Huntard? You mean Hunt-I-guess-you-can-make-it-to-70-only-meleeing-if-you-really-try… Well that didn’t really work.
‘Grats to Gweryc Halfhand for his ding 70 as a completely melee hunter! I guess he did show it’s viable but leaves the question: how full of a playstyle can it really be? Or as a doctor would put it: He’s alive, but what’s his the quality of life? Is it comparable to say a cat druid to rogue? As in play the same but with fewer abilities. Or is it something completely different?
It seems there’s only a few abilities available, probably less than a full action bar. Lets see: Raptor, Mongoose, Wing Clip, Kill Command, Counterattack, 5 traps, Deterrence, and Intimidation. Well, with Auto-Attack that’s 13, so with aspects and tracking a total of 2 action bars. Ok, there’s trinkets and potions and tradeskills too, but really only one action bar for all possible abilities. That seems like a severe limitation to my options. Good grief, I forgot Feign Death. Wonder how often that gets pushed :)
From what I know of his playstyle, he’s focused on off tanking as a role, aiming for high stamina and defense. When I’ve tried melee hunter, I focused on Agility (w/ Lightning Reflexes) and Dodge to try to up my Mongoose availability, and it didn’t work too well. He also did a very good job of utilizing talents, but there are a few points I’d move in his posted talent trees.
This is a really solid build for what he’s doing, and this is more of a ‘could move’ instead of ‘should move’ critique. It’s actually pretty amazing how many SV talents are not ranged specific. Might be one of the reason’s MM is still the go-to build for most hunters. It’s too bad that he couldn’t fit Thick Hide in here for the boost to armor, but then Intimidation and Bestial Discipline are definitely worth more.
I do wonder if Spirit Bond wouldn’t be the better choice here. Since he’s over 10k HP, that’s 100+HP/5s for both himself and his pet, and since the fights last longer, that’s going to make a bigger difference. On the other hand, BD is going to generate more focus over the combat and will definitely give more DPS than a typical hunter. My vote is that if he’s focused on off-tanking, even more so if his pet is OT’ing as well, take SB. If the pet is just there for DPS and has a 0s cooldown ability (claw, gore, lightning breath) take BD.
My thoughts are this is a DPS – melee hunter build. The pet would be very buff, but losing a lot of the personal damage mitigation. My experience with the new Mend Pet says you don’t need to put points in to Improved Mend Pet. The mana reduction is nice, but the difference between 300 and 240 mana is not really significant enough IMO. And really, how often does your pet absolutely need to be cleansed. Improved Revive Pet might be worthwhile, but I would still take Improved Aspect of the Monkey to keep Mongoose active and myself alive. I mean if you know a mob is going to be beating on you, 2% dodge per talent point should not be passed up.
For the SV part of the build, I’d take 3 points out of one of the Slaying talents and put them in Deflection. Damage was definitely optimized with the original build, but as the saying goes “Dead hunters do no damage.”
The last thought here is that having recently read this by BRK recently linked from the petopia blog, a windserpent would at least give ranged pulling ability without having to skill up engineering. Put on Cower to negate that initial threat and you’re good to go.
A warp-stalker might also be worth looking into as an instance pet. Warping to the nub squishy that pulled agro could make lots of friends.
And for the record:
Optimal != Viable
Underpowered != Broken
Deadly Ability != Over-Powered