Warning: This post is going to be a bit of a rant. If you’re looking for objective analysis, you can skip this post, alright?
The most recent alpha build has some changes to Survival that unfortunately made the spec… less exciting… for me. Alpha/beta is a very iterative process so I guess this is to be expected. You can’t get attached to anything this early in development. Pretty much anything could be ripped out from under your feet.
Like Dragonsfire Trap.
That trap may have been my favorite single thing about the spec. It was a powerful talent that transformed your Explosive Trap into a single target DoT that caused the target to “panic” for 8 seconds. While panicking, they were completely CC’d and that CC did not break on damage. It was a worthy trap for the one remaining spec that can actually use traps.
And now? Now it’s basically a useless talent in comparison to the old. It’s a itty bitty fire damage DoT that slows the target by 20%. I don’t know, maybe they thought the old version was overpowered? I don’t see why though. For starters, you can make its CC break in PvP if that’s your concern. Secondly, you had to forgo a cooldown like Snake Hunter to even get it! Then if you wanted it to live up to its full potential, you had to devote your level 100 talent (Expert Trapper) to it too! Yes, it was a very powerful trap but look at what you gave up to get it. I thought this was a cool thing! It was a interesting choice to make in solo/questing situations. It could have also given you a lot of utility in dungeons by sacrificing a little DPS.
What I’ve noticed about this change is my overall survivability out in the world has dropped. I guess I was relying on that trap a little too much? Since my pet can’t really tank (especially in AoE) because it holds no threat, I was using that CC to avoid damage. Now I am relegated to killing only 1-3 mobs at a time. First WoW problems? Maybe I’m just spoiled from how Hunters have been for so long. Maybe I’m too focused on the solo experience and need to account more for the group experience (it’s always more difficult to do that in beta).
I’ve warmed up to the melee Hunter a little more since my last post. I still don’t think it’s going to pull me away from my bread and butter (Beast Mastery), but I am starting to get the hang of it. I still sometimes need to remind myself to use traps more often because they can make such a difference now. More specifically, Steel Trap and Dragonsfire Trap. Sometimes I wish the Trap Launcher toggle was still there because it would be nice to avoid that extra click and just drop the trap at my feet when I don’t need to throw it.
I’m really enjoying Harpoon the more I use it, but the ability has some quirks. The first is one I am sure will be fixed, basically it just pulls you in a direct line to your target, even if that makes you clip through the ground. Secondly, I wish it made you leap towards your target in a small arc, rather than just be dragged along the ground. Lastly, I wish there was less of a delay. You have to wait for the travel time of your harpoon before it starts pulling you. That makes sense, but I wish it could be thrown a bit quicker.
I’m in Alpha! Yay! So far only Survival is playable, so I was kinda forced into trying out the melee Hunter first. The most recent Locked and Loaded I posted at Blizzard Watch goes into my initial thoughts on the spec (keeping in mind it’s still incredibly early). I’ll talk about some of that stuff here, but you should go read that too if you’re interested in how Survival is shaping up (coming from someone who has only ever played ranged like me).
Character copy isn’t available right now, all you’re able to do is make template level 100 characters. Upon creation the plop you into the new Dalaran (with ilvl 680 gear) and you begin the artifact quest. I’m not going to talk specific details about the story, but essentially you get your artifact weapon VERY quickly. The Survival one involves a solo scenario that takes about 15 minutes and after that you are back in Dalaran getting your weapon. Something to keep in mind is we don’t know what comes before this (i.e. how do we get up to Dalaran?), and Blizzard needs to make 36 of these scenarios (one for each spec) so you can’t expect them to be hour-long affairs. I am satisfied with a small amount of spec-specific content like this.
It sure has been slow on the news front ever since the Legion announcement, eh? Blizzard wasn’t kidding when they said they’d be more tight-lipped about things this time around (can’t say I blame them after Warlords). We did get a few new tidbits of info today, and when I say “tidbits” I really mean that. This is all sourced from a live-tweeting of an unofficial WoW panel at Dragoncon.
It’s a bit of a silly way to disseminate information like this IMO, though I won’t complain about getting some new info. Here’s a rundown of the cool stuff. Keep in mind this is all obtained from secondhand tweets and can’t be taken as a promise or official information.
I speculated on this yesterday, but it looks like we have the official word via a developer interview at Icy Veins.
- Survival: Melee spec that utilizes a pet
- Beast Mastery: Ranged spec that utilizes a pet
- Marksmanship: Ranged spec that has NO pet
This means the Lone Wolf talent should be no more. Blizzard is fully committing this time and giving each spec a clear identity. It’s bound to ruffle some feathers, but my initial thoughts are that it will be good for the class.
My only real concern is balance now. If Survival is the top spec (by the same kind of margin Marksmanship is now in Hellfire Citadel), every hunter will feel forced into completely changing roles after they’ve been playing a ranged class for 10 years. Not good. Blizzard has an obligation to make sure all 3 playstyles are viable.
There was also some updates regarding the artifact weapons:
- Beast Mastery’s artifact is a gun, Marksmanship’s is a bow, Survival’s is a spear.
- There are no weapon drops in Legion. Instead, you will power up your artifact by killing bosses and doing other things in the game (PvP, dungeons, raids, dailies, whatever).
- Your artifact will be obtained very early on.
- Artifacts can be transmogged, so if you’re not happy about your weapon type for your chosen spec, you at least have that. You cannot transmog into another artifact though.
- Still not sure how Survival is going to operate in the weird transition period of 7.0 when they have no melee weapons.
We should have more details soon from the dev panel on Sunday. Shortly after the dev panel, at 1:30pm ET on Sunday, we will be recording the next Hunting Party Podcast on Twitch and talking all about this stuff. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll be posting before we go live. Should be a fun show!
Hunter Trictagon from US-Kel’Thuzad recently put out a video showing off their melee hunter build, pulling off 300k DPS against Kor’kron Dark Shaman in flex mode with beast mastery spec.
With an average item level of 578 and two 574 daggers, the vast majority of the damage was done by the pet. Only about 5% of the damage actually came from melee attacks. If there was ever a showcase for how insanely out of control BM passive damage is, it’s this. The only active abilities cast were Kill Command, Dire Beast, and Glaive Toss (which doesn’t require a ranged weapon). Explosive and Snake traps added a little bit of damage, but most of it was procs and pets. Trictagon claimed to be losing about 30% DPS by not using a ranged weapon.
Check out the video below, but don’t think this means you can start rolling on melee weapons…
The image above is Rexxar, Champion of the Horde, the one hunter in Azeroth (well, Outland) who refuses to give up his melee weapons. The melee hunter concept is a longstanding joke for many hunters, and a secret desire for others who like the idea of ditching their bow to fight side by side with their loyal companion. The earliest iterations of survival’s talent tree were almost entirely melee focused. It’s clear Blizzard once had the intention for hunters to be able to play as melee — or at least a melee/ranged hybrid — but that has been slowly eroded over the years.
Before BlizzCon, I thought the idea of a pet-less hunter was almost as far-fetched as a melee hunter, but the new Lone Wolf talent showed me how wrong I was. There was a vocal minority of hunters who prefer to play without their pets and go it alone, and Blizzard listened. Hunters were always a pet class first and foremost, so I never expected a talent or ability to give you a benefit for not using one. It made me wonder if a melee hunter spec was possible in this day and age.