Help build a hunter community response

Late edit: The first hunter forum thread hit max less than 24 hours after it appeared, so the current active thread is here. Also be aware there appears to be a posting bug that results in your first attempt at a reply just sending it into the ether, although a second attempt will succeed. I recommend you copy your entire forum reply before trying to post it, so if it disappears you can just paste and try again.

A couple of days ago I published a piece about Blizzard’s months-long practice of completely ignoring valid hunter concerns about class changes in Legion. Lo and behold, last night Ornyx, a Blizzard Community Manager, started a thread asking for input on hunter concerns. (No, I am sure my post had nothing to do with it, but if it did I solemnly vow to use this power only for good …. 😉)

First things first. Any of you who play a hunter, whether main or alt, please take a moment and go to the new thread and make your feelings known, in a calm and professional tone. (Emotion about the subject is fine, spittle-flecked invective and hateful language is not.) If you do not have the time to post, at least peruse some of the comments and give some feedback in the form of a Like or even a Dislike. It seems that sudden and massive response is the best way to get Blizz’s attention these days.

I have to admit, I was excited by the fact that there was finally a Blue post acknowledging the existence of hunters, and even soliciting feedback on the massive changes to the class. This of course is a sad commentary, because there have been literally thousands of pleas over the last 8-9 months begging Blizz to respond to serious and legitimate concerns about the current state of the hunter class, all stubbornly ignored. So it feels a little bit shameful that when we finally get one small acknowledgement that there might be some problems, my response is to wiggle like a happy puppy.

I commend Ornyx for starting the forum thread — nothing bad on him over this — but we simply cannot ignore the big turd in the punch bowl here:

Why now? And why a brand new thread, when there is a massive amount of forum input from hunter class forums as well as from Legion test forums?

With 5 days to go until Legion launch, the timing certainly seems strange. I have more questions than answers at this point.

  • Is Ornyx’s thread something he is doing on his own initiative, or is it part of a larger Blizz plan to lay the foundation for significant class changes in 7.1?
  • Why is it necessary to restate points already stated multiple times in other forums — in fact, in the very forums Blizz told us to provide feedback in? Do they not read those forums? Are they trying to see if hunters still really really feel the same way?
  • What is the point of this exercise? Are there actual plans to address the deep flaws in every hunter spec, or is this just a mechanism to allow hunters to release a little steam? Worse, is the move designed to give false hope, just to shut hunters up for a while? (The disconnected office thermostat ploy.)
  • Will we ever get the results of Ornyx’s initiative — that is, will we get an official response to the concerns, beyond “We hear you and we are thinking about it. There, there.” He stated in his original post that he intends to take the compiled responses “to the devs”, but what that means is a little unclear.
  • If in fact the initiative is the basis for 7.1 changes, is there any hope that they will be anything but superficial? The small responses to date indicate Blizz fails to understand — or is unwilling to deal with — fundamental flaws in spec design.
  • Slightly off topic, but not really: Ornyx admitted he does not play a hunter, which makes me wonder if any of the devs making drastic changes play a hunter seriously, beyond as a fun leveling and soloing alt (which btw is not really so fun any more). No one who has played a hunter for a long time, who has loved the hunter class, could possibly have made the class-altering changes we have seen. Come on, Blizz, come clean — Do any of you actually main a hunter?

Short post today, but I wanted to get this out there to help build the response. I choose to take Ornyx’s initiative as a positive sign of Blizz’s commitment to not abandon the hunter class. I hope I am not proven wrong.

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.

7 Responses to Help build a hunter community response

  1. I have to admit being slightly outraged at this, the timing is beyond my ken.
    There is no hope for changes anytime soon, how can there be changes?
    Still, I will go and grind through 23 (currently) pages of forum posts — that is hours of reading already read, lol.

  2. gnomecore says:

    Perhaps the feedback stream from beta turned into a negative flood when pre-patch went live, and people actually tested it all in huge scales – through raids and invasions.

    The post is great, but I notice that there is a tendency to portray Blizzard as a scheming ‘Dr.Evil’. I guess they’re not =) They’re making mistakes, and grave mistakes sometimes. The good thing is they are ready to acknowledge the mistakes and fix them. And it’s better late than never.

    I remember a Blizzcon Legion presentation – they talked about professions – and they said that cloth for Tailoring will drop from humanoids again in Legion. Fur from beasts was a terrible, terrible idea – it spoiled all the WoD Tailoring to me and others. The Blizz guy said: “Cloth is back… although I liked fur myself”. Yes, he was sincerely embarrassed about how their fur decision played off, and how it irritated the players.

    I’m not happy with MM – totally unintuitive and relying on cone damage now, which is not a marksman fantasy – at all. Survival is nice for me, but it lacks some self healing and defence. Yet I like this spec even now, and I will stick with it in Legion.

  3. Grumsta says:

    I’m watching this with interest. It’ll tell us a lot about the design attitudes and philosophy that Blizz are adopting for Legion.

    I don’t agree with what Blizz did to SV in WoD, but I kind of understood why the spec was abandoned when the plan was to make it Melee in Legion. All development work for WoD was stopped, and efforts were to be diverted into Legion to ensure the same mistakes weren’t repeated. Okay, but that can only be even remotely acceptable for one poorly-received xpac.

