Why hello there. And yes, that IS a gnome hunter you see before you. A slightly confused survival hunter, mind you, but a gnome hunter all the same. And her trusty mechanical pet, Sparky.
Creating this gnome hunter was my first activity upon installing the Legion alpha. I thought it would be a good way to warm up before jumping into the expansion, given how many hunter alts I've levelled as of late. But it was actually a pretty strange experience due to survival being the only spec available to you. And survival being all about being a melee hunter.
Now, melee hunter is not an altogether new concept for me. I do recall being in Scholomance in vanilla WoW and having a melee hunter, who kept dying, as part of the dungeon group we'd assembled. But I honestly hadn't given it another thought until we'd heard about the spec overhaul at Blizzcon this year. Luckily, my experience with the all new melee hunter spec did not involve lots of dying. The hatchet throw works well for pulling a mob away from an area that a patrol might walk too close to, and the harpoon shot is an efficient way to get you to melee range of your target. Right now, however, the leveling experience is a bit off. At level three you get a quest reward gun that you can't use at all. In fact, you are using auto shot and your pet to slowly kill your mobs, thanks to your bare action bars. After a few levels of this minimalism, I was ready to check out the shadow priesting.
You start out with gear too low to queue for any dungeons, and the quest to start your leveling experience is still bugged, so I had to resort to heading to some old raids that had many densely packed mobs to try out the new shadow priest mechanics. A few observations:
- I miss devouring plague. A lot.
- It takes forever to get to void form and then its duration is very short, making it feel like a bust. When doing the artifact quest chain, I'm not sure I even got to void form once.
- How is it that I wouldn't notice getting to void form? Well, that's because it's subtle. You'll see your insanity bar almost there for a while...then all of a sudden your void form only talents will light up, but you may not notice it immediately.
- Our artifact lacks any intellect. Which may be why it feels like we're doing a piddly amount of damage.
These are only initial thoughts, and with a very limited amount of playing available since questing (and dungeons) are not yet available. Stay tuned for more details as more opportunities to test out the new spec changes arise.
In addition to the above, I am really missing my shadow form. You only become truly purple after having a significant increase in insanity so you spend most of your time walking around looking like...every other priest. At least the class halls have a nice voidy place where you can skulk about in appropriate lighting.
Although you are limited in what you can explore currently, and many places are a work in progress, I'm happy with the look and feel of the expansion so far. Can't wait to see more of it in the coming months.