Friday, June 14, 2013

Are Hunters OP in PvP?

I was reading a post, well many really, on the forums about how OP hunters are in PvP and how they need nerfs.  I contend just as I always have that those words are about as far from the truth as if I were to tell you 2 plus 2 is 17.  There is no basis in fact, not even loosely interpreted, that would make anyone believe that hunters are OP in PvP in the hands of anyone outside of the most expert of player.

So the real question is this.  Should hunters continue to be nerfed if the best of the best players are capable of getting a lot out of them?

Your average hunter in PvP is not going to be dominating any group quickly as they are one button wonders at best.  The lesser than average skilled PvP, like myself, might be able to take some classes one on one if we can gain some sense of control but would never win against any class as long as they have at least minimal PvP skills even with a one button burst macro.

There was a phrase first started a long time ago in reference to hunters in PvP.  Easy to play, hard to master.  And that is exactly the case.  Are all these people crying on the forums about how OP hunters just unlucky and running into the few, extremely few, good hunters?

Lets take a look at a post Cynwise made on June 1st of this year, only a few days ago, before the recent span of nerfs.  I will remind you these forum posts I am talking about are all after these huge PvP nerfs to hunters.  So the numbers posted in Cynwise's post are actually better than what they would be now after the nerfs.

I am going to share one image from the post to follow and I suggest people take a look at the post before just automatically assuming hunters are OP because one beat you in PvP.

Image taken from Cynwise's post : Class Distribution Data from Path 5.3.

Please take a moment to read the post I linked above, the one that the image came from.

Now lets take a moment to take a quick look at that image and see what information we can gather from it.

There are more hunters in the game than another other class.  Only paladins have more of their class at max level percentage wise and that is only by a scant .02% more.

So with this data we can say with absolute certainty that there are more level 90 hunters than their are of every other class basically.  Looking at hunter usage in heroic raiding you will see that they are middle of the pack really with mages, DKs, locks near their same representation and warriors monks and rogues being considerably less.  You can even consider that hunters need a buff in PvE considering that.  How could a class have so many more than other classes at max level and not seeing at least an equal representation in raiding when comparing how many of them more there are percentage wise?  But now to to topic, PvP, and hunter representation there.

I will quote a deduction Cynwise made in that post which while only one line basically echos what I am saying here.  "Hunters: Underrepresented in PvE, dramatically underrepresented in PvP."

Hunters have the absolute lowest representation in PvP at a higher skill level than any other class in the game excluding one, the newly introduced monk.

Now to ask people that are crying a serious question. 

If the better PvP players, the ones that play to win and play for rank are not playing the most widely played class in the game and the most widely leveled class in the game, how OP can they really be?

When the people that play to win do not play them they are not OP.  If they were OP then the people that play to win would surely play them wouldn't they?  Hunters represent a dismal 6.3%, nearly a full point behind rogues and only above the newly added monks which sit at 3%.

Let me explain basic math and logic to the people that might have issues understanding it.  In a world of pure balance percentage wise things would remain consistent throughout all aspects of the game.  Only druids seem to maintain what could loosely be considered a balance at all levels according to those numbers. 

If one class was over powered you would see a large percentage boost in that area.  This is because people play to win and if they have that class they will play it.  Looking at those numbers and comparing the at 90 percentages with the 1800 rating ones you will clearly see that priests are amazingly over powered.  So much so that they are almost to the point where they double up.  Shaman are the next highest increased representation class.  Saying priest are OP in PvP has some numbers to back it up.

Where are those OP hunters one might ask?  Dead last (outside of monks).  For a class that basically has more at max level than any other class to have such a minor showing in end game PvP is about as close to proof that they are not as OP as people might try to lead you to believe.

So why is there all this crying on the forums that hunters are OP?

I can tell you exactly where that comes from.  Beastmastery burst damage.  It makes them one button wonders.  So why does that not translate to the 1800+ numbers?  Because the better players know how to counteract that burst.  If it was not capable of being countered those people that play to win at a higher bracket would surely be taking advantage of that to win.

