Jan 12th 2012 1:32PM Nice write up Frost.
One typo you might want to fix: "but we'll not be competing far better with people without legendaries."
I think you meant "now be competing", which is quite different that not competing.
Dec 29th 2011 9:10PM Out of the 10 classes, hunters are pretty consistently in 8th, 9th, or 10th place, and that's only counting the top hunter spec while ignoring that MM is slightly behind and BM is WAY behind.
Compare that to the other three pure DPS classes: mages, rogues, and warlocks. Mages and rogues are generally in 1st and 2nd place, and warlocks are at or slightly above median.
Add to that that hunters have the worst survivability, and we have a problem. As pure DPS, hunters can't respec to something else useful, but have to simply roll a different class if they want to be a good option for a difficult raid.
Dec 29th 2011 3:13PM Removal of minimum range will help hunters in PVP, but if that is the only improvement that is made to hunter PVP I expect hunters would still be last in representation in competitive PVP. It certainly won't make hunter OP, or even "median" in PVP. I hope they simply take the time to fix a number of buggy talents and abilities, and give hunters a little better survivability.
Dec 29th 2011 12:45PM I hope you're right about BM being good at PVE and perhaps PVP in MoP. Of course, you thought that would happen over a year ago, and BM still is weak in PVE, PVP, and now isn't even best for soloing.
BM is currently farther below median DPS than fire mages are above median DPS. So every time you mention the need for a nerf to Fire mages, please also state that BM needs a buff of similar proportions.
Focusing only on the need to nerf mages seems strange coming from someone who writes primarily about hunters, especially given the very weak performance of BM in all aspects of the game right now.
By the way, these prediction articles are fun, and I hope you'll keep doing this each year. I really hope more of your predictions are right this year, as I like them all!
Dec 22nd 2011 11:55AM The issue I'd love to see you address is what to do with the pet-specific abilities (Shell-Shield, Web, etc). Do you think those should stay as is? Given the reduced number of raid buffs in MoP, what do you think should be given to pets whose signature ability is eliminated?
Oct 20th 2011 12:12PM Simple.
Ask the developers what they intend to do about the abysmal state of hunter PVP.
Damage buffs won't solve the massive list of PVP problems with the class.
Oct 14th 2011 7:54PM Frost, thanks for writing on this important aspect of Hunters.
There are several fundamental problems with hunters, and they combine to make it incredibly difficult for hunters to succeed in PVP:
1. Minimum Range (can't shoot in melee range, and don't have any real melee abilities)
2. Focus Regen Problems (Due to LOS, minimum range, interrupts, and slow debuffs)
3. CC that is difficult to use, easy to break, and easy to avoid
4. Weaker special abilities (short duration stuns, silences, roots, etc)
5. Bad Pet AI (pathing, stances, low health bug, etc)
6. Weak defenses (lost our dodge and parry, no other form of damage mitigation, weakest self-heals in the game)
7. Nothing special to offer (most classes bring something unique and helpful)
All of these areas should be addressed if we want to see hunters have a fair chance in PVP.
There are a lot of good ways to address these problems without unduly affecting PVE. These have been stated over and over for years, but to no effect. Many fixes to Hunter PVP are incredibly simple, such as changing the duration or cooldown of PVP abilities. Others require a rework of mechanics, which frankly is needed anyway even for PVE (such as nothing to do in melee range, and many bugs and AI problems with pets).
I'm honestly not sure why Blizz has seemed unable to resolve Hunter PVP problems despite years of being dead last in Arena. It seems they really just aren't paying attention, or don't think it's important, which is amazing since Hunters are consistently SO far behind every other class.
Sep 16th 2011 12:52AM I just posted a response to Blizz after reading Frost's article, and I figure I'll post it here:
In January 2011, shortly after Cataclysm was released, I published a compendium of ideas on how to improve hunter abilities, which generated a broad discussion in the hunter community and got more than 500 replies. Although I no longer support ALL of the ideas presented there, most of them remain very valid, as are ideas presented by others in the thread, because hunters really haven’t changed much in recent patches. I’d encourage you to take a look at it here:
It has been my intention to do a full update on that thread, refining the ideas presented there, but I haven’t yet had the time for that big of a project. So instead I’ll respond with a few key ideas to your primary questions in this thread.
What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both]
I do a lot of PVE and PVP, in all specs. Lately I’m most focused on PVP due to limited time and an unpredictable schedule, but I still do some PVE too.
If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]
Raids, Heroics, and Soloing older content
If PvP, what type of PvP? [Arenas, BGs, Rated BGs]
Extensive Arena, BGs, and Rated BGs. Pretty high rating (1900ish) in Arena and RBGs, and over 100,000 kills in BGs.
