Survival Hunter Changes.

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I can't speak for sustained damage on a long-living target, as I had to go out of town right after I hit 120 and didn't have time to test anything but BM until after the alpha was wiped. However, for leveling, I enjoyed SV (and MM) quite a bit (even though I've been BM-for-life prior to the destruction of the spec in Legion, I found myself taking the other two specs for leveling because they felt interesting and BM was a snoozefest). For general feedback-Kill Command needs to be renamed. It already feels like SV is stealing BM's shtick, this is just adding insult to injury, especially since it doesn't even do the same thing. Additionally, I hated Wildfire Bomb. I could not for the life of me figure out how to get it to hit more than one mob and the tuning on it as of a build or two ago (could have changed) made it feel like a waste of a global, especially with that lack of hitting more than one target.

T15: Terms of Engagement is the obvious go-to for leveling and I primarily used this because of the need to move between targets rapidly. It'll be a dead talent at 120 outside of gimmicky fights with a lot of adds to switch to around the room. Both of the others seem nice, but again, hardly touched them.

T30: Guerilla Tactics seemed awful to me since I couldn't figure out Wildfire Bomb in the first place. Maybe have it increase the width of the cone or something too so it can reliably hit multiple targets? I swapped a bit between Hydra's Bite and Butchery. Due to the long recharge on Butchery and the fact I tend to be cautious when leveling on non-tanks, I mostly stuck with Hydra's Bite. Being able to consistently hit 1-3 targets felt more useful to me rather than hitting Butchery quickly a few times on one pack and then either not having it at all for several packs to come or only getting to use it once. Not sure whether this was perception error on my part or a tuning issue.

T45/75: I feel for all three specs that Posthaste, Trailblazer, and Born to Be Wild belong on the same tier to make it primarily about movement and the other tier more general utility. Seems weird to be able to talent for movement on two separate talent tiers.

T60: Due to the nature of leveling and how I do it, I didn't find Bloodseeker terribly useful (and seems likely to be rather awkward to deal with given the cd on KC and the random nature of the extra procs that can make this work on multi-target situations), I didn't try Steel Trap at all, and I primarily stuck with Murder of Crows. I have trouble seeing Steel Trap used in pve end game at all and the choice of the others will probably depend primarily on tuning.

T90: I didn't bother to try Mongoose Bite since it seemed like it was just like live, only neutered of every interaction to potentially make it interesting. Tip of the Spear was all right, but it didn't really change my behavior in any way from a leveling perspective. I mostly ended up using Flanking Strike, not because it was some amazing ability (though it did do decent damage single target), but to fill in the occasional awkward focus droughts I ran across.

T100: Birds of Prey wasn't worth taking while leveling but has its obvious uses at end game. I didn't bother with Wildfire Infusion due to my Wildfire Bomb issues. Glaiv-er, Chakrams was awesome for leveling, though. Hit hard and did a noticeable amount of cleave when I did have multiple targets going against me. Hopefully Blizz will work out some proper tuning to make all three of these viable, because I enjoyed having my glaive throwing back.
I tried it out, and I find the new rotation kind of boring. There is no high point - no finisher. In legion, those Mongoose bites at 6 stacks (especially with some set bonuses - I believe it was NH? I stopped raiding during Tomb) felt kind of awesome, and using Fury of the Eagle to buy more time felt like I was making a good decision (or at least taking a risk that might not pay off). Now, without the old mastery and old Mongoose bite, I'm not sure I have any decision to make. It's just repeat the same priority ad nauseam. This leaves it in a place where my entire rotation is a bunch of low damage abilities that just aren't particularly interesting.

The worst part though, in my opinion, is turning flanking strike into Kill Command. I loved survival because my pet and I felt like a team. Now I just feel like a bossy BM hunter (sorry). I loved the flavor of flanking strike. I also feel like explosive trap felt more in tune with the spec/class than wildfire bomb does.

I guess I'm just really disappointed, I was excited to play a Maghar with a Frost Wolf pet, but now I'm just kind of dejected.

