Class and Spec Feel - Good, but could be better

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.

Beast Master:
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?


I have been waiting for years for this change. Would love for lonewolf to be viable in pvp

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Did Beppels or that low lvl troll put you for this post? Why would you change beast mastery to melee? In first irritation survival tree had melee abilities just in case beast mastery was all about huffing your pet form max distance.

Regards survival hunter and same argument bring it back to ranged sure. Do it. Let’s have shadow damage as hunter again. May as well give it shadow word pain and kind blast


To be fair, when we heard we’d be getting a melee spec themed off of Rexxar, most assumed it’d be BM, as Rexxar is quite literally a Beast Master (the actual name of his Hero Unit).

PvP is probably what most holds Lone Wolf back, actually, as in PvP one can neuter that set of abilities by just killing your pet whereas abilities held by the Hunter itself would require the death of, effectively, both (by killing the master/Hunter).

Getting a Lone Wolf as powerful, in terms of ability potency and frequency rather than just overall reliability (which would be equal even with nerfed pet-less abilities), as going without Lone Wolf in PvP isn’t going to happen without those utilities just being separated from the pets entirely.

In PvE, sure, Lone Wolf can be equal pound-for-pound, as the pet is in no real danger anyways, and thus offers no available point of failure, unless you excessively use it as a tank. But in PvP… Not so much.

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Its so easy to cast pet revive and pets are pretty tanky i have played MM in arena for a couple of expansions now and i have never had issues with the pet dying… Honestly not a thing when revive has a 3 second cast time…

The benefit of having a pet over lone wolf is that you can keep rogues in combat or druids in combat or keep people from reviving\drinking etc. Lone wolf needs a buff.

Yet, it is an harassable 2-GCD period of downtime (Revive Pet) just to retain what Lone Wolf would have unabridged and full-powered access to if it had all the power and none of the weaknesses of using a pet. Given the lack of any such weakness, one would assume Lone Wolf ought to have an equivalent decrease to strength.

I dont agree because pet damage occurs non stop. The hunter can be ccd for 10 seconds and that whole time the pet is dpsing or the target is los and with the other advantages of keeping players in combat… so i dont think ponewolf should be less powerful

No, thematically it just didn’t feel appropriate for it to be SV, which was finally starting to feel like a thought out spec.

Vanilla SV tree had… Everything. It was a dumping ground for “We really have no clue” talents. It had a bunch of melee points, and then it had a bunch of just…“Here’s a stat boost. Here’s a dps boost. Oh, have a trap boost, and hmm… Yeah, Feign Death too, why not?”

Then in BC it got increase your attack range, some utility, and some mana conservation.

Then in Wrath it was this awkward close-ranged ranged that dipped into melee to drop traps.

Basically, SV almost always felt like they didn’t know what they wanted to do with it.

But Thematically, BM is the appropriate melee spec. Especially now with the dual pet.

But it’s also only ~9% of a MM’s damage and can itself be CCed (more easily than the Hunter itself). That when you’re being CCed you’re still doing 9% of your damage, is hardly even compensation a less bursty damage profile due to losing out on a 10% damage bonus to your own, far more dynamic (not just pet AA) damage.

My point is merely that if Lone Wolf provides literally everything that using a pet does, but you can’t quickly chunk down a secondary health bar to lock the Hunter out of those capacities, then it will be inherently more reliable. Now, it doesn’t take much to offset that bonus, but there needs to at least be something that using a pet can do that Lone Wolf cannot, at the same subtle value as not having to possible need to rez ones pet to retain the full existing functionality.

You had Trap Launcher on a 1-minute CD Freezing Arrow, and Black Arrow shared a CD with (offensive) traps, so dipping into melee was not at all necessary.

Agreed. Or at least, they don’t necessarily fit and are, for many, more thematic harm than good.

Pets provide more than the 10% damage provided by LW. And pets are wildly unreliable in PvP, unless you want to sacrifice 4 or 5 keybinds just to manage it. Then factor in how easily CC’d they are, easily killed they are, and pathing, to name a few, and having a pet is actually quite annoying.

And, again, thematically they don’t exactly fit the Marksman feel - Which is part of the reason LW was introduced to begin with.

As a BM main, hard nope. Sorry they deleted RSV, stop suggesting melee be “someone else’s problem”.


Blizzard made a huge mistake tbh. They wanted to make SV melee because it had melee abilities in first iteration of survival tree, but hunters were never meant to be pure melee. Now even they were not meant to be melee I enjoy this version of SV hunter allot, like I did with when it was ranged.

I body call my self true survival hunter fan or fanatic because I was always playing with survival tree to some extend. I didn’t like when they gave SV hunter shadow arrow because it’s stupid. Plain and stupid , and it’s not lore friendly for hunters. Despite that I was still playing SV hunters, because I had a guild that didn’t care what I play, or if my spec performs well or not.

If they would change SV hunter back to ranged I would still play it. If they would change BM to melee it would still be my least favorite hunter spec.

