So a new patch was released on the beta last night that gave us, among other things, many new character models to play with. Two of those character models are of particular importance to me because as luck would have it the two characters I am playing on the beta at the moment are a male night elf and a female tauren. So needless to say I was happy to see the character models for not one but both of my hunters. Yes, they are both hunters.
First up I have to say that unlike most people who are complaining about their characters not looking like their characters I am pleased to announce that my night elf actually looks like my night elf. Sure there are some minor differences but there is no doubt that this is the same character I have been playing for years. Just in higher detail. I must admit I still wonder why the detail is needed. I am always wearing boots, so are having actual toes really needed? Either way, when it comes to looks I was pleasantly surprised by the male night elf model.
I had not known what to expect because we have not seen an artcraft on the male night elf. No one could have even guessed that they would be included in the next patch of character models because no one even knew that they existed yet.
Just like anyone else would do, even someone like me that is not all that interested in the character model redesigns, I took a nice close look at my character. I had to check, I had to make sure if he was the same character I have been playing all these years. I was worried. My night elf could have ended up looking like anything and seeing some of the other character models like the male human and his shrek imitation , or the female human and her children of the damned look, or the female troll and their crack head street hooker look. Night elves could have ended up being anything and I was not expecting much.
Needless to say I was surprised that they were done so well, at least as I saw it. I am sure some people will have problems with it. If they do not have any faces that look close enough to what their look was before they will complain, and rightfully so. I just got lucky that it made my ugly as sin night elf a little less ugly. But still ugly none the less. No one ever said that they would see a night elf on the cover of GQ magazine after all, they are not quite what anyone in their right mind would call attractive and I am actually fine with the idea that they still aren't.
I do have one problem with the remodel however, one really big problem with the male night elf characters and it has nothing what so ever to do with the new character models themselves. Well, at least not the looks of the new character models.
The way it runs is horrible. He runs as if he just took a dump in his pants and is trying to hold it in while running to the bathroom. Then his legs loop out a really unnatural amount and he runs basically with his hands at his sides almost. Please blizzard, give us back the normal run animation. You know, the one that looks like a person running instead of trying to make it too the bathroom. The male night elf runs like a 13 year old girl trying to make it to the bathroom in time. It is sad, beyond sad even.
While the remodels mean nothing to me the way my character moves means a LOT to me. I would rather they keep the old models with the old run animation than the new model with the new run even if the new models do look great. Movement matters more than looks to me. Always has and always will and it looks like they completely destroyed the movement of male night elves.
Now to my female tauren hunter. We had seen images of them a long time ago. If I am remembering correctly they are one of the earliest ones we saw after blizzcon had released the first few. I honestly thought they had already added the female tauren models. I mean she did look better than on live. I figured maybe it was just not all that noticeable. See, if that does not prove how little the character models mean to me I am not sure what will.
But after the patch when I logged in to my female tauren and took a close look I would have to say she is beautiful. Okay, not exactly sure how a tauren could be beautiful, but she sure is compared to what she used to look like. The facial details show that she is one the of the earlier ones done, it really is great when you look close up. She always had this slightly funky look about her but now it doesn't really look funky any longer, it actually looks believable, or should that be believabull.
Unlike my night elf that suffers from a constant need to go potty the female taurens moves actually feel better than they did before. More fluid, but still a little lumbering which is a problem with taurens because of their size to begin with, but definitely better. I did not play around with her much last night because of "beta being beta" but from what I saw I have no complaints about the female tauren model. It looks good, it moves good, and it is good.
Now to hunters in general and another series of nerfs that came down the pipe. I am just getting a little tired of this. Hunters are not only being abused, it is a flat out joke now. From all the reports you hear from people testing things out, top hunters out there, hunters are dead last in DPS. Hunters are barely beating the tanks and sometimes not even beating them. Hunters are doing 1/3 of the damage that top specs are doing. If there is a fight that a mage is doing 90K on the hunter could be pushing 30K, maybe, if they get lucky and play perfect. Why nerf hunters? I fail to see the logic of making the worst class out there and making it worse.
I like to try to hold out a little bit of hope and keep thinking "this is beta" but with gap like that and them doing tuning now you would think that the classes near the bottom would be getting constant buffs to get them up to par or the ones at the top would be getting constant nerfs to get them down to earth but it is not working that way. The top specs are getting some trade offs, to balance their numbers, win some lose some, or even worse, straight out buffs, all while hunters keep seeing their numbers go down.
I am hoping that they are just balancing things out and then going to lift the entire spec all at once after they balanced out how the abilities interact with each other numbers wise. Kind of how they used to boost us as a whole just by giving us a hawk buff. Something that boosts the entire spec as a whole. Right now that is the only thing that keeps me from raging. They are balancing the abilities, then going to lift them all up at once. I least that is what I am holding out hope for.
As far as the specs go, and I have played all three now, there really is no question about it. Hunters are a one trick pony. We only have one spec. Do not even consider survival or marksmen. It is beast mastery or you are doing it wrong. Sad really. Mists was amazing for hunters. Even if there was always a bad spec (read marks) all three could be used unless you were a min max sort of player trying to squeeze every last ounce of the class. Now MM and SV are not even an option because it is not like "okay I will do 5% less because I like this spec", the hunter specs are not that close. Beast mastery is in the penthouse of a hundred floor building and marks and survival are hanging out in the lobby in both numbers and play style.
