Wanted, Better Hunter Talents
rooster posted at 15:00:00 on Jun 02, 2011•

Today over at the WarCraft Hunters Union, @FrostHeimWHU posted a snippet by GhostCrawler from the Dev Watercooler about the new talent trees WoW received with the release of Cataclysm. Since launch, no longer can players spread their talents all over three different talent trees like we had been able to since WoW launched. This singular change to the game has been great. For the most part, filling out your talent tree is easily done. You can clearly see which talents improve your healing/dps/tanking. Gone (well, 90% of them) are the talents that only serious PvPers would take. Gone also are those really bizarre "hybrid" specs like the shockadin. That said, there is still room for improvement in some of classes.

For this post, I will only being cover the topic as it was raised by @FrostHeimWHU. This means I will be going over how there can be changes made to the hunter class in their talent trees. If you did not yet read @FrostHeimWHU's blog post, go ahead. I will be right here waiting for you. Be sure to check the comments there as well, as they have some good ideas for the changes.

Back already? Speed reader eh? Ok let's get down to business then.

As you all are aware, by the time your baby hunter reaches level 10, you get to spend your first talent point. At this point, you first have to decide what specification of the hunter class that you want to play as. So let's look at what there is to choose before you start your career as a real hunter.

"Beast Mastery - A master of the wild who can tame a wide variety of beasts to assist them in combat."

"Marksmanship - A master archer or sharpshooter who excels in bringing down enemies from afar."

"Survival - A rugged tracker who favors using animal venom, explosives and traps as deadly weapons."

That all sounds fairly good so far. Where it breaks down is during the leveling process. Currently I have an RaF (Recruit A Friend) alt hunter that I decided to spec into survival, so I will first cover those talents. First I would like to say, the word survival, does not say "A rugged tracker who favors using animal venom, explosives and traps as deadly weapons.". According to the dictionary (Oxford American), survival means "the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances ". Given that, should not the hunter specialization, survival, be about surviving? Prior to Cataclysm, often PvP hunters were survival due to some advantageous talents. I am not advocating a change back to a "PvP" only talent tree, but adding "surviving" talents to the survival tree would be far more fitting than the current talents that boost traps.

So at level 10 and upon choosing Survival, you get explosive shot. In addition, you gain the passive ability Into the Wilderness and you get to spend one talent point. Let's start with Improved Serpent Sting. If you fill that out as well as Pathing, this will complete tier 1 and then at level 19 you have to start with tier 2.
While tier 2 follows the current wording of what it is to be the "survival" spec, few of the available talents follow the true meaning of survival. You might say Survival Tactics could fit in or possibly Trap Mastery and Entrapment, but do any of these talents really increase your chances to survive a fight? Personally, I think it's stretching things though the biggest problem with tier 2 is that you do not have all of the traps that these talents even benefit. Honestly, a complete breakdown of tier 2 in functionality.
At level 27, you should now have enough talents spent, to finally start with tier 3. Here lives the Great Green Elekk in the tent! Counterattack. A melee ability in the third tier of a ranged class? Then there is Lock and Load, yet another trap focused talent. I think it is safe to say that by now, the survival talent tree is not a survivor but a trapper. Moving on.
Once you reach level 37, tier 4 unlocks for you. Here again we have talents that are trap focused, T.N.T. and Resourcefulness. Your baby "survival" hunter is only a mere three levels away from an epic land mount and yet you still do not have your signature shot/ability, BUT your talent tree already has had you spend points towards it. Confused yet?
At level 47, you can now move into tier 5. Hunting Party is your group buff, and all the other talents are "sting" based (Toxicology, Wyvern Sting and Noxious Stings). Hmmm, maybe this talent tree should be named Sting?
Tier 6 is now available at level 57. Here is another oddity, Sniper Training. This talent really belongs in the MarksManship tree. It would be really nice too if Serpent Spread was in tier 1, so the other spec's could grab it too.
Finally at level 67, tier 7 is released and at level 69 you can now have your signature shot, Black Arrow.

For now, this just covered what is in the Survival talent tree. I don't think I will cover the other two trees yet, since for now, there is so much that can be discussed with what we have here. Personally, as is, the SV tree needs an overhaul either in talents or in focus. If in focus, it needs to be named. Trapper and Sting I mentioned earlier, but the community could likely do better than those off the cuff thoughts. biggrin If the tree is to remain Survival, then the talents need to be adjusted.

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