Heidi will pipe up, since this is her main class.]

Flame Orb (level 81)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Inspired by Prince Taldaram’s abilities in Ahn’kahet and Icecrown Citadel, this spell allows the mage to cast a flaming orb that travels in front in a straight line, sending beams that cause fire damage to passing targets. Once it’s cast, the mage is free to begin casting other spells as the Flame Orb travels. While the spell will be useful to any spec, Fire mages will have talents that improve it, possibly causing the Flame Orb to explode when it reaches its destination.”

Chad: I love my fire spec, and this sounds interesting, but wouldn’t it be easily avoidable? If it “travels in front in a straight line” other players could easily get out of its way if they saw it coming. It might work on mobs or groups of mobs, but other intelligent players, not so much.

Heidi: It could be a fun spell. In my opinion, it’s going to be better for PvP. It could be a decent AOE spell for instances and raids, but depending on the range the beams go out to passing targets I could see it causing some “asspull” type issues. Most of the heroics I jump into are run with the expectation that they are clearing it as fast as possible, meaning you skirt around mobs when you can, and this might interfere with the range. As far as single mobs, unless it has nice high damage, I imagine the cost of the spell wouldn’t be worth it.

Time Warp (level 83)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Grants a passive Haste effect much like Bloodlust or Heroism to party or raid members. It also temporarily increases the mage’s own movement speed. Time Warp will be exclusive with Bloodlust and Heroism, meaning you can’t benefit from both if you’ve got the Exhaustion debuff, though the movement-speed increase will still work even when under the effects of Exhaustion.”

Chad: BORING.

Heidi: Haste is always nice. We have Icy Veins in the frost line which gives a decent Haste boost when the cooldown is up. Movement speed, meh. Again, I see it as more of an applicable spell for PvP. What good is movement speed going to do in PvE? Now, I haven’t been in any 10+ raids, but the heroics I have done there are maybe two or three fights where you sometimes run away from something, but as it stands now we do fine as it is.

Wall of Fog (level 85)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Creates a line of frost in front of the mage, 30 yards from end to end. Enemies who cross the line are snared and take damage. The mana cost will be designed to make Wall of Fog efficient against groups, not individuals. This spell is intended to give mages a way to help control the battlefield, whether the mage is damaging incoming enemies (Blizzard can be channeled on top of Wall of Fog) or protecting a flag in a Battleground. 10-second duration. 30-second cooldown.”

Chad: This has some interesting applications, especially ones like is mentioned by Blizzard – protecting a flag in a Battleground. Although, this has the opportunity to be a rather formidable crowd control ability in instances, as well.

Heidi: As it states right in their explanation, it was designed to be against groups, not individuals. So, in my mind, another lovely PvP oriented spell, in a larger BG maybe but still PvP oriented. Most of the description for this even mention it’s intended for PVP. All in all, the only one I can see myself ever using is Time Warp. So it’s a little disappointing. These tied together with other things mentioned in the class changes in Cataclysm is making me consider switching my main to something else.

Chad: Go back to healing on your priest! 😉

Once again, to see all the known changes to mage talents and mechanics, head on over to the official forums, where you can peruse to your little heart’s delight.

As mentioned at the outset, paladins, who seem to be rather butt-hurt that they were randomly chosen to be last, won’t get their class info until Friday. My question is: when are paladins not butt-hurt? They’re always whining about something… Have I said too much? Apologies, my fair knights. Many apologies.

 /  Reviews Editor / PR
Chad joined the DualShockers staff in mid 2009 and since then has put much of his time into covering RPGs, with a focus on the Japanese side of the genre, from the obscure to the mainstream. He's a huge fan of iconic games like Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI and Persona 4 yet enjoys the smaller niche titles, as well. In his spare time he enjoys experiencing new beer, new foods and keeping up with just about every sci-fi show on television. He's married to an intelligent, beautiful Southern Belle who keeps his life interesting with witty banter and spicy Cajun cooking.