November 9, 2015
Blizzard Previews 'World Of Warcraft' Hunter Changes In 'Legion'

Now that BlizzCon 2015 is over, World of Warcraft players around the world must now knowingly stand by for the next expansion due out in summer 2016. Although the wait may seem lengthy and no other content patches are planned for Warlords of Draenor in the interim, World of Warcraft developers want players to know that Legion will be worth the respite. Blizzard is keeping the BlizzCon 2015 momentum going with class previews for each of the game's current 11 classes.

The first class to be previewed is the popular damage-dealing World of Warcraft Hunter. Each of the Hunter's three specializations are explored briefly with an emphasis on each specialization's big changes. The official preview on the World of Warcraft website notes that each of the three specializations are currently too similar. In Legion, the three options are to be much more distinctive while keeping the core Hunter theme intact.

Beast Mastery, Survival, and Marksmanship are the three specializations that World of Warcraft Hunters can choose. Beast Mastery players will continue to bond with the animal companions while mastering ranged combat. In Legion, Beast Mastery Hunters will enjoy Dire Beast, the spell that summons an additional animal companion, as a core ability. This ability, with a 10-second cool down, gives the Hunter focus each time the summoned companion deals damage. Every time Dire Beast is activated, the cool down on Bestial Wrath is lowered by 15 seconds. Moreover, a new passive called Wild Call gives the Hunter a 30 percent change to reset the cool down of Dire Beast each time a critical hit is landed.

In fact, the specialization's focus on companions and the Dire Beast ability could even feature summoning another one of the Hunter's stabled pets. According to a developer response reported on WoWHead.com, Dire Beast might summon a pet from the stables rather than a random one from the environment. If the ability does include this feature, the Blizzard employee states that it will be "likely built into a talent."

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The melee-wielding Survival Hunter [Image via Blizzard Entertainment]The second Hunter specialization covered on Battle.net is Survival. Survival Hunters are changing in a big way when Legion releases. Instead of using bows and guns like the other two specializations, Survival Hunters will use melee weapons. Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite, and Wing Clip return to the Hunter class as Survival skills. These Hunters will battle alongside their animal companions rather than supporting them from afar, and Survival Hunters are the only ones that can use traps in Legion.

Finally, Marksmanship Hunters will head into the fray alone as they are the only Hunter that will no longer utilize a pet companion. Arcane Shot gives the Marksmanship Hunter focus and it has a chance, alongside Multi-Shot, to paint the target with a Hunter's Mark. Not to mention, Marksmanship Hunters will no longer need to stand still for certain passives to activate. Instead, as the developer pointed out on Reddit, players will need to stand still to fire Aimed Shot.

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With no pet, Marksmanship Hunters rely on their wits and their weapon [Image via Blizzard Entertainment]Be sure to check out the Legion cinematic revealed during BlizzCon, too. World of Warcraft cinematic trailers are often worth watching for current fans or just lukewarm followers of the intellectual property. The Legion cinematic is no different, and offers up a stellar look at what is to come for the MMORPG. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the Legion cinematic focuses Varian Wrynn with a very special appearance by Lady Sylvanas indicating that the two factions might work together to fight the Burning Legion.

Legion will raise the World of Warcraft level cap to 110, introduce artifact weapons for all class specializations, let players take on the role of Demon Hunter, and drastically improve the transmogrification system. Of course, new dungeons, new raids, and much more are included in the $50 expansion. Visit the expansion pack's official website for even more information. The expansion is due out next summer with a tentative release "on or before" September 21, 2016.

How are the changes to Hunters sounding so far?

[Images via Blizzard Entertainment]