So the pre-patch, 7.0.3 is now live across all regions, and with it come all the changes being made in prep for Legion. So after a full day with the patch, what sort of things did it bring? What did you think about the changes?
Well, let’s break down what I thought into the stuff I loved, and the stuff I hated…
So after finding out BM was in a kind of a weird place, where it was decent enough to play, but not brilliant, and discovering the reason why my Arcane & Multi-Shots weren’t showing up on PTR (more on that particular disaster towards the end of this article), I’ve decided to move the MM preview up on the schedule ahead of the Survival preview.
So the PTR now features the Legion pre-expansion patch, which brings with it all the new systems and class changes ahead of the expansion’s launch itself.
So given how badly I’ve wanted to get onto the Legion Beta, I was very eager to get on the PTR and test out the changes to Hunters, especially given that this expansion sees Hunters receiving more wholesale changes than any other class has ever received in the game.
So for this first post I’m going to take a look at my old favourite, the BM Hunter.
Following on from an earlier article, I’ve still been thinking hard about which class and spec I want to choose as my main for Legion, and perhaps beyond.
I’m not one for rapidly changing classes or specs, having played my Prot Paladin for over 6 years before changing to my Hunter last year.
However given the all-encompassing changes that Hunters are seeing in Legion, which may or may not result in an enjoyable experience for me, another change may become inevitable.
So, given that it’s a bit further on in the previously Alpha and now Beta process of changes, let’s see where my thoughts lie now.
As per the previous article, Rogue, Shaman, Mage, Warrior and DK are all fairly much out of the running due to intrinsic feeling of “meh” I have towards them.
Warlock (completely forgot about this in the last article!)
So, let’s go through them all…
As per usual, Blizzard look to be nerfing abilities and utility of older classes in order to bolster take up of their newest class. It happened when DKs came along in Wrath, Monks in Mists, and now DHs in Legion.
They’re looking completely OP, certainly in terms of mobility with passive double jump, slowfall, gap closers etc, but they are as yet very untested in a live environment, and without beta access and final tuning still to come, it’s next to impossible to make a definitive call on this class.
I’m still really enjoying Holy and to a lesser degree Shadow on my Priest. It’s the spec I’m playing in mainly atm in Thunder’s recent raid resurrection (yes, we’re back and Heroic raiding again!), but sometimes still have to jump on the hunter if we’re loaded with healers, to help out with DPS.
A solid choice, but not a lot of utility and having more removed in Legion, particularly in terms of mobility.
I’ve gone off Mistweaving slightly since the last article. No real reason why, I’m just finding other classes and specs more intriguing.
Holy & Ret are right out the door straight off. No interest really in either spec, so that leaves my old comfort spec of Protection.
Whilst nerfed slightly in terms of self-healing from where it was when I wrote the last article, this is still looking like a strong spec overall in Legion.
However Legion changes to active mitigation (the best thing to ever happen to tanking IMO), and the fact that my reasons for quitting tanking on her haven’t changed since, I doubt this will be an avenue I’ll be pursuing in Legion.
Again, a lack of general utility, being a pure dps class in a similar manner to Mages, means that this is not a class I’ll likely choose for Legion.
In contrast to…
I’ve recently begun levelling a Tauren Druid named Lifebinder, and was enjoying it, so I decided to dust off my old Nelf Druid and faction changed her, again to a male Tauren, this one named Sarcrux.
I was very undecided on this one in the last article in March, but having played it a bit more, I’m really liking the utility Druids offer. Not least the fact that I can semi-tank in bear form, and semi-dps in cat form, both while in Resto Spec.
If I were to choose a druid, Resto would likely be my Main Spec, with an open choice of off-spec.
But given we’ll be getting tri/quad spec in Legion, Off-specs will be an open choice anyway.
This one is a very strong candidate now.
I’m a lot happier about where Hunters are now, in comparison to a few months ago.
MM have their pets back for example, with Lone Wolf being a talent choice again, albeit a level 15 choice rather than 100, so Lone Wolf lovers can essentially level all the way without a pet.
Hati and BM in general have also seen improvements, both in terms of Hati’s basic model (looks gorgeous now), and the ability to have her look like one of your other pets, so you can truly dual wield pets of your choice as BM now. Dire Beast has also been given the option of using stabled pets, rather than randoms from your current zone.
I know what you’re thinking. I dislike Mages, Warlocks and Rogues because they’re pure DPS classes and offer little in terms of role variety, so why do Hunters, another pure DPS class get a bye?
Hunters have the pet collection aspect that ameliorates this complaint to a significant degree. For me at least, because I love pet collecting. So ner.
