Button Bloat – Hunters

I talked about what abilities I thought could be eliminated from the Resto Druid kit last week, and now it’s time to talk hunters.

As I looked through my spellbook for all three specs last night, it struck me that I was fine with the hunter’s basic rotational abilities. I wouldn’t get rid of any of the basic 7-8 shots used by each spec. There are not too many. If anything, some new shot or mechanic could be added to spice things up a little bit. Where hunters feel bloated is in our cooldowns and situational abilities.

There are a whole bunch of abilities that could be removed or streamlined to make hunters feel more fluid, and possibly make room for other, more interesting abilities.

These used to be a lot more interesting back when we had Aspect of Nature and Aspect of the Viper. We needed to make a meaningful choice for what aspect we were in and would often switch a few times during fights. Now there really is no choice and these abilities seem unnecessary.

Aspect of the Hawk/Ironhawk should be passive, or just removed. There’s really no reason we should ever have to reapply it. Right now it only serves as an annoyance to have to make sure to put it back on after switching specs. 

Aspect of the Cheetah/Pack we could probably live without. Having a whole aspect bar just for these two things seems silly, if AotH is removed. Perhaps we could get an ability like Stampeding Roar as a replacement. That would actually be really nice, even without a root/snare break.

Trap use has gone down a lot since previous expansions and they’re clunky to use compared to other abilities. The only real positive traps have is being able to place them before a pull, but even that only gives a marginal increase in damage.

As far as a I know, Survival is really the only spec that gets any use out of Explosive Trap. In order to be worthwhile, there needs to be a certain number of enemies and they need to stay still within the area of effect. I’d be more than happy to have this taken away.

Likewise, Snake Trap has very little use in PVE. I remember there used to be some cool uses for it, when snakes could be targeted by boss abilities and save your raid some damage, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore.

The PVP implications of this might be too big, but I’d also love to see Freezing Trap and Ice Trap combined into a single ability. The first hostile mob to hit the trap would be frozen. If the trap gets broken, or the mob is immune, the Ice Trap effect would show up.

Trap Launcher should be removed and made baseline.

Rapid Fire and Focus Fire are very similar abilities which increase haste and I see no reason for both to exist. One could be removed, or they could be combined into one. The pet haste effect from Rabid could also be combined into this.

Other Spells
This one may be a bit more controversial, but I’d love to never be asked to Misdirect again. With all the changes to tank threat and ranged taunts, it really shouldn’t be necessary (and whatever happened to “wait 3 seconds before you attack the boss?”). Of course, MD is most useful in directing stray/spawning mobs to the tank, but our ability to do this marginal at best. As BM especially, my misdirect can’t out-threat much of anything. 

Hunter’s Mark seems unnecessary at this point. We don’t really even need to cast it anymore since its application is baked into basic shots. The tracking component is useful for PVP, but I’d rather it become a situational spell used for the tracking and have the damage buff component removed.

These spells don’t impact much and the only reason to keep them would be nostalgia.

I can’t remember the last time I used Beast Lore. Since pets have been normalized, and don’t need to be fed, there’s not much point.

I didn’t even remember hunters had Eagle Eye until I was browsing through my spell book. I wouldn’t miss it.

Well, that’s 13 abilities I think could safely be removed from Hunters. That’s a lot. It seems that there are a lot of opportunities to streamline our toolkit. 

What do you think? What Hunter abilities would you like to see removed? Are there any you wouldn’t want to lose?

Ashunera has written another well-thought out piece about ability bloat, and wants to know what 5 abilities you’d prune from your class. You should check it out.

9 responses to “Button Bloat – Hunters

  1. It’s been a long time since I mained a hunter (RIP Mana Bar…your cousin Focus Bar is a jerk and I don’t like him very much) but I agree with most of this. My biggest quibble is with MD. I’d love to have an MD equivalent on all of my toons. Shadow priests, in particular, seem to be very threat-y (SHUT UP THAT IS TOO A WORD) and I’d love to be able to tell mobs to go chew on that guy over there with the shield and leave my pretty blood elf face alone.

  2. Agree with most of your list with some exceptions
    Explosive trap, when glyphed has a knockback effect, better than powershot because it’s instant and most people don’t see it coming, essentially turning a hunter into an ele shaman in bg’s like Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm. Combined with binding shot, it becomes and aoe stun.

    Misdirect is also used to keep pets at top threat for soloing purposes. I suppose blizz could allow pets to taunt bosses, but I don’t see THAT happening ever.

    An ability not mentioned, but I would like to see gone or baked into another shot is Widow’s Venom, aside from Thok, I don’t see any use for this ability in PVE . PVP hunters have been asking for WV to be baked into serpent sting/arcane shot for some time. It costs 15 focus plus a global and lasts 8 seconds the same effect other classes(Rogue, Warrior) gets applied automatically not to mention it does 0 damage.

