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.
After getting your weapon, you go to the new Hunter class hall, Trueshot Lodge. Lemme tell ya, this place is great. It’s so huntery I don’t even know where to start. It’s on the top of a VERY high peak (bust out your Goblin Gliders) in Highmountain. It’s in a snowy area, so Horde players might not be too thrilled about that coming from a snowy garrison. It’s not as bleak as Frostfire Ridge if that’s any comfort, and a short ride down the slope takes you to greener pastures. There’s a bunch of new bears right outside Trueshot Lodge, but unfortunately in the current build I could not tame any new pets in the Broken Isles. I think it is some sort of bug with the level scaling, because I noticed when I hit level 101, all of the mobs which were previously level 100 were now level 101. This is the tech they’re using to let you do the zones in any order (and also keep them relevant at max level). Once things are tameable I will be on the hunt and you’ll see many pet related posts here. Also I want to point out that the level 100 template gnome did NOT start with a mechanical pet, which is why you don’t see it in my other screenshots. As you can see, level 1 gnome hunters do come with a mech bunny though!
Going back to Trueshot Lodge, you’re going to find dozens of neat Hunter NPCs in here. They are from various factions like the Unseen Path, Farstriders, Silver Covenant, Dark Rangers, and more. There’s Hunters from pretty much every race, all sporting different Hunter armor and weapons. There’s lots of fun NPC conversations going on, such as a couple of gnomes talking about how awesome it is to be a Hunter. The place just feels very alive, even without not many players running around yet. Once it’s filled up with Hunters it’s going to be awesome.
When I first arrived and participated in the ceremony, I saw some big lore characters in there like Rexxar and Hemet Nessingwary, but on subsequent visits they were gone. I think it’s because they have business elsewhere (i.e. Nessingwary has a quest hub again).
At the center of the large outdoor area is the lodge itself. In here is where you upgrade your artifact weapon, use the adventure map (where you decide what zone to quest in), or grab a pint. The lodge is decorated with iconic Hunter weapons from the past, including a few melee weapons like the Scythe of the Unseen Path. That 3-piece set from AQ is the only reference I can recall to the “Unseen Path” which seems to be the main faction of the Hunters in Broken Isles.
The only thing it needs is more pets wandering around. Some of the NPCs have pets, but I’d like to see ALL of the Hunter NPCs have pets (unless they are Marksman of course).
Here is a gallery of the lodge:
My feelings are a bit mixed. I’m just not sure I’ll ever be able to enjoy a melee Hunter as much as a ranged Hunter. I don’t want to re-hash all my initial thoughts, so you can read them here at Blizzard Watch for more detail.
The gameplay itself is interesting, but a bit overwhelming at times. It’s very reactionary and in the heat of the moment it’s easy to press the wrong button. Instead of a slight reduction in your long term DPS, you just lost your 6 stacks of the Mongoose Bite buff which sucks. There is pretty much no room for error when it comes to keeping up that buff and weaving other strikes in between. I am getting better at it though. I might be doing something wrong as well. I really need to get some dungeon testing done to get a better feel for it.
If you read the Blizzard Watch post, you’ll see that I am not too happy with how pets feel as a melee character. When I’m playing melee, I really want my pet to stick beside me. When my pet lags behind, weird stuff happens like Growl taunting enemies away from you… so I literally have to go chasing after mobs because my pet taunted them from 30 yards away. Why is my pet 30 yards away? Because he’s a freakin’ slow poke, that’s why! I am Harpooning all over the place and my bear is taking a leisurely stroll through the forest.
Most of this boils down to pet movement speed. When out of combat, pets match your speed, but in combat they slow down to normal speed. This is a big problem for me because I seldom run around at normal speed. I’m either using Aspect of the Cheetah, Harpooning, or Disengaging. I think it would be nice if the pet matched your speed at all times as long as it’s close to you. That’s how they can bring back Aspect of the Pack… a passive that makes your pet stick beside you as long as you don’t command him to run away to a farther enemy (which almost never happens as a melee character).
My other beef was the lack of Misdirection. It hurts. Especially for taking on multiple enemies at once. Your pet can only get threat on one of them, and even then you pull off the pet. I felt like my pet was hardly tanking at all when you combine the threat issues and the movement speed issues. It was actually kind of a bummer in that respect. I missed my BM pet.
