|This is what happens when you let Hunters PvP ^^|
In the latest 5.4 PTR Patch notes, I found myself having to do a double-take. Hunters get a new ability, Counter Shot, which is apparently learnt at Level 22. The tooltip above is deliberately incorrect, because the only place I can currently locate said replacement ability on Wowhead is being used by an NPC (Admiral Hodgson) in the Battle for the High Seas Scenario. What makes this significant for anyone who plays a Hunter is that this is the shot that will replace Silencing Shot in our talent trees. That ability will return to being a Marks only choice.
Of course, there's only one reason this change is being implemented. Yes, PvP types, I'm looking at you.
An instant cast silence is pretty potent. Sticking in away in what has become the poor relation of Hunter specs could be seen as giving that a boost, or could simply be assumed to be taking it away from BM and Survival where it makes their abilities even more awesome. Replacing an instant cast with something that takes nearly two seconds is, I have to say, going to take some getting used to. I'll use my Silencing Shot in instances or Scenarios to pull a caster mob into melee range for my husband tank, or when soloing to get it to run into a trap. Both of those tasks will be considerably harder with a spell I have to cast. In good news however it has no focus cost, so that's at least something.
The question then remains, why is this change even necessary to begin with?
I understand how important PvP is to Blizzard's long-term gameplan. It's a part of the equation that doesn't require instance tuning, or indeed 24 other people to help you play. The fact that Arenas are going full-on matchmaking in 5.4 also says to me that this is something people are clearly asking for. I've played both PvP and PvE. One is considerably harder than the other. Taking away things from the easier to handicap the harder may seem like a great idea on paper, but those changes only work to a certain extent, because there comes a point where easier becomes less useful... or if you will, harder. Yes, we know, this is the eternal quest for Class Balance, which has been celebrated in memes and has entire areas of the Forums dedicated to its complexity and annoyance. Yes, I know getting grumpy about this isn't going to change anything one iota, and the fact will remain that if something's OP in whatever spec, you're going to get a swipe with The Great Big Bat of Nerf (TM)
What is encouraging however is to see that all this poking to appease the PvP-ers isn't the entire story.
I've read the following blue posts this morning which I would urge all Hunters to take a look at. In this discussion we learn that the nerf to Stampede (that happened because of PvP) is great for initial purpose, but (not unsurprisingly) it makes the whole thing pretty pants as a PvE ability. As a result, lo and behold, it's going to get a buff. Lots of other things might be buffed too, as a result of further PvP changes having less than optimal consequences, and breaking stuff all over the shop. Look, it's that balance thing again, meaning that we get shafted so we can be fixed... so I know I shouldn't start getting annoyed that we have to be smashed into tiny pieces to begin with, but I still do. It all boils down to an issue of perception. Why, when you get something working properly, can't you just leave it alone? Stop fiddling when we're good, for the love of all that is sacred... YES I KNOW, JUST LET THE WHINY HUNTER HAVE HER MOMENT ^^
In conclusion therefore: plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. I'll continue to moan, Blizzard will keep breaking perfectly good abilities, and everyone stays happy.
Job dun :D