One of the things I’m most excited about in Legion is the focus on class identity. The fact that every spec gets some lore surrounding their artifact weapon is pretty cool to me. I don’t expect them to be ground-breaking quest lines (since they have to do 36 of them), but the very fact that each spec gets a little something unique means a lot. It puts a lot more weight behind your choice of spec, and sort of commits you to that choice. I think fewer people will be inclined to switch to “flavor of the month” specs if they’ve identified themselves as another spec already.
However, it does put a little more responsibility on Blizzard’s end to make sure classes with more than 1 DPS spec are relatively balanced. I think it’s important that every time a new patch or hotfix drops you don’t feel forced to abandon your artifact journey because of numbers.
Even though I’m playing Marksmanship right now because of raiding, I still identify myself as a Beast Mastery Hunter. Barring any wild changes or ridiculous imbalance, I definitely see myself going that route in Legion.
I do have to wonder, if the artifact system was in place for Warlords, would I still be playing Beast Mastery? It’s not like its damage is terrible, it’s just that Marksmanship does really well in HFC fights. If I was already invested in the BM artifact, maybe I would have just stayed BM?
I guess it all depends on how easy it is to catch up with your secondary spec artifact. Part of me wants there to be no catch up, so that your spec choice is truly a meaningful choice (speaking from a Hunter perspective, I understand healers/tanks are in a different situation). The other part of me wants artifact points and artifact relics to 100% share between all of your specs simply because I do not trust Blizzard to keep the specs balanced (sorry, Blizzard). I suspect the reality will be somewhere in the middle, even though I’d prefer it to be one of those two extremes.
As for the Hunter artifacts themselves, I like the choices: bow for Marksmanship, gun for Beast Mastery, and giant polearm/spear for Survival. I know some of you are upset that MM doesn’t have the gun, or BM doesn’t have the bow, but it’s hard to please everyone. If you gave people a choice between the artifacts regardless of spec, it would also take away from the fantasy and lore behind the weapon. The good news is, if you’re a BM hunter who hates guns you can still transmog your artifact.
I like the idea of two separate forms of progression on the artifacts — artifact points and relics.
- Artifact Points are what you earn simply for doing stuff in game: Questing, dungeons, raids, PvP, etc. These points are used to unlock traits, which is essentially a mini talent tree for your weapon. These traits add bonuses to your spec’s abilities. You pick the order these traits unlock, but eventually you can unlock all of them.
- Relics are things you slot into your weapon which increase its power, as if you were getting a weapon upgrade. DPS, stats, etc. They also hinted at relics being able to modify traits on the weapon.
Weapons won’t drop in Legion, but any time they otherwise would have, it’ll just drop a relic instead. At least that’s what it sounds like.
The Artifact Points system sounds like it’s going to be the new reward for leveling up, rather than adding more talent tiers or class abilities. Sort of like the Draenor perk system. I could be wrong and they’ll add another talent tier, but I am skeptical. I think the final trait of your weapon could fill this need.
The Hunter Class Hall — Where will it be?
Update: The location of the Hunter class hall was revealed in a recent Gamescom interview. Here was their response when asked:
Ion Hazzikostas: I believe it is in the peaks of the zone High Mountain. It’s because they have a hunters lodge up there.
My original speculation on the location of the class hall follows (hey, at least I was right about what Legion zone it would be in!)
Class Order Halls will be the place you customize your artifact weapon and presumably complete the quests for it. There will also be a few other things there, like your Champions (evolution of garrison followers), but it is not a true garrison replacement.
The big question is, where’s the Hunter hall going to be? We’ve already heard about a couple of other classes which can give us some hints: Paladins are at Light’s Hope Chapel and Shaman are at the Maelstrom. So where would a Hunter one be?
Here’s a few of my best picks:
Grizzly Hills seems like the perfect spot to set up a Hunter’s lodge. Is it feasible they’d set up a class hall in old content like this? Well, some of the examples they gave are outside of the Broken Isles, so it’s certainly possible.
Inside we need a shooting range, a stable, and a bar (like the header image).
Home to some of our most coveted pets. I can see there being some kind of Hunter camp in a place like this. Also, Nesingwary.
Another zone where I’d feel home in some kind of Hunter camp. Who says it has to be an actual hall?
Unlikely since it’s an Alliance zone, but it’s still one of my favorites. Hunters could have some kind of retreat in up in the mountains like the one above.
Perhaps a more likely scenario is that our class order hall will be located in the Broken Isles. If that’s the case, I can definitely see Highmountain fitting the bill.
It’s got moose. Come on.
(They better be tameable.)
One more thing I hope they do with class order halls is take the opportunity to give every class in the game its own class mount. It could be done through a quest line at your hall, and the hunter one should probably be a sweet looking bear (assuming they finally update bear models). Better yet, let us ride one of our pets.
What would you like to see out of the Hunter class hall?