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BigRedKitty: It's hunter-pinata time, part II

Daniel Howell

Admit it, you Beast Mastery hunters. We're destroying the damage meters, aren't we. Crushing them into oblivion. It's not even close. We do need our class throttled down, and we all knew it was inevitable. When hunter-pets are out-DPSing warlocks, things need a-tweakin'.

But the manner in which it's done is massively important!

In the past, especially in the beta, Blizzard has operated under the principal of: Over-Do, Then Correct.

When Ret Pally DPS was addressed in the WotLK beta, they were way overpowered, and then corrected to be more in balance with the rest of the game. Since people had experience with paladins, they loved the beta, but loathed the correction, especially when the correction was slammed in their face with a laugh, skip, and jump by the lead GM.

When Death Knight DPS was introduced in the beta, they were way overpowered, and then corrected to be more in balance with the rest of the game. But since nobody had really played a DK previously, and a GM in full battle cry didn't use a megaphone to announce the adjustments, people accepted the final numbers with a knowing nod of the head.

Hunters have been so poor at arenas for so long that we kind of feel entitled to hog the top of the damage meters, especially since Arena Season Five is coming and we still have a borked Survivalist tree and our major limitations in arenas still haven't been addressed.

But now we've got a huge quantity of hunters who just love their pets and the tremendous damage they can do in PvE being told that, after so long of having our pets be meaningless in end-game raiding, we're going to have them swatted down. And it was done in one great big festering, sweltering dump of a blue-post, with no deftness at all.

This is not the way the governor of Ohio (pop. 11.5 million) would do it.

Here's what should've been said:

"Greetings hunters! Yes it's been a long time since I've popped up on your boards, and nobody is more sorry about that than I am. We've been doing a ton of work getting everything going, making sure BRK doesn't crash any more servers, and other logistical operations to provide you with the best playing experience possible. I'll do more to stop by and mingle in the future, I promise.

"So I come bearing some interesting news. It is very apparent that you guys are tearing up the content and raid bosses like nobody else. You're doing great! Unfortunately, you're doing a little too great. The mechanics that we observed in the beta just aren't panning out on the live servers as we expected. Time is always the enemy, and in this case, we shipped you guys a bit of an over-powered product.

"If you're a student of our engineering theology, you know that we like to make as few changes to classes as possible. That is, we'd prefer to make two shifts in class design as opposed to three or four. The fewer updates that modify your class-expectations, the better it is for you and us.

"To accomplish this, we usually over-power any changes we make, and then come back and tweak the final result to get the proper final adjustment we're searching for. It's like ripping the band-aid off all at once, then putting a nice, soothing creme on afterwords, as opposed to tearing the band-aid off slowly, ripping each arm hair out one by one, never damaging the skin, but putting you through a lengthy, agonizing hair-tearing process.

"We know approximately how much of a decrease in overall DPS we want to give the hunter class, specifically the Beast Mastery tree. But instead of making lots of little patches with lots of little cuts, we're going to do one big patch that just might seems like we're doing too much. Relax, this is on purpose. Once we see how far down we take you, it's very easy for us, and pleasing for you, to ramp you back up to the position you should be.

"Having said that, we're going to have a Public Test Realm opened so you can all see just what kind of adjustments we're looking at testing. Notice I said 'testing'. We need to see which of these changes we're going to keep, which work well with the other classes, and which we're not happy with. This requires time to sort all the data out, which is why we have the PTR-process.

"You'll all be asked to participate in the PTR and provide as much feedback as you can. Feedback is not "ZOMGBBQ THIS SUX!" Feedback is quantitative analysis of the changes, presented in a logical and respectful format. As much as you desire quality information from us, we need quality feedback from you.

"Here is a list of the changes we're going to be testing. Remember, not all of them are guaranteed to make it to live; this is just an opportunity to see how the hunter-class responds to these changes. Thank you for your time. Ghostcrawler, lover of hunters everywhere."

Diplomacy. Why is it taking Blizzard so long for them to realize that a large majority of the flak they receive isn't because of what they do, but how they present it?

Now then, as for the nerf-bomb itself, let's point our peepers at the facts of the case and analyze, as best we can in this short space, just what the heck our future as hunters may look like.

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