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It's round two of the Hunter class highlights as Azortharion continues to enlighten us with his take on the specs in Shadowlands. Today it's Marksmanship's turn and he goes over QoL changes, the new and changed abilities and talents, Covenant choice and legendaries.
Exciting Changes for Marksmanship Hunters in Shadowlands
For our second Hunter Class Overview thread, we are looking at Marksmanship. This spec underwent a complete redesign in Battle for Azeroth, and it will mostly be staying the same in Shadowlands. The biggest changes have been new Talents, some new baseline abilities, and of course the introduction of Covenants and Legendaries that can alter your playstyle.
General Hunter Quality of Life Changes
Several abilities, namely DPS cooldowns like Trueshot, are now no longer on the GCD! Misdirection now only starts working after your first attack. A very welcome Quality of Life change that will stop you from ever wasting your Misdirect when you thought the tank was about to pull but they didn't! Interesting New Baseline Hunter Spells
Eyes of the Beast is back! This spell lets you see through the eyes of your pet as well as controlling it for 1 minute. It is probably not very useful in a competitive setting, but it has been a dearly missed flavor ability for years. Kill Shot is back and baseline for all Hunter specs. It is a powerful execute ability that is usable on targets below 20% health. Hunter's Mark is baseline for all Hunter specs and works just like the Marksmanship Hunter talent did in Battle for Azeroth. However, it now has a 20-second cooldown, but its cooldown will reset if the target dies. Arcane Shot is now available to both Ranged Hunter specs, becoming a signature ability of the Hunter class as a whole. Tranquilizing Shot is back! We no longer need to rely on pets to do offensive dispels. This even gives you 10 Focus when you use it to dispel successfully! Freezing Trap is now baseline for all specs! Binding Shot is now baseline for Marksmanship Hunters. Interesting Marksmanship Talent Changes
Chimaera Shot is now a Marksmanship Hunter Talent. It replaces Arcane Shot and hits up to two targets, on top of doing significantly more damage than Arcane Shot does. Volley has been redesigned. It now lets you place an area on the ground where arrows will continuously rain down for 6 seconds, dealing heavy damage and applying Trick Shots to all targets within for the duration of the Volley. This has great burst AoE potential and takes out a lot of the setup of Marksmanship Hunter AoE (namely casting Multi-Shot before every Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire).
New Covenant Hunter Abilities
Night Fae Ability - Wild Spirits - 2min CD
Applies Wild Mark to all targets within a chosen area for 15 seconds and increases damage done to them by 5%.
This ability might remind you of the Sentinel ability from Legion, a niche but extremely fun and sometimes OP talent for AoE!
Wild Spirits: Each damaging attack you do to an enemy in the Wild Spirits effect does an additional 45% Nature damage. It's like a 50% damage buff for 15 seconds every 2 minutes, and it affects multiple targets! Not too bad and tuning pending, it could be a good burst AoE option.
Necrolord Ability - Death Chakram - 45s CD
Throw a deadly chakram at your current target that will rapidly deal (50% of Attack power) Shadow damage 7 times, bouncing to other targets if they are nearby. Each time the chakram deals damage, its damage is increased by 15% and you generate 3 Focus..
A cool flavor ability that might remind you of Glaive Toss (or the Survival Talent Chakrams).
Besides looking and feeling cool, it does not seem all that special and most of its effect happens automatically after you press the button. Not the most fun in my opinion!
Venthyr Ability - Flayed Shot - 30s CD
Fire a shot at your enemy, causing them to bleed for (250% of Attack power) Shadow damage over 20 seconds . Each time Flayed Shot deals damage, you have a 15% chance to gain Flayer's Mark, causing your next Kill Shot to be usable on any target, regardless of their current health.
Basically, a DoT that sometimes lets you use Kill Shot on a target regardless of their health. Unfortunately, it is entirely RNG and a fairly low chance at that, making this perhaps the most boring of the Covenant abilities.
Kyrian Ability - Resonating Arrow - 1m CD
Fire a resonating arrow to the target location and fills the area with echoing anima for 10 sec . The effect causes your attacks to ignore line of sight to enemies in the area, and you have 30% increased critical strike chance against them.
