4th Spec RSV: Munitions Expert

Hey all, I figured I’d make my own topic concerning the idea of what a 4th spec for hunters would be like. As many are almost certainly aware, Survival in its current state and how it was implemented back during Legion is a hot and highly controversial topic. I have and will continue to advocate for current SV to be improved upon for those who like it and for it to remain melee. I also believe a 4th spec will help put an end to much of the tension within the community and will help satisfy players who lost a beloved play style and thematic archetype that is no longer accessible to us.

With all of that said, let’s try to remain respectful towards one another and focus on the ideas presented within this thread. The ideas in this thread are just that, ideas being presented to help facilitate discussion. They are possible ideas about talents and what an updated RSV would look like in the modern game. Any numbers suggested here are of course also subject to change. I expect things could be changed and if Blizz were to add a 4th spec I understand it will likely look very different than the ideas presented here. With that said, let’s take a look!

The Arcane Archer / Munitions Expert (name subject to change).

The base fundamental design to the spec would revolve around mobile DOT gameplay. Talents within the spec will help determine whether you’re choosing to focus on magical shots to strike down your foes safely from afar, or using natural poisons and attacks to enhance your shots to watch your foes suffer and fall before you.

Base Kit

Exploding Shot

Exploding Shot will function similarly to how current exploding shot functions. Firing an explosive shot at the target, it’ll detonate after 4 seconds causing damage to the target and nearby enemies. This effect can stack. Consumes a Munitions Arrow (more on that shortly).

The default main ability for the spec. Designed to add both burst and delayed damage to flow well with the rest of the DOT oriented damage profile. Can be altered or enhanced through talents.

Munition Shots

The hunter gains a new resource in additional to focus, Munition Shots. Munition Shots recharge naturally once every 15 - 20 seconds,. Munition Shots allow the use of certain abilities.

The idea behind Munition Shots is to give the spec another resource to track and build up to help match modern game design as well as giving another potential tuning knob. Additionally, this is here to help add emphasis on using special shots.

Viper Shot

A short cast time shot that generates 10 focus and 1/5th of a Munitions Shot. Does low nature damage. Can be cast while moving.

This is meant to be similar to how Cobra Shot functioned in prior expansions. Meant to be the specs main focus builder and reliable method of building munitions outside of proc chances or talents.

Arcane Shot

Similar to MM, this is the spec’s focus dump when other rotational priorities are already met. Does low instant cast arcane damage. Costs 20 focus.

Black Arrow

Fires an arrow filled with shadowy magic at the target dealing damage over 18 seconds. Additionally, with each tick has a chance to gain half a charge of Munitions Shots. Will always generate at least half a charge. Dispelling Black Arrow will generate two charges of Munitions Shots and deal a small amount of damage. Costs 35 focus.

An old staple making an updated return. Rather than out right proccing the old Lock and Load feature, this helps build munitions charges while applying a strong dot. This is to help facilitate fast paced gameplay with another reliable method for generating Munitions Shots. More Munitions Shots will mean more Exploding Shots that can be stacked together for big bursts of single target damage and bunched up AOE.

Incendiary Shot

Fires a flaming arrow at the target, burning them over 18 seconds. If the target takes damage from Exploding Shot, the flaming arrow flares up dealing a small burst of immediate damage and consuming one second of the remaining duration of Incendiary Shot on the target. Costs 30 focus.

Another dot, this was based on fire damage to help compliment Exploding Shot. Incendiary Shot is there to help add to the rotation and dot focused gameplay while also giving an interaction with Exploding Shot to help vary the gameplay as you build up Munitions Shots.

Chain Shot

Fires a quick bouncing shot, dealing single target damage before quickly bouncing to additional targets. Bounces up to 5 times and will give priority to targets it has not already hit within range. Chain Shot will spread any dots on the current target to other targets it hits. Costs one charge of Munitions Shots. Cannot spread Black Arrow.

An AOE ability designed to help spread dots. The ability to bounce between targets already hit gives it additional value for situations with less than 5 targets. The cost helps make Chain Shot a meaningful decision to maintain dots on multiple enemies rather than fire and forget.

Heartstopper Venom

Fires a dangerous venom into the target. Movement quickly causes strain on the target’s heart causing a rapidly stacking debuff. At 10 stacks, the victim is stunned for 5 seconds. Heartstopper Venom lasts 5 seconds. One minute CD.

Aspect of the Serpent

Take on the guile of the serpent for 15 seconds. Your damage over time effects rapidly damage your foes at a 25% increased rate. You also gain an additional 10% mastery. 2 minute cool down.

