Hello! Welcome to The Hunter Project, a collaborative effort of hunters from the Warcraft Hunter’s Union (WHU), Hunting Party Podcast, and hunter community in general in World of Warcraft.

The Purpose of the Hunter Project

Our goal was to look at several areas of the hunter class, discuss them, and make reasonable suggestions for improvement or changes, with the intent of gaining the attention of WoW’s developers as we near the next expansion.

We don’t expect all of our ideas and suggestions to be feasible. But we hope each is considered.

Method and Intent

My name’s Mark (Main: Ă…rth – Icecrown server), and I run the Warcraft Hunter’s Union. Its original creator, Frostheim, retired some months ago and I stepped up from my guest blogger status to be its main curator. I’ve played since BC, have been in progression raiding guilds, and have dabbled in ancillary hunter endeavors like soloing, pet tanking, and PvP. I’ve been writing about WoW – and specifically the hunter class – here on the WHU since Wrath of the Lich King, and I’m also a regular host on the Hunting Party Podcast.

But this is not my personal list.

The vast majority of ideas you’ll see in the Hunter Project were culled together from around the community, and from ideas and discussion here at the Hunter’s Union and/or the Hunting Party Podcast. Some have been discussed in one form or another for many years. Others, we only discussed recently. But it was all intended to be a group effort, so that this isn’t my own list. Now, I did veto several ideas that either didn’t have much support, or represented an unreasonably large change in Blizzard’s design philosophy, or that were particularly outlandish. But I also included several that seemed to have community support. The end goal is to create a list that is/was truly collaborative, without sacrificing focus.

Not everyone will agree with each suggestion, and some may end up being incompatible with aspects of the game we’re not privy to. But we hope that the general idea of informed, progressive change is embraced, and that it sparks discussion amongst the wider online hunter community. If you are reading this and want to see it noticed, please consider sharing it with friends, guildmates, and websites or individuals who may be interested. We don’t want to be intrusive, but we do want to be noticed.

The Hunter Project Articles

I provide a summary of each beneath the link. For fulls descriptions and lists of suggestions, please follow each link to the separate article. To visit each article, just click on the entry title.

Entry #1 – Aspects

Main point: Aspects are worth saving and can provide utility without overloading our buttons. But they need an overhaul in order to be useful and interesting. Ideas for aspects are included, as are potential solutions to aspect dancing, something Blizzard has stated it wants to avoid.

Suggestions include:

  • Travel aspects (running, swimming, group).
  • Healing taken & damage reduction aspects, which would be mitigated in usefulness by the loss in dps from some other aspect.
  • Pvp aspect suggestions, including buffs to Scare Beast, and something similar to the old Aspect of the Monkey
  • An aspect that increase max range 5-10 yards.
  • Dps aspect suggestions, including a way to make two dps aspects (one that reduces cooldowns for burst-y fights, one flat increase) that offers an alternative to simply having one “best” choice.
  • The idea that aspects should maybe be utility-based, and not offer a dps advantage, to avoid players choosing only one all the time.
  • A discussion of the problem aspect dancing (Blizzard has stated they dislike it), and some ways to tackle it…primarily, adding a longer cooldown on aspect switching to make it less of a fast-twitch mechanic or something we macro into shots.

Entry #2 – Spec Differentiation

Main point: The “feel” of our specs can end up being very similar, and the class will benefit from ideas that help differentiate each spec from the others. We explore entirely new spec templates (PvP spec) and also tweaks to the current model that will help in this regard.

  • We look into how wildly different spec templates might work, including a tanking spec, PvP spec, melee spec, and specs that focus primarily on single target or AoE damage (instead of both) to make each spec easier to balance and to give them their own niche.
  • Suggestions on how to accentuate the current strengths of each spec – like pet damage (BM) or nature damage and DoTs (SV) – so that they can stand out from one another, without having to make hunters anything but ranged dps.
  • An example of how a particular spec (we show a melee spec) would look very different from traditional specs, giving it an identity. In a more general sense, this shows how less shared abilities between specs (i.e. button bloat) and more specialization can make a spec seem unique, even if the melee spec idea itself is far-fetched.

Entry #3 – Miscellany

Main point: There’s no central theme to this one. This article includes several ideas that aren’t specific to our class, but have received a lot of support regardless.

