Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Basic Classes of Warcraft Need Help

Zell over at Unwavering Sentinel made a post yesterday about how ghostcrawler mentioned that hunters were on the block for a make over yet his class, the warrior, which is in desperate need of a make over remains for the most part untouched and unspoken about.

As a hunter main of course I must take to the defense of my class and why we are deserving of a revamp but I can not argue anything he has to say about warriors.  He is 100% correct in saying that they are in a very bad place.  I play a warrior as an alt, I have tanked on my warrior, I used to play with perhaps the greatest warrior tank I have ever seen in the game, I know people that have been warriors since vanilla that have quit because of warriors being basically forgotten.  So it is not like I am oblivious to warrior concerns.

The point is, why do they just have to do hunters, why can they not do all the basic classes of warcraft.  While it is just an opinion I believe the basic classes of warcraft to be (tank) warrior, (healer) priest, (melee) rogue, (caster) mage and (ranged) hunter.

If you look at that list three of those five are the most often talked about as in need of a revamp.  Actually it seems like the only three classes we hear talked about lately as in need of a revamp are those three, the hunter, the rogue and the warrior.

Zell goes on to use some charts made by Cynwise as proof that hunters should not get any attention as they are the most, or one of the most, popular class in the game.  He seems to discount that popularity and actual usage mean two completely different things.

Budwiser is the number one selling beer in the united states and it is quite possibly one of the worst beers on the market.  The reason it is the number one selling beer is advertising, ease of access as every single store carries it, and it is usually a cheaper price than the better beers.  Being number one does not mean it is in a good place.

That is exactly were hunter are.  They are easy to level, killer in low level battle grounds, great gathers which makes them ideal for secondary profession alts, good soloers, and over all a decent class.  The are easy to play but hard to master, however you can get very far with that easy to play zone and that is why some people like them.

Also, these facts are all well known which basically means advertising makes them popular, just like budwiser.  So when someone wants to make a profession alt, a double gather, or something easy to just play around with and maybe solo once in a while, hunters are a very popular choice.  But like budwiser, just because they are number one, does not mean they are good.

I can go over the issues with rogues and warriors that can show they deserve some class spanning changes but over all I would be in a much better place to go over why I believe hunters are in need of something sweeping as a class as I play them more often so I am more versed in the ins and outs of them.

1) Bad Scaling:

Hunters usually start off a tier in an okay place but as the tier goes on and people get gear they start to fall in the ranking because they do not scale well with secondary stats.  A redesign of how secondary stats are handled for hunters to better smooth out their place in the standings so they do not dip as gear levels go up would be a nice start in the redesign of hunters.

When Patch 5.4 came out if you did an ordos group you would see the top 5 damage dealers as hunters.  Week two, as people started to get some gear, some of the better hunters might be able to hold on to a top 5 spot but most others start to drift, maybe of those previous 5 that were top 5 only 2 would be top 5 now. By the third week as more people were getting gear maybe one of those original top 5 people are even in the top 10 any longer.

It is not that hunters are having bad luck with gear, or the hunters are just getting worse while everyone else is getting better.  It is that when a hunter picks up a few hundred crit and a few hundred haste and maybe even a couple of hundred mastery it might mean a 3 or 4K increase where a feral druid picking up the same exact stats would mean a 8 or 10K increase for them.

It is all about bad secondary stat scaling.  That is why as patches move on, hunters move down.  It has nothing to do with the ability of the person at the keyboard or their luck, bad or good, with getting new gear.  It is that the gear upgrades mean more to every other class in the game.

To create real balance for hunters they need to scale better with gear.  Hunters asking to be #1 on the charts are not asking because they want to be #1, they are asking because they know if they are #1 at the start they will end up middle of the pack or even lower middle of the pack once everyone is geared up.  All hunters are asking for is a fair shake, not for the #1 spot locked in forever.  Just not #1 at one item level and #16 when you are talking only 13 item levels higher.  Balance, that is all they are asking for.  If hunters where 8 and stayed 8 they could deal with it.  A hell of a lot more than being #1 for a short time and #16 for a long time.  This is all because of secondary stat scaling.

2) Button Bloat:

Button bloat isn't just about having a lot of abilities.  That is a common misconception among many people that hear the term, hunters too.  They do not realize why some hunters, myself included, complain about button bloat.  It is not that we have more to hit that is the problem it is because we have more to hit that makes what we hit feel less important.

Because there are so many buttons and blizzard is trying to make them all worthwhile to use that means that the average damage value per button and focus has to make anything with a cooldown worth using but not so powerful that it would be over powered in PvP.  This has the effect that every ability feels the same.  Even if one ability is more important than the other they are so close in value that it doesn't feel like it is a big deal.

In a way it is why even a bad hunter can seem decent as long as they are hitting something all the times.  Even if they are hitting the "wrong" abilities they can come off as looking like they are doing okay.  Sure a good hunter will be significantly better than the bad one hitting anything, but the anything hunter will not come off as horrible as the anything warlock because the warlock actually has some abilities that hit like a truck whereas everything the hunter has hits like a wet noodle.  If he hunter forget noodle number two and hits noodle number one an extra time he might lose 4K but if a warlock forget chaos blot they could lose 40K.  Abilities that hit harder matter more and for hunters with so many buttons there are not really any options that hit hard enough to every notice a huge difference.

That is all thanks to button bloat and one other thing that is rarely mentioned.  Auto shot damage being so high is another thing that makes the button bloat issue even worse.  Because auto shot damage is so high that means there is less damage to add to used abilities and that lowers them to the point where they are closer to each other and all seem to hit like a wet noodle.