Mastery Effect

Your damage over time effects deal an additional X% damage. Your Munitions Shots deal an additional X% damage.

The base kit focuses around building dots, and spending charges of Munitions Shots on Exploding Shot or Chain Shot to maintain spread dots for AOE. Building Focus and charges through Viper Shot and dumping focus through arcane shot as need be. Avoiding focus capping, building charges without capping on charges, and maintaining dots. The extra management of the Munitions Shots helps bring the spec up to more modern standards by making it differentiate itself more from the other specs as well as giving the player another resource to manage.

But this is only the base foundation of the spec. No spec is complete without talents. So let’s dive into some possible talents for this spec.

Talents

Tier One
This talent row is designed to add an additional dot or enhance them in some manner while simultaneously potentially influencing stat priority.

  1. Savage Strikes - Your pets critical attacks hasten your shots and leave a bleeding wound, increasing your haste by 5% for 4 seconds and leaving a small bleed dealing damage over 4
  2. Serpent Sting - Same as current Serpent Sting for MM and SV.
  3. Elemental Shots - Every Third Autoshoot will also be laced with elemental Magic, dealing a random element as damage over 3 seconds.

Tier Two
Designed to augment your Munition Shots.

  1. Lucky Shots - When you cast an ability that costs a charge of Munitions Shots, there is a 15% chance for the cost to be refunded back to you.
  2. Fire Everything! - After expending a charge of Munitions Shots, the damage of your next ability that consumes a charge Munitions Shots is increased by 25%, lasts 4 seconds.
  3. Ready? Aim. Fire! - Expending a charge of Munitions Shots will increase your damage over time effects for five seconds.

Tier Three
The utility row, designed to give extra utility to the Hunter.

  1. Intimidation - Same as live.
  2. Camouflage - Same as live for all specs.
  3. Warping Shot - Fire a warping shot at a target point on the ground. The first ally to step into to the portal will be warped to your location. One minute CD.

Tier Four
This row is intended to boost your focus generator or focus dump in either Viper Shot or Arcane Shot.

  1. Viper’s Venom - Viper Shot now deals 20% more damage and leaves a 3 second nature damage over time on the target.
  2. Arcane Barrage - Arcane Shot’s damage is increased by 20%. Additionally Arcane Shot leaves an Arcane Mark mark on the target for fifteen seconds. At ten stacks, the marks are consumed for a burst of damage. New Arcane Marks refresh the duration of Arcane Mark.
  3. Use All of the Bullets! - Viper Shot now generates 25% more Munitions Shots charge*. Arcane Shots now also generates 10% Munitions Shots charge.

*My math might be off, though this is intended for Viper Shot to generate 1/4th of a charge rather than 1/5th.

Tier Five
This is another utility row.

  1. Posthaste - Same as live.
  2. Born to be Wild - Same as Live
  3. Empowered Heartstopper - Targets affected by your Heartstopper Venom deal 20% less damage for the duration.

Tier Six
This row is focused on enhancing AOE.

Darkest Night

Your Black Arrow can now spread through Chain Shot at a reduced duration (procs not always guaranteed).

Acidic Shot

Replaces Explosive Shot - Fires a volatile shot of explosive acid at the target, dealing damage to the target and nearby targets after three seconds. Additionally, for the next 3 seconds the target is covered in acid, leaving acid puddles in their wake that stay for ten seconds, continuing to damage targets within. Acidic Shot can stack just like explosive shot.

Flaming Volley

Your multishot now applies Incendiary Shot to all targets hit by multishot.

Tier Six
The final three talents are meant to help further more divergent gameplay.

Lock and Load

Same as live, chance to cast Exploding Shot / Acidic Shot for free instead of Aimed Shot.

Accelerated Munitions

Quickly prepare a volatile set of munitions, readying three charges of Munitions Shots immediately. Stacks of Explosive Shot / Acidic Shot capped at 4 in PVP. 90 second CD.

Firing Squad

Rapidly fire a surge of shots infused with random elements from frost, fire, nature, or arcane at the target, channeling for two seconds. At the end of the channel, a delayed explosive arrow will arm on the target, dealing a burst of damage matching the type of the final elemental shot fired. Deals additional damage by 2% per damage over time effect you have inflicted on the target. Ten second CD, costs 30 focus.

