The Legion alpha and beta process has been a long one. I’ve been in for nearly 7 months, and I wasn’t even in the first wave. One would expect a good deal of iteration over such a long period of time, but for Hunters that really hasn’t been the case.
Blizzard was receptive to feedback about cosmetic “class fantasy” issues. The most notable example is Beast Mastery being a literal zoo of impersonal pets you didn’t tame yourself. Many Hunters didn’t like this. Shortly after the BM spec was unlocked, Blizzard responded to player feedback and made compromises by adding in the Glyph of the Dire Stable, Dire Frenzy, and Essence Swapper. They also listened to MM Hunters who missed having the option of a pet. On the topic of tameable pets, I think they took much of their inspiration from player feedback and suggestions. They did an amazing job with new tames this expansion.
This brings us to how the class actually plays. On this front I felt there was little iteration or developer communication at all. It was basically the complete opposite of what happened in the pre-Warlords testing. I couldn’t even keep up with all the blue posts and tweets back then. Leading up to Legion, I’ve watched the specs stay mostly the same despite overwhelming negative feedback.
I understand not bowing to the mob and designing by popular opinion, but a simple explanation for why they were sticking to their guns would have helped. Otherwise it just feels like feedback is being ignored.
I’m not going to write a wall of text on my personal issues with the class in Legion, as I’ve already done that several times on their feedback forums, in-game suggestions, and other posts. But I will summarize my main concerns with Beast Mastery (since it’s probably the spec I will play):
- Rotation still has too much down time. I can live with some, but it’s just too much.
- Pets are squishy. My favorite thing about the Hunter class (other than the pets) is being strong on my own. Especially as Beast Mastery, I felt like we were always supposed to have the most capable pets. This is no longer the case. Pet healing in Legion is less than half as effective overall. Plus we’ve lost Adaptation, which means we need to give up DPS to get some of that survivability back. Is it a PVP issue? Then fine, make Mend Pet stronger in PVE only. I thought this was the whole point of separating the PVP system.
- Glyph of Misdirection. RIP.
- Marksmanship — a spec that wasn’t even supposed to have a pet in the first place — is better in some aspects of pet tanking than Beast Mastery. This is due to the combination of a Tenacity pet tank (MM has nearly no DPS loss from speccing Tenacity), and the Black Arrow dark minion. This gives MM two pet tanks who taunt back and forth to split incoming damage.
- Pet AI is worse than ever before. /petattack must be macroed into all abilities now. When pets are on Assist stance they don’t even respond to the Hunter getting attacked unless directly told to do so. There are pathing issues galore in the new dungeons, and even in random places in the world. Nothing like trying to use Kill Command and getting a pathing error. Hopefully this is all just a bug that has yet to be fixed.
- Pet abilities are inconsistent since the removal of buffs. Two dozen pet families have no special abilities at all, while other pets have powerful ones like battle rez, blood lust, shell shield, etc.
- Hati essentially is our artifact. Most of the traits tie into Hati in some way, so why does Hati’s death have a 2 minute cooldown? Do any other classes suffer the complete de-powering of their artifact for 2 minutes at a time? Why can’t we use Revive Pet on Hati? Is it a PVP issue? Fine, then don’t allow it to work in instanced PVP. It sucks when Hati gets randomly instagibbed and then you lose a good 10-20% of your DPS output for 2 minutes. Update 6/30: Hati’s death cooldown was reduced to 30 seconds in the most recent build. It’s a big improvement, but I still wish Revive Pet worked instead.
- I’m stopping now because I’m getting upset and will go on forever.
Those are some of my major issues that haven’t really been addressed by Blizzard. I haven’t even touched on all of the mediocre talents, artifact traits, the new Aspect of the Cheetah, removal of Camouflage from BM, etc. because that’s small compared to the core issues.
All this being said, I am mostly OK with how the new BM plays and I even have some fun with it. Maybe I’ve given in? After 7 months, that’s a definite possibility. The pet issues stick with me though, because it kills my favorite thing about Hunters. My “class fantasy” for Beast Mastery is having an extremely capable pet, but maybe that isn’t Blizzard’s idea for the spec going forward.
Why have there been fewer posts here overall compared to all the posts leading up to Warlords? Because there hasn’t been much to talk about. BM hasn’t really changed at all since being introduced and I didn’t want to post my same feedback over and over. Going forward, most posts here will likely focus on BM because I don’t have the desire to maintain 3 artifacts.
So… is there still time for change? Not really. The prepatch is out in a few weeks and I expect mostly number tuning from now on. I hope I’m wrong.
Thanks for listening to my rant. Also, I don’t want to be a buzzkill. Legion as an expansion is looking really good (honest!), but Hunters are going to be hugely divided. I fear many will be sending their pets out to pasture.