    Getting a little long winded, but those are my thoughts!

    • I agree about Widow Venom. Thok is the only time I’ve used it lately too. I actually don’t like the healing debuff at all – in PVE or PVP and I’d love if the whole thing went away.

  3. One minor correction, Trap Launcher is baseline, it’s just toggleable. I wouldn’t want it always on, there are occasional times when I need/want to drop and trap but don’t have the time to actually place it with the targeting circle. If it was always on, I’d want a minor glyph to put it back at your feet (similar to what druids got with ‘shrooms, I think, change in default but glyphable if you prefer the old method).

    I’d like to lose Arcane Shot from all 3 hunter specs and make ExS, AiS and KC the focus dumps for the respective specs. It just isn’t a necessary ability, boost the core spec ability a bit and remove the CD.

    I’m fine with RF for SV/MM, they need a 3m CD, but I could see FF replacing it for BM and getting an appropriate bump in damage contribution. I’d also consider only keeping it for MM and giving SV a more flavourful version having something to do with an elemental damage boost cooldown (Nature’s Fury, say).

    I like MD for pet soloing purposes although I do still use it when raiding. I like having that ability, it’s optional (groups make do fine without it) but it offers a way to tweak a strategy to take advantage of it.

    I’d probably lose Beast Lore and Feed Pet entirely, although I do use BL on rare occasions to see if particular mobs are tameable (the core hound looking dudes in Sunwell, for instance… they can’t even though they look like they should be). I don’t see FP being used for anything other than RP purposes, though, and I don’t think that’s enough reason to keep it around. I think it’s still around, anyway. 🙂

    Aspect of the Hawk should be passive, yeah… Cheetah/Pack, if they stick around, could become toggleable like Trap Launcher instead of replacing AotH. I’d remove Pack, though, too much griefing potential in random content. I don’t mind Cheetah, I use it occasionally.

    I like Hunter’s Mark, if nothing else it shows visually which target I (or some hunter) am actually attacking. For groups that don’t skull a target, it gives everyone (including tanks) at least some indication that maybe they should be paying attention to that mob over the others.

    @myopic, agreed, WV should be included with Serpent Sting (I’m getting rid of ArS so don’t bake it into that) or removed.

    @Stormy, http://www.wowhead.com/spell=586… not QUITE as flexible as MD but should help prevent face chewing due to over-threat-y-ness. 🙂 I wish like heck that my warrior had something like THAT, let alone MD.

    • Yeah, I meant Trap Launcher would always be on, so an actual button was not required.

      I like the idea of getting rid of AS and using the spec-specific shots as focus dumps. Just need to remove the cooldowns.

  4. Really interesting series of posts. I’d like to see more, perhaps even a full set, if you have enough folks around you who could supplement any classes you may not be familiar enough with (if there are any, being a guild leader and such).

    I will say that ele shammies have way too many buttons. Having to hotkey chain lightning to every single button in all my actions bars is quite a task (;

    Stubborn recently posted..Still Crazy

  5. Those suggestions are all fine if the absolute only thing you do is raid. But they would make hunters incredibly boring in pvp, and would really hurt soloing. Especially glyphed, constantly MDing to your pet is so wonderful for MM and SV.

    The bigger problem is, I don’t understand why someone would want a situational ability gone? If someone doesn’t like the ability, or finds it clunky, they don’t need to be used. I don’t think that has anything to do with button bloat. If people don’t even bother keybinding it because they don’t use it, then it’s not an issue. I also don’t ever use beast lore, but it certainly doesn’t get in the way of anything. Maybe I’m missing something, but this is my biggest fear with “button bloat” talk, that they’ll remove the fun, interesting abilities that aren’t in the way to begin with, and we’ll still be stuck with 3 – 5 rotational abilities that are basically the exact same thing.


    • I’m a raider, and my suggestions reflect that. The abilities I most want gone aren’t really situational. Aspects? Hawk is always up. There’s no reason to have to push the button every time you change specs. The speed boosting ones are sort of useful, but could be made even more useful my changing them into something like Stamp Roar. Hunter’s Mark, besides the tracking part for PVP, doesn’t really need to be a button. I think hunters, especially BM, have too many cooldowns, so I’d like to see a couple combined into one so there are less buttons. Another option for Misdirect would be to fix it. But it’s been so terrible for so long for raids that I’d rather just forget it ever existed.

      You’re right that things like Beast Lore are not a cause of button bloat. But if Blizzard is at all looking to streamline each classes spellbooks to make things easier for newer players, I’d say it would be a good place to start.