People such as BRK have answered the “what is a hunter?” question with the following: The class that deals Massive Quantities of Sustained Ranged Foshizzle/DPS. This has been accepted to be the norm.
However, I think that Blizzard might be expanding on that, in a long term way.
GC stated in the Damage Dealing Forums (link here) stating the reasoning behind the new deterrence. In addition, GC stated an interesting blurb of information:
“…Now long term, something we are going to explore a lot more is just plain juicing up hunter melee capabilities. You’ve got mail and you’ve even got some melee weapon strikes. If those were actually scary abilities, then a melee (or caster) class that closes with you risks taking a beating. The hunter could choose to flee or stand and fight. We’re not talking about giving hunters a viable melee option (like Survival has flirted with a couple of times). But imagine your melee damage was 80% of your ranged damage. Ranged would always be preferable, but melee would be a decent last resort rather than pretty pathetic (as it is now). I want to stress that this is a long-term change, not something you’ll see in the next patch or two, and I’ll be the first to suggest that it may not work out. But it is an idea we’re discussing.” -GC
Now, this is a bit of an interesting message. More melee ability? This is something Arena players have either been crying out against for 3 arena seasons, or arena players have been crying FOR it for 3 seasons. Some people go so far as saying to just delete melee for hunters, and allow them to shoot at point blank.
Personally, this idea brings more good than bad in my opinion, though it certainly does both. But before I get into that, I want to explain why this idea would make sense.
First, what exactly is a hunter?
No, it’s not Legolas. Get that out of your head right now.
A hunter is a cunning predator, someone who tries to outwit his opponent not with gear, but with brains. So far, good hunter players have been happy to oblige.
But this means more than just Pew Pew. If you are really a hunter, I believe that a little axing to the face never hurt. You need to be able to fight on more than one battlefield. Hence, a hunter would adapt a new tactic and strategy to suit his needs. Even if this means getting his hands dirty.
This means being unpredictable. What the hell will a hunter do? Your opponent should not know the answer to that.
What? I’m applying real life to video games?
O.k, how about singlehandedly solving the Line of Sight problem that hunters have in arena, and the point blank problem. There. That should be a good enough reason why this makes sense.
But there are other benefits, so lets look at them too.
If you must move into melee, your damage will not hit rock bottom. It will go down, making range preferable, but you will be able to do some damage while stuck in melee.
Second, leveling will be even EASIER. No, not really for BM. Their pets don’t lose aggro. I’m talking to MM and Surv hunters. Instead of having to kite, you will be able to finish off an opponent in melee instead of running around liek a headless hawkstrider.
Aspect of the Beast (AotB) and Aspect of the Viper (AotV) will be more useful to those stuck in melee as well. If we can do more melee damage, AotB might be more attractive for levelling hunters than it already is. AotV will able to regenerate more mana in melee, making mana regeneration in arena easier.
So what’s the bad side? Oh it’s bad. For starters, this means MORE abilities. For those not in the know, Hunters have been known to have more activated abilities than any other class in the game. Because we have a static Global Cooldown of 1.5 seconds, we can’t realistically use all the abilities we want. That’s what’s happening now.
Imagine having MORE abilities? That would HURT.
Second, more abilities has the direct impact of hunters having MORE keybinds. What are keybinds? Those are hotkeys players assign to abilities so they don’t have to click them on the action bar.
Now, hunters already can have anywhere from roughly 40-80 keybinds, depending on how hardcore you are. Adding more would make hunters cry in such frustration that even Warlocks would be impressed. Don’t worry, all those people who don’t have keybinds will still be O.K, but not nearly as quick and reactive as someone who uses keybinds.
Another important bad-side to this change is the class confusion it would cause. Hunters everywhere will be getting weird stats on their weapons and armor, some going as far as getting Strength. STRENGTH. That’s more useless to a hunter than SPIRIT.
This confusion would create a whole new class of huntard. Most people have a hard time learning to kite. I should know, it took me awhile ’cause I never had to do it until level 70 about a year ago. With melee capabilities that actually work, most new hunters will not know how to do it either, and maybe never will.
Lastly, this gives some really big huntards the bright idea to steal rogue gear. Ninja-ing ninjas. Go figure. This is something hunters have been labeled with since the beginning.
So what do I think? This is a good IDEA. The execution of which will need a lot of time and deliberation.
In order to take the Strength out of our gear, for example, we could have a passive ability that made our agility give up more ap, and str give none. That way, Strength would be useless to us, like it already is, thereby negating the need to re-itemize the entire class.
GC did state it isn’t going to happen anytime soon, and that they were “discussing” it. Normally, I take it as a sign that this will be when I am dead and my grandchildren will be playing this game.
But for now, I take this with a grain of salt. Can GC pull it off? I hope so. It would solve a lot of problems, and make the class even more fun to play than it already is. Is it going to be easy? No. Not in the least; however, I have faith in Blizzard. If they do decide to go with this idea and make hunters have more melee capability, then I believe that they will be able to do it.
On a side note, my Ivy plant is nearing death. I’m going to drown my sorrows in copious amounts of 1% milk.