Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hunter Concerns Feedback

Ghostcrawler responds to a good thread in the Beta Hunter Forums:

Q u o t e:
/cast Basic Campfire

/cast s'more
/cast coffee cup
/cast gin

Q u o t e:
Haste & Gear disconnects -

Much of the gear that's being dangled in front of us has a hefty supply of haste just loaded all over it. And those number crunching members of the Mail wearing community are a bit... concerned. Notice that I suggest its the Mail wearing community, because Enhancement Shaman seem to share our confusion about all this haste.

We do put a lot of haste on gear. Part of that is because we don't have a huge canvas to work with. We can't put a ton of Strength and Spirit on hunter gear. Also, keep in mind that we aren't trying to make the best possible gear for you. We want you to toss out less optimal pieces for more optimal pieces. Finally, keep in mind that gear is one of the things we use to let players demonstrate mastery of the game. Making the decision of whether that new ring or belt is an upgrade should require a little bit of thought. That's what makes it interesting. But I will bring up the issue of haste and we can talk it over again.

Q u o t e:
The pesky dodge issue -

Okay, I'm sure you guys are tired of it, but I'm trying to make our concerns into cohesive, concise little snippets instead of aggressive posts accusing you of stealing all our kittens. We know you did it.

You guys came out and said, paraphrasing, "You have lower dodge because you will have more agility than everyone else." Okay, we follow what you're saying, but we question the logic in that from a lot of angles. A tanking class is not penalized in how many hitpoints they get from stamina because they are going to have a lot of that. Other casters aren't penalized because they are going to have a lot of intellect or a lot of spirit. Rogues don't get less benefit from hit and crit even though they are going to be nearly bleeding those stats. So its a little bothersome that one of our few defensive methods (oh, I'll get to you) starts at a negative and we get the least gain per agility.

We aren't asking to get more dodge to agility than everyone, but, I guess we all feel its unfair that we get such a huge penalty to our defense because "we're going to have agility."

I seem to be having trouble coming up with a way to explain it that makes sense to you. We don't want you to have as much dodge as a rogue or a druid or a tank. If you have great offense and great defense then we're not sure how to balance you. We want you to run away when someone gets close, not stand and take the hits. Mages Blink or Ice Block or Frost Nova to get away from melee. We gave hunters Disengage to try to do the same thing. Note that we don't want it to be an automatic get of jail free card -- sometimes we want the melee to kill you. Maybe they still kill you too much, but it's hard for us to tell if that's a hunter failing or Retadins and Unholy DKs doing too much burst damage. Hunters without LOS issues seem to be able to kill stuff just fine, so it may be that is your Arena weakness and not melee getting up in your stuff.

Q u o t e:
Defense, or lack there of -

I am not alone when I say that the hunter class feels like it has less defense when compared to other classes. So I'm going to break down our biggest threats and our tools, with emphasis on what is good and what is bad about them. I'm trying to be objective.

Concern: Once a hunter is in melee, his combat effectiveness is very low due to dead zone, weak melee abilities and insufficient ways to get back to range. To be sure we have a number of options, but many do not work well enough. Our snares are weak compared to those of the melee classes, so escape is next to impossible.

Yeah, like I said above, some ability to escape is good. A very, very reliable way to escape is frustrating for people on the other end. When melee reach ranged units they need to be able to do some damage.

Q u o t e:
Tools to deal: Wing Clip, Disengage, Frost Trap, Deterrance, Freezing Trap, Master's Call, Scatter (with spec), Intimidation (with spec).

Wing Clip as a snare is very weak. Not only is it weaker than those of the melee classes, but it costs far and away too much to cast. Its still mandatory, but it is not effective enough.

It's still a 50% snare, right? The duration is shorter than Hamstring, but is duration really what's killing you? It's possible it's too expensive. We can look at that.

Q u o t e:
Disengage, if it works properly and is off the GCD is probably your best bet to escape. If it were on the GCD, its going to be very hard to juggle while trying to do everything else we're trying to do. As is, it is not removing snares and sometimes only throwing us a few feet due to a snare.

Disengage isn't supposed to remove snares. We do want it to move you the same distance whether snared or not, but that takes new code, so it will take a little while. We did recently lower the mana cost from 14% (I think) to 5%. It is off the GCD now.

