Yesterday another hunter I respect, Delirium over at The Thrill of the Wild, threw in the towel on hunters as a class in Legion. He joins a number of excellent hunters who, after months of frustration trying to get Blizz to understand their very real and legitimate concerns about overall hunter play style in Legion, have finally given up and will just try to make the best of it. That is, if they play a hunter at all in Legion or indeed if they play the game at all. Some, like Delirium, hold out a very slim hope that it will turn out all right once Legion goes live, but really no one believes it will.
Even though you can read Del’s piece for yourselves, I am going to do a lengthy quote here, because I think he really captured the feeling of many true hunters. He certainly captured mine.
So, here we are; the Legion pre-patch likely less than a week away, and hunters are still in a fairly terrible place, from my perspective. All three specs received complete overhauls (now having only the names in common with the previous three hunter specs), and all three ended up significantly less fun than they have been for the last two expansions.
. . .
While I’d like to think that in general I’m appreciative of the developers trying new things, experimenting and trying to make the game better. In the case of all three hunter specs, they’ve ended up with results that are significantly worse than what they had when they started. And really, that wouldn’t be a problem either, except, as far as I can tell, the developers who are in charge seem to legitimately think that they’ve made a good class, despite months and months and months of feedback from hundreds of different hunters in the beta expressing dissatisfaction with every single hunter spec.
And that is the essence of it. Hunters may in fact turn out to compete well on the damage charts in Legion, but that is not the point. Blizz has succeeded in draining every bit of fun out of the spec, they have gutted its soul, they have removed every vestige of joy from it. The hunter class in Legion will remain, but in name only. The hunter class we have loved to play since the beginning of WoW will be gone.
Blizz has steadfastly refused to tell us why they have done this, beyond blithering idiocy about “class fantasies”. I can only conclude their actions are the result of one of two reasons: 1) They have no one on their staff who has ever understood and loved the hunter class, or 2) They made a deliberate decision to destroy the class, because it was too popular or because non-hunters hate it a lot, or whatever. No matter the reason, WoD and Legion have made it clear that hunters are the throwaway class in Blizz’s mind, the class they can screw with however much they want whenever they want.
This is bad enough, but it is compounded by the fact that Blizz has so little respect for hunters that they have not even bothered to have a real discussion over the changes and why they decided to make them, why they have stubbornly ignored the concerns of the best, most conscientious hunters in the game.
I will play a Beastmastery hunter in Legion, but I am not excited by the prospect. I look at it as something to endure, not something to look forward to. Though it retains the most flavor of traditional hunters, it, too has been stripped of its essential fun. It does not even come close to Blizz’s own ridiculous “spec fantasy”. How can you have a hunter with no skill whatsoever in camouflage or traps? How can someone be a “Master of Beasts” with many of them at his beck and call but with actual control over only one of them? (And in truth not a lot of control over even that one, as there are still serious pathing issues as well as issues with your pet failing to attack when it is on Assist.) The poverty of this shallow “fantasy” is exposed in the actual spec implementation.
The destruction of the hunter class puts a shadow over all of Legion for me. I know there will be many fun innovations, and I think there will be a lot of engaging content. But I will be reminded of Blizz’s hunter sellout every time I play. Every. Single. Time.
I know Blizz does not dwell in the real player world, so they will believe their own hype over Legion. But they should be sobered by the idea that there is a sizable group of players like myself who are not hyped by it, who are instead grimly resolved to get through it. For a game, that is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
I will spend my weekend playing my hunter, eking out every last ounce of joy I can while it is still fun to play. Soon it will just be a memory.
Blizz, why are you doing this?