Spec Identity

Earlier this week, Blizzard posted their thoughts on the identity crisis Hunters are experiencing with regards to each of the specs.

Long-term (ie: not for 5.4), we will be making some bigger changes to the Hunter class. It may not be a full class revamp (like the Warlock revamp in 5.0), but we do want to give the class a full once-over and make sure that the specs feel different and unique. We are not planning any further, class-wide mechanical changes for 5.4.

We have not yet balanced DPS for Hunters (or anyone) for 5.4. When we do, we’ll make sure that as much of that balancing as possible is done via signature shots.

While Blizzard acknowledges that Hunters are do for a once-over, they’re shying away from considering a major overhaul like Warlocks got in 5.0. I’ll admit that I have no clue as to the extent of the changes that Warlocks received. My knowledge of that class can be summed up in three words, Cookies, Closets and Portals.

Even though Blizzard may not want to consider a major Hunter revamp, I say where’s the fun in that? Let’s turn these specs upside down!

Now my goal here is to give each spec it’s own identity. Something unique and fun that will offer a variety of play styles that appeal to multiple players. I want to point out that I’m not interested in seeing Hunters become a hybrid class. My changes revolve around Hunters continuing to deliver large quantities of sustained ranged dps. So, without further ado, let’s get into some wild speculation about Hunter Specializations.


For Survival the first change I’d make is to allow them to dual-wield. That’s right Survival Hunters will deliver dps with a pair of pew pew pistols. Since pistols are somewhat of a short range weapon, Survival would be a close combat spec. Maybe not 100% melee, but on that level.

Survival would rely more on DoTs, and make uses of traps and gadgets for DPS. It would also be strong in AoE. Pets will play a role, of course, but not as big as weapons and abilities. I like the Black Arrow/Explosive Shot/Lock and Load combination, so I would hang onto that.

Beast Mastery

If Survival is going to dual-wield weapons, the Beast Mastery is going to dual-wield pets. That’s right BM Hunters will be able to have two pets out at once. I would also put more emphasis on the pet and add more abilities like Kill Command, where the damage comes from the pet and not the Hunter. Instead of Serpent Sting, it might be an ability that causes the pet to put a bleed on the target.

To keep things simple the pets would have a shared health pool with mend pet healing both. They would both have to be on the same target as well. The Hunter would still do some damage with a gun, but the emphasis will on the Hunter commanding the pets to provide the majority of the damage.

BM Hunters would also provide the most utility bringing multiple buffs, and things like both a combat rez and heroism.


Marksman would be the long-range and hard-hitting spec. They would have greatest range of all the specs, but would have the worst dps on the run. I envision them being somewhat of a turret dealing the most damage while standing still. Their rotation would be loaded with abilities that provide tremendous synergy with one another, but would be a little cast heavy.

Chimera shot will still be the signature shot and will refresh Serpent Sting. Firing two steady shots in a row will reset the cooldown on Chimera Shot. Likewise two Steady Shots will also reduce the cast time of Aimed Shot. Firing Aimed Shot will also reset the cooldown on Chimera Shot. I’d throw in a channeled ability like Barrage. Firing Barrage will reset the cool down on Chimera Shot. I’d also bring back Readiness, but give it a less than a minute cooldown and have it reset the cooldown on Barrage. Oh, and Kill Shot would no longer be back-to-back, but would reset the cooldown on Chimera Shot. By the way I’ve totally stolen this from another MMO, but I think it would be a lot of fun to play.

So that’s my take, how about you? What you change to make give the specs more identity?


  1. Really glad there thinking about this and as ever Darkbrew really interesting post. I had a few thoughts.

    BM has always been the pet spec whatever happens I hope BM stays as our half melee spec. Utilizing the power of our closest companion to not only do intimidating DPS but maybe even range tanking. As it is this is such a popular spec and perhaps it needs the lowest amount of meddling. Personally i’d like to see it more dynamic and exciting. DPS wise BM has to be Burst’y after all both hunter and pet pulling there weight. Gonna hit like a truck.

    I think SV should really stand up for it’s name i’d love to see the SV Hunters as an ultra mobile defensive box of tricks bouncing around like a ping pong ball nuking away to his or her hearts content. Maybe even the only spec that can dps while using deterrence. DPS would be highly sustained and you would pay for not filling every moment with a shot.

    And flip the coin the other way we have MM. A glass cannon putting out max pressure whilst stationary totally allergic to receiving damage but when they get to stand still and wind up his/her shots bosses explode with the intensity. lots of bonuses for complicated shot combos and maybe even a variant of sniper training. DPS would be of the ramped up model the trickle becoming a flood.

    Obviously overall dps and aoe ability’s should near as possible be equalized and of course some will swap spec for one dps but better spec differentiation and dps damage style may help to breed more spec loyalty.

  2. Nooooooooo!!!Really, this a Dual Wield Raiding spec, you don’t want to level with this. TRUST ME on this one. Dual Wield leveling (while I think it’s fun) is a slow slow grind.I’ll reserach and post up a DK Frost Leveling build at the Guild site.

  3. When i was in the misguided city of pheidallphia to visit my brother in college, and me and my mother were being driven back to our hotel by a taxi after some sight-seeing, i spotted a USMC / Military store only a block away from the hotel during the drive, i told the driver he could drop us off there and we walked into the store. I was browsing for about 3 minutes until i went over to look at the knives on display under the glass counter. ***I will post a more comments to finish my story.

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