Groveling for crumbs

I finally forced myself to watch last Friday’s “Q&A” session with Ion Hazzikostas. It was exactly what I expected, basically an infomercial for 7.1, with a few hugs thrown in for the classes Ion loves and a couple of nasty pinches for the class he hates — hunters.

Here are a few facts:

  • Since the earliest days of Alpha, there have been literally thousands of well thought out, serious forum posts detailing fundamental problems with Legion hunter mechanics, overall play style, and failure to adhere to even the class fantasies Blizz espouses.
  • Two months ago — a week before Legion went live — CM Ornyx started a “Let’s Talk” thread in the hunter forum, requesting hunters to tell him what their concerns for the class were. In spite of there being thousands of such posts in the Legion test forums. Hunters responded with detailed examples of poor mechanics and lost “class feel”. Thousands of them, nearly all of which were expressed thoughtfully and respectfully, and which echoed the same concerns that had been expressed throughout the Legion Alpha, Beta, and PTR.
  • Well respected hunters in the community have all written about these fundamental class problems in their blogs and other social media — again since the earliest days of Alpha — even though some have now given up and accepted that the class they loved no longer exists.
  • The overwhelming nature of the concerns is not about damage numbers, rather about the removal of iconic hunter abilities, some terrible mechanics, and the perception that the hunter class has been stripped of nearly everything that drew players to it in the first place.

Here has been Blizz’s response to this:

  • In the “Let’s Talk” thread, a grand total of 3 Blue posts, two of which were admin announcements of the thread initiation and extension, and one of which was a short, insulting comment whose basic message was “Thank you for your interest in class development.”
  • Re-institution of pets as an option for MM, although without any other talent balancing, so that the only real choice is Lone Wolf.
  • Nerfing BM in PvP, because apparently Blizz could not stand the fact that even one hunter spec was viable in PvP.
  • Several “fixes” to Barrage that have arguably made it even more uncontrollable than it was. Note that almost no hunters had ever complained about Barrage in Legion — it was a talent most had learned how to use in WoD, and it was what it was, dangerous if not used judiciously and with the correct positioning, and powerful when used appropriately. But Blizz designed many bosses and trash in Legion such that Barrage was a disaster if used, then had to do some emergency tweaks to it when other players, not hunters, complained about it.
  • In Friday’s Q&A, hunters were banned from the stream when they tried to insert hunter questions. This, despite the fact that in the previous Q&A a small group of asshat warlocks spammed the stream and had previously used bully tactics to take over the Q&A forum — Hazzikostas gently slapped their little hands for their tantrum and then Blizz went on to reward them for it with a ton of attention and a lot of warlock hotfixes as well as plans for substantive changes.
  • Also in Friday’s Q&A, Hazzikostas fell all over himself to apologize to Fury warriors for saddling them with a bad mechanic and for not listening to their Beta feedback. What. The. Hell. Hello? Hunters here. Alpha. Beta. PTR. Live forums. Blogs. Tweets. Lousy mechanics out the wazoo. Ring a bell? No, of course not.

I suppose I am being a tad hard on the new WoW Game Director, but it is difficult to believe your class is being taken seriously when he is conversant in nearly every Legion ability of every class and spec, but casually refers to “Deterrence” for hunters.

I remain totally baffled as to why Blizz is steadfastly ignoring the legitimate concerns of hunters in Legion. At this point I would be happy if they came out and said, “Hunters, stfu, we hate your class and intend to drive a stake through its heart,” or “Hunters, we have screwed up your class so bad that it is not salvageable in this expansion, oopsie, hehe,” or, “Yeah, no one here plays a hunter so we just have a committee throw together a few things for them,” or even, “Hunters, we don’t give a damn about you, you are the throwaway experiment class, live with it.”

Instead we get nothing. We have begged, pleaded, groveled. We have obeyed all of Blizz’s rules for providing feedback. We have seen other classes like warlocks throw a tantrum and get recognition and consideration for their complaints. We have seen Blizz bend over backwards to apologize to warriors for not listening to their Beta feedback. We have seen long Blue posts explaining the entire philosophy, background, and intent for the Brewmaster Monk major changes. We have seen dozens and dozens of hotfix and patch changes for DKs. We have seen great response to the rough time Shadow Priests have had over the past couple of years and a real effort to make them whole again.

