The first big alpha patch for Legion dropped last night, and I was too busy sleeping to get a look at all the changes coming to classes in World of Warcraft. However, with the help of our friends at WoWHead, we’ve got some thoughts on the most major changes coming to the Hunter. For starters, the Survival spec will forego ranged attacks for a melee spec with a Polearm as their artifact weapon. Let’s dive in and take a look at the changes, shall we?
ARTIFACT WEAPON: Talonclaw
The Talonclaw is pretty ugly, graphically. There are far better looking polearms, but hey… that’s why Blizzard will allow us to change and alter the appearance of our Artifacts as we play Legion. But the sheer amount of traits coming to the weapon make it look like the kind of spec this long-time Hunter player can get behind. Fury of the Eagle makes the Hunter have its own sort of cleave, which I was hoping was the case.
Now let’s talk talents. Each tier seems to have a major theme at first, but then the closer you get to 100 things become more and more varied. Thrill of the Hunt at level 75, for instance, seems to imply that some ranged attacks will still be available to the Survival Hunter, though it could be placeholder or still need its talent applied to something like Raptor Strike.
LEVEL 15 TALENTS (Initial Attack Tier)
Animal Instincts – You gain a random perk/aspect from your pet when you attack from the enemy’s flank.
Improved Traps – Majorly reduce the cooldown of your traps, an essential part of the spec.
Way of the Mok’Nathal – The most clear-cut advantage, increases your Attack Power by 5% for8 seconds each time you strike with Raptor Strike and it can stack up to 5 times. Serious DPS increase there.
LEVEL 30 TALENTS (Movement and Escape Tier)
Posthaste – Disengage frees from all movement impairing effects and increases movement speed by 60% for 8 seconds.
Farstrider – Disengage now has 2 charges.
Dash – The duration of Aspect of the Cheetah now lasts an additional 3 seconds.
LEVEL 45 TALENTS (INITIAL TRAP TIER)
Caltrops – Lays down spikes on an area, damaging and slowing anyone who walks on it. Instant cast.
Steel Trap – Hurls a steel trap that immobilizes the first enemy that approaches and deals 1000% attack power bleed over 20 seconds. Replaces Freezing Trap. Damage still breaks immobilization.
Ranger’s Net – Replaces wing clip, reduces enemy speed by 50% for 15 seconds. Good for PVP!
LEVEL 60 TALENTS
Sticky Bomb – As it sounds. Sticks to your enemy and explodes after 3 seconds, damaging nearby enemies and knocking them down.
Camouflage – Gain stealth, along with your pet, and heal 2% every 1 second for 1 minute. The first attack out of stealth will deal an extra 10% damage.
Throwing Axes – Tosses 3 axes in a row ay your enemy, dealing 60% of your attack power as physical damage to the enemy.
A Look at the Alpha Talent Tree for Survival Hunters
LEVEL 75 TALENTS
Thrill of the Hunt – 6% chance per 10 focus spent to trigger Thrill of the Hunt, which in turn reduces costs of next 3 arcane shots, aimed shots, or multi-shots by 20.
Dragonsfire Trap – Sets the first enemy to trigger the trap aflame for high damage, and sends them into panic. As they panic, they’ll periodically scorch nearby enemies for 270 damage as well.
Snake Hunter – Instantly grants 3 charges of mongoose bite, on a 1.5 minute cooldown.
LEVEL 90 TALENTS
Butchery – An awesome talent. Laceration spreads to all targets hit by carve. Multi-target PBAOE, baby!
Mortal Wounds – When Laceration deals periodic damage, a chance for you to gain a charge of Mongoose Bite.
Serpent Sting – Targets hit by Raptor Strike or Carve are also afflicted by Serpent Sting, dealing 362.5% of attack power Nature Damage over 15 seconds.
LEVEL 100 TALENTS
Sentry Turret – Another awesome Survival talent, summons a 15 second turret that shoots at nearby enemies, dealing fire damage. Only a 1 minute cooldown too!
Expert Trapper – Drastically improves all of your traps. IE – Dragonsfire trap hits all nearby enemies, causing them to burn and panic as well.
Aspect of the Beast – Your Kill Command will change based on the talent spec of your pet. IE – Ferocity now causes an additional 220% of attack power as bleed damage over 6 seconds.
The Survival Hunter going full melee made it one of the more interesting things to me going into Legion. I can’t wait to get my hands on the class in the Alpha, and I think the talents will make the class a viable alternative to the ranged Beast Master and Marksman specs. There are few actual survival talents, in terms of healing or damage mitigation, so it seems in PVE the bulk of the surviving will be on using your pet to tank, or relying on healers. We’ll have to see how it performs in dungeons and PVP as well. But for now, the novelty of the new toys is enticing.