Legion Beta: the First Taste of the New Marks

Last weekend, I tried to dedicate a good chunk of time to practicing the new Marksmanship spec on the Legion Alpha.  Truth be told, there's really not a ton to do at the moment, other than leveling.  In WoD, I didn't get a beta invite until after max level was opened, so once I did get in, I spent pretty much 100% of my time in Shattrath, beating on the killable raid test dummies.  We don't yet have that luxury in the Legion Alpha, unfortunately.

That means, I'm spending a lot of my time leveling, and re-leveling, to try to get as much feel for the various artifact talents, and just get a grasp on the feel of the spec.

Marksmanship Playstyle 

As hunters, we've never really had to think about leveling.  I've heard rumors that when people are playing support classes, they have to think about what mobs they're pulling, how they're going to deal with any special mechanics, etc.  For us, for the last few expansions, at least, if by some odd chance we've found one of the few mobs that had a special ability that would kill our pets, then we would just use our ample tool kit to kite the mob until it died, leaving feign death as a last resort, if we made any mistakes.

For the most part, the feel of leveling is still the same for marksmanship hunters. Even in the starter gear they give the pre-made level 100 characters (so far you can't copy your characters to the alpha), I've yet to come across any individual mob that I needed to plan ahead for; the only significant difference is instead of mindlessly pet tanking, you're focus is placed on kiting.

Along with the removal of many of our most interesting utility abilities, Blizzard has (at least as far as I've found so far) removed the mechanics they might have negated.  That is, I've yet to come across a mob with an enrage buff that tranq shot would have removed.  Just to clarify, I'm still very upset about the dumbing down of the hunter class. I'm not trying to say it was a good decision on Blizzard's part.  I'm simply stating that we won't notice the loss of those abilities in the leveling process, as they've equally dumbed down the rare and elite mobs that you run into while leveling (again, perhaps I just haven't run into the interesting mobs yet).

What keeps MM interesting, from my perspective, at least, is that the mobs are set up very similarly to WoD. That is to say, they're everywhere. If you don't pick out your kiting path carefully, you'll likely end up pulling dozens, perhaps hundreds of mobs.  In fact, dealing with large packs of mobs was the most fun part. It took me a while to get back into the mindset of efficient kiting, but once I did, it seems there are lots of opportunities where you can take on a dozen or so mobs at once, focusing down the casters (who you no longer have the option of MD'ing to your pet) while kiting around the melee.

One of the fun parts about leveling as a hunter has always been going into a zone, tagging every mob in a 40 yard radius, and laughing at the silly support classes who tried to take the mobs on one at a time.  We fortunately still have that option in Legion, it's just a much higher risk (I actually doubt their will be any risk for anyone in raid gear, but if you're starting the xpac in WoD greens/blues, there will be).

General Thoughts on the Leveling Experience


In WoD, Blizzard removed the achievements for being the first ___ to reach max level.  The point was, as far as I can tell, to encourage people to enjoy the leveling experience instead of rushing through everything.  With Legion, they're adding even more incentive to being out in the world questing and exploring, through the means of empowering your artifact weapon.  Every rare I found dropped a token that gave you artifact power.  Several quests offered artifact relics as their rewards, which also adds the benefit of experiencing some of the artifact talents earlier than you would if unlocking those talents with artifact power.

I think this is a good thing overall.  Depending on how quickly the first raid opens after the release of Legion, it may be worthwhile to do the loremaster achieve on your first playthrough.

Hunter Class Hall

I'm so incredibly tired of Horde vs. Alliance story lines, while that remains a part of the legion experience, the introduction of class halls means we have a much greater calling than some petty faction.  Let's be real, for those of us playing the only legendary class currently available in WoW, our allegiance has been to our class for a long time.  While I can see the benefit of faction squabbles for people who play one of the support classes, since they don't have anything as glorious as Hunter to rally behind, it just never meant much to me.  

The point of that is, having a class hall is great. I don't want to put any story spoilers on here, but I'm very glad to be pledging allegiance to something other than the horde/alliance.
However, not letting horde/alliance talk to each other is a huge mistake. We should at least be able to speak with each other within Trueshot Lodge.  I'd be more than willing to work for this, also.  Perhaps there could be a game mechanic where you have to gather a certain number of tomes for each race and that would let you learn to understand them in the various class halls.  Or we could learn a special hunter code that allows us to communicate with our fellow hunters, but not any other class.  However the issue is addressed, it needs something.  It's silly to continue the language divide while sharing a class hall.  


  1. i didn't level my premade and having only green gear is not ideal. but i've spent a shooting at a dummy with my 100 premade. the rotation felt very hectic and boring at the same time. i was basically using 3 spells. head shot when full, arcane shot until proc, insta aimed. so i spent most of the time spamming arcane shot. i just assumed (are there working dps-meters?) that clearing your focus with HS and only using AiS with procs is the most effective thing to do. this ended up in AiS being cast very rarely. It was hectic because of the 1s gcd mostly. you have a very short window to react to procs. it happened often enough that i accidentally used spells in the wrong order.

    i really hope it to be less one-dimensional in legion raiding, while leaving more room to pay attention to other things at the same time.

    1. Everything is up in the air at the moment, since there haven't been any tuning passes, but so far it looks like it's actually beneficial to dump focus with Aimed Shot even before you get to 3 stacks of vulnerability. Also, in a raid environment Heightened Vulnerability will likely be superior to head shot. So you probably won't have that option for a focus dump (though crows/barrage will still be able to eat up some of that focus). But you are right that those three buttons (arcane marked aimed) will be your primary rotation.

      Anyhow, the artifact talents will make a significant difference on the rotation, too. I had meant to only talk about the levelling experience here (where nothing lives long enough to get up to three stacks of vulnerability, anyway). Hopefully they open up 110 soon so we can get a good taste of the spec for raiding (even in raid testing, at the moment, you don't get an upgraded artifact weapon, just the ilvl increase).