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Last week, Blizzard issued the latest update for World of Warcraft, its highly anticipated online role-playing game, to beta testers. As with earlier updates, this new version introduces new features and functionality, in addition to numerous tweaks that were made to existing features. World of Warcraft will allow thousands of players to adventure as humans, orcs, night elves, and other races from the Warcraft real-time strategy games. Needless to say, as soon as the patch was available, we downloaded it and immediately spent some serious quality time checking it out.
The biggest change in the latest patch is the addition of the hunter class. The hunter is the final class to be added, and it can be played by night elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, and taurens. Hunters are like traditional woodsmen that you'll find in other role-playing games in that they can use ranged weapons, they have a variety of tracking skills, and they can tame animals to use as pets. We've logged in quite a bit of time with the hunter class, so let's take a look at its abilities and its role in the game.
The ongoing World of Warcraft beta has introduced some exciting new changes.
The hunter also gets several other abilities. For instance, aspect is a passive effect that you can cast on yourself. There are no timers once you cast it, but you can only have one aspect at a time, which is similar to the paladin's aura. Aspect of the monkey gives a bonus chance to dodge attacks, which is useful when you're being attacked quite a bit. Aspect of the hawk increases your ranged power so that you inflict more damage with ranged weapons. The latter aspect is great when combined with hunter's mark, which is a spell that you can cast on a potential target that makes a mark appear above his or her head and on the minimap. Additionally, the target cannot use stealth or turn invisible, and ranged attackers will do extra damage against it. It's a great ability to have in groups, because the hunters can call out targets for the group so that everyone will know exactly which enemy to attack.
All of these abilities are great, but everyone wants to know about beast taming. The most asked question in the starting area is, "When do hunters get pets " The answer is, "Level 10." When you hit level 10, you can learn several beast-taming abilities. Hunters aren't just handed pets. As the name implies, they must hunt animals and tame them. When you find a beast that you want to tame, you start a channeling spell. The target monster will immediately start attacking you, so you must be sure that you can defend against the attacks. This is easier said than done, because your armor is reduced for the 20 seconds it takes to channel, thus leaving you very vulnerable. This means that you won't be able to tame a monster that is higher in level than you, because it will tear you to shreds.
Hunters are in, and mounts are being improved.