Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Do Hunters Need Spec Differentiation?

Blizzard's devs have said more than once that few classes, including hunters, need more dfferentiation between the three specs. They have been very clear that this does not mean an overhaul, just adjustments to make the specs feel more different from each other. Do hunters really need this?

Frankly, I don't think so. We have never had better spec balance, and the idea of messing around with hunters at all kind of scares me. Hunters have also been tagged as victims of button bloat, so spec differentiation seems at odds with button reduction unless we have a massive culling of abilities with many becomming spec specific. I would hate it if spec differentiation and button bloat create a situation where we become a 3-button class. Then why would we need Mages? Also, I don't personally think each spec needs to feel like it's own class. And perhaps because I play Survial 99% of the time, when I do go Marks or BM it already fells really different. It was stressful for me during Alysrazor when I had to go Marks for Silencing Shot. Compared to SV, the Marksman rotation is hard. Which is fine. I like the idea of one spec being less forgiving but having a slightly higer DPS. Hunters can be rewarded for putting in the time and effort to learn the harder rotation. And differentiation isn't just about rotation. BM has exotic pets! A whole group of awesome pets, many of which come with raid cooldowns, available only to one spec. I honestly don't know how BM could be more different without putting them back on mana.

So I'm fine with how different the specs feel currently, but many disagree with me. Or, maybe a better way to put it is people that disagree work at Blizzard and have the power to change things. If we really, really have to differentiate the specs even more, there are some good ideas out there. The best one I have heard was from a guest on the recently retired Hunting Party Podcast and is to get rid of Arcane Shot. We all hit a ton of them as a focus dump. We could either create spec specific dumps, or adjust costs of other abilities to not have a dump at all. I've done my best to come up with other ideas that would differentiate specs even more without contributing to further button bloat:
  • Give Marks 120 focus and reduce BM's burst. Marks would have the distiniction of high burst damage and difficult-but-competitive sustained damage. Perhaps Rapid Fire becomes a MM ability as well.
  • Marks only weapons. Just for flavor.
  • Survival is already the AoE champ. Multi Shot could be SV only.
  • I honestly have nothing for BM. Exotic pets and rotation feel like enough. I assume there will be some new exotic tames in WoD, just like every previous expansion since their inception. If I had to say something, it would be to make Stampede BM specific. But I would fucking hate that as Survival.
  • Traps. So much could be done with traps to help differentiation! One spce-specific trap each. Or make traps SV only. Or make SV traps invisible to enemies in PvP. Anything that retains traps and keeps SV's traps somewhat better. It's always been part of the Survival identity.
I hope none of this happens except the invisible PvP trap thing. That would be amazing. Please Blizz, don't break hunters at this point! We are finally competitive, balanced, and we got Stampede. We will all keep playing the class if you don't do any differentiation. I promise.

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