Aaaaaand we’re back. Sort of. The Legion alpha is back online and with it comes our first look at Marksmanship! Beast Mastery is still locked out but should hopefully be available soon. Unfortunately a bug in the Marksmanship artifact scenario is preventing progression, but I expect that will be fixed relatively soon. I still managed to play around with the spec a bit, and I have some first impressions.
I’ve talked about my desire for Beast Mastery to be able to have two pets many times in the past, and I’m happy to say it looks like it’s becoming a reality in Legion. I hesitate to get too excited since things can so easily change at this point, but I can’t resist.
The extra pet is tied into Titanstrike, the Beast Mastery artifact, so this is not something you’ll see at earlier levels. Also, some of the functionality of the secondary pet isn’t unlocked until you get deeper into your artifact trait tree. Lastly, the secondary pet is probably going to be a fixed appearance as it’s referred to by name (Hati) and is themed around being the guardian of the Titanstrike.
Update: Beast Mastery is now unlocked on the alpha. More details here.
Both Wowhead and MMO-Champion posted previews of the Hunter tier 19 (and PvP) armor today. This is definitely Sylvanas-inspired armor and will probably suit Marksmanship the best with their Dark Ranger talent and the Thas’dorah bow. There are many colors for the various difficulties and PvP tiers, with the Mythic and Elite PvP sets being a little bit flashier as usual.
For the other colors, I’m not sure which goes with what difficulty yet. We won’t know for sure until the tier sets are in the database. When that happens we should also be able to preview the sets on other races with the model viewer on Wowhead.
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.
Located in the peaks of Highmountain lies Trueshot Lodge, every Hunter’s home away from home. Here we will tend to our artifact weapons, get in some target practice, manage our stables, show off our pets to other Hunters, and probably engage in some rowdy behavior in the bar section.
Trueshot Lodge will also be the center point for our questing in the Broken Isles. It’s where we’ll choose what zone we want to level up in next (remember, you can do them in any order now). There will also be class champions (of which we don’t really know much about yet) that send us on missions.
We will be able to get back and forth to our lodge with Call Greater Eagle. Hunters will also have an exclusive flight path network in the Broken Isles.
More fun stuff is coming out of this weekend’s initial datamining, this time related to pets. MMO-Champion has been posting a bunch of new models, and some of them look like they could become Hunter pets.
Standard disclaimer: This is still super early in the beta process and literally everything could change.
Pet buffs removed?
It looks like raid buffs in general may be getting the axe in Legion. Our own Trueshot Aura was removed (as are other class buffs), and all Hunter pet buffs (Furious Howl, Blessing of Kongs, etc.) are kaput. Pets that had non-buff abilities are still intact.
It’s possible that pets which used to provide a raid buff will get a new ability such as a snare, root, or interrupt. I would hate to lose pet family abilities entirely. If they go down this route, there’s a lot of work to do as many pets provided buffs only. Some Exotic families will need extra love because their main benefit was providing 2 buffs.
I’d say I am indifferent to the idea of buffs being removed from the game. The odd time I can whip out the correct pet and provide a missing buff is cool, but nowadays it just seems like having full buffs is a given. Where is the gameplay and complexity in the current raid buff system? Seems more like trimming the fat to me.
Datamining has been happening for the past day or so, but it’s not until now that we get to the juicy stuff: spell data. It’s great that Wowhead got it all up so fast, but it’s a huge data dump and not fully contextualized yet. I attempted to filter out the weird and questionable data, and I think I managed to interpret what is a talent and what’s not, but I could definitely be wrong on some of them. Update: Was right about most of it. List is more complete now via Wowhead database.
We’ll talk more about the baseline spec stuff in the future, but I will mention a few interesting things I noticed for each spec before I list the talents. You can read about the non-talent stuff in my previous post.
Hopefully this organized list makes it easier to take in all the talent changes from a better perspective. It really helped me see the bigger picture. Keep in mind a few talents are missing — either I missed them in the wall of text, or they aren’t there yet.
Datamined Spells: They’re fun to look at, but may include ideas that we tried and then decided to cut. FYI! https://t.co/JmIxbCuNlI
— Celestalon (@Celestalon) November 21, 2015
For all we know, some of this stuff is already gone. So feel free to get excited, as long as you go in realizing this fact. If something turns out not to be true, you can’t say Blizz took it away because it was never there in the first place!
Update 11/21: Added new Aspect of the Cheetah/Turtle spells.
Update 11/22: Added the few missing ones now that Wowhead database is live. Happy to say I was right about 95% of this stuff before knowing for sure 😀
We can officially say that every race can now play as the best class in the game. Alex Afrasiabi announced the news on Twitter today: Gnome Hunters are coming in Legion!
— Alex Afrasiabi (@Abrosiabi) November 13, 2015
This is something Hunters have been campaigning for ever since Blizzard started expanding class/race combinations back in Cataclysm. I know I never missed an opportunity to poke the developers about it. I’m also not surprised that Muffinus (the developer behind Gara and all Hunter pet things recently) was internally pushing for it to happen. He tweeted the following pics out after the announcement. Continue reading Gnome Hunters are coming!
Remember during Warlords of Draenor’s development when Blizzard was talking about “spec differentiation?” It almost became a buzz phrase. They sort of delivered, but not in a way that mattered much. At their core, the 3 Hunter specs were still the same. We had a Focus generator, a Focus dump, and a signature ability. The “differentiation” was Marksmanship having a cast time on its Focus dump (and having to stand still) and Survival having DoTs, while Beast Mastery remained relatively untouched.
Well, I think it might be for real now. I can’t say for sure until I get my hands on the beta, but from what I can tell the specs sound almost completely different — not just the core mechanics but their fantasy as well (that’s this expansion’s buzz word, by the way).
You can read the post for yourself here. Blizzard shares their basic philosophy for each spec and shows us some of their core abilities. It’s enough to go on for a first round of feedback (plus it’s the first real Hunter news in months), so let’s get started.
Note I also have some quotes in here from one of the Senior Game Designers, Andrew Chambers. He was kind enough to answer some Hunter questions in a reddit thread. Remember these are candid comments, and nothing is set in stone.