Fixing Distracting Shot

The recent announcement that talent trees will be significantly revised come Cataclysm is interesting, and makes a lot of sense. I like that we will be getting "core" talents and abilities early on, that makes classes FEEL like what they should be.

One talent I hope they change is Distracting Shot. Or rather, not change the talent itself, but change the level we get it at. I've previously bemoaned the fact that rookie hunters seem destined to become huntards since we get Distracting Shot at level 12. PLEASE CHANGE THIS BLIZZARD.

Getting this ability early on doesn't make ANY sense to me. First of all...a beginning hunter will never, EVER need this shot. Not at level 12, level 22, 32, etc. Oh sure, a veteran hunter leveling a second hunter MAY find some use for it, and use it to pull an angry mob off a healer in Scarlet Monastery or whatnot. But that's knowledgeable/experienced players, and honestly it's hardly necessary in early dungeons.

On the other hand, a rookie player will not only receive no benefit from Distracting Shot, but will actually SUFFER because of it. Why? Because they'll happily cast it along with their regular shots as part of their tiny rotation. Why wouldn't they? It's a new ability! That's exciting! The tooltip doesn't mean much, because that's what the pet and the tanks are for, right? How many players, on their first characters by level 12, had any inkling of what "threat" and "aggro" meant yet?

I've explained to dozens of baby hunters why they shouldn't cast it, and while some immediately get what I'm saying, I get the feeling with others that they stopped using it not because they understood, but just because I asked. And of course there's been those stubborn ones who refuse to stop casting it, or just say the tank should be holding threat better. These ones tend to die a lot and drop group in rage. Jerks, yes - but it's not even really their fault. They don't know any better about threat at this level. They don't understand that the tank CANNOT hold threat against it.

On the flip side, there's an awful lot of "veteran" players leveling alts who will freak out at lowbie mistakes like this, and berate, insult and terrorize the rookie player instead of offering helpful advice. Doesn't do a lot to encourage a new player to ask others for advice, that's for sure.

It also just doesn't make sense when you examine the class. If there's a baby DPS warrior taunting repeatedly? It's easy to correct, by simply telling them they should only do that when they're tanking. But a hunter casting Distracting Shot? It's harder to explain. They can't tank, so why do they have this ability? Obviously experienced players know why, but to a beginner, the answers might not make any sense, or be too complicated since they are new to the game.

It's such a weird ability anyways. I'd honestly like to see it rewarded after doing a Hunter quest. That way casual, non-raiding hunters who will never need it will not cause wipes and inadvertently piss people off, and more serious/skilled hunters can seek it out and learn it because they know how it works and why they need it. The quest should make use our skills to EARN the ability...maybe there's some friendly NPC's with monsters rushing up to attack them, and we have to Distracting Shot the monster if it's rushing at a fragile/squishy target, and leave it alone if it's heading for a warrior-type target. Or aggro-bounce a mob with an NPC hunter with Distracting Shots for a certain amount of time, with neither of us getting hit. Or maybe even pull exploding mobs away from a target point so that they explode a safe distance away. There's many options.

I'd also like to see Call Stabled Pet and Misdirection at earlier levels, but Distracting Shot should be banished until much, much later in a hunter's career, when hunters have the experience and skill to properly use it. Here's hoping Blizzard changes these talents up in Cataclysm!

6 Responses Subscribe to comments

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    Haha, that's so funny. I learned this ability on Palomi the other (week, I guess?) or a new rank of it or something and went, "WTF is this? This isn't Misdirect. This looks like, 'HEY ATTACK ME.' I'm not going to put this on my bars. When would I use this? To pull aggro off a healer to keep them from dying but probably die myself? This looks like Trouble."

    I feel vindicated. >.>

    July 8, 2010 at 9:37 PM

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    I like the idea of it being a quest reward.

    Distracting Shot should require some kind of licence.

    July 9, 2010 at 11:46 AM

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    I love this post!

    I hate Distracting Shot!

    Simple as that :D

    July 10, 2010 at 9:50 AM

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    So, I totally see where you're coming from here, you're probably right that it does more harm than good at low levels. That said, I find it really nice to be able to DS something out of a big overpull and into a trap. On more than one occasion, I'm convinced that's helped save us from a wipe.

    Another place I like to use it is to get casters to come. Inexperienced tank doesn't know how to LoS? That's okay. I can DS the caster and hide around the corner till they come into range of the tank, then Feign Death to drop them off. It's great fun!

    So, while I see your point, I'm not sure I'd like to see DS banished to only high-level play.

    July 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

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    @Lara - There are definitely valid use for Distracting Shot, even at low levels...for skilled players. I just don't think the small, occasional benefit for an experienced player is worth the MASSIVE harm it presents to a new player's learning, who doesn't understand all the game mechanics yet.

    It would be like Paladins getting Divine Intervention at early levels. Sure, it'd occasionally be useful, but it would also cause so many headaches from people casting it and not realizing what it actually does, or just people accidentally clicking it because hey, it's an ability, they should put it on their bars right?

    However, feigning is definitely a good combination with DS for trickery. Maybe if hunters learned both abilities at the same time they could how the two can play off each other! They could throw in Misdirect for a true aggro tutorial package.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:06 AM

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    Agreed. And I loved your idea about having a series of mini-quests with an NPC to learn how to use the ability intelligently! That's something I kind of wish they would do with more abilities.

    I wouldn't mind seeing them move Distracting Shot up a few levels, say to level 30 when you get Feign Death anyway. But I'd hate to see it wait till 50 or 60. On the other side, I really wish they'd move Misdirection down by twenty or thirty levels, as well. I guess that's another issue, though. :)

    July 14, 2010 at 10:36 PM