Things that I think could improve it:

  • Bring back Legion Flanking strike in place of Kill Command, and have Aspect of the Eagle affect Flanking Strike - this is basically a nerf over a ranged kill command, but I would rather have the flavor (or take advantage of that hand crossbow when at range). Alternatively, make this a talent (replacing KC). This would allow you to put more damage on the ability to account for the hunter damage component without breaking the current distribution of damage elsewhere.
  • Consider some type of "finisher". In Legion, a 6 stack Mongoose Bite felt this way, as did Fury of the Eagle. The rotation needs some type of pay off or high point. I had hoped Azerite powers may do this, but the ones I have seen have not filled this niche.
  • Mongoose Fury seemed a lot more interesting than focus management to me, but it may be too late in the cycle for you to want to change that. Perhaps there's another answer. I wouldn't be against having Mongoose Bite/Fury back how it was though. I really think that was much more interesting, especially with the Legion Mastery. Fury of the Eagle really was the cherry on top, too - it gave you that decision to make of when to use it to extend Mongoose Fury...
  • Consider making Coordinated Assault feel.. coordinated. Perhaps using Kill Command (which I hope becomes Flanking Strike Again) increases your damage by a %, and using Raptor Strike/Mongoose Bite increases your pet's damage by a % for the duration of the ability - this should happen naturally just doing your rotation, in theory. Similar to Crusade in some ways (a building damage buff). This would also help give the spec more of a pay off/finisher that it sorely lacks, as there would be some nice big numbers near the end if turned how I imagine.


Hopefully this wasn't too ranty, but I really did like this character in Legion, and I want to play it again in BFA.
As long as harpoon is on a fast recycle and as responsive as heroic leap for leveling many other sins can be forgiven.
One conclusion I've come to is that Survival needs a lot of fantasy rebranding. Abilities like Kill Command and Coordinated Assault give wrong impressions in their fantasy; Kill Command being a BM ability, for example, feels watered down in SV. Moreover, it also waters down BM, because BM is about commanding and directing your beast, while SV is supposed to be more like you and the pet as independent forces that work in concert with each other, neither of you being more important than the other; it's one of the reasons Flanking Strike used to feel so impactful and flavorful.

I'm going to run down a few abilities and talents that I think could use some thematic rebranding, and lead off with one that I feel is really close.

Wildfire Bomb can be an example of a near-perfect thematic for the spec. I do think it's still a little off, if only because of the connotations of the word 'Bomb.' But the use of the word 'Wildfire' and the icon being devoid of technological implications really helps sell the fantasy of the ability; that its a primitive concoction, not a technological invention. The only thing I would change is a slight change to the name - Primordial Wildfire. Removing the word Bomb removes technological connotations and makes the ability seem more primitive, which seems like one of Survival's main draws.

Kill Command, as stated above, feels awkward for two reasons; it's a BM ability, and it feels strange to have the same ability act differently based on spec, and it doesn't feel thematically appropriate. This version of Hunter doesn't command his bestial companions, but works alongside them in tandem. I'd propose this ability to seem similar to Rexxar's 'Misha, Charge!' from HotS. When the ability is cast, Rexxar does nothing. He doesn't issue a command nor does he say anything. Misha simply charges. A retooled name a description would fit here, while also removing the Hunter's half of the animation, leaving only the pet's animation. In this way, it's less like you're commanding the pet, and more like the player is controlling both the Hunter and the Pet's actions.

Coordinated Assault, as I've stated in a previous post, feels awkward. The animation is perfect; you and your pet going into a savage rage. But the icon and name feel wrong; the icon, because it's Roar of Sacrifice's old icon, and because it has a Devilsaur, and SV can't tame Devilsaur. Secondly, the name; it implies that you're executing a skilled tactical flanking maneuver, while the animation implies a primal rage. Changing the icon, name, and description would go a long way to sell this ability's fantasy.

Bloodseeker has a fine name, but I feel like it's a big missed opportunity to not use Lacerate's icon from Legion. That icon is iconic to Survival and it's going unused in BfA, which really sucks. If it because it comes off of Kill Command, which is a pet ability? I personally wouldn't mind, particularly since the DoT it places on the target uses Kill Command's icon, not Bloodseeker's or Lacerate's. I'd put the icon on it, and while you're at it, change the 10% Attack Speed to 5% Haste for the Hunter and pet per stack; attack speed feels bad since it's barely any of our dps.