The only people that are complaining about hunters being OP are, please excuse me if this sounds elitist, bad players.  The people complaining just do not have the skills that better players do to counteract the issues with the burst.  They are either caught by surprise, forced to use their defensive abilities earlier so they are incapable of countering it, or are not skilled enough to handle it.  That is it.

The basic fact that at the high end the representation of hunters is so low proves that using that one button wonder approach does not work against the good players.  Feel free to correct my if I am wrong as I am not a PvP player but looking at the numbers, actual numbers, it is the only conclusion I can come to as to why there are so few end game hunters.  It is because they are not OP in PvP, not even in the slightest.

So am I trying to say that hunters need a buff?  Yes and no actually.

Yes, they do need a PvP (and PvE) buff because as the numbers show they really are lacking.  And no, because in the hands of a truly skilled player hunters are amazing in PvP already as it is and it has absolutely nothing to do with their burst.

Yes, you heard it hear first.  Hunters can be extremely over powered in PvP in the hands of a very skilled player and it is not because of the burst.  It is not because of the one thing everyone is complaining about.  It is because they have a huge toolbox for control, a fair amount of movement cooldowns, the ability to move all the time while continuing pressure and an unlimited resource as well as a built in distraction that functions as an active DoT affectionately known as fluffy or spot or whatever you decide to call your flesh hungry instrument of death.

But OP?  Not even close to OP.  Not in the hands of the average player, not even in the hands of a good player.  The skill cap for a hunter is insane.  You would have a better chance trying to three box a boomkin arena team to any measure of success than you would being able to play a hunter at the top skill level.  Triboxing would be easier.

The reason they can not buff hunters is because of that huge skill cap required to be truly great.  The few great hunters in the game would become unstoppable killing machines if they buffed hunters so the lesser skilled, like me, or the no skilled, like the people crying on the forums, could actually become effectively good.

Basically the only time hunters are OP at max level is at the absolute lowest skill level.  It works for me because if I ever decide to PvP that is where I fit.  The lower skill level.  But once I run into better players it becomes a matter of I need to learn to play better or get my ass handed to me.  And that is exactly what I have to say to those people crying on the forums that hunters are OP.  They are not, it is just a case of you need to get better or you will keep getting your ass handed to you.

Lets face it, if you are letting a hunter beat you with one button the problem is not them being over powered, the problem is you needing to learn how to play better.

Now if you run into a hunter that is chain CCing a group of three all at once while he picks you off, that is an extremely skilled hunter.  Just sit back and relax and watch the poetry in motion as you watch them play the hardest class in the game to master in PvP at a level that 99% of the player base could not even dream to attain.  Don't cry for them to be nerfed, admire the fact that you got to watch how awesome hunters are in the hands of a great player because you will rarely if ever get to see that because they are so hard to play at that skill level.

In the hands of the extremely skilled hunters can be OP but those are few and far between.  But please, stop with the stampede makes them OP BS, it is wrong, just flat out wrong.  Hunters are not OP.  Just look at the numbers if you don't believe me.  Do those numbers show a class as being OP?  Not in a million years.  If anything they show a class in desperate need of some serious buffs not nerfs.

So to answer the question, are hunters OP in PvP?  Yes, and 2 plus 2 is 17.


  1. about damned time you post, you. Cynwise's post is what I read when it was posted. Thats why I have been a soapbox about 5.4 and stampede. I just can't say it as elegantly as you can you silver-tongued little devil. :D

    But a brillant flash of thought just came and left. What if this is the way for Blizzard to remove as many hunters as possible to a different class? Man, oh man, where does this shyt in me brainpan come from? :D

    stay frosty...

    1. I had believed that blizzard had a secret agenda to try and remove hunters from the game but even if they were not viable in PvE and PvP completely I still would love mine. :)

    2. same here. I just supported a p&p game (Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls) on Kickstarter. My toon that will appear in the game manual is me - "Roo" with me brown pandarian cat - Meggie. If thats not hunter love, I don't know what is. :D

      As far as being viable - sure they are, just stop messing with them. Ok, take care.

    3. That is awesome. I was going to do that with the wasteland 2 game being I am a fan of it but I found out about it too late.

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    1. Disc rules. I leveled my first priest as disc through PvP entirely. That was before atonement. Now it is even better.

