A question . which specs have the right feel?

Hunter
Note:

I am on the PTR only. I am NOT in the beta.

I've been raiding Marks, and running heriocs with BM. I have dingled with surv in heriocs and honestly could not get the swing of it.

Thus with that background, the question is posed..

For those who have run live, PTR, and full Cata Beta.. which spec "feels" right? I realize it is an open ended question of sorts, but think there is enuff feedback out there to provide some discussion.

Now, to answer the question myself with the background noted..

I am equally comfortable with BM and MM shot priority and selection. Surv seems a bit clunky, but I will admit my foibles in running surv before and after patch 4.0.1.

What say the teeming masses, of which I am a card-carrying member..?
I still didn't get used to waiting pet get in range to use Kill Command (wtb charge) and when the target moves, the pet lags a bit behind and gets out of range, so BM feels weird sometimes. I really really really dislike Survival playstyle: too much RNG and procs, dots, trap-flinging, no thanks. So that leaves me with MM, which I've been running since Ulduar and didn't change that much.
Based on the abilities that are available only MM is complete right now since Cobra Shot will be MIA until Cata. That said MM feels about right leaving the upper play level for maximizing the double SS procs with everything else being able to work in the normal focus usage.

Survival has some work ahead that can be seen live right now due trap procs on LnL being favorable over Black Arrow. Some tweaks for Black Arrow are definitely needed to make it viable (more damage, lower focus cost). As for the focus issues I see Cobra shot working well for SV. Cobra shot will effectively eliminate the constant 25 focus tax of Serpent Sting and provide focus regen in the same GCD.

Beast Mastery is the spec I see with the most issues. BM is probably the most forgiving spec when it comes to focus due to the extra 10 focus and focus efficiency/regen talents. And while Cobra won't hurt it won't make as much of a difference as it will for SV. Beast Mastery is being held back by pet damage and PvP right now. Pet damage is very very high so substantially buffing pet damage to bring BM in line with the other specs will lead to a situation of the pet doing as much or more damage than the hunter. Likewise BM has two major damage sources...Kill Command and Arcane Shot. KC is pet damage so the same concerns above and Arcane Shot is already being complained about as too much burst in PvP. Outside of abilities there are very few talents in the BM tree which can be used to affect hunter damage only. One with Nature can't be buffed because it can be picked up by any spec so that only leaves The Beast Within which can't be touched because of PvP (it was nerfed before due to being OP for PvP). The only real solutions I see are buffing the Animal Handler AP mastery or giving Cobra Shot a damage buff by adding to an existing deep BM talent like Kindred Spirits.
The OP's question is highly subjective. For example, I've played MM for most WOTLK after TOC, but after 4.0.1, SV feels the most natural to me.
Its the exact opposite for me, though to be fair, it felt this way long before 4.0.1.
Certain talents just feels like they are in the wrong tree;
Sniper training -
I thought a marksman would be more of a sniper than a wild hermit?
Instead, the one spec that screams freedom! mobility!... gets the one talent that requires us to stand absolutely still.
Readiness -
Survival... Readiness... See how perfectly natural those two words look and read together?
??? -
Survival... being able to withstand the tough wilderness, live off the land and Mother Nature... is the one spec that does not have a self heal lol
Black Arrow -
This.. thing don't belong anywhere in a Hunter's book.

What has dealing more Elemental Damage got to do with.. Surviving?
Me personally, I like all 3 specs. I understand the reasoning behind the SV issues. (Also, I only play live. Just a note.) ANyway... SV has the issue of black arrow of course. But you know, they're going to buff it so that it will be a better choice for SV hunters over explosive trap. Otherwise why have it at all. 2) Not having cobra shot creates a ton of focus starving and to much focus. I think Cobra shot will definately help with that. And also the focus it takes to recast serpent sting as well, with Cobra shot refreshing serpent sting.

With me MM is my raiding spec. I found it to be the most solid spec out of the 3 right now. RIGHT NOW!!! (I'm hoping they boost BM. I would love to raid as BM. Just me.)

(Also remember, this is the beta testing time. Meaning, they're ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS tweaking something. Whether they tell us or not. They are always tweaking things.)