Birds of Prey should have it's name and icon changed. It used to fit, when Aspect of the Eagle was still the DPS cooldown. But it's not anymore, and I think the icon and name should be changed to be more fitting. I also feel like the bit where it only works on your pet's target is an attempt at being thematic and adding in some fantasy, but in practice I can't imagine it being noticeable or meaningful. It's a drawback that's more of an annoyance than a drawback, and since it's not a real drawback, the payoff isn't that great. I feel like that bit can be changed to a more fitting thematic, as well. It's worth noting that this would be a much better place for the name 'Coordinated Assault,' being a passive talent rather than an active ability.

I've taken some liberty and pieced these four bits together in a google doc, for science, just to see what they would look like if they were thematically rebranded.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Oz3sI6vo6l11YytkkyPn7cbmzDO9UL0EbRPLVeZ9y-Y/edit?usp=sharing
Tip of the Spear should be reversed, where Raptor Strikes increase the damage of Kill Command by X amount, stacking to 3 times. Might actually make Kill Command feel like it has some impact.
Personally I find melee hunter an awkward thing. This is for two reasons.

The first is that there are a lot of melee specs in the game (a dozen or so). I don't understand why some people seem to think that hunter needs to be able to play as a melee class when there are numerious other options to choose from already.

Secondly, survival is very difficult to include in raids and dungeons. It's a constant struggle to keep the right group composition in a raiding team. Melee classes greatly outnumber ranged classes and generally you want to have a few more ranged than melee. In a given situation where you have 7 melee and 7 ranged for your 14 dps in a raiding group, if Blizzard pushes a balance patch that makes survival very strong dps it will simply not be used because no raiding group can really afford to have their 3 hunters switch from ranged to melee and change the group balance to 10 melee 4 ranged.

This is why I think that survival hunter should be a primarily ranged class, or at least have the option to play as ranged via talents.

The only melee ability for surv at the moment is raptor strike. If this is replaced with a ranged attack (or a talent that replaces it as a ranged attack) it would be a possitive change for the class in my opinion. I do like the current flavour of surv in my testing though. It could be cool to give them a dps CD where they can deal large amounts of damage in melee for ~15 seconds (like Aspect of the Owl at the moment but in reverse. Maybe aspect of the raptor granting raptor strike during the CD?). It would be not a big problem to harpoon in, drop some mad melee dps for 15 seconds, then disengage out and spend the next 2 mins at range waiting for your cd to come around again.

This might actually result in survival a) having a unique playstyle to mm and bm b) having a strong class flavour and identity and c) actually being able to include them in a raid group.

If you don't believe me simply look at Legion. Surv was quite strong at several points in the expansion yet all the hunters in even semi serious raiding guilds still played marks, simply because it is a ranged spec and this is desirable.
04/26/2018 08:22 AMPosted by Urukhaii
Boooooy, you should see my PvP posts -- I bash Blizzard as much as anyone else. More than most.


Nonsense. Defending the GCD change alone makes you more defensive of Blizzard than most.

04/26/2018 08:22 AMPosted by Urukhaii
I do defend PvP templates (which many vocal people for some reason still can't understand) and the GCD change. Is it possible a long time player of the game and competitive PvPer might have a good understanding of the game, and a different one from a casual dragonslayer?

Cooldown stacking is bad, and Swifty macros are bad. The GCD change is fine, people crying all over the forums are mostly pampered carebears.


I understand the point of PvP templates and can fully support it. But I can also see where some of the angst comes from as I play Beast Mastery which has been purposefully and utterly screwed in instanced PvP by its stat template since 7.2.5 when we were quadruple-nerfed to worthlessness. Templates have the potential to be a great balancing tool but it doesn't change much when Blizzard sits on a bad template for the better part of a year.

I don't care what your PvP achievements are; your arguments are bad and the design decision you're defending is bad.