Perhaps the coolest of all the Covenant abilities, the creative use of the LoS effect can have massive implications for Marksmanship Hunter and on top of that, it is simply cool in my opinion! My fingers are crossed that this will be our go-to Covenant as I think it is by far the most exciting.
While there are other generic Legendary effects, I'm only going to touch on the ones specific to Marksmanship Hunter (although you can check out the rest of the Hunter ones here and generic ones here).
Eagletalon's True Focus fixes the problem with Trueshot, which is not having enough Focus to get all your abilities off. Good fun to play with, but you only notice during your Trueshot windows. Surging Shots adds a little bit of reactivity to an otherwise fairly static rotation, but is overall quite unexciting. Serpentstalker's Trickery is likely to be extremely powerful, although it is quite boring and you are unlikely to notice its effect very much outside of your DPS meter. Secrets of the Unblinking Vigil is a significant boon to Marksmanship Hunter AoE which suffers from a slow setup and therefore poor up-front damage by default.
Marksmanship looks to be the most exciting PvE spec on the Beta and has been the default choice of many for its high damage. I would not mind Marksmanship becoming the meta raiding spec for Castle Nathria, as we have been playing Beast Mastery for an extremely long time by now.
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Other Spec Highlights:
Balance Druid Restoration Druid Beast Mastery Hunter Arcane Mage Outlaw Rogue Elemental Shaman Enhancement Shaman Shadow Priest Affliction Warlock Protection Warrior
With Schrodinger's pre-patch looming above Battle for Azeroth, players have been wondering if there would be an extension to the Corruption resistance granted by the legendary cloak, and Blizzard have confirmed that last week's 125 cap is indeed the final number for BfA. Whether the fact that the maximum Corruption cap was reached last week indicates anything about the pre-patch timing is also up for debate, but Blizzard is keeping the release date as if it was the biggest secret ever in the World of Warcraft.
Corruption Resistance (source)
Just wanted to confirm that is accurate and 125 is the max corruption resistance. Grats on reaching that!
Of all the things Artificial Intelligence could do for humanity... this application of it might be the best! The PULSE AI technology developed by Duke University is being used to convert images of WoW characters into real-life humans and the results are... interesting. Miroslav Yegorov used the AI to see what WoW characters might look like as real people, using several different images to base it off of and getting different results for the same characters. Of note, Sylvanas might not look quite right as the tech included her hood as her hair, and Arthas is... a "little" off as well, but generally, those are very human faces and they might have you looking at the characters in a different light. And laughing. A lot.
In any case it's a really cool project and definitely worth taking a look! Also, prepare to die laughing at a certain Anduin one, and you WILL immediately guess which one's Illidan.
So, the big question is... who's the best?
Update: Blizzard have released the official preview for everything that's coming in the pre-patch and said the end of Battle for Azeroth Season 4 is coming "soon". You can check out the full post here.
The WoW community spent the second half of this week in anticipation of Blizzard's pre-patch release date announcement, only to come away disappointed. There has been plenty of speculation on the date, going from September 15th all the way to the current most likely date of October 6th (for the US). Also, a brand new clue/tinfoil hat conspiracy has come up recently as well, as some mobs are channeling once again!
The Season End Warning
First things first though, the real reason why October 6th/7th is the most likely pre-patch release date at this time is the warning Blizzard give out for the end of a season. Usually it's around 2 weeks, but it's been known to be less, and many players are hoping they'll just make it 1 week this time. However, with this being the end of not just Season 4 but also Battle for Azeroth in general, with many players still chasing AotC and CE achievements, arena rankings and everything else that's going away in the pre-patch, it seems unlikely that the now very standard 10-14 days warning goes down to 7 or 8 (as Monday would be the earliest they could announce at this point).
The Channeling Mobs
There have been several new reports of some very persistent casters channeling once more, as both the old controversial Xorothian Cultists and some new friends of theirs are at it again. Now this particular "channeling time is pointing to the patch/pre-patch/other important dates" theory has been debunked in the past, and several different mobs have been seen channeling pointing to random dates, so take this one with a giant grain of salt, but the new and old mobs are indeed channeling again and are pointing to October 6th and 7th (depending on is it's on US or EU servers).