  • We suggest ways to incrementally advance the game world to make it seem more alive.
  • We push for Michele Morrow – a friend of the WHU, a talented actress, and a dedicated hunter – to be Sylvanas in the WoW movie.
  • Pet collars as an aesthetic addition to individualize our pets.
  • We ask for a class-specific or tameable mount.
  • And we want a spirit sporebat that haunts rogues.

Entry #4 – Soloing and Pet Tanking

Main point: Many pet tanking mechanics are either broken or are implemented inconsistently. We look at mostly pet abilities to standardize and streamline our tanking and soloing experience.

  • We look at problems with pets that hold them back in tanking encounters, and suggest small upward pushes to make the experience more viable. These include pet armor and health.
  • We love the current Growl, but it needs to work properly across all bosses and types of content. Currently it does not.
  • We talk about ways to help pet movement in soloing and tanking encounters. There’s no one best way to do this, and some may not be feasible from a design perspective. But we suggest a couple, including an ability that lets you ride your pet like a vehicle. Or something similar to the old Eyes of the Beast, but without leaving the hunter vulnerable and immobile.

Entry #5 – Button Bloat (Rotational & Cooldowns)

Main point: Button bloat has been addressed directly by Blizzard, for numerous classes. The constant increase can reduce the importance of abilities, make them seem same-ish in damage and use, and make priority lists messy and complicated. We look at some responsible ways to cut down on this, while retaining the importance of core abilities.

Suggestions include:

  • Decreasing passive damage (auto shot, passive procs, pets except in BM) to re-emphasize rotational abilities.
  • More spec-specific abilities instead of making them tier-based.
  • Continuing to emphasize signature shots. The 5.4 buffs to signature shots are a great example of the kind of thing we want to see.
  • Using “upgraded” versions of existing abilities instead of new abilities to reduce the number of total rotational abilities.
  • The concession that all of these may not work together well; they’re suggestions to be considered, not something where we want ALL of them necessarily.

Entry #6 – Ability Reduction & Tweaks (non-rotational/utility)

Main point: This is a grab-bag of non-rotational abilities, including traps, glyphs, and utility shots. Several ideas are presented for changes to abilities that could improve them.

Comments include:

  • The admission that if Aspects are not revamped, they are near-useless and should probably be eliminated.
  • A proposal for Steady/Cobra that would make it a “Reload” focus-regen ability, not a shot.
  • A massively-supported push to make Trap launcher more intuitive. The usual suggestion is to make it so Trap Launcher is a targeted ability with a cast time, so it acts much like CC for other classes. You can interrupt it, but it also can target a player and work more quickly than the current model.
  • Discussion of abilities we’d like to see changes to, including Intimidation (buff or make it a taunt?) and Stampede (was once an awesome ‘flavor’ ability, now is a bland cooldown).
  • A brief list of glyphs that are probably not going to be used or useful, and can be cut.
  • Suggested changes to Scatter Shot (normalize range) and Distracting Shot (much like Growl, determine what it should work on and make it consistent and clear).

BRK Additions

After the initial posting of this, I talked to legendary hunter blogger BigRedKitty to get his thoughts. He had two suggestions, and I wanted to include them here (full description in the link above). They are:

  • Exotic weapons for MM, giving them something cool and unique to differentiate the spec.
  • Make Survival actuall lots better at surviving (potentially at the expense of some dps to avoid balance issues in PvP).

Conclusion

Not all of these ideas will be universally loved, but we hope you like many of them. And I also hope that we’ve presented them in a way that doesn’t feel like a cry for buffs and new toys to play with, but in a way that respects class balance and design philosophy and tries to work within it.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to tell me how great/horrible this is in the comments. And while the idea-gathering phase of the Hunter Project is mostly over, the discussion can continue. Please don’t hesitate to add your two cents. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me personally, at ArthWHU@yahoo.com. And please share this!

To the WHU Community:

Ok guys, here it is. I’m just one person, so we need to make this a group effort. As I post this, it’s 10/22. In the next week, I need you guys to try to bring this up in a variety of non-WHU settings. Be respectful, courteous, and thankful to anyone who will listen. Don’t be pushy, but let others know that this is something we collectively feel strongly about.

This has been a lot of fun for me, and I hope it’s sparked a lot of good discussion. Worst case scenario, nothing much happens. Which is fine; that’s always a possibility. But the best case is quite exciting. Even if many of the ideas don’t become implemented, if we can get this to spark thought and discussion on a larger level, we’ll be doing something good for the future of the class.