But hunters — who have arguably gone through the most significant class changes in the game in Legion — hunters get zero, zip, nada, nothing but contempt and a few lazy, easy changes designed mainly to respond to other classes annoyed with hunter abilities. Not even the courtesy of recognition in the form of a “Fuck you”.

For crying out loud, Blizz, can you at least throw us a bone here? Tell us what is going on with hunters, have a rare moment of honesty and talk to us about our class and what the hell you think about the current state of this class as well as any plans you may have for the next few months for it. 


3 thoughts on “Groveling for crumbs

  1. I’m in a similar boat I guess. Except as a Shadowpriest I only have the one damage dealing option. The have designed the class with previously had a lot of complexity, and took it a step further. Creating a talent choice so strong that it is practically a you must take this listed in any guide. I have seen people say that with Surrender to Madness, you can go from being dead last for 80% of the fight, only to surge to #1 in the final 2-3 minutes. Then you die. I have given it a try. The 10 minute cool down kind of puts it out there for practicing. I did try it on one Mythic dungeon we were having trouble with. I had everything lined up, ready to go, hit the button, managed about 30 seconds before I died to an effect that the healer was supposed to dispel, but was dead. It took 2 more attempts with running back before it was up again. I managed about a minute. It’s difficult to get use to, requires precise casting, and if you miscast, like I did. It’s all over. So I just won’t use it. And since even the only other choice is a bit simpler, my numbers are so bad that I won’t even sign up to raid. I can’t ask to go, when I am doing worse than people they are looking at benching for low DPS. When you are 40% lower than what others are that use the best choice talent why even expect to see anything beyond LFR. The last LFR I ran I was 19th in damage. I have never been that low. People going AFK were higher than me.

    I do get it. They have designed the classes how they feel they should be played. As long as you are not exceeding the numbers they want, there is no room for change. I do hope they eventually listen to you. There is no hope for me, because the class is designed just how the top Priests like it. Or so it seems.

    1. Interesting. I was under the impression that SPriests are in a somewhat better position than they have been for some time, but that is clearly a skewed impression. In my guild, which is not Mythic-level but usually hovers somewhere in the 7-15 server position, we have some of our priests returning to Shadow for raiding, and they seem to be doing respectable damage, not great but respectable. However, they are all really struggling with StM, and any hope for its usefulness is based on healers and others understanding the additional burden it may put on them in terms of allowing the priest to maximize the ability. I have run a couple of guild Mythic dungeons with SPriests who tell us up front they just need to use the run to practice StM.

      I remain very disappointed in the class devs for Legion. They took it upon themselves — for no apparent reason other than just for the sake of change — to pretty much rewrite nearly every class and spec, at a time when they knew that the addition of the artefact mechanics would already make class and talent balancing difficult. The result is exactly what we see — skewed talent lines and some really horrible and clunky mechanics. Some of the mechanics seem tailor made for elite players, as they have little to no utility for normal players in normal situations. Not to mention there is still a large disparity in damage numbers from top class/spec to bottom one, a range in excess of what we had finally at the end of WoD. This inevitably leads to greater disparity as players perceive certain specs to be “useless” and thus shift to the ones near the top.

      This is a complex problem made even more so by Blizz’s own ill-advised class dev decisions. It really is very poor project management.

      1. A lot of it revolves around taking a specific direction to maximize the artifact weapon to hit a top talent slot, getting all 3 Relics, and having a weak aura set up to track everything. Talking with one person privately, towards the highest point, where everything is practically an instant cast it is so precise that even a momentary lag spike could result in your death. I recall prior to Legipns release someone saying don’t worry about the 10 minute cd, we can all die and reset the boss. But I think they must have fixed it or maybe I just did not understand how the reset works.

        I seem to recall them saying it would be a great talent for those times your guild needed that little extra at the end to finally get a boss down. They probably never considered people would say it’s the mandatory choice for all circumstances.

        I’m doing ok out on the world. I pick my fights, I die, quite a bit, I have all but written off Mythic Dungeons, have not even done them all on normal yet, let alone heroic. It’s good there is a lot in the world. Because I won’t be doing instances until they adjust some things, or I just overpower it completely.

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