Cooldown stacking is a natural and logical result of having cooldowns at all. Cooldowns are, at their core, damage modifiers. Damage modifiers stack multiplicatively. That's a basic fact of cooldowns at all. So when you type something as rubbish as "cooldown stacking is bad" I can only assume you are literally arguing that cooldowns are bad.

But hey, cooldown dependence and one-shot macros can be a real problem. You know what they should do when Fury Warriors pop all their cooldowns at once to global people? Change Fury Warriors to be less cooldown dependent. Don't nerf the entire game as part of a lazy bandaid fix because the class developers can't be bothered to make any actual targeted tuning efforts. As a BM Hunter I do not have nor have I ever had any sort of "Swifty macro" yet on the Beta I am now spending a GCD on Crows, Bestial Wrath, and Aspect of the Wild. It damages the flow of the spec and ultimately makes it feel sluggish and less-powerful. There are several BETTER alternatives to fix "Swifty macros"; Blizzard just chose the simplest and laziest approach possible. Plus, it won't even stop cooldown stacking. It will still be beneficial to use all those cooldowns at once; you'll just have a ton of empty, unsatisfying globals now instead.

Cooldown macros are an excuse made up by Blizzard and its zealots on the forums like you in order to justify this atrocious solution looking for a problem. Ultimately this is just another Hazzikostas ego trip we'll have to endure. Remember no-flying?

Ranged Survival isn't coming back, dude.


If I said "melee for Hunters is never coming back" as of July 2015, one month before Legion was announced, I would have literally a decade of design bringing Hunters in a thoroughly and purely ranged direction backing me up. But all it took was a change in staff and a dash of melee favouritism to change a purely ranged spec into a purely melee one.

Here we stand 3 years later: Survival went melee and bombed hard. You can argue about that if you want but it will be a pointless argument that you will quickly lose. It bombed. End of story. In the very next expansion they are remaking it again, changing it to be almost entirely ranged except for one baseline rotational ability. You clearly don't make good bets often if you are betting n Survival staying melee forever.

04/26/2018 03:05 PMPosted by Axebane

Patch 5.0.4. That was when hunters stopped being able to equip melee weapons, so like 2012? More like 6 years? Mongoose Bite, Wing Clip, Raptor Strike were all for hunters and Deterrence and Counter Strike were Survival only during vanilla. Having had a Hunter since vanilla I remember A LOT of melee.


What? You know Survival in patch 4.0 and Survival in patch 5.0 had mostly the same playstyle? Survival didn't start being Survival only in 5.0 when it stopped having a melee weapon altogether. It's a playstyle that was in the works since the start. Survival never lacked a ranged weapon before Legion and every change made to it built towards that playstyle we saw in Cata/MoP/WoD. You know what Survival also had in Vanilla? Serpent Sting, Multi-Shot, Arcane Shot, and Concussive Shot: ranged abilities that it kept all the way up until Legion. Those melee abilities had no substanced and one-by-one faded as the expansions went on; by the time Cataclysm rolled around the melee weapon was almost functionally worthless altoghether and Survival had been ranged-focused for many years already by that point.

The only reason Hunters had melee was because Blizzard thought Hunters needed a minimum range to not be overpowered. Melee was a weakness, not a strength.
This surv is soooo much more fun than early beta. I really, really like certain talent setups and feel like my DPS is competitive. I love the playstyle and hope we move forward with a few QoL tweaks from here on out rather than total mechanic changes.
04/24/2018 03:50 PMPosted by Axebane
those that want to be survival and shoot

Good idea. Change Tip of the Spear to "Raptor Shot" where Raptor Strike basically becomes a ranged ability. Then maybe make it also change Wing Clip and Muzzle to Conc Shot and Counter Shot too. Voila! Now we have a ranged Survival again! Then we just gotta work on fitting Explosive Shot and Black Arrow into the talent tree somewhere and then every Hunter can rejoice!

04/24/2018 03:50 PMPosted by Axebane
('cause marksman and even beast mastery isn"t enough?)