You can read about the Xorothian Cultists here, the new Shirakess Apprentice fellows here, and you can (and probably should) read the debunking thread from a few years ago here.
The Reputation Buff
As we've talked about before, the reputation buff is active through all of September and it seems a little strange/unlikely that it would remain active for only 2 days (or even 1 for EU) of the pre-patch arriving. Obviously this isn't that big a deal but it does point to the 6th and 7th being more likely as well, and at least we know the dates of the rep buff as a fact, unlike the above two reasons.
It's seeming very likely that we won't be getting the pre-patch on September 29th/30th, making Shadowlands' one of the shorter pre-expansion events, coming in at 3 weeks. Whether this has something to do with the controversial nature of the Scourge invasion event, which has been moved around the insane/difficult/slightly annoying/irrelevant scale an awful lot on the PTR, so perhaps Blizzard don't want it up for too long, or perhaps there's some technical issues or even just the need for more polish for the pre-patch itself, we might never know. What we do know is that the community is VERY eager to get into the pre-patch, with its fast leveling speeds, level squish, new player experience, invasion event and so much more.
We can all still hope for the 29th/30th, but it's looking more and more likely October 6th/7th is the one.
Even though we still don't have the official release date for the Shadowlands pre-patch, Blizzard just posted all the changes that await us when it goes live.
Highlights include the level squish, the new player experience called Exile's Reach, Timewalking Campaigns, details about the new Mentor Program, and more.
You can check out our Shadowlands pre-patch guide to learn about what's coming ahead of Shadowlands release on October 27!
To help you prepare for the upcoming Shadowlands pre-expansion patch and plan your adventures from now until Shadowlands arrives, we’ve compiled a variety of helpful information.
CHARACTER BOOST CHANGES
With the upcoming character-level conversions in Shadowlands, Character Boosts will also change once the pre-expansion patch is live. You’ll want to plan ahead for how you want to use your boosts.
Level 120 Character Boosts will boost characters to level 50 after the pre-expansion patch. Level 110 Character Boosts will boost characters to level 48 after the pre-expansion patch. LEVELS, ITEMS, AND STATS ADJUSTED
With the pre-expansion patch, levels, items, and stats will be adjusted to make reaching a new level feel more meaningful while simultaneously making the leveling experience faster than before. Characters at level 120 will become level 50 after the content update. To help you understand how the change will affect your character’s level, we’ve pulled together this handy conversion table.
Battle for Azeroth Level
Battle for Azeroth Level
NEW STARTING EXPERIENCE: EXILE'S REACH
Exile's Reach is an all-new starting experience that will take you on an excursion to a faraway island and introduce you to the fundamentals of playing World of Warcraft and your chosen class. If you’re new to World of Warcraft and have never created or leveled a character, you will automatically begin your journey into Azeroth with the starting experience. If you’re a veteran player or you’ve leveled a character before, you can choose to opt out of the starting experience and begin instead at level 1 in the starting area for your race.
Upon reaching level 10, new players will continue their journey through Battle for Azeroth and into Shadowlands. [LEARN MORE]
/NEW PLAYER HAS JOINED THE CHAT
After creating your new character and beginning your journey into World of Warcraft for the first time, you will automatically be added to a Newcomer Chat channel, where you can talk with other new players and seek advice from experienced players on the same faction who will be your guides as you level through the new starting zone of Exile's Reach. New players and guides will be able to recognize one another in the chat channels and by icons above their characters' heads that only they can see. Upon reaching level 20, new players will continue the journey ahead on their own and will no longer have access to the Newcomer Chat.
If you're a veteran player and interested in guiding new players as they experience World of Warcraft for the first time, head over to Stormwind or Orgrimmar and speak to the guide recruiter once you've met the following criteria:
Have an account in good standing Reach level 50 Complete 3,000 quests Earn at least two of the following achievements: Terrific Trio, Rival: Battle for Azeroth Season Four, Battle for Azeroth Keystone Conqueror: Season Four, The Waking Dream, or We Have the Technology. If you no longer wish to be a guide, you can speak to guide recruiter once again.
