Update: Survival is definitely a melee spec. Updated details here.
OK, that was exciting. After being at an all time low with my general WoW excitement, I have to say that LEGION gives me some hope for WoW’s future. I am beyond excited, but I’m going to have to force myself to not get TOO hyped after the disappointments in WoD, because that expansion had much better intentions (I feel) than it ultimately delivered.
That being said…
Apparently, Survival is now a melee spec.
Melee. Hunter. Confirmed.
The new Survival Hunter
It is the long-awaited Rexxar Hunter spec, or maybe more accurately the Darmac Hunter spec? Pictured above is Beastlord Darmac, a melee Hunter from Blackrock Foundry. With a spear.
Oh yeah, how do we know Survival is going to be a melee spec? Because their artifact weapon in Legion is going to be a spear. Let’s take a look at the Eagle Spear.
Class weapon artifacts in Legion are spec specific, and this is Survival’s artifact. Each spec will venture on a quest to retrieve their artifact and then upgrade it throughout the expansion.
According to the brief preview of the Eagle Spear, it is a fabled weapon of the Highmountain Tauren, a new Tauren clan in the Broken Isles. You’ll embark on a quest to find it and that’s all we really know.
They also pointed out that it has different visual themes — eagle, wolf, serpent, and bear. These will presumably be from upgrades (and at least one will be the PvP-only look). I’m digging the wolf and bear ones especially.
The fantasy of fighting side by side with your pet is about to be realized. I never thought Blizzard would do it, but they did. Now we know why they kind of just gave up on Survival in Warlords.
Some might argue that Beast Mastery may have been the better choice as a melee spec, but I would disagree. To me the ultimate Beast Mastery Hunter is still that one featured in the original WoW cinematic with his bear and gun. Survival was the original melee tree back in classic WoW.
Questions… questions that need answering
There are so many questions, hopefully some of which will be answered this coming Sunday when they have the developer panel to answer more questions.
In the meantime, let’s speculate.
My first big question is how does Blizzard plan on handling the transition to a melee spec? When 7.0 drops, none of us are going to have up to date melee weapons. So what happens? There are many ways they could handle this, like giving us some way to trade in a ranged weapon for an equivalent melee weapon. After all, it only really needs to cover the awkward month or two during the prepatch.
The other question branching off this one is the nature of the artifacts themselves. Presumably they’ll be our best weapons… so does that mean we no longer care about getting weapon drops? They’ve already implied that everyone gets the base artifact. This is a total wild guess, but maybe the artifact is more of a glorified transmog (plus the talent features they mentioned) that simply augments our “real” weapon. That way we would still care about getting new weapons. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find out in a couple of days.
The other big question is how our talents will be revamped to support having two ranged specs and one melee spec. What happens to Barrage, for example? My best guess is a talent like that gets two versions, and the Survival version is some kind of melee AoE, like a spear cleave or something.
Last but not least: IS THIS THE RETURN OF RAPTOR STRIKE? 😆
Marksmanship and Beast Mastery — still ranged!
Also teased were our two other artifact weapons — a bow for Marksmanship and a tremendously badass looking gun for Beast Mastery. You can see the gun above. Sorry for potato quality on the gun pic. Hopefully we will get a clear screenshot soon. Click here to see a cropped version of the gun.
We do have clear pictures of the Marksmanship bow — Thas’dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners:
“Legend has it that this elven family heirloom — once wielded by a infamous Ranger-General — can turn a mediocre archer into a master marksman… and make a master truly peerless.”
The Hunter Hall — where will it be?
A new feature in Legion will be class order halls. Essentially you will act as a leader of your class in this hall. It sounds like it may be the replacement for the garrison. Each class hall is located in a different part of the world. Apparently you’ll see other Hunter players inside, including cross-faction players. Any speculation at where the Hunter hall will be?
They could do so many cool things to it, like having a decked out stables (maybe giving you more stable slots in the process).
And Blizzard, if you’re listening? This is one thing you have to do for the Hunter hall: MAKE IT A GIANT FREAKING HUNTER STABLE. I want to see all of my stabled pets just hanging around the place. Walking around, chillin’ by the pool, playing with other Hunter pets, whatever. Just make it some kind of awesome Hunter paradise.
Oh, and a shooting range (and some regular dummies for the Survival hunters of course).
Do it Blizzard.
Demon Hunters are not real hunters
Demon Hunters actually look kind of neat, and I’m sure I’ll have an alt… but it didn’t come close to pulling me away from my true calling. I know some of you may be contemplating the switch.
As for me… will I go melee hunter? Who knows! I don’t even know how it plays yet. My only concern will be it could complicate the loot somewhat. Other classes may be angry with us again now that everything will be a hunter weapon again. 😆
One last awesome thing: Dalaran is returning. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bring back the best city. It can fly, so why the hell not?
I’m exhausted from all this hype. Time to collect my thoughts.
p.s. There’s always some small chance that Survival is not a melee spec, but some kind of spear-thowing ranged spec. A ranged/melee hybrid could maybe work, with spear throwing as your ranged ability.