Should hunters really be first in line for a 6.0 revamp?

...or should warriors top the list?

…or should warriors top the priority list?

Much has been made over the past few months about how hunters need to be seriously revamped in 6.0, and the next expansion (which is something that I am referring to with tongue in cheek as BC2). Many hunters have voiced opinions and concerns about this, ranging from The Godmother to Arth and Frost at the WHU, people on the forums and twitter, and other fine bloggers.

Among the topics: hunters have too many DPS buttons. Hunter specs are too similar to one another. Hunters aren’t top DPS, and one of their specs is at or near the bottom, but we’re “pure DPS” so that sucks. Hunters don’t bring a raid-wide cooldown. Pet issues abound. And so on. All valid issues.

The list of issues is long. Arth at WHU is working on a Hunter Community Expansion Revamp Project (HCERP), whereby the community collectively brings issues and suggestions to the developers’ attention in a mature and organized manner, which is a fantastic endeavor. And Ghostcrawler has even said that they are likely to look at revamping some classes in a manner similar to the warlock overhaul in MoP, and that hunters are possibly at the top of the list.

Now, for some people this can be scary, if you don’t see the problems, or don’t care about them and just want to play the hunter you love. For others, these issues are of vital importance, because they are issues that frustrate them about the class as it is today, both for themselves and for other players.

I’ve written about a couple of issues that I hope can be fixed, but I’m generally not contributing to the conversation at the WHU because I don’t think that I have anything original to offer; nor do I feel that I can explain things better than some of the folks who are more heavily involved in contributing. I generally just state my opinions here at Mushan, Etc. as the spirit moves me, and leave it at that. We’ll see what happens.


Meanwhile, outside the bubble that we hunters tend to live in, there are other classes that are hurting.

I read an interesting post on Monday by Zellviren, at Unwavering Sentinel [Edit: Zell has consolidated Unwavering Sentinel into Bastion of Defence; the link has been changed and still works], whose main is a Protection warrior. In it, he talks about how the Prot warrior has sort of fallen off the map as a preferred tank.

For those of us not in the know, there appears to be a general consensus that monks, death knights, and paladins are the tanks of choice. Druids are viable… and warriors are viable too, but druids generally have a distinct DPS advantage – which comes into play on fights with tight enrages – as well as self-healing advantages over warriors. For much of this expansion, warriors have been at the bottom of the DPS and self-heal totem poles, and the changes in 5.3 and 5.4 to warriors and tanks in general haven’t really changed the fact that warriors are still struggling.

In his post, Zell laments Ghostcrawler’s comment about Blizzard’s intentions for the hunter revamp, in light of the most recent hunter population data compiled by Cynwise. According to Cyn’s research, hunters are the most popular class in WoW. This is completely understandable, since hunters are easy to level and generally very fun to play. And on the other end, rogues and warriors have serious problems. If you’re not familiar with the problems that warriors have been having, go read the last several months of The Care And Feeding Of Warriors columns by Matt Rossi at WoW Insider. I can’t go into them all here, but he does a good job talking about all of the specs. This post in particular, which is something of a Call to Arms / plea for warriors to get out there and tank something/anything, illustrates how things have been so bad for warriors this expansion that the perception has become even worse than it should be (when people are surprised that a warrior is tanking a dungeon, things have gone too far).

And getting back to Zellviren, here’s that telling comment from his post:

“My class of six years is broken.  As most of you know, I’m always complaining about warrior design and we arrive at the Siege of Orgrimmar to find that, actually, it’s not been fixed.  Sure, the class is doing better than it was but it still suffers from endemic design problems that are going to persist into the next expansion as well.  Blizzard seem happy enough with the gutting warriors got in Mists and there was a blue Tweet saying that they intend to put most of their design iteration into making hunter specs feel more different.

“No, you read that right.  The game’s most popular class is going to get the most design time.”

Obviously, his post/comment is drenched in understandable disappointment. And I feel a lot of sympathy for his position and his feeling of resentment. This is just one person, but he is vocalizing a sentiment that has become common among warrior players. I’ve read about many warriors who have switched to tanking with DKs or monks, or paladins. While warriors have myriad issues, monk tanks are very strong, with some even calling them the best designed tank in the game, followed closely by DKs. So there is definitely a problem: warriors are frustrated with warrior tanking, while other players see them as weak, and/or inferior choices for progression tanking.

At any rate (read the post, and Cynwise’s post, and check out Rossi’s stuff, for reals), I have to wonder if Blizzard will actually make hunters a top priority for 6.0/BC2. Generally, we’re going to see lots of changes to all of the classes, but I wonder if making hunter spec-uniqueness a top priority is really the best thing for the game in general when there are some core problems with warriors (and other classes) that probably need to be fixed – for the overall good of the game – before hunters are revamped.

Hopefully, they can do it all: improve classes like warriors and rogues while also giving hunters some constructive love. But I’ll be honest and say that, while I do think hunters need some work (and I’ve written about some of the issues, as I said), I also feel like we’re in a nice, competitive place right now. Hopefully, Blizzard will get things “more right” next time, giving players more freedom to play exactly the class that they want to play while also making the improvements and changes to the game that are supposed to make the next expansion Awesome(TM).


Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


7 Comments on “Should hunters really be first in line for a 6.0 revamp?”

  1. I have a friend who is a prot warrior. He’s VERY good at it, but I consistently get the following vibes:

    1.) You have to be superdevoted to make it *work.* He plays his warrior 98% of the time, and his monk for 2%. Half the time he’s on the monk, he’s talking about the warrior.

    2.) He complained all of 5.0 to 5.4 about warrior PvP, which is why the monk exists now. He hasn’t complained as much since 5.4, but I don’t know if that’s because something is better now or because he just said to hell with it.

    I have another friend who is an arms warrior, who couldn’t get a spot on his raid team because he was a warrior – he had to roll a monk.

    As far as reworking the most popular class goes, doesn’t that make a bit of sense? A ton of people play one! Therefore it would impact the happiness of a lot of folks.

    What I REALLY want is improved pet pathing so that I don’t have to dismiss every damn time I jump to a different level. If they can improve shadow priest ghosts, it could be possible for pets too, right?? (True story: I was in a Forgotten Depths LFR raging on hunters the other day, so prior to jumping down the waterfall, I announced in instance chat that I was dismissing my pet so that it wouldn’t run the long way around. PEOPLE WERE ASTOUNDED.)

    It would also be GREAT if my pet would Feign Death with me, so that I didn’t have to watch it sacrifice itself. :<

    • Mushan says:

      Hi Prinnie!

      “As far as reworking the most popular class goes, doesn’t that make a bit of sense? A ton of people play one! Therefore it would impact the happiness of a lot of folks.”

      Great point! Maybe we can look at it both ways, though. While many warriors are soldiering on in spite of obstacles, many others have ruefully switched to something more beneficial to their teams, or like you said, to simply keep/gain a raid spot. If Blizzard can work wonders for the most popular class AND for the classes struggling the most, it gives players for all of the classes more options. Hopefully we’ll see that.


      Pet pathing fixes would be great. Feign Death for you and your pet… I like, although I think they would have to then provide a glyph to turn that part of it off, so that if you’re pet-tanking something, it wouldn’t reset because “the whole raid disappeared” when you FD-ed. lol!

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Kheldul says:

    I’ve heard nothing about Hunters being a top priority for redesign and/or using up most of their design time. Yes, they’d like to make the specs different. Arth is leading a decent community looking to give organized and constructive help.

    I haven’t played my (Prot) warrior in MoP mostly because I like my main more. But yet, I found time to level my shaman from 85 and a mage from 1. Our prot warrior has been dps-challenged compared to the other tanks for sure. That factored into my decision a bit. Some of that is better now, but honestly Brewmasters are just so far out of the boundaries that raids should have just been that one class.

    • Mushan says:

      There was definitely a tweet about it, although I’m not going to try to find it at this point; I think it was somewhere between 6-10 weeks ago.

      The fact that there was a tweet, along with the lack of similar tweets in support of other classes, is something that bothers me about Twitter. Yes, there is the expanded interaction. On the other hand, information can be maddeningly incomplete. Which can lead to feelings of hopelessness for people whose class is struggling.

      We just had our DK OT quit the game, and so for the first time this xpac, we’ve had a monk tanking for us. Also, for the first time this xpac, our pally MT/raid leader is finding out that he has significant AoE threat problems against a monk. Yeah, monks are definitely in a league of their own.

  3. I gave up on my Prot Warrior earlier in this expansion, and tanking in general, really, until recently with my DK. Prot just doesn’t seem to scale that well with gear, which has been an ongoing issue since TBC.

    As for Hunters, the people that main them are obviously going to notice quirks and broken mechanics as opposed to the people who either casually play them as alts or have little to no experience. With me, I’ve never, ever had a max level Hunter, but on my level 87 I have a lot of tools at my disposal when I’m on the move.. which isn’t the case on my Shadowpriest or Moonkin. Still, I completely agree that pure DPS should be near the top and the specs shouldn’t be so imbalanced that one is near the top while the other is rock bottom.

    I think Blizzard could really benefit going through every class with a fine-toothed comb and fix what we have currently, rather than focusing on a new race or class this expansion. I’d be more content with better/balanced mechanics, new character models and account-wide BoA access than I would with yet another race or class to choose from.

  4. […] Mushan, Etc.: Should hunters really be first in line for a 6.0 revamp? […]

  5. Aurylius says:

    In BC, Hunters had 3 very distinctive specs…BM meant they attacked faster than hell. Honestly, I went thru a quiver 3X as fast as MM or Surv. MM was meant to be hard-hitting, though much slower. Surv or a Surv/MM hybrid really shined in PvP, if that was your schtick. It has gotten very bland. As my first class, I love the hunter, but since BC, the hunter bores the utter crap out of me.

    My most beloved class is the Warrior, mainly for it’s complexity. < If that sounds ridiculous to newer players, that's because it is. Vanilla/BC/Wrath required a distinct amount of skill to achieve pride in being able to play the class. Stance dancing, mobility, situational awareness…HUGE for the Warrior…back then. I was never truly awesome with the class, but I loved striving to be that awesome. Dumbing or slowing the class down didn't do it any favors at all.

    I'd honestly love to see changes to many classes having problems…though I'm wary that they'll come any time soon. The game itself; raid content, lore, involvement with major lore characters…they all make the game fantastic, but the subtle changes to each class over time ends up killing much of the enjoyment, for which, many of us hope.

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