I had so much fun looking at the stat changes for Honorshammer, I thought I'd see what Cataclysm has in store for my Hunter.
No Intellect on melee gear. Hunters won't need Intellect since they will no longer use mana. Shaman and Retribution paladins will get mana and spell damage in other ways.
This is probably the biggest change being made to the Hunter class in Cataclysm. Hunter's will be fourth manaless DPS class (along with Warriors, Rogues, and Death Knights). Personally, I'm really excited about this change. Mana is something I've dealt with on every toon I've had and being able to DPS without having to worry about mana or going to Viper sounds like a great change.
I'm frankly surprised by the amount of negative reaction this change has gotten from full time 'main' Hunters. The chief concern, as I read it, is that the regeneration rate of Hunter Energy (called Focus) will not be high enough. That may very well be the case in Beta, but it's also a 'knob' that the Devs can change pretty easily. If it's not enough, they just boost it.
In addition, consider the change they are making to Haste.
Haste - Haste will become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly. Our intention is for Haste to let you "do stuff" more often.
So that would seem to indicate that Haste would allow the Hunter to regerate Focus more quickly. Haste isn't a great stat for Hunter in Wrath, but if this change also applies to Focus, I could Haste being a very beneficial stat for Hunters in Cataclysm.
Armor Penetration - This stat will no longer be present on items. Armor Penetration will still exist in talents and abilities. Existing Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.
Do you here that sound? It's the sound of a million Armor Pen Caped Marksmen crying out in terror and then suddenly silenced. Without the ability to stack armor penetration, will Marksman again fall behind Survival as the DPS of choice for Raiding Hunters?
Combat ratings - All ratings will be much harder to "cap out" at maximum gear levels. Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.
Like I talked about in the Paladin edition, this basically means we'll need more Hit Rating in Tier 12 to be Hit capped than we did in Tier 11. It also sounds like later Bosses will have something of a built in Resilience. What I'm curious about is how the Developers can make the system more transparent. Will DPS classes still need to go to outside sources, or will the Hit tooltip indicate how much Hit is needed for a particular Tier of content?
Attack Power - This stat will no longer be present on most items as a flat value, though it will still show up on some process. Strength and Agility, which will be present on items, will grant the appropriate amount of Attack Power (generally 2 Attack Power per point of Strength or Agility) depending upon which stat a particular class favors. Agility may provide less Crit than it currently does. Existing Attack Power becomes Agility and Stamina.
My first question when I read this is, are Hunters going back to getting 2 Attack Power per point of Agility. That how they were originally. Then they were changed to only get 1 Attack Power per point of Agility. Crit is out of control. My Hunter is over 55% crit unbuffed. It's crazy (and good). So I can understand reducing the amount of Crit Hunters, Shamans, Rogues and Ferals get from Agility.
Strength if you wear plate. Agility if you wear mail or leather.
Hunter Loot!! Since Agility will be on Leather and Mail, and Hunters won't need intellect that won't be on mail, I wonder if you'll see Hunters going for some Leather items especially early on in the 'gear up' phase of the Expansion. Yes, common courtesy says that you let the guy who can only wear Leather have first crack at it, but beyond that what will differentiate Rogue/Feral Leather from Hunter Mail other than the armor class?
A lot more Stamina. Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.
I'm strangely attracted to doing things with a class it shouldn't be able to do. Tanking endgame as a Paladin used to fall under this heading, but not so much any more. Now we know one of the goals of Cataclysm is to have every stat from the Hunter be shared with the Pet, and we know that DPS classes will be closer to Tanks in terms of raw HP. There should be Leather with Stamina, Dodge, and Hit for the Bears out there. I wonder if I couldn't get a good Tenacity pet like a Croc, Bear, or Turtle and turn my Hunter into a semi legitimate tank. Maybe not Raid worthy, but more for 5 mans and Heroics. I'd love to get to end of a run and have someone go "wow, I can't believe we pulled that off."
The big questions I have about my Hunter in Cataclysm won't be answered for a while.
What are they doing with Ammo? The Developers mentioned a while back getting rid of consumable ammo. Hunters have a reagent cost for every spell they cast. Granted its a cheap reagent at 5g per 1000, but it's still a cost. I'd love to see consumable Ammo go the way of Defense and Rep Grinds, bye bye.
What's the next pet? In Burning Crusade the raiding pet was either a Ravager or Cat. Early on in Wrath, the battle was between Cats and Raptors, and maybe Devilsaurs/Spirit Beasts. Then somewhere around Ulduar I think, it became the day of the Wolf. And Wolves have pretty much dominated ever since. But as we get closer to the end of Wrath, the static nature of the Wolf buff is starting to lose ground to Cats. Spreadsheet DPS using my gear, I use femaledwarf.com, still shows the Wolf ahead but only by about 100dps.
When we get to Cataclysm will Cats once more be the pet of the month. Will Wolves somehow hold their ground? Will some new pet become the Raid companion of Hunters? That's the question I'm curious to find the answer to.