So that’s where I’m at atm, and presently it’s looking like a straight choice between Hunter/Holy Priest/Resto Druid.
Certainly there’s a decidedly healing based skew on those choices, but I’ll only truly be able to make a decision if or when I finally get access to the Legion Beta…
No, still no access.
There are changes to talent swapping that have been made in a very recent build that I’ll be expounding on more, but that’s another article for another time…
All classes in WoW have seen revamps at some point in the life of the game. Sure, some have been a bit more drastic than others, but it happens.
And usually only to a single spec of any class at a given time.
However something is changing about Blizzard’s philosophy regarding class and spec revamps, and it’s not necessarily a healthy change. Least of all for the players. Especially for those that play Hunters.
Once upon a time, Blizzard’s philosophy was that change should be incremental . Change over time, so that eventually the spec you played was perhaps made completely unrecognisable over the course of 2 or 3 expansions, yet was still familiar to regular players of the spec and class.
The reasoning behind this philosophy was that too many changes in too short of a timespan led to players being left feeling confused or burnt out and more likely to quit playing the class or the game as a whole through dissatisfaction.
This was a great approach, as it allowed Blizzard the opportunity to tweak specs, to tighten them up, and basically to tinker in order to ensure a spec was both competitive against other specs/classes but more importantly was also still fun to play.
What this approach allowed the players on the other hand, was the chance to retain a familiarity with a spec or a class. Even if Blizzard makes changes to a spec that means you don’t get the same enjoyment out of it anymore, there are 2 to 3 other specs to play that you will have at least a passing familiarity with and can maybe segue into.
There are 3 types of class in WoW:
Pure DPS classes, for example Hunters, Rogues, Mages, and Warlocks, each with their three DPS specs.
Semi-hybrid classes like Warriors (2 DPS/1 Tank), Priests (2 Heal/1 DPS), Shaman (2 DPS/1 Heal) and DKs (2 DPS/1 Tank).
Absolute Hybrid classes such as Paladins, Monks & Druids, where a change in spec equates to a change in role.
Obviously the further down that list you go, the greater the Impact of Change will be on players of those respective classes.
For example, for players of Pure DPS classes, changes to a spec will mean either gaining familiarity with the new changes, or at the very least a change in spec to another more familiar one. A change in spec for these players will not require a change in role. Pure Ranged DPS is Ranged and Rogues do it from behind regardless of spec.
On the other end of the spectrum, unsatisfying changes to a spec for Absolute Hybrid classes will mean either gaining familiarity with the new changes, or a change in role or class. The Impact of Change to players of these classes are the greatest.
Obviously the Impact of Change will occur with Semi-Hybrids to varying degrees, dependant on the chosen spec, where it can mean either a change in spec or a change in role.
Regardless of which of these three categories your chosen class falls into, the vast majority of players will have that passing familiarity I mentioned earlier with the other specs and/or roles within their chosen class.
In short, players of any given class will have some sort of refuge in one of their class’s other specs, even if it means a change in role.
However, Blizzard seem to have abandoned that philosophy when it comes to changes to the Hunter class in Legion.
No Safe Haven
Current players of the Hunter class, will in short, have no safe haven come Legion.
For Survival players, they will be seeing not only a complete change in role, switching from ranged to melee (itself not a wise change, as melee is already a crowded gamespace), but this will also see and mean a fundamental change in the abilities used by the spec. No more Black Arrow, Lock & Load etc, and hello again to the likes of Mongoose Bite and Wing Clip.
For MM players, they will see not only fundamental changes to the abilities used by the spec (no more signature Chimaera Shot for one), but they will also completely lose the ability to use a pet, one of the most fundamental and basic abilities of the Hunter class since Vanilla. MM will permanently lose part of the class aesthetic, fantasy and flavour that has been baked into the DNA of the class since its inception.
Beast Mastery players will see not only fundamental changes to their spec, how it plays and the abilities used, but they’ll see their own importance in gameplay de-emphasised in preference to becoming the logistical manager that I alluded to in a previous post.
They will lose the ability to generate their own focus, and to a large degree will also lose the ability to deal significant damage directly. BM players will be utterly reliant on their summoned beasts for both focus and the vast majority of their damage.
Of course both BM & MM will lose the ability to use any sort of trap, as they will become the exclusive territory of Survival players. Because of course melee players need to kite and CC mobs all the time…
A Lost Fantasy
Sarcasm aside, this loss of utility for BM and MM players, not only in the lack of traps for both, but the lack of pet for MM to boot is galling.
But more galling than that?
