Doodle courtesy of Doodle Gnome (aka Paululum)
As before any major patch, there have been numerous tweaks and changes to all classes, and again as before any major patch, there has been deafening shouts of angst and the gnashing of teeth about said changes.
It always amazes me how many people forget that not all patch notes are final, things can still change, and things that are changing are not necessarily a bad thing!
We are a very different class now to when I first started playing, and despite my initial reluctance to change each time, I have still stuck with the class.
I still remember using mana as a resource, with Volley as our AOE, miles apart from the abilities we use today. When I first heard we were being changed from a mana using class to focus, I was worried that the changes would be horrendous and hunters would no longer be fun to play.
Indeed for quite a long time after the change, I did not enjoy my hunter as much, I just couldn't put out what I deemed an acceptable amount of damage - and by this I do not mean what others deemed to be good!
I have always played my hunters to enjoy them, and am rarely bothered where I end up showing on the DPS meters. Sure, if I come near the top I count it as a win, but usually as long as I am at least above the tanks, I don't count it as a loss.
One thing that has bothered me over the years though, is the amount of changes being made to the class that affect how I can play because of PvP. I am always amazed when changes are made as people are crying out for Hunter nerfs in PvP (and I promise you, this hunter is not OP in PvP, I'm generally lying dead in a corner somewhere ^^).
I've always played the spec that I find fun on my hunter as well, which is Beast Mastery. I played it when it was for all intents and purposes a "dead spec" back in Wrath, I stuck with it through Cataclysm (though I raided as Survival by the request of my guild, until Spine where the burst of BM was better), and I play as BM still now.
Over the years I've encountered many people who's first response has been "you obviously only play BM because of how strong it is in PvP", something which, if you know me, is laughable due to my complete lack of PvP skills, (as an example, it took me three years to get my What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been achievement purely because of the PvP achieve in the Children's Week Meta).
That is part of the problem I think, people are too obsessed with numbers, and trying to be the best, top of the meters, at everything. The Godmother touches on this in her blog today (she's awesome, you should totally be reading her blog if you aren't already over at http://www.alternative-blog.net/).
I have a close friend who also plays a hunter, and he is the reason why I started raiding during Dragon Soul back in Cataclysm. He's generally always played Survival, but pays close attention to any and all changes upcoming for hunters. I've more or less had a day by day update on what has been changed for hunters as to how incensed he has been over how "broken" he thinks our class is going to be.
He has been a progression raider for much of this tier's content, getting to 3 bosses down on heroic in Throne of Thunder before the group fell apart due to summer attrition. He's always been into his tweaking and min-maxing and as a result does put out a phenomenal amount of damage. When we recently did a challenge mode, where gear is all scaled to the same ilvl, he still outperformed me on every fight, but I was okay with this!
Firstly, even though I have been playing hunter longer than he has, he is a better technical (though I may mean tactical) player than I am. I have no doubt that if he were playing my character, he would put out far more numbers than I do. He spent a while lamenting that we were being nerfed to the ground when the Stampede changes were announced but does seem to have perked up again recently (right around the time when it was said we would get an all spec interrupt, as well as Silencing Shot being MM only), whereas I was happy to just continue and see how thing go.
But as to my original point or changes being made, I can understand to an extent why some of the recent changes have to be made.Stampede is a lovely burst of damage, but not necessarily "fair" in a PvP setting. I'm much more a fan of the "reduced damage against players" change for spells though rather than an across the board nerf for spells which are unfair for those who only PvE (in my opinion obviously).
The readiness change I am fine with. It always felt like cheating to me to have this "reset" button, and I could never figure out where to comfortably fit it in to my abilities (much the same as Alter Time on my Mage!).
It will be interesting to see what else comes from patch notes in the future, and I daresay I will be here still bumbling along near the middle of the pack :)