    This is now Legion (sans the Artefact) so we need to see a decisive and effective response. If a whole class can be abandoned or ignored then we should all be concerned. Who’s next?

    Blizz are in danger of creating such fear (especially amongst less confident players) that a class or spec is awful that there will be a rush to a few “no-brainer” classes and specs and everything else will be viewed with suspicion or outright hostility.

    People are rightly concerned that months of effort to power up an artefact could be wasted. Failing to properly address the fears will have players flocking to a few cookie-cutter specs and the rest avoided.

    Even in strong classes like Mage it’s already happening: “if you haven’t chosen Fire you’re doing it wrong”. It’s ridiculous.

    • Grumsta says:

      Just came across this thread on Reddit that perfectly illustrates the point.

      • Fiannor says:

        (Prepare for a wall of text, but it is your fault for causing me to think so hard.)

        I think much of what we see these days in terms of development really is the result of Blizz trying to cope with a game that has become too complex for them to manage effectively. They have failed to implement project management structures and technologies to keep pace with the rapidly growing and almost inconceivably vast system of entangled systems that are World of Warcraft. To a certain extent, when they develop a new expansion, project managers are able to impart a vision to developers and artists, and they are able to keep a general eye on integrating that vision in zones, buildings, quest lines, raid tiers, and so forth. But they seem not able to actually manage the interrelations between subsystems, nor to deal with or even anticipate the impact changes in one subsystem will have on another.

        I know nothing of the staff or project structure at Blizz, but judging from the mess that was WoD and from some of what are shaping up to be problems in Legion, it seems as if subsystem development groups operate more or less independently — they may be given a general framework of concept with which to work, and certainly they must coordinate with other subsystem groups to some extent, but there seems to be no overall meta-development structure to ensure a final smoothly-integrated product.

        One area where players see the result of this shortfall is class balance. Generally, for players to perceive that classes are well balanced, they must believe that they can achieve their game goals with any class they choose. So, for example, if a game goal is to be a valued damage dealer on a Heroic-level raid team, then the concept of class balance dictates that a player who loves, say, the play style of an arcane mage feel completely confident that selecting this class and spec will not in any way handicap him in achieving his goal, either because of mechanical limitations on arcane mage damage numbers as compared to another spec, or because of raid designs that overwhelmingly favor a melee play style. Players will accept small differences in class performance potential, but when they perceive that the gaps are so large as to dictate one class or spec over another in order for them to achieve their game goals, then the system is effectively unbalanced.

        But to achieve a perception of class balance, developers must smoothly integrate separate subsystems such as class abilities for all same-role classes and specs, raid structures, and gear. Significant changes to any one of these subsystems will upset any equilibrium in the others, necessitating a ground-up review, possibly major rewrites, and extensive testing at both th subsystem and meta-system levels.

        What Blizz has done in recent expansions is instigate significant changes in all three subsystems, and they just do not have the ability to manage the outcomes except by applying bandaids over the course of an entire expansion. (In the case of Legion, they have gone even further by making gear deterministic for class performance potential.) So what we get is a system of classes that more or less reaches equilibrium by the end of an expansion, only to throw it shall away and start over every new expansion.

        The system, I think, has gotten so out of control that Blizz is finding it more and more convenient to just abandon the “too hard” problems and put them on the next expansion to-do list. This is what they did with SV hunters in WoD, because inevitably any fixes to that spec would have caused imbalances in other classes, and as you say they were unwilling to commit the resources to a dead expansion. The danger is that this will become the norm, not the exception, especially now that Blizz has deliberately increased class complexity by making every spec basically its own class, and by integrating gear effects into baseline spec abilities. More specs will become “too hard” to fix without throwing a monkey wrench into the entire system.

        Thus the well-founded fear you and the Reddit poster expressed, and which most of us feel. I still find it ironic that Blizz on the one hand decries complexity for class mechanics and institutes draconian pruning measures, but feels it is fine to significantly expand areas like gear mechanics, profession crafting, etc.

        I think there is a good chance that in Legion BM hunters will be the abandoned spec, or at least one of them (which would be a double kick in the teeth to those of us who played SV in WoD and switched to BM in Legion) — the problems with the spec are so fundamental that nothing short of a complete redo will help, and there is no way that will happen in Legion. I think the problems with SV and MM can be fixed, and possibly will be in 7.1, if for no other reason than top tier hunters will almost certainly gravitate to MM and will not stand for it to remain the way it is.

  4. demonnick says:

    So now that the feedback thread has been up for a little while I feel like I need to point something out. When you give feedback there are a few things you need to do for it to be effective.

    1) Keep the feedback short and to the point. No one is going to spend any significant amount of time trying to decipher each and every post when there are that many.

    2) Offer realistic solutions to problems. Saying things like “BM is total crap and I hate it” isn’t going to change anything. Offer solutions, not complaints.

    3) Don’t be a dick. I see several people being super toxic towards blizzard before they write about their solutions/complaints. Being a jerk is never a good way to get someone to consider your opinions.

    In summary: keep it clear, concise, constructive, and classy (I call them the 4 c’s).

    Cheers