Sunday, June 3, 2007

1st Million - Hunters

The number of level 70 hunters? 38,030, not the least, but far from the most, as detractors would have you believe.

  1. 41/20/0 - 2221 (5.84%)
  2. 0/43/18 - 1574 (4.15%)
  3. 0/45/16 - 1450 (3.81%)
  4. 0/42/19 - 1064 (2.80%)
  5. 0/44/17 - 864 (2.27%)
  6. 0/41/20 - 806 (2.12%)
  7. 7/45/9 - 800 (2.10%)
  8. 0/47/14 - 681 (1.79%)
  9. 5/53/3 - 647 (1.70%)
  10. 5/47/9 - 579 (1.52%)

The amount of variance in the Beast Mastery "cookie-cutter" spec alone is pretty staggering, although 23.6% of all Beast Mastery hunters have it, suggesting not much variance at the spec level. Humorously enough, BRK's current spec is not represented at all in the top 10 builds for this spec. I guess I haven't crawled Madoran yet, so it will be good to see how his build fares when all 3 million or so characters I have get pulled in. The top two builds differ only in the ubiquitous Tier 2 Marksmanship decision: Efficiency or Improved Hunter's Mark? Solo or Raid? 8 out of 10 builds put 2 points in the much maligned Spirit Bond (version 2). Another point of contention seems to be where to put the 5th point for Tier 7 in order to get to Serpent's Swiftness: Bestial Discipline is the most popular resting place, or else a token point Animal Handler or Catlike Reflexes.

As for the rest of the specs, they are completely dominated by Marksmanship builds. From the rather confusing 0/41/20 to the PvP-oriented 0/43/18 to what I consider to be even more degenerate than the "glass cannon", 5/53/3.

I don't even know where to begin. Less than 4% of the hunters that chose 0/41/20 are represented in its top 10, so I can only conclude those that chose this spec are either deluded, misinformed, or just plain ignorant. Diversity is a good thing, but when your top build is shared less than a percent of your spec-mates (as it is with two other specs in the top 10), it's overdoing it. Either that or I'm missing something that might present itself in a PvE vs. PvP server breakdown. Look for that in a future post.

5/53/3 is just plain offensive to me. (Warning, religious zealotry ahead) We as a class are not complete without our pet, so why go so far out of our way to gimp ourselves by gimping our pet? And please, repeat after me: Hawk Eye is a crutch. I'm far from the best hunter around, but I can function just fine without it. There are plenty of other talents that give you more bang for the point. (pun only partially intended)

Ironically enough, it is 5/47/9, the last of our top 10 specs, that has the highest percentage sharing a single build. 21.42% of the only 579 hunters that went this spec chose it, practically 3 times the most popular build of next in line, 7/45/9. (figures. :P)

Am I biased? Hell yeah. I am (well, will be, someday :P) part of the most popular spec for hunters, yet it only represents a small (yet extremely vocal) minority of hunters overall. (68.56% of level 70 hunters are Marksmanship, as opposed to 24.65% opting for Beast Mastery, and a whopping 6.52% are Survival. Even more frightening is the remaining 0.25% (90 of you, and 8 who cleared their talents and haven't respecced yet!) that are of no spec at all, with no possibility of a 31-point, much less 41-point talent.)

A lot of numbers here. In the end, you can't just look at the spec, or at the build level. Context is everything. Hopefully everyone's not too confused to comment.

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