Goodbye Mana. Hello Focus.

Hunters will use Focus

During this past weekend’s BlizzCon, Ghostcrawler announced an exciting but somewhat controversial change to the Hunter class which will be implemented in the next expansion, “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm”. This revolutionary change is of course the removal of mana as the Hunter’s source of energy, and the introduction of focus as a usable resource for attacks and spells. This change will essentially cause the Hunter class to behave almost like a “ranged Rogue”.

Ghostcrawler also divulged some vague details about how focus will work for the Hunter, including:

  • Focus will regen at a rate of 6 focus per second, which unfortunately is a bit slower than the Rogue’s energy regen rate of 10 per second.
  • However, Steady Shot will play an important role in the Hunter’s shot priority because it will up focus regen rate to 12 per second.
  • Attacks will most likely cost somewhere between 30 and 60 focus. Ouch.
  • Hunters will have fewer abilities on the global cooldown.
  • In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, haste will also affect how quickly focus regenerates.
  • With the removal of mana as a resource, intellect will now be an unnecessary stat for Hunters.
  • Aspect of the Viper… gone!

This change is obviously the biggest and most controversial bit of Hunter news that was announced over the weekend at BlizzCon 2009.

Mana was always viewed as a means to an end by the Blizzard developers. Hunters were not really intended to use mana as an energy resource, but Blizzard had never developed a working alternative. Finally, the Blizzard developers feel as if they’ve managed to develop a system that will compliment the Hunter skill set, as well as provide a better and more relevant resource system for the only ranged physical damage dealing class in the game. Let’s hope they’re right.

I for one am excited about this change. I know many players are concerned mainly due to the high cost of the shots compared to the limited available resources and regeneration rates, but I think it’s too early to get your panties in a bunch over this new mechanic.

For one, there is a lot we don’t know at this point. While it has been stated that attacks will cost somewhere between 30 and 60 focus, and that focus will have a base regen rate of 6 per second, we are still in the dark as to what sort of talents will be introduced to help alleviate focus starvation.

It’s assumed that maximum focus will probably be around 100. Chances are, there will most likely be a talent early on in one of the trees that will increase the focus pool. Secondly, I’m also going to assume that there will be another talent which will increase focus regen rate above the previously mentioned 6 per second.

Next, we don’t know how much of an affect haste will have on focus regeneration, but perhaps it may play a big role. There will probably also be talents which will reduce focus costs for certain abilities. I’m looking at Steady Shot for starters. Steady sounds like it’s going to be the new Aspect of the Viper.

Since Steady Shot is going to be in the spotlight once again, maybe Blizz will beef up its damage or introduce some synergistic talents that will make it more of a premier shot for us. Who knows, maybe there will also be a Go for the Throat type of talent which will affect the Hunter..? I see a lot of fun possibilities that could be incorporated in order to make the focus resource one that’s not so quickly depleted.

I’m different than a lot of the Hunter community in that I’m probably more optimistic than most. Seriously, I cannot wrap my head around why some people get so seemingly upset over things like this. With just how much some players complain about things, it’s a wonder to me why they even play this game.

I feel some Hunters have this knee jerk reaction of, “oh s**t, they’re going to ruin our class… what about our shot priorities… oh noes, we’re going to be focus-starved…! what was so bad about mana..?!”

Like I said, I’m looking at the glass half-full. I see this change as an exciting one which will bring a whole new dynamic to the class. It’s going to provide the Hunter class with a new unique identity. We no longer will be ranged physical casters.

I feel it’s also going to provide further separation between Hunters and those who play the Hunter class. There is already a noticeable difference between Hunters who know their class and those who don’t, but this change is going to intensify that. For some, the class just may not have the same feel anymore and those players may just choose not to re-learn the play style. Focus management is going to be serious business compared to managing a slowly depleting mana pool. I welcome the challenge. It sounds exciting.

