At Blizzcon over last weekend, Blizzard talked a lot about the new World of Warcraft expansion Legion that is due out next summer. But even though it's months away the planning has been going on for a while and one of the things they are stressing is making the individual classes more steeped in the lore. In other words, when you play a warrior it feels like you're playing a warrior… but within that playing a 'fury' warrior should feel different than playing a 'arms' warrior and that should feel different from playing a 'protection' warrior. And with that in mind, Blizzard is releasing some of the changes that each class will be going through and being an avid Warcraft player I thought I'd take a look at the proposed changes to the individual classes starting with what may be going through the biggest change… Hunters.
The problem with Hunters, according to Blizzard, is that there was very little difference between the specs. You changed you game play some with each one, but there was very little difference between Beast Mastery, Marksman and Survival. That is something you won't be able to say after Legion is released.
Starting off with Survival as it is the biggest change. When Hunters were created you had the option of using a ranged weapon like a bow or gun or a melee weapon like a staff or sword. As time passed the melee hunter faded away. Survival will bring that back. This is a melee spec and it will be the only spec to have the trapping ability. That's right, Survival will be the only trapping Hunter going forward and they and their pet will attack from melee range. Which begs the question… does that remove trap launchers from the game? Higher level hunters have the ability to camouflage. Will that be how they lay traps or will they still be able to do that from range even though they don't fight from range? Will this change be embraced by the current hunters? Will it bring other players who prefer melee fighting to this class? Time will tell.
The second spec to change drastically is Marksman. This is basically a sniper now. You don't have a pet and you do everything from range. This was an option introduced in Warlords of Draenor but now it's going to be automatic with Legion. All of your damage will come from your bow / gun. They will give crowd control and area of effect options to Marksman hunters but it will be in within the theme of the Lone Wolf. I haven't had a chance to try Marksman on my hunter, but I will do so before the new expansion so when it hits I know how I want to level that particular character. There is something tempting about this spec.
And finally, the one that seems to be more tweaked than changed is Beast Master. This spec will rely even more on their pets with a new ability to summon more animals to come fight for you. This is the Marc Singer of Warcraft and will get new AoE and Crowd Control options. This feels the most like a hunter to me, but I think that's the point. Each person can go through and decide which one feels right for them and then be able to customize them within the spec.
I like that Warcraft is focusing on the feel of the specs as well as the gameplay. The reason I have 11 characters is because there are 11 classes and each one plays different. But at times the differences start to blur and that is what Blizzard is trying to eliminate.
For more on the changes, check out this piece by Blizzard.