So it’s around that time of the expansion, especially with Battle for Azeroth’s Alpha now live for “influencers”, that the rest of us non-streamer plebs start guessing as to what class we might look to main for the new expansion.
It’s always a guessing game when going through this process. No-one wants to choose a class that sucks for the majority of the expansion. Survival Hunters & Demonology Warlocks in particular being two prime examples of how that went in Legion. Both radically changed specs from what they were in Warlords, Survival especially, and both deemed as failures in design experimentation by both the player base and latterly the developers themselves.
So the obvious answer to “What class do I play in BfA” really comes down to the sort of roles I’d like to play, or what I intend to do in BfA. With the collapse of Treehugging Hippies, raiding at the moment is a somewhat nebulous prospect, even despite the fact that we have a full six months yet to go before the likely release date of the new expansion.
Recruitment has yet to start in earnest with Boogie Knights, our new guild on Argent Dawn. The artists formerly known as Smart Casual, we had to rename ourselves because the GMs didn’t like the Casual part of the name, saying it “referenced a style of play, and therefore broke RP immersion”.
Anyway, we named ourselves Boogie Knights, and have transferred over the guts of the old THH guild bank, achievements etc, and are now BK on Argent Dawn. As I said recruitment has yet to begin in earnest, and I hope that’s going to begin in April, when Azrel & Alt come back. Azrel is on a surprise holiday ATM, and Alt is finishing off her first novel! 😀
Anyhow, back to choosing a main! At the moment I have several classes I have zero interest in playing as a main character:
*The first four are classes which I’ve completed Mage Tower challenges with in Legion, so have some really nice appearances to use and still gather and unlock even in BfA.
The next question is which role or roles do I want to play?
As I’ve been playing a ranged DPS for the majority of Legion, I’d like to keep on in that role as a main.
That knocks out DK & Pally right off from the start.
Balance Druid is not one I really enjoyed, even following its Legion streamlining. Too long spent having to move in raid encounters negating the ability to do serious damage, meaning that it only really shone in AoE fights where Starfall could be spammed over and over.
I do love my Warlock, but I get the impression that following their utter dominant strength in Legion for the entire expansion (Affliction mainly), that they will get smashed into the ground by Blizzard for BfA. Even if Demonology is going to get a rework.
That leaves my Hunter. I love playing Hunters, and so you might think that would be my choice made?
Not exactly. Whilst playing largely solo at the moment on AD, trying to pug raids or mythic+ dungeons as a mid-geared Hunter (948 iLevel), has been a horrendous experience. Raider.io is mainly to blame for this, as group creators can easily see how many dungeons you’ve run at 10+, and if you’re not “worthy”, you get an instant decline, or your application to the group sits there for the full 5 minutes then times out as they wait for something better to come along. Usually an Affliction Warlock…
I’m hoping that this changes in BfA, because right now I’d love to main my Hunter for the full expansion. Marksman is looking like a fun spec to play in Alpha at the moment, from what I’ve seen in videos uploaded by the much vaunted “influencers” (eurgh, kill me now, pls), and Survival’s rework looks to be a better experience than Legion’s butchered spec ever was.
BM at the moment on Alpha looks to be an even bigger trainwreck than it was in Legion. It seems Blizzard don’t really have much of an idea what way to go with the spec in the new expansion, and Survival seems to be more “BM” than the actual BM spec itself is. At least there’s the optional talent Animal Companion that will allow those BM hunters that actually like Hati to have a 2nd pet usable, even if it only obeys Kill Command.
Marks at the moment on Alpha does however look like a lot of fun. It looks pretty mobile, with the only shot requiring you to stand still being Aimed Shot, which now has a hefty 2.5s cast time. Everything else in the BfA MM kit is either instant cast or castable on the move.
Lone Wolf is also now baseline, which means you can decide to use or not use a pet now on the fly, which will be amazing. I always prefer a pet when out doing quests and WQs in the gameworld, and much prefer Lone Wolf’ing it in a raid environment, where pet management and buggy pathing can lead to your DPS tanking hard. So that change in itself will be so so welcome.
It’s likely that I will be maining an MM hunter for BfA. I’m just hopeful that the pugging experience for raids & m+ dungeons isn’t as horrific as it currently is in late stage Legion. Hopefully Blizzard can break the Raider.io access to their API, so that situations where hunters, even really well geared ones, are getting dismissed out of hand for groups, just because they haven’t been on the M+ treadmill the entire expansion.
Another approach is to multi-main BfA. By this I mean I could be choosing a different main either per armour type, or per role. That could break down as follows:
By armour type:
- Mail: Hunter
- Plate: Paladin
- Leather: Druid
- Cloth: Warlock (or Mage)
Or by role:
- Tank: Druid
- Melee: Paladin
- Ranged: Hunter
- Healer: TBD
I think of the two approaches, by armour type would be the preferred method, as I’m not really overly keen on healing these days. Being forced into it for repeated raids in Nighthold Heroic & Mythic kinda turned me off of it somewhat, as it interfered with my ability to play well at Balance.
As I write this, the “per-armour” approach is becoming more appealing. Yes, I would be playing two different pure DPS classes, but I’d also be playing two different tank & melee classes as well, so I would have a definite choice as to which play-style I’d be able to pursue at any given time.
Time would primarily have to be given to one, again the Hunter, but the others would be levelled early on in the expansion, and attempted to be kept relatively decently geared throughout. Even if only for old-raid soloing for transmog purposes.
So there we have it, I’ll be mainly concentrating on my Marks Hunter in BfA, with backup mains of Paladin, Druid & either Warlock or Mage.