Legion Alpha: Some more things making me grumpy about Survival

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).

The new Spitting Cobra talent

Another change was Sentry Turret was removed and replaced with Spitting Cobra in the level 100 talent tier. This is mostly an aesthetic change when you boil right down to it because the cobra acts like a ranged turret and doesn’t move. You passively gain extra Focus while it’s active. That extra Focus can help for the brief periods of downtime the spec has when you have no Focus to spend and no Mongoose Bite charges.

Some other talents got swapped around to different tiers, and A Murder of Crows is back for Survival (replacing Thrill of the Hunt). Right now the cooldown reset mechanic doesn’t work, but the tooltip still says it’s supposed to. Farstrider was also nerfed badly. It used to grant you a second charge of Disengage, and now… well look at it.  Ranger’s Net was buffed to include a 3 second root, which is nice in that it’ll give you a chance to catch up to targets running away. Steel Trap’s bleed was extended from 20 sec to 30 sec (same DPS), but the big change was the root was changed from 8 sec to a full 30 sec. This means if you don’t hit a Steel Trap victim with any other damage, they should stay rooted for a full 30 seconds (in PvE anyway). Finally, Aspect of the Beast was updated to work with Flanking Strike (it works on Kill Command for BM).

Speaking of Flanking Strike, that ability used to work even if your pet was out of range (though the pet portion would do no damage obviously), but now you can’t even cast it unless your pet is in melee range. If you read my previous posts on Survival in the alpha, you know I have significant issues with how Hunter pets are working for a melee spec. This only added to that frustration, even though I know why it’s there (they don’t want you to waste damage). It just illustrates how crucial it is to get Survival’s pet to stick BESIDE the Hunter at all times. This includes coming along for the Harpoon ride. How pets work with Survival is still my primary issue with the spec.

Like I said, I understand why this stuff changes rapidly, but when your favorite thing about a spec is changed like this, it’s a bit deflating. Maybe I should stop trying to convert to melee and accept that it’s not for me. There’s a reason I’ve only played Hunters for the past 11 years, it’s because I just don’t enjoy melee all that much in WoW. I’m trying though. I still want it to be a spec that current Hunters would enjoy, not just something made for someone who normally doesn’t play a Hunter. We’re Hunters. We have standards, damn it.

I don’t hate Survival. However, I’m not going to sit on my hands and assume it’ll turn out well in the end. I made that mistake in the WoD Beta. I would often say things along the lines of “don’t worry, it’s early and things will change.” Then Hunters in WoD had a very rocky start prior to 6.1. Maybe that attitude was part of the problem.

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14 thoughts on “Legion Alpha: Some more things making me grumpy about Survival”

  1. I 100% expected the DFT change b/c Blizz has never independently balanced PvP (which was the issue with the CC being too strong) and PVE, thus PVE will suffer for a PVP change everytime.

    The one thing I feel the community needs to petition for is if we are going to have restrictions based on our pet’s travel (like with Flanking Strike / after Harpoon), Survival NEEDS a passive that fixes the travel time of our pets. The easiest option is give Blink Strikes effect passively, the less effective would be a speed increase to Survival pets (constant Sprint or similar). Granted none of this I expect to happen, because similar to the DFT nerf, that would make PVP unbalanced with our pets sticking on targets like glue…so yeah, I guess we will just have to see.

    1. Regarding pets, my proposal is that pets completely match the hunter’s speed (including harpoon) as long as they are close to the hunter (you could call the passive Aspect of the Pack 😛 ). If you send your pet off across the map, yeah it should be moving slower.

  2. Re: your survivability w/o a CC — I’ve noticed that casters in general are very squishy on alpheta. Things also seem way overtuned in giving damage. (e.g. in Black Rook Hold, the axe ability was taking out a quarter of my bar at a time. Ouch!). As a Warlock, I’m also used to being able to handle more than 3 mobs at once, but even 2 will give me trouble on alpheta. I assume this is because it’s alpheta & nothing has reasonable tuning on it, not because the Warlock will be stupidly squishy. (That’s not to say I won’t point out in my feedback that I feel squishy right now!) I assume you’re facing the same problem with the Survival Hunter, where they don’t yet know how to tune survivability for a melee spec within an otherwise ranged class.