Nope. Only 2 ranged weapon specs in the game? Are you kidding me? Why do you need melee SV? Are Frost, Unholy, Havoc, Feral, Windwalker, Retribution, Assassination, Outlaw, Subtlety, Enhancement, Arms and Fury not enough?
I’d really like to see some of the ranged abilities switch over to melee attacks when you harpoon in. Keep the attacks as is but just change the name/animation. I’m sure Blizz could figure that out.
*Posting this in all Hunter feedback threads*

Please take this opportunity to add Growl to the Pet Bar. With a new expansion on the horizon and another round of people boosting new characters, please PLEASE add Growl to the Pet Bar so that they know that it exists and therefore know to turn it off. I have read far too many sob stories from new Hunters that got stuck in bad groups who just yelled at them for not knowing about Growl vs educating them on its proper usage.
04/26/2018 11:31 AMPosted by Arctos
WoW is a game with a series of rapid fire decisions. Evaluate the circumstances around you and then decide what you are going to do.

From the Q&A. If that's the case, why are so many of survival's decisions being removed? Our only baseline aoe is part of our ST rotation so we don't really have to decide to aoe, it just happens naturally. Where is the decision in that?

Having to decide between doing more damage or having more sustain/mitigation, like a DK choosing to spend RP on death coil or death strike? Gone, your sustain is always on because of mastery.

Banking mongoose charges and trying to maximize each fury window? Gone, now you're a generic build/dump focus spec.

I only have a few issues with Legion Survival. The first, and biggest, is the terrible level 15 talents. AI should be baseline and WotMN needs to go. New talents could solve that.

The second is Raptor Strike lacking purpose without WotMN. The simple fix is make it a focus builder.

My third issue is terrible trap placing mechanics. Blizzard needs to allow @target macros for traps. @player and @cursor macros get most by, but this would be a huge QOL fix. They just don't seem to get that players don't like having to click abilities twice to make them work.

My final issue was that Caltrops and Steel Trap replaced utility traps. The fix is what they did with Steel Trap in BfA. Just make the talent its own ability.

I guess my point is they could take the Legion design and make minor tweaks to make it incredibly more fun and less micromanaged. Instead it's dumbed down and requires almost no thought now. I agree with you that the current play at it's core is thousands of times better than what BfA is giving players.

04/26/2018 11:31 AMPosted by Arctos
Smaller benefits have been rolled into the baseline functionality of spells and talents and the team isn't done with this part yet.

So like hellcarver oh wait you pruned carve.

I am still hoping Blizzard wakes up and adds Carve back into SV's abilities. There is designing strengths and weaknesses in a spec, and then there is bad design. Survival has such a bad AOE design that it will get passed up in higher mythic + groups for DPS with better AOE.

04/29/2018 02:01 AMPosted by Baaguk6B6842
This was the only good part of the old Barrage, you were always playing a mini-game with yourself to see how many you could hit in the cone this run and plan a standing spot to be at, etc...

The difference with Barrage is you have some distance and the cone uses the player as the tip. WFB uses the point of impact so enemies standing in an arc (typically how AI has mobs wrap their target) get missed by the cone.

04/30/2018 03:28 PMPosted by Talonclaw
I’d really like to see some of the ranged abilities switch over to melee attacks when you harpoon in. Keep the attacks as is but just change the name/animation. I’m sure Blizz could figure that out.

There is no reason for this. It will just over complicate action bars and cause player lag as abilities constantly try to switch back and forth. A lot of players seem to think that SV is becoming some ranged/melee hybrid. That is not the case. The abilities that have range, are that way for utility and game mechanic purposes only. You will still be in melee combat 90+% of fights. The times you are forced out of melee, you Aspect of the Eagle and continue DPS at range. There is no jumping in for Raptor Strike and then jump out for ranged attacks. Doing that will result in terrible DPS.
04/29/2018 09:12 PMPosted by Xhal
Tip of the Spear should be reversed, where Raptor Strikes increase the damage of Kill Command by X amount, stacking to 3 times. Might actually make Kill Command feel like it has some impact.

I thought similarly while playing around with TotS. I think the issue arises that it could punish you for taking advantage of Kill Command resets and feel bad.