Thank you all for your ideas and comments. Many were used in the Hunter Project. Many weren’t, and I’m sorry if you felt strongly about something that wasn’t used. But I tried to be as diplomatic as possible.

And if you think there’s some way I can promote this personally that you can’t, let me know in the comments.

Alright, that’s enough of a briefing. Get to it!

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Entry #6 – should read “if aspects are not revamped”

  2. Anon says:

    Arth, whether this works or not, you are a hero of the hunter community and a glass of fine wine (Dwarves can keep their ale) will be raised in your honour just as soon as I can log in.

    • Arth says:

      Seems like a slow start though, eh? That’s ok. I’m plugging it again this weekend on the podcast, and I know Bendak is planning on featuring it at some point on Scattered Shots. If it fails, we won’t go quietly.

      And I may be an elf, but I do prefer my beer. I’ll toast your wine with my mug of ale, though. Cheers! :)

  3. Frostheim says:

    Thanks a lot Arth for working with the community on this! I think you did a great job at maintaining a neutral tone and communicating this as hunter input, rather than demands. I think the right attitude really helps get it read by the people that matter.

    Well, that and lots of hunters chiming in on Twitter & the forums!

    • Arth says:

      Thanks boss. As I mentioned to you before this started, even if it fails, this is my gift to hunters, since very few have the kind of platform from which to speak that you and I have had.

      I’m waiting until the weekend to do my own big push (which is somewhat work-related as well, cuz shit’s been busy). But if I can get it into a few more channels (like Bendak’s Scattered Shots column and the podcast), which I’ll pair with brute force tweeting and posting to forums (and emailing to devs?), and we may start to see momentum.

  4. Anon says:

    Best of luck Arth, and great work on the Project! Remaining cautiously optimistic we’ll hear about their design intentions for us in the coming months.

  5. Rapine says:

    Yeah, this looks pretty damn solid. Hopefully we caught the 6.0 design phase soon enough to see some of these ideas put into practice. Thanks for keeping it on track, Arth!

  6. Canardo says:

    Keep this up and one day you will have a bow named after you !

  7. Marty says:

    Thanks Arth for great work you doing here. After Frostheim left I was afraid this site will slowly die, but thanks to you it’s still alive and well. I’m really excited about this project, and I hope at least some ideas will be implemented. Projects like this are making hunter community so special and unique. Keep up good work.

    PS: Any chance of Frostheim’s great comeback?

  8. Dolphin says:

    Thank you for suggesting pet collars. Also I have always thought we needed a heal heal similar to a rogues ‘recuperate’. With chimera shot being exclusive to mm, having such a high focus cost, and its instant as opposed to dot effect, it is almost useless. A suggestion would be buff spirit bond.

  9. Xeran says:

    Spirit Bond should just be baseline and work out of combat. Warlocks already get a noncombat regen, why can’t we?

    Replace the talent in the tier with something new. How about giving Hunters a Victory Rush of some sort?

  10. Raynewyn says:

    I think you’re over complicating things a little bit.

  11. Sasura says:

    In my opinion Hunters have been long overdue a major overhaul. At best the difference between our specs is merely cosmetic. I agree with this posting: (http://hunter-dps.dungeoneer.com/2013/10/mount-pet-hunters-as-main-tanks.html) to the utmost degree. We should be able to tank in BM. And in this case, gear wise we should function like we used to pre-Cata, with Pole-arms, 2handed weapons and so on. And while we’re at it, why not give us plate armor for that spec.

    Marksmanship should play like we do normally, but a little more Faster. Replace Aim shot with Barrage for the signature shot and its focus should on dumping as many “arrows” or “shots” into an opponent as possible.

    Survival, should be played more like a rogue. Crafty, sneaky and with alot more trapping options….like say, Bear Trap, or a Trip wire, or a “bouncing betty” land-mine type trap. I’m sure I could elaborate more on these but I’m sure everyone else’s imagination would cover the rest of it.

  12. Dharion says:

    I’ve always wanted to see Survival be more, well….survival like and less about magical damage. Maybe more along the lines of a D&D Ranger, improved tracking and traps, maybe a way to remove movement impairing effects (Terrain Mastery?). But, that’s just my two coppers’ worth.