The entire fantasy of a lone Hunter with only their loyal, chosen Pet by their side, doing damage from range while their pet goes into melee to protect their master?
Survival will be melee only, no longer a ranged role.
BM will sacrifice the lone, chosen pet playstyle for an endless crowd of random animals.
MM will lose the pet altogether.
Current players of the Hunter class will know no familiarity with the class that they used to know come Legion. There will be no familiar spec, no familiar role, no familiar playstyle.
Hell, no familiar class.
Change for the sake of it, especially overwhelming changes to an entire class like this is not healthy, and is certainly not conducive to player retention.
Hunters did not need this complete overhaul. Ok, the changes to Survival may see its use increase somewhat, at least initially. However BM and MM were both largely (80%) fine as they were.
So what should have happened?
If I was the Hunter class designer for Legion, these are the changes I would’ve made to BM and MM:
Make the T18 4-Piece bonus baseline for the spec. Instant Aimed shots made the balance between pooling and spending focus an engaging mini-game, and enhanced the play-style of the spec immensely.
Balance Lone Wolf (with its array of buff choices) vs the other level 100 Talents a lot better. Make it actually viable to NOT take Lone Wolf for those that prefer a pet (like me). For those that enjoy the petless play-style? Carry on using it! Knock yourself out!
Make it an option to use a pet or not, but give players that choice.
Kill Shot. Keep it. And while you’re at it? Keep Traps too. CC in solo play is important too.
Three to four small changes. That’s it.
Honestly? It didn’t take or need that much effort or work.
Give players a talent to allow them to call a 2nd, permanent pet. Give them the ability to mix and match with this 2nd pet to give players a greater ability to create an identity and enhance spec fantasy.
Make the pet abilities at the player’s control, like Kill Command, Bestial Wrath, Focus Fire etc, all apply to the 2nd pet as well. No need for an uncontrollable throng of random animals that, let’s be honest, no-one really wants or cares for that I’ve heard so far.
I don’t think any current BM players have ever fantasised about being Ace Ventura, or Snow White…
Leave Stampede as-is. It’s fine Blizzard, seriously.
If you’re so concerned about crowding the melee space for a whopping 40 seconds every 5 minutes, then why the hell are you converting one ranged spec and forcing it into the melee area, while simultaneously introducing another entirely new melee class in Legion?
The new Stampede? Well heaven help you if the boss moves, given that it’s a 10 second AoE effect now (eurgh).
Have Growl make the enemy focus on whichever Pet has least threat, allowing for easier pet maintenance and healing.
Keep Spirit Bond. FFS.
Keep Camouflage. Jesus wept.
Kill Shot and Traps. Again.
And with that?
Both BM & MM players would retain familiarity with their chosen spec. No massive overhauls required, no changes in play-style necessary.
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.
As you may or may not be aware, I’ve never been the world’s greatest lover of PvP in WoW. In fact I’m somewhat exclusively a PvE carebear for want of a better term.
I’ve shunned PvP in all of the nearly 8 years I’ve been playing off and on since vanilla, and I’ve never really been interested or motivated to partake in PvP, of either Organised or World flavours.
Certainly playing any PvP I had to, for achievements, mounts etc over the years on my Paladin was an exercise in restraint. Me restraining myself from putting my fist through my monitor whilst howling into the black void that would become my soul.
Anyway, having played my Hunter as a side character for several years (before finally making her my main), primarily for the pet collection aspect more than anything else, I’ve wanted one transmog for her over any other since Cataclysm.
The catch was, as you’ve probably already surmised, that it was a PvP armour set that could only be bought with Honor points. Bleurgh.
And so it sat on the shelf, with me wistfully looking at it, softly and gently crying inwardly.
And then I decided over New Year’s to do something about it, despite the fact that I’d never PvP’d on the hunter before.
I found out that Hunters are to PvP what Paladins are to the colour pink.
Such a night and day difference in enjoyment levels! I played more than one battleground without losing patience. Hell I played more than one battleground without losing, period!
In fact I actually managed to more or less single-handedly win a couple of BG’s all by myself by racking up dozens of kills without dying and capturing more carts than anyone else on Silvershard Mines.
Yesterday was easily the most I have ever enjoyed playing PvP in WoW. Without any doubt. I played BG after BG, mostly winning, sometimes losing. But that was ok, because I was racking up Honor Points left right and center.
And after a day of hugely enjoyable PvP I was left with 2 things:
Firstly, an appreciation of how much fun PvP can actually be in World of Warcraft. Albeit a loosely organised one such as a queued battleground, but organised shenanigans such as rated/ranked BGs and Arenas are still beyond where I’m comfortable just yet.