What are your biggest quality-of-life issues?
Honestly there are a host of clunky hunter abilities that need improved coding or design, which I outlined in my older post.
Hunters need MUCH better abilities to resurrect pets. Ideally, allow the hunter to call a new pet when the current pet dies. Also, greatly shorten the rez time on pets, and consider making an instant pet rez available with a long cooldown (Heart of the Phoenix as a baseline hunter ability, rather than a pet ability).
Hunter CC is far too difficult to successfully use in PVP, and is too easily broken or avoided.
Hunters can’t do anything useful or interesting in melee range. This needs fixed, although I actually don’t support the flat out removal of minimum range (I’ll explain more later).
Cobra Shot and Steady Shot don’t work well in PVP. For an excellent article on this, and some good proposed solutions, see here:
My preferred option is for Cobra and Steady to generate focus continually as the cast bar progresses, rather than when the ability lands. This allows focus regen even against targets who go out of line of sight, or who are missed/immune by the ability, which is a major problem in PVP. Note also that these shots should be slowed by debuffs that slow physical attack speed, but NOT by abilities that slow casting time, since hunters aren’t casters and getting both of these debuffs completely destroys the hunter’s ability to function at all.
Aspect of the Hawk and Aspect of the Fox don’t make for a terribly interesting duo. I’d like to see Aspect of the Fox be more useful overall: perhaps add a bonus to dodge, as Aspect of the Monkey used to have?
What makes playing your class more fun?
Fix broken and clunky mechanics, and do whatever it takes to make hunters viable in competitive PVP. Hunters have been dead last in Arena nearly every season since WoW began.
How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)
The rotation for all 3 hunter specs are conceptually fine, but need some fixes.
BM rotation needs a fix to Kill Command. My preferred fixes are to either:
Have Kill Command cause the pet to instantly leap (charge) into range of the target and deliver the Kill Command. This would also help BM keep their pet on target more.
Have Kill Command be a buff on the pet, lasting until the pet is in range to deliver it (like Intimidation currently works)
BM also needs improvement to the talent “Killing Streak”. At the very least, extend the duration of Killing Streak to give is a bigger window of opportunity. Preferably, have Killing Streak proc an instant and free of focus Kill Command (potentially without the damage bonus if required for balance).
MM rotation has too narrow of a window for Improved Steady Shot. Extend the duration of this buff by a few seconds to allow flexibility.
MM also needs Master Marksman to have a 100% proc rate for a buff. The randomness here is just annoying.
SV rotation is good, but is easily broken in PVP by dispelling Black Arrow. Make Black Arrow undispellable.
SV also needs some more interesting offensive cooldowns that can be used on demand for burst DPS.
What’s on your wish list for your class?
A complete, well designed overhaul, as I outlined in January.
To pick a few favorites:
Melee range needs an overhaul, and should interact with Focus.
I suggest making two abilities:
1. Raptor Strike should generate considerable focus
2. Counterattack should be an ability available to all hunters, and should do high damage and a stun or knockback effect, and apply the slow effect currently from Wing Clip. However, Counterattack should COST focus and have a moderate cooldown.
Overall, melee damage should be comparable (90%?), of ranged damage, but obviously leaving the hunter exposed to melee attacks. A simple two-button rotation (raptor and counterattack) would make keep hunters from having to learn an entirely separate rotation for melee range.
I think this melee solution would be more interesting for hunters than just removing minimum range.
Hunters are lacking in self-heals, and are vulnerable to DOTs.
I think a stronger healing component should be added to the signature shot of each spec. BM should heal upon each Kill Command, MM should get a stronger heal for Chimaera, and SV should get a steady life drain from Black Arrow. Bring the healing for each spec up to par with the healing abilities of other DPS classes.
I’d like to see a DOT cleanse added to Master’s Call. Master’s call could maintain its current effect, and also transfer all harmful effects from the target to the pet. This emphasizes the critical role of the pet, and doesn’t totally eliminate DOTs but puts them where the hunter can deal with them with Mend Pet.
Hunter Defenses are uninteresting.
Mostly I’d like to see Deterrence gain a 100% reflect rate against all attacks, causing enemy players to be cautious to avoid attacking during Deterrence, and allowing some interesting opportunities to reflect damage against bosses in PVE.
Disengage needs a better way to deal with uneven terrain, and needs to be fixed so hunters aren’t treated as if they were standing still until they land (currently hunters able to be hit by melee or fire on the ground even while flying through the air). Potentially make all attacks versus hunters miss while they’re in the air.
Hunter CC is FAR weaker than what is available to all other classes in PVP.