I know it sounds like I’m complaining a lot, but there are many things I enjoyed (again, read the Blizzard Watch post) such as some of the new traps. The Sentry Turret talent is neat but not usable right now (it hits for nothing) and I’m looking forward to see what it can do when it’s working as intended. I’m also interested in seeing what happens with the Thrill of the Hunt and Aspect of the Beast talents, as they are both placeholder I think. Either that or they haven’t been updated to work with Survival yet.
More stuff to come soon.
16 thoughts on “Legion Alpha: Testing the new melee Survival Hunter”
Great work, Bendak! Are you thinking on streaming your adventures in alpha/beta for Hunters?
Perhaps some Youtube videos like I did in Warlords beta (mostly pet stuff probably). My internet upload speed isn’t that great for streaming. I mostly focus on the writing. I think it’s good we’ve got Hunters who do all the different things… writing, youtubing, and streaming. 🙂
Nice post. Look forward to more Alpha stuff 🙂
The pet is still bad at tanking even if speced as tenacity?
Yes. My pet did not need the extra survival of tenacity because he wasn’t getting hit that much anyway. Thunderstomp helped a bit, but my own AoE easily can pull off of that. I can see the argument for Charge vs. Dash as a Survival pet, it’s just too bad Charge only has a 25 yard range.
Okay, a few observations after 2 days with a Gnome, now L101 and with a couple of long fights under her belt.
I had no problems with pet responsiveness. I am used to using a tank pet and with Charge plus using Harpoon at range, it has been quite rare that I’ve found myself lagging behind with the pet on kills. The best way I can describe Survival from my PoV of having played melee is that this is a Rogue with a helper, but clearly 1000% more awesome. I’d like to see a bleed component on Raptor Strike to make it actually useful on shorter fights, but really I think Blizzard have done a fantastic job of giving Hunters not simply a viable but an enjoyable melee spec.
Thoughts thus far are here: https://shar.es/1cQzp4
Yes, I suspect Survival is going to appeal much more to people who have played melee classes before rather than die hard Hunters like me. When I say stuff like I only play Hunters I am not just being cute. In 11 years I think I got a melee class up to level 15. I have an intense dislike for it and Survival made great strides to make me not hate it, but instead feel kind of neutral towards it (at the moment). It’s still very early though.
I just can’t get the pet to hold threat for the life of me. I am wrecking face with the damage and stuff dies quick enough in single target so it’s not a huge issue there, but I sorely miss being able to pull 8-10 mobs at a time (even when leveling) as I could with BM.
It just feels to me like the pets for Survival need different behaviours. It’s a ranged class pet slapped on a melee spec and it shows.
Not going to argue with this. With thought, I think the Blink Strikes Talent that’s currently in the BM tree could do with being shifted to Survival, so that it won’t matter what type of pet you have, they will always start the fight behind your target.
In fact, I’m gonna send a Tweet to @WarcraftDevs saying just this.
SV is appealing to me due to needing a change. After 10 years, its something different and I dont have to leave the class I love.
good stuff bendak!! keep it coming!!! I wanna see MM and BM.
You and me both. I am so so so excited to play new BM.
Congrats on Alpha, hope I get it again, was nice playing with you all on the last one. Great stuff here, keep it up.
I was so confident that Legion won’t get me back. But Survival Hunter is really making me rethink that promiise (curse you WoW!). Above you mentioned that new melee Survival would generally appeal to players who multi-class into melee – which fits me perfectly since I started on a Feral Druid in TBC, and have a max-level DK and Brewmaster Monk as well. Hunter was mostly for me to collect pets, and to solo content.
Survival Hunter is like some kind of portmanteau of my two fav classes (Feral and Hunter) into one, makes me beyond excited. It also reminds me of a class I saw in the Warhammer MMO which was essentially a melee figher with a White Lion pet.
As for MD, if Blizzard is adamant in not giving Survival MD, because of thematic reasons or something, maybe something along the lines of baseline sharing of threat with our pet at all times? I’m thinking more on the PVE perspective; if we can’t do anything to redirect the threat to the tank, at least having our threat always be halved in tandem with the pet means we just have to hold back in the initial burst. If our pet dies, then all threat returns to us in full, so it still gives the incentive for us to take care of our pet throughout a fight.
I like what I see wrt gameplay (though the spec might be a bit pvp-unfriendly and more vulnerable to kiting than other melees), but when I look at the pictures Im constantly reminded how aesthetically underwhelming Talonclaw is.