What are you talking about??? Did you try Survival in Wrath?? :rofl::rofl::rofl:

I don’t think making hunter specs melee is a good move. I like current survival quite a bit, but making it melee was extremely controversial and alienated a lot of long-time survival mains. BM arguably has an even larger ride-or-die community and making it melee would be a huge misstep.
I think they’re vaguely moving towards some ranged flexibility for surv going into DF (I’ve admittedly lost track of the hunter changes). I think making some sort of toggle for BM and Surv to be melee or ranged is the most logical in theory, but it could be challenging practically.

All Hunters had melee abilities. They were just classified as SV abilities, and SV had a few talents to buff melee damage (Savage Strikes), survivability (Deflection, Deterrence, Counterattack), and control (Improved Wing Clip, Clever Traps). The intent was to be able to handle it better when enemies came close up in PvP. But having a minimum range and melee abilities wasn’t exclusive to Survival.

Every single ranged shot was classified as MM back at the start and all the aspects were classified as BM including one that increased your dodge chance and one that increased melee attack power (IIRC this may have been a bit later than Classic though). That didn’t make BM a melee spec either.

To be accurate we didn’t first learn that we were getting a melee spec (i.e. an existing spec was being replaced) and then learn it was Survival. We learned that Survival was going to be changed to melee. It’s true though that before Legion’s announcement there was brainstorming for both melee BM and melee SV here and there.

N.B. That iteration of Trap Launcher was on the 3.1 PTR but didn’t make it to live. We didn’t get it until Cataclysm.

Strictly speaking Explosive Trap is more DPS than Black Arrow but it wasn’t a huge sacrifice to use Black Arrow instead and much of the time it was actually preferable to do that due to mechanics or boss hitboxes.

Sort of. It was the tree for enhancing the utility aspects of Hunters, in contrast to BM focusing on pets and MM focusing on ranged power. It was a very different way of viewing spec design. It’s true that it was extremely hodgepodge especially early on in Classic. The intent in Classic and BC was to make it a utility/support spec but it really didn’t work out so well (it was usually a worse option than the others even in PvP) and going forward they wanted all specs to be independent and defined tanks, healers, or damage dealers.

Not really. It’s true that Lock and Load encouraged trap dancing. They wanted to have Trap Launcher but they weren’t able to get it working in time so they delayed it to Cataclysm. But the spec is still fully capable at range especially once it gets Black Arrow. Strictly speaking it was more DPS to glyph Explosive Trap and stay close to be able to drop Explosive Trap on cooldown like you described but it wasn’t a huge loss to be at far range relying on Black Arrow instead. Here’s someone doing that on a world first kill:

I think they had a clear vision for SV from WotLK to perhaps WoD. It’s only really early on and post Legion when they don’t know what to do with it.

You should ask yourself if we need “the” melee spec. Is melee Hunter worth pursuing and if so is the best way of pursuing it just taking an existing ranged spec and making it melee? BM is a very popular spec and you’d have to imagine the fallout from making it melee would likely be even worse than how they did it with Survival.

While a lot of people derive thematic value from a spec being up close in melee, Hunters have traditionally been appealing for their high ranged mobility and versatility. So for most of the target audience, assuming the target audience is actually Hunter players (and I don’t think that was the case for Survival), making one of the specs melee just amounts to a straight-up nerf.


Ahh, false memories on my part then. Had a weirdly vivid memory of using Trap Launcher in Forge of Souls and on certain ICC fights, at minimum. But, has certainly been a while and WoWhead archives can be a bit misleading at times.

Do you mean this one?

Not exactly Trap Launcher but…gave some range to 1 trap at least. It was added in patch 3.0.2 and later removed again in 4.0.1 when they gave us the actual Trap Launcher for Cata.

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Yeah that’s what we got as our level 80 ability instead of Camouflage (which eventually came in Cataclysm). Needless to say Hunters weren’t too happy about that.

I think current surv feels appropriate. Just because you -feel- a certain way doesnt mean much.

I don’t think Survival feels good tbh. We still have the same stupid bomb-throwing playstyle. On top of that, the entire community HATES the mastery and even though we have brought the topic in countless threads, the developers think is good and should not be changed, sigh. Wild Fire infusion is still locked behind Viper’s Venom :(. We have at least 5 talents that all do the same. For some reason, Fury of the eagle is not benefiting from mongoose bite stacks, sigh. DF was an excellent opportunity to bring back old favorites like Lacerate and Black Arrow. On top of that, they gutted some of our current retail talents and put them in the general hunter talents ( Alpha Predator, Steel Trap, Serpent sting with Hydra’s Bite, and Latent Poison Injectors). Add to all these the fact they took out the tier set ( Yes, I know is OP). Also, the developers could have added Flayed shot. At this point, I feel this spec will live through the same story again. Very unpopular due to the lack of synergy and flavor in its playstyle, but wanted to cause what I hope will be a ridiculous amount of DPS.