Final Thoughts

These are just my ideas for what could be a reworked old SV introduced as a 4th spec. I’m certain if we were to ever get an actual 4th spec it would probably look very different than this. This updated version is meant to bring back fast paced reactionary mobile DOT gameplay that we used to have access to and have lost, while thematically bringing back the arcane archer / munitions expert theme. It also modernizes the spec to give it something more to differentiate itself from the other three specs.

What would you do differently? I admit these were just ideas I’ve been kicking around and by no means do I think they are perfect or wouldn’t go under some form of testing and adjustment phase if ever even given the light of day.

I’d love to see your thoughts and feedback!

Edit: I appreciate all of the positive feedback so far! Wanted to update the original post some more after giving the idea some more thought as far as what potential PVP talents could look like!

The first several talents are simply the same as current live.

Survival Tactics: Same as live.

Spider Sting: Same as live.

Roar of Sacrifice: Same as live.

Scorpion Sting: No longer reduces physical crit chance by 50% for 8 seconds. Instead reduces enemy physical hit chance by 35%. 24 second CD.

I believe Roar of Sacrifice and Scorpion Sting fill similar roles, however RoS is clearly superior as it works against all critical at 100% for 12 seconds. The overlap here feels unnecessary. Keeping the role of reducing physical damage but making the two more compatible with each other should help increase meaningful hunter utility in PVP.

Hi-Explosive Trap: Same as live, with tweaks to make knock back more consistent.

Dragonscale Armor: Same as live.

Freezing Shot: Replaces concussive shot. Slows the enemy by 50% for 6 seconds and slowly freezes the victim’s blood, dealing a small amount of damage over time. Duration increased by 3 seconds when the target is hit by Viper Shot. Magic effect.

Meant to give an option to make concussive shot feel more meaningful. Makes mastery more meaningful in PVP as well.

Blackened Ice: Enhances your Freezing Trap, allowing dots to continue to deal damage to the target at 50% reduced damage for the duration. Freezing Trap’s duration reduced to 5 seconds.

Meant to change up your CC chain so damage over time effects can continue to pressure the target while CC’d at a reduced value and duration.

Lightning Arrow: Fires a shot filled with electrical energy, dealing nature damage immediately. The arrow lingers on the target dealing damage each second while they move. Lasts four seconds. One minute CD.

The focus on rot damage and controlled burst is complimented by the hunter’s natural mobility and desire to want to keep targets at bay. This is meant to further emphasize the spec’s strengths in PVP.

Snake Trap: Fire a trap on the ground. Enemies who run over it will trigger it, spawning venomous snakes. Snakes will apply a very low damage dealing dot on the target that stacks up to five times. Snakes will try to target the Hunter’s target. If no target, will prefer to focus on the triggering enemy. Trap lasts for one minute. Snakes last for ten seconds.

A return to a flavorful old spell. AI is improved from how they used to function, removed some of the other poison effects to instead focus more on the dot which should be enhanced by mastery.

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Yes please! Sounds fun! love all the dot synergy.

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That’s what I was hoping for! I wanted to bring some synergy between the dots other than just maintaining them. There are of course still some maintenance dots and or passive damage, though the goal was to give unique interactions between maintaining the DOTS while leaving room for either more active / complex rotations or more simplified rotations based on talents.

In hindsight, I see I left out focus cost for a few things, numbers are of course always subject to change too.

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Honestly, this design sounds like a blast. I really like the munition arrows thing.

Ultimately, I think you conveyed your point well — there is indeed room for a third archer-based spec in the game (yes, I consider BM one even if it’s stretching things) that is still entirely unique while still recalling the old RSV design.

A large point in favor of 4th spec, if you ask me, is that it would also free up Blizzard to make MSV as melee as they want without having to worry about shoehorning ranged aspects into it.

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Thank you! I was initially concerned it might be too similar to warlock soul shards but honestly after thinking about the talents I think there is still enough variance within talents to make it distinctly its own thing. Plus, having to simultaneously still manage focus will help keep it from feeling too similar to warlock.

That’s what I was hoping to accomplish. I want to bring back the excitement of seeing multiple explosives pop off in a burst of damage while dots deal more consistent damage. I also wanted to keep the quick paced reactionary gameplay without overly relying on Lock and Load and giving other options to control those moments of burst via talents.

Yeah, that’s another reason why I think 4th spec makes sense. I actively want MSV to succeed. But to give it that chance, it needs to be allowed to fully appeal to the people who do love it and not having to try and haphazardly support those who liked the old SV.

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Commenting to keep this one alive as I really like the idea.

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I wish. Sounds awesome.

