WoW: The Diminishing Hunter

***The data collected in this article pertains to an old version of World of Warcraft and is no longer up to date.***

Extinction is the process of going out of use, or no longer existing. Extinction may happen slowly over a long period of time, or suddenly, in some cataclysmic event. This process has happened many times throughout Earth’s long history and will continue to happen till the end of time. If a species slowly starts to dwindle in numbers it will be classified as either Vulnerable, Threatened, or Endangered up until the point that that species no longer exists on the Earth and can be declared extinct.

This process of dwindling numbers, due to certain events can be seen on a smaller scale in the World of Warcraft universe. No class will ever be truly be extinct, as it is doubtful that Blizzard will ever remove a class, making it possible for that class to gain new members at any given time, and there will always be those dedicated few that will continue to play a class despite all odds.

If you have played World of Warcraft from the start then you will have observed first hand the decline and eventual rebirth of certain classes. No class is immune, and while some classes spring instantly up from the ruins, others have a tough time recovering their numbers. Now queue up the cheesy music as we take a walk down memory lane.

The most memorable decline of a class in the not so distant past for me, at least, was the druid. It may have something to do with the fact my wife plays a druid, but I was always very aware of the lack of cats, bears, or healing cows (eventually trees) running around. For months, she would be the only druid in the raid, and  I still recall her complaints as she set about buffing an entire 40 man raid all by herself. Ah, the good old days. However a few months, and a few changes from Blizzard later Druids made a solid comeback, and are still going strong today.

As with all things, the cycle continued and I watched as Shamans went through the same process. At one point in my old guild, long before I was writing for Ten Ton Hammer, we were stuck on Brutallus due to lack of Shamans. It was a rough time, but like the Druids, the Shamans popped back in full force. Now it appears my beloved hunter class is the one pulling the vanishing act so quickly I can’t even seem to recall when it started.

I wanted a better grasp on the extent of the problem, that is to see if this was something that was just happening on my own personal server, or if was something that was spreading to the very edges of the World of Warcraft. I proceeded to randomly choose  different guilds across various servers (RP, PvP, PvE, etc)   and attempted to ask them questions regarding the status of their hunters. After being ignored, finding no officers online, or finding that the guild I was looking for no longer existed I finally found 5 guilds that were very willing to lend me a hand. Presented in the table below are some of my findings.

                                                                    Applications Received (Monthly
Hunter Applications (Monthly)
Decline in Hunter Applications?
Decline in hunters on the server?
Active Raiding Hunters
Hunters Taken to a Raid
Guild 1
100-150 20 No Yes 3 1-2
Guild 2 5-10 1 No Yes 4 1-2
Guild 3
120-160 25 N/A Yes 2 2
Guild 4 3-5 0-1 Yes Yes 3 3
Guild 5 20-25 3-4 Yes Yes 2 2

As you can see above, all these guilds from large to small only carry around 1-3 active raiding hunters at any given time. This sounds normal but what is not reported above is that 3 out of the 5 above guilds stated that they had more hunters than they knew what to do with at one point, but now they have just enough to cover a raid. You will also notice that every guild expressed their opinion that hunters in general have declined on their servers, and two out of the three guilds have noticed a decline in the number of hunter applications they have received in recent months.

Taking a Look at my own server the same is true. Hardly any Hunters are ever in my PUGs, not from not wanting to invite them, but because there are no Hunters who want to be invited. While my guild does not take applications, we do extend invites from time to time, and currently our Hunter count sits at a solid 2. Not a single person invited recently has been playing the Hunter class.

After talking with these various guild officers, thinking on my personal experiences, and going over my findings I have come to the conclusion that the hunter disappearance is not something that is exclusive to one server, but is something that is happening all over. Perhaps there are some servers where Hunters abound, but in general Hunters can sadly probably be placed on the endangered list.  

Can Hunters recover from this? Honestly I’m not sure. The way things currently are (please don’t throw rotten fruit and shoes) Hunters are able to be replaced with any other ranged class and I believe due to the new casual friendly tone Blizzard has taken, this will probably not be changed. I may even go so far as to say not only can any other ranged class take the place of a Hunter, but they will be just as useful, if not more so.

Even with the increase in damage to ranged weapons Blizzard recently implemented I’m not sure if it’s enough to make Hunters stand on their own. Blizzard has promised there will be new Hunter changes on the way, and hopefully these improvements will be the new life blood the class needs to come alive again. World of Warcraft just doesn’t seem complete to me without an abundance of Hunters, and Huntards alike.

I would like to offer a special thanks to Fusion of Turalyon, Dissension of Bleeding Hollow, Aftermath of Twisting Nether, Eternal Legacy of Blackwater Raiders, and any other persons I talked to that I have forgotten or requested to remain anonymous for being so friendly and answering my questions to the best of your ability at such a late hour. You truly helped make this article happen.

Are you a diehard hunter? Noticed your hunter friends vanishing? Do you have ideas on how the hunter can make a comeback, or would just like to reminisce? Share your stories and opinions on our forums.

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