Hello everyone, I know there’s a lot of questions going into Dragonflight regarding spec feel, and back and forth disagreements on some core aspects of the class. I’d like to give my perspective, some constructive feedback on the class over the years, and some changes that I’d personally like to see. And I’d like to hear back from some of you on your thoughts, maybe we can come up with a list of a few, reasonable, changes that a large amount of us agree we’d like to see.
I’ve been playing a Hunter since BC (I played one in Vanilla, but not at end game, so my feedback here is relatively minimal). I love the class, and I’m very excited to see the return of talent trees in Dragonflight. I honestly cannot overstate how excited I am for that, to hopefully see the end of the borrowed power mechanics we’ve been using since Legion.
In Vanilla, the class felt weird. BM was the best for leveling, it was admitting pretty boring, but most classes were, and then at end game the only viable option was MM, because pets died. But most classes only had one viable spec, so it is what it is.
In BC, the class felt better. Steady shot definitely helped, and the changes to make pets more durable (Pet talents!), and the talent tree extensions really improved the class feel. Starting in T5, Survival’s utility became desirable, and I genuinely enjoyed playing it. It played the same as BM from a rotational standpoint, but with notably less personal DPS, but the debuff it provided was fantastic. It honestly was a great feeling that I still genuinely miss. MM was good in PvP, but that was it.
In Wrath, hunter felt super weird. BM fell off hard, MM picked it up, and became really good in PvP and PvE. Then Survival became a good option, with this weird mid-range combo of cycling into melee, dropping traps, then rotating back to do hunter things. It just felt strange. MM was still incredibly viable though, so it’s not like we were forced to do that weird dance.
I’m gonna be completely honest here - I hated Cataclysm. Storywise, great expansion, but class changes and mechanically, I hated it.
Pandaria, I found hunter to be too “Meh”, especially as I refocused myself onto PvP, with OQueue, and RBGs. It was one of those classes that “Yeah, grab one, but it’s really only there because it can base-sit thanks to pet”.
Warlords, I dunno man, I really did not like that expansion either. Story felt weird, but was enjoyable, but there was just a lot off with it. I’d say that was probably my longest hiatus from the game.
Then came Legion. Legion was awesome. Artifacts were great. I genuinely enjoyed Artifacts. But, the changes to Survival felt unnecessary. Lorewise, and thematically, it always felt to me, and I know others, that BM should have been the melee spec. When I think Beast Master, I think Rexxar from WC3. It would have been really cool to have this mail-armored hunter up close and personal with his two massive pets just hacking away at an enemy. Survival was fun, but it did not feel hunter-y. It did, and still does, feel like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. On the one hand, the abilities - Raptor Strike & Mongoose Bite, feel right for Survival. But then there’s Coordinated Assault, and Kill Command, which make it feel more like BM. And then Aspect of the Eagle feels like it wants to go back to being ranged.
Nothing feeling-wise changed since then.
In my personal view, these changes would very much help class feel, although some/most of them definitely could not be implemented in Dragonflight, I’d still like to offer the ideas.
Make BM the melee spec. Make it DW or Two-Handed optional, similar to Frost DK, and move most of Survival’s abilities over to it.
Make Lone Wolf baseline/mandatory, and have it provide the option of choosing a Command Pet ability to be able to use, swappable just like talents - You want Lust? You have it. You want Master’s Call? You’ve got it. You want SotF? Got it.
Additionally, either have a talent, or bind to Lone Wolf, an at least 25% Mortal Strike onto either Aimed Shot, Rapid Fire, or Kill Shot.
Have SV return to being a ranged class. I think, ideally, SV would have the following things:
Stealth-bar esque Camo (Like it used to be glyphable to, but without the self-healing)
I think realistically, SV should have the option of either going a Trap Mastery style of play, where it relies on chaining a rotation of traps for maximum effect, combined with average ranged damage output. Put the bulk of this side of the spec’s skill-curve on being able to successfully chain traps/bombs (I’m not gonna lie here, I find the idea of a hunter throwing bombs to be incredibly dumb, but hey)
The other side of the spec, I would like to see as being a fast-attacking skirmisher style feel. High emphasis on critical strikes, with stings/venoms. Move Barbed Shot over to SV. Barbed Shot would apply a bleed, then have Serpent Sting interact with crits from either barbed shot, or steady shot to have a different effect.
Example: Steady Shot crit would cause SS to change to a 5s poison debuff that causes higher damage.
Barbed Shot crit would morph barbed shot bleed into a 10s bleed debuff that causes consistent damage.
You could then bring back old stings that interact the same way. The rotation for this side of the spec would then basically become to apply a sting, and know what the right effect to try and trigger is. Likely being you want to apply barbed shot bleed, SS, then get another barbed crit for the debuff, then SS, then you want a steady shot crit.
Other stings added could be geared for PvE or PvP, and would, in my opinion, allow for relatively easy tuning.
Class feel wise, I feel like BM being melee makes the most sense by far, and rolling SV’s skills into it would make the spec feel a lot stronger, and thematically appropriate.
MM, I imagine very much to be the Archers and Archer heroes from WC3. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to me that they rely on a pet to get all of their utility.
SV, I imagine as being more of the wild-man type. In tune with nature, and using their knowledge to their advantage. The spec used to have this feel, at least to some extent, but it just doesn’t now.
I know that the BM/SV changes certainly cannot be done in Dragonflight, but in the future I feel like they’d be good, and welcome changes, without massively overhauling the class. (With the exception of SV, I get that that’s a lot of work). But the MM Lone Wolf changes certainly could be.
What do you guys think? Am I alone in these thoughts, or am I missing the mark with any of these suggestions?