Hunter Class Hall: Hunter Specific Proving Grounds

WoW Hunter Class Hall

Bellular Gaming had a fun video a while back with some of their ideas for the new class halls coming in Legion. I really liked a few of the ideas, so I thought I'd maybe go into some hunter specifics of what could make the Hunter Class Hall amazing.  For this first entry, I want to talk about the potential for a class specific training.

Hunter Specific Proving Grounds

The introduction of The Proving Grounds in Mists of Pandaland was a brilliant move.  It provided a lot of content for what appeared to be fairly little work, and it provided the beginnings of a metric for PvE players to use. The biggest complaints about the proving grounds, as far as I ever heard, were that they weren't really a good fit for all classes/specs, with some having a laughably easy time finishing gold, and others taking a bit more effort and planning.

The Class hall gives Blizzard a great excuse to move forward with the proving grounds, with class or even spec specific training. We saw a taste of this in patch 6.2 with the introduction of Fel Rangari Anaara and the Fel Wolf taming challenge.

Fel Rangari Anaara
I've seen several people on various forums trying to stroke their epeens, claiming Fel Ranagari Anaara was too easy or even a joke. Well those folks are full of it; I really think she was the perfect hunter training.  Regardless, what made her so great wasn't the difficulty level anyway. And that was really the brilliance of the fight: it wasn't hard at all if you did everything correctly; if you started making mistakes, it was nearly impossible. Through that need to make the hunter do each mechanic correctly, she would force you to make a shift from thinking to reacting.

I imagine that just about any hunter who's paid any attention at all while leveling will know, basically, what all of their abilities do.   Distracting Shot makes the target attack me, Master's Call breaks me out of roots, etc... But knowing what they do without adequate practice using them doesn't really prepare you if ever the occasion comes up. Fel Rangari Anaara was just punishing enough that you couldn't really spend time thinking about what was happening, and then try to remember an ability that would counter it.  You needed to react: my pet is trapped, master's call; she's casting invisibility, flare;  crap, she's wrecking my pet, tranq shot.

You know what the hardest part about raiding for me is?  Paying attention.  If you can't tell from how I write on this blog, then ask my guildmates sometime: my mind wanders.  A lot.  To the strangest of places.  Fel Rangari Anaara was a great training tool for paying attention, too.  Forcing you to keep your targets nameplate at least in the back of your mind, so you'd know when she had that buff, or was casting the full heal that needed to be interrupted, or about to vanish (ok, vanishing wasn't really deadly, but it was at least annoying if you didn't get off your flare in time and then had to just wait for her to attack you from stealth).

Training Specifics

So, I imagine a hunter specific training / proving grounds would look a lot like Fel Rangari Anaara. She'll be even better in a proving grounds type setting as you can't enlist help, and because it'll scale your gear down, keeping away the possibility of over-gearing her. But there are a couple of other things that could be added as well.

Tank Swaps -- Surely the biggest advantage of being a hunter in the world of warcraft is our pets (sorry anyone wanting to exclusively play the new Ranger spec, my fantasy training grounds requires you to know how to play with a pet).  There are lots of raid mechanics that are actually fairly boring if you have two tanks trying to do them, but would be much more interesting with a hunter and a pet.

What I'm imagining is a mob with a simple stacking debuff mechanic.  All you would have to do, at the easiest level at least, would be swapping the boss between your pet and yourself to properly manage the debuff stacks: building them up on your pet while they fall of the hunter, and vice versa. This could be accomplished with a couple different tools we have.  One strat would be Misdirecting all threat from the hunter to the pet, and using Distracting Shot to "taunt" the mob when needed, or keeping threat on the hunter, and using a glyphed distracting shot on your pet.

At the more difficult levels, you may need a combination of distracting shot, growl, and well timed misdirections just to manage the debuff,  Perhaps at these levels, the debuff wouldn't just be "die once you get to a certain number of stacks", but it would be a stacking DoT/Bleed, that needed to be managed with both proper "tank swapping" and self healing (mend pet for our pets, of course, and potions plus talents for our hunter).

Kiting -- I, personally, miss having "kiting" be a normal hunter job. I can't really think of anything since one of the cata dungeons (I might be wrong on when that dungeon was, maybe wrath?) that really needed serious kiting. Still, it's a skill that all hunters should have.

So one mob I would add to a hunter proving grounds would be a kiting mob.  This mob would have an insta-kill melee ability (maybe only a one-shot on the harder levels, a "2-shot" or more on easier levels), and be significantly faster than the hunter, requiring the need for it to be constantly slowed with Conc Shot (i'm assuming they'll remove Exotic Munitions for Legion), and using disengage off CD.  I imagine instead of a traditional ranged attack, this mob could throw traps on the ground where you're running, trying to slow/root you.

To ensure this is focused on training, perhaps the easiest level of this mob, you'll won't need to DPS at all, and just focus on surviving for a certain amount of time.  Then on the harder levels, you can use the same timer, but the mob has to be dead before the end.  They could also add in some PvP elements to the harder levels; perhaps the mob could get a heroic leap or death grip type ability, and you'll need to always have disengage ready for when it's cast, or if it's on cooldown you'll need to deter, drop an ice trap and run away.

Hunter Parkour
Hunter Parkour -- OK, this last one's perhaps a bit whimsical, but I want a hunter parkour challenge.  In WoD, we saw several treasure that were basically "jumping challenges".  I think it's time to take it a bit further and give us a Ninja Warrior type challenge for hunters, utilizing disengage, post haste, perhaps some camo or deterrence to get through various hazards.  Who do I need to talk to to make this happen, hmmm...

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