Mists of Pandaria talent preview and analysis
Almost all of these are going to be encounter specific, but I wanted to hash out my initial thoughts on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the talents as they look now. For the most part I am only concerned with PvE.
Tier 1 (level 15)
Your movement speed is increased by 60% for 4 seconds after you use disengage.
This is basically half of the current Marksmanship talent of the same name. It's not exactly over powered but I used this extensively when movement over a large area was needed in PvE content and its absence when I switched to mostly Survival for Dragon Soul was noticeable.
Increases your chance to dodge attacks and resist spells by 100% for 3 seconds when you use Disengage.
For PvE this mostly depends on what kind of spells can be resisted. If it works on everything this could be a great cooldown for negating damage that comes from a single big hit - like Hour of Twilight. The movement component is more than a bit awkward and would require some really precise timing and skill if you need to be in a certain position while soaking that damage, such as Twilight Onslaught or Zon'ozz orbs. The dodge component is unlikely to see much use in PvE or honestly even in PvP. Three seconds is a very short time and if you are subject to melee attacks much in three seconds after Disengage your use of that ability has pretty much already failed.
When you disengage you are instantly healed for 15% of your total health.
This looks fantastic for PvP, especially in situations where outside healing is limited, such as random battlegrounds. For PvE it is very encounter specific and will have to be balanced with required damage output. I can't think of any situations in Dragon Soul where this ability would be worth taking over Posthaste or Evasiveness.
Tier 2 (level 30)
A shot that silences the target and interrupts spellcasting for 3 seconds.
This tier basically lets you pick which CC ability you like best from the current spec specific abilities. This one will depend on how the strengths of other class's interrupts balance out. Traditionally we haven't been a very strong interrupter since the cooldown was fairly long and the lock out short for us compared to most classes. We were more of a backup or one who could interrupt a damaging but non-crucial cast at literally no cost to us (Lady Deathwhisper sticks out in my mind). This may change with the CD of other class interrupts going up, especially if it would cost resources for those classes while ours is focus-free and off the GCD. One more consideration here - travel time. On really, really small windows this may be an issue. Lastly, traditionally in PvE this has mostly only mattered for the interrupt mechanic but the actual silencing aspect may be important in the future.
A stinging shot that puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds. Any damage will cancel the effect. When the target wakes up, the Sting causes 2829 Nature damage over 5 seconds. Only one Sting per Hunter can be active on the target at a time.
This ability was great for BC heroics but pretty much worthless for PvE content since then. It does have potential depending on the encounter though. This potential is in its instant (minus travel time) application which could be beneficial in instantly nabbing a spawn that needs to be CC'd and can't be prepared for ahead of time via a trap. Reasons for this could be to an unknown spawn location or its superior accuracy (in most cases). The damage component is weak and mostly irrelevant.
Command your pet to intimidate the target, causing a high amount of threat and stunning the target for 3 seconds. Lasts 15 seconds.
If you are wondering about the 3 second/15 second thing, it most likely puts a buff on your pet that causes it to stun the target when it's in range. If you hit this and your pet doesn't have anything to stun in 15 seconds, it will expire. The stun itself will last for 3 seconds. I like stuns because in the best case you can interrupt crucial mechanics, but even if you have no "good" use for the interrupt it can still be used to mitigate a bit of damage with no penalty. If there is no good reason to use Silencing or Wyvern I will probably default to this.
Tier 3 (level 45)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera
When you are hit by a melee attack, the cooldown of your Disengage is instantly reduced by 4 seconds. Whenever you are hit by a ranged attack or spell, the cooldown of your Deterrence is instantly reduced by 8 seconds. These effects have a 2 second cooldown.
This is the existing Beast Master "PvP" talent. There might be rare cases where this pushes the effective cooldown of Deterrence low enough to reach some threshold for soaking but for the most part the other two look better for PvE.
Aspect of the Iron Hawk
Your Aspect of the Hawk now also reduces all direct damage taken by 15%
Passive damage reduction is a big deal. I am curious how much will count as direct damage, but it should still be useful even if it means we don't mitigate anything from BIG RAIDWIDE NUKE. If it does, it's really powerful.
While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 2% of total health every 5 seconds.
"Free" health but honestly, this is pretty weak. It would take just over 4 minutes to fill up your health pool from this alone so obviously it doesn't come anyway close to countering any reasonable amount of damage in take. You'd see the most out of this in situations where you are consistently taking damage and staying below full health, but even then it would only compete with Aspect of the Iron Hawk if the latter didn't apply because it wasn't direct damage.
Tier 4 (level 60)
Instantly restores 50 Focus to you and your pet.
This ability isn't as strong as you might think. For one thing, assuming it stays the same as the current ability, it's on the GCD. For another, focus isn't our only limiting resource - time and cooldowns are as well. This ability isn't going to let you get off more kill commands, chimera shots, or explosive shots. It will let you get off more arcane shots, aimed shots, or (again) arcane shots. It's not even that ideal for setting up a burst phase either, because the GCD means you have to use it before hand or you are wasting too much time, and for that you could also just cobra/steady shot for it.