    I have a question to ask. I’ve noticed with Warlock pets that the assist stance doesn’t work; at best, the pet acts like it’s on Defensive. Attack command works, but Assist won’t initiate the pet to attack when I attack, only once I’m hit first. I’m curious: is this Assist stance bug also occurring for Hunter pets?

    1. It’s true that survivability may be down across the board. Hard for me to compare til I can try the other hunter specs. Although for me it seems like less of a numbers thing and more of a “stuff is hitting me too much” thing. It goes back to the trouble I’m having with my pet (and losing misdirection). The CC we just lost mitigated some of that.

      As for assist stance, it’s working for Survival pets.

  3. Survival needs to be tank spec or GTFO blizzard. I can care less for melee…if melee is like MM hunters now damage wise and i get forced to sit because of it…well there goes my subscription.

    We have 30 min q’s…need more tank spec. Large amount of hunters in this game. MAKE HUNTER TANKS.

  4. I don’t see how this getting to live. It has no survivability. PvP will kill this spec(which is good in my opinion) If you cant stand through a toe to toe fight, then you can not be melee. That is a rule. And if your having to jump kite and swig heal pots, then something is not working correctly. I’m not liking anything Ive read about the spec. Either overhaul our agility like a rogue, or make it plate.

    Bliz needs to give Survival the Tend aspect. We take on the aspect of our pet. If we are soloing we get the aspect of turtle or bear. In a group with a tank, go aspect of the cat,or wolf. That would give us a tank back without a healer, and a dps increase to offset the pet with a tank.

    I don’t think bliz crunched the numbers on this. Someone said since their is a petless spec, lets make a melee spec. What they forgot about, standing in a mobs face, you tend to get hit. I have a feeling this spec is going to be the reason why hunters of the other 2 specs will see a rollercoaster ride of nurfs and buffs.

  5. They did a similar thing with Death Knights when BC was released. But theirs made it all the way to live. Death and decay caused all players in it’s radius to “panic”. It was freaking amazing. They still took it away. Things like that are way too strong to be kept ingame, despite being INCREDIBLY fun.

    1. Probably a lot of PVP concerns. IMO, there’s nothing wrong with having overpowered abilities in PVE (within reason), especially if you sacrifice damage to get it. I wish they would try to find middle ground before removing stuff. Maybe they have other plans for the trap though. Who knows? I guess if one thing came out of this, it’s how the old Dragonsfire Trap was really the only “interesting” trap out of all 6 traps. Maybe it would be better to have a few good-but-not-OP traps rather than 1 amazing trap.

      1. I can imagine the combination of Dragonsfire trap and Expert Trapper could cause problems…such as pulling too many mobs depending on how the fear worked.

        However, in order for traps to be exciting they should be a tiny bit OP, at least is specific situations due to their inherent weaknesses such as being location based, travel-time and arming time (if that still exists).

        It’s probably not productive to “rant” but it’s definitely worth voicing your concerns. If current hunters don’t like the new traps, new hunters certainly won’t like them.

        1. It wasn’t a fear that sent them running. They’d wander back and forth in like a 2 yard area. Barely move at all.

          I know rants aren’t productive which is why I put the disclaimer. Also anyone who reads my stuff should know I’m gonna be tough on survival. Blizz has a lot to do to sell it to me, and maybe that won’t happen in the end. I’m still gonna test it, offer feedback, and give it my best shot.

  6. You shouldn’t make any expectations based on beta, let alone alpha. Blizzard has a history of making radical changes, not always for the best.

    “Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment” (c) Warhammer 40k

    I understand it’s your calling to highlight the design process, but you can’t allow yourself to become personally attached to it. Blizzard will hurt you otherwise.

    1. I don’t have any expectations other than making survival as fun as possible for existing hunters. Also see my last paragraph. I understand the development process, but this time around I won’t be assuming things will magically get better at release. 🙂

      Dragonsfire trap was a special case for me personally, though. “Grumpy” still applies. Waiting to see what they have up their sleeve in the new year. Looking forward to MM and BM even more.

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