Hunter hall and other puzzling “news”

MMO-Games recently published a Legion interview they did with Tom Chilton and Ion Hazzikostas. It’s a bit unclear when the interview took place — it seems like it happened at or shortly after Gamescom — but it is just being published now. At any rate, it’s short enough to take a look at if you have a couple of minutes.

The news for hunters is that probably the Hunter Class Hall will be located in the Highmountain zone in the Broken Isles, “because they have a hunters lodge up there”, according to Hazzikostas.

Ummm, okay. But I am a tad confused. What difference should it make whether there is an existing structure or not? The halls will be basically instances, no? Like garrisons? So the player experience should be, you get to the general area, you see the portal to the instance (like you see the garrison gate and structural outlines now), then you enter the instance when you get close enough, assuming you meet the class requirement. It seems like it would be trivial to plunk down a hunter lodge type structure pretty much anywhere?

I don’t really have any strong feelings about where a Hunter Class Hall should be located, but it strikes me that this entire expansion is going to be about traditional lore, and in general will be very heavy on history. The artifact weapons, for example, will be the weapons used by WoW historical heroes. So why would you place a Hunter Class Hall in an area that holds no real player significance, no historical pull, for hunters?

And not for nothin’, Ion, but after the discussions about the great significance of the warlock class hall location, and all the debate back and forth about the appropriateness of locating the rogue class hall in the Dalaran underground, your sole reason for choosing a location for hunters is “because they have a hunters lodge up there”?

That’s like saying the location for the mage class hall will be Theramore “because they have a mage tower there”.

It is hard to escape the notion that Blizz has completely written off the hunter class for the game and is bent on ignoring it as much as possible. Having destroyed the very foundation of hunter play with the Legion spec changes, why bother to put any thought into the class hall location? Just stick them somewhere and move on to important things, like coming up with a few more melee classes or figuring out how long we can delay flying in Legion.

Just before this illuminating disclosure of the hunter class hall location, Chilton was asked to comment on the possibility of the changes to hunter specs playing out across all classes. The exchange:

MMOGames: Demon Hunters have only two specs, and your presentation points to Hunters having one of their specs evolving into a role similar to Amazons in Diablo: is this going to play out across all Class Specs?

Tom Chilton: Almost right but not quite. Just because the survival hunters weapon is a spear, it’s a melee weapon not a bow, that’s because we’re evolving that particular spec to be a melee hunter. It will be the hunter in melee with their pet. The marksmanship hunter will be a ranged hunter with no pet and the beastmaster hunter will be a ranged hunter with a pet. That’s how we’re evolving the distinction between those and that’s why the survival hunters artifact is a spear. that’s different from the Amazon in Diablo III, she was a ranged javelin thrower.

Well, thank you, Tom. In answer to the question, will all class specs get the same treatment hunter class specs are getting, you explained what changes hunters will get. Oh, and apparently the hunter spear cannot be thrown. Very enlightening. And while we are at it, thank you, MMO Games interviewer, for allowing him to skate by deliberately misinterpreting your question as “Will all hunter class specs resemble the Amazon in Diablo III?”

Journalism at its best.

While we are at it, I wonder why exactly Chilton was even in that interview. He contributed nothing of interest, in fact sometimes he contributed nothing even coherent. Example:

MMOGames: What lessons have you learned from Draenor in managing player expectations in terms of lore and storyline?

Tom Chilton: I’m not sure that I agree [with the question] on a fundamental level. It’s the assumption of a statement of fact that there is less story in Draenor than there is previous expansions. When we made the announcement, and right before the announcement we ran the story that has happened so far trailer.

If you take that and combine it with the Lords of War series that we did, you know things that led up to the expansion and all that kind of stuff… and you compare it against any other expansion, except maybe Mists of Pandaria, it comes out overwhelmingly favorable. So I don’t know that it’s something I agree with.

Huh?