Survival really feels like it is lacking in the one department it had become known to be good at, trash AoE, and in terms of questing, quest AoE. Survival was a great questing spec, even better than beast mastery in my opinion, because of their AoE. You could round up a dozen or so mobs, misdirect, drop a few multi shots on it, and then go about gathering stuff you need to pick up for the quests while your serpent spread killed the mobs but it does not work that way any longer. The multi shot serpent spread has no teeth to it any longer and in the recent patch they lowered the damage of serpent sting which will only make it worse than it already is.
The other problem with survival right now as I see it is that there is no big damage dealer, no execute, no big move, we just start chipping away at the mob and keep chipping away at the mob. If you attack a rare and want some burst, not going to happen as survival. Stacking explosive shots for burst really does not work because explosive shot hits like a wet towel to begin with, so hitting 5 times with a wet towel is not going to make it any better. It might bruise the rare, but it surely is not going to hurt him.
So no burst, no big number ability, neutered AoE and no execute ability leave survival extremely lacking and completely unfun to play.
For a while there I was so excited about marksmen because it seemed like it would be the spec to play. It was always my favorite hunter spec and I have not really been able to play it, except for PvP, since firelands. With the change to their rotation and the change to their mastery they have went from a class that was not played because it was bad, to a class that might have potential, to a class I would not play even if you were playing it for me. Yes, it is that bad. It does bad damage, has a boring rotation, is clunky as hell, and is counter intuitive to the way the class should play.
The spec in the current form is, quite frankly, unplayable. Not even taking into the fact that it does bad damage even for a class that already had bad damage to begin with the spec just does not have any heart to it. The abilities do not feel like they are working together when you play it, it feels like they are all working against each other. Like the days when chimera would refresh serpent sting when only marks could do it, or the double steady shot would give you a speed boost, or the stacks of steady could give you a free aimed, when things actually worked with each other, now all the abilities seem to fight against each other. No doing chimera to help your sting, no doing steady to give you a free aimed, nothing were one ability works with another ability. All throughout the history of hunters marks had always had the most interaction with its abilities, where one ability helped the other ability and it does not have that any longer. It does not have its heart any longer.
Each ability works for itself and itself only and they are all fighting against each other for their shot at the spotlight for when you will hit it. None of them even stand out because of long cast times, large focus costs, and situational damage, perhaps if they would add back something like piercing shots, or give us serpent sting back and let chimera refresh it, which with the cleave of it would be cool to refresh it on two at once (back in the day keeping two stings running used to be a skill), and maybe change the mastery straight out, they could give marks back some life, but as it stands it is a dead spec, a boring spec, and as I mentioned, an unplayable spec.
With no instant focus dumps, no proc or stack to react to or look out for, long cast time abilities, no interaction between abilities, and the need to stand still for a class that is built and balanced around being able to move it just does not feel natural.
The beginner spec, that is what it is refereed to as by many because you can have your pet do most of the heavy lifting. For someone that never played this type of game a beast mastery hunter is the best first class to try it out. That is partly because it has always been a pretty straight forward spec. Even if they have completely dismantled survival and left it with no power and twisted and turned around marksmen so it doesn't even know what it is supposed to do any longer, beast mastery remains beast mastery, the straight forward spec.
It is the spec that lost the least by the wholesale stripping of abilities and it shows. The spec still plays basically the same way you are used to playing it now if you play it. Unlike survival it still has nice burst moments with beast mastery should you need it and an execute with the no focus cost kill shot when the mobs are low so it does not suffer from survivals lack of power. While it has never been overly interactive with its own abilities like marksmen, it now has one more of those abilities than marksmen, which used to be built around that sort of game play, in the from of focus fire ability. So it stays itself and has what survival needs and what marksmen needs.
Sadly for those that wish to play other specs but I must be the bearer of bad news, this is the only spec worth playing now. Gone are the days of mists where you could be any spec you want and only needed to be beast mastery if you wanted to be uber leet. Now you need to be beast mastery if you want to beat the tank.
And that is the over all sad part of this whole review. The best hunters can do right now is to try and not finish behind the tank in damage done. They need a lift, a pretty big one. As a pure DPS class with no raid utility (no fox does not count because it is so situational and will probably be used rarely if ever by most groups) if hunters are not near the top of the charts, they have no chance of raiding. And if this keeps up with mages and shaman and other doing triple the damage a hunter can do, be prepared to ride the bench.
I would like to see our numbers boosted considerably. Heck, more than considerably. To get things in line with where we should be we need to get an indecent increase, an out of line increase, an absurd increase, and we would need to have survival given back some power and marksmen given back some heart (make piercing shots the mastery and bring back double steady's and aimed procs, please, thank you).
There is still some time for us hunters, but it is running out, and it seems the developers are completely and totally blind, because they do not see the sad state hunters are in and as proof to that, in the last patch all we received were nerfs. How do you nerf one of the worst damage dealing classes? Not asking to be number one, just don't want to play a pure that can't even beat a tank. So we now wait for the next tuning patch. Maybe they won't nerf us again.