Category: Featured

Podcast Episode 67: Post-Blizzcon 2015

The podcast is back for a post-blizzcon session! We go over pretty much everything that’s been covered for Legion.

Legion Class Preview Series: Hunter

Quote from: Blizzard
Legion Class Preview Series: Hunter

Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Hunter—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.

We begin our early look at class and specialization design with the Hunter. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out a foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Hunter in World of Warcraft.

In many ways, Hunter design in Legion embodies our key philosophies for class change. Hunters have a strong “core fantasy”: they’re masters of tracking prey, experts at sniping enemies with bows and guns from a distance, tamers of wild beasts, and trappers of unsuspecting foes. The challenge with the Hunter class in WoW is that, for the most part, while all three specs deliver that basic fantasy, the distinction between them is fairly minimal. In Legion, we’re focused on better differentiating these specializations to deliver more dynamic and varied experiences.

Beast Mastery

Among the most gifted hunters, there are those who have from birth felt a profound bond with the creatures of the wild. These beast masters are drawn to the perilous primal world, invigorated by its dangerous and untamed nature. Primitive landscape becomes home. Ferocious predator becomes kin. Whether in the thrill of the hunt or the heat of battle, beast masters call forth a litany of vicious animals to overwhelm prey and gnaw at their enemies’ will.

“Beast masters are drawn to the perilous primal world, invigorated by its dangerous and untamed nature

Gameplay

Beast Masters were already in a good place overall, but we’ve refined existing abilities and talents to better differentiate them from other Hunters. Previously, Cobra Shot filled all of your free moments in combat, leaving no time for managing your pet, which should be a defining characteristic of Beast Masters. To this end, and to aid in Focus accumulation, Dire Beast is now core to Beast Mastery, allowing you to repeatedly summon wild beasts that generate additional Focus for you through their every attack.

To give you an idea of the Beast Master Hunter in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:

  • Cobra Shot
    • 30 Focus, 40 yd range, Instant
    • A quick shot that causes moderate Physical damage.
  • Dire Beast
    • 40 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
    • Summons a powerful wild beast to attack your target for 8 sec. Each time the beast deals damage, you will gain 4 Focus.
    • Summoning a beast reduces the remaining cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 15 sec.
  • Kill Command
    • 20 Focus, 25 yd range (from pet), Instant, 6 sec cooldown
    • Give the command to kill, causing your pet to instantly inflict strong damage to its target.
  • Wild Call
    • Passive
    • Your critical strikes have a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Dire Beast.
  • Mastery: Master of Beasts
    • Increases the damage done by your pets by 45% (with Mastery from typical gear).

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Beast Mastery–specific talent:

  • Way of the Cobra
    • Passive
    • For every pet or guardian you have active, Cobra Shot deals an additional 5% damage.

Survival

While all hunters feel a calling to the wild, some serve as a reflection of its brutality. To them, the hunt is defined by unrelenting ferocity, where survival means facing one’s enemy eye-to-eye… and is always accompanied by merciless bloodshed. Weapons of great range are abandoned for instruments of close-quarters combat. Survival hunters are instinctive and crafty on the prowl, employing loyal beasts and laying deceptive traps to see their enemies undone. For these hunters know that to truly understand what it means to survive, one must first become familiar with the cruel face of death.

“The hunt is defined by unrelenting ferocity, where survival means facing one’s enemy eye-to-eye”

Gameplay

Not only do Survival Hunters use melee weapons instead of ranged weapons, they’re also now the only Hunters that make use of traps—other specs will receive forms of crowd control and AoE damage suited to their distinct characteristics. Survival Hunters will snare and bleed their enemies, fighting them in close quarters with their trustworthy companion to maximize the brutality of the hunt. They have no direct control over Focus regeneration, but instead pool it up during successive Mongoose Bites to further amplify the damage they inflict.

Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Survival Hunters:

  • Harpoon
    • 5-40 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown
    • Hurl a harpoon at your target and pull yourself toward them, rooting them in place for 3 sec.
  • Raptor Strike
    • 20 Focus, Melee Range, Instant.
    • A vicious slash, dealing moderate Physical damage.
  • Laceration
    • 35 Focus, Melee Range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
    • Tear a wound in the target, dealing heavy damage over 12 sec.
    • Developer Comment: We promise it will do good damage!
  • Mongoose Bite
    • Melee Range, Instant, 10 sec recharge, 3 charges
    • A brutal attack, attempting to sever the enemy’s limbs, dealing strong Physical damage.
    • Each consecutive Mongoose Bite dealt within 3.5 sec of the last will deal 50% increased damage, stacking up to 6 times.
  • Flanking Strike
    • 20 Focus, 25 yd range (from pet), Instant, 6 sec cooldown
    • Give the command to kill, causing your pet to instantly inflict strong damage to its target.
  • Wing Clip
    • 30 Focus, Instant
    • Maims the target, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
  • Mastery: Hunting Companion
    • Your pet’s attacks have a 20% (with Mastery from typical gear) chance to grant you an additional charge of Mongoose Bite.

