World of Warcraft

WoW: Blizzard doesn't give the Survival Hunter a chance despite the buff

There is no playstyle in WoW that is as unpopular as the survival hunter - the numbers in every patch prove this anew. Whether it's mythic dungeons or raids, the melee hunter is generally one of the least played specs and is only occasionally undercut by one of the rogue playstyles. This doesn't seem to be changing in the current raid, Sanctum of Domination. But how can it, when Blizzard makes it so hard for the players.

Melee plus weak performance

That said, the survival hunter playstyle isn't the problem at all. The rotation is fluffy enjoyable and offers no particular reason to gripe. The unpopular hunter spec suffers from something else. For one thing, ranged fighters are usually more popular than melee fighters. They have less problem in raid or dungeon with various mechanics. That's why there are more owls than cats and more ele shammies than buffs. And looking at the current raid, that's not going to change anytime soon. With multiple bosses, melees are once again at a distinct disadvantage.

In addition, the Survival Hunter has actually suffered from poor performance ever since it was revamped in Legion. Even at its best, it was lower-midrange at best and could never keep up with the other two hunter playstyles. Nothing has changed in that regard yet either. In the early days of Sanctum of Domination, it was once again one of the two weakest playstyles.

Buff for survival, stronger buff for pet domination

But currently, it's not just Survival Hunter that's at the bottom. The Beast Domination and Marksmanship counterparts are only just ahead of it as well. "Ahead" is the magic word here. Now, however, all three playstyles can look forward to a whopping buff next Wednesday, July 14. It almost seems like Blizzard is doing everything in its power to prevent Survival from becoming the strongest playstyle for Hunters. While most of the melee fighter's attacks are buffed by ten percent, the Beastmaster, who is currently one step ahead of Survival, gets a 15 percent buff on all relevant attacks. With this, Survival slides a bit closer to the other classes, but will definitely remain the weakest spec of the hunters. And it's not out of the question that it will keep the red lantern. After all, the other playstyles at the bottom also get strong buffs - Fire Mage or Affliction Warlock, for example.

Quo vadis Blizzard?

The question remains, where is Blizzard actually going with the survival hunter? Do they just want to allow hunters to scurry around a bit in melee if they wish, or did they not know what else to do with the spec? It seems that way for a little bit, at least. In the past, unpopular classes or playstyles have gradually either gotten buffs so strong that they were played, or were given unique abilities thanks to which they were packed in despite not having such a high DpS. The monk and his debuff that increases physical damage was such a case, which certainly didn't hurt the popularity of the class.

Neither is currently on the horizon for survival hunters, which should make it pretty clear that melee hunters will remain one of the absolute exceptions in patch 9.1. A shame, really. Because as mentioned at the beginning, the gameplay itself is not that uninteresting. But if the numbers aren't right at the end (and there are simpler ranged play styles as an alternative), then not many players will get involved in the Survival Hunter adventure.

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