Thoughts on Hunter Mobility

Twice now in the last two weeks the Hunting Party Podcast crew has been asked to give their thoughts on Hunter mobility. Granted the question was posed by the same individual, but both were in very public settings. First on the Hunting Party Podcast, and then on the Realm Maintenance Podcast.

I’ve been thinking about it a little and wanted to share some additional thoughts on the topic. In what will come as a surprise to no one, I’m fine with the current state of Hunter mobility. Yes, it’s quite good, although I would point out that Focusing Shot is the only thing keeping us from achieving a state of mobile perfection.

Given that we were asked the question, I can only assume that there is a bit of envy aimed towards Hunters that stretches beyond the norm. Uncommonly good looking, top DPS, great at soloing. The list of reasons why a lesser class would want to prostrate themselves before a Hunter is long indeed, but our mobility seems to be what’s turning heads these days.

So how good is Hunter movement? It’s really darn good, but not necessarily for the reasons you’d think. My guess, and it’s truly a guess, is that much of the angst surrounding Hunter mobility stems from a belief that Hunters have a lot of abilities they can fire on the move, that if they belonged to another ranged class they would not be able to use them while moving.

That simply isn’t true. What makes Hunters great on the move is the large number of instant cast abilities that we have in our toolkit.

Look at Beast Mastery and Survival they both have one casted ability that’s a permanent fixture in their rotations, and that’s Cobra Shot. Barrage is optional, and best saved for heavy AoE situations, which do exist. Outside of that one talent, there are no other casted abilities for Beast Mastery and Survival.

Marksmanship on the other has Steady Shot and Aimed Shot as mainstay abilities. Barrage is optional, but yes there are times where Marksmanship will have three abilities that defy the standard rules of what a class can cast while moving.

Here’s the thing with Marksmanship though, they are discouraged from moving because of Sniper Training. If a Marksmanship Hunter chooses to hop around like a Kangaroo on emphetamines, they’ll do so at the expense of their DPS.

There’s no question that Hunters have amazing mobility, and even they made it so we could not cast non-instant abilities while moving, we’d still have it pretty good. Why the other ranged classes don’t have similar capability is something I cannot answer. I do spend a fair bit of time playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. You know, WoW with lightsabers?

Unlike WoW, I like to play a variety of ranged DPS, none of which have the free range of movement that my Hunter does. In the just released Shadow of Revan expansion, BioWare took the time to mitigate some of the movement problems that exist for their ranged classes. Nothing like we have with Hunters, but greatly improved nonetheless.

My Bounty Hunter has a “talent” that allows him to fire a channeled ability while moving. He also has shot that does damage, and makes the next Tracer Missile (a casted ability) instant. He also has another ability that will make the next two Tracer Missiles instant. So in a typical boss fight there are times where I’ll be locked in place and other moments where I can move and DPS freely. I find it’s nice balance from just being a human turret.

Perhaps WoW can do something similar for Warlocks, Mages, Druids and Shaman. In the meantime if you don’t want to wait until Blizzard changes your class, you can always roll a Hunter.

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