Melee Hunter Incoming?

And the next expansion for World of Warcraft is? Legion.That’s right the Burning Legion is back to make yet another attempt to conquer Azeroth. Good luck with that, because this time we are prepared.

One of the new features coming in Legion are Artifact weapons.

Only Azeroth’s most seasoned veterans possess the fortitude to wield artifacts of legend against the Burning Legion. Your myth-forged weapon grows in power as you do, and your choices will change its abilities and the way it looks, sounds, and feels in combat. Fashion your artifact into the perfect instrument of battle, and guide your faction in its most desperate hour.

It sounds like Artifacts are the new legendaries of this expansion, and there may not be a legendary item like the cloak and ring. Artifact weapons are not just class specific but are different for each spec.

Marksmanship is getting a bow, Beast Mastery is getting a gun, and Survival is getting, wait for it – A SPEAR! Meet Survival’s new weapon, the Eagle Spear.


I don’t know if the spear is a polearm or a new weapon type altogether, but the implication is that it’s a melee weapon and not a ranged weapon. I suppose one could throw a spear, but it would have to be a magical boomerang spear that returned to you after striking its target. Not impossible, but awkward.

This leads many, including myself to speculate that Survival is becoming a melee spec and will be completely redesigned.

There are two main reasons why I chose a Hunter. Ranged damage and pets. I don’t care that much for the melee classes, and while I’ll give Survival a try, I probably won’t play that spec at all.

This leads me to my biggest fear about this change. What if it’s a Hunter’s highest DPS spec, and by a large margin? What if in order to raid competitively as a Hunter I have to be a melee Hunter? That’s not something I look forward to, even if it gets me out of doing all those special raid jobs.

It is much too soon to hop onboard the waaambulance, but this is not a small change for Hunters.

I will say this. Blizzard has struggled to truly differentiate the three Hutner specializations. This is in large part because they all used ranged weapons, and share many of the same abilities. Visually a Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, and Survival Hunter look very much the same. By making Survival melee it offers some latitude to tweak Beast Mastery and Marksmanship.

Forst starters, one option is to make Beast Mastery guns and pets and make Marksmanship bows/crossbows and no pets.

One other big feature coming in Legion are class specific Order Halls and Followers. This looks like Legion’s version of Garrisons. I suspect they’ll be very different, though. I wouldn’t expect a mine or herb garden. Access to other professions is not a certainty either.

I do like that fact that it’s class based and not faction based. I would love to see a beautiful hunting lodge decorated with recognizable weapons such as the Wolf Slayer Sniper’s Rifle, and littered with trophies from past hunts. Hemet Nesingwary as a follower, and pets roaming around is a must as well.

Oh, and it needs to have a stablemaster. Not fifty like you get in your garrison when you have a stable, and not zero that you get when you don’t have a stable. One permanent stable will do.

Legion is also introducing a new hero class – Demon Hunters. There were some early rumors that this was going to be a ranged class that used guns, bows and crossbows. They are melee and can only be elves. Elves? Why did it have to be elves? I may give them a look, but don’t expect me announce the Demon Hunting Party Podcast anytime soon.

It was an exciting announcement and Legion looks to combine aspects of both The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King with demons, vrkul, val’kyr, and Dalaran. All we need is Karazhan in a future patch and Legion might be one expansion to remember.


  1. I *think* we should be okay even if Survival is a purely melee spec. Its a valid concern about the spec being best, but like we saw with Lone Wolf early in Mists (which again had people complaining that they had to sit their pets), Blizzard was able (eventually) to get the specs relatively in tune with each other. Except in extreme edge cases, I would think that the specs should be close enough that you can play what you prefer.

    I think the bigger question is how this affects your off-spec. When you swap, does the weapon change, or will you need to go back at some point and do that second questline? Will you need to level up two weapons at once just to be competitive? This would have been so much better at Blizzcon where they’d have time to address all this.

  2. What I’m suspecting is that you won’t need to wield your artifact to gain it’s powers – but will be available to transmog on top of their weapon. From the wow site, it looks like marksman will be getting a bow artifact – which is frustrating, as I prefer guns (no real reason why).

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