And secondly, enough honor points to finally purchase:
I’m going to likely use the Heroic Dragon Soul crossbow, dropped by Warlord Zon’ozz, as the purple highlights on it match well with the overall transmog aesthetic.
Overall I’m very chuffed with both outcomes.
I’m really happy to finally have the transmog set I’ve been after for literally YEARS.
But also, PvP is quite likely something I’ll be doing a lot more of, maybe even enough of to get a full PvP set of gear. Although I seem to do just fine in my iLevel 713 PvE carebear set 😉
Currently on the lookout for an Alliance guild for my current druid (level 92 and not counting!), and future Gnome Hunter. I’m keeping my free level 100 boost from my pre-purchase of Legion for her. Not particularly fussed about server, just that it must be some form of PvE server, RP or not, no PvP servers please!
Nothing more annoying than being attacked when trying to go about your daily business, that would make me lose patience with the game very quickly indeed
Most of my characters are Horde, naturally, and they’re all on Kilrogg EU. However I’m quite happy setting up a home for my Alliance toons on any server in the EU. Preferably a medium-high pop server, with a good raiding environment.
The guild itself should be a more mature guild. This means a fairly stable guild with older players. The one problem that has always plagued me when trying to find an Alliance guild is the ones I’ve previously joined seemed to be full of kids recruiting for the sake of recruiting, to amass the largest guild possible.
Problem is the guilds that form as a result are either completely dead in guild chat *tumbleweed*, or if /g is active, it’s full of kids and idiots that think trolling any channel with a /number is the height of comedy.
I know raiding with a hunter is going to have hard competition in Legion, given the sheer numbers of other hunters out there, but I do love my hunters, and a Gnome hunter is definitely going to get a very significant chunk of my time.
However given the changes to 5 mans in Legion, and the fact that they’ll be competitive with raiding () in terms of gear drops and difficulty, there could feasibly be 5 man dungeon raiders in Legion. I wouldn’t exactly be averse to that TBH!
So further Alpha invites have gone out over the past couple of days, and yours truly has yet again managed to avoid an invitation.
I only wish my avoidance & dodge capability was this good when I was tanking!
Just a quick snippets post this one, and I now have access to write from work, which will be handy. Most of my days in work are reactive, waiting on work coming in, so it should lead to some more frequent posts…
Disclaimer: As this is discussing Alpha/Beta information, any or all of this is subject to change. We’re still a *very* long way out from Legion launch, so bear that in mind as you read these posts.
Legion is bringing with it a concerted effort on Blizzard’s behalf to re-imagine and reinforce the fantasy of all the current classes and their specs.
Where nostalgia was the shtick behind Warlords, class & spec fantasy seems to be one of several shticks used by Blizzard in the new expansion.
Take Priests for example. They have 3 specs, 2 healing and 1 dps. 1 heal spec is outright healing (holy), whereas the other is more shield and preventative protection and healing (disc). Then you have shadow with its dots as the priest’s dps spec.
The three of these never really hung together as a triumvirate of specs too well. But in Legion, Blizzard have given (re)definition to the specs of the priest class:
Holy: Devout and faith based Healing, power derived from the Light.
Shadow: Dark and malevolent pain infliction calling upon the power of the Old Gods.
Discipline: The spec that walks the line between the other two specs. Practitioners must have the discipline to walk the thin line between the light and the dark.
I love that. I think they did a great job at properly defining the priest class and its specialisations.
Blizzard are looking to do something similar with all current classes in the game, however Hunters are going through one of the biggest changes to specs in the game’s history…
The Call of the Wild…
This spec is the only Hunter spec that’s not seeing massive changes. If anything it’s going deeper into the premise that BM is all about controlling beasts and having them be the primary source of both DPS and resources.
BM will have no passive focus regen. All of the Hunter’s focus will be generated by the Dire Beast ability, which is baseline, and will be used on cooldown during a fight. 4 Focus will be generated each time the Dire Beast deals damage.
From the Class Blog:
To give you an idea of the Beast Master Hunter in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
30 Focus, 40 yd range, Instant
A quick shot that causes moderate Physical damage.
40 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
Summons a powerful wild beast to attack your target for 8 sec. Each time the beast deals damage, you will gain 4 Focus.
Summoning a beast reduces the remaining cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 15 sec.
Give the command to kill, causing your pet to instantly inflict strong damage to its target.
Your critical strikes have a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Dire Beast.
Mastery: Master of Beasts
Increases the damage done by your pets by 45% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Beast Mastery–specific talent:
Way of the Cobra
For every pet or guardian you have active, Cobra Shot deals an additional 5% damage.
