Legion Alpha: A Stampede of Hunter problems
Now that BM is now live on the Alpha, we now have access to all 3 Hunter Specs, and it’s not all rosy…
So Alpha has returned and it’s brought with it a new build or two, and opened up more specs for testing.
This includes Beast Mastery for Hunters, which rounds out the entire class for testing.
From looking at the BM spec as-is on Alpha (remember I don’t have Alpha access, so this is all based on what I’m seeing on YouTube and reading from elsewhere), there are a still growing number of concerns that began with MM/Survival changes, and BM is only adding to that pile.
Dire Beast for example, is designed to be used on cooldown, and it now has a very short cooldown of 10 seconds. Add in the chance for Dire Beast to get reset with Wild Call and its use is going to get very spammy.
Similarly Bestial Wrath is going to see more frequent use, despite the fact its cooldown has been increased 50% to 90 seconds, beast summons will reduce that cooldown, and it will probably be up for longer than it’s on normal cooldown, given the frequency you’ll be using Dire Beast.
Stampede as it exists on live has been essentially removed, and replaced with an AoE with the same name and icon. Now when it’s used, you carpet an area in front of you with, well, a stampede of pets (not your own pets, these are randoms!), and this lasts for 10 seconds.
Think Barrage, but with animals rather than bullets, and in a box shaped AoE right in front of you, rather than a cone.
This of course means no more cool screenshots or showing off with your active pets anymore…
All these random pet cooldowns with BM lead me to think that Blizzard are trying to de-emphasize me as a player in direct control of the damage equation.
The whole direction BM appears to be headed in makes me think we’re going to be less of a hunter, and more of a logistical manager for random pets while playing whack-a-mole with our cooldowns on the side.
This is in direct contrast to MM, where you can’t use pets at all, and the damage you bring is based entirely on your use of your abilities.
Overall Hunter Issues
I have quite a lot of issues with the current Hunter class on Alpha, namely in the areas of removal of: Customisation, choice, survivability and utility.
Camouflage is now a talent, on the same row as Binding Shot. It is now a 1 min lasting effect, but now has a 3 minute cooldown. No more perma-stealth in PvP, waiting to ambush the enemy, or ghosting through old instances for very long.
Plus, if you’re BM? You get no choice of Camo AT ALL. You get Intimidation instead. WAT?
This one irks me quite a lot. I love the stealth aspect of playing a Hunter, particularly in PvP. And I love pets. Now? Now I don’t have the option of utilising both. It’s one or t’other.
Lack of a pet in MM. Hunters are the best and original pet class, hell they’re THE pet class in WoW, and all 3 specs should use them. If Focusing Shot had been higher DPS in HFC than Lone Wolf, would we even be having this consideration?
As a side note, this enforced lack of a pet for MM means we’re going to spend a lot of time either kiting without any major CC, or we’ll be spending a lot more time face-tanking mobs.
De-emphasis of your chosen pet in the only remaining ranged spec in the class that uses them (BM).
Stampede ushers in a throng of random pets, and Dire Beast also uses random pets. Not random pets from your stables, no, just random pet models from the zone you’re in (DB) or from the game as a whole (Stampede).
If only MM would let you call a permanent pet, and use only one pet (no Dire Beast or Stampede), that would still provide contrast against BM, emphasise your choice of pet, and solve the above issue with no MM pets.
As it stands, BM is now all about summoning a multitude of random, temporary pets that you have no connection to, and your “life-bonded companion” just gets lost in an ever maddening crowd…
The forced use of an 9-10 year old model in Hati that you have very little control over or customisation of. Yes, I get it’s tied into Ulduar/Titanstrike, but really? Using such an old model for the latest and greatest weapon/expansion?
Don’t get me wrong, I like the saber worg model, but it’s going to do 2 things: a 2007 model will look out of place in 2016/2017, and look very generic with every BM hunter having the same pet.
Again, de-emphasising your choice of pets for random/forced options.
Admittedly it is still early in the alpha/beta process, so it’s possible that this may change, but given that they’ve already introduced different skins for this saber worg in the alpha, albeit not implemented yet, suggests, but doesn’t confirm, that Hati will have different colours dependant on your artifact look. So even less likely that the choice of model for Hati will change.
Spirit Bond has been removed. In fact there is very little in the way of maintenance healing in the Hunter class now, as all we’ve got is the Spirit Beast heal (obviously BM only) and a now baseline Exhilaration with a 50% heal.
Combine that with the lack of CC, and the lack of a pet to tank for you in MM and there’s going to be a lot more downtime for MM hunters while we passively heal up outside of Exhilaration.
Removal of Traps from all specs bar Survival. More CC gone. Oh goody.
Kill Shot has been removed. No more execute ability, and no more big hits in the last 20-30% of the boss’s health.
No more Lone Wolf choice of raid buffs. Lone Wolf may be baseline for MM, but we no longer get the option to provide any raid buffs, AT ALL as MM.
Or BM or Survival for that matter.
In fact looking at WoWHead, Hunters will no longer bring any raid buffs to the table at all.
Unless Critical Strikes, a 10% crit buff you get from level 1, applies to the raid as well as yourself, IE: an aura. But it’s passive, so not manually applicable to a player, therefore giving potential issues where one section of the raid is phased (Nether Banish, Archimonde), and lose the buff?
Aspect of the Cheetah is now a 3 minute cooldown that lasts for a whopping 3 seconds at +90% speed and another 30% for 9 seconds. No more perma-speed boost outside of combat.
More utility (and fun!) gone.
At least we still have Posthaste.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera is gone.
Deterrence is gone, and replaced by a 3 minute cooldown called Aspect of the Turtle. Admittedly it has a pretty cool shell shield style graphical effect, but it’s a one shot deal, no more second charge. More survivability gone.
Combine that with a lack of CC, no maintenance heal, and the inability to use a tanking pet for MM?
Yeah, you can see where I’m going with this…
DOWNTIME. GET USED TO IT.
The removal and outright rug-pulling changes to the class, this late into the game’s life cycle is not what I would consider a sensible move. Look what happened with Star Wars Galaxies when they did something similar with the NGE. Players exited the game in droves and the game nearly collapsed as a result. Arguably it never really recovered.
We lost a metric fuckton of players during WoD’s first 9 months, we can’t really afford to lose a lot more. Especially from the most popular class in the game.
The entire class seems to be changing outright, and a lot of what brought me to the class is being dispensed with between expansions.
Prefer playing as Ranged DPS? There goes 1 spec. Cya Survival!
Pet collector? There goes another spec. Buh-bye Marksmanship!
Hope you like whack-a-mole with a crowd of mainly random, no-choice selection of “animals”.
I can’t even bring myself to call them pets. The term “Pet” implies a choice, a bond, a story, a history.
Not BM. Not anymore.
Now? Your choice of pet now merely makes a guest appearance on a crowded stage filled with randomers.
In fact it’s less like logistical manager, more like a raid leader for a group of mindless, minimum-effort randoms in LFR.
Oh, and you also have to put up with no chance to use camouflage.