Q u o t e:
Freezing Trap's arming time feels good, but again the radius feels too small, and is easily dispelled long before our snares are expiring. As these still break on damage, its like trying to trap someone in a silk web, which is actually probably more effective than our giant blocks of ice.

Are you talking about breaking on damage the way it works on Live or the way it briefly worked on beta? The beta way is the future. We just need Fluffy to grow a brain first and not break it.

Q u o t e:
Scatter Shot is only this low because its not fair to assume everyone has it (though we *all* feel it should be baseline). It works wonders. Too bad it costs talent points.

We talk a lot about making it baseline, but it's also a very attractive talent in one particular spec. It's hard to argue that hunters of all classes (except maybe rogues) need more CC.

Q u o t e:
Intimidation, again, is low on the list because its spec dependent. A short duration stun, if the pet is near (or alive), is a great way to escape. Too bad it costs talent points.

But talents are supposed to be a choice. Particularly in PvP, you should be able to make the decision of wanting more damage or wanting utility talents. I realize in PvE it's harder because such a premium is placed on damage and many of those abilities don't work.

Q u o t e:
Not yet in -
We've had a lot of attention this expansion, and a lot of other classes are bothered that we get all the Blue love. However, the community is pretty upset that, once again, we're getting a bunch of "we'll take care of that after the expansion ships" replies. We're green with envy that a new class is going to ship more complete. I mean, yeah, we're upset about that. Things like the bugs with our escape abilities, things like Trap Mastery being NYI until after the product goes retail, things like Aspect of the Viper being active only regen... we're just a bit concerned that we're the stepchildren in this relationship, again.

We have spent a *ton* of time on hunters. There is no question hunters had the most developer time. I realize a lot of that was spent on pets and that hardcore or PvP-focused hunters might have traded that in a heartbeat for more PvP survivability. But many wouldn't and we have to be very careful not to forsake our gigantic core audience and just cater to the hardcore -- that is how many games fail. :(

You're going to get bugs in a game of this size. When you consider class, mob and quests, the number of spells alone in WoW is easily in the tens of thousands. I don't exaggerate. When we're in rapid iteration mode, it makes more sense to focus on whether the ability can work than whether the ability does work right now. I also don't think it makes sense in a game of this size that evolves this quickly to pretend we can get everything "just right" at any particular point in time. The game will just keep evolving right on through that. It's like the old cliche -- this is a journey, not a destination. The saying they use around the office is that working on WoW is like working on a train that never bothers to stop at its stations. You just keep going and going.

Q u o t e:
Mana regen & mana cost -

Not a single hunter I've talked to, to date, has spoken positively about the Aspect of the Viper change. We feel its going to really hurt us in arenas. We feel its really going to hurt our raid DPS. And its active regen. If we're on the move, if we're unable to shoot our target (which is a very common problem), we're stuck with our mana the way it is. All the other casters have the stats to support regeneration when they are on the move, not casting.

We like the design of Viper overall. It's cooler to have to shift your strategy to regen without actually interrupting your ability to deal damage. (Maybe it fits the mage class better to go hide in a corner and build up mana again.) I think Viper works fine for PvE. But I do think it presents a problem in PvP when hunters just can't get their mana back. We're talking a lot about to fix this, but I am going to be very hesitant to promise anything because this forum tends to get pretty upset when we change our minds or otherwise don't deliver. :) 


Not much new presented here, just some explaining of the current situation.  The patch looks to be released either Tuesday (arena season 4 ends) or the Tuesday afterward.  There are still a ton of bugs to squash, so not really sure how they are going to do it.  Looking forward to it all the same.  Well... hope they don't have blasters.


Ihlos said...

What bugs me is that in all of that they still haven't commented on the pet agi reduction of 50%+ that could be a bug.

Barakdorin said...

What scares me is GC's comment regarding Intimidation. He says he knows it's not that attractive for PVE but that talents are a choice. What he either fails to recognize or forgot is that Intimidation is a prereq for BW and TBW, making it a mandatory talent for BM hunters.

Shaedon said...

I just wish they would give the BM 51 point a complete overhaul. Exotics should be a glyph or an earlier talent. Even the 4 Pet Skill Points could be the new Animal Handler (as our pets scale with our hit now).