So Socio, kakez and I just started last night. Think we're 1900, 31-2 2v2 now, and nearly 1800 on 3s. (Hunter/lock/druid)
There wasn't as big of a surge as I thought there'd be. I still feel like the class takes a bit more skill to properly play than either my druid or lock tbh, especially in the arena. Weaving optimal shot rotations, while keeping good positioning on your target, LOSing any incoming CCs, and being able to drop traps in the correct spot when needed is a lot more intense than most people know or believe, I'd bet. It's not a simple stand and mash buttons routine (well, unless you suck @ hunter).
I still think removing aspects' mana cost would be a great help. Switching to cheetah to chase someone down around a pillar and whatnot is already bad enough due to not having viper on for regen, and possibility of getting dazed.
I think hunter DPS in pve as beast is, well, beastly. I've always been able to compete, or surpass, rogue dps in 10/25 mans.
I dunno. I think hunters probably need slightly better escape options. Their reliance on druid is pretty big. I don't know of many comps that are all that competitive without a druid to go with the hunter.
I find it absolutely necessary to run quartz cast bar, as it lets me have a cast bar and another bar that shows my autoshot timer. This lets me manually weave in my steady's (which is a HUGE part of hunter dps in any scenario) while trying to never clip auto shots.
Possibly removing the restriction of autoshooting while doing other shots would help the most, or perhaps lessen the autoshot delay down from 0.5s. to even less time.
Would it dumb down the gameplay? Yeah it would, and would actually probably make the class less enjoyable to play in PVE (at least for me anyways).. However, having such a tight restriction on optimizing dps while also keeping the other variables balanced that I previously mentioned can be a choke point for class potential when it comes to the arena.
But when you have classes that are relatively easy to play that don't require nearly the same amount of micromanagement (Read: warrior), it's not necessarily the case that hunters are bad, but other classes are just more viable since they require less skill/micromanagement to play,
I also tend to factor in a classes ease to play via the GCD-factor. With the shapeshifting changes of going directly from form to form, or from feral form to casting a spell causing autoshift, the GCD-Factor and micromanagement factor of the druid went down substantially. This factor alone makes the druid much more fluid to play than either my warlock or hunter. There are less GCD's required to perform the same action.
This kind of goes back to what I was talking about originally with the hunter a long time ago. The aspects, traps, flares, ranged and melee abilities all sharing the same gcd. Even changing tracking type incurs a GCD. I know I've harpd on this several times. The hunter just feels more..... clunky. I feel like I'm constantly fighting the 1.5s gcd of a caster while needing to keep up with more abilities than some classes combined.
For example, to peel a rogue off of somebody, I need to concussive shot as I'm running towards them, then wingclip, flare so they can't vanish, drop a trap slightly ahead of them, possibly scatter them afterwards, and then reposition myself so I can go back to an optimal dps position/range, and then start carefully weaving optimal shots on the best target at the time. If you add all of that up, that's at least 7.5s worth of GCDS alone, in addition to time spent moving around to peel off one rogue from a friendly caster before you can even be dpsing that much. (In addition, you're not getting any aimed shots up, or keeping any up during this time either.
What would a warrior have to do in a similar situation? Get in LOS and intercept/hamstring, both of which have melee vs caster(hunter) GCDS of 1s.
Aimed shot can still sometimes be a problem, and I find myself relying on rapid fire to get it off in extremely tight situations where the target is running past me or near me. (Since I'm often near the target as I need to drop traps in a local area, and can't do it remotely)
I'm not trying to complain, or whine, or anything like that. Quite the opposite. I LOVE playing a hunter. I'm just trying to relay some of the technical difficulties that they face in an arena-type setting.
The great thing about the hunter, is that they have a ton of abilities. I have far more hotkeys on a hunter than even my warlock. Druid doesn't count because they can reuse the same bar for several forms, thus reusing the same hotkeys. The bad thing about hunter is, you are really required to spend a lot of time doing so many things to be most effective, that other classes can just close their eyes, follow a target around, and spam hemo, ShS, and deadly throw. ;)