Players who have already experienced Battle for Azeroth and reached level 50 on at least one character can choose to level any subsequent characters in a different expansion using Timewalking Campaigns. This new feature allows content from locations like Northrend or Pandaria to scale to a player’s level, so they can adventure from level 10 all the way to 50 and experience the stories of these areas at their originally intended pacing. Visit Chromie near the embassies in Stormwind or Orgrimmar to select your expansion leveling experience. If you'd like to select a different expansion to level through, simply speak to Chromie again.
RECRUIT A FRIEND UPDATES
With the upcoming release of Shadowlands and the leveling adjustments that come with it, we’re making a few changes to Recruit A Friend. Beginning with the release of the pre-expansion patch, characters who are created by a recruited friend* will receive a unique 30-slot bag—the Extra-Spacious Knapsack—upon completing their adventure in Exile’s Reach as a part of the new player experience.
The additional experience boost that currently exists for recruited players and recruiters who party together will be phased out before the launch of Shadowlands. All other rewards available with the Recruit A Friend program will continue to be available for recruiters.
APPEARANCE CHANGE SERVICE FOR SHADOWLANDS RETIRING SOON
With the release of the pre-expansion patch, players will be able to seek out a Barber Shop for a variety of character-customization options, including the ability to change your character’s gender, hair, facial features, and more. Due to this upcoming new in-game option, the Appearance Change service for Shadowlands will be retired from the Blizzard Shop prior to the release of the pre-patch.
RECRUITING ALLIED RACES
Players who are seeking to recruit a new Allied Race to their side will no longer need to earn Exalted reputation with their associated faction once the pre-expansion patch goes live. Players will still need to complete any achievements and story quests associated with the Allied Race to gain access, however.
BATTLE FOR AZEROTH PVP SEASON 4 ENDS AND THE POST-SEASON BEGINS
The gates will soon close on Battle for Azeroth PvP Season 4 with the release of the Shadowlands pre-expansion patch. Don’t worry though, you’ll still be able to take part in competitive PvP in a special post-season, which will end with the launch of the expansion. The new Shadowlands Season 1 will then go live shortly after the launch of Shadowlands.
If you participated in Season 4, to ensure you receive the rewards that you’re due, please keep the following in mind:
Refrain from transferring your character(s) to another realm or faction until after Battle for Azeroth Season 4 has ended. Battle for Azeroth Season 4 titles and mounts will be awarded approximately two weeks after the season ends. Faction-Based Rewards
Don’t forget—end-of-season rewards are based on your faction. If you transfer your character to the other faction, you must have 50 wins after your transfer to receive the reward and 150 wins after your transfer to earn Gladiator and Corrupted Gladiator.
Jump Into Post-Season
Once the pre-expansion patch is live, we’ll be kicking off a special post-season that last until the launch of Shadowlands. While placement on the season ladder is locked for any end-of-season rewards such as the Gladiator mount or title, players will be able to continue to earn Conquest towards the Conquest Schedule, gain random PvP loot, and collect catch-up gear rewarded from strongboxes. Players will also be able to purchase Corrupted Aspirant gear from vendors located in Stormwind and Ogrimmar.
Leaderboards Temporarily Offline
Please note that PvP Leaderboards will not be available once the pre-expansion patch goes live but will become available again with the start of the new Shadowlands PvP season.
EARNING FLIGHT IN WARLORDS OF DRAENOR AND LEGION
With the release of the Shadowlands pre-expansion patch, flying in Warlords of Draenor and Legion will no longer require earning the achievements Draenor Pathfinder and Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part Two, respectively.
TIME RUNS SHORT: BATTLE FOR AZEROTH
With the last days of Battle for Azeroth almost upon us, you’ll want to make sure you’re tying up any last tasks or goals you have. Check out our article to learn more.
Check back for more updates as we get closer to the release of the Shadowlands pre-expansion patch.
*Players who are recruited prior to the release of the Shadowlands pre-expansion patch will not receive the new 30-slot bag, the Extra-Spacious Knapsack.