Please do NOT change Survival to ranged (+ tuning suggestion)

People who say they were similar never played a hunter until legion or bfa.



This is pretty much me. Except my break was on and off from Cata to SL. I Burnt myself out on Hardmode Cata raiding. Between the amount of time preparing for raids, the amount of time doing the raids, and the amount of time trying to keep my roster full (I was co-gm and co-founder of said guild that we started about 1/2 way through Wrath) … It was just to much. I burnt out so hard I didn’t touch the game until MoP launch. Spent a couple months futsing with the wife and friends and then dropped it again. Came back for WoD launch and did almost all of the non-raid content for most of the xpac. Did very little of legion for various reasons. Came back at some point in 8.3 and slammed all of the non-raid/non-mythic BFA content out. And I stopped forum participation back in cata.

I am pleased that there are some really intelligent conversations happening here,in the hunter forums. A huge part of the game, for me, has always been theory-crafting and discussions on all aspects of the combat portion of the game.

I mean this is just wrong lol suv and mn did not play similar at all. Suv played around dots mm was a basic ranger spec

As I’ve said many times before, Survival and MM circa WoD were precisely as similar as Affliction and Destruction circa Legion, and for the same reasons.


Ok… but from a fantasy theme standpoint, ranged SV was directionless. The delivery system for the dots, the explanation for the damage types- these were extremely fluid. Elemental Archer was not clearly communicated by anything in the name or talents of the spec or even the class. The theme changed from expansion to expansion even if the core gameplay (dots) was pretty steady (and arguably the spec is still pretty dot heavy.)

Ya, the spec fantasy wasn’t quite as firmly nailed down as I’d prefer. TBH, neither has MM’s. Though it’s always been a bit more of the “snipery” type, how that’s manifested has differed wildly from expansion to expansion, from the instacast Master-Marksman instacast Aimed Shots of MoP to the just straight instacast Aimed Shots of HFC in WoD through the delayed triple Aimed Shot into Vulnerable at the end of Legion to the current Rapid Fire weirdness.

Honestly, I’m not sure the devs have ever been quite as clear about hunter fantasy as they have the other classes/specs. SV wasn’t really alone in that, unfortunately (and still isn’t).


The fantasy of RSV was perfectly clear, and the spec description did a well enough job of summarizing what the spec was about.

At the time when they introduced actual Core Specializations into the game, these were the exact descriptions they gave for Hunter specs:

Beast Mastery - A master of the wild who can tame a wide variety of beasts to assist him in combat.

Marksmanship - A master archer or sharpshooter who excels in bringing down enemies from far.

Survival - A rugged tracker who favors using animal venom, explosives and traps as deadly weapons.

“Elemental Archer” as a description is a moot point as it doesn’t really mean anything that relates to what the class was about, nor is it an accurate description of RSV. Nothing in history/lore or otherwise points to how Hunters(RSV) were channeling the elements (Earth/Wind/Fire/etc.) through their use of ranged weapons.

This is also the reason as to why for example the old RSV Mastery-effect was never a good fit, thematically. It increased our “Elemental damage” by X%, based on Mastery. Sure, the word “Elemental” is a fancy one, but it does not accurately sum up what you actually did as a SV hunter. We weren’t “mastering the elements”. That’s what Shamans do…

The theme of RSV was the same from the moment they actually started to add distinguishing features/abilities and effects to the spec in WotLK, up until the point when they removed it, going into Legion.

That’s 4 expansions…


I wholeheartedly agree, and I really felt like that is what they (devs) were trying to express, when they said that MM and SV were too similar. More accurately, neither had a distinct fantasy, like BM clearly did.

They didnt fix MM by putting some SV spells into its kit. And they should have put a LOT more care into how they distinguished those specs.

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To be fair: I did. I’ve seen discussions from before Legion’s announcement that alluded to the specs being too similar, but it was a) not a very active discussion, b) primarily from people who played Hunters at most as an alt, c) the idea was that all 3 Hunter specs were similar, not just SV and MM, and d) most people were not considering making one of them melee as a solution; most were pushing for more unique spec cooldowns and mechanics.

I did find one Twitter post from February 2014 where someone asked Celestalon if they would make Beast Mastery melee to make the Hunter specs feel more distinct, to which he responded that they agree the Hunter specs are too similar but melee BM was not a solution they were looking at. I do believe he was already pushing for melee SV at the time, though, and he must have got his way around early WoD beta (when they abruptly cancelled a couple big Survival changes they were working on).


It’s so typical to see you spend weeks pretending to be conciliatory and reasonable about the SV discussion before dropping a revisionist take like this.

