An open letter to Blizzard

February 17, 2016
Somewhere in Azeroth

Dear Blizz,

I am writing this with the certain knowledge that you will never read it, much less respond to it, and even less take any remedial action as a result. Still, I feel compelled to write it, if only to be able to say I tried.

Please reconsider your entire treatment of the hunter class in Legion.

What you have proposed for hunter changes are so drastic as to completely destroy the class many of us have played and loved for years. You have said that it is very early in the alpha test, and that many things can and will change before Legion goes live, so I feel that now may be the last chance to save hunters as a class.

This is not about numbers and balancing tweaks, this is about the very soul of the class. The Legion changes will rip away nearly every aspect of what has made hunters such an awesome class to play since the beginning of the game. You may think of it as “de-homogenization” or fixing “button bloat”, but you are stripping away the essence of hunterness.

I get that you may not want to believe me, or may dismiss me as just another loud-mouthed rabble rouser. I don’t take it personally, it is probably a tag I richly deserve. So don’t listen just to me, check out these links from some of the most respected hunter writers in the blogosphere — Bendak, The Grumpy Elf, Pherian, Delirium, Sar. (OK, honestly I don’t know Sar, but he/she makes some excellent points about the hunter class “feel” in Legion.) These are people who care deeply about the whole hunter immersive experience in your game, and they are saying that you are diminishing their opportunities for such an experience, in a major way, in Legion.

I am willing to compromise here. Even though your destruction of the Survival spec was a hard pill for me to swallow, go ahead with your plans to make it a melee spec. I won’t play it, but I can live with playing another hunter spec. And go ahead and keep your hunter class hall in an area with absolutely zero historical significance for hunters, living among a faction invented just for the purpose of giving some scenery to the area. I will only drop in there as necessary to collect quests. And I won’t even ask you to restore the old version of Hunter’s Mark, even though I still miss it every day and think it was a big mistake to take away such an iconic spell from hunters, as an easy way to remove a PvP complaint and write it off to pruning button bloat.

But here are my suggestions — well, okay, my earnest pleas — for fundamental changes to restore the feel and fun of playing a hunter in Legion:

Restore the hunter pet experience to all specs. All hunters have a special bond with their pets, as Bendak so well described, and Legion reduces hunter pets to just another graphic depiction of AoE or DoT effects. One of the most iconic features of hunters since the game began has been our pets — we name them, we care for them, we spend hours or days or even weeks finding and taming them. We level with them, we heal them, we pause in the middle of fights to rez them if they die, and they have saved our bacon more often than we can count. Our pets are not warlock minions or mage elementals or hobby “fighting” pets. They are our constant game companions.

Give Marksman back a true hunter pet option. (NOT that talent that is a poor knockoff imitation of a warlock or DK “pet”.)

Give us back control over selecting our own pets for Dire Beast and Stampede, and give us the same option for the Hati spirit.

Restore our pet’s survivability in fights, there is no reason to make them as squishy as the alpha indicates they will be.

Restore traps and camouflage to all specs. I don’t even know how it is possible to conceive of a hunter without trapping abilities and expertise in camouflage. I don’t care how you define the hunter “fantasy”, there is no interpretation that can ignore the need for trapping and camouflage abilities.

Beyond the fantasy betrayal that lack of traps represents, there is the practical problem that every hunter since the beginning of the game has developed a play style for which traps are an integral part. In addition to the fact we will have to learn an entirely new class and play style if as a hunter we wish to play SV, now both MM and BM will also have to completely relearn critical skills such as kiting and crowd control.

Restore focus control to BM. The current plan to regenerate focus only passively through the frequent use of Dire Beast is not an engaging or challenging play style. It removes a huge amount of player choice and control and largely reduces the BM experience to one of pressing a few buttons, wait, press a few buttons, wait, etc. Let us decide when we want to spend or pool focus, and whether or not such a choice is a good one. We like being wrong sometimes and learning from it. We don’t like twiddling our thumbs while we wait for the game to generate a trickle of focus for us.

Give us back our self-defense abilities and our raid contributions. Deterrence has been nerfed to a single-use effect with a 3-minute cooldown. Many of our hard-won self-healing abilities, even puny as they were, are gone. Our ability to “pour it on” when most needed when a boss hits 20-30% health disappears because Kill Shot is gone for all specs. Unless we are SV, we have minimal if any ability to contribute to cc duties in our raid. And no matter what spec we play, we have zero raid buffs to bring to the table.

Blizz, as I said in the beginning of this post, I do not expect any reaction from you. I know you are busy, and I know I am nobody important. But I have to try, because this is about more than a few numbers. This is about trying to save the hunter class.

Sincerely,

Fiannor

 

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.

One Response to An open letter to Blizzard

  1. gnomecore says:

    Well…

    “All hunters have a special bond with their pets” – I’m not. My hunter is a marksman, actually a bazooka girl. My goblin keeps her rifle well-oiled, she thinks nature is a nuisance, and she steps into battle with her head held high, all in cloud of gunpowder and fire to swipe the resistance.

    “Lone wolf” at lv 100 was my immediate choice I have never regretted ever since. My mage will be able to get rid of elemental in Legion. I chose Frost DK because no pets. Sadly a warlock must always use them. I hate pets. I find them disturbing.