Hunter Community Expansion Revamp Project
We don’t expect Blizzard to implement all or even most of these. But we do hope they consider any that are able to be implemented.
Let me be clear. When we’re talking about button bloat, we’re ONLY talking about rotational abilities and dps cooldowns. We’re not talking about utility abilities (traps, aspects, interrupts, etc.). We’re also not talking about pet abilities.
Blizzard has addressed button bloat once or twice, but it’s unclear if they make the same distinction. From all that I’ve heard and read, the issue hunters are having is not with utility abilities, which remain situational, useful, and unobtrusive, but with the sudden glut of rotational and cooldown abilities we have in MoP.
For a more comprehensive look at how button bloat leads to a lack of spec differentiation – as well as other problems – check out my article on it from a month or so ago.
There likely isn’t a single solution to this problem. Further, some “solutions” listed below will not tackle the entire problem, but only one part of it. Additionally, some solutions might be incongruent with others. These are just options, not necessarily to be packaged together. But hopefully at least a couple are considered for implementation.
Second, and just as importantly, we’re not talking massive overhaul to all suggested areas below. We’re talking about incremental, responsible change. Nothing more.
Make Tier Abilities Utility/Passive
Maybe, at best, one tier choice gives us a new shot. As it is, there are too many shot choices, and this also has the affect of making specs seem similar when we’re casting or using many of the same abilities.
Reduce Passive Damage
Passive damage comes from three primary sources: auto-shot, our pet, and passive procs from tier abilities or gear. Right now, a LOT of our overall damage comes from passive damage.
By reducing one or more of these significantly, it re-emphasizes the need to be exacting in our rotations. What I don’t want to see is this: a hunter who can coast on passive damage and spam a single shot, and still do 90-95% as well as a hunter doing everything correctly. We came dangerously close to that in MoP.
The one caveat I’ll include here is pet damage in BM. That should remain high as part of the spec design.
Continue to Emphasize Signature Shots
Can’t stress this enough. Any buff to make them head and shoulders above other rotational abilities is a good thing. The patch 5.4 buffs were good for this. Let’s hope it continues.
More Spec-Specific Abilities
Say Blizzard like the idea of removing some active shots from tier choices, but doesn’t want to get rid of all of them. Why not bake some in? For example, maybe SV gets Barrage by default, but it’s the only spec to have access to it.
Exclusive access to certain abilities has always helped the specs feel different (think old MM with Readiness). This could have the same affect.
Using “Upgraded” Abilities Instead of New Ones
Any gamer will recognize this one. In several games, as your character levels or advances, they get upgraded versions of the same abilities they had previously. Maybe we have less abilities overall, but more powerful version of them. So, for example, if you can upgrade five abilities as you level, maybe you use those to upgrade AoE talents, or single target (depending on the situation). Or you’re able to unlock more powerful versions of the same abilities, like a Kill Command that hits for 2x damage, or an AoE attack that can hit 10 targets instead of 5, or unlimited instead of 10. There’s lots of potential here, but also a change in design philosophy. I like it in theory, but see it as unlikely.