      Op is over powered. As in, they are impossible to beat. Usually the people complaining a class is OP is someone that easily got beat by that class at lower skill levels and instead of trying to learn to get better they cry for nerfs.

      I never post on forums. I complain here. :)

      I might not be much of a PvPer but as a hunter I could do that one button wonder and destroy any person that is not a decent PvPer one on one.

      Yes, they have that burst. But as the numbers show, once you reach higher levels and the other classes are more skilled, that burst becomes useless. Hence we do not see hunters represented in higher levels of PvP.

      But back to my lame PvP skills. I will still say I have not ever met a retribution paladin that could touch me. Even before the days of that hutner burst. If there is one combo that is OP it is hunter vs paladin. The paladin might as well just knell over and die to save them both time.

    2. I actually found that paladin vs hunter is a no-brainer. Even back in Wrath, the only way to defeat me was to drain my mana. A paladin that loses to a hunter has no idea how to use hands, stuns and dazes and especially bubble to counter burst, leaving them no cooldowns.

    3. No paladin could beat a hunter and it has nothing to do with skill (for the most part, extremely skilled players do change things). It has to do with class design. There is no way for a paladin to close the gap. Even the best paladin in the game will be kited to death by a hunter that knows how to kite. And now that hunters can attack while moving doing that is no longer the skill it used to be.

      I always hated fighting paladins because they were nothing more then pests that wasted my time. You can't win so why bother?

      I remember this one time in AB when this paladin attacked and dismoutned me in the middle of nowhere. It took a long time, because to kill a paladin you basically need to kill them three times, but I killed him, same as I did every single paladin I have ever run into in PvP. At the end of the fight I was at roughly 60% life. I mounted back up, without healing, to head to where I should be. No reason to fight in the open map. The paladin came back and caught me and dismounted me again. We went through the whole dance once more. I kited him until I killed him and the fight ended with me at 40% life roughly. I mounted again, he caught me again and dismounted me, and we danced once more. I killed him once more, this time at low life, less than 10%. Again I did not bother healing. Guess what? Yeap, he came at me once more. This time I dismissed my pet and just stood there. Kill me so I can get on with the freaking battleground. It is fun once, after that it is just a general annoyance.

      This is just one example of my experiences with paladins in PvP on my hunter. Perhaps I have never run into any top flight paladins but I have run into many PvPers, as in fully geared PvP gear, so that means they at least do PvP, and I have never met a paladin in my life that could beat me and I am a bad PvPer with limited skill and experience. I just happen to be a quite decent PvEer and knew how to kite and control and any hunter that knows how to do that will never have any problems with a paladin.

  3. Not to start something, but Hunters have kind of a social stigma in PvP circles, being only fit for roflstomping twinks that like griefing newbies. In a game where people get e.g. rediculously upset over Mounts and the color-code of Gear, this is a factor.

    As for more cut-and-dry reasons: because the class is so forgiving at earlier levels, the game in general not helping much, either, and the bloatedness/clutter of the class at end game, many Hunters who believed they were hot stuff turn out not to be that at cap PvP, and those players that can reach high ranks tend to prefer more 'action bar effecient' classes as a cluttered bar, no matter how many macros and what not, is always less preferable than a smoother one due to the split-second decisions etc. (DPS Shamans used to suffer from this as well, no idea how it is nowadays at cap)

    1. Never thought of it as people were switching not because they were not as good but because something else was just more button efficient. That is quite possible.

  4. I'm not sure if I buy the argument that something that is OP at lower skill levels is somehow justified because a player could "simply get better." Broken is broken. If something like Shield Slam is dominating the 10-19 bracket due to scaling issues or whatever, I would still expect Blizzard to fix it, even though simply leveling out of the bracket "solves" the issue.

    By definition, some people are never going to get out of the 1800 bracket. Hell, the vast, vast majority of people won't. Does that mean they deserve to be stuck facing triple-trinket one-button macro burst because... why?