No, it did not change from expansion to expansion. The only significant change was iterative and additive and it occurred mainly in WotLK when they needed Survival’s identity to encompass damage dealing and not just utility. Beyond that point there was a consistent approach. Cataclysm reinforced it with mastery and a new focus on Serpent Sting for the spec. Its mastery was literally a buff to magic damage with the unique abilities of the spec: Explosive Shot, Black Arrow, and eventually Serpent Sting, all doing magic damage. The description of the spec called it an adaptive tracker that used venom, explosives, and traps. So there was a clear focus on utility and exotic munitions.

The only uncertainty was whether it was meant to be a literal “bowmage” deal where it used magic or whether it was meant to be one that used practical and realistic enhancements to its projectiles. You can see this split in Explosive Shot and Black Arrow; the former can easily make sense as either but the latter is rooted in magical ability. The trivial solution would be to rebrand Black Arrow, but this isn’t the discussion we had with Blizzard; we just learned one day that Survival was going to melee melee because they felt that its use of a ranged weapon made it an MM clone and that was that.

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I dont think Ive pretended to be anything. Would it have made a difference if I started my post with IMHO?

Incidentally, that’s fixed by simply rewording the mastery to “non-physical”.

Ya, really they just kinda mashed MM and SV together and decided it was “good enough” on the theme front. I still regard Rapid Fire as an absolutely abomination. Not only does it not make sense with the MM “sniper/marksman” concept, but it’s utterly ridiculous with all 3 types of ranged weapons we have available in WoW (bows, crossbows, and blunderbusses/muskets, none of which is capable of firing anything even remotely close to 3 shots per second). It’s absolutely criminal, in my mind, that they didn’t role Windburst in baseline as a role-replacement for what Chimera Shot did back in WoD, a high-damage instacast nuke on a short-mid CD.

Honestly, I’m not convinced this is the case. It’s extremely typical to see non-magical classes using magically-enhanced items or ammunition in paper-and-pen RPGs. Black Arrow could easily just be an arrow cursed by a mage/warlock/whatever, or simply dipped in a supernatural toxin they managed to scrounge up, know how to acquire, or bought off a some alchemist or witch in some deep wood somewhere.

Honestly Arcane Shot is the only one that really screams “magic” to me, and even that could just be enchanted ammo. But then, Arcane Shot originated from the Priestess of Elune archer archetype, which very specifically was conceptualized as a “bowmage” (or rather, bowpriest). Actually Trueshot Aura was from that same origin, a supernatural magical enhancement of the priestess and her allies.

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I loved playing SV during Wrath. New SV just isn’t my bag.

If we’re basing abilities on their equivalents found in WC3, it can make sense as to how they’re magical infusions done by the combatant. However, there isn’t really anything that speaks to this being the case in WoW for us Hunters.

It’s never clearly stated that we as the combatants are the ones to have access to that type of magic. We’re simply firing arrows/projectiles that have previously been dipped in or infused with certain augmenting effects.

In fact, in the RPG, it’s clearly stated that hunters for the most part, are hiring others to do this for them. Does that mean that this is always the case? No ofc not. I believe that they’ve done it this way on purpose so that players can choose their own fantasy, their own way of approaching what a hunter can do.

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It’s this kind of thing that makes me think that certain specs more than others largely necessitate a talent row or two more. In order to build enough “core” into the class (in terms of recognizable visibles, canon skill names, and gameplay differentiation), certain specs feel pushed uncomfortably beyond certain thematic thresholds. Using a shortbow and wanting to play an elusive, quick-firing trickshooter aesthetic, Rapid Fire seems fine. For almost anything else, it seems contradictory and awkwardly tossed in.

While I don’t think MM (or SV or BM, for that matter) are alone in being cobbled or a product of a “meh, good enough” mentality, MM, especially, is an aesthetic that’s hard to provide towards without seeming intrusive or to have “overstepped.”

I’d caution the same is even true of Windburst, at least unless we could somehow match aesthetics to their likely mechanical correlatives well enough to satisfy 90% of players and could thus handle, Windburst and its related “row” (say, Magnum for Guns, Impale for Crossbow) through a choice of ranged weapon transmog category.

Apart the basics (like Aimed Shot, Steady Shot, etc.) and from some things that are relatively absent of their own visual flair, such as shot-affecting techniques (think Trick Shots) rather than the many Shot actions themselves, its hard for MM designs to hold a cohesive, let alone relatively singular, course.


Man I really miss ranged survival, it was all I played back in Wrath, was so fun.


it was basically boom boom MM spec. Just play MM man

They were about as similar as Destro and Aff.


No thanks. RSV was a better spec for me. Why don’t you go play outlaw.


Its MM with slightly better traps. Just play MM. They even have explosive shot now so you already have RSV now