It was also said, if I recall correctly, that the Marksmanship Hunters’ talent mastery will be a more efficient use of focus in some way. Perhaps Readiness will be changed to also instantly replenish all of your available focus pool. Hmmm…

Beast Mastery Hunters will have a passive pet damage bonus and probably will be less focus dependent. Unless the BM tree is reworked considerably this change looks to benefit BM Hunters the most, as the bulk of their damage production is a result of their pet, steady shot and white damage.

As for Survival,  I’m not sure what they have planned for that.

I’m embracing this change to a focus system. I think that the game has come a long way over the years, and although they weren’t able to make it work before, I think they have the knowledge and input to get it accomplished now.

My only concern is similar to the one Dracky pointed out…

“I also hope they don’t require melee attacks to use focus. The last thing I need is to burn all of my focus getting out of melee range then having no focus to burst on the enemy when I get to range.”

This is the only thing that mildly concerns me. I just hope that our escape abilities are very cheap. :)

All in all, I still feel it’s too early on to get too preoccupied with focus and what it’s going to do to Hunters.

What do you guys think?


  1. Blackorchid says

    Having been a mana hunter my entire WoW career im not willin to pay for a game that all the sudden reverses my mechanic. I love this game but bein one of the apparently few folk that doesnt have multiple alts Im not willing to relearn my entire class because Blizz wants to nerf somethin.

    • Xzylene says

      as a MM hunter well i practically confident with mana in PVPs i use 4 shots + readiness +4 shots = 8 shots to kill my opponent and gank them with silence and scatter shot and other traps .. and IDK if i will be happy with focus.. if i cast steadyshot ill die before i know it since i dont use steadyshot alot.. well IDK and dont want to relearn my strat again just taught myself :|

  2. huntyadown says

    I had a very very good hunter prior to the new patch and now with Focus everything changed and not for the good. There are times I am just sitting there waiting for focus to regen while Iam getting wacked on by alts with a 20k mana pool or even a rogue that never seems to run out of mana..they better change it to the better soon or after 6 years of playing..iam done…

  3. Vikore says

    i have an rogue and a hunter that i have been raiding since vanilla… the two combined is my dream… blizzard =make a wish foundation

  4. Therosh says

    I’m not sure how excited I am about this. My endgame raiding spec is Survival, partially because of the sheer utility of the class, and the fact that I find it so much more fun to play than MM. (Steady spam anyone? Oh look, go go Chimera!) But yes, one of the key reasons I play Survival is how intensely useful bringing Replenishment to my raids is. That and the tasty non-physical damage that makes up the majority of my dps. The likely loss of Replenishment, at least in a mana-regen sense, gives me (and my raid) a tangible sense of foreboding. If they keep the talent, it’ll likely be a DPS loss, instead of the currently hugely helpful thing it is. More Dragonhawk makes me happy!

    My Hunter is my main, and I’m just plain nervous about this. MM may be the most focus-efficient class in the upcoming system, but unless Blizz makes a bunch of changes to that shot priority I will not be swapping specs. I suppose I’ll have to wait until I get to see the reworked talent tree, and this is gnawing worry expressing itself after having worked so hard to master my spec. Although maybe this change will be for the better, and will redeem our class in the eyes of the community (I’m sick to death of Huntard) simply because people unskilled with the new system will simply stop playing it. Odd thing to hope for.

    Thanks for posting this great info though, I was concerned about the lack of specifics from Blizz on this huge class revamp. At least I have a semi-formative idea of what the system will look like. Just, pretty please, no combo points!

    (Shameless plug: Check out Mediocrity on Medivh, we’re the #5 10-man strict guild on the server, and will be smashing our faces against Arthas this coming Thursday.)

  5. wtw says

    PvP is my end game. Mana or focus, I don’t care, but If I have to wait .01 second longer than I’m used to during PvP then I will be pissed. And the entire hunter class will have to be re-balanced. A common phrase comes to mind.. “if it aint broke…”

  6. Alkurid says

    Ive been playing for a while now since Pre-BC and im really exicted for Focus instead of Mana i would just like some info about it to hurry up or something because im really anxious about it.

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