The purpose of this thread is to discuss what changes can be made reasonably in 8.1.5 to further address the issues with this spec. Many are unhappy with core design elements of the spec, and I share many of the frustrations. However, as stated in the last Q&A, we’re not going to see sweeping changes to core mechanics of any spec mid-expansion. This is reminiscent of about this point in Legion, when many were heavily suggesting the removal of the vulnerable mechanic. That design wasn’t our favorite either, but they eventually iterated it to a point where it worked and felt better to use than the original implementation. There were also pretty substantial talent and ability changes at that point as well, with the re-introduction of trap and other pvp-oriented adjustments. I say all of that to say: “no major changes” doesn’t mean “no changes”. We should still be giving feedback and suggestions, we just shouldn’t expect things like “copy paste mop hunter” or the removal/replacement of entire mechanics core to the class.
So let me begin by offering my suggestions, and i’ll preface with the acknowledgement of the “audience” that I belong to. I am a primarily pvp-oriented player now, and a former “hardcore” raider. I participate in some light heroic raiding and m+ as well, so I’m not completely ignorant of PvE, but more up-to-date and competitive in PvP, so take that perspective into account.
The trick shots mechanic still feels incredibly frustrating and clunky to use because of the 3-target minimum. I strongly suggest lowering this to 2, and tuning it however the designers deem appropriate with that change in place.
Talents also feel out of place, in terms of which ones you want to use in AoE situations vs ST situations. Most, if not all of the other dps specs have dedicated AoE rows. Careful aim and barrage seem out of place, given this. Barrage is an aoe ability on a row of ST talents, and Careful Aim is a ST ability on an AoE row. IMO, it makes sense to switch them or otherwise reshuffle the talents.
Precise Shots is still a fairly problematic mechanic. As fellow Hunter patriot Masochism has pointed out, even after the 8.1 adjustment, it makes all of the talents that use focus a DPS loss, and generally feels bad. I will quote him, because he explains it better than i can:
I propose doing either/or/both of two things. Further shift damage out of precise shots into base arcane damage (it was changed from 100% to 75%, with a base buff to arcane to make the damage of precise the same, but base arcane a bit higher), to something like 30% with the equivalent increase to base arcane again. Another way to improve it would be to allow us to store more charges of it, say 5. I think these two changes make the system in place “feel” a lot better. Base arcane shot would be better for situations where you actually need to use it a lot without precise shots (like PvP), yet you would not want to ignore it to do optimal PvE damage, and having more charges may make using talented shots feel like a better choice.
This is one of the most important discussions for me, as this is pretty critical for viability in rated arenas. Marksman needs a robust control kit to properly play its role in arena. There is no tuning that can be done to a marksman spec this one dimensional that makes it “good” without involving oneshot mechanics (which we have been far away from; left after pre-patch). Last expansion, you had the choice of talented binding or wyvern that did not share a talent row with postehaste, then bursting disorient, and also trap. Wyvern is now completely gone, binding is a root on the same row as postehaste (which is a required choice in all situations for the root break), and bursting shot no longer disorients. This effectively leaves marks with just trap and knocks. It’s also important to note that SV and BM both have an additional CC on top of trap, and marks needs more CC than the other two for its role.
Proposal number one for me is putting scatter shot on disorient DR, and making it baseline. This gives the hunter an opportunity to set up his own CC, while also eating two DR trees. I think there is definitely credit to what Dillon and others have expressed about the ease of getting a trap off with current trap mechanics and a scatter shot on its own dr. The question it raises at this point, is would it actually be reasonable? I personally don’t think that one change, as easy as it may make trapping, would in any way make the spec overpowered, given everything else that exists in the meta with other specs instant cc, and mechanics to set up self-cc (root/harpoon trapping as sv, shimmer poly, spriest and rogue instant cc). It might be a little bit annoying to play against, but I’m not really seeing a reasonable alternative, given what exists in the game and what they are likely or able to do mid-expansion.
Proposal two for me on this is reconfiguring the mobility talent row. Binding shot is never an option with the root break being tied to postehaste on the same row. Born to be wild is also a “dead talent”. Perhaps untie the root break from postehaste so that the other two talents can be used, then replace born to be wild with the MoP talent that gave an aoe root on disengage, and then reduce binding shot cooldown to be competitive with the other two revised talents.
The last section I want to address is PvP talents. Marks was one of the specs that didn’t have many amazing pvp talents in legion, but there was something marginally useful in each talent row. Also, you did not have to use a pvp talent to get Roar of Sacrifice, which you do now. You benefitted from the fact that you got to choose from dragonscale, survival tactics, or catlike reflexes, then also being able to pick a sting, and then something in the explosive trap/scatter row, etc. You now really have no choice but to use scatter and roar of sacrifice in all situations, which ends in a net reduction in overall useful abilities that you have vs. before. I’ve already proposed making scatter baseline, which frees up another talent. You also still have talents like Ranger’s Finesse that are clearly designed around the last iteration of MM, and don’t really do much of anything now. I propose replacing Ranger’s Finesse with old Readiness, 5m cooldown that resets turtle, exhileration, and aspect of the cheetah.
I think these types of changes are the direction we need to be looking at to fill the gaps and make the spec “feel better” to play. This feedback kind of ignores overall numbers tuning, too. Obviously, that may be necessary as well, I am just not trying to come at this from the perspective of “how much”, rather “how well does it play” if that makes sense.