Patch 3.0.3 is going live with the overnight maintenance, and there are some exciting changes. As always, there are many changes to hunter’s and to the game in general, but I will only be looking at the changes that affect tenacity pets. As such, if you see anything I’ve missed, don’t hesitate to let me know.
-Animal handler has been reworked, now yeilding 5/10 expertise to the pet instead of +hit chance.
-Stampede and Acid Spit now have increased damage.
-Stampede’s knockback has been reduced from 15 yards to 10 yards.
-Pet Special moves have been reduced from 25 to 20 focus.
-Thunderstomp’s coefficient has been changed (“fixed”) from physical to magical.
Ok so what does all this mean for us?
First, Stampede’s knockback isn’t all that bad. It was hard to knock people off cliffs before, and this won’t change that much, but it will silence alot of the complainers. The core benefit of the skill, a mass interrupt, is still in place.
Second, the increase to damage of the exotic pets is being implemented as promised. As a way to sweeten the 51 point talent, exotic pets are getting boost to damage. It is not supposed to make them worlds better, but rather to make the 51 actually worth taking. For tenacity pets, the 51 pointer is already worth taking, so this only makes things better. I haven’t done a formal threat analysis on the rhino and the worm yet, but this will certainly add to their threat capacity. How they will stack up against the gorilla remains to be seen.
Third, the special moves now cost 5 less focus, which is a reasonable buff, and will make casting them that much easier. Pretty straightforward.
Fourth, I do not know enough about the change to thunderstomp to know if this is going to affect it drastically or not. Time will tell =)
Fifth, but most importantly, expertise. This change is great on many levels. This talent was not beneficial to pet tanking, simply because most hunters will be hit-capped anyway. So this is like a brand new talent for pet tanking. It’s also great because it is a brand new defensive stat for our pets, and it is further indication of what we have already seen: Blizzard is becoming more open to giving our pets a full range of defensive stats.
So what does expertise do for our pets? Most of us dont know much about expertise since it is not a stat that we have used before.
Basically, 1 point of expertise decreases the chance your attack will be dodged or parried by 0.25%.
Less attacks dodged and parried means more attacks landed which means more threat, but it also means less damage coming in. When a mob parries your attack, it reduces the time between the next attack. This reduction in time causes damage spikes. The expertise for our pets will smooth out the incoming damage, making it more predictable and thus easier to heal.
Additionally, the talent affords you expertise, not expertise rating. This ensures that talent does not lose value as we level. In fact, you could look at it as gaining value as we level, since 10 expertise will require more expertise rating at 80.
Let the Hunt begin!
EDIT: I have updated my Hunter talent build on the Talents page, and created a new section for expertise on the Stats page.