This post is brought to you by Warcraft, in theaters this June!
Seriously though, check out that dwarf! Lothar can’t believe that someone called him a Huntard to his face like that. Clearly they didn’t see that this dwarf was packing. Let’s pretend he is a Marksmanship Hunter so that it’s relevant to this post.
The big news came in yesterday: Marksmanship’s pet is returning in Legion! Lone Wolf is coming back as a talent, only now it will be available at level 15. Here it is, straight from the sparkly dragon’s mouth:
- One of the most common points of feedback we’ve heard is that all of the specs are cool on their own, but none of them maintain the existing “Hunter + Ranged Weapon + Single Pet” archetype that people have grown attached to (Survival is now Melee, Marksmanship has lost its pet, and Beast Mastery has added a ton of additional pets).
- Marksmanship losing its pet has been one of the most impactful, but contentious changes we’ve made this expansion. We’re going to try returning the pet to Marksmanship, baseline, along with Lone Wolf as a level 15 talent (and very competitively tuned), so that this is a choice again.
- Exotic Munitions is being removed, and Black Arrow will be moving down to where it was, since the Lone Wolf + Black Arrow combination proved to be very popular and fun (the newest version of Black Arrow, where the minion reliably spawns and taunts the target, that is).
So, why this change? What about Class Fantasy™ and all that? I guess the player feedback trumped it in the end. I’ve seen quite a few comments from people saying that no one asked for this, that Blizzard is caving to casuals, etc. Those people have to remember that just because they may not see this feedback readily — or hear it from prominent Hunters in the community — doesn’t mean that it’s not there. For one, there is the in-game feedback tool that alpha testers can use. I use this thing quite a bit, way more than the actual feedback I write in forum posts. All of that feedback is invisible to everyone but Blizzard. Not to mention all of the player comments and tweets that get buried under everything else.
I pay attention to all of the tweets and comments I get on my stuff, and I can tell you with certainty that way more of those people wanted a pet for Marksmanship than those who didn’t want one. Blizzard doesn’t always “give in” to this sort of thing, but there must be a cutoff point. Plus, we’re still in alpha. This is the time to make a change like that.
My thoughts on it
This is what went through my head when I read the news: “Well, that’s cool.”
I had already accepted the fact that I will be playing Beast Mastery if I want a pet-focused spec, so this didn’t rock my world or anything like that. I’m happy to have the option because I enjoy Marksmanship (with the right talents anyway) and it will be nice to use my pet on occasion. More than this, I’m happy for the die hard Marksmanship + pet people who get their spec back.
The placement at level 15 instead of level 100 was pretty smart when you think about it from the perspective of a new Marksmanship Hunter. This is going to be their first big choice after picking a spec. If they don’t like pets, now they don’t have to suffer through a full 99 levels with one. Also, losing True Aim or Steady Focus does not make or break the spec.
Those worried that this will ruin the Marksmanship of their dreams shouldn’t be too concerned. Chances are Lone Wolf will get tuned so that it will be a great choice in the vast majority of circumstances. This could be Blizzard’s way of giving the pet back without drastically altering the original intended design of the spec in Legion.
There are also two other ways they could handle this. I’ve seen both of these suggested in several places:
- Turn Lone Wolf into a talent that returns your pet instead. There might be some under-the-hood issues at play that prevent them from doing that. Also, it just seems weird for a Hunter to have to talent into a pet.
- Have Lone Wolf as a baseline passive for the spec. The main problem with this is that you can summon and dismiss your pet in combat. It might encourage Hunters to summon and dismiss their pet way too frequently. It’s also not very intuitive (especially for new players).
They said they were just going to “try” this, but I can’t see them backtracking on it a second time. I think it will stick. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out in the next build.