It says something about the current state of affairs at Blizz when two of its key game project managers have no clear concept of their message, when they cannot state fundamental goals for an expansion. Blizz would be better off hiring a couple U.S. Presidential candidates as spokespersons — at least they are skilled at giving non-answers to questions, and they are a darned sight more entertaining than the act of Chilton and Hazzikostas.

I need alcohol and a weekend.

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.

4 Responses to Hunter hall and other puzzling “news”

  1. Casually Odd says:

    That last exchange about player expectations also comes across as very defensive. As if he had been criticized for the lack of story in this expansion. Which to be fair, i think is a problem. However, that wasn’t the question. The question was about managing player expectations. Yes that can be about amount but it is also about quality and depth and variety and more. That he latched on to “but we have lots of lore in this expansion” so quickly seems a bit defensive.

    As I read your post, I also realized how much I’m ignoring the news about hunters. I’m really disappointed that Beast Mastery will be the only ranged hunter pet spec…like really, really unhappy with that. I think I’m so unhappy with the idea that I’m almost pretending it isn’t true and that Beta will kill the idea because I’m afraid it will tip me over the edge into leaving game.

    Weekend and a drink sounds perfect.

    • Fiannor says:

      It seems like the only major things that get killed in beta are the things players like — like faction capitals, for example. I don’t think I have ever seen Blizz reverse itself on things players feel strongly against in beta — I give you flying as exhibit one, not to mention lack of raid tuning for small groups, and a few others. They have selective attention, and I guarantee you we will see some dev cite a few positive comments about hunter changes when we see them, and ignore the thousands of passionate negative comments that are sure to be expressed.

      In fact, even if the hunter changes are meant to be an experiment for other classes, and even if they turn out to be a disaster, we will never see Blizz retreat on hunters. They may abandon plans to apply the changes to other classes, because god forbid they tamper with mages, but hunters can just suck it up, Blizz considers us a troublesome class anyway. They will tweak us to the point of horrible rotation requirements, add in tier gear stats that help, and so forth, but they will never admit they made a mistake even if it becomes apparent they did.

      • Grumsta says:

        In our raid team of 11 – 13 people, fully 4 to 5 are Hunters. I think this is what Blizz are trying to combat. The last time I ran LFR I saw a similar proportion.

        But (again) they only have themselves to blame: the mechanics in WoD raids make standing still to cast virtually impossible, so it’s much easier to get decent DPS with a Hunter over a casting class simply because you’re not penalised as much by movement.

        I was discussing this with the RL at the weekend: I can see Legion raids being full of Hunters, Munters and Dunters. It’s just as well they didn’t add a healing spec to Dunters otherwise there’d be nothing for the Disc Priests and Doodoos to do either.

      • Fiannor says:

        @Grumsta

        Not really sure what I see wrong with 4-5 hunters on a team that size, unless others are turned away in favor of hunters. In WoD, Blizz gave hunters mid-level DPS to prevent them from being the go-to class of choice for serious raiders. As you point out, though, they usually end up very high on the numbers side because of their mobility. (Unless — as is usually the case — the hunters are assigned all the miscellaneous raid duties.) Simple math, more shots = higher numbers. But there are significant limiting factors even now. SV has zero burst ability, BM suffers huge decline with frequent target switching, and MM trades higher DPS for some mobility loss.

        That said, I agree completely that Blizz once again sold us a bill of goods with raid design this entire expansion. When they first announced the removal of instant casts from almost every ranged and healing class, they answered concerns about raid mechanics by assuring us that high-movement bosses would be rare. We see how well they followed through on that whopper.

        Still, I don’t see Blizz doing what they are to hunters in order to limit the number of hunters in game. I just really believe they have no one there who truly loves and understands the hunter class and is in a position to make dev decisions about them. They just see hunters as troublesome, as the one class PvP-ers continually whine about, as the class they have never been able to balance, and lately as the class that is envied (and thus complained about) for its ranged mobility. Rather than fix their underlying problems about overall ranged class mobility, they decided it would be easier to destroy the uniqueness of hunters, to make them more (not less, as they claim they are doing) homogeneous with the rest of the classes.