As for BM, I love the focus fire. I've also always loved Bestial Wrath, and The Beast WIthin. Think they're to 2 most HUNTER esque talents right now. But that's just me.
I've been survival since the original nerfs to BM. Since switching 2 years ago, I've liked the playstyle of it. I've tried MM and just couldn't get into it (this is before the changes by the way). I'm still SV, it just feels better to me playstyle wise- even with the focus starvation I've found a way to make it work in both pve and pvp.
I specced BM right outta the gate and while it is fun, I kinda like MM more. I was hesitant to spec MM, but with Chimera refreshing serpent sting; it feels so much less clunky. It makes for easier focus management because you don't have to pool enough to refresh serpent sting.

Also, the aoe is pretty nice w/ multi costing 1/2 the focus after a crit. Its honestly a toss-up between that and a worm aoe as BM....both are crazy fun
I think Survival would feel about right if Cobra Shot were available and Black Arrow were not in its current, gimpy state. As it stands, the spec feels constantly focus starved unless you're in a stand-still fight where you can use Explosive Trap instead of Black Arrow. Still, having to deal with three relatively expensive shots (Explosive Shot, Black Arrow, Serpent Sting) hurts a lot, compared to two for BM (Kill Command, Serpent Sting) or one for MM (Chimera Shot). That definitely needs to be equalized somewhat, and Cobra Shot will do it.

Did they ever fix the bug where the 10% haste talent in Survival (Hunting Party?) slows focus regen instead of increasing it? If so, that would be a help for the focus starvation issue.
There it is again, the 'Cataclysm would fix it' sentiment.

New abilities from an expansion set should be for enhancing us, not for fixing us.

We shouldn't ever be needing new 81+ abilities.
They should simply be cool stuff that makes the class even more fun to play.

You don't see something fundamentally wrong with the whole design concept otherwise?
There it is again, the 'Cataclysm would fix it' sentiment.

New abilities from an expansion set should be for enhancing us, not for fixing us.

We shouldn't ever be needing new 81+ abilities.
They should simply be cool stuff that makes the class even more fun to play.

You don't see something fundamentally wrong with the whole design concept otherwise?


I see something wrong with the design concept of getting two abilities we were given in Burning Crusade as our "new" abilities in Cataclysm, yes. I'm not at all thrilled that we're getting Aspect of the Viper and Steady Shot all over again in Cataclysm. When they decided to change our resource system, they should have changed Viper to Fox then, and given us Fox right away. And they should have made Steady Shot have the benefit of Cobra Shot instead of just giving us a completely redundant copy ability with an advantage that makes Steady Shot nearly worthless in its own right. Then give us 2 actually new abilities, like the other classes get.

Needing the new abilities we get in Cataclysm isn't particularly bad. Needing them because the abilities we already had that do the same thing were either removed or gimped in the pre-Cataclysm patch is asinine.
If Cobra shot was given to us right out of the gate when 4.0.1 launched, what's the bring us back for cataclysm? Hunters would have no reason to level. It's purely marketing, in the fact that, if we want to be good with BM, and/or SV, we need to get to 85 so we can get this talent that, "SHOULD," again, "SHOULD," fix clunkiness. And if it doesn't well then I guess the only spec we get to play is MM. I don't think Blizzard would let us suffer with just ONE spec.

If Cobra shot was given to us right out of the gate when 4.0.1 launched, what's the bring us back for cataclysm? Hunters would have no reason to level.

Er.. maybe they can design and make another ability that's actually new?
Is it good design -
* to give a class a expansion new ability only 2 out of 3 specs would use due to the way their respective masteries and talents (ref: improved steady shot) work?
I'm not MM spec, but even I feel shortchanged for them.
* have that same 'new' ability also be so game-changing that an entire spec need to re-reforge again simply because the spec's stat weight/priority was turned on its head at level 81?
It's purely marketing, in the fact that, if we want to be good with BM, and/or SV, we need to get to 85 so we can get this talent that, "SHOULD," again, "SHOULD," fix clunkiness. And if it doesn't well then I guess the only spec we get to play is MM. I don't think Blizzard would let us suffer with just ONE spec.

How could you accept that the class be suddenly made "clunky" from 1-80 just so that the new skills can fix this same "clunkiness"?
It is OK to you that you are now clunky for 80 levels? When you weren't before?
I should need the new abilities only if I want to be better, not to just be good.
I do not expect a gaming company with Blizzard's credentials and experience to be this lacking in gaming ethics.

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