    If you want to preserve or improve 1800+ Hunter numbers, great, that's something I can get behind. Go tweak the upper numbers somehow. But suggesting one having to play 100x better than one's opponent as an adequate balancing mechanism on the lower end is just asinine. The skill curve is supposed to be smooth. Remember when paladins could use Divine Shield and Avenging Wrath at the same time? That sort of nonsense is broken no matter what paladin representation is at.

    1. They need to do a better job of scaling skills to levels. Hunters are low levels are a joke. They can almost one shot most other classes and are gods in low level battle ground. And disc priests are insane, healing and damage in good numbers and a shield that is higher than your total life for a long time. Meaning that if you want to kill a priest you need to kill them twice in 15 seconds or they will just shield and heal up again while doing damage to you.

      They can never balance low level and high level unless they make all abilities scale to level better.

      I still do not think it was right to nerf something that had such a huge impact on PvE for a PvP reason. There had to be another fix then to screw over the main game for a side game that is not even at cap, so to speak.

      If they leave the OP low level hunters and priest they can leave the low bracket one button wonders. If they are going to "fix" the one button wonders, then fix the low level hunters and priest.

      They need to either do everything or do nothing. Not pick and choose who do we fuck over this week.

  5. I get that a lot of the hate towards hunters is undeserved and I get that many people are simply joining the whine bandwagon. A lot of people on the official forums, for example, still insist on nerfing stampede (lol, I suspect they will continue whining even if Blizzard turn stampede into a pure visual effect, with no real effect on anything).

    But some of the whine towards hunters in 5.x (more so in 5.1 and 5.3, less in 5.2) is justified.

    First off, I don't think the numbers on hunter representation in PVP you cite are correct. I get that there is only one global source for this kind of data - the armory, and that this is what Cynwise used, but, well, I can't reconcile these numbers with what I see in arenas day in and day out at all. More than half of the teams that I meet in 5.3 have a hunter. If you look at the streams, you'll see the same picture.

    My guess is that the armory is just a bad source for this kind of data (and since this is the only source, we are basically screwed). I can see several reasons. For example, a lot of the teams at 1800+ are just throwaway teams. People create a team, try something, then disband and either restart "for real" (eg, for good winrate) or move on to something else. If you open the armory and look at the rosters of top teams, you'll see that many 3v3s consist of only one or two guys. That's some of those throwaway teams. One can argue that hunters are no more likely to leave such teams than others, and so it all evens out, but think about it: if about half of all data you have is, basically, garbage (throwaway teams shouldn't count, of course, and yes, there is a lot of them), and you have no clear method to separate garbage from non-garbage (most 3v3 teams with one guy are throwaway, but having three guys is absolutely *not* enough to not be throwaway), what kind of error bars you are going to have on the results of your analysis? Especially when the number of data points is not huge to begin with. And throwaway teams are just one thing, there are several other things here.

    It would perhaps be better to analyze the results of all played arena matches for a month or so, but Blizzard does not expose this kind of data (which is sad, they used to, although that was still in conjunction to arena teams).

    Anyway, the problem with hunters in my opinion (talking about BM) is this: BM hunters have hugh burst that is *very* easy for a hunter to put, but almost impossible for the entire enemy team to counter. Burst from other specs you can avoid. Burst from BM hunters - nah. You *can* avoid it as a team, but you are going to go nuts doing this, and you will neglect your other duties doing this.

    Now, if, in addition to his high burst, a BM hunter only learns how to control a single target (not talking about advanced chains here, just use your control abilities on CD, and pay attention to Gladius so that your control does not overlap / diminish control from your teammates -- you don't even have to be on voice chat, just look at Gladius and that's it), that's all he needs to do to get 1800-2000. Other specs have it much worse, they have to do a lot more than just do burst once in a while / use control abilities on a single target chosen in the flag room on CD, to get the same rating. This is the problem with BM hunters.

    1. I hear everyone say that. Hunter teams are all over the place. I am not saying you are lying, but being I do not see it myself I have to believe the data that is collected and that shows that hunters are under represented.

      As the saying goes, you can't not argue facts. And if these numbers are accurate, which I am not going to say they are 100% certainly, but I am taking them as such, then there are not many high end hunters. You are just in a bad batch and maybe even running into the same team over and over.