So BM is going to be relying even more heavily than it does presently on pets for damage. And multiple pets most of the time at that! Those of you who wanted to manage or use more than a single pet as a hunter, well it looks like your day has come at last!
The anti-thesis to all these pets however is…
Lone Wolf forever…
Marksman’s Lone Wolf ability in Warlords is going to be the baseline status for the spec going forwards. MM will be a completely petless spec, with 100% of the player’s damage coming from their own personal abilities.
Blizzard seemed to think that because Lone Wolf was the de facto standard for Hunters in HFC that it was “popular” and as a result that players liked it. It was only “popular” because it gave the best DPS. Most raiding hunters I’m fairly sure would’ve preferred some sort of pet in use…
From the Class Blog:
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Marksmanship:
40 yd range, Instant
A quick shot that causes moderate Arcane damage, and generates 5 Focus.
Targets hit by your Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot have a chance to be marked with Hunter’s Mark for 6 sec.
30 Focus, 40 yd range, Channeled
Rapidly fires a shot at up to 3 targets affected by Hunter’s Mark, dealing strong Physical damage. Usable while moving.
Also exposes vulnerability in the target, snaring them by 15%, and increasing Aimed Shot damage done to the target by 25%. Lasts 10 sec, and stacks up to 3 times.
50 Focus, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
A powerful aimed shot that deals strong Physical damage.
Mastery: Sniper Training
Critical strike damage and range of all shots is increased by 12.5% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Marksmanship-specific talents:
Lock and Load
Attach an explosive charge to Aimed Shot, dealing strong additional Fire damage to the target and all enemies within 4 yds.
Your ranged auto attacks have a 5% chance to trigger Lock and Load, causing your next 2 Aimed Shots to cost no Focus and be instant.
So Marks will not have the ability to even call a pet at all perhaps? I’ve seen more than me mention to the devs about the possibility of some form of cosmetic pet, one that is visible, but contributes no damage. I’d love that, as the one thing I’ve missed while raiding in HFC has been my pets.
Laying down the bow & gun…
Survival is seeing the biggest change, not just of the hunter’s 3 specs, but of all the classes in the game. Instead of a third wheel ranged spec that never really hit the heights of BM & MM, it’ll be converting to a melee only spec, concentrating on traps and melee combat with pets.
Some classic abilities like Mongoose Bite and Lacerate see a return, having been excised from the game several expansions ago.
From the Class Blog:
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Survival Hunters:
5-40 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown
Hurl a harpoon at your target and pull yourself toward them, rooting them in place for 3 sec.
20 Focus, Melee Range, Instant.
A vicious slash, dealing moderate Physical damage.
35 Focus, Melee Range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
Tear a wound in the target, dealing heavy damage over 12 sec.
Developer Comment: We promise it will do good damage!
Melee Range, Instant, 10 sec recharge, 3 charges
A brutal attack, attempting to sever the enemy’s limbs, dealing strong Physical damage.
Each consecutive Mongoose Bite dealt within 3.5 sec of the last will deal 50% increased damage, stacking up to 6 times.
20 Focus, Melee Range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
You and your pet attack the target simultaneously, each dealing strong damage.
If the target is attacking you, your pet’s attack will deal 50% increased damage and threat. If not, your attack will deal 50% increased damage.
30 Focus, Instant
Maims the target, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
Mastery: Hunting Companion
Your pet’s attacks have a 20% (with Mastery from typical gear) chance to grant you an additional charge of Mongoose Bite.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Survival-specific talents:
Instant, 1 min cooldown
Instantly grants you 3 charges of Mongoose Bite.
As you can see, things are changing quite a bit for Hunters in Legion, and dps performance aside, choosing a spec will be an easier choice than ever based on your preference.
Like Ranged DPS as a hunter and like pets? Beast Mastery.
Like Ranged DPS as a hunter and don’t like pets? Marksmanship.
Hate Ranged DPS as a hunter and like pets? Survival.
Hate Ranged DPS and hate pets? Roll a tank
Needless to say I’m still deciding between the two ranged specs for my hunters in Legion. Suppose it depends on DPS balance, yet again. But moreso than ever, Blizzard are going to have to balance specs within a class due to Artifact weapons and the levelling up needed for them. It won’t be as simple as switching specs and changing a few enchants and gems about, you’ll have an entirely different weapon to think about and “level up”.
I intended to do all this as one big post, but it’s working out way too big for one post, so expect the next few posts on different areas around the spec changes, including Artifact Weapon choices and looks.