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It would be cool to have a PVP talent that is something like “Dusted Rounds: Your auto attacks reduce the target’s chance to hit with attacks and spells by 20%, stacking twice”

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I hadn’t even try to come up with PVP talents, though I’m sure there’s a number of interesting things that could be added to the spec through them. Like adding other ailments or elemental shots for various utility effects could be cool.

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Made a few edits to add a few more focus costs to certain spells / talents, clarified some CDs, added a damage ramp to the talent Firing Squad based on the number of DOTs on the target.

Additionally wanted to clarify, this variation of Survival is intended to function with or without lonewolf which is why I’ve incorporated two pet talents. Savage Strikes and Intimidation are intended for players / builds that wish to maintain the use of a pet, with Savage Strikes increasing the value of critical strike for the Hunter. The rest of the talents are meant to work with or without the pet.

Thinking the stat priority for this sort of spec would be Agility > Haste > Mastery > Crit = Vers. If using Savage Strikes it would be Agil > Haste > Mastery >= Crit > Vers.

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While I myself prefer melee survival, I really appreciate the creativity on this post. Trying to distinguish the playstyle people liked on the old RSV also helps us focus on what makes the flavor of the current MSV unique.

I really like how Heartstopper venom distinguishes itself from other hunter CC, and the flavor is really cool.

Overall great job!

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This might sound nitpicky but, would it sound more possible development-wise for the name of whatever takes on ranged survival to just be “Survival”, where the melee form of the spec is what gets renamed instead?

Mostly thinking about the naming themes they use for specs. All specs of a class usually follow suit (say, noun/noun/noun like mistweaver, brewmaster, windwalker) although not strictly (some that stick out like Outlaw).

What if melee survival became “Spear Mastery” to keep things more basic? A bit more of a “Combat” feel than an “Outlaw” feel, or does that maybe sound more corny?

Beast Mastery, Spear Mastery. Marksmanship, Survival.

I’d imagine this is probably an exact past naming scheme suggested since ranged survival may very well be the most implementable “4th spec” suggestion for the game currently, regardless of actual class mechanics, up to the point that it’s been given abbreviations like “RSV” vs. “MSV” in community. Like a Gladstance that actually existed as an independent spec, and for far longer than what replaced it. Maybe the only thing that could hold a very small candle to what RSV would bring about, but still nothing comparable.

My personal vote on mechanics is something that includes Explosive Trap, and is a bit more trappy. Trap cooldown reductions and whatnot. Big fan of old mechanics, anything simple enough that it could shoehorn in something like WoDish design.

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They can keep the name of current SV.

It fits better thematically if the returned RSV instead gets a name closer to something like “Munitions”.

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The name isn’t set in stone. If this came back as survival and the current survival were renamed I’d be fine with that. But I also wanted to try and separate it from current SV and double down on some of its old themes.

Regardless, the name itself doesn’t matter too much, rather the thematic idea and gameplay the spec is meant to facilitate ^^.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a trap focused variation of the spec either! When coming up with the ideas presented here, I was admittedly focusing on the themes that drew me to RSV. Which were the dot focused gameplay, mobility, and the magic / elemental damage that came from an archer / gunner. Reminded me of the Arcane Archer in D&D. And while the traps are cool, I was concerned about trying to come up with a build more focused on them especially with how Soulfire Embers has been received this expansion. I was also concerned about stepping on the toes of MSV since a lot of its players like the more trap focused Legion design and it has quite a bit of focus on its traps still in PVP talents.

Though I’d still be open to such ideas.

Yeah! I really wanted to help not only give ideas and room for RSV to make a meaningful return, but also it allows MSV to double down on the themes and gameplay that its fan base have come to know and love. Getting it out of RSV’s shadow I think will help change community perception, will help threads about the spec from being derailed all the time, etc. Changing community perception could also help lead to it being played more frequently for those interested in it.

I’m also glad you liked the heartstopper design! Really, it was stolen from Blizz themselves. The last boss in Tol’Dagor uses Heartstopper Venom and it has the same mechanic, which I thought was an interesting way to limit an enemies mobility and fit well for a hunter!

Thank you :slight_smile:

I want 12 specks for each class but I want DH to have only 1 and then a droid can have 6 but just 6 then the bdsm hunter can have 6 maybe 7 or 8 maybe 9 I’m just not sure. Input appreciated

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I appreciate your input.

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Finally got around to it, updated the original post with some ideas for PVP talents.

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Ballistics hunter

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Basically, yeah! Focused on special magical shots meant to blow the opposition to smithereens!

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