      I do the arena league every year, yes even as a non pvper, and last year I got the same triple hunter team 6 times in a row. We lost the first 5, won the 6th once we worked a plan. But would I say that everyone on the arena server was a hunter? Nope. Just unlucky.

      As for the BM thing, that is why they took intimidation away from them, shortened pet CC and now are removing silencing shot from them. Yet they screwed two other specs with the stampede and silencing shot thing. That is what I complain about. If something is wrong with BM fix BM, don't screw with 2 other specs at the same time in an effort to fix them.

  6. After looking further into the graphs presented, this assertion by you is hilariously wrong:

    When the people that play to win do not play them they are not OP. If they were OP then the people that play to win would surely play them wouldn't they?

    6 of the top 10 teams in 3v3 have a hunter. Indeed, the 1st and 2nd best teams in the world have a hunter in them.

    "High skill ceiling, blah blah blah." If Stampede can be easily countered at the upper end of the skill spectrum, then by definition it really isn't a nerf to PvP that actually matters, now is it? Instead, it's a nerf to PvP at the low end, the sub-1800 bracket, which means it's only a nerf to bad hunters. See? The "bad players don't matter" argument goes both ways.

    By the way, the 1800+ PvP graph is exceptionally misleading considering it is including 2v2. When you select 3v3, Hunters at 1800+ suddenly leap to 11.9%. Hunters at 2000+ are 13.1%. Hunters at 2200+ are 12.8%.

    So, actually, you should be asking for hunters to be nerfed.

    1. Thanks for the added info. I go why the numbers presented because I do not PvP myself. As I saw it, they seemed extremely under represented and I was drawing my conclusions from that.

      I will note however that saying 6 of the top 10 teams have them do they must still be good is misleading.

      Just because NBC has the top rated television show does not mean they network is doing well. If you catch what I am getting at.

      For hunters it is easier because of the one button wonder. Even a horrible hunter at PvP, like myself, could make it look easy. Doesn't mean it is.

      However, using your numbers the 1800+ is nearly dead on with the other areas over over all hunters and at 90 hunters. So that is fine. The 2200 I can see an argument for the needing a nerf but that has to do more with control than burst. Even as someone that does not PvP I know that at that level control matters more than anything else and hunters are the masters of that. However, unlike other classes, a hunter is much harder to play at that level. So I say offer congrats to those that can do it and lets see if they can stay there once 5.4 comes and hunters lose even more of out control abilities.

      But once again I will go back to what I have been saying from the beginning, nerfs, rightfully or not, for PvP should NEVER effect PvE. The stampede nerf effected PvE and I do not give a hell what it means to PvPers but it should never have been changed for such a ridiculous reason. They could have just changed how it worked in an arena and been done with it.

      Again, thanks for giving me more numbers to look at. The more data you have the better it is when trying to form an opinion on them.

  7. I know you've gone to lengths researching all this info, but could you explain how my wife who plays on average about 3 hours a week with no pvp gear...can join a lvl90 battleground cos she's bored of questing.

    i watched gobsmacked as she ran closer to 3 hordies on a flag...attacks deathknight 3 hits he's dead just to make sure she unleashed 5 pets, then turns here attention to the priest and the warrior who have been chasing her, 99% of players would strategically try take the healer kill warrior pets still up and down goes priest then the warrior, this all happen in about 10-15 seconds. my response was..."and you ask me how to play the game?"..."it would take me about 7minutes with pallytank to get a deathknight down to 20% then i'd have to stun n run off!" lol

    1. she was alone...all the others were fighting for the blacksmith, can't remember map name long time since did battleground. she just went on her tod to the farm flag closest to horde start area.

    2. Sometimes luck it more important. It is quite possible she does have some "skill" at the game even if she asks you for help and she doesn't even notice it. The people might have been less skilled or less geared.

      I am not much of a PvPer myself but I too have occasionally ran across people I just destroy. I usually chalk it up to they had less gear than I or that I caught them completely unprepared.

      The downing people in 3 seconds is interesting because with base resil now that will almost never happen unless the person is wearing super crappy gear and you are in max level gear. And even at that it would be rare.

      Maybe she just got lucky.