Not QQ, just a plea for an explanation

Data mining exclusive: new SV hunter model

Data mining exclusive: new SV hunter model

Just exactly what is it about hunters — lately especially Survival hunters — that Blizz hates? By now most of you have read the “proposed” class changes for Patch 6.2. What we know is posted here, but let me quote the hunter part:

General
Aspect of the Fox has been removed.

Marksmanship
Aimed Shot now deals 15% more damage.

Survival
Mastery: Essence of the Viper has increased in effectiveness by 19%.
Explosive Shot now deals 15% less damage.
Serpent Sting no longer deals an initial “tick” of damage when the periodic effect is first applied.

Talents
A Murder of Crows now deals only 80% of normal damage against player-controlled targets.
Barrage now deals only 80% of normal damage against player-controlled targets. Additionally, the ability no longer hits invisible or stealthed targets.

Where to start?

First, the disclaimer: as usual, Blizz keeps trying to maintain that none of this is settled, it could all change based on the PTR feedback. Horse hockey. We all know that it will not change in any meaningful way, no matter what the feedback is. Any “changes” will be on the order of “Explosive Shot now deals 14.99% less damage, and has a (.005 x AP)% chance to proc an extra .3 second duration for Black Arrow.”

So yes, I am sure there will be changes. I am also sure the changes will be meaningless.

Second comment: Aspect of the Fox removed? Really? Why? Please don’t tell me it was because a couple of guilds stacked hunters so as to get around the fact that casters can no longer cast and move. For any normal player (that is, 99.9% of us), Aspect is more of an individual spell anyway — mount on the move, etc. — but we do use it once in a while at specific times for specific raid bosses. It is a pain in the ass to coordinate, though, as you have to actually announce it when you throw it down, and it only lasts 6 seconds anyway.

This is like the removal of Hunter’s Mark. No reason to take it away, even if it is not used all that often. The point is, both of these tools are extremely handy in some situations. When you need them, you really need them.

(I smell PvP whining here. Blizz will never admit it, but their actions over the years point to them reacting almost without question to complaints from PvP players, and if it is at the expense of PvE, well so what.)

Third comment: Del irium over at Thrill of the Wild has done the math on the SV changes, and the bottom line is, this is a huge, huge nerf for SV hunters. Close to 20%. Again, Blizz, why? It’s not like SV hunters are ruling the charts these days, we are doing respectable damage but nothing to really shout about.

But remember that SV hunters have virtually zero surge capability against single targets. When the Raid Leader says “Pour it on, blow all your CDs!” our response is just to keep doing what we’ve been doing, because we have nothing to pour it on with. What SV hunters have going for us now is DoTs on crowds, and yes Serpent Sting as applied with Multishot is excellent. Throw down an Explosive Trap, get off a Multishot, unleash Barrage, drop some single target shots to proc TotH, and then do it all again, all while dancing around the big pool of adds — really, it’s about the most fun you can have as SV.

Clearly Blizz cannot allow this.

And, oh yes, now that SV hunters have spent months trying to build up their Multistrike because Mastery has been largely useless, Blizz suddenly decides to base a key SV number on Mastery?

My only explanation is that the fun-loving staff in the Screw With The Players Department came back after a short vacation, and are now all refreshed and madly cranking out their harebrained ideas.

Fourth comment, and the one that (finally) gets to my point: Blizz, please, I am begging you, give us an explanation for all this. Give us a nice, well-thought-out blueprint for what you envision for the hunter class, and how these apparent nerfs actually fit in with your vision. Give us some hope for where we will end up. Prove to us that there is indeed a plan and that you are not just making changes because some staffer read a forum post that said “Doodz, huntardz are OP.” Put on your Big Boy armor and stop treating your player base like idiots who could not possibly understand the complexities of class balance.

All evidence to the contrary, I am basically an optimist, and I want to believe Blizz has good solid reasoning for what often seem to be random changes. Especially where it involves hunters. But so far from all their actions what I see is a bunch of ivory tower techno geeks who do not have a clue about the “feel” of hunter play.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

3 Responses to Not QQ, just a plea for an explanation

  1. I read the Thrill of the Wild too; a 20% nerf to SV is not acceptable.
    You bring up some thoughtful slants on the issue — I think that the game designers have twisted their shoe-laces until they are always tripping. Imagine needing to balance every class to work in raiding … and in 2v2 arenas. They are in a bind that, unless they were to drop 2v2 and 3v3 arenas, they will always have this horribly delicate balance between pvp and pve.
    We, as common raiders, bear the brunt, n’est ce pas?

  2. Fiannor says:

    Yeah, and I completely get that the whole problem of balancing every class plus balancing all classes as a whole is extremely complicated. But it seems like they should have, for example, one project manager for “the hunter class” who guides all technical changes to hunters and who has a clear vision of what constitutes “hunterness” in the game. So if there is a problem with hunters in 2v2 or 3v3 arenas, to use your example, the relevant managers sit down and discuss possible fixes, then the Hunter Manager either blesses or nixes a solution based on whether or not it fits in with his concept of hunters within the scope of the whole game. Same for the Mage Manager, the Arena Manager, etc.

    I just don’t see any evidence of this kind of systematic development approach. What I see looks like some dev in a cubicle says “Hey I’ve seen a couple forum postings about SV hunters being OP, what say we nerf them a little and see what happens?” and his team chief, distracted, says “Sure, whatever you think.”

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