In my most recent test (not really a test) of auto shot only yesterday while talking on vent moonfang spawned.  I right clicked on him and that was all I did.  At the end of the fight I was sitting at 72K.  Of course those numbers are off because of the legendary cloak proc and the high amount of adds there, but even without that I would say that it had to be close to 60K just doing auto shot.

If my auto shot damage was indeed around 60K (with my pet too) and my simmed DPS with no buffs, as that was the state I was in, is 175K, that means that over 1/3 of my damage done comes from doing nothing but right clicking on a mob.  Yes, this is faulty data because all my trinkets procced on the pull and there was some AoE from the cloak and the fight was really fast so there was not a lot of time for the damage to die down from its high point of 128K (yes with just auto shot) on the pull when all my trinkets went off.  But the fact that auto shot played such a huge part in my numbers (combined with survival pet damage) it leaves less for the "big" abilities to do.

This is why there needs to be fewer buttons, to make the bigger buttons bigger, and the filler buttons filler instead of on par with everything else.  It would make abilities feel more powerful which makes the class feel more "fun" instead of just having every single button you press hit for 60-90K and it starts to feel as what you hit doesn't even matter making the play style boring.

3) Specs:

The three hunter specs used to have identity.  The button bloat helped remove a lot of that because all classes just became hit whatever was best that was available while saving focus for our so called big shot that really isn't all that big.

All specs play that exact same way now.  Not like there was much of a difference in hunter specs before, lets face it, there really wasn't.  But what little difference they had, like marksman being the only spec that could refresh serpent sting and they all can now, or survival having traps mean a lot more to them than the other classes but they mean to same to everyone now.  It just seems that the little things that made each spec its own entity aren't there like they used to be.

A little redesign to give them all identity again would be nice.  Same could be said, and has been said, about the rogue.  Both the rogue and the hunter have the same problem however.  Even when making things different they are still basically the same.  Go stabby stabby or go pew pew, nothing really is all that different.

The specs can use some individuality again.  While there is still some of it they all seem to share the same rotation.  Keep sting up, hit those new bloat buttons on cooldown, use steady/cobra for focus, arcane for dump and make sure you have enough focus for your big shots when they are off cooldown.

Someone could argue, and I could not really disagree, that it is the same for every class in the game.  Maybe it is, maybe even if things were changed it would still be the same rotation, but some sort of change to add some individual feel to the class like they did with all three warlock specs, would be nice.

But Warriors...

So while I gave three reasons I think hunters are deserving those three reasons could basically fit any class in the game.  So while I do not agree that hunters should be forgotten because they are the most played class in the game.  They do have a lot of glaring problems and the fact that many players have a hunter at max for one reason or another as the stats might show, it isn't a reason to ignore those issues.

Warriors however are in a sad place.  The basic class of warcraft, the class you think of when you hear a tank.  They are the fantasy image of what a tank should be and they are the second class citizen of tanking now.  Everything warriors can do other classes can do better.  Just looking at healing alone, all other tank classes can fight and heal all day long but the poor warrior is left to die with limited healing and rage generation that makes even the most rune starved DK think he is swimming in runes.

Warriors are not just in a bad place, they are in the forgotten place.  Tanking and damage dealing they are just left out.  The hunters might be hurting in scaling, bloat and specs but they are not really in all that bad of a place when compared to where warriors are sitting right now.  Does that mean warriors should get the attention over hunters?  Not at all.

Why can't they just redo all the basic classes of warcraft that still need it?  Warriors, Rogue and Hunters.


  1. Hunters get screwed over by PvP. Everytime we get an ability that hits like a train we get nerfed, and in the end we end up with 12 buttons that do the exact same damage + or - 10%.

    The last round of changes saw Kill Command (BM) drastically improve but the rest are definitely wet noodles. In fact get rid of all the buttons and have a Hunter skill called wet noodle.

    Warriors are terrible to play and you are right about the Rage mechanic. The bar is never full and it empties quicker than the gas tank on a Sports Car and never fills up again. Having all the self healing tied in with the need to keep hitting more and more adds is ok for Levelling but terrible at level cap.

    I am not sure all the class revamps work properly. Warlocks seem to kill mobs just by looking at them (dead in 3 spells) even a mage would envy that power.

    1. I think a lot of the PvP issues hinge on the fact that we can constantly keep pressure on people while moving even if we hit no buttons because of auto shot damage.

      I tanked the celestial boss yesterday on my warrior. I never had enough rage to use my shield ability, the 60 rage one. Being it is under geared to begin with I should have been building rage like crazy, but nope, nothing of the sort. How is that even possible?

      Warlocks got a lot of love this expansion. The quest line for green fire was a nice little touch that while completely cosmetic and not something you needed to do was still great to see them add. That with the revamp so all three specs seemed completely different and the fact they remained top of the damage lists all expansion shows that they can give some love to the classes that need it, and they did need it, but I do wonder why they have this "we can only do one at a time" mentality.

    2. So, question for those of you with hunter mains... would you make the trade for Cobra Shot doing ZERO damage, strictly acting as a focus regen mechanic, in exchange for an equivalent increase in power for the signature class ability?

      I don't like the fact that no one ability feels like it's actually a nuke but I also like the fact that all abilities do damage. I'm not sure how to resolve that discrepancy. Without any obvious fix, I'd probably leave things as they are now... they work.