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Survival-specific talents:

  • Snake Hunter
    • Instant, 1 min cooldown
    • Instantly grants you 3 charges of Mongoose Bite.

Marksmanship

Marksmen, too, shroud themselves in the perils of the untamed wilds, perfecting the use of weapons that are deadliest from great range. They’ve maintained little interest, however, in gaining the loyalty of the many beasts inhabiting these crude landscapes. Instead, the marksman blends into the surrounding environment, surveying behavior of all manner of predator and gleaning deadly methods for stalking their own prey. A sniper in hiding, the marksman unleashes arrows and bullets with deadly precision, exposing the weakness in whoever—or whatever—passes through their crosshairs.

“A sniper in hiding, the marksman unleashes arrows and bullets with deadly precision”

Gameplay

The Lone Wolf gameplay introduced in Warlords of Draenor proved extremely popular with Hunters, and that play style fit perfectly with our vision of Marksmanship Hunters as master archers and snipers, relying on their skill and precision with weapons rather than animal companions. All Marksmanship Hunters now gain Lone Wolf by default, ranging through the wilds without a pet beside them. On the resource front, the Marksman now gains Focus from the use of Arcane Shot. And, as a note for those who enjoyed the previous version of Survival gameplay, we have moved certain abilities, such as Black Arrow and Lock and Load, to Marksmanship-specific talents.

Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Marksmanship:

  • Arcane Shot
    • 40 yd range, Instant
    • A quick shot that causes moderate Arcane damage, and generates 5 Focus.
  • Seek Vulnerabilities
    • Passive
    • Targets hit by your Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot have a chance to be marked with Hunter’s Mark for 6 sec.
  • Marked Shot
    • 30 Focus, 40 yd range, Channeled
    • Rapidly fires a shot at up to 3 targets affected by Hunter’s Mark, dealing strong Physical damage. Usable while moving.
    • Also exposes vulnerability in the target, snaring them by 15%, and increasing Aimed Shot damage done to the target by 25%. Lasts 10 sec, and stacks up to 3 times.
  • Aimed Shot
    • 50 Focus, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
    • A powerful aimed shot that deals strong Physical damage.
  • Mastery: Sniper Training
    • Critical strike damage and range of all shots is increased by 12.5% (with Mastery from typical gear).

Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Marksmanship-specific talents:

  • Lock and Load
    • Passive
    • Attach an explosive charge to Aimed Shot, dealing strong additional Fire damage to the target and all enemies within 4 yds.
    • Your ranged auto attacks have a 5% chance to trigger Lock and Load, causing your next 2 Aimed Shots to cost no Focus and be instant.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of the Hunter class in World of Warcraft: Legion. This first look should give you a good sense of what you can expect from this series, though not every class is undergoing this level of change; some are receiving updates that will be more subtle—a sharpening of rough edges—rather than the broad reimagining of the fantasy as we’ve demonstrated with Hunters.

Tomorrow, the series continues with previews of Priests, Mages, and Paladins. Stay tuned!

Hunter Feedback on Reddit

Feedback started pouring in on Reddit about the new hunter changes and one of the class designers Andrew Chambers used some of his time on sunday to respond! You should check out all the responses on his profile.

Welcome to the WoW Weekly Design Corner! In this editorial series I (Mezzy) look at different parts of WoW and see how I would design the next new thing, or perhaps improve upon it. The following designs and mock content are NOT official content.

You can find the introduction, the lore and the first wing of the raid instance here: Design Corner: Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan Part 1

In the first wing of the raid instance we found ourselves in The Courtyard, where a variety of beats and demons resided that had come in through the portal from Draenor to the zone or were already occupants of this alternate karazhan created by the distortion in time and space.

The second wing is the Time-Lost Halls itself. The main servants and occupants live here and just go about their business not realizing they shouldn’t exist in this pocket of time and space.

Time-Lost Halls Bumper

In designing this second wing I went for a bit more of a simplistic approach. The first boss is designed with the design philosophy of current raid bosses, the other two have been held back in that regard a bit. Not every boss needs a million different abilities and environmental factors.

Each boss description below (in the tabs) has a boss model, design notes with things such as ability descriptions and dungeon journal entries! Let me know in the comments what you think of this next wing in this self-designed raid instance.

Would you enjoy fighting against them? What would you like to see in a raid instance? And what do you think of modern raid design? Are there too many abilities and mechanics per boss fight? Or has it been dialed back enough? (Siege of Orgrimmar vs Tier 17 vs Hellfire Citadel)

Arcanus Model

Arcanus, Watcher of the Halls was created by the Battlemage Grandfurth while experimenting with arcane magic. Arcanus now patrols the halls and keeps order. He will not react kindly to unknown visitors.

