Hunter-related questions from the Class Design & Balance Q&A

Sort of a lazy blog entry here, I guess. MMO-C posted the Class Design & Balance Q&A on their site yesterday and a “recap” today. Info relavent to hunters is as follows:

  • With Aspect of the Cheetah on you won’t get dazed when attacked, but the speed bonus will be turned off when you get hit.
  • There has been some discussion of a possible “pet stampede” spell. Nothing is set in stone on it though.
  • Snake trap is a utility trap and will not have it’s damage buffed.
  • Hunters will lose parry as part of the trade-off for losing minimum range.
  • Transmorph Trap is a nature trap that allows you to cast Scare Beast on the transmorphed target. It will have a similar duration to Freezing Trap.

Q: Will the hunters be able to parry with bows in MoP?
A: No. Hunters will lose parry as part of the trade-off for losing minimum range.

Q: Will hunters be able to equip melee weapons instead of a ranged weapon in MoP, even if just for show ?
A: Yes.

Q: If there’s no hybrid tax, what’s the point of playing a pure DPS class? Raid/pug leaders will always prefer players that can fill multiple roles. When hybrids like Boomkin and Shadow Priests are out DPSing the four pure classes across most parses, I think something’s wrong.
A: We want to make sure there are pure DPS classes in raids. That doesn’t mean that hybrids just have to be support classes as they were back in the BC days. But it does mean that you should neglect mages, locks, rogues and hunters at your peril. There may very well be more hybrids, because they just have a chance at more roles, so you can’t just look at popularity of classes, but we will take steps to make sure the pures don’t vanish.

Q: Since in MoP you guys plan on getting rid of relics for pallies, shamans, druids, and stat sticks for hunters are you planning on boosting stats in other areas to compensate? Or are the range slots for the other classes being removed as well?
A: The ranged slot is being removed for everyone in 5.0. Relics are gone. Ranged Weapons will be usable in the main hand by appropriate classes. Wands will become a type of main hand weapon. This effectively is a slight nerf to the stats of everyone equally, so doesn’t cause class balance concerns.

Q: As a hunter I love collecting the odd pets that only a BM can but I dont get to use them much while raiding because to max my DPS I raid MM. I spend the time and effort to get these pets but noone sees them very often. Will we in the future see hunters be able to use these pets in any spec?
A: We’re actually excited to see how spec balance for Hunters turns out in 4.3. We’re pretty confident that their raw damage is competitive between all 3 specs now, and so hope to see more exotic pets in raids, as well as survival hunters, and specs chosen based on the situational utility that they offer. We definitely want to reserve exotic pets as a BM-only perk though.

Q: Considering the remove of melee weapons for hunters in Cataclysm, will the currently existing utility spells that require a melee weapon be replaced. (especially Raptorstrike Glyph)
A: Removing melee weapons from Hunters and removing their minimum range on their attacks will have many different balance implications. We will carefulyl evaluate all their defensive abilities to make sure they don’t become too survivable, or conversely too easy to kill. Mechanics on glyphs will be kept in some form if we feel they are valuable to the design, but some glyph mechanics may go away as no longer necessary.

Q: im saying this for most hunters but y hasnt the snake trap damage been increased i have used it at max lvl a few times but the trap when the snakes attackk each one only does like 25 damage each is there a way you can fix this trap so that it does more damage
A: Snake Trap is intended to be utility, not damage. The damage on it is just there for flavor, really.

Not a whole lot of good info here. Oh well!

Q: Hunters have a lot of damage coming from high values of static nonscaling Attack Power and high base damage, but severely lack longterm scaling, causing them to fall behind by the end of the expansion despite starting very powerful in the first tier. Especially Survival. Are there any ideas or plans to address overall Hunter scaling?
A: The developers meant to answer this specific question — they’ve said so — but somehow it slipped through the cracks. The answer is that we have tried for some time to keep physical attacks feeling distinct by designing some to be mostly weapon based, and others as mostly (or entirely) attack power based. This applies to most melee characters, as well as hunters. But we have continually been stymied by scaling issues and player confusion, so our plan in 5.0 is to make nearly all of these attacks scale by both weapon damage and attack power (or ranged attack power) to about the same degree.

Our internal 4.3 testing for hunters shows Marksman, Survival, and Beast Mastery very close. This doesn’t always play out in encounters, because players often develop different strategies when encounters go live (than they did during PTR testing). In 4.2 encounters, the three hunter specs were not as far apart in DPS as many players believe, but because the hunters who would get the most DPS out of any spec tend to play Marksmanship, there is a sampling bias towards Marksmanship. We sometimes see DPS averages drop for spec A when we buff spec B (and don’t touch spec A), simply because many very-talented players migrate towards spec B.

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