Now that I’ve had about two weeks to get used to Patch 7.0.3, I wanted to offload some of my thoughts and opinions concerning the pre-Legion patch.
The transmog catalog is fantastic. I really dig that they went the Diablo 3 route with transmog, and the extra bag space is a godsend. This was a really nice quality-of-life addition to the game.
The demon invasions are awesome! They can seem a little grindy after awhile, but holy cow do they make leveling and gearing alts easy! I may very well have 2 shiny new 100s before Legion hits, and possibly a 3rd. I’ll be really happy to have options once the expansion arrives, which I’ll allude to in a bit.
The new graphics rendering and extended draw distance are a welcome change. I just built a new PC which is able to take advantage of the higher game settings and boy does Azeroth look pretty when I’m soaring above it.
Demon Hunters! I’ve only played one in the time it took me to level him to 100, but I must say, they are pretty fun. Tons of mobility, awesome skill animations, lasers! However, I tend to prefer the old classics myself, so it’s doubtful I’ll be on him too much in the upcoming expansion. There’s already enough of them running around anyway. So much purple in my raid frames and in my Recount.
There may be a few other bits I forgot, but those are some things that come to mind when I think of reasons to be excited about 7.0.3.
The continual pruning of class abilities in an effort to simplify gameplay. I’m getting really tired of this, and more so than any other patch in WoW history, 7.0.3 has utterly gutted many class specs.
And my god…Blizzard…what the hell have you done to the hunter class?! I’ve endured every major class overhaul since pre-BC, but this latest patch has left my hunter a shadow of his former self.
I was most excited to try out survival since I was one of the oddballs who actually enjoyed having melee abilities back in the day. I played as survival until I could afford a gladiator pike and then I was done. It is an interesting spec, but to me it seems like a novelty. I have a hard time thinking it a viable choice above other melee classes and it certainly does not feel like a hunter. Hunters are a ranged class and if any of the 3 specs merit a melee-only play style, it should be beast mastery.
I know that survival used to be the talent tree with the melee abilities, but in my opinion, “strictly melee” does not jive with the identity of the specialization. Nets, traps, grenades, etc… all those things fit in well with what I would consider the identity of the survival class, but the fighting side-by-side with your loyal pet business… that’s BM all the way.
Blizzard completely pooped on the class when they came up with their version of hunter “class fantasy”. I truly feel like MM and BM tuning were deferred until the very end during their class overhauls and they simply ran out of time and ideas. Survival seems a little clunky to me, but it’s at least engaging and interesting to play.
Beast Mastery still feels reasonably powerful in PvP, PvE DPS is OK from what I’ve experienced, but overall, I am not happy with it. The rotation doesn’t feel smooth anymore, and I’m not crazy about becoming a “summoner”. I never embraced Dire Beast as a talent and I’m bummed that it’s now a core baseline ability that I’m forced to use.
Beast Mastery should be about the bond between a hunter and his pet. It should not be about me summoning some random animal out of thin air every few seconds or pulling a pack of turtles, scorpions, owls, bears, and alligators out of my butt every 3 minutes. I never liked Stampede either, and now it’s pretty much a must-have talent for Beast Mastery. The other talents in the 100 tier are pretty disappointing – leaving us with Stampede as the only viable option at present. Way to give us choices, Blizzard.
A Murder of Crows I can deal with as a summoning spell. It’s a fun talent and I think it fits well with the Beast Mastery class fantasy, but as BM, I did always prefer Blink Strikes in that tier.
Marksmanship I tried last, and wow, it was not for me. First off, I can’t see huntering without a pet, and MM without Lone Wolf just seems inadequate damage-wise. Furthermore,
without Master’s Call, there’s little need for a pet as MM, for PvP anyway. For PvE content, I seriously doubt there’s any benefit to taking any talent in that tier besides Lone Wolf.
After a bit more research, i.e., patch note “catch-up”, I realized that not all of the pet abilities got scrapped. Some pets have still retained abilities which are advantageous in PvP. I had mistakenly thought all special abilities were dumped for non-exotic pets, but now I see that many pets still possess slows, snares, healing debuffs, etc. Even without Master’s Call, having the added PvP debuff or utility, and Roar of Sacrifice, edges out the DPS boost from Lone Wolf (for PvP). Before realizing this, I queued several BGs as MM using Careful Aim and found that DPS was still very powerful without Lone Wolf, and having RoS did help quite a bit in terms of survivability.
To me, MM just feels weird now. It’s traditionally been my least favorite of the three hunter specs, but I never didn’t like it. Now I just flat out don’t dig it, which is too bad since it’s clearly the top producer right now in terms of DPS. But if I don’t enjoy it, I won’t play it. I may give MM another pass, but for right now, I just don’t know… I’m so confused right now when it comes to my future huntering.