When activated, this ability immediately finishes the cooldown on all Hunter abilities.
This is infinitely better as stated. In Wrath you could use Readiness to reset Bestial Wrath until they nerfed it (in late Naxx I think?) so we might see some stipulations to that effect. At the very least it reduces the cooldown of Rapid Fire to its cooldown of 3 minutes. It could also mean we get to do double kill command, explosive shot, chimera shot, black arrow (different targets?). Not to mention the utility possibilities with traps, feign death, disengage, deterrence, etc.
Thrill of the Hunt
You have a 15% chance when you fire a shot that costs Focus to instantly regain 100% of the Focus cost of the shot.
This is pretty much going to come down to whether or not this maths out ahead of Readiness and whether burst is needed on a given encounter. It is worth noting that this will have a diminished effect for any playstyle that requires pooling a high amount of focus (like SV without 4pcT12 or 2pcT13) since the procs could be wasted on focus cap. Also I think that this has to pretty much be flat out better than Readiness if you can take full advantage of it because otherwise the ability to control Readiness would favor that ability if the two had theoretically equal DPS boosting power.
Tier 5 (level 75)
Your Freezing Trap no longer has a cooldown, but only one target can be affected by it at a time.
The idea here is that you can retrap a target that gets loose or switch the target you want to trap. And obviously this depends on what kind of targets need to be trapped in the first place, if anything. It would be interesting if this could force a LnL proc every time or if that would have an internal trap-effected (yes I mean effected, not affected!) cooldown. In all likelihood that won't be a factor or it will be patched out if people discover it can be exploited.
Increases the movement speed reduction of your Ice Trap by an additional 10%, and when you move through your Ice Trap you gain 50% movement speed for 4 seconds.
This looks great for circular kiting. This is likely to be my default choice if for no other reason than trying to take advantage of that 50% movement ability.
Place a nature trap laced with a special toxin that will transmorph the next enemy into a beast, reducing their movement speed by 60% and causing them to be unable to use any of their normal abilities for up to 1 minute. Trap will exist for 1 minute.
It's Hex in trap form! Limited PvE usage but wow, this is a lot of CC potential for PvP. Freezing Trap, Wyvern Sting, and Transmorph Trap in one build?
Tier 6 (level 90)
You hurl two glaives in front of you 30 yards, dealing 1.X damage to all enemies and reducing their movement speed by 50%. The Glaives will return back to you, also dealing damage and snaring targets they hit. If Glaive Toss hits at least 2 enemies in both directions, the cooldown is reset.
If the damage component is worth it this would very cool as part of an AoE rotation. It is entirely possible that the damage component is token only, in which case this is still a great tool for kiting multiple mobs at once - especially if you aren't Marksmanship with the now built in Concussive Barrage and its multi shot effect.
You wind up a powerful shot, dealing 1.X damage to all targets in front of ou within 20 yards (width). The damage done is increased on targets further away. 15-30 yards: Double damage, stunned one second. 30-50 yards: Triple damage, stunned two seconds.
This looks like the idea is to prevent multiple targets from fleeing (around a pillar or otherwise) and it sounds interesting in that respect. Despite the wording's suggestion of a "wind up" time no cast time is given. If it has one, it could drastically effect this. What I am concerned about is if the damage component will turn out to make it worthwhile for that alone, on single target or otherwise. Specifically, the range mechanic. Any range factor that requires or encourages only one class to be standing in a location that no one else has a reason to is bad. If it were an issue for multiple classes and you designed a strat around it, great. But when only one class has interest in being special in a very obnoxious way it's either going to lead to resentment for having to adjust a strat around that one class, or its going to lead to that class being suboptimal by trying to be like other classes in a way they cannot (just run in for bonestorm!!!). I think the removal of our minimum range in MoP is great for this reason - they needed to either do that or give a minimum range to more classes. The other issue with ranged mechanics is that the game just isn't very good at telling you your distance from targets. You need an addon to tell you this and even then it's just spitting out a text representation. The environment isn't true 3D; your eyes can not judge the distance using parallax. Both of these were a problem with the original Sniper Training in WotLK and it was abandoned for that reason. Again, this concerns will only be an issue here if the damage is significant enough that you want to take advantage of it most of the time instead of just "when the target is trying to get away and almost out of range" for which it seems to be intended.
You fire a magical projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 10 yards to the landing arrow. Increases all damage they receive from you by 15%. If they move 15 yards from the arrow they are stunned for 10 seconds (5 seconds PvP).
This one I like. It's basically a ground targeted Vendetta with stun potential. No duration nor cooldown is given but I imagine it has to have one right? You can't just give +15% damage that is dependent only on the target not moving around too much and expect that to compete with the other two talents this tier.
For the most part, these talents seem pretty dull. Blizzard did mention hunters in particular as being in early stages of development here compared to other classes which isn't surprising - a lot of these are existing talents they might have just tossed in as placeholders. We don't even have >85 skills in the talent build, spec specific or otherwise, yet. So that's when a look at this stuff is really going to matter, but hey, it's fun taking a look now.