The hunter as bodyguard

Way back in WOTLK (I know, I know, I’m a newcomer!) when I was a baby hunter and just starting to run dungeons, ┬áthe grizzled old druid healer in my guild explained that a hunter has one and only one duty in a group: Protect The Healer! So I learned to start every encounter — trash as well as bosses — by laying out whatever traps I had in a sort of defense in depth around that old druid. Sometimes I would leave my pet on growl and in passive mode to just stand near the healer to be handy in case a mob wandered over. I was always interrupting my shot rotation to check on the druid, re-lay my traps, reposition my pet, or fire off a distracting shot then kite like mad over to the tank. This of course was not conducive to high, or even respectable, dps. But it didn’t matter. I was always invited to guild instance runs, because every healer in the guild loved me. And I liked thinking of myself as a protector.

Fast forward to today’s game. I can’t remember the last time I gave much consideration to protecting a healer, beyond firing off the odd distracting shot once in awhile. Certainly there are a host of reasons for this — the healers I run with in my current guild are good, the tanks likewise know what they are doing so stray mobs usually don’t get loose, and EVERYBODY has high hp, great gear and outrageous dps.

But I think it also shows one of the turns the game has taken. The current dungeons don’t allow the luxury of devoting one team member to bodyguard duty, even if it were needed, which it is not. This is especially true in 10-man raids, where the mechanics are so strictly choreographed that a single moment’s inattention to their primary role by even one team member can — and frequently does — cause a wipe.

This is not a grumpy “It ain’t near as good as it used ter be” tirade — I really like playing the game as it is now. But every once in awhile it’s instructive to look back and see the direction we’ve come.

And, OK, I do kind of miss that grizzled old druid healer.