Shocking as it may sound, I’ve even flirted with the idea of maining another class for Legion.
That thought is hard for me to fathom, but that’s how broken I feel the class is at the moment. I almost want to avoid hunter in protest.
I’m saddened over the continued homogenization of our hunter pets. For many of us, our furry, scaly or slimy sidekicks are what gave our class its unique appeal.
Pets are what initially drew me to the hunter class. The unique meta-game of hunting down and taming beasts for their skills, skins and unique abilities…that was always such a turn on for me. In vanilla, it was so fascinating to learn about the different pet types, with their varying attack speeds and other traits. I actually enjoyed the thrill of taming a pet just so I could learn a new skill level to teach my other pets. It was work, but it was rewarding gameplay and something that really defined playing a hunter.
It may seem weird to some of you, but I also used to enjoy cooking food for my pet(s) and making sure they stayed happy and fed. Things like the care and feeding of pets set hunters apart and furthered our class identity. Being a hunter meant you had a sidekick to nurture, level and train, which provided more work, but for many of us, that’s why we chose the class.
When Blizzard first began down the path of pet parity, I was somewhat OK with it, but I never embraced the fact that any pet could be specced for any role. To me, that just seems silly. A moth should not be able to tank, and a turtle should not be able to dash, charge or put out as much DPS as a raptor. The changes to pet talents and abilities were gradual, and I’ve accepted them as they’ve been introduced, but now I’m going to be more critical of past changes as enough is enough already.
With this latest change, which took away many of our pet’s defining abilities, they now have little more identity than a warlock’s summoned demon. In fact, they may almost be on par because at least a lock pet shows up with its own unique name.
And the Outright Unacceptable
No traps for MM or BM…are you kidding me?! For reals, this is ridiculous. Traps have been baseline since day one. I’m cool with SV having some additional tricks up its sleeve, but at the very least, please give BM and MM Frost and Freezing back. Come on, Blizzard!
This cooldown they’re referring to as Aspect of the Cheetah…let’s get this fixed and returned to its former state, please.
Give us back Master’s Call! Losing this ability altogether has been a tough one to handle. Master’s Call should again be a baseline ability for any hunter spec that doesn’t take Lone Wolf.
Why is Camouflage now a talent and why is it in a tier competing with two CC abilities?! We don’t need to be full-invisible like rogues or druids, but come on… Camouflage should be baseline for the hunter class fantasy. Goddammit, Blizzard.
My assessment of our pruned and reimagined class is more about the feels, but if you want a more insightful critique of our current class mechanics and so forth, do yourself a favor and have a look at Denyel’s comment below. It offers a practical analysis of the pre-patch hunter, highlighting both the good and the bad, but mostly bad.
So Now What?
After a few days on Garwulf, I realized I simply was not enjoying playing him as much anymore. And that sucks. It sucks bad. These days, I may not play as often as I once did, but no matter how much time I spent away from the game, and no matter what havoc Blizz wreaked on my beloved class throughout various patches and so forth, I always felt like I was spending time with an old familiar friend when I’d log on to do some huntering. No matter how much the class had morphed over the years, many things still felt the same.
As of now, I don’t feel that’s the case anymore. The hunter class has lost its way due to Blizzard pushing on us what they feel the hunter class should be, and guess what, their idea of Hunter Class Fantasy is lame. Really lame.
After a few days on Garwulf, I decided to turn my focus towards Paladin and Warrior – both of which feel a bit different, but not unrecognizable or broken. After that, I started playing my Disc Priest a bit and let me tell you, Blizzard nailed it with their class fantasy. Disc is a very exciting and engaging spec, albeit a bit stressful as a healer, but fun and rewarding.
Then…I decided to do the unimaginable and roll a Warlock. For right now, if Blizz doesn’t untangle the mess they made of hunters, Warlock may be the new hunter for me. It’s hard for me to imagine that I wouldn’t main hunter in Legion, but for the first time ever, I’m not sure.
I do hate coming across as negative, but this time I am really disappointed with the path Blizzard has taken with hunters. Their idea of hunter class fantasy is, simply put…Bullshit.
If they want to embrace this whole fantasy route and work at making each spec feel unique, then there are some ways they could fix this, although I feel like things may be too far gone at this point. I think Blizz may have shit the bed as far as hunter class design goes, and we just may have to live with it for one expansion.
And did I also mention how much I lament the loss of Kill Shot? And my glaives. Glaive Toss was a fairly new ability, but I really enjoyed it for the short time it was around.
I could go on and on, but I’ll stop for now. I just wanted to sound off a little bit and now I feel better.
So…what do YOU think of Patch 7.0.3? Love it? Hate it? What do you think of the new focus regen mechanics? Do you miss mana?
Let’s discuss it in the comments below!