I'd replace the talent outright, though. Lacerate, perhaps? Replacing Serpent Sting, having a heavier Focus cost, higher bleed damage over a longer duration? Would feel nice with Bloodseeker, since multi-dotting would directly reward you with attack speed.
I am still hoping Blizzard wakes up and adds Carve back into SV's abilities. There is designing strengths and weaknesses in a spec, and then there is bad design. Survival has such a bad AOE design that it will get passed up in higher mythic + groups for DPS with better AOE.

The funniest part? The absolute funniest part, per the unholy thread?
Giving Unholy a way to deal convert Runic Power into AOE damage, especially outside of Death and Decay windows was the goal here. This change to Epidemic hopefully flows better: DnD -> Scourge Strikes -> Lots of Runic Power -> DnD ends -> Epidemic.

They're giving unholy a way to convert RP into AOE damage on demand (meaning no cd, direct damage) while taking away survival's ability to convert focus into AOE damage. Instead SV is going to WFB windows, or at best, butchery windows every 45 seconds, with some passive rot from serpent sting on the side.
For AoE, The Guerrilla Tactics talent definitely needs to allow our Wildfire Bomb attack and Wildfire Infusion to stack our bombs on a target/group of targets. At least with Wildfire Bomb and GT add a second Dot to increase damage and duration after the initial hit.
04/30/2018 06:10 PMPosted by Arctos
The funniest part? The absolute funniest part, per the unholy thread?
Giving Unholy a way to deal convert Runic Power into AOE damage, especially outside of Death and Decay windows was the goal here. This change to Epidemic hopefully flows better: DnD -> Scourge Strikes -> Lots of Runic Power -> DnD ends -> Epidemic.

They're giving unholy a way to convert RP into AOE damage on demand (meaning no cd, direct damage) while taking away survival's ability to convert focus into AOE damage. Instead SV is going to WFB windows, or at best, butchery windows every 45 seconds, with some passive rot from serpent sting on the side.

It struck me very odd that SV had no spammable AOE back at the very first alpha datamined build. At this point it’s literally killing the spec when compared to other DPS.

For SV’s only baseline AOE, the terrible cone mechanic of WFB using it reliably for AOE is extremely tedious and no other class has to deal with anything like it.

It sucks.
Just change the name/icon of KC to Flanking Strike and make the animation in melee = Live flanking strike animation. When ranged, use the current KC animation.

Then just rename the existing Flanking Strike to something else.
Wing Clip still costs as much as Raptor Strike - double the cost of disable and triple the cost of hamstring.
04/26/2018 08:22 AMPosted by Urukhaii
I'm especially more inclined to judge you in this way because I've seen you ardently defending anything Blizzard does without exception or condition in any thread you can on the alpha forums, even including the utterly ridiculous global cooldown change. You seriously need to re-evaluate how you view Blizzard. It's a company, not a close friend or family member.


Boooooy, you should see my PvP posts -- I bash Blizzard as much as anyone else. More than most.

I do defend PvP templates (which many vocal people for some reason still can't understand) and the GCD change. Is it possible a long time player of the game and competitive PvPer might have a good understanding of the game, and a different one from a casual dragonslayer?

Cooldown stacking is bad, and Swifty macros are bad. The GCD change is fine, people crying all over the forums are mostly pampered carebears.

04/26/2018 06:31 AMPosted by Bepples
Ranged Survival could do all of this to a far greater capacity. This is a playstyle that lends itself well to a ranged spec, not a melee one. If this is what is special about the spec for you then melee is a hindrance and not a strength.


Ranged Survival isn't coming back, dude.


You're a shill, first and foremost.

You can't even post on your main to prove you're a "high rated PvPer".

Just like every other shill the only thing you bring up when defending the GCD change is LOL HURR DURRR SWIFTY MACROS LOL. Ignoring the fact that defensives are also back on the GCD as well as some tank mitigation.

Go away.
SV seems like raptor strike spam no matter how you spec. Wtb another rotational ability to go with it, even if it's throwing axes or a regular ole stabby, I'll take it. Please.. just tired of spam one ability while serp and bomb tick.

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