Trap Launcher is far too difficult to use in PVP, when compared to the CC abilities of any other class. Reworking this ability so that it can be targeted somehow is key. I suggest having it land at the feet of where the targeted unit was when it was fired. The arming time of traps also needs to be removed if they are to be effective.
Freezing Trap is too easily broken. Give it the ability to “freeze” any dots on the target so they don’t advance until the trap breaks. Consider also giving Freezing Trap a damage threshold in which it absorbs any damage done against the target up to a max of X damage.
Honestly I think one of the best solutions to hunter CC is to make Wyvern Sting available to all specs. It’s a more functional ability, and has good hunter “flavor”. Giving hunters a functional freezing trap/launcher and wyvern sting would give us enough CC to ALMOST be on par with other classes that can chain CC forever.
Increase the duration of Intimidation. As BMs only offensive CC, the duration is too short, and many other classes have much better stuns as a baseline. I’d also like to see a damage component added to Intimidation so that it has some use in PVE. I’d suggest having it allow the pet and hunter to bypass the target’s armor for the duration of the stun (giving BM more ability to deal with plate classes, as well). You’d need to rename the ability, which already has a name that makes no sense, to something like “Savage Rend”.
If you make Wyvern Sting a baseline ability, come up with something else for SV. Perhaps a very short stun (1-2sec) and/or a short knockback with each Explosive Shot?
Traps are mostly just not interesting. I’d increase the damage of Explosive and Snake Traps, but have them cost focus. Freezing Trap I already discussed.
I’d love to see “Bear Trap” implemented. This was discussed by Blizz back before WotLK. Instant damage and a stun/root, with a bleed and slow effect after escaping. Functionally useful for hunters, and conceptually fitting. This should cost focus since it does damage.
Hunter Talent Trees need some serious cleaning up. For more on this, again go to my older post.
What spells do you use the least?
Widow Venom: This is simply not worth using. Fold the 10% healing reducition effect into Serpent Sting, which needs some utility in addition to its fairly weak DPS. Remove Widow Venom from the game.
Aspect of the Wild: Make this increase resistance to all “wild” elements: nature, fire, and frost. Consider adding a healing component to this so it slowly heals the hunter.
Aspect of the Cheetah/Pack: The daze effect is simply too much here. Consider having each strike reduce the hunter’s focus by 10, and if focus hits zero THEN the daze effect kicks in. So with Aspect of the Pack, if the whole team got hit by something, the hunter would go to zero focus and a bunch of people would get dazed. I’m open to any other solution here, but do something about this. It’s too much penalty for not enough benefit, and consequently is almost never a good option. If nothing else, simply reduce the run speed bonus slightly (to 20%?) and remove the daze effect.
Tranquilizing Shot: It IS useful, but the focus cost is too much. Reduce it to 10.
Snake Trap: Honestly my favorite trap for hunters, conceptually. Need to dramatically increase the damage and health of snakes to make this trap matter, and have snakes have a 100% chance to apply the movement and casting speed venoms.
Immolation Trap: This would need to do a lot more damage to be useful, but even then it’s not interesting. I’d prefer to see this removed and replace with Bear Trap, as described above.
Ice Trap: Yes, I use this some, but I’d rather not, because it shares a cooldown with Freezing Trap. I’d love to see this trap removed, and have the AOE slow effect covered by a vastly more effective snake trap, which I think is more interesting anyway, but is currently redundant.
Buff Snake Trap, improve Freezing Trap, add Bear Trap, keep Explosive Trap. Remove Immolation and Ice Traps. This would make for 4 different types of traps, all useful and interesting, with no need for shared cooldowns. Apply a focus cost if necessary to compensate for generally more effective traps. Remove arming time on all traps. Improve functionality of trap launcher.
So, this has gotten to be very long, filling several posts. I hope you find it useful. I may still try to do an updated version of my older post at some point in the future, if that seems like it would help.
Sep 15th 2011 10:33PM Frost, I just want to thank you for taking the time to report out on the trends in the responses to this thread. Very much appreciated, and thanks for the good work.
Aug 4th 2011 9:30PM Frost,
One detail you have missed with BM DPS, and that femaledwarf can't model:
BM is the best spec for stacking DPS buffs. If you macro DPS abilities to go off simultaneously during Bestial Wrath (add Call of the Wild, proc trinket, on-use trinket, etc), you get a high multiplier on your DPS. So you can get a little more mileage out of buffs than you could as MM or SV, where stacking buffs doesn't yield as high of a multiplier.
If done well, stacking buffs as BM should allow us to exceed the expectations of femaledwarf by more than SV or MM would. Not a huge difference, but definitely notable.