Encounter description and design notes:

  • The ground of the encounter area is divided up into tiles, which make up 5 rows.
  • An array of arcane related abilities have to be dealt with:
    • Arcane Trap – Traps 2 random players, rooting them in place for 10 seconds. Player is immune to Arcane Beam and Arcane Pillar when trapped.
      • Mythic only: Duration reduced by 5 seconds. Will jump to another player when it expires. Player is not immune to Arcane Pillar.
    •  Arcane beam- Travels around the room, has to be jumped over
    • Arcane Explosion – puts a debuff on random players. This will pulse AoE damage to anyone within 8 yards. After 8 seconds the target and anyone within 8 yards will be thrown into the air. Only the debuffed player will receive a slow fall. Instantly kills those trapped in an Arcane Trap.
    • Arcane Pillar
      • Tiles on the ground will light up and arcane energies will explode on that tile after 2.5 seconds. Players that get hit will take a big spike of damage and take 50% increased arcane damage for 30 seconds.
      • Mythic only: 3 entire rows at a time will light up at a time
    •  Arcane Empowered – Arcanus’s auto attacks deal arcane damage
    • Arcane Malady – Increases arcane damage taken by 20%
  • Encounter Design Goals/Intentions:
    • Make the players deal with movement and mechanics, which are somewhat more random than other encounters.
    • On mythic mode a lot more coordination will be required. The Arcane trap debuff can be passed on to another player within 30 yards by using the extra action button. Especially Arcane Pillar will require this coordination.

Arcanus Dungeon Journal Entry

Quartermaster ModelQuartermaster Modir spends his days training those that wish to become his disciple in the art of combat. Being in a place pulsing with magic such as the Time-Lost Halls has given him unhuman strength. Rumor has it he can even throw swords as if they were knives.

Encounter description and design notes:

  • Broadsword – The Quartermaster’s attacks hit the closest person next to the target for 50% of the damage.Sunder Armor – Reduces the target’s armor by 5%.
  • Expose Weakness – The Quartermaster throws knives at his targets exposing their Weaknesses. After 4 seconds he casts Throw Sword on those targets.
  • Throw Sword – Modir throws a sword at the player, if it hits them it will deal 85% of their maximum health as damage to them.
    • Mythic only: it will kill them if the sword hits them.
  • Shattering leap – Quartermaster jumps to a player’s location dealing 200k physical damage to anyone within 8 yards.
  • Whirlwind – Modir deals 80k damage to every player every second for  6 seconds.
  • Notes:
    • The sword from Throw Sword can be intercepted by a player standing in between the boss and player
    • The amount of expose weakness targets increases as more people are in the raid, 3 targets at 20man
    • This is mainly a dps and healing check, keeping away from gimmicks in this fight. The damage numbers in the journal likely need to be increased.

 

Quartermaster Modir Dungeon Journal Entry

 

BattlemageHaving access to huge amounts of magical power, Battlemage Grandfurth has trained himself to overcome the weaknesses of being a caster. He has infused himself with the raw power used in magic to strengthen his physical body. This of course means that other than physical attacks, his magic is not to be messed with. Note: Since the creation of the dungeon journal entry, a new ability has been added. Brute force will not show up in the journal image.

  • Burn Essence – Stacking debuff on targeted player, deals 60k arcane damage every 3 seconds per stack.
  • Empowered Staff – Grandfurth’s staff is empowered to hit like a heavy mace.
  • Brute Force – Grandfurth slams his staff against the target dealing 600k physical damage.
  • Incinerate – Deals 180k fire damage to the targeted player and leaves a debuff on the player dealing 50k fire damage every 3 seconds.
  • Wall of Ice – Grandfurth slices at the target, throwing a wall of ice dealing 300k frost damage to anyone that gets hit by it.
  • Summon Arcane Elemental – Summons 2 Arcane Elementals
    • Arcane Elemental
      • Unstable Magic – While the Arcane Elemental lives it will deal 30k arcane damage every second to every player.
      • Arcane Malady (mythic only) – Every Pulsing Arcane also gives the stacking Arcane Malady debuff, increasing magic damage taken by 2%.
  • Frostfire Bolt – Deals 300k frostfire damage to the target. Interruptable.
  • Encounter notes:
    • The main goal is to prevent getting hit by as many abilities as possible.
      • Frostfire Bolt can be interrupted.
      • Wall of Ice can be dodged.
      • Cooldowns will have to be used for Brute Force.
      • At the same time dps have to kill the elementals as quickly as possible to reduce the damage on the raid as a whole.
      • If the abilities aren’t dealt with properly the raidgroup is going to have a nasty time.

 

Battlemage Grandfurth Dungeon Journal Entry