Classes Q&A Series: Hunter

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Classes Q&A Series: Hunter
Quote from: Eyonix (Source)
Hunter Q&A with Ghostcrawler and the World of Warcraft Community Team

Community Team: We?d like start this Q&A off by asking a question that players of all classes often ask in regard to the very purpose of their class. In this case, we?re looking specifically at the hunter.

Q: Where do hunters fit into the larger scope of things currently and where do we see them going from this point forward?

A: We solved a lot of perennial hunter problems in Wrath of the Lich King, from the shot clipping problems of Steady Shot, to bringing Survival back to life, and making pet choice and training a lot more meaningful and hopefully enjoyable. Going forward we have several objectives we still want to accomplish. We want to make sure hunters in PvP are as good in Arenas as they are in Battlegrounds. We think their damage is sufficient, so we want to focus on their survival and crowd control. We want to make sure their PvE utility is as good as their dps (especially making traps live up to their potential for crowd control). We want to resolve what a hunter is supposed to do in melee (Raptor Strike? Disengage?).

We want to clean up some of the clunkiness that still exists around pet control (both the UI itself and what the pet does on the battlefield). We think hunters have a good niche as the only real ranged damage-dealer that focuses on (mostly) physical damage based on a weapon rather than cast-time based spells. We just want to make sure they live up to that niche.

Q: It was stated that we had intended to remove consumable ammunition from the game for patch 3.1.0, However, due to certain functionality not being ready in time, the change was put on hold. Is there any new information in regards to the functionality of non-consumable ammunition, and also a possible estimate as to when hunters may expect to see these changes implemented?

A: From a technical standpoint, what happened is that the quiver is considered a bag just like other bags on the character but also, most critically, those in the bank. In order to remove ammo we would have to move the location of all of a character?s bank slots on the database that stores all of the World of Warcraft characters, which would be a risky thing to do in the middle of an expansion, and could result in ?missing stuff? issues if something went wrong. It was just one of those last-minute show-stoppers.

We still want to make ammo more of a gear choice than a consumable. We?re not sure if this would be as simple as getting the 125 dps arrows to upgrade your 120 dps arrows, or if you would do things like swap between your fire and poison arrows??? but that kind of thing is definitely on the table.
I?m not sure when we can do it right. It?s not going to be for 3.2 unfortunately.

Q: On the topic of hunter ammunition, currently, it becomes quite expensive for hunters to purchase Mammoth Cutters and Saronite Razorheads, especially given how much many hunters use in a given week. Are there any plans to reduce the cost, by potentially looking into the materials required to craft both types of ammunition?

A: The problem with upgrading hunter ammo currently is how we work the progression. We don?t want to drop ammo on bosses for what I hope are obvious reasons so long as they are consumed. We need to have ammo improve as other gear improves, however, or the hunter overall starts to fall behind. Therefore there has to be some barrier that stops freshly leveled hunters from getting the best ammo while letting cutting-edge hunters procure it. In Burning Crusade, we handled this through a reputation grind, but it still wasn?t a very satisfying answer. In Wrath of the Lich King, we went with Engineer-crafted ammo and more recently changed the way ranged weapons scaled so that they would keep improving even if the ammo did not.

For 3.2 we lowered the cost of the ammo quite a bit -- only 4 gold for a stack to manufacture. If you were paying 50 gold a night, that should drop to say 16 gold a night. Long-term this won?t be a problem because arrows won?t be consumed.

Q: While we had previously reduced the range of the hunter's dead zone, it's still brought up as a concern. Is it possible to remove the dead zone completely? If this is not something under current consideration, what are the current design philosophies and balance reasons behind keeping this particular mechanic in-game?

A: It?s possible to do so technically, but something we aren?t likely to do. Personally I think calling the current implementation a dead zone is just confusing and trying to sell the problem as worse than it is. Back in the day there was an actual distance at which neither ranged nor melee attacks would work ? it was a dead zone. Currently there is just a minimum range for most ranged attacks. The way we want the hunter to work is that when you get into min range with the hunter, then the hunter needs to switch to melee, or more likely escape back to ranged distance again. We certainly don?t want the hunter to unload with both melee and ranged attacks at once ? that might make them operate better at melee than range. Casters by contrast don?t have to do this, though it is often in their best interest to do so since their cast can get delayed or even interrupted by melee attacks. You can argue it?s goofy to be firing bows or rifles at point-blank range, but really it gets more into how we want the hunter (and all ranged weapon attacks) to work.

I?ll add that the melee attack issue for hunters themselves is something we keep discussing. While we are unlikely to go back to a melee-focused build for hunters, we might consider a model where hunters don?t run away most of the time but switch to melee attacks ? perhaps even a single punishing attack on a cooldown before the hunter Disengaged or whatever. This would be one of those things that helped hunters feel more different than actual magic casters, and might make them care about melee weapons as more than stat sticks. Additional feedback from the community on this sort of thing would be appreciated.

Q: Would we consider allowing auto-shoot to work while moving? If there aren't plans for that specific change, is there anything in the works that will assist hunter dps in fights where a great deal of movement becomes necessary?

A: Moving should feel like a penalty. We don?t want ranged attackers constantly circle strafing FPS-style because it confers a defensive advantage without giving up an offensive one. Moving is supposed to be bad and how you handle it is a test of your skill. We do give instant cast spells to some classes, but it should always be a dps loss when they have to focus on these exclusively. We would consider giving hunters another way to pull off an instant shot or beef up their dots, but we would want to make sure these would only be used in true long-distance movement situations. What I mean by that is we think we?ve possibly already gone too far towards balancing the Arena around instant attacks that can?t be countered before they go off.

Q: Are there any long term plans to possibly removing the need for hunters to rely on a different resource system then mana?

A: I hate to do this to you, but this is a great BlizzCon question. For these Q&As, we?d like to keep the focus on each class?s current status and short-term plans, but at BlizzCon we?